Cart
Your cart is currently empty.
/en-gb

Unrivalled guarantees.

JUN 3, 2024

World Bicycle Day Special: Cycling Tips, Challenges, and Triumphs


Learn all the tips and advice about cycling from someone who has spent years experiencing amazing highs and devastating lows but still loves to ride.

Read time: 12 minutes

World Bicycle Day is a fairly new addition to the calendar. Introduced in 2018, it's a chance to celebrate a fun physical activity that actively helps the environment. So, instead of simply listing a series of popular cycle routes (not that there’s anything wrong with that) we thought we’d turn to someone who is not only extremely passionate about cycling, but has a wealth of inside information, tips, and stories that will motivate people to get on the saddle. Cue our very own Head of Visual: Jack Longley.

From Casual Bike Riding to Unstoppable Passion

Like many of us, Jack started cycling from a young age – growing up in Britain, almost every school kid was expected to take a Cycling Proficiency Test (it’s now called Bikeability). But that’s where it sort of started and ended for a long time. It wasn’t until 2018 when he saw a video  of a cyclist navigating the busy streets of New York City on a fixed-gear bike. And that was it; Jack became captivated by the simplicity and cool factor of fixed-gear riding.

Around the same time, he started a new job here at PROMiXX, where his daily commute was by bus or on foot. But one of his colleagues (Matthew Blofeld – Product Design Director) was an avid cyclist and commuted to work by bike every day. The combination of Matt's enthusiasm and the inspiration from the video motivated Jack to invest in a fixie (fixed-gear bike) and start cycling to work himself.

Riding daily and finding joy and freedom, Jack quickly upgraded to a road bike. For those who are scratching their heads, a fixed-gear bike has one chainring and one sprocket, therefore one gear. Whereas a road bike has several gears and offers more versatility – not to mention it’s a better fit for the varied terrain of Wales.

How Cycling Can Change Your Life

Cycling didn't just change Jack's commute, it would go on to transform his entire relationship with fitness and healthy living. Through Matt's encouragement, Jack went on weekly bike rides that soon became a regular part of his routine, both in and out of work. These rides started as short trips but quickly evolved into longer, more challenging routes. With each ride pushing Jack's boundaries, until he found himself going further and further, often ending the day happily exhausted on the sofa.

Physically, Jack noticed he was much fitter than before, with regular cycling improving his endurance, strength, and overall health. But the benefits of cycling extended beyond the physical. Mentally, cycling had become Jack's escape from the stresses of daily life. The focus and discipline required for long rides helped build his mental resilience. Moreover, cycling introduced him to a vibrant community of like- minded individuals, offering new friendships and a sense of camaraderie.

Two-Wheeled Cycling Lifestyle

Today, cycling has become a cornerstone of Jack's daily routine. His day often begins at the crack of dawn, meeting a group of fellow cyclists for a 1.5 to 2 hour ride. These early morning rides are a refreshing start to the day, setting a positive, energizing tone. And, weather permitting, he rounds off the day with an evening ride, fully embracing the cycling lifestyle.

Naturally, the same routes could only hold him for so long. Soon, Jack set his sights further afield and sought out tracks and routes in different countries. Case in point, Jack's favorite places to cycle include Girona and Mallorca in Spain, and North Wales in the UK. Why? Well, these locations are renowned for their excellent weather, challenging terrain, and cycling-friendly culture. Girona, in particular, is a cyclist's paradise, with its well-maintained roads, courteous drivers, and supportive community. For professional and amateur cyclists alike, it's a dream destination.

But there are always more roads. Just because you’ve found something you like, doesn’t mean there isn’t another challenge on the horizon, begging to be conquered. For Jack, that challenge takes the form of the Triple Crown in Vancouver, Canada: a ride that takes in the three mountainous peaks in North Vancouver, in a single day. Covering a distance of 44.49 miles and an elevation of 7,769 ft (71.6 km and 2,368 m respectively). It’s a coveted achievement in the cycling world and completing it would be a significant milestone and a source of pride for Jack. Maybe one day we’ll put a blog up with a picture of him triumphantly standing atop the North Shore mountains.

But first, he's off to attempt the L'Etape du Tour de France in July, a challenging event where participants ride the hardest stage of that year's Tour de France. This year, the event is Stage 20 of the Tour, covering 138 km (85 miles) with 4,600 m of climbing (over 15,000 ft).

Cycling Training and Preparation

So, what does daily training and preparation for cycling entail? According to Jack, a good training routine is straightforward yet demanding. Essentially, his daily rides double as his training. However, during the harsh winters of the UK, Jack follows a more structured plan. But for the most part, it’s group rides that incorporate interval training to maintain his fitness levels. On average, he aims for about 10 hours of cycling per week, adjusting as needed based on upcoming events or goals.

