Posts Tagged With: calories

All Clipped-In and ready to Go :)

It was a day of firsts… Our first clipped-in cycle, our first mechanical issue, and our first cycle through a thunderstorm!

Having heard that they increase your efficiency by as much as 30%, last weekend Alice and I finally decided to ‘upgrade’ to clipless pedals. It has taken us several months to muster the courage for this. For someone who isn’t all that stable on their bike, the thought of being literally clipped into it was rather terrifying!

So it was with some fear and trepidation we set off on our first ‘clipped’in’ cycle heading for the beautiful cotswold countryside.

It turned out to be rather an eventful 70 miles…

The clipless pedals  were actually much easier than we had expected, although neither of us escaped the inevitable “slow-car-crash” type fall where we forgot to ‘un-clip’ in time at a junction. Fortunately falling in slow-motion was actually painless and we were happy that we had survived the traditional initiation into clip-in pedals and hopefully won’t need to repeat the experience!

About 25 miles in Mummy’s chain came off (ironically as they had been serviced the day before). This was a very minor deal and within minutes Alice had sorted the problem and we were off again.

We had set out knowing that Thunder storms were forecast, but felt it would be good practice as who knows what weather we’ll get in Scotland. We were amazingly lucky with out timings. The storms hit hard while we were having lunch, and we certainly took the opportunity to stock up on calories which seemed more and more necessary as the rain pelted down… This was our second cycle to the Feathered Nest and the food just gets better every time 🙂

We are so happy that they have donated a stay at the wonderful establishment for our Charity Auction in November as their food is amongst the best we’ve ever had and know that Daddy would be so touched! Whenever we are planning a cycle we are always pulled in their direction partly because the food is so yummy, but also because we have such happy memories of meals there with Daddy. He raved about their delicious tomato tart for years! The owners were so sweet and seemed very concerned that we were seriously intending to cycle over thirty miles home through the storm, they were so concerned the kept producing more and more free chocolates to sustain us through the rain:)

but miraculously the clouds parted just as we set off again…

We even encountered some Morris Dancers on the way home. It felt rather surreal; “surreal but nice” as Hugh Grant so famously said in Notting Hill and Daddy would often quote 😉

The rain only returned in force when we were less than a mile from home. Alice was thrilled that we had the experience of riding in a storm and I was very happy that the experience only had to last a few minutes.

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Another weekend… Another 83 miles :)

This weekend Mummy and I decided we needed to do a more realistic distance… so on Saturday we picked a favourite restaurant about 32 miles away to cycle to for Lunch and arranged to meet our Grandparents there – we knew we’d need an incentive to go that far 😉 and  we were very happy to know that they’d bring us clean clothes AND provide the option of a personal taxi-ride home if we were too exhausted to continue… Thankfully we needn’t have worried!

We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather, and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful ride! We managed to find a sneaky back route using our new bike Sat Nav (it’s like a miracle in a box!)

The Feathered Nest Inn in Nether Westcote is completely surreal… with panoramic views over the cotswolds, beautifully quirky decor and food that is out of this world! This might have something to do with the fact that the chef trained at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons… as might the fact that the portions aren’t always exactly what you want after a 3 hour bike ride 😉

The Feathered Nest

Despite not being enormous, my first ever experience of Courgette Flowers will certainly be a memorable one… and probably hard to beat! Thank heavens for giant puddings and Pettit Fours… we certainly made sure we got a good supply of calories! We felt VERY spoilt!!


Even our Grandparents looked pretty pleased when their chocolate cherry soufflé’s arrived and were almost the size of their heads!!

The Feathered Nest (2)

Its probably rather fortunate that they can’t really use the internet… or i’m sure they’d be rather embarrassed by this photo!

It was also special to visit somewhere we had been with Daddy, both before and during his illness. He had absolutely loved the whole experience and was always coming up with “special occasions” that could merit a trip to Nether Westcote for another delicious meal. He would be so SO touched to know that Tony and Amanda (the owners) are donating a night at their Inn as a prize at our Charity Auction in November!

It was the best weekend we’ve had in ages! Croatia is going to have a lot to live up to!!

