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cycling

Posted on July 31, 2017

The safety of British cyclists

cycling

The safety of British cyclists

Across Britain, 90% of journeys were completed by using our roads in 2014. On these roads, 83% of journeys were undertaken in a car, van or taxi – covering more than 600 billion kilometres over the course of the year.

In 1952, this figure stood at 14% – compared to 2014, only 1% of vehicles used were accounted for by bicycles, a 13% drop over this 60-year period.

Cyclists are decreasing on our roads, and this is clear by the evidence that has been presented. Over the last 60 years, the distances travelled by cars and vans has increased by 1,000%, which has meant that the safety of cyclists that been overlooked over this time-frame.

True Solicitors, specialists in bicycle accident claims, evaluate the safety of cyclists on British roads, and whether this relates to the small number of cyclists in comparison to other forms of transport, such as cars, throughout the UK.

The safety of British cyclists

The British landscape

Accounting for 3% of the overall number surveyed, over the age of 18, 1.5 million people were suggested to have cycled on a daily basis; this is according to the British Social Attitudes 2015 survey.

34 million had suggested that they had never cycled, in comparison to the other 69% who were surveyed. This is as a direct result of the clear lack of cyclists across the UK more generally. However, by analysing individual countries within the UK, the idea that Britain is uninclined to use a bicycle as a form of transport on our roads becomes clearer.

England

Over the age of 16, those surveyed between 2014 and 15 within the Active People Survey suggested that 3% (1.3 million) cycled five times a week. The survey also found that 15% cycled at least once per month, which equates to 6.6 million people.

Opposed to using their bikes as a form of regular transport, cyclists in England appear to be using their bikes as a leisure activity. This may be the cause and correlation between the nature of cycling accidents throughout the UK.

Wales

Not dissimilar to the 3% in England who have cycled five times a week over the age of 16, 6% of those surveyed suggested that they cycled 1- 2 times a day in 2014 – 15.

Scotland

In Scotland, the picture remains relatively similar, as less than 10% of those surveyed suggested that they often cycle on a regular basis. As a means of transport, 3% of people aged over 16 used a bicycle 1 – 2 days a week. 2% used one 3 -5 days a week, and only 1% used a bicycle nearly every day of the week.

It’s clear, however, that most cyclists in Britain are unwilling to use their bikes on a regular basis, which is based on the evidence provided. As a form of reliable and safe transport, perhaps the reason why cyclists don’t use their bikes more often is because of the hazards the average cyclist could face when using our roads. For Britain to be willing to use cycling more enthusiastically as an everyday form of transport, perhaps the safety of our roads need to be improved first.

Sources

http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics#How many people cycle and how often?

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514912/road-use-statistics.pdf

https://www.rospa.com/media-centre/press-office/press-releases/detail/?id=1360

https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/cycling-accidents-factsheet.pdf

https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/cycling-policy-paper.pdf

Posted on December 9, 2016

Childhood Memories // Cycling

cycling

childhood bike memories

I’ve been a fan of cycling for years. This blog actually started as a cycling blog, until I decided to turn it into general fitness.

When I got my road bike a few years ago, it was the first time I had rode a bike since I was a child. Wow, it was a lot harder than I remember from being a kid. I remember flying up the hills back then. Now it makes me want to die.

childhood bike memories

I sometimes wonder if I was part of the last generation that will play outside. During summer, we were out all day. Popping back every 30 minutes to let Mum know I was okay. I’d be out until 10pm some summer nights.

We all had bikes and would be out on them for hours. I had a white and purple Bianca bike. It looked like this:

childhood bike memories

It had one of those bags you could put on the back, but I never had it on because I could cog my friends on the back. I outgrew that bike pretty quickly and for Christmas one year I got a black and purple Raleigh mountain bike.

We would go for miles on it. I remember we would cycle all the way down the river Don and end up in the centre of Doncaster. One day I got home and my Mum was yelling at me.

She was coming home from bingo and saw 11 year old me and my friends cycling on the road around the biggest roundabout in Doncaster. I was grounded for 2 months.

