Posts tagged bike
LincsGeek and I have been talking about, dreaming about, going on a motorcycle tour of the west of the USA for years. Years and years. Probably about ten years. Maybe more.
We have always joked that we probably wouldn’t actually get around to going until we both retired, by which time we would be very old and frail to fly over to America to sit on a motorbike for two weeks riding 200-300 miles a day.
But last year we decided that we were just going to go for it. So we started to research our ideas thoroughly, and when we went to Motorcycle Live at the NEC in November we made a point of speaking to a number of tour operators that offered the kind of thing we were after. We decided on the summer of 2014, decided which company and which tour, and then waited patiently for the dates to be released so we could go ahead and book.
On Friday we got the email we’d been waiting for. The tour dates for 2014. Yay!
So, in June 2014 we will be jetting off to Los Angeles with The Lost Adventure to meet our Eagle Rider tour guide and group before we spend 16 days riding Harley Davidson motorbikes through the South West of America. We will see the Grand Canyon, Bruce Canyon, Monument Valley, Death Valley, Yosemite, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. We will ride Route 66 and Highway 1, and cover 2,000+ miles of straight and winding American roads.
I am so excited!
Before we booked our trip we had to decide which bikes we would like to ride. This is an Eagle Rider tour and so we had the choice of quite a wide range of bikes, but we both decided we should do it properly and choose an American Harley Davidson over a British Triumph or a German BMW. On Saturday our local Harley Davidson dealer – the guys who had loaned me that Sportster Nightster for our Top Down Charity ride back in 2009 – had an open house event which couldn’t have been better timed. LincsGeek had already chatted with Tim Orr from The Lost Adventure who had made some recommendations, so off we went to Lincoln Harley Davidson to sit on some and make our choice.
With a Sportster 1200 being out of the question thanks to its teeny fuel tank (finding a fuel station every 100 miles on a trip like this would really annoy the rest of the group!) I had a sit on the Fat Boy and the Heritage Softail Classic, the two smallest and lightest bigger Harleys available on the Eagle Rider inventory. But of course small and light they are not; 330kg is rather more than the less-than 200kg I am used to.
We had our free hog roast (most welcome!) and then set to choosing the right bike for each of us. I started with the Heritage Softail Classic. I could reach the floor, I could stand the bike up, but I could not reach the side stand to kick it out and put the bike back down again. Oh dear. I could ride the bike for sure, but it is big and fat and even with a 690mm seat height I am still only on the balls of my feet so I’m not sure I could scoot that thing back into a parking space. Not a chance. Moving on!
Next was the Fat Boy. Actually the same frame and tank as the Heritage Softail, it is the same weight and size but without the touring screen and some of the other bits and bobs. The biggest difference I noticed when getting on it was the seat was more scooped, it was narrower, and so I had a much better footing on the ground. Still huge and very heavy, but better. Unfortunately it seems that wasn’t the standard seat, though. Shame! But of the two bikes I preferred it, so that is the one I have gone with. It is a lovely looking machine, and I simply cannot wait to get to LA and take it for a spin.
Incidentally, LincsGeek thought he’d decided on the Road King before he sat on the Heritage Softail Classic – the Road King is simply enormous, and while the Softail is still a big bike he felt much more comfortable on it. So he’s chosen that one.
I know for a fact that if I am going to have the time of my life then I am going to have to be able to manoeuvre the Fat Boy around. I have 14 months to get much, much stronger. I’ve started running again. And I should get to the gym too. This is one adventure I’m going to have to put a lot of effort into to make sure I get the most out of it.
I have another motorcycling adventure planned for this year… The Graham Homes Memorial Ride will be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK. Please support us if you can.
Our Blog Ambassador challenge this week has been move more, sit less. We were encouraged to stand up more, walk around more and generally exercise more.
At the beginning of the week I ordered 30 Day Shred, a workout DVD by Jillian Michaels that I have been told over and over again really gets results. The premise is that you exercise for 20 minutes every morning for 30 days, and thanks to the combination of strength, cardio and abs circuit-type exercise, you notice a difference to your body very quickly. I can give 20 minutes each day, it’s practically nothing. It arrived on Saturday so I started it Sunday morning – so this morning was day three. And oh my goodness. Those of you who said I’d hurt? Yea, that. Those of you who said I’d sweat? Yea, that. Those of you who said day three would be really difficult because your body is already hurting? Yea, that. I’m on level one at the moment – I can do the vast majority of the exercises without too much difficulty – the cardio is much easier than the strength stuff. But I can’t do a single proper press up. Nope, not one. I’ll keep trying!
