Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Blustery Day!

No cycling again today as it was waaaay too windy :( Not been out all week and the forecast looks pretty rubbish for the rest of the week.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Avoiding the wet in the winter

Today I woke up at 5:50 when the alarm went off and after coming round a bit was actually quite looking forward to the cycle in. I looked out of the window and saw that it was dry and completely windless - great!

However, after I had been to the bathroom and was about to start climbing into my cycling gear I heard a noise outside the windows - it was chucking it down!

It's not too bad cycling in the wet but given a choice I would rather not. Especially early in the morning when it's cold anyway. It's also much easier cycling home in the wet rather than to work in the wet. It's easier to deal with the wet gear at home and you don't have to put the same wet gear on at the end of the day. As a result I didn't cycle this morning.

I think I'll buy another travel card to cover the winter. If I buy a travel card on a daily basis it's £10 a day - if I buy a month or a week card it's about £6 a day so even if I am not using it every day it'll maybe save me a bit of money or break even. It also means I won't have to queue to use the ticket machine every morning.

Friday, 6 November 2009

5 Month Update

After a couple of weeks off because of a cold and a few days away from work I am back to cycling pretty much every day. Doing a whole week of 125 miles is nothing special anymore and I find it pretty easy.

I have had a few days when I have not cycled in just because I've felt tired when waking up but not many at all. I've also had a few days when I have got very wet but again not very many and they're not too bad.

I have now cycled nearly 1500 miles and the bike is in for it's stage 1 service. My rear brakes have worn out and are not working well and I apparently need a new rear cassette and chain. The rear wheel also needs re-trueing. I'm hoping the bike will feel much better again when I get it back as it usually does.

The important thing is that I am still enjoying cycling and don't see any reason why I would stop over the winter. I am considering finding a nicer, longer route now that I can cope with the 25 miles a day.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Monday 19th October

Despite not blogging for ages I have been carrying on the cycling. The week ending the 2nd October was my first week cycling the whole way in both directions - 25 miles a day, 125 miles in one week.

Today was the first day I cycled since about the 7th. I was away for a long weekend and have been ill with a cough and cold since then. It's still lingering but is basically better.

The cycle this morning was pretty good. It took me 53 mins which I was pretty pleased with. I wasn't especially pushing - partly because it was too dark to see my computer! It was still dark enough for the street lights to be on when I got to canary wharf. It was really properly dark when I left.

I had my gore tek jacket and my cycling gloves on this morning. I did feel a little bit hot but not too bad. I think I would have been VERY cold without them.
I did still have shorts on and my legs felt fine. That is until I had a shower! My legs got really itchy when they started to warm up so I am probably going to have to do something about that before it gets much colder.

O: HRav:143 kCal:766 D:12.4 Av:13.8 Max:21.4 T:53:51.3

Thursday, 17 September 2009

2 Flat Tyres in One Day!

This morning was not a good cycling morning. I went down to the bike and climbed on looking forward to a good ride into work on what looked looked like a nice morning.

I discovered that I had a flat back tyre - it must have been a slow one as it was fine last night. It's my first puncture since I got the Armadillos but it's still a bit dissapointing.

Anyway, I went back up to the flat and got my spare inner tube out of my bed side table (don't ask). I managed to change the tube fairly quickly but just as I had pumped it up to the right pressure there was a little 'pop' and the tyre came away from the rim. A balloon of inner tube then appeared and kept getting bigger before it exploded!

With no more spare inner tubes I had no choice to go back upstairs, have a shower and get on the train.

I really need to get better at changing tubes. It seems to be as easy as it should be.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tuesday 1st September

Had a really good cycle in on my new tyres and seat post. My saddle was a little higher than it was before which took a little getting used to but I think it was better after the initial oddness. My total time door to door, including stopping at lights was less than 50 minutes. Best so far.

The journey back was HORRIBLE – INCREDIBLY windy again. I actually nearly got blown sideways off my bike at Elephant And Castle roundabout.

I also got a sore backside on the way back. As well as the solid seat post I also removed the gel cover from my saddle. This was probably a bit too much of a change and I’ll put the gel cover back on for a little while.

O: HRav:139 kCal:647 D:12.2 Av:15.1 Max:25.5 T:48:31.9
R: HRav:137 kCal:780 D:12.1 Av:12.1 Max:21.3 T:59:08.8

Tyres, Seat Posts and Clothes

When I was pumping my tyres up on Friday I noticed that the beading on the rear tyre was pretty knackered. I’ve been wanting to try some Armadillo tyres for a while as they are supposed to be almost impossible to puncture.

On Saturday I bought a pair of Armadillos and fitted them. I ended up with the Cross Roads ones which are for road use and unpaved paths. I think I should have really got the Nimbus as that’s just for roads but I’ll see how the ones I have do.

I also bought a solid seat post. The one that I have had so far had suspension in it to soak up the worst of the bumps. I think it was good initially but it was starting to annoy me as I could feel me going up and down sometimes when I was pedalling wasting energy.

The new seat post also means that I won’t get oil all over my shorts and T-shirts anymore from the suspension bit. As a result of this I am looking for some better cycling gear. The cotton shorts I have are ok but not good in the wet. I also want to get some cycling undershorts that should be much more comfortable than boxer shorts.

I’m looking forward to trying the new bike set up tomorrow to see how it feels. The plan this week is to cycle all the way on all 4 days so that I’ll do about the same mileage as last week but only over 4 days (because of the bank holiday) instead of 5.

End of week 13

I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging this week I am afraid. I’ve just not got round to it in the evenings.

This was the first week that I cycled more than 100 miles. I lost over 5 lb and the bike has now done 723 miles.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I cycled home a different way, along the Norhtern Line. There definitely less steep hills and in that respect it was probably a bit easier. There were however more traffic lights and a few narrow bits that got really snarled up with traffic that made it difficult to get past.
The rest of the week I went my usual way back cutting across Clapham Common and I think that I will continue to use this route.

On Tuesday Morning I got held up a little on Tower Bridge. For the second time I saw the bridge raise in front of me but this time it wasn’t a tiny little sailing boat but a very big cruise liner. More pictures here. She was still moored between Tower Bridge and London Bridge when I went past in the evening but had left the next morning. I should think she left on the early morning high tide.

On Wednesday morning I had a fantastic ride in and did the whole journey in less that 50 minutes averaging over 15 MPH over the 12.5 miles. There is much less traffic in the morning so the Northern Line route works well.

Thursday and Friday were VERY windy on the way home which makes life a lot harder.

My journey home on Friday was particularly annoying as I had a slow puncture. I filled the tyre up at Evans Canary Wharf and again at Evans Clapham. At Clapham I could actually hear the air escaping so I had to stop again on my way home to top it up from my hand pump.

R: HRav:141 kCal:831 D:12.1 Av:12.9 Max:21.3 T:57:58.7

O: HRav:140 kCal:657 D:12.5 Av:15.3 Max:27.2 T:49:02.3
R: HRav:139 kCal:786 D:12.4 Av:12.7 Max:20.2 T:58:31.5

O: HRav:137 kCal:308 D:5.1 Av:13.1 Max:19.8 T:23:28.8
R: HRav:139 kCal:769 D:12.1 Av:12.5 Max:23.7 T:57:54.2

O: HRav:143 kCal:319 D:5.0 Av:13.7 Max:21.0 T:22:06.6
R: HRav:134 kCal:787 D:11.5 Av:11.1 Max:22.8 T:1:01:41

Monday, 24 August 2009

Monday 24th August

Pretty good ride in in the morning on fresh legs. Nearly averaged 15 MPH again but not quite – I did get stopped at quite a few traffic lights though.

Ride home was hard work. I didn’t eat much for lunch which probably didn’t help. It was also really windy but that didn’t affect me as much as it has done in the past.

I think tomorrow I’ll cycle home the way I cycle in the morning – not taking the short cut through Clapham Common but continuing along the Northern Line. It is slightly longer but is less hilly. I’ll just have to see how much traffic there is and how much it’ll slow me down.

O: HRav:139 kCal:699 D:12.5 Av:14.7 Max:22.5 T:51:10.7
R: HRav:139 kCal:787 D:12.1 Av:12.44 Max:22.5 T:58:19.6

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Garmin 705

Like Justin at Bike Geek I am a geek who loves my gadgets. I have a load of them on my car but am missing a really geeky gadget for my bike.

I do have my Polar CS200cad which is pretty good – it tells me my cadence, top heart rate, average heart rate, top speed, average speed, max cadence, average cadence, time in zone, time above zone, time below, ride time and exercise time which is all very well but I want more!

For the car we have a GPS performance meter that logs your line round a course and plots speed again elevation / g / ect ect. I really wanted something like that for the bike.

It seems that the Garmin 705 is exactly what I want. It is expensive but it gives you lots of pretty graphs and maps of your route – all in one package so instead of posting up an instamapper route and averages and totals for a ride I can post links to maps and graphs like this:


It’ll give me a lot more data about my riding so I can better compare how much I am improving.

