Sofa To Saddle

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Be a Fitter Healthier you in 2022

Discover the Benefits of Cycling and How to Get Started

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Are you fed up with the mundane routine of sitting on a sofa watching the tv?

Try something new? Start feeling healthier and gain a new hobby?

If the answer is Yes. Then this is the article for you!

It’s not always easy ditching that tedious routine and getting up off that sofa to exercise. However, gaining a new healthy hobby is a perfect way to do so. So why not start cycling?

I bet a million reasons are coming to mind right now. But give it a try, It’s exciting, stress-relieving and beneficial to your health.

 

And in case those benefits haven’t already influenced you, I’ll provide a few more:

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  • Cycling is a low impact activity, therefore, gentler on your joints, lowering the risk of injuries.
  • Improves mental state, reducing anxiety, depression, and stress levels.
  • Delivers a good all-round workout, strengthening your aerobic fitness and major muscles groups.
  • Improves posture and coordination.
  • Time-efficient, offers a good mode of transport, whilst reducing your carbon footprint.
  • It’s an enjoyable hobby that can deliver you with many fulfilling outdoor experiences.

Besides the vast list of benefits, you’ll gain; starting a new hobby can be a little overwhelming. Carry on reading to help us guide you through the wonderful world of cycling. P.S. Lycra is optional.

To kickstart the new you, we would suggest setting a Sofa to Saddle challenge which will give you a target to aim for and a huge satisfaction, and sense of wellbeing once you’ve achieved it.

In addition to the universal fitting features, the cover also contains many safety features: three adjustable straps under the Campervan allowing the cover to be tailored, providing a streamlined aesthetic for your vehicle. This ensures a secure personalized fit for your Campervan in all conditions, helping stop the cover from blowing away or coming undone due to the harsh weather conditions. Likewise, reflectors on the front, side and rear, enabling night-time visibility of your Campervan, helping prevent accidental collisions.

Leisure Outlet’s main goal is to ensure that everyone cycles safely. With this in mind, we wanted to include Cycling Proficiency or as it’s been renamed, Bike Ability, in this challenge to celebrate their 75th anniversary of protecting the people of the UK, by promoting cycle safety.

So what is Sofa to Saddle? Well, let me guide you through it…

Sofa to Saddle – Cycle 75 miles in a month

Don’t panic, it’s not as scary as it looks!

Let’s break the challenge down:

  • 75 miles is roughly 18 miles a week
  • 18 miles will take approximately 2 hours
  • 6 miles training 3 days a week
  • So that’s on average 40 minutes a session

Now the initial scare has gone (phew), we can start prepping you for your journey.

Firstly, I want to provide you with some key information to help you smash the challenge safely and with ease.

Why is a Goal so Important?

There is an important link between setting goals and improved performance. Your goal doesn’t have to be complicated. You could set an end target and daily targets. There is an important link between setting goals and improved performance. Your goal doesn’t have to be complicated. You could set an end target and daily targets.

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For example,

  • Cycle 75 miles in a month
  • Eat a healthy meal once a day

Always choose targets that are achievable and relevant to you; as setting a goal, will increase your motivation, commitment, and likelihood of success.

Additionally, tell everyone and anyone about your goal and keep them updated with your progress, as their encouragement will just add to your self-motivation.

Lastly, visualize your goals using our Sofa to Saddle 75-mile progress chart. Put it up on the wall, fridge or even in the bathroom, anywhere you will visibly see it when you wake up and before you go to bed, as this will create a great sense of achievement.

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” Bo Bennett

Create a plan!

Planning is the groundwork, offering you the time and flexibility to get you of that sofa and onto that saddle.

Writing down your daily tasks, schedule and even meals have huge benefits, even though some people may see this as a time-wasting chore. However, I can assure you that the positives highly outweigh the negatives

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ Benjamin Franklin

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Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Visualising the plan can boost focus, productivity.
  • Allows you to be more efficient.
  • Creates structure in your life
  • Breaks bad habits and instils good ones
  • Frees up your time you didn’t realise you had
  • Prioritization
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps achieve goals
  • Keeps track of your success

Simply writing down your plan gets you from wanting to achieve to actually succeeding.

 

What to Get, What to Do and Where to Go

So, now you have the planning skills, motivation, and the means to smash this challenge. It’s time to start preparing your equipment and cycling awareness.

So first, you will need some basic equipment:

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Lights
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Bike lock (Optional)
  • Static Cycle Trainer (Optional - but great to keep you exercising in the bad weather!)

Choice of bike

Bikes come in various shapes and sizes. So, choosing the correct one can be confusing. However, I can supply you with the key information to help you on your search to find the right bike for you.

Firstly, the environment you will be cycling in needs to be considered when choosing a bike. As the most common bike styles such as Dutch Style, Mountain, Hybrid and Road Bikes are all designed for different terrain.

Dutch Style Bikes

Dutch style Heritage bike is a very appealing and popular style. Offering a comfortable, yet classic look, with its upright sitting style and storage option. These bikes are perfect for flat smooth terrain such as city cycling and commuting.

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Some good examples:

Mountain Bikes

The Mountain bike looks robust and is built with a light sturdy and durable frame, straight handles bars, broad deep-treaded tyres, and an extensive range of gears. This makes it perfect for mountainous terrain such as off-roading.

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Some good examples:



 

Road Bikes

The Road bike looks sleek and is built with a light sturdy frame, smooth skinny tyres and drop handlebars with an extensive range of gears. This is suitable for smooth surfaces such as paved roads as opposed to rough terrain.

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Some good examples:








 

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes are a perfect blend of road and mountain bikes. Usual combines the typical straight handlebar and upright seating position of a mountain bike, but also, containing the lightweight thin smooth tyres of a road bike. This allows for higher speed with less exertion. Also, suitable for a range of riding conditions such as off-road and gravel riding due to its rugged, hardwearing build and all-terrain thin tyres.

