Is there a life beyond cycling?

May 3, 2011 1 comment

So there’s nothing left to do. The start is almost here and I’m finishing my training schedule with a couple of 5 mile warm-down runs before we head to London (by car) ready for my early morning start on Friday.

It really does feel as if cycling has taken over my life recently. Quite separately from the London Paris ride, months of planning came together on Sunday with my leading a successful 11 mile family-friendly bike ride around Plymouth with about 120 riders of all ages and abilities taking part. Great atmosphere and excellent co-operation from everyone. We want to do it again!

Then there’s the training for the ride, finding suitable training routes, buying gear, getting my bike serviced, checking the weather forecast, and eating. As the distance has been building, so has the time required. Last Friday I finally broke the 70 mile barrier, after a 40 miler the previous day, and although it was tiring I didn’t feel completely exhausted.

My only worry is the weather forecast for the ride. It looks currently as if we will have a head wind for the whole journey plus temperatures in the mid 20s. This is one occasion when I’d be happy if the forecast was wrong. I’d been praying for a tail wind and cool weather, but then given my record on praying I can hardly complain.

So before I go, a final plug for the charity on whose behalf we are undertaking this ride, Computer Aid International. They do excellent work in helping to get computers into schools and community projects, in places which otherwise would be unable to join the digital world which we take for granted. So thanks to all who have already donated so generously that I am now 82% of the way towards my target. It would be great if anyone who intends to donate but has not yet done so could help to push us to the 100% mark by donating on my JustGiving page. Or you could just send me a cheque!

I will not be blogging on the ride itself, so the next time you hear from me I sincerely hope I will have arrived in Paris in one piece, and I look forward to telling you how it all went.

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Food is the key – and underwear

April 17, 2011 1 comment

I’ve been gradually increasing distance, following a schedule I downloaded from the web. Mostly this consists of starting the week with a ride of about 15 miles,then a couple at around 20 to 25 then a biggy at the end of the week. I did my first 60 mile plus (62.5 according to my little trip computer which works by measuring the revolutions of the front wheel).

The first time I did 50 miles I was pretty exhausted. My personal physician, known to most of you as Annabelle, suggested I should eat more. This sounded like a good idea, and I’ve learnt that it makes a big difference. As well as a decent breakfast it seems that something pretty substantial is required after about 30 miles, ideally some combination of a pork pie, sausage roll, chips and similar, and a nice Danish custard to finish. I now know most of the cafés and tea rooms within a 50 mile radius of Plymouth, and in spite of this increased calorie intake I’m actually losing weight. Not a diet I’d like to maintain in the long term, however!

I don’t want to give you too much detail, but let’s just say I still haven’t found the ideal garment for long-term comfort on the saddle. There are all sorts of forums on the internet discussing this vexed question, and the arguments can get quite heated. The most contentious issue seems to be underwear or not with padded cycling shorts. You probably don’t want to know where I stand (or sit) on this, but I can report that I’m getting more and more comfortable as time goes by.

So 3 weeks from writing this I should be amongst 30 other riders approaching Paris. This week I build up to 25 miles then a day’s break and 65 miles, while in the next week I’m aiming for 2 consecutive days of 55 and 70 miles. If I can do that I reckon I can get to Paris, which is 3 days of 70, 60 and 65 miles.

Sponsorship has gone pretty well, and I’d like to thank all those who have contributed towards the Computer Aid International charity, who refurbish old computers and send them to worthwhile community projects, schools, etc in less advantaged countries. I’ve almost reached £1000 (target £1350), so it would be fantastic if those of you who intend to donate but haven’t yet done so would go to my page on the JustGiving website where, if you are a UK taxpayer Gift Aid will be added to your contribution. If you don’t like this way of donating you can always send me a cheque.

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Welcome to Stuart’s London to Paris Cycle Ride

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

PLEASE DON’T WAIT – DONATE! Go to my page on the JustGiving website.

Read about the work done by Computer Aid International

I’m going to be cycling from London to Paris to raise money for Computer Aid International who refurbish old computers for worthwhile projects in less fortunate countries.

On Friday May 6th I will be meeting with a group of about 30 riders somewhere in South-East London very, very early in the morning – my first big challenge, as those who know what I’m like in the morning can testify!

From there we set off on the first day of a 3 day ride to the Arc de Triomphe, a total distance of a little over 300 km. Our objective on the first day is the port of Dover, about 114 km riding and a total cumulative climb of about 9,000 ft – blimey!

But before I can even join the ride I must show I can raise the target amount of £1350, so I need to be well on the way to this at least a month beforehand. This is because the charity, Computer Aid International, needs to at least cover the costs of the ferries, b&bs, support vehicle and luggage carrier, etc., with the balance going towards their charitable activities.

So please, if you would like to donate, do so as soon as possible. By using the JustGiving website you are adding basic rate tax to your donation courtesy of HMCR. This does involve you in completing a short form, but also results in more money going to the charity. If you really do not want to donate this way, then by all means donate direct to me by cheque or cash.

My next blog will tell you a bit about my training schedule. Read more…

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