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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

By the time I get to Phoenix

After hearing about our American exploits one of our premier Anglo Mules 'Bobby', decided that he wanted to experience some of it and did some 'Muling' in Arizona at the end of November.

Being Scottish he was even able to find a sympathetic town called 'Scottsdale' which was 'newer than than a single Malt'. Whilst out for a ride he came across a film crew who were by a lake making a film about trout fishing.

Now Bobby knows a thing or two about this subject matter and decided that he would share it.
Within the time it takes for a pedal to rotate the Camera was nicely focused on his 'Travels with my Mule shirt' (And him) where Bobby imparted his own experiences.

Although this started with Fishing, he soon skillfully diverted the interviewer to cooking fish - Scotland - Mountains - Cycling and finally 'THE MULES'.

Continuity was never his strong point.

Anyway it was all broadcast on the local news- Well done Bobby

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strict Liability

I have recently had a few near misses with vehicles whilst commuting to and from work and as those journeys are now in darkness I feel more Vulnerable.
In reality I am probably easier to see illuminated than I am mixed together in an assortment of other roadside furniture.
Recently a driver pulled right out in front of me and then proceeded to get as close to the kerb as possible to shut off my obvious escape route.
With the bike skills of Danny MacAskill I bunny hopped the verge and onto safety

Unfortunately for the driver his progress was hampered at a T Junction ahead where he had to stop for other cars ( apparently they cause more damage than cycles)

When I got alongside him he would not engage my glance, not until I started hammering my fist on his window and his kids started pointing. Slightly embarrassed he summoned up a coy shrug of the shoulders and a tepid 'sorry' appeared on the surface of his mouth.
I instinctively gestured with a V sign moving it towards my eyes as if to outline his deficiency, and mouthed back. Unfortunately my reply was audible and was a non intended insult to people who are visually impaired. As he turned red with embarrassment and his children's jaws dropped I think I got my message home.
One of the problems in this Country is that the traffic laws do not really cater for cycle users.
I mean that in both ways.
To protect them and to protect other road users from them.
In Holland and other European Countries there is strict Liability when it comes to collisions.
What a great deterrent, especially when you consider that the biggest excuse for people not commuting by bike is that they worry about being hit by a car.

Even in America the law states that you have to provide a specified distance.
I don't mind Sharing !!!

On the subject of Safety apparently wearing helmets can be 'more dangerous'
Research suggests that cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles.
The study from Bath University found drivers tend to pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than those who are bare-headed.
Dr Ian Walker was struck by a bus and a lorry during the experiment. He was wearing a helmet both times.

But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said tests have shown helmets protect against injuries. I can certainly vouch for that having tragically witnessed an horrific accident with one of our Femules Karen. Her helmet use undoubtedly saved her life.

To carry out the research, Dr Walker used a bike fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to find drivers were twice as likely to get close to the bicycle, at an average of 8.5cm, when he wore a helmet.

The experiment, which recorded 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Dr Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University's Department of Psychology, said: "This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist's appearance.

“ This study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely ”
Dr Ian Walker
"By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements.

"We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial.

"Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place," he added.

Dr Walker thinks the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is because they see them as "Lycra-clad street warriors" and believe they are more predictable than those without.
He suggests different types of road users need to understand each other.
"Most adult cyclists know what it is like to drive a car, but relatively few motorists ride bicycles in traffic, and so don't know the issues cyclists face.

"There should definitely be more information on the needs of other road users when people learn to drive and practical experience would be even better."
Wig wearing
To test another theory, Dr Walker donned a long wig to see whether there was any difference in passing distance when drivers thought they were overtaking what appeared to be a female cyclist.

While wearing the wig, drivers gave him an average of 14cm more space when passing.
In future research, Dr Walker hopes to discover whether this was because female riders are seen as less predictable than male riders or because women are not seen riding bicycles as often as men on the UK's roads.

However, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents insisted: "We wouldn't recommend that people stop wearing helmets because of this research. Helmets have been shown to reduce the likelihood of head and brain injuries in a crash.

"[The research] highlights a gain in vulnerability of cyclists on our roads and drivers of all types need to take more care when around them."

Story from BBC NEWS:

And Finally I have recently been using a Trion Z magnetic and Ionic bracelet as its all the rave in the sports world at the moment. AS I am currently on a diet and increasing my training I am feeling fitter and leaner each day with far more energy.

Is my bracelet responsible in some way? I don't Know

Will I remove it, NO WAY !!!!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Girl on the Bike

We are all used to see Victoria Pendleton climbing up rostrums to collect shinny Medals but training needs Finance!!!!

I think when her manager said you need some more sponsorship to get some 'bread' in she took it too literarly.

here she is climbing Gold Hill, in Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK.


Well done Vicky we are all routing for You

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cavendish comes home

At last the speculation is over

British cycling star Mark Cavendish has announced he will be joining Team Sky for the start of next season.
Cavendish won the green jersey as the 2011 Tour de France's best sprinter and then added the world road race title.
"I'm confident that we can achieve success and my aim is to win stages and the green jersey at the Tour de France," he told Sky Sports News.
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford added: "What excites me is the attitude he brings to the teams he rides for."
One of Cavendish's wingmen, Austrian Bernhard Eisel, will also join Team Sky next season.
Cavendish, 26, is rated as one of the greatest-ever sprinters in the sport's history.
He won five stages at this year's Tour de France with HTC-Highroad to take his tally to 20 in total, claiming the prestigious Maillot Vert - awarded to the best sprinter -for the first time in his career.

Then in September, the Isle of Man cyclist became Britain's first male world road race champion for 46 years when his eight-man GB team helped him to victory over the 266km course in Denmark.
Cavendish has also secured a further 10 Grand Tour stage victories in his career, as well as the overall points title at the 2010 Vuelta a Espana.

Wins gold in the madison at the track cycling world championships in Los Angeles in March 2005.
Secures Melbourne Commonwealth Games scratch gold medal for the Isle of Man in March 2006.
Takes madison gold in track cycling world championships in Manchester alongside Bradley Wiggins in March 2008.
In July 2008, he wins four stages of the Tour de France but, a month later, fails to win an Olympic medal
Becomes only the second Briton after Robert Millar to win stages in all three grand tours after success on stage 12 of Vuelta a Espana in September 2010.
Awarded MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2011.
Wins final stage in Paris to make certain of the green jersey at 2011 Tour de France and take total stage victories tally to 20.
In September, he wins gold medal at the Road World Championships.

His future had been subject of speculation since August when HTC-Highroad stated that it would fold at the end of the 2011 season after failing to find a sponsor.
Team Sky's lead rider Bradley Wiggins hailed his compatriot's decision to join the Manchester-based outfit.
"I think I speak for everyone in the squad when I say that we're all delighted to have Cav joining us at Team Sky," he added.
"He is the best sprinter in the world and has an energy and passion for cycling that is infectious. We have enjoyed a fantastic second season and Mark's signing is another statement of our intent for next year and beyond."
Team-mate Geraint Thomas said Cavendish will enjoy a smooth transfer.
"In many ways it's like he's coming home - the team has a number of riders and support staff that he grew up with and it won't take him any time to settle in," said Thomas.
"I think everyone saw that when we helped him to victory for Great Britain at the Worlds, and we are all looking forward to helping him deliver more wins for Team Sky."

Team Sky began competition in January 2010 and is led by Brailsford, who is British Cycling's performance director. Brailsford stated in 2009 that his aim was to have a British winner of the Tour de France by 2014.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Paleo Diet and cycling

As the nights draw in and my commuter cycling days start to become affected by the weather I finally acknowledge that my 2011 cycling season is over.
It has been an interesting year.
I expect by its end I will have completed 7,000 miles and there have been new PB's for both 'The flat out in the Fens' and 'The Manchester 100 ride'.
The hotter than Hell was completed with the highest recorded temperature in a respectable time and I completed the tough Big G.
All in all I should be happy.........but I am not.
You see this season I have been at my heaviest weight ever so I constantly think 'What if???'
With all that training, and all those Miles - What if I had been lighter?

