Cycling in Worcester
By Tracy Rack, Personal Fitness Coach based in Worcester
One of the amazing things about living in a city like ours, is the fact that it’s so compact. It’s easy to get around, especially by bike! Add to that the fact that we are surrounded by the loveliest countryside, and it will keep you fit, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to ride.
Commuting by bike is brilliant as we have dedicated cycle routes that will get you into town from various places without having to battle with traffic. It’s such a great way to start the day, you’ll have done more exercise than most of the population by 9am, so you can wander round your workplace with a smug grin on your face for the rest of the day. Until it starts raining and you have to ride home...BUT if you have a good set of waterproofs you’ll be fine!
Those same cycle routes will carry you out to Pershore, over to Malvern (if you’re loopy enough to want to ride up the hills), or off to Droitwich along the canal. My favourite route is the one to Pershore, which is just beautiful. Wherever you are in Worcester, you’re just a few minutes away from rolling hills, lush fields and woods, beautiful views and clean, fresh air, so how lovely to be able to get out into all that and breathe it in.
I have a couple of friends who are moving to Worcester at the moment. Most weekends they’re over here, roaming round the city on their bikes, finding all the little treasures that we as residents can lose touch with. If you want to fall in love with your home city again, get on a bike and use a fresh pair of eyes to look around.
Then there’s hills. I love hills. And yes, I do realise I’m probably alone in that. But they make me feel like little mini interval sessions have been left lying around for me to intersperse with my bike ride. As I am a fitness geek, and always loving ways of making workouts more effective in a shorter space of time, hills fit right in with my way of thinking.
If you cycle for fitness, look out for, and climb as many hills as you can. There are loads! I can particularly recommend the top of Redhill Lane if you want a ‘fitness test’ type of hill. When I first started riding it, I would grind to a halt (and topple over) before I got to the top. Now, although I wouldn’t say I fly up it, I can definitely do it, so it’s a great benchmark of fitness.
What else can I tell you about cycling? It’s good for shaping your legs as well as your cardiovascular fitness. That’s a nice thing. So keep cycling through the autumn and watch the leaves change color. Cycle through winter and feel invigorated by the (very) fresh air. Just avoid the icy days, it’s never fun feeling like Bambi on two wheels. And please get yourself a helmet. Worcester is so perfectly placed to mix up the urban conveniences and the gorgeous openness of the countryside that you’re missing out big-time if you don’t go and explore it all on a bike.
Tracy Reck is a Worcester-based personal trainer who runs a virtual health club online, helping people to break bad habits and build great ones around fitness and food. Find out more at www.the12habits.co.uk