To Pump, Or Not To Pump?

I’d like to put it out there immediately that this post has nothing to do with my digestive movements…

The insulin pump. An absolutely wondrous example of technological advancement being used for good. They gave me a batch of syringes when I was diagnosed as a back up to my injection pen. We’ve come a long way.

So what’s an insulin pump? As many of you will be aware, it’s an alternative method of delivering insulin for type 1s, replacing the need for multiple daily injections (MDI).

It’s something that’s been on my radar for a good few years, but every time it’s been dutifully mentioned at my clinic appointment, I have wrinkled my nose and shaken my head without much further thought. Sure, I’ve been aware that pump therapy often improves blood sugar control. And sure, I’ve spoken to many happy pumpers who have cautiously switched and subsequently never looked back, resigning their poor Novopens to a dusty shelf alongside Woody the cowboy, a vast collection of Enid Blyton books, and those size 8 jeans I appear to be keeping for no reason whatsoever. But to me, for every year that my diabetes team have asked, the pump just didn’t ever seem to appeal in a real way. This is not to dismiss the thousands upon thousands of people who are happily pumping away out there, and to the many newly-diagnosed type 1s who have never had it any other way. But for me… I run around like a moron a lot of the time, and I’ve always liked being able to whip out my pen, dose up and carry on. I’m ridiculously clumsy and get myself in spots with alarming frequency – and so I had hilarious/tragic visions of me getting it wrapped around my legs/tube rails/dog leads, just because that’s how my life works. And if we’re being perfectly and shallowly honest, the thought of attaching myself via tubing to a piece of medical equipment struck me as something of a passion killer, and while I was young, free and single, I wanted to also remain free of wires.

Apparently some things have changed.

It was almost a year ago. I was on the second day of the big cycle to Paris, where I was surrounded by more diabetics than I’d ever been in my whole life for any extended period of time. All of various ages, with various relationships to type 1. I was chatting to a lovely lady called Lorraine, whose husband and teenage daughter both have this beautiful disease, and we started talking about her daughter’s pump therapy – the fight Lorraine had had on her hands to get pump funding approved and then how much it had benefitted her daughter, both in terms of control and also socially – it was overwhelmingly clear that it had made life a whole lot easier. But my ears really pricked up when Lorraine casually mentioned how much lower each dose of insulin was – something like half as much.

And here comes the Great Carbohydrate Debate. I eat carbs most days but I’m fairly selective about the carbs I eat most of the time. Oats, sweet potatoes and quinoa (oh hey middle class Londoner) see me right, but I won’t eat them at every meal, and I don’t eat as many if I’m not able to get to the gym. That is, of course, with the exception of Christmas, birthdays and the like when I tend to face plant the roast potatoes/triple cooked chips/whatever comes my way. Years of practice (plus hours of exercise) have taught me which foods I generally can and cannot cope with, and which I’m prepared to compensate for later, most likely via an intense carb coma and elevated doses. But for the most part I’m generally of the view that the less insulin I need, the better. Exercise is a MAJOR factor in that – a tough bike ride followed by decent food choices has previously left me injection free for 48 hours. I’m not by any means scared of taking insulin; quite the opposite – if I’m gonna eat like a pig and upset my waistline, I’m going to do my utmost not to upset my sugars too. But if I’m sat there endlessly poking myself with yet another double figure dosage of insulin three hours after even the finest, most gourmet veggie supreme, only to still have high blood sugars the next morning, complete with accompanying thick head and unusually moody demeanour, I generally am left unsure as to whether it was entirely worth it. I digress – basically lower doses = less room for error & less sluggishness, insulin hangovers and general nastiness going on in my bod in the long run.

So… the pump. Some seeds had been planted, and it took me a year of occasional and fleeting pondering to enquire at my latest clinic appointment to find out a little bit more. The raft of exercise I undertook for the challenge is now a steady routine, and the pump started to appeal for the flexibility it could offer me in the gym and on my bike. The other main factor in my new found curiosity is the appearance of an actual human man who since day one has been overwhelmingly supportive and taken more of an interest in this wholly uninteresting and unsexy disease than even I do at times. From the mundane day-to-day of peeling yet another used test strip from under his feet *sigh*, to stepping in and saving me from needing an ambulance in the depths of the night, I’ve never felt more capable of controlling this thing, and even more important than that, I’ve never felt more comfortable with letting someone help me control it, instead of carrying on my one-woman-without-pancreas crusade of auto-immune independence.

Still – this was merely intended as an enquiry. The huge reservations about being permanently attached to anything remained, and despite the wholly positive stories I’d heard, I knew I was doing more than ok, on the whole, with my trusty Novopen. Blunt needles and bruised legs aside. But my continual, seemingly incessant background retinopathy and the associated utmost fear of going entirely BLIND is constantly lurking at the back of my mind, and if there’s a way I can possibly maintain the gift of sight in order to actually see my future kids grow up, well… pass me the tubing and rig me the hell up.

The clinic appointment came, and my DSN was happy enough to chat through the options, but she seemed hesitant that it would offer me huge benefits, being already a generally healthy and happy type 1. My particular hospital offers two pumps. First, I was shown the ‘traditional’ Medtronic Veo, which I’d seen before and was expecting to see; a pager vibe with tubing attached. But then, behold… I met the Omnipod. It’s a wireless pump. A WIRELESS PUMP. I mean, I know we’ve sent people to the moon and stuff, but to me this was just incredible. I had no idea these things even existed.

Ohhh so teeny. (And someone get me a manicure...)

Ohhh so teeny. (And someone get me a manicure…)

I held it in my hand, turned it over, held it up, felt the weight and was just in disbelief as she told me I’d load a three day supply in, and that the dosage was controlled by me via my blood glucose meter, and I could wear it in the shower, and I could wear it in the gym, and I could move each pod around depending on what I planned on wearing. Fella’s eyes had widened too – this was a brave new world to me after nearly 20 years without a functioning pancreas, let alone him, less than a year into my idiotic life.

We came away with a lot to think about. Exciting as it was, it was still a big leap to be hooked up to a plastic bug pretty much round the clock. So, if in doubt… take to Twitter. You bloody wonderful lot.

Pump TweetsPump Tweets

I’m aware that I’m very lucky my clinic are happy to put me straight on a pump without a fight. I’m also aware that the wireless pump isn’t available at every clinic; which isn’t entirely ok. Tubing works wonderfully for many, and who’s to say I’m right about any wire-based reservations I’ve previously had? I’ve no experience in this whatsoever, and I went into that clinic ready to ask about the pump with no idea there was any option but tubing. I’m by no means right in my thought processes (27 years in my head have taught me that), I’m just relaying them to you, dear and unfortunate reader.