What if my power weight ratio had been better?

Being 'rotund' I'm sure I present a figure of fun to other cyclists having the appearance of a fat bloke on a bike - rather than cyclist.
I would dearly love to look like and be mistaken as a cyclist.
As I rarely drink alcohol and don't eat too much bad food, I don't get it, why I don't loose weight? I am literally burning tens of thousands of calories each week.

When I was travelling to do the 'Hotter than Hell' a fellow Mule (Kenny) who is the fittest person I have ever known, told me about The Paleo or Caveman diet.

Personally I don't like the word 'Diet' for me it means putting less things in your mouth and I love putting things in my mouth!!! but don't be put off this is not really a diet more of a lifestyle change.

It basically means that you only eat what the cavemen used to eat.

For millions of years as we evolved we ate certain foods which provided us with the nutrition we needed to compliment our lifestyle. As hunters we were fit, agile and strong which enabled us to chase and kill things.

Its only recent times that we changed the way we eat and and now find ourselves getting sick, fat, depressed and out of shape.

It seems that one of my problems was that I was eating too many carbs.

Because I was exercising most days, I had been brain washed to thinking that I needed fuel in the form of carbohydrates. In reality I was saturated with fuel.

It was being stored in every bit of possible space on my body.

Although I was burning some of it each day there was always plenty left so when I did eat bad stuff it was just making me even heavier.

The paleo diet IS a low carb diet but you can still eat lots of fruit and vegetables. You get to gorge on all the good meat, fish, and good fats you want and the variety is plentiful.

The problem with today’s diet which was nowhere to be seen with our ancestors is WAY too much sugar and carbohydrate… They rarely had sugar, fruit was a luxury.

Today? All our food is carbohydrate/sugar based (toasts, sandwiches, pastas, rice, get my drift?) All these carbohydrates trigger insulin, and too much insulin over time leads to fat gain, inflammation, diabetes and heart conditions.
Going further, the anti-nutrients and irritants from grains and legumes do not digest properly. Neither us nor any mammal has the digestive system to digest all the grains we eat properly. Over time they irritate the gut leading to leaky gut problems, Crohns disease, nutrient malabsorption, contributing to the excess carbohydrate and sugar.

Dairy products from other animals were never consumed by our ancestors, most people after the age of 2 can no longer digest Lactose, one of milks sugars, properly, leading to all kinds of digestive problems. It irritates the guts lining. A lot of people develop problems with Casein, one of the main proteins in milk.

The basics? You eliminate problematic foods: Added sugar, sweets, chocolate, sweeteners, sugary snacks….
Processed foods: pre-packaged foods with additives…
Trans fats and vegetable oils: corn oil, peanut oil, soy oil,
Grains: wheat, oats, barley, corn…
Dairy: Milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt..
Legumes: chick peas, lentils, navy beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas….
You get to eat without restriction or calorie counting
All lean meats and fish.
Fresh fruits/ vegetables
Good fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, flaxseed oil, duck fat, beef fat…
All nuts and seeds.

Ok, doesn’t sound too bad does it? And here’s why it works:

I have only been doing it for two weeks and have lost 10 lbs and 1" of my waist. Your meant to feel tired for the first few weeks and that is true enough but it seems to be working for me.

I will let you know how its going in the coming months and we will see if there is a cyclist trying to get out.


As the Mule movement has increased over the past 18 months we have revamped the website which can now be found by clicking on the box on the right hand column or by the following link

Although its not totally finished there is a lot of new features, gallery and information about our cycling team. This blog is also the official blog for the Travels with my Mule Cycling Club.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Honolulu century Ride

As us Anglo Mules hold onto the last rays of Summer before multiple clothing and frostbite take over three of our US Mules have been raising money by completing a Century ride.
Departing Houston they sought a more exotic climate - Hawaii no Less

Here they are wating for the surf to get up.

