Monday, 20 December 2010

More walking in the snow

The weather was icy during last week and then we had an inch of snow on Friday followed by 5 inches on Saturday. On Sat I walked for about 3 miles along the canal and reservoirs as the snow fell, then Nicky and I did a 5 mile walk up to Ashridge cafe on Sunday in fine weather. Had some more nice soup.

I did spot a couple of mountain bikers, but didn't fancy it. In fact my car hasn't moved from our drive since Friday as the roads are so bad. Fortunately I can work from home ok. I must try to get some exercise tomorrow somehow though.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Salcey Forest cycle trail

Nicky suggested we drove up to a forest we'd never been to between Milton Keynes and Northampton and take our bikes to do the 5 mile cycle trail. This is the first time she's been on her bike since her sciatica, and she said it felt fine. It was a nice morning, frosty but quite sunny and not too cold. We had intended to do the tree top walk first, but it wasn't well signposted and we could find it, only to cycle past it once we'd got on our bikes. The trail was quite well surfaced - a bit muddly in places, but ok for our hybrids. The circular route didn't take long and the cafe served nice soup and bread.

I managed to cycle to work just the once this last week on Thursday. It was frosty but dry and I needed overshoes on the way in. We had freezing fog earlier in the week. I was planning on cycling on Friday, but my colleagues were working from home, so I thought I might as well do the same.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Mountain biking through the woods

I gave my old mountain bike a bit service this afternoon then cycled up onto Ashridge then along a track we'd walked along that goes through Berkhamsted Common past a golf course, then down into Berkhamsted. It's a nice track for cycling as it's pretty flat, but with enough mud and bumpy bits to make it interesting. The roads are free of snow and ice following last night's thaw, but the woodland tracks are still pretty slushy. I might try out some longer off road rides in the future, and haven't been on my old bike for quite some time - it's only a cheap Halfords Apollo FS26, but has full suspension, a front disk brake and a good range of 21 gears.

The weather's been a bit snowy and icy this week, and although we only had a half inch of snow fall on two occasions, the temperature has stayed below freezing until the weekend. So during the week I've been driving to work and going to the sports centre at lunchtime (2 gym sessions, spinning class and swim). Yesterday the weather was fine so I did a 10 mile walk on snowy tracks from home up Aldbury Nowers (pictured above), Pitstone Hill, Ivinghoe Beacon and back via the Ashridge woods cafe. I had tea and a home made Granola Bar - that probably had more calories than I'd used on the walk. Heard some deer rutting loudly but when I went to investigate found it was just 2 little roe deer. I was expecting bigger black sika stags like I saw earlier. This morning Nicky and I walked around the partly frozen College Lake in the mist.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Ashridge trip in cold

The weather's been pretty freezing this weekend, so I decided to give the ride around Stevenage a miss yesterday, as there was a dusting of snow on the ground in the morning - on top of a heavy frost and the possibility of more snow showers. So we went for couple of walks instead - (Wilstone Reservoir pictured left). It's been sunny but cold today so this afternoon I cleaned my bike with some new spray from my bike shop - which appeared to dissolve my tyres a bit too, or at least make them a bit slimey. It did a good job of cleaning the gunk off the chain and gears. Then I went for a 12 mile ride up Ashridge to Ivinghoe Beacon car park and back before it started to freeze again - although you had to watch out for black ice in shady bits of road. My feet were like blocks of ice at the end as I thought that 2 pairs of socks would be enough - but I should have worn my neoprene overshoes.

I've only been cycling to work once or twice a week recently because of the weather, although I have been going to the gym and swimming quite a bit. Most days I do some sort of exercise. My attempts at a diet have failed - and I've put back on the few pounds I've lost - but am still just under 12 st. I might try again in the spring when I can be a bit more active.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Quick Spin & Puncture

I decided to take my wife's newish bike for a 15 mile round trip to Mentmore this afternoon. It hasn't been riden much lately so thought it might need oiling etc. One mile from home on the way back I got a puncture so walked the last bit. It looks like her Bontrager tyres aren't as good as my Maxxis Overdrives which have never had a puncture - in over 2 years.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


This afternoon I had a ride around all the places I'd stuck orange way marker triangles, such as the one shown here, in order to leave the route tidy. I'd put these up to mark the start and end of our Wallingford bike ride over a month ago. All of them were still there - if a little weather beaten. The trip from Tring to Longwick and back was around 27 miles. With the 2 rides to work I did this week brings my weekly total to around 60 miles.

I've decided to use the saddle bag shown for day trips as it's big enough for waterproofs, wallet, phone, flask and snacks, and offers less wind resistance than the panniers I use to work.

My diet's going ok. I seem to be loosing around 1 lb a week, although some weeks I loose 2 lb during the week and put on 1 lb at the weekend. Anyway I've lost around 3 lb in 3 weeks by just eating a little less, and trying to get some sort of daily exercise. If I can get down to 11st this way I'll be really pleased - however Xmas will probably make this difficult!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Commuting and Diet

I've cycled to work every day this week the 16 mile round trip, which means assuming I cycle in tomorrow I will have totalled 78 miles. The weather's been good - if a little chilly, and I've had no band practice. I've also been to the gym, a spinning class and swimming at lunchtimes. I'm usually a bit busy at weekends to cycle, but go for walks and gardening etc.

