Progress so far...

June 30th 2009 - 22 stone 4Ibs. Current weight - 17 stone 1Ib. Weight loss - 5 stone 3Ibs. Commuting miles - 3389.
Non commuting miles - 359. Mileage this week - 101 miles. Total mileage - 3748 miles.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


You can now find me here...

It'll be while before I've finished the Wordpress site with widgets, plugins and such like, but daily updates will be there from now on. There will be no more Blogger updates here!

Thanks for visiting this past year, I look forward to seeing you on my new site.




I have to go to Cardiff today for a meeting. So the internal combustion engine it is.

Last day at work until next Tuesday too! Whoop whoop!

Yesterday's pedal home was a standard job, nothing to report.

Stats here:

Started: 18 Aug 2010 15:00:09
Ride Time: 46:53
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.82 miles
Average: 14.55 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 43.13 miles/h
Climb: 387 feet
Calories: 701

Not very fast, a pig of a headwind to push against...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Standard pedal.

Came in on my road bike this morning, mainly because I didn't get up on time to be here if I came via the towpath. Bad skills!

I pedalled over Frankley Beeches and via Harbourne. Lights on too. Felt pretty good, the hills on route get dealt with fairly quickly for a 46 year old fat bloke, so happy days.

Stats here:
Started: 18 Aug 2010 05:35:37
Ride Time: 33:24
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.89 miles
Average: 16.75 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 30.94 miles/h
Climb: 112 feet
Calories: 730

Yesterday's pedal home was the canal, NCR5 and a quick spin round the Lickey's, 'cos I could!

The towpath through Birmingham City Centre at Brindley Place was rammed with pedestrians so it was a go slow through there with plenty of "Excuse me's" shouted out. It was pretty wet too, me and the bike were pretty filthy on arrival ay home, that dirty my daughter Fay wanted a picture of me.

It doesn't show it too well there but I was covered in towpath grime and mud. The Ridgeback will need a bloody good clean on Friday!

Stats here:

Started: 17 Aug 2010 14:59:11
Ride Time: 1:11:34
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 16.16 miles
Average: 13.03 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 23.88 miles/h
Climb: 299 feet
Calories: 888

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A change is as good as a rest...

This morning was the first commute in when It was dark when I started out and I needed my lights on. Bummer, that means Autumn is nearly here.

I also decided to commute in on NCR 5 and the canal for a change. I've been road biking a lot recently and my Ridgeback has been pining to be given some playtime. Plus I get so sick of bloody roads, give me a trail or a towpath anyday!

I've said it before, but changing your commute and or changing the bike you pedal is massively important to keep things fresh. I know I'm lucky to have a choice of bikes and other people haven't got that luxury. But boredom is one of the enemies for a constant commuter and if you're doing it for weight loss you need to keep doing it!

The pedal in was great though, enjoyed being on the canal and the solitude, as usual I never saw a soul which was great.

My body is feeling fine still after the 100 miler which in all fairness is a bit of a surprise to me. I was expecting to suffer for the century. But I guess my post ride stretches and recovery ride yesterday have all helped my cause. Looking forward to the 113 miler to the coast in Wales in 2 weeks now!

Stats for this morning's commute:

Started: 17 Aug 2010 05:14:59
Ride Time: 1:05:18
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 16.26 miles
Average: 14.98 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 41.95 miles/h
Climb: 33 feet
Calories: 641

Monday, 16 August 2010

First Century since 1983...

I was awake at 0340hrs to the tuneful screaming of the Spawn of Satan. I quickly got dressed and was going to pile in to his room to settle him back down when he went quiet. Result. Downstairs, grabbed a bit of brekkie and packed my sandwiches and was off!

Lights on my bike for the first time since March/April, didn't like that.

Anyway, off down towards Solihull then Catherine De Barnes. No problems, no traffic apart from the odd mini cab bringing late Saturday night clubber's home. Got waved at by a young bloke staggering home down Seven Star Road which made me laugh.