Well done Taylor, Christian and John, we are all very proud of you for your time commitment and the money you all raised.

Taylor Bartholemew

John Olson

Christain Clark

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nice one Bradley

Winning gold on the back of winning the Tour would perhaps put me into a different bracket as an athlete,' says Bradley Wiggins.

Bradley Wiggins is targeting both the Tour de France yellow jersey and Olympic gold next summer and believes British Cycling will decide in the next few weeks which events he should target at the London Games.

Fresh from winning silver in the world time trial in Copenhagen and helping Mark Cavendish to gold in the road race, Wiggins said he believes more strongly than ever that securing an unprecedented double is possible.

"I've done the Olympics, this will be my fourth, I've been there and got the golds. They haven't changed my life but winning the Tour would certainly change my life," he said. "Winning gold on the back of winning the Tour would certainly change my life and perhaps put me into a different bracket as an athlete."

Wiggins said it was the prospect of combining a serious challenge in the Tour, in which he finished fourth in 2009 but had to withdraw with a broken collarbone this year, with an Olympic challenge that had fired his enthusiasm for the Games.

"It's never been done so I think if I wasn't doing the tour next year and I was just going back to do the team pursuit and I had the winter to look forward to of going back on the track, the World Cups, the world championships in March and all that it wouldn't excite me at all," said the six-times Olympic medallist.

"I would really not be looking forward to it. The only way I'd ever do the track now is by coming back off the road. It's got to excite you to be able to do it."

The Team Sky rider – who has three Olympic golds, a silver and two bronzes in his collection – said he saw winning the Tour and securing a medal at the Games, which starts days after the Champs-Elysées finish to the Tour, as two halves of the same challenge.

"As crazy as it sounds to everyone, I don't see it as compromising one for the other. That's what I want to do – it's not a case of justifying why I'm doing it either," said Wiggins. "This is what I want to do, follow me and see what the results are and we'll talk about it afterwards. I'm doing it."

He said completing the Tour of Spain after breaking his collarbone and completing "the time trial of my life" at the world championships proved he could compete in both disciplines.

Wiggins said that given the choice he would compete in "everything" at the Olympics but he is likely to target the team pursuit on the track over the time trial on the road. "I'll ride the event I've got most chance of winning gold in and at this stage that will probably be the team pursuit, I imagine," he said. He said his coach, Shane Sutton, and others at British Cycling had "probably" already made the decision and expected to hear in "the next few weeks".

Wiggins, who set Cavendish up for his momentous victory on the final lap, hailed a "fantastic team performance" that helped the Manx rider to gold.

"Our plan worked perfectly. We always knew if we got him to that finish straight he'd be the fastest rider there. That's part of the belief the whole team had, that's why there was such commitment from everyone because knew Mark was going to finish it off," he said. "It's like a football team with the best striker in the world. Our job was quite easy in some respects in that we knew there was a 99% chance he was going to finish it off. It was an incredible day."

Wiggins said being able to hit the front with a lap to go was the "dream scenario". "It was like a relay race and we handed on the baton in perfect position each time until the home straight where I was able to give Mark the home stretch. It was phenomenal really," said Wiggins.

"I was always expecting the shit to hit the fan. I was like a dog on a leash who kept being held back to take over the reins with a lap to go. It couldn't have gone better really."

Displaying the focus that has been a feature of the evolution of British Cycling over the past decade, Wiggins said home advantage would not be a factor.

"It could be in Baghdad or anywhere it shouldn't change the performance in that velodrome," he said. "I haven't seen the velodrome, I don't really want to see it. That sounds dull but I don't want it to have any bearing or impetus on it. It shouldn't change the performance that day because the crowd's made up of more Brits or your family is there."