Nonetheless, buoyed by your encouragement to at least give it a whirl, I asked for a dummy pod to test. I proudly stuck in on and continued bopping about my life for three days; in the gym, on my bike, at work, out with friends, in my flat, in bed… (hey, pump or no pump, diabetics have sex hold hands atop the covers too). Apart from one fleeting moment of self-consciousness in the gym changing room, all I felt was overwhelming excitement. And an urge to show my dear non-diabetic compadres to give them a glimpse of how exciting something as ridiculous and seemingly unattractive as a plastic pod could be. The response was a liiiiiiittle overwhelming. But then, after all the amazing support I had on my cycle, I should have known…

Pump Facebook Post

Told you my friends were great, right?

Now, I’m under no illusion that this transition is going to be rocky. And that I’m going to get this very wrong before I start to get it right. But after coming to the conclusion that 1. I have nothing to lose and 2. I can always give it back if I reaaaaaaally don’t like it, the funding is being applied for. It will be at least a month or so before it gets ordered and I get hooked up. But hold tight cannula, you’re going in.

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Nurture Three Day Juice Cleanse – Nourishment or Nonsense?

I can already see you rolling your eyes.

Juices?! As in… no food?!

Well, no solids… yes. For three days. It happened, I did it, and it was amazing for my body, my mind and my blood sugars.
More detail on that in a bit, but just what exactly would possess a food loving self-confessed greedy pig to give up foods for 72 hours?


Ever since my life-changing visit to the yoga retreat last year I have been paying a lot of attention to what I’m putting into my body in order to make it as nourished it can be so that I feel strong and healthy. Looking at food labels is nothing new in my life, but for many years previously as I battled with my weight I try anything from a zero tolerance carbs policy to drinking shakes – without any concern for the actual ingredients involved. That week in Spain, however, my eyes were dramatically opened to concentrating far far away from the ratio of carbs minus Weight Watchers points multiplied by the square root of Atkins.
The thinking that for the past year has made me the happiest and inwardly healthiest I’ve ever been is thus – on a very basic level, we are entirely made up of cells, as is the food we eat. The food we eat slowly and literally becomes us. Therefore if our food is full of toxins, chemicals, artificial ingredients and things that sound like they were intended for outer space, we simply cannot function properly, we will not be at our optimum, we will not be focussed or maintain clarity in our day to day lives. I appreciate that for many, moderation is key and this is all complete hooey, but the evidence of the extremes of this is plain for all to see – we as a nation are pretty sick, tired and sad.
So if I’m all about nourishing myself with natural ingredients, why resort to giving up food entirely for three days? A juice cleanse is not a faddy diet and should not be seen as such, nor undertaken as such. It’s a way to reset the system, give the liver a rest (it’s the liver’s job to detoxify us of all those nasties we inhale/ingest/imbibe in the modern world on a day to day basis. Tough job) and remove all the blocked bits that are clogged up by too many nights on the Sauvignon and one too many slices of generic office birthday cake. A (SHORT) cleanse will return your body back to its factory settings, while the very nature of juice means that the fuel it provides is quickly accessed by the body, giving it a little rest from its normal heavy-duty task of endless digestion. I felt like I needed it – a year on from the yoga retreat and despite still being mostly veggie (the 10% of time I’m not, I eat fish) I’d lost some of that ridiculous serene yet sparkly zen-like presence I’d uncovered at Kaliyoga. Life is busy… it happens.
And so newly launched Nurture Juices were kind enough to let me try their 3 Day Cleanse – 18 juices, raspberry protein powder and pre & probiotic sachets. I was slightly daunted – I eat exceptionally healthy most of the time, but I eat a LOT. More than most. I also chose the day after my London to Brighton ride to start this thing – the day after I’d burnt nearly 2000 calories turning the bike pedals over and over. But social commitments and a bid not to get dumped by a frustrated foodie fella (I jest… kind of) meant that this was the day of reckoning.

Ohhhh so pretty! A day's intake. Gulp.

Ohhhh so pretty! A day’s intake. Gulp.

Monday – Day 1
I’d carb-loaded pretty substantially the day before to give my body the fuel it needed to drag me 54 miles to Brighton, so Monday morning I woke up HUNGRY. I had to be careful not to sink the first of my six juices in one go. Instead I sipped thoughtfully, enjoying the taste of pink grapefruit, coconut water and himilayan rock salt. Nonetheless, I’m very much a breakfast person and I found myself reaching for the second juice 90 minutes later. I had a day off and had woken up late so I figured it was just catch up, right?
The six juices are designed to give you all the nutrients you need in a day – and a whopping 10 portions of fruits and vegetables. There are naturally occurring sugars in these, of course, but the nutritional info on the bottles meant I could just count carbs and inject accordingly like every other day. Each and every one of them tasted amazing – I’m one for healthy foods anyway and I’m not afraid of a green juice. They were all different, and all delicious – packed with natural yumminess that covered everything from immune boosting to anti-imflammatory to system alkalising. That day I won’t lie – I was a hungry lady and sank a lot of herbal tea to keep me from reaching for anything more substantial. I busied myself with some writing and a serious marathon of Orange Is The New Black (OBSESSED), but stubborn pride was pretty much what got me through the first day. I had six units of insulin all day – although part of this was down to the post cycle metabolism spike.

