Category Archives: Rides

Rib Recovery Ride

Stir Crazy After All These Beers

Owing to increasing, recurrent pain in my ribs following a knock at football, I’ve avoided exercise for a couple of weeks.  I’d noticed that the pain was subsiding nicely, which is good, but my energy levels were subsiding too, which is bad news.

On Friday I went out for a meal with my colleagues at San Carlo in Manchester which was beautiful (try the lobster risotto) and retuned home where I had a couple of beers to supplement the mucho vino that had accompanied the meal.  Saturday followed, which consisted of a quiet day in, a Not Poodle for lunch and Phase3 of the Magnolia Replacement Programme (downstairs bathroom painted).  I can’t stand the rain, against my window, bringing back sweet memories, so I became steadily more stir crazy as the day went on.

Saturday evening, therefore, consisted of a pasta meal at Pizza Hut with (guess what?) a beer, then a visit to the Odeon to take in Alice In Wonderland in 3D.

Movie Review, Alice In Wonderland 3D

It’s ok. Not as good as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but worth seeing if you like Tim Burton stuff.

Back To The Point…

By Sunday morning my lethargy was becoming a habit.  Too much food, too many alcoholic beverages, not enough fresh air.  So, we agreed that despite the day’s necessary visiting and a quick trip to Decathlon to eye up SPD shoes (nowt good going), we would get out for a brief ride to see how my ribs would hold out.


I’m chuffed to say that a few gentle miles was just what the doctor ordered.  There has been no pain whatsoever so I reckon I’m good to get a few more miles in before I get back on the treadmill to see how my lungbox responds to some slightly less gentle jigging about.

We rode on the very well appointed bike paths around the shameful white elephant that is Kingsway Business Park.  It took Rochdale 20 years to pass the idea and by the time they’d put the infrastructure into the area, a combination of loss of momentum and a crashing economy has left the place largely empty.  It’s a crying shame and I genuinely hope that business will come to the area when the economy starts to recover.  Rochdale needs the jobs and the access to the site is very good.

Wheeeeee! Like my new top from Decathlon?

Our riding Decathlon advertisement!

But for now, we managed to scoot around traffic-free bike paths savouring the quiet and the views before pootling back along the canalside home.  It was a nice reintroduction to my lovely bike after a few weeks of enforced rest.

New GPS Tracker

I downloaded a new GPS Tracker last week.  So far I’m very happy with the way it works and there’s some free PC software that can be used to compare & score rides, runs and so on by various criteria.  It’s a handy little app for my phone.  But the catch at the moment is that it uses a little text file to store the waypoints so to upload it to MapMyRides I have to go via Google Earth and save the file as a kml, which is a pain in the bum.  I don’t much like Google Earth, so I’d prefer to avoid it.  I’ll keep tinkering and see how I get on.  Anyway, here’s yesterday’s ride – it looks like it’s across fields but that’s just because the paths weren’t built when the Google plane flew over.

Woohoo! I Won Wiggle!

And The Winner Is … Me

If, like me, you habitually and/or compulsively keep buying things off’ve the internet, you probably get asked to submit reviews quite a lot.  Recently, the lovely people at Wiggle sent me an email to tell me that if I sent a review for my new bike, they’d enter me in some prize draw or another.  I kinda skipped the “prize draw” stuffed to be honest, thinking that it’d be a good thing to just submit the review as I like to check other people’s reviews on the Wiggle site.

Well, a couple of days ago I got an email from Jason at Wiggle, telling me I’d won a prize.  Woohoo! I was very chuffed indeed.  I phoned the guy up, gave him the usual “I never win anything, I’m so surprised etc. etc.” guff and then emailed a few lines as requested.  The lovely Wiggle people have blogged about it here, as they wanted to make it clear that Wiggle shoppers win Wiggle prizes.

So, I’m looking forward to receiving my lovely new set of lights.  I don’t actually need them, but I’m sure they’ll be used because they’re bound to better than at least one of the 7 sets of lights we’ve already got for our 5 bikes.  Maybe I should run my own “win a set of lights” competition on this newly-renamed Phill’s Irregular Cycles blog.

I won these lights, hurrah!

My shiny new free lights

What do you think?

p.s.  I haven’t hyperlinked Wiggle here, you may have noticed.  If you want to see their site, go to Joby’s splendid Fight Bad Driving site and follow his affiliate link. He needs the money.

p.p.s.  In “Other News“, I’ve been asked to be a guest blogger on an American diet site.  I’ll tell you all about that soon, as I may need to ask for some help…

Good News Bad News

Good News and Bad News

This morning it was time to see my new GP.  I registered with a new surgery because, to be blunt, my last one was rubbish.  I’d put up with 3 years of having to ring after 10am to order prescriptions, then the phone being engaged until 12 noon.  I would spend my mornings at work, in work’s time, ringing them again and again just to order the drugs I need to manage my diabetes.

I’d had a letter to arrange a “routine appointment” with my new GP. So I did.  This morning I turned up, checked in via the fancy little touchscreen in reception and waited for less than 5 minutes before he called me in.

Good News

Up to this morning, I’d only ever been told what I was doing wrong by health professionals.  Sometimes a nodding approval of what I try to do, but usually just reminding me what I don’t do perfectly.  This morning was different though.

