Monday, 25 October 2010

....surely its too cold for cycling?

Despite my promise, its been a couple of weeks since my last post- not because i've given up on the idea of completing the Lejog, but simply because life has once again interferred with my overambitious plan for uninterupted exercise.

The reality of balancing getting ready with the normal routine of being available for children and the earning of money has finally dawned on me. The recycling project continues to grow and demand more of my time, despite the change in weather there has been little reduction in the number of bikes requested although we have seen more childrens bikes being requested- i'm assuming for christmas- so far we've managed to meet the demand for bikes with the bikes donated but are hoping for more childrens bikes in the next few weeks to pass onto various projects across the city. This week has seen the start of advent and with it has come a steady stream of running from nativity play to choir practice and onto christingle service, just a visit to the cathedral to go and then hopefully they'll be a little time left for christmad shopping and then possibly a little bit of cycling.

The ice and snow this week gave me an excuse to spend a little more time in the garage fixing up the bike for winter training and possibly for the eventual journey. Winterising my bike so far has consisted of the usual bike checks plus the addition of some little mudguards, some bright lights and some nobblier tyres, its still quite comfortable and reasonably light.

To be honest,when I think back my first two weeks of planning and exercise (despite all warnings) led me to overdo everything and left me feeling exhausted and deflated. Fortunately one thing I have managed to get right is leaving enough time to properly prepare, so despite my initial overexhuberance I should still be on course to be ready for the summer.

Take care for now, happy christmas planning!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Busy busy....

Its been a busy week, unfortunately its been so busy its not left much time for training, this week has been a week of travelling and meeting people. We've been working hard over the last few months to make as many people as possible aware of the recycling project, enabling them to pass on the cycles that they no longer want- you can find out more about Coventry Recycled Cycles and the project here

I'm not sure exactly why, but this week has been one which has been filled with both donations and requests for bikes- happily we've been able to match most of these to each other but this has required lots of too-ing and fro-ing across the city (thankyou Lisa and Bob). Despite the time it absorbs its lovely to see the immediate difference it makes to those that recieve a free bicycle and its fantastic to know that the bike that has been gifted has been saved from being 'recycled'( squashed and melted) and instead has been re-used.

We were lucky enough to meet with one of our local councillors Nigel Lee this week, who himself a keen cyclist donated his unwanted bikes to the scheme having just benefited from the 'tax free bikes' scheme- we'll hopefully be rehoming them later this week.

(Me and Councillor Nigel Lee)

Running the scheme has taken me all over the Midlands, to places and people that i'd not have seen otherwise. This week we popped over to Tamworth to meet Rob and his wife who donated not only a bicycle, but also tools and a pump. We also had a mini-adventure which took us on the train to meet Alan in Droitwich, a place which (I have to be honest) never drew me to visit but turned out to be lovely.

Going to Droitwich offered the opportunity to try out the basics of travelling on a train with a bike- something which had previously filled me with fear but which turned out to be surprisingly easy. I met a fantastic guy on the train back (who had many more cycling years under his bike than me) who talked all about the bicycles he had had built specially for him- although now retired he still had two identical bikes one which he had used for work- and one which he kept for 'best' . I was really touched by the way he talked about his bike which still hangs in his garage and that he would periodically go to gaze at- he described this as ' his own piece of art'....i might try hanging one of my bicycles in the house just to see what lisa thinks!

I'm hoping this next week will bring a little more cycling...lets see what happens!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

...I'm sure I used to be fitter!

Thought i'd start of today with a picture of my kit, all very exciting- particularly my tiny tent my bargain £7 trangia set and my amazing spork!....but am beginning to worry about where i'm going to put it all...I may have devised a solution...but more about that later....

Well, the training has started, its started very slowly but it has started. Over the next few months i'll be building up to completing my two proper training routes several times a week- so far i've planned a Rugby and a Coventry jaunt.

This is the Coventry route: So from binley woods cycling into Coventry along the binley rd, into the city centre past the memorial park towards Kenilworth, along the kenilworth rd into Kenilworth...i'm thinking that at this point a short cake stop might be called for.....then back on the bike and off past Mike Vaughan's bike shop and through Kenilworth town towards Leamington....just before Leamington town centre I turn off and head towards Princethorpe (which i think is the longest part of the journey) from there it a trip along the fosseway back towards Wolston, from beautiful Woston its a short peddle up the brandon hill and home again!

Bike route 715975 - powered by Bikemap

...and this is the Rugby route.

I'm less familiar with the Rugby route, once some time ago I foolishly agreed to accompany my son to school on his bike for a meeting with the headmaster- in the short few miles it took to get there i nearly died, several times as a result of over eager car drivers but mostly as a result of the seemingly never ending hills..i can't remember much of the meeting, all I do remember was the sound of my (obviously unfit) heart beating in my head and the slow cycle ride back home again!

So anyway, not deterred by that experience i'm following the same route towards rugby town centre, from rugby i head off towards dunchurch following a lovely route which runs out towards Draycote water, then its through Kites Hardwick and down towards Southam. From southam i head once again towards Princethorpe, once in Princethorpe i then follw the same route towards Wolston, through Brandon and back home again...hopefully alive and in one piece!

Bike route 715981 - powered by Bikemap

On paper Coventry looks to be the better ride...less hills, nicer roads, familiar territory and a little shorter!....but i'm a long way from 25+ mile daily journey's yet. Over the last few days i've been cycling short trips out, it amazing how quickly fitness disappears and how hard it is to regain what you've lost, so lots of shaking legs and burning lungs at the moment!

So anyway....back to the solution to all my pack carrying needs....I've been scratching my head trying to decide on which bike to take and how to carry all the bits i'll need- as i'm not staying in B&B's or having my luggage carried i'm going to have to economical with what i take and decide on the best way of carrying it all. So far its either on the john atkins with a trailer, with panniers .......or on my cargo bike that i've been putting together

Its a bit like an xtra cycle without the expense and made from stuff lying around the garage, I saw a picture of one somewhere- if i find the link i'll post it. I have to admit, it looks a bit weird but it works really well and is at lot easier than pulling a trailer, not sure i want to trial a DIY bike across the country though!

Hoping to start going to see people and talk about the journey soon, more cycling this week, i'll let you know how it goes!