What shapes us?

 

The jam jar encased candle light flickered in the ever deepening darkness was the only contact I’d have with my dad for the whole of the night. The wind toyed with my senses playing effortlessly with the trees, water lapping at the bank side. I re adjusted my bin bag and tried to settle for my first night fishing adventure, I was 8 years old, I never felt anything other than a feelings of contentment and comfort, outside cold or darkness only ever felt natural to me.

The build up of excitement as I sit at our patio doors watching the onslaught of big hard rain drops purposely fall from the sky so hard they bounce back into the air. The ground so dry I can hear the water being sucked into the grass. Before long another home cooked Sunday lunch freshly picked from the garden that morning is sitting heavily in my stomach and fuelling my desire to get outside and find every possible puddle to jump in, ruin yet another set of clothes! We are soon on the hill sliding down on whatever part of our bodies give us least traction on what is now a mud to puddle slip & slide. At 11 I am even further fuelled by being outside at one with nature, only being put off by the thought of the two baths to clean Sunday night but the thought of a hot meal always won me over coming home.

Tip toeing through the gates of Leon’s back garden at 7AM trying not to wake next door neighbours to find him as I did most Sundays downing pint after pint of orange juice at his mums disgust. His face filled with a love for cycling I’ve never since seen in anyone else, a love which has never left him, it’s who he is. Losing valuable seconds we scurry out the garden and head into the Derbyshire countryside, smiling laughing talking about today’s plans whilst at the same time trying to suck enough air inside us to calm the burning in our thighs. We stop to fill up at Ticknell shop, cheese & onion naps & fig rolls stock us up for our day ahead. 12 miles done we jump back on the bikes and settle ourselves into the long unforgiving hill that gets us every Sunday sapping us momentarily of our excitement for what the day holds for us.

The gravel path leads us down to the woods mist sitting low between the trees our excitement notches up another gear as we sprint off down the fire track winding around the bends pretending we’re Steve Peat. As the woodland gets thicker we pull up and gather ourselves before hitting our handmade of road track zig zagging round berms avoiding trees trying to stay flat over the jumps riding so hard just getting to the bottom still holding onto the bikes is the only goal. The day is spent digging holes with such purpose it’s as if we’re hunting for gold, moving trees so big an hour or two is passed just getting them into place. Our whole winter was spent digging, moulding riding over and over until daylight escaped us, that cold horrible ride home was always the toughest of training rides. I was 17, cycling is my life my closest friendships were grown and found in the years I spent in these woods…

My foot slid once again into the snow until my knee passes the thin frozen crust left by last nights freeze. Neither of us were expecting this to be such hard work or this route to be so steep. We again make eye contact as the snow continues to fall we say nothing but both know this is out of our comfort zone, not just out its burst through. We cannot down climb, nor move left or right the gully we have found ourselves in might at this point be the end of us. No rope, ice axes a purely exploratory trip our first in full winter conditions. I can see daylight the brightness making the day seem so inviting but for this moment the gully seemly wanting us to fully understand the stupidity of our actions shields us from the warmth we should by now have on our backs. We tentatively move upward begging with each footstep that the one thing that could kill us chooses to compress into another solid placement and grant us another breath and passage into the people we are to become from lasting out exploration of self. Any feeling of cold is swallowed by fear snow now falling so hard that hard inviting crust has vanished beneath soft fresh powder. Moving upward slowly with purpose into the unknown knowing at some point it couldn’t go on forever, we pause to check our own sanity “ok Tim” “yup” was the only reply, time seemed to stop the world left my side head only focused on moving, staying alive finding an end to this. Then there it was the twin stones of the summit, winter sun behind desperately trying to burn through the cloudy evening sky. On making flat ground we hug and burst into laughter our first winter climb in the bag, by the seat of our pants I might add. Deep inside I knew this had touched something and awoke a desire for empty cold dark miserable places. We laughter and talked the whole route down whilst inside my lust to be back in that gully grew and consumed me, that period of time where nothing matters more that each breath, footstep and hand hold. We swiftly as always head to the pub to talk over the day, plan the next adventure and talk about altitude mountaineering. I am 28, I wasn’t to know but this trip and many like it fundamentally changed my life, maybe for better,maybe for worse. I’ll never know….

