Progress on the rookie road racer!

July has been pretty challenging on the fitness front. Cycling reminds you that you need to get your body dimensions and weight in order (joy!), and, that you need the flexibility and stamina to sustain the training and riding (ouch!), as well as appreciating the recovery activities (ahhhh!).  The culinary aspects of keeping in good shape have made this summer pretty exciting – developing recipes for fruity rice and oat cakes and nutty breakfast granola has been a yummy revelation 🙂

So continuing from the rookie rides in Jodoigne, I found myself in the area of Holsbeek on a chilly morning in mid-July togged up with arm and leg warmers.

Chilly start in Holsbeek

Castelli arm and leg warmers, Shock Absorber running bra and Assos overshoe socks

Even when the weather is forecast to be warm, the early mornings can be unpredictable, especially in northern Europe. I wear the Castelli arm and leg warmers on most rides, as shown below, which can be easily removed and stashed in the saddle bag as the temperature warms up.

These warmers will work with most cycling tops. I have Assos and Castelli cycling tops, with and without sleeves, to create a layering system that can cope with unpredictable weather! And if rain is forecast, I can rely on my light Craft waterproof jacket that folds up very tight for the saddlebag.

Women’s Assos cycling tops

I used to wear Castelli cycling shorts back in 1998 – 2000, but this time I decided to try women’s bibshorts to see if they were more comfortable. I have to admit that I love them (although I’m less keen on the price tag!). There is no waistband to squeeze you and the bodice is carefully constructed to comfortably fit around delicate areas.

Bodice part of the women’s Assos bibshorts

The day after Holsbeek the weather looked so promising that we headed to discover the greener part of Brussels. Arm warmers were rolled down pretty early in the morning and the weather was perfect. Riding out from Brussels city towards Leefdaal reminds you that the ‘real Belgium’ is not so far from the less inspiring beige EU district and the kebab boulevards of the city.

Riding towards Leefdaal (Brussels ride)

Waterside cafe at Tervuren (Brussels ride)

The weekend after we headed towards Tremelo; an area I’ve come to like for reasons still unknown! Besides feeling like every Belgian was on a bike that day, which made cycling with stealth a little trickier, this is a nice area to enjoy your bike and take in plenty of sights. As with most of the road kerbsides and cycle paths, the quality of the surface is not great. Some towns are worse than others and as a rider you must be alert the holes, glass and vanishing cycle lanes. There were shoals of cycling clubs everywhere and this in itself made it an interesting trip out… M even tried to catch the tail of one shoal swishing past us but I couldn’t maintain the pace to keep up 😉  Another time maybe…

Cycle either side of the Mechelen-Leuven Canal (Boortmeerbeek ride)

Cycle path on the Mechelen-Leuven Canal (Boortmeerbeek ride)

 

Originally published: Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 at 23:00 in Living matter, Monologues

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