How to eat cake and lose weight

Monday, 28th September 2015

Author: .

Cyclists at Earlswood
Cyclists at Earlswood

Bet they’ll all know each other, be really fit and won’t like newbies slowing them down I thought , waiting at Billesley Leisure Centre for my first all-women group bike ride one Monday morning.  Women started arriving in singles and twos until there were about ten of us, all shapes, sizes and ages, and (yes!) not all in Lycra.  As the numbers grew so did the volume of several simultaneous conversations and it was a good ten minutes after I’d been introduced to the ride leaders and been promised they never left anyone behind and didn’t go too fast that we remembered what we were doing there and set off.

Our high vis and helmeted crocodile made its way cautiously a couple of miles through suburban traffic and then suddenly (who knew!) we were in the middle of glorious Warwickshire countryside and there was a buzzard gliding on thermals above the field next to the single track road we were riding down.

I’d spent decades in the city working long hours and taxiing kids to various activities.  Travelling everywhere by car I had no idea what we had on the doorstep off the main roads.  Fantastic views of rolling green countryside, villages full of ancient half-timbered cottages and quaint churches, birdsong, the smell of wood smoke in the winter and cut grass in the summer, just three miles from my Moseley home.  All that and good company too.

It was my son’s partner who first suggested I try bike riding with an all-women group…. They’d be less competitive than groups including men and more likely to be helpful to inexperienced riders she said.  That’s how it turned out to be.

I also noticed rides were carefully planned to incorporate coffee stops involving cake.  After all, if you ride for an hour and a half, surely you’re entitled to cake with your coffee?  You’ll need the energy for the hour and a half ride back, right?

Not only can you eat cake, I heard.  I sat next to a woman who’d lost two stones in about a year, one of several with dramatic weight loss stories to tell.  She began the 5-2 diet and went on rides once then twice a week after hardly being able to cycle at all when she started.  Her motivation, apart from getting fitter, was to eat cake at coffee stops.

That was a year ago.  Since then, she’s doubled the number of rides a week, and the number of coffee and cake stops.  She’s also lost another stone and goes on club rides with her husband and early twenties children.  And me?  I haven’t lost weight, but when I started I thought ten miles sounded a very long way to cycle.  My best distance so far is 60.   I’m fitter, the rides are fun and for me they beat the gym even when it’s raining.

If you’re interested in giving it a go… breezebikerides.com or breeze@britishcycling.org.uk or just type skyride into your search engine and that will give you all kinds of organised rides in the area, including men too.