On ya bike

A heatwave is coming but it’s certainly not here yet. It’s a tad bracing on the knees.

The weeks keep passing without going for a run. So needs must. My old exercise bike is getting some hammer. Last year I started a Creaky World Tour. How far can I get round the world by exercising in Yorkshire. Initially using the Pokemon Go app to track my runs and dog walks. Then as our family lockdown tightened that became mainly using my battered old exercise bike. The last time I checked I had made it to Volgograd. So let’s check in again.

The bike is showing just under extra 2000 miles. Wow didn’t think my little legs could go that far in 20 odd weeks. So where am I?

Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. (All the photos from Tripadvisor)

No rest for the wicked. Let’s see how far I get in a few more months time. Plenty of months of exercise biking still to come.

Baking hot

Don’t worry. No need for the panic room. It’s the other baking…..

Sometimes it’s hard to drag the body out of the warm bed and into the baking hot Yorkshire winter weather. I know what’s likely to greet me when I do finally get to the back room and my exercise bike.

It’s potentially colder in this room than it is outside. And it’s certainly cold outside.

That’s ice…..

I remember the days of jumping on the bike in pretty short shorts and a thin running top. At present it’s 97 layers, gloves and two wooly hats. I’ve got that many layers in that I have to peddle for at least a minute before my very outside legging layer starts to move.

Today the water and energy drinks have been replaced with hot chocolate and a hot water bottle.

So I was on my exercise bike and feeling like I was in an icy snow hole. What I couldn’t make me mind up about was….

Was the iced up windows annoyingly blocking the view of the outside world

OR

Was the iced up window forming a useful barrier, blocking out the reality of the outside world.

In the end I decided it was a bit of both.

Dieting

What are they talking about

Dad the government is telling everyone to go on a diet. Boris apparently is going on one, bet that Cummings told him to do that.

Like everything else my money is on our so called Leader delegating his dieting to someone else. He’s far too busy having time off for things like that.

Dad your on a diet….”

☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️

And with those words from Hawklad, I’m on a diet. I’ve been on this temporary fasting diet for a while now but it’s been an effort. I just haven’t been able to get the food alternatives that my body will accept. So I’ve been forced into eating and drinking far too much soya (soy) 🙄…. Basically my body and face balloon up with the stuff. Not helpful when your trying to look like your losing weight. But hopefully I’ve managed to get hold of a few more nicer foods this time. So here goes. Going to combine my partial fasting diet with a significantly healthier food range. It helps as my garden has finally decided to yield some vegetables. Just got to find them amongst the weeds.

But dieting is only part of it. Need to do something with exercise as well. I am working out each day and pushing myself. But I’m missing the long runs. They are just not happening due to circumstances. So I need a challenge. I had this initial idea of trying to build up to run a garden marathon. Others have done this. I’ve managed 50 minutes of running round our small garden. But I was so dizzy and cheesed off after that, the prospect of 4 hours worth of that is just a complete nonstarter. Lets not forget the epic route map from that.

What was I doing on some of those outlying paths….

So here’s Plan B. At the end of August I want to build up to a mega exercise bike marathon. Let’s see how far I can get on the bike in 4 straight hours. But to ensure it’s not just a gentle peddle session, I’m going to dig out the old HR sports watch. 4 hours with the BP somewhere near 150. That sounds like a challenge which I can do in the garden. Watch it rain and watch the bike collapse again….

Ok Boris for once I’m going to listen to you. I’m going to lose some weight. Are you?

Hard life

It’s a hard life for some. Not sure if the hard life applies to The Cap or to that old sofa. The Cap is resting after a hard morning of causing chaos. This sofa is 17 years old. Over the last few years it has had to endure sustained cat and dog attention. Currently it’s covers are being washed for the millionth time.

It’s a hard life for my bottom as well. This morning I was blasting out a few miles on my equally old exercise bike when it basically fell to bits. It collapsed. One minute I was dreaming of summiting the Alpe d’Huez and leading the Tour de France. Three seconds later I’m sat on the floor surrounded by bits of exercise bike. Oh how the mighty fall. Now I know what it feels like to fall of your bike and forlornly watch the peloton scream past you.

Thankfully ten minutes later the bike was reassembled and the snapped retaining bolt replaced. The rest of the stationary ride was completed while I sat on an ice pack and a soft cushion. Bruised buttocks are not fun. But on the bright side, it’s much easier to ice pack your posterior than it is to ice pack your ego.

Bizarrely we were watching the Dora The Explorer movie last night. Yorkshire really knows how to live the dream. Near the start of the movie, poor Dora was dancing at a school ball. It was such a random odd dance that all the other kids were laughing and poking fun at her. Poor Dora, I really felt for her.

Dad she dances like you.”

Really, I’m not that bad am I….

