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.

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!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

A grey day...

It seems like we had our summer in June. But having ridden through last winter, the worst one in a generation, a bit of grey damp weather ain't a problem.

I felt a bit stonger this morning, which was nice after yesterday's crappy form, and I bowled in on the City Centre route. Nothing at all to report other than a Belgique HGV passing a tad too close than was comfortable. But hey, I'm still here!

Oh, and every flinkin' blippin' traffic light was on red! Grrr!

Started: 29 Jul 2010 05:37:48
Ride Time: 39:18
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.34 miles
Average: 15.78 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 30.82 miles/h
Climb: 141 feet
Calories: 566

Yesterday's pedal home was the usual affair, other than I must mention a very nice car driver who stayed behind me all the way through Harbourne rather than squeeze an overtake in. He passed me when he could use the other lane completely. He got a thumbs up and a wave from me. Top bloke. I overtook him again at the main junction I filter through at Selly Oak. Which proves that forcing your way past bikes in town doesn't get you very far!

I'm including this video as an example of a pedestrian who doesn't look. Although it's not too clear in the video, she was was much closer to me than it looks and the expression of hatred, yes hatred, she gave me when I tried to pedal around her was something to behold!

Stats here:
Started: 28 Jul 2010 15:03:25
Ride Time: 43:45
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.86 miles
Average: 14.43 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 33.94 miles/h
Climb: 476 feet
Calories: 816

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Weak the force is...

Ohh, not a good pedal in, wifey woke me up at 0530hrs which is unusual and I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

My road bike pedal in over the Beeches was not great, my bio-rythmn's must be low. I want my bed!

I forced myself to get up out of the saddle on the climbs which took a bit of will power, but I'm here now.

Started: 28 Jul 2010 05:42:15
Ride Time: 34:37
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.56 miles
Average: 16.17 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 33.87 miles/h
Climb: 151 feet
Calories: 554

Yesterday's pedal home was without incident, although considering the kids are off, the traffic was mightily busy as the video below shows.

Anyway, I negotiated those opportunities for suicide safely and the stats are here:

Started: 27 Jul 2010 15:03:32
Ride Time: 42:15
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.64 miles
Average: 14.84 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 31.00 miles/h
Climb: 358 feet
Calories: 922

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The sun is out!

Yahoo! First dry pedal in I dunno how long!

Came in over Frankley Beeches with nothing bad to report.

I was feeling pretty strong so I decided to go for it.

Stats here:
Started: 27 Jul 2010 05:40:39
Ride Time: 32:18
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.67 miles
Average: 17.22 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 44.16 miles/h
Climb: 223 feet
Calories: 651

That's not a bad average and without trawling back through old posts, I'm pretty sure that's up there as one of my quickest times, if not the quickest.

The difference being I'm up out of the saddle on all of the climbs now and down on the lower part of the drops when belting downhill.

It's hurting, but then again it's supposed to!

I'm wondering now if I have all of the traffic lights going for me whether a sub 30 in is possible?

Considering July last year a canal park and ride was taking me just short of an hour that's remarkable. You certainly couldn't do it quicker than I'm doing it now on a Bus or Train.

A video below of my pedal in this morning. I hope you enjoy the tongue in cheek soundtrack!

Last night's pedal was a standard affair but I did have two races with the same bloke on a MTB. He pulled in front of me before the hill into Northfield and to be fair to him he was going for it. I shadowed him for a couple of hundred meters then was up out of the saddle sprinting past him when he started to slow, I gave him a cheeky "All right mate" as I whizzed past him. I kept the hammer down right up until the Northfield By-Pass, that's him sorted thought I.

I got to the Black Horse traffic light's and was waiting for them to go green when I saw the same bloke fire off up Frankley Beeches Road! He must have dived over the road on the By-Pass then cut through Sainsbury's car park the cheeky git, judging by how far ahead he was, he must have gone through some red lights and then rode on the pavement!

Rightio sunshine, that's your game! When my light's went to green he was about 250 - 300 meters ahead on a slight uphill, no dramas, I buried myself and caught him at the junction by Kings Norton Golf Club. Then on the downhill towards the Dingle island I was out of the saddle again and went past him like he was standing still. I glanced at him as I went by. His look of amazement was priceless! I kept it on up the nasty little climb just before the island. I didn't see him again, and to be honest that was a good thing as I was now shot. I just bimbled the rest of the way home.

I was pretty soaked through with sweat when I got in and for the first time in ages I couldn't speak properly for a couple of minutes. Wifey wondered what the hell was wrong with me! I think I'll start calling rides like that interval training. A few minutes of extreme effort followed by a few minutes of recovery. It's got to be doing me good!

Monday, 26 July 2010

I'm still here...