Apart from the DVD I’ve been using the exercise bike and doing my best to move around more. I have a desk job and sit at a computer for the vast majority of the day. As there probably no chance I will ever be provided with either a treadmill desk or a standing desk I am trying to get up off my chair as much as possible – there are things I can do stood up and I can make sure I make the most of my lunch breaks. I would use my Weight Watchers pedometer to track my daily steps but unfortunately I broke it less than a week into being a blog ambassador – it flung off my jeans and straight into the toilet bowl. Oops! I’ve tracked my steps before thanks to the GCC Walk the World scheme, and I know that wearing a pedometer does encourage me to move around more as I end up competing with myself trying to beat my average step count every day. I actually received a pedometer from Tesco in the post today, so from tomorrow I’ll wear that (even though it’s not all fancy and won’t work out any activity points) and see what happens!
I have to say I don’t much like the activities points on the Pro Points tracker. What I mean is I do like them – they mean extra food each week – but I don’t like how they are worked out. They take no account of how hard you work. Cycling on the exercise bike at full speed for 30 minutes is worth the same as cycling at a really leisurely pace barely raising your heart beat. It doesn’t exactly encourage you to work hard. Also, I earn the same points cycling for 30 minutes as I do for walking 30 minutes and doing aerobics for 30 minutes – but these exercises are not comparable on calories burnt. I guess I feel a bit hard done by when two Pro Points are added when I’ve got up early and worked really (really) hard before work. This doesn’t mean I’m not working hard, though…
Oh, and for the record, I have continued to eat breakfast. I find that exercising, then eating, then showering works for me and is a routine I am trying to get into during February. Apart from having that DVD which is motivation in itself I’ve also been challenged by a friend to exercise for 20-30 minutes every day for the whole of the month, to give me a bit of a kick and hopefully see some quick results. I would hope the DVD will cover that but if I get to the point where I can’t face Jillian Michael’s one morning I will still do something.
Food wise I’ve had another okay week, using up my daily points every day with mostly healthy food (the thai curry pictured above was a particular success!) and most of my weekly points too. I had pizza on Friday night which was particularly yummy and have continued to munch on the sweets and chocolates we have at home. I like that the counting system means I can still eat the things I want to. I’m eating loads of fruit and vegetables – even more than before (I’ve never been afraid of vegetables!), and I’m drinking lots more water. I am getting used to counting Pro Points now, I understand them more – I know what foods are free and what will cost me lots (although some things still surprise me!) and I like the way I can use those weekly points to treat myself to a nice hot chocolate or some fudge.
The proof is always in the numbers I guess and this week I lost another pound. I’ll take that – I don’t mind little losses, as long as I keep losing slowly but surely.
The Graham Homes Memorial Ride will be 2,000+ miles of Great British roads over a week at the end of May 2013, raising money for two cancer charities. It will be our biking tribute to Graham, my father in law, recreating something of our John O’Groats to Land’s End trip in 2009, while hopefully making a difference to someone else (and their family) by fundraising.
LincsGeek and I will be joined by four friends, there will five bikes in total, and all of us are keen to raise a decent sum of money for charity. We have chosen Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support as the beneficiaries of our ride. They say cancer affects everyone in some way. Well it affected us in a massive way last summer, and it seems only right that we use this trip to do at least something to try and make a difference to other people who find themselves going through anything like this.
The challenge will take us to the furthest points east, south, west and north of Great Britain (in that order – we’ve decided to go clockwise). We’ve not set our route quite yet, but we like to think we will be able to see a little of the best scenery Great Britain has to offer on our journey (life is all about the journey, after all) and create some new memories on the way.
I have set up a blog that will include everything associated with the bike trip – updates, photographs, profiles, fundraising, information and so on – it will be the place to go for everything GVH Ride focussed. We would love it if you went over to the Graham Homes Memorial Ride blog, subscribe either by email or by putting us in your reader, and share what we’re doing with your friends and family. There’s a link in my side bar too just in case you need it. And of course, most of all, we would appreciate it an awful lot if you’d get out fundraising off the ground by donating. We’ve set up a page on Virgin Money Giving to make it really easy to give money. Thanks!
Oh yes. You read that right. I have actually completed my 2012km in 2012 challenge. A whole week early!
I decided I needed to get out for some fresh air this afternoon after spending much time getting Christmas Day food ready. Unfortunately the rain was so heavy I’d have got soaked in no time at all so I went for the next best thing instead – my exercise bike. I had a quick look on RunKeeper which told me I had 16.8 km to go to complete my challenge so I decided I would just get it done.
