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    You CAN be good at Climbing — Top Tips for New Cyclists

    You CAN be good at Climbing — Top Tips for New Cyclists

    Climbing: you either love it or you hate it! Sadly, for most cyclists, the latter seems to be the norm. The thought of going out for a hilly ride brings many out in a bout of ‘oh gosh, doesn’t the weather look like it’s about to turn?’ That’s why learning to climb when you start out is the best thing you can do. 

    Climbing is difficult. It’s arguably the hardest thing you can do on a bike; whether it’s a short, sharp lung-burner, or a longer ascent that seems like it’s never going to end. It’s no wonder then that many new cyclists avoid the hilly rides in favour of a flatter, easier route. Here’s the rub: climbing, like most difficult things, makes you better! Nothing will improve your cycling ability, confidence and enjoyment more than learning to climb. The good news is that climbing is as much about technique as it is fitness, and that technique can be learnt.

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    Why You Should Join a Group, by a Novice Cyclist!

    Why You Should Join a Group, by a Novice Cyclist!

    Being a novice cyclist, I bought my first road bike 9 months ago at the ripe old age of 28! Throughout the autumn of 2015 I just used it for my 5km commute to and from work. Then January arrived and training needed to start for Ride London, so I began doing longer rides at the weekends, which consisted of laps around Richmond Park (3 was my maximum). I then managed to pick up a hand injury that stopped me cycling. I then tentatively got back on my bike, working on my hand strength and stamina. Over the past 5 weeks I have been building up my cycling mileage, strength and ability. As frustrating as it is feeling like the slowest rider in the world I cannot deny the progress I have made.

    Five weeks ago a 50km ride was tough; today I managed 92 hilly kilometres and didn’t find it as tough as that first group ride.  So what is it that has helped me get to this stage, and more importantly what will continue to help me grow and progress as a cyclist?

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    A Guide To Using A SPOK'D Training Plan - Part One

    A Guide To Using A SPOK'D Training Plan - Part One

    Despite having ridden bikes for many years, I've never used a training plan before. It never seemed necessary, as I was just riding for fun, and being lucky enough to cycle for work meant that I wasn't short of KMs each week. Regular Dirty Wknd rides sort of worked like a plan anyway; laps Tuesday and Thursday, hill reps Wednesday and Friday, longer rides most weekends. However, I always wondered if working to a specific plan, with a proper workout, would make a difference to my fitness and riding ability. 

    What Is SPOK'D?

    In the words of founder and ex pro Rich Lang, "SPOK’D is more than just a cycling software tool. It's your cycling coach." I've never had a coach either, so this sounds very interesting. Lang goes on to explain that every week the plan adapts to the rider, taking in to account your work week and social commitments. Then, based on the results of your training, the plan updates further to ensure this balance of work vs rest is maintained. "To get faster on the bike, it’s not about going harder. It’s about being smarter" finishes Lang. All sounds pretty good to me, let's give it a bash!

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    The Dirty Festive 50 - The Festive 500 For Runners!

    The Dirty Festive 50 - The Festive 500 For Runners!

    The Festive 500 is a great Christmas challenge for cyclists and something you should try and undertake, if you have the time. Cycling 500km in 8 days, through the Christmas period, is no mean feat. It requires planning, dedication and no small amount of luck to go your way. This is why the feeling of completion is so sweet on New Year's Eve. Yes, you have deserved that mad night out (or bed by 10:30pm, totally up to you!)

    But what if you know you can't complete the challenge. Maybe you're away for Christmas or you know there's a load of unavoidable family time booked in. Cycling for 2-3 hours per day is a big ask, so why start a challenge you know you can't finish. And what other options are there out there that take less time?

    Well, we've just created one! Presenting the 'Dirty Festive 50', a Christmas challenge for runners, walkers or the chronically short on time! We challenge you to run, walk or crawl 50km in the 8 days between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. However you want to complete the challenge is fine by us, but it must be outside and on your own two feet!

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    Top Tips For Completing the Rapha Festive 500

    Top Tips For Completing the Rapha Festive 500

    So you've decided to attempt the Rapha Festive 500? Good on you. It's a tough challenge and a fun thing to do over the Christmas period. However, due to many circumstances that can pop up over the 8 days, it can be very hard to complete the Festive 500. As someone who has attempted the challenge about five times, and completed it a grand total of zero times, I can attest that it is pretty tricky.

    If you're still unsure as to what exactly the Festive 500 is you can read our handy guide here. If you haven't yet signed up for the challenge I can highly recommend it. At the very least it might get you out of the house on Boxing Day when Uncle Gerald starts arguing with Aunty Maude and Mum is suggesting another round of 'Eye Spy'.

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    A Beginner's Guide To The Rapha Festive 500

    A Beginner's Guide To The Rapha Festive 500

    Whatever your opinion of Rapha (and nearly everyone has one), it's hard to argue that the Festive 500 is not a good thing. Riding your bike more is generally considered to be a good thing, so joining a world wide challenge to help you ride your bike more can only add to that good thing. 

    But what is the Rapha Festive 500? This being it's 10th year, the #festive500 (you have to use a hashtag every time you type it, it's the law) is a self set challenge to ride 500km in 8 days. Sounds pretty ok, right? 62.5km per day doesn't sound bad, what's the big deal? Well, those 8 days happen to fall in between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve!

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