FORMER Olympic Snowboarder and cycling enthusiast, Aimee Fuller, is backing a British Heart Foundation (BHF) campaign to get people cycling this winter.
Aimee, who has been taking on the BHF’s MyCycle challenge throughout January, is no stranger to motivating herself to get out in the cold, dark weather.
Aimee discovered a love for cycling in Mammoth, California whilst injured in 2012. Aimee said:
“I first got really into cycling when I bruised my heels at a snowboarding training camp. I couldn’t snowboard but would cycle up to meet the team. At altitude, it was brutal! I found it took my fitness to a whole new level.
“Lockdown gave me an opportunity to really get back into cycling over the summer. It was a great way to keep active and get out of the house. For winter I have a different approach to exercising. For me, a routine is key – as well as taking the pressure off. You don’t have to ‘smash it’ every time, I see any form of exercise as nourishment for both the body and soul.”
Aimee shares her top tips to help you brave the elements and get out for a ride this winter:
- Preparation is key
I find exercising in the morning the best strategy for me. I lay my clothes out the night before, so I have set a precedent for what I want to achieve. A little hack is to put them on the radiator, so you are getting into toasty clothes before you head out into the cold!
Also, check what the weather’s going to be like and plan your route to avoid getting lost. It’s also handy to carry a small mechanic kit with you in case you get a puncture, or at the very least have someone who could give you a lift if it does happen.
- Staying warm and dry
There is nothing worse than being cold and wet so dress warm, layer up, and always have a waterproof ready so there are no excuses. If you’re cycling, I would recommend investing in a good pair of gloves (with grip) and waterproof gear, like a jacket and hat, which will also help keep the elements at out. The BHF have some great cycling tops and base layers available.
- Light it up!
You need to have a light on the front and the back of your bike so make sure you stay safe and light up. As important as it is for you to see, it’s just as important for people to see you. Be sure to wear reflective gear when you’re cycling in the dark.
- Set a goal
If you struggle to motivate yourself when it’s cold and dark then why not set yourself a challenge. A BHF survey found that setting a target, such as signing up to a challenge like a bike ride or marathon, has helped a quarter (25%) of people get fitter in the past.
Joining Aimee and signing up for a challenge like MyCycle is a great way to stay motivated and keep you cycling throughout the winter months.
- Have something to look forward to
I always try to remind myself how great I will feel after a ride. Sometimes a simple thing such as a cup of tea, a hearty breakfast or a warm shower is a great reward when you return. Get out there and get your heart pumping. Sometimes it’s more the mental reward than the physical, which can set you up for the day.
- Train inside
Let’s be honest sometimes the weather can defeat even the hardiest of cyclists. If it is too cold and wet to cycle outdoors don’t be afraid to mix up your routine and book onto a spin class or head to the gym (if restrictions allow). Luckily when it comes to MyCycle it doesn’t matter if you’re inside or out on the road. All that matters is that you’re pedalling to help power the BHF’s life-saving research.
MyCycle is the is BHF’s virtual cycling challenge. It has three challenges suitable for riders of all cycling abilities. You can choose to ride 100, 200 or 300+ miles over 30 days and raise vital funds for the BHF’s life-saving research. It doesn’t matter how you cover the distance.
Cyclists who raise £150 or more for the BHF will receive an exclusive MyCycle medal to celebrate their achievement. This combined with the knowledge that every mile you complete will help fund the BHF’s vital research into heart and circulatory diseases is sure to keep you pedalling.
Join Aimee this winter and get on your bike for the BHF’s MyCycle challenge. Start riding to build up the miles and help raise vital funds for life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases.
For more information, please visit: www.bhf.org.uk/mycycle