I say goodbye and you say hello! (just for 2 weeks)

Just a few lines. Suitcase packed – 3kg over and cannot make it different regardless of what tactics I use 🙂 Oh well! Tomorrow I board a plane for New York then change for another one to Costa Rica for 2 weeks of cycling holiday. I can’t wait!

Not sure if I will be able to post anything when I am there – or if I have enough time for that but expect a nice looong post when I am back on 21 November.

I will leave you with a few snaps from my photo shoot for the upcoming website:

session

And keep up the good work challengers! First week is behind us. If you want to join us – you can still do it! Check out what the challenges are all about here. Keep sharing your comments and photos of the green smoothies here and on the Smart Fitness FB page here.

Ride on!

Should I or shouldn’t I?

When I was growing up in Poland everyone was cycling. A bike was on top of the list of gifts we would get for the first communion. I got mine and it was beautiful. I just realised it was red, just as my current one!

My mum’s younger sister took it upon herself to teach me to ride. The preferred method in mid 80s was to wedge a long stick behind the saddle so the “instructor” would hold on to it without touching the actual bike and just keep you balanced.

I don’t remember every detail of that lesson but I remember the universal things every kid says whatever country they are from when they get on their first bike: “Just don’t let go OK? I will tell you when to let go OK? Are you holding? Are you sure?” and you were pedalling on that tarmac road – no helmet or padding. Who has even heard of such stuff back then? And as my aunt’s repeated: “Yes. I am. I am still holding. No, I won’t let go. I am holding. I am holding” faded away I came to realise SHE WASN’T HOLDING ANYMORE! That promptly made me lose my balance even though I have been doing great over the last whatever meters… Oh, the joys of learning to ride the bike.

I spent all my school years, so from the age of 10 to age of 15, cycling regularly. We had this green bike with no gears – you would pedal forwards only. If you moved backwards that was the break. Mind boggles. And then we added a blue one that would pass for a hybrid in those days. That one had gears and it was considered posh.

After that I did not cycle outdoors until 2010. When I got on my friend’s bike I was scared but then shocked that you don’t forget a skill that you have learnt but not used for around 16 years!

But back then I was into running. Until my disk went that is. After the surgery when I started walking and sitting properly again it was time to get back into exercise. Running was out of the question so I started indoor cycling classes again. I used to love them before my back problems. I started slowly with 15min at a time. And a set up that I would call a cruiser bike. You get the picture.

Then as it was helping me so much and there was so little else I could do I decided to do the teaching qualification. And the rest is history. 2.5 years and over 600 classes taught.

Around a year and a half ago came the idea of getting a bike. My red Pinnacle Warhorse arrived via cycle to work scheme with a condition from my managing director that I would not cycle to work 🙂 So I didn’t. I took it around Norfolk over Easter 2014:

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then Sussex in summer

That's my family behind me :)

That’s my family behind me 🙂

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and Holland at Easter 2015:

Pinnacle Warhorse

Pinnacle Warhorse

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I managed to squeeze 8 days in Spain too which was magnificent!

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With Nacho the Guide

With Nacho the Guide

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This year you have already heard of my Tour of Cambridge. I don’t know if anything else comes in between but in November I am off to cycling in South America. Nicaragua, Panama & Costa Rica so expect a long entry on that one.

So to answer the question above: yes, you should get a bike this summer.

Taking the outdoors in and indoors out – what is this blog all about?

Hello and welcome to my blog. I have been toying with this idea for a while. Every time I have got some thoughts after an indoor cycling class I have just taught or a teaching experience I would love to share with my participants or fellow instructors, I find that FB is not always the best place to put anything too lengthy. Not to mention Twitter! Hence I decided to give blogging a go.

This blog will have two sides. First, my take on indoor cycling as an instructor – so advice for people taking the classes both from the technical point of view and more general stuff from the group exercise perspective. I will be reviewing cycling programmes, giving my opinion on indoor bike types etc. and talking about challenges I set in my classes from time to time.

The second part will document my journey as I venture into the world of outdoor cycling, carbon wheels, Vaseline, least damaging saddles, Garmins, Strava and battling the winds on the hills of Richmond Park or occasionally Westerham Hill or Crystal Palace. Or more recently in the Tour of Cambridgeshire. I am only at the start of it so it will be great to have you on the journey.

I will also be reporting from more leisurely trips here. The ones taken on my trusted Pinnacle hybrid bike that took me around Norfolk, Sussex and Holland so far. Plus tales from cycling holidays using locally rented bikes: Spain already in the past and South America coming next in November 2015.

I am ready. I usually start my classes like this:

I am Izabela. we have 45min workout to do so let’s do it! Relax your upper body, your neck, roll the shoulders back and down, lean from your hips forward and get your hands comfortably on the handlebars. Resistance nice and easy but make sure you stay in control of your bike. Take a deep breath in and let’s go!