02/08/2014

Tale of 2 charity rides...

Ok, it's been a hectic few months & I've not been keeping my blogs going as I should. So as I'm having a quiet few weeks atm I see its time I should update on the charity rides I've been doing.

So to start with Pedal for the J's in Chelmsford, it was near the end of the 30 days of biking & it was touch & go if I was going to get there due to rail engineering works. I had an early start to get to Chelmsford to start the ride by 9am as I was doing the 50 miles route this year & wasnt sure how long it would take. So started with a short bit of cycling to nearest station & managed to get a train without any issues.


Then another quick run through the park to the starting point & even had time to have a coffee before I started with my cycling buddys Pete & Dave who decided to come do the ride with me.


So off we went & the ride went pretty smoothly with a few stops around the route for a cuppa & refuelling.

 

And eventually we completed it & in under 4hrs tho we had lost Dave as he wanted to go ahead & faster than the nice gentle run I was doing with Pete, hey ho each to their own ways...


After that the 3 of us went to have a nice ride along the park to get a coffee at my fav Cycle coffee Shop Athlon Sport. Refuelled with some more food before heading back home & the ride from the station to home was the hardest part. lol

 
These 2 pictures are thanks to Pete & Dave who took them

The next day, I was saw but I did continue the 30 days of biking & after recovering from that ride I had just over a month to get ready for my next one & this one was going to push me even harder than Pedal for the J's, the Nightrider London.

The Nightrider London is slightly different than the Pedal for the J's I have done twice now. For starters as the name kinda gives it away, its at night & starts at 10pm & my starting slot was 12.30am. The other bit is that it is 100km (63miles) around London. All this is definitely putting me out of my comfort zone & to top it all I was riding my latest bike the Roadrunner which I have just had built with help for this sort of ride & is her maiden voyage out. I have ridden Roadrunner around town to get used to the handling, but this was totally different.


So off I went cycling as the sun was setting to catch the train to London with another cycling buddy Leon & what a nice start that was to see the Sun set as I rode along Hilly Fields.


So after a few hours of train time, we got to Alexandra Palace starting point just before midnight.


 

So off we went at 12.30am & took a nice gentle steady pace & right from the start we had hills & I hate hills. But Roadrunner was light & took them in its stride even if it was a bit slow. lol


We stopped when we felt like it to have a break, refuel or just snap some pics along the way as there were some nice views on the route.


 

 

 

 

 

 

And just around 9am we finally made it back to Alexandra Palace to receive a medal & as well earned breakfast.


I might not look it in the pic, but I was happy & overwhelmed that I had managed it & that Roadrunner had proved herself on the road. After we had eaten & rested for a bit, we then headed down the hill towards the station & stopped at a nearby cafe for more refuelling.


And after another few hours of travelling by train, another stop at a cafe in Colchester & then a very slow cycle ride home, I was & still am chuffed I was able to do this one despite my worries.

So after doing these 2 charity rides, how did I do? Well the stats shown below show how well I did.



I am pretty happy in the times I did in both rides & after a couple days I had recovered from the rides with no issues. So I am hoping to continue with these sort of rides in the near future. But due to reoccurring disability rearing its head up again atm, cycling is on hold so might not be until next year & if that is so, I'll be trying to do both again & with my trusty steed Roadrunner with hopefully with a new paint job & additions by then. :)


Oh if anyone want to come along on these rides with me, I be more than happy to cycle with a group as it's much more fun than alone. :)

25/05/2014

Nightrider London, do I or don't I?

In 2 weeks time it is the sponsored 100km ride around London sights, starting around midnight for me. Am I excited to go? I was until this week just gone...

Things have changed in the past week & I am in 2 minds to go. I don't know if others feel like this at times but I try explain it. 2 weeks ago I lost my job & I have been trying to sort out the benefits for it for the past 2 weeks, that in itself have left a big dent in my finances & made me wonder if I really should be forking out the £40 for the trains. But my parents have offered to help on that & I am grateful, but 2 days ago I got a letter saying I wont get any JSA. No explanation or what I will get, so I spent most of Thursday on the phone between DWP & HMRC as it seems that is the route cause of the problems. They don't bloody talk to each other, so after hours on the phone (mostly in queues) it seems it is sorted but nothing in writing tho. But this has stressed me & still am until I get something in writing.

So other than the financial stress, there's the emotional stress to go with it as I do have others to worry about especially my 2 diabetic cats. Also I'm having to spend hours on the PC looking for work every day, its a requirement & as a result my knee is now giving me jip. I knew it would if I spent too long at a PC desk, it's why I do NOT want a desk job. Then of course the bikes need maintaining, problem is after Pedal for the J's the Trek needs a service & Roadrunner still is not right & of course out of money.

