31 December 2009

2009 - Game over!

It’s New Year's Eve and I have lots of food and drink to consume. This will be a brief update!

Since my last blog I’ve managed to stay upright whilst cycling to and from work (more by luck than judgement with all the snow and ice we’ve had) and I’ve covered another 180 miles, bringing my total for the year to 3,573 miles. I set myself a target of 2,500 miles in 2009, so I’m rather pleased with the final outcome.

The birding has really taken a backseat over the past few months and as a result my “10-Mile List” hasn’t grown quite as well as it perhaps could have. Having said that, I did add Tawny Owl to the list on December 22 - a male bird calling in Alvaston Park as I cycled home after work. This was the final addition of the year and leaves me with a total of 138 species on the “10-Mile List” for 2009, two more than last year.

So, 2010. I’ve already set myself two targets for my cycling next year - I want to ride at least 4,000 miles during the year and also complete a single ride of 100 miles or more. I managed a ride of 70 miles back in October so the step-up to 100 shouldn’t be too much of a problem, I hope! If I can ever pick a bike that I really like then there may well be another purchase to be made early in the New Year too. I’ll be taking the plunge and finally becoming a Tour de France look-alike. As for the Lycra, it remains to be seen if I dare go that far!

I’ve not yet decided how to approach my birding in 2010. The challenge of chasing “ticks” within 10-miles of home over the last two years has certainly got me out and about a lot more but has also made it somewhat of a chore at times. If I’ve been alerted to a bird within my recording zone I’ve felt that I had to make the effort to go for it. At times, this has taken some of the pleasure out of my birding. I’ll see how things work out during the first month or two of the year before making a decision on how I’ll continue.


07 December 2009

Pride comes before a fall...

How true the above statement proved to be last week! On Monday evening I was rather proud of the fact that I’d managed to spot a folded £20 note laying by the side of a cycle path whilst I was riding home from work. The rain was falling, the wind blowing, I was riding at a fair pace and the path was completely unlit but my ageing eyesight was still keen enough to see the cash. I stopped, picked up my treasure and continued on my way, a little better off and rather pleased with myself.

On Friday morning I was riding to work, along the same stretch of cycle path, when I experienced “the fall”. It wasn’t just a fall; it was a big fall followed by a big impact, a slide and an abrupt stop! Mountain bike tyres, speed, freshly laid tarmac and ice don’t mix well, apparently! I’m still not quite sure exactly what happened but, to cut a long story short, I went around a bit of a curve and hit some ice that sent me crashing to the ground.

The impact with the ground would have been bad enough but I somehow managed to get my left leg trapped under the frame of the bike as I fell. That meant that the full length of the slide along the ground (around 15 feet) was carried out on the inside of my left knee and my left foot. The end result was a pair of cycling leggings with a large hole in, an over-shoe that looks like it had been subjected to a shark attack and a left knee that looks like the leftovers from a butchers block. My right wrist also aches and my left shoulder feels a little tight - the good news is that the bike came out of it almost unscathed!

The remains of my over-shoe.

This morning I decided that I ought to give my somewhat tattered flesh time to heal and so didn’t use the bike to get to work but went in the car instead. Tomorrow, I’ll be back on the bike. There is no way I can cope with all the traffic two days running! I may well have to ride a little slower than usual, perhaps a good thing, but at least it will be more enjoyable than sitting in a traffic jam.

On a more positive note, I’ve now cycled almost 3,400 miles this year. I’d quite like to predict what my total distance for the year is going to be but that may just be tempting fate a little too much, and I’ve also seen the weather forecast for the end of the week.... ICE!