Category Archives: bike ride

Back out There aka wet ride and puddles

I still haven’t made a decision about the Nightride in June. My unofficial plan said I needed to complete a 10 mile cycle ride by the 31st January if I was going to take part… except the weather was against me on the 31st January so I resolved to complete a 12 mile cycle by 7th February (on the grounds that I manage over 10 miles in Spin Class).

But come the following weekend the UK was in the grips of Storm Imogen so instead of cycling to the gym on Sunday I drove… besides I had received a tentative suggestion from the men of the house that maybe we did a family bike ride over the weekend.

So once at the gym I knew I had to nail the 12 miles so I set too on the stationary bike using one of the cross country programmes and quickly, but exceedingly boringly soon racked up sufficient milage…

Shame as the journey home was dry and peaceful the rain having finally stopped and it would have been an interesting ride as large parts of the countryside were submerged under water…

Later on Sunday we manage to get out as a family…

And there was much splashy puddle fun… in fact it was great being outside again… until I got another flat !

And then… whilst we were mending it… the heavens opened again

It may be some time before I get the Boy out again… cycling through puddles may be fun but being rained on is just not his cup of tea…


It’s not how far you have to go that is the problem…

… but knowing that you have to cycle back!

I thought I would bring things up-to-date here and tell you about how I am getting on with at least some of my plans for this year… it does mean that this blog becomes slightly out of sequence as I will go back and cover some of the things I have done in the last 6 months at some point…

About 12 months ago I took my first ever selfie to commemorate my first bike ride in a couple of years… this is how I looked after managing 4.5 miles in about 35-40 minutes – (I managed to walk/run the same distance 11 months later in just over 60 minutes and felt less tired which just shows how unfit I was).

This is I think my 4th ever selfie taken 12 months later and shortly after I arrived at work one Friday…2015-05-10 09.49.06

I had just cycled from home to work some 25 odd miles in 2 hours 45 minutes… not completely representative of my state as this is some 10 minutes later after I’d changed and sat down to have a coffee…i20160527_091718

I had been too distracted to take a photo immediately I arrived as I was having trouble working out how my new D lock worked…

And this is how I looked some 8 hours later after I had repeated the journey back… still look quite happy and not as tired out as the first picture…


I was tired though but exhilarated…

I think I was lucky that Google maps sent me along quite a green and pleasant route, there were lots of country roads and quiet backroads through parts of towns (Warwick, Kenilworth)…my Mum thinks country roads are more dangerous as cars hurtle down them at speed but I think I would rather take my chances with them than some of the busier town roads… certainly the bit of the journey when I was actually in Solihull was dirty, dustier and noisier.. the air just tasted different and not in a nice way…

The journey back was the more stressful as it was rush hour out of Solihull and a Friday night at that so it started early… going to work it was almost as if I was the only person on the road for a lot of it as I started early (6am) in order to reach work at a reasonable time.

Very grateful to the Man, the Boy and my parents for helping out and covering the usual Friday morning drop off arrangements for the Boy which usually prevent me from being able to set out so early…

Decision Time

If you are a long distance commuter by car you either spend a lot of time listening to the radio or a lot of time thinking. Sometimes both. Therefore after about 10 years of travelling up and down the M40 I like to think that I probably know myself quite well having spent rather a lot of time inside my own head.

For example I know that if given the choice between exercise and staying in the warm on the sofa I will choose the sofa everytime… unless someone gives me a really good reason as to why I should go out.

I also know that if you give me a timetable or programme and say “it’s your job to follow these instructions” I know that I will do so, and being pigheaded and stubborn I will keep going until the programme is either complete or pretty much complete.

Do not EVER give me free will over whether to do or not do exercise because it just won’t happen.

This is why, having completed the C25K I now have a bit of a problem. According to the plan and goals for 2016 I have decided by June to have completed both the Matt Roberts Fat Loss programme and the Bike your Butt Off book with the cycling being first up.

But the BYBO programme does not include running and I know, because I can’t see a reason to run that this means that I won’t take a step outside in running shoes for the next 12 weeks…which will be a bit of a problem for me later in the year when I have to run.

So I am contemplating swapping the 2 programmes around. But I have procrastinated and wasted a week by not doing anything. So instead, for reasons I will explain another day, I have decided to take a weeks holiday from most activities apart from the Spin classes which I enjoy.

The other main decision I have to take is whether to enter the Bristol Night Ride or not.  Having originally decided to do it on my own I was then quite pleased when a colleague said he thought he might do it too.  I then got used to the idea of having company, someone who would be there in case of mechanical break down. So it came as a bit of a blow when on Monday he said he might not after all and would decide one way or the other by the end of April.

It’s alright for him. He could easily cycle 60 miles and not notice it but if I want to do this I need to start training and building up my mileage and my informal plan has me completing a 10 mile ride by the end of January. So I have about 2 days to make a decision.

Here’s hoping next week will be more certain…

Cycling to the Gym (clocks go back)

Today was Sunday 24th October 2015 and I am making the most of the clocks going back and the extra hour of daylight at the start of the day…

I am out on my bike and finally tackling the road into Southam. Five miles there, five miles back and possibly with a slightly larger fear factor than any of the other roads near by…except possibly the road over the motorway… as the traffic zips along this twisty bendy country roadt regularly at speeds over the speed limit.

But I made it…I was so proud it made me want to take a photo of my bike to prove I did it but as usual I didn’t have a camera on me.