Owen Gibson, Tuesday 27 September 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tour de Pink

Whilst the Anglo Mules were engaged in Beer tasting at the Corner House in Beverley our US Counterparts were taking part in Tour de Pink.

Paddy says 'It was an eventful ride which saw the patricipation of three MULES
(Actually 1 Mule & two stallions). We galloped out at the start leading the
whole ride after 8 Miles, but a check on our speed saw us clocking 26 mph + . We
let others do some work for the next 25 miles but then it got crazy with riders
bunching at three & four deep at 24-26 mph and rain threatening. Lots of quick
turns had us loose Christian who we never saw again to the finish. SHawn and I
dialled it down after some cramping on my part followed by a wobbly back wheel.
A great ride though.

Well Done Guys

Monday, September 19, 2011

You can Take a Mule to water..................

After my America trip I came back to England with new vigour about riding and being a Mule.
It was great riding with so many Red white and blue shirts and having people 'holla' when the Mules cycled past. The perceived problem of transporting my bike on a plane did not pan out. It was simple, my bike arrived how Id packed it and I would recommend it to all.
After unpacking my hoofed steed in Beverley I had to 'Trot on' because I had another ride to attend to within 48 hrs. The Manchester 100. It was to be my forth time and I was joined by Mark who was eager to multiply his Century rides.
We managed to get set in a number of Chain gangs and even did some pulling. Although the course is relatively benign there are a number of annoying hills in the first section which did there best to shake me out of Rhythm and send my hearty rate into the 170's.
We eventually finished in just under 6 hrs. 5hrs 58 mins to be precise.
With the ride completed our journey home was accompanied with mixed emotions.
High with a post event rush yet sombre in realisation that this was our last formal ride of the year. It had been a great one.
6 century rides (including the Hottest one in recorded history)
112 mile race
24 hour ride
Coast to coast
A sack load of money for charity
Lots of laughs, smiles and tears.

In order to cheer ourselves up we turned our attention to Next Year.
Before the endorphins had left our bodies they had surely influenced our discussions.
Flat out in the Fens?
Of course........
Big G?
That was a real ****ker....
Exactly....... and we should aim to get Silver standard mean shave an hour or so off?
Yes....we will just have to train harder
Ok.............I Guess so
What about Coast to Coast again?
Again .........Boring ....... we have done that.......
Not in one day we havent...........(Belly laugh) that a real challenge)
I see.....ok Im in
Ok then lets do a triathlon as well
You mean run and swim as well as cycle?
Thats what they usually do in a triathlon. You cant Ride, drink and sleep. Thats just your life and does not count.
But you would look ridiculous in a Tri Suit.......
I wont by the time I have to wear one
I didn't know you can run
I cant...not with my new 'one pack'
or swim.
Cant do that much either although I can do 63 different variations of the Doggy paddle.
So you will come last !!!!!!!
(Big Smile) No I wont, ill beat you
Ha ha
The fear of me beating you will push You on, the fear of coming last will do the same for me.
Are you serious????????
When its posted on my blog as an event I am entering there is no backing down.
So you can take a Mule to water and Make him Swim
You bet you can.........As soon as the dates are published Im entering. Paddy le Patron of the MULES has asked me if I could use my blog as the official blog for The Mules website which I have agreed to. So as well as the usual ramblings I will be reporting on events state side.
To start off I am joyed to introduce three new Mules to the stable

Greg Macarelli (USA)

One of the elder statesmen who belies his age with a fitness and cycling ability that somebody half his age would be proud of.

Shawn Chmil (Canada)

Powerful rider who can spin the big rings all day and is often pulling the pack.

Christian Clark (USA)
Each team has to have a flier and Christian is ours. Whatever the terrain he is champing at the bit. Totally able to sprint to the finish and ensure that the stable is full of beer for their thirsty Mules.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hotter than Hell 2011 Part 2

Texas in August is hot every year but in 2011 it was one of the hottest on record, with days of contiuous 100 degrees plus reaching double figures. For this reason Joanne and I decided to arrive in the 'Lone star state' ten days before the Hotter than Hell. We were later followed by our fellow Anglo Mules Simon and Karen. Apart from wanting to empty my brother wine cellar we wanted to ensure our lungs were not too scorched with some gradual aclimatisation.

