Friday 30 October 2020



Fueling; the term used by cycling and I'm sure other sports participants for eating. I just say eating.

When you start attempting longer rides - over ninety minutes - energy levels become an issue. For my early rides I ate prior to starting, and then from shops during it. I couldn't always find a shop when I was hungry, or I didn't fancy what was on offer.

A previous post mentioned me lacking drive on the last part of a club ride; it was caused by not eating properly. I was so intent on keeping up, I forgot the food I had brought, and didn't fancy cake at the cafe we stopped at. You would have thought I knew better.

There are energy gels, bars and drinks.

I tried a few options, there is a wide variety. Some are too sweet, leave my mouth feeling dry, taste terrible or unsettle my stomach.

Eventually I settled on gels from my local bike shop and bars online. I haven't found a drink I like: too sweet, causes a dry mouth, or leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. I tend to stick with water.

The bars are Chia Charge; carbohydrate for during the ride and afterwards, protein. The gels are Stealth
I am also tryied SIS, I got a discount code so I thought, why not. 
The Chia Charge energy bars are tasty, and are easily digested. They continue to be my favourites, the chia seeds are an interesting addition. From what I have read they are a positive contribution to a balanced intake. I tend to eat half at a time though. They do half bars but I think the full size ones are a little better value. 
The peanut butter is excellent, not the cheapest. But compared to the premium brands it's not that pricey. I don't know if I had any influence, but the first tub I bought didn't have enough whole peanuts for me. I emailed them asking if the recipe could be changed. The next tub had a lot more.
The protein bars are made of mini crispy bits. I like the consistency and I look forward to them after a ride.

I'll need to put another order in, although longer rides are less often this time of year.
The Stealth gels taste nice, and are very light on the stomach. I have consumed them for the past few months.

The SIS package contained a powder to mix with water for recovery after a ride; gels, and three types of bar to be taken at different intervals including one with added caffeine to supply a get you home boost.

The SIS gels have a less intense taste, nothing else to report, they seem to act just as fast as the Stealth ones. 

The energy bakes are very tasty, I felt full up for quite a while.

A caffeine bar was on the menu before riding to a cafe; a little too chewy for me. The taste was okay, it felt somewhat heavy in the stomach.

Arriving home, a recovery drink is a first; I couldn't get it to mix completely, there were still lumps. It was okay, but I don't think I'll be buying again.
Then finally a nitrate bar; apparently you can perform a nitrate loading protocol prior to an endurance event. It all seems a little high tech for me. It tasted okay, but I'm not sure how it differs from a normal bar.

My favourite from SIS is the energy bake, I'll get some more of them.
But stick to the bars and peanut butter from Chia Charge, with the Stealth gels.

If the ride is only thirty miles and has a cafe stop; no need to bring anything with me.

cake and coffee

cake and coffee Tanhouse Farm

Sunday 25 October 2020

Summer time ends

clock marking the end of summer time

This morning we said goodbye to summer time, and got an extra hour in bed.

Plenty of leaves on the roads making them slippery, and conkers to be avoided. I don't think their spines would puncture a tyre but riding over one does cause a wobble. On a bend that is not something you want.

Much of the after work loop is comprised of quiet lanes through woodland, some without lighting. Wildlife frequently scamper across the light beam, but I can hear much more crashing through the dark undergrowth either side of me. I know it's only deer, foxes and cats; unsettling nonetheless.

I found it really hard to motivate myself this week. It wasn't the weather, I have rainproof clothing and I'm not going to dissolve if I get wet. Maybe it's riding the same route day after day, or the shorter colder days. This is the first year I will have been out during the week; the darker nights are more noticeable. Maybe it's just that I feel I have less time. With a few days away from work coming up, I can ride during the day. Hopefully that will bring back some balance, and improve my mood.

I haven't missed many days since March, never more than two in a week. I am determined to keep it going through the winter. This is what gets me out everyday.

Saturday took a long time to come around, and the ride with Matthew and Richard. We rode to a cafe in Tatsfield. No inside seating meant it was chilly, but we sat reminiscing about our rides to Paris and along the South Downs Way. 

tatsfield village cafe

Before they arrived I went for a local blast to catch some early sun. It was warmer than the cafe ride.

autumn leaves caterham

As I took this picture conkers were falling around me; I kept my helmet on.

autumn leaves caterham

It's a late post this week, I didn't get out in time to meet Matt. Then had errands to run, finally getting on the bike late in the afternoon. 

waller lane black and white

Sunday 18 October 2020

Coffee, cake and donkeys

tanhouse farm donkeys

I have been out on the mountain bike during the week, the roads are so rough, it isn't pleasant on the road bike.

