Saturday, May 30, 2009
The north East Coast of Yorkshire is a hidden treasure, with Whitby, Scarborough and Filey the real gems.
Each deserve its own blog space so this week its Scarborough.
To get there from where I live in Beverley, you have to cycle about 50 miles.
Travelling north over the Yorkshire wolds, into the Vale of York and onwards to the foot hills of the North Yorkshire Moors.
Scarborough is 20 miles south of Robin Hoods Bay where I went to Boarding School (Fyling Hall School) and my spiritual home.
Each day I would wake up and look out onto the harsh North Sea.
Not the picture post card tropical scene that we often think of when we look for that exotic holiday destination.
But the moody one, full of hidden scars, ripping tides, and weather as fickle as a politician.
The very sea that Capt Cook also looked upon as a child from his Whitby home and the resting place of thousand of wrecks including ships of the Spanish Armada.
In my teenage years I often wondered if Simon and Garfunkel had ever visited this place.
The way they sang their well know 'Scarborough Fair', I was convinced that they must have.
My Mother lives on a road that leads up to the famous Scarborough Castle. Her road is called Castlegate, this changes into the amply named 'Paradise' at the top of the Hill, where there is situated the beautiful St Marys church. My mother tells us all that situated where she is, she is half way to paradise. I think I agree with her.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Some months ago I was cycling in York, a city that is no stranger to cycles, with a positive and sympathetic cycle policy. It is somewhere that you should always feel comfortable to cycle, to be able to relax as you turn the pedals.
Whilst pedalling around the inner ring road, I was forced into the gutter by a motorist. The driver was a large female who had decided to swap lanes. Apparently in her world, this would enhance her progress and reduce her travel time by 0.51 seconds. Really!!!!
The manoeuvre was magnificently choreographed.
As well as turning the steering wheel with her knees, she was able to graze on an over sized sandwich, talk on her cell phone and preen herself in the mirror - all at the same time.
The additional and perhaps most important task, of looking at the road appeared to be beyond her comprehension or ability.
IF she had done so prior to the manoeuvre she would have seen me in a more favourable disposition.
A happily cycling chappie, brightly dressed and wearing a helmet.
Having delayed her observation until I had hit the pavement, she missed my metamorphic transition from ‘Mr calm and reasonable’ into ‘Mr Turrets’.
I was so animated that I might of EVEN frightened myself.
In the cycling world it is sometimes all too easy to become blinkered by the transgressions of other road users and to forget about ourselves.
Sometimes our halos drop too.
At work I often get into debates about cycling and cyclists with non cyclists.
One of my colleagues lives in the Yorkshire dales where he complains of being impeded by groups of cyclists riding in large groups two or three abreast along narrow and winding country roads.
I too have seen this practice, which can be dangerous as well as irresponsible.
If I were cycling along such a road and came across a group of pedestrians in the middle of the road, I too might have felt a bit disgruntled.
Arrogance in any road user, only causes further divide.
In England you don’t have to wear a helmet to cycle a bike on any road.
This cant be right!!!
Most parents would never let their children ride their bikes on the road without a helmet, so why undermine yourself by not wearing one.
Every weekend I see dozens of cyclist (usually my generation) riding with no helmet. Its so disappointing. Why should we expect motorists to take more care when we don't even look after ourselves.
When I ask helmet less riders why? The answers are varied.
'I want to feel liberated'
'I am an experienced cyclist and don’t need a helmet'
'I am not letting any civil servant tell me what I have to wear'.
As soon as the sentences start with I, then the accompanying arrogance usually causes any rationale argument to be lost.
There is also a lot of controversy over traffic lights, with cyclists often disobeying them and running red lights. It only adds fuel to the flames of motorists displeasure.
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye."
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Now the lines have gone all fuzzy.
I still ride to work, ride to the pub (Very important) and ride to the shops. This sort of puts me in the 'ecco-recreational' category. However if you now mix in Sportives, Audax, and the odd time trial then you have a very long word.
"The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave"
Sounds a really cool place to cycle.
I think anti cyclists often take a piece of negativity from every discipline they can think of, and clump them all together as in this satirical video 'The Cyclists'.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
This afternoon, I intended to have a nice leisurely ride, around the Wolds.
When I set off the sky was dark, with heavily laden storm clouds.
Unable to hold its weight, the seeping rain poured out, blowing horizontally across my path.
It has been like this for days and I have not been best pleased.
Im am sure that its natures way to intimidate me, into a life of sedentary slovenliness.
I pedalled on undeterred, looked up to the Sky and bellowed 'YOU CAN F**K RIGHT OFF!!!!'
Any observers looking on might have thought that I am 'slightly mad', or 'eccentric', which I prefer.
I must confess that this scenario is often played out in other similar circumstances.
Whenever I get money out of the cash dispenser, I always say 'thank you'. Not once, but twice.
The second time, when the machine gives me my card back. (Maybe that one is out of relief)
When my computer bleeps at me, I apologise profusely, and of course when Addy (My bike ) is good, I encourage him.
