Tuesday 26 April 2022

A year in pictures

I ride after work, along very familiar roads. The passing seasons are on view for most of the route. I chose a location that had a reasonable view, and was close to home. I try to take them at roughly the same time of day, during my after work ride. But the winter months presented a challenge, so sometimes it's earlier.







I had to lean the bike against the fence to include the sunset in the shot. It's getting dark very quickly in the evening.


The clocks had gone back, it's dark before I left the house. I used the log that was a prop for the bike as a light stand. Look at the light pollution in the distance, it seems never to get fully dark.

December was more of the above, so during the week I was in the garage on the trainer. It wasn't until near the end of the month that I took this one. On the way back from a short post Christmas ride.

road bike grey clouds

The bike got so filthy everytime I went out, the previous day had been a long ride in nearly continuous rain. I got home soaked, but not cold. It had been very mild for a week or so. The solstice had passed, so the days were getting longer. But it was still dark before I finished work.

misty morning
misty January morning


February's picture was taken very early in the month, and in the morning. I didn't have much time so it was a solo ride. I did stop at Flower Farm for a hot drink though. It didn't look it but there was a chill in the air. Still warmer than a typical day at this time of the year. The grass was frosty when left the house, melting before I reached my photography spot.

zimmer frame

After coming off on ice at the end of February my steed for March was the above.

in the garage on the trainer

April saw a small improvement. Still no ride to the photo location, and it's too far to walk at the moment. I have to be satisfied with the garage bike for now.

Sunday 24 April 2022

On my bike again

riding the trainer

I'm moving forward again. Previous highlights were having the stitches removed. Then the all-clear to put a bit of weight on my leg and start physio. Now I've ridden for a couple of times, albeit in the garage.

I knew I'd lost a bit of strength and fitness, but I wasn't prepared for how much.

The good news is that it didn't hurt to get on the trainer. It hurt to bend forward to the bars.

I started on the lowest resistance, warmed up and cranked it up a bit. My heart rate climbed quickly and my leg muscles started to complain

During the next forty-five minutes I turned the dial up and down, to see what I was capable of. Torn between pushing myself and not wanting to do any damage.

I've been doing half an hour after work during the week, and two sessions each day of the weekend.

Things are improving: leg strength, fitness and the hip pain.

I will soon be riding with Matt and Oxted CC again. It is dependant on the next hospital appointment at the end of May.



My enforced break from cycling has been tough. I've been watching even more youtube videos chronically other people's cycling adventures and challenges. The last one was about two childhood friends completing the Great Divide (GD) route, North to South across America. From the Canadian to the Mexican borders.

It reminded me of the two multi day rides with Richard and Matthew. Although London to Paris and the South Downs Way are a long way short of the 2400 miles they rode. The shared memories mean a lot to me.

Then there are the rides with Matt and Oxted CC. A few hours when we are just in the moment and other stuff takes a back seat.

I have mentioned this years ride to Cornwall - sponsorship link at the top of the page. And my plans for next year and beyond.

I have some questions.

Do I invite others? 

Does anyone want to join me?

How will having companions affect the trip?

The first question is partially dependant on the second.

The third has two answers. The trip will be improved and made more complicated. Arranging more people's calendars' can be tricky.

It also depends what bikes other people have. The terrain has to be suitable and accessible. Daily distances need to be achievable for eveyone.

If it's just me, I can go when, where and as far as I want. Very simple.

Am I antisocial to want to be alone sometimes?

If anyone does wants to join me for a mult-day ride next year; what do I have planned?

I will ride my mountain bike to Bristol over two days, stay overnight. Then take the same amount of time to do this route created by Will Cycle. Returning home the same way. Why the MTB you may ask. The Will Cycle loop is a mix of cycle ways, green lanes, gravel and road. He says a road bike could do it, but I have a bike more suitable. The ride to Bristol will be on the road , 65 miles a day is okay on a MTB.

I would like also like to do a WW1 inspired ride in France. It's partly the reason for me learning French. But that may be for another year.

Thursday 14 April 2022

On the mend

the hip fracture


The latest milestone was my visit to the fracture clinic to see a consultant. And have another x-ray. I was a little disappointed to be told it'll be another six weeks of partial mobility. I can at least start putting some weight on it, and use the indoor bike. The next check-up should confirm I can get out on my road bike.

\the repair a plate amd some screws.

I hadn't seen the scan before. I didn't appreciate how big the fracture was. Almost completely across the bone.

And then to see the repair; it was another surprise. I had not expected so much metalwork. It explains the muscle stiffness and pain. 

I still have time until the solstice ride, the consultant did say I should make a full recovery. His words were: this is a break we more often see in the elderly, and they heal very well. So me being young is a good thing. I guess I can take that as encouragement.

Saturday 2 April 2022

Je parle un peu le français

Learning French
A while ago I wrote about future cycling goals. I wanted to ride in France and maybe Spain. Our close neighbour is top of my list so I started learning French. 

It's tough going; for the first few weeks nothing seemed to sink in. The last attempt to learn a language was the first three yearsat secondary school. It was German and no-one liked the teacher, so we didn't put much effort into it. I dropped the subject as soon as I could, and like most British people took advantage of English being widely spoken around the world.

A few years ago I did try to pick up a little Spanish when we had a few holidays in Gran Canaria. But it was only while we were in the hotal and didn't get much further than hola, gracias and una cerveza por favor - hello, thanks and a beer please -; not very good I admit.

What progress have I made in the last month? It's starting to sink in, I can recognise words when they are spoken to me. I can read and understand basic sentences, and string simple phrases together. I struggle with masculine and feminine words, the accents when I have to write answers and spelling. 

My grandaughters visited to see how I was doing. Marcelina greated me in French, my mind went blank. Not good; I couldn't even remember "Je suis bein, merci". I did however have "à bientôt" ready when she left. She is multilingual; speaking English and Polish perfectly and learning Spanish as well as French. I don't know how she does it. Actually I do; she is a very clever young lady. My other two grandaughters will be just as inteligent, they are all so quick at picking up new skills.

To save you googling the translations.

Je parle un peu le français - I speak a little French.

Comment ça va? - how are you doing?

Je suis bein, merci - I am fine, thank you.

à bientôt - see you soon.

I try to spend at least half an hour a day practising. It's not yet a habit, I find I'm too easily distracted. I am determined to keep at it. I woud really like to at least hold short conversations with people during my visit next year.