Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

It arrived at last!

After great anticipation and a build up worthy of a child with their first chocolate advent calendar… Friday 26th June 2015 was international handstand day!

It was also an inset day for the children (for my international readers, joining me today in celebration of international handstand day, an inset day = teacher training – i.e. No children in school/nursery). So I had them both to myself for the whole day.
I am a lucky dad. These are the kind of days I like.

The only request from either child was that we went swimming at some point. My only request was that at some point I should do a handstand to mark international handstand day. My original plan, having checked the swimming timetable, was to leave the house early, cycle to the swimming pool together, swim, then cycle off somewhere for a picnic lunch, before then some mad adventure in the afternoon.

There was, however, plenty of morning faffing top be done; picnics to be made; children to be woken and breakfasted; bikes to be oiled, brakes checked and seats raised (these little people don’t stay little for long, do they?); and handstands to be attempted.

WARNING: below is photographic evidence of me attempting to stand on my hands in the morning in a very lose-fitting dressing gown. I have taken care to obscure my face from the photograph but I am wearing nothing else apart from slippers (which I was kindly bought recently for father’s day – I’ve got some ‘Minions’ ones too, but I’m not wearing them). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

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Are you sure you still want to do this?

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Ok then…

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I was actually pleasantly surprised that I could still bend down to my toes. Go me!
So, back to our day… The kids and I eventually left the house after much deliberation about the route…

“I don’t like cycling on the roads” 

“it’s dangerous!!”

“I don’t like hills!”

” can’t we just take the car?”

But eventually, the kids persuaded me to stop being such a wuss and just start pedalling.

We had a great time cycling and then swimming, with Child1 managing 50m front crawl at the end of the session to ‘earn’ (they were going to get one anyway) him and his sister a treat from the machines in the foyer after the swim. She isn’t yet swimming independently but happy to be in and around water.

Next, a short cycle to the park for picnic (now about 1:30pm) as despite machine treats, we’re a bit peckish.

Deliberately ‘forgetting’ to bring a football was a good plan as both children played really nicely together and we all attempted another international handstand day handstand…
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A basic understanding of the laws of physics will betray the fact that neither my own or my son’s (sorry- but especially my son’s) attempts held ‘form’ for more than a mere fraction of a second.

We spent ages on the park and I then led them off on another bike ride to a secret location.

They didn’t like ‘secret location’ bike rides… But they did great. And when we got there, the cinema still had some tickets left for the newly released ‘Minions’ movie.

Quick Film review: Meh…it’s no ‘frozen’ but the kids enjoyed it, so therefore I did.

We cycled back home and got in literally just before the rain started. Great timing.
Great day.
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Oh… and great slippers!

  

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Running.

Posted: June 19, 2014 in Juneathon, running
Tags: , ,

I’ve actually done some running…
Yesterday, I left it as late as I dared to collect my daughter from nursery. In the end I managed the 1.3 miles in exactly ten minutes. Considering it’s a good chunk of uphill, I’m happy with that.

Today. After school drop off, I left the car, ran home, jumped on bike, cycled for a coupe of hours (getting a few new geocaches on the way, including a FTF – ‘first to find’). A lovely canal path route…

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The rest of the day has been beautifully busy, spent in one of my favourite ways – playing games and running around with small people…

…and watching England lose the football (not so favourite).

I’ve surprised myself though… I have a tenancy towards cynicism…but I’m looking forward to the mathematical probabilities playing out and setting up a corker of a match against Costa Rica next week.

Failing that….Wimbledon starts in a few days!  🙂

This was one of the views as I headed out on my geocaching run/cycle today.

 

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Click on the link if you want to find out more, but very basically, geocaching is an online/real world ‘hide & seek’ game in which you follow a set of coordinates using a gps device (I just use my phone) to an area, look at an extra clue online if there is one and then try to find an object of varying size and difficulty hidden away somewhere.

