CW5000: Riding into Autumn with Lex Spedding

We caught up with Lex Spedding, an ambassador for CW5000-partners dhb, to find out how he’s been getting on with his CW5000 Challenge and get his tips for Autumn riding.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your riding?

I work as a Digital Account Manager – although I am working on becoming a freelance photographer. I’m a dad of 3 and I’m an enthusiastic bike rider. I’ve been riding for around 7 years now. It started as a way of commuting. I hated taking the bus every day. I also wanted to get fit. I was a heavy smoker when I started and a couple of 20km rides made me want to quit. I ride for recreation and as a way of winding down. 

How many miles have you ridden so far this year? Has it been a big year, or have you ridden fewer miles than normal? 

It’s not been a great year on the bike for me. I have ridden around 2000 (recorded) miles so far and a couple of hundred unrecorded. Some days I just want to get on the bike and ride and not worry about segments or average speed etc. But now I am working towards the Red Bull Timelaps. We have a dhb Ambassador team. 

If you’ve ridden 5000 miles, when did you roll past that milestone, if not do you think you’ll reach it and when? 

5000 miles was the target for this year. The combination of daily commutes, weekend rides and a few planned events throughout the year would have made this achievable. Then everything was kind of turned upside down when the country went into lockdown.

Has the pandemic curtailed your annual mileage this year? 

Yes definitely. Being in lockdown was really tough and one of the things that suffered was my cycling. I have a young family and both my wife and I were working full-time from home. Juggling this, daily family life and home learning meant there wasn’t enough hours in the day for everything. My ride time was dramatically reduced. I was grabbing 30-minute sessions on the turbo trainer initially. Then as restrictions eased I got out a little more. 

Have you ridden more indoor miles and if so, what platform do you prefer? Do you compete on any platform?

If I’m honest, I prefer to get out on the bike. I have never considered myself as a fair-weather cyclist. Although there are some days when the turbo trainer takes preference. On those occasions I do enjoy using Zwift.

What was your biggest ride of the year? 

I did a 65 mile solo ride a couple of months ago. Weekdays are manic – so rides are normally shorter and often more intense. Longer rides happen early Sunday mornings. It’s the one day of the week I don’t have too much going on – other than time with my family. So I head out early and just ride. I don’t tend to set out with a planned distance but anything over 50 miles is a good ride. Actually – any ride is a good ride really.  

What was your most enjoyable ride of the year?

It was probably the 65 miler I previous mentioned. I realise that it’s not the longest ride, but I was determined to hit a Strava 100km Gran Fondo. It started as real foggy morning but as the mist started to lift, the landscape was lush. Lots of photo opportunities.  

What do you enjoy most about riding in Autumn? 

Autumn is my favourite time of year to ride. I don’t think any other season gives you such a varied range of riding conditions. Also, my obsession with photography means I take a camera with me on every ride so I can shoot ‘cycletography’. Between early Autumn and winter – there is such a change in landscape and colours. I live in quite a rural part of the country – so riding early morning on country lanes really feeds the soul.

Do you have any tips for Autumn riding?

Yes – bottom line is cycling is all about the ride. It’s what keeps us coming back for more. Don’t get to hung up on the numbers all the time. Just ride when you can and enjoy the ride. 

It’s always tricky to get your kit right in Autumn, starting in the cold and finishing in the warm, do you have any go-to pieces of kit? 

One of the great things about dhb’s kit is the range. They have something for all conditions. One of my favourite pieces of kit is the dhb Aeron Rain Defence Polartec Jacket. It’s a softshell jacket that’s warm, windproof and water repellent – but it fits like a long sleeve jersey. I don’t like wearing too many layers when I ride so this piece of kit is great for wearing on its own with just a base layer. If I do need to layer up, I do the love a good gilet. The dhb Aeron LAB Superlight Gilet is excellent. It’s waterproof, really light to wear and rolls up nice and small so you can throw it into a jersey pocket. 

On the not-so-nice Autumn days, what motivates you to get out and ride?

On a cold dark morning it can be easy to talk yourself out of going for a ride – especially if you’re going for a solo ride. I try not to think too long and hard about the conditions. I try to take the ‘don’t think, just go’ attitude. Maybe because I know if I miss the opportunity – I might not ride at all. 

IG: @lexsped | Web: lexsphotography.com

Whether your likely to reach the 5000 milestone in 2020 or not, the CW5000 is here to inspire you to ride. Yes it’s an annual challenge, but there are monthly challenges along the way to give you the chance to win prizes and to remind you that the main prize is the time spent on your bike, and you join a community of likeminded riders to share encouragement and advice with.

This October the CW5000 Challenges are in association with dhb and you could win a complete outfit from their relaunched Flashlight range.

What is CW5000?

Join the Cycling Weekly 5000-mile challenge and let us motivate you to keep riding throughout 2020. It’s never too late! Sign up to our annual mileage challenge now and you can include all your miles from January 1.

Find out more here.

Join a community of like-minded individuals to share your story with. Take part in monthly challenges, win prizes, get access to exclusive content – be inspired.

5000 miles breaks down to just 13.7 miles a day, which for most is around 1 hour on the bike. You don’t need to change your life; you do need to stick at it, and you will reap the benefits.

CW5000 Finishers

If you’ve completed the 5000 be sure to let us know. You can email us at cycling@futurenet.com or post on the CW5000 Facebook page. Be sure to let us know where and when you hit the 5000 mile target and any other stats about your riding this year. For those who aren’t close to the target, don’t worry, there’s still a long way to go this year.

You can pre-order your finishers medal and download your certificate here, or buy a celebratory t-shirt from the CW5000 Shop.

Happy riding!