middle aged women getting fit

Middle aged women getting fit

Hi from China

I’m in Nanyang in Henan province in China. Allan & I are here for the next 10 months or so. We’re here because Al is teaching at the uni for this academic year.

‘Why are you there?’ I hear you ask? ‘Well, because he is and because we thought we’d like to experience another culture before it got too late and because we wanted to travel a bit.’

It’s a good question though and the answer above is a bit glib and lacks depth. Yesterday, I was moaning a bit to Clair in the Straw Works office (via skype obviously) saying I that I didn’t think I had the best personality to get the most out of this experience. Clair’s response was to suggest I wrote a blog while I was here. I think that was a ploy to stop me going on and on but I’ve decided to take her advice at face value and pick up my existing blog and give it a go.

The name of this blog is ‘Sixty on a Bike’ and it’s still relevant in that I’m still in my 60’s and the uni has given Al and I bikes to get around the campus, which is vast.

With this blog I’m hoping to give you a perspective on working for a UK company from China. Before leaving the UK I wasn’t sure what parts of my job with Straw Works & SNaB I’d be able to do from here. It turns out I can do almost everything. The only thing I can’t do is join Barb in delivering Preparing to Build with Bales one of the theoretical courses we run in the autumn & winter and I’m sad about that because it was fun to do together.

However, to kick off this first blog entry I’ll leave you with a pic of a 17 meter high Buddha – just to set the tone.

Cave carving in Louyang.

img_2672

Advertisements
Categories: blog traffic, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, Tiny houses, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Triathlon triumph!

I’m a triathlete! In the very broadest sense. What I mean is, I managed to complete the super sprint at http://www.theblenheimtriathlon.com/BTMaps.html

The super sprint is: 400 metres swimming in the lake followed by 13kms on the bike followed by 2.9kms running. Hope you’re impressed. However let me expand on that for you.

The Swim

I was the last swimmer in my ‘wave’ to complete the swim. It took me 20 minutes and I had the company of a guy in a kayak all the way as his job was to make sure the last one got back safely. He was a nice guy, he engaged me in quite a lot of conversation and applauded when I reached the shore.

The 1st transistion

Transition is the time taken between one activity and another to compose yourself and to change your outfit. My first transition took 13 minutes, it was only bettered by one woman who took 17 minutes!

The cycle

Was on an undulating course where the fitter competitors from ‘waves’ after mine caught up with me and shouted ‘to the right’ with unnerving regularity. What they meant was, get out of the way as I’m coming past at top speed. Sometimes it’s tricky to keep to the left especially when you’re wobbling from side to side trying to cycle uphill without falling off.

The 2nd transition

I was really slick at this one, only took 3 mins something seconds- not bad.

The run

Or rather the walk. I was so exhausted by this time that I decided I’d finish but I would walk it. However now and again I broke into a trot and towards the end when I realised that I could probably make it to the finish line in less than two hours I almost hurried.

The time

Was 1hr 56 mins and I was so pleased to have finished it and finished it under 2 hours.  Now that I’ve recovered I ‘m thinking I might do it again next year.

My daughter did the same race as me and came in at 1 hr 25mins and my husband did a race twice as long and came in at 2hrs 16. IMG_3045 IMG_3032

Categories: bike safety, Blenheim Palace Triathlon 2014, cycle rides, cycling, cycling in the rain, fitness, middle aged women getting fit, run, trek bikes, triathlon, triathlon outfits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pop up Indie bookshop in Horsham, West Sussex

I’ve got a ‘slot’ at Daisy White’s pop up indie bookshop from 11.30-12.30 on Saturday 28th September. I’ll be reading from my book, ‘Changing Gear: a bike ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ and running a haiku workshop. You’ll be surprised to hear that the haiku topic will be cycling.

Horsham is a lovely market town with a great Saturday market, interesting little shops. and lovely cafes.

Why not take some time out on an autumnal morning and join me?

Hope to see you there.

popflyer_horsham_130927_29_Fbk Sept 2013

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, bookshops, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Folding bikes and a trip to Devon & Cornwall

Just bought two Dahon Vitesse folding bikes. They’re really nifty.  The 20 inch wheels make them easier to cycle and the  8 gears are a great help on hills. The blurb says it takes 15 seconds to fold them – not for us! Current time is about 3 mins and the first try took 15 mins on platform 5 at Gatwick but we’re getting slicker.

Folding bike on hols

Folding bike on hols

Went to St Ives by train and bike which was successful if a bit stressful in Reading station which seems to  be under reconstruction at the moment. Used the same travel method to get to the Eden Project which also worked fine. The most tricky trip however was one evening from Totnes to the Steiner school just outside Dartington. I tell a lie, the ride from Totnes to Dartington  on the lovely, countrified cycle paths was absolutely fine it was the ride back which was tricky.

We’d gone to an evening of anecdotes about a 3,500 mile cycle ride across Europe combined with a piano recital of Beethoven’s greatest hits – unusual I know! Jenni Quick – the pianist and cyclist delivered the  goods in a very entertaining way so much so that by the end of the performance we were surprised to find it was pitch black outside.