Stepping out of the tent at midnight to see the never ending trail of head torches stretching seemingly endless into the night sky, zig zagging between the stars. I now start to worry and wonder what the hell I’m doing here, I close the tent up and tighten the laces on my boots “right let’s crack on” I join the back of the group as we wind our way up the path nose to ruck sack all sixteen of us. It’s not long before intermittent back problem slows me so a stop, I lean forward on my poles and stretch out the cramp and hope for ten minutes of walking before the next stop. Being able to breath or not haven’t even come into play as it hits 4AM guides are bringing people down the mountain who simply cannot cope with the thin air. Stop start stop start, I am frustrated beyond belief but my guide can see I’m only struggling with pain in my back as we talk freely as we walk. We climb on stop start stop start, now begging for the sun to appear to our right, hands feel frozen unable to tear the grip from my poles, with the wind building the guides says it’s the coldest so far this season our jackets covered in frost my right eye feels frozen shut, I refuse to test my feelings in fear they’re true. Stop start stop start, then out of now where the sun shows itself revealing the curvature of the earth I use it as another excuse to stop stretch out and savour the view, time has all but stopped I’m in pain but enjoying experience and didn’t want it to end.

I meet the group on their way back down at Stella point, they are moving slowly but all elated they’ve topped out. The cramps in my back are causing my shortness of breath, the final push with it now day light and 8 hours after we left the camp I’ve now got summit fever I can see it no turning round this is it I know my hard works paid off. 10AM I stand alone on the highest part of continental Africa, the highest free standing mountain in the world. I’m 31, this trips exploratory for myself physically and mentally. I don’t know how it’d gotten their but I left a piece of myself that I could finally take back.. Somehow going to Africa lead me to London, we truly never know what lies ahead for us….

Standing in court having the accusations against me read out, inside I’m broken but know I’ve nothing to fear, I’ve chosen to face this. I’ve not seen my son for over a year now, I cannot explain such a feeling having to prove you’ve done nothing wrong to the point of having a psychologists report to prove my innocence. I’m 32, I cry most of the two hour journey home. My comfort zones been pushed even further away, being comfortable with being uncomfortable is becoming easier to me now. Another thing to put in my motivation locker for a later date….

It’s 7.40pm, I’ve cycled 165 miles in under 12 hours, I’m so happy and broken all I can do is weep from my swollen eyes, I’ve traveled my human power for around 850 miles now in 6 days as I roll into Marlborough knowing I’ve only 100 miles to cycle tomorrow to take me to the beach and the start line of my first road marathon in Brighton. A week previously I had set out in the darkness to climb Ben Nevis, now some 900 miles south I’ve got to summon the strength to run 26.2 miles. I’m 34 and am drawing a line under my life with my first big challenge. A line to stay I’m going to be in charge of my life and which direction it’s heading. From now on this isn’t my chance it’s by choice….

I stand alone in a park, sun beating down for what must be the last glimpse of summer reminding us just how energising it can be. After a lengthy court battle today I watch my near 9 year son old run across the freshly cut grass towards me, without looking back his mum disappears. I’m 35 and today this is the first time in 4.5 years I’ve been totally alone with my son. We play on every piece of park equipment before I introduce him to picking conkers whilst trying to hold myself together from over spilling with happiness.

Life always will have a habit of throwing curve balls our way, it can be cruel, tough and punishing. But I’ve learnt through various times throughout the years that giving up isn’t an option, yes you’ll find yourself with your back against the wall and you’ll have to summon the best of yourself from somewhere.

Epic adventures are about choosing to put ourselves in those positions, and those places where to conquer and rise up against adversity we have to simply dig in, grow as a person and be better than before. We go in search of those moments where we have to grow because sometimes with the daily struggle of life it’s nice to have the choice to challenge ourselves….

