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01:51 26/08/2014 Monday night...

I walked some more of the South West Coast Path this weekend with two nephews. It was good. Left me tired though. I thought I would take a 'hair of the dog' today and go out in my walking boots for a stroll. I ended up just walking 5km because I was really not enjoying it at all, but it did seem to help a bit. Not feeling too bad now.

I have a feeling I have been molycoddling myself too much lately. I've not been feeling great over the past couple of months. I had another meeting with a knee doctor and decided that surgery probably isn't my best option at the moment. I decided instead to lose some weight and get some exercise to strengthen the knee, though I have't done much about that yet. Well, I have spent a couple of weekends walking along the South West Coast Path, but haven't been doing my 'practice walks' in between. The answer is simple: just walk every day. Aim for 10km/day, but any distance is better than nothing, and also if I put my boots on and go out every day then I will become accustomed to that routine and will be more likely to continue it. Any distance is fine. 10k is good if I feel OK with that, but any distance is fine. No more wimping out.



00:18 08/10/2014 Tuesday night...

It's October. (I'll sort out these web pages soon.) I've been getting into cycling lately. I got a bike that actually fits me - i.e. is big enough for me - and I've been going for 10km cycle rides every evening. I missed one evening and was weirdly depressed until the next evening when I did go for a ride. Anyway, the 10km/day on a bike is of course much easier than walking or running. Well, perhaps not easier than walking, but it takes about a quarter of the time. It's taking me about 35-40 minutes at the moment, but that will soon drop to 30 minutes I reckon. So yes, a very doable thing, to cycle half an hour every evening. And 30 minutes of good aerobic exercise every day is not bad at all. Good things will come from 30 minutes energetic cycling per day.

Anyway, I'm happy with my new cycling routine. My knee surgeon actually advised me to cycle, to strengthen the knee muscles so as to compensate for the damaged knee tendons. I'm sure I will at some point get bored and will walk the 10km route instead of cycling it, but at the moment I'm a bit obsessed with cycling. It appeals to my inner tinkerer. I have actually ended up buying TWO second-hand bikes in the past month or so. The second one came up for sale a week ago, and it was so unusual and so perfect for me that I couldn't NOT buy it. I had one which was identical except that it was the standard-sized version of the bike. I liked it a lot, but I was never comfortable on it for anything but very short local rides to the shops and so on. The one I just bought is the (very rare) larger version. After committing myself to buying it on e-Bay I was saying to myself, "No! What are you doing? You've just bought a nice bike! Are you mad?" But, I was pretty certain it would be just about perfect for me, and I was right. I drove 3 hours to pick it up, and the moment I sat on it all my doubts dissolved. It felt right immediately. It fits me beautifully and is really great to ride. It needs a bit of tweaking to make it PERFECT (just a new pair of tyres really) but it's already very good indeed.

So, yes, I will, no doubt, be constantly involved in tweaking these bikes and servicing them and customising them to make them even better, and my daily rides will be 'test rides' as much as anything, where I can test out my alterations. For this reason it's actually a good thing that I have two bikes, as when one is in pieces I can ride the other. Neither were very expensive. I'm always a bit ambivalent about these obsessions that overtake me from time to time, but in this instance I am quite happy to let my new cycling obsession take over as it necessarily involves the regular exercise I have been struggling to establish a routine for in other ways.

This evening I rode while listening to some comedy programme on Radio 4. It has just started to get a little cool in the evenings, after a very long and warm summer and early autumn. I've found those white disposable Tyvek jackets are pretty much ideal for cycling as they breathe excellently well and keep almost all the wind off. It's cold enough that I really appreciate my windproof gloves too.



2015-01-02 10:52:35 Friday morning...

I woke up quite early this morning and decided it is the start of a new year. I went for a walk of about 10km over the fields and down by the river. A bit muddy, but nice. I also started a short daily exercise programme which I used to do every morning years ago. It's a graduated programme and since I'm just starting again I started at the very easiest level. Even that felt quite strange. I'm really very un-used to that kind of exercise.

Anyway, the plan is to take some exercise every day, at least some in the morning, but if I don't have time then later in the day. I'll aim for a half hour at least either walking or jogging or cycling. I could say I'll definitely do a certain distance, but that's counter-productive I think. The main thing is to do some every day. It might be nice to document the distances so I can monitor progress, but only after-the-fact. Planning a certain distance every day will tend to make me procrastinate and rebel.



2015-01-04 03:19:59 Saturday night...

A 10km bike ride at 2:30am in the freezing fog doesn't sound fun, but it was really nice. It turns out the freezing fog sparkles beautifully in the bike's headlights. Tiny ice crystals suspended in the air. My beard became drenched, as did the bike.

I've been doing some work on this bike and it's riding quite nicely now. I replaced the bottom bracket and crankset/chainset a few days ago. This evening I centred the chainring so as to be able to cinch up the chain so there's very little slack but also no tight spots. The rear hub and internal gears are not the smoothest, and the whole hub really needs stripping down and re-building, but I'm inclined to just build a new rear wheel for the bike, and use that while the original wheel is being operated on. As Gerome K Gerome wrote in 1900 in 'Three Men on a Bummel'...

"There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can "overhaul" it, or you can ride it. [...] The mistake some people make is in thinking they can get both forms of sport out of the same machine. This is impossible; no machine will stand the double strain."



2016-04-20 17:43:59 Wednesday...

A 5+ mile walk out across the fields. I'm liking these walking boots. It's taken a little while for them to become really comfortable, but they are now.

I went out immediately on waking. A glass of water, boots on, and out the door. It's a nice way to wake up. That's the daily pattern I liked when I was running, and I can't see why it wouldn't be just as nice now I've stopped running and I walk instead. Walking is as good a form of exercise as running; it just takes more time.

To be honest, since I stopped running I have not known how to get enough exercise and have put on weight as a result, and now I feel my weight is really too high for running to be sensible. My joints are not that great, and I don't want to risk injury. However, I'm absolutely sure that if I just put my boots on and went for a walk every morning, my fitness would gradually return and I would lose the excess weight. A Swedish mile a day (10km) would certainly do it, but really, once I have my boots on and I'm outside, then provided I have woken up early enough and I'm not time-pressured, then, rain or shine, I'm bound to walk a decent distance most days. In fact, simply getting up, putting boots on, and going outside at 7am every day is all I need to do. The rest will take care of itself.

Specifically, what has prompted me to today to get a bit fitter is that yesterday I confirmed a plan to go and climb a Norwegian mountain in August. I could physically do that tomorrow, but I'd like to actually enjoy the trip, rather than it be an ordeal, so I'd like to be lighter and fitter. I have three months before the climb, and that's a good amount of time to prepare.



2016-04-24 05:04:53 Sunday morning early...

A mile or so walk out in the cold pre-dawn dark. Had just eaten and didn't feel so good. Came back quite soon.



2016-04-25 10:25:20 Monday morning...

10km loop walk through fields yesterday evening, and again this morning. I'm beginning to enjoy this. Body compaining a bit, but you know, just complaining. I think it will stop complaining soon enough.



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