Bike damage.

The bike is virtualy unmarked, the Brookes saddle has a small scuff but nothing you couldn’t pick up by leaning it against a wall. The chain has been swapped as it was worn out along with the cassette. It was 13-26 it is now 11-28 some of the steepest stuff can be hard work especially on the Toy at 12-25.

I ended up paying the best part of £20 for a genuine shimmano 8 speed chain. I thought I had been ripped off but thats the recommended price for a genuine chain.
On one of the rides out, I looked at the amount of muck the chain of Mikes bike was picking up. We were both riding without mudguards and his chain was picking up a constant stream of water from the front wheel. The water that was picked up by the chain was being flung off by the first jockey wheel of of the derailiure.

I’ve been using a wax lubricant for most of the year but this has been pretty useless for the last couple of months. This year I’ve had enough problems with chains for me to take a special interest in them. I’ve a tale about a broken motorcycle chain thats worth a whole category in this blog by itself. It took a bit longer to measure and set up than I had reckoned on so no session on the trainer.

The lefthand STI hood cover got scuffed for some reason, all my damage is down the righthand side. Thinking about it, the front wheel has probably tucked in and the next point of contact is the left lever. The rear mudguard is cracked but not broken and thats about it. I’ve come off a fair bit worse, apart from the physical injuries I’m not going out without a new helmet on my head. Mine wasn’t a top of the range models just one up from the bottom of the pile. A similar one is about £25 but others are less. You can get a similar one that meets all the impact standards for under £20. The same standards that the top of the range ones have to meet.

The Altura Hi Viz jacket has cleaned up well after 3 washes. The Aldi Winter cycling pants had slight damage to the knee but nothing compare to my knee. The hats a wright-off but all in all a small price to pay.

Still on the subject of helmets, there is little difference between a sub £20 one and a top of the range £100 one. They are all an expanded foam construction with an outer plastic shell. The top of the range Giro ones had carbon fibre parts, whether it was part of the construction or flash detailing wasn’t clear. Giro and Bell are the same company I have learnt so the market now looks a bit distorted.

Christmas Eve ride update.

Went to the fracture clinic today, I’ve chipped a collar bone and will be off the bike for a week or two. I go back in three weeks. No sessions on the weights either.
The search is now on for a new helmet. Bell will do me a crash replacement for £9 and I will probably take them up on the offer. Its a pity I can’t upgrade to a better model at the same time.
I’m now looking at a Giro Atmos in Discovery Channel colours. The only problem is finding one. The colours are changing for 2007, a trip up to Deeside cycles had me coming out with raceblades for the Toy rather than a Giro Atmos in Blue/Black. Close to but not quite what I am looking for.

The Turbo Trainer is going to have the dust blown off it and set up infront of the TV. I’ll watch the Lance Armstrong DVD and start playing around with the Garmin routines. 

The Iceni suffered a cracked mudguard, I feel like I’ve cracked a couple of ribs too.
Looking at the state of the helmet I’m pretty sure I would have been in a coma if not worse if I hadn’t been wearing it.
The Altura Hi Viz jacket has had a couple of washes and its still not got all the scrape marks where I hit the road out of it.

I hope its still waterproof. The third wash on an acrylics wash has just got the road rash out of it.

A picture or two to brighten up the site. (and cheer me up)

Kev Charlie and Bob at Chester

I took this picture on the return from a ride to the Ice Cream farm with Kev,Bob and Charlie. It was May, a fantastic day and I had a great time. It was before I had set this site up. Charlie sorted out my seat height on this ride. The difference in the ride was amazing.

Charlie telling jokes

They are large files so if you are on dial-up sorry.

Christmas Eve Ride(I've fallen off and broke my shoulder)

What a day this is turning out to be, it could have ended a hell of a lot worse if I wasn’t wearing a Bell cycle helmet. I’ll post a picture of it when I can get around to it. I’m a bit sore at the moment and using my left hand to type.

