The first two months of the year saw supply and demand for bikes at summertime levels, despite extremely cold and testing weather conditions. That, along with warmer temperatures on the horizon, 2021 has the foundations to be a legacy year for cycling.
Among those riding through the winter towards British summertime are the Bott Cycle Team, a group of five past and present national and international champions from Lancashire/Greater Manchester.
Bott and Co have been backing the team through the pandemic and beyond. As part of our commitment to the sport of cycling and road safety, we have once again renewed our sponsorship of the Bott Cycling Team for the 8th year.
We check in with the team to see how they’re getting on with lockdown life and what has helped them keep their feet on the pedals.
Lockdown 3.0 Cycling Resolutions?
– The only resolution I made was to keep getting out as much as possible to give my mind and body a break from being in the house and sat down too much.
– None other than to try and keep doing what I can mostly indoors on the trainer.
– I have just tried to continue with my training programme, although this has proven difficult from a psychological point of view as there have been very few, if any races happening. Personally, my main reason for cycling is to compete in triathlon so it sometimes feels pointless, but I have tried to maintain a positive outlook.
– I have been trying to keep up a decent level of fitness from both a mental and physical aspect. Like many, I’ve been working from home since the first lockdown was announced. As good as this is from a travelling point-of-view, it’s essential that I try and ensure I get out of the house as often as I can. Unfortunately, the weather always seems to be best (relatively speaking), in the week when I’m working, so turbo training forms the most part of my workouts throughout the week. I’ve also been trying to watch what I eat. Being at home, it’s far too easy to trot-off down to the kitchen for a brew and…biscuits! There is also very often some cake baking activity going on by my wife and daughter.
– Work has continued for myself which has created some normality and so I have just tried to keep other things normal and training like I would at this time of year pre-covid-19. I hope racing will resume later in the year and I want to be ready for when that day finally comes.
Cycling In Lockdown 3.0 Vs Previous Two?
AW – The main difference for me is the weather. The previous lockdowns, especially the first one, had wonderful weather which made you want to get out of the house. we have had a lot of rain and ice in this one which makes it hard to find motivation when there is no racing or competitions to train for specifically.
RH – The first lockdown was very dramatic. The roads were empty and lots of people out on bikes due to the lack of traffic and fantastic weather – it was great. Second lockdown was different as the roads were a bit busier and now in this third lockdown I’m finding that the roads are as busy as ever with the only thing missing being the school traffic. I am also seeing a lot more people out walking as it is less appealing to ride outdoors at this time of year.
JH – The first lockdown took place in wonderful weather so getting outside was brilliant and I tried to stay within about 30 miles of home when cycling outside. I could not believe the amount of people outside on bikes, the traffic was very light and that made for a good experience. The weather has been horrible during this current lockdown and in my view the traffic has been back to almost normal levels too, and so I’ve done more indoor cycling recently.
RL – To be honest, I really enjoyed the first Lockdown. The weather was glorious for the most part, and the great advantage of working from home was that I could start work early, finish early and get out for a few hours after work. Obviously, this lockdown has fallen over Winter, so my outdoor riding has been confined to weekends when possible. Though having a dog does help with the routine of getting out and exercising.
KS – The weather is the biggest difference. During the first lockdown the sun was out and nearly everyone was at home. At times it seemed as though everyone was either cycling, running or walking. I was getting fit and going well on the bike. I missed racing so I started doing Strava segment racing. Got a few KOMS and found it quite interesting going out to attack a few segments and seeing how I had done when I got home.
With the nice weather and Strava, I found myself enjoying the first lockdown and still thought we would be racing soon. In the end I managed to race some time trials and was quite happy with how I did. This lockdown is a lot harder to keep the motivation. I had kept a good routine up to Christmas and was fitter than normal. Since Christmas it has all been turbo indoor bike work which can be a bit boring but the fear of not being fit makes me do it. I aim for five days a week, but never do more than an hour. Now the thought of spring round the corner keeps me going.
Cycling Kit That’s Kept You Going?
AW – something that has definitely made cycling better during this lockdown is a windproof jacket supplied by our friends at bio-racer. It has kept me warm through the dreadful weather.
RH – Has to be my Smart Trainer and Zwift – these two items allow me to keep riding indoors in my garage three or four times a week to keep some condition and even start to think about getting fit for when we can start racing again. I run a couple of group sessions on Zwift each week and they are well attended with sometimes 30-40 riders.