Got to Meriden in good time. Meriden is famous in Cycling circles as the very centre of England, it's a bit of a mecca apparantly according to my Dad who used to pedal a lot.

There's a memorial there to cyclists killed in both World Wars.

Ok it was dark and I knew the photo would be crap, but I had to take a snap of the memorial with my bike parked up there. I'm sure Google will provide a better image.

Onwards then to potentially the worst part of the ride, that of skirting Coventry on the A45. Not pleasant.

But because of the hour and the day, there were very few tin boxes trying to kill me.

Pedalled past the old Peugeot works at Ryton on Dunsmore which is now a flattened derelict site, yet another example of the death of British manufacturing, even though it was a French company, but you know what I mean...quite sad.  

Then it was the start of the Fosse Way.

It was more lumpy than I remember from back in the day, lots of ups and downs, a bit like a roller coaster, nothing hard though.

The minute I saw my first Cotswold Stone house...

The road went up alarmingly, ahh, that'd be the Cotswold Hills then.

Next stop the end of the Fosse Way at 53 miles in for me and still feeling ok. The village of Halford.

A turn off right here and head towards Bidford on Avon via the leafy lanes of Warwickshire and the village of Mickleton. A bit of my route actually took in a bit of NCR5 which JB must have pedalled back in April.

I stopped at Mickleton for my jam sandwiches and a bloody good drink. I was starting to feel it now. Nothing serious but I knew I'd done a distance.

Sandwich stop at Mickleton.

Then it was a belt along through Honeybourne and past Bidford Gliding Club to get to my 20 minute rest stop at Bidford by the River Avon.

I left Bidford at about 0910hrs which is about 70 miles in on the ride. This was going to be the tester. It was all uphill and a headwind started up the minute I crossed the river. Great!

I was now seriously tired, up until Bidford my average speed was 16.9 mph, which I thought wasn't bad. I knew it wouldn't be that when I got back!

I got to Astwood Bank just outside Redditch after a real struggle getting out of the Avon Valley, and got to the traffic lights at the village centre. I went to unclip as the lights were on red and my left calf cramped up so much I couldn't get my foot out of the pedal and I nearly toppled over like a SPD newbie! Just saved it! Time for a refuel then. I parked up at the service station just over the lights and had a Mars Bar and a bottle of Lucazade and had a walk around the forecourt while I refuelled. I also answered a text of support off Matty Lad while I was there! Oh and thanks for the Tweets too, they did help!

Next up Redditch, not a great place to pedal through, or motorbike through, I saw a bike on its side by the big island, it's actually on the footage on the film below. The motorbiker was ok as I saw him walking around picking bits of his bike up with the car driver who I assumed was involved in the accident too. Haven't a clue what happened.

Out the other side of Redditch and pedalled towards the village of Beoley, which meant going up Church Hill. My first granny ring climb. very tired now, thoughts of walking up the hill started to enter my head. But I didn't.

Then the other side of Beoley was my first problem with navigation. I knew I had to turn left to get over to the Wast Hills, and I knew I was roughly where I should be turning left so I went for it at the next left which was worryingly sign posted Carpenter's Hill. I never saw any wood workers, but I definately saw a hill! Another Granny ring battle that was that steep that I had to get out of the saddle to force my way up. My rear tyre kept spinning out too as the ground was that slippy with leaves. When the rear wheel span out I sat down to try to regain traction, which then meant I couldn't pedal strongly enough! Doh! I got there though and at the top was a group of cyclists doing a spot of map reading. After relating my story of the hill I'd just come up, they decided that was the way they were going. Good skills, I'd have sooner gone down it!

That was my last stop, plain sailing (relatively) home. Apart from a painful right knee and aching shoulders I was pretty much ok.

My cycling bits were fine, legs, cardio vas, gentleman's area etc. It was as usual all my old rugby and army injuries giving me grief.

I was out for 7 and a half hours for 106 miles.
Average speed ended up at 14.7 mph.
Maximum speed was 41mph.