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Why moving to London could make you a better athlete 

It’s coming up to my 5th year of living in London, and being a country bumbkin I was seriously worried about moving here and hating it. Never the less I came, and I tell you want it’s a fitness lover’s paradise, oh man is it ever! Here are some stats to get you convinced:

  • The eight royal parks take up 5000 Acres
  • Council ran parks include Crystal Palace, Victoria, Alexandra and Battersea park and cover 800 Acres
  • The remaining green spaces cover an huge 11,000 Acres (rounded down)
  • This doesn’t include all those small parks dotted around London
    OR, the Thames paths and river side.

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Cycling, YES FRICKING BIKES WOOO! 
So before you get thinking you’ll not have any place to escapee or go running, think again. And as for cycling, you have the mecca of Richmond park all 2,400 Acres of it.. We also have at least 6 indoor spin clubs just dedicated to the sport, yes you’ll have some whoops a disco ball and dam fine music to boot, embrace it this is London!

We’ve a cycle club for pretty much main location Greenwich, Clapham, Hampstead, Wimbledon, London Fields, to name a few !! AND, what better than a handful of cycle café’s to rest up in whilst clad in lycra with Look mum no hands and the high end Rapha club too! OH, and the UK’s best bike café in Esher, and yes it really is special! We have our scattering of cycle shops too, from Evans to cycle surgery and half a dozen privately run and high end shops too, EVEN a shop solely for electric bikes, has anyone else found it yet?

STILL CYCLING….. 
London is also just 5 hours from main land Europe for weekends away at very little cost, with routes like London Brighton/Paris/Amsterdam all a weekends riding. we also have the stunning Surrey and Kent countryside which has some of not only the most stunning but also the best riding in the UK. And if all that’s not enough we have both outdoor and indoor velodromes all within easy train rides of you, and yes we have Olympic BMX tracks and manmade mountain bike parks (Bracknell & Hadleigh) within an hour of London too, and yes you can rent bikes there if you don’t own one!

Water Sports? London? Never!
London Boasts 14 outdoor lido’s including a heated pool, Europe’s largest (Tooting at 90 odd metres) and newly built kings cross pool which is a manmade natural jobie with reeds and such like. Also to boot there’s a heap of other natural pools, in both Hyde Park and Hampstead which even has separate men & women’s only pools! Oh, we have the Royal Docks by the excel centre too!

We have Kayak centres in Limehouse Basin, Stand up paddle board clubs over Putney, the Olympic water Sport centre at Lee Valley, and a heap of sailing clubs in Rickmansworth, Kingston and on the Thames too. And as for rowing, how do you not know about the boat race? Get up at 5AM and head to Putney/Kingston way on and you’ll see the teams out training, this is like a whole thing down here!

Personal Training.
If you can find a park in London where this doesn’t happen, well, you didn’t wait long enough did you! There’s group training session before work, at lunch and after work every day, and if their isn’t well you can rope a gang from work and hire a PT for it, really easily! There’s a whole movement of free session’s to with groups like Project Awesome, Midnight runners and even The North Face Store getting involved with not only PT classes but Free trail running days too.

Boot camps & health Clubs.
Seriously, every few minutes in London you’ll go past a gym Virgin Active has over 50 within a few square mile radius match that with Fitness first, Nuffield and the cheaper no frills gyms there has to be 350 gyms! (Guesstimation)
We even have boot camp/crossfit type set ups going on too, given these are less frequent but I still pass four everyday so they are by no means tough to find! There’s tennis clubs & golf courses too!

Wellbeing & specifics
Yoga of all kinds to be found not just in gyms you have to be members of but standalone people renting spaces and selling classes for specific things, yea really. A cyclist? Yup we have cycle specific classes! We have altitude training centres, gait foot analysis even a good group of swim improvement coaches where they film your swimming! REALLY! We have trapeze schools, acupuncture, Tia chi and even floatation rooms!