It started off OK with my usual trip down route 56 to the Eureka Cafe for probably the last Franks Breakfast of the year. I saw 4 riders coming back as I was heading out but joined a chap from the Chester Road Club at the sweeping bend outside Willaston on the road to Clatterbridge. I ended up passing him a few hundred yards later but he must have took the road by Leahurst as I ended up behind him again at the Hadlow road traffic lights. He had upped his pace so I was content to stay behind.

It was mulled wine and mince pies at the Eureka Cafe but it was Franks Breakfast for me. CTCers were a bit thin on the ground with Lusso jacket John the only one making it. Fresh from my climb up School Hill at Lower Heswall (gradient 17%) the other Wednesday (the Old Quay ride I haven’t written up) I decided to tackle the recent killer climb published in Cycling Weekly namely Pipers Lane up to the Cleaver Hospital. Its still there unclimbed by moi as things took a turn for the worse a few miles up the road.

Before that I’d set off from the Eureka Cafe following a passing cyclist that looked quite handy, he’d turned off to Puddington which was the route I was following. At the village green I spotted Pinarello Kev going the other way. A quick U turn had us riding back to the Eureka Cafe for another tea. It’s been a couple of months since we’ve seen each other and he had suffered a bereavement.

At the Eureka Cafe the talk got around to Colnago,s. Kevs got his heart set on a C50 with the plane (fighter) paint job. I told him about the broken Carbitubo and the Extreme C dream (88 kg weight limit). I also mentioned the Audaxes I intend to try next year and with a bit of luck Kev might be doing them too.

We parted company at Craxton Wood, Kev heading back so he could get off to work, me heading off to Puddington, Burton, the Dee at Denhall lane. Things were going good, I’d called down the sister inlaws at West Vale for a cup of tea. Once I rejoined the route two riders came  past and I tagged along with them, their route was behind the church on Church Lane  and onto Parkgate.

They stopped for a rest break at the square in Parkgate. I continued on. Past the Boathouse I turned off through Gayton. This wasn’t too bad untill I hit Wirrals finest gates. You’ll know them when you  see them.

50 Yards further on I’m in a bad way, I try to straighten up but it isn’t happening.There are double grids on this bend and the odd single grid for good measure. There is something on the road and I go down hard. Two people stop to see to me and I am gratefull.  About 200 Metres further on I call for help on the phone and am rescued. It’s a tough call but the right one.

Casualty at Arrowe Park see me as a cyclist, fit, healthy,that has had an accident. Its a big change from the begining of the year. Morbid obesity that sort of effect on your mental health. I stupidly ask about going to into work on Boxing Day only to be told that my insurance would be null and void for driving. It’s slowly starting to sink in, it’s not the end to the year that I wanted.

The end of my year was supposed to be the begining of Vals year, my wife of 26 years. Christmas Day was going to be about visiting family on the new Trek 1000 WSD I’ve bought her. Her support has been invaluable throughout the year. The old Raleigh (unused) she had has had to go once I saw her dissapear into a hedge on a ride we started out on. The bike was virtually unridable to me when I tried it out, it looked the part but proved that looks aren’t everything.

It’s not the end of the fantastic year that I had in mind but it’s something that I can’t control unlike my weight which I can.

I’m out of action for a couple of weeks by the sound of things, I still hope to do the Audax on the 28th of January and get my year of to a new start. It’s probably time to reflect a bit more, take in what I have achieved.

The climb out of Pipers lane remains unclimbed, I lost an Ebay auction for a Discovery Channel Jacket that hurt almost as much as the shoulder. One thing I have learnt is you have to be out there to do it. Don’t waste too much time on  sites like these, just do it. And with that I’ll wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Happy New year.

I’ve had a look at the Garmin Training Centre upload and it’s logged the crash, by the look of the data I hit the deck at 16 mph. The next thing I’ll do is upload the data into Anquet.
I want to start playing with the routes in the new year. First things first fracture clinic on wednesday.

Mens Health Magazine Jan Feb

When I was doing the google searches Mens Health magazine kept coming up in all the searches too. I’ve looked at the cover and most of it seems to be about something I’m interested in.
Its placed in the Mens Magazine section in Tesco,s slap bang in the middle of the Lads magazines (Loaded, GQ) and the Gay Times so reading the thing in the shop is out of the question. Either way your typecast by other shoppers. The male models in the adverts probably feature in the later magazine.