20140612-140351.jpgIt is actually a great way of keeping kids entertained on a walk, as every so often, there is the added interest of hunting for (and hopefully finding) something of interest.  Even within my own locality, there have been lovely places that I have visited, originally solely due to the fact that there was a cache placed nearby. Today’s caching trip was one such place and the photos below show the rough area and this well hidden (although quite large) biscuit tin.

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20140612-140536.jpgThe pictures above show the area in which the cache was placed…with only the clue “evergreen”.  The whole bush was basically one big holly (evergreen) bush.

Sometimes geocaches can be very small, and ultimately you are looking for a piece of paper to sign (to prove you have actually found it) although you must then also log it online for it to be added to your own stats. Future seekers of that cache can also see what you’ve written so you have to be careful not to give the game away too much.

For this one, I rode the bike from home to within about 1.5 miles of this lovely little forest then ran the rest in my still shiny, bright-green new trail shoes.  It wasn’t as muddy as I expected so they are STILL shiny!

I found the cache in less than 5 minutes today.  As a family, we have been known to spend 40 minutes plus in the past looking high and low, just to get that lovely sense of satisfaction when the tiny paper log is discovered in a small plastic tube drilled into a rock or something.

Smaller caches have just a piece of paper to sign but larger ones will often have a collection of goodies that you can take…as long as you replace them with something of equal or greater value. I tend not to get into all this but sometimes the kids take a shine to some bit of tat and we’ll do a swap.

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You don’t even need to pay anything to sign up to the basic geocaching membership and you can usually find a cheap (or even free) geocaching app if you want to use your smart phone as your GPS.

So today I ended up cycling 6 miles, running 3 miles then after getting home, ran 2 more miles to collect my girl from nursery. It can be good for exercise motivation.

If you get as far as just looking to see how many hidden objects there are really close to you, I bet you’d be tempted to go and find at least one…wouldn’t you?

If you do, I’d love to know how you get on.

Bleuuggh!! I’ve just made myself a recovery drink…well…a banana milkshake, using one of those hand-held whizzer thingies that, if you want, can also whisk stuff really quickly (with a different attachment) and is really good for making soups with stuff still in the saucepan and is much less messy than decanting everything into a large blender…anyway…one of them. Except I haven’t used it for ages and I think I remember, a while back, someone other than me washed it up and left it to soak and it got all rusty internally and now that rust has been released into the milky bananaryness and I think I have just drank a banana and rust milkshake  –  possibly good for iron intake… not good for taste intake. 

 A photo of a banana. In case you didn’t know what one looked like. (From photo-dictionary.com)

 

For today’s exercise, I was genuinely considering counting the effort it took me to squeeze into my tri-suit for Sunday’s sprint distance race.  If I do wear it (and I might not) I will have to get up half an hour earlier than intended to make sure I have sufficient time to shoehorn myself into it. As it turned out, I decided jump on the bike and go and check on one of our geocaches a couple of miles away (I’ll perhaps write a related post on this little hobby another time) and I figured I’d shove my goggles and swim shorts in my pocket in case I still had time to call in to the pool for the last 30 mins on the way home. I did. Another mile swam, followed by a cycle home and then immediately popped back out again under direction from the boss and was headed up the hill to the shops for milk and bread (and bananas and cashew nuts as it turned out).

I had intended to tag on a run to all this too, just to muddy up my far-too-shiny trail shoes that I bought from Decathlon earlier today (when I popped in to just to get some new brake pads for the bike). I’m not really a brand snob, or loyal to any particular shoe (of course I could be if I found THE one – so I can understand it if you are) so I’ll go with what feels good and appears good value.

I think they are green…they might be yellow…I’m a bit rubbish with colours.  I’ve yet to test them out fully but they feel dead comfy and were a very reasonable (reduced) price of £34.99 (originally £69.99) and are the Kalenji Kapteren XT3.

 Yeah… that looks green to me.

