Liv Cycling Apparel - Even better than I thought.

How exciting, a big parcel has arrived, With a clue as to what was inside, from the Giant Cycling Gear blue and white tape around the box.

The competition prize from LIV - wow so exciting    A big shout out and Thank You LIv. It is all so much better than I though.   Now it is impossible possible to lose, not so fast and don't have a garage full of trophies,  but like Marian Voss wearing Liv looking the part and feeling great, when out on my bike.

This race day kit is superb quality with a fit like a glove, excuse the pun. The Liv Passion gloves have had their first ride this morning and already they feel as comfortable as a well worn pair, the gel padding in all the right places, it's even possible to use the touch screen of your gadgets while wearing them, that's a really nice touch.

The Streak Helmet adjusts with a Clinch+ system and hugs the head snug, I have no intention of banging my head to really test it out, the safety standards that it comes with ensure that it will provide all the protection possible.

So once again to everyone at Liv
Thank you

Digital Marketing

It is alway good to learn something new, stretch the mind, evoke idea.  As an eternal student always looking for new thought, I have had great fun on the FutureLearn MOOC : Digital Marketing.

It seemed like a natural choice having already taken their 'The Secret Power of Brands'

Not all of the topics were new to me, but my mind was stretched and it's fascinating to join forum and hear the views of others, collaboration is king, and crowdsource the future. Having never given much thought to gamification, or geo-fencing,  these topics and discussions were very eye opening, even if I have been unawarely subjected to these methods of marketing, even when out on my bike and eating cake, a time when I turn the phone off, or is it.

Here's a reflection

all that is left is the analytics, which I need to study closely :-)

New cycling kit

So I'll be starting next season in the Liv kit.

Thanks to the goodie bag at Cycletta ride last week, I already have the bottle and the socks.   Now with this prize of Raceday shorts and jersey, matching hat and gloves.  I should prehaps use the correct name, the Halo Road Helmet and Liv Passion Gloves,  I'm going to look kind of swanky in the full kit.

The technical detail, of the clothing, it goes without saying will be good, but I'll give it a full review when I have worn it a while.   I can't afford one of the Liv's new bikes, but can manage some funky new handle bar tape for when the bike has her next service. 

What colour do you think my handlebar tape should be? free polls

Hog's Back

The Hogs Back is so much more than just part of the Cycletta Surrey cycle route.  As I check out the 60K course route, I'm learning something about our, topography, history,  local beer, and the Pilgrims' Way.

The Hogs Back is a name given to the ridgeway on the North Downs, at an elevation of 154 meters, (that's over 500ft for those of you who think in impereal measurements) when I saw that, I had a little panic, living by the coast on the flat, here in the South Eastern corner of Kent, I'm used to starting out for the day on my beloved bike at sea level, and not very often climbing more than 50 meters or so.

Loseley Park
Creative Commons Photo courtesy of,  James Stringer photographer
The Cycletta day we will will be starting at Loseley Park, which isn't at sea level, so its not as bad as I first thought.  Yet The Hogs Back is still raised dramatically around the surrounding countryside the ridge on the North Downs.

I suspect that will be our  maximum hill climb of the day, after  looking at the Cyceletta course route map, over and over again, it looks like we cross it twice!  First from the South, at the easten end,  then again at the not so high point towards the western end.   I'm looking forward to the challenge, hope for a clear day so we get the opportunity to see the spectacular views that were seen by Jane Austen and written in about in a letter to her sister.
"Upon the whole it was an excellent journey & very thoroughly enjoyed by me; the weather was delightful the greatest part of the day. Henry found it too warm, & talked of its being close sometimes, but to my capacity it was perfection. I never saw the country from the Hogsback so advantageously."
The views will have changed since those times, yet still spectacular, I found this facinating BBC, in pictures article, View from the top of the Hogs Back, especially as I may have my head down and be struggling on the climb, too busy pedalling and panting to take it all in, you never ever know with the Great British weather they sky might allow us to take a look at the views.

It's not just Jane Austen who mentions the Hogs Back, there is also a detective novel, The Hogs Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts, could be worth a read, I'll be looking out for it in the local bookstore, to save it for a time to put my feel up, at the end of a hard days cycling with a bottle of the local brew from The Hogs Back Brewery an independent real ale brewery is based in Tongham, one of the villages, just below the ridge that we will cycle through.

