Category Archives: Cycling

Clearing Ones Mind

There is one thing I have found this last week really useful and that is the bike.  Having the bike set up in my ‘Dad Cave’ has meant that when I’ve been feeling angry, frustrated or emotional for whatever reason has saved me.  I still need to get on top of my emotions and mental state, but the bike has been a lifesaver recently.

Sign on entry to my Dad Cave
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The Balance of Food and Exercise

It is Thursday yet again which again means weigh day was yesterday – that day that anyone part of a Slimming Group often dreads.  Yesterday was a little different for me though, I attended an earlier group instead of the usual 7pm group.  Not being at work this week and having the in-laws round last night made it easier to attend the 9.15am group.

I wasn’t feeling great about weighing in.  The last week hadn’t been on plan for about 40% of the time, the other 60% was though, so I wasn’t really expecting much.  Not expecting much put me in a bit of a down mood heading to group as I’ve been chasing that 2st award for weeks now.  Often getting close then gaining weight to lose it again.

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Gaming to Getting Moving

Ever since 2003 and being 16 years old I’ve owned an Xbox – all the way from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  Gaming has been a big part of my life for the past decade and a half and it’s contributed to being who I am.  It’s a part of why I’m the size I am too.

Before leaving school I used to get out an about on my bike, walking, generally hanging with friends.  Then came the driving test at 17 which was passed and I found a love for online gaming.  At first it was mainly First Person Shooters then I eventually gave them up for Racing Sims.

Continue reading Gaming to Getting Moving

That Big Kid Feeling

Tonight I managed to do two things I really needed to do:

  1. I needed to adjust my bike, move the saddle forward a few millimeters and roll the handlebars back a tad to raise the brake levers a little
  2. Get out and ride the bike properly

I was able to make the adjustments to my bike fairly quickly after work seeing as I was working from home today and the little ones had a play date straight from my eldest finishing school this afternoon.  This time allowed me to get the bike out the garage and into the front room for a bit.

I then made sure my lights were charged along with my phone with an idea of where to go for tonight’s ride.  I use Strava to map my rides – I’m not bothered about all the leader board and KOM stuff, I’ll never see the top of anything, but I do like how it paused the timer when it detects you’ve stopped at some lights or something.  I found looking on the laptop today (not the mobile app for a change) you can plan routes over a map.  So I planned a route that was 10.15 miles long and Strava estimated a total moving time of 58 minutes and 5 seconds.

Bike ready, kids in bed and me in my cycle clothes I set off through the estate as I normally do.  I wasn’t as cold tonight as the other night, it was just nice enough to get away with a base layer, jacket and bib tights.  All started off well racing across through Kirkby and I noticed the wind.  When head on it wasn’t too much of an issue but then after turning and getting it side it started moving the bike around a little, I’ve never felt that before but this bike being the lightest I’ve ever ridden it was very noticeable.  But I carried on, not letting it bother me as I just concentrated on trying to find a rhythm on the pedals.

I eventually came out of Kirkby and headed towards Kings Mill Reservoir, turned up the A617 and the plan was to then head up Cauldwell Road and back into Sutton and home.  I approached the Cauldwell Road turn off and thought against it.  I was horrid going up there last time in the dark, it’s an unused road now and there is not lighting so is pitch black dark.  Instead I carried on down the A617 and onto the A60 towards Mansfield.  I thought to myself if I’m not doing the incline at Cauldwell I’ll go further than originally planned instead.

I eventually headed back to the A617 in a loop, reaching 28 mph coming back down again – I was just about keeping with the car in front.  This is where the ‘Big Kid’ feeling first kicked in.  I don’t think I’ve been that fast on a bike before, but it felt good, it felt exhilarating.  A feeling I really want to do again.

I eventually arrived back at home, stopped the tracker and was over the moon I averaged a pace in double figures.  It might only just be double at 10.4 mph, but it’s double!  I got off the bike and had the feeling of wanting to just go and do it again – I’ve never felt like that about any exercise at any time in my life, but I already can’t wait to get out on the bike.  What I felt tonight through the ride has made me realise just how much I really like cycling and it’s something I am not giving up.

Thursday is the next planned evening ride, I wonder where the wheel will take me next time…

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Winter Isn’t Coming, It’s Already Here

We’ve all heard several highly paid actors tell us Winter is Coming… not heard it for a while, about time that final season is released.  For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, where have you been?  You need to watch Game of Thrones.

This morning when I got in the car to go to work the temperature read out was 5.5 degrees Celsius (about 42 degrees Fahrenheit for those who don’t use degC).  That’s cold, especial considering the fantastic summer we’ve had this year.  I even had to wait for the car windscreen to demist, not done that in a while.

