A 60-minute Yin Yoga session at Tribe Yoga Quartermile (1 Porters Walk, Edinburgh, EH3 9GJ, 0131 229 1619 www.tribe.yoga). Yin is a passive yoga practice from the Taoist tradition, intended to stretch and strengthen your muscles’ fascia connective tissues. Various prone and supine poses are held for up to 5 minutes in a studio that’s heated to 26 degrees C. An extremely meditative form of movement, the emphasis is on de-stressing body and mind, to leave both in calm harmony. £12.00 for a drop-in class (set of 5 for £50, 10 for £90.00).
Let’s go camping in Northumberland, in winter, said no one ever.
Glamping, I said, not camping, duh! Oh well, now you’re talking.
The Shepherd’s Hut at Beacon Hill Farm (near Morpeth) is a lot less hypothermia and a lot more Hygge. Built from a wooden kit, it’s modelled on, but isn’t, a bone fide ye olde working shepherd’s hut. (You may or may not be disappointed to learn that it doesn’t come with a crook, a collie dog, or any sheep.)
The Invisible Mile by New Zealand author David Coventry is a fictionalised account of the five Australian and New Zealand cyclists who, in 1928, formed the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France.
A short review I wrote for the ‘Spa Spy’ section of The Scotsman newspaper’s magazine.
An Initial physiotherapy session at Empower Physiotherapy (Scotsman Health Club & Spa, 1 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TR, 0747 202 4559, www.liveempowered.co.uk). This 60-minute assessment is designed to deliver an in-depth diagnosis, a detailed, personalised treatment plan, and an estimate of the time to reach recovery. GBP45.
When it comes to spectacular TV shots of the Tour de France, forget yellow sunflower seas and the Champs Elysees, the mountains are where it’s at. And if you think they look good on your 58-inch HD, try them up close and personal. They’re dangerously distracting, I realised, braking hard as the hairpin bend turned abruptly to sheer drop.
I was in the Savoie Mont Blanc region of eastern, Alpine France, descending the Col de la Colombière, first tackled by the Tour in 1960. Its 16km ascent, particularly the last steep stretch into the headwind, had left me dazed.
To a dour Scot like me, the NFL is pure excitement, all exotic glamour and razzmatazz, like our grim game of rugby following a lengthy period of Hollywood evolution, CGI wizardry and copious steroid injections.
I’m a 49ers fan, so the post-season involves none of that play-off nonsense, instead I have time to giggle like a schoolboy whilst considering the serious details of the game, such as which player has the best name.
So, in no particular order, here’s my favourite eight:
Bagged myself a pair of Aldi’s Waterproof Lobster Cycling Gloves during their last cycling Special Buys event after being recommended them by a few folk on Twitter. Given their measly £7.99 price-tag I wasn’t expecting much.
I’m recently back from a few day’s riding in the Savoie Mont Blanc, the lumpy, Alpine part of Eastern France that borders Switzerland and Italy. The area, hugely popular with winter skiers, is making a big push to promote its many mountainous delights to summer cyclists. Not that cyclists haven’t already discovered the place. I stayed in Morzine, which has already hosted 19 Tour de France stages, including this year’s Tour’s penultimate etape (the soggy stage won by Ion Izagirre’s demon descent off the Col de Joux-Plane). The locals clearly took the Tour to heart and a month on from the big event the whole area was still decked out in white with red polka dots to match the maillot a pois rouge worn by the race’s best climber.
A colleague recently asked why I cycle to work. Edinburgh is serviced by a host of bus routes, cycling in traffic can be dangerous, the weather is usually grim, and I own a car.
My reasons were very noble: it saves me money, on petrol, bus fares, etc. It’s greener (I may be inhaling deadly fumes but at least I’m not contributing to the problem). It’s quicker (my journey by bike takes half what it does by car). Cycling keeps me fit and, according to a recent Kings College study, slows the ageing process (yeah, 41 but I barely look a day over 39. Don’t believe the scientists on the ageing thing? Check out 90 year old Douglas Seale).