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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Progressive thinking

Cyclists benefit from £14m 'hubs'

Thousands of new bicycle parking spaces will be created at stations
Plans for £14m of investment to improve facilities for cyclists who use railway stations have been announced.
Ten stations in England will get "cycle hubs" which will provide storage facilities, repair services and bicycle hire schemes.
The hubs are planned for three London stations as well as Grimsby, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Scunthorpe, Sheffield and York stations.
Funding is also available for 10,000 bike parking spaces across the country.
'Green travel'
The government-led project is expected to take two years to complete. Network Rail, Cycling England and several rail operators are also involved.
Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said: "More and more people are turning to cycling as a healthy, green and convenient way to travel.
"I want to encourage this choice.
"The aim of the programme is to boost the significant number of people cycling to catch their train. This will tackle congestion, promote rail travel and help people develop healthier lifestyles and protect the environment."
Of the £14m investment £5m will go towards the cycle hubs.
Another £3m will go to creating more than 4,500 additional cycle spaces at stations including Nottingham, Stevenage, Cambridge, Exeter, Scarborough, Sunderland, Barrow-in-Furness, Crewe and Middlesbrough.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Four seasons in one day

This week has not been good for me..............
My pedals have not turned and my cycle of life has has hit a few puddles and potholes
Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

At least my video has a bicycle in it

'The Times' are changing

I find it really encouraging that nearly all of the more serious newspapers are regulary proving artricles about cycling.
This is the latest one from The Times

Cycling should be dull, not an extreme sport
We must overthrow the cult of the car and the Lycra-clad vanguard of aggressive men, if more of us are to take to our bikes
Janice Turner

I cycled to the Treasury on Tuesday to interview the Chancellor. All along Horse Guards the railings were plastered in police notices: bicycles chained to them would be removed, detonated possibly, since the fear is bike bombs, which crop up in conflicts from Vietnam through to Ireland and Iraq. In the end, my foldable was carried inside by a kind civil servant, trying not to get oil on his suit.
Cyclists are not welcome visitors to any public offices: Parliament, Portcullis House, Downing Street. You’d think someone would set up a token rack beyond where ministers might be vaporised by bombs. But whatever the political posturing inside, outside it’s still two wheels bad. And one wonders if things will change if/when George Osborne, who every morning can be spied freewheeling through Hyde Park, finally dismounts at the Treasury.
The pedalling Tories — George, Dave and Boris — are often mocked by Labour as poseurs, snapping on green credentials like cycle clips. But they merely reflect their class and generation. In the past two years, with Tube strikes and terror threats, the number of London cyclists has doubled: clustered at every intersection is a mob of professional, affluent, under-40, Georgie-boys.
Indeed, to cycle in Britain today you must embody Tory philosophy: be a rugged fearless individual, wholly responsible for your destiny, battling against the collectivism of bendy buses and the red tape of illogical one-way systems. Norman Tebbit, after all, instructed the jobless to get on their bikes, not the train.