I thought about it and then decided bollocks, I'm doing the same route I did last Wednesday when I had my little drama. You've got to get back in the saddle and look the gits straight in the eye and say I ain't backing down!

So City Centre route it was, in the wet too. Thankfully without incident. I also got a lick on through Selly Oak too as usual, but I did keep a wary eye out when I passed Grange Road to be extra certain I wasn't going to get ambushed again.

The only incident of note was that I forgot to set my app for the stats, but my cycle computer said 38 minutes with an average of 16.2mph. I'll take that.

The dog show was a giggle yesterday, the kids had a ball and so did their parents. Although I'm not certain Benji the Pup did. He was pretty glad to be home, where he crashed out for the rest of the day.

But at his first and probably only dog show he won first prize for the dog with the saddest eyes! I didn't think they were that sad, more pissed off, but what do I know!

A photo record of the event here:

Spawn of Satan getting face painted.

Apparently that design is called a "Warg."

Dan contributing his coppers to the RSPCA, watched by Benji.

Clan Chapman waiting for Benji's big moment!

Benji doing his thing...

And coming first! Prize presented by local BRMB DJ Foxy (Don't listen to it myself).

Photo for the various web sites and newsletters. Dan, Liz and Foxy with Benji the Pup!

So a good and successful trip out for Benji, and the kids were kept busy for 2 or 3 hours. Job done.

How can this be progressed?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Woof woof etc...

Looking forward to the dog show today, should be a laugh. Or complete chaos, which can be a laugh anyway.

Then I'm cooking Sunday dinner. Breast of Lamb today, not an expensive or usual type of choice for Sunday roast, in fact traditionally it's a bit of a peasants cut of meat as it's so cheap. (I bought 2 massive bits yesterday that will do for 4 meals for £4.98) But it's my favourite bit of the beast. Cooked slowly, covered in mustard and a sprinkling of sugar it roasts up into sticky tender meaty heaven. Lovely.

No bikey stuff today, all done yesterday. Hope the met is ok for next week, slippy roads are not ideal on a road bike, I'll probably towpath and NCR5 it in tomorrow.

Just a small pain in the hip left now, which may be old age anyway!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Road bike sorted.

Just finished doing some stuff on my road bike. It was undamaged after Wednesday's little drama.
New tyres, new mini pump a bloody good wash and lube and some new bar tape. First time ever I've done bar tape. Not as easy as you'd think, it took me two goes to get it right! Either that or I'm ham fisted!

All revved up for Monday now!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Looking forward to the weekend...

Feeling less battered today, I am a notoriously fast healer, I always have been. Just as well really with my track record of injuries!

It would seem appropriate at this point that I thank you, my Dear Reader for your good wishes through this blog, Facebook messages and emails. It is much appreciated. Although the extended concern over my bike rather than me did cause me to raise the odd eyebrow. But there's always priorities!

I feel like I could actually pedal today, but as usual I have my conscience telling me otherwise, and as you know I always listen to wifey! So I'll be back Monday for a pedal. I think I might go down the towpath, I can't see a Narrowboat pulling out in front of me can you?

Things happening this weekend include, The Dodford Beer Festival which kicks off today, so me and my mate will be there this evening.

Tomorrow I'll be thoroughly checking my road bike out from Wednesday's little mishap, it appeared undamaged, but that was after a cursory glance at the side of the road while waiting for wifey to collect me.

Sunday we're off to a Dog Show in aid of the RSPCA. It's taking place at Newbrook Farm just around the corner from where we live which used to be a Prison Farm and open to the public. It was a cracking morning out wandering around looking at the animals and they had a kids section with Goats and Rabbits. Our daughter Fay loved it especially at Lambing time. But they closed it down some years back. For reasons that never became clear. Probably financial I'm guessing. Let's hope this is the start of events happening there again! We'll be taking Benji the Pup too, so chaos is pretty much guaranteed.

I'll obviously be letting you all know how it goes, have a good weekend everyone!

New Bike Radar blog here they're a bit behind sticking them it were...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A bit of an incident.

Sorry for my absence yesterday, but I had an excuse.

It was wet on Wednesday morning as seems to be the norm lately and I decided to ride the City Centre route in. Wet also means no helmet cam.

I was feeling good and I was getting a bit of a lick on. Out of the saddle up the hills and generally getting the impression I was on for a good time into work.

I had cleared the lights just before Selly Oak and was hammering through Selly Oak itself which is slightly downhill, so I was doing about 30mph as usual through there.

Then a car pulled out of the side road to my left right in front of me.

It was wet, I was doing 30mph, I had nowhere to go. In a split second that I don't remember consciously thinking about I tried to swerve behind him up the road he came out of...and failed. I skidded and came off, at 30mph. I bounced down the road and hit the kerb.