My HbA1C has been 7.6 the last 2 times it’s been measured.  I thought this was just about acceptable, but Dr. Parton said “That’s very good for a Type 1 diabetic”. Cool!  I think this is one of the problems with diabetes: everyone assumes that Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependant)  is as easy to manage and should have the same parameters as Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependant, usually in middle-aged or older folks).

My blood cholesterol is als pretty low.  The good Doctor asked how I was doing with the statins.  I replied “I’m not on statins”.  He then asked what other medication I was on besides my insulin.   “None”, I explained.   “So you keep the cholesterol down without statins or anything? Brilliant.” he said.  I was feeling better by the minute!

So, lots of good news.  My new Doctor is efficient, understanding, an expert on diabetes and a generally good guy.  Not just that though:  He’s also reinforced my belief that I am doing ok with my diabetes management, by just using a few encouraging and motivating words.

Bad News

Things can’t all be sunshine and roses.

A few weeks ago I took an elbow in the ribs during a Wednesday night football game.  It hurt when it was done, but over the last few weeks it’s hurt steadily more and more every time I’ve played.  On Wednesdays after footy and on Thursday mornings, it’s been creasing me.  Getting out of bed is a big job.  I’m only 40 for goodness’ sake.

Dr. Parton confirmed what I already knew.  I can’t keep my head in the sand any longer.  No more football for a few weeks, until at least 2 weeks after it stops hurting.  If I don’t rest I won’t be running in the Great Manchester 10k Run, or doing the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride this year.  Both of those are in my plans for 2010 and I’m using them to help raise money for the hospice where my Mum was so well looked after, so football will have to take a back seat until I’m properly better.

What Next?

Keeping fit is a must, so I’m going to ride the bike when I can but no bouncing around off-road for a while.  If the ribs are ok after a week or two, I’ll get back on the treadmill too and try to complete an 8 or 9-week training plan before the 10k run.  I won’t be running all the way, but I will be completing it and joining my colleagues (and anyone else who fancies joining us) in the Moon Under Water on Deansgate for a pint afterwards!

If you can join us there on May 16th, tell me I sent you!

How To Fit the Topeak BarXTender

Regular Readers will know that minimalism isn’t my middle name. It’s Neil: after Neil Armstrong, who walked on the moon a few weeks before I was introduced to Earth in the master bedroom of a dormer bungalow.

Why Buy a Topeak BarXTender?

I was struggling to mount my phone mount a couple of weeks ago.  I blogged about it here.  As a result, Jon came up with the idea of me getting the BarXtender.  You should buy one of these (at about £15 online) if:

  • You’ve already got too much schizzle on your handlebars; or
  • Your handlbars have too much girth for your lights and mounts.

How Do I Fit The Topeak BarXTender?

The unit is a clever bit of engineering.  It’s built to fit up the biggest handlebar or headset, and can be rotated so it will fit front-facing or left/right-facing tubes.  It also has a bar that be moved around it’s axis for finer adjustment once you’ve got the unit clamped to your bike.

The clamp part of the BarXtender contains a “belt” type metal strip which is held by an allen bolt.  You just adjust the belt strip to slightly larger than the diameter of your tube, then insert the obligatory rubber strip to stop your tube being scratched and tighten the allen bolt.  The belt is drawn upwards into the clamp housing and feels nice & strong when attached.

Next, simply screw the top half of the unit onto the clamp part, then adjust the rotation of the actual bar to suit yourself.

How Does It Look?

I much prefer my cockpit now that the BarXTender’s on.  One person (mentioning no names) commented that I’m just missing a kettle on my bike now, but I think it makes the handlebars a lot tidier, and safer, than they were before.

The Finished Topeak BarXTender Job

The completed job, with Big Light and Phone GPS Mount.

What do you think?

Track Cycling – I’m Hooked !

Revolution 28 at Manchester Velodrome

National Madison Championships

The Boys in the National Madison Championships Race

Last Saturday, 27th February, I took the family to Manchester Velodrome too see Revolution 28, a team-format track cycling event conceived by an organisation called FACE.  Before going, I had been worried that the kids would be bored: 6 and 7-year olds can be a very demanding audience, as I’m sure any parent would agree.

All I can say is: I WAS WRONG.  The event was enthralling, exciting and a full-on fun-filled afternoon.  We only had tickets for the afternoon session which included the sprint qualifiers plus 3 madison competitions: Boys Young Stars, the National Madison Championships and Girls Young Stars.

Three of the world’s best sprinters took the chance to practise their arts and to show the audience just how good they are.  Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny were awesome, blowing the opposition away in the heats.  After we’d left, Kenny and Hoy raced for the night’s glory in an excellent final sprint, with Hoy emerging the ultimate victor.  Read more about it on the official site.

Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy, the Ultimate Victor

If you ever get a chance to attend an event like this, take it.  It’s fantastic entertainment, more than you could ever image.  These athletes are supreme specimens and to see them sparring & hurtling around the track, with an excellent view from any seat in the building, is inspiring.  The kids all loved it and have asked when we can go back.  My boy has asked to attend one of their track taster sessions too!

I’ll take him myself! 😉

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