I always remember how unfair that felt. My Mum called my friends parents and told them and they didn’t get grounded. Although they still knocked on my door every day for two months until my grounding was over.

childhood bike memories

Halford’s recently contacted me about children’s bikes. With Christmas coming, they invited me to talk about my first bike and to share some of their bike’s through the decades posters. As I grew up in the 90’s, I picked the 1990’s which features the BMX.

Although I never had a BMX myself as it was more of a boys bike, I do remember standing on the bars that stick out of the wheels and cogging rides off my friends.

 

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Do you remember your first bike?

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Posted on August 17, 2016

Wishlist // Cycling Gear

cycling

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As I’m now doing this 7 day challenge that I’ve committed too, gulp, I’ve been looking at some new kit over on Wiggle.

I love cycling gear. Probably more than normal gym gear. I know so might think it’s geeky and uncool, but I love it! Because my bike is purple I like most of my cycling clothes to have purple in them, so here are a few I’ve picked out:

cycling kit

One // Two // Three // Four

Five // Six // Seven // Eight

What do you think of cycling gear? Nay or yay?

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Posted on July 1, 2016

How to Fuel A Grand Tour

cycling

fuel

Long time readers will know that this originally started out as a cycling blog before I started talking about just fitness and health in general. So it won’t be surprising that I’m interested in how to fuel your body right for those long rides where you can be in the saddle for hours!

It’s so important that you keep your energy stores up during a race, being careful to eat and drink right before and after. Cycling can be intense, especially those hilly rides. You can burn a lot of calories on long rides and it’s important feed your body right!

Sports nutrition brand, Science in Sport have asked me to share this graphic they’ve created to let you know what it takes to fuel a ride such a grand tour.

Check out their website for further information.

 

Infographic: How To Fuel a Grand Tour – An infographic by the team at Science In Sport

Embed Infographic: How To Fuel a Grand Tour on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below

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Collab post. All views are my own.

Posted on May 1, 2016

What to expect from a spin class.

cycling/ exercise

What to expect from a spin class.

I’ve always wanted to go to classes, but the thought of it filled my stomach will butterflies.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to set up that bike, or that I wouldn’t be able to keep up and that everyone else would be all pro and I’d be there all red faced, struggling and looking like a dick.

But surprise surprise, I didn’t need to worry about it. But if you are worried about it, here are a few tips I have for your first spin class and what you should expect.

What to expect from a spin class.

Before going to your spin class, it might be useful to look up how to set your bike up. I watched a YouTube video that showed you how to do it.

Remember to arrive 5-10 minutes before the class starts to set up your bike. At my gym, a lot of people are already on their bikes spinning away when I get there. On your first time spinning, you want to make sure you have enough time so you don’t feel stressed out.

The basics are that the seat should come to your hips. There’s generally a knob under the saddle that will like you move the seat up or down.

You can also move the seat and handle bars forward and backwards, as well as the height of the bars. I generally leave the bar height as it as and just move the handlebars a bit closer to me so I can rest on them easily during sprints.

When you get on your bike, try standing up and pedalling and see how it feels then adjust the seat and handlebars accordingly.

When the gym class starts, the instructor will guide you through a warmup and then into the spin. Each instructor at my gym does different routines. No one class has ever been the same for me. I like that.

On your bike display, you’ll see a counter for RPM. The instructor will often ask you to keep the RPM at a certain speed – like 100, then trying to keep it above 130 for a 30 second sprint.

As well as the speed, there is the resistance, too. The resistance is how hard it is to pedal. Some instructors will tell you to turn the resistance up half a turn, a full turn, etc – or they might refer to it as a percent – 100% being the hardest for you and ask you to turn it up to 80%, for example.

My spin classes are usually split into rounds that last the track of a song – you up the speed or intensity at the chorus. Some rounds are gradually increasing the resistance while trying to keep RPMs the same, others go into a mad sprint, others have you move the resistance up to the point you can barely move the pedals, then stand up and hammer it out.

It’s really great that you have control of the resistance – if you feel like it’s too much, just ease off a bit. If the RPMs are too hard for you to keep up with, just slow it down a little. Nobody is going to shout at you!

