Is a cycling body a healthy body? - The GCN Show

After Dan Lloyd revealed himself to the world as part of his fitness journey, the question of health arose and it's time for Dan and Si Richardson to tackle the issue head-on

Clock18:31, Tuesday 23rd April 2024

As many of you might have seen over the channels and the website over the past couple of weeks, our very own Dan Lloyd is starting a new fitness journey and taking up cycling seriously for the first time since he retired from the professional sport in 2012.

No, he isn't hoping for a revival of the Cervélo test team or looking to post a quicker time at the Tour of Flanders sportive than Cillian Kelly – not yet anyway – but he is looking to regain some of the fitness which has alluded him over the last few years.

Read more: Dan Lloyd: Why I’ve decided to change my lifestyle

As part of the process, Dan got his GCN kit (supplied by our friends at AGU, didn't you know) off and displayed his current figure in a recent video on the channel, which led to a few commenters asking whether or not a cycling body is a healthy body – a fair question.

In this week's GCN Show, Dan and Si Richardson carry their coffee machine talk into the studio and ponder whether the pursuit of a good cycling physique is compatible with the pursuit of a healthy body.

There are plenty of factors to consider here. First off, there are thousands of studies which prove that cycling is good for your cardiovascular health – that much goes without question. In recent years though, there have been a few instances of professional cyclists being forced to retire due to heart conditions, the latest being SD Worx-Protime's Anna Shackley.

Read more: British talent Anna Shackley forced to retire at 22 with heart arrhythmia

But although research into whether doing too much cycling is bad for the heart remains rather thin on the ground, Dan raises a study that followed Tour de France riders between the 1930s and 1960s. It concluded that of the 830 ex-professionals tracked, they lived 17% longer on average than the average male from their home country during that era.

Cardiovascular health is only one facet of our well-being, of course, and in this week's episode, Dan and Si consider everything from mental health and VO2 Max results to bone density and posture. The pair also stress the importance of taking on enough calories and avoiding an obsession with weight; something which affects both men and women equally but can stop women from getting their periods in the worst cases.

There's both good and bad news in this week's Cycling Shorts, in which you can spot Si modelling Giro's new time trial helmet that was debuted by Visma-Lease a Bike at Tirreno-Adriatico and subsequently mocked by all corners of the internet. If that helmet was not cool already, we dare say that Si won't be helping its cause.

Moving on, Si has just flown back from North America and gives us all an update on the tech trends that arose from the Sea Otter Classic over in California. There were certainly a lot of cool, new e-bikes hitting the market, which is an area of the industry that is definitely booming but also comes with its own drawbacks.

A new study coming out of the UK shows that although bike theft was down by 15% in the country last year – there's your good news – thefts have actually gone up by 103% when it comes to e-bikes, not so good.

Read more: Number of e-bike thefts in UK doubles in a year but decreases for bikes overall

For more news, including an alarming increase in the number of cyclists fined for jumping red lights, be sure to check out the full GCN Show at the top of this page.

Hacks and Bodges

After Dan's stern words with Cillian Kelly last week, our resident statistician has finally managed to fix the uploader! We thank you for your patience as that was resolved and for the flood of entries we have received since it has returned – we couldn't wait to look through them all.

As such, Hacks and Bodges is back with a bang this week, but remember, you can submit your entries for next time via our revamped uploader. Please remember to include as much detail as possible.

Read more: Upload your cycling photos and be featured on our GCN shows

Don't let this happen again Cillian, or you know what can happen...

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Thinking on the fly for a parent with a cold child

Our first submission comes courtesy of cd_dubbs, who was enjoying a nice ride with their daughter before it was deemed too cold to continue the ride! Left with a bright pink children's bike a couple of miles from home, it took some creative thinking to manufacture a safe solution, but that's what Hacks and Bodges is all about. We'll let cd_dubbs explain:

Out on a ride with the kiddos on the local cycle path. One in the trailer behind my 1953 Indian (yes they sold bicycles) and one on her huffy. A couple miles from home my daughter decided it was too cold and she wanted to ride home in the trailer. That left me needing to figure out how to get the huffy home as leaving it was a no-go without tears. At first, I tried carrying it, but nearly crashed… then I found that the wheel would fit in the storage compartment just far enough to get the axle lodged in the fabric of the trailer. And what do you know but I rode all the way home that way!

Getting home with a little help from trusty zip ties

Over the years that we have been sifting through Hacks and Bodges, one essential item crops up perhaps more than any others - plastic zip ties. There seems to be no limits as to what these handy bits of kit can fix and the latest malfunction we can add to that list is a complete set of busted chain ring bolts.

Our next submission comes courtesy of rockcreekroubaix, whose friend suffered from an unfortunate mechanical with just 16km left of their 97km-long ride. When shifting down to the small chain ring in advance of a climb, every single chain ring bolt affixing the equipment into place either broke or fell off – quite the mishap!

Not to worry, a singular zip tie and one spare bolt came to the rescue and allowed the pair to make it home without any further issues. Never underestimate the power of the zip tie.

Improving the indoor training experience with a 3D printer

From custom frames and mounts to figurines and handlebars, the uses of a 3D printer in cycling continue to grow, and ildav has been in touch with us to show off their indoor training solution. It seems to be a complicated but effective approach, so we'll hand over to ildav to explain:

Having some unused filament laying around I've designed and printed a modular front wheel riser larger than the original to accommodate for the shift in load on the wheel while inclined. A dovetail connection keeps the "zero" module together. The "five" module is for 5° of inclination calculated on the wheelbase of my bike I can go further till 20° of inclination. So now I can do my Z2 training using the correct muscle group for climbing!

The key to a good relationship is communication... or a closet

Our last submission this week comes from kholmes1000, whose girlfriend has been less than impressed with bikes being stored in the living room. We've all had this conversation with our other halves, haven't we?

Well, kholmes1000 has yielded to their girlfriend's request - understandable - and devised what they describe as a "semi-annoying solution." Not wanting to store the bike in the apartment's bike storage, no doubt for safety concerns, the residency's closet has been sprung into action.

Hung some clothesline from a hook, with a small fabric loop at the end. The bikes get stood up on the back wheel and the loop goes around the head tube. The bikes hang under their own weight and are stabilized by the clothes around them.

Coming up on the channel this week*

Wednesday 24 April: Our guide to handling traffic whilst cycling

Thursday 25 April: Does caffeine make you faster when cycling? We investigate

Friday 26 April: What do you need to go bikepacking?

Saturday 27 April: How hard is the Life Time Grand Prix? We try it out!

Sunday 28 April: Spinning vs grinding: A new twist on an age-old debate

*All channel content is subject to change!

Did you know?

You can now listen to The GCN Show as a podcast. That means you can still get all the insight from the latest episode of the show without actually having to look at Dan and Si at all, if that's ever been an issue for you. Search for 'Global Cycling Network' on your chosen podcast provider.

For all things general news, check out this tab on the GCN website.

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