 

The last time I write something nice about a Decathlon product, I was asked by one of their marketing peeps to ‘share the rest of the Kalenji range with my readership’.  I said I didn’t do reviews for free. Which I suppose isn’t strictly true because if I like something, I will, but I’m not just going to promote a load of stuff without having tried it myself. THAT MEANS YOU CAN SEND ME SOME STUFF TO TRY IF YOU LIKE, MARKETING PEOPLE*

*(Too desperate sounding? Possibly. Oh well. Don’t ask, don’t get. Do ask, don’t get… but not lost anything either…apart from maybe a tiny bit of dignity, perhaps)

I probably ought to also mention that I wrote to Decathlon and informed them* that they were alienating English speakers by referring to many of their cycling products using the word ‘LEASURE’. Yes. I know. I should have checked again today, but I’d forgotten about it until now.  *(That blog post can be found here)

More tennis match playing is supposed to occur tomorrow (Friday), weather permitting.

If it’s tipping it down then at least I can put these new shoes to the test instead.

So far… this exercising every day in June thing is proving to be fairly straightforward! But I just know I’m going to regret having written that, aren’t I?

X

Posted: January 16, 2014 in cycling, Janathon
Tags: , , ,

The lights were low. His breathing was heavy. He was nervous.

She was relaxed. She had done this many times before, he could tell…but this served only to remind him of his inexperience and he could feel his heart beating in his ears as he allowed himself to believe he was just going to do this once.

“This is going to hurt!” she said. “But you’ll enjoy it.”

And they began. Slowly at first. Building gradually. Trying different positions. And using equipment he had not experienced before. The lights…the music…it was all a part of it…and it all added to the newness of what he was doing. He was someone else for this hour.

She was right.
It did hurt. But he did enjoy it.
He didn’t want to enjoy it, but he did. This was what the young people did. Why shouldn’t he do it too?

But he couldn’t help thinking that this pleasure was still cheating somehow. Of course it was cheating. There was no need. He could have the real thing, and yet, for some reason had chosen a cheap one-off with a stranger.

“Why did I even agree to it?”, he said to himself as he began to rise and fall to the rhythm dictated to him with each beat, sweat pouring from his ageing brow as his muscles strained and he scolded himself for not controlling his exertion in the early stages.

He was determined not to finish early though… He was here now… in the present… they were there for one thing and they weren’t going to leave until they were finished. Besides which, he wanted his money’s worth.

This route he had chosen took him nowhere. He was back to where he started… only now he felt dirty and needed a shower.

He wouldn’t go back.

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I give X-Biking a 6 out of 10.
It was ok.
Quite nice having a bit of a disco clubbing it u to the max at the same time as having a workout, I suppose.
To allow you a comparison… I’d give running on a treadmill a 5 out of 10.

Just get outside.

That said, I probably wouldn’t have got my arse in gear for an hour long bike ride today and this way there was at least, no risk of a puncture rendering me incapable of collected my little girl from nursery.

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Did I mention it was dark?

I should have got milk last night.
We had no milk.
I needed to get milk.
I had black coffee.
I don’t like black coffee.

So I was determined to get up early this morning and nip to the shops before anyone else woke up, thus allowing the hardworking Mrs NotMuchOfaRunner to have a relaxing lie-in and not have to deal with noisy children when they awoke.

That WAS the plan.

Mistake 1
But instead of actually getting up and actually running, I actually doodled instead…

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…and was seriously contemplating just giving up coffee altogether instead of needing to move.

But, being the fitness machine that I am, I dragged myself from my bed and into my sporty stuff whilst being acutely aware that if I had just headed out of the door instead of doing the doodle, I’d be back by now and drinking a nice milky coffee.

Mistake 2
I tweeted this observation, along with my little doodle.

This is rarely a good idea when you still need to do something. So while waiting to see how impressed everyone was with my stunning art, I (Mistake 3) made myself a cup of coffee (temporarily forgetting I didn’t have any milk).

