Saturday, 26 December 2009

Blogging via Email

I got a new phone for Xmas a LG GW520, that I'm planning to use to update this blog. Unfortunately it doesn't have a Blogger app like iphones do, but I can send emails using its Qwerty keypad. This blog post was sent via an email to my address. Here's a photo, taken on my camera, of my wife and our 2 sons out for a walk before Xmas lunch.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snow Training

My training plan has suffered now the snow and icy conditions have arrived. Last week I managed to cycle to work one day, and did my spinning class and gym on the days I drove in. However since the heavy snows on Thursday it's not been safe to drive to in, never mind cycle (except yesterday when I Xmas shopped at lunchtime). So I've been missing my lunchtime visits to the sports centre. We did manage a 7 mile walk over Ashridge on Sunday - pictured on left.
I've started doing my prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises and dusted off my bullworker. Hope to get to the gym tomorrow, but if not I'll just have to manage with exercises and walks in the snow.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Fundraising Posters

These are some poster Mike and I have produced for our fundraising events. The photo below shows Jan (Charlie's Mum) collecting outside Tescos in Penzance (Mike, Charlie's Dad Phil and others collected too).

Friday, 11 December 2009


Mike and I are using the following Bmycharity website to raise money online: - and donating money this way automatically adds 28% in Gift Aid. So far I've collected over £500 from my work colleages, whom I'd like to thank for their generosity. I expect we'll get some donations from family and friends soon too. I also plan to collect money 'offline' at parties and other events, and Mike and his wife Jan will be collecting outside supermarkets in Penzance this weekend, where they live. (They raised £348 in a day).

I received some really good news tonight too from my cousin Sue who tells me her husband Barry has offered to collect money over Xmas at St Chad's Church in Headingley, Leeds where he's the vicar. Thanks Sue and Barry.

The deadline is 8th March and the target just under £6000 - so there's a long way to go!

Fitness Training and General Heath

My current fitness routine consists of cycling to work normally 2 to 4 times a week (8 miles each way), then a spinning class, swimming and the gym at lunchtimes (I try to do all three each week - once). I generally do a bike ride and a walk at the weekend. I did some quite long day trips during the summer of 60 to 90 miles, and Mike and I did a 200 mile 3 day trip in June, but lately I’ve just been going out for an hour or so on a weekend bike ride. I sometimes do a 3 or 4 mile run at weekends or when I’m working from home, to get some quick exercise.

I first started cycling to work about 2 years ago in order to get fit, lose some weight and lower my cholesterol. Also through the Cycle to Work scheme I got a bike half price, and it means I can get through Aylesbury’s rush hour grid lock and save money and the planet!

Since I started cycling to work, I feel much fitter, have lost about a stone, and my total cholesterol has dropped from 7.3 to 5.0 mmol/l. My doctor wanted to put me on statins, but I wasn’t keen, having read they can damage your muscles and liver (also my parents have high cholesterol, and are still going strong in their mid-80s). So I decided to exercise more and eat a low-fat diet, which seems to have done the trick. I haven’t changed my diet that much, but tend to eat well during the day when I’m active (lots of fruit and fibre), and avoid pigging-out in the evening. I’ve also reduced the amount of alcohol I drink – although a recent study has shown that drinking 4 pints of beer a day can lower cholesterol! You just get cirrhosis and fat instead!

Over the next few months I plan to step up my activities a bit – after Xmas probably, by doing some longer weekend rides, focussing on my leg muscles whilst in the gym, and trying to lose another half stone. My BMI is 25.8 which means I’m still a bit overweight – although I’m only 5’ 6” and quite stocky – so maybe this is my natural weight. I’ll try to exercise a bit more and eat a bit less to get down to 11 stone or less – but it’s difficult, especially when exercise makes you hungry, and I like my food and drink. Also exercise turns fat to muscle which is heavier – so I’m not going to get obsessed with getting down to a target weight.

Although I’m pretty fit, I think the LEJOG trip will be quite a challenge. I’ve only got little legs! I average around 12 mph on a long run, but get pretty knackered at the end of the day, especially when it’s hot. But with a good supply of energy drinks and Mars bars I should make it. I’ve considered getting a lightweight racing bike, but I think my hybrid-style bike, although not as fast, will less cause strain on my back and body as a whole, given the riding position and suspension from the comfy saddle and 35mm width tyres. We shall see. I’ve got the padded shorts and gloves too.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Route

The route covers just under 1000 miles over a 12 day period, mainly on A-roads, but avoiding dual carriageways and busy towns where possible. One of the cyclists (Clive Shackleton) on a previous Discover Adventure trip has kindly provided me with GPS records that I have used for the map to the left. Also if you click the links shown in red you can view either the whole trip here, or individual days below. The trip statistics graph can be removed by clicking the top right 'x'. Thanks Clive!
DAY 1: Lands End to Liskeard on undulating roads
DAY 2: To Sampford Peverell over Dartmoor
DAY 3: Through Somerset over the Severn Bridge to Wye Valley
DAY 4: Undulating country roads via Hereford to Shrewsbury
DAY 5: Flat, fast roads through Cheshire to Preston
DAY 6: Long climb over Shap Fell and through Carlisle
DAY 7: Cross into Scotland at Gretna through lowlands to Kilmarnock
DAY 8: Rolling hills along coast and loch-side cycle to Inverary
DAY 9: Tougher day via highlands through Fort William to Loch Lochy
DAY 10: Cycle via Loch Ness to rolling moorlands and Bonar Bridge
DAY 11: Short tough day through remote hills to north coast
DAY 12: Along north coast to finish at John O’Groats

Saturday, 5 December 2009

My Bike

The bike I'm planning to do the trip on is a Giant CRS 2.0 City, that I use for cycling to work and general weekend runs. It cost around £400 (although it actually cost me £200 through the cycle to work scheme) and is fairly lightweight, has a good range of gears, a comfortable memory foam saddle, quite thin tyres and no suspension. I've added pedals with Shimano clips and handlebar ends, as you can see. I plan to remove the luggage rack and stand to reduce the weight further. I'll probably use a small saddle bag for carrying essentials, that is slightly larger than the one pictured, as I don't like cycling with a rucksack.