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Bike Fit and Physio Assessment by Lifecycle

It’s a few years since I had my bike fit by Hewitt Cycles of Leyland, so I recently had a full physio and bike fit with Lifecycle in Milnthorpe.

Gavin Thomas runs Lifecycle and is a HCPC registered physiotherapist with 20 years experience of muscular-skeletal medicine treatment and evaluation. As an active cyclist, Gavin fully understands cycling as a cyclist and as a physiotherapist.

It is his unique approach of initially assessing his client’s physical anatomy and then fitting to the bike to the rider that attracted me to this opportunity. I must say I was very impressed by his methodical approach, explanations and patience in obtaining the best bike fit for my body.

  1. The results were very interesting .
  2. my right leg is at least 10% less efficient (powerful) than my left
  3. my pedalling stroke is very even and efficient
  4. the existing bike fit was very good and only needed a few tweaks to the saddle height and handle bar angles.
  5. my riding position was improved by the tweaks, as is proved by the angles on the photos below.
  6. my power output increased with a more efficient position on the bike without any more effort.
  7. riding my Enigma was more comfortable and relaxed

All this was achieved in a 3 hour assessment on Gavin’s state of the art cycle rig attached to his computer and then transferred to my Enigma bike.

Before

After

After travelling to continental Europe and North Africa the Enigma bike had slipped from its original bike fit. Not by much but enough to make a big difference. This visit to Lifecycle was a wake up call as to how easy it is for your cycling body to be inefficient and potentially very uncomfortable in the wrong settings.

I can only recommend Gavin at Lifecycle to all cyclists whatever level they ride. It’s easy to buy a good bike but very difficult to obtain a perfect bike fit. Gavin can be contacted at: www.lifecyclephysio.co.uk

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Graham’s 2016 Fred Whitton Challenge – January

Miles ridden- 633
Longest ride- 75.4 – Club ride to Carnfoth
Hrs ridden- 38 miles
Number of bike sessions- 25
FTP- 330w
Fred hills ridden- 0

I have decided to enter the Fred Whitton Challenge again this year, maybe a daft idea: as it can pay havoc trying to train for long distance and the shorter, faster stuff; but an itch needed scratching. After riding it twice I came under 8 hrs the first time (7:43) and beat that time at the second attempt (7:37). These are both ‘first class’ times according to the certificates. This has left one target to hit…get under 7 hrs. An elite time.

So, what does training for the Fred look like? Well, I have done some serious training with Mike Wilson (Better Cycling) for the past year and have seen my TT times tumble. In general he has made me a stronger, faster and more efficient cyclist. I tend to get 5 sessions a week in, 3 on the turbo and 2 on the road. The training has been fantastic and is great to have someone planning your week out. However, I was lacking the enthusiasm to get out for longer rides and thought entering the Fred would give me that impetus!

It has been an excellent start to the year for me getting in 38 hrs of training, compared with 28 in 2015. Maybe having 5 weekends had something to do with it, but I managed to get out for longer rides each weekend- ranging from 50 -75 miles. Through the week the turbo sessions have been focusing on upping my threshold by working for longer periods at the ‘sweet spot’. This has been mixed up with interval work above my threshold and cadence (both high and low) sessions. I do all my training with a power meter and finds it really focuses each session.

The negatives in January have been the usual early season moans: freezing cold hands on the longer rides and getting over a cold. I also suffered from a bit of knee pain but am hoping that is due to the increase in workload. Will keep on eye on that! I have also ridden in snow, high winds and driving rain. But I suppose that’s training in winter.

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Graham’s 2016 Fred Whitton Challenge

Having ridden the Fred Whitton Challenge on two previous occasions in times of just over 8 hours, Graham is aiming for a sub 8 hour 2016 ride.

To achieve this goal, an arduous training regime has been implemented by Graham’s coach. This involves not only long endurance rides in the winter cold but also short severe bursts of TACX power training.

Graham will be updating his training rides weekly on Facebook as well as keeping up to date in this News section. This should give everyone a great insight into just what is needed to complete the Fred Whitton Challenge in an excellent time.

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Crossgates Bioenergetics samples for Cyclists

A free sample of RRA tendons, muscles and ligaments BIM for everyone who hires a bike for more than one day. What, you may ask, are you offering? Well this is what I take every time prior to and after a cycle ride. This oral spray – yes that right you spray it on your tongue – is a “magic spray”!

