In September I bought a house. I say ‘I’ loosely – the other half also put in, though she doesn’t use the garage. That’s my part of the house. It’s something that was a non-negotiable for us when we were looking around for a house. When we lived in the rented house before we moved here, I used to have to keep my bike under the stairs. You can imagine the mess that made, especially in winter, when I returned and had to wheel in a filthy bike, too exhausted to wash it at that moment. An outside space to clean off bikes, do a bit of tinkering, and hang dirty kit was essential.

Once we got the keys I had to get in the garage to check it out. Workshop was my original thought. Visions of tools hanging on the far wall above a workbench began running through my head. Hanging bikes on walls. Whiteboard and pin board on the walls to put up important info like dates of group rides and tyre PSI.

It’s now February and the garage is finally starting to look like something I wanted. There’s no workbench yet, and my measly set of tools is just sat on top of a plastic box rather than on the wall. But, the whiteboard and pin board are on the wall. There’s a couple of mounts hung on the wall for my bikes and things are starting to have a place.

One thing that I didn’t anticipate the garage becoming was a gym. I’ve always valued fitness and do push myself to reach the top of hills without shifting to a lower gear than last time. But I also don’t have the motivation to travel to the gym after a long day of work. Bring in the garage. A couple of suspension training bands, an ab roller, and a turbo trainer later and I’ve got the basics of a gym to help with an improved fitness.

The layout of my week is almost an alternating pattern between strength training and turbo workouts. Nothing too strenuous at the moment, and quick enough that I can get it all done within an hour and still have time to get back in for a brew. Oh, and nothing over the weekend – that’s for actually riding my bike.

Monday is chest and triceps. Wednesday is back and biceps. Thursday is legs. Tuesday and Friday are turbo trainer days. Ab roller is every day that I’m not on the turbo. I put strength on Thursday, rather than Friday, so that I didn’t have any aching muscles (DOMS) over the weekend to spoil my riding. Choosing which exercise to do was fairly quick with a little look at this poster (although, as a tight Yorkshire man, I haven’t paid for it and just have this image saved on my phone instead).

So far, I’ve not seen a massive improvement in bike performance, though I haven’t been doing this long enough to expect to see one… yet. And I’ve also had a few battles with feeling ill and wanting to rest to recover rather than pushing myself and feeling worse.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be adding to the blog with training progress, any improvements I see, or tweaks to the routine. If you have any suggestions to take my riding further, please do comment. I’d love to hear them.