Tuesday –Day 2
An over-corrected night time hypo set me off on the back foot in the morning (I’d prepared for blood sugar upset and fixed it with juice btw, not chocolate biscuits…), but a couple of correction units and I was good to go. Back to work. I was a little worried about this, but I found that being busy actually made things easier. I looked forward to each juice but was happy to find that the hunger pangs had fully subsided. Of course I was peckish, but my stomach wasn’t growling. Knowing that I couldn’t eat any food whatsoever made the team biscuits incredibly easy to pass up; there was none of the ‘oh just one then’ moral dilemma that normally ensues at the waft of a chocolate hobnob. I even managed to refrain from ordering in my favourite vegan restaurant when I inadvertently suggested to my hungry vegetarian friends that we give the spot a try. Social destitution aside (YES destitution. I also shunned the wine. This is not something I take lightly), there was a just a fleeting moment of lust when the falafels came out, but come on… three days is not difficult. There are wars, poverty and climate change being fought. Concerned friends and colleagues questioned how on earth I was functioning, but honestly I felt great. I was focused and I had energy and I felt wide awake. The theory behind this is that the very nature of juice means that the nutrients from each one can be absorbed quickly with minimal effort by the body, which speeds up the detoxifying and alkalising process.
Wednesday – Day 3
I was fully expecting some sort of serious energy lag on day three, but I instead cycled into town, did a full gym workout and popped off to work before sinking the first juice. I KNOW. I definitely felt less bloated than normal and there were a lot of ahem… ‘movements’ due to all the fibre in the juice. I bounded my way through a day of apple, mango, kale, lemon, spinach, cucumber, apple, beetroot, carrot, ginger, blueberry and the rest and couldn’t quite believe it when I got to the evening and was having to think about the food I would need for breakfast the next day. How on earth had I actually done it? I still have no idea really; I just did it, and I really enjoyed it. My body DID feel rested, and cleansed, and content. Day three was an eight units of insulin kinda day. Happy days by all accounts, and my blood sugars were solid, stable and much more predictable. I’m sure that by day four or five the reduction in calories would have left me more than a little sleepy but I honestly after three days felt revived, not deprived. Who’d have thunk??
Post-cleanse I sussed that it probably wasn’t a good idea to immediately laden my body with a truck load of stodge, so for the first breakfast I griddled some veggies and added a bit of tahini, and did the same for lunch with an egg for protein. Not a million miles from my normal diet but the cleanse definitely got me out of a digestive lull – I found myself wanting much smaller portions and I was 100% craving nutrients the whole time, not cakes, bread and biscuits. My blood sugars remained stable and my insulin needs were definitely lower through the week. Heading off to Glastonbury the weekend after probably left my liver wondering what the hell was going on, but I would happily cleanse every 1-2 months from here on in to give my body a rest and reap the benefits. There are plenty out there at varying costs, and I have friends who have appeared armed with their own juicers and DIYed it. It definitely wouldn’t be for everyone, but if you’re in any way interested in plant-based nutrition, alkalising or general detoxification – and I assume you are if you’ve reached the end of this waffle – I’d highly recommend you give something like this a go.

Juice at the gym, juice at the desk...

Juice at the gym, juice at the desk…

The three day Nurture Juice Cleanse costs £170.99, but you can purchase it for just £49.99 (70% off) until Wednesday 23rd July 2014 by entering the discount code YOUNGFUN at the checkout. Hurrah! Head to wearenurture.com
*Disclaimerrrrrrr* (sorry). It is advised that you consult your doctor or medical professional before embarking on a drastic change of diet. It worked for me, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Etc etc.


London to Brighton – 54 Miles of Madness

My muscles are creaking, my calves are stiff and my head feels a liiiitttle bit fuzzy. 24 hours since I joined the masses and rode 54 miles (+5 +6 but who’s counting…) for British Heart Foundation’s flagship London to Brighton ride.

And my body knew about it! It’s Friday now, and I can walk again, which is helpful.


Since the mammoth London to Paris half marathon challenge of 2013 (I might have mentioned it) I have been, on the whole, keeping up the fitness routine while maintaining a bit more of a training life/social life balance. I learnt so so much about myself and what your body can do that I vowed to never throw away the feeling I had over that final finish line – having set my mind to achieve something quite massive (for me) and seen it through, and learnt a shit load about myself along the way. It was however, quite an isolating (through choice) and self-indulgent process, so after completing it I was happy to indulge a little more in other things I love – my dear friends, wine, fun times, and so maybe one or two less training sessions a week. The poor hybrid however, did get somewhat neglected. After work social times came along, a new flat came along, winter came along, a new job came along… y’know. Life.

But the love of cycling is unequivocally here to stay, of that I’m sure. So when my friends signed up for the London to Brighton en mass as a group I felt like I couldn’t not do it. It’s a big ol’ distance, but one I knew I could do with some training, this time with a big bunch of friends, and not dogging every friend (and stranger) for serious sponsorship. A challenge to keep the wheels turning. Hurrah.

I have been longing for a road bike for many months, and each month have just not got round to selling the faithful hybrid. So training didn’t quite happen as it should have. Then… I managed to injure myself trying to channel my inner Olympic ski jumper in Switzerland at the end of March. Foolish, yes. Fun, yes. But ultimately it meant six weeks of no exercise – doctors orders  – which was actual hell for someone who has it engrained as such a big part of her week. AHHHHHHHH. I know we’re talking first world problems here but in terms of my state of mind, my diabetes control and my general focus and clarity… AHHHHHHHH.

It was mid-May before I attempted any kind of exercise, so only four weeks ago. My first gym session was like the devil came to train me – I’d lost a fair bit of muscle strength and felt like a soft mess. The four day ache that followed told me my body had got used to being sedentary pretty quickly, dammit. We *do* have a very comfy sofa, it has to be said. But my base cardio fitness was not completely forgotten, so there was hope, aided wonderfully by a few morning spinning raves courtesy of Psycle. Not one to ever do anything by half, I also chose this time to get myself my beautiful new road bike. I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS THING:

The Bike

It’s love.

Ohhhh isn’t she beautiful!? No but, really, BEAUTIFUL?!?

If I needed any impetus to get my knee in full working order to complete the London to Brighton, she was IT!! I have barely been off the saddle since in all hours that will allow me to ride, and apart from the occasional initial twinge, the knee has been ok. The fella has now also decided to get his own bike and join in the fun. So we’re set to become one of those couples, all lycra-clad and endorphin-fuelled, sauntering around the depths of Kent at the weekend. Sickening.

The Day Before

I kept a low profile on the very sunny Saturday, just to make sure I was rested and ready. I did go to the gym which was slightly unnecessary but I thought a little bit of cardio and some arm work would get me ready for the next day, and I left my legs alone for the most part. Still. Wholly stupid.

That evening as I was getting my kit ready, laying out the lycra and filling my pathetically tiny bike bag to bursting I was taken right back to packing for Paris, and familiar nerves set in. Was my fitness up to it? How would I fare on a very different bike? Would I be able to keep up? Would my blood sugars behave? I did feel slightly less of a chancer than last time, when I was heading into the complete unknown with what was a bunch of pretty experienced riders. And I was among friends – it would be a laugh, despite the inevitable thigh burn and not insignificant front bum pain (just saying… it’s a real thing). So while everyone was getting all excitable watching the build up to the first England game of the World Cup, I sent myself to bed. Good job I didn’t miss much.


