Monthly Archives: November 2010

First snowy pedal of the winter

I had to walk out of my road this morning, about 2″ of snow and ice on the road. The main road at the top wasn’t much better but at least it was rideable. It was still snowing too which meant I kept getting flakes in my eyes which wasn’t that pleasant. I took to pedalling with my head down a bit so my helmet peak kept most of it out. The temperature was -4.

The roads cleared at Northfield due to the volume of traffic where I joined the A38. There is never a lot of traffic at that time, but just enough to get the grit spread and the road fairly clear of snow and ice. The cycle lane wasn’t clear though so I pedalled in the inside lane. Something I wouldn’t do later in the day!

I chanced the canal towpath yesterday, it was pretty dodgy to be honest, very icy and slippery, I did have the odd slide before I reached Selly Oak so I came off there and did the Bristol Road and Frankly home. My bike was caked in snow around the brakes and gear mechs when I came off the cut too, it must have added about 5Ibs in weight! I’ll not be towpathing it tonight, I’ll be dicing with death with the tin boxes through Edgbaston and Harbourne. The real downside of winter!


-6, and a year of blogging.

November the 29th 2009 was my first tentative step in to the world of blogging after spending a load of time commenting on various people’s cycling and weight loss blogs. I thought I’d better start one myself as I seemed to have a bit say about my own weight loss and pedalling progress after all of these good people motivated me to start.

The people in question who got me started are Frank Kinlan, Gaz, James and not forgetting Joby. All 4 of these blokes are directly responsible for the plethora of words I’ve typed, the miles I’ve pedalled and the weight I’ve lost. Oh, and they’re responsible for me freezing my bollocks off this morning, but more on that later.

Once I got into the blogging, I’ve “met” a load of really nice supportive folk, all with their own tale to tell be it bike or weight loss related, or both. I know I’ve said it before, but this is a community and very much a team game.

I’ve also actually really met in real life, Rafe, JB and Redbike to share various pedals with. All top blokes who all share a love of the bike.

Please do not be offended if I haven’t mentioned you directly, to be honest I could have spent the entire time on this particular blog just listing and thanking the people who I’ve shared emails with, Twitter time, Facebook conversations and blog comment conversations over the year. But I’m willing to bet your own particular blog is linked in my Blogroll. If it isn’t give me a shout and I’ll get you up there.

Everyone of you good people have kept me on the straight and narrow, been there to offer support, a bit of gentle cajoling or outright abuse if you thought I’ve needed it and I sincerely thank you all for it. I hope I’ve been equally “motivating!”

Segueing smoothy onto “motivating”, I needed every bit of my motivation this morning, -6, very icy although no snow thankfully. I decided to belt in on the road rather than chance a dodgy canal towpath. I’m glad I did, that was one of the few times I’ve actually been properly cold on  my bike. I’ll make a route home decision when I saddle up this afternoon.

Quiet Sunday

Nothing much doing today, I think the kids are going sledging and I’m taking the opportunity to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet before the working week of icy commutes. My bike is cleaned and my kit is ready. I’ll probably watch the recording of Wales v New Zealand while the family are out.

The England v South Africa game was a brutal game. Anyone who knows anything about rugby will know exactly what you get with the ‘Boks. Route one straight hard running, a fanatical kamikaze defence and a complete disregard for life and limb at the contact area.

It’s all very well knowing what’s coming, it’s being able to deal with it is the trick and England’s youngsters were short of the mark. They were bullied from minute 1 when the ‘Boks Skipper Victor Matfield caught the kick off and made hard yards until minute 80 when a bloodied and bruised England team gratefully heard the final whistle.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, that was a very hard and very useful lesson in the realities of test match rugby. And it’s a lesson that will serve them well in next year’s 6 Nations and the Rugby World Cup. If I was the England Management team I’d be making all right disappointed noises to the press and players, but secretly very grateful for the experience before a vital rugby year.