The stats are off my cycling computer as my Iphone's battery wouldn't have lasted the course.

Video below, motorbike crash at 2 mins 50 secs in:

This morning I got up and did a recovery ride of just 11 odd miles. All low gear easy spinning. No rush. The objective was to get any remaining lactic acid out of my legs to promote recovery and stop any cramping. I did a lot of calf, quad and hamstring stretches yesterday afternoon as I could feel my legs starting to tighten.

Stats here:

Started: 16 Aug 2010 06:58:29
Ride Time: 52:37
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.18 miles
Average: 12.75 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 38.64 miles/h
Climb: 217 feet
Calories: 531
Route here:

Hopefully that's the August 150 kicked into touch now. I make it I've done 157 leisure miles.

My final thoughts on the pedal is that it was nowhere near as bad as I feared. Maybe I'm fitter than I thought. Or I'd just got my head around doing the distance.

What I would say is that if you fancy doing a 100 then do it, you're obviously ready as you're thinking about it!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

100 miler done.

Feel ok, legs a bit tired, I'll write up the gory details tomorrow!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Food for free.

We're off down the canal in Stoke Prior today armed with loads of bags to get fruit and veg. There's Damsons, Plums, Apples, Horseradish, Water Cress, Blackberries, Raspberries,  Sorrell and God knows what else!

Wifey is going to be busy, Jam, Chutney and soup making for her then!

Luckily the Middlesex Sevens is on tele today and I can watch that when she's creating. Looking forward to it, Hunty and Brakey are playing for Northampton, they're 2 players from my club who are on loan to them for the competition. It's being played at Twickenham, arguably the best stadium in England. It's a very big annual rugby event. It's an excuse for piss up truth be told, but there's some good rugby on show too with a ruck of internationals taking part.

The weather is set fair and my bike and kit is all ready to go for the 100 miler tomorrow. Just want to get it done now.

Watch out for Tweets tomorrow.

Friday, 13 August 2010

A slight change of plan...

Apologies if you're expecting Tweets from the Fosse Way or Bidford on Avon and a delayed Blog. But I have an excuse...

My rear tyre was flat when I got my bike out this morning. Upon inspection when I removed the tyre I found this. As you can see the weld that joins the valve to the tube has totally failed and is totally irrepairable. In all my years of cycling man and boy I've never seen that before.

I fitted the spare but obviously that leaves me without a change of tube for the rest of the ride. So I made a command decision and postponed the 100 miler until Sunday. I'll get a replacement tube (or 2) today.

I suppose going Sunday has its advantages. Less traffic around Coventry and to be fair it is threatening rain here and around the 100 miler route today. While I have no issues pedalling in the rain, I'm not completely stupid as it is nicer not to have to!

Apologies then for the false start. A bit disappointed truth be told.

Still going to the Dodford later though!

Just found this over at Placid Casual another Blog I follow. The bloke is a great photographer and a really serious cyclist, I love reading his thoughts. They're always out of the ordinary not like my cliche ridden ramblings.

But check this photo out:

If you remember my Blog about the Solihull lady that was sadly killed time trialling recently on the A46 in Warwickshire, the photo above is a good example of that type of road. In fact as Placid Casual is a Leicestershire lad it might be the A46!

While I fully support the running of events on the public road I really must question the wisdom of doing it in those conditions pictured above. Surely a bit of common sense must take over here? Relying on the good graces of car drivers just isn't an option, as I know only too well!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Stand by!

The waiting is nearly over thankfully, I couldn't sleep last night for thinking about tomorrow's self imposed task.

Will I get up on time?

Will my couple of bananas for brekky and a coffee do me until my first scheduled stop?

Will just a T Shirt for a top do for the ride?

What if my map reading skills go pear shaped?

What if I have a major mechanical?

Etc etc etc...

This isn't such a bad thing, for me the above behaviour means I care, not that I'm nervous, I just want to crack on now.

For those of you interested I'll Tweet my progress at my scheduled stops:

When I get on to the Fosse Way.