The Jan/Feb issue comes with a two section paperback book that is well worth the cover price alone. Half of it is titled “Weight Free Workout” and the other half is titled “Turn Fat Into Muscle” both edited by Joe Kita. The weight free workout would suit many as you don’t need any equipment. I’m going to give it a try to see how I get on.

The magazine isn’t bad either decent articles on health , exercise and nutrition. Fashion is a bit subjective and probably pads the magazine out. There is even  before and after pictures of a bloke thats lost nine stone. You’d need to offer me more than a Sony MP3 player to get before and after pictures of me.

There are some interesting facts about new years resolutions in the mag mainly 50% will have dropped them by March and the gyms will be empty again. Mine is stay below 88 Kg.

Google Analytics

When I started this blog site I knew a bit about Google, had seen Dave Gormans Googlewack DVD and wished I’d bought some shares in them.
Well Google Analytics opens the door to a whole new world of information about the visitors to this site. Its a plugin for WordPress and and its now the reason that I continue to blog.
Back in June when I started to blog the intention was to keep in touch with others on the Lifestyle and Weight Management Course. Well that hasn’t happened to any great extent due to NHS burocracy. I’d written the earlier articles on Cycling clothing and easy rides for the overweight but was in the dark regarding the site because of a lack of feedback.

Paul said I was getting hits but it wasn’t till the Google Analytics plugin was installed that I realised how many. Below is a list of words that visitors have keyed into a google search box and ended up looking at this site.

cycle sat nav

 Thats just for the Sat Nav page, The Weightloss diary is another one.
It’s an immensly powerfull data gathering tool. I even know that I had two visitors from the USA looking at the Quaker Oat Granola Comparison post. The World map shows the server location of everybody.There was even a visitor from Alaska last week and someone in Japan keeps spamming me. I have to use the google translate button to see what they are trying to push. 

The thing I really got a buzz from was seeing the site come up on the first page of a google search for a “spinning calories burnt” “Aldi Cycling” was another one. A chap at work who is a prolific ebayer told me your nowhere if you can’t get on to the first two pages of a google search. The more I looked the more I found. It probably helps that this is a fairly diverse site. If it was just about weight loss I’d have run out of things to write about by now. I’ve looked at a few of the dieting forums and didn’t like what I saw. Women (mainly) starving themselves and posting logs of what they ate for the day. 1 coffee 1 lettuce leaf that sort of thing and beating themselves up when they hadn’t lost anything at a Weight Watchers or Slimming World weighin.

One of the searches I did had me just below WeightWatchers and MensHealth, now these are big hitters in anyones language. I’m just a bloke that was morbidly obese and has got his life back through healthy eating (diet) and exercise. Cycling was the means of doing the exercise.

Comments also keep me going. The weightloss diary is a popular page for those looking for that sort of thing, Google Analytics tells me that they are not interested in doing any exercise as that page has far fewer hits. They are completly missing the point of how the weightloss was acheived. The weightloss was acheived by the increase in exercise I was doing. Google even logs the time you’ve spent reading the page so I can see if you’ve read it or it wasn’t what you were looking for and you’ve left. Exercise is one of those unread pages.

Now 40% of the visitors to this site keep coming back so I must be doing something right.

Everyone have a Happy Christmas and New Year.
It’s been a fantastic 2006 for me, 2007 should be more of the same.


Tonights Spinning Class at West Kirby.

It may be coming up to Christmas and things are a bit hectic but but I\’m still keeping up with my exercise routine. I\’d normally have gone down to the Oval for a tuesday class but Tina had hurt her wrist or arm from what I can gather, so it was West Kirby instead. For those that do a google search and come across this site I use local council facilities, I\’m not a member of one of the fancy gym chains.

Barbara takes the classes at West Kirby, she hasn\’t seen this site yet but 974 others did last month. 42 of them visited the spinning section, 2 were from America 1 of which lives in California. So there is worldwide interest in her class.