Oh, and a quick “thank you” to the Jocks for making the South Africans angry by surprisingly beating them last week. Be under no illusions that that game had a massive effect on events at Twickenham yesterday. Believe it or not Rugby is a game mainly played and won in the head and there was a huge sense of shock and no little shame in the South African camp after their defeat last week. There was no way they were losing 2 on  the bounce. The fanatical South African Rugby fans would not have let them back in the country and the vilification they’d have recieved in their press would make an England football story look like a Vicar’s tea party report in the local press.

All in all the score of England 11 – South Africa 21 flattered England, but they’ll be better for it.


Well after being Brass Monkey weather for a few weeks we’ve finally had a fall of the white stuff. Just about an inch, but a precurser for more I think.

Good evening in the Dodford yesterday. They were serving Black Sheep Ale which is one of my favourite bottled beers. It’s very rare I get to have it from the cask. Very nice!

I think we’ll be staying in today, I’ll get the Rugby in this afternoon. England’s last Autumn Test v the World Champions South Africa. I’m expecting a ‘Bok back lash after their defeat last week against Scotland, but I’m also expecting England to win.

A series of milestones…

Phew, what a week. It was hard going, especially with it being cold which brings on an urge to eat crap unfortunately, but I resisted and was really good and kept everything as it should be. My excercises were done religiously after every pedal and I pedalled for 5 days this week.

This morning was a bit of a problem, my inner wimp was giving it loads, but I managed to beat him and get out for a 22 miler around the cut and Alvechurch.

Route here:

This was taken just before dawn by Bittell Reservoir this morning.

The milestones are these:

I reached the 6 stones weightloss at my weigh in, cracked the 5000 miles pedalled with 5127 miles and completed Phill’s Nov 100 with 106 miles and a total of 492.45 miles! I’m leading the total mileage so far, but I know JB will have something to say about that!

To say I’m chuffed would be something of an understatement, when I look back to June 09 and how I looked and my pedalling capabilities or lack of, I don’t recognise myself now.

If you’re reading this and struggling a bit or thinking of starting a weight loss program, then just do it! There’s never a right time to start, I know, I spent 10 years waiting for the right time. There’s always some more urgent priority for our time, a reason to wait “until next week, next month” or whatever. But it’s not until you’re a fair way in to it and you start to feel the benefit of it that you realise it’s perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself and more importantly your family.

Remember Henry Ford’s saying – “Whether you say you can’t or whether you say you can, you’re probably right!”


Working from  home today as the Spawn of Satan has a very bad cold and is too ill for Nursery. So I did my 20 miler to Edgbaston Tunnel and back via NCR5 and the canal starting at 0500hrs. It was bloody freezing! -3 and my toes were dropping off with the cold after about 15 miles.

Dan won’t be better tomorrow so it’ll be more of the same. Only a different route. I’m thinking Alvechurch, The Lickey’s and the canal for about 25 miles. Hope it’s a tad warmer.

Weigh in tomorrow, I’m hoping the static weight thing has stopped. Been very good with the grub, the pedalling and my excercises all week again.

Ice Station Zebra

As predicted by the Met boys, we have another cold snap, I was doing a pretty good impression of a Soviet Ice Breaker around Murmansk, pedalling through the frozen puddles on the cut this morning. That description is quite apt as I have all the manoverability of an Ice Breaker!

I decided to use my gears again on the way home yesterday rather than single speed it. That resulted in a 10 minute time saving although predictably at the cost of a more erratic HR reading.

I had the same time saving this morning too. It was fun going as fast as I can again though!

So far I haven’t suffered from cold toes. I have my Aldi cycling socks on, then my Sealskinz waterproof socks, my new cycling shoes and finally my overshoes. All of that seems to be doing the job. The test will be if the temperature dips to what it did last winter. My record was -7 which resulted in a bit of frost nip on my nose. I don’t mind the cold, but I hope it doesn’t get that cold this winter!