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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Vancouver! Bike City!

There are many reasons why I have fallen in love with the city I currently call home; the food ($6 sushi combos, Dougie Dogs, wings n beer, the best Chinese restaurants in North America), the mountains, the people and the relaxing pace of life to name but a few, but up there has to be the city's bike network. There are currently over 400 KM’s of bike lanes in Vancouver and counting (I’m sure by the time we’re done with training we will have ridden a fair few of them).

Compared to other cities that I have had the ‘pleasure’ of cycling around Vancouver really is amazing so hats off to the council for all their work in making Vancouver such a safe and easy place to cycle, check out Vancouver city councils bike page here.

Don’t believe me? Sit yourself down, have a cup of tea and check out this awesome montage of Vancouver cycle route photos that I have prepared for you.


Vancouver Bike Ride 9th April 047

Penny Farthing! Here’s a plaque to commemorate 100 Kilometres of Bikeways back in 1998, so that’s over 300 kilometres built in the last 14 years, good work!

On a side note, I’m loving the use of the penny farthing in this image, I hope one day penny farthings will be back on the streets. Perhaps all the hipsters will get bored of their fixies and Penny Farthings will be the next cool thing; Brooklyn/ Dalston- make it happen!

Vancouver Bike Ride 9th April 054

Show Me The Way To Go Home!

There’s lots of good signage so you never get lost. Well, most people would never get lost; we still end up going round in circles sometimes.

I think it is just as likely that we will end up in Alaska as Mexico by the end of our trip.

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The Waiting Is The Hardest Part.

Tired of waiting for the lights to change?

It’s ok, you can just press the button and it’ll speed things along. I love this feature adding a more pedestrian aspect to a bike crossing.

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River Deep Mountain High!

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Vancouver has a really varied terrain which is awesome for our training purposes. Lots of steep hills to get us fit and ready for action. A lot of times when you are done with a climb you get rewarded with a nice view too.

Vancouver Bike Ride 9th April 064 (2) copy for blog


A great ride for tourists and Vancouverites alike is the Seawall which takes in, the beaches and marinas and the full outer circuit of Stanley Park.

This ride is reason in its self to visit Vancouver, especially if you head down on a sunny day; you get stunning views of the city, the mountains and the sea. Check it out.

Vancouver 010

Plus you get to see this island that kind of looks like a pineapple...

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So there you have it. Loving your work Vancouver, you make training fun.

Just over three months to go…


We will be cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Tijuana over six weeks starting in August 2012 to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Please show your support by sponsoring us here, leaving a comment and sharing our blog.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Our new gym buddy!

We’ve been doing well keeping up with our training, making sure we’re covering at least ten miles every other day and our 30 mile training rides every other weekend.

Even though the blossom has bloomed, the nights are still not as long as we’d like to take our training totally outside – plus it’s also necessary to work out with weights to strengthen our muscles and core. When we haven’t made it outside we’ve been in the gym.

After our first month of visiting the gym, we found a new friend tucked away in the circuit room of the YMCA – Expresso Experience machines. These are totally awesome as it’s a bit like a computer game where you can see where you ride:

You even move the handles and gears.

Obviously it’s not as good as the real thing – but there’s no traffic lights to stop for, which means you can keep you heart beat up and you can choose great routes with lots of hills! You can create a log- in and race against yourself etc, but I’m happy setting the pacer to my last ride and beating that.

Last night I moved up to the challenging routes, and it took me 40 minutes to ride 8 miles! It was such amazing workout, but I was literally dripping afterwards.

I’m starting to realise that during all my previous visits to the gym before starting this challenge, I wasn’t really properly working out - sitting on a bike while watching the TV and hardly breaking a sweat.

Well I sure am sweating now! We are both going to have to start taking a towel with us when training; I had to go to a pilates class afterwards looking like I had wet myself. Not pretty.

Double thumbs up for Expresso!

We will be cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Tijuana over six weeks starting in August 2012 to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Please show your support by sponsoring us here, leaving a comment and sharing our blog.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Improving my Cadence (and I’m not talking Club Penguin)

It’s amazing how quickly our fitness has improved.

Our first training ride, I was going uphill at less than 4 MPH and in the lowest gear possible – last night I was hitting some in 5th gear.

