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April 2013

12:25 Friday 26 April 2013

Training by Commuting by Bicycle

This week I decided to see how many times I could cycle to work and back. By car the journey is 10 miles but by bicycle I would rather cycle a bit further and avoid a long straight stretch of road that cars go fast along. Especially as I was going to be cycling home in the dark.

So my journey to work by bicycle is over 12.5 miles each way, or 25 miles per day. The purpose being as training for the Pilgrims Hospice 75 mile charity bicycle ride.

I couldn't have asked for better weather, every afternoon I cycled to work the sun has been beaming down, barely a cloud in the sky, and the wind lightly assisting me (apart from in places). On the ride home, in the dark, the weather had cooled, but was not cold.

My minimum target was to cycle 75 miles over three days; the length of the charity cycle ride I am to do on the 5th of May. Failing this target could not happen under any circumstances!

My real target was to do 100 miles over four days. I felt this would be more of an achievement and better as training. After the third day, I knew I was definitely going to cycle in the next day too. I wanted to feel fatigue, and to get to know how to respond on the cycle to it. It was intended as much as psychological preparation as physical preparation.

And finally of course, I could always do 125 miles over five days. Unfortunately a number of circumstances conspired against even the desire to do this from manifesting itself. The weather responded with rain, my body ached all over, I slept badly, and I wanted to go out on my mountain bike on Sunday. I felt I needed rest; I have only cycled to work two days in a row before now, and have never cycled as many as four days in a row, nor reached as many as one hundred miles in a week. Cycling to work five days in a row is to be a future challenge.

22:56 Monday 8 April 2013

Brighton with Kent Trails

Three of us met at the end of the Thanet Way and jumped in a car with our mountain bikes and headed off to Brighton where we met a fourth. We then cycled off road around the hills of Brighton - Stanmer Park, and Wildwood.

There was a lot more climbing than I am used to cycling around the Canterbury and Thanet area in Kent, but after a trip to Wales at the beginning of March (the video of which I really must do something with) I was reasonably prepared for this.

The ride was very enjoyable and I made a good few video recordings and have edited them to produce this:

00:10 Saturday 6 April 2013

Cycling Training

Yesterday I went for a cycle ride as part of my preparation for riding 75 miles in May. I went on my full suspension mountain bike looking for off road trails. I'd guess that 3/4 of the ride was off road but may be wrong. It was 25 miles in total. Seven miles short of my longest ride in the past year.

However, yesterday I planned to ride again today, and the intention was fulfilled. This time I took my hard tail mountain bike, fitted with 1.25" slick tires and a single 46 tooth front chain wheel. The tires provide less rolling resistance, while the front chain wheel provides much higher gearing, both combined enable me to cycle faster on the roads than with more usual mountain bike gears and tires.

For the ride today I was aiming for around 40 miles to break my own personal distance record, and I wanted to cycle somewhere a bit different. With an area in mind, off I set with 24mph north easterly winds carrying me along, but by the time I got to enjoying unfamiliar roads and scenery, I was fast approaching the point where I'd need to turn and face those winds head on.

The wind wasn't too bad until I had to climb up out of a shallow valley following the main road along the top. The journey soon became a joyless freezing cold grind struggling to maintain speed above 10mph, accompanied by bursts of fast moving traffic. After two and a half miles I headed back down to lower ground hoping for a break from the wind, but without luck. I stopped under a bridge with my hopes for shelter met with limited success. As I tucked clothing back in and did up ventilation zips in my jacket, a couple of walkers agreed with me about how chilly it was.

After several more miles of head wind, I became very concerned that 75 miles is a much greater challenge than I realized. But nearing home, after a short burst of energy, I wondered if the barriers are more psychological rather than physical in nature. Perhaps I could have ridden further today, but time was a limiting factor, I was frozen cold and hungry, and tired (6am starts at work all week, not unusual), as well as having ridden 25 miles the previous day. It still nags me that even after splitting the distance across two days, I only managed 55 miles.

A new month, a new journal entry, and last month's entry about the charity cycle ride gets demoted from the initial journal page. So here for April is another journal entry about the 75 mile Pilgrims Hospice Cycle Challenge.

The event takes place on the 5th May 2013, and I will be attempting the 75 mile 'tri-hospice' loop visiting each of the three Pilgrims hospices at Canterbury, Ashford, and Thanet.

I've since doubled my fund raising target to £100, so if you would like to help meet that target, you may do so via my JustGiving page. Thank you!

Dear sir/madam,

I find the promotional email I received this afternoon most irksome in its doublespeak. Straight from the subject line I am being mislead into believing the email to be about enhancing my self control, when in fact what it really is about is encouraging me to set up a direct debit.

It is my opinion that setting up a direct debit to the national lottery would be detrimental to my self control as the money would be taken whether I wished to play or not, which would be encouraging of habit forming behaviours, and as we all know, habits are not about exercising control.

Take the very first sentence "If you like to be in control (and lets face it who doesn't)...", it's a cheap ploy to try and cause social discomfort in those who choose to 'not be in control' by declining to play by direct debit. Luckily that sort of tactic is as feeble as it is cheap and consequently easy to shrug off, but why is the word 'control' being used at all here? The only sense it is being used is better expressed by the word 'security', which you might notice, is additionally expressed in the subject line in that very manner.

So the email really has nothing to do with control what so ever, and only partially to do with security. The real purpose of the message is simply to increase the trickle of money into your organization.

It is for these reasons I have updated my preferences to not receive any more emails from the national lottery, and will be marking any that I do receive as spam. This has the unfortunate side effect that I will no longer be notified in the unlikely situation that I actually win a prize, but we can't all be winners can we?


J Morris.



A page detailing new stuff and other random noise.

The journal is a general place for writing about what I am doing, or for making more official announcements concerning the things I do. It's also a place where I can write freely about my ideas, or just play with words and language.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and attitudes of James W. Morris as expressed here in the past may or may not accurately reflect the opinions and attitudes of James W. Morris at present, moreover, they may never have.

this page last updated:29th April 2013 (C) 2003 - 2017 James W. Morris

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