At Bidford on Avon.

At Redditch.

Then obviously when I get home.

I'll do my best to take photos, but I'm terrible for taking pictures during a job like this, I get pretty focussed and never want to stop, so please bear with me! As for filming, I'll have my Muvi on but it's capacity is limited so it'll get used as and when. Or maybe never, dunno yet.

I'm not certain when I'll blog about it, depends on how I feel tomorrow so it may be Saturday.

Whatever happens I'll be at the Dodford for a couple of well deserved ales tomorrow evening!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Another meeting!

Have you ever noticed that when you go to Head Office for a meeting then people you very rarely see or even know what you do suddenly think their job depends entirely on what you do and they need a meeting with you too?

That happened to me yesterday. I have to go to HQ again today, this time for a "chat" (read meeting) with our standards and auditing Manager to go through bureaucratic nonsense.

We all know (if you're involved with it) that ISO's or BS whatevers are not worth the paper they're written on in the real world and they're process placebos for the mentally infirm or easily impressed.

As it happens I always keep my departments documentation and auditable trail bang up to date and accessable to anyone. So this meeting will be another 2 hours of my life I can't get back for no good reason. Hence I'm in the car again! I don't know why (as I told him yesterday) he just can't go onto our network drive which is where I keep all the bumf and go through it with out me. It's all self explanitory...

Anyway, onto bikes.

I gave my Giant a bloody good clean and lube yesterday evening in preparation for the 100 miler on Friday. I also got my clothes ready and I even cleaned my cycling shoes which were showing the evidence of Waseley Hill mud from Saturday.

There she is in all her glory. I also fitted the new Crudracer front tail piece which Crud sent through to me for the price of a stamp. Good service. Very impressed!

I'm now on Twitter too, that Joby is a bloody nag!

You can find me under the catchy title of CliveBees. That's the result of me having to think quickly about a user name when all of the names I normally use had gone. Bees is my Rugby Club just in case you hadn't worked it out!

I don't know how much I'll be using it, but it's there now anyway. I'll also have to work out how to link it to my Blog. Doh! Damn this interweb thingy!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A bigger carbon footprint...

I'm in the car today, I have a site visit and a meeting over at HQ.
Plus I'll be in the car on Thursday as I have my biggest ever ride planned for Friday. A 100 miler.

Route here:

I haven't ridden that far since me and my brother did 125 miles to our family's holiday caravan in Tywyn in Gwynedd in the 80's. I'm not going for a time with this route though, just aiming to get round.

I was going to do it on Saturday but that's when Wifey and I will be celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary so I changed it to Friday. The only slight downer is I'll be up much earlier to get past the traffic around Coventry before the rush hour.

I don't doubt I'll do it and it'll be good practice for a fortnight's time when I'll be re-creating the holiday ride, Wifey and the kids will drive to my folks bungalow in the evening (my folks are away on a cruise celebrating their 50th aniversary) and I will pedal there aiming to arrive late afternoon.

Hmmm, 6 mile park and ride commute a year ago, to 2 100 milers in a fortnight now...Gulp...

Monday, 9 August 2010

Dinosaur day out...

Enjoyed the thing at Redditch yesterday, as did wifey, the kids and Mum in Law.

A few piccies:

Spawn of Satan scaring a terrible lizard.

I said to him "Look up!"

Fay with a lizard.

Me with a corn snake.

Dan with the Tortoise.

The plaque for the needle works.

The needle works water wheel.

Dan on the Dino slide.

Mum in Law did a fabulous picnic and the weather was really good. Today we're off over the hills for bimble and to get the kids knackered then probably off to do a bit of shopping.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Kid's Sunday.

Today we're off to Redditch to take the kids (and Mum in Law) to this.

Should be a giggle.

I'm getting Sunday Dinner sorted soon. Chicken done in a chicken brick today.