Mistake 4
Now becoming concerned with the passing of time, instead of just getting a move on, I entertained the possibility of cycling to the shop instead of running to the shop.
The longer this process lasted, I became acutely aware that there was an increased probability of the children waking and I didn’t want to further complicate the decision making process with the additional factor of kids and breakfasts and all the other variables contained therein.
Whatever decision I made, I needed to make it. Fast. Especially if it was just to run, as that would clearly take longer than the cycling option.

Mistake 5
I tweeted for decision-making assistance. Cycle?…or run?

I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW.

This was not the right thing to do.

The right thing to do would have been to take control of my own petty life decisions. But I didn’t.

Expecting a barrage of replies telling me to just get on with it and run (most of my followers are from the ‘moving on two feet slightly faster than walking’ community), I received just the one reply…
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Mistake 6
I actually contemplated this.
Here was a possible solution, previously not considered.
I could do both!
Run up the hill to the shop, buy the milk then free-wheel down the… Oh hang on… No…
Cycle to the bottom of the hill, get off the bike, run up the hill, buy the milk, run down the hill, get on the bike, cycle home…except the bottom of the hill isn’t very far away and that seems like an awful lot of faff with the bike for very little cycling.
Cycle up the hill, get off the bike, buy the milk, run down the hill, drink coffee but not be able to relax knowing my bike was chained up at the top of the hill.
Move house, live at the top of the hill, cycle to the shop at the bottom of the hill…


…oh…

…hang on…

Mistake 7
…I had forgotten about the shop at the bottom of the hill. It wouldn’t have been open last night so hadn’t featured in my thinking.

I could walk there.

*kids wake*

I jump on bike and cycle for 2 mins to the shop at bottom of the hill to get the milk

*devises blog post about my own ridiculousness*

I know you can’t always take me seriously on here, like the time I extolled the virtues of a fantastic new tennis app or when I reviewed the TRINITO:N sports bracelet but this time I really am giving these away. I’m pretty sure I know what they are, sort of. I knew I didn’t actually want them, but as they were only £3 from my local charity shop, I thought that maybe one of you lovely people might like them.
I was quite happy for the charity shop to have my three pounds anyway, and if nobody does want them then I’ll see if eBay people do (so please don’t ask for these just to put them on eBay yourself, but they’re absolutely free to you if you’d like them for your own use).

PEARL iZUMi leg warmer thingies (possibly ‘arm’… But I think ‘leg’)

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In case you can’t make it out on the blurry photo…
Length = 46cm
Diameter = 9cm (narrow end)
15 cm (wide end)

Circumferences approx. 18cm (narrow) and 31cm (wide)

There is some of that rubbery, grippy seam stuff at the wide end (like you find on a cycling shirt)…

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For those of you that want washing instructions (there will be at least one of you)…
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…and here’s why I think they are for legs rather than arms. It has an ‘S’ for small…
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And although they fit my arms perfectly, I don’t think my upper limbs are ‘small’ exactly…
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But genuinely, they would work for this purpose. I would just rather wear a long shirt, I think.

So, if you’re interested in having the warmers for this winter weather, let me know in the comments below and I’ll use one of those random number generator things to choose a recipient and I’ll be in touch. UK only please (unless you want to pay the postage).

If you don’t want them, then please do click on the Trinito:n link (if you’ve not already seen it) anyway. Just for a bit of entertainment 😀

Brain gym (19Jun’13)

Posted: June 19, 2013 in Juneathon
Tags: , , ,

This evening I went for a gym induction. (Not because I was thinking of joining, but because it gives me a week’s free use, including swimming, which I was going to pay to do anyway)

“This is great!” I thought, “today’s Juneathon blog will pretty much write itself!” …

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….ok… apparently not. I’ll try and do it instead.

