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Ian’s journey – Part 1: Back in the saddle

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Ian’s journey – Part 1: Back in the saddle

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Ian Wallis - Ride25

May 20th, 2014

We asked one of our newest Ride25 riders, Ian Wallis, editor of and Growing Business, who is due to embark on his first Ride25 cycling tour in June (on one of our corporate bike trips from Geneva to Milan) to record his personal ‘journey’ from being a novice cyclist to becoming a more serious rider in order to complete his Ride25 adventure in June. Here is Part 1 of Ian’s story…  

Try convincing yourself that sitting behind a desk 10 hours a day is good prep for hopping on a bike and climbing an Alpine mountain.

For good measure, chuck 350 miles over four days into the equation (including said mountain). Unfathomably, that is what I’ve done in signing up to Ride25’s 2014 Pioneers trip from Geneva to Milan – and I’m slightly concerned.

While I consider myself to be reasonably fit and regularly play 11-a-side veterans’ football for my village team, as well as running around with my three sons, I’m not quite sure why the excitement got to me and led to me saying ‘yes’ to Ride25’s proposition… Perhaps it was the stunning vistas afforded to those who visit Lakes Geneva and Como. It may have been the thought of committing to the kind of challenge I love the idea of (and often the experience). Or it might have been that the trip lined up some fantastic entrepreneurs to undertake the challenge with me. And as editor of and Growing Business, owner-managers and their companies are my stock in trade.

Whatever the reason, I’m in.

Until just over a week ago I thought a cassette was a remnant of my childhood and a fork something I use to shovel food. I’m still not sure I know the difference between high and low gears and which ones you use on hills – I can at least shift them to what I know works. Just don’t test my technical knowledge.

Picking up the bike again

I once cycled the London to Brighton route. And just over 20 years ago (aged 14 I believe) I conquered the ‘mountain’ that is Ditchling Beacon, which anyone who has cycled to Brighton will attest is a hill unlike anything most casual cyclists in the south have ever faced.

My teenage years saw sporadic commitments to 30 or 50-mile charity rides, all of which I came through with copious amounts of energy. But that was then. When I failed to train and embarked on another of these rides soon after graduating university I learned a valuable lesson.

After shooting off like a rocket I suffered the pain and indignity of ‘bonking’. It took my father’s college chum to supply me with a banana to rid me of the empty, nauseous feeling that overcomes the ill-prepared.

On all challenges, 10k, half and full marathons since, I’ve recalled that if an army marches on its stomach it’s probably worth keeping the supply line of food well stocked.

This is something different though and 350 miles over four days will almost certainly push me and my bottom to their limits. I’m back in the saddle and will be sharing my observations as I go from novice to serious rider.

One Response to “Ian’s journey – Part 1: Back in the saddle”

  1. Ian Says:


    As a fellow Ian and a fellow start up guy but one with more experience here is my advice (and I did Rome-London for my giant leap back into riding):

    1. get a proper fitting for your bike with Giuseppi from VeloSolutions

    He is amazing and you will get a lot more power for the same effort.

    2. Take neovite / clostrum. It is a milk based supplement that will stop you getting sick. It is amazing.

    3. Practice group riding if you are not used to it before the challenge not on it. If you don’t, then day 1 will be much harder than it needs to be.

    Good luck.

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