32 minutes and 17 km later I am able to post this screen shot:
The final stats:
2012 in 2012 Summary, Monday 24th December
Total for December >> 129.3 km
Total for 2012 >> 2,012.2 km
Average per day (360 days) >> 5.59 km
My total consists of 1,245.4 km cycling, some outside, some inside; 645.9 km walking, which included both the London Moonwalk and the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge; 112.1 km of downhill skiing; a teeny 6.8 km running and an even teenier 2 km rowing.
Over the course of this year I have learnt that I can actually complete a massive and long term challenge if I want to (and I have people asking me how I’m getting on – this blog has really helped me be accountable!). But not only that, I know I can complete a massive long term challenge even with so much other stuff going on in my life that might otherwise get in the way. I think I can safely say that without this challenge I may have accrued zero km of any sort some months as it would have been very easy to just sit and watch copious amounts of television, even more than I actually did.
I’m feeling pretty happy. I know there will be many of you who have easily done many more kilometres than me this year without having to work too hard at it, and good for you, but I’m pleased with my achievement. I am chuffed because twelve months ago is a really long time, and I stuck at it.
Am I fitter? Yes I think so. I’m certainly no thinner – I weigh more (too much!) – but thankfully that wasn’t what this was about. These wide legs of mine can take me a very long way, and so not fitting into super skinny jeans isn’t so bad really.
And I have absolutely rekindled my love of the outdoors. I already knew I loved being outside, but this year I have made a real point of getting out and about. When I’ve had a day off I’ve made an effort to go on a little trip to see or do something – take a walk along a beach or see the seals at Donna Nook. I’ve enjoyed that very much, and I will definitely keep that up in 2013.
So what should I do next year? I feel I should set another challenge along similar lines. What do you think? Maybe the same – 2013 km in 2013 – aiming to do even more of those km outside than I did in 2012. But I’m not sure I’ve got the motivation to do it all again in the same way.
Maybe something in a single sport; only walking or only cycling for example. How about walking the equivalent of John O’Groats to Land’s End? It’s about 1,000 miles and I could plot my route on a map to make it visual. That challenge would keep me outdoors too.
Any other suggestions? I’ve got a week to decide…
I have tried really hard this month. At the end of October I realised that I was really going to have to get my wiggle on if I was going to complete this challenge. The number of kilometres left to do was looking fine, I was still technically ahead of the game as far as averages go, but knowing that December is stupidly busy with not a lot of time for long walks or bike rides, I needed to make November count.
So here are the figures…
2012 in 2012 Summary, Friday 30th November
Total for November >> 165.6 km
Total for 2012 >> 1,882.9 km
Average per day (336 days) >> 5.60 km
Remaining >> 129.1 km to go
I did manage an ok month, then, and now have 130 km to go to complete this thing. I did more walking this month, which is definitely my preferred choice, but it takes much longer to travel than if I use my exercise bike. There’s actually been a nice variety of km this month – a couple rowing, and even five running on the treadmill which I’m really happy with – the last time I actually jogged was, well, a very long time ago.
As far as getting outdoors goes, that’s gone really well too. While I’ve still used my exercise bike quite a bit I’ve made even more of an effort to walk at lunch time and have been out and about doing other things like visiting the seals at Donna Nook. I think hour-long walks in my lunch breaks might be the key to completing this challenge – a few km in the middle of the day along with time on the bike all adds up.
Any ideas why I set myself this challenge? I could be on the exercise bike all day on New Year’s Eve if I’m not careful!
Feel free to comment with your 2012 resolutions/challenge progress – with one month to go are you going to make it?
How easy is it to steal a bicycle?
It’s a doddle. Especially when people ignore what is happening. In this experiment by Avon and Somerset Police, not only did passers-by fail to challenge the thief while the crime was being committed, but no-one reported the crime afterwards either.
As someone who has had their bicycle stolen I don’t know whether to be surprised or not.
I’m not sure if I’d challenge a thief committing a crime like this at the time – I think I’d shout at them from where I was, I’d be afraid to run up to them to challenge them physically. But I would at least report the crime to the Police as quickly as possible, and have done this in the past. If the Police don’t know they can’t do anything about it.
My advice? Use a D-Lock.
Lincolnshire Police say they have never had a bicycle theft reported where a D-Lock had been used to secure the bike. Cable locks, however thick (or expensive) can generally be cut with bolt cutters – and as proved by Avon and Somerset Police, thieves are free to wander around carrying heavy duty bolt cutters that go through them like butter.