I'm also trying to loose about 1lb a week to get down to 11st (25 BMI) by the end of the year. I'm currently just under 12st (and 5'6") - which is about half a stone heavier than when I did LEJOG (still the same height!). According to websites if I consume about 2000 calories per day or less and exercise regularly I should make my target. So I'm having 3 medium-sized meals a day, just snacking on fruit and not drinking much alcohol. I'm not bothering counting calories though in any detail - too much effort. As I said earlier loosing weight is a lot cheaper option than buying a lighter bike - and a healthy approach. I usually try to eat high-fibre, low-fat foods to keep my cholersterol down too, but I don't agree with faddy diets - and pretty much eat and drink what I fancy.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Wallingford Bike Ride 10th Oct 2010

Eight of us from the LEJOG trip met up in on a sunny autumn day for a 60 odd mile Sunday ride. Angela and Kate stayed the Sat night at the Pendley Manor Hotel, and I met up with them for a drink or three at my local pub in Tring. Edward, Nigel, Steve and John joined us at my house in the morning, with Nigel and Steve cycling from their homes in Hampton and NE London. As Ed had done an audax the day before he decided to start and end at the first coffee stop - so he took the flasks. We set off at 10.10 on 10/10/10 and met Jo on the road after Wendover. We had our first coffee stop pictured Nigel, Ed, Steve, John, Kate and Angela (with Jo hiding). Ed provided the 'Wood's Beers' support vehicle with my flasks of coffee, buscuits and jelly babies.
The sun broke out and it was very pleasant with a wind behind us. Made good progress until the road was closed due to a traffic accident involving a motorbike. So we used the map and John's GPS to find a diversion near Ewelme, which involved a very steep uphill - followed by a nice long descent to the riverside pub at Wallingford.
In the afternoon Nigel sped off home for his 100+ round trip, whilst the rest of us headed for Thame. There was quite a strong headwind, and with a full stomach and panniers I found it quite a slog.

We had a welcome cup of tea and penguin biscuits outside a pub in Thame by which time it was around 4pm. Jo and John headed off leaving the remaining 5 to cycle to Longwick. I picked up my flasks and coffee stuff from Ed's van whilst the other 3 carried on. I spotted them later a bit further up the road as I think they must have taken a 'long-cut', however I decided against catching them up. By the time I got back to Tring it was 6pm - and still fine with a setting sun. I reckon I'd done 65 miles - although Kate, Angela and Steve had clocked 70 miles thanks to the 2 detours. I'm still a bit stiff.

It was great to meet up with everyone and to catch up on all their news and plans for future fundraising trips. It made me quite tempted. I'm also tempted to buy a proper road bike, but have decided for now to manage with my hybrid, use a smaller saddle bag for such trips, and maybe lose half a stone. Buying a bike that is 3kg less weight would probably cost over £500 - whereas a diet is free! We're planning another meeting in Kent in the spring, and I'm meeting up with Ellen and friends for a ride near Stevenage next month.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Route Marking

I cycled to Wendover, Longwick and back via Weston Turville today in the sun putting up orange triangles to waymark the first and last parts of next week's Wallingford bike ride.

The route is here:

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rethink on C2C

A couple of things have caused us to rethink the idea of a coast to coast bike ride next May. Firstly Nicky has had a bad back since our 40 mile bike ride - although it's pretty well back to normal now, and was probably caused by digging our allotment rather than cycling. So she hasn't cycled since, although I've been cycling to work 2 or 3 times a week and doing the odd short trip at weekends. Hopefully Nicky'll be back in the saddle soon for some gentle rides. The second - and main factor is that logistically it will be easier to drive up to my parents near Leeds and do a round trip over the North Yorks Moors, down the Yorkshire coast and back. It will also be a lot cheaper since the train costs or one way car hire costs to Morcambe and back from Brid are quite a lot.

I'm still planning on a 60 odd bike ride from Tring to Wallingford and back with my old LEJOG chums on 10th Oct. Nicky plans to just meet us for a pub lunch. More on this later.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Nicky's New Bike - Trek T30

Nicky got he new bike last week and we took it for a 40 mile ride on Sunday to Thame and Long Creendon. It's very similar to my Giant CRS 2.0 City pictured in the background. The gearing is slightly lower on the Trek with a 12-32 tooth cassette, compared with my 11-30 one. Also the Trek has 7 gear cassette compared with my 8 gear one, so there are bigger jumps between gears. It also has grip shifters, an adjustable handlebar stem and a suspension seatpost. Both bikes came fitted with mudgards and luggage rack and weigh around 10kg. They both have 700 x 35 mm tyres with some grips for cycle tracks.

Nicky and I had a good cycle ride yesterday, although it rained much of the way there. We had a coffee break near Wendover, our packed lunch in a shelter at Thame, visited the Long Crendon Courthouse, then had tea and cake at Chearsley.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Planned Coast to Coast bike ride in May 2011

My wife Nicky and I read an article in The Guardian about a 4 day coast to coast bike ride between Morcambe and Bridlington, called The Way of the Roses. See We decided that we should be able to manage that, and perhaps fit in a day walking in The Yorkshire Dales, and spend one night at my parents near Wetherby.

Nicky has not done that much cycling lately, although she did manage 42 mile bike ride on a mountain bike on a hot day in June, and we did go cycling in Brittany on our honeymoon - 28 years ago. I'm in the process of ordering a similar hybrid bike to mine - a Ridgeback Meteor or a Trek T30 - which have a suspension seatpost and adjustable handlebar stem.