Wednesday 28 February 2024

Black and white film

ilford xp2 super 400 black and white film

I was initially stumped for ideas. What theme could I use for this post? I'd never used this type of film so considered the shot before taking the picture. During the editing in the digital age I'd "test" to see if a picture might look better without colour. It was rare to think about it before pressing the shutter button. Maybe that wasn't the right process, but it's what I did.

This genre normally produces gritty, arty images, or cityscapes decay and drama. I don't have this locally. I did have long shadows. I planned a walk around this idea.

black and white goalpost

black and white water fountain

black and white bench

As I wandered around I realised I'd missed an opportunity; autumn. Not for the colours, but for a chance to create something a little different. You always see golds, reds and oranges during this season. 

autumn colours leaves

Could I have done it a little differently? I used what was still in evidence.
A few months have past since the above. Now into 2024 I went for a walk around Kenley airfield.  

Established in 1917 aeroplanes were constructed from sections and flown to Europe for combat in the First World War. 
Kenley was a very important airfield in the Second World War, and during the Battle of Britain was responsible for the defence of a large airspace over southern England.

RAF Kenley

Most of what was there during the Second World War has gone or overgrown.

RAF Kenley bomb shelter

RAF Kenley blast pen

There are information plaques and a memorial. 

RAF Kenley information plaque

RAF Kenley memorial

I think black and white suited this walk.

Sunday 25 February 2024

Ch ch ch changes

orange bar tap shimano ultegra

More bike news. In July I rode to the Isle of Wight, or at least most of the way. Link.

Close to Portsmouth I was knocked off by an inconsiderate, impatient, stupid driver. In January I finally got a payout from her insurance. It wasn't the full amount I should have received, but that was because the police wouldn't prosecute for due care and attention. It seems unless there is video evidence they don't bother. I wonder if they use the same logic for other wrongdoing; I doubt it.

The levers were functional but damaged. I also replaced the cranks. The later were okay but I was sourcing the parts from ebay and had a little money left to pay for them. I also didn't replace all of the clothing to save a bit more.

Why did I replace the cranks? I wanted a shorter set; since I broke my hip it hurts occasionally on longer rides and when I use the dropped part of the handlebars for an extended period. Both symptoms suggest there is a slight restriction to the range of movement; this change should help. And they have a power meter built in. This isn't really necessary, but I thought; why not? It would be interesting to see how much power I produce and if I improve as the year progresses.

Magene PES P505 Base Power Meter Crankset

The saddle had started to fray and I think it's a bit too narrow. The replacement is wider, shorter, supposedly 3D printed and carbon fibre in its construction. I say supposedly because it comes from China via Aliexpress so you never really know. I could be doing the supplier as disservice. Maybe the only way it could have been produced would be by this method. 

carbon fibre saddle 3d printed

The mountain bike has had one for a while, and it does feel better than the previous perch. Including a replacement carbon seat post it also shaved off an extra 200 grams. The Kona is now well under 13kg, a massive improvement. Link.

The bar tape needed to be replaced, I went from black as it had been to orange to complement my Kona.

kona orange forks handlebar grips

Thursday 15 February 2024

It ain't easy


fitness it ain't easy

As we get older keeping fit gets harder. I think it's tougher than getting fit in the first place.

When you start to exercise you have a great goal; improve from where you are. And you're younger.

There are many reasons for becoming less fit.

It's a natural process.

Muscle loss and changes:

  • Sarcopenia: This refers to the age-related decrease in muscle mass and strength. It starts around 30 and accelerates after 50, mainly due to a decline in protein synthesis and hormonal changes like reduced testosterone and growth hormone.
  • Fiber type shift: Older adults lose more fast-twitch muscle fibers, responsible for power and speed, than slow-twitch fibers used for endurance. This contributes to decreased strength and performance in activities like sprinting and jumping.

Physiological changes:

  • Metabolic shift: With age, our bodies become less efficient at using energy and tend to store more fat, leading to weight gain and reduced fitness levels.
  • Cardiovascular changes: The heart becomes less efficient at pumping blood, and arteries lose elasticity, affecting oxygen delivery to muscles and reducing exercise capacity.
  • Joint stiffness and pain: Arthritis and other joint issues can limit mobility and make physical activity uncomfortable, leading to reduced participation.

Lifestyle factors:

  • Decreased physical activity: As we age, we tend to become less active due to various reasons like changing priorities, health issues, or limitations. This inactivity further accelerates muscle loss and fitness decline.
  • Poor diet: A diet lacking in protein, essential nutrients, and antioxidants can hinder muscle repair and recovery, contributing to weakness and fatigue.
I took part in a study a few years ago. Link. It was to investigate how muscles change and the affect of exercise on the speed of decline.
Now that I am fairly fit for my age motivation plays a big part in maintaining it. At the back of my mind is the fear of undoing what has taken many years to accomplish. 

I also have to enjoy being active.
I have the balance right at the moment.

Boredom is the reason I have started a new regime. The bad weather meant that I was spending more time on the trainer in the garage. I used to ride for an hour, now twenty minutes is as much as I can bear. Running gave me a goal: to complete a marathon before I'm sixty. I'll be 58 this year so I have some time, a half marathon in May will be the first big test. I now ride before work and run after it. At first I felt very stiff as I pounded the pavement. Whilst I don't yet feel 100% comfortable it is getting better. 
Running was my chosen sport at school, but that was primarily because I wasn't good at football, cricket etc. Cross country was the best; I ran out of the school grounds, then walked chatting with mates. Remembering to sprint a bit near the end to ensure we were out of breath at the finish.

I have a daily routine, but it would be very easy to start skipping parts of it. Gradually I'd fill my days with other activities, or worse just sit and do nothing. This is when having others involved makes a huge difference. I have always had Matt to meet at various locations on the weekend. I know neither of us would have cycled regularly without the camaraderie this brought. But, as it did for so many people, covid changed that. For months we rode alone. When we were allowed to mix and stop at cafes etc we had altered our tradition. I had joined a cycling club. Here's a link to why I joined Oxted Cycling Club. Saturdays are for club rides, and Sundays are for chats with Matt at Sheree's cafe in Tatsfield.

So how do I keep motivated to run? Apart from the fact it means I'm out of the garage I now have a goal. And a running buddy. My local bike shop owner runs a few days a week. On a Wednesday he starts from the workshop. He is quicker than me so the rest of the week is training to improve my speed. Also a mate signed up to a half marathon, noticed I had started running and mentioned it to me. So I signed up to do it.

Hopefully this will mean I stay fit and active for many years. 
Please keep checking my blogs for the adventures good health allows.

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