This time I didn't get to my feet and see if anyone saw my lack of skill. I hurt. Especially my hip and shoulder.

I lay there for a couple a seconds checking things out and then gingerly stood up. Nothing broken, good. The car had gone. He didn't stop. Obviously because he hadn't seen me. No pedestrians about either, at least my ego won't be damaged in public.

My bike was fine. I got on the phone to wifey and she collected me and the bike and then being wifey she insisted I went to the hospital where X-Rays showed I was ok.

So that was yesterday.

This morning I feel like I've played a particularly physical game of rugby. Or I've been gamboling down the Bristol Road and hitting a kerb at 30mph!

What's really pissed me off was that I felt I was starting to hit another level with my cycling performance, it was starting to come together. I felt good, I felt fit. Well, for me anyway.

I hope I can retain that feeling for next week.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Variety is the spice of life...

Back to normal, the dramas of yesterday are put to bed and I pedalled in via the City Centre route for a change after all of those battles with Frankley Beeches. As I've alluded to a few times, varying my route in and home is vital for morale. I'm sure I'm like all of the cycling commuters who read this Blog in that I can remember every crack and pothole in the road on my routes. Just think what we're not remembering by remembering that sort of stuff!

It was raining again this morning, I am now resigned to getting wet every day this week looking at the met. Oh well, that's cycling! Rain means no helmet cam too.

I made a slight alteration to my road bike at the weekend too, after last weeks bout of forgetfullness re the bum bag with my tools in it I got a Topeak saddlebag, that way everything is on my bike at all times. It's big enough for a spare tube, multi tool, tyre levers, puncture repair kit, a cloth and even my mini pump!

While I was at it I put my lights back on the bike. I didn't enjoy that. That has a load of negative implications that I don't even want to think about!

Anyway, the finished article looks something like this:

Stats for the ride:

Started: 20 Jul 2010 05:41:53
Ride Time: 40:03
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.86 miles
Average: 15.51 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 46.29 miles/h
Climb: 333 feet
Calories: 592

Mucking about with my bike got me thinking. Do you ever arrive at a perfect set up for your bike? It seems to me we're always changing components, altering bits'n'pieces, tweaking this and that.

So here's the question for you.

What is the longest time your bike has stayed in one form without you mucking about with it or adding and removing stuff?

Monday, 19 July 2010

No pedal today.

A bit of drama at home so I'm having to work from home. Definately back in the saddle tomorrow.

Have a good day all.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Family Sunday.

As befits all family Sunday's I haven't had time to fart! I've just quite literally sat down for the first time today.

Yesterday was spent getting my bikes ready for the week ahead. I always enjoy that.

I got my MTB back from the bike shop after I pinged a spoke on the back wheel on my last MTB ride. I also had it upgraded a tad with the addition of a hydraulic disc brake on the front wheel.

As you can see it looks the business!

Cool levers.

Even cooler disc and caliper.

I then removed the old V brake bosses with a little bit of elbow grease and a Junior Hacksaw. A couple of minutes with a file, emery paper and Gloss Black enamel paint soon had an invisible modification.

The afternoon was at the swing park, it was also an opportunity to collect a load of watercress that grows in the stream next to the park.

                     Fay and Dan on the swing.

The evening was spent at the Dodford Inn where we had a meal to celebrate my daughter Fay's and my Mum in Law's birthday. I got on the outside of too many real ales so I deserved my thick head!

I was up early this morning as well, along with Fay, as I promised to take her shooting. I have permission to shoot over 120 acres of land near the village of Feckenham . It's my bosses land and I can come and go as I please. There is plenty of stuff to shoot for the pot, Rabbits, Pigeon, Pheasant, Deer but occasionally you draw a blank and see nothing.

Like this morning.

Never mind, but it was a good opportunity to teach her some weapon safety and markmanship principles. I suppose that's an advantage of having a Dad who was a small arms instructor in the army!

Learning about safe weapon handling is fantastic tool to teach discipline and the importance of correct procedures.

We set up a range and went through the safety drills and then covered some marksmanship principles.

I was very pleased to see she seems to have inherited the Chapman shooting gene. My Granddad was a sniper in the First World War, my Dad was also a marksman in the RAF and I was on my Regimental shooting team in Army competitions along with my brother. For a first attempt (granted it was with a scope) she achieved a brilliant grouping!

5 rounds all within the space of a 50p piece from about 75 yards! Not bad girl! But spot the flyer that went high and left, classic breathing fault...

Some local residents came over to see what we were up to!

I have some big plans for my Ridgeback commuter that I'm going to investigate tomorrow. If it's do-able I'll be telling you all about it! Actually I'll tell you all about it if it ain't!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Nothing much to say today...

Sorting my bikes, getting kit ready etc etc...

A bit dull...Sorry!