The Pilgrims' Way, a hiking route I have often thought about walking, or possibly doing on a mountain bike does not run along the top of the Hog's Back but over the southern slopes, parallel with the ridgeway, and through the village of Puttenham, it looks like our route crosses it.   I'll be checking that out for another day.

So I'm ready,
  • Bring on the Book, 
  • Bring on the Beer - 
First I have small the matter of The Human Race -Macmillan Cycletta Surrey.
Forget the walking boots, Bring on the Bike.

Race Number, It's Arrived

Got home from work and opened my post box on my way in, to find my race number of the Cycletta Surrey ride has arrived.  Exciting stuff, but I'm wishing I hadn't eaten those donuts today,   still praying that the hills will not be too steep, and just about to download the route map, to inspect each incline in every detail.

We have a couple more days of training planned, before taking it a bit easy, and heading off to hotel the night before for an early morning start to the start line.  Two weeks and I will be doing my thing for MacMillan, even the small hills will be Surrey Hills! as Thanet is flat, will challenge me.

Am I ready to do this, only time will tell.

  • Now all I have to find safety pins to put the number on my jersey, can any expert tell me, is that the best way to do it?  I should I sew it on with needle and thread.
  • Timing chip to be stuck helmet and make sure I get it in the right place.
  • Coloured card, on handle bars, I'm on the red route, that's the longer distance one, Why on earth did I sign up for that?
  • Number stickers on bike seat post, front of helmet and coloured card.
  • Pack the snacks and fill the water bottles.

There is no doubt now, not only am I going to do this, I will be know as number 2534 on the 12th October.  The two of us, friends from Thanet on the entry list and both of us confident, we have put in enough training.  We are going to show you ladies what we are made of.  I'll be happy just to get across the finish line, then that will be a good days cycling, but I have always been a bit competitive so watch out.

Fingers crossed for fine weather.
If you see me on the road, please cheer me on I will need all the support I can get.

Kentish Hills

Rode on a bit further, and up a few more hills, now feeling proud and pooped

Cycletta, here we come

Earlier in the spring, my friend challenged me to join a Cycletta bike ride in October, the thought seemed daunting, could I actually ride that far.  Well I guess there is no time limit - I could just take my own pace, plod along the road, the fat fifty year old at the back, count me in I like a challenge.

Over the summer we have been training, going out at least a couple of times a week, exploring the roads of Thanet, sometimes I would even cycle to work to sneak in a few extra miles. Setting small challenges along the way.  15 miles at first was the first big achievement, to be celebrated with cake! On the slightest of hills I would end up pushing.

One evening having stayed on for an extra shift at work,  I had to cycle back home, late in the night, dark, all but the half moon, which showed once in a while between the light moving clouds.  I took the back roads on the country lanes from Eastry in Kent, it was a warm summers evening, I was in no hurry just wanted to get home safely.

My dim lights were aimed on the road, yet I still managed to go into one or two pot holes, I could't see the hills ahead, busy concentrating just looking out for the pot holes. No traffic at all,  I was feeling the bike, feeling the road and the odd bump, feeling the gears.   The air was fresh and there was slight breeze, I could hear every sound, the countryside was smelling good.  This was the first time I had ridden a bicycle with my senses, suddenly it all seemed to be a bit easier, cycling had become natural, cycling in the dark had been a turning point.  Just pedalling to get home, it was a joy, this was just as easy as driving  the car, gone was the normal huff and puff determination, that I had been putting myself through.  The realisation came not only could do this, I was actually enjoying it.

Ecstatic, that I got home before midnight, (really it's not that far), buzzing from the ride, straight online to look at Strava.   I wanted to check the map, I wasn't even sure exactly where I had been!   I know these Kentish lanes in daylight, but at night with poor lights, that's another story.  Certainly not the most direct route home, but who cares I wanted the quiet roads.    I had got up the hills, I had got up them quicker than normal, a personal best time without even trying!  Achieved a couple of virtual trophies, gosh I was so proud, finally I had mastered the gears.  Before daylight, I had been online to buy a very decent set of lights.

The friend and I continue to set small targets to our daytime rides, adding a few extra miles and the odd hill, here and there. Each its own achievement, and a sense of victory, I got up Granville Marina in Ramsgate, then promptly fell off at the top, so excited that I had achieved the climb, that I forgot to unclip from the pedals as I stopped.  Now I just keep going!