It does LOADS of other things as well, it is a full blown GPS navigation system, you can record rides and then race against them later, you can plan rides on your computer then go and cycle them and so on…

It is expensive but if I’m good enough I think that Linzi might let me get it sometime.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Thursday 20th August

This morning I cycled all the way in again and felt pretty good. The forecast rain didn’t appear luckily so I didn’t get wet.

I wasn’t trying particularly hard this morning but I think I must have just got lucky with the lights. I averaged 15.1 MPH over 12.5 miles and did the whole journey in less than 50 minutes! My previous highest average was only 14 I think.

On the way back I felt pretty tired. I had been pretty tired all day so the journey back did feel pretty hard and long.

I’ve done 50 miles over the last 2 days and about 67 this week in just 3 days. I’ll not be cycling tomorrow as I am going out in the evening so that’s it for this week. Next week my legs will hopefully be feeling fresh again after a 3 day rest so I’ll be back to enjoying my cycling more.

O: HRav:148 kCal:763 D:12.5 Av:15.1 Max:23.9 T:49:36.0
R: HRav:133 kCal:744 D:11.9 Av:11.7 Max:23.7 T:1:01:02

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wednesday 19th August

Today I rode all 24 miles, 12 in and 12 back after work.

This morning started really well, I felt really strong and I was cruising along through Wimbledon at 19 / 20 MPH. After half a mile though I got a really bad puncture, the whole tyre deflated in about 10 seconds – not ideal at 17 MPH.

It turns out that a considerate builder had left some smashed tiles in the gutter of the road and had pierced about a half centimetre gash in my rear tyre.

Luckily last week when I got my last puncture I bought a spare inner tube and some tyre levers. I did wonder about going back home and getting the train in but after a bit of dithering I changed the tube.

I’ve not done this since I was about 10 and I found it a bit fiddly. It took about 20 minutes but this includes the dithering time and the time I spent looking for what had caused the damage (and clearing the tiles up as best I could). I’m sure if it happens again I’ll be able to change the next one a fair bit quicker.

I had to use my portable pump to fill the tyre up and it wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be. I only filled it up to around 60 psi instead of the normal 90 but that was hard enough and the portable pump was starting to struggle at that pressure.

When I had fixed the tyre I set off again and had a pretty good ride. I took a different route in to avoid the hills on my normal route and I think for the way in this is the way to go. I basically followed the Northern Line all the way from Wimbledon South along Tooting High Street.

I did manage to get lost later on the route though. I took the wrong exit off the Elephant and Castle roundabout then changed my mind about what the best way back to London Bridge was. This little detour added about a mile onto the journey.

Despite all these delays (and leaving late in the first place) I still managed to get to my desk for just after 8:00.

On the way home I left work at about 5:00 – I got in later and I had a longer than usual lunch. I started off pretty well but it was very very hot – about 31 degrees C so I soon slowed down.

The heat, having cycled 13 miles already and the extra traffic due to leaving later all added up to make it a pretty hard ride back. On 3 separate occasions I also had to come skidding to a halt as people stepped out in front of me without seeing me. It is so annoying and tiring when people do that – it’s not tiring going fast, getting to that speed is what tires you out.

Tomorrow I’ll be cycling the whole way in again if everything goes to plan – although it is supposed to be very wet so we’ll have to see.

O: HRav:143 kCal:803 D:13.1 Av:13.9 Max:24.5 T:56:20.6
R: HRav:146 kCal:835 D:12.0 Av:12.6 Max:24.4 T:57:10.9

Tuesday 18th August

This morning I wasn’t feeling too good after a pretty heavy weekend so I had a fairly leisurely ride in.

On the ride back I felt pretty good and was going pretty quickly – a 4 day rest made sure my legs weren’t sore and were nice and strong.

This week I wanted to ride all the way in and back at least twice. I will only be cycling 3 days though as I am out on Friday night. I’m going to try to cycle the whole 24 miles on Wednesday and Thursday to get as many miles as I can in this week.

It’s not ideal doing it 2 days in a row for the first time but there’s nothing I can do about that.

O: HRav:135 kCal:312 D:5.1 Av:13.0 Max:19.8 T:23:34.8
R: HRav:146 kCal:798 D:11.9 Av:13.2 Max:26.0 T:54:08.5

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Thursday 13th August

I tried to take it a bit easier this morning as my legs were feeling a bit used from last night. My average heart rate was lower - 131 but my average was still 13 MPH and my ride time still less than 25 minutes.

It wasn't really raining in the morning but it had been earlier so the road was really wet. I got wet as a lot of water was thrown up off my wheels so by the time I got to work I was pretty soggy.

On the way home I left work late at about 5:15 as I was finishing some stuff off before my long weekend. As I was late anyway I was taking it easy. It was really nice weather for a ride - sunny but not too hot and everything had dried up nicely.

When I got to Tower Bridge there were gates across as it was about to be raised, I'd not seen that before. It was quite a sight but was was even more of a sight was all the cyclist and motorcyclists all waiting to go. When the gates opened it was like the start of a race and some tourists in the crowd were even shouting "GO GO!". I was riding in a big bunch of cyclists for quite a while because of this which was quite nice.

Just going through the roundabout at Elephant and Castle my rear tyre started to feel a bit soft. Sure enough I had a puncture and the tyre went down pretty quickly. I got off and had to walk nearly 3 miles to the next Evans Cycles in Clapham.

They changed the tyre for me and I bought a spare inner tube and some tyre levers so that next time it happens I'll (hopefully) be able to change the tyre myself. So far I've been really lucky and all my little breakdowns have happened on the way home when Evans has been opened but I can't rely on staying that lucky.

That's the end of Week 11 now and I have finally reached the 2 stone lost point. I'm away to Germany for the weekend so won't be going to work (or cycling again) until Tuesday.

As I've got a 4 day rest I think next week I'll try to cycle the whole way in and the whole way back for at least 2 days next week and see how I go.

O: HRav:131 kCal:276 D:5.1 Av:13.0 Max:20.0 T:23:26.3

Wednesday 12th August

This morning I decided to push it and see how quick I could go if I really tried. This probably wasn't really the best idea as on the way home I had to cycle further - 14 miles to my car dealership instead of the 12 miles home.

I was pretty pleased with the result though - an average of 14.8 MPH and a ride time of 20:29.9. I want to get under the 20 minute mark but for that I'll have to average 15 MPH or over. I was averaging 15 MPH this morning until the steps up to Canary Wharf.

On the way back as I said I had to go to the car dealership. I was picking my car up from a service and Linzi was getting her new car so a very full evening. I started out quite quickly but started to feel tired at around the 10 mile mark. There is one really really long hill that gradually gets steeper between Brixton and Streatham and it really takes it out of you. After that I took it a bit easy. I'm still pleased with the result though - took just over an hour for the whole run.

O: HRav:151 kCal:328 D:5.0 Av:14.8 Max:21.2 T:20:29.9
R: HRav:146 kCal:970 D:14.2 Av:12.9 Max:25.1 T:1:06.14

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Tuesday 11th August

Yet again this morning I set off thinking I’d just take it easy but it’s very hard to do that. I ended up doing pretty well with a pretty good average speed. This was still with soft tyres on the bike.

On the way back I stopped at Evans and topped my tyres up. I also put the saddle up a bit as I think it had been slipping down.

The bike felt fantastic afterwards – it’s amazing how much difference these little changes make. I was getting up to 17 MPH easily on the flat and was over 16 what seemed like most of the time.

Why then was my average only 12.9? I think this is because I now tend to coast more at lights. If the light is read I will stop cycling well in advance in the hope that by the time I get to the lights they will be green. This means that I am stopped for a shorter time but means that I am moving for longer so my ride time goes up.

If I was just trying to get a high average speed I would pedal full speed to a red light, stop dead than power away accelerating as hard as possible. This would be VERY inefficient though and I’d ge ta lot more tired. It’s also good not to stop so that you don’t have to take your feet out of your pedals as it’s always a bit of a paid getting them back.

I noticed this at some lights today. I had done about 4 miles already and my average was around 13.3 MPH. I coasted up to some lights – which took a while and after the lights my average was under 13 MPH.

It’s a shame that this affects the numbers the way it does but I’m not going to stop doing it. It just means my average depends more on how lucky I am with lights rather than how hard I pedal.

O: HRav:132 kCal:283 D:5.0 Av:13.2 Max:20.4 T:23:03.1
R: HRav:147 kCal:836 D:11.9 Av:12.9 Max:27.4 T:55:31.3

Monday 10th August

My legs were still a bit sore this morning from the PT session on Friday so I tried to take it easy. I didn’t try that hard – my average heart rate was only 132 but I managed an average speed of 13.1 and a total tome of 23:25.

On the way home I was in a hurry as I was trying to get home in time for a phone call. I was pushing pretty hard but it was windy so I wasn’t going that quick. It was also drizzling so all in all it wasn’t much fun. In the end I missed the call by about 5 minutes and by the time I had got home the person who I was waiting to hear form had left work.

The tyres felt pretty soft today but I didn’t have time to stop and top them up.