Mountaineering
As I mentioned we an altitude centre to ehlp with pre aclimatiseation, ALL the shops for gear, Patagonia, North Face! Snow & Rock, Ellis Brigham (it has a ice climbing wall inside!). London even has a great array of climbing centres The Castle and The Reach are my two favourite, right in the centre (Zone 1) there are two bouldering centres too, so when you’ve no time to jump on a quick flight to Europe from our local airport you can keep up the strength in doors, no excuses!

ADVENTURE
Looking for inspiration, London has a vibrant adventure soul beating at its heart with speaking events being held almost weekly, many in large pub rooms that hold 50-80 people but every few months there’s something real special at say the RGS (Royal Geographical Society) or an outdoor/adventure show. Pub meet up’s for groups who are exploring a specific trip, around the world cycle shall we say.
London’s adventure community isn’t about just doing something inspiring or amazing it’s about our way of life, its infectious and we are a family who help each other achieve our dreams pretty much regardless of what stands in our way!

To add to all this, fuelling and repairing yourself are also high up on London’s lists of to do’s with walk in massage rooms all over the place, and if you’re working for a top London firm you might even get one come around the office at lunch! (No joke) And and, drop your shirts/suits/skirts & such like threads off on a friday and pick it all up on a Monday fresh and clean, no fat, a few quid no hassle and extra training time..

And the food outlets in the city are amazing, if you’ve no time to prep your own food, don’t worry the options are plentiful and yes even for fuelling and nutritional types who really are all about becoming a better athlete! And yes you can get it delivered to your desk…

TOO MUCH STUFF!
Oh man, I haven’t even included all the events going on down here Marathon’s, 10K races, group walks, Sunday rides out, colour run race’s and the sheer amount of Facebook groups dedicated to keeping fit and outdoor activities you’ll be wanting a rest from it all….
Let’s be straight people, you want to be at the top of your game. You need that extra edge and want to learn and grow as an athlete London is where it’s at. This place can and will change your life, if you’re willing to put the effort in and let it! OH YES, we even have a beach! No really..

Pretty much, in a nut shell move to London. Sure theirs more people but that means more opportunity, more gyms, more clubs, more disposable income and more people to help you on the way to what ever your goal is.

MOVE TO LONDON IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!

PHEW, thats me done! I’m over excited just looking at this list….

The items I’d always take on an adventure…

1,
SOCKS, seriously. You’ll be on your feet and using them loads. Always pack a spare pair. You can use them as mitts, to filter water, stop bleeding (with the elasticated band), to support a damaged knee… You get the picture right? They are useful, and if nothing else use them as sock puppets! Perfect on adventure down days!!

2,
Wide neck clear bottle, again so many uses! Yes for water, but the better bottles can take boiled water too, if your not too weirded out you could use it as a wee bottle (guys) you don’t have to get out the sleeping bag/tent useful for mountain/high altitude antics.. You can even tie string around it throw it in a river to try and catch fish….

3,
Para cord, seriously do I need to go into its possible applications? It weights sod all, takes up no room! Why go without it?

4,
Knife! REALLY? Comes in super handy for opening your M&S sandwich on cold mornings, or spreading hummus on your gluten free focaccia..

5,
Map/guide of the area this can come in many forms, iPhone, OS map, GPS or route guide. Always best to carry a paper back up with the ever growing tech thats available these days!

6,
Hat, stopping for rest or to figure out your route. Keep the warmth in, has other uses too. Keeping bum dry if you need to sit on a cold/wet surface. Can be used to soak up/stop bleeding. A simple beenie can be a game changer.

7,
Head torch/light, these pack down to nothing and have the obvious uses! (No, I trust you I’m not explaining!) DON’T SHINE IT YOUR EYES!!

8,
Leave something behind, a day, weekend or week. Plan, tell people about the plan.

