Fitness Through Cycling

Getting Started

Visiting a cycling shop to purchase a bicycle, or joining the local cycling club may be your first step toward fitness through cycling. The advantages of cycling as an exercise medium of choice include the low level of impact cycling has upon your knees, as well as the enjoyment that one gets out of it. Indeed cycling is unique as a sport in that it takes you out into the countryside and allows you to step outside of your busy schedule to enjoy the scenery of your area, all the while giving you an excellent workout.

Of course cycling can be done with the aspiration of winning the Tour de France, or simply to enjoy a Sunday morning spin around your chosen cycling route. Training and equipment for cycling thus logically vary in accordance to your individual needs. Most importantly you should wear a good cycling helmet, complying with safety standards and fitted properly to your head. Next a pair of cycling shorts will give you some welcome relief over a ride longer that fifteen minutes or so.

Cycling Training

Consult your doctor before you begin any exercise regime. Once you are sure of your health and ability it is useful to set out a training schedule. For beginners, or those who are looking more to simply ride for fun, it may be a bit of a turn-off to have to adhere to a schedule. In this case it would be better to simply ride when you feel like it, although it is advisable to keep track of what distance and time you spend on each outing. This will allow you to monitor your progress, as you will inevitably end up riding more distance, and covering it faster.

If you are looking to progressively develop your fitness, it is advised by many coaches to work in four week cycles. For the first three weeks you do a little more each week, and in the fourth week you do substantially less in order to recover. When beginning the second 4 week cycle, begin with a workload roughly equivalent to that of the previous cycle’s second week. In this way you build up your training until it is at a level which is adequate for achieving the goals you set yourself. At this point you need to maintain your training, but remember to rest adequately so as not to burn out your body.

Do not neglect to feed your body, you will use a lot of energy on your training ride, which is best restored within an hour after you complete your training. If you are looking to slim down, then eat slightly less than what you burnt off, but this is best done with the assistance of a coach, which will be discussed below.

Finding time to train can be difficult if you are working, some people complement their weekend riding with indoor cycling sessions. These can be done at home on an indoor trainer or you could visit a gym with a spinning studio. Intense work can be done in a short amount of time on an indoor trainer, while longer endurance rides can best be done over the weekend.

If you are considering taking your cycling more seriously it may be worthwhile to consult your cycling club or cycling shop in order to find a coach. A coach will give structure and guidance to your exercise regime and have you systematically improving your cycling.

If you want to get fit and feel great - Cycle for fitness

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Cycle Your Way To Weight Loss

Of all the possible exercises there are to help you lose weight, cycling is one of the best.

If you want to lose weight and are looking for the perfect exercise, or if you’re looking for a great calorie burning exercise to add to your exercise repertoire, this article is for you.

We’ll tell you why cycling is so great and what it can do for you, what you’ll need to get started and provide helpful hints that will help you to cycle effectively and safely for the rest of your life.

The benefits of cycling

Cycling has many health benefits, particularly for those that want to lose weight. Here are just some of the great aspects of cycling:

o Cycling is one of the easiest aerobics exercises to start with because it offers a very wide range of training intensities, including very low levels of intensity.

o Cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise so it is easy on the joints, muscles and tendons.

o Cycling burns a lot of calories (more than 500 per hour at a moderate pace for someone weighing 80kgs).

o Cycling can be a relatively inexpensive activity to participate in.

o Cycling can be a very social activity and is easily performed in a group or with family and friend.

o Cycling can be done indoors or outdoors.

o Cycling provides aerobic training (for the heart and lungs), resistance training (for leg muscles) and isometric (static) resistance (for the arms and other muscles in the upper body).

o Cycling can be done relatively safely at almost any age.

o Cycling is a perfect cross-training exercise for running, swimming, skiing, etc and can add variety to any exercise program.

o Cycling is becoming safer as state governments and local city councils invest in dedicated bike tracks and designated bike lanes on city and country roads.

Why cycle?

If you want to lose weight, there are many reasons for you to consider cycling as part of your daily exercise regime.

