How did you get into cycling?
I first started cycling as a way to get around London, I just really didn’t like getting public transport so a bike seemed the ideal solution. I didn’t actually love it for its own sake straight away, I had a heavy, clunky bike, I wasn’t used to riding in traffic and I just thought of it as a mode of transport. That changed when I built up a fixed gear bike from parts I’d found, borrowed or sourced second hand. I really enjoyed the process of figuring out how to build it and solving problems (such as getting a seized seatpost out) and when I finally got on it, it was love at first ride. It was quite unlike anything I’d ever ridden before, it demanded you see the roads and traffic in a different way and felt fast, free and fun.
What’s the most picturesque cycling location you’ve been to? What’s your favourite cycling location in the UK?
Cycling across Japan on my honeymoon will always be a highlight but I also really love cycling in Italy, particularly the Dolomites, the region around Lake Como and also Tuscany. There are also many other parts of Italy I’ve yet to visit. I’m sure I’ll love them too!
How do you prepare for a big cycling race diet wise?
It’s important that I eat well before a race but that’s more about getting enough good stuff in than restricting things. I like to pack as many nutrients into my meals as I can, so that means tons of vegetables and salads, oily fish, beans, tofu and plenty of carbs. The important thing is that my meals are overwhelmingly beneficial, rather than that each individual meal is ‘perfect.’ So if I’ve eaten plenty of protein, carbs and macronutrients, having a pizza isn’t a problem.
What’s your choice of snack when you run low on energy on a cycling trip?
I like Tribe Bars and bananas.
Do you train your cycling fitness in other ways besides cycling?
I go to the gym twice a week in winter.
For someone who wants to start casually cycling during weekends, what kind of a road bike would you recommend and what budget?
I’d set your budget according to what you can afford. It depends on how long and how fast you’d like to go and what kind of terrain too.
People often think carbon is the be-all and end-all but these days, you can actually be better off spending the same amount of money on an aluminium bike with higher specs than on a really low - end carbon frame. Personally, I’d look for a bike that costs about £1000 new then try and buy one second hand (as long as you’re sure it’s not stolen!) or get it on the Cycle to Work scheme. A hybrid is great if you want to ride in the city as well as on canal towpaths and a bit of gravel. Or get a comfort oriented road bike, something with more relaxed geometry than a ‘racy’ road bike.
Follow Juliet Elliott on instagram @julietelliott and on her website.