Anyway after cursing vehemently at the sky, things abruptly changed.
The sky, realising that it had just had a 'right good telling off' smiled at me.
The rain stopped, the wind calmed down, and the clouds dissolved like sugar in a nice cup of Tea. I smiled back, It seemed appropriate, and I took off my coat, as if I were entering someones house.
The warmth of the sun caressed me, and I was soon turned on by life, and the inspiration of Nature.
My afternoon jaunt turned into a beautiful 58 mile ride. An energetic, and inspirational piece of pedal turning
'The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself'- William Blake, 1799, The Letters
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Since 'Addy' (My new bike) has arrived on the scene, my life has changed.
I guess most people in life, like to be liked.
I am certainly no exception.
Knowing Addy's desire to get out at every opportunity, I have pretty much pandered to him to gain his affection.
Now we have a routine going I am starting to think that he might quite like me.
I also realise that he is far smarter than he appears, for such a youthful bike that is.
I think that there is a bit of a yin yang thing going on between us.
I look after him and he looks after me.
After work today, I completed 42 miles over the Wold Tops with lots of climbing.
It was a menacing evening with huge Cumulonimbus clouds bringing violent thunderstorms.
But it was beautiful all the same.
Cycling so high up I could see for miles.
The strong winds fluffed up the budding tress who in turn flirted with each other with tangled branches.
Occasional shafts of sunlight broke through the darkened clouds, like a spotlight on the stage. Highlighting natures own spring starlets and shinning a path through another storm.
I loved it.
I felt like I got a last minute place as an extra, in an extraordinary epic called 'Nature'.
With my increased exercise and diet combination, I was feeling, fitter, slimmer and .......younger.
A bit like Benjamin Button. I remember watching the film on the plane back from Houston.
I Loved that too, although I am not to sure that a certain F. Scott Fitzgerald would have shared my views.
It tells the story of somebody who is born old then grows younger.
Its an interesting concept and one I would certainly sign up to.
Its a shame that when your a bit older, when your at your wisest, smartest and most financially secure. You are also less likely to be physically able and energetic.
How I would have loved to have been young and wise.
The film also stared Cate Blanchett who is my favorite actress.
During the film there is also a reference to a man getting struck by lightening 7 times.
As I was being chased by the storms this evening, I too thought I might be joining this exclusive club, but Addy looked after me.
He guided me through the wind and hail back into the sanctuary of Beverley.
As he gets older, I am seemingly getting younger......When we meet in the middle we will be awesome double act.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
After previously feeling quite confident about my cycling ability, this was soon dashed as we started our first significant climb. The skeletons pace hardly changed, and why would it!!! Their bikes were heavier than they were.
Addy used to my normal route, followed the road around to the right.
Klaus assuming I knew the route we were on today, turned left.
The result was not pretty.
The good thing about being built like a barn door is that when you come into contact with things, you normally come off best. The same was true in this instance. Klaus unfortunately hit the tarmac, whilst I was as stable as dental implant.
After dusting himself down and assuring me that his bleeding leg was 'nothing', he rejoined the faster front group, leaving me to fend for myself.
I'm sure if I could understand German I could have translated his true feelings.After about 25 miles we stopped at a Cafe. I had things to do so pressed on completing 52 miles.
I did not enjoy today's ride. It was too hard.
My Average HR was 165. Too much as an average for me and way out of my comfort zone. Although I now know have a long way to go, it was a start and at least Addy was happy.......
Isn't that all that matters - to keep your bike happy
Weekly Training/Weight Data
This week my diet has really been taking affect with a further 6lbs lost. That's 14 lbs in two weeks. This works out to be a whole load more potatoes removed from my imaginary pannier. As yet I feel no different on the bike, probably due to my continuously low energy levels.
My legs have put in a formal request to be transferred.
I asked them who they had in mind, thinking that it might be some inspirational sports personality.
It wasn't. Their exchange request was for anyone who sits in front of the TV all day eating donuts.
I have cycled 152 miles this week making 2200 miles for the year.
In my virtual reality bike ride from Beverley to Houston this takes me over the gulf of St Lawrence and close to the New Brunswick Coast. New Brunswick has a rugged and dangerous coast line with a tidal rise and fall of up to 50 ft, the largest in the world. It is also the birthplace of Sir Max Aitken, a famous Fleet Street publishing Baron.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Irrespective of this it was really pleasing to see how well it was supported, and to view the many splendid photographs and blogposts celebrating its existence.
After mulling the concept over for sometime, I soon ascended my political soap box.
That is something I really try to avoid, so as not to chase any prospective blog viewers away.
I was annoyed at my own perception, that cycling to work might be seen as a 'novelty' rather than as a viable alternative form of transport.
Questions seeped into my head, where a mixture of varying emotions were stirred.
Why do we have these ‘special days’
Who thinks them up?
How many calendar days are still unallocated?
What if we run out?
If the calendar becomes overprescribed what happens then?
Do we share the days out?
There could be a scenario where we have a ‘peace day’ and a ‘support your local industry day’ sharing the same calendar date.
