E-bikes are becoming more popular than ever as people realise that having an electric-assisted bike can take much of the effort out of cycling. This is of tremendous benefit to commuters who don’t want to arrive at work in a puddle of sweat, or those less active but who still want to get out and about. To celebrate bike week, ‘Inghams Holidays‘ launched their brand new e-bike programme in Austria, and I went along to join them.
The Surrey countryside on a balmy summers evening provided an ideal venue for us to experience the joys of riding an e-bike. Taking in the local landmark of ‘Box Hill we enjoyed a ride on some electric-assisted mountain bikes supplied by local e-bike specialists ‘Cycling Made Easy‘. ‘Cycling Made Easy‘ sell a range of e-bikes to suit different needs as well as being a local source of information and advice. After being fitted out on appropriately sized bikes we set off from the venue at ‘Denbies Wine Estate’.
The bikes made very light work of Box Hill. It had been some time since I had been on an e-bike and I had forgotten what a fantastic sensation it is. Power kicks in with every peddle stroke and, the harder you peddle, the more power it puts out. The bikes have conventional gears as well as three different power settings. This allows the rider to find the best combination of effort to power for the particular trainer they might be on. Riding can either be effort-free or can simply be assisted, taking the hard work out of any journey.
The bikes handled really well and felt really stable. It maybe takes a little practice to get used to the sensation but, once you do, it really is good fun. Being about to climb a steep hill such as Box Hill with such ease was just a joy. The down side is that these bikes are phenomenally heavy and difficult to lug around. I certainly wouldn’t like to be stuck out somewhere with a flat battery, it could be a very long ride home! The good news is that this is very unlikely to happen because the modern batteries have a range of 20-30 miles. By using the different power settings appropriately, the range can be extended even further.
My first ride on an e-bike for a while has really put me in the mood again. I really want one ! These bikes make cycle a lot of fun. They are particularly great for people who are possibly not so fit for whatever reason. They could be a tremendous boost for disabled people like myself, and those of us who live in a hilly cities like Edinburgh. ‘Inghams Holidays‘ are a super way to try them out and experience a taste of Austria or Italy. Below you will find links to ‘Inghams Holidays‘ that have experiences to suit all abilities and needs.
Inghams is offering a seven-night stay on a catered basis (including buffet breakfasts, packed lunches, afternoon tea and cake, and four-course evening meals with complimentary wine for six days) at the three-diamond Chalet Linda in Kitzbühel, Austria, from £599 per person based on two sharing. Price includes return flights and airport transfers, and the package is valid for travel departing on 14th July 2018. To book, visit www.inghams.co.uk/lakes-mountains-holidays or call 01483 791 116.
The Beauty of Winter
My motivation and inspiration to be in the Scottish mountains has gone through the roof recently. Winter had seemingly arrived when driving up the A9 recently there was a covering of snow right down the roadside. How beautiful it looked and this just reinforced my determination to climb up into the mountains. Walking in Winter however, has its own set of difficulties and points to be aware of when planning a trip.
Walking the mountains for me, at any time of the year, can be challenging. Meeting the physical demands required to enjoy the glorious views from the summits I can find particularly tough. Winter can be very unpredictable indeed and the conditions bring an extra level of preparation. However, they are not enough to diminish my motivation and desire to venture onto the hills. The Scottish Mountains in winter are stunningly beautiful. Anyone who has experienced this will understand, but for those who haven’t, I don’t think it is easy to explain. ‘
Below are some of the things that can make a Winter outing more challenging:
For me, in order to enjoy the mountain in Winter there are a few things I do to keep myself safe.
Enjoy! The Scottish Mountains in Winter are just spectacular and this preparation and planning makes it all worthwhile. I am feeling so excited about venturing out very soon.
The Great Glen Hostel just south of Invergary provided the location of the Walk Highland Autumn meet. I, along with around 30 others, attended for a two night stay. Taking over the hostel for the weekend, a fun time was had by all. Walk Highland, as many people know, is a fantastic website and a source of information for walks throughout Scotland. Many people use it for information on all sorts of walks from the Grahams to the Munros. People arrange to meet through the site and they have four organised meets each year.
I went along to my first Walk Highland meet in the Spring and really enjoyed it. I met lots of great people and had lots of fun, so thought I would go again and experience another Walk Highland meet. I was looking forward to the weekend and catching up with some friends again.
Weather was mixed with a little snow on top on the hills but it could have been much worse. I arranged to climb a Corbett with a few others. The day was quite challenging due to the lack of day light and as a result people tended to go quite fast in order to get back before dark. This I found really difficult because I simply can’t go as quickly as the others.