Nutrition also plays an important role in Jack's cycling regimen. He focuses on eating clean, minimizing ultra-processed foods, and maintaining a balanced diet with the right macro ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins. But, admittedly, for Jack, it's about balance and moderation. That means enjoying the occasional pizza without compromising his health and performance.

Disaster and Recovery

Every passionate pursuit comes with its challenges, and Jack's cycling journey is no exception. One of his most challenging experiences came in November 2022, when he was hit by a car. Earlier we mentioned that part of Jack’s love of Girona is tied to the conscientious and courteous drivers – now you know why. The accident was no joke and landed him in the trauma unit for a whole day. Thankfully he was able to walk away from hospital but was left with a broken collarbone, a broken eye socket, a concussion, and numerous cuts and bruises. Yet, despite the severity of his injuries, Jack considers himself incredibly lucky that he got off so lightly, all considered, and to have recovered so quickly.

That said, the path to getting back on the bike wasn’t as easy. Specialists warned Jack to avoid any further impacts for at least eight weeks, as another blow could potentially cause blindness. This grim possibility struck a deep chord of fear in him, leading to a significant low period. Jack found himself lacking motivation and feeling miserable, not just with cycling but in other activities like watching TV, going to the movies, or playing games.

Rebuilding his confidence and strength took time. The physical toll of the crash, combined with the psychological impact, made it a tough period for Jack. He lost momentum as well as the feeling of fitness he had worked so hard to achieve. However, with perseverance and the unwavering support of his partner, Jack booked a trip to Mallorca in April 2023. That trip ended up being a turning point, helping him rediscover his love for cycling. Sure, it may sound corny, but cycling freely through such a beautiful location and rediscovering the sheer joy of riding genuinely rejuvenated him.

And yet the road to recovery is still unspooling in front of him. Every day, he improves but is constantly mocked by former personal bests that he hasn’t been able to achieve yet. Which can sometimes feel discouraging. But his determination to avoid losing momentum again has kept pushing him forward.

Cycling Tips and Advice

Advice for Beginners

Before we could finish asking the question, Jack already had a primary piece of advice for anyone just starting out with cycling. And it’s incredibly simple: just ride.

 

  • It doesn't matter what kind of bike you start with or how advanced your equipment is. The key is to get out there and start pedaling. What’s more, he emphasizes not letting equipment hold you back. His own journey started with the most basic of bike, yours can too.

  • Finding a group to ride with can be really beneficial. You'll not only make friends, but you’ll learn valuable tips and tricks, as well as get advice from more experienced cyclists.

  • Avoid starting with the most intense experiences. Jumping straight into six-hour endurance rides can lead to burnout and a lack of enjoyment. Instead, ease into it and build up your stamina and confidence gradually.

  • Learning basic bike maintenance is one of the most important things a cyclist can do. Knowing how to fix a puncture, clean your bike, and keep it in working order can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Essential Gear

When it comes to essential gear for cyclists, here are a few key highlights:

Shorts

Invest in high-quality, comfortable, and durable bib-shorts. Cycling should not be uncomfortable, and good shorts are essential for both performance and comfort.

Helmet

Safety first. A helmet might make you feel goofy, but it can save your life. Jack's helmet undoubtedly saved his during his accident.

Hydration and Nutrition

Electrolytes are crucial during long rides. Water alone won't replenish lost minerals, so consider electrolyte drinks and energy gels or bars to keep you going. During long rides, when eating becomes difficult, “drinking your nutrition” can help. That’s why Jack uses a PROMiXX PRO to mix his carb drink sachets, ensuring he stays fueled properly.

Bike Fit

When buying a new bike, or trying to get comfortable on your current one, invest in a professional bike fit. A specialist can tailor the bike to fit your body perfectly, considering factors like pressure mapping and custom molded insoles. At the end of the day, humans are not symmetrical, bicycles are. This might seem expensive initially, but it will save you time, money and make your rides much more comfortable in the long run.

Staying Motivated

For those who are already cycling at a decent level and feel they've hit a plateau, Jack recommends setting specific goals. While riding for fun is great, training for an event or setting a challenging target can provide the motivation and drive needed to push through those periods of stagnation. Having something to work towards keeps the excitement alive and gives purpose to your daily rides.

Hit the Open Road

So even though World Bicycle Day is in its infancy, there are plenty of people like Jack, who have started on a journey through the highs and lows of cycling. And as such, it’s clear how much resilience and passion cycling can instill.

So take Jack’s advice and “just ride”. Get on your bike, find a group, explore new paths, and embrace the challenges and triumphs that come with this incredible journey.

Suggested Products:

#color_white

Sold out
#color_white

Sold out
#color_white

Sold out

Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

JOIN THE CLUB

Join the millions of people worldwide who receive our tips and exclusive deals that help you reach peak performance every day.