It makes a lovely gravy (sauce) as well as keeps the chicken very moist. The best bit is that you can bung everything in it, chuck the oven on low and then bugger off all day and you come back to a fabulous meal without having to do anything but serve it. Plus the smell when you open the front door is ace!

Lazy man's cooking. Works for me!

Finally, finishing off on a sad note, just read this on Bikeradar. I know the roads around there very well, indeed I'll be pedalling them next Saturday if everything goes according to plan. The A46 especially is a like a motorway in all but name. A dual carriageway where the traffic regularly goes over the national speed limit. The lanes around Bidford and Salford Priors are very narrow but can get very busy due to all of the pretty villages and access to the River Avon. My thoughts and condolences go out to her family and friends.

Everyone be careful out there.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

A Waseley kind of Saturday...

I was up a bit later than planned and got my arse on my MTB and headed over the Waseley Hills. The intention wasn't so much as to go for a bloody good pedal, but to try my film kit out. Especially the camcorder.

The route started just over the road from where I live at the playing fields which leads into the fields and a track that gets you up the Waseleys without having to ride on the road.

I turned my helmet cam on when I got to the bridleway at the start of the climb. A brief few minutes of panting and I arrived at the woods where it was quiet with no-one else around. Good. Ideal for leaving my camcorder unattended while I ride through a few shots then.

The US Army ammo pouch was working well letting me have quick access to the camcorder and holding the kit securely while I was pedalling.

While I was finding a suitable tree to stick my camcorder on to film I saw this disused birds nest. Obviously abandoned due to how low it was in the tree.

Camera set up then ride through, which I did a few times. I tried to get the film to reflect the trail through the woods, then over the top of the hill with Worcestershire blasting out into the distance westwards.

The weather was always threatening to rain and indeed it did drizzle a few times which concerned me as the camcorder is not waterproof.

I did cut the ride short as it started to belt down, so the Lickeys didn't get a visit and I just stayed on  the Waseleys. I did a measely 5 miles. Not exactly an epic!

I took this at the start of the Waseley bridleway, I guess the sign is a giveaway! I must just quickly mention that this was my first ride of my Marin with disc brakes. They are certainly the way forward for stopping a rolling mass like me. Absolutely brilliant!

Anyway back home and downloaded the stills and footage. Then onto editing!

OH...MY...GOD! How hard is this! It's now 1500hrs and I've just finished.

The main problem was that my Samsung Camcorder delivers its footage in .MP4 format which Windows Movie Maker doesn't like, so I had to convert the .MP4 files into .WMV files which didn't half ruin the quality. As you'll see it's a bit pants but I guess you have start somewhere.

The Muvi helmet cam produces .AVI which is ok to edit.

Enough of my talking it down, here it is my first proper effort at filming with a camcorder and helmet cam. It's bloody hard!

Any advice for editing MP4 to retain the quality would be greatly appreciated (Bruce).

Friday, 6 August 2010

My photography/film kit.

I'm very keen on taking photos and recording video footage when I ride. It makes the ride even more fun and of course provides a record of events.

Tomorrow I'm going to try something new for me, that of taking a dedicated camcorder as well as my usual helmet cam and stills camera.

Here is the camcorder mounted on my Gorillapod.

I'm carrying it in this.

Which is attached to my Camelbac waiststrap like this:

The pouch is an old US Army Alice ammo pouch I used back in the day as the US army ammo pouches were far superior to ours at the time.

You could get at your weapon magazines very quickly! Which was nice...

Here's a photo of me at Grafenwher training area in Bavaria during the build up to Gulf War 1. We were training with the US Army doing familiarisation stuff. You can see the very pouch just below my left hand.

As well as the stills camera and my camcorder there's the usual Muvi helmet cam set up. The camera itself is taped into the bracket for extra security as you can see below.

As always the Devil is in the detail and a good video is only as good as the bloke filming, photographing and editing.

I hope I can get somewhere near this which is Bruce over at Coastrider's finest hour. His edited 3 minute version of this film has recently won an award! 

