Friday, 12 July 2013

Rule #1 for Dog Walkers

If the cyclist is immediately near said  dog  NEVER call the dog.

The dog is only going to run one way, on instinct towards you, and likely towards the cyclists.(Since you've decided walking in the middle of a wide path is the best position to control your dog, as you ignore the calls from a cyclist behind, and dog switches sides just as the cyclist nears.)

Cloud Trail 30 mile trip

Art Prints
The view from the grade II listed Trent viaduct

I’m not convinced there is a more scenic cycle track in the whole of Derby (although, it does lead towards Leicester and saying I’ve rode from Derby to Leicester does sound pretty damn good, although a bit inaccurate).

It’s part of the Sustrains cycle network 6, making good use an old railway line and with the use of the Derby Canal takes you from Derby to Worthington completely off-road enjoying the views of going across the grade two listed Trent viaduct, passing Breedon on the hill, and various other places I haven’t yet discovered.  

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Life on the canal, Swarkstone Junction

But there in lays the trouble, it’s extremely difficult to get off the track and get to Breedon on the hill to see the beautiful view of The Priory Church itself, and just as difficult to rejoin, the track is purely designed from Tonge onwards to get you into Worthington.

It was just after the Tonge station that I knew I needed to turn off the track, the Tonge station allows no access to the cycle network or to the road (although Google Maps of course unhelpfully suggested otherwise). So I carried my heavy 16kg dual suspension bike up thirty short steep steps into the village of Tonge itself and cycled from Tongue lane down to Main Street, and this is where I went wrong.

I knew I needed to stay on Main street, although Main street splits off onto the A453, and a turn left at a junction is required to stay on Main street, a turn I missed. 

The A453 is a fast flowing heavily used by lorries with a hill inclined terrain, but cars and lorries generally gave a wide birth, unfortunately the inclines weren’t as forgiving and as I began to notice I was cycling away from Breedon on the hill, and not curving around it, I knew I’d gone wrong and returned back along the A453 to Main Street to follow it correctly. 

At this point I was exhausted, but determined, I hadn’t come all this way for the highlight of the trip just to be that I got lost. 

Main street was brutal on my quads at this point, and of course, slow and exhausted at the peak of an incline I received a short-cut on a blind brow overtake by a Mercedes.

Main Street however was nothing compared to Squirrel Lane, a single track steep incline up to the top of Breedon on the hill, but very much worth it with Cloud quarry just below, and the church itself.
In total I ended up doing thirty miles in three hours, skipped dinner (as I never planned to be out that long) and the ride bike required a lot of effort!

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Breedon on the hill - Breedon Breedon Priory

Friday, 5 July 2013


British Summer time

Summer is finally here in ol' Blighty (Is it? Is it really!) well it's here for a week at least, we can't hope for much more than that. I hate to be the naysayer of good weather but this Summer anybody who has commented on the change-able glorious weather has always ended their praise in for now.

So, for now the sun is shining, and my legs have been furiously pedaling, but wherever my wheels revolve it has to be without traffic.

Is it just me or have car drivers no anticipation for the fact warm weather brings out cyclists in droves? Instead of looking for cyclists, they seem to stop completely.

Alas, fifteen miles completed today, I'm fortunate I live where there's plenty of off road leisure tracks, yet even they can get busy and other cyclists show no awareness for anybody behind, (pedestrians  generally don't, but if you're cycling around pedestrians, you have to expect that).

 I cycle to a few simple rules --

  1. I cycle like I would drive, that means I'm on cycle paths, I stick to the left constantly. 
  2. I overtake on the right.
  3. I always look behind before I move anywhere.
  4. If indicating will help/avoid someone stopping/having to slow down, no matter how silly it looks. I'll indicate on a cycle path.

Some days cycling just feels more stressful than relaxing.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

A whole lotta walking

There's a whole lot of walking going on -- but there's not much else.

June's totals:

Walking: 85.41 miles (subject to change later today).
Cycling: 24.42 miles (That's just one cycling session!)

Although there was a leisure ride I didn't include that was about eight, ten miles, but it was a family ride filled with discovery, but the question remains

Why am I not cycling?

The British early mornings don't look appealing, something that I need to stop using as an excuse, sometimes at five am the mornings don't! Yet when I'm still laying around in bed and it's seven am and the sun is shining through the window, I'm laying there thinking ..Damn!

Holiday luggage

To my surprise, I managed to head to the beach without piling on too many pounds, kilograms, ounces or stones (and shells!). I think I swayed upwards of one, which I was swaying right before I left. So how do you go on holiday, not worry about what you eat without putting on weight?

Spend an hour walking, or two, whatever it is, just have a section of the day where movement is the sole purpose, and really, what's more relaxing than walking along the beach whilst the waves are licking your feet?

Seems like too much hassle? You're on holiday to relax not to work out and worry! Yeah, yeah, that's great, and if you've earned the relaxation, go for it and worry about things when you come back, but there's nothing like trying maintenance as a test for a week, no matter what stage of weight-loss you're in.