I had a short session in the gym before the class as I had set out early because of fog. I was logging the session with the Garmin Edge 305 being used as a heart rate monitor. The only thing this doesn\’t do is count calories indoors. I\’m aware a lot of you are doing google searches of calories burnt while spinning as this site has a high google ranking for such a search. I now alternate between the two as I don\’t want a  Polar HRM just yet.

Barbaras classes are as hard as you make them but I do think the Schwinn bikes have something to do with it. These have a heavy flywheel and these take some getting up to speed. The thing is lets say youv\’e just completed a hillclimb section and have backed off the tension to level 1 for a sprint section, as your not getting a breather because your still turning a heavy flywheel your heartrate doesn\’t drop. It remains at a high level.

For the record I set a new maximum heart rate of 192 BPM in tonights class. I was pushing high numbers for  most of the class, the log has me at 21 minutes in zone 5, 14 minutes in zone 4 and 15 minutes in zone 3. Now for a bloke my age the numbers are not starting to add up. The commonly used formula is 220 BPM – Age.
For me this would be 220-47 = 173 BPM. I\’ve just seen 192 and wasn\’t on the verge of keeling over. It was tough but by no means 100%, 100% is me in a heap.
I\’ve been close to a heap and it was 166 bpm lets say 18 months ago.

I don\’t consider myself above average, 10 months ago I was well below it. It is something I am going to look into. I\’ll have to ask Barbara what routine it is. There must be some logic to it. Any way it\’s done me a lot of good. The fan also helped, I\’ve been absolutley soaking after some classes. I stopped the clock when my pulse went down to 106 BPM.

CTC Ride Eureka Cafe to Ice Cream Farm 2

After Fridays debacle with the ski gloves I’m determined to be a bit more prepared for this ride. The gloves have dried out, the Iceni has had its chain lubed and the Garmin is charged and the HRM has had its battery changed. Weather looks a bit mixed so I set off overboots on but no overtrousers. I’ve also managed to take a spare pair of Aldi Winter gloves with a lining pair thrown in to boot.

A little shower soon blows over at Brimstage and I’m just chugging along through Thornton Hough on the way to Willaston. At the lights at Hadlow Road one of the North End catches me up his bike decked out like a christmas tree. The pace quickens down the top road as can be seen from the Motion based site. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this  so I’ve taken a few pictures.

North End Cristmas Ride

I’ts much the same inside, with everyone in a festive mood. Turns out the North End are off to ” A pub somewhere ” . Our planned ride to the Dunham Arms has had to be cancelled as they are only serving christmas dinners. It was only a few weeks ago that we filled this place on a wet wednesday, with not a regular or other passing customer in sight. The North End assemble outside so its off outside for some more pictures.


These images are compressed, if you’d like a copy at the orginal size, let me know.

North End Heading out.jpgLen.jpg

I know I’ve captioned one of the pictures wrong it should read Mel 

A little later we set off for The Ice Cream Farm the group comprising of the two John,s , Barbara, Jill, Bob, Andy, Annabel, Barry and moi. Turning left at the church towards Ledsham heading towards Capenhurst, turning right before the station.
Turning left at Backford we head towards Wervin. Here as we cross over the motorway the weather takes a turn for the worse. Steady rain, not a downpour but it takes the shine off things.

I’m shaking my hands to get the water off them as I know from Friday that they won’t stay dry forever. Towards Beeston and the hills in the distance we can see sunshine, our route though has us twisting and turning as if we are trying to stay under the black cloud overhead. Around Hargrave the rain eases off, I’ve been riding off the front so its a sprint up the bridge over the canal and down the other side to get the next picture of the group turning into Newton Lane.


It was mainly other cyclists at the Ice Cream farm when we got there, other clubs and riders from around Cheshire. Todays choice was a Christmas special Baguette and a pot of tea. The converation got around to BMI (Body Mass Index) calculations. The Times managed to cock it up with people getting strange results.
So long as you stick with the same units (Kg/Mtrs) (Pounds/Inches) you should have much trouble working it out. The all singing dancing PDA gets an airing as I have a BMI calculator programme on it. Once one has theirs done everyone wants to know what theirs is. Well a couple of us are in the overweight category me included, the women were normal. No one would have qualified for the course I am on. My BMI was 41.9 before I took up cycling, Morbid Obesity starts at 40>.