O: HRav:132 kCal:283 D:5.1 Av:13.1 Max:21.6 T:23:25.6
R: HRav:138 kCal:753 D:12.1 Av:12.5 Max:25.3 T:57:59.1

Friday 7th August

I didn’t cycle today as I went to see Oliver in the evening and dealing with a bike whilst going to the theatre would have been a bit of a nightmare.

Instead I had a PT session in the morning. As part of the session I had a go at a 5k time trial competition that they had going. The top time was around 7:00 minutes I think but when I first been told about it the top time was one of my instructors other clients with 8:19 or around that.

I did it in 8:52 which I was pretty pleased with. My legs didn’t feel too bad afterwards either – I could walk around no problem at all and was able to complete the rest of my PT session with no problems.

Thursday 6th August

Last night I was wondering if I should cycle today but this morning I felt fine so I cycled. I was taking it easy again and quite enjoyed the ride. I do need to get better at not pushing so hard all the time. I still got a pretty good time despite not trying too hard. My arm was also better this morning.

On the way back I tried a bit harder but it was pretty windy so I didn’t get a very impressive average speed.

O: HRav:126 kCal:283 D:5.1 Av:12.5 Max:19.2 T:24:39.4
R: HRav:143 kCal:808 D:12.2 Av:12.8 Max:26.1 T:57:19.4

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Wednesday 5th August

My legs felt pretty sore this morning from last night so I took it easy on the way in.

On the way back I didn't feel very good and cycling was really hard work. It was also really hot and humid - very unpleasant. My cycle computer went a bit mad again so the numbers aren't accurate. I did the same route but 1.1 miles seem to have come out of nowhere.

Bizarrely my arm was sore on the way back. Possibly I pulled a muscle slightly lifting my bike or something.

Was very pleased to get home and get off my bike at the end of the day.

O: HRav:133 kCal:300. D:5.1 Av:12.7 Max:20.4 T:24:11.3
R: HRav:138 kCal:826 D:13.8 Av:13.4 Max:24.2 T:1:01:55

Tuesday 4th August

Uneventful ride in doing average of 13 and getting a pretty time of 23:38.

On the way back it was a bit windy but I felt like I was doing well so I tried pretty hard to get a good time. When I got home though I had only done an average of 13.3 which was a bit dissapointing as I was hoping for around 14.

O: HRav: 140 kCal: 332 D:5.1 Av:13.0 Max:21.2 T:23:38.5
R: HRav: 143 kCal: 771 D:12.3 Av:13.3 Max:25.1 T:55:44.7

Monday, 3 August 2009

Monday 3rd August

Mondays are usually pretty good as my legs are rested over the weekend. Today was not that good though and cycling felt pretty hard. I think this was because I had a pretty tiring weekend and I REALLY didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. My metabolism obviously didn’t really want to wake up either as I found it hard to keep my heart rate up.

I generally took it pretty easy today but still managed an average of over 12 MPH which I’m pretty pleased with.

The return journey was a bit blowy again but not too bad. I did stop and have a bit of a walk in Clapham Common again which I’ve not done for a week or so.

I’m planning an early night tonight so hopefully I’ll be a bit more with it tomorrow.

O: HRav:129 kCal:301 D:5.1 Av:12.1 Max:20.7 T:25:28.2
R: HRav:132 kCal:703 D:11.9 Av:12.3 Max:24.6 T:58:04.1

Friday, 31 July 2009

Week 9 Summary

This week I cycled a total of 75 miles and since getting the bike I have ridden 419.4 miles.

This week I didn’t lose any weight – I actually put about a pound back on but when considering what I ate this week ( pizza, chinese, gastropub ready meal and chippie) that’s not too bad.

I don’t mind if I don’t lose loads of weight every week as long as I don’t put loads on. I would like to lose around a stone a month which should be very easy – but I am not there yet. If alternate a good week with a bad week I should manage a stone a month.

Next week will (hopefully) be a good week.

Friday 31st July

This morning was the first time that I cycled in all the way. The ride felt really easy (there wasn’t a breath of wind) and without caring or even looking at my average during the ride I did and average of nearly 14 MPH and got my best time ever for the whole ride – 54:34.7 door to door and 53:41.8 ride time.

There are a couple of big down hill sections on the way home at the end of the day that I was a bit worried about. The first one is long but not particularly steep till right at the end and wasn’t too bad. The second is quite a bit steeper. It has a small down hill section before so I was able to get up some speed to help but it was still a bit of a struggle getting all the way up the hill.

I felt fine after my cycle in – not particularly tired or sore and I was only about 10 mins later to work. If I get my act together and leave quicker in the morning I’ll be able to get that right down.

I dropped my bike off at Evans today to have the noise from the bottom bracket looked at. The front breaks were also making a king of scraping noise. They charged me £35 which I thought was a bit cheeky (but I didn’t say so – was easier to just pay it) as in my opinion they were fixing stuff that they didn’t do right during the free service last week. The bike did feel much better on the way home though – no noises from brakes or when pedalling and the brakes all felt a lot tighter.

Despite not feeling tired after the morning ride I did feel pretty tired on the way home. It was much less windy than that last few days but still a bit blowey. Tower Bridge was soooo much easier though, usually with the slope and the wind I’m down to about 9 or 10 MPH but today I sailed over at about 14 MPH.

I really wasn’t trying on the way back as my legs were a little sore and I generally felt like I’d already cycled quite a bit today. I still managed the ride within the hour though.

O: HRav:142 kCal:733 D:12.3 Av:13.8 Max:24.6 T:53:41.8
R: HRav:137 kCal:754 D:11.8 Av:12.5 Max:25.5 T:56:44.4

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Thursday 30th July

This morning’s ride was really good again. I was pretty lucky with the lights and it wasn’t windy so I could really fly. I only just missed an average of 14 MPH and did by far my best time of 21:47.6 (ride time) and 22:36.5 (exercise time).

There are 2 reasons why I am suddenly going so much quicker. I think the main one is putting my saddle up a couple of inches – it makes my legs MUCH more efficient when I am pedalling. The second change is that I am now pedalling at a much higher cadence and am using the middle front ring instead of the big one.

When using the big front ring (highest gears) I only ever really used 1–5 on a regular basis and only went above that at 1 place on my commute going down a hill. When using the middle ring the gears are generally lower and I use 1-7. This means that I start off in a lower gear from lights and that there is less of a change in ratio when I change the gears at the back.

The generally lower gears that I am using mean that my cadence is much higher. This morning my average cadence was 81 and the maximum was 100.

These changes allow me to go much quicker, mean that I don’t get sore knees, mean that my backside doesn’t get as sore (more weight being supported by the pedals) and mean that I am not sore at the end of the ride. Despite really pushing it yesterday this morning my legs felt fine.

On the way back today I didn’t try to get a particular average and instead took it pretty easy. It was incredibly windy again – when the wind was blowing across my path it actually pushed the front wheel sideways and made it difficult to go in a straight line. I didn’t want to struggle against that all the way home so I took it easy. I still averaged nearly 12 MPH though but was just over the hour.

On the way home I stopped at Evans Croydon as the bike has started to make a funny noise. It sounds like it’s coming from the bottom bracket. Each turn of the pedals produces a clicking noise. The man at Evans had a ride and could hear the noise. He tightened everything up including the pedals but the noise actually got worse. I’ll see if Evans Canary Wharf can have a look at it tomorrow.

O: HRav:148 kCal:326 D:5.0 Av:13.9 Max:20.5 T:21:47.6
R: HRav:140 kCal:820 D:12.1 Av:11.9 Max:22.9 T:1:01:09

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wednesday 29th July

Today the bike felt much better. Adjusting the seat yesterday really seemed to sort the bike out. I was easily getting up to 16 MPH on the straight and got my fastest average speed ever of 13 MPH.

On the way back I wanted to match 13 MPH again. Initially the average was over 14 so I thought it would be easy but the average really drops a lot whenever you have to stop at lights.

I was really pushing it trying to keep the average up but I just missed it in the end. I did for the first time do the whole journey in less than an hour. Even including stops I did the whole journey in less than an hour which I am really pleased with.

I think I might have properly knackered my legs for the rest of the week though so I’ll have to see how they feel tomorrow.

O: HRav:146 kCal:353 D:5.1 Av:13.0 Max:20.7 T:23:22.0
R: HRav:149 kCal:860 D:12.2 Av:12.9 Max:25.8 T:56:54.4

Tuesday 28th July

This morning felt pretty hard and my heart rate kept going to low. It was hard to keep my heart rate up and it generally felt a bit of a struggle. My knees were also pretty sore. I was beginning to think that I should get rid of the new pedals and cages.

I thought that I should put my saddle up so I put it up about an inch. On the way back I think this helped a bit but initially it wasn’t much better. About half way I stopped and put the seat up about another inch. The bike felt quite a bit better afterwards but my knees were still sore.

It was a bit of a struggle and for pretty much the first time I just wanted to be home rather than have to cycle all the way back.

O: HRav:130 kCal:290 D:5.1 Av:12.3 Max:19.4 T:25:00.6
R: HRav:134 kCal:825 D:12.2 Av:11.3 Max:24.9 T:1:04:44

Friday, 24 July 2009

Week 8 Summary

Miles Cycled: 70
Weight Lost: 7.2 lb

Total Miles: 342
Total Weight Lost: 19.55 lb

I had a pretty good week. I'm looking forward to starting again next week to see how much better the bike will feel when I'm more used to the new pedals.

