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