I was sat at my desk in work today, considering how it was just that little bit too cold to have not brought a cardigan in. Searching through my ‘top drawer of mystery’ for a Cup-A-Soup to bring my core temperature back up to a normal level, I remembered that I’ve designed some hoodies!
I wasn’t allowed to get a second rough work book in Middle School, because of my doodling habit. Now, over 30 years later, I’ve finally found an outlet for my doodles. People across the world from Lancashire to California are wearing clothes with my designs on. How awesome is that? God, I LOVE the internet. The way it’s allowed people with ideas to connect easily with people who love those ideas and other people who can make them happen.
Anyway – back to winter clothes…. I’ve put some ideas for hoodies below, which you can buy online at brilliant prices. If you’re too hard for a hoody (I’ll copyright that phrase) then quality t-shirts are also available.
Let’s Have A Look Then!
The “I’ve Got This!” hoody – This is the design that started all this off. Also available as a reflective design for extra safety from my good friends at Ahead Solutions here.
There are more designs available, so have a look around my RedBubble shop and see what you like. The quality from the teams at RedBubble and Ahead Solutions is brilliant – Global customers can’t be wrong.
I’ve worn glasses in my day-to-day life for about 25 years. With astigmatism and a total inability to focus my own eyes thanks to a side-effect of my diabetes, I rely completely on my glasses and have a fairly complex prescription (though I won’t bore you with the specifics). The point is, glasses have simply been a part of me for the majority of my life.
One result of this dependency was that when I took up cycling more regularly about 20 years ago – at first for a bit of extra exercise, then as a hobby, and now more as a lifestyle (or perhaps addiction) – I assumed it was best to just wear my glasses while on the bike. It doesn’t usually seem too bad: occasionally my glasses get a bit slippery when I start to sweat, and they certainly fog up now and then, which was annoying. But I didn’t really consider switching for a while.
Now that my cycling can be a bit more intense and a bit more frequent, I get more uncomfortable in my glasses. I know there are alternatives. But the fact is, the massive selection of protective, athletic glasses, prescription sunglasses, and even eyewear made specifically for cycling can be a bit overwhelming. It seems like everyone I ask has a different recommendation, and I could never figure out which alternative corrective vision option seemed best.
More Choice These Days…
Over the years I’ve been riding about with my specs on, however, more options have become available. The first option I really explored in depth was prescription sunglasses, as even popular brands like Oakley now offer excellent sunnies which are appropriate for sport (a good friend reviewed some here). But, while these lenses can be comfortable and can certainly be great for vision correction, the bottom line is, they’re expensive to replace, meaning you’re entirely dependent on a single pair.
Instead, I decided to think about contact lenses, and looked at acuvue.co.uk, for prescription contact lenses. All those years ago, when I first started wearing my ever-so-complex specs, I didn’t think I’d be able to find contact lenses which fitted the bill- hence my reliance on glasses! Also, I wasn’t sure how comfy they would be.
However, while I still often wear glasses in my day-to-day life, contacts have made significant strides over the years. There are now various lenses for various needs, designed to keep your eyes from drying out, while providing complete vision correction and, most importantly, staying put without irritation. My own varifocal optical miracles can now be replaced by a pair of contacts which enable me to wear a normal pair of sunnies over the top, or just get a tan without white stripes on the side of my head!
Of course, different people prefer different solutions. But given that glasses can slip and fog up, and that prescription sports goggles and glasses can be clunky and expensive (not to mention they can also limit your peripheral vision and fog up themselves), contact lenses are certainly worth looking into if you’re a regular cyclist.
I recently treated myself to (a demo version of) Photoshop Elements. When I popped out for a short ride around the trails near home last Saturday, I took my compact camera and my gorillapod to snatch a few shots.
To give myself the bast chance of catching a good photo while the sun was low in the winter sky, I set the timer and programmed the camera to take ten shots in quick succession.
Uploading the photos from the camera and scrolling through, a thought struck me… Can I make an animation from these?
Well, one quick search on Youtube later and the answer was “Yes!” – Result.
Down Carr Lane
Back Up For The Camera!
So, what do you think?
… and more to the point, where could I use some now that I know how to do it?
For too long, the UK rain has been keeping me off the bike. It’s a well-used quote that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”, and this is true, but rain is rubbish.
Rain has a way of removing heat from your body like no other weather. Rain finds a way of trickling down the back of your neck. Rain results in damp doormats and sodden shed floors.
I don’t like rain. As a bespectacled man, rain is also a complete pain in the backside when it comes to seeing ANYTHING.
So I’ve kinda got used to not doing many miles. Recently, though, there’s been no rain…
There’s Been Snow
Snow’s different. Snow’s pretty. Snow’s compliant. Snow’s even grippy when it’s not been squashed or refrozen into ice.
