It's a surreal, eerie and a scary time for the world. We don't want to dwell on the current situation at the moment but we're all in this together and the quicker people come together to help out each other such as being considerate and being responsible towards people and their own actions, the stronger the response will be. For those who are aware, we teach Primary and Mrs NITP teaches Secondary so at different times, we are due in our schools to look after key worker and vulnerable children as well as looking after lil' NITP too. We have been keeping a timetable (which is out tip #1!) for the wee one so we both don't get bored and stuck for things to do so we thought we would share our top tips to help those who are at home pass the time...
It might throw you back to school but it'll help you set your mind and if you take any of our further ideas, allow you to focus your time and attention. Whatever you want to use, chalk and board if you're old school or a calendar, it'll set your mind right for the day especially if you need to know where you can squeeze activities around your work from home (WFH).
It's easier said than done especially when there's been no pasta, rice, chopped tomatoes etc. for a few weeks (hit the local newsagents and smaller stores for a bit of luck) but we've gone with the attitude of buy what's available not what you want. We were already trying a few vegan meals and products and it seems there's plenty of it left on the shelves and in the freezers in our local little Sainsburys. It's food at the end of the day and it's not a time to be picky, adapt and change people!
Which leads us onto our following tip. If you can get the ingredients, now is the prime time to test out homemade energy bars/balls and other treats you can take with you on your rides. Get the kids involved if they're making your brain melt! Thanks to James Ferguson, we've already mastered a banana cake, we're now onto carrot cake (we've already mastered granola bars and galaxy infused brownies!).
#4 Ride Solo, Not Yolo
Government has announced during the lockdown that people are permitted to leave their homes for exercise. It seems it has split opinions with some thinking it's not worth the risk and can put pressure on the NHS at a time where it needs help, not hindrance. The other side of the coin is that cycling is relatively safe compared to other activities and with less cars on the road, theoretically less danger. We have been out for a couple of rides but we're riding solo, not yolo, you don't need to go miles away on long journeys. Keep it close to home so if you get into a spot of bother, you're closer to help or the walk home is less of a distance. It does feel though the freedom of the closed parks such as Richmond Park is experienced under a cloud so these opportunities to cycle with less traffic on the road needs to be respected and appreciated (Richmond Park is now closed to cyclists).
Apparently, sales of turbo trainers have gone up by 997% which makes finding a turbo trainer harder than loo roll! With the closures of some parks and the possibility of a more stringent lockdown if the Coronavirus situation worsens, training indoor will be the way to go. Obviously, appropriate space and home life has to be considered but if you can't squeeze an indoor trainer in a corner somewhere, maybe focus on a different principle of fitness; work on core, weights, yoga etc.
Tacx were offering a 30 day trial with their trainers whilst Zwift is probably the platform where you'll find a lot of your cycling buddies are flocking too. If you're missing that competitive edge, racing is easy to get yourself involved in. If you think you're that good, Sam Hodges is promoting a bit of e-sports at the moment with the winner taking home some pocket money. If you're looking for some more community based rides, Dirty Wknd are continuing helping out their members to keep pedalling with scheduled meet ups although we've noticed a few cheeky sprints so expect a breakaway or two!
#6 Pro Cycling Trumps
We have mentioned these guys a few times before but it's times like these that they have really come in handy. If you're in a cycling crazy household, this will pass the time well, stock up on the packs and watch the family arguments unfold!
#7 TdF PS4
This might not be everybody's cup of tea but if you're missing your GTs, Playstation store does have TdF 2019 available and I've just checked it's heavily discounted. I believe there's also some past editions on there too, if not, ebay and Amazon will have some copies if you want to get a nostalgic! *Don't tell Mrs NITP but I just downloaded it!
#8 Social Media
Social media can be a pit of poison sometimes, we've tried to filter out the moans and have maintain a positive vibe on our feed as it is a place where a lot of people go to let off steam and find a little light-hearted fun. We've created our own virtual GT - Tour de NITP - 20 riders (Twitter users), 21 stages, 5 random groups for each stage, points awarded, winner with most points wins! No reason why you can't do the same with your followers, share the ideas around, keep people's spirits up where you can. UKCC this week held a quiz for their chat hour so there's social distractions out there in the online community if you need a break from the real world...
It is also might be the perfect time to get creative. Whether you're part of a club or have an idea in mind for a kit design, grab a few colours and a pad and let your mind run loose. We have a few NITP kits designed out but due to economic restrictions (in other words, we don't have any money!), they stay as a pipe dream for the time being. If you're really serious, there's plenty of companies out there who would be willing to turn the dream into a reality and you soon (when we're all allowed!) could be riding in your own customised kit (Baby NITP modelling one of our snapbacks by the way!).