It helps avoid stiffness in the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons, and is a preventative to injuries, as “prevention is better than cure”. This is a homeopathic preparation which I have developed with Crossgates Bioenergetics over the last decade and it has been exhaustively tested on crazy snowboarders in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, horse event riders in the UK and mountain bikers.

What do they all have in common? Big air, big crashes and the need to bounce to continue their passions.

Crossgates have kindly agreed to sponsor cyclists here in Lowick with an oral spay which would normally retail at £15/bottle. Believe me it works. You can ask my grandchildren who call it the ‘magic spray’ as when they come in crying after a tumble a squirt on their tongue and instant silence… cured!

What’s in it you may ask? The A is for Arnica well known for its healing, anti pain and anti stress properties, R is for Ruta and R is for Rhustox and the Tendons and ligaments BIM helps avoid pulls and strains.

Try it and see! Your cycling may be a lot more enjoyable.

For the full range of all their products and services please see: www.crossgatesfarm.co.uk

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Bike Hire in the Lake District… New Trek bikes for Spring 2015

As the sun shines here in the Lake District and the Daffodils lift their yellow heads skywards, the temperatures are rising. Spring is coming very soon, and the hour will very shortly spring forward to British Summer time. Long evenings and the dawn chorus as the birds sing to welcome the rising sun at dawn.

Meanwhile I have been busy expanding my fleet of road bikes to hire with the addition of several Trek Madone carbon bikes for men and women.

I have a variety of frame sizes, gear ratios, and wheel types to suit all types of cyclist. These bikes are all from the higher end of Trek’s bike range with the Trek Madone 6.2 (one of my ‘flagship’ bikes) having electronic gears and carbon wheels.

Also I have published a new web site www.lakedistrictbikes.com where there is much more information on these new Trek bikes for 2015, bike tours and cycling holidays.

2015 sees a new sponsorship opportunity for local amateur riders who want to compete in local events. The first sponsorship of this spring is Graham Carrick who rode the Lynsky Helix (one of my ‘flagship bikes’) into top five placings in criterium races in Lancaster. It is hope to also sponsor young rides showing promise and aptitude to competitive cycling.

So less of this… time to jump on my bike and enjoy the dry spring sunshine. Shortly I’m off to Sardinia for a weeks cycling round the coast… yet more bike fun.

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Bike Hire in the Lake District… New Bikes for 2015

My bike hire fleet here in the Lake District National Park has dramatically expanded for 2015, with a larger range of road frame sizes and gear ratios to suit all types and sizes of road cyclists. Yes, I make no apologies for concentrating on offering for hire some of the lightest, most comfortable and responsive road bikes available today.

Trek Madone carbon road bikes both for lady and male cyclists are the majority of the additions to the fleet in 2015. But I have not forgotten the teenagers or children with some terrific deals for families hiring bikes.

Flagship Range

A ‘Flagship Range’ has been added to top the bike hire fleet. Aimed at the cycling enthusiast these top end Trek 6.2 Carbon and Lynskey Helix Titanium bikes are hired with a Garmin, heart rate band and cadence meter.

This is a unique opportunity to ride bikes which may be beyond your everyday requirements.  Why not try out the Shimano Di2 electronic gears on the Trek 6.2?

Riding road bikes in this southern part of the Lake District is immensely pleasurable, with the spiders web of rural undulating lanes. But it can be so much more fun if you take up one of my guided tours, which are carefully planned to suit your fitness [or lack of whichever may the case!]

Besides all the hills and passes there are lots of quiet rolling roads here on the Furness Peninsular to suit all levels of cyclists.  So much to see, to smell, to taste and to hear in this most beautiful part of the UK.

I look forward to meeting you in 2015, fitting you to one of my bikes, and stimulating all your senses.

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Tour De France – Yorkshire Memories

So ‘Le Tour’ has been and gone from sunny Yorkshire, splendid as it was! But what could be a more fitting memento to the Grand Depart in West Yorkshires Dales than a 15ft high sculptural dry stone wall, erected – or rather built – near Ripley Castle.

This was built in time for the race to pass by in July by Gordon Simpson with 40 tonnes of local stone. It took him “four weeks of dust, sweat and extremely hard, long days” to complete and was only finished the night before the Grand Depart.

Gordon has turned this ancient skill, passed down from one generation to another, into an art form. Margaret, my wife, and I were fortunate to cycle past this monument in September 2014, and stopped to appreciate the creativity of this piece, only to be dumbfounded by an accompanying piece of paper stating that planning permission is being applied for to enable this sculptural monument to remain in situ.