I’ve totally been guilty of turning the resistance to lighter instead of heavier!

You know your own limits and as long as you are pushing yourself, it’s fine to just turn the resistance half a turn when the instructor has asked you to turn it up a full turn!

In my classes, there are all types of people. There was a guy next to me yesterday who seemed to be just spinning fast on a low resistance, not turning it up or not getting out of his seat. I assume he had a knee injury or something. Nobody cared what he was doing, just like nobody is going to be watching or judging you! There’s people of all shapes, sizes, abilities and some hammer it out, some get tired and slow down and it’s fine.

There is one instructor at my class that stops half way through and makes us get off the bike and do things like pushups, star jumps and burpees. It’s fine, but a bit annoying as there’s not always space unless you’re on the back row. Now I’m always on the back row 😉

PicMonkey Collage

So if you’re worried about a spin class – don’t be.

Just turn up, get on your bike and go. Nobody is judging you or looking at you, we all just want to get fit and reach our goals! Just go, even if you don’t absolutely hammer it out the first time – you can at least know what to expect for your next class.

I burn about 350 – 400 calories when I go to a 30 minutes class. I love it because I sometimes struggle to push myself to do a lot of cardio on my own. With a class, you have no choice!

Have you ever done spin class?

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Posted on July 4, 2015

It’s amazing what you can do on a bike // Action 100 ride

cycling

cycling_for_action_medical_research_2

The Action 100 cycling challenge is on Sunday, 30th August. Children’s charity, Action Medical Research, are looking for riders to sign up for the event.

It takes place from Bristol to London and the ride has raised over £1 million since it started in 1982.

cycling_for_action_medical_research_3

The route was revamped last year, and the 114 mile sportive takes you across 5 counties and through some picturesque towns like Chippenham and Marlborough.

There’s coach travel and bike transport available back tot he start venue. It’s part of the RIDE100 series and includes chip timing, water and food stations, lunch, marshals and mechanics.

cycling_for_action_medical_research_1

By taking part in the Action 100, you’ll be raising money to help fund medical research into conditions affecting babies and children. The charity, Action Medical Research, has been raining money to fund medical research since 1952. It’s current focus is childhood cancer, Down syndrome, epilepsy and cystic fibrosis, as well as some rare conditions.

On thing they’re working is along side the University of Bristol. One in four children who have surgery to remove a tumour from the back of the brain develop a side effect called cerebellar mutism syndrome, which means the lose the ability to speak and have difficulty with coordinating their movements. The research looks at ways to improve the surgery to prevent this life-changing disability.

Another study researches into labour and childbirth. Around one in 20 pregnancies are premature and there’s not much information and understanding around why.

cycling_for_action_medical_research_2

Entry fees are £38, or the fundraiser option costs £25 with the commitment to raise at least £40 in sponsorship.

For more information about the Action 100 and to register, visit action.org.uk/action-100-bristol-london

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Posted on April 25, 2015

Why I cycle: Benefits of getting on yer bike

cycling

Benefits of cycling

I must admit that my relationship with cycling is very much love/hate.

Apart from struggling with hills and feeling limited about how far I can go because what if I hit an OMGHILL, my biggest cycling woe lies in the fact that my bike lives in my bedroom. So every time I want to use it, I have to battle a flight of stairs with it. It just makes the ordeal more like a chore than an hobby.

I’m hoping that when I move house in July, there’ll be somewhere to store my bike where I can just get on it and go. Because there are some great benefits to cycling that I just don’t take advantage of!

Benefits of cycling

1. It’s low impact.

As much as I love running, I do worry about the effect pavement pounding will have on my hips, knees and ankles.

Cycling is a great cardio workout with less chance of injury.

Benefits of cycling

2. The kit.

You can spend a lot of money on cycling gear. Which is probably not a positive to most, but I LOVE getting a new jersey. You can get some lovely styles and I prefer shopping for cycling gear over running or gym kit.

Wiggle has some lovely cycling clothing, but if you’re wanting something cheaper you can get a great selection from Sports Direct.

Benefits of cycling

3. The adventure.

The thing with cycling is that you can cover a lot of ground. It’s very hard to run for hours on end, but going for a long bike ride is quite achievable.

