Goldilocks and the Cycling Backpacks

backpackOk so, at long last, you’ve decided that, the time has come to brave the outdoors and go cycling. You’ve planned an all-day excursion so, of course, unless you plan on starving or spending tons of money at a restaurant, you’re going to need a few supplies. However, your Louis Vuitton bag won’t cut it so, what on earth are you supposed to take? Well, the answer is, of course, as usual, blatantly obvious; a backpack. However, the real question is not what sort of backpack to take, it’s where to find a suitable backpack which isn’t too big or heavy. So, Goldilocks, which backpack will be just right?

Re-use It

Well, if you happen to have a laptop which you carry to and from work every day, you will probably own a laptop backpack. Now, the brilliant thing about a laptop backpacks is that, they have more uses that simply carrying your laptop from place to place. If you didn’t know this before, you might be interested to know that, you can actually use your laptop backpack to put supplies in whilst you’re cycling.

For Goldilocks

Let’s just run through a list of why your laptop backpack will be absolutely perfect for cycling. Well, first things first, laptop backpacks are designed for people who either run, cycle or walk to work and so therefore wish to carry their laptop on their backs. They are lightweight and breathable. This means that, no, you will not be weighed down by what feels like a ton of bricks resting on your back. Another perk of laptop backpacks is that, well, they’re the perfect size; not too big, not too small, they’re just right. This is great because, you do not want to have to cram all of your food and water for a hard day of cycling into one minuscule backpack, do you?

Use What You’ve Already Got

A laptop backpack is also a good idea if you’re not going to be going out on the bike all day every day. You see, if this isn’t going to be a regular fixture, you don’t really want to spend a bomb on a rucksack which, as it’s hardly a fashion statement, will rarely be used again after its first excursion. Therefore, in the interest of economising, using a backpack which you already own is probably a better plan rather than offering the local cycle shop your custom.

When it comes to finding a backpack to take cycling, a laptop is probably a better choice than a cycling backpack due to it being the perfect size, usually having a couple of separate compartments to keep liquids and food apart- trust me, you do not want to end up with soggy sandwiches. A well as this, there is the obvious perk of not having to spend as much money on a backpack. So, it’s time to recycle and re-use your beloved laptop backpack.

Posted in Gear   •  

Plug In and Pedal, Music for Cylcing

listening-to-musicIt seems that, in this day and age, you cannot even walk down the street without encountering at least half a dozen people all listening to music on either their phones or iPods. Whilst it might be a tad on the antisocial side if you do it whilst you’re walking next to your friend, listening to music whilst exercising comes highly recommended. You see, if you choose the right songs, you can feel as though you can run or cycle forever. That, my friends, is the true power of music. However, before you start thanking God for the music, you might want to hang around for a couple of minutes and find out which songs are the best songs to listen to for your cycling workout.

Most of the time I like to listen to house and trance whilst cycling but that may not appeal to all of you out there. For me they are both great because they are upbeat and fast which can set a good tempo. Nowadays there are so many DJs to choose from, making new tracks from their DJ equipment. I’m a bit of an amateur DJ myself and recently purchased lots of gear.

For those of you who like pop music, Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ is absolutely first class; you can tell by the lyrics- ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar’. Even if you have some slight reservations when it comes to Katy Perry, you should let go of your inhibitions when it comes to workout time and play ‘Roar’ at top volume whilst singing about how the world is going to hear you roar.

One Republic’s hit, ‘Counting Stars’ has also become a firm favourite with some of the latest DJ’s but, it turns out that, it’s actually very beneficial for workouts. Whilst its lyrics might be a tad on the melancholy side, it’s actually got quite an upbeat tune. It’s definitely one song which you won’t regret downloading from iTunes.

Another firm favourite is Mumford & Sons’ top notch song, ‘Little Lion Man’. Come on, it’s catchy AND inspirational. What more do you want from a workout song? Now, I know that, Mumford & Sons might not be your cup of tea but like with ‘Roar’, you should forget that, you might not like their music and croon about how it’s ‘not your fault but mine’ whilst you pedal away like a maniac.

They are the band which brought us that party staple, ‘Mr Brightside’ but, whilst THAT song is also very good for a cycling workout, you might want to focus on one of their other catchy and upbeat songs, ‘Somebody Told Me’. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I worked out without this song blaring out through my admittedly bad quality headphones.

Bohemian Rhapsody. It is one of Queen’s greatest hits and, if you haven’t heard it, I have nothing to say to you. Download it. Play it at top volume and pedal away. Need I say any more?

Whatever you choose to listen to whilst you’re cycling, make sure that it’s upbeat. Just see what the latest DJ’s are playing if you want some inspiration; come on, how often do you hear ballads being played in clubs? You want your music to be upbeat and inspirational- try ‘Fighter’ by Christina Aguilera for those low-points during your workout. Whatever you’re listening to, make sure you keep going and then, you can finish on a high.

Posted in Music   •  

The Fitness Debate: Cycling Vs. Hiking

debateIt’s been a big debate for fitness nuts for decades and now, the debate has reached boiling point. So, which is better for you: hiking or cycling?

Cycling First

Ok, let’ start with cycling. So, we all know that, cycling is one of the most effective ways known to man of both losing weight and staying fit and healthy. Whilst it is difficult to estimate exactly how many calories you will burn whilst on the bike as this depends on your weight and how long you cycle for, I estimate that, you can burn between 300 and 440 calories if you cycle at a leisurely pace for an hour. One of the great things about cycling is that it works a lot of muscles in your body. It works: your legs, abdomen and hands and back. This makes it great for toning up your body. Cycling is great for people who want to make their exercise fun and leisurely rather than intensive like running.

If you’re keen to keep your muscles long and lean, cycling is not for you as it builds extremely muscular and toned legs. Another minor drawback which I should mention is that, to cycle, you do need a bike. It sounds obvious but you wouldn’t believe how many people seem to think that they can just borrow a bike to use every day of the week. You don’t necessarily need an expensive bike unless, you’re a pro. Cycling can also be quite high impact (although not as high impact as running) so, injuries can happen if you start trying to push it too hard.

Over to Hiking

Now onto hiking. Hiking is a brilliant way of staying fit and healthy and, you don’t need much to do it. Whilst you probably could hike on a gym machine, it’s far easier just to get out into the great outdoors and climb some mountains or, perhaps hills to start off with. Walking is also quite low impact and safe unlike if you happen to be cycling like a maniac on a busy road. At a rough guess, the average hiker could probably manage to burn around 650 calories for every hour of hiking although, most hikers tend to be out and about for more than just an hour. Because walking is low impact, it causes less injuries than cycling and running so, it’s great for those who are either prone to injuries or slowly recovering from one.

The problem with hiking is that, you do need to live near somewhere which is open so, if you live in the city, it’s not for you. Hiking probably won’t get you fit as quickly as cycling does either so, if you’re looking for a quick fix, hiking probably isn’t for you. Another drawback is that, to go hiking, you have to make sure that you have hours of spare time as hiking isn’t exactly a quick activity.

Whilst both of the exercises are great for keeping fit, cycling probably just pips hiking when it comes to all-round fitness although, people argue that, hiking is more enjoyable.