The weekend brought to my mind again some of the difficulties faced by disabled people in accessing the outdoors. The Scottish mountains are a challenging place for anybody and this is even more so in winter conditions. For disabled people like myself it is a particularly difficult thing to climb mountains in the snow.
I am inevitably slower than the average person which is not ideal when the daylight is so short. For disabled people it can be really difficult to get people to agree to go into the mountains with them in winter. People’s leisure time is limited and who wouldn’t want to make the most of it. I feel very lucky however to have found some great friends through the Walk Highland group who will make the time and allow me to go along with them. I had a really great day walking and a good weekend.
Those who follow my blog will have an idea of the sort of struggles I have had recently with joint pain. Being a member of Nuffield Heath has been of tremendous benefit to me because I have been able to receive advice. Thanks to the instructors at the gym I have been able to try to address these difficulties. With a set of exercises designed to strengthen my core, I have worked hard to solve the problem.
I have been experiencing difficulty in walking for a while and particularly while coming down a mountain. Most painful have been my hips and lower back and unfortunately this has been enough to stop me from walking. Explaining this to my gym instructor he suggested a range of stretches and exercises using a TRX. I hadn’t heard of this before but now I have been converted!
Discovered the TRX
The TRX is simply two pieces of cord that attach over head and used to support your weight and balance. There is a handle on each cord for holding on and adjusters for easily changing the length. When I started using the TRX I learned some basic squats and stretches. By doing lunges I am extending and trenching all my leg muscles which I find so helpful. When you have cerebral palsy as I do, sometimes muscles can feel knotted up, tight and tense. Being able to stretch in this way is a fantastic feeling. I’ve not been up on the hills yet to see if if has made a difference but I am really enjoying using it.
I was so impressed with the TRX I went out and bought one. I would have bought the whole company but couldn’t afford it! Now I can can attach it to a tree in the back garden and exercise to me heart’s content. When I’m done, it folds up neatly into a small bag for easy storage. What’s not to like? There are endless amounts of exercises you can do with it, just check it out YouTube.
Over to you
If you have a favourite piece of equipment, or an exercise you find particularly helpful, please take a few moments to put it in the box below. If you don’t exercise at all then please tell us why? Thanks
Since I began writing my Disability Travel and Sports Blog over a year ago, my motivation to go out and have fun has gone through the roof. One of the things that has really come back for me, is my motivation to go hillwalking in the Scottish Mountains. Having cerebral palsy has of course made it more challenging. Although recently I discovered that my love for the mountains is as strong as ever. Unfortunately, I have run into a few barriers in this area. I find it very physically demanding and as a result experience excruciating pain in my joints. Whether the joy of the experience outweighs the discomfort is something I have yet to answer.
In the Past
I’ve always loved the outdoors and being in the hills. I was taken regularly into the countryside by my parents when I was young and I continued my fun in the outdoors with the local Scout Troop. When I got to university I joined the hillwalking society and started climbing Munros. I quickly made friends with others in the club who were a bit more patient and happy to proceed at my pace. We would regularly leave in the early hours of the morning to go and climb a particular mountain.
I became a post graduate student in Manchester where my hill walking career seemed to grind to a halt. I walked a little in the Peak District but my studies and career soon took over. When I retured to Edinburgh in the late 1990’s I joined a local club. However, I didn’t persevere for a number of reasons and I assumed that this was the end of my walking career.
20 years on
Recently I have taken the opportunity to go hill walking again and I have regained my passion for the wonderful mountains. Among other activities I have,
Although I enjoying being in the hills very much, there always seems to be a cost to pay. Each time I go walking I usually end up in excruciating pain. Much as I love being in the mountains I have to ask myself if it’s worth it. I find it very frustrating indeed for the following reasons:
Things came to a head recently when I took on more than I could handle. Experiencing so much pain and being at least another 2 hours from the car, I called for help. The Breamar Mountain Rescue sent out a Landrover and picked me up in Glen Callater. This is not a scenario I ever want to repeat. The physical and mental affects have a long impact and, I can’t disregard them.
Onward and Up the Mountains
I would like to work with a therapist to get to the source of my joint pain. Regular physiotherapy might really help. I am aware that I could go through my GP and get referred to the NHS but there are two problems with that. First, I’d wait a very long time to be seen and secondly it wouldn’t be a long term thing. After a couple of visits I’d be discharged and back to square one.
If anyone knows of a physiotherapist in or around Edinburgh who may be prepared to help me then please get in touch. Thank You.