The trouble is, to judge by that microcosm of our blue future, the London mayoralty, Tory policy is not to make cycling safer but to encourage more people to be brave. Transport for London bangs on about Boris’s 12 new “cycle superhighways”, which will sweep into the centre from disparate suburbs. Will these routes have barriers so the two-wheeled are finally safe from being squished beneath Land Cruisers? Er, no. For the main part, we will still be playing dodgems with buses and now motorcycles — yes, cheers Boris, for adding veering Vespas to our worries. The mayor’s cycle superhighways, it turns out, are just lines on a map.
And yet last Sunday, from St Paul’s to Buck House, cars were banned from London streets for the mayor’s Skyride. Around 65,000 people gloried in our city, rode beside our pink-cheeked children without, for once, picturing the wobble that would land them under a truck. Oh, if only it were like this every day, we all cried, as if ordinary citizens — oldsters on uprights, little girls on pink Barbie trikes, hipsters in unfeasibly high heels, tweed suits on rusty butcher’s bikes — just getting around safely on two wheels was a fantasy.
Because elsewhere cyclists are just that: a random cross-section of humanity. Not a Lycra-clad male vanguard pumped with aggression and self-righteousness. In Europe’s top three cycling nations — Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands — timorous old people cycle, women as often as men, children bike off unaccompanied to school. Cycling is not a moral manifesto or a carbon offset. It does not require DayGlo or £500 alloy wheels or attitude. Cycling is, as it should be, banal. Because it is safe.
Yes, you might say, those countries have always cycled, just like their women have never shaved their armpits: it’s their way, not ours. Actually, a fascinating report, Making Cycling Irresistible, by the American academics John Puchera and Ralph Buehler, reveals that in the early 1950s cycling in Britain and Denmark started tailing off as car ownership increased. Indeed, for some years, we were keener bikers than were the Danes. The difference was, in the mid-1970s, the governments of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands resolved to stop the car’s dominance of the streets and championed the bike and pedestrian while the British allowed our townscapes to be ground beneath the wheels of the car. And yet these three continental countries own just as many cars per head as we do — the Germans more — it’s just that, unlike us, they aren’t glued into their driving seats.
Now only 1 per cent of our journeys are on bikes, in the Netherlands it is 27 per cent. And the reason is simple: a British cyclist is three times more likely than a Dutch one to die per miles travelled — even though only 3 per cent of Dutch cyclists wear a helmet. In Britain safety is seen as a matter for the individual, not government policy: yet it is highways, not helmets, that save lives.
And with quite extraordinary far-sightedness, these three countries built endless miles of barriered lanes along major roads but, more importantly, in many residential streets cars were slowed to a crawl and compelled to give way to bikes. And to enforce this, the law assumed, unless otherwise proved, that in an accident between a vehicle and a cyclist, the driver was at fault. Last week when that very principle was suggested here by Cycling England, there was a predictable furore about a (snore) Lycra louts’ charter.
But maybe it would make the idiot motorists who pelt down my 20mph street obey the law. Maybe it would have encouraged the left-turning HGV lorries who in London this year killed six female cyclists (women being vulnerable because we tend to ride defensively, hugging the kerb) to check their mirrors. Two fitness instructors, a film producer, a Goldsmiths’ graduate, a City director and an architect: those women were not loutish at all.
The answer to so many intractable modern problems — obesity, urban congestion, global warming — is cycling. What now feels like an extreme sport should be the default mode of transport. But it has dawned on me only recently that the big fat flaw at the heart of democracy is that politicians will never invest in the long term if voters’ initial inconvenience and expense are not rewarded with results before an election. And it will take years and billions to chip away at the cult of the car, to erect multistorey bicycle parks in every mainline station, to build genuinely super highways for bikes through our towns and reverse years of destructive urban planning.
Only when the fear is gone will big jessies stop riding on pavements, maniacs stop charging red lights, the streets be reclaimed from cars, and cycling from angry men with tiny bums. Do the Tories have the cojones to do it? Or is that just padding I see in their cycle shorts?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

End of Term Report

Having completed my last sportive of the year two weeks ago I find myself in a reflective mood.
So reflective that my bike has become curious by its lack of activity and is staring to believe that it might be time for a grease up,blanket and into the shed for winter........Surely Not ????????
I remember when I was at boarding school that the first two weeks of my Summer holidays were idyllic and care free.
After those initial two weeks I knew that there would be the immanent arrival of my annual school report in the post.
If the report was good, the rest of my holidays were good.
If it were bad they were not.
My school report would be the barometer for my Summer vacation.
Now I am older there are no School reports, however through my reflections I have decided to provide myself with one nevertheless to ensure that my adult education process is still developing.
We are never too old to learn or change.