My waking blood sugar was 6.5. Perfect. I split my sweets, gels, test strips, insulin, race number, puncture repair kit… blah blah blah between my jersey pockets and saddle bag, and donned the padded shorts once more. These babies I have NOT missed. Walking like I was wearing a full nappy –an elegant look that many could but only hope to achieve beyond their infant years – I bid farewell to East London and thanks to weekend overground closures, cycled 5 miles from East London to Waterloo to get a train to Clapham. Cheers for that little warm up, TFL.

Packing kit... and bricking it

Packing kit… and bricking it

I fuelled myself at home with an oat/egg/coconut oil/cinnamon scramble (this is a PERFECTLY balanced breakfast full of so much goodness that will give you amazing slow release energy, if you care for that stuff), then at the start line with a banana.  I had about half the insulin I would normally have for this, anticipating a spike then a very sudden drop in blood sugars later in the day. The ten of us finally assembled (including one tandem!) and off we went, some of the last of the 28,000 (!) cyclists to leave, at around 9.45. Like, to the point that they told us they were about to take down the start line. A leisurely approach to these things does fare you well. At that time the first riders were close to completing.

Annnnd GO! No wait, stop. GO!

Getting out of London was an utter nightmare. The traffic hated us, we were swarming the roads, dozens upon dozens of us, a weird lycra-clad takeover of the roads. All eager to get going, but all getting just a few metres along before we had to stop again. Bottlenecks, traffic lights and general Londonness meant it was a good couple of hours before we got to Sutton and stopped, less than 10 miles in. But once we were out of the city things were moving a lot better. There were a LOT of bikes. A LOT of lycra. Out of context it looked like a very strange cult with a penchant for stretchy material and helmets. Sure.

Start. Aaaaaand stop.

Start. Aaaaaand stop.

Mile 12ish and we hit our first hill. Ahhh, I remember those!! Braced my core, hit the lowest gear and just turned my legs until I was at the top. Ouch! Thoughts of the dreaded Ditchling Beacon were looming, but that bad boy was dozens of miles away on the home stretch – I had to make it that far first…

We stopped and regrouped at mile 19 – the tandem was storming ahead like an absolute beast. A third of the way through and I felt good; we’d covered a decent distance and I hadn’t felt horrible at any point. I couldn’t get over all the bikes – just thousands and thousands of them. I don’t think I’d taken the time to quantify what 28,000 people would be. It was just nuts, and we weren’t even in the ride’s ‘rush hour’. The next leg started with an insane downhill that as a non-nervous rider, I found quite crazy. The whole way people were pulling out without checking what was coming up behind them. I saw so many near misses, and when heading downhill at nearly 30 miles an hour, I had a fleeting moment of absolute vulnerability that I’d never felt before. Chucking myself down hills in rural Paris, only one of a dozen, had been indescribably exhilarating. Here, with people dodging and weaving around you, on a slightly damp road, covered with random bracken, it felt wonderful, but also a liiiiittle bit scary. I loved it because I got to the bottom, but seeing a guy (luckily) sprawled on a hay bale halfway down was a bit of a shock. The day is one of celebration, of joy, of achievement, but there’s a very vulnerable element to parts of it, when you’re out there bombing down a hill with your arms exposed. And I’m not a beginner. This wasn’t something I was expecting at all – a feeling compounded when we got to the bottom of the hill and the marshal warned us to slow down as there had been a nasty accident earlier that morning. Gulp.

The next hill was bottlenecked so every cyclist had to walk – slightly frustrating for the stubborn amongst us who wanted to say we’d cycled the whole way without getting off, but the break wasn’t entirely unwelcome, and of course the concerns were for the rider who today I believe remains in hospital. After the little pause we had a really good run, chatting at a steady, strong pace, so that when we stopped for lunch we suddenly found ourselves over mile 30. Oh HIYA. My bloods were up in the high teens but I was mostly ok with that; I knew what was coming after lunch. I had a generous-ish dose of insulin with my food but was careful not to go overboard. I’d been here before and didn’t want to end up being picked up off the floor an hour later and carried off in an ambulance. Brighton was waiting!

Team Tandem

Team Tandem

The need to stop for food plus the less than tropical climate meant that getting back on the bike after lunch felt like quite a task. My legs had seized and I’d had a little crash just before lunch thanks to a sudden stop in front of me when my hands weren’t near the brakes (still getting used to the road handlebars then!). I’d come away unscathed but my body was a little knocked. I’d learnt from Paris that the only way through seized legs was to keep on pedalling baby. So that we did, for nearly 20 miles. Passing the boys on a rest stop a few miles shy of the dreaded Ditching Beacon – an absolute beast of a climb that many people had warned us about – an eerie mood suddenly descended on the lycra swarm – like we all knew we were bracing ourselves for something pretty gruelling, and that talking now was merely a waste of energy. Me and my buddy Claire started being very stingy with anything lower than the highest gear; trying to savour the low gears for when we needed them the most. The clouds had darkened too – it was a pretty sinister approach. But we knew once we’d made it to the top the end was very much in sight.


And it came towards us. The height of the valley in front of us was both utterly breathtaking and wholly daunting. We knew Brighton was waiting on the other side, but to me it looked like I was about to scale a full mountain. People were already walking at the bottom. Endurance uphill is definitely something you have to learn – the inclination when you hit something tough is of course to stop; but channelling my inner London to Paris invincible superhero I came down to the lowest gear, gritted my teeth and just pedalled. My breathing got heavy and slow, people would suddenly stop and give up in front of you which was another task in itself. Cruelly this was also the first time we saw people who had finished cycling the OTHER way, medals round necks. GAHHHH!!! Swines.

At this point, being at the back of the day’s pack, most people were walking. There were only a few of us left trying not to topple over and just lay on the road in a heap until dark. It was tempting, but a particularly ‘grunty’ woman in front of me did me a favour – Venus Williams had nothing on this girl. It was the distraction I needed to take my mind of my screaming limbs – my arms were as tense as my legs as I dragged myself up the hill. When the marshal – a shining yellow ANGEL – shouted that we were 100m from the top I actually screeched ‘do you promise?!’ at him because I thought it was a sick joke. But there it was, flat land! And look, I wasn’t that pleased with myself/borderline mental about it at all…

Ditchling Beacon. Feared by all. My mental face. Feared by all.

Ditchling Beacon. Feared by all. My mental face. Feared by all.

As we’d had a head start on the hill, the rest of the group slowly appeared one by one, some on their legs, some on their wheels. And then it was all downhill – PRAISE BE to the law of gravity. We wheeled like lightening down the valley and into Brighton (again, ever so slightly intimidating!) and came to a crashing halt. Far from our visions of wheeling down the seafront and over the finish line in a blaze of glory, the last mile took us aaaaaaagggeeessss. 28,000 people + 28,000 bikes that are not allowed on trains = CHAOS. Cool.

