So, this is a new venture on my part. For many years I have enjoyed cycling and following cycling on the TV as well. Back in my youth, and especially as a student, the bike was my means of independent transportation, and it kept me fit as well. However, on leaving Uni the bike took a back seat and was generally confined to the garage or attic. Thus, when I was approaching my 50th birthday (a few years back now) I decided to get the old bike out and see if I could maybe lose a little weight by cycling around the local area. There are some times when it seems like a good idea at the time, but living as I do in a fairly hilly area I soon discovered gravity is indeed a heartless bitch. Going up hills had suddenly become unpleasant.
At that time I was using my dad's 1959 Flying Scot, with down tube gear changers and only ten gears. I would tell you that the bike was also very heavy, but by comparison to me it was a positively silf like thing, so no blame can be approtioned to the bike! Anyway, undeterred by this setback I decided that a newer bike was in order (if only I had had the benefit of hindsight). My wonderful wife generously agreed to buy said bike for my 50th birthday gift, even though it would arrive several months early - maybe I would lose weight by the time I hit 50!!! - maybe not??!! Anyway, the new bike introduced me to two entirely new concepts - Indexed Gears & Clip-in Pedals. The first was easy to come to terms with and is a fantastic development in cycling when compared with the old down tube gears I grew up with. However, the clip-ins were, perhaps predicably, more challenging. In fact, like almost everyone else who has tried them out, I fell off the bike the first time I tried to use them, and I had not even travelled a foot. Very embrassing. Picking myself up and crying "My new bike, My new bike???" I quickly satisfied myself that it was only me that was bruised and headed off for a first cycle. This was a wonderful experience but I also learned that it was not the bike that was making going up hill difficult.
Thus, several years later, this brings me to the purpose of this blog. I have cycled a fair bit over these years, but nothing like as often as I had hoped. I have even done a couple of sportifs - Loch Ness Etape & Tour of the Borders - very slowly. However, I have not lost weight, nor have I gained fitness. Thus, I am now on a serious drive to both and to use my bikes to achieve this, yes there are more than one of them - I am after all a firm disciple of the Velominati Rule 12 - The correct number of bikes is n+1 . In addition to the bikes, it will be obvious to readers that I have a passion for photography, and ironically my resurgence in interest in this field has contributed significantly to the reduced amount of cycling in recent years. So, what is the answer I hear you ask? Well that is simple, isn't it - combine both. I intend to do just that and have set up this blog, separately from my main photography blog, to record my progress. Oh yes, there is one other thing I need to do - apply some Rule 5 (see here if you don't already know that one).
So how will this work? Seriously, essentially I am trying to lose weight, improve my fitness levels and get my overly stressed and frustrated old man head sorted out. Not much of a target really. When I go for a ride I will record the journey on my Garmin and the MapmyRide app (I refuse to get into the competitive Strava psychology), and I will post up the details and how it went, with images where I feel it is worthwhile. I don't intend to be out cycling every day, I am not Bradley Wiggins after all, but I want to try and make this fun by visiting interesting and picturesque places where the traffic does not make it feel suicidal. I still have other things in life to do, like work and normal photography, so this will require balance and perspective, but also commitment and prioritisation. I also intend to try and do some yoga for cyclists to improve my core strength and flexibility.
From a photography perspective I should stress that all the photos used on this blog (well most) will be taken using my mobile phone, after all you don't want to be lugging a full frame DSLR and lenses, etc. around on a bike, I am heavy enough without all that guff. That doesn't mean that I wont do my best to make some of them interesting.
Finally, back to that collection of bikes referred to above. From time to time I might include a 'Down at the Bike Shed' post where I look at the bikes in my collecton, their history and some of the work I have done or am doing to keep them maintained or bringing them back into useable condition. This will be an ongoing learning experience for me, no doubt informed mainly by YouTube clips, and hopefully readers will find the bikes interesting.
I hope you enjoy my blog and please feel free to contribute with comments and maybe we can get fitter and lighter together through celebrating the ancient and venerable art of cycling and our love of bikes.
I am an enthusiastic cyclist who suffers from being overly large, making the pleasure of cycling somewhat challenging. Hopefully, through combining my interest in cycling with my photography I will get fitter AND produce some decent images.
164.88 km (103.0 miles)
9 hours 55 minutes
16.6 km/h ave speed
1307 m gained