Tag Archives: Kids

Just A Quick Note to Say…

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I’m super excited as a newish blogger to have passed that first 1000 views and just wanted to say a massive me-and-Lebs sized thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave comments!

I’m writing about my Cycle Confident course next so stay tuned… better still, sign up for email notifications.

Thank you 🙂

Hindu Squats and the Afro Thunder

Well it has been a while hasn’t it?

I’d love to say I have been clocking up some serious miles and gone from beginner to semi pro in cycling skills … Alas, in truth whilst I have taken some commutes to work, I haven’t had as much time as I’d hoped to go cycling.

First of all, I been eating way too much of things like this:

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Hot waffles with bananas and toffee ice cream and caramel syrup… and cream… so naughty!

Extremely yummy but all I want to do after such treats is relax and read a gossip magazine!

Another issue I have encountered is Lebs hair! Normally, I plait it, so using a helmet is no problem.  It also means that I can still go cycling when I want to, without having to find a baby sitter first.  However Lebs scalp has recently been very sore so I have had to give the plaiting a rest.

But there is no helmet for Afro Thunder!

Afro Thunder!

Afro Thunder!

So no passenger ride for Lebs for now.  I’ve found out that Caroline actually is really great for leading Lebs home from nursery. So we walk to and from nursery and I can ride the rest of the way to work.

Lebs walks faster whilst holding onto Caroline!

Lebs walks faster whilst holding onto Caroline!

I’m frustrated though that I haven’t been able to go on longer rides.  What I would like from cycling besides all round fitness is stronger legs, a more toned shape.  My work is not far enough from home for me to harvest the results I would like.

I discussed my worries with a cycling friend who also has commitments and was advised to try Hindu Squats between riding days.

I do squats generally and couldn’t see initially what was special about Hindu Squats.  I was hell-bent on completing the 30 day squat challenge despite the fact that my cycling friend promised me it would not particularly improve my cycling:

Squat challenge I was following originally
Squat challenge I was following originally

But then I tried them! I started to feel results within days. (See a demonstration here ). And there was no need to do hundreds of them!

In fact I was so excited to feel the beginnings of muscle bulge in my thighs that I hurried out to try a hill near to home which normally proves troublesome… I cleared it! It was still hard but I felt empowered by my new strength.  Suddenly I felt I had finally progressed from my first time!

So I will be continuing with these until Lebs hair back on the bike with me once more, and beyond.  What kind of exercises do you do between rides?  All tips are welcome!

Busy, overworked, unfit mummy? On yer bike!

“But Mango… Do you even have a garden?” My manager was staring at me bemused.

I nodded. “No.”

“Can you even ride a bike?”

“Haven’t been on one since I was seven”

“Then why on earth do you want to get a bicycle?”

On the face of it, I suppose it did seem a silly idea but to me it made perfect sense.   My name is Stephanie; my nickname is Mango (that story is for another time), and I work as a bank cashier with a quirky bunch in South London. I spend most of my time speaking to a lot of interesting people doing a lot of interesting things while I do the same not-so-interesting things daily.  Periodically, I decide that to spice things up I need to start a hobby, and this time I chose cycling. Here is why:

WILL – I’m always looking for ways to get fit and tone up.  When you have a small child and limited babysitting facilities like me, it can be hard to commit to the gym or classes.  I tried DVD’s but I would watch them once or even work out with them and now they are just sitting on the shelf gathering dust.  I see cyclists often and it occurred to me that I was not only slightly envious of their skills and confidence but that it’s something which can be done alone or as part of a team; so I could potentially gain the motivation and social element I yearned for from the gym but also that treasured ‘alone time’.  Better still, it is not something that has to exclude my son.

If you choose a new hobby it has to be something you really WANT to do.

TIME –I live alone with my 3 year old son Caleb, affectionately known as ‘Lebs’ (which is a pain for phones – they always edit it to ‘Legs’) and spend most of my spare time with him. The rest of my time goes on housework, and playing Facebook games in between (sitting on my butt not being very fit at all).  Big chunks of spare time are hard to find and this way I could squeeze in the cycling on the way to work and back, and en route to parks and other activities at the weekends.

You need something which can fit in with your life.

MONEY – Gyms and classes plus what it would cost to get regular babysitting is pricey business. Some gyms have a crèche but again pricing can get silly.  Bikes can be very affordable or very expensive depending on what you want. A lot of work places will run some sort of a scheme to help you get a bike to use for getting to work. I went with the cycle2work scheme which is with Halfords. You get a voucher for the amount you set and you can use it to get everything bike related and pay for it over 5 years.  Have a nosey here or ask your work place for more: http://www.cycle2work.info/. Also if you are not as lucky as me to live only a mile from work and can walk it then a bike can save you money on commuting!

Be mindful of your budget and check if work has any employee schemes

AREA – Whilst I live in a built up area, there are plenty of parks and bike lanes, hills and flats; quiet roads and very busy ones. Lots for me to explore and satisfy my sense of adventure.  Knowing your area and what you will use the bike for becomes most important when choosing your bike but still worth considering before even choosing cycling.  Cycling on road will keep your mind and senses sharp – an experience you won’t get from a gym bike.  I know that gym bikes and the ability to give your mind a rest whilst exercising has its advantages too, but I find I do better when my mind is fully involved.

Consider local terrain – the more exciting or accessible it seems to you, the better!