So as a net result of all this I am stressed, more than I have been in a long time & in the mood I am in I really don't want to ride on these road for I know if an idiot cuts me up I will very much likely thump them. So that isn't a good frame of mind for cycling around London. I do wonder if those in the cycling sports suffer this? How do they get their mind into the game so to speak? Right now I just want to say Sod it to everything & veg in front of the TV.

And then of course that isn't the only issues, we have the mess of the trains. It's going to be hit & miss as if the trains will be running or be replacement buses which will be no good. Then there's the weather, if it is like it is atm I sure aint going to cycle around London in the rain. And to top it off I have no sponsors, so if I do this ride it will be just to push me. But the way I am feeling, I can say I am in 2 minds as to whether I do it or not.

When I did Pedal for the J's, I didn't feel like this. Bike was ready, I was in the correct mindset to do it & I had sponsors but Nightrider London its the complete opposite. I don't want to let down those who are going & supporting me but I cant see myself going if I feel like this, I know it wont work if I did & I really don't know how to get around it to change my mindset.

So for now I will have to wait & see what happens in the next 2 weeks as to if I go or not & try find a way to change my mindset on this...

01/04/2014

30 Days of biking Diary.

Day 30

Last day of 30 days of biking, so took Roadrunner for 10 mile spin after work as sun was out & be some time before it would set.


With its new saddle & my tender rear for the weekends long ride, it made it bit of a uncomfy ride but still enjoyable...


And the view from High Woods Country Park made it all worth it too.


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Day 29

A trip to Re-Cycle to offer help in preparations for their move to new location.


And the place is looking rather empty to the last time I was there...

 

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Day 28

Gentler ride today, met up with my Beloved for celebratory lunch then walked around supermarket to get a few bits with her.


Who used her own 2 wheels to enjoy the weather before meeting up. ;-)

 

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Day 27

This is what I've been building up to throughout the 30 days of Biking, doing the 50 miles for The J's Hospice Pedal for the J's. But I had also had to cycle to catch trains & then cycle across the park to & from where it starts.

 


 

Was hard work to do & boy oh boy it was fun to do. I managed to do 50 miles in under 4hrs. :)


 

 

 

Some pictures of me thanks to Peter (aka Mad Monk) the one in the Red Jacket.

 

 

  

 

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Day 26

Spent day fixing rear wheel & getting bike ready for #pedal4theJs. Did a quick run around the block to check the bike out after the repairs.


I guess both me & Trekr are about as ready as we can be for tomorrow's #pedal4theJs, only the trains & weather to worry about in the morning...


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Day 25

Definitely not been my best day for cycling this month, after last nights tyre explosion whilst making a cuppa I had to take out Roadrunner in the wet. Bike did well but I didn't as still trying to get used to a lighter, thinner bike.


So with inner tube blowing up due to rim tape failure, I fix that to find a spoke has snapped on other side to the puncture. Off I go to get the spoke & try fix the wheel & bloody thing is 3mm too short... Not what I need right now as bike is needed Sunday!

 

So tomorrow aint gonna have much riding, just a bit to check bike out once fixed (hopefully) as I need it ready for a 50 mile sponsored ride on Sunday. And this bike is the best one for the poor weather conditions, so up early to drag wheel to bike shop & get the right bit...

Oh & I met this awesome looking bloke on a real classic looking bike whilst out today...


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Day 24

Went across town to get some cycle cleaning products, but proved to be not as simple as I hoped.


I came across a Bikeability course happening around the corner from my flat, great to see tho the next picture shows one cyclist who probably need to do this course...

 

And considering it was mid-afternoon, there were queues of traffic everywhere...

 

 

Had a mum running after her kids who were doing better at cycling than she guessed they would I guess & I had 2 kids who loved the helmet cam & requested to be on YouTube. lol

 

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Day 23

Had an Hospital appointment for arranging operation on arm & then went shopping, I took a short cut through High Woods as far its far more enjoyable than the roads.


This is High Wood, can you see why I enjoy cycling through it even if hilly?


Further on I went to meet my beloved in the Castle Park where we had a few friendly squirrels...

 

Unfortunately I had a couple 'professional' drivers failing to give space for cycling...

 

 

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Day 22

Was a day of errands & job hunting & Trekr even spent morning in the Conference Room with me.


And reason for the bike going indoors was the lack of security where I had to work, foreign exchange students messing with bikes & kicking property that wasn't theirs & staff not stopping it. No way my bike gonna be left there...

 

Other than that, I had an idiot of a driver trying to do a U-turn & blocking the road & my view.


Photo shoot of some lovely classic cars, shame it was on the disable parking bays which upset some visitors...

