26 February 2012

Bacon butty power...

Two weeks on from my last update and the weather, the season and the mileage has moved on, swiftly.

The snow has gone, the temperature has rocketed up to the dizzy heights of around 17°c during the past week, spring flowers are in bloom and my cycling mileage has benefited as a result. The week of Feb 13 - 19 saw me cover a total of just over 132 miles, a huge leap from the meagre 25 miles I managed in the snow and ice of the previous week. During the past seven days, I’ve upped the pace a little more and clocked up a further 160 miles.

As a result of these two weeks of better weather my mileage for the year now stands at 770 miles, a rather pleasing 102 miles more than I rode in the same period last year. If I’m to hit my target of 6,000 miles before the end of the year I’m going to have to start and rack up some much higher totals over the coming months but, at this point, I’m feeling reasonably confident that it may just be attainable.

Although I’m going to be focusing on my yearly mileage target this year, I’ll be making sure that the way I go about reaching it will be as enjoyable as possible too. So, today's 50 mile ride around South Derbyshire included a stop at Alvaston Lake, to see the birds there, a quick photo stop for spring crocuses and, the best bit, a delicious bacon sandwich an hour into the ride! I burnt around 2,400 calories during this morning's ride.... so a bacon sandwich is just like putting a couple of gallons of fuel in the tank of your car! That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking by it!

Having just seen the weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon (rain) I think I’ll be riding the short route home from work and treating it as a “rest day”.

Enjoy your week!

Crocuses in Alvaston Park.

12 February 2012

Not a great week...

For 2012, I’ve set myself the challenge of cycling at least 6,000 miles. Up until last Saturday (Feb 4th) all was going well. The weather had been mainly dry, if cold, and the mileage had been steadily adding up. In total, I’d covered 451 miles - 53 miles more than the same period last year. Now, just one week later, I’m 24 miles BEHIND last year! I hate snow!

The forecast had been for snow to hit Derby at around 3pm last Saturday and, almost to the minute, hit us it did. By late evening around four inches of snow had covered all the side roads and, more importantly for me, the cycle paths. Any thoughts of a Sunday morning ride were quickly forgotten. It was a day for drinking coffee in front of the TV and dreaming of spring.

The garden on Sunday morning.

By Monday, the gritting lorries had the main roads and bus routes clear of snow so I set off (slowly) on the ride to work. I’d planned on riding along the cycle paths at a nice steady pace and covering around seven miles. Just a few yards onto the path and I changed my mind! The new tyres I’ve fitted to the winter bike are a complete waste of time on snow, and I had to take my chances with the rush hour traffic, on the roads.

The tyres, Continental Travel Contacts, are claimed to be “
the best thing I have ever had on a bike” according to one world touring cyclist, and “great on the road and not bad either when the road ends and some off road riding is required” on the Continental web site. Neither mention the fact that the tyre turns your bike into Bambi on ice! That said, they have proved to be spot on for the reason I did fit them... to stop punctures. They’re Kevlar reinforced.

Needless to say, the rest of the, very snowy and icy, week has seen me riding to work on the roads and, as a result, dropping a lot of miles. The total mileage for the week was just 25 miles - I often cover that distance with just one day's commuting.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to be able to get back to riding my usual routes to and from work and starting to claw back all those lost miles.

Roll on spring!

02 February 2012

The Times Cities fit for cycling campaign...

Taken directly from The Times website...

"In November, Times journalist Mary Bowers was just yards from arriving at work on her bike when she was hit by a lorry. Mary, 27, is still not conscious and is making a slow recovery in hospital.

Tragically, such an accident is far from rare. More than 27,000 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on British streets in the past 10 years.

On the urban roads of Britain today cyclists need to be fit for cities. Cycling should be both safe and pleasurable. Ministers, mayors and local authorities must build cities that are fit for cycling.

The Times has launched a public campaign and 8-point manifesto calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists."

Please, take the time to click on the badge below, have a read of their page and pledge your support for this campaign.

The Times Cities fit for cycling