Here are just 10 of the great things cycling can do for you:

1. Help you burn excess calories and lose weight.

2. Improve your cardiovascular fitness and gain more energy.

3. Help you avoid lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

4. Help you to increase your exercise intensity in a slow and controlled manner.

5. Help you combine exercise with spending time with your partner, children or friends.

6. Help you meet people (by joining a cycling club for example).

7. Help you add variety to your current exercise routine.

8. Help you combine exercise in the fresh air with exploring new places and enjoying new scenery.

9. Help you tone, strengthen and shape the muscles in your legs, bottom and arms.

10. Provide you with exercise that is easy to build progression (faster and/or longer rides) and intensity variation (varying your riding speed and distances) into.

What you need to get started

One of the greatest things about cycling, is how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to get started (assuming you can ride a bike of course and even if you can’t that is not an insurmountable problem).

Of course there are those of us who really get into cycling and spend a small fortune on fancy equipment, but for those who just want to get started and lose weight, here’s a list of the absolute essentials you’ll need as well as the optional extras you should consider to make your riding more enjoyable.

The Essentials

Here’s what you’ll need to start outdoor cycling:

o A bike!

o A bike helmet.

o Spare tubes, tyre levers and a bike pump.

o Water bottle and water bottle cage for your bike.

o Sunglasses and sunscreen.

Optional Extras

Although classed as optional extras, if you can afford them we recommend you strongly consider:

o Bike shorts (called knicks) with a good quality chamois sown into the seat.

o Bicycle gloves with padded palms.

o Speedometer (to monitor your distance and speed).

o Heart Rate Monitor (to help you regulate your intensity).

o Mobile phone (to call help if you ever get into trouble).

Helpful hints for effective, safe cycling

Here are some helpful hints to help you get the most out of cycling:


o An inexpensive bike with few features is OK to get started but we recommend as a minimum you get a bike with quick-release wheel hubs so you can get the wheels off easily without a spanner when you get that inevitable puncture during a ride.

o Getting the right sized bike for you is very important so visit your local bike shop first and ask them what the right sized bike for you is.

o There are many types of bikes available from road racing bikes to pure mountain bikes and all sorts in between. Which style of bike is best for you depends upon where you are going to ride the bike, whether you want comfort or speed and how much you have to spend.

o For those of you wanting to ride just to lose weight and will do most of your riding on sealed roads and bike paths, we recommend a hybrid bike with road tires. Hybrid bikes tend to have slightly wider wheels than pure road bikes and have a much more comfortable upright riding position.

o Setting up your seat height is very important. You know your bike seat is at the correct height when your leg has a slight bend in it at the knee when the corresponding pedal is closest to the ground. If you buy your bike from a bike shop, make sure they adjust your seat height for you.

o When it comes to bike costs, be prepared to pay more for bikes that are lighter in weight and have better quality fittings like gears and levers, etc.


o Make sure the helmet you wear fits your head properly.

o Of all the possible places to scrimp and save money, we recommend that this isn’t one of them – your helmet is by far the most important piece of cycling equipment you’ll own.

o Generally speaking, be prepared to pay more money for very light helmets with superior ventilation properties.

o We highly recommend that you avoid buying a second hand helmet and that you buy your helmet from a reputable seller who will make sure that your helmet fits properly.

o Modern bike helmets are specifically designed to absorb a great deal of the impact in an accident and crack or break in the process. If your helmet is subject to a reasonable impact, take it to a reputable dealer for checking and possible replacement.

Spare tubes, tyre levers and bike pump

o Unless you’re just riding around your block a few times a week, you’re going to need some spare tubes, a pair of tyre levers and a bike pump.

o The most important things about spare tubes are that you carry at least two of them and that they are the right size for your bike.

o Tyre levers are essential in helping to remove and replace your tires from the wheel rims. Only being small, these levers can easily be carried in a bum-bag or in a specially designed carry bag that fits at the back of your bike seat.

o Always carry a functional bike pump that has the right connection for the valves in your tubes. Most bike pumps have racks that allow you to attach the pump to the frame of your bike for convenience.

Water bottle and water bottle cage for your bike

o Always carry plenty of water with you when you cycle.

o Most bikes have room for two water bottle cages on the inside of their frame.

o For very long rides, consider buying a hydration pack that is essentially a backpack especially designed to carry water. These packs typically carry between 1 and 3 litres of water.

o While cycling drink small amount of water often and never go longer than 15 minutes or so without taking a drink. Because it makes you sweat, cycling makes your body use and lose a great deal of fluid which must be replaced to avoid dehydration.

