Win a cycling shirt signed by Sir Bradley Wiggins!

RWB-comp We’re offering a chance for you to win a unique piece of sporting memorabilia – a  cycling shirt signed by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Sir Bradley signed the shirt at the recent ‘Ride with Brad’ event and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to give it away to one of our fans. To be in with a chance of winning click on the picture above to visit our Facebook page and follow the instructions.

If you’d like more cycling content check out our video interview with Caroline, unofficial captain of the cottages4you team, as she recounts her experience of the day.

You can also take a look at our favourite cycling routes and find cycling friendly properties on our website.

Cycle to work winners

Cycle winners lo-res

The cottages4you team took place in a cycle to work challenge this month – eventually winning with a combined distance of 842 miles over 5 days! This is the approximate road distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, so we’d like to say a big well done to everyone who took part and let them know that the cushions and ice cubes are on their way.

Find more cycling content – including some of the UK’s best routes and Grand Départ 2014 info – by visiting our website.

Tour de France Holidays – The Alps

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Just a few short weeks following Chris Froome’s victory in the Tour de France, we are all ready getting excited about next year’s race which starts in Yorkshire. This supreme test of human endurance is a prized national institution for the French, but recent success has cemented Britain’s reputation at the forefront of world cycling. First Sir Bradley Wiggins and now Chris Froome, it is possible that the current British domination is extended into the next few years – and it is the formidable aspect of the personal challenge for riders that is so enduring.

Apart from the physical examination of racing across much of France, the Tour is a mental test that creates fascinating personal struggles from stage to stage as riders pit their wits against the differing challenges that each stage demands. For many it is the ‘climbs’ through some of Europe’s most scenic mountain terrain that best exemplifies the challenge of the Tour. This year’s event was dominated by the extended mountain challenge, with riders ascending summit heights totalling 35,441 metres (bearing in mind that Everest sits at a mere 8,848 metres) nearly double the total of last year’s race. These historic mountains play host to some of the most dramatic moments in Tour history, and of course continue to fascinate fans drawn to the unique challenge of Alpine cycling.

It is against this backdrop that hardy British cycling fanatics seek to test themselves following the routes of their heroes through the epic French mountains. Without the small matter of actually racing this is an exciting challenge but is a great way to get the most out of an active holiday. Apart from the appeal of an area shrouded in sporting legend, the French Alps exude the epitome of pristine natural beauty. The physical height is matched with a sense of spiritual elevation born out of the proximity to heavens. Surveying the horizon it is very difficult to escape a feeling of awe at the raw power of nature. It is perhaps this separation from the everyday reality that is so appealing about cycling, a basic communion with the natural world.

Whilst few football fans will ever get to play at Wembley cycling fans can follow in the ‘tracks’ of the professionals which simply adds to the exhilaration of a cycling holiday in the Alps. For holidaymakers this type of adventure does not need to be daunting as many routes have professional guided tours through scenery that has stunningly lakes, glaciers and forests. The northern Alps offer some of the most popular climbs with Morzine to Alpe d’Huez a particular favourite amongst Tour enthusiasts. Picture yourself leading the peloton as you ascend to an unassailable lead in the Tour and become ‘King of the Mountains’!

Meanwhile back on Earth, and if you have the stamina, the route from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Grenoble includes one if the most challenging climbs in the shape of Col du Galibier one of the most revered in the Tour. This is a unique experience, which if you do not already have cycling in the blood will doubtless leave a lasting impression of an unforgettable holiday experiencing the essence of the mountain stages of the Tour de France.

Search for accommodation in the Alps

Ride with Brad – Rob’s Training Diary 31/07/13

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I like to get out on my mountain bike and do a short trail for about 40mins or so, and I tend to cycle at a fast pace. I cover about 7 miles. The terrain is a mix of canal footpath, dirt track, and mud. I try to get out of the saddle for bursts of speed and keep my pace changing throughout. I am hoping that this will help my legs have enough power to accelerate when I need it on the long hauls.

The other reason I like being out on my mountain bike is “I like being out on the mountain bike!” Especially getting away from the urban landscape, rolling down a mountainside, hitting jumps and drops. The constant change in terrain keeps me sharp, and most of all there are no cars. Weather isn’t an issue (within reason) .

