Monday, December 5, 2011

Nicola a woman who cycles

women cycle blog nicola
Nicola Women Who Cycle blogger
Nicola from Sydney, Australia is behind the blog 'Women who Cycle'. A public relations consultant, she says she loves biking and racing for the exercise, socialising and a boost of self-confidence. We had an e- chat to find out more.

Reading Nicola’s blog at first I thought she was a pro cyclist – it’s packed with info on races, female pro-cyclists and tips on how to get going. But scrolling down, it became clear she’s just in love. She says it’s “a fantastic form of exercise” and credits feeling younger than 40-something to the buzz she gets from long-distance biking.

“Cycling changed my life”
Nicola says: “It’s been wonderful for my social life. I’ve lived in the same Sydney suburb for 20 years and it’s only since I took up cycling in the past three years that I’ve met like-minded local people. I’ve lost count of how many friends I’ve made through cycling. 
Many of them I see socially away from cycling and we even talk about things other than just riding our bikes."

But it goes much further than that for her. Nicola goes on to say that cycling has meant facing down fears about her physical ability and of course that leads to mental changes. “This has increased my self-confidence which has filtered down into all aspects of my life. I constantly surprise myself with cycling. I feel like I go over one big mountain and then actively look for the next challenge. A pro cyclist I interviewed a few months ago said she believes cycling is a metaphor for life and I certainly agree with her. My own personal mantra is the cycling has changed my life.”

Race Time
Far from being a life-long hobby, Nicola only started biking three years ago. Like a lot of us, she cycled as a child and teenager but then stopped when she got her first car. But now she heads out for over 100km a week.

“I started only riding once per week and then within a year I’d changed that to twice a week. Probably another six months after that I started riding during the week when I was specifically training for a long ride – 210 km and I just kept it up once the ride was over. But I also like to maintain some balance so I jog twice or three times a week (three to four kilometres) and I do a weekly personal training session. That way I also exercise other muscles and help maintain my overall fitness,” she says.

Yes, that’s races of over 200km, you read that right. So although she’s being pretty casual about it all, when you break down her weekly stats, you get some serious road-time.
Nicola on Sea Cliff Bridge
Nicola explains her “typical training week consists of four early morning rides usually Saturday (about 40 km), Sunday (about 60 km), Tuesday (25 km) and Thursday (25 km). I’ve increased it a bit at the moment because I’m training for a 160 km ride in six weeks time.”

Feed me Seymour
And how does she fuel that? Takes a bit more than lettuce to through those kinds of distances she admits. “I’ve made very little change to my diet except to increase carbs a bit when I’m training harder. My body just needs the extra fuel. I spent my 20s and 30s on the yoyo diet treadmill and since I’ve started exercising more I have been able to stabilise my weight. In fact I’ve stayed the same weight for about three years but thanks to cycling my shape has changed and I’m carrying less fat and more muscle around my hips and thighs.”

Should you join her?
“I would encourage any women to take up cycling. It’s easier than you think and there’re so many options available. In Australia it is becoming more and more popular so it’s easy to find other people who are doing the same thing.

I challenge any women to at least give it a go. Borrow a bike to begin with and take it from there. The sky’s the limit.”

If you have any questions for Nicola, leave a comment!



Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

This is the first time I've seriously considered cycling as part of a cross-training routine for boxing, and I'm wondering whether it might actually HELP my joints, by building more muscle around them. At 46, I do tend to get a fair amount of joint pain in my hips when I run more than 3 miles at a time...

Getting a bike is a big hurdle, as is finding places to ride it where there aren't zillions of stop lights or lots of runners on the trail. Any words of wisdom there?

Inspiring post, once again.

Nicola said...

Hi Lisa. I'm also 46 so I definitely know what you're talking about. I find cycling is very gentle on my joints and helps build up my muscles particularly in my lower body. I also run but only 3 or 4 km at a time.

I find that if you go riding early in the morning and ride on the road then you're pretty safe as long as you have good lights. Try to find a course where there aren't too many traffic lights and perhaps do laps as I do during the week. It sounds a bit boring but you soon adapt and if you can find a friend to join you that's even better. I hope that helps. Nicola

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

Ok, cycling is on my "to consider" list, especially given your response about the joint issue. I'm going to do some research about local greenways and places to cycle first, and see what turns up. Then I may start hunting around for a used bike (would you believe I don't have a bike?)...

Thank you, Nicola, for answering my biggest question. I've added you to my blogroll so I can go over periodically and check out your advice and insights.

Thanks, Niamh, for another inspiring post!