With the colder weather comes a change in food.  Already I’ve switched to soups for lunch.  A lovely butternut squash soup with some wholemeal bread, I do love it when the wife makes wintery food.  Soon we’ll be making stews and casseroles as we say bye to the summer-like salads and lighter lunches I’ve been consuming the last few months.  I love winter food, it’s so warming and filling, nothing better than tucking into a nice hot bowl of corned beef hash when the temperature drops.

appetizer bowl bread breakfast
Photo by Foodie Factor on Pexels.com

Winter also means the slow cooker will be coming out too.  I’ve already decided I want to experiment a little with it this year.  Someone from my Slimming World group made a Slow Cooker English Breakfast not long ago, looked lovely and nothing better than leaving it on while at work and coming home to it be cooked and ready (even though it’s a Breakfast, the English Breakfast can be enjoyed at any meal time).  There’s also Slow Cooker Jacket Potatoes which I’ve never tried before, but I’m intrigued as I love a crispy Baked Potato every now and then.

The clocks go back for us UK people next weekend, the bonus being and extra hour in bed (if you don’t have a baby like me).  This also means the nights will be drawing in a lot earlier than they currently are, so night cycling is going to be the norm unless I can get out in the day at a weekend.  To that end I’m glad I’ve got rechargeable lights, no more worries about batteries giving way during a ride as I’ll make sure they’re topped up before I leave each time.

Reflective gear is also a must at night to be seen, so I will be making the most of my nice florescent jacket with reflective strips.  Let it be known I’ll probably be seen from half a mile away.  But my biggest problem is the cold.

I’m not overly prepared at the moment for the cold weather that is coming.  I have a pair of bib-tights but I’d say they’re for autumn use, not so much winter.  I was wearing them on Thursday night when I took the Boardman out for it’s first ride and I was cold, really felt the cold on the downward stages.  So I need some better thermal bib-tights.  I also don’t have much for the top other than a short-sleeve base layer and my jacket, so I’ll need to look into a long sleeve thermal jersey.  I don’t have much of a budget – if any at all, so I will have to keep on eye out for any online offers where I can.

Gloves are another thing and I think more important than maybe the thermals (I can layer in clothes but not gloves).  I have the summer time finger less gloves at the moment, but they won’t be any good through Winter.  I’d hate to think what could happen if my fingers got cold enough I couldn’t quickly apply the brakes if needed.  So looks like I’ll be hunting for some nice warm, waterproof gloves over the next couple of weeks.

As much as the cycling part makes it look like I don’t like winter and I’m not prepared, I do love winter, more so than summer.  In winter I can layer up if I’m cold, it’s not like you can strip your skin off if you’re too hot in summer.  I’m a big guy so believe me when I say I get hot in summer.

 

First Time With Drops

I finally got out on my Boardman ADV last night for the first time.  I’ve only had in since Saturday, but it’s taken this long due to needing to ‘modify’ the mudguards to get them to fit properly and also find the time to actually get out (as hectic as life is right now).

It was only a little ride, but a learning ride at that.  I need to move my saddle slightly forward as it’s too far back at the moment and I feel the tops of the brake handles are too low/forward, so the handle bar needs adjusting so they’re a little higher.  I didn’t know until about 5 weeks ago what Bike Fit was, but I’ve learnt a fair bit from YouTube these last few weeks.

The ride itself, albeit not as comfortable as it could have been, was enjoyable.  Getting back out last night, even for half an hour, was really needed.  I was in a foul mood when I got home from work and I needed a bit of a release.  As I’ve covered before getting out on the bike is my time and my time to release any stress or bad feeling I have.  It helps me clear my mind and last night it certainly did that.  Even the wife noticed a change in my mood when I got back.

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It’s the first time I’ve ever had a bike with drop handles.  I’ve only ever had mountain bikes in the past, but this adventure bike suited more for what I wanted to eventually use it for, commuting.  I’ll be honest, I did some searching via Google for any tips other people have previously had for transitioning to drops for the first time.  I found different sites/posts from people explaining the different positions on the handle bars, so I used this time to experiment a little.

I found being on the ‘hoods’ fairly comfortable, a lot more comfortable than I thought I would.  Then switching to the tops for any inclines was easier as it allowed me to get a little more upright to use my lungs more efficiently.  I could of times going back down the inclines I came up I used the Hooks, right behind the brakes.  This was fairly comfortable and gave me better confidence in braking should I have needed to rather sharpish.

I also noticed how much easier it was to pedal along roads with these wheels.  My Boardman ADV has 700c x 38mm wheels.  They have little knobbly bits on the tires as they’re designed for on and off road use.  I was amazed how much slicker they felt on the road compared to the mountain bike I was using previously.  It felt a lot less effort to get the bike going and to keep it going too.

The difference in weight compared to the mountain bike was noticeable as soon as I picked the bike up on Saturday, but actually riding it I noticed it even more.  It’s like riding on a cloud compared to what I’m used to.  it doesn’t feel too light that I feel I’m going to break it, but it is that much lighter it is so much more comfortable.  It’s around 6kg lighter than the mountain bike – which is almost 50% of the weight of this bike!

Overall I feel over the moon with this bike at the moment.  I can’t wait to get back on it, though will have to wait until next week as I’m on in-law duty this weekend while the wife goes to a spa (not jealous at all!).  I know someone who lives round the corner who owns a local bike shop and he’s agreed to go through a Bike Fit with me as soon as we can, so hopefully the little discomfort I felt last night will be gone for good.