I doubt my effort from over the Lickey's tomorrow will be that good. But at least I'll be learning!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Long weekend...

Last day here in sunny Smethwick until Tuesday. I've got a long weekend every weekend now until September. This is because Wifey needs reinforcements in looking after the kids while school is out. Well really it's looking after the Spawn of Satan, Fay more or less pleases herself now, but Dan is still Dan and needs the full battery of parenting skills from both me and wifey to cope with him.

I'm hoping that I can get a MTB ride in over the Lickeys on Saturday. That's the plan anyway.

No rain this morning, which is good and I flew in the City Centre route with no dramas at all.

Stats here:
Started: 5 Aug 2010 05:35:18
Ride Time: 36:18
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.81 miles
Average: 16.16 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 31.60 miles/h
Climb: 108 feet
Calories: 627

Yesterday's pedal home was a good one too. I'm still feeling pretty strong.

Stats here:
Started: 4 Aug 2010 15:00:41
Ride Time: 41:49
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.78 miles
Average: 14.43 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 34.76 miles/h
Climb: 308 feet
Calories: 716

Ray over at DC Rainmaker is running another giveaway, go and have a nose here.

No pedal tomorrow as I'll be Duct taping Dan into his chair. MTB write up Saturday all things being equal.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Rain rain go away...

It's absolutely chucking it down here, I got totally saturated this morning. Just as well it ain't cold. I don't bother with a waterproof in the summer 'cos you get just as wet through sweat anyway. I'd sooner stay a bit cooler. But that's just me.

Add on the fact that I probably needed to turn my lights on as well made it a tad depressing. It seems we're hurtling headlong towards the end of the summer and the dark mornings again.

I think I'll be using my lights next week. Terrible thought.

Onto the positives, I felt pretty good and did a reasonable time over Frankley Beeches.

Stats here:

Started: 4 Aug 2010 05:40:35
Ride Time: 34:44
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.81 miles
Average: 16.07 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 30.20 miles/h
Climb: 630 feet
Calories: 615

The pedal home yesterday afternoon was pretty good too, apart from this, I was doing about 25mph at the time:

Stats here:

Started: 3 Aug 2010 11:57:16
Ride Time: 47:02
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.61 miles
Average: 14.26 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 34.74 miles/h
Climb: 453 feet
Calories: 804

Oh, and apologies for the profanity...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Good video on the Beeb.

Check this out!

And you thought your commute could be tough!

Lordy Lordy...

Giant Defy milestone...

When I got in today and did my normal cycle Computer reset stuff I noticed that my road bike has broken a 1000 miles and is now residing on the figure of 1003 miles.

It seems like only yesterday that I had it (February 25th) and had to get used to a road bike all over again and put up with the battering it gave me, but I'm now completely au fait with the spindly beast and have a couple of good days out planned on the thing this month.

The bits'n'pieces that I've done to it since I've had it, Brooks Saddle, new bar tape, cool saddle bag, 23mm tyres and Crud Roadracers all seem to be doing the job and making my road bike life all that bit easier.

Although on the Roadracer front I noticed this at the weekend maintenance session.

The flap at the bottom of the front mudguard seems to be AWOL. I can actually be pretty certain when this happened.

Last week at a junction I had to dodge past some cars at a very slow speed and my foot caught the front wheel when I was turning into the junction. The mudguard was rubbing after that and I gave it a thump to re-seat it. I'll bet the thing fell off then. I'll drop Crud an email today to see if they can send me a replacement.

Today's pedal was the City Centre route, nothing to report much like yesterday's pedal home.

I am feeling pretty strong at the moment and I can certainly feel like I'm improving all the time. Sunday's 35 miler didn't affect my legs one bit when I was expecting to feel it a tad.

Pedal to work:

Started: 3 Aug 2010 05:38:39
Ride Time: 38:46
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.71 miles
Average: 16.95 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 35.91 miles/h
Climb: 180 feet
Calories: 618

Yesterday's pedal home:

Started: 2 Aug 2010 15:04:14
Ride Time: 42:25
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.92 miles
Average: 14.76 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 34.87 miles/h
Climb: 266 feet
Calories: 860

New Bikeradar Blog here.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Another Smethwick Monday...