Sunglasses and sunscreen

o When cycling outside always wear sunglasses and sunscreen unless it is very early in the morning or late in the evening.

Bike shorts (called knicks)

o Although easy on the body as a whole, cycling can be hard on your backside initially (but it soon gets a lot better the more you ride – if it doesn’t consider buying a softer, wider seat for you bike).

o Modern cycling shorts have a chamois sown into their seat which provides extra padding between you and the bike seat and helps wick moisture away from your skin keeping you dry and helping you avoid chafing.

Bicycle gloves with padded palms

o Believe it or not, one part of the body that can do it tough while cycling is the hands. Padded bike gloves can help reduce the pressure on the hands, particularly on longer rides and for the small amount they cost are well worth it.


o Speedometers are great at monitoring the speed and distance of each ride and some even estimate the number of calories burned during each ride.

o By keeping an exercise diary, you can use this valuable information to gradually increase your cycling distances and speeds as well as track your fitness progress.

o Because speedometers use the diameter of your bike wheels as the basic unit of measure to calculate speed and distance, we recommend you have your speedo fitted by a reputable bike dealer to make sure the information you’re getting is accurate.

Heart Rate Monitor

o These really are optional extras, but if you can afford one, we highly recommend you buy and use a heart rate monitor while cycling.

o While a basic speedometer can help you monitor speed and distance, these can be influenced greatly by things such as strong winds and steep hills. Heart rate monitors help overcome the inconsistencies of these outside influences and are the perfect tool to measure your exercise intensity.

Mobile phone

o Again, these are obviously an optional extra but for safety’s sake we always carry a mobile phone when cycling – if you or a riding partner are ever involved in an accident or just can’t make it home on time as promised, it’s very reassuring to know that you can easily get in contact with someone using your mobile phone.


Here are some tips to make your riding safe and effective:

o Consult your doctor before starting cycling or any new exercise program.

o Start slowly and keep distances short initially and slowly build up your distances and then speeds.

o If riding on a shared path, warn walkers and other riders when approaching from behind using your bike’s bell.

o Use hand signals to indicate that you intend to change lanes or turn corners on your bike.

o Obey all traffic signals when riding on public roads.

o Make riding fun by including friends and perhaps stopping for a drink and snack along the way or afterwards.

o Change your riding route for variety.

o Mix your riding distances and intensities for maximum long term weight loss and fitness.

o Seventy percent of your riding should be done at an easy to moderate intensity (60 – 80% of your maximum heart rate).

o Ride the right sized bike and make sure your seat is at the right height.

o Drink regularly when riding.

o Use indoor cycling when raining or to compliment your outdoor riding.

o Stick to dedicated bike paths or designated bike lanes wherever possible.

o Listen to your body; if you need to take a break during your ride take it.

o Plan your route and communicate it and your estimated ride time to your partner or someone else so they know where to look if you are delayed for any reason.


Of all the possible exercises there are to help you lose weight, cycling is one of the best.

If you want to lose weight and are looking for the perfect exercise, or if you’re looking for a great calorie burning exercise to add to your exercise repertoire, cycling may be for you.

Now you know why cycling is so great and what it can do for you, what you’ll need to get started and keep cycling effectively and safely for the rest of your life there’s only one thing to do. Give it a go. Cycling is sure to help you become a happier, healthier you.

Good luck.

Scott Haywood is the editor of Australia’s leading weight loss and healthy lifestyle website is a free weight loss resource and weight loss products guide.

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cycling leg warmers / knee warmers:

• Should the weather warm up resulting in the cycling leg or knee warmers feeling too hot, they are light enough that they can be taken off and stowed away in the back pockets of your cycling jersey

• Some cycling leg and knee warmers provide sun protection in addition to warmth

• Some cycling leg and knee warmers do have reflective piping which is beneficial when riding in the dark

• High quality cycling leg and knee warmer fabrics wick moisture quickly

• Some cycling leg and knee warmers do provide compression which results in better circulation and enhances recovery by minimizing lactic acid build-up. Leg and knee warmers with compression will also enhance performance by minimizing fatigue (because of better circulation resulting in muscles that are better oxygenated).