I’ve been on some lovely rides in the country where you get to see some amazing sites. Cycling in the summer is a great way to spend the day outdoors. There’s something very calming about just being out there on your bike and getting places with your own legs.

4. You can skip rush hour.

This isn’t one of my personal benefits – I live too far from work to cycle every day, but when I’m stuck in rush hour traffic, the amount of cyclists I see cycle straight past me and into the distance is insane.

If you’re in a place that had terrible rush hour traffic, cycling there instead can really save you some time. Not only that, but you can get your workout in at the same time!

5. The coffee and cake.

Going for a long bike ride is sure to make you hungry, it’s common for cyclists to stop at cafes and enjoy a nice slice of cake with a drink. It’s guilt free, too!

6. Cross training.

No matter what sport you do, cycling is great cross training. A low impact way to work your leg muscles, core muscles and get your heart rate up.

Inntravel specialise in Slow holidays, including walking, cycling and snow holidays. 

They currently have a competition on where you can win your very own Danish Tern city bike and get started with your cycling advance. Visit the competition page for more details. 

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Posted on February 9, 2015

Fitness Update // Back in the saddle

cycling/ fitness update

cycling

Monday: Sculpt 5/6 (45 mins weights) and 15 mins yoga.
Tuesday: 2.6 mile run and 200 ab ripper.
Wednesday: Sculpt 5/6.
Thursday: 60 mins snowboarding and 200 ab ripper.
Friday: Sculpt 5/6
Saturday: 25 mins yoga
Sunday: 7 mile bike ride and 200 ab ripper.

Ahhh, lots of variety this week! I like it! This would be my ideal week, apart from I only did yoga twice. I’m going to try to get it in at least 3 times as I don’t want to mess up what little flexibility I have.

P90 Update:

This is my last week with the P90! Saturday will be the 90th day and I can’t believe I’m so close. I need to put a plan together for what I’m going to do after. I really want to stick to the 3 days cardio and 3 days weight program though, and I also want to get running and cycling into my regular routine.

Speaking of running and cycling, I went out for my first run in a long time on Tuesday. After work I got my gear on and ran in the dark. It was nice, I really do like running when it’s dark. It started raining after about a mile in, I carried on and wanted to get 3 miles in but it started training too much so I stopped at 2.6 miles.

I finally got back on my bike, too. After 8 months off, I plucked up the courage to pull out Lucy, pump up the tyres and take her for spin. It actually wasn’t that bad, apart from cycling against the wind which it’s even less fun that cycling up hills. Did 7 miles and would have done more if I didn’t have so much to do!

Weight update.

For some reason I’ve lost weight this week! I knew I wanted to but I didn’t restrict loads. I lost 4lbs but then gained 2lbs, which I’m fine with because I know 4lbs in one week is too much when I’m working out and training to build muscle.

I’ve only got 3lbs to go until I’ve lost a stone, which is the ultimate dream! Then I think I’m happy with my weight and will keep trying to stay the same 🙂

I’ve also been vegetarian for 4 weeks now and I’m going to stick at it. I’m really enjoying the food I’m eating and I’ve not felt any negative effects from it so I’m going to carry on.

Woo!

I did go snowboarding again on Thursday and it was hard. We both have to retake the second lesson, it was frustrating because the instructor kept helping us down the hill and stopping us half way and trying to make us change posture and he kept bending my knees saying they needed to be like that, but as soon as he took his hands away they flipped back because my knees are not meant to bend that way! The last instructor was a lot better, showing us how to do it, having his hands there in case we needed them but also letting us get the feeling for it on our own. I almost got it when I went down on my own, then he came and hinder my progress again! Agh! I know what I need to do to get down on my heel edge, but I just need to practice on my own and get my own feel for it, not be stopped constantly and told to push my quads down and bend my knees in the opposite direction!

For this week, I’d like to get a ride in, a run, snowboarding and also a gym session as I have some passes to review a gym. I’m thinking of going Thursday straight after work. My work shifts are pretty mental this week so that’s they only time I can really go!

How has your week been?

