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    How To Play Fantasy Tour De France

    How To Play Fantasy Tour De France

    The absolute height of cycling geekery; fantasy cycling is taking off in a big way (at the last 'fantasy cycling appreciation society' meeting we had 15 attendees - a new record!) Fantasy Tour de France allows armchair racers to play at being 'Directeur Sportif' for the length of the tour, picking out a 'best in class' team of sprinters and climbers who they think will win stages and jerseys in the 2020 Tour de France. 

    If you're a pro cycling fan, you'll understand the rules of the game and can simply sign up on the link below. If you're new to cycling, or couldn't give a toffee about the pros, we'd still recommend playing along. You will learn more about how a race works, how the peloton operates and why cyclists do some of the weird things that they do! In all seriousness, watching pro cycling will make you a better cyclist, as you get to see the best riders display what riding a bike is actually supposed to look like. To start have a read of our 'Guide to the Tour de France' for some background.

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    A Beginner's Guide To Bikepacking

    A Beginner's Guide To Bikepacking

    Bikepacking has been on the rise for many years, as an adventurous form of cycling, but also as a fun (and green) way to travel. However, for many, it's seen as something that only 'proper cyclists' do. Huge on Instagram, it always seems to be men with beards and/or tattoos sitting around an open fire. It looks great, but surely not something that a beginner cyclist can get into?

    Well I am here to tell you that bikepacking, like cycling, is for anyone who has a bike and sense of adventure. Whatever your level and experience, it's absolutely something you can do. There are different levels of bikepacking, some of which are more extreme than others, but you don't have to take on the TCR right off the bat. A weekend cycling and camping in the South Downs is still bikepacking, and probably a lot more fun too!

    Read on for my beginners guide to bikepacking, as well as a few handy tips to inspire you to get out and adventure by bike.

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    A Beginner's Journey - How Health Problems Got Me Into Cycling

    A Beginner's Journey - How Health Problems Got Me Into Cycling

    Two years ago today I was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. That’s why I started cycling – and it saved me, physically and mentally. It also gave me a community and freedom that I truly cherish and want to bring to others.

    I was four months into a graduate job as a trainee solicitor and life was good. I spent most weekends like your average yuppie: drunk on Clapham Common with no real regard for my health. Exercise? I don’t know her.

    On 9 July, the evening after an annual health check-up, I got a call from a private number. “Amol, I told you I’d call you if there was anything unusual on your blood tests. I’m sorry to tell you there may be something wrong with your liver.” I had early stage Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. It was manageable, but if I didn’t make significant, healthy changes to my lifestyle I would die early.

    I was determined to beat it, including by starting to exercise. But how could I carve out an hour each day when work already left me with no time? I decided to try commuting to work on a Boris bike. Google Maps told me the 6 km each way would take half an hour – the same as my Central line commute and about as sweaty (lucky my office has showers).

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    How to Start Commuting to Work by Bike

    How to Start Commuting to Work by Bike

    If one good thing comes out of the coronavirus crisis of 2020, then it's the huge number of people either taking up or reconnecting with cycling. Sport England have reported that the numbers of people cycling during lockdown have doubled, Sigma Sport have seen a 600% increase from last year on entry level bikes, with Halfords even reporting that women's bike sales are outstripping men's. This is all great news, and provides a great opportunity for cycling to again become a popular, normal and in no way marginalised mode of transport.

    However buying a new bike, or digging the old one out of the shed, is the easy bit. There are sadly many barriers to cycling which, when you start riding to work (or even thinking about it), can make you feel very anxious or even put you off completely. 

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    Komoot x Dirty Wknd 'Elevation Game' Challenge

    Komoot x Dirty Wknd 'Elevation Game' Challenge

    In partnership with our route provider and to celebrate the end of May we are challenging you to ride the most amount of elevation you can in one 20 mile ride (32.2km). Komoot are giving away an annual premium subscription for the highest elevation gain, and a couple of 'world packs' for special & interesting efforts.

    This is not a 'who's the best cyclist challenge', it's about route planning and exploration, and about having fun! So plot your route carefully, get out on the road and climb! 

    If you wish to team up on the challenge this can be completed as a pair. If you're not a great route planner, or not comfortable exploring new climbs solo (or just want some company) then head to the Members App to find a climbing partner.

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    Lockdown Update - Find A Training Buddy!

    Lockdown Update - Find A Training Buddy!

    The UK government released its new lockdown guidance last week, which allows UK citizens to exercise outside for as long as they like, and to meet up with one other person outside their household to run, cycle or walk with. You can read the full guidance here.

    Whilst group rides and runs are still not allowed, this does mean that we can now encourage members to meet up as a pair to cycle, run and exercise together. For those that don't have an indoor cycling option, or have been working out solo for the last few months, this should be a very welcome relief!

    So we're advising members to head to the members app and find a training buddy. Whether you're planning to go for a ride at the weekend and want some company, looking for a pre work run pal or just want to join in on someone else's session, then you can find it on the members app.

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