Philips Annual Report
Philip has used his Garmin effectively to record all of his mileage, however this can only be used accurately when it is switched on and off at the appropriate times.
He may like to believe he cycled at 75 miles per hour but that was the Garmin recording the car speed.
Philip has used his blog to catalogue his experiences and illustrate his understanding of various issues with cycling. However I believe there should be more emphasis on various related topics rather than him. His grammar and punctuation appear to depend on wine consumption, alcohol should not be consumed during these periods.
He has now developed a new blog writing blog called The Lost Muse to assist with his writing. He is now serialising a book that he wrote called The Last Siren, I have read it and its a great bodice ripping Yarn.
Despite the great french traditions of Cycling Philip has struggled to embrace either the language or culture, his only contribution being bad words and the heavy consumption of Garlic
Philips riding style has become far more fluid, and at times he could be mistaken for a proper cyclist, there is still a long way to go in this area. He still uses his bigger gears too much and must learn to pedal faster.
He has recorded a number of interesting and artistic pictures which have been admired on his blog........well done
Philip has travelled far and wide on his bicycle and experienced new regions and cultures and terrains. This process can on assist in his development.
He has excelled in this area so much so that it is now difficult to distinguish between himself and the many cycling characters he tries to portray. I particularly like his recent depiction of Lance Armstrong 'Bonking', he seemed to capture the full essence of pain and those tears were so lifelike.
If Philip wants to move from being and average competent cyclist to compete in the veterans next year he will have to loose 30 lbs. He can be as fit as he likes but it wont matter.
Carrying the equivalent of a sack of potatoes on your back when cycling will always slow you down.

Philip has a great attitude to training , he has certainly put in the miles this year.
Although his ability is increasing so is his perceived ability which always appears to be slightly greater he should endeavour to recognise this. His stamina and enthusiasm are never in question. To progress he needs to train more effectively mixing up his routines and working on his core strength and speed. He needs to get out of his comfort zone and set himself much greater challenges.

After stamping my feet for ten minutes and weeping I realised that on the whole my report was true and if I wanted to move forward I would have to change.
The first question was did I want to? There was nothing wrong with what I had been doing.
That question did not really need asking.
Although I have not been on my bike this week (And may not for a while still)

I have gone to the Gym.
I have been spinning, running, rowing and been doing selected weights.
I have also decided that I have to be strict about what I eat.
I also need to set myself goals that are slightly out of my reach.
In that way that the change in style, speed, diet etc will HAVE TO become a requirement rather than a desire, or a wish.
With that in mind I have decided that my first goal next year will be to complete The Cheshire Cat (102 Miles) without getting off my bike at Mow Cop or any of the other F***ing killer ascents.
I also want to do other similar arduous sportives.
I want to do a 24 hr challenge, to see how many miles I can do in 24 Hours
Finally I want to do one super challenging event with The Mules
What really caught my imagination was The Triple By Pass in the Colorado Rockies.
It looks and incredible ride with 3,500 people on 10th July 2010.
I know that to complete the 120 miles, I would have to be really, really fit and light.

Its a great dream who knows the registration is not till January.
Anyway Mules and other prospective Mules Check out the Video below it might capture your imagination.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Edvald Boasson Hagen - The skys the Limit