Friday, 16 July 2010


Yesterday's pedal home was without doubt the worst I have endured since I started back pedalling over a year ago.

The reason was a terrific headwind, it felt like I was permanently pedalling with the brakes on. The out of the saddle blast up Frankley Beeches, while still out of the saddle was reduced to a crawl, when I had the energy to look at my computer, it read a mighty 6.3mph. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get any momentum.

The ride through Kitwell towards the end of the pedal was getting dangerous too, the wind was coming up the side roads and hitting me side on so hard it was blowing me into the middle of the road I was pedalling on. It was that hazardous at one point I seriously thought about getting off and walking!

The result of this was that I was absolutely shattered when I got home. I spent all evening trying to contribute to family life struggling to stay awake and feeling physically drained. I suppose at some level it must have done me some good though. Just can't quite work out what yet.

Stats here, and they make ugly reading:

Started: 15 Jul 2010 15:03:17
Ride Time: 59:47
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.72 miles
Average: 11.71 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 38.93 miles/h
Climb: 361 feet
Calories: 773

As predicted I'm in the car this morning as the Technophobe of a client can't get his head around a teleconference. I'm a bit pissed off as I was looking for another full weeks commute and a good night's sleep has sorted me out. Physically I could have pedalled this morning no problem.

Although I haven't mentioned it yet, I have been watching every highlights program of The Tour on ITV4 . And very enjoyable it has been too. I felt I must comment on the removal yesterday of Mark Cavendish's lead out man on Team HTC Columbia, Mark Renshaw.

I thought it was a disgraceful descision and a complete over reaction.

My take on it was that the rider who was on Renshaw's right during the final run in deliberately leaned into him to try to gain an advantage, Renshaw quite rightly was not having any of it and physically contested the road position. Here is where Renshaw made his error, he used his head to push the other rider away, that looks for all the world like a head butt which is unacceptable in any sport and looks terrible. He then made his second error, that of blocking the rider on the inside, he must have been very angry about what had happened and decided to try and stop any body from getting around him. He needn't have done that as Cav was flying and was never going to be caught, but I guess his Aussie blood was up. And having played with and against Aussies at rugby I can confirm they're all aggressive buggers!

These blokes are competing in one of the most physically demanding events in the world, they're not babies, they're highly competive athletes who enjoy a scrap or else they wouldn't be there. To remove a rider who didn't even cause the incident in the first place is a typical over reaction by officials who need to be seen to be doing the right thing. A removal of his time for the stage would have been an appropriate sanction.

But what are they doing about the rider who started it? I think I can guess.

Onto more positive tour stuff, just check this out - It's a real time web site that displays all of HTC's riders telemetry so you can see just who is putting it in and who is coasting!

I can't take credit for finding it though, Ray the tech warlock and tri-athlete over at DC Rainmaker is the man who needs to be patted on the back for his discovery. Nice one Ray.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Early senility...

I had a nervous ride in this morning, even though it was a quick one, maybe because I was a tad nervous it was quick? Who knows.

Stats here:
Started: 15 Jul 2010 05:38:40
Ride Time: 32:33
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.86 miles
Average: 17.57 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 46.99 miles/h
Climb: 131 feet
Calories: 618

The reason for my nervousness, was that I got half way home yesterday and then realised I'd left my bum bag at work with all of my tools and puncture kit in there! What a knob head! As I was now not equipped for any eventuality I was absolutely certain I would have some sort of malfunction. Sod's Law works like that.

I got home ok as luck would have it.

Stats here:
Started: 14 Jul 2010 15:04:06
Ride Time: 43:02
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.72 miles
Average: 14.55 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 35.26 miles/h
Climb: 299 feet
Calories: 818

And then I decided to chance my arm this morning and go for it anyway. It was torrential rain, very windy and we all know a wet surface encourages visits off the Puncture Fairy. But it would seem the little imp is still over the pond thankfully.

I am definately back in my rythmn now, I felt properly strong (all relative of course) for the first time this week and I kind of knew riding into the car park that I'd done a quick time, all the traffic lights were green for me too which helps.

Tomorrow may be an internal combustion engine commute. I'm desparately trying to negotiate not having to go to a meeting and do it via a teleconference instead. But the bloke running the meeting is a bit old school and something of a technophobe so I ain't holding my breath!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Was that summer then?

I got cold and wet on the way in this morning, although I feel my rythmn is starting to return. Another downer is that I was thinking about putting my lights back on my bike. I suppose if I'm thinking about then I ought to do it. Nothing to report incident wise, indeed, I hardly saw a soul. I came in over Frankley Beeches which is a bit of a climb, but more on that particular hill in a minute. Pig of a headwind this morning as well while I'm in the mood for moaning!