For days walking, time left car where your going, route, how many, age,health conditions, phone and time due back. This vital info can save time and lives. Pop it on your dash board so cars left late in the day or over night can be easily checked. And no, thieves won’t care, they’ll steal your stuff regardless…

Same again for weekends, no hard with giving this info to rangers or informing mountain rescue they’d rather know and advise than deploy a team of 16 people, put them at risk because you didn’t plan.

Weeks & further.
Expedition plans are not daft and stupid, basic routes, hospitals, food points, shops for spares/villages and possible places to stay and details of possible extraction points (transport out!) do this on a simple day by day basis and cover basics such as important medical info (in language of country your in) do plans for estimated daily distances and for worst case (target 80 miles, bad day option of say 60)

Yes I know there is also visa and many other things to think about too! I’m Trying to help you think of basics…

9,
Skills, carry those. If your going to plan a trip include cost of training. Map reading, first aid, a bush craft weekend, what ever it is get skills. Better to look stupid in a safe place where your their to learn than in dangerous place where it could go horribly wrong…

10,
Carry flipping kit appropriate for the adventure you are doing!! Get comfortable with leaving stuff behind, packing too much can be the downfall of a trip too. But do remember this is a skill, knowing what you can do without isn’t pot luck, it’s time taken gaining experience.

I’d love to know what you’d carry, what you’d leave behind, what you’d take! I know this has some seriously obvious items missed off like iPad (joke!) I mean first aid kit, but no point taking one without the skills to use it, is their?

Happy & safe adventuring!

Russ.

Thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro? Here’s my tips to help you along..

Kilimanjaro, it’s an unforgettable experience, one of the seven summits (highest mountain on each continent) is the worlds highest free standing mountain and one of few places on earth you can see 5 landscapes in one place.

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Memories are made here, friendships are born and self worth is found. A place where not just the fittest and strongest survive.

GET IT BOOKED

Do it, don’t sit keep waiting for the right time or a special date in your life. GET IT DONE. Get it booked early anything upto 18 months is quiet normal lead in time, to get ready buy the kit, get fit. And pay for the dam thing! If your fit and have kit then a few months lead in is fine!

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Train, train, train.
For 8-9 days you’ll be on your feet 10 hours a day. Can you do that? Give it a go, walk all day. Miles in the tank speaks volumes, and yes course it’s a mountain but you don’t need a year of climbing big scary dangerous mountains. You can train on local hills and slowly add weight to a bag a 20l pack will do! You can also use a treadmill on incline, but nothing beats being outside.

Breathing will be important to open up the lungs and get quick recovery going you can sprint between lampposts then reduce it to a jog for the next lamppost.

Have you ever?

You’ll most likely be camping for 8 days. So have you done it before? Sounds daft, but sleep is so so crucial to success here.

Get sleeping outside, book weekends away where you can use a camp site as the base to walk from, Peak District and new Forrest are both perfect places to give this a go. You don’t have to have camped for the full duration but do concider a week.

Weight and traveling.

Weight, your tour operator and guide will give you a 15kg weight limit. Your flight will give you a 20kg allowance. Take as much as you can and strip it down and leave it at your hotel. This is a standard practise with the guides to make sure they get the packs light enough for porters to carry, and they do weight the bags at your entry gate to the mountain….

Also in your day pack (hand luggage) carry a days or two of clothes and wear your boots! Just in case they lose your main bag you can still walk and have bare minimum clothing. You can rent everything else there! Also pack your electrical items in hand luggage too! And don’t forget to take spare batteries, it gets cold which drains Battery life. You might even go as far as renting a nice camera, we cannot all afford a posh one!

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Snacks.

Fuelling is ever so important. You shouldn’t be trying to eat weird sports type stuff, unless that’s your normal diet. As you’ve weight to use pack flap jacks, nuts and dried fruit. And maybe electrolytes too, great for keeping your body going….

Sleeping.

There’s nothing more important! SERIOUSLY PEOPLE! As above in in three, get your sleeping nailed, be happy with the kit and make sure it’s warm enough. You can rent a good sleeping bag these days so no issue, but, you need to get some love action with the sleeping matt! Try plenty of different ones, borrow from friends, buy second hand, get the right kit.

