Thursday, 30 December 2010

Christmas; A tale of snow, sirens, too much booze and far too many puddings

Dear All,

I am rather ashamed to admit this, but the blog, and my commitment to cycling, has been somewhat underplayed during the festivities. I fear, dear fellow travellers on two wheels, that I ended up becoming distracted by a surfeit of wine, women, and song ...(not to mention lashings of over-sweetened puddings).... in the wilds of Exmoor, all to the sad exclusion of my dear, dear Pashley and the open road (albeit that the open road seemed rather blocked due to mountains of the white stuff!).

I put it down to personal gullibility on the female issues....(and I seem to have developed a rather unpleasant itch "down below")......, a lack of personal restraint on the alcohol front, and the influence of the winter solstice upon my latent singing talents, (or non-singing talents as you may wish). In respect of my dearth of cycling, I put that down to an overly concerned attitude to the effect the great quantities of salt heaped upon our roads in the past few weeks might have had upon the brave Pash’s steel....poor dear boy.

The grave reality of all this unrestrained bed hopping, wine guzzling and throat stuffing (itching aside) has been a considerable gain in girth. Two whole kilos!...that’s 4.5 lbs to all you Yankee leaning Johnnies!

I got to musing upon the effect of cycling upon the old calorie count. How effective would my return to cycling be in reducing my girth?....(the effect of cycling upon itching genitalia will have to wait for another post).

My research suggests several factors impact weight loss, yet in simple terms, you must burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. To lose one pound, you must shed 3,500 calories through exercise, diet or a combination of both. The experts contend that exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight because generally, as your weight and intensity of activity increases, you burn a greater number of calories. So much for the basic science. I must admit that before becoming a gentleman of leisure, I was always struck by the refusal of fat colleagues at work to see that the process of weight reduction was such a simple process. East less. Move more.

I am reliably informed that taking a gentle stroll around the park for half-hour at a pace of 3.5 mph burns around 120 calories for the average 125lb person. The same activity burns 149 and 178 calories, respectively, for a 155- and 185-pound person. So interestingly fat people can get thinner faster than thin people. If you increase the pace of your walk so that conversation with a chum might be a tad difficult, say up to 4.5 mph, the 155-pounder loses 188 calories. Turn your walk into a jog, averaging less than a 10-minute mile, and a 155 pound person burns 223 calories.

Now here is the interesting bit for all the devotees of the velocipede. According to my research, which includes the pages of some august Harvard Medical Journals, and rather counter intuitively,............ cycling delivers greater calorie expenditure than walking.

Over the course of a half-hour leisurely 12- to 13.9-mph bike ride those of you weighing 155lbs and sensible enough to adopt two wheels will burn 298 calories. At 14 to 15.9 mph, that number climbs to 372 calories. Twirling the pedals along at a serious pace of 16 to 19 mph facilitates the loss of 446 calories. At a race-worthy pace of greater than 20 mph, a 155-pound person stands to lose 614 calories each half-hour. How utterly splendid I hear you cry.

So if I can manage 15 hours cycling over the next two weeks, according to my calculations I can reduce my girth back to pre-Christmas proportions........its effect upon the discomfort in my nether regions however,......... is yet to be calculated.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Winter preparation

I have to admit to having been defeated today. Frozen roads, frozen tempreatures, and I had little desire for frozen face, hands and gonads. What then does a gentleman do when the snow is piled up outside and the road surface a significant challenge for even the most intrepid bicyclist?

Well staying tucked up warm inside, tippling single malt and planning his next European Tour is probably a reasonable approach, and one that I have most certainly decided upon.

For this year a quick Amsterdam to Lake Constance jaunt down the Rhine Valley seems to have captured my imagination. The intention to combine the pleasures of Amsterdam with the historical interest to be had from the border between France and Germany. I have my trusty Baedeker guide book....the 1903 version.

I have developed a love of cycle travelling according to out of date guide books. Here I must admit that I do not really like the current crop of guide books. I have developed a strong loathing for the of casual flippancy and inanity of Lonely Planet guides and the twee nonsense pedalled by Dorling Kindersley. I much prefer the style and candour of the older versions. A recent tour to the south caucusus found me using a translated version of a Tsarist era guide book which recommended the best brothels in towns along my route and made special mention of the quality of fellatio delivered in each thats what I call a guide book!

More of this once planing gets properly underway. Who knows I might get to plan a link up with some German chums watching my musings on this site and we could go for the odd drop of beer of an evening?


Thursday, 9 December 2010

Apple bikeability

Dear Reader,

While I have been wittering on for some time about the old ways being the best ways, and the height of cycling being somewhere between 1897 and 1938, I have decided to suspend my "vintagephilia" for a brief sojurn into the age of "New Technology".

Yes, yes,...quite so.... I am a traitor to my cause etc. etc..... I admit it..... Guilty as charged your honour...., but I have to profess that the subject of this aberration is probably having as much revolutionary effect upon me as the nuematic tyre had on our forebears. Might I hazzard that the "Ipad" may be to cycling, what the telegraph was to the Steam Locomotive.

Unlike most computers, rather than tying you to a desk, the ipad allows one to surf the net, respond to emails, and do all that is necessary to run a small business almost anywhere and almost instantaneously and it has placed upon me the most appauling dilemma; Should I or should I not get one?

At present I perform the task of emailing, writing this blog, managing my business interests, buying stocks, purchasing books etc etc from the comfort of my office/study. The ipad appears to offer the radical opportunity of allowing me to do the same thing at my morning coffee spot, at the side of the road lounging in the grass underneath the spreading oak or in the arms of some delicious nymph. Don't get me wrong, its not that I've refrained from thinking about work whenever I ply my 50 odd miles per day...its just that to date my trusty moleskin and pen have sufficed; the techno bit coming later in the day.

What has caused me to consider the options?

Well first of all portability. As you already know I'm not a frantic weight obsessed cyclist...(see previous blog) extra pound here and there helps me get fitter I believe...but the size issue has always precluded me from regular laptop cycle carriage....however at:-
Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
Weight: 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model;
1.6 pounds (0.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model
....what is not to like?

The damn thing also fits wonderfully into the absolutely mint 1941 Russian Officers leather map case that I managed to purchase while on a visit to the South Caucasus one barmy afternoon in the company of one Katerina, who I met at a road junction wearing a glorious diaphanous peach coloured dress and riding a 10-speed "Sputnik" (and whose inner thigh, sampled later in the day, tasted like sweet alpine honey...see previous post).

It fits so well in fact, that it looks like the damn thing was made for the Ipad and not for maps of Mother Russia! I hardly notice it over my jacket, and it allows me to carry pens and stuff in the perfectly made pen holders beautifully made......must have been the property of a very special Comrade (and I'm not talking about Katerina!).

Secondly the Ipad is simplicity itself, even someone striding over from their 1897 time machine could not but help feel at home with it after a few minutes. The long battery life means that riding all day even with frequent stops and good usage will not daunt it.

Is the Ipad on a bike Liberator or Slave Master?

I muse on this question trying to consider; does it provide me with even more opportunity to take to the open road, or will it sap my resolve and draw me into its satanic techno lair only to fatten me up on the pleasures of sloth?

As I continue to agonise over whether the Ipad is a legitimate purchase for one such as I, a self affirmed "slow lifer", I guess the only real question is; "Will it distract me from my cycling forays.....or can my office now be anywhere?"

Tune in.... turn on.... and ....for god's sake don't drop it!