Cycle Sh!t Cafe

As winter approaches,  I brought a new pair of jeans,  a size smaller, not even tight!  of course the diet starts tomorrow!  Out with my buddy, on a training ride, we can even hold a conversation, we talk about the upcoming ride, and giggle like teenagers over the lush men we have met in lycra.  60Km isn't going to be as tough as we had first thought.   With three weeks still to go, we are well prepared, now it is just fingers crossed for good weather.

Cycletta Surrey watch out, we have decided to show you what we can do, see you at the finish line!

Just reading a fascinating article about the meaning of colour and marketing, something that made me smile. My own blog colours, were to be honest not really planned, my inspiration came from my home and travels, other than to have some contrast and fun to my pages it was all a bit of hit and miss.

So according to the experts my green and pink has meaning. Green would say that I am peaceful, the fact that I have gone for a lime green with a hint of yellow adds some optimism. The raspberry pink creative, with a bit of youthful excitement!
Are my blue glasses about trust, no not really more a tribute to Brains!

I rather like that!

You can read the full article Why Facebook is blue

Sorry mate, I didn't see you - yeh right.

Wearing vivid colours is one of the joys of cycling, you don't need to conform to fashion, or stick with drab conformist colours. Some would even go as far as to say, high-viz colours should be the law for a vulnerable cyclist on the road, but then that is no different from the great helmet debate.

If, it's going to save your life well that's got to be a good thing, if it means you are not going to get on a bike because you have to wear one then of course it's not.

You are entitled to your views, but please respect mine. I have been looking around for a suitable jersey, and I'm loving this Yodel shirt from Provison Clothing for several reasons.

1, It is bright and colourful;
2, It supports the women's tour, and we need more girls cycling
3, Yodel deliver my 'collect+' shopping from a well know online bike store! Often I pass their vans on the road, and wonder who is getting what goodies today. I'm out on my bike, not one to want in, even for bike bits :-)
4, Simple vanity, it matches my handlebar tape!

Cycling for Coffee and Cake.

Cycling, brings new challenges, new routes, new speeds, distance targets ect.

Like any serious sports person, I have become quite a number cruncher, rushing in from any ride to analyse the digital data from the GPS and phone app, speeds distance time elevation even wind speed and direction. I have set myself a few targets and they are getting hard and harder to manage but I’m loving the cycling.

July I was aiming to lose a bit of weight, (in order to get up the hills) eating real food, and trying to cut out the rubbish. Cover larger distances and even set myself a 100 mile weekly target in the third week of the month. Which by the way I smashed. The 500 Kilometres monthly target was a bit harder, and it didn’t help that a couple of times I forgot to set the recording data, so those rides simply didn’t count.

With Targets, Come Rewards.

Cycling targets come the reward of general fitness, but after a couple of months of being tight with my cash, saving every spare penny for the new bike, I decided to treat myself, go out for coffee and maybe even cake if I could manage 500 kilometres in a month.

With a few long rides done, one of which was the longest I've recorded. Using a bicycle everyday last week for general transport, leaving the car at home, and then on 30th of July, with a whole day spare, I hit the 500Km monthly distance target.

507Km to be exact! And where was I? TESCO's - so I stopped after doing the shopping, and before going to the dentist at the coffee shop, Harris and Hool in Broadstairs. In case you don't know it, it’s the new coffee shop inside The Tesco Store for an excellent cup of coffee.

“An excellent cup of coffee”
These are very find words from the coffee snob that I am, just ask my family and friends who will tell you I would rather go without or even drink tea, than drink bad or worse instant coffee.

Not only was this good, it was more than just fine taste. Served with love by a human that asked my name, and then used it. A person unique with their own style, so very different from the normal uniformed drone of the coffee chain stores we know. The crockery was a mighty fine cup and saucer too. I don’t take sugar in my drinks, but missing was the portion controlled sachets and dreaded plastic spoon. Instead Demerara Sugar in a real jar & spoon! This was much the same as coffee at home only served by someone else and I was truly ready for a good one.

The cake hardly touched the sides, going down so quick that I will have to go back to review it.

The emptily plate and cup says it all. Better get back on my bike quick, and reach the next target, because I could try it all.