Stats here:
Started: 14 Jul 2010 05:44:16
Ride Time: 36:22
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.80 miles
Average: 16.01 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 39.18 miles/hr
Climb: 253 feet
Calories: 475

Last night's pedal home was again wet and windy and I took the route over Frankley Beeches, as I alluded to earlier. While it is quite a short climb in relative terms it is still very steep, I'm guessing 1 in 10 in places and a huge challenge for me. But last night I big ringed it out of the saddle all the way over the thing! I was absolutely chuffed to Naafi Break's and more than a little surprised! Where the hell did that come from? I was grinning like an idiot for the rest of the pedal home.

Just to test it wasn't a fluke I tried it over the other side into work this morning, it's a bit steeper but a bit shorter from my side over there and the steepness won, I had to sit down about 30 metres from the top. I'd completely blown! But, usually I sit and spin on the granny ring when tackling The Beeches. I'll be having another go at cresting the summit from my side out of the saddle tomorrow morning.

Stats here:
Started: 13 Jul 2010 15:03:37
Ride Time: 42:13
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.59 miles
Average: 14.63 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 33.24 miles/hr
Climb: 371 feet
Calories: 799

One of the reasons I very rarely get out of the saddle when on my Giant is that due to frame flex my brake blocks rub on my front wheel, I guess even though they're built pretty tough these days, road bikes still aren't really meant for blokes built like me to be hammering them over climbs. The rubbing while irritating didn't impede my progress too much, but the rubbing did stop me from bashing out over a climb too often.

Until recently.

As you may recall, I've had my share of problems with the wheels on my Giant Defy 2.

Story here and here if you're unaware of the issues I had.

I'd fitted Crud Roadracer mudguards a few weeks ago as the standard Giant ones were starting to piss me off big style, they were very buzzy and rattly even though they did their job on the keeping me dry front. I removed them which involved me having to take the brakes off and refitting them to the frame obviously, then fitting said Crud mudguards. The Crud fit story here.

Weirdly, since then the brake blocks haven't rubbed on the forks! The Crud guards certainly work in bad conditions, but I'm wondering if their unique method of keeping the guard off the tyre is actually helping stopping the tyre rub issue, or if my removing the brake callipers and re-fitting them may have stopped the rubbing? Whatever has stopped it, I'm happy and I can get out of the saddle anytime now without an annoying noise, apart from my excessive panting and creaking joints obviously!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I pedalled in this morning with my base layer on, that was after I went into the garage, got my bike out and thought this morning isn't very warm! So back in the house and shoved my Helly Hansen on under my T Shirt. I wasn't expecting that this morning.

The pedal in again felt pretty slow, this time I came the direct route. I seem to be having an issue getting back into my rythmn after the week off. I'm not flowing at all and seem to be making hard work of it. I'm sure it'll click, but the bonus benefit is that my sleep pattern seems to have returned after just one day's pedalling. There we go, biking aids sleep!

Stats here:
Started: 13 Jul 2010 05:43:09
Ride Time: 39:27
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 11.63 miles
Average: 15.65 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 41.44 miles/hr
Climb: 325 feet
Calories: 819

Last night's pedal was along the cut and NCR5, it was wet and bloody windy, but fun all the same.

Stats here:
Started: 12 Jul 2010 15:04:33
Ride Time: 1:05:41
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 16.23 miles
Average: 13.08 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 29.45 miles/hr
Climb: 472 feet
Calories: 1273

A couple of other items of interest to me. Remember a while a go I said my original Muvi helmet cam had died and that was the reason I needed to get an Ebay clone? Well it had been sat in my drawer at work since then and yesterday I came across it while looking for something else. A spur of the moment thing occurred and I took it up to our electronics guys, sad anoraks to a man who absolutely love new kit and tinkering with stuff. They were very impressed and excited by it (I said they were sad) and within an hour of leaving them alone with it they had got it working again, something about the record switch malfunctioning. So, I'm all proper Muvi'd up again! The Ebay clone can go back on the subs bench.

The last item of interest is that as this is now year 2 of this craziness I'm going to move my weigh ins to the first of every month. I was looking at my weekly weigh in graph and it showed all of the plateaus and slight rises which is what it was meant to do at the time. I transferred the data to a monthly graph and bloody hell, what a difference, it looks like steady progress instead of a weekly war!

I think that as I'm now into the change of lifestyle, a monthly weigh in will suffice and hopefully not show too many morale sapping plateaus!

I'd be interested to hear your opinions on that.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Get on yer bike!

Well I did get on my bike, on my Ridgeback with my new tyres and inner tubes to be precise and I pedalled in without incident via NCR5 and the canal. It is pretty grey this morning and trying its best to rain, but I avoided getting too wet.

I didn't go for any speed records and just eased myself back into it, the 16 miles went ok and meant I can put 8 "leisure " miles onto my God Dammned July challenge sheet if it works now that is!

