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Ask Pav: Team kit, strength training and winter riding camps

Pav Bryan
25 Oct 2016

Whether your wheels squeak, your brakes need a tweak, or your knees creak, our own cycling guru Pav Bryan will steer you right.

Pav Bryan is a professional British Cycling level 3 road and time-trial coach with over a decade’s experience in mentoring everyone from beginners to pros. Discover more about his services at pavbryan.com, and follow him on Twitter @pavbryan for more cycling-related wisdom.

Where do you stand when it comes to pro cycling kit? To wear or not to wear? Dougie Sinclair, via email

If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have said definitely not. If you ask most people in a club, they’ll also most likely say definitely not because you haven’t earned the right, but I think there’s a fine line between supporting the team and pretending to ride for them.

I have a couple of rules to follow though: first, if you’re going to wear pro kit, don’t mix. If you’re wearing Team Sky bibshorts don’t mix them with a Movistar top.

Secondly, under absolutely no circumstances should you rock up wearing a yellow Tour de France jersey or World Champion Rainbow Stripes unless you’ve earned them. That’s the only way you’re allowed to wear them on two wheels!

How many lunges, planks, presses and squats does it take until my leg strength improves and I start to get better at steep climbs? Paul Courtney, via Facebook

If that’s all you’re doing by way of a workout, then it’s going to take you a bloody long time! The key is obviously to complement your off-the-bike strength training in the gym with similar work on the bike out there on the road.

You can do as many squats and big weight reps as you want but you need to bridge the gap and turn that into strength on the bike.

One training exercise I’d suggest you try is low-cadence climbing – pushing a big gear up a hill slowly will help put that strength in your legs.

I’m thinking of booking a cycling holiday early next year. Where’s the best place you’ve done a winter riding camp and why? Tom Lewington, via email

You can actually join me in Tenerife next year if you want! I’ll be running camps out there from January to March.

The reason I love Tenerife is because the island is absolutely beautiful. Not only that, but the weather is consistent all year round and it’s quiet – not just for cars but also cyclists, too, which is one of the biggest problems you’ll find in cycling hotspots like Mallorca or Calpe in Spain.

Tenerife was home to the Team Sky and Lotto-Jumbo training camps this year and houses one of the longest continual climbs in Europe, from sea level to the top of Mount Teide. The road quality and food quality are clearly good enough for the pro teams so why not join them?

The great thing about Tenerife is that you can go year round because it’s so close to Africa and the equator, resulting in beautiful weather. Places like Mallorca can only work after spring time at the earliest and even then you may get the odd shower.

Pav’s pointer:

As winter draws in, be sure to carry arm warmers and bike lights wherever you go, both are incredibly handy and can save you from sticky situations, whether that be the cold or the dark.

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