There was another cyclist in there who was raving about SealSkin gloves and socks, 100% waterproof etc. I would have bought some of these the day before in Chester but Millets had put a security tag on the cuff, so I figured the membrane would have punctured so gave them a miss. Back outside I change gloves to the Aldi winter specials with a silk innner glove that I picked up from Decathlon in Stockport. 

I don’t know if anyone ever looks at the routes on the MotionBased site apart from Ray but average heart rate for this ride was 105 bpm which sticks it right in the fat burning zone. There were parts that were a fair bit higher, like staying with the chap from the Noth End down the top road. Or sprinting up Woodbank at 18 mph to take a picture of the group only to have the phone malfunction and I end up getting a shot of my foot. It’s a lot better than sitting on an exercise bike in the gym watching the TV with the resistance on level 1. Loads do it for some reason.

There are 101 way to the Ice Cream Farm but this is a fairly straight forward one. Once you’ve  done it a few times you start to get to know the lanes and you get to know the turns. Apart from two busy road crossings its done on quiet roads and lanes. The cyclepath through Chester keeps you away from all the traffic. If there is anyone out there contemplating taking up leisure cycling this is one route I would reccomend. Its flat, there are a couple of points where you may have to change down a gear or two or get out of the saddle but thats about it.

Back at the Eureka it’s time for a tea and a flapjack. This weeks ride home was via the Missing Link or route 56, all the recent rain had cleared it up a lot. Back through Thornton Hough, the lights getting switched on for Brimstage and the final climb up Resthill.

Link to Google Map: CTC ride Eureka Cafe to Ice Cream Farm 2


57 miles for me.
Punctures none, Average speed 12.9 mph.
Breakfasts 1, Baguettes 1, Tea 2 cups 1 pot. Oat flapjacks 1.
Calories burnt: 2804. Elevation gained 2616 ft

Wirral Loop (A very wet ride).

Things didn’t go to plan today. In fact the plan went west the night before.
The 60 odd mile Steve Cummings route that I was planning on doing wouldn’t transfer into the Garmin Edge 305. I was also going to ride it in reverse order just to further complicate things. The forecast said showers, I can cope with showers, but they lied. Google Steve Cummings , now riding for Discovery Channel.

The only bit of kit I had on that wasn’t Aldi badged was the Altura Hi Viz Jacket. You can’t miss me in this and it’s a quality bit of kit, breathable, waterproof, vented at the back and comes with these fancy waterproof reflective zips at the front. Pity I forgot the Aldi Winter overshoes, I will pay for this later. The Aldi ski gloves are getting an outing so off I set in a light drizzle.

The  botton of Rest Hill is flooded so it’s a singing the rain act as I plough through it with the feet  out of the clipless pedals. I’ve taken the only picture of the ride on the return.
It’s a bit dismal as I head through Brimstage and Thornton Hough but spirits are still high.
I’m still dry, it’s a penetrating drizzle on the outside, the Aldi gloves seem to be doing the trick and before you know it I am at  The Eureka Cafe. There is a slight problem, it is closed. There is another chap outside that I have seen there in the past.

I retreat to the warmth of the Mini dealership at the Two Mills lights. Pleasant enough place but they don’t seem to take me seriously when asked a few questions.  My next car will probably be a Mini but the pushbike outside and me dripping all over their cars  probably diverts their attention. (don’t forget the Hi Viz jacket). The other guy prefers to wait in the rain. Once I’m sorted I check to see if it is a late opening and it’s off on the rest of the ride.

The Eureka Cafe breakfast  is part of my ride, so I’ve been thrown off course. The penetrating drizzle persists as I head back through Puddington and Burton. Thoughts of the Steve Cummings route long  gone. I take the road down to the marsh at Burton. I don’t know if the firing range is still in in operation but these days but I doubt it. Denhall lane is always a challenge, I saw 8% gradient at one stage so its not easy. Terry (77) showed me this one.