The only thing missing was Alice, but as she was visiting her boyfriend in Fontainbleu in France we forgave her 😉

It was such a relief for Mummy to cover a big chunk of our daily mileage without too many ill-effects – although I don’t know why she’s worried – she goes so fast I could hardly keep up. Amazingly the only thing we noticed was being slightly saddle sore when we went out for our shorter loop on Sunday, which is pretty amazing when I look back on how my body used to feel after a long run!

I’m beginning to see why the world has taken to cycling!


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30,000 Calories worth of Nak’d Bars!

I’d met some of the Natural Balance Foods team at the London Bike Show (I admit – not entirely by coincidence ;)) and they offered to help us fuel our training 🙂

They make the Yummy Nak’d bars, which I am basically addicted to, and it turns out that their offices only a few miles from our house, although the bars are actually made in Wales.  I took my Dad there today and they kindly gave us nearly 300 Nak’d bars and loads of their specially flavoured raisins…


My favourite are cocoa delight and the apple or strawberry crunch (I especially like the fact that the crunch bars are high protein!) Now we have no excuses for running out of energy enroute!! 

Daddy loved our personalised tour of their warehouse – which was pretty massive!


And we are hoping he will help us munch through a few!

Thank you so much Andi for all your kindness!!

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Group Cycle, Spinning and RPM

The training begins…

Boris Bikes

Last week it suddenly hit me that not only is our crazy challenge not ‘next year’ anymore, in fact it’s actually only just over six months or, more precisely, 207 days to go!

So that’s 207 days to get fit… and more importantly learn how to ride a bike! About 10 days ago Daniel Gould from Cycling Active kindly came to photograph us cycling to work on the Barclays Bikes, or at least trying to cycle in my case! Let’s just say I realised that definitely need to practice my traffic avoidance and general steering technique. As fun as crawling around London on these clunky bikes and stopping every time a car passes may be – I don’t feel like it is getting me much fitter! So I’ve resorted to an alternative solution: indoor cycling. In the last few weeks I’ve tried every cycling class at the gym. I never knew there were so many!

What is the difference between RPM, Spinning and Group Cycle anyway?

I’ve done all three in the last week and while they all cover the interval, hill climb (seated and standing) and sprinting elements of normal cycling, there seem to be some obvious differences even to a novice like me!

RPM follows a set structure, which is pre-choreographed with no flexibility for the instructor to make changes or adapt the activity to the mood of the participants. You are supposed to hit your max three times with recovery periods in between, this is meant to make you burn more calories and continue burning even after you have finished exercising – appealing if weight loss is your goal! Group Cycle is a free-style class, the instructor can choose any music and set the structure of the class. Depending on the instructor this class may burn the least calories. Spinning is also free-style, but with more emphasis on high intensity training, which is good for endurance and strength and probably burns the most calories out of the three.

I suppose RPM is good if you like predictability and want to know that you are getting the exact same workout every class. owever, I can’t imagine it is the best way to train your body – surely every real cycle ride will have it’s differences and you will go faster and slower in different areas, even the weather will make a difference.  I also suspect that your body must get used to the predictable rhythm of the class and so you stop progressing beyond a certain point and your fitness plateaus, unless alternative training sessions are added.

Both Spinning and Group Cycle are much more varied and the instructor can tailor the class to their mood or the performance of the participants as they go along. The music also changes and you never know what you are going to get when you walk into the class. This could be a good or bad thing. It means that the instructor in these sessions is far more important – they can really make the class great or… not so great! Their energy and choices really make an impact on the workout you get, so you may be disappointed if their choice of music or structure is not what you expected.

Personally I find RPM quite boring and I don’t really like knowing in advance exactly how long I am going to have to punish my poor thigh muscles. I also think I find it easier to push myself harder when there is more interaction and a feeling of spontaneity and fun, which I get most in the spinning classes I’ve attended so far!

The real question is how helpful are any of these classes in preparing one for cycling outside? I guess I’ll find out soon… Realistically I know there are a lot of challenges that come with real cycling that you can never encounter in the gym… the wonderful, but unpredictable English weather, uneven road surfaces and of course traffic (not to mention punctured wheels or broken chains!). For the moment, I’m happy that I feel fitter. Even after just a few classes I can tell that my body is responding to this new form of exercise and it feels good. The endorphin rush after spinning is particularly great – addictive almost! 🙂

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