I did have a pretty awful night last night though as my calf muscles were suffering and kept feeling like I was going to get cramp. I hope I'll get used to the new cycling position quickly.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Thursday 23rd July

When I started out this morning I felt pretty tired after yesterday’s extra cycling and trying a bit harder than I should have done. After not very long though I felt better and did pretty well getting an average of 12.5 MPH again.

Today Oliver had his first free service. While he was in there I got some more brake pads fitted, new pedals and some cage things for the pedals. I also got some glasses.

The sun glasses that I have been using were standard non-wrap around ones. This usually meant that the wind would come round the edges of the glasses and go straight into my eyes along with whatever rubbish happened to be blowing along. A few times I got things in my eyes and it was very unpleasant. The new glasses are wrap around and are quite dark (I usually find that sun glasses are not dark enough). They work really well and are very comfortable.
They were supposed to come with inter changeable lenses for different lighting conditions but they couldn’t find the case so I got the glasses that should have been £35 for £20.

The new brake pads are a huge improvement so far. The old ones were constantly incredibly squeaky, in fact I hardly ever used my front brakes as they were so loud. The new ones don’t squeak at all but we’ll have to see if they continue like that. My old ones didn’t squeak to start with.

The new pedals are much better as well. The old ones were smooth and plastic so had very little grip – especially in the wet. The new ones are metal and have studs so they are very grippy. The cages for the pedals ensure that you pedal on the balls of your feet and forces you to use your calf muscles more. They took a bit of getting used to. To begin with I wasn’t sure that I liked them but I got used to the fairly quickly. It does take some getting used to getting your feet in and out of the cages but I’ll get better at as I get more used to it.

It did seem to really make a difference to my cycling. My feet really felt connected to the pedals instead of constantly almost slipping off them. I felt really string and when I was pushing it I felt like I could go a lot quicker.

My muscles are feeling quite used now and I have been getting some cramps but I think this is because I have been forced to use my muscles in a different way due to the new position of my feet. I’m pretty sure that I’ll adjust quite quickly. I’m not cycling again for 4 days so that’ll give my legs a chance to recover.

On the way back I paused my cycle computer to re-adjust my pedals and forgot to un-pause it which is why the distance and time is less. I averaged over 12 MPH though so I’m pleased.

O: HRav:135 kCal:314 D:5.1 Av:12.5 Max:19.6 T:24:38.0
R: HRav:141 kCal:733 D:10.4 Av:12.1 Max:25.8 T:51.55.1

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wednesday 22nd July

I had a good ride this morning. It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t windy. It was actually a nice sunny morning. Door to door from Waterloo to the office took me 25:24.8 and I was cycling for only 24:31. I wasn’t trying particularly hard either.

On the way back I cycled to Croydon instead of Wimbledon. On the map it said that this was 14 miles so I didn’t think it would be too much harder. The reason I was cycling to Croydon was to pick my car up that had been serviced. I had to get there by 17:45 and I only left Canary Wharf at 16:25.

I made it just in time – not helped by the fact that I got lost on the way. I didn’t even stop for a walk to give my backside a rest – I am feeling a little sore now though.

Coming back from Croydon I had to put the bike in the back of the car. This was actually really easy. I did have to take the front wheel off but that was easy enough.

Now my car is far more dear to me than my bike (we’ve done 13,000 in it over 5 months – and that’s just driving it at the weekends) but driving back from Croydon I think I would have preferred my bike. The traffic was terrible and it would have been much easier cycling. I never drive in London and that’s why.

Just one more day at work this week. We’re off to Germany on Friday so tomorrow will be the last cycling this week.

O: HRav:136 kCal:313 D:5.1 Av:12.5 Max:28.6 T:24:31.1
R: HRav:146 kCal:1161 D:15.2 Av:11.8 Max:24.7 T:1:18:6.4

Tuesday 21st July

Today my luck finally ran out and I had to cycle in the rain for the first time.

It wasn’t actually that bad. My Gore Tex jacket kept me really dry (apart from the sweat) and warm and I didn’t actually get as hot as I thought I would wearing it.

I had a good cycle in despite the rain. At one point that rain was blowing into my eyes which wasn’t very pleasant but it didn’t last too long. It was raining the whole way and when I got to work my shorts were pretty much see through (don’t worry, I had boxers on). I was also pretty mucky from all the dirt that gets thrown up from the road.

I followed another cyclist on a slightly better route this morning. At London Bridge instead of struggling past all the busses up the very narrow hill there is another route that is much quieter.

The ride back was pretty good as well and I made good time. It didn’t feel windy and I felt good. I didn’t stop for a little walk at Clapham Common and my backside still felt ok when I got home. I also didn’t feel too tired at the end of the ride.

My cycle computer went a bit funny on the way back so the return figures are a bit fudged. I worked out the average speed. The ride time is probably a bit longer than it actually was as well.

O: HRav:132 kCal:314 D:5.0 Av:12.1 Max:20.6 T:25:12.7
R: HRav:143 kCal:897 D:12.1 Av:11.5 Max:25.5 T:1:03.02

Monday, 20 July 2009

Monday 20th July

I took the cycle this morning easy again and it felt really easy all the way. My average heart rate was only 132 but I still managed the whole journey from waterloo to the wharf (including stops) in 26:55.3. Ride time was 25:12.7.

When I got to the wharf I went back to climbing up the steps rather than cycling up the hill. I think this is quicker as I don't have to wait for the lights. Cycling up the hill is also pretty hard. The steps weren't too bad this morning anyway (because I had taken it easy) but I do tend to get oil on my clothes as I have to carry my bike. Linzi won't be pleased!

When I got to HSBC the showers were cold! Normally this would be really nice but this morning as I hadn't been pushing it I wasn't very hot and a cold shower wasn't very welcome. Still I coped being all manly and all that!

The ride back was ok, it was windy again though (as always). My heart rate kept dropping below the minimum limit which I thought was a bit odd so I was trying quite hard to keep it within the range on my cycle computer. I was wondering if I had the sensor on wring or not wet enough or something. I got a pretty good time taking into account the walk I have through Clapham Common so I would have expected my HR to be higher.

My knees were sore again on the way back. I am trying to take it easy again and not put too much strain on my knees but they don’t seem to be getting better. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

O: HRav:132 kCal:314 D:5.0 Av:12.1 Max:20.6 T:25:12.7
R: HRav:134 kCal:810 D:12.4 Av:11.6 Max:24.7 T:1:04.32

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday 17th July

This morning the ride was really good and I got my highest ever average speed of 13.1. I was a bit late for a personal training session I had booked at the gym and I had missed the 6:23 train so had to get the 6:32.

My personal training session was pretty good. It wasn’t too hard but hard enough. It was 45 minutes and we concentrated mostly on my upper body.

Stormy showers were forecast for the afternoon so at lunch I bought a gore tex cycling jacket.

The ride home was really hard. It was incredibly windy again and I was generally feeling pretty tired. This was most likely due to the gym in the morning. Although we didn’t do much leg work they did get used a bit. I didn’t have that much for lunch either which might not have helped. I took the cycle back really slowly and was very pleased to get home.

I was again really lucky with the weather and I didn’t get rained on. It was drizzling very slightly when I got home but shortly after I got home it started raining properly. So far in all the time I’ve been cycling I’ve not got wet once!

That’s the end of the 7th week since I’ve started cycling. This week I did 68 miles this week and have done 268.6 miles.

O: HRav:141 kCal:350 D:5.5 Av:13.1 Max:20.7 T:25:09.4
R: HRav:133 kCal:839 D:12.1 Av:10.3 Max:24.3 T:1:08.57

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Thursday 16th July

This morning my knees were still sore when I set out. They’ve have been uncomfortable and a bit painful most of the week – when I am cycling and when I am sitting down for example.

I think that this is just because I pushed it a bit too much at the start of the week. Today I made a real effort to take it a bit easier staying in lower gears and only changing up when it felt really easy in that gear.

This seemed to work and at the end of the ride I didn’t feel sore or tired at all really. Looking at the numbers my average heart rate was lower and so were the calories burnt. This is less than ideal but if I had been doing this since the start of the week I probably would have managed 5 days of cycling instead of 4 so it would have been worth it.

Despite taking it easier it only took me 2 minutes longer to get to work.

I did the same on the cycle home and again I felt much stronger at the end of the ride than usual. Again my average heart rate and calories burnt were lower but my legs are less sore and I feel like cycling tomorrow will be fine.

It actually took me 2 minutes less time to cycle home today than yesterday. This was with the same short walk through Clapham Common as yesterday. This is a pretty minor change though over an hour so this difference could just be because of traffic lights for example.

O: HRav:136 kCal:343 D:5.1 Av:11.7 Max:21.5 T:26:25.7
R: HRav:138 kCal:862 D:12.3 Av:11.4 Max:25.1 T:1:04.52

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wednesday 15 July

I took the executive decision not to cycle today as I was feeling pretty sore from yesterday. I plan to cycle all the way on 4 days this week which will be 68 miles which I am still pretty pleased with.

