Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Action Man

No blog entries for a while, but have certainly been up to things.

Two years ago, weighing around 100kg and taking very little exercise, I finally got fed up of continually growing out of my clothes.

So I got an old bike out of the garage, took it up to London, and started to ride the two miles each way to my main client's site.

I caught the cycling bug once again, first experienced as a teenager and gradually lost as work committments grew more and free time grew less. In fact, going back to riding cost me nothing since it was at least as quick as taking the tube, plus it saved me eighty quid a month in fares.

Fast forward a year, when I'd got so into cycling that a 10-minute ride just wasn't enough. I took the plunge and bought myself a decent road bike, which I'm on here. Living right by the New Forest there are innumerable places to ride, and as an average, 40-something cyclist, I know roads where I can cruise at 40km/h, and there is no better feeling. My definition of heaven...

My latest landmark was the completion of my very first sportive event just a couple of weeks ago. I kept on being passed by young, fit buggers (yes, women too, oh how I wish I could have kept up!) but ultimately when the timings were published I was very proud of myself. So I'm sure this won't be the last one...

On a related note, I have also been canoeing and kayaking, something I've wanted to do since I got the opportunity to try as a 10-year-old on a school trip. Whilst it is obvious to me that I'm far more suited to pedal-power than paddle-power, I can report that I am now the proud owner of the British Canoeing Union's One Star badge.

Oh, at the last weigh-in, I'm now just over 80kg. Still room to lose some more weight - on the bike I'm still crap at climbing and the only way I'll get better is if I'm carrying less - but a wonderful feeling to be able to buy clothes in size Medium, rather than all those sizes beginning with X!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Telly

Was just flicking through the channels last night, and found one re-running the programme Cold Feet. I used to love this programme (might have been something to do with Helen Baxendale!)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Hillary's Paradox

Just read an excellent article from yesterday's Guardian, which highlights the public comments made by Hillary Clinton regarding the positive role of the internet, and social networking sites in particular, in the recent events (democratisation?) in the middle east, compared to the secret grand jury which has been convened in the wake of Wikileaks and which has instructed Twitter to turn over private details of its users to the authorities.

Good luck to Twitter, who are fighting this.

As we should all be aware, its only the truth if its "our" truth.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Seven Years

Today is the anniversary of the death of Marco Pantani.

I've pretty much had a bike as long as I can remember, but it was Pantani who got me interested in professional cycling. Also in the last few years I've read quite a few biographies of some of the most successful cyclists of all time - have just finished a book about Fausto Coppi, in fact - and in fact when you look just at the Palmar├Ęs there are many cyclists who ultimately were more successful. But for sheer charisma there is nobody to touch him in my book.

And I was lucky enough to see him race in real life, winning the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees in 1998.

Ciao Marco

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Activity

Been out cycling again, I hadn't really anticipated it but my mate Chris had been getting his car serviced in Dorchester, and decided to cycle down there to pick it up. Slightly mad.

Slightly madder was that I kept him company for about the first thirty miles (just under halfway for him), before I turned off to complete a circuit back to home. The route is here, and at just over fifty miles is my longest single ride. Must admit I always quite like the idea of going out for long, solid day's riding out on the bike, but somehow I always imagined it would be in June rather than January! Chris has tentatively mentioned doing a ride from Land's End to Salisbury (about 200 miles I think) over the royal wedding weekend, although I must first solve the problem of how to carry luggage on my bike. Hmmmmm.......

My knee was really painful the day after the ride, and I must keep an eye on that, although its ok now. That could put the kybosh on multi-day rides, but we'll see.

Have tentatively booked a summer holiday in Luxembourg, of all places. Near a town called Echternach, which I have visited a few times and found totally charming. Right in the south-east of the country, within easy striking distance of both France and Germany, so I suspect it will be a multi-country holiday. We may even come back to the UK via Amsterdam - if not there then Brussels/Brugge at the very least. So there's lots of places in there, many of them new.

Went for a job interview yesterday. Really livid, since it turned out the role failed one of my fundamental tests, but this had been obfuscated by the agent who set up the interview. Tosser. I know they stand to make a lot of money out of placing someone, but do they really think that people are so desparate that they will go for a job they don't want just to keep an agent happy? Well, maybe some people would. But all I see is that the guy wasted a couple of hours of my time, and that pisses me off. Anyway, I shan't dwell on it, its not particularly important in the grand scheme of things so I shall just write it down to experience. Much better to think happy thoughts about my bike!!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Proud of myself

We've had a Wii for something like three or four years, until we noticed a few months ago that it would no longer read DVDs.

I was a bit fed up at first - I hardly ever use it and it just smacks of Alice not taking care of it, for example it is not unusual to find disks scattered around on the floor when she's been using it. So anyway, at the time I resolved to do......nothing.

I relented over christmas and from eBay ordered a new dvd drive from Hong Kong. This arrived Friday, and so yesterday I went through the complicated procedure of taking the Wii apart and fitting the new part. Very fiddly, there must have been a good dozen or so screws that I needed to undo, but I was guided by an excellent video on Youtube.

Never normally into sites like youtube, but this time it came up trumps. And the Wii - looks to be as good as new again, and all for less than £25. Great stuff!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Best Feeling....

Happy New Year, if anyone catches this post.

I've just had an active couple of hours, I haven't been able to get out on my bike through all the time I was off because of the weather, but despite today being very grey I was desperate to get out. So I've just had a lovely 30km/90 min ride out into the New Forest.

I get up the hills into the forest, and it really is the best feeling in the world. Okay, today it is very bleak, but you go up there at 7 o'clock on a summer's morning......wonderful. I'm so glad that I found cycling once again.