The other high spot in today’s exercise attempt was that I tried to run. I started following a programme called “my first mile”. The first 3 sessions are manageable but then week 2 takes a leap in ability from week 1. Week 1 asks you to run for a minute and then for 2 minutes… week 2 expects you to then be able to run 500m…

Cycling back I felt at one with the world it was  a perfect autumn day. I was not alone in enjoying the world from my bike several cycling groups had also popped out to make the most of the day. The first group I passed even nodded smiled and waved… the other 2 not so much but hell 1 out of 3 is a start

After such a good start to the day I felt like tackling other stuff so we emptied the garage… that was slightly soul destroying but at least it means there is more room for repairing Candice.

My first bike

Apparently everyone remembers their first car…does everyone remember their first bike?

Not sure. All the people I’ve asked do but then all the people I have asked like bikes…

My first bike was small and white and I think a Peugeot…that would fit I guess since the small island we live on was, at the time, under both French and British control. What I never bothered to think about until now was how my parents got hold of it in the first place. I mean we are talking a very small remote island where the majority of things had to be imported by boat… vegetables came in cans except for locally grown stuff like sweet potato, yams etc

But somehow at some point a small white bike with stabilisers came into my life… and a small possibly blue bike became my brothers pride and joy also with stabilisers and we used to bomb up and down the “road” with careless abandon about traffic…

Fortunately it was not a main road more of a drive/residential road and traffic was few and far between.

Then one fateful day I abandoned the bike on our drive and rushed off to do the sort of things that are important to a 4 year old only for my beautiful bike to be flattened and twisted as my Dad reversed over it   😦

He did what he could to straighten things out but the stabilisers were beyond help…so he did what any parent would and decided it was about time I learned how to ride a bike and whilst he was about it he would teach my brother at the same time…

I don’t remember much about it to be honest. Apparently it was the old tried and true method of running along holding the back and then without telling the child stop holding… it’s the method I used on the Boy… however that is a whole other tale of woe…

When questioned my Dad confirms that I learned much faster than my brother and it took several goes for him to get the hang of it…I hold on to this fact as its possibly the first and last time I did better than my big brother…although sibling rivalry continues to this day to be good motivating factor !

Stratford greenway Saturday 17th October 2015

The other Saturday we went on a family bike ride somewhere slightly further afield.  We have a number of maps with traffic free/off road cycle routes on them but we have never actually used any of them…and we failed to this time either.

Due to a late start on the day we decided to do the Stratford Greenway which is only about 30 minutes by car from us. The Greenway is one of several routes through Warwickshire based on  old railway lines.

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The Stratford Greenway links the village of Long Marston to the edge of Stratford upon Avon and then there is a further path that takes you pretty much into the centre of Stratfod itself along the route of the canal/river.2015-10-17 14.44.20

One way in is the furthest the Boy has ever cycled… there and back plus the extra to get you into the centre of Statford is the furthest that I have been recently…. So in one afternoon’s ride all 3 of us established a personal best for distance of 13 miles…impressive for the Boy, not exactly impressive for me… I should be doing further by now but I am not going to beat myself up over it.

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The ride itself was lovely an scenic, at the time (middle of October) Autumn was all around us in its full glory which sadly I forgot to document as I was too busy trying to catch up with the Boy who kept haring off up the trail as he was just loving the fact that he could move freely without having to worry about cars…he also loved the fact the trail goes past the racecourse and that there was a race going on… you could see the horses from the trail.

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Once in Stratford I was scared in the traffic but more for the Boy than for me. He of course was completely calm and unworried despite the fact he was weaving all over the place… never crossing his mind that the cars might not see him as well as he could see them.

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Our short trip turned into a slightly longer visit though as the Man remembered that not only was the rugby on but Wales were playing so we found a pub and watched our team lose…

2 hours later the light levels had fallen dramatically so we headed back down the trail in the crepuscular light, finally getting a first chance to use our lights… it was cold but fun…and I for one was more than happy that it was a traffic free trail.

I was however totally wiped out the next day managing only some sporadic house tidying avoiding both my bike and the gym.  The last session of my current gym programme is next Saturday so I will try and catch up during the week before my gym review on Saturday.

Let’s Off Road/ the Last Waltz

The last official flight of the Vulcan took place this afternoon (debatable) over Gaydon Motor Heritage Centre… and since one of the things the Man loves more than possibly his wife and child is the last flying Vulcan nothing was going to stop him seeing it… not even the predicted traffic congestion and the fact that tickets to the actual site have been sold out for months…

We were going to see it. All of us, as a family “after all the Boy was there for its first public outing” (he was, Aged about 2.5 if I remember correctly…in 2007 when we were rebuilding the house).

And what’s more we were going by bike because we just happen to live not far from junction 12 and have easy access to bridleways and other cross country routes… a good opportunity for “the Special One” (the Man’s new bike) to get muddy and for the Boy to try some off road muddy cycling…

At least it would have been had we not managed to lose the bridle way and ended up pushing the bikes along several public footpaths and over various stiles. However a local farmer showed us the error of our ways and managed to point us back on route (and let us over a couple of his fields in order to rejoin the century way)…

The Boy was not impressed… too much horse muck/sheep muck/cow muck… too many brambles… grounds too bumpy…. Etc etc. Honestly this boy could moan for Wales (the males in the family claim to be Welsh, and not just because England haven’t got passed the group stage of the World


All moaning was forgotten once we got the other side of the M40 and the glorious Vulcan appeared above us, swooping and waltzing and dancing across the sky…I will never cease to be amazed at how graceful such a big plane manages to be… and unfortunately I will now never see that dance again

The Boy finished his first off road bike experience with pockets full of conkers…


A bittersweet day. Fun but sad