The new tyres felt ok too, maybe a bit heavier and slightly less responsive, but I'll take that if it means no visitations from the Puncture Fairy.

Stats here:
Started: 12 Jul 2010 05:50:37
Ride Time: 1:12:35
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 16.33 miles
Average: 14.78 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 35.10 miles/hr
Climb: 184 feet
Calories: 1010

My weekend went very well, the conference was really good and as usual I learned stuff and had some of my coaching ideas and philosophies reinforced by the sessions. I also as usual took away a few gems to incorporate into my coaching sessions at my club.

England's Rugby World Cup winning winger Ben Cohen ran a session, which was interesting, he's new to coaching and it showed. But he had a nice manner about him and I'm sure he'll be able to translate his success on the pitch to success on the coaching front. Don't think for one moment that being a hugely successful player will make you a successful coach. I've seen some massive names in rugby try their hand at coaching and fail miserably. No names no pack drill, but coaching is different to playing!

Ben Cohen and my club's Director of Rugby and England's 7 a side coach Russell Earnshaw.

Ben during his footwork and agility session.

One of the Coaches I know pretty well Dan Tanner, pictured below, is doing JOGLE in aid of the RFU's injured players foundation.

Full story here.

He got his bike through the cycle to work scheme and is in the process of training hard for it now with his mates. Me and my mate Ski have rashly agreed to meet up with the team and cycle with them through the Midlands stage of the ride. That's what happens when you're collared by well meaning folk when you've had too many pints of Guinness! Thanks Dan, you git!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Rugby weekend.

Tomorrow morning I'll be off to Warwick University to attend the annual Midlands Coaching Conference.

I attend every year because it's the premier coach education event in the country, presented by some of the most knowledgable coaches in the game of Rugby Union. Some you may even have heard of if you click on the link!

Saturday evening is the Midlands Coaching Awards dinner too. The whole conference is a residential event so I'll be getting back home Sunday evening, no Blog from me until Monday then!

Also two of the presenters are the coaches from my club, Rusty and Huge so it'll be a good opportunity for piss taking!

Other than that, nothing to report, so have a good one and I'll see you bright eyed and bushy tailed on Monday!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

General stuff...

A bit of a mixed bag today. The main news for this bike weight loss based blog is that I won't be commuting until Monday now. I should be back on the bike today, but since yesterday afternoon I have been feeling like crap, with a massive banging headache and generally feeling very tired. I haven't been sleeping right since I started this rest period either. Maybe it's the lack of pedalling? Who knows.

Anyway, wifey talked me into having the whole week off the bike and coming back on Monday. I have a very successful marriage. Mainly because I don't argue with wifey! So Monday it is.

My Dad only ever gave me one bit of marital advice, and I follow it religiously. Please take note fellers 'cos it's a brilliant bit of wisdom. "Son" he said, "anything for a quiet life."

Onto other stuff, I very foolishly a while ago let myself get talked into Phill's July 150 challenge by Matty and the Phill himself during a Facebook conversation.

If you recall I did the June 100 mile challenge off road on my MTB not counting extended commuting miles and to be truthful, I don't think I would have achieved it if it wasn't for a week off work where I could MTB every day. That enabled me to do 163 miles.

July is looking impossible though. If I stand any chance at all I'll have to count extended commuting miles and try to rack up road mileage of a weekend as well. I don't think the MTB will get a look in. Also I won't be starting don't forget until July the 12th!

Just to add insult to injury, I can't even edit Phill's Googledocs spreadsheet due to some unfathomable IT mystery.

The only problem I have with it is the whole concept somehow changed why I was pedalling, instead of enjoying the ride I was concentrating on racking up mileage, not what I'm here for. Knowing my past history if it becomes a chore I'll knock it on the head as it takes the love out of it. So an announcement, the July challenge is my last mileage challenge. I'll enjoy watching the scrap from the sidelines with the fat wheezy boys with a note from their Mom during the August 200 instead!

Just as a bit of completely off topic news (I said it was a mixed bag today) yesterday while driving back home I was going over the Waseleys where I saw a big bird of prey soaring very low over a field. That's completely normal, we have got almost a plague of Buzzards, Kestrals and Sparrowhawks around where I live, indeed I never go a day where I don't see one or more Bird of Prey of some description.

As I got closer I realised it didn't look quite right and when I passed as close as I was going to I saw why, angular wings, distinctive V tail feathers, it was a Red Kite! The first I've seen in the area! Absolutely brilliant! I pulled over and watched it for a while, a beautiful sight. I see them regularly in Gwynedd where my folks live and down by High Wycombe on the M40 but this is the first in the Midlands where I live. Where there's one, there must be two, unless of course it's an escapee from the couple of Bird of Prey sanctuaries in the area. I hope not, I'm hoping their area has now extended to the Waseleys and I see them regularly now.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

At the Docs...