Medication/inoculations & Diamox, yea I said it!

Now I’m no doctor or in anyway had medical training, so do seek professional advice here gang. Personally unless you are on medication DON’T take any with you. I personally wouldn’t be happy using Diamox, but, you’ll be paying (or should be) for a suitably medically trained team member to be on the team and they WILL assess and make a decision..

Inoculations, unless you’re well traveled its a fair few jabs to get done and you NEED to get them a few months before you go, so spare the stress and get them booked up quick, also this can be costly so factor this into your trip budget, yes budget!!

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That’s me folks, thanks for reading. I hope some of it is useful. If you’ve not booked yet the big travel companies give an ok service, BUT, fundamentally they use local guides and are just taking a big profit, you can find smaller outfits that do land cost only and use the exact guides and porters. That also gives you control over your flights and when you come and go! Good luck, and if you’ve any questions please drop me a message!

Russ.

It’s not you, it’s me. Seriously.

It’s strange sometimes how things can affect you; it’s taken me the best part of seven months to get my head around but as 2015 draws to a close I’ve spent more than half of it with anxiety of being around people and in crowded places.

I can put my finger on why, I know exactly what’s caused it and my close friends will know. I realised a fair chunk of time back when I was sat in a pub with pretty much my close friends getting ready to hit a inner London Micro Adventure up, and well, it swept up over me and I just couldn’t describe it I just didn’t feel like I could stay, I left on my own making up some wildly strange excuse. As soon as I’d left the pub and I was along it was gone.

This is the first time I’ve mentioned it to anyone other than my Partner, I couldn’t be sure when it would pop up and to what extent, some days I’d be fine others I wouldn’t be able to leave the house, mostly I’d just get to the shop at the quietest time grab some bits and head home behind the security of my door…
The easiest time I’ve had all year is alone on my scoot, the fact that I didn’t really see or chat to anyone wasn’t an accident I’d gone out my way to avoid people or places what so ever… or being in the wilderness with Jana that’s been my saviour for the year I must say.

2016 is going to bring its own self-imposed challenges, I’m still recognising new parts of my behaviour that are of a result of how I’m feeling. Shopping seems to be a sticking point where I’m at the buying the bare minimum and getting out of there ASAP.

I only decided to share this as I’m weekly forcing myself into these situations that make feel anxious in fact as it’s that festive season and as I’m typing its that time RIGHT NOW to go and put myself in that place again.

I’m not watching over my shoulder anymore, and I’m in a safer place now, a place that’s letting me grow in confidence as a person I feel secure again.

So, If I’ve said I’ll come to something this year and been a party pooper my apologies you now know why. I guess it’s not you, it’s me…

Top five tips for getting cycling in 2016.

My five tips for your 2016 cycle campaign:

1,
If you’re about to buy a bike and start riding whether it be to work for or fitness don’t worry about the weight too much, build the leg strength now and that next bike upgrade will see massive speed and smile gains! It’s kind of like a bike YTS, we all started on a rubbish or mediocre bike, even the pro’s so bide your time and learn the craft on a solid stable machine.

2,
If you’re commuting DON’T ride clip in’s there really is no point you’ll spend as much time messing around clipping out and in at junctions! I still debate using clip in’s for the commute. You can buy pedals with clip in on one side and flats on the other if you must give it go. And if you do, break steady and early for stopping and clip out with plenty of time! Hitting the deck clipped in hurts your pride far far more that your body!

3,
RIDING ON THE DROPS! A Pet hate, I see so many new riders in the city and out and about riding on the drops and bouncing around struggling and fighting with the bike. Stay up on the hoods and after a few months if you must, find a quiet park to practise moving from hoods to drops and back over and over.

4,
Gear, it’s tough this time of year sticking to a cycle commute so to help keep that promise to yourself invest in the warm winter gear even on warm days that wind chill can really hit you! And now’s the time to buy, with the January sales in full force. OH, I should add lights too, yes lights. I use them day and night being seen is no joke. Always carry them and buy USB rechargeable ones so you never get caught short.