Fortunately for the whole world, sense must have prevailed in the planning committee, as on 1 January 2015 the official unveiling of this monument took place by Brian Robinson (a 2x stage winner in previous Tours).

Yet the materials and labour have all been privately funded and a shortfall still remains in the fund set up by Aire Valley Cycles. Donations are still being welcomed to cover this shortfall and should be sent directly to Aire Valley Cycles shop, Keighley. Every small donation will help.

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Britain’s Best Bike Ride… again

Having ridden this route anti-clockwise it was time to ride it again clockwise. On a perfect August day with blue skies, no wind, and a cool summer morning Nick and I left Lowick heading North to Coniston Water. Nick is a cyclist from Toronto, Canada over in the Lakes for a few days after attending a family wedding in the UK. Having checked out my web site and seeing more of this route on YouTube the omens were set for an epic ride. He hired the Titanium Zeppelin road bike with a triple and set off confidently oblivious to the severity of the challenge ahead.

But nothing could prepare Nick for the phenomenal views across Coniston Water towards the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crags. We stopped several times for iphone photo opportunities as our legs warmed as we rolled smoothly along the lake’s shore. A few minor climbs took us to the top of Hawkshead Hill where we turned left passing the Wild Boar Hotel prior to dropping into Little Langdale.

A sharp turn left in the village proved a problem as this blind turn hid a sharp climb and we were both in the wrong gear, so had to do a three sixty to establish the gear needed to attempt the first part of this epic climb. Once out of the village the road opens up and levels out in the valley with looming mountains surrounding us as we near Wrynose Pass. But where is the pass as there is no obvious road winding its way over the mountains?

We need to fuel up our bodies before the climb so stop for another photo opportunity and to scoff a couple of bags of energy beans. Good job we did as we soon encountered the 25 degree slope sign, but it failed to say that this slope would be maintained relentlessly for a couple of miles!

“Is that it for today’s climbing?” asks Nick. “Yes” I respond, it’s down hill all the way to Broughton-in-Furness, well only a few little hills. The descent from the top of Wrynose is another epic after the climb, a 30 mph plus wizz. But I did get a back wheel wobble as I braked strongly to avoid a climbing car, as I left Nick picking his way safely around the corners of the descent. [Not many narrow windy roads in Canada.] We continued down the Duddon Valley through the changing landscape as it altered from open mountain to bracken covered fell to verdant farmed valley bottoms. Eventually we arrived at Duddon Bridge, almost at sea level, to turn left and climb a small brow into Broughton village.

Hurray for the Square Cafe, where we stopped off for a quick cup of coffee and a bite to eat, sitting outside in the Cumbrian sunshine overlooking the cross in the square. “How many miles to go now?” asked a revitalised Nick. “Only 8 but another little hill to climb over” I reply. “OK lets go.”

What I failed to say that this last eight miles includes the climb over Woodland Fell, which is quite a sting in the tail of this ride but totally doable as we climb into a headwind blowing in from Morecambe Bay beneath us. As we crest the summit of the fell the welcome vista of the Crake valley is ahead with Lowick nestling in the valley bottom. We are back home the ride completed.

42 miles with 5600 ft of climbing, in approx 4 hours. Two full water bottles emptied, 4 bags of energy sweets eaten, and 5 pounds lost in weight! This is some ride and made all the more enjoyable by being a perfect August day. Would I attempt this ride in winter – no. In early spring or late autumn – no. The roads are steep and slippery when wet and the top of Wrynose Pass is a very high mountain pass and open to all the prevailing elements the weather can throw at us.

Nick says:

“I have climbed most of the Alpine iconic climbs but nothing compares with the consistent 25% climb from Little Langdale to the top of Wrynose Pass, it is unforgiving, but with a triple gear set well worth the all the effort…. and there was lots of effort…..unforgettable… Thanks John.”

and:
“When planning my Lake District trip earlier this year I found John’s website and after exchanging  a couple of emails a bike hire was arranged and date for a guided ride was set. The tour we did has been written up in Cycling Plus and had been given the heady title of ‘One of UK’s Best Rides’ so, I thought we should give it a go. John knew the route so off we went, and, I can confirm its title does not oversell itself, scenery was stunning, route has everything you’d want in a challenging ride including one of the hardest climbs I’ve ever done (Wyrnose Pass). John’s guidance, local knowledge and companionship was first class. On my next visit to the Lakes I will check John’s availability for sure and if anyone is planning a trip to the area for a ride I would suggest they do the same.
Thanks again John.”