After the excitement of yesterday, normal service is resumed. The road bike is deployed for the commute and after a bit of a struggle getting my lazy arse out of bed I managed a not very quick trip in.

Stats here:

Started: 2 Aug 2010 05:49:52
Ride Time: 38:18
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.73 miles
Average: 14.46 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 30.43 miles/h
Climb: 138 feet
Calories: 569

But at least I was still out of the saddle going for it over Frankley Beeches, which I can now do all of out of the saddle. Which is nice.

Still buzzing from yesterday truth be told...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A good pedal today. Part 2.

Then a surprise, Wilksee needed to check fly the C42 after a bit of work had been done to it and asked me if I wanted to accompany him! Too bloody right! A year ago I wouldn't have been able to, but after my weight loss I was just on the limit for the aircraft, so off we went!

That'd be me taxiing the aircraft then!

Wilksee amazed me by giving me some instruction and letting me taxi the plane to the runway, what a buzz!

He wanted me to do the take off too, but he's probably a bit more practiced so I insisted he got us airbourne!

Up and away!

Then more surprises, "You have control" said wilksee, I flew the whole circuit!

Me flying the C42.

Wilksee in his natural habitat.

Do I look like I know what I'm doing?

All too soon it was time to come down. I let Wilksee handle the getting down part!

I switched on my Cycle app for the hop. Route here:

Started: 1 Aug 2010 09:55:13
Ride Time: 29:31
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 13.56 miles
Average: 27.57 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 49.72 miles/h
Climb: 1909 feet

We had to crack on now, so said our goodbyes to Wilksee and the good folk at Hadair.

A massively enjoyable morning there, if ever you're in the Midlands and fancy a trip, look them up and tell Wilksee I sent you, I might get another freebie!

Me and Ski pedalled back via Churchill and Belbroughton where we stumbled upon this:

A more English scene you couldn't wish for, me and Ski both love our Cricket so we stopped for a drink break to take in a few overs. The game was Belbroughton v Alvechurch  with a couple of very good young Cricketers on show. It's good to see clubs investing in their future.

All to soon it was time to tackle the last stage. The hills. Ski very graciously offered to let me crack on, but that's not how we do things so I waited for him at the top of every climb.

A final downhill to home and we were done. A brilliant morning!

A good pedal today. Part 1.

Went for a bimble today over to Halfpenny Green Airfield which is  t'other side of Stourbridge with my mate Ski.

There was a good reason to go as it's roughly a 35 mile round trip and we'd get a brew as my old MTB mukka from back in the day Steve Wilkes (He's known to all as Wilksee) is a flying instructor there and runs his own flying school which is called Hadair, which is a pun on had hair as Wilksee is now as bald as a coot!

We set off about 0730hrs to get there for about 0900hrs. Wilksee is a notorious latey so his "I'll be there at 0830hrs" was taken with the usual large pinch of salt.

Route here:

The pedal started out over Romsley Hill and then flew down rather rapidly down to the main Hagley Road which took us eventually through Stourbridge towards Enville and the airfield.

At the top of the first proper climb of the day was where predictably Wilksee met us in his car. Running late as usual. He very kindly offered to give us a lift to the airfield but we did the honourable thing and refused him and pedalled there instead. I'm sure Ski wanted a lift!

Ski in road mode.

After the encounter with Wilksee we got to the airfield after another 20 minutes of pedalling.

Ski's Top Gun moment...

Wilksee's Flex wing aircraft.

My commuter parked up.

Ski taking 5.

Wilksee immediately put us to work opening the aircraft and doing helping do pre flight checks. Like we know what the hell we were doing! Obviously properly supervised of course!

We had a brew then and took 5 minutes, refilled our water bottles and then thought about buggering off back to my house.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Broken the 5 stone barrier!

