We’re always looking for fun, active ideas to spend our weekends and I recently had the opportunity to experience a luxury cycling retreat called On The Rivet in Dorset. This particular weekend was catered entirely for a group of women and had all the luxuries you could think of (spa, sauna, hot tub, great food, open fire) plus three days of hugely beneficial road cycling training from a highly qualified cycling coach.
The creation of British Cycling coach Jim Styrin and experienced event planner Deborah Shilling, On The Rivet is the UK’s first cycling fitness retreat. Rather than a militant boot-camp, the cycling training you do during the day is rewarded with a little taste of luxury in a peaceful Dorset setting.
I spent three days over the course of a weekend with a group of women, all friends that met through cycling, who fancied getting away for a girl’s weekend with a difference. Arriving on a Friday at a gorgeous Dorset country house, equipped with a swimming pool, sauna and hot tub as well as a cosy open fire, I knew I had arrived at the right place. It seemed like the house had all aspects that contribute to soothing your muscles after a good day in the saddle especially the lunch that Debs and local food company, Bagget and Hayes prepared for us on arrival. The food in particular is a real highlight, nourishing and tailored specifically to replenshing the energy you use up whilst out with Jim, tearing up those miles and conquering the Dorset hills.
Jim is an experienced cycling coach, personal trainer as well as a great athlete himself and therefore you know that you are in good hands and able to ask advice and improve on both your road cycling technique, fitness and certainly your hill climbing skills! We were also accompanied by Heidi Gould and Henry Bloxham, two talented riders that support Jim in his coaching, offering added advice and ensuring the group is together, safe and happy!
The cycling you do is challenging but it’s hard not to notice the beautiful setting of sites such as the iconic Jurassic Coast, Lyme Regis and even the coastline where the TV series Broadchurch was filmed. It’s just stunning. The longest ride we did was 60 miles long, with a few steep hills that felt fantastic once you reached the top. A delicious lunch was brought to us half way through the day that re-fuelled us for part two. Arriving back at the house in the late afternoon, it was now time to really chill out and enjoy a restorative massage and soak in the hot tub followed by a three-course dinner and an enlivened chat about all the antics from the day’s cycling.
Another perk of the weekend that I really appreciated was the thorough bike check you get from mechanic, Darren Matthews from local shop, Poundbury CycleSport. He made some essential tweaks to our bikes to make sure they were running correctly and that we were comfortable. My bike had an issue with the gears which he sorted as well as making an adjustment to my brakes which were rigged up to fit a man’s hand and not a woman’s. All this detail contributed to what was a fantastic weekend.
On the Rivet ladies retreats are open to experienced cyclists who are comfortable in the saddle for up to 3 hrs at a time and happy to take on 2 or 3 challenging climbs. You must also bring a road bike. Retreats take place on dates throughout 2016, and run Friday to Monday. Accommodation is suited to individuals, couples and groups of friends. Weekday retreats are also available for mixed groups and corporate guests and prices for two nights start at £300 per person. The price includes absolutely everything (food, drink, alcohol, supported riding, all training, wattbike testing, spa, one pre-booked treatment). For full details and to book visit www.ontherivetuk.com.