Cycling is a great way to spend some quality family time.
We all know that taking regular exercise is good for us, but often the gulf between the thought and actual reality can be a huge factor in stopping people getting ctive.
Perhaps one of the key factors getting us up off of the couch and moving about is a having a goal – something to strive towards. I often find myself getting lazy, but having motivational factors like a friend texting to ask if I am going out for a ride, or my dogs standing at the front door with leads in their mouths, is the shove I need to get going.
Recently on social media I noticed an old friend of mine was getting out on her bike a lot and I enquired if she had always cycled. It turned out that she and her husband had bought bikes to get fit for an active holiday in Australia over 14 years ago.
Following the trip the bikes went in the shed and never saw the light of day again. It was going out cycling with her two children that motivated her to get the bikes out of the shed and pedal out again.
Her two children had hired bikes a few years before on a holiday and spent an enjoyable week pedalling through the forest they were staying by.
Now cycling is a regular part of family time and her son Ross told me he loves it because “it’s fun and it’s a great family time when we cycle together.”
His mum, Fiona, told me that it was a slow start, building herself back up again after such a long period without riding. “I thought it would be easy to jump back on a bike and head off. I was wrong. After not cycling for such a long time the following day I could barely walk!”
Her top tip for those getting back into cycling was to invest in a good saddle: “I never realised how sore my bum would get!”
Fiona and her family like to get out and cycle when they can, although she said it can be hard working around shift patterns, but with two boys, both hugely keen on cycling, they find a way.
One of the great things about cycling is fitness creeps up on you slowly without you realising. One minute you are cycling around Loch Leven and the next you are making plans for an epic adventure around the north coast of Scotland. Fiona told me: “Ross and I would like to eventually cycle the North Coast 500, but a lot more training is definitely needed. We will do it one day!”
Talk about setting goals. That’s a big one, but something great to aspire to and to be able to do it with your family is a great motivation.
Also now it is down in black and white, Fiona, there is no backing down!
Where to ride: North Coast 500
Suitable for: Long distance road cycle
Where: North of Scotland
Start/ Finish: Inverness
Recently popularised by endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont, the North Coast 500 is a long distance cycle route that starts and finishes in Inverness. It takes in some spectacular scenery including the infamous Bealach na Ba and one of my favourite routes around Lochinver. The route then follows the northern coast to John O’Groats before heading south to Inverness.
Find out more: northcoast500.com