If I am going to have a day off it seems to make sense to have it in the middle of the week. Hopefully today will bive my muscles a chance to recover for Thursday.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tuesday 14th July

This morning’s ride went really well. I was in somewhat of a hurry to get to an 8:00 gym induction appointment at work. I had left it a little bit too long before I went to the train and ended up getting the 6:58 train.

I think this was the fastest ride in I’ve done – less than 25 minutes and my highest average speed of 12.3.

My gym induction was quite interesting, they weight you, measure you (in all sorts of degrading and embarrassing ways) and do a blood test.

Unsurprisingly they told me that I am overweight! My blood glucose was bang on normal at 4.5 though and my cholesterol was 4.8 which was on the low side of normal so I was pretty pleased with that.

The gym was very impressive – the biggest corporate gym in Europe. I am not sure I’ll use it much, I mostly only joined so I can use the changing room and get towels for when I cycle in. I’ll probably use it occasionally for weights and I actually have a personal training session on Friday so I’ll have to see how that goes.

The ride back felt hard. I think that I might have pushed myself a bit too hard this morning and last night. It was windy again tonight which made things worse.

My backside was starting to get sore again so I walked for a short time through Clapham Common. This no doubt brought my average speed down a bit. I didn’t walk yesterday which is probably why the time and average were so good.

The plan this week was to cycle all the way back Monday, Wednesday and Friday but as I am having to work till 5:00 this week I can’t cycle back to Waterloo and get the train. I am going to try to cycle all the way home every day but I am going to have to get better at taking it easy if I am going to do that.

Depending how things go I might not cycle on Thursday but I’ll jstu see how it goes.

O: HRav:149 kCal:373 D:5.0 Av:12.3 Max:21.1 T:24:34.9
R: HRav:140 kCal:904 D:12.3 Av:11.1 Max:25.1 T:1:06.26

Monday, 13 July 2009

Monday 13th July

I didn't cycle last week as I was starting a new job and doing some training so today was the first time I cycled in about 10 days.

Despite being off for so long and not eating particularly well in the mean time I actually lost about a pound last week getting me very close to losing a whole stone since I started.

Starting out from the flat in Wimbledon things felt a little strange and my knees felt a bit sore which was odd.

I was running late and had to find all my kit so I didn't manage to get on the train until 6:52. Severe delays were reported on the Jubilee Line (the one I get to Canary Wharf) but I didn't care as I was cycling!

Cycling in in the morning I felt pretty good - on the first flat bit (after a bit of a downhill) I was doing 18 MPH but I didn't want to tire myself out so I slowed down. It did feel slightly like I was cycling through treacle though. Turns out my back tire had gone down. I was surprised how much harder it made it to cycle. I did make it all the way though and bought a pump at lunch time.

The pump that I bought was a small portable one and was actually pretty useless – only good for emergencies really. I managed to get the back tyre pumped up to about 70 psi and tried to pump the front one up. Unfortunately it had a different valve and I only succeeded in letting most of the air out. I managed to cycle to an Evans on my way home though. The man in the shop told me how to adjust the pump to work with the other valve (which involved dismantling the pump). Evans also have proper floor standing pumps that you can use to top up your tyres. I topped both tyres up to 90 psi.

The bike felt much easier to ride after that although I did notice the bumps in the road more.

There was also a LOT of wind on the way back, especially over Tower bridge.

Despite these 2 problems (along with the fact that the bike was heavier as I had more stuff with me) I managed to cycle all the way back in 1 hour and 2 minutes. My average heart rate was 147 though and I burnt 988 kcal. I think these are higher because of the wind.

O: HRav:143 kCal:403 D:5.2 Av:11.3 Max:20.3 T:27:34.9
R: HRav:147 kCal:988 D:12.3 Av:11.8 Max:25.3 T:1:02.36

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Wednesday 1st July / end of Week 5

Wednesday was actually a few days ago but things have been a bit busy since then so I've not had a chance to blog.

It was pretty hard work again on Wednesday. I think partly because of the heat and partly because I was tired.

I cycled the whole way back again but this time I made sure I had some money with me. On Tuesday I was running out of water and didn't have any money to buy some more. In that sort of heat you need to be careful about dehydration so I drank 2 whole bottles of water on the way back.

Wednesday was the last cycle this week as I had a leaving do on Thursday night and I drove to North Yorkshire on Friday night.

Next week I won't be cycling to work on Monday as I start a new job. I'm still working at Canary Wharf so the route will be the same. I'll have to check the building and bike parking out so that I know where the showers are before I start cycling again. Hopefully I can cycle in on Tuesday.

I didn't lose very much weight last week, just enough to lose what I put on at the weekend. This weekend has been a social one as well so I've eaten and drunk a fair bit again.

I'm not particularly worried about that as long as I lose anything I put on at the weekend. I am probably putting some muscle on as well so if my weight stays the same I am still doing good (I hope).

I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike on Tuesday, after a good long rest this weekend I should feel pretty strong. I’m planning to cycle in from Waterloo and all the way back 4 days which will be about 68 miles, the most so far. I’m hoping for cooler weather so it’s a bit easier.

O: HRav:136 kCal:376 D:5.2 Av:11.0 Max:18.5 T:28:25.6
R: HRav:136 kCal:925 D:12.2 Av:10.6 Max:26.5 T:1:08.48

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tuesday 30th June

Thus morning was pretty hard work again and again I tried to take it pretty easy. This week I've not been bothered with times or average speed, it's more an endurance trst and I want to make sure I can do this 3 days in a row. My average heart rate was again only 133 but I did the whole journey in 28:38 minutes.

On the way back it didn't seem as hard work. It was HOT though. The temperature was 32 degrees! It didn't feel too bad most of the time as I was moving and the wind was cooling me down but at lights or up hill it was very hot. Going past cars with their aircon on was also very warm as they really throw out the heat.

I stopped a couple of times and walked to allow myself to cool down a bit but I still managed the whole journey in 1 hour 9 minutes.

O: HRav:133 kCal:360 D:5.1 Av:10.7 Max:19.0 T:28:38.2
R: HRav:139 kCal:901 D:12.2 Av:11.0 Max:23.3 T:1:06.18

Monday, 29 June 2009

Monday June 29th

I took it pretty easy this morning as I was pretty tired and got up early. My average heart rate was only 138 which is lower than normal but my average speed was still 11.2 and time was 27 minutes and 17 seconds so I’m pretty pleased with that as I wasn’t really trying.

On the way back I cycled the whole way again. I felt really good. Mondays are always better as my legs are not sore after recovering over the weekend. Today I was managing around 16 MPH on the flat in 5th gear fairly easily.

I took a slightly different route today and took a bit of a shortcut through Clapham Common. Clapham Common is about 8 miles into my route so a good chance to get off the saddle for a little while so I walked for a few minutes through the path to have a bit of a break.

Despite walking part of the route I still managed an average speed of 11.5 MPH and did the whole 12 miles in 1 hour and 4 minutes.

The plan this week is to cycle all the way home on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow and Wednesday. There’ll be no cycling on Thursday or Friday.

Key below:

  • HRav: Average Heart Rate
  • kCal: Calories
  • D: Average
  • Av: Average Speed
  • Max: Max Speed
  • T: Time

O: HRav: 138 kCal: 358 D:5.1 Av:11.2 Max: 18.7 T: 27:17.5
R: HRav: 159 kCal: 952 D:12.4 Av:11.5 Max: 26.9 T: 1:04.41

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Swimming and sore arms

Yesterday morning I went swimming for the first time in ages. Alex (my new PT) had recommended it as some gentle exercise following the weights on Saturday. It would help stop my muscles getting too sore.

I swam 40 lengths, which in the gym's 20M pool is about half a mile. It was fine and I actually enjoyed it as I always enjoyed swimming. My arms were a bit sore initially but soon loosened up.

The rest of the day my arms got increasingly painful. Most movements were fine but straightening my elbows all the way was INCREDIBLY painful. Lifting my arms above my head, for example to grab the collar at the back of my neck to take off my T-shirt was also very sore.

I took some Ibuprofen but it didn't help much.

I had a mixed night sleep as whenever I turned over I woke up. It was also VERY hot.

This morning I actually got up when the alarm went off for a change and got out of the flat at 6. I made it to the station for 6:05 only to find that the next train wasn't until 6:14.

The in laws were with us over the weekend so I had a couple of big meals and some cocktails. End result was that I put on 4lb over the weekend but I'm not worried about that and am sure I'll lose it again quickly this week.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

End of week 4 and return to the Gym

It's been a pretty good week and I have cycled over 50 miles. I've lost just over 6 lb.

I had my first Gym session in over a year this morning. It was a try out personal training session to see if I got on with a potential new PT (personal trainer).

The guy's name was Alex and he specialises in weight training. I went for him as I don't want to do much cardio at the gym as I think I get enough of that on the bike during the week. At the gym I mostly want to work on the upper body and core muscles, basically anything that my cycling doesn't cover.

