I’m still here!

I’m still here!  Okay so I haven’t blogged in a little while now and admittedly I’m feeling bad about this.  Plenty of things going on though.

While I’m on the subject of blogging, the lack of posts might explain why the page view stats have dropped like a stone.  I mean really dropped and I’m not entirely sure why.  Normally I easily get an average of over 200 hits a day and yet this has plummeted.  I have found in the past that the more I blog, the higher the hit rate and the highest number of hits in a day has been 742.  My other blog has also been in the doldrums a little and the record hit rate was 19,990 in a month.  Coooool.

People blog for a number of reasons.  I mostly do it as an on-line journal for myself so I can look back on cycle rides, various experiences etc in the future.  You know I do some reviews and occasionally I get approached by a company to review clothing, food etc and I do like doing that (reviewing a dream bike is yet to come….).  From time to time I write for other people as well.  Also it’s nice to pass on a few tips, reflections etc.

Arguably the nicest part of blogging is the interaction with readers.  Some will leave comments and there’s a good number who have been  directly using the contact screen.  It’s nice having correspondence with other cyclists around the world and I like getting their perspective on things.

As far as cycling is concerned, not too much lately owing mostly to the pressures of work and the delights of family life.  Plus I have picked up my other love of running recently which is more in season with me currently.  It’s a case of grabbing a little blast here and there as best I can.  I should say also a couple of my friends have asked me for some training and coaching with running: can’t possibly refuse them!

Food

We are still yet to make the complete change as far as diets are concerned.  You know I had a session with a nutritionist back in the summer who helpfully made a number of good suggestions.  These need to become more integrated into our diets, although it has to be said, my diet is already pretty good.

Recent haul of whole foods

Recent haul of whole foods

This did back fire a little.  On separate occasions TWO of my friends have taunted and had a good jibe at me for paying £50 for being told I already had a good diet.  I know that I can improve it even further and in conjunction with my family and not having a dull, boring diet at the same time.

I like to concentrate on as many natural whole foods as I can, like this recent haul from Fairhaven in Letchworth.  I can tell you, it gives me a nice warm feeling when I drive home with a boot full of whole foods and yet I know I’d be slightly uneasy driving home with a regular supermarket selection of their typical mass-produced, MSG laden processed food.

Having said that, I don’t want you to think I am an ultra disciplined foodie – I’m not!  I do like flapjacks and like many people I do have a “sweet tooth” at times.  While this is all very healthy stuff, I do need to maintain my diet which is wide and varied, also I need to increase my vegetable intake and possibly ease back on fruit.

Life

Following on from those thoughts on food, I think it’s really important for me to do what I can to stay in good health i.e. empowerment, self efficacy and so on.  As fortunate as we are in having the NHS here in the UK, I don’t feel comfortable with plodding on through life and then simply expecting to be repaired when my body breaks.  I want to keep myself in good shape as best I can.  Part of that means having the odd check-up at the Doctor’s surgery from time to time and then doing what I can to maintain or improve things without the premature need for various medications.  In other words, if I can stay medication-free for as long as I can, that surely must be a good thing.

One of the reasons for this, is that being put onto medication for one thing becomes a slippery slope towards more and more for different conditions.  Add to that the side effects of various medications and the label that is imposed on people for being “under the Doctor” and you end up believing you’re dependent on trips to the Doctor’s surgery, hospital tests and so on.  Now I don’t want you to get me wrong here, I am not being foolish and ignoring modern healthcare or becoming some kind of NHS recluse, it’s just I want to do what I can in staying healthy and I believe there’s lots I can do.

On a different tack, a church friend of mine got chatting to me this morning and again spoke of looking at road bikes with a view to buying one.  Now I can tell you this has been going on for some time, several months in fact.  This has involved looking at various bikes in various shops all to no avail.  The criteria is a road bike towards the modest end  of the range (putting it politely) and must be available on the Cycle to Work scheme run by his employer.  He knows he’s taking far too long choosing a bike but life’s like that, isn’t it?  I remember it took me ages to make up my mind which bike to buy and then which colour, which lights, pannier rack and so on.  I also remember deciding to buy a new car earlier this year and making my mind up in a few days, followed by taking a test drive the following weekend and then striking the deal – all in seven days.  That was so much faster than buying a bike!

Winter

You might already know that winter is not my favourite season.  Although I like spring-summer best of all, the winter has some nice features.  I like the cosiness of winter, those beautiful misty mornings, magical frosty mornings and the sleepy countryside.

Angela's cracked helmet

Angela’s cracked helmet

Each year in my Christmas holidays I generally commit to doing something each day.  For a few years it’s running but last year it was cycling.  Cycling every day over the Christmas break is a wonderful thing to do in the bleak mid winter.  This includes cycling on Christmas Day and for 2013 I did have an early ride with my friends Barry and Angela.  Turned out to be a short but eventful ride.  The roads were icy and we had been taking it very easy in some parts.  In spite of that Angela came off on some frozen water that had flowed onto the road from a near by farm.  Each one of us was shaken by this, included Angela who was knocked out for a while.  I have cycled that same road many times since and it still gives me the creeps!

And yet winter can be a magical time for cycling.  I’m banking on that as I do want to clock up some more miles over Christmas and New Year.

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