Posts Tagged With: exercise

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

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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.

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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

Al’s Sprint Triathlon

My husband Allan is doing the London Sprint Triathlon on 27th July.

That’s 750m swim followed by a 20k bike ride and finishing with a 5k run. Al’s a pretty fit guy but he’s also 60 this month, so he’s been training hard for this event.  This is what he says about it:

‘I’m doing the London Triathlon in memory of my son Matt and to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends.

It’s 10 years since Matt died and we miss him every day. I think he would have approved of me doing something crazy like this, so please give a donation.

Alreet son! ‘

If you’d like to donate please go to  justgiving.com/allantriathlon

Thanks

Categories: bike safety, books, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, fitness, London, loss, love, Northumberland, running, triathlon, 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

Riding in the rain

As you know we’ve recently moved to the deep South  from Northumberland and we were hoping to experience some of the fabulous weather we’d heard about.  Sun, warm breezes, blue skies etc but since we arrived, at the end of November last year, it has been raining non-stop.  No, I tell a lie, there have been one or two weeks when it’s been snowing.

Yesterday the weather was running true to form, the forecast predicted 80%  chance of rain all afternoon. Despite that info and the grey, threatening clouds my husband decided it would be a good afternoon for a bike ride, that we’d be alright and he knew a nice route to a village with a pub, about 6-7 miles round trip max.

I’m not sure why, after all these years, that I believe him but I dutifully got ready and we were on the bikes just as a gentle rain began to fall. Still it was good to be out. The villages around Crawley are beautiful and only marred by the proximity of Gatwick airport. In a 30 minute period 8 planes roared overhead like huge, menacing, mechanical birds. Despite this I was happy cycling along. The rain wasn’t bad and I was sure the 3 miles to the pub must end just around the corner. However this was not so. We’d arrived at Charlwood when my husband stopped to look at the map. He hadn’t remembered coming this way the last time he’d done the cycle ride. We looked at the map. Charlwood was off the map! We didn’t know where we were and the rain began to fall steadily. A motorist told us what route to take but warned us it was hilly. ‘No problem’ said my husband, ‘ my wife loves hills.’ Unhappily my hands were too cold to put around his neck and throttle him, so we got back on the bikes and started up Russ Hill. I don’t know how high this is, suffice to say I hadn’t expected it.

The  ride continued up and down hills in torrential rain until we finally (after 16 miles!!) spotted a sign to Rusper which had been our original destination. By then we were completely soaked so decided to leave Rusper for another day  and have a gin and tonic in a pub called the Gate just outside Ifield instead.

The pub was warm and welcoming, we got a seat by the fire where we sat and steamed gently in time to the Irish music provided by a small band to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – there’s always a sliver lining.

Categories: cycling, cycling in the rain, fitness, love, middle aged women getting fit, West Sussex, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not riding but running…

I haven’t been on my bike for ages but I have been running. Perhaps I should change the name of this blog!

Anyhow I thought I’d tell you about a great free podcast which might interest you. It’s called, ‘From couch to 5k’. It’s an NHS product and its purpose is to get you running 5k – about 2.5 miles ( I think)  in old money, in 30 minutes!! I can hear you muttering that it’s not possible but the prog is divided into bite sized chunks, Laura – the narrator is unfailingly encouraging and I’m on week 4!

Each session is 30 mins long. Week 1 is about walking briskly and running for 60secs at a time. Week 2, you run for 90 secs continuously. Week 3 is 3 mins running and in week 4 we run for 5mins. Each run is repeated, for example in week 4 there are 2 x5 min runs and 2×3 min runs, so you run for a total of 16mins…OK so now I’m losing the plot and blinding myself with numbers. If you’re interested I suggest you look at the NHS site and download the prog to your phone and hit the road. Good luck! It’s surprisingly satisfying – and this is from someone who spent a lot of time and energy trying to get out of games and PE at school.

Categories: fitness, middle aged women getting fit, running | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding the Roman road

Last Saturday there was a noisy thunderstorm early in the morning which left the air cool and clear. A perfect day for a 19 mile cycle ride from Hotnitsa to Nikopolis ad Istrum and back.

Nikopolis, founded by the Emperor Trajan is our local Roman remains site. I’m proud that it’s close to us and proud that nearby in 2006 the world’s oldest piece of worked gold was found. But I have to tell you that being brought up in Northumberland in the UK and spending every school trip looking at stones arranged in various ways on Hadrian’s Wall has finished me off with the Romans. I know it sounds as if I’m a Philistine.. well that’s as maybe. Onto the ride.

Take the well worn route to Resen from Hotnitsa and ride straight down the main street. Stopping for a quick espresso at the vending machine outside the shop on the left on the way through. Continue across the bridge and turn right at the cross roads. The terrain here is a steady pull up but manageable. At the top there is a lovely bit where you can coast down into Nikup, the village nearest to Nikopolis. Cycle through the village and after the area where people wash their cars and animals take a drink turn left along a narrow road which looks as if it’s going nowhere. We had to ask directions at this point. Further down this road there is a sign which was reassuring.

After the sign there’s a wonderful piece of road. It’s high up, the views are great and there is a feeling of space and history. It’s difficult not to think of all the people who’ve gone before us on that site .. Greeks, Romans Byzantines, Bulgarians. On the right there is a lake. On Saturday as we passed there were 4 elegant herons standing quite still and before long they were joined by 4 pure white egrets – magical.

If you go to Nikopolis it costs 6 lev to get in. There’s sometimes a guide available but if not there’s some information printed in English as well as Bulgarian. Currently there is a joint UK/Bulgarian dig going on there. However if like me you’ve seen enough Roman remains, take a picnic and sit near the lake while you eat. Stare across the water, watch the jumping frogs and swooping birds and then get back on your bike, restored and ready for the ride back.

I did take some photos on my camera but I don’t have the right cable to download them! However the stones looked like stones so you didn’t miss much but I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the egrets.

Categories: cycling, middle aged women getting fit | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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