BUT… when we did eventually wheel along the seafront together, tired and happy and unscathed, some EIGHT HOURS after we set off, it was jeffing wonderful. Residents were still there, clapping us in. It was genuinely lovely. High fives all round. Then… we remembered we had another five miles uphill to cycle to a friend’s garage to store our bikes for the night. That five miles felt tougher than the entire 54 that had preceded them. Blood sugar on arrival? 4.9.

I won!

London to Brighton 4

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Savasana In The Sky – Yoga at the top of The Shard

Hot yoga, ashtanga yoga, gravity yoga… it’s all happening in the world of the bendy.

But how about yoga among the actual clouds? Y’know, up there in the sky? Not possible, you say. Well… it is when you head 68 floors up to the top of Europe’s tallest building for your class.

I was invited to a yoga class atop The Shard – 800ft above the hustle and bustle of the capital.

I was extremely up for it – I’m such an advocate for the benefits of yoga (oh, here’s a little video of my incredible experience at a yoga retreat) for all humankind. In a world where we’re constantly connected, on the go, in the loop, switched on, heading here there and everywhere as fast as possible, constantly being made to think four days ahead, yoga puts a big fat hand in your face (albeit calmly and serenely) and makes you stop. Breathe. Think. Connect. Balance. Focus. Prioritise. These are things we absolutely need to do the most, but such are the demands of life in 2014 that it happens far too little. Allowing myself time to sit with my thoughts amid the vast expanse of the open sky and I had a feeling I was about to experience something a little bit special. Even if the sky is a slightly greyer shade of blue than one would hope, as it was when I made my way up to the top.


It was very early in the morning to be this excitable

The View from The Shard has teamed up with renowned yogis Leo and Mandy of Yogasphere for an eight week stint of classes that have more than just a little extra something special – panoramic views of everything from the London Eye to Big Ben to St Pauls and Tower Bridge. It’s a lot to take in when you’re mid downward dog. At £40 a go it’s not cheap, but it costs £25 to head up there sans lycra so if you’re even remotely into your yoga, this is so very worth it.

Leo and Mandy take us through the poses

Leo and Mandy take us through the poses

Stepping out of the lift and seeing the rest of the world below me was exciting enough. Damn, that is high. I chose a mat close to the floor to ceiling windows to get the most of the breath-taking views and sat cross legged on the floor as Leo started taking us through the postures. As wonderfully distracting as it was see the entirety of the capital city below, as I tried to maintain a one-legged tree pose, it was conversely that insane physical elevation from the rest of London that helped me focus my practice.

From the 68th floor that big bad world below looked small. All those niggling doubts and worries that plague you everyday? They also became small. Distant and irrelevant for those 60 precious minutes. Becoming physically detached from the city and all the good and bad that’s associated with the daily grind allowed me to become quickly centred and grounded because I was literally on top of the madness and the chaos. Floating, as calm as the clouds that were hazily and casually passing around us. I was literally soaring as high as the sky, and the feeling didn’t leave me as I sailed back down to earth and carried on with my day, joining the rest of the world at rush hour. They hadn’t noticed I had ever left, but to me, I’d been a world away.

That's my concentration face guys...

That’s my concentration face guys…

Yogasphere and The View from the Shard are running classes every Saturday morning until 26th July 2014.

Bottom photos courtesy of Oliver Dixon/Imagewise.

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Type 1 Uncut – Speaking up about life with Diabetes

As I mentioned in my last post, some lovely things are coming out of Diabetes Week 2014. As the week draws to a close I wanted to talk a little bit about the lovely, funny, heart-warming bunch of videos that have been launched this week, aka #Type1Uncut.

As a young person, it’s damn hard to talk about anything that makes you different. Anything that you feel uneasy about, or nervous about, or maybe ashamed of. The emails I get as a result of this blog illustrate that most weeks. This thing can be so very isolating.

I’ve always maintained that I speak 100% honestly about life with Type 1, especially on here. Most of the time I feel like that life is just fine, through dozens of embarrassing moments, countless awkward conversations, hundreds of hypos, thousands of injections and tens of thousands of finger pricks. But sometimes this shit gets you down, even after living with it for 18 years. And when this shit gets you down it’s now an absolute blessing that we now have hundreds of people in the palm of our hands, most of whom we have never and will never meet, that know exactly what you’re talking about. So a video channel dedicated to opening up the conversations around life as a young adult with type 1 – conversations that can be so difficult to have – can only be a great thing. I started this blog because I wanted to know if anyone else was trying to live at an average pace of 100mph with a lifetime supply of medicines in tow. No doctor could tell me that.

Harnessing the power of YouTube is a wonderful shout, given that young people LIVE on there. These videos, produced by London agency Nonsense with Diabetes UK and a group of young (fun!) type 1s aged 16-30, are having conversations that many people would shy away from. Some are with a wonderful pinch of salt (see Jess and her hilariously OTT but altogether true rant video), some had me welling up. Having watched them all I think the takeaway message is extremely positive – these are just people, like we are all people, having a good time and living their lives; and I’m sure that’s how most of us with any kind of condition, disability, impairment, stress, life hurdle WHATEVER want to be seen. But only by having proper conversations around this 24/7 thing we’ve got going on in the background can we improve understanding, whether it be our own understanding of our condition, family and friends or society at large.

So well done Jess, Ginny, Mark, Hannah, Mel, Chloe, Lindsay, Tom, Charlotte, Alice, Lucy, Christie, Mike and everyone else involved for having the courage to speak up. I imagine there’ll be people out there who don’t want to see this stuff, for one reason or another. Who want to pretend it’s not happening. But you never know who’s sat in their bedroom in the depths of rural arse end of nowhere, newly diagnosed, having never even heard the term diabetes before, let alone anyone with it, who’s wondering how the hell they’re going to go to school, or go to a sleepover, or go on holiday, or leave home, or go drinking, or hang with their friends, or go to uni, or play the sports they love. If that’s you, I urge you to give this one a watch.

Head to Diabetes UK for more information about the project.

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#ICan – Diabetes Week 2014

This week is Diabetes Week 2014.

I do always feel funny that we’ve been given a ‘week’. Diabetes doesn’t really strike me as cause to start popping the corks. But I do one million percent think that weeks like this are fantastic for raising awareness, and ultimately (and most importantly) encouraging conversations around the pancreatically challenged life.

