Managing Back Pain with Yoga

Managing back pain with STRETCH

Those of you who have been regular visitors to OCG will know that I came to cycling because I was no longer able to run or do high impact exercise activity because of spinal issues. Cycling was a way of being active whilst managing back pain. I have degenerative disc disease resulting in three lots of surgery to date and the insertion of spinal rods and plates in my lumbar spine.

More back pain

In 2016, I had yet another disc prolapse. When I visited my surgeon, he advised that surgery was not a feasible option due to scar tissue from previous surgeries. Instead, as a means of managing back pain without going down the road of surgery, he offered me spinal blocks and facet joint injections, and advised me to look at doing yoga to strengthen the deep paraspinal muscles. At this point, I was 32 with two children. The quality of my life was not great. I was in a lot of pain daily. I couldn’t bend, I had nerve pain in my left leg and I wasn’t sleeping. The thought of more surgery, which may or may not be successful, was absolutely the last thing I wanted. So, I happily took the offer of the injections and made a pact with him to do yoga. (more…)

10 Reasons Why Women Should Cycle

reasons why women should cycle

If you’re contemplating getting your first bike, maybe these ten reasons as to why women should cycle will be all the encouragement that you need.

According to statistics from the Department for Transport last year, men cycle almost three times as many trips and almost four times further than women. But, with so many reasons why women should cycle, cycling enthusiasts are hoping to see an increase. From taking care of your body and mind to building your confidence and self-esteem, there is an abundance of reasons why women should cycle too.

Fawkes Cycles, run by Nigel and Mandy Bishop, a former cycling World Champion and an ambassador for this year’s World Championships in Yorkshire, thinks more people should be hopping on their bikes to get active. If you want to be convinced, here are 10 reasons why women should cycle. (more…)

Why Bike Security is Essential

Bike security

Bike thieves exist anywhere there are bikes. And if you don’t get your bike security sorted, it’s
highly likely that you’ll become one of their victims. Around 400,000 bikes are stolen every year in the UK – that’s around one every 90 seconds.You don’t need to have a high-end bike to be at risk either. According to Cyclist, the most stolen bike in the country is the Specialized Sirrus. This is a hybrid bike that sells in high street stores
for less than £400 in its basic model.

This means that bike security, in the form of good locks and an awareness of how to keep your
bike safe, is a must for every cyclist. (more…)

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goal This Winter

winter cycling goals
For many, winter is like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. It’s cold, wet and dark; which aren’t exactly the most ideal weather conditions for anyone, let alone cyclists. So it should come as no surprise that you may find a considerably less amount of cyclists out on the road throughout the winter months, than you would in say spring or summer. However, poor conditions shouldn’t be the sole deterrent that prevents you from hopping on your bike, especially for those that have been regularly training all-year round. As such, here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t lose sight of your goal and why you should continue to refine your winter cycling training plan – rather than abandon it altogether.

Train hard, ride harder

If you’re working to a training plan that’s working for you, then why stop just because it’s winter? Providing that you’re well equipped for the changes in temperature, weather and lighting, then you shouldn’t be put off from winter cycling. In fact, it will likely help you to prepare better for the subsequent spring and summer months, since you’ll be training in harsher conditions. As such, if your current training regime is a little too taxing for winter, then you should look to refine your plan rather than postpone it altogether until spring. Ultimately, if you stop cycling for winter, it’ll make it much harder to get back to the performance levels you’re used to, so it’s best to stay active throughout this period.

Layer up for winter cycling!

If being cold is one of the main reasons that you’re reluctant to get out on the road, then a quick fix is to simply layer up! Cycling clothes such as jerseys, gilets, gloves, baselayers, and neck/arm/leg warmers are sure to maintain your core body temperature and make you feel more comfortable in the saddle too. Moreover, when cycling in the rain, you should look to equip yourself with waterproof and windproof clothing to prevent your clothes getting wet and making it a much tougher ride. To keep yourself dry, you should look to wear waterproof clothing items such as overshoes, trousers, socks,

Be safe, be seen

As possibly the most common warning issued to bikers before the introduction of the darker days of winter, being as highly visible as possible to motorists can literally reduce the risk of accidents. When riding in low light conditions, though, you should always ensure that you’re wearing High-Viz or brightly coloured clothing to heighten your visibility to other motorists no matter the season. In addition, a good set of bike lights and reflectors are essential to increasing your visibility out on the road, while a set of mudguards or cycling glasses are a good idea to prevent water flicking up into your face in wet conditions.

Summary

In short, the winter months shouldn’t put you off continuing training and reaching your goals. Whether it’s a PB on your regular route or preparation for a competition in the new year that you’re aiming for, there are a myriad of products that are designed to alleviate the burden of winter cycling and training in poor weather conditions. Consequently, equipping yourself with the right items to do this will ensure that you won’t lose sight of your goal this winter. Good luck everyone!

 

*This post is in collaboration with Aqua Blue Sport Clothing

The Tour de France – Are you Ready?

Tour De France - Are You Ready?It’s that time of year when you have a very good reason to draw the curtains to block the sun, and sit and watch television: the Tour de France. Whilst other sporting events may tempt you too, the Tour is the only sporting event that can provide you with the best part of a month’s worth of entertainment as you join the riders through different countries and landscapes.