As I mentioned above, I have no intention of joining a gym, but as I had cycled there this evening, I thought that, following the line of ‘doing something different’, I might as well see what was on offer this evening. I declined a session of yoga (although in hindsight, that would have made for interesting writing), and went for a play on the gym equipment…

First up was essentially a computer game, where you cycle and steer and change gear and basically pedal your way around a virtual mountain bike course.
(Apologies for the blurry photo)

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Then, as if I hadn’t had enough of cycling, I moved on to a more conventional static bike so that I could tweet the image taken on the first one.
But this one had it’s own little extras…

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I used to, in a world before children, print off a couple of copies of a sudoku puzzle and race my wife to its completion over a morning cup of coffee… but that was a few years ago and I’m a bit out of practise. It took me over 40 minutes and I guess it did it’s job of distracting me… But to be honest, I think I prefer cycling outside – enjoying the ride itself, not being distracted from it.

Still, it was different. And I quite enjoyed the 40 minutes worth of puzzle…

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Ah, yes, one more thing… I haven’t even had the hard sell yet (I’m expecting that after my free week) but even leaving the gym completely out of the equation, I think I may be eligible for corporate membership which would work out cheaper for swimming 2x/week than my current ‘pay as you go’ style of doing things at the moment…

…So I may yet become a gym bunny.

Every Thursday, my eldest, notmuchofasitstiller (age 7), goes to Beavers (scouts for little ‘uns). It starts, approx 2 miles away, at 5:45pm and ends at 7pm.
This is normally a perfect time to go for a run because after I have faffed around with whatever running app I’m using, decided what (if any) music to have on, and re-tied my shoelaces a few times, it leaves me with almost exactly an hour to run a little 7 mile circuit I discovered which takes me along by the canal and which I have to run at a reasonable pace to get back in time for child-collection.

Tonight though, my lovely wife (aka TheHardestWorkingWomanIKnow) wasn’t back from work in time so I had to drive (taking both my children there and bringing the smallest one back).

Upshot was… No run.

I did manage to quickly hook up my bike to my son’s using a trail-gator however, so when it came to pick-up time (my wife had now arrived at home), I could do some exercise and also, once I detached the bike at the other end, allow the boy to get some confidence building cycle practice.

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He really needs a new bike. He has blatantly disregarded instructions from TheHardestWorkingWomanIKnow to stop growing and the bike is looking way too small for him now.

To wake you up from my boring waffle this evening. Here is a totally unrelated picture of my son’s schoolwork…

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You can’t fault his logic.

Flux

Posted: October 27, 2012 in running
Tags: , ,

Please feel free to add your own, blues-style “da da da da dum” after each of the following lines

I woke up this morning…

… There’s snow on the car…

Want to bike to a parkrun…

…but it’s really quite far.

Then I figure, “I’m hardcore!”…

…I’m not yet that old…

…I can cycle 12 miles there…

It can’t be that cold!!

But Oooooh oooo Ohhhhh I got the blues…
Yeah I got those extremity blues!

Right! That’s enough of that!
I’ve not been well recently but actually feeling fine this weekend and it’s half-term so as I didn’t have to do normal Saturday morning dad stuff, I did Colwick parkrun.

Feeling I could go for a PB, I contemplated the car journey to get there, but I went for the hand-freezing, toe-numbing, pneumonia inducing option of the bike instead.

Upon near arrival, I helpfully directed 3 lost looking parkrun newbie student-looking types in completely the wrong direction* and made my own way to the start… just in time for the off…

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Yes, in time for the off…
…But not in time to regain the necessary circulation and be able to feel my feet again. I think this was actually a blessing though as feeling returned on the second lap, at which point I could then notice the pain.

I didn’t hang around at the end, so I said some “thank you”s to the lovely volunteer types and headed off home for my breakfast.

Incidentally… Being ill and then not eating breakfast and doing a decent bike ride and parkrun, does wonders for a weight-loss graph…

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…but is unrealistic compared with the pre-activity graph…

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…and most certainly unrealistic compared with the post-exercise, ‘I deserve to eat everything in the house because I did all that exercise today’ graph…

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*The students did make it in the end. I saw them at the finish.

Oh and I don’t think I mentioned… I got a PB by 3 seconds.