Reading Diabetes UK’s #ICan feed was like the ultimate Monday morning dose of happy. I love me an inspirational quote – these are like quotes on steroids, with feel-good rockets up their backsides. We all know it, but sometimes it’s hard to remember: people with type 1 are just normal people living their lives. Not aliens, or freaks, who need to be tiptoed around, or wrapped in cotton wool. We’re athletes, travellers, movers, shakers, HAPPY people achieving great things each and every day – it’s just that behind the scenes, there’s some serious shit going on. Some achievements are big, like travelling the world. Some are small, like making it through the day without a hypo. But here’s the thing – that’s not a small feat at all, is it? Having to try and make it through every day of the rest of your life without dropping into the hypo zone is huge. Subtle, perhaps, but colossal. It’s also impossible, which essentially amounts to setting ourselves up for failure. And beyond that, suffering a hypo and having the knowledge and skills amidst the chaos of what a hypo entails to fix it and carry on with your day is medal-worthy.


I love the #ICan idea, because on the whole, we’re pessimists. We’re passive and we don’t shout about the great things that make us who we are; diabetes or no diabetes. But this week is indeed a celebration, a reason to pat ourselves on the back and acknowledge that we’re going through something pretty demanding, and getting on with it anyway: work, life, family, travels, exercise. Yes, everybody is going through something. But given that the something we’re going through has been deemed worthy of a national ‘week’, let’s all acknowledge that despite this shit, we’re out there, and we’re living our lives anyway. Bloody spectacularly, if the #ICan feed is anything to go by.

So for a nation of people who are humble and quiet and self-depricating, I’d like to say #ICan acknowledge that I’m not doing badly with this thing. None of us are. We’re so so hard on ourselves when we get our doses wrong, or accept that second chocolate, or inject in the same place one too many times, or fail to log all our bloods correctly, or indeed fail to make it through the day without having a hypo, sometimes two hypos, sometimes three hypos. I’ve had more hypos than I’d dare to count, some fixable with a little apple juice and a quiet minute, others much much more terrifying. But WE can also stand up and more than ever before and actually talk about this stuff with each other. The literal highs and the lows, the scares, the fears and the overcoming of things that pre-diabetes seemed god damn exciting at best, daunting at worst. Add diabetes into the mix and we can easily leap to keep-you-awake-at-night terrifying. Like going to your first sleepover, or leaving home, negotiating pregnancy, endurance running, starting a new job.  WE can do these things. And hopefully Diabetes Week this year, with lovely ideas like #ICan will help turn the keep-you-awake-at-night terrifying back to daunting, and maybe just back to exciting. Because #ICan absolutely, definitely and wonderfully rely on you lot to make it just a little bit easier. Because you’re all doing it sans pancreas too. So hell yeh, maybe we should pop ourselves the prosecco after all. Now THAT, dear friends, is something #ICan definitely do.

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Generation Social Validation

I just read that takes on average 5 minutes and 45 seconds to get the perfect ‘impromptu’ selfie shot.

5 minutes and 45 seconds does not suggest one is capturing a candid moment does it?

The effect of social media on how and why we receive perceived ‘validation’ through likes and comments via a screen is colossal, and has changed the way we present ourselves to the world forevermore. So many positive things have come from the rise of this social savvy generation – togetherness (even if physically alone); a chance to reach out to others from the relative safety of a screen. But is this empowerment, or a cry for help? Offering yourself up to the public for judgement hereby apparently means that 5 minutes and 45 seconds of perfecting needs to be undertaken to ensure that the judgement you receive is the right one; the one you crave.

This is something that fascinates me constantly, particularly in relation to young people. I could write and write and write about this, and soon I will. But for now this infographic from Elizabeth Kesses, author of The Ugly Little Girl trilogy gives us a little snapshot. Weirdly Instagram, the veritable home of the selfie, isn’t mentioned on here. I’ve got more digging to do on this one…



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Who Says You Need Two? Monokini for breast cancer survivors shows us what’s really beautiful

A picture popped up on my Twitter timeline this morning so utterly fabulous I wanted to derobe and dance on the desk with joy.

This wasn’t the ‘latest’ from Kimye’s honeymoon (yawn), nor a particularly pretty yet completely financially unachievable new pair of shoes… but this.



This a woman who is more of a woman than most of us could aspire to be. This is a breast cancer survivor deliciously and wonderfully modelling a Monokini 2.0 – an update of the 1964 design that exposed the breasts – only this time it’s, in the Finnish designers’ words, ‘re-examining popular culture’s narrow view of a woman’s ideal appearance’. And how fabulously done.

The collection is generating a flurry of attention – which perhaps exposes something about us a society (myself included) in line with that narrow view they’re talking about above. For all the pouting, posing, baps out ‘models’ that fill up our papers, sidebars and instas daily, bred from a fame-hungry generation reeking of the need for social validation, these girls look more stunning, powerful and beautiful than that lot put together. Our girls need to learn about these woman – about overcoming, about staring fear in the face, defying the utmost of challenges, and being empowered by the experiences that have made you you.

Founder Elina Haluttunen is a woman on a spectacular mission. A mission which, it is now startlingly apparent, is long overdue. She says Monokini 2.0 is about more than wearing a swimsuit she feels good in after herself choosing not to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, but also to ‘dig into the restrictive social taboo on what is considered appropriate’. It’s true we are fixated with breasts as wider society – men for very different reasons than women – but just look at accepted (or resigned to – sigh) cultural norms of the way we talk about these mammary glands, designed to feed a newborn child: ‘Are you a boob or a bum man?’, ‘I wish my boobs were bigger’, ‘she’s got a cracking pair of tits’… it’s not hard to see how much emphasis one can place on the physicality of having a ‘set’ of breasts, and as such how much of a woman the owner consequently is (or is not). To present these wonderful women as exactly that – whole women, and beautiful, empowered women at that – is one giant positive step in enlightening us all to what it means to have a positive self-image, to be whole and complete and content with however that manifests – big, small, quiet, confident, tall, short… one-breasted, no-breasted. Monokini 2.0 is rather starkly exposing the not-so norm about the supposed norms we live by, measure ourselves against and judge one another upon – each and every day.


Haluttunen and the group of designers behind the project are hoping to expand through a KickStarter, launched today.


The Wrong Stuff: Thoughts on the Twitter furore over a talk show debate

“Does every good child deserve an Easter Egg? One in four kids is overweight or obese and here we are about to ram their little gullets with tooth rotting, diabetes-causing chocolate.”