5,
Butt Butter, WHO KNEW! I was told about these magical products 700 miles in to a 900 mile cycle trip once the arse-biscuits had already set it, I didn’t have time to find a bike shop to get some but have been told they work wonders for the more shall we say delicate areas. Chaffing’s not cool in anyone’s book! AND, use god damn padded cycle shorts/leggings too, they seriously help.

6,
Carry spares! There’s nothing nice about being stood on the road side with a puncture with no spares. And eventually the excuse for being late because “I had a puncture and didn’t have spares” does at some point run out…

Keep it simple: A hand pump, if you’re posh get an air cartridge jobie, tire levers, make sure they are tough, if you’re strange (like me) these can be used as spoons too! (or if you’re from up north, just use spoons as tire levers…….) TRUE STORY!

Where was I, oh yes, puncture repair kit, no bike owner should ever go without slightly stuck together fingers. They’re not heavy or take up much space so be sure to include it in your kit.

INNER TUBE, you might think just the repair kit will do. No, hell no, all sorts of witch craft happens once you’ve repaired a tube, the normal rules of life don’t apply. It’s very much belt and braces here people!!

Mini tool thing, yea you know the ones where nothing quite works properly you can never really use it like the real home tools, well, you need one, even if it’s to graze the skin off your knuckles that one time you’ll use it on a freezing cold morning.

Wake up you’re a cyclist we all have to go through this pain, this anguish. And for the record, yes thin surgical gloves for changing inner tubes are helpful. Oil, Grease and brake dust will survive a nuclear zombie apocalypse, still sat on your grips or bar tape..

7,
You might ask, a 7th? Yes last helpful tips. And on a serious note, take a read through the Cycle Highway code, yes whether you have a vehicular licence or not. PLEASE PLEASE don’t buy a bike and go jump straight on public highways. They are dangerous places at the best of times. And lastly, ask at bike shops and find out from the local councils about cycle maintenance courses, sometimes you can get a free course and its worth any cost you might incur in the long run, labour costs and waiting times for repairs could see you off your bikes for a few weeks, and no one needs to be that sad in life!

These all seem pretty simple idea’s but let’s face it with all the will in the world sticking to a new year resolution or even making one without the right equipment to keep you going can be so self-destructive. Don’t set yourself up for failure! I hope to see you out on two wheels full of smiles and happiness!

Ps, yes naming a bike and it being a boy or girl bike is expected of you. And yes we all talk to our bikes too… (looking for a friend here!)

Top tips for becoming an endurance space hopper….

Tips for becoming a endurance space hopper athlete!

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1,
SIZE, its all about what you’ve got between your legs. Make sure your space hopper is the right size for you. Under 5’9 you’ll want a 65cm. over 5’9 go bigger 85cm is the next size up…

2,
LOVE HANDLES….
Its horns or handles in this game baby! Holding horns can be dam hard work so chose carefully. Handles make less work and give you hold options…

3,
SMOOOTH!
Chaffing, you grip the ball with the back of your legs and your fore arms rub on the thighs, go long lycra if you can, long duration will cause baby smooth skin!!

4,
PUMP IT UP!
By default bouncing on a ball will make it deflate, it’ll need a pump up around every mile, so spares and a pump are good idea’s..

5,
Scratchy bum.
The hoppers underbelly will get seriously scratched up, think about the location and route of your journey! Also, hopping up hill is dam tough, stay on the flat.

6,
GO LONG, and high.
It’s almost impossible to just go long and low, length comes with height but be careful if you’re not fully in control you can easily get thrown off…

7,
FUEL
It’s a tough choice, drinking and eating whilst bouncing up and down can be daft just daft. Sip water and take small bites of food. Don’t take on loads of anything you’ll just throw it back up!
8,
Don’t underestimate how much fun this really is! And for £15, everyone should have space hopper!

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