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Some good examples:

 

Electric Bikes

eBikes are an electric alternative to a usual pushbike, containing an integrated electric motor to assist with either pedal-power or throttle, as they don’t usually include both. This makes pedalling and getting to high speeds even easier. Additionally, Power-assisted bicycles can come in various different styles such as road and mountain bikes so you can have your favourite style but with a bit of added power.

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Some good examples:




 

Choice of Bike Helmet

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Cycle helmets are imperative to bike safety and should always be worn when cycling, no matter the circumstance.

Choosing a bicycle helmet is simple, you can choose whichever helmet you prefer, as long as it’s in your size. So first, You will just need to perform a quick easy measurements and then you’ll be ready to pick your new cycle helmet.

Firstly, get a tape measure and a volunteer and if no volunteers a mirror will suffice. Fully wrap the tape measure around your head, just above the eyebrows and ears. Make sure it goes around the largest part of the back of your head. Once this is done it will provide you with your head measurements. Preferably, take the CM measurement as it will correspond with most helmet sizing options.

I will recommend a few helmet styles to help provide some inspiration:

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Bike Lights

Bike lights are an essential piece for cycling safety. They don’t just provide increased visibility for you, they also alert other nearby road or path users of your presence, preventing accidents, keeping both parties safe.

The lights come in various models to suit both the back and front of the bike so you can be spotted from any angle.

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Additionally, the bicycle lights are brighter than ever, allowing you to see far into the distance so you can cycle safely to your destination.

Here are some examples:

Appropriate Clothing

There are many types of cycling clothing and each type plays an important part in comfort and cycle safety.

Bike Gloves

Cycling gloves provide many benefits such as comfort, increased grip and extra protection from calluses, blisters and skin irritating due to a decrease in friction and vibration.

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Here are some examples:




 

Bike Jackets, Coats and Trousers

Cycling jackets, coats and trousers are beneficial when cycling. Other than the initial benefits of comfort and warmth, they also provide extra features such as waterproof material on the coats and trousers, stopping you from getting soaking wet on your bike ride. Also, including reflective material, further increases the chance of being seen.

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Here are some examples:



 

Bike Locks

We would always recommend storing your bike inside your home or garage at night as it’s a great way to safely store your bike and prevent deterioration such as rusting due to the weather conditions

However, bicycle locks are a great purchase, as sometimes you may not be able to safely store away your bike, for example when you are out and about. So having a bike lock is very beneficial, as it adds that extra layer of theft protection.

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These are also very easy to use and come in different lock styles such as coil combination, cable lock or D Lock.

Here are some examples:



 

Cycle Trainer

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We would recommend the Cycle Trainer as it makes cycling even easier, as it allows you to cycle in the comfort of your own home.

ETC Flow 8 Magnetic Turbo Trainer (Click here)

So there’s no need to worry about the weather conditions or the time of day.

All you have to do is hook up your bike to the trainer and it’s the perfect exercise tool to get you through the rough weather periods, keeping you on track with your progress.

The cycle trainer also features 8 magnetic resistant modes so you can feel as if you are cycling on various terrains at any time.






 

Safety Briefing

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Before you head out on your bike, there are some essential safety rules and regulations you need to read to keep you and others safe whilst on your cycling journeys.

Advice for Cyclists

Rules for Cyclists

 

Where to Cycle

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So now you have the gear and the goal, you might be wondering where to go?

Well, we have that handled.

There are many wonderful cycling routes to choose from and they cover all preferences such as paths, roads or even mountainous areas.

So don’t get discouraged if you are nervous about certain landscapes, as there are so many bike rides you can choose from which only cover your preferences.

For example, if you don’t like cycling on the road, you can choose a route where you don’t step foot on any road once you have started your bike ride.

So click the below links so you can find the perfect route for you!

The National Byway

Sustrans

 

Cycling Communities

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As we all know, the pandemic has been difficult for a lot of us. Making it harder to see or meet new friends.

So I wanted to share with you a few ways you can be a part of a community where you can easily talk, meet and share tips with like-minded people.

  • Local Facebook Cycling Groups
  • Local Cycling Clubs








 

Nutrition and Training Plan

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Training and nutrition are both essential factors in improving your health and wellbeing.

As eating healthy will help enhance athletic performance, by increasing energy levels and shortening recovery time.

So you’ll be fully energised and ready to go when sitting on that saddle.

As well, healthy nutrition provides many other benefits:

  • Healthy skin, teeth and eyes
  • Boosts immunity
  • Supports muscle growth
  • Strengthens bones
  • Lowers risk of heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses
  • Helps with your digestive system
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight

Additionally, with good nutrition, you’ll also need efficient exercise. The best way to accomplish this is with a structured training plan.

As picking which days to train and which days to rest can be difficult. So that’s why training plans are so handy, as you don’t have to think…

They will tell you when to train and when to rest, therefore, will allow you to achieve your goals and give your body the time it needs to recover so you aren’t jeopardising your health.

The best way to create a training plan is with trial and error. You’ll need to find something that works for you.

So test out different plans, maybe your body responds best to training 2 days and 3 days recovery and repeat or training 1 day and 1 day resting and repeat.

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You can design whatever training plan suits you the most. As long as you allow enough time for recovery and don’t leave too much time in between training days. As your body responds best to training at least twice a week.

So to help with this, I have created an example plan that will allow you to achieve the 75 miles in a month, safely and effectively.

Feel free to use this plan or tamper and change, it is only an example to help you get started.

 

Now after all that information, it’s finally time to get out on that saddle start exercising!

Change up your life this New Year!

Please share your tips and tricks and experience of this challenge with us on Facebook.

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