I pigged out, I ate chips, battered sausages, ate ice creams the whole lot but I planned the day that the morning would be 'movement' and the afternoon would be sitting on my ass, and it was enjoyable.

Oh well, June out!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Go outside

  "If your mind tells your body to stop, you will stop.
Train your mind first and enslave your body to it."

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Healthy diet

Recently I’ve read “What to eat” by Nina Planck, I wanted to read something to subsidise my weight-loss mentally, and psychologically I benefit from reading, so when I chose a book to read I tried to look at what every other weight-losing person was reading. 

I found “Fit for life” was popular, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it, it bored me, Sugar Nation is another one I plan to read, but “What to eat” by Nina Planck sucked me in straight away, it wasn’t just well-written, it was informative, eye-opening and has completely changed the way I look at food.

The misconceptions surrounding weight loss or just healthy eating are rife, they’ll tell you to:

  •  Eat less fat
  •  Eat less meat
  •  Avoid saturated fats at all costs (even if the cost is eating more trans fat instead)
  •  Don’t eat eggs they’re bad.

This is wrong advice

Yet the list above forms the staple for what a large portion of people think is healthy eating.

Natural fat is part of a healthy balanced diet, fat can even help weight-loss, but many people think to lose fat they have to avoid fat. The human body (in particular females) is designed to hold fat, alright some of us (We know who we are!) are holding a little too much fat, but the type of fat we eat alters the performance of our fat cells, partially hydrogenated, trans fat isn’t natural, often found in ‘low-fat’ foods will cause weight-gain, where as eating saturated fats is more likely to induce weight-loss with a range of other healthy benefits including helping the digestion of nutrients.
The advice most health bodies are giving out for saturated fats, and cholesterol are based on flawed studies, or they seem to miss the important research that’s being carried out and focus on head-line spinning phrases to help fight the obesity epidemic. is a fantastic website, perhaps one of the best I have seen that’s giving fresh, balanced and accurate information on what should form a healthy diet.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Endomondo Challenge

Endomondo Challenge

New blog

This blog is being started halfway through my journey out of obesity, at least it feels like I’ve reached a half-way point, a lot more posts can be found over at cycling for weightloss and I'm now beginning to see the massive changes to my body as part as the body transformation that occurs when losing weight.

This time I haven't documented my weight-loss in images, I'm aware it is motivation to others, and maybe even myself, but I've done that before, I did that when I dropped from 256lbs down to 170lbs and then piled it back on to 220lbs, so even though it is motivational it didn't stop me from gaining weight again.

I think it's important to tackle the causes of why I did put weight back on, I've seen all the television shows and the psychological surrounding "Why am I fat?" but when I was fat before I lost weight there was never any real reason, I guess I do have on-going esteem issues, and fat was a way to eliminate myself from being 'looked' at, I've excluded myself massively from things and being fat was a vicious circle, it's easy to say "I can't do that" and for my brain to throw back "Of course you can't, you're fat!"and that's a hard debate to win, and when I don't want to win it and I'm happy with an excuse of why I can't, it's impossible to win.

Exercise was beginning to get me out of that pattern of thought, exercise builds confidence in yourself as a physical entity or machine that is capable of exceeding in whatever you throw yourself at, because when you push yourself, whatever the task is, you will succeed in achieving progress, no matter how small or big -- push yourself enough and you will succeed. 

I dropped weight to around 170lb, around a UK size 16, and I was beginning to drop into size 14, I had bought size 14 clothes knowing a few weeks and I'd be wearing them, I have never worn the clothes that are still hanging in my wardrobe waiting for that fit person to slip into them. 

So why did I suddenly stop?

I don't know, depression hit me massively, some dark place was making itself seem appealing in my mind, it wasn't about quitting, it wasn't about it being to hard or to difficult, I just didn't want to be in the world I was making an effort to be back in it. I look back and it doesn't seem like a conscious  choice. I started drinking beer heavily, which started ballooning my waist, I don't have a clear memory of creeping up clothes sizes, but I somehow made my way up to a UK size 22, which is bigger than when I was 256lb and wearing a UK size 20, and I think that shows the extent of the damage I did to my body.

Putting on weight just seems like a blur, I remember occasions where my jacket fitted a bit to tight, or it was worn and I wasn't able to fasten it up in the Winter, I remember my jeans becoming difficult and uncomfortable to wear but instead of waking up, I found myself more comfortable in a size 22.

Just as the nightmare began, it ended, I do not know why I started to lose weight, and started to exercise again, it was just something that I woke up one morning and knew again that I couldn't be this way. 

Regaining my fitness, and the agility that comes with carrying less weight around is inspiration enough for me, I don't need pictures of how fat I was, I need to enjoy the feeling of being able to jump around like I'm crazy just because I can run, turn, flip, jump, twist and jump without feeling like I'm lifting a bag of stones with me.

“One never stops climbing, Julie, unless he wants to stop and vegetate. There’s always something just ahead.”
Irene Hunt, Up a Road Slowly