It was only a half hour session but my god that was enough. We stayed on the weight machines rather than the free weights and did bench presses, rowing (weights machine not rowing machine) and shoulder press. We did 3 or 4 sets of 15 with 45 second rests.

To be honest I am not sure why we did the last set on each machine as by then my arms were like spaghetti and Alex did basically all the work!

After the weights we did 4 minutes on the cross trainer. 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 10 seconds of rest and so on. After 2 minutes I had to ask to slow down as I was starting to feel sick but in the 4th minute we did more sprints. I think the sickness was partly because I had just taken a big drink of water which was probably a bad idea.

When we had finished I literally could barely lift my arms above my head. Showering and drying my hair was very difficult as was putting on under arm deodorant!

I think that 2 half hour sessions a week (not sure I could manage a 1 hour session) would be pretty good and compliment my cycling well.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Friday 26th June

Today was the first time that I got to play with my new toy – my Polar Cycling Computer. I am pretty pleased with it so far. There are 1 or 2 things about it that I still need to figure out but it gives me a whole lot more information about how I am doing.

It sets max and min heart rates for you that you should try to stay between. It works this out based on your age, height and weight. It also uses these values to estimate calories burnt based on heart rate. I went above my max heart rate (160) a few time today. Usually when racing to get through a green light.

The morning run was pretty good – I got from Waterloo to the Wharf in 27:33 minutes, that was with me pedalling for 26:56 and in my target zone for 25:20.

The best bit of information was the calories burnt – a huge 388. My other computer estimated this trip as around 100.

On the return I cycled all the way home again. Up till about half way I was feeling pretty strong but the last half was a struggle. I stopped and walked for about 5 minutes 8 miles in to try to stop getting a sore backside. I think this worked as the last 2 miles were not nearly as uncomfortable as usual.

I burnt over 900 calories on the return journey taking my total burnt for the day to about 1400.

I think that I can improve my route on the way back slightly by going through Clapham Common. I think this will cut off a bit of a corner and avoid some of the congested sections of the route.

My computer allows you to upload data to a website. I’ll have a play with that later and see if I can get that to work so I can save all my training data for comparison later.

O: Time: 26:46 Average: 11.6 Max: 20.8 Distance: 5.2 kCal: 388
R: Time: 1:06:02 Average: 11 Max: 23.6 Distance: 12.1 kCal: 936

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Thursday 25th June

Cycling in this morning was pretty tough. I was tired as I didn’t sleep that well last night and my legs were being very un-cooperative. I just decided to take it easy as I wasn’t in a hurry.

About half way I stopped to blow a runny nose and had a pretty bad nose bleed. I waited for it to stop for a while and it didn't, I then started walking slowly with my bike hoping it would stop and it still didn't. I stopped walking and eventually my nose did stop bleeding. I probably looked like I’d been mugged or fallen off my bike or something as a few passers by asked if I was ok. I managed to get a fair amount of blood on my shorts which I'll have to wear on the way back tonight but that's ok.

I do get nosebleeds sometimes and they are nothing more than an inconvenience - especially when you're cycling and can't go to the toilet to get copious amounts of toilet paper! I managed to wash most of the blood off before continuing by using the water in my water bottle so they did at least let me in the building when I go tot work.

Returning home was much better. I felt pretty strong and did Canary Wharf to Waterloo in a little over 25 minutes. I got the 16:36 train and got to Wimbledon Station at 16:50.

I got my new cycle computer today so I’ll try to get it fitted tonight. It will be interesting to see how the calorie estimation compares between the 2 computers.

O: Time: 34.03 Average: 8.5 Max: 17.1 Distance: 4.88 kCal: 83.2
R: Time: 27:38 Average: 10.3 Max: 20.4 Distance: 4.76 kCal: 98.8

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Where am I?

I don’t know if I posted the link to my location tracking page. Anyone can use this to see where I am so if you’re worried about me cycling home through busy London you can see if I make it or not! :)

The url for seeing where I am is:




Or you can look at the map below:

GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com

If I don’t have the application on my phone on then there won’t be any updates. I usually switch it on when I am cycling though.

Wednesday 24th June

The cycle this morning was harder than usual, my legs felt pretty tired but I am really pleased that I was able to cycle all the way home last night and cycle in from Waterloo this morning. I think the plan for the rest of the week is to cycle to and from Waterloo today and tomorrow and then cycle all the way home on Friday night.

The return journey was pretty non-eventful. I am finding the 5 mile cycle pretty easy now but I still push it and get a good work out (I think, my new cycle computer will help tell me if this is so). I got on the 16:39 train and had time to spare. This was with leaving from the wharf a bit later at about 16:05.

I am thinking about going back to the gym at the weekend, we don't have much on on Saturday morning. I've not been to the gym for over a year, since I started the job that I'll be leaving at the end of next week in fact. My cycling should be taking care of my leg muscles and losing weight but my upper body is not getting much exercise. I would like to do 1 personal training session a week to just work on my upper body. As these muscles get bigger this will in turn help weight loss as these muscles will burn calories all the time.

Last night I ordered a new cycle computer, the CS200cad. I was going to go for the CS100 but I wanted the cadence sensor and by the time I added that it came to nearly as much as the CS200cad (which comes with the cadence sensor already). This is a lot more than my last cycle computer but I want to monitor my heart rate and get a better idea of the calories I am burning. The CS200 should be much better at this.

O: Time: 28.47 Average: 11.1 Max: 20.0 Distance: 5.36 kCal: 105.0
R: Time: 27.44 Average: 10.0 Max: 21.7 Distance: 4.64 kCal: 94.9
(on the return journey I didn’t have my computer plugged in at the start, that’s why it’s shorter)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tuesday 23rd June 2009

I couldn’t cycle in today as my bike was still at Canary Wharf. To make up for this I decided to try and cycle all the way back.

At Tower Bridge I was still feeling pretty good so I cycled all the way to Wimbledon.

It only took me 1 hour and 2 minutes to cycle all the way back which I was really pleased with. This doesn’t include lights but I don’t think it can be much more than 70 minutes all in. This really does prove to me that you can cycle the whole way and not have it take much longer than getting the train.

The weather was really nice today and made being outside very nice. One the slow uphill bits though when there wasn’t much of a wind it did start to feel really hot.

The ride was hard again tonight but already I felt that it was easier than Friday night. My backside is sore again but not nearly as bad. I hope I’m ok to cycle again tomorrow morning. I might even cycle all the way back again tomorrow night.

This time round I found a way out of Canary Wharf that avoids the big hill up to the roundabout and then down steps. This is even worse on the way back as you need to climb a huge set of steps carrying a heavy bike on tired legs.

At this bit:

View Larger Map

I used to have to cycle up the hill on the right but this time I went into the tunnel on the left.

After you come out you can then get on this bit of pavement to get back to the Thames Path:

View Larger MapThis will be really useful going in the other direction in the morning. I HATE those steps!

I have now done over 100 miles on Oliver.

Time: 1:02.26 Average: 11.6 Max: 26.3 Distance: 12.13 kCal: 259.0

Monday, 22 June 2009

Monday 22nd June

I'm just cycling from Waterloo to Canary Wharf today as I have an early leaving do tonight (I leaving my current company at the end of next week) so I'll leave the bike at the Wharf tonight and cycle home tomorrow.

This morning I took the shorter route along Southwark street then onto Tooley Street. Over the weekend, especially on Friday night and Saturday I was pretty sore after my long cycle home on Friday but I recovered pretty quickly. This morning, other that feeling tired I felt fine.

However, after Friday I think it's going to be quite a while before I can cycle all the way in and back 5 days a week. I can keep gradually building up to it though.

I think I'm going to take the bike for its free inital service today as it's done pretty much 100 miles. The brakes are also really noisy and I think I'll get some different pedals.


Time: 27:30 Average: 11.0 Max: 19.1 Distance: 5.06 kCal: 97.7

Friday, 19 June 2009

End of Week 3

I only cycled 2 days this week but did manage a total of over 28 miles.

I didn’t lose any weight this week which surprised me after my 12 mile cycle home last night. I didn’t eat as well as I should have though. I didn’t gain any weight and hopefully have got a bit fitter and stringer so I can go further next week.

Friday June 19th – Afternoon

Well I made it! I cycled the entire 12 miles home. It was ok till about the last 3 miles when I started to get a sore arse.

I’m very pleased that I managed it though and will probably do it again next Friday, ore maybe sooner depending how I’m feeling. At the moment the though of cycling again tomorrow morning isn’t that appealing so doing it on a Friday seems like a good idea.

My route was the shortest I could find. I might try a slight variation though as the end of the route had some pretty long hills. Fortunately they were mostly downhill but there were some tough long uphill sections. Carrying on along the Northern Line (Upper Tooting Road) might be a bit longer but might be a bit easier.

It took me 80 minutes all in but only 70 not including traffic lights and other stops. I stopped a few times to check that I was going in the right direction.

There were some big roundabouts on the route but they were actually pretty easy to negotiate on the bike. The rest of the roads were mostly nice and wide and quite a few had bus lanes so generally it was a pretty good ride.

