After what feels like a lifetime of being stuck inside our homes and restricted from non-essential traveling, we are now finally allowed to step into the great outdoors once again. Get rid of those odors coming from your biking clothes, give your bike a good clean and get ready to hit those trails again!
There are a few things that we’ve deeply missed when it comes to the thought of getting out on the bike once again – The view of surrounded forests from the top of a climb, the feeling of the wind rushing past your face, and doing all this whilst the rest of the country is still waking up. Now that we’re feeling that extra appreciation, let’s talk about how we fuel these early morning starts on a full day of mountain biking.
First up, let’s talk about equipment. You don’t need anything fancy to make an amazing cup of coffee, an Aeropress is perfect for making great tasting coffee without the faff so you don’t need to wake up any earlier. Overall it should take around 3 minutes including boiling the water.
In recent years there have been world championship recipes brewed with an Aeropress that are so simple to make, you can prepare a cup before you set out or take it in a flask for the journey to your trails. Try the below method:
Heat some water over your stove or fire until near boiling point
Weigh out 20-25g of good quality coffee, you want a coarse grind if you’re using whole beans and grinding yourself.
Add coffee to the press and use 150ml of hot water
Stir for around 30 seconds using a spoon and then apply the press and push down slowly, don’t stop when you hear the bubbling, we actually want this to happen and create a nice compact coffee disc when we’re done with the brewing.
You should now have a fresh cup of coffee which you can dilute with hot water to get your preferred strength and taste. The smell alone from a freshly brewed coffee is enough to wake you up and give you that boost to tackle the day ahead. Take a deep breath in and savour the moment.
I just wanted to share with you some Pilates stretches I love to do post ride. These stretches help lengthen out my hamstrings and quads, and mobilise through my back.
Cyclists are prone to not stretching but stretching out your muscles after riding your bike can really help with your posture and form on the bike. Try this simple stretch routine after each ride for supple and healthy muscles.
If you’re used to getting a lot of fresh air and exercise, no doubt you’re finding lockdown and self-isolation rather difficult to deal with – but while we’re still allowed out once a day for one form of exercise or other, there’s no reason for you not to get on your bike and put the pedal to the floor.
It might be worth bookmarking Cycling UK’s Coronavirus Q&A page, which is updated regularly to reflect any changes in government advice that may take place over the coming weeks.
It is still advisable for people to cycle for their overall health, fitness and wellbeing, but in line with guidance that states you should only be doing this by yourself or with members of your own household, unless any of them need to self-isolate. Group activities with anyone outside your household should be avoided at all costs.
The charity has spoken to a range of different health experts to seek tips and help cyclists of all abilities, so if you have any questions it’s highly likely you’ll find the answers you’re looking for there.
Anyone over the age of 70 who wants to bike is being advised to proceed with caution, for example. The latest advice for this age group is to stay at home for the next 12 weeks to protect yourself against infection but if you need to go out for a walk or a bike ride, choose a route where you’re unlikely to meet anyone else, or go at a quieter time to reduce exposure risks.
We’d love to hear how you’re all coping with lockdown and self-isolation so get in touch to let us know. And don’t forget to come and see us for mountain bike coaching in Wales once the restrictions have been lifted.
Everyone in the UK has had their lives turned upside down in the last week, with the government’s lockdown procedure meaning nearly all of us are no longer allowed out of the house.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated there are a few reasons where it is acceptable to leave the house, including getting a form of daily exercise outside.
This means that while outdoor gyms, playgrounds and kiosks are now all closed, people are still allowed to go for a run, walk or bike ride.
A spokesperson for the government stated: “Every citizen must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. The police already have an array of powers available to them to maintain public order, and will be granted additional powers to enforce social distancing and protect the public.”
According to social distancing guidelines, as long as you stay more than two metres away from other people who are not from your household, you are allowed to exercise outdoors.
Therefore, if you are getting cabin fever, this could be the perfect opportunity to use the skills you learnt from your mountain bike course in the UK and dust your wheels off.
This would help you get out in the fresh air, which means the activity will not only be good for your physical health, but your mental wellbeing too.
According to mental health charity Mind: “Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed.”
Despite Storm Dennis and the aftermath of wind and rain, our mountain bike holiday camps for kids went ahead last week without too much disruption. Over the half term week over 50 children braced the wild conditions, wrapped up warm and headed out onto the trails for some great outdoors fun from Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Horndean, Hampshire.
Over each day we ran different groups based on ability from our beginners learning about bike control and handling skills like cornering and braking, to more advance sessions for riders who where looking to progress their riding and start jumping.
All the sessions link together progressive coaching using fun games and feedback. Our young riders also got to play coach, in the advance group, giving feedback to each other making positive suggestions and giving helpful tips to other riders.
Thank you to our super coaching team Renee, Francie and Jools who passed on their own mountain biking experiences and made the sessions enjoyable for all riders.
While we’re finally nearing the end of January, there are still a fair few weeks left of winter – which means you still need to make sure that your mountain bike is in fine fettle and will keep you in your seat until the weather starts to warm up a little.
There’s no reason to lock your bike up in the shed, hibernating for the winter, and there’s some amazing and exhilarating riding to be had at this time of year, but just bear in mind that the conditions can take their toll on your bike so you may want to give it a bit more love and attention than you might do otherwise.
Prevention is always better than cure so after you’ve been out and about, make sure you give yourself enough time to wash your bike down. If you’re exhausted and really can’t manage it, do your best to get as much dirt and water as you can from the frame and wheels before storing it away.
Before you set out on a ride, make sure the tyres on your bike have open tread patterns, check that you’ve weather-sealed your cables and that the drive chain is as clean as possible.
It’s not just your bike you have to think about and you should always remember in the back of your mind somewhere that it’s more hazardous biking at this time of year than it is during spring and summer.
So make sure you have your wits about you and that you’re concentrating at all times, with your eyes focused on the path ahead. Take care when going around corners and try not to make jerking movements, as this will mean you’re more likely to spread.
Also make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for the weather. Starting off with a warm base layer is wise, as this will help keep your core warm. You can then easily add and shed layers as you get warmer while riding.
Your hands and feet will usually get cold first because your body will be trying to keep your core warm, so make sure you’ve got a good pair of winter cycling gloves to keep them nice and snug.
If it’s really cold outside, what about using air-activated heat packs that can keep your gloves and shoes toasty. Taking some spares in a sealable plastic bag, along with some socks, could prove to be a godsend on a winter mountain bike ride.
And, of course, make sure that you’re visible. You don’t have as much daylight to play with as you will during summer, so prepare properly if you know you’re going to be out after dark and make sure you have bike lights and high vis clothing.