Ireland’s population of Lycra-loving cyclists is getting bigger by the day.
Cycling in Ireland at the moment is just growing and growing and showing no signs of stopping.
Over the last 10 years the sport has grown by a whopping 620% with tens of thousands of people using public bike schemes in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick every single day. Cycling Ireland’s membership reflects this huge surge in interest with numbers surpassing 23,000 in 2014 and the association feels that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
So, whether you’re looking for a relaxing sight-seeing cycle or a challenging hilly route, my plan over the next number of weeks is to talk about cycling in general, types of cycling, bikes, gear and the purpose of it all.
I have put together an eight-week plan for the complete beginner with the goal event being the 70k route of the West Cork Emergency Services and Friends Charity Cycle, which takes part on Saturday July 11th.
So, pull your bike out of the garden shed, pump the tyres, oil the chain and get ready to re-kindle your love affair with your ‘rothar’. If you don’t own a bike then borrowing one is an option but I would recommend getting your own. Unfortunately buying a bike is only the first of several purchases required if you are to do things properly, and more importantly – safely. You will reap the rewards though.
The right gear
You will need a helmet, cycling jersey, cycling jacket, (hi-vis) cycling shorts (something with a good chamois), padded gloves and cycling shoes. You can pick all of these up at your local bike shop. The jacket or jersey should have a pocket in the back so you can carry nutrition, cell phone, tools and even a spare tube. Alternatively a good under-saddle bag is handy. The jerseys and shorts may not look the ‘coolest’ but they definitely increase your comfort as well as your aerodynamics. Comfort on the bike is essential as you build up to longer spins.
In the first week of my eight-week plan (see panel), the trick is to start slowly and then increase the distances over time.
This plan is for beginners, but if you are already a cyclist and you have a good base then you can alter the plan to suit. Beginners should employ a programme where cycling is done three times a week. Doing it two times a week is also fine, but this depends on the capabilities of the person undergoing the training. Also remember if you are new to exercise you would probably be wise to get a medical test done beforehand in your local clinic just to be on the safe side.
Like I have said numerous times before, the beauty of exercise is that nothing is written in stone. You can swap and change the routine to suit work, family life and social events – just so long as you don’t give up on it! You can schedule the longer trips for over the weekends or whenever you are free. Away you go and enjoy!
Cycle Training Programme – Week 1
Mon 11/05/15 - Sun 17/05/15
Monday - 10k cycle
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - 10k cycle
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 15/18k long cycle
Sunday - Rest
Total cycled this week: 35/38 k
Paudie O’Donovan is a qualified neuromuscular physical therapist specialising in pain relief and improvement of mobility/flexibility.
He is masseur to the Cork senior football team and runs a sports injury clinic at Quarryvale,Coolnagrane, Skibbereen.
(Fully registered with Laya and Aviva)
Contact: 086-2339618 or follow him on Facebook.