I like snow.
On Sunday I layered up: Aldi base layers (£9 each, top & bottoms); Endura top; Ron Hill running bottoms; Aldi mid layer; Altura jacket; two buffs; a beanie hat; big Sealskinz gloves.
I made up a flask and was ready to go. Incidentally, this should have been Bovril but I was devastated to discover that my beloved had spotted the Bovril was out of date and disposed of it. I wrote “BOVRIL” on the shopping list and made myself some coffee.
My ride wasn’t particularly adventurous. I tested the ground conditions with an outward leg along the canalside to discover that the snow was wet enough and (mostly) deep enough to offer lots of grip, so with a smile I headed up past Hollingworth Lake onto the Pennine Bridle Way.
I wasn’t going fast. It was a good workout, with the snow slowing me down, rendering everything a virtual uphill. I just selected the granny ring, modulated my breathing so I wouldn’t die and plodded along. Bliss!
As I passed through a gate at the bottom of the hill past the M62 viaduct, a pleasant bloke on a shiny Specialized Camber 29er came alongside and we chatted for a few minutes about our bikes and estimated his timing for his return loop back to his car in Littleborough. If that was you, I hope you got back in time and I should’ve asked your name!
Turning uphill on the PBW towards Piethorne Reservoir I spotted a dark shape smack bang in the middle of the trail. A toad, maybe two-thirds the size of my fist, was crouched there slowly getting covered in the still-falling snow. I’m still not sure whether he was motionless because he perceived me coming along the trail (as he’d usually be camouflaged on that ground, but the obvious whiteness rendered that option a bit foolish) or whether he was, in fact, frozen to death and had already met his amphibious maker.
Pennine Bridle Way towards Piethorne
Snowy Strava – See Link Below
The trail down from the top of the hill towards Piethorne was exposed to the wind and had turned, over a few days of thawing and refreezing, into a cascading sheet of ice. Thankfully I was looking well ahead so steered onto the grass and opted to walk that section. My non-bruised hips will thank me for that decision!
More snow covered the trail a little lower down, so I climbed back aboard down to the reservoir and took the path alongside the water, until it joined the service road. From there I (carefully, with one foot dangling for support just in case the patches of ice along the road caught me by surprise) rolled down through Ogden into Newhey and back home.
Staying at home in the warm would have been the easier option by far, but I’m so glad I ventured out. It was only a shade over 11 miles but by staying off the well-trodden path and keeping my eyes on the scenery, I was able to truly enjoy my snowy, slip-sliding shenanigens.
Don’t let the snow keep you indoors. As I read somewhere else recently “enjoy the weather – you can’t change it“.
January is passing me by. Before 2013 began, I resolved to write an inspirational “Start Of The Year” article, highlighting the wonderful things that cyclists had done in 2012. It was to be a work of gravitas, impact, empathy and skill. It was to draw on the wonderful successes of the London 2012 Olympics and it was going to apply some of those successes to the very real achievements of you, the readers and the 12×100 cyclists.
The landscape’s better with your tyres in it.
Take the road less travelled.
But I didn’t do it. It’s too late now. It’s mid-January and all the “New Year” blog posts have been done. Extremely well, in most cases.
So instead, you’re getting this. I’m hoping you’ll like it.
2012 In The 12×100
I’m based in the UK. The bulk of the 12×100 riders are, too. As a consequence we didn’t ride as many miles in 2012 as we did in 2011. The weather in the UK has been rubbish. Not biblical (unless you’re living in parts of Yorkshire or Dorset) but consistently rubbish: rainy, dark and cold. Not conducive to riding bikes.
With that said, the results have been amazing. A grand total of 63,640 miles cycled by the 34 people who logged miles in 2012. This is an average of 199 miles per month each for those cyclists who logged each month – most of those miles were for leisure. People having fun on bikes. This makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.
A little surprisingly, the month with the highest miles logged was May, just before the rain began. The rain didn’t stop until late December.
If you’ve not taken part in the 12×100 Monthly Cycling Challenge yet, hit the link on the menu above. There’s a little form for you to fill in. Do it now. All you have to do is decide to ride your bike regularly. Try to ride 100 miles or more every month, but if you don’t do it, don’t worry too much.
I’ll share something with you which isn’t a secret – I don’t do the 100 most months. In 2012 I only actually cycled 624 miles. Not exactly a sparkling achievement. But it’s 624 miles more than the other 43 year-old bloke who spent all his evenings and free days watching TV and eating crisps.
My life will be longer as a result of those 624 miles. If I can do 100 miles a month in 2013, my life will even longer still.Will yours? I hope so. Ride your bikes. Tell ‘em Phill sent you 🙂