Although close to 50 years old I am a relative novice to cycling, only taking it more seriously in the last few years. In many respects I feel that the same could be said about British cycling.
For years our achievements have been rare and have in some way provided a novelty factor for the garlic munchers across the English Channel.
Call me ignorant but winning the odd prologue does not count for me.
As I watched the cycling classics and grand tours I also used to play 'Spot the Brit'.
It was a difficult challenge, but I soon worked out that if you watched the support cars you might spot one. They were the domestiques, the ones fetching fresh water bottles.
Never expecting things to change my allegiances went to the US riders and my unashamed hero Lance Armstrong.
Then came along a certain David Brailsford who transformed British Track Cycling and gave us all household names to look up to.
Garden sheds were revisited and tyres were reinflated.
People suddenly took to the road and liked it and the best part was it was free.
Despite the recession cycle sales are now soaring.
That's obvious you might say........ people are buying bikes to go to work in to save fuel cost.
I fully accept that - but the actual biggest area of cycle sales are the top end performance bikes.
Every Weekend the roads are strewn with cycles taking part in events which are multiplying throughout the country. I used to have to travel half a day to enter an event, now there is always something local
With the Success of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins at this years Tour de France, British cyclists are now having water bottles brought to them, and quite right too.........
The Sky is the Limit
Next year we have the new Sky Team to look forward to.
The new team, funded by broadcasters BSkyB, will be managed by Brailsford, the GB performance director who was responsible for delivering 34 medals at the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.
Having the top British cyclists training together should improve chances of success on the road at future World Championships and Olympic Games.
Team Sky squad so far:
Kurt Arvesen - 34, from Norway; has won stages of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia and will be a mentor for young riders; part of Saxo Bank squad that included 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and Frank and Andy Schleck.
John Lee Augustyn - 23, from South Africa; Barloworld team-mate of Thomas and Froome during 2008 Tour de France; has potential to be a great climber.
Edvald Boasson Hagen - 22, from Norway; currently sits third in the UCI rankings, having won a stage in this year's Giro d'Italia.
Kjell Carlstrom - 32, from Finland; a specialist climber, he has ridden all three Grand Tours and is a stage winner in Paris-Nice.
Steve Cummings - 28, from Birkenhead; part of pursuit teams that won gold at 2005 World Championships and 2006 Commonwealth Games and silver at the 2004 Olympics.
Russell Downing - 31, from Rotherham; winner of 2009 Tour of Ireland; one of the most successful ever GB-based professionals.
Juan Antonio Flecha - 31, from Spain; has 10 years' professional experience, including a Tour de France stage win in 2003; known as a Classics specialist.
Chris Froome - 24, born in Nairobi, Kenya; became British-registered in 2008; has completed two Tours de France.
Simon Gerrans - 29, from Australia; has won stages of all three Grand Tours this year and the 2008 Tour Down Under.
Greg Henderson - 31, from New Zealand; world scratch race champion on the track in 2004; has recorded nine victories with Columbia in 2009, including the Tour of Spain.
Peter Kennaugh - 20, from Isle of Man; British Under-23 Champion who is dominating the Under-23 calendar in Italy; partnered fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish in madison at 2009 world track championships.
Thomas Lovkvist - 25, from Sweden; a five-year pro who wore the leader's jersey during this year's Giro d'Italia as part of Columbia HTC squad and could contend for overall tour wins.
Lars Petter Nordhaug - 25, from Norway; former mountain-biker who switched to the road and became Norwegian national champion; runner-up to Russell Downing in the 2009 Tour of Ireland.
Morris Possoni - 25, from Italy; wore the best young rider jersey during the 2008 Giro d'Italia as part of the Columbia squad.
Ian Stannard - 22, from Chelmsford; came third in 2008 Tour of Britain and rode 2009 Giro d'Italia.
Geraint Thomas - 23, from Cardiff; youngest rider in 2007 Tour de France; won gold in team pursuit at Beijing Olympics
I am sure that once their contracts have expired that Cavendish and Wiggins will also be joining this Team.
In the meantime there is a certain Viking who may keep us Anglo Saxons on our Toes
'Edvald Hagen'.
He is just about to win the Tour of Britain and has some real star quality.

Lance Armstrong says Britain's Team Sky cycling team can succeed in Tour de France and that
the formation of Team Sky is "a great step forward for cycling".
"A few years ago if you had said that the British Cycling Federation (now British Cycling) is going to dominate the Olympic Games people would have said 'no way' but Dave Brailsford and his entire team there has made amazing progress.
"Not only are they (Team Sky) going to be in the Tour de France, they are going to be a factor.
"It is good for cycling fans in Britain and cycling fans all over the world."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Talking Heads

Cycle killer: David Byrne on the joys of cycling 'The physical sensation is exhilarating,' says the cycling enthusiast and musician (The Guardian)
David Byrne has just published Bicycle Diaries, which documents his cycle journeys through cities
David Byrne discusses cycling with Rosie Swash (From the Guardian)

I cycled when I was at high school, then reconnected with bikes in New York in the late 70s. It was a good way of getting around the clubs and galleries of the Lower East Side and Soho. At that time almost no one else was riding, but I didn't care what people thought.

