Team Cycling Plus-Malcolm Ratcliffe

Hotel exercise is better than none!

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Malcolm finds he could be a record breaker...if he was 90!

Team member: Malcolm Ratcliffe

Malcolm from Erdington is determined to shed some of his 17stone before his 45th birthday this October. To do this he hopes to take his cycling to the next level with Team Cycling Plus, by extending his 10-20mile rides, and include a sportive or two in his season. As well as losing weight, his goals include regularly commuting the 10miles to work and doing a London to Paris charity ride.

Another week of European travel but the hotel at least had a gym so not all lost time and managed over 3 hours on some form of bike.

As with most hotel gyms this one was dark and dingy hidden deep in the corner of the basement.  I tried a 40 minute ‘turbo’ session including some intermediate ‘sprints’ and then a 40 minute hill program the following day.  You might get the impression that 40 minutes is my maximum boredom threshold on gym equipment and you’d probably be right but ‘turbo’ sessions are supposed to be short sharp hits of adrenalin.  One saving grace was being able to watch some TV as a diversion, another was a high tech fan built into the bike so slightly less sweating.  I also fitted in a quick weights session and 10 minutes on a Concept II rowing machine managing 2300 metres.  This might not be pushing the world record for 2000m, currently just over five and a half minutes, but I discovered I would be a front runner in the over 90’s age group (www.concept2.com)!

Whilst recovering from my exertions and re-hydrating on the terrace bar with a well deserved beer I marvelled at the number of people pedalling past.  It is something I have noted in most mainland European cities I’ve visited, there is a very strong cycling culture on the continent.  Children going to school, students on the way to lectures, workers to their workplace and even granny going shopping.  Compare this to the UK, and with the exception of university towns such as Oxford, you rarely see anyone on a bike.  We are the poor relations of Europe where cycling use and cycling provision is concerned and have a long way to go to catch up.

Talking of running the real bike ride this week took in a stop over to watch my wife Tracy and eldest daughter Phoebe run in the local West Midlands Fun Run in and around Sutton Park.  I lean towards the, you should not use ‘run’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence brigade, but I had to admire anyone who participated in this sweltering 8.5 mile challenging course, including the infamous ‘Cardiac Hill’.  Well done all, especially the ‘runners’ pulling a fire engine around!!

The first half of cycling was a pleasant 25 miles out into the countryside.  After watching the fun run I then picked up the pace and managed a fairly brisk 4 mile run home.  So nearly 30 miles in all in just under 2 hours and this would have been a comfortable ride even without the stop.  Here we go here we go here we go, and with the World Cup coming up even more excuses to get out and avoid three weeks of wall to wall soccer.  Other sports are available!

Who are Team Cycling Plus?

Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page twitter.com/cyclingplus and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page

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