26 January 2009

Bad back

Perhaps it's not cycling-related, but on Saturday night something just 'went' and I got a pretty sore back - a sharp, movement-related pain just below the right shoulder-blade.
On Sunday I went to the walk-in centre in Bury to have it seen to. Muscular, it seems - just rest it, take painkillers and enjoy!. Not a bad way to end the first week of my 44th year!.

13 January 2009


Two nights ago, as I approached a dark junction, a driver who hadn't seen me had to slam on the brakes - I had seen him in plenty of time and was in the process of slowing down, ready to stop if necessary.

A minute later, as I cycled uphill, they caught up with me and the wife lowered her window and told me my lights were too weak - ah, so it was all my fault.

Now, part of me felt angry. When I got home I propped the bike on the fence, walked 20 steps or so and checked that I could see the lights - I could.

The other part me went to Halfords yesterday, bought and fitted new batteries for all my lights. They've been going since October, and it may be that my mind is playing a trick on me - 'scenario fullfilment syndrome' they call it, ie 'you see what you expect to see'. Best avoided, for a few quid.

Preparations continue

Last Sunday, three of us went on another pro-C2C ride. We were supposed to go to Holcombe and Peel Tower, but thanks to PH's local knowledge it changed slightly - we got to Holcombe but then turn West and went back via Affetside.

View Larger Map

We covered 17 miles in 1h45' - no stops except to get our bearings after getting lost (a couple of times). Good stuff.

02 January 2009

T'was Xmas!

Yes, it's over. I'm back at work. And back on the bike, after 10 days of almost complete exercise-less, home-based overindulgence (OK, did a couple of very short walks in freezing cold). Must remember: 2nd January is a great day for cycling - and for working. Hardly anyone out. Today, the weather while cold was very dry... and gave me the opportunity to try on Santa's gifts.

Yes, the man who 2.5 years ago vowed not to wear 'specialist' gear, has succumbed, caved in, become another lycra-wearing statistic. To add to last year's Altura trousers, this Xmas I got short and long sleeves 'base layers' (glorified t-shirts), a micro-fleece top and an ultra-reflective cycling rain jacket. Apart from the latter, all items were good-value and on offer. Only on the jacket did I really splash out, an Altura number, bought from Evans mainly because I wanted to try it on and make sure it fits - sorry, CTC online shop!.

About my change of heart from my early days, let me just say I've taken my time. Yes, there are good arguments to promote a kind of cyclo-commuting that is about getting to work as you would by any other means - fully clothed and ready for the day, riding a bike designed to protect one's clothes, provide comfort and enable a genteel journey over well-designed dedicated cycle lanes. I'm all for that... but not for me. My commute is also my 'gym', and while I'm not into performance (believe me!), I do aim to stretch myself a little, trying to build the foundations for bike touring - I made a start on this last year, and hope to cultivate it further in the future.

Plus, I have been going through cotton vests like chainlinks over chainrings (hey!), the house looking like a launderette, sweatie t-shirts making the wash basket smell. The new tops, I hope, will be less of a problem - what with their antibacterial coating, evil-eye shielding treatment and what have you. It all makes sense. Next stop will have to be footwear... and pedals?