OK, OK to you cycle pros out there that might seem nothing, but it’s a vast improvement in a few weeks.

DJ Cadence Club Penguin

What is Cadence?

For those of you that don't know, in cycling (not music like DJ Cadence above) , cadence is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute – basically how quickly you turn the pedals. 

On our last ride, Dave said to me “you might want to try increasing your gears, as your little legs are going round like the clappers.”

As I wasn’t that confident I had been keeping my gears either low or mid range. Realizing this, I’m actually burning excess energy being in a lower gear than I would be in a higher.

Turning up it up a gear (or 5)

I flicked up to 3 and 7 and I was like – wow that’s so much easier. I know that I couldn’t have rode in that gear when we first started, but as my muscles have strengthened (must be all that chocolate milk) I can.

You can really feel the resistance in your legs. I’m actually now slightly worried about what I’m going to look like at the end of this ride.

I was reading a blog from another couple who rode from Vancouver to San Diego in 2011. In one of their last posts Lucas said Amy’s thighs had DOUBLED in size – jeez!

Perhaps I won’t be able to wear my hot pants on the beach in Tijuana after all... 

We will be cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Tijuana over six weeks starting in August 2012 to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Please show your support by sponsoring us here, leaving a comment and sharing our blog.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Get off your bike and drink your (chocolate) milk

We’ve been training for a few weeks now and have started to think about our diets. Obviously when training you use a lot more calories than you usually would, but after doing a bit of research - there’s a lot more to it than just stuffing more in your cake hole, so I have learned…

We got some great information from our contact at Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

When training you need to:

-          Provide fuel for your muscles
-          Repair muscle and tissue damage
-          Replace lost electrolytes and other nutrients

Before training

Before you head out on a long training ride you should load up on slow-burning carbs and fluids. We have been eating poached eggs on wholemeal toast, lots of fruit, trail mix etc.

It is also advised to drink a strong black coffee an hour before as the caffeine mobilises fatty acids.

How good is this pic? Thanks Terri!

During your ride

On our first ride, I was totally shattered and had a really bad headache. I now know this was because we didn't top up our glycogen levels along the way.

If you are riding for several hours you need to take in more than just water! We now take energy bars and munch on them every hour.

Even though I worry about having to pee, you do have to make sure you keep hydrated and drink even though you’re not thirsty. It’s not too bad around Vancouver as there are lots of public loos to use (I will however always carry some loo roll with me just in case).


Then comes the best bit! 

It is important to replenish your glycogen levels as soon as you can after you finish your ride and even gym sessions.

Get this... according to AskMen.com

After your workout, your body is most receptive to using amino acids to repair muscle tissue, while using carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen. 
One of the best post-workout options is chocolate milk. This will provide you with the benefits of carbohydrates, while giving you the optimal protein source found in milk.

Who thought chocolate milk is good to drink after a workout? It’s like our post training treat –and the fact it’s actually good for us is just ace.

After consuming the delicious milky substance, we need to load up on a large carb meal. We’ve been eating so many carbs, it’s hilarious.

I’m starting to love this training lark.

Holly x

We will be cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Tijuana over six weeks starting in August 2012 to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Please show your support by sponsoring us here, leaving a comment and sharing our blog.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Top 10 Tips for Cycling Nutrition – from Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

1. Eat a suitable diet ensuring your glycogen reserves are fully stocked

2. Increased high-mileage training will reduce glycogen consumption as your stamina builds (and muscle regeneration slows)

3. Gradually reduce mileage 7 days prior to a major endurance race to build glycogen reserves

4. There are glycogen reserves in muscles and the liver; however the reserve in the liver usually takes longer to mobilise. Therefore begin your ride relatively slowly for between 5-15 minutes (10-15 minutes is best), otherwise you'll burn up your muscles glycogen supply before the liver has started depletion.

5. Eat whilst cycling

6. Drink plenty even if you feel you don't need it

7. Eat lots of carbohydrates the night prior to cycling

8. If taking part in a race, eat at least 3 hours before the race and nothing after 1 hour before; otherwise eat food with low protein and fat so that it's digested quicker

9. Drink a strong black coffee 1 hour before cycling as the caffeine mobilises fatty acids - then follow with plenty of water

10. Don't forget to eat and drink as soon as possible after exercise to regain lost energy and fluid

You can download the full set of Guides from here