It would be ok if your town bred white doves.
But what if they made stealth bombers?
What if we no longer wanted to recognise a certain day or days?
Could we not double up on others or even have a whole week set aside for the more worthy subjects. Cycling fortnight has a nice ring to it.
In England we have Guy Faulks Night, otherwise known as fireworks night.
Its meant to commemorate a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament Charming!!!!
As well as forgetting the origins of the day, households seem to spend hundreds of ££££ (that they don’t have) on fireworks.
Im no killjoy but fireworks are technically small explosive devices which anybody over 16 can buy.
They may look pretty illuminating the night sky with all the colours of the rainbow, but what about the trade off.
They pollute the environment, scare every living thing (Including me) and they kill and maim people every year.
Can we not scrap this one and have our own ‘Ride to work day’ instead .
These days that seem to be set aside each year to prick our consciousness often have a double edged sword.
When I was young there was only one day set aside and that was 'Mothers Day'.
It’s on a different date in the USA, probably due to an administrative error in the ‘Days allocations committee' .
Nevertheless on that particular day (whenever it is celebrated), we all clamber over each other in florists and confectioners, to purchase gifts for our dear mothers.
Although I cant fault it, I do sense that it’s a bit of a cop out.
Are Mothers only worth just one day of each year?
I would like to think we appreciate our Mothers everyday.
We have even started having ‘negative days’ such as a national ‘No smoking day’.
Smokers are encouraged not to smoke.
I’m sure they get lots of encouragement throughout the year without a special day.
I am especially good at dissuading them, although my approach is not always polite.
In this instance we are not celebrating something or seeking to do something positive, but merely attempting to not do something that’s bad.
If we are to carry on with these days, I would like to dream of a novelty ‘Use your car day’ when we dust down our garaged relics and all laugh at the futility of motorised transport.
An alternative of course could be 'Rant day' although it appears as If i have just had mine !!!!!!
I’m off my soapbox now, normal blog service will resume on Sunday, when my ‘Cycle Everyday’ will continue.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
It is often the case that new arrivals bring with them new responsibilities, and sometimes the occasional burden.
Some can also be life changing.
If somebody was to ask me to carry a ruck sack full of potatoes on a long bike ride, I am sure that my response would be non too plesant, even bordering on rudeness.
I have been effectively cycling with potatoes in rucksacks, side panier's, crammed into the rear of my shirt, and in a front basket for nine months. Enough to provide a sufficient chips supply for any fast food outlet.
As I cycle now I feel liberated with the thought of potatoes tumbling from my bike and lightening the load.
I imagined them bouncing off the windscreens of cars containing irate motorists, who in turn looked to the heavens in amazement.
The expression its 'raining cats and dogs' could be changed in phrase books across the globe to. 'Its raining potatoes' However it does not really possess the same ring to it.
Laurel (Lily on the road) get the kettle on ill soon be in Ottawa
Friday, May 8, 2009
It was not really Mandalay, but an East Texan Bayou, however it was as close as I could get to replicating the classic opening of Daphne du Maurriers brilliant novel 'Rebbeca'. It is arguably one of the greatest opening lines in English fiction
My dream was real enough though.
I was a young boy called Pip (Short for Philip) and on a small isolated path surrounded by rich exotic, Mangrove swamps.
There were loud Texas rangers all around with drooling bloodhounds, apparently looking for some escaped convict.
On the news they said it was an Englishman dubbed ' The Pirate' .
The reporter announced that he had come to America to seek his fortune, and was now wanted by the IRS.
Out of the swap the barnacled brigand surfaced - directly in front of me.
He was a big man with an odd Australian twang to his otherwise Anglo/American Accent.
He bid me to keep my mouth firmly shut, and ordered that I fetch him fresh water and victuals. He had the presence of a 'Maillot jaune' and I felt like his dutiful domestique.
After fulfilling his wishes he wadded off back into the murky water, amidst the deep base echoing sound of the bloodhounds excited at the the scent of prey.
His last parting words were, 'Your name please brother?'
I replied Pip nervously.
Well Pip, you looked out for me, so in time I will look out for you.
I have always been a great believer in the relevance of dreams.Matters that might be on your mind, which are close to your consciousness and are translated to symbolised images. In my cases it seemed to be an assortment of images from my collective blogposts.
When I awoke in the morning I received an E mail from my twin Brother.
It was short and to the point obviously sent from his Blackberry.
‘You can pick up your new bike’
My Texan brother certainly was looking out for me. The Scott CR1 was apparently deemed, not worthy for such a fine Domestique as myself.
He had gone and purchased a brand new Scott Addic.
It has now been collected and lives in the spare bedroom. Im still in a state of shock running upstairs every five minutes to look at it and to make sure he 'Addy' is ok.
I need to leave it there until I have told the older Scott.
You cant just bring another bike home without a proper explanation.
That will wait till tomorrow, which is when I will let 'Addy'show me what hes got.
I sense that Sundays blog may be quite wordy.