10 ways to sex up your cycling

10 ways to sex up your cycling

Getting a few good sportive finishes under your belt, commuting by bike every day of the week, improving your time trial results can all fire up your riding and just make you want more.

But even this can become a bit humdrum. If your riding feels more like a wet weekend than a sunny getaway, it’s time to shake things up a little. Here’s a few suggestions…

1. Try something new

Get out of your comfort zone and give another type of cycling a go. With Britain’s success in track cycling in recent years, the velodrome seems a logical place to add variety to your cycling.

“Try track cycling,” says Andy Tennant, track cyclist with team Madison-Genesis. “Feeling the G-force when you go smashing round the banking on the black line is amazing. It’s also a social thing and you will develop a new group of friends who you may be able to ride with on the road.

“There are taster sessions at most indoor tracks and you advance from there. I started on the outdoor track scene; these are much longer and bankings aren’t as steep. The instructors will teach you all the skills which will help you to enjoy it more when you get on the indoor tracks.”

Velodromes aren’t the only tracks you can try, either. “Cross-country mountain biking can be a fun alternative to road cycling,” says Olympic cross-country cyclist Oli Beckingsale. “Getting away from the traffic and the same road loops will be a refreshing change, and there are trail centres all over the UK which are a great place to start.”

You can find trail centres at MTBtrails.com, and beginners’ track groups and places to try BMX and cyclocross on the Britsh Cycling website. And don’t forget to check out Mountain Biking UK and What Mountain Bike magazines.

2. Go touring

Take a few days off work, pack your panniers and get out on the open road. This doesn’t need to be expensive. You can easily convert your road bike into a tourer by swapping your regular tyres for a tougher, puncture-resistant pair, such as Schwalbe Duranos, and fitting a seatpost rack such as Topeak’s QR Beam Rack if your bike doesn’t have dedicated mounts.

Either way you will be guaranteed some bonding time with the bike and the chance to experience something new. The Cyclists’ Touring Club offers information for anyone wanting to try touring, as well as route maps and guidelines and the option to sign up for touring holidays across the world.

Former cycling around the world record holder, Vin Cox, knows a few things about touring. “You never know what sights you’ll see or characters you’ll meet during a day’s touring,” he says, “but you can be certain that you will see new and beautiful sights, and meet interesting strangers. So while you’re doing great things for your body, your mind is learning what a beautiful world we live in and how nice people can be.”

3. Pleasure and pain

Turbo training can be a bore. With nothing to stimulate your senses other than the pain in your legs, motivation to continue can wane. Liven things up with training videos from The Sufferfest, whose videos we have previously reviewed.

As Sufferfest founder, David McQuillen, says, “If you’re bored on the trainer, you will not work hard. So, we create a storyline and use pro race footage that gets you immersed.”

Video footage pits you against the pros in events such as the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix, all set to a backdrop of carefully selected tunes and training instructions interspersed with encouraging/taunting messages to spur you on: “Chew the stem! How’s that stem taste?”

As the name suggests, these are not easy workouts, but the directions ask you to train to perceived levels of effort, so just push as hard as you feel comfortable – or uncomfortable – with.

4. Get into photography

You’re often out in the countryside with some amazing scenery, so why not take your camera with you and take some amazing pictures too? It’s a great way to ensure that you actually start looking at the world around you instead of just seeing a hazy blur of green and blue as you whizz by.

This ties in perfectly with slowing down your ride (see tip number 9), as you won’t be able to gaze around searching for the perfect shot like you’re the next David Bailey if you’re churning out intervals, or focusing on the road to avoid potholes and traffic. Here are the best photography tips from the art staff at BikeRadar.

5. Go nude!

Ever wondered what it would be like to be in the middle of the city centre, completely starkers – and not in the middle of an anxiety dream? Take part in the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) and you’ll find out!

Held in cities all across the globe, the WNBR is a protest against oil consumption and car culture, promoting civil liberties and freedoms. The point is to deliver a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.

A spokesperson from WNBR says the reaction you get is half the enjoyment: “Onlookers, after the initial surprise, cheer and wave in a way that just doesn’t happen if you’re marching down the road with a banner! And the look on car drivers’ faces as we pass is a picture. I’m sure most of them have never paid as much attention to bikes on the road before!”

As well as causing a stir, the liberating feeling of being unclothed in public creates a great buzz. “The rides always have a carnival atmosphere, which is a good start for any protest. I’m tempted to say it’s probably the most fun you can have with your clothes off, but… it’s definitely the most fun you can have protesting on a bike!”