If you don’t recognise that sentence, let me enlighten you.
This was, and still is, a Facebook and Twitter post and concurrent similar on-air spout from Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff, which as far as I can deduce, chose to put a rather contentious spin on a barely editorially justified segment to spark debate.
Nothing ‘wrong’ with that… I guess. (There is, but whatever).
At the very base level, they were suggesting that eating an Easter egg could ‘trigger’ diabetes. ‘Isn’t there something ever so slightly sinister about giving a child licence to gorge on chocolate and fat?’ asked Mr Wright as he introduced the segment.

Excuse me?

Once you’re done guffawing at the very loose excuse for programming here, I don’t actually think he’s committed any kind of heinous crime with the item itself (WAIT!) – it was ill-judged daytime programming but it was, as he is, contentious to be conscientious, putting a silly spin on a holiday where parents deign to offer their children a foodstuff that is pleasurable, as a treat. You could see the relish on his face when he asked one caller whether they would be ‘poisoning’ their child with Easter eggs over the weekend – if we were to take that at face value he’s pretty much offended every parent in the land there. The man knows what he’s doing.

But moving on specifically to the diabetes comment. Ignorance and lack of understanding about diabetes – type 1, type 2, type whatever, happens. It will always happen. We get precious about it sure, and I bet he’s wondering what all that fuss was about, but that’s because we live and breathe it. And I do believe the ignorance is justified if you’re Mr ABC1 walking down the street not knowing anything about the condition because you‘ve never come into contact with it. However, it is completely unjustified and more to the point irresponsible, if your job is that you are a researcher or a producer or a presenter on a national TV programme, in a position of influence to inform and educate the nation, including Mr ABC1, on such highly topical and relevant issues as diabetes (although I refer you to Exhibit A: there is nothing remotely topical or relevant about inferring that eating a chocolate treat over a holiday period is even remotely sinister, much less can ‘trigger’ diabetes).

If you’re going to have discussions such as this, you really can’t afford to do so without thinking about the consequences of throwing such statements around – ones lacking clarification to the point of ridiculous, that influence the ignorant, so the ignorant become misinformed, and the misinformed misinform others who are ignorant. Who cares, you say? Well, my 11-year-old self cared when I was told by a TEACHER in front of a class full of my peers, at a time when peer acceptance was so important, that I must be diabetic because I’d eaten the wrong types of food when I was younger. Mums and dads care when they have to face quizzical looks yet again; judged as a parent because their child has been steamrollered an autoimmune disease they had no control over, yet society believes what my teacher innocently believed, that somehow they played a part. If you put yourself out there as a mouthpiece to society and you continue to reinforce things that are devastating in their vagueness (I’m using that term here to humour Mr Wright, as he’s so very sure his item was wholly and factually accurate), they will become inaccurate because the subsequent learnings are false. As such the stigmas, and the misconceptions that parents of young type 1s spend their lives correcting become deeper and deeper rooted – among adults, among educators and influencers and ultimately the children that this kind of programming can so dangerously effect.

Like most people, the follow up personal comments on Twitter are what I have the real issue with. Ignorant and stubborn, this is downright worrying as far as I’m concerned. I don’t write about things I don’t have an understanding of. Wright has repeatedly asked which specific comment had offended so many, claiming that his ‘trolls’ had not seen the item in question. They didn’t need to see the item in question, as – and correct me if I’m wrong – referring to ‘a tooth-rotting diabetes-triggering easter egg’ in the opening thirty seconds of the programme would have done it. And he’s since taken delight in the mass increase of Twitter followers he received over the furore in the subsequent days. Oh, the validation.

Wright claims he’s been bullied as a result of this, and while personal vitriol on a public platform cannot be excused, neither can a broadcast reinforcing a stigma that isn’t accurate; one that also makes an innocent child feel like they don’t deserve to do what almost every other child in the country is doing as a joyful part of a national holiday. His argument over and over again is that sugar can cause (type 2) diabetes. But even if we were to roll our eyes and take that point at face value, the segment was very VERY specifically talking about children. 90% of diabetics in the UK have type 2 diabetes yes, but crucially only 3% of children with diabetes have type 2. THREE PERCENT. The rest, a whopping 97% maths fans, are type 1. Which then actually makes the ENTIRE segment pretty much null and void, no?

So eating a chocolate egg once a year is about as likely to cause a child to get type 2 diabetes than that same child having a bath…

To entertain a couple of his tweets, Wright states in one that we talk generically about cancer and thus we should group diabetes under diabetes and be done with. Yes we do, because as far as I’m aware different types of cancer are (far-reaching) variants of unregulated cell growth. And more to the point, and the reason so many people are outraged at Mr Wright rather than the segment itself, if what I’m saying here is in any way wrong I am happy to apologise and amend this, as I have knowledge only by association of this very complex and devastating illness that only those with first-hand experience will really have a grasp on. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes however, are not the same disease – far from it, and it is hugely unfortunate that they were ever grouped as such under the same word. But if you are going to use this word in a discussion on national television it is then your responsibility to understand this. It is also precisely why getting it right and making a distinction is so important.


Another tweet: Diabetes UK is called such because it is campaigning for awareness and cure of BOTH types of disease, including awareness of the distinction between the two, which quite apparently is more crucial than ever.


Many of the tweets to Mr Wright came from informed people trying to educate someone less in the know, who unfortunately on this occasion were only to be dismissed without any admission of the responsibility that being a broadcaster comes with. Direct attacks to him on a public platform I agree – not in any way acceptable. But for the remainder, his replies were responses that simply enraged people trying to protect their children. Whether he perceives he made an error or not, I’m astounded that given the overwhelming response received from a mere five minute segment,  Wright has yet to display the miniscule amount of humility needed to appreciate that there is a little more to this than his national broadcast would suggest.

So yes, Matthew. Many adult years of poor lifestyle and diet choices CAN contribute to type 2 diabetes. One child munching on a chocolate egg over Easter – the basis of your segment – CANNOT.
But for a child who has been graced with a lifetime sentence as a type 1 diabetic (did we get that? 97% of children with diabetes have type 1); a condition that they can barely pronounce let alone understand, who happily enjoyed a bit of chocolate last weekend just like everyone else; you have done nothing to dispel or allay their fears. Fears which are based on the perception of others, largely formed by mainstream media, that being landed with this condition was somehow their own fault.