There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

The physical sensation of gliding with the wind in your face is exhilarating. That automatic activity of pedalling when you have to be awake but not think too much, allows you to let subconscious thoughts bubble up and things seem to just sort themselves out. And the adrenaline wakes you up if you weren't properly alert. If I'm commuting to work by bike, I'm fully awake by the time I get there, having dealt with a little bit of New York traffic en route.

I had an accident once when I had been out at an art opening and had too much to drink. I lost sight of my girlfriend and was turning around trying to see where she had got to, then slipped and broke two ribs, which I realised the next day and woke up in incredible pain. But that's nothing compared to some collisions bikers have, although it's definitely getting better. There are more secure bike lanes and drivers are beginning to have a better awareness of cyclists.

What usually takes me to other places is business, and when I get time off I'll always set a destination to visit. In Berlin recently, I decided to go to the Stasi headquarters, which was out of the centre and a bit of a ride. It was a great thing to see, but it's as much about the landscape along the way.

I've got lost plenty of times. We were touring on the border of Switzerland and France and I was going down various paths on my bike when I ended up in the other country. I had cut through some vacant lots, under an express way, through a fence, then suddenly spotted the border crossing. Luckily I had my passport on me.

It's difficult to have conversations biking, although quite a few of us on the tour have bikes and we try to ride together. Cycling can be lonely, but in a good way. It gives you a moment to breathe and think, and get away from what you're working on.

• David Byrne's chronicle of his adventures on two wheels, The Bicycle Diaries, is out now on Faber & Faber. The folding bike featured in the book is being auctioned to raise funds for the London Campaign for Cycling at

More of David Byrnes cycling contribution

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lancastrian Velo

Today Blackpool launched its on-street cycle hire scheme. For those not fully aquainted with Blackpool I have attached a short film parody.
Blackpool was once a premier seaside resort on the North west Coast of England but has lost its appeal over the years. It is similar to Coney Island in the USA,which followed the same decline.

Report from Guardian Newspaper
First Blackpool borrowed the idea of the Eiffel Tower - and now the city's taking inspiration from Paris' bike hire scheme. Just over a century ago, it happily borrowed the idea of the Eiffel Tower. Now, Blackpool has taken inspiration from a more recent Parisian innovation – mass on-street cycle hire.
In an attempt to change its reputation as a fading seaside resort for boisterous stag weekenders, and to boost local health, the Lancashire town is today launching the UK's most ambitious municipal cycle hire scheme to date.
Modelled on initiatives such as Paris's popular Vélib, where people can use a swipe card to take a bike from street-side depots, the Blackpool version is beginning with 60 brightly coloured cycles. But by next spring – before a much-heralded equivalent opens in London – this will be expanded to 500 bikes at 100 stands.
Funded by the local council, the town's NHS trust and Cycling England, the system will be run by Hourbike, a private company which operates a smaller version in Bristol. Blackpool is seen as particularly suitable given its flat terrain and low levels of car ownership. Renters will be able to use a network of bike lanes either along the coastline or inland.
The town has some of the lowest levels of adult exercise in the country, and the scheme is aimed at local people as well as its 10m visitors a year.
Unlike in Bristol there is no extra charge for one-way trips, to try to tempt people into trying commuting by bike.
The bikes will be available to visitors for a daily fee of £8, while residents or regular visitors can get a swipe card which lets them use the machines for a £1 hourly charge, with the first 30 minutes free.
"It's a very, very interesting scheme," said Philip Darnton, chairman of Cycling England. "The important thing for something like this is knowing who it is aimed at. It's going to be fascinating to see whether this gets local people riding as well as tourists."
The concept of publicly-available municipal hire cycles first emerged as 1974 in the French Atlantic coast town of La Rochelle, but its recent emergence dates back to mid-2005, when Lyon launched its Vélo'v system. This was adopted as Vélib two years later in Paris, which has now expanded to around 20,000 bikes at almost 1,500 street stations and has proved hugely popular, despite problems of vandalism and theft.
As well as Blackpool and Bristol, there are a handful of smaller schemes around the UK, for example one aimed mainly at tourists in the smaller Merseyside seaside resort of Southport.
The London scheme, due to launch next summer as a joint venture between Transport for London and the company Serco, will dwarf all other UK bike hire operations, with an initial plan for 6,000 bikes at 400 "docking stations".
There are currently no other such municipal schemes in the pipeline, Darnton said, although South West Trains has just launched an initiative where commuters into London can hire folding bikes to get from the station to their workplace. "This is the sort of thing I expect we'll be seeing more of in the future," he said.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tales from the Darkside