We have always said the world is big enough for everyone and it's how we started out. Again, there's loads of sites to start out from such as Wordpress, a blogger's favourite. If you don't know what to start, just write about why you ride or share a story of a particular ride/event/trip, there will always be someone somewhere willing to read or looking for new content so you never know where it might take you.
#11 Fantasy Cycling Team
This is more of a social media/gaming idea but you gotta' get creative and do some research for this. You could come up with some dream teams and pit them off each other on social media via a poll and let the cycling world debate over them. Something also we have designed out too is a Cyclopark complex, you could also try design your own too as a hub for your star squad. As usual, you need money to make money so unless someone has a few million to start me off, this too also stays on the genie wish list...
What else you gonna' do really?! Here's our Netflix recommendations including some we still haven't seen on our list:
- Icarus: (Seen) A great documentary exposing corruption within Russia sport and their government all stemming from an amateur cyclist wanting to know what doping really does to performance.
- The Game Changers: (On Watch List) Need to be in the right frame of mind for this as it opens up the debate about diet especially veganism and how some athletes are making that transition over.
- Iron Cowboy: (Seen) Another documentary we recommend. The sole story of one ultra endurance athlete taking on 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days. It's not without controversy although we think it's unwarranted, it's a must watch.
- Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story: (Seen) Watched this at the cinema and it's an eye opener of how the cycling world was sucked into one of sport's most famous lies. Whatever you think about him, I'd recommend watching it to fully get a understanding of how far his lie went and what lengths Lance went to to keep his lie going.
- Barca Dreams: (On Watchlist) Ok, it's not a cycling themed suggestion but many sports have tried to copy the philosophical approach and create the culture Barcelona have embedded in their club and many sports have failed. They have the blueprint for success but also to create well rounded sports people. We have read Barca by Graham Hunter who dives deeper into how even their academies adopt the Barca' way. One for the well rounded sports fan.
- Roll With Me: (On Watchlist) We accidentally found this one and we don't know too much about it apart from it's about a paraplegic athlete's trek across America in a wheelchair, sounds inspiring.
- Pedal The World: (Seen) If you ever wanted a preview on what it would be like to cycle around the world by bike, this does a really good job of it. It's the logistics and the change in culture and languages as Felix Starck pedals on which captivated us.
- The Least Expected Day: Inside the Movistar Team 2019: (On Watchlist) Well, this should be on every cycling fan's watchlist, a team known to pack too many GC contenders in their races, what a privilege to look into the setup and running of the Movistar team.
And just because we love a bit of Netlfix and if you're not in a sporting mood, here's our boxset recommendations:
Narcos, Narcos Mexico, The Punisher, Stranger Things, You, Ozark, Dirty Money, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Louis Theroux, Hannibal, Altered Carbon, Mindhunter, Black Mirror, Bodyguard, Line of Duty, The Sinner, Top of the Lake, Homeland.
Too much TV is not good for you according to our Mum so a bit of reading is good for the brain. Choice of book all depends on the type of person you are, we quite like personal accounts so biographies and true stories interest us. Our pick of the bunch is another recommendation from the Armstrong era but Tyler Hamilton's book The Secret Race was an excellent read into a period of time the cycling world is trying to erase. Another figure which divides opinion but we find him fascinating to listen to and if you know his story and where he's come from, you come to understand the character a lot more. Bradley Wiggins triumph in le Tour plus his 2012 TT gold medal is covered in My Time. Our final recommendation is the only book we have read which we have shed a tear at the end. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson is harrowing, remarkable and just a sensational read. If you like your survivor stories, we can not recommend this enough!
#14 New Routes
Well, when life does return to normal (and frankly, it's the least important thing when people's health is at risk), you'll be chomping at the bit to get out riding so curb those urges by creating some fresh new routes and challenges.
#15 Tidying Up
We don't know what your pain cave looks like but we try to keep some order in there but it's hard when Mrs NITP keeps hinting at adding more things in there which are not bike related! Freshing things up will keep things organised and you never know, you might find a spare bolt or cable lying around...
#16 Kit Clear Out
Hold on, hear us out! Sort through your kit, anything you don't wear or want anymore, giveaway to a charity or donate to a local club and it'll leave space for new gear... With us now?!!
Which leads us to our final tip and it's a dangerous one so hide your bank cards somewhere! Shop around online for some new kit, deals or just look at porn... I mean bike porn, bike porn! Delete the history after just in case!
Hope all these tips help but do remember also to spend the time with family if you can even if it's through a video call or a message here and there, keep in touch with people and keep spirits up where you can. Be safe and healthy.