Broadcast to a television audience across 190 countries, and with live spectators that reach up to 12 million in number, the Tour de France is a global phenomenon, The Watch Gallery have created an infographic to demonstrate how the numbers involved in its support and staging are equally impressive. From the speedy time trials that follow the River Rhine, and allow the favourites to consider their rivals, to the brutal gradients of the Alps that separate the men from the boys; the Tour de France is an emotional journey of strength, endurance and of course, competition.

In 1989, Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon were separated by the narrowest margin yet of 8 seconds between coming first and second. In this race, and it is easy to forget that it is a race rather than a display of endurance, every second counts.

To celebrate all that the Tour encompasses, The Watch Gallery have compiled an infographic to show the variety of considerations that the Tour provokes – 60km of cabling that has to be laid daily to enable the broadcast to the near half a million saucissons that were distributed to the spectators along the roadside.

(more…)

5 Reasons to Love the Vitamix S30 Blender

5 Reasons to Love the Vitamix S30

5 Reasons Why I Love the Vitamix S30 – and you will too!

I have been eyeing up one of the Vitamix blenders for around a year, so when Vitamix contacted me a couple of months ago and asked me to try out their Vitamix S30 I was super quick to bite their hand off! Trying to consciously improve my diet so that I can feel better on the inside and look better on the outside, the Vitamix range had been my radar as some of the best blenders on the market.

Despite its pretty hefty RRP at around £299, the S-series is the baby of the Vitamix models; for a kitchen blender I can’t deny that’s a lot of money to pay. But the Vitamix is special and I can see why they have the reputation they have. For anyone into their healthy eating and their cooking, the Vitamix S30 is an investment worth adding to your kitchen.  Here’s the top five reasons why I love it: (more…)

Yoga Teacher Training – new beginnings and exciting times ahead!

Yoga Teacher TrainingYou will have noticed that it’s been rather quiet on Ordinary Cycling Girl these past few weeks. There is a very good reason, I promise. Life, as ever, has been busy, but aside from that, I recently made an exciting decision to start my yoga teacher training!

Regular readers will know that I have a number of back issues which all started when I was a teenager. At fifteen I had my first surgery to my lumbar spine. I have had numerous other surgeries since for degenerative disc disease including an artificial disc replacement, which had to be removed a few year later. I now have metal rods and plates in my lower back to stabilise and straighten a lumbar scoliosis. (more…)

Cycle Through Zanzibar With HIPZ

cycle through Zanzibar with HIPZ
Beach near Nnugwi, Zanzibar

Imagine an amazing cycling trip, a life-changing experience, all whilst helping an incredible charity. Here’s how you can cycle through Zanzibar and support HIPZ in their life-saving work:

What comes to mind when you think of Zanzibar? White sandy beaches, clear blue seas, Freddie Mercury…? Zanzibar is a holiday-maker’s dream but it is also home to 1.3 million people who are living with an under-resourced health care system. This idyllic island has just one doctor to every 20,000 people. To put this into context, the UK has one doctor to every 400 people.

In 2007, the charity Health Improvement Project Zanzibar (HIPZ) started working in Makunduchi Hospital. At the time there were no doctors, non-existent management and extremely run down, dilapidated facilities. There were high levels of infant and maternal mortality, malnutrition, and disease. HIPZ’s involvement has led to a reduction in child and maternal mortality, a significant improvement in facilities, and an increase in trained staff. This success led to HIPZ supporting a second hospital, Kivunge, in 2012. HIPZ is unique in the way that it works, ensuring that it never replaces the statutory responsibilities of the government. You can read more here. (more…)

Best Cycling Blog 2016! Winner of the Trespass Blog Awards…Again!

Best Cycling Blog 2016 - Trespass Blog Award winnerWinner! Trespass Blog Awards – Best Cycling Blog 2016

Well, 2017 has got off to a brilliant start for Ordinary Cycling Girl. I’ve won the best cycling blog 2016 in the Trespass Blog Awards for the second year running! How exciting!

When I first started writing Ordinary Cycling Girl I had no idea whether anyone would bother to read it. Never did I think that any of the content would make my blog considered worthy of being nominated for any kind of award. So thank you to everyone who considered Ordinary Cycling Girl worthy of being nominated in the Trespass Blog Awards in the category of best cycling blog. And for the second year running too! (more…)

The Boardman Road Team Carbon Women’s Bike

Boardman Road Team carbon women's road bike

If you’re looking to invest in a carbon road bike that will last you a good couple of years and your budget is under £1000 the Boardman Road Team carbon women’s bike should most definitely be on your list.

I’ve had my Specialized Dolce Sport since I first discovered cycling some four or five years ago. It’s not carbon framed, but back then it cost me around £800 and my budget wouldn’t stretch to a carbon framed bike. As my first bike, I can’t deny that I’ve been attached to it, so much so that I hadn’t considered upgrading until recently, despite people regularly asking me why I don’t ride a carbon frame. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and it’s incredibly comfortable but it is starting to look a little dated now and in all honesty, if you’re into cycling, then carbon is where it’s at! So, when Halfords asked if I’d like to try the Boardman Road Team carbon women’s bike, I jumped at the chance. I was really keen to see how it felt and if I could really see a genuine difference in my riding. Does a carbon frame really make a difference? (more…)