 

Squirrel decided to dice with death & I had to slam brakes on. Saw a cool looking bike that I thought for a sec was my Roadrunner. lol The guy owning it was happy to chat about it & found its from http://www.moritzbikes.com/ 

 

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Day 21

Weather was quite nice so thought I do a trial run to Marks Tey for when I need to get the train on Sunday but then carried on a bit further...


Must admit London Road to Marks Tey is horrible, drivers speeding along as if still on the A12 & passing with next to no room.

 

 

Only 2 drivers showed proper driving! Gave plenty of room when passing & waited until there were room, thankfully.


 

Cycling on a small section of shared path along the A12 was fun & great to get moving, shame its not well maintained & run along the whole A12. Sure wouldn't be good to cycle along in the dark in places...

 

And it's clear if built properly & follow the whole A12, it would be popular for cyclists to cycle from town to town safely. As they say "build it & they will come!" which is very true!

 

Of course having Little Chef beside A12 was nice to stop for a coffee too. :D

 

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Day 20

Another day with my beloved for a lovely walk around High Woods Country Park, so did a lil run to Colchester Zoo & back to see what it'll be like.


Not something I'll do regularly too, not the nicest of roads & it was a quiet day today. Height of Summer, it'll be horrible.

 

 

50mph roads, wide grass verges & no space for pedestrian or cycle paths. On top of that, drivers not driving safely around cyclists at those speeds.

Colchester Zoo say there is parking for cyclists (for the brave few who want to cycle there) but I didnt see any or any signs to direct me to them.


And to my surprise on my way home, I also found a cycle path which is not on any map. Not Google, Sustrans or Cycle Street. Though poorly maintained & only saw 1 lil shared path sign as I came near the end of the section.

 

And at the end of this unknown & forgotten shared path is a new section being built & puts you on an estate & not then sign posted where you need to go. That is of course if you can get past the barriers...



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Day 19

Was out all day with my beloved, making the most of the Easter break so it was quick run on Roadrunner to the supermarket before it closed for cat food as I had realised I forgot it & cupboard would be bare for the morning...


Did find a certain road which makes staying out of the door zone more dangerous. Bloody great trench shaped pothole makes it impossible to avoid door zone without going into long pothole & no doubt come off worse... (2nd pic in daylight shows it better & yes its been reported, many many times & been in the papers almost as often)

 

Was a fast, short ride as I am starting to get used to the Roadrunners thinner, lighter profile. Eventually I'll get used to it & get faster pace on it. :D

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Day 18

Decided I should try my saddle from Trekr on the Roadrunner to see if it is more comfortable. Was busy getting stuff done during the day whilst I had a quiet day at home, so went for a quick night run that went further than planned as saddle was definitely more comfortable to ride on the Roadrunner.


Roads were nice & quiet, tho I did see a few points of interests. Yobs knocking on doors & running off, a fox running past me & I caught a glimpse of it in my light.

 

Even had a guy who started chatting to me as I crossed at lights on Crouch street & we carried on chatting until we got to Head Street, where he then told me to add him to my video clips. So I will, aint cycling such a social thing? :D


Also got a chance to try the Roadrunner at higher speeds down North Hill & got a good speed of 20+ mph without going to top gears & breaking a sweat. I chickened out going faster as still getting used to the bike. :-s


 And here is The Roadrunner!

 

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Day 17

Tired after a day at work, but I decided to take out Roadrunner for a quick spin to test out readjusted gears as they've been clunky since collecting the bike from Mechanics. Had to take mechs apart & start from scratch with some help from Made Good.Bikes.


The ride went well & smooth, even took it off road to see how it handles & despite being very bumpy it was fun. :)

 


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Day 16

Just a quick run up to the Vets after I got home from work to collect Insulin for my 2 Elderly cats.


And if you're wondering about my cats welfare, they're 16 & 17yrs old & doing well with diabetes atm & have done for some years now.

 

The return home was into a lovely sunset too.

Screenshot from Helmet Cam footage.
Photo taken by the mobile's camera

I also came across some bolts scattered on the road which I quickly picked up so to make the road safe & they're good quality bolts too.

 

Also this lady tried to hitch a lift with her shopping, which I had to decline & when we briefly chatted she thought of my helmet cam recording my rides as a rather cool idea. :D


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Day 15

Today was mostly appointments & Shop hopping to get stuff I need.


Was a nice day & 99% of those on the roads were well behaved, just 1 bus driver encroached into cycle lane & I had to pull back before getting squashed.

 

 

Oh I forgot about the silly parkers & wondering families that just walked out in front of me without checking its clear... 

 

The digger that was squeezed into a very tight space. lol


And the park where I saw over a dozen bikes piled on the grass coz no parking facilities.