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Enigma Esprit Titanium Road Bike… For Hire

This new bike with beautiful Italian styling, made from 3AL-2.5V Titanium, has just joined our hire fleet. Newly built in May 2014 by Dave of DC Cycles, Ulverston, with Campagnolo Record Drive train, and Record hubs on Pianni wheels.

However this Enigma Esprit, designed in the UK, is not just about good looks and the highest specifications, look behind the classic lines and you will find a very modern machine in both materials and construction. This is a multi purpose bike with high levels of comfort suitable for high speed touring, fast descents, rugged climbs or just long treks and even the odd pootle! The Esprit definitely catches the spirit of titanium and delivers sheer cycling pleasure in abundance.

‘This fast sexy thoroughbred is beautifully balanced’
‘Enigma’s Esprit distils the spirit of Titanium into one of the most efficacious bikes available. With its light weight and classic proportions it makes you feel part of the new Titanium renaissance. Like a champion pugilist the Esprit is light and quick on its toes but remains rock solid and comfortable in the face of any threat.’
Bike Radar

“Rides smooth and holds the road like superglue”
“Classic looks and classic performance”
“On the road the Enigma Esprit is magic and is perfectly dialled on the road”

These are just a few of the rave reviews on this bike which is available to hire on a daily or weekly rate and will accommodate riders varying in height from 5’8″ to over 6 ft.

Book it today and enjoy your cycling in the Lake District.

The Enigma Esprit features:

  • Classic level geometry
  • Double butted, Esprit specific EST tubeset
  • 1 1’8″ non integrated head tube
  • Campagnolo Record bottom bracket 53-39
  • Bright brushed finish of natural Titanium weight from 1240 grams.
  • Campagnolo Record hubs with DT Swiss spokes on Pianni Aero Paris Roubaix rims
  • Blyte 4ZR cycling performance Carbon front fork
  • Campagnolo 12-30 cassette [10 speed]
  • Campagnolo Record drive train
  • Campagnolo Record ergo gear/brake levers
  • Selle Italia Matic turbo Titanium saddle.

For more information on the full range of British designed and built Titanium bikes please visit: www.enigmabikes.com

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Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge 2014

The entries have opened once again for this epic ride. So big now, that the start has had to decamp from Coniston to Grasmere, only a few miles as the migrating geese fly.

Still we have vacancies for your bikes and bodies, here at Coal Yeat Farm Holiday cottages. Why not treat yourself and your cycling buddies to a pre challenge training weekend away, seeing for yourself just how steep theses Lakeland hills and passes are? All this accommodation can be seen at www.coalyeatcottages.co.uk or speak directly to Emma on 07887731553.

We even have pedigree saddleback pigs from the Coal Yeat herd living on the farm. Quite a coincidence that these hardy outdoor pigs should share a name with the UK’s hardest cycling challenge. You need to be a hardy soul to contemplate the Fred Whitton on 11 May. Up here in Cumbria the Saddleback pigs living at 500 ft are still awaiting signs of spring! On the fell tops, punctuated by the passes of the Fred Whitton, there may be snow or hail to greet the panting cyclists.

I have a very experienced bike to hire that has done the Fred Whitton twice. This titanium beauty has a Campagnalo triple gear which will help with the 30% climbs. See the bike on the bikes for hire page. For the 2014 challenge I will “re-shoe” her with 25mm Continental 4 seasons tyres which will give extra grip, puncture resistance and comfort you are guaranteed to get round on this bike as she knows the way! (Provided you have the peddle power.)

Check out the 2013 news which gives Graham’s first-hand report on his experience of his first Fred Whitton Challenge. It may inspire you to train harder and face the winter rains straight in the face.

Only last week I did part of the ride on my Tacx trainer! The first pass was so steep that grinding along at a cadence of 50 rpm on such a high resistance has wrecked my turbo tyre. A new tyre is fitted and a Tacx ride in Mallorca up to Soller of only 10% was a very welcome distraction from the torrential rain and gales outside. For once it’s not only raining in the Lake District!

If you’re going to give the Saddleback Fred Whitton challenge a go in 2014 – good luck. I look forward to meeting you at Coal Yeat Farm.