This month, Evans Cycles’ Chris Snook is using his bicycle expertise to answer your #AskEvans biking questions.
“Have you got any tips for getting a workout on the road?”
Commuting by bike is a great way of getting fit without even realising it.
If you’re looking to really increase fitness for performance gains, then interval training is certainly the way to go. A heart rate monitor will allow you to be very specific in your training. We have a great section on the Evans Cycles blog provided by training experts Dig Deep Coaching which explains how to do this.
One of the simplest but effective means of interval training is hill repetitions:
Try to find a hill that takes roughly two minutes to climb. Warm up for at least 15 minutes. Aim to ride the hill as hard as you can and record the time. Take five minutes of easy pedaling between efforts. Aim to repeat 5 times or until your times start to dramatically increase. Warm down well for at least 15 minutes once completed.
“I’m thinking about starting to commute on my bike now that summer’s here. Have you got any tips on how I can do it safely?”
Not only is commuting to work by bike really good for your health, but you can end up saving yourself fortunes in petrol/public transport costs. The best way to stay safe when cycling to work is to plan your route before setting off. Have a look at your potential route on a map and adjust it to avoid any major roads or busy junctions. Although you may make your trip longer, you can build your confidence up on roads that you’re comfortable on. My commute to work is quite long, so I’ve worked out two good routes. One takes me the quickest route possible, which is great for when it rains, and I want to get to work as soon as possible. The second takes in some nice lanes, so when the weather is good I can make the most of it.
“Cycling in a big group looks fun on the coverage I’ve seen on the TV. How can I find others to cycle with myself?”
Joining a club is a great first step. You can locate your nearest one by using British Cycling’s Club Finder. Joining in on club rides is a great social experience where you will get to learn new roads and routes, and undoubtedly stop at some really good cafés for a piece of cake! It’s also nice going out on rides with others if you’re currently going solo, and club members are a great source advice, so if you want to know what kit you should be using or if you want to know about racing, there will be someone there to guide you in the right direction.
“I’m thinking about getting bikes for me and the kids so that we can go out at the weekends. Is there a way of planning our route to help avoid busy roads?”
If cycling with young children you should avoid traffic altogether. Disused railways, canal towpaths and woodland trails are ideal places to ride with the kids. Also, your bike ride doesn’t have to start at your front door – you could invest in a rack for your car and drive to somewhere where there are no cars to get in your way.
Don’t plan a route that is going to be too far, and make sure you bring some refreshments or factor in a café stop to keep their energy levels up. It’s also highly recommended that you carry a pump and puncture repair kit with you in case of any mishaps as an unrepairable flat tyre can ruin a great day out.
To plan out a route before setting off, head to sustrans where you can find a full, interactive map of the National Cycle Network.
Got any more questions for Chris? Post them below, or tweet us using the #AskEvans hashtag and we’ll pose them to him next month. Or ready to get in the saddle, find out more about our 50% Evans Cycles cashback.