Went to the Docs this morning and had the results of my blood tests. All normal and my BP is still normal. So that's good. Even my cholesterol is low, which is to be expected given my diet.

The only slight downer is that I'll have to keep taking the meds, not for my BP but for a slightly enlarged heart wall muscle. He did go into the technicalities but I kind of faded out a tad while he was telling me.

Simply put, apparently this is caused usually by excessive anaerobic excercise as a youngster, which I did due to my rugby or being a fat bastard. The Doc isn't sure which, but it could be either or. More likely in my opinion a mixture of both.

He said to think of the meds as a heart repair drug now and not a BP drug. I'll take that. I still need a BP check every 6 months with him though.

The results of lethargy and gluttony. Learn by my f*ck ups!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Consequences of not pedalling.

As is a rule I have a permanently aching back, it's the lower back, around the lumbar region. Not a drama, it's usually just achy enough to remind me it's there and I live with it.

But I noticed this the last time I had a few days off the bike and boy am I noticing it now, my back gets far worse when I'm not pedalling. The last two nights it has cost me sleep due to the pain. I always thought rest was good? What's that all about then?

My upper body excercises are all going ok, I've already improved my failure time for the plank by 10 seconds and last night the crunches didn't hurt the old well hidden belly muscles as much as normal. I'm enjoying doing them, not least because Fay and Dan join in with me (Their choice, I didn't press gang them) and it all becomes a giggle and not a chore! Dan especially is very good at press ups and Fay is beating me with plank times. Not that we're competitive at all you understand. It's all done in a safe, non-competitive, arm around shoulder, social worker approved, everybody wins and no-one loses kind of way. Yeah right...

I trust that continuing with the upperbody/core work out and the lessening of the belly weight will eventually have a positive effect on my back pain. Either that or I never have time off the bike again!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Fighting the Puncture Fairy.

As you'll know if you're a regular reader, that me and the Puncture Fairy butt heads quite often. Too often in fact.

To avoid her regular visitations I have trolled the various bike forums, asked your goodselves on here and trolled my local bike shops for advice.

It became very clear that Slime produce wasn't worth the effort, be it tubes or the gunky stuff. I especially got short shrift in Red Kite Cycles when I mentioned the stuff.They operate road and MTB racing teams, so I guess they'd know what works and what doesn't!

In the end I settled on Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres and some heavy duty Bontrager inner tubes. These are now sitting resplendant on my Ridgeback Commuter.

Hopefully this will put off the Puncture Fairy for a while. I'm looking forward to taking her for a spin down the cut into work on Thursday.

I'm already missing pedalling. This is a good thing. Only 3 sleeps to go before I'm back!

The upper body work outs are carrying on. The only thing I've noticed so far is that I've rediscovered that I've got stomach muscles. The crunches and planks are definately starting to do something! Ouch...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Ducks and fetes.

Yesterday morning was a trip to the Jinney Ring Craft Centre near Droitwich. I've been there loads of times before but apparently we had to go there as they have a load a baby ducks running about and it seemed like a good opportunity to keep the kids occupied for a short while.

The craft centre itself is in a beautiful location, near a village called Hanbury and the associated Hanbury Hall.

Hanbury Church on the hill from the Jinney Ring grounds.

Fay and Wifey duck feeding.

The kids having fun.

More bread fed ducks

After some of wifey's delicious home made soup dinner time, this time tomato with a hint of chilli, it was over to Dodford Village church fete.

As befits the size of the village it was a very small affair whose proceeds were in aid of the church fund. It was very well attended though and it was clearly one of the village social highlights of the year.

Dan going for a pony ride, carefully watched by Fay.

 The Town Crier announcing the results of the scruffy mutts competition.

All in all a very restful enjoyable afternoon aided and abetted by some very co-operative weather. Wifey enjoyed herself too, sipping the worlds biggest Pimms all afternoon served to her by Richard the Gaffer of the Dodford Inn who was roped in to supply refreshments.

Nothing too fancy then, but it proves to me that simple is best.

The scruffy mutts parade.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Out and about...

Had a good evening yesterday, usual Dodford start of the weekend stuff, then I went to Bromsgrove later to watch a band. The Undercocks, (great name by the way) are a local band that covers Punk and New Wave. As I'm of an age to remember it first time around I really enjoyed it!

They played at the Hop Pole Pub which serves proper beer as well, not the mass manufactured chemically inhanced hangover inducing stuff. I was pretty disconcerted though as to all of the folk in there singing and dancing along to stuff like "Pretty vacant" and "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" were not exactly in the first flush of youth. Am I that old? Gulp!

