The past few years I’ve definitely been a runner through and through. I love the endurance, the mental and physical challenge and most of all I love having an excuse to be outside! Even in the winter, hitting the roads or racing around the park as the sun sets can be the perfect end of the day. But my knees hate me now and you know what? It’s nicer to be with people and socialise!
Having bagged a summer job and internship I moved into my new student house and invested in a swanky new road bike and it’s the best thing I’ve done in aaaages. My knees and fitness have sustained but best of all you can socialise while also enjoying the beautiful scenery. One of my favourites is the Southampton to Hamble Route, over the huge Itchen Bridge and down along the seafront to the beautiful town of Hamble-le-Rice.
We’re also so close to the stunning New Forest. A quick train journey to Brockenhurst or Lyndhurst bypasses the Southampton dockland area around Totton and gives uninterrupted access to the roads and trails. One minute the landscape is flat and open, an expanse of windy barren land to wind through on flat, easy roads, while next cyclists might be engulfed by thick woodland, disturbing the grazing ponies while fighting up steep slopes.
Although running is famed for it’s benefits regarding weight loss and maintaining general fitness, recent studies point to cycling having the upper hand. Road.cc(although most likely biased!) reported a study by Appalachian State University last year showing that cycling was the better exercise and that all runner should include cycling as part of their training routine to avoid injury. Supposedly, blood samples taken from the runners were in a significantly worse state than that of the cyclists, resulting in higher levels of inflammation, soreness and muscle damage.
And then there’s always the benefit of jumping off your bike, locking it up and exploring the many towns, pubs and spots you find along the way!