Tragically on our first ride together, with a full compliment of Anglo Mules - Karen had a horrific accident. She had to be flown by helicopter to Herman Memorial Hospital with serious head injuries. (Thankfully she is now well on her way to recovery and on behalf of the Mules we all wish her a speedy recovery)

As a cyclist you are constantly aware of the risk of being on a bike.

Cycing can be a dangerous in all its forms and accidents can and do occur anywhere and at anytime. Every year hundreds of cyclists take part in the Tour de France knowing that some of them will not finish due to some serious injury. I am sure Antonio Fletcha did not expect to have his tour ended by the reckless driving of an impatient French Television Crew.

I am ceratin that some TV producers are more interested in recording the carnaage than the cadence at times.

I think that when you are involved in a serious accienent or have witnessed one as was the case with Karen then you fully appreciate the potential for risk in all its forms.

In Karens case it was a pace line 'wheel touch', but as we all know acccidents can be caused by a variety of things. Mechanical faults, Road surface, other road users and your reactions to all of them.

In true British Spirit Simon and Karen wanted 'The show to go on' so we hitched up the Mule Trailer and headed out of town.

When I was 7 years old I lived in Fort Worth for three years as my father was there with work. last year we revisited on our way to the ride having luch in the old stock yard area.

We loved it so much that it was inevitable that we would revisit. With saddles for bar stools, great beer and fine food it was the perfect lunch stop.

After lunch we headed north and as we did so the teperature rose from an already scorcing 103 degrees.

............... 105 degrees the surrounding land was brown where the lush grass had been burnt many months previous

............107 degrees the ocaisional wooded or forrest area were populated with chared black trees, burnt to the truck by fires and giving the appeareance of hundreds of Totem Poles

............109 a constant mirage appeared in every distant hollow where I was half expecting to see Bing Crosby and Bob Hope

112 degrees ...................that enough I shouted to Kenny asking him to stop at a gas station for a drink. I was not thirsty but wished to drink out of respect for natures heat.

As we got closer to Witchita Falls the lanes became full of assorted vehicles carrying bikes. It was a truly fine sight although I have to admit there was no other convoy which could compare to the Mule wagon Train.

Once at Witchita the Mules required water and hay before rest. That translated to water and Pasta for most but for Kenny and I it was Shiner and more shiner with some strange food chucked into the mix. I was hydrating myself after all.

We elected to start at 6.15 to avoid the heat of the day........well as much as we could. The Mules set off at a blistering pace of 20 mph which in traffic was quite remarkable.

We all wore pink ribbons on our helmets to acknowledge that our thoughts and prayers were with Katren and Simon.

With the combination of speed and congestion and the associated fear of crashing Joanne was our first casulty SAGGING after 35 miles leaving me the only Anglo Mule left.

As the sun came up the suffering started and having our progress hampered by a succession of punctures the temperatures were soon over 100 degrees. Although cycling jerseys have three pockets at the rear I have only ever used one however I soon realised that if you filled the others ful of ice and did the same with your helmet at each stop then you could manage to keep your core temperature from rising too quickly.

By mid day the heat was attacking from two directions. The sun 109 degrees and bouncing off the road at over 120 degrees.........Some of the Mules were wilting.

At Hells gate we stoopped at the garage to 'Re Ice' only to discover one of my blog readers anticipating our arrival to provide moral support for the second year in a row, this time he had brought his grandson..............I was quite chocked

Eventually we made it in a very respectable time averaging 18.1 mph........Some hours later the sag wagons were still bringing riders in. Those who did not quite make it.

This year was ceratinly hotter than Hell and the hottest ride on record.