6. Enter the Brompton Challenge

If your commute is part cycle, part public transport, chances are you’ll have invested in a folding bike to alleviate the stress of trying to find trains that accept full-size cycles. If so, why not put your small-wheeled skills to use at the Brompton World Championship that takes place every year in July at Blenheim Palace?

Everyone who competes has to be fully suited and booted, to replicate the busy commuter environment (and make the whole event look a bit more comical).

“The Brompton World Championship is a great reminder to us all what these bikes, and cycling, should be about: having fun,” says Brompton’s managing director, Will Butler-Adams. “Yes, it’s a race but it’s hard not to have a grin on your face as you fly around the track with 700 others all wearing jacket and tie.”

7. Use a trip-recording app and compete

Cycling can be a solitary pastime. To add an element of excitement and competition, sign up to a ‘social fitness’ site that allows you to share your routes through an app, or through your cycle computer, compare your times and monitor your progress.

We recently rounded up the best cycling apps for Android and iPhone users. The Facebook and Twitter of the fitness world are Strava and Garmin Connect; these tell you when you achieve personal bests, King of the Mountains, or when you climb up the leader board on a certain stretch of road.

“What makes social fitness fun?” asks Michael Horvath, CEO of Strava. “I think it’s the camaraderie, training with your friends even if you’re by yourself. Solo rides become more motivating when you can compare yourself to others, share the story of your ride and get kudos on your workout. Every ride can be a group ride, and that’s just more fun.”

8. Play bicycle polo

Are you more of a team player than a solo artist? Then perhaps it’s time to get your mallet swinging…

“Bike polo is a fusion of team sports and cycling,” says Kevin Walsh, founder of the leagueofbikepolo.com. “Not like the ProTour teams of professional bike racing, where there’s a leader and a bunch of domestiques doing their leader’s bidding, but a team of equals with a common goal in which they share equally the rewards.

“Many bike polo players are cyclists, but have a history of playing football, ice hockey, field hockey, rugby, or other team sports, where the goal of the team trumps the goal of an individual player.”

It’s also great for boosting your bike handling skills. “You learn good balance and being able to hop around on the spot,” says Walsh. “With practice you might pick up bunny hopping over the ball to get in on your mallet side or to get into position as goaltender, and maybe even wheelie turns that are more like BMX manoeuvres than anything else.”

Getting into bike polo is pretty easy. Many towns and cities have clubs – search Google or Facebook – and they often have an open door policy so you just turn up and have a go. You can use any bike you like and you can usually borrow a mallet.

9. Slow down

“There are many reasons to cycle, and getting fit is just one of them,” says Cycling Plus columnist Rob Penn.

“Not every ride has to be a training ride. I’m a great believer that if you spend all your time looking down at your Garmin you are missing the point. If you don’t look around you might just as well be on the turbo.” Sometimes, we should all slow down and enjoy the view.

“The beauty of the bike is that you can stop at any point to peer over a gate or watch leaves fall from a tree. You get the chance to see the seasons change,” says Penn. Stopping also provides you with the chance to recover, by giving your body time to rest, and to eat and drink.

Admittedly, slow cycling takes longer, but if your riding time is constrained by family commitments, this is a way of combining the two. “I love cycling with my boy,” says Penn. “It forces me to slow down and take in the scenery and enjoy the ride at his pace.

“And there is no greater pleasure in the world than watching the enjoyment on your son’s face as he freewheels down a hill. And then following him down yourself…”

10. Do it for charity

Signing up to an event or challenge can give you real incentive to train. “Committing yourself to a multi-day challenge event is an excellent way to keep up your motivation towards training,” says Peter Robinson, director of events at Global Adventure Challenges, which organises charity events and adventures across the world.

“Dedicating the time to train makes riding the event more fun. Riding for a charity that is close to your heart, or a loved one’s heart, encourages you to push yourself further.

“During your preparation you will feel your fitness levels soar, your ‘best times’ reduce and your distance increases… this is an amazing feeling of accomplishment and, what’s more, you are not just doing it for yourself. The tougher the challenge, the tougher the training, the greater the reward.”

Everything you Need to Know About Sex and Cycling

Everything you Need to Know About Sex and Cycling

There is a huge amount of information on the topic, and it can all be pretty confusing. So we decided to delve into the research to give you this guide to all things sexy in the world of cycling. Don’t get too flustered…

Cycling (like any exercise), does improve your sex drive

“Good mental health is really important for good sex,”- Allison England, Sexpert at Coco de Mer

Look, exercise is good for you. It’s a no-brainer. And when you feel better about your work and life because you exercise a lot, you tend to want to get it on a little more often.

