And I Would Bike 500 More…

Absolutely knackered!

I thought the summer would be a bit of a skoosh when I decided to pile in the miles. But having done it, the only conclusion I can come to is that I may actually have underestimated the effort required and the drain on my physical and mental resources: not ideal when you’re 61 and you have a mentally demanding full time job. The truth is, I’ve averaged 220 miles a week for the past eight weeks and my wee leggies have gone on strike. I was rather hoping to bag a second successive 900 mile month in June but the way I feel tonight, that is not going to happen on Monday.

On top of the bike miles, I guess what really hasn’t helped this week was the 600 mile round trip to Wolverhamption last weekend for my niece’s wedding. I nominated myself for the driving because I know the ambience of the M6 and I felt it was my responsibility to deliver the family guests. However Monday and Tuesday were yawnfests, and my mood on Tuesday wasn’t helped by my first puncture on 2014: you really can’t beat messing about with a back wheel in the rain.

But apart from the tiredness and the fuzzy brain, today is a red letter day. When I started out last August, I was only doing 20 to 25 miles a day and at that rate, I was expecting to be at this game for over a thousand days. However now that I’ve completed 189 days (not missed a single scheduled day since I started) the number of days to completion has dropped below 500. It feels like it’s just around the corner but in truth, of course it’s not. It’s still two and a half years of serious hard work. And the nights are drawing in.

I’ve settled into a routine where I try to bag the extra odd mile here and there by varying my route into and out of work, but the real fun comes on the return leg home on a Friday. It is such a good feeling getting out of work at 11:45am that it really isn’t difficult to start messing about with alternative routes in my head on the way home. For those of you who know Ayrshire and South Glasgow for example, today I went Cathcart-Giffnock-Newton Mearns-Fenwick-Kilmarnock-Springside-Dreghorn-Perceton-Torranyard-Crossgates-Stewarton. On a map, the route looks like a giant inverted question mark and instead of returning the usual 18 miles, bags a rather more satisfying 34. And it feels like it. 21 into work and 34 out for 55 on the day, all on top of a normal shift, has left me…

Yawning…

On a normal weekend, I’d be having a few beers tonight then enjoying a long lie (till 8am) tomorrow. But unfortunately I have a longstanding commitment to, wait for it…., go mountain biking with my wife and our youngest. Green runs, blue runs and red runs with legs that have just completed 213 miles: that should be interesting. Executive decision number one is that I won’t be using clipped shoes in case I have the inevitable off. It’s bad enough falling off my bike by hitting objects in the road: the last thing I need right now is a spell on the sidelines due to a mountain bike adventure.

Next week brings with it the promise of a Cake Day. Cake Days only happen in celebration of significant milestone events, and later next week, probably Thursday (but with an outside chance of it being Wednesday), I will have clocked up 7,000 miles. That’s 7,000 miles since last August, and the prospect of 8,000 within a single calendar year. I never thought that was possible, and certainly not after giving up on regular all the way commute cycling back in 1997. 8,000 miles in a year: that’s an awful lot of fuel saved, an awful lot of road rubber saved and a lot of wear and tear on the motor. Of course the saving, currently estimated at around £1500, has been largely offset by buying two new bikes over the same period.

Yawn…

I seem to have run out of beer so there will be short interruption to normal service while I raid the fridge for a chilled Marstons Pedigree (it was on special in Morrisons at £1.25 a bottle).

I’m back…

It’s very easy, and often for very good reason, to get fixated on the miles, because that’s wholly within my control, but to do so completely overlooks the fact that one of the key objectives of LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma is to raise money for research and family support. Awareness is good but the money is better. Big miles mean the money comes in faster, even at a penny a mile, and it’s very heartwarming to note that coinciding with the step up in miles, the monthly income to the NCCA has exceeded £250 for each of the last three months. To keep that run going this month is going to be a bit of a challenge but as an eternal optimist, I am forever hopeful that by the time the book closes on June on Monday evening, we’ll have done it again. Right now, we’re a hundred short.

And so, a blog that has been as uninspiring to write (this week) as my miles have been on the road, can be summed up in the bastardised words of the Proclaimers’ classic song “I would bike 200 days and I would bike 500 more”.

Except it’s not: it’s only 499…

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