Another day, another bike ride

I’m off to my ‘rents down south for the next few days so I wanted to get a long ride in before I went (can’t fit my bike in the car with all the other gubbins we’re taking with us) and boy did I go for it today, doing just over 19 miles in hot sunshine.  You can watch my route here, if you have five minutes to spare and you’re really that interested!

It was my favourite route so far.  The first part was along the Bridgewater Canal, a path I’ve been cycling quite a bit lately, but this time I kept going past my normal turn-off point and carried on towards Sale and Altrincham.  Then I joined the Trans Pennine Trail for a few miles before arriving at Lymm and then returning via the main roads.  Considering it was a gorgeously warm and sunny Bank Holiday there were very few people about so I could concentrate on keeping my speed constant and also looking at the beautiful scenery that I’d never even knew existed until today.

Although I was tired and achy when I got home, I also felt euphoric and alive.  I get a real buzz out of those endorphins (obviously).  Plus the best bit about finishing a ride is the scalding hot shower I looked forward to for at least the last five miles!

How can you not enjoy a day like this?

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Forty Miles for the NSPCC

As I mentioned in my recent post, I’ve signed up to the Manchester to Liverpool bike ride to raise money for NSPCC in just five weeks’ time – EEK!

I’m currently cycling around 40 miles a week so 40 miles in one ride is going to be somewhat of a challenge but that’s what charity events are all about, right?  Pushing yourself that bit further and taking you out of your comfort zone (in this case quite literally, not looking forward to the saddle soreness)?  Three years ago I signed up to climb Snowdon when I weighed 20 stone, and I got to the top (albeit quite slowly), so I CAN DO THIS!  In fact, I’m actually looking  forward to it!

I am determined to do this, in order to help raise money for NSPCC’s ChildLine Schools Service.  Particularly focused on 9-11 year olds, the service aims to help children understand what abuse is, including bullying, how to protect themselves and where to get help and support if needed.  The service is led by volunteers who are trained to deliver safeguarding assemblies and interactive workshops in schools.  For more information on the NSPCC’s ChildLine Schools Service, click here.

This is the route we will be taking:

If you would like to sponsor me there is a link on my sidebar to my JustGiving page.  Anything you can spare will be gratefully appreciated.  Thank you.

Please note, this is a personal plea from me.  I have not been paid nor sponsored by NSPCC or Bike Events to do this ride or post this update.  I am doing this out of the goodness of my heart to challenge myself and raise money for a very worthy cause.

My Boy and Me

M is on Easter break now for two weeks.  The husband is using up his holidays and has taken the entire fortnight off work except for today as he had a meeting.  I don’t work Mondays anyway so it worked out fine.  The weather was so lovely and M has been asking to walk along where I often cycle so we headed down to the Mersey to have a stroll.

He is a joy to go out with as he is interested in so much - we talked as we walked about life, the universe and everything.  He’s quite philosophical for a nine year old!  We walked about a mile and a half then stopped for a drink of water, he wanted to carry on till I explained that however far we walked we’d have to walk back again and then he changed his mind!  It was the middle of the day and quite warm by this stage so we headed back to the car park for ice creams instead :)

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I want to ride my bicycle

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice, if you follow my Twitter feed or my personal Facebook account, that about a month ago I was talked into purchasing a bicycle through my work’s Bike to Work Scheme and that since then I’ve become a bit of a cycle bore.

I have never really stuck at anything fitness related since I was at school.  I was never particularly sporty, then so I got fat.  I’ve been a member of most gyms in South Manchester and many more down south, and the novelty soon wears off.  I tried jogging but it hurt my knees.  Likewise, my 30 Day Shred DVD.  But cycling, it appears, is the fitness activity for me.

I’m not cycling to work yet, mainly because I also take the boy to school and although he ditched his training wheels a good couple of years ago he’s not confident on main roads and unfortunately that’s the route we’d have to take.  So for now, even though it’s a Bike to Work bike, I’m not actually biking to work yet.

I do, however, try and go out on it most evenings and weekends.  During the week I average 5-6 miles an evening and I try to do one long ride at the weekend, between 15 and 20 miles.  Of course this is weather dependant – I got hailed on recently which wasn’t fun, and I don’t like the loss of brake control that you get when it’s wet.  I’m definitely a fair-weather cyclist, but for now I don’t mind that.

ride4I’m obsessed with my stats on my Strava app.  I’ve signed up for the premium version just so I can set myself segment goals (not that I’m competitive AT ALL) and get a great deal of satisfaction for beating my PB or overtaking someone else in the local leaderboard.  I’ve signed up to ride 40 miles for charity in six weeks’ time! – Manchester to Liverpool – with my boss.  I’m getting slightly obsessed!

ride3I’m discovering local places I didn’t know existed.  I’m losing inches off my body like it’s melting away (the pounds not so much, but I don’t care because my clothes fit so much better).  Instead of buying music or going out for meals I’m making wish lists of expensive cycling gear that I covet.  So far, my padded cycling shorts have definitely been my best (and also most expensive) purchase!

So apologies if my blog – when I bother to update it – becomes more cycling related.  But anything’s better than endless pictures of my cat, right?

 

Nine

Yesterday was the boy’s ninth birthday.  HOW?  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?  Don’t panic, I do know the technical stuff obviously.  What I mean is, I find it hard to compute the boy now with the boy at his first birthday party all those years ago.

This year he requested a Minecraft Party.  If you’re not in the know, dear reader, then let me explain.  Minecraft is a game played by the majority of children in the Western world on their parents’ phones, tablets, iPads, computers and Xboxes and involves major tantrums when the batteries run out or when their parents actually request to make a phone call.  I can’t make head nor tail of it myself, but it seems to consist of building fantastic structures out of blocks of all manner of materials, searching for rare types of stones, avoiding zombies and throwing square-shaped pigs at each other.

The boy invited a group of friends from school and I set to work thinking up games for a group of surly and belligerent nine-year-olds.  To be honest, I needn’t have bothered.  The pint-sized hoodie-wearing mini-youths turned up, presented arms (iPads) and were awarded with the wifi code by the boy, then sat themselves down in a huddle and discussed whose “world” they were going to go into.  After a few minutes of watching this eerily quiet and refined phenomenon with some trepidation, the husband and I realised we were surplus to requirements and retreated to another room, leaving them to it!

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It might sound like terrible parenting to allow the boys to sit and play on electronic games for a couple of hours but he’s usually restricted (as are the others) to short spells at a time, and this was what he asked to do for his birthday.  In my eyes it was a cheaper alternative to taking them to sit in a cinema and stare at a big screen for a couple of hours.  Plus they played very well together, there was still a lot of interaction and discussion about what they were doing in the game, so it wasn’t as though they all sat there in silence.  It was all very harmonious (until someone stole someone else’s bed from their castle and someone else stole a sword).

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We also developed a new party game called Musical Chargers.  You know Musical Chairs, when you have one less chair than participants?  This was similar but with chargers.  They all ran out of battery at around the same time and whilst two of them had shown initiative by bringing one with them, the others didn’t.  Luckily being a gadget kinda household we managed to sort them all out eventually.

All in all it was a very chilled out afternoon – grandparents and aunts and uncles turned up and partook of wine, the boys ate pizza and drank lemonade and there was very little involvement by us.  Plus we finished it off all off with Minecraft Brownies.  Happy boys with green tongues.