A study conducted by Cycle To Work Day discovered all the stuff you already knew about being a cyclist: that it makes you a happier human being who can switch off from work more easily and therefore enjoy time with loved ones. Wink wink.

66 percent of respondents said their relationships improved after they started cycling, and 39 percent said it gave them extra energy in the bedroom. And 100 percent of respondents got a bit flushed when they were asked about their bedroom habits (maybe).

And although the physical benefits of cycling are helpful in bed, it’s the mental space provided by exercise that is the most important. Allison England is the resident sexpert at London’s Coco de Mer, having immersed herself in the erotic industry for much of her life. “Good mental health is really important for good sex,” she says. “You’ll have more serotonin in your body, making sure you feel good and horny.” So keep happy by keeping biking!

Cycling can decrease your downstairs sensitivity…

There have been a couple of studies into the effects of being in the saddle on a woman’s area, and unfortunately, the news isn’t great but it isn’t permanent either.

The uncomfortable truth is that you can suffer from chafing, saddle sores, urinary infections and numbness from cycling. To combat this, the first thing you need to do is get a suitable saddle which fits you by putting pressure on your sit bones rather than your hoo-ha. And ensure your saddle is giving you all the support it can, not slanted upwards and putting unnecessary pressure on your perineum.

Couple your comfy saddle with a quality pair of padded cycling shorts and you’re well on your way to undercarriage comfort and a reduction in desensitisation.

Of course, not being a professional cyclist will also help. We just mean that unless you are on the bike for more hours in the day than you’re not, your reduction in sensitivity is likely to be slight.

Is there a link between cycling and sexual dysfunction?

There is also some research that suggests putting yourself in a less road-like cycling position could also be beneficial (i.e, higher bars, more upright). This is rubbish news for those of you who never been seen dead on a hybrid, and we are sorry.

And there are plenty of other sexual benefits

Higher fitness levels because of cycling means increased blood flow – a plus for both women and men in the bedroom. Furthermore, cycling is one of the best activities for cardiovascular conditioning, meaning that your energy levels are probably pretty awesome. Which means… well, that you can go at it for ages.

You’ll be well acquainted with your burgeoning thigh muscles from all the time you spend looking at them in the mirror. Thankfully, the work you’ve put into them, along with the muscles in your buttocks and lower back, are exactly the muscles you use during a session of bump and grind.

Just remember, it’s not all about utilising those abs of steel: “I don’t think that fitness has that much of an effect on sexual happiness,” says sexpert Allison England. “Many gym bunnies and especially guys who are obsessed with their strength and fitness can often be more preoccupied with how high they can lift someone than doing the right thing for the person they are with.” Allison encourages cyclists to ensure their emotional health takes precedence when it comes to sexy times.

Will having sex effect my race performance?

The effect of having sex before a big event is greatly under-researched when it comes to women. But this experiment completed in Geneva, Switzerland did show that, for men at least, “that sexual activity had no detrimental influence on the maximal workload achieved and on the [cyclists’] mental concentration”. It’s widely thought that restrictions on sexual activity, like pre-match bans for footballers, are for psychological rather than physiological reasons.

The internet is also pretty obsessed with an Israeli scientist called Alexander Olshanietzky who is claimed to have said, before the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, that “women get better results in sports competition after orgasm. […] The more orgasms, the more chances of winning a medal.

This may be the best quote of all time, but it’s hard to substantiate. It has been quoted by two respectable sources (1,2) and Mr Olshanietzky also makes an appearance in Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle (it’s like a Christian Karma Sutra). But his credibility is a total unknown. Anyhow – a good thing to quote at your partner, right?

What about fertility and sexual health issues?

It’s important to say that no meaningful research on the topic has been done.

The thinking is that because there is an increase in the chances of nerve damage from cycling, you may struggle to climax. There’s some evidence to support that orgasmic contractions help you to conceive and so cycling could have – a roundabout way – a negative impact on fertility. But aside from that, evidence for fertility issues is negligible.

Do also remember that if you are a serious athlete, it may not just be the bike that puts you at risk. Consuming lots of caffeine (around 5 or more cups a day), which many cyclists do, has been associated with decreased fertility, as has smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet.

So what does it all mean? Well, Cycling is good for you. Sex is good for you. Keep having sex and cycling – simple!