Running true to form we didn’t have any bike lights so it was a bit tricky finding the cycle path. Fortunately a woman who had attended the same event was going our way and she allowed us to follow her. A simple solution you would think. However the chosen route was through the woods on a narrow concrete path and our leader had a motor attached to her bike.  Consequently I kept slipping off the path and had difficulty keeping up with her. Soon she disappeared into the night and Al and I were left in inky darkness pushing our bikes. Happily our guide soon realised she’d lost us, turned around and came back and maintained a steady pace all the way back to Totnes. I don’t know what we’d have done without her.

By the way, Cornwall is the hilliest county in the world. I thought Northumberland was bad but it’s not a patch on the crags and climbs in Cornwall.

Categories: bike safety, Cornwall, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, Devon, fitness, Folding bikes, Hoildays, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Train stations, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prudential Ride London

This ride took place last Saturday. It was wonderful to ride alongside the Embankment and past Big Ben on roads which were free of cars. Approx 50,000 people took part. There were 3 stopping off points – Tower Hill, St Paul’s and Green Park where kids could play bike polo, cycle like mad to generate enough power to make themselves a smoothie and/or lie in the  sun and listen to some music.

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

For the first time Al and I got to grips with the Boris Bikes which were great until the end of the day when the booking machines began to break down – I suspect due to overuse.

I almost got a picture of Laura Trott dressed in the Wiggle Honda team strip waiting for her race, but she turned her head at the crucial moment!

A great event and perhaps shades of things to come. I hope so.

St Paul's stop off point

St Paul’s stop off point

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, London, middle aged women getting fit, Prudential Ride London, Travel, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling and pop up indie bookshops

Picked up the Easy Way Cyling map for Crawley the other day. It’s a really good, handy sized map of the town centre cycle paths. I called Kay Wagland, one of the people at the council responsible for promoting cycling in Crawley and as a result found myself invited along to a trial ride with one of the councillors. She’s the glam looking one in the pic.

IMAG0063

Also had a great ride last Saturday to Horsham – about 8 miles each way. Left Crawley through Ifield, passing The Gate pub  (where incidentally the Boom Town Rats played just recently), rode through Rusper- which is a bit hilly but manageable and down into Horsham.  The purpose of the ride was to take part in Daisy White’s Pop Up Indie Bookshop

It was a really fun day, I ran a haiku competition, met people from the Crawley and Horsham Writers Circles and I (or should I say Daisy) sold 6 of my books – result!!

 

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, haiku, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

IMG_0154

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bike Week coming up in the UK 15-23 June

Bike Week starts a week on Saturday. See   http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/for details of events all over the country. I have to confess that I haven’t been on my blinking bike for ages now but I did manage a dip in the North Sea last week (wearing a wetsuit – I’m not entirely stupid) so all is not lost.

I was going to cycle from Warkworth to Howick in Northumberland today but I’ve been saved by visitors. Seriously though, it’s a lovely bike ride, skirting picturesque Alnmouth and riding alongside crashing waves on the rocky shore of Boulmer.

Howick was the home of Earl Grey (you can have a cup of his tea in the beautiful high ceilinged tea room) and his wife and 15 children. The children all survived, no mean achievement in those days, they called their parents by their christian names and had to undergo a right of passage when they got to their teens. The rite of passage comprised walking at night for one & a half miles through Howick gardens to the bathing house down by the shore. Quite scary stuff. The bathing house is another delight. Situated right on the shore with a natural bathing pool alongside, hollowed out by the sea.

You’d think I worked for the Northumberland Tourist Board but I can’t help waxing lyrical on a day like this in Warkworth when the sun is shining, the sea is the bluest of blue and there’s no wind – perfect!

Categories: bike safety, books, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Howick Hall, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last chance…

In case you have a minute between now and 12 noon GMT today,  here’s where you can place a vote for Straw Works to help them get through to the last 4 businesses who will have the opportunity to ‘pitch to Rich’ (Branson that is).

Just visit http://www.virginmediapioneers.com/2013/04/vote-for-pitch-to-rich-competition-finalists/ click on Fill out my form, and vote!

Thanks.

Categories: casitas, Ecobuild, Hoildays, low cost housing, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m so excited…..

I looked at the Kindle rankings this morning and saw my book was number 14 in the Kindle travel section. There are 31,445 books in that section! How cool is that?

But then, to use a ‘Pointless’ phrase, things got even more exciting, when I checked the Kindle non-fiction rankings. There are 1,090,000 books in this section and Changing gear is number 179!!!!

This is probably too many numbers for this time in the morning, so I’m going to stop now and go to the V&A and get inspired.

Thanks to everyone who has bought/downloaded a copy of Changing Gear.

Categories: books, Bulgaria, cycling, Cycling holidays, downloading, Kindle, London, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Top 200 non-fiction books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.