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Day 14

Went to have a few drinks (non alcoholic for me) with some cyclists & then a ride til late into the night.


Night ride was enjoyable, next to no traffic & under the moonlit sky...

 


 

 

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Day 13

Nice run to Re-Cycle to help out with a delivery of bikes for Africa that had been collected & delivered by a group from Isle of Wight, then when done I went for a nice leisurely ride back.


It was nice to cycle early in the morning, cycled past quite a few runners who were friendly & a few like the ladies in the following pic gave me a pleasant greeting as I passed. I even passed my veterinary practice where I saw 2 of the staff on the grass giving a Tortoise a chance to stretch its legs & have breakfast.

 

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Day 12

Nice long ride to other side of town to use supermarket to get supplies.


Did come across a path to nowhere on way to Supermarket & a few idiots on the roads & despite one idiot Taxi Driver, the ride was quite pleasant & the ride back was definitely a workout with 30kgs of shopping & pannier bags on bursting point.

 

 

Oh & I met this bloke at the tills & got chatting for 1/2 hour outside about bikes & roads etc when I let him go in front of me with 2 items. Also saw this family teaching their kids to ride where it was safe to do so.

 

I also had to do a sharp stop when this squirrel ran in front of me. lol


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Day 11

Definitely been a good day for me, I went by bus to collect Roadrunner & cycle it back.


And here is the newest beastie in my collection...

 

And I believe I have found the perfect handlebars for me too...


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Day 10

A third of the way through the 30 days of biking & was another lovely ride after work.


Again I went via Grymes Dyke & also Woden Ave which is another example of what we could have for equal shared space for all. I also met this lovely lil doggie who insisted he wanted to come say hi to me, how can I resist? ;-)

 


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Day 9

Sun was shining, warm weather & later sun sets. Perfect to go for a nice gentle if indirect cycle ride to get a bottle of milk after work. ;-)


Some routes I've not been down before & found some are almost Dutch like but not quite...

 

Tho in same area we had a road with your typical useless narrow cycle lane that's was pointless in ever putting in as no enforcements to protect it.

 

 

But in all, it was a fun ride & I did have to tell off a Taxi driver for being a stupid driver...


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Day 8

Was a busy day indoors for me with getting a new bay Window fitted, tho was well worth it. So I went for a short fast ride along a dirt track, pushing myself.


I did get to see a fox on my ride, tho unfortunately cam didn't pick it up. Was a good if quick ride & got some god speed off road. :)

 

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Day 7

Definitely a wet & windy ride today compared to yesterday, but had full waterproofs on & totally enjoyed it.

7th Mile is an Error due to lost GPS signal
Was a worthwhile ride out too, as I got to go see my newest creation finished being built to how I want it. :)
So this is my latest bike, The roadrunner!

 


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Day 6

Weather has turned & its showers & wind, but still went out for a short run to local Supermarket.


Fortunately rain held off during my ride, even if the wind didn't. Main issues of the ride was Sunday shoppers, bad roads, stupid pedestrian just walking out onto the road without looking & 1 dangerous driver in car park who thought it was OK to drive on wrong side of the road to make quick turn than do it properly but other than that, it was a pleasant if brief ride.

 

 

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Day 5

Due to a busy Saturday schedule, cycling was planned for the evening in the dark with a cycling buddy.


Turned out to be a pleasant 14+ miles ride around the top end of town & through High Woods.

 

 

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Day 4

Trip to the Hospital for a Fasting Blood Test, so was running on empty on this part of the ride.


Made up for it by cycling to ASDA Cafe afterwards & have a nice breakfast before heading home. Oh & the flat yesterday turned out to be a very slow puncture & being rectified tonight.

  

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Day 3

Popped to shops for new insoles for work boots. Some reason tyre was low before leaving, a quick pump & all seemed OK so off I went & got back OK.


Parking facilities weren't to bad, other than on other side of the busy entrance & this puts off cyclists from using it.



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Day 2

Nothing much to report, went to shops to get supplies after work. Didn't have much energy to go far but I also didn't just take a direct route to the Supermarket.


I did try a route on the map I wasn't sure on & it turned out to be a public footpath. Not a bad route to walk & it did give a good view of the development works of Tollgate as I walked along it & also of the busy road with zero cycling infrastructure (just like the rest of Tollgate).


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Day 1

What a day to start with, Sun & blue skies... So cycled to town, meet up with my beloved & have a cuppa in the park, saw this fella laid back in the sun...


A bit of shopping with my beloved then another cuppa in a church before departing our separate ways & I headed off again for a bit more cycling to see about my Roadrunner & then a bit more shopping before heading home...