Last week I completed the Manchester 100 mile sportive. It was an interesting and educational experience. It was also rather painful.
Sometimes in life we 'bite off more than we can chew' This ride was a perfect example of this.
Although the initial taste was delicious it was soon followed by acute indigestion, and nausea. I bonked. After my previous weeks blistering pace in The Hotter N Hell (Texas) my confidence was high.
I was a Mule, my hooves were on fire, and my maine was once again ready to flow in the wind. I had some high equine standards to keep up.
I knew my American Mules would be neighing at my progress, especially as I was the sole mule representative in this UK 100 miler.
It was also the first time that our distinctive red and blue livery would be seen upon these shores.

Joanne our first female Mule also was taking part in the 100 km ride - all in all it was an auspicious moment in Mule history.

I set off at about 7 30 am wearing enough layers to be compared to an gigantic onion.
It was a chilly start.
There was also a strong south westerly headwind that was forecast to increase as the day progressed.
With this in mind I decided to push off hard knowing that I might get some assistance from nature on the run in.

After 30 mins I was pulling a long pace line at well over 20 mph.
The heat generated from my efforts left me wishing I had left my thermal long sleeved shirt in the car. I was poaching. like some over sized 'boil in the bag' recipe.
After 45 mins I was still pulling and twitching my elbow like mad.........No takers !!!!
After 60 mins I twitched my elbow, patted my bum and looked over my shoulder for support........still no takers.
After 90 mins I sarcastically shouted out 'Am I pulling all the way?'

My words like my efforts seemed to be lost on the multi coloured train behind me and I was well cooked. I had been in the red zone for far too long and it was time to slow down a little.
Just as I tempered my cadence an even faster pace line hurtled past on the outside.
It was an open invitation, too good a chance to miss.

Instinctively I jumped on the back leaving my own line floundering behind me.
Although I smiled at their demise, I also cursed myself as I watch the blur of the second drink station pass across my eyes.
My bottles were nearly empty.
In this new group I was definitely punching above my weight, clinging onto their back wheels as my I could hear my heartbeat racing to keep up with my ego.
After 55 miles there was a compulsory stop where you had to check in. By then I had averaged a not too shabby 23 mph.

I was on course to get in well under 5 Hours and smash my Personal best. The buzz was immense and My adrenalin was making me feel quite giddy.

Foolishly I just booked in and out believing that I could survive to the next drink station.
When I was in Texas I drank at least one bottle every hour and was totally disciplined about it. Now in England this had all 'gone to pot', deceived by the more temperate weather. I had also forgotten about my fluid loss during my poaching session

After 60 miles my legs had decided that they were no longer interested in my instructions.
Willfully they had decided that they wanted to go at their own pace, one considerably slower than what I was requesting.
After 78 miles I got to the final drink station. It was at the same time that my body had formed a firm alliance with my legs. Although I drank loads and it did wet my throat, I was still thirsty and this new and sudden volume of liquid made me want to throw up.
My legs now trembled like like a dog performing its morning ritual.

The last twenty miles were Hell. I looked for wheels to follow but the only one that I seemed to be able to stick with belonged to an 80 year old woman riding a mountain bike.
She had a small fluffy dog in a basket at the front that 'looked on' curiously.
On spying me the dog winced and shook his head in utter disdain, before hiding behind his elderly companion.
Maybe my frothing mouth was a giveaway.