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Posted on November 1, 2014

6 essential items for winter cycling

cycling

winter cycling essentials

Brrr, it’s getting cold outside!

The darker and colder it gets, the more we need to start thinking about the equipment we need to still feel comfortable while being outside in the lousy British weather.

Or at least, as comfortable as you can while cycling up a never ending hill.

I’ve been having a browse online and I’ve come up with 6 clothing and accessory essentials for cycling in the winter.

winter cycling essentials

1. Bike Lights.

It’s starting to get dark just after 4pm now – which doesn’t leave a lot of time for those afternoon rides.

If your one for longer bike rides, you don’t want to risk the chance of a ride taking longer than expected and not getting back before the sun goes down.

Not just for the dark – but when the grey clouds refuse to budge, you might want to make yourself extra visible to other vehicles and pedestrians.

2. A Jacket.

Waterproof, windproof, thermal, extra pockets – there are so many cycling jackets on the market and you don’t have to pay a fortune for them.

I personally prefer waterproof ones with a pocket to keep my phone dry and ones that have reflectors on.

3. A Large Saddle Bag.

You can get saddle bags in different sizes, unless you’re a professional cyclist, you’re probably not going to be overly bothered about carrying an extra few pounds on the back of your bike.

I upgraded to a larger saddlebag pretty much straight away so I could fit extra snacks and money in. Never know if you’re going to get stranded. Saddlebags are also handy for storing any extra layers.

4. Arm Warmers.

Arm warmers are fantastic. It stops that whole fear I have of being too cold when I first set out and then being too warm when I’ve been out for a while. You can easily remove them and put them in your saddle bag or jersey pocket.

5. Toe Covers.

Use toe covers or overshoes to keep your feet dry and protected from the wind, there’s nothing worse than cold, wet feet. My feet go blue and numb so easily, so keeping them covered is the best way of making sure I’m still comfortable.

6. Leg warmers.

As with arm warmers – leg warmers can make left so much easier when it’s cold. Either as an extra layer over long pants, or a single layer with shorts.

Don’t forget to stay warm this winter – what are your winter essentials?

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Posted on October 30, 2014

Safer Cycling this Winter

cycling

Now that the clocks have gone back, the evenings are getting darker. Those long, summer rides where the sun is still on your face at 7pm are long done and it’s so important that we’re making ourselves more visible to cars and pedestrians.

LV= have asked me to share my tips on how to keep safe during the winter. Let’s take a look at some essential things to think about when riding in autumn and winter.

  Getting your bike ready for winter.

If you’re going to get your bike serviced, now’s a good time to do it.

You’ll want them to check your breaks for those wet or icy days. It might also be a good time to get some mudguards and winder tyres installed.

Check your lights are in working order – a quick battery change might be idea to prevent a black out while you’re out and about.

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Getting your ready for cycling in winter.

As well as the actually bike – think about your own clothing. I have some cycle pants with reflectors all the way down, also several jackets with reflectors. Remember – you want to be visitable to people, too. Not just cars. Last thing you want is someone to walk out in front of you as they’re rushing to get home form the cold!

3Make sure you’re warm enough and layer up. Cycle clothing is so thin and it’s easy to add a pair of leg warmers or arm warmers that you can simply remove if you get too warm and stuff them in your jersey pocket, or in your saddle bag.

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Keeping safe from crime.

Not only is it important to be safe from the point of view of not being hit by cars or skidding – but it’s a cruel world out there, people.

Since the increase in popularity of cycling, there’s also been an increase in bike theft.

If you’re using a GPS app to track your routes, such as Strava or MapMyRide, make sure you don’t start the ride from your house.

As most road bakes cost around £600 at entry level and increase up until a couple hundred quid, there have been incidents of burglars tracking where bike owners live and breaking into garages and houses to steal bikes.

This could also put your personal safety at risk if you live in an area that’s not very well lit or ride through quiet areas.

I always make sure I cycle on main, busy roads in the dark, the last thing you want is a flat, or need to stop for some reason down an abandoned country lane. You have no idea who has been tracking your regular routes online with a view to make a couple of 2K when they catch you off guard and exhausted.

What are your winter safety tips?

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