I am feeling pretty sore at the moment so I’ll have to see how I feel on Monday.

I have now cycled a total of 90 miles on Oliver.

Time: 1:09:48 Average: 10.3 Max: 22.7 Distance: 12.08 kCal: 228.1

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Friday June 19th - Morning

Good cycle this morning. I was going to try going back the way I came home last night but the big roundabout that the BFI IMAX sits in was a bit scary so I went on the Thames Path as usual.

The Thames Path is nice but is about half a mile or more further and it's difficult to maintain a high average speed as there are bridges and trees ect in the way. Next week I'll try to go on the roads in the morning as well and see how it goes.

Tonight is my first time cycling all the way home. It is 12 miles so I should be able to do it in just over an hour. I'm not sure how the traffic will affect me though.

Time: 28:04 Average: 11.4 Max: 18.9 Distance: 5.35 kCal: 103.7

Thursday 18th June Return Home

It took me about an hour to get to Waterloo tonight, partly because I got lost, - twice!

First of all I tried going under the big multi-level roundabout at Canary Wharf instead of over. This meant that I didn't have cycle up the big hill but I couldn't find a way back to my normal route.

Secondly after coming off Tooley Street instead of taking Union Street leading to the Cut I took Southwark Street. This route works very well but I lost my bearings a bit and couldn't find Waterloo. Turns out Waterloo is right at the end of that road and I should have just kept going.

Time: 38:02 Average: 8.9 Max: 16.2 Distance: 5.66 kCal: 95.8

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Start of week 3 - Thursday 18th June

I was on the continent on Monday and Tuesday last week and was pretty tired yesterday so didn't cycle in. I was pretty happy with last week, I lost 4lb in 4 days and cycled a total of over 30 miles.

This morning went really well. I used the Thames Path before Tower Bridge and then Cable Street. This is slightly longer but avoids traffic and traffic lights. I did Waterloo to Canary Wharf in 30 mins including stops and my average was 11.4

Route: http://www.instamapper.com/fe?page=viewTrack&track_key=4721487523071610370

Time: 28:29 Average: 11.4 Max: 17.8 Distance: 5.43 kCal 107.9

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Week 2 Day 4 – Wednesday 11th June Afternoon

I had a pretty good cycle home today. I’m pleased that I managed to cycle in and back both yesterday and today. I reckon I could probably do it again tomorrow as well but my legs are starting to feel a bit tired so I think I’ll stick to my plan and have a rest day tomorrow.

I left my desk at 15:50 today, set off on my bike at 16:00 and got to Waterloo at 16:35. I walked into my flat at 17:00. I’m really pleased with this, I used to allow an hour to get home on public transport even though it usually took me around 45 minutes (40 if I was really lucky). The hour it took me today includes locking my bike up in the garage at the flat but does not include getting changed at work.

What makes this even better is that there was a really gusty strong head wind today that really made pedalling difficult – especially up the hill over Tower Bridge.

I am pretty happy with the route that I am using now and am getting more confident with the traffic. I think that I might still use the Thames Path route in the morning when it’s not busy to avoid the roads and because it’s a much nicer route.

Next week I am only at work 3 days so I plan to do the same as I have done today on all three days – cycle from and to Waterloo. The week after that I’ll maybe see about cycling all the way home.

Time: 30:57 Average: 9.6 Max: 18.0 Distance: 4.95 kCal: 85.9

Week 2 Day 4 - Wednesday 11th June

The ride went pretty well this morning. I went along The Cut, Union Street and Tooley Street again and was my shortest route to date - just under 5 miles. It only took me 28 minutes on the computer but including traffic lights I think that is closer to 40.

It's not as nice as the Thames route and is MUCH busier - Tower Bridge and Borough High Street especially. It might actually be better to go straight down Borough High Street and over London Bridge. I'll try that at some point and see how it works.

Despite this being my 4th day of cycling and cycling over 10 miles yesterday I got my highest average speed today and most calories burnt.

Route is here:


Time: 28:08 Average: 10.6 Max: 17.0 Distance: 4.99 kCal: 108.2

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Week 2 Day 3 – Wednesday 10th June – Afternoon

Surprisingly my legs weren’t as sore cycling home today as they were in the morning. I think that walking around during the day stops my legs getting stiff but sleeping at night allows my muscles to stiffen up.

I used my new route again today and was taking it pretty easy as I was tired after the morning. I got to Tower Bridge and the steering seemed a bit funny. I realised that I had a flat front tyre – right in the middle of the bridge!

I had to stop, lift my bike over the barriers and walk along the pavement. My plan was to walk to Evans Cycles near Waterloo. On my way I walked past Evans London Bridge. They took about 30 minutes to fix the wheel.

Once they had finished with the wheel I decided to carry on along Tooley Street and Union Street to Waterloo. The route was not as pretty as along the Thames Path but there were no pedestrians in the way. I’ll give it a try tomorrow with hopefully no unscheduled stops.

My route is here.

The average below is low as I had to walk about a mile. I have now cycled a total of 52.1 miles on my bike over the last 3 weeks.

Time: 47:26 Average: 6.9 Max: 14.7 Distance: 5.5 kCal: 83.2

Week 2 Day 3 - Wednesday 10th June - Morning

Today is supposed to be the first day that I cycle in and back from Waterloo in the same day. I don't really have a choice going home as there is a tube strike so if I want to go home I'll have to cycle.

I managed to get the 6:32 train again this morning and my cycle was all the way down to 31 minutes but I still only got to Canary Wharf at 7:30. This will partly be because I had to wait about 5 minutes for the swing bridge on narrow street and partly because there are more traffic lights on my new route (time waiting at traffic lights is not counted by my computer). I can go round some of these so as I get more used to the route I'll probably get quicker.

Legs were pretty sore this morning so I was making a conscious effort not to push too hard to save my legs for tonight. I was trying to cruise in 3rd and leave 4th alone as that was where the pain started.

I had my first slightly scary moment this morning when I was trying to squeeze past a van on tower bridge and my pedal scraped the pavement. Tower bridge is the only scary bit of my route really. I'll get better at it as the weeks go past.

My route is here:


But it doesn't seem to have recorded the start for some reason.

Time: 31:28 Average: 10.2 Max: 17.4 Distance: 5.39 kCal: 95.0

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Week 2 Day 2 - Tuesday June 9th

Today was supposed to be the first day that I cycle all the way home. However due to a planned strike on all tube lines over the next 2 days I decided to postpone that till next week and instead cycle from and to Waterloo for the next 2 days.

Sam suggested a different route to Tower Bridge. This avoids all the uncomfortable cobbles on the other route and is about half a mile shorter I think. There is one point on this route where you have to cycle up a very steep path to a bridge over a road tunnel entrance. Sam had said that I would probably have to walk up so of course I was determined to cycle up!
I was changing down to my lowest ratio and was really pushing on the pedals at the same time when my chain broke! Not a good situation to be in!
I looked up the nearest Evans Cycles (thanks to my G1 which I am now writing this with on the train) which was back at Canary Wharf! I had already cycled a mile so had to walk all the way back.

Evans were very good and fixed the chain for nothing (as I would expect as the bike is only a few weeks old). It had not actually broken nut had just come apart if you see what I mean.

When the bike was fixed I set off again at about 5:00. This meant that I would not be able to take the bike home on the train with me which I don't like but so be it. The ride went pretty well. The new route is mostly cycle lanes to Tower Bridge. They are much better than cobbles but still surprisingly bumpy. Tower Bridge was really busy but thankfully there were a load of other cyclists waiting at the lights who I could follow. I was pretty pleased that I could keep up with the other cyclists and traffic at over 13 MPH up and over the bridge.

On that side of the bridge it's difficult to stop to go down the steps onto the Thames path so I cycled straight on then right onto Tooley street. This meant that I got over the bridge with no steps at all which was a definite bonus! I was able to re-join the Thames path fairly quickly.

There were still a lot of pedestrians about but not nearly as many as last week as the weather isn't quite as sunny. I'll have to start looking at other routes from Tower bridge to Waterloo to avoid this bit.

I felt really good cycling today, I do really enjoy it. My legs are starting to feel much stronger. On the flat I am now getting up to 4th gear and managing 14 - 15 MPH. I think I'm secretly going to enjoy cycling into work tomorrow when the strike is on thinking of everyone else struggling in on a hellish journey, don't tell anyone I told you though ;)

My route today is here. It did take me longer than before but there were a few stops where I had to look at the map to see where I was going. I’ll have to see how long this takes tomorrow when I know which way I am going.

Figures below are estimated as my computer wasn’t working for the first half mile of the journey.

Time: 40:00 Average: 9.5 Max: 17.1 Distance: 5.4 kCal: 96.7

Monday, 8 June 2009

Week 2 Day 1 - Monday 8th June

Woke up to a pretty grey morning this morning but at least it wasn't raining as it had been all weekend. I was slow getting my act together and only managed the 6:32 train again. I think I am going to have to start getting my bag and clothes ready the night before. Getting out of bed actually when my alarm goes off would help as well of course but 5:50 feels very early on a Monday morning when you're used to a lie in over the weekend.