Yes, they’re sat there munching their chocolate. GASP. But they’re not just say there munching their chocolate like the other kids. They’re also sat there counting the carbs in relation to the portion of chocolate they’re busy trying to enjoy, so that they can then inject the correct dose of insulin accordingly, a correct dose that will stop them from going either hypo or hyper – both of which can be life-threatening in the extreme, both of which could happen on any given day. A correct dose that they will have to work out every single time they eat or drink anything, chocolate or otherwise, for the rest of their lives. While their parents – the parents you spoke to so dismissively, the ones that in return weren’t particularly polite to you, watch over them as they cry while they give in to sticking needles in their finger to draw blood multiple times a day. Watch them squirm as they stick even bigger needles in their tummy, also multiple times a day. As those parents spend every hour of every day worrying their child is never far from slipping into a coma. As those parents adopt the role of nurse and psychologist on a topic they’re still getting to grips with themselves, and will have to continually learn and adapt to with every waking minute of the rest of their lives. As the child becomes an adult and realises this thing is never going to go away, and perhaps tries to fight it for a long time, to the point that their kidneys fail and they go blind.

But one can think of worse, hey.



In A Spin? Review of Psycle London

One dreary and moody not-quite-spring-yet evening as I scurried out of work with my head down in a hurried bid to dash through the Oxford Circus crush and reach my friend on time, I was halted by a glowing beacon of new shop frontage with clean branding and an enticing air of general wellbeing loveliness.

Behold, Psycle.


Psycle Outside

Psycle. Psycle presents itself as a low impact, high intensity total body workout on a bike, drawing on concepts popular in the US that are rapidly making their way over here as more and more people swap their brogues for cleats and get pedalling. It’s definitely been the buzz about fitness town – everyone from Vogue to the Evening Standard have been busy praising this 45-minute woop fest since it opened a few weeks ago. But is this anything new? Is it a passing flavour of the month or can it stand the test of time? I put on my very first pair of cleats (embarrassing as a cyclist, sure) and gave it a go.

Now, I love cycling, and I also love spinning. You’d think the two go hand in hand, but I’ve met many an outdoor pedaller who simply gaffaws at the thought of turning the pedals in a dark room to Eye of the Tiger, going nowhere. And there is a point to be taken here. Essentially you are indeed turning the pedals in a dark room going nowhere. Hopefully not to Eye of the Tiger (shoutout to 1982).

At £20 a pop per class, this is punchy. And oh so London. But the second you step inside the building you are overcome with a general sense of gorgeousness that, refreshingly, felt in no way intimidating. The staff were warm and friendly (and beautiful, dammit) and I actually made eye contact with other would-be cyclistas. EYE CONTACT! IN LONDON! IN AN EXERCISE ENVIRONMENT! Imagine.

Psycle Cleats

What drew me most to want to try Psycle over other offerings about town is their emphasis on joining up the physical exercise aspect to the mind and wellbeing. Sweating in a windowless gym, or even pounding the pavements on a spring day is, to many, a form of torture that takes up several of our precious life hours and results in negligible shifts on the scales, or else a rather unsightly transformation from would-be athlete to a beetroot coloured, panting, grunting, sweating beastlike version of the self from 45 minutes previously. Cake and sofas or friends and pubs I can thus see, are much more preferable in comparison.

But after a long time grappling with my ill-perceived physical inadequacies, I now exercise because it makes me feel amazing. It helps me clear my mind, focus at work and I know my innards are in damn good shape, no matter how bloated I may feel on a given Tuesday after too much wine/a bad night’s sleep/a stressful day/a combination of the above. It also means my blood sugars are on the whole, much lower and my reliance on endless units of insulin is hugely reduced. For more on that head over to The Healthy Diabetic who has got it sussed to the point that he doesn’t require insulin. Exercise makes me feel like a kickass super human, but I can appreciate that taking two hours out of your day to stand in a room avoiding eye-contact with a load of sweaty strangers at 6am may not win over the tiny voices in your head telling you to stay the hell in bed FOOL.

Psycle knows about this 6am inner moral dilemma (dramatic much) and laughs it in the face. Their philosophy is that your state of mind is integral to how hard and how often you exercise, hence the general feeling of loveliness upon stepping through the door. This is something I now completely get, but it took me YEARS to realise this. And it’s something I have to be very careful about trying to convey, because to sceptics who simply see it as pedalling/jumping about/grunting in a room of sweaty people and nothing more, this joining the up of the physical and mental dots to make one big wonderful wellness outlook is all a little bit… cheesy.

For the class itself, Psycle have invested heavily in music curation – some of the tracks played during my workout haven’t even reached the Radio 1 playlist yet. This may seem unnecessary but in my mind it’s incredibly smart – how many people do you know that enter a gym without a playlist of choice? Given how many of us continually soundtrack our entire days with some form of music – commuting, working, drinking, cooking, clubbing – it makes a lot of sense, and actually it’s where Psycle stands out from its competitors who may not be playing Eye Of The Tiger, but the repetitive tinny house tracks of choice that are the same week in, week out are hardly the ultimate in motivation. At Psycle there are morning, lunchtime and evening class soundtracks, and I’m told they’re constantly changing in order to keep you guessing, and thus pedalling.

Psycle Bikes

As we got stuck into the first track, the fair bit of whooping and cheering, plus the clapping, plus the synced-up lights that wouldn’t be out of place on a classier dance floor, made me feel firstly like I was anywhere but in a central London basement, but also conversely just a little *too* British to get stuck in (and as a pretty unashamed cheeser, that’s saying something). But then, with the help of the wonderful, wonderful music and a small dose of ‘get over yourself, Grieves’, I couldn’t help but smile. My legs were pumping, enjoying the novel experience of being on a bike with cleats, my head was bopping, and before I knew it I was clapping. Quietly yes, but I was clapping. And sweating. But the clapping and the bopping helped detract from the sweating. It was an energy that’s never been convincingly portrayed to me in any spin session to date, and it’s an energy that is difficult to avoid being swept along with, much less ignore entirely. Clever, clever, Psycle.

Ten tracks later, some handweights, bike press ups (yes really), a bit of actual choreography *gasp* and a serious endorphin-driven rush, I couldn’t believe that 45 minutes had passed. Programme Director Tim Weeks has the credentials to back all this up – he’s a former athlete and Olympic coach for those of you still not convinced. And for those of you who care less about the science but are alllll about the fun factor, he enlisted the help of Pineapple studios for the choreography. A fun exercise environment beneficial to my blood sugars, created by an athlete who knows his stuff when it comes to fitness, that’s all about great music, with a touch of the jazz hands?? HELL YES.



Psycle Quote

Strong quote. I’m sold.

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