I have a particular route I use often which is an old railway line, with no sleepers or tracks left on it. It’s great because of the mix of terrain; it also has a natural break in the middle where it leads into a town.

At this point I can:

a)     Turn back

b)     Continue on the next section

c)     Have a pit stop in the café (I’ve not done this one yet)

On the second stretch there is a STRAVA segment that I like to try and beat. I got second on it once, not sure if I still hold that position. Really this ride is all about fun, that way I will keep on keeping on.

Check out the video below to check out part of the trail and don’t forget to help me raise some funds for the Pendle Hospice.

Thanks
Rob

Rob’s taking part in the 50 kilometres route on the Ride with Brad in support of Pendleside Hospice. The event takes place on 11 August in Lancashire and will feature a host of activities in support of the main rides. Find more info on our website

Colne Grand Prix 2013

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Photo by Nigel Flory

We had a fantastic time at the Colne Grand Prix last Wednesday night – thanks to everyone who came down on a lovely summer’s evening to support the competitors and witness one of the UK’s finest criterium races.

For those who missed it, the 10th Grand Prix took place in the centre of Colne and the warm weather brought out fans and spectators in their droves.

The warm weather also allowed for perfect racing conditions – with some very fast lines taken along the route. After a frantic 800m race, Ed Clancy from Rapha Condor JTL was declared the winner following an exciting sprint finish that saw him edge Madison Genesis rider Dean Downing into second place with his team mate Felix English finishing in third.

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Ed Clancy interviewed by Radio Lancashire

Entertainment was also provided by support races, Chopper Jousting and a Bradley Wiggins style sideburns competition! Steven Burke, Colne’s gold medal champion, also took part, so it really was a wonderful evening of entertainment.

Don’t forget we also have the 2013 ‘Ride with Brad’ coming up if you fancy exploring some of Lancashire’s stunning rural beauty in the company of Sir Bradley Wiggins.

You can find more info on our cycling page.

Ride with Brad – Rob’s Training Diary 25/07/13

Hello, my name is Rob,

I am a designer here at cottages4you and I have only started back cycling in the last month or so. This year I decided to take part in the Ride with Brad 50k event here in Lancashire and hopefully help raise some funds for the Pendleside Hospice. They do great work and have supported and helped some of my friends in the past through some really rough times.

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This will be the route I will be following, a little over 50km (30 miles) ascent about 476 meters, probably taking me 2 ½ – 3 hours, I hope :)

Map link: http://goo.gl/maps/rDsJ0

Young-Rob

As you can see my cycling experience is vast and my bikes have helped transport me throughout my life, literally because we didn’t have a car. When I was about 6 I had a metallic blue BMX complete with stabilisers and that checked pattern spongy thing that clipped onto the cross bar. I was fierce and fast, you could tell when I arrived at your doorstep by the rasping sound of a clacking card against my spokes held in place by an industrial strength clothes peg.

Moving forward a couple of years and leaving the stabilisers behind. I had a white Freestyler BMX, perfect for homemade ramps, wheelies and cycling to school. At one point I had a dynamo connected to it, so I could be safe at night. All it did was slow me down & break all the time! And from there on I would continue to use my bike to get around; it was my independence to be able to visit my friend’s houses without relying on walking or bus timetables. Walking takes too long, and buses never come on time. I’m a man on the go and have no time for those shenanigans! I pretty much cycled everywhere until I finished uni, and then there was nothing…

Well that’s not quite true. There were jobs that required traveling, a desk, coffee, cakes, and biscuits. How can I resist all that and still have the time to be active!

This year on holiday I realised that I have been getting a little soft around the edges. I know it’s hard to tell because I hold it so well, but I know I could be healthier. Plus I like eating food. So if I exercise lots, that means I can continue eating the food I like (which is probably not good advice).

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I tried going to the gym, but it bores me. Swimming was good, but I can’t access the pool whenever I want. Running was OK, but I did find it a little hard on my knees after doing long distances. But cycling, cycling is awesome. On-road or off-road, fantastic views (being in Lancashire), when I’m tired I just let the bike roll, it is also great for exploring off the beaten track and a quick transport to pop to the shops.

So over the next few weeks you can expect to see some entries on how I’m doing with my training and possibly a cheeky video or two :) Please support the Pendleside Hospice and make a donation.

If you have any questions or comments for me feel free to ask.

Over and out,
Rob