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How to Train for a Bike Ride without a Bike

May 3, 2013 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

A while ago my Mum asked whether I wanted to join her work team to complete the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton bike ride. My response was definitely, sign me up.

Then I remembered that the only bike I have access to is a very dilapidated, gear-less bike that my Mum owned in the 80’s (or maybe even 70’s?). It gets flat tyres as soon as it sees a pothole, and could not be less comfortable to ride. On the plus side, it hasn’t been stolen, or even attempted to be stolen. In fact, when thieves broke into our block of flats with their eye on some top notch cycling equipment, they moved my bike out of the way to steal the better bikes.

I know that I need to buy a new bike, but I am doing some searching, price checking and review reading in order to find a bike that is comfortable, light weight, not appealing to thieves and above all, within my price range. Bikes are so expensive!!

With only 6 weeks to go until the London to Brighton challenge, I have had to adapt a training schedule that works without owning a bike. Here’s how I am doing it….

I promise I do normally wear a helmet!

1. Taking advantage of London’s Boris Bike system, with bike docks all over the city (except West London- looking forward to the expansion!) these are great for exploring the city, commuting and for cycle training. The bikes are pretty heavy but they are very sturdy. They come with a space at the front to store your handbag, automatic lights and 3 gear settings. Check out my post on Boris Biking here.

You can sign up to get an unlimited pass, pay for a weekly pass, a day pass or two hours and only need a bank card to sign up. If you dock your bike back within half an hour, it is totally free!

I hired a bike from Hyde Park on Wednesday after my Nike ‘Train to Run’ session with Elle Magazine, and cycled through the park and into Kensington Palace Gardens to meet up with Tom.

I’m not a very confident cyclist, so try to stick to parks and cycle lanes as much as possible. It was slightly scary venturing down High St Ken, without the cycle lane, and Tom said I checked over my shoulder for traffic far too much, but I did enjoy it. I only cycled 5K but after my bootcamp and #30dayshred, my legs felt that was more than enough!

The only downside to Boris Bikes are that they don’t come with helmets and reflective gear, and most people don’t carry that kind of thing in their handbag. I felt slightly nervous cycling without a helmet on Wednesday night, and certainly would encourage people to wear them at all times, particularly when cycling on the road!

2. Attending Spinning classes at my gym. They offer at least one class a day and I try to attend at least once a week. These are killer speed and hill workouts and leave me dripping with sweat and my thighs screaming! I push myself far more during these classes than I would doing a bike workout on my own, so it’s brilliant to increase strength and stamina.There are numerous cycling classes offered at gyms, or at specialist studios like Cyclebeat.
3. Using the bike machines at the gym to do some longer, easy rides. With TV’s set into the bike machines, I can easily cycle 10-15miles on the bike while watching the news in the morning, or a film on a Sunday afternoon (I cried whilst watching Step Mom at the gym a few weeks ago, luckily the tears mixed in with the sweat). I try to ensure I am cycling at a level 5 or 6 to imitate the road conditions that I am likely to be facing on the 54 mile bike ride in June. 
I know that cycling on a static bike will not be enough to get me prepared for London to Brighton, and next week I’ll be doing a post on buying the right bike, but in the meantime I am doing pretty well without one! If you are completing an event, like a triathlon, duathlon or cycling event, some companies will hire bikes for a day or week so that you don’t have to buy one to complete the event.
I am really excited to complete this event with my Mum, Stepdad and Tom. I love trying new exercises especially when friends and family are also keen to get involved!
Are you a cyclist? Got any biking tips you could share with me?


  1. Jo W.

    How long is the bike ride from London to Brighton?

    I am not a cyclist, but I am also looking into buying a road bike this summer so I can crosstrain. I don’t really know much about bikes (yet!), so sorry I can’t be much help.

  2. Sarah Elizabeth

    Eeep what a clever post I love it! You’re getting me hyped to try a long cycling trip too!


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