On Wednesday the oven partially packed up. The fan heater failed and tripped the main house circuit breaker. I reset it and the oven appeared to start cooking again. I returned thirty minutes later to find cold food; the fan was working, but no heat. I cooked using using normal, slower, mode. This meant I went out for my ride later. Less traffic but very dark in some parts. I went a bit off-road to really test my light (Cycliq 12). 

The lowest power setting was just enough for me, but not for the camera. Just a dull circle of light was picked up by the sensor. Under streetlights it was better, but the quality was still poor. It was set to its lowest resolution, for the next ride I changed both settings to high.

I think it did pretty well, to me it seemed brighter, certainly enough to see the path ahead.

Saturday was a return to the road bike, with Oxted CC. It was lead by a pair on a tandem. It may be slower going up hill, but it quickly picks up speed going down.

tan house farm tandem

We went to Tanhouse Farm; they have donkeys. Food and drink was served from a small cabin, and a barn had been converted to provide very spacious seating.

Phil arrived at the Tatsfield bus stop to meet Matt and I on Sunday. He spoilt us again; revealing homemade French fancies. Not made by him, I must add. His daughter had been inspired by Bake Off. Very tasty they were.

French fancies at tatsfield bus stop

Sunday 11 October 2020

Where have all the people gone?

Where have all the people gone
My photography is going in a new direction.

I feel I am moving away from portraits and people photography in general. This year I did a family commission, a studio shoot in March, and one in August.  

A project with Janice and Saskia is moving along, and a plan for a shoot with Eddy motorcycle consultants is in its early stages.

I have focused instead on the photography for my posts. I think of an idea; type away at it during the week and the challenge is to produce an interesting picture to head the page. And maybe some from the rides I have done, this is getting more difficult. A limited number of locations and routes is testing my creativity. A positive spin would be that it's also pushing me to ride to new places, and think differently.

I might investigate the genre of architectural street: gritty black and white, light and dark, shapes.

I find it hard to translate the vision I have to the camera. It will come with practice.

A colleague at work - Xavier - is also an avid photographer; we are now challenging each other to become more creative. I set the first subject, the title of this post. His reply was colour contrast. I haven't found the target for my camera yet.

Would my readers like to suggest a topic?

Sunday 4 October 2020

Gone cycling

Gone cycling

I watched the last episode of Gone Fishing with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse last week, and I thought of Matt and I sat at various bus stops, churchyards and cafes. Drinking tea is our angling.

We don't really care what people think of us, or if they understand the simple pleasure of meeting every week. 

Sometimes we talk serious subjects, almost nothing, stupid topics, or laugh with and at each other.

We have differing views on somethings, agree on others, change our minds or just agree to disagree.

I hope we never take the meetings for granted. 

I must admit it took a little time to readjust after they started again, I was use to solo bike rides. Stopping and talking was unusual.

At first I couldn't settle down, I don't know why but I was eager to get on the bike again. I think maybe because I always had in my mind needing to get back for Marcia. The carers are visiting again, so I can slow down.

I'm not sure if we'll go back to meeting at the green and cycling together to our tea drinking location, or if it will be solo rides to the designated place. Either seems to work, and doesn't feel odd.

Doing our own thing feels okay, Saturday we ride alone most of the time, coming together on Sunday. 

Lining up group rides give me extra to look forward to, life is still fairly solitary. 

Two bad days this week.

dormant farming
Phone got wet and died during this ride.

into the woods 
Fell off bike after this pic was taken, causing a stiff hip
coffee at the velo barn
A cafe and a bike shop.

Avoided the worst of the rain on Saturday, for a coffee and slice of cake at the Velo Barn near Westerham.

The storm stepped up a level on Sunday, Matt and I decided to ride routes local to our houses rather than meet as arranged. I did just over ten miles of the circuit I do after work. My hands were freezing, hopefully the gloves I have on order will be the last piece of the puzzle needed to make winter riding comfortable