Zwift allows us to ride together virtually and we also get linked up for sound so we can chat as we ride. One session is a social ride and the other a more serious workout. Riding for 1-2 hours indoors is easily possible in these Zwift group situations and the time passes quickly as we chat.
JH – My turbo trainer has been a godsend. This is something that you attach your normal outdoor bike to so it can be used indoors.
RL – Turbo trainer, power meter and Zwift/TrainerRoad. I used to use TrainerRoad almost exclusively for turbo training but decided on a change a while back to see what all the fuss was about with Zwift.
Good fun, but I’ve just recently gravitated back to TrainerRoad. As good as Zwift is, it’s too easy to get caught up in the moment and what should be an easy ride turns into another smash-fest. A bit like going to the local chain gang with the view to “just sitting-on tonight”, and next thing you know you’re seeing stars on or near the front! Oh, and I’ve recently discovered the absolute joy of taking an insulated drinks container out with me on cold weather rides. I discovered the Contigo flasks we have for walking fit well in the bike bottle cages, so some hot tea or juice is a nice change to throwing glacial water down your neck!
KS – Especially during this cold lockdown, it has to be the turbo trainer and Rouvy (Rouvy have put up the price so thinking of changing to Zwift). These and Heart Radio 80s blasting out now make indoor training pretty good, and great for structured training.
During the first lockdown I got my racing frame resprayed to the same colours of the Canyon DHB Pro team bikes, looks fantastic and the blue Bott and Co team tops give me a very pro look. Getting a frame resprayed is a great way to give you the look of a new bike for much less money, and the new looking bike really did give me a boost.
Cycling And Staying Local Guidance…
AW – It is very difficult to stay local (within 5 miles of home) when you are an endurance athlete. I have tried to do it by just riding circuits close to home but this is incredibly boring and has a lot more traffic than my usual country lane routes.
RH – What’s local? For me it’s anything in a 20 mile radius from where I live or in time terms that’s typically 1-2 hour rides. Sunday rides would be 60-80 miles in normal times so it’s all relative to the individual. More important is to stick to the rules of not riding in groups, one other person only, which doesn’t affect me much as I do most of my training on my own during the week. I do have a regular weekend group I meet with but we are not doing this at the moment.
JH – For one thing, I think the definition of local is very much open to interpretation. For some people, a twenty-minute cycle ride is more than enough but for someone who is used to riding 6 hours plus it can be very difficult to adhere to this rule.
RL – I can understand the stay local guidance from a point-of-view if you were driving out with an MTB on your roof up to the peaks/lakes or are used to stopping for café stops on a long ride, but I don’t really see the difference in me doing a 10-mile circuit several times to doing a 60/80-mile loop once. I don’t tend to stop on longer rides unless it’s hot and I might stop at a service station to re-fill the bidons.
KS – My longer rides are about 70 to 80 miles which I did quite often during the first lockdown. One thing I did during the first lockdown was ride on my own and took all that I needed with me, to prevent myself from having to stop or go into any shops. This time, I’ve stuck to the spare bedroom and riding in a group on Rouvy.
Found Any New Cycle Routes Or Reached Any Personal Cycling Goals?
AW – I have used my mountain bike quite a bit because of the icy roads and have found some really nice trails to ride locally which makes it easier to motivate myself to get out.
RH – I have explored some local off-road routes recently on my mountain bike but I’m a roadie really, so I don’t do a lot of off road stuff.
JH – I have been paying more attention to strength and conditioning. Not a cycling related goal, but I have baked a cake almost every week since it all began, something which I’d not done for about 20 years and I think I’ll carry on doing.
RL – Not really. I like trying to find new routes though. Programs like Komoot are great for plotting routes and uploading to devices. Over the summer I did finally manage to circumnavigate Preston, heading north of where I live. Using the Preston Guild Wheel cycle path is a nice detour around the outskirts of the town that eventually brings you out near Woodplumpton from where you are on to Beacon Fell.
KS – With the great weather during the first lockdown and not racing, I did some great rides. These were not new routes but ones I had not done for over 30 years. I got out around Hebden Bridge, which has some great roads and climbs. I also got round Slaidburn and over Tatham Fell, a fantastic road.
In the summer, when there were no lockdown restrictions in place, six of us went up to the Lake District and did the Fred Witton route, that’s hard enough to put down as a personal goal. For when we eventually get back to racing, I have a few goals building up in my head.
Bott and Co have been obtaining justice for victims of cycling accidents for more than fourteen years. When you make a claim with Bott and Co, not only are you drawing on a combined 100 years of legal experience representing 1000’s of cyclists, but you are also choosing a cyclist to represent you.