Cycling Gloves

Cycling gloves for most riders are the most popular cycling accessory. Whether riding in the cold weather or warm weather, taking care of your hands is essential as one must have control of his or her bike at all times and healthy hands will ensure that this happens. Below are different types of gloves that cyclists should consider depending on weather conditions and riding conditions:

• Half finger Cycling Gloves

  • Half finger cycling gloves are typically padded to provide protection and relief to the palms of the hands and minimize or eliminate numbness of the hands which can occur during many miles of riding.
  • Half finger cycling gloves are often used in warmer weather and also ensure that the rider has a more secure grip on the handlebars (as opposed to a grip that may slip because of sweat and moisture if not wearing
  • Half finger cycling gloves protect a cyclists’ palms and back of hand in the event of a crash
  • Half finger cycling gloves provide skin cooling effect during excessive sweating and provide moisture management by wicking sweat

• Full Finger Lobster Cycling Gloves

  • Lobster cycling gloves are ergonomically constructed for cold weather use and to feel comfortable on your hands but also provide the right angles for a good grip on your handlebars
  • Most lobster cycling gloves are waterproof and windproof to protect the cyclist against the cold, harsh elements of mother nature
  • Most lobster cycling gloves provide reflective piping for riding in the dark.
  • Lobster cycling gloves provide extra thickness and padding to protect hands
  • Lobster cycling gloves provide insulated inner lining intended to withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees Celsius

• Long Fingered MTB Cycling Gloves

  • Long fingered mtb cycling gloves provide padded areas to protect palms of hands
  • Long fingered mtb cycling gloves provide materials in fingers and palm of glove to assist with better grip
  • Long fingered mtb cycling gloves protect hands during falls or crashes

• Liner Glove for Winter Cycling Gloves

  • Ideal as a liner for a winter cycling glove
  • Liner glove can be used as your glove for mild conditions when it is not very cold but not too warm
  • Some liner gloves have reflectivity for being seen when riding in the dark

• Long Fingered Winter Road Cycling Gloves

  • Long fingered winter road cycling gloves are ideal as they provide padded areas to protect palms of hands
  • Long fingered winter road cycling gloves provide materials in fingers and palm of glove to assist with better grip
  • Long fingered winter road cycling gloves provide insulated material on inside of glove to keep hands warm
  • Long fingered winter road cycling gloves protect hands during falls or crashes
  • Long fingered winter road cycling gloves provide reflective elements for visibility in the dark

Cycling Headwear / Neckwear

On those cold days when a cyclist is determined to challenge mother nature and the elements, cycling headwear and neckwear accessories are essential to keeping your head and neck warm and protecting them from the cold. Below are some different types of cycling headwear and neckwear accessories as well as the benefits that they provide:

• Winter cycling balaclava mask

  • Keeps face dry and warm
  • Provides necessary peripheral vision in open area around the eyes
  • Provides good wicking properties to keep head dry beneath the helmet

• Cycling skull caps and bandanas

  • Provide snug fit underneath helmet
  • Provide protection to scalp from the sun
  • Provide good wicking properties to keep a cyclist’s head cool on warm days and dry on the colder days

• Headbands and ear covers

  • Provide snug fit underneath helmet
  • Keep sweat out of cyclist’s eyes
  • Wicks away moisture and dries quickly
  • Provide warmth for ears and head on cold days\

• Cycling shoe covers

Cycling shoe covers are worn for a multitude of conditions, mostly pertaining to the weather but some pertaining to performance. Whether in need of cycling shoe covers to ride in the rain, sleet, or snow or to achieve optimal aerodynamics, below are different types of cycling shoe covers and some benefits that they provide:

• Cycling shoe cover with high ankle

  • Typically constructed with zipper to secure shoe cover above the ankle
  • Typically constructed with reflective piping to allow cyclist to be seen when riding in the dark
  • Construction of zipper to zip up above ankle minimizes chance that water will enter the shoe on rainy days
  • Constructed to provide warmth on colder days