In fact worse, much worse. At least Dora is coordinated. Your dancing is that bad, that if I’m within 50 miles of you, you are banned from any dance floor.”

The shame. How the mighty have fallen. I’m telling you that I once won a New Years Eve Blues Brothers dance competition.

That was thankfully before I was born Dad….”

It’s a hard life……

Running wild

Remember those times before 2020. No masks or enforced social distancing. It seems an awful long time ago. So much enforced change. A world which has shrunk for virtually all of us.

After my partner died the world did shrink for me. No more holidays, no long distance work journeys, less visits to family and friends. No climbing expeditions. Things like trips to the gym even stopped. One thing that kept going was running. Son would go to school and my new found work flexibility would allow a couple of long runs every week. I got to see and breathe the local countryside. Run through the hills, valleys and woods. Every so often a little longer trip to the coast. The delights of a beach run. These became such an important part of my coping strategy. A way to manage my mental health and stay fit.

These runs have now stopped. The last run was in early March. Still there but out of reach. Out of reach until September when the secondary schools potentially go back. Maybe Son will opt for homeschooling and the runs cease permanently. But life goes on. It has to. So the runs have had to be replaced with exercise bike sessions – I have developed a pathological hatred of the piece of rock called the bike seat. Replaced with extra weights exercise in the garden. More CrossFit workouts. And yes with garden runs. A small garden doesn’t lend itself to a great variety of routes. Basically I can keep going round in circles clockwise and anti-clockwise. Constantly going round in circles. I measured it out, the longest straight line run possible is a massive 15 paces. Round and round again.

“Dad school have set a running challenge this week. They want the class to run and cycle. Using the Strava running app they want us all to work together to get to ferry in Dover and head off into Europe. Parents are encouraged to join in. Come on Dad. Get your running kit on.”

It’s a bit like my blogs creaky world tour but recorded using Strava. So I downloaded the app and dragged my tired body outside. I had already done my morning weights exercise routine. And off I went. Round and round the garden. Clocking up km after km. Bored out of my mind. Son did a bit of running himself before he went inside to start his next online class.

Eventually the knees said that’s enough. They can only take so much constant turning. And I went inside to send school the running results. The thing about Strava (and other running apps) is that you get a route diagram. A map of your run. They should look something like this…..

Well mine was a masterpiece. It’s my finest work of art I have ever produced….

The final ironic element to the story. A couple of hours later…

Oh Dad. Just had an email from school. You had better sit down…. Apparently a few parents have complained about privacy and the schools online Strava Running Club. So they have had to delete the club and cancel the running challenge.

Oh well at least I got a work of art out of it.

Laughter

Most runs around here end up with one last slog up this winding hill. A number of cycle clubs use it for races. The British Universities use the hill for their national road race championship. The 25% twisting ascent is a real leg sapper.

But on the bright side it’s a rapid, helter skelter of a descent. On one cycle decent I lost control and ended up in the farmers field. Still not as bad as one cyclist you apparently was rescued after being found face first, stuck in the roadside hedge. You could only see his legs sticking out. That would have cracked me up. As Monty Python would sing – Always look on the bright side….

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned the importance of laughter. It really has been a life saver some days. Really dark thoughts have been broken by a random laugh. A few weeks after my partner and my mums funerals I was as low as I have ever been. But a random chance encounter with Python’s Holy Grail movie lifted my spirts. It was bizarrely the scene where Eric Idle was collecting the dead bodies on the cart and John Cleese tries to get rid of a ‘not’ dead old man. It just touched a nerve and I laughed a lot. It just seemed to brake the spell.

Yes laughter breaks the spell. It’s distracts me. In computing terms it seems to reboot my system. The problem is that often when you need that reboot the most. At your lowest ebb. The hardest thing to do is laugh. The mindset is that your not allowed to enjoy a bit of life. Laughing is just not acceptable. Almost as if it makes you a bad person. Really. For me the two of the nest things I’ve learnt about grief

  • It’s really ok to cry AND
  • It’s really ok to laugh as well.

The news is unremittingly grim at present. Nothing like a pandemic to bring out the worst in our leaders, our media and sections of the population. Today the media was full of misinformation and photographs of empty supermarket shelves. Panic buying has started. So with some trepidation I ventured into the supermarket for a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread. What a pleasant surprise to find a well stocked shop. Then one last gift. With a sense of humour the store was running a promotion on Corona Beer. Clearly with shoppers loading up with the stuff that it was selling really well. Certainly better than in some parts of the world. It’s a shame that I’m on the wagon and that I never liked the stuff anyway. But it did get me thinking – maybe the World Health Organisation should continue naming viruses after products. Especially if it leads to heavy discounts. Maybe the next pandemic could be called the Cadbury’s Cream Egg Virus. I look forward to that discount….

Always look on the bright side of life….