This part of the ride was integrated with the 100 km participants and most of them were now overtaking me. There were pretty girls dressed in pink with crowns attached to their helmets and gents riding standard urban bikes, their troussers restrained by cycle clips.
They all gave me a wide berth as I meandered across the road like a lazy river.
Local authority Vans were and warning signs appeared by the roadside 'Heavy Plant Crossing'
Each time I came across a hill my thighs ignited with cramp, so excruciating that I was forced to abandon my bike in search of pavements or gates to facilitate some stretching exercises.
The remaining miles were covered slowly, very slowly.
Each mile I split into quarters and knocked off each one in my head.
When my Garmin finally read 100 miles there was no finishing line to be seen. I held back my tears.
My sense of humour had evaporated with most of my bodies fluids.
Every turn of the pedal felt like a mammoth task.
At 100.7 miles I went over the line in 5 hrs 58 mins. I was totally fu**ed.
The following week I did not want to ride, I did not want to see a bike again. In fact I did not even want to read about bikes or biking and hid all of my biking magazines.
Even my bike blog, like my bike was abandoned. I needed Rest and reassurance
This weekend I sought solace with my Best friend Colin down in the fens.
The Fens are flat.........really flat. Its like having an extra gear, a lazy cyclist heaven and sprinters paradise.
I took my bike to throw into a ditch along the route and my Camera to record the ceremony.
Saturday Morning requested forgiveness as it presented itself with a windless, cloudless day with warmth in the air.
It was too much
The lure was too strong I did 55 miles Saturday and thirty Sunday and loved ever minute of it and my keyboard is now humming again. I also managed to get some great pictures too!!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

voyage avec mon vélo

One of my biggest passions apart from cycling is writing, poetry and the admiration of others scribbles with a pen or with keyboard. Sometime ago I set up another blog called the Lost Muse which features my work and the work of other artists that I admire. One thing that seems to be lacking is work about cycling. so with the aid of a bottle of red wine and my tongue firmly implanted in my check I have knocked up a poem about cycling. If anybody out there knows of any cycling poems I would love to hear of them.

Pedaling forth the spoken circles go
Amidst the rain, the wind and drifting snow
Cadence high, my derailleur set
Travels upon my bicyclette

Tyres on black top, bottles full
Pace lines, hill climbs, my turn to pull
Gears changed, New horizons found
Few dollars given for my weakened pound

Cycling now under the cloudless skies
RayBan's protecting my burning eyes
Bright southern sun and prairie dust
following wheels, with the ultimate trust

The event partaken, one hundred miles long
Wichita, North Texas, now long gone
Manchester this week back with the rain
Cycling in England is one F**cking pain.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome home

I arrived back in England yesterday to be met with goose bumps.
Not at the excitement of coming home but at the dramatic fall in the temperature from the barmy Houston to the chilly north of England.
Not only has the temperature dropped but the barometer too with its close friend 'Gusty the Gale' keeping it company.
Tonight I so wanted to ride. To reassure Addy that riding another bike in the USA was not an adulterous act but a need to meet and end. To ride the Hotter N Hell. Sometimes bikes just dont believe you.
The combination of Jet lag, cold rain and gale force winds straining even the the biggest trees, killed off my enthusiasm. I elected instead for a hot mug of chocolate with just a bit of Brandy to ensure I did not catch a cold.
Sadly Addy remains disconsolate propped up against the radiator which has sadly been switched on keep my extremities functioning.
The long range forecast for Manchester's 100 mile ride is no better and with only 1500 riders it will seem a massive anti climax to Wichita Falls last week.
Thankfully I am allowed to wear my I pod when I ride this gauntlet of Natures hostilities.
This will enable me to have some of the warmth of Texas with me.
My daughters will be thrilled to pieces that Dad has discovered and been captivated by the youthful talent of Taylor Swift.
My tears, created by the wind in my face will fall on 'Addy' rather than a heavily glossed guitar. At least he will be smiling.