• Cycling toe covers

  • Ideal for days that are not extremely cold but not too warm. Cycling toe covers typically cover only the toes and the first half of your foot.
  • Cycling toe covers can be taken off easily and stowed away in the cyclist’s back pocket
  • Cycling toe covers provide wind and water protection

• Lycra cycling shoe covers

  • Typically used for aerodynamic fit for competition and racing
  • Provide some wind protection and warmth on mild days


For most cyclists, cycling in the great outdoors is not only an activity to look forward to, but it is a lifestyle as well. In order to enjoy this lifestyle, the savvy cyclist will go to any extreme to make sure that Mother Nature does not relegate him or her to riding on the indoor trainer. In rain, sleet, or snow, or even on the hot sunny days, one must heed all conditions and accessorize accordingly in an effort to control his or her cycling destiny.

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Cycling Clothing


For the majority of short local cycling trips there is generally no need to wear special clothing.

In fact most of the time it is possible to cycle in smart clothes provided they allow you the right movement.

However, once you realise how easy and enjoyable cycling can be you may start making longer journeys and cycling on a regular basis in varied weather conditions.

For more information please contact Kingston Council’s Cyclist Training Coordinator on 020 8547 5865 or email

Clothing Description
Helmets a helmet can provide vital protection if you fall off your bike, so they are particularly recommended for young children learning to cycle. You should only buy a helmet if it carries a CE mark and one of the normal safety standards.

It is essential that it is comfortable and fitted correctly — a badly fitted helmet can be a liability not a protection. If a helmet has been involved in a serious accident or fall then replace it. If fitting a helmet on a child take great care not to pinch the skin under the chin as this is a sure way of putting them off wearing it.
On top

On longer journeys several layers will allow you to adjust to different temperatures. Although for most weather conditions 3 layers made up of a skin tight base layer, a thermal middle layer (fleece/jumper) and an outer shell layer should be enough to keep you warm and dry. All layers should be long enough to cover your back.

A fleece is ideal for keeping warm on chilly days and a shower/waterproof top with zips (to help you adjust to temperature changes) can be packed in your bag just in case.

Breathable waterproof clothes tend to be expensive, but are a good investment for regular cyclists offering maximum protection while allowing sweat to escape.

Cotton fabrics are generally not recommended. This is due to cottons high absorbency. Once cotton is wet, it can remain so for a long period. The fabric loses its ability to breathe and becomes cold and damp, this can be quite uncomfortable. Non-cotton layers worn next to the skin are recommended.

Shorts and trousers

Padded cycling shorts or underpants, whether loose or lycra, can guard against discomfort on long journeys and are available in male and female versions. Leggings or tracksuit trousers can go over these in the cold weather and a pair of waterproof trousers is essential if you intend to cycle in all conditions.

Thick cotton trousers and jeans are not recommended for damp/wet weather conditions.

Gloves Your extremities are much more susceptible to cold on a bike than when you are out walking so a pair of gloves is a winter must. Padded cycle mittens provide additional comfort. A light colour helps your arm signals to be seen clearly.
Shoes Trainers or everyday shoes are fine for most journeys, although specialised shoes that clip into the pedals are available for the really dedicated. Ensure laces are tucked in to save them being caught in the chain.
Bright and reflective clothing Wear something brightly coloured or fluorescent during the day and something reflective at night. The yellow Sam Brown style belts (shown below) are good as they are small and light and both fluorescent and reflective.

Also popular are reflective / fluorescent trouser clips or velcro straps that fit around your ankle and prevent your clothes getting tangled.

Lights and Reflectors
bicycle light

Cycling in the dark without lights and reflectors puts you at great risk.

Cyclists often see quite well when riding without lights due to street and shop lights but it can be almost impossible for drivers to see cyclists if they have not taken the correct safety measures for night time cycling.

For more information please contact Kingston Council’s Cyclist Training Coordinator on 020 8547 5865 or email



Uk Roads Too Dangerous For Cyclists?

Uk Roads Too Dangerous For Cyclists?

According to research commissioned by the department of transport, over 60% of people interviewed believed that UK roads were too dangerous for cyclists. This explains why there has been a huge increase in bike sales over the last few years but no comparable increase in cyclists on the roads. The belief among non or infrequent cyclists, that UK roads are too dangerous for cyclists seems to be well embedded.