I had my monthly weigh in yesterday and saw the cracking of the 5 stone lost barrier, well chuffed to say the least. My only slight annoyance was that I didn't do well enough to see the figure 16 stones on the scales, they read 17 stones 1Ib. Ah well, all things being equal I'll see that at my next monthly weigh in.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect to be honest, I'd had pretty much 2 weeks off the bike this month, 1 through a scheduled rest period and the other an enforced lay off due to my little contretemps with the car, the tarmac and the kerb.

But to offset that, this week has been brilliant, a full 5 days commuting pedalling, really good with my grub and I've been noticing my clothes have been getting baggier.

But as we all know, you can never be sure until you step on the instrument of truth.

So the weekend. Usual stuff I think, get my bike de-gunked, keep the kids occupied and try to get some downtime in. The Dodford beckons this afternoon.

Oh yeah, I'm off on a little pedal tomorrow morning with my mate Ski. Report on that in due course.

Must take time out too to big up Matt over at the Weighty Biker, take a bimble over there and have a read of his day yesterday.

A hell of a pedal yesterday mate, really well done, I hope that's shown you what we all knew you were capable of. Top going feller!

Oh and get your arse out of bed earlier so you can pedal further! HaHa!

Yesterday's pedal home was a routine Frankley Beeches trip if pretty slow, I hate headwinds! Added to the fact I was carrying a fully loaded daysack which I plonked on the scales and it came in at a bloody horrible 35Ibs, no wonder, that would have been like pedalling for me back around Christmas!

Stats here:

Started: 30 Jul 2010 11:55:22
Ride Time: 48:14
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.56 miles
Average: 13.90 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 32.73 miles/h
Climb: 367 feet
Calories: 822

Friday, 30 July 2010

5 days on the bike!

Chuffed to bits, a whole 5 days cycle commuting, it doesn't happen too often for general annoying "life" type reasons so when it does I'm a very happy chappy!

This morning's pedal in was brilliant, the only downer was I wished I'd stopped to photograph the beautiful sunrise, the light beating down on Clent and Romsley Hills in the distance from my vantage point at the top of Frankley Beeches was simply stunning, the landscape was bathed in a soft golden light that was heart meltingly gorgeous. It looked like some Special Effects wizard had put a filter on a camera. Marvelous!

Seeing stuff like that is one of the reasons why I pedal, whizzing along in a car on the motorway and I would've missed that.

I must address the "I've gotta get there" thing though. It's not the destination, it's the journey! Why couldn't I stop and take a picture, 30 seconds out of the pedal that's all it would have been?

I'm weird...

Stats here:
Started: 30 Jul 2010 05:38:47
Ride Time: 33:45
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.80 miles
Average: 17.36 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 38.82 miles/h
Climb: 226 feet
Calories: 467

Yesterday's pedal home was a good one too, nothing to report so no vids.

Stats here:

Started: 29 Jul 2010 15:03:47
Ride Time: 42:01
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.60 miles
Average: 14.99 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 37.53 miles/h
Climb: 292 feet
Calories: 889

Going back to when I started pedalling the whole way to and from work, you may remember I had a Nemesis on my route home, that of "Cock Hill". Named after the Cock Pub that sits at the top.

Now it's not very long, probably 300 metres, maybe a tad more, but it is steep.

My first sojourn up there involved the Granny Gear on my MTB commuter, all evening to do it in and team of Paramedics at the top.

Now I fly up it (relative term for a fat bloke) in the big ring on my Road Bike in no time at all and feel pretty good at the top.

The name Cock Hill no longer suits it. Remember your school days? The term "Cock of the School" meant the toughest lad in the school and one you never messed with. I always thought of the name Cock Hill in those terms. The toughest hill and one you never messed with. And if you did you'd end up with a kicking.

Now I always give it a kicking and as such I need a new name for it. One that is more appropriate.

Any suggestions?

Oh, and I'm more than aware that "cock" has infinite opportunities for the usual suspects to fill their boots!