Also kudos to the guy who stepped up out of the crowd and sang "Teenage Kicks" with the band. He was balding fat bloke about 50 years old who sounded more like Feargal Sharkey than Feargal Sharkey! He was brilliant!

Out and about today with wifey and the kids. Have fun all!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Friday at home...

Got my blood tests later at the Docs so I'm working from home. Let me just point out that even though I'm a ruffy tuffy, ex rugby player and ex squaddie, I hate needles. I don't look while they're doing the deed in case I blub.

My upper body workout could have gone better yesterday, I managed precisely 5 failed attempts at 1 pull up. 10 press ups, 10 crunches and I could hold a plank for 20 seconds.

Not as good as I was expecting, but I guess everyone has to re-start somewhere. It can only improve.

As is the Chapman custom we're off to the Dodford this evening for our usual start of the weekend celebrations. If you can think of a better way to start the weekend than a proper pub, real beer and beautiful countryside then please let me know!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

It's a new day, it's a new dawn, it's a new life and I'm feeling good!

First off an apology, I kind of posted an ran yesterday and never replied to all of the good wishes, kind words and congratulations from everyone on here and on my Facebook page. So sorry about that.

I had meetings all day out of the office yesterday up until about 2130hrs. Crap, but what can you do? So I'm sorry for my silence!

Yesterday as you might guess was very manic, I had an off road pedal early doors around the Lickeys and the canal to Alvechurch which was my last chance to rack up leisure miles for Phill's 100m challenge. I finished on 163.31 miles. All off road on a MTB. Pleasingly I did a total of 579.31 miles for the month which means I won my own little competition, that of being the highest mileage fat biker in the race. I knew that JB and Red would run off with the competition if they entered, and annoyingly they did! But they're not fat and struggle with every pedal rotation, so yah boo sucks etc! No, only joking, they're both great blokes who I'm honoured to say I've met and pedalled with. But by the cringe are they fit! I have some way to go to get where they are.

On the weight challenge, I failed, I wanted a 5 stone loss by yesterday but I came up 2 Ibs short. I can honestly say I did my best though!

My stats for the pedal here:
Started: 30 Jun 2010 05:46:39
Ride Time: 1:18:03
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 12.86 miles
Average: 9.88 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 35.97 miles/hr
Climb: 377 feet
Calories: 734

And route here:

Just to keep everything nice and tidy, this was my pedal home on Tuesday evening. Nothing to report on that.

Started: 29 Jun 2010 15:04:22
Ride Time: 46:16
Stopped Time: 0:14
Distance: 11.63 miles
Average: 13.48 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 33.21 miles/hr
Climb: 571 feet
Calories: 775

As you can see it was a slow one, ok I had my daysack loaded, but the ride felt very fatigued. It was my last commute until next Thursday. I'm taking a week off the bike to rest up. It is a scheduled rest. I always come back feeling good and rejuvanted and itching to get back on the bike. I'd seriously consider adding scheduled rest into whatever programs you're following.

Also yesterday morning before my meetings I went to the Docs for my 6 monthly blood pressure and check up. As I've mentioned before I take daily meds to keep the BP down, but I ran out last Wednesday and I made a conscious decision not to get any more until I saw the Doc for my check up. I certainly don't recommend you do that by the way if you're on meds of any description.

My reasoning was that my BP reading would be a true unassisted one. It would be a good benchmark. Well, my BP was normal and he took it about 5 times. The upshot is that tomorrow I need a blood test and I have to go back next week to see if I can come off the meds or have the dosage reduced.

I can only explain the reduction in my BP to my new way of life. Regular excercise on the bike, lower body weight and a healthy diet. Nothing amazing or remarkable about it.

On the advice of James the tricky sadistic northerner of the 22 stone cyclist Blog, I am actually going to load my Bergan (army rucksack) with 4 stones 12 Ibs of kit and go for a pedal. He says it's a great illustration of what you were like pre pedalling, or when in my case I did my first canal 6 mile commute.

So a week off the bike then. I'll still be exercising, only I'll be doing upper body stuff. Press ups, pull ups and core exercises such as the plank and various sit ups. As a rugby player (ex player now) I always had quite a big upper body and arms. My arms now look like bingo winged pipe cleaners and you can see bone around my shoulders. Wifey is not impressed. Now I'm not saying that I'll get my rugby playing physique back, but I intend to get some of the old muscle back. Also strengthening my core will help my permanently aching back. I'll continue with the upper body stuff permanently now as part of my daily routine. I'll do it immediately when I get in from work, no messing, get it done. If I sit down and relax then it won't happen.

I'll still Blog while I'm off the bike, though even though I'm guessing there'll be very little bike stuff other than maintenance type info.

Thanks again for the big ups yesterday and again sorry for silence!