Over half the respondents said they would love to cycle more but were afraid to do so because they believed that UK roads were too dangerous for cyclists. they said they would cycle more often if there were more cycle paths available. Over half of those interviewed had a bike but only a quarter cycled at least once a week, the majority were convinced that UK roads were too dangerous for cylists.

It’s easy to see why many people believe our roads are like a scene from the whacky races, the perception comes, in my opinion, from the sheer amount of traffic in urban areas these days. Also we are notoriously bad in this country at building good cycling infrastructures compared to our European partners who appear to be ahead of the game. Due mainly to the fact that they are willing to invest in cycling infastructure. I’m beginning to think our own government structure is inherently bikeist.(Anti Bike)

On top of this there is the negative image many drivers have of cyclists, believing they are a “bloody nuisance” ,rather than a legitimate road user. Local councils need a complete review of their cycling strategy. There’s no shortage of politicians who will spout the politically correct line about the need to go green, the need to get people out of their cars etc.

Every politician in the country will come out with the same green spiel if you press the right button. Unfortunately talk is as far as it goes. They’re like those action men with the pull out cord to make them talk. There’s more cycling lanes appearing slowly but surely, in some areas but many are not good enough, usually just a white line painted at the side of the road. Fair enough, this might keep a couple of council road painters employed for a day or two but it does nothing for cyclist’s safety. Nor does it do anything to despel the fear of infrequent cyclists about UK roads being too dangerous or cyclists.

If the government is serious about encouraging people to become more energy efficient and use their cars less it should make some serious investment to the cycling infrastructure in this country as well as a massive education program for drivers about the rights of cyclists to share the road. As long as people believe, rightly or wrongly that UK roads are too dangerous for cyclists then they are not going to cycle.

It’s commitment to cyclists is shown by its decision to abolish “Cycling England”, the government body set up in 2005 by Alister Darling to promote cycling in England. It was designated as a “Quango” by the government and abolished to save a couple of quid to help fight their debt problem.

Meanwhile the government splashes our cash all around the world, £650 million quid to Pakistan for government officials to share out amongst themselves. Watch out for the increase in Mercedes sales to Pakistan in the next year. Imagine what £650 million quid could have done for cyclists on UK roads.

The question I ask myself is what right does Cameron, or any man have, to give our tax money away like a drunken father of the bride at a wedding do. We should be able to vote on how our money is spent, it’s easy enough to do, we can vote on pop idle and other consumer shows, why not on how our tax is spent?

Uk Roads Too Dangerous For Cyclists

Uk Roads Too Dangerous For Cyclists

Dangerous Uk Roads?

Anyway the roads in this country are not as bad as they look to the non-cyclists. There’s always scope for improvement and always will be but on the whole our roads are pretty safe, once you can get used to the volume of traffic. It’s all about building confidence. Cycling England knew this and incorporated it as part of their strategy to get more people cycling. The government’s decision to abolish Cycling England is a clear message that it does not support cycling.

Picturers of David Cameron is not going to encourage people to jump on their bikes, only a long-term program of continuous investment will do that. I’ll leave the last word with Cycling England:

Our core hypothesis, back in 2005, was that with a consistent strategy and continuity of funding at a level equivalent to that of “cycling towns in Europe”, we could reasonably expect to achieve similar rates of growth in everyday cycling. These first six years have already proved us right, and we will all treasure our small part in that success for ever.

Unfortunately, Government has yet to appreciate these key lessons of consistency, continuity and the need for a long term strategy for an integrated transport policy for Britain. Sadly cycling still seems to be a “party political football” to be played with according to fashionable ideology or dogma.
But the challenge facing us – of a real change to behaviour, and of much more cycling especially for short urban trips – is not a “quick fix”. We never thought it was.Uk Roads Too Dangerous For Cyclists

So my final message as the Chair of the almost extinct Cycling England is one of determination. Every one of us knows that the challenge is worth all our effort; we all know how relevant and how important it is. In our various ways we will not give up. We know that investment in cycling works; it brings results; it makes a difference to everyone’s life. It’s worth it.

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