The good news was that I didn't put any weight on over the weekend so none of last week's hard work was wasted.

I was trying quite hard as I left Waterloo and I kept above 13 MPH for most of the flat easy bit along the Thames. When I got to Tower Bridge my average was only 8.9 though. I think this is because it includes the short cycle from the flat to Wimbledon station. I'll have to try to rest the computer on the train.

Instead of having a rest at the bottom of the Tower Bridge steps and at the top I went straight up the steps and had a rest at the top. I was pretty knackered and had to wait a while before setting off. The bridge was pretty busy so I had to wait a little to jump into the traffic.

I'm starting to wonder about a different route. There are quite a few cobbles on my current route north of the river. I'll maybe try going on the roads on Thursday and see what it's like - it should be a bit shorter as well.

The numbers are still getting better. I'm going to try to eat healthily this week and see how it affects my weight lose this week.

I tracked my route again today here.

Time: 36:07 Average: 9.5 Max: 17.1 Distance: 5.75 kCal: 99.1

Thursday, 4 June 2009

End of Week 1

Well after 4 days of cycling I have lost just over 2lb. Not quite as much as I had hoped for but I did have a big chinese on Wednesday night that was forced upon me by some friends! ;) I hope that as my muscles got stronger and I cycle harder and longer the calories I burn will go up and weight loss will increase. Next week I'm going to try to stick to salads at lunch and just cereal in the evening and see how I get on.

Each day I seem to be getting a bit better and a bit stronger. I have cycled a total of just under 23 miles and burnt a total of around 366 calories. I actually think that the calories are very inaccurate. I need to find my polar heart rate monitor and see what it says as it'll be much more accurate I imagine.

I'm away this weekend on a car trip so I hope I don't put those 2lb back on!

Day 4 - Thursday June 4th

I left the office a bit later today as I was in a meeting and wasn't actually on my bike cycling until about 5 / 10 past 4. This didn't leave me much time to get to Waterloo before 4:45.

To begin with I was doing pretty well, I am getting to know the route now so there is no dithering. I can quite happily cruise on the flat at about 13 MPH now.

When I got to Tower Bridge I was doing really well and had averaged 11 MPH. I had a really slow walk up the steps behind a load of tourists and when I got up there the bridge was crammed with queuing traffic. I didn't fancy squeezing past it so I walked the bike over, again having to squeeze past loads of tourists over the bridge and down the steps.

On the south bank things were pretty bad again with loads of people although not quite as bad as Tuesday. I got lost at one point as I didn't know when to leave the Thames Path and go onto the road. Duke St Hill was really busy so I had to wait a while to get back on the Cycle path.

Despite all the delays I got to Waterloo at about 4:47 and got on the 4:50 train. Despite being after the 4:45 cut off none of the guards said anything.

The south bank is really not good to cycle along in the afternoon. I am thinking of cycling all the way home next week instead of leaving that till week 3. I'll maybe cycling in and back on alternating days again.

It's a rest day tomorrow so no more cycling till Monday. Despite my legs hurting and being thirsty and out of breath (and really unpleasant to be next to on the train - as I write this on the train no one is sitting in the empty seat next to me) I am still really enjoying the cycling. If only we could get ride of the b**** pedestrians! ;)

I got a GPS tracker installed on my phone today so you can see my route here.

Time 39:23 Distance 5.54 Average 8.4 Max 16.0 Cal 93.3

I don't like the tube

I ddn't used to have a problem with trains and the tube but it's starting to really annoy me having to wait for the train. The tube is getting hotter and hotter and more an more uncomfortable, the Jubilee line from Waterloo this morning was horrible with people pushing at the doors to squeeze in.

Here's looking forward to cycling the whole way and not having to go through that anymore.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Day 3 – Wednesday 3rd June

This morning I got the train from Wimbledon and cycled from Waterloo.

Getting on the bike to cycle to the station this morning (only 0.2 miles) my legs and backside were pretty sore after the harder ride last night. I hoped that this would get better quickly on the main ride.

Despite the train carriage I was in having 4 bikes in I managed better than on Monday not hitting anyone with the bike and not having to switch sides at each station to let people on. I just stayed in the middle of the carriage and let people go round me.

I was on the 6:32 this morning instead of the 6:23 on Monday, the same train I get when I shower at home. I'm not sure what takes me so long in the morning but I need to start getting up quicker.

The cycle was actually really good. My legs were tired but didn't affect me too much. I knew where I was going this morning and my average speed was a bit higher so I got to work at the same time despite the later train.

Time: 38.22 Average: 9.0 Max: 16.2 Distance: 5.78 kCal: 92.9

Day 2 – Tuesday 2nd June

Today I was cycling from Canary Wharf to Waterloo for the first time. I left my desk a bit early at 3:45 to get changed. There was a bit of time pressure as you're not allowed bikes on the train after 4:45 so I had about 50 minutes to get there.

I cycled pretty hard to make sure I would make it in time and it was pretty hard work. I was doing pretty well though.

Someone at work had suggested that I use London Bridge instead of Tower bridge so I gave that a try. It turned out to be a bad idea though. After Tower Bridge you're not allowed to cycle past The Tower of London so I had to walk for quite a while. The Thames Path was also very narrow and busy on that side of the river. I wasted a lot of distance getting on the path for a bit then having to go back to the road and repeating.

The road I was on went under Tower Bridge so I had to get the next bridge. Back on the south bank the cycle lanes were really busy with pedestrians wondering about! I think I'll have to try to find a parallel road to use on the return home.

I got to Waterloo with about 5 mins to spare and managed to get my bike into a proper rack on the train. I was very hot and sweaty and probably not very nice to be near but I was really glad I had made it as I didn't want to leave my bike at Waterloo over night.

I am fairly confident about cycling the whole way home which will be about 12 miles. It's twice the distance but there is no time constraint. This will mean that if I have to I can work later and not worry about leaving my bike at Waterloo. The plan is to start this in week 3.

Time: 42:14 Average: 8.1 Max: 16.2 Distance: 5.72 kCal: 91.2

Day 1 – Monday 1st June

Today was my first cycle to work. I was pretty nervous to be honest. Not really about traffic, just fear of the unknown I suppose: would I get lost, would I hold all the other bikes up, would I find the showers at work, would I get the bike on the train ok etc...

I did have some problems on the train with the bike as there was someone sitting in the seats where the bike rack is. I leant the bike against the doors instead so had to move from side to side at each station to let people on.

The cycle was actually ok. I had printed a route out which I largely ignored. I'll have to get a GPS logger for my phone to record my route to put it on the blog. Most of my route just follows the Thames Path and is a very nice ride.

The route was pretty clear and empty. There were a few other bikes which were actually pretty useful for finding the way. There are a few places where the Thames Path comes away from the river and it's not immediately obvious which way to go.

Tower Bridge is about half way so I stopped for a bit of a rest before climbing the stairs. The stairs were a killer for my already tired legs and when at the top I wimped out and walked across!

Right at the end of the route there is another killer set of steps to get to Canary Wharf. There is a tunnel under the raised area but I'm not sure I fancy that. I'll maybe investigate the tunnel later.

I had got up at my usual time and I got to Canary Wharf about 20 / 30 minutes later than I would normally. By the time I had showered I was about 45 minutes later. I think this is pretty good for a first attempt.

Time: 45:12 Average: 7.8 Max: 17.5 Distance: 5.94 kCal: 88.7

The Beginning

For a while I’ve been thinking about cycling as part of my regular commute. I haven’t been to the gym for the last year (despite paying for it every month) as I never have time.

Cycling seemed to be the perfect solution:

  • It doesn’t really take any longer
  • I get some exercise in the time I would be sat on a train
  • I avoid the horrible sweaty hot tube during the summer

It took a while to get around to it but a couple of weekends ago I finally bought myself a bike. It’s been around 15 years since I last cycled so setting out in London was a bit daunting. The day I got the bike I went for an initial cycle to try it out. I covered this first ride and some details about my bike on my other blog here.

The main reason I want to start cycling is to lose weight. I am a big bloke and do like my takeaways. I also have a sedentary lifestyle and sit behind a desk all day (I am a programmer, more details here).

A side benefit is that I used to, and still do really enjoy cycling. Cycling along the Thames is really nice in the morning when the cycle paths are nice and empty.

I am planning on starting gently. and slowly building it up:

  • Week 1: Train between Waterloo and Wimbledon. Cycle from Waterloo to Canary Wharf one day, cycle back the next. Rest on Friday.
  • Week 2: Train between Waterloo and Wimbledon, cycle between Waterloo and Canary Wharf. Rest on Friday.
  • Week 3: Train into Waterloo, cycle to Canary Wharf. On the way back cycle from Canary Warf to Wimbledon. Rest on Friday.
  • Week 4: Forget the train completely. Rest on Friday.

I’m not sure if this is too ambitious or what. I am giving myself a month to get used to it but I will be cycling around 24 miles a day in week 4. It’s about 6 miles between Waterloo and Canary Wharf and about 12 miles between Canary Wharf and Waterloo.

I’ll just see how it goes. That plan can easily be altered.