Your chance to win free places in zoo bike ride

Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton during a training session ahead of the World Track Cycling Championships at the Ballerup Super Arena, Copenhagen, Denmark. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 23, 2010. Photo credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.
Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton during a training session ahead of the World Track Cycling Championships at the Ballerup Super Arena, Copenhagen, Denmark. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 23, 2010. Photo credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.

IF YOU fancy a summer wheeling around the countryside, seeing the sights and enjoying some fresh air, all while keeping fit and getting a tan (we can dream), then Cycletta could be the challenge for you, writes Connie Primmer.

The first ever women-only cycling event on September 11 starts and ends at Whipsnade Zoo, and all the roads along the 40km route will be closed to traffic.

Experts including race ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton will be on hand to offer training tips to participants.

As if you needed another reason to join in the fun, the Advertiser/Review is now offering readers the chance to win free entry to the race for themselves and four friends, so there is no excuse not to give it a go.

To enter the competition to win places worth £45 each for a team of five, simply email a photo of you and your team on your bikes, and no more than 50 words explaining why you deserve to win, to connie.primmer@jpress.co.uk, by 5pm on Friday, June 17.

Having agreed to take part in the race in the name of reporting, I thought I’d ease myself in gently with a few spinning classes.

For the uninitiated, spinning involves pedalling away on a stationary bike to the beat of blaring dance music, increasing the resistance to crippling levels, while a relentless instructor yells at you to go faster, until you are either sick, fall off, or cry.

Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but it is certainly a vigorous workout, burning between 450 and 650 calories an hour, the equivalent of three large glasses of wine or two big chocolate bars.

After a few classes I was feeling pretty confident and with the weather looking unusually lovely I decided to give it a go cycling outside. A helpful neighbour who knows a thing or two about bikes gave my new wheels a health check and with my distinctly unglamorous helmet firmly on my head, I set off on my first outdoor ride.

It was a bit daunting having cars, and even a tractor, whiz past me and I felt a little bit wobbly on a bike that was actually moving, but once I got going it was really good fun.

So while I plan my next ride, ideally one that features a picnic, you can visit www.cycletta.com to find out more.

> If you’ve already signed up we would absolutely love to hear from you, so please email me at the above address or call 01582 798505.

Don’t forget that all your enthusiastic spectators and supporters on the day will receive a discounted entry into Whipsnade Zoo and ZSL is also offering prizes for those who raise more than £500 in sponsorship.