Last weekend, thousands of riders gathered at Clapham Common to take part in the London to Brighton challenge. With them, was Vicky, who works in estates at Evans Cycles, making sure all our stores and head office have heating, lighting and everything else they need to keep running smoothly.

Vicky is most at home on a BMX bike, and used to compete at a high level, but she’s fairly new to road riding and describes herself as a ‘moderate cyclist’, so her goal was to get through the miles.

Despite feeling daunted by the 54 mile ride which includes the famous Ditching Beacon, she really enjoyed herself on the ride: “I loved all the groups in great outfits from clowns to fairies that definitely lifted my spirit when the cold and rain was getting to me. The keen cyclists gave me something to aspire to and try to keep up with and not forgetting all the women that got involved it was great to see so many.”

We know summer is a time when loads of new riders get their bums in saddles and commit to training for a new goal, so we spoke to Vicky about her journey, and asked what advice she would give these new recruits to cycling…

 

“I prepared for the ride by gradually increasing my mileage. Riding big miles comes with some pretty sore knees, but also a great sense of achievement, freedom and adventure.  The key is to aim for steady progress in the run up to your long ride. The extra distance I was riding increased my chances of completing the ride, improved my fitness and prepared me mentally for the challenge.”

She completed her training rides with friends, and said: “It takes two; I made the challenge more fun with company. If you do that, you’ll be able to encourage each other when training gets tough, plus think about the sense of achievement when you both cross the finish line!”

As well as finding a training buddy, she also made sure she was finding beautiful rides she could enjoy:  “For my prep ride I did Crawley to Eastbourne using the Worth Way, Downs Link and The Cuckoo Trail. There are loads of great rides out there.”

If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ll be sharing a selection of Chris Hoy’s favourite rides over the coming weeks – so keep your eyes peeled here.

Finally, Vicky made sure she kept the London2Brighton goal in mind and said: “Having goals, and keeping them in mind in the run-up to an event, can be a great counter-measure against anxiety.”

‘Roadie’ clothing and feeding was all new to Vicky, and she guides us through her decisions on what to wear to ensure a comfortable ride…

“In the past, I’ve enjoyed summer cycling in chic denim shorts, mini skirts and floral summer dresses, but for this ride I packed them up. For those extra miles I definitely wouldn’t go on a ride without my trusty shorts (mens and womens online) – they literally saved my BEE YOU MM. Breathable and lightweight is key, high stretched fabrics are ideal as they keep you warm or cool. I chose these but there is plenty of choice.”

“I’d also advise you to invest in a good cycling jersey (mens and womens online) and a base layer. You do get a bit hot and sweaty on a tough ride – this is great because it means you’re getting fit – but keeping cool is important too and a base layer with good wicking material helps.”

“Some riders use saddle bags to keep all their kit in, but I’m a fan having a little bag for all the essentials. You can go for a Camelback or an Osprey pack that comes with a hydration system which is good for a little sip of fluids and saves you getting off your bike.”

On a longer ride, it’s important to keep your energy levels up. There are loads of gels and bars to give you that pedal power, and it’s down to what works for you. I personally go for the Cliff Bar shots Bloks which taste good and provide an effective release of sugar. But you won’t be able to survive on them alone. It’s all trial and error.”

For Vicky, signing up to London to Brighton gave her a goal to ride…

“Cycling a long distance is challenging, but with a little bit of planning and your derrière in the saddle for lots of hours, in no time you will be bragging to your friends that you just cycled 80 miles.

“So for those of you who aren’t yet involved or signed up do it there are lots of events and cycle clubs out there and even getting together with your friends for a day out is so great. http://www.justgiving.com/en/cycling-for-charity

“Good luck and most of all, enjoy the ride!”

We know over summer loads of new riders begin to emerge. We’re celebrating these achievements and encouraging riders with Hoy’s Summer of Riding : is all about enjoying the sunny months by bike, and we’ve got tons of offers, competitions and advice – all of it perfect for brand new cyclists, as well as those who have been pedalling for years.