Feeling a bit empty and a bit damp I call in at Ness garden Visitor centre not surprisingly I’m the only customer, its early, too early for lunch and the weather is horrible. I settle for a pot of tea and and a mince pie (no cream). Once I’ve got the overtrousers and jacket off I find I’m dry underneath and nothing like the drowned rat dripping every where when I walked in. It’s a nice setting, bright and modern and the staff are cheerful.
On the way out I chat to a remarkable lady on another table initially about the weather but also covering health and fitness. Another one of the cards was given out. I only ever ask that it is passed on to someone who might benefit from a site like this. This year has been one of unbeleivable change for me and it’s not over yet!

The ski gloves are not proving to be 100% waterproof  the right one is sodden, probably with water running in through the cuff. Heading towards Neston I head down Church Lane as this avoids going through Neston Cross. Emerging near the Library I head down the road to Parkgate. I’d normally stop here for a drink, admire the view and one day have an ice cream as a treat. Not today I chug along the front the drizzle not bothering me.

Once past The Boathouse the only way is up, this used to be a stiff climb for me but it’s easier these days. Long, a bit of a drag but not steep enough to get out the saddle for. Once at the top road it’s straight on past the Glegg arms (where I used to drink in younger days) and up the hill to Heswall. I purposely choose this route these days as it is always gridlocked with traffic. Today is no different.

Today its another call in to Dee Fine Arts to see if there is anything that catches the eye. The problem today is I’m dripping wet, I have quick look around but think I shouldn’t be looking at any watercolours the state I am in. Back on the bike and heading towards the lights down the outside of the traffic I see what the cause of the holdup is. A bus is trying to turn right into the station. Its way is blocked by a very considerate (not) motorist ignoring the keep clear markings on the road.
Just a well the Firestation opposite didn’t have a call too. After that the road is clear to the lights not surprisingly.

Right at lights along Pensby Road to see my mum and dad. They can’t get over the change in me too. I’m contemplating a couple of changes for next year, but where do I go from here?. It won’t be backwards. The plan changed again, the West Kirby, New Brighton route got changed to Gills lane, Barston dip . Along Station road and back to the bottom of Resthill. There was the little matter of crossing the flooded road to take into account. So I stopped and took a picture of it, the only one on the ride.


Rest hill doesn’t look much from here, but its the end  of every ride for me.
Taken in a gearing of 40/25( no granny ring now) it’s taken out of the saddle at the bottom, maybe seated after the rise at the gates to Storeton Woods.

Stats.   23.88 miles
1444 Calories burnt.
Max 28 mph Average 13.6 mph . Weather : Awful, Feelgood factor: High
Site link given out: 1 
Eureka Cafe Breakfasts 0, Zero, nought. A first.
This was only half of the day, the rest of the day is another story in its own right.


Weekending 17 Dec 06

Monday: Session at the Oval after work.Crosstrainer for 30 mins 370 calories burnt, average heartrate 113 bpm. Rowing machine, played the fish game four minutes , 971 metres rowed with a score of 825 points. This was quite hard as you have to vary your pace to eat the fish coming the other way. It would have helped if I hadn’t left the machine on level 10 to start with. Just a bit of fun. weights, logged.
Tuesday: Another session at the Oval after work. Crosstrainers were busy so it was on to the rowing machine. Seeing as I wanted a bit of a challenge I had a look at the new programs and made an error of judgement by selecting 10,000 metres of rowing. The best part of 48 minutes later I finish the progamme. 564 calories burnt and 500 metres of that was at 100%. 2 weight machines and I’m done.
You feel like your putting in twice the effort on the rowing machine compared to the crosstrainer. Not as intense as spinning though.
Wednesday:  Crosstrainer for 30 minutes 375 calories. Weight routine logged. Not in work till Boxing day. Looking back I haven’t been out on the bike for a week, so I need to get out more.
Thursday: Weights, 2Km of rowing , 15 minutes on the crosstrainer, followed by a spinning class. 887 Calories burnt according to the Heart rate monitor. Good spinning class with the front and back rows doing 8 second intervals of sprinting out the saddle.
No wonder I ache.
Friday: Ride day, Thinking of doing the Steve Cummins ride that was in the comic last week. 63 miles. Think it would make a good ride. I’ll have to have a go at sending it to the Garmin Edge 305.


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