Two Weeks Gone

It has now been two weeks since I started this blog.
Flown by.

I have to admit though, that I am tired.
Training, if that is in any small way what I am doing, can really take its toll on the body. And, in my case, because I am certainly not used to it; all these stretches, walks and cycles can have a rather exhausting accumulative affect.

Which brings me to the moments of rest and relaxation.

In all all the vlogs and blogs that I've read and seen regarding exercise - most of them concerning weights and HIIT - you are already told to factor in a rest day, or three.
Purely because I am not doing those things, I disregarded that advice. Beware!

Although I am not doing those particular workouts, I am still putting stresses and strains on my body; and as such I do actually need to rest and let the body repair.

I actually, although inadvertently, did so last Saturday; and felt an awful lot better having done so. Whereby the Sunday after was my most productive (kcal burning-wise) of the whole week. So, I'm doing it again today - resting and recuperating.

At present, with my not overly taxing workload (fitness-wise), I don't believe that I need more than one day of rest, from the grindstone, per week. But, as things progress, I may well need more; but that's a bridge to cross in the weeks and months to come.

The moral - or message to myself - don't rush, don't over extend, it'll come; it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Cycling and Bikes

I have looked at hundreds of videos on YouTube, regarding bikes, set-ups, preferences, equipment etc., etc..
But none (although there may well be some, but I just haven't found them), that really answer my question.
Which is simply this: "I want to be comfortable, whilst I'm on my bike."

I require the riding experience to fulfil that criteria, in order for me to enjoy cycling more and to simply encourage me to cycle more; maybe even to become a better cyclist?

So, how do you get comfortable?

I purchased a Gravel bike a few months ago; which as many people know, is something of a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. It's basically a drop handlebar bike with fatter tyres. In essence a hybrid bike that works for a lot of people, on different surfaces in different situations. Or, for people whose memories go back as far as mine, it's a type of touring bike, with fatter tyres for more comfort.
For me, the Gravel bike is an ideal cross-purpose bike, cycling on pathways, bridleways, roads and towpaths. Perfect, in every way, apart from (unless you've already parted with a great deal of money) the areas where the manufacturer can cut a few of its costs. This is normal, and completely understandable; and the places that they do this are normally (this is besides the internal components - i.e. cheaper bottom bracket), the saddle, the seat post, handlebar stem, handlebars and pedals. All five of which are very important factors in comfort on the bike.

My bike wasn't cheap (by my standards), but was very competitively priced for the specifications on it. Apart from, potentially, those five items. Which means, although I love it, I need to change things in order to make my ride, that much more comfortable.

And that's why I started looking on YouTube. There are a lot of different people out there who ride bikes, for a lot of different reasons; and love to post the information on YouTube. So, obviously, I assumed that I would be able to discover the info that I desired.
And, by crikey, there's a huge amount of information regarding bikes, and the people who ride them. Unfortunately, a lot of it is conflicting advice; and yes, I do understand that people have alternative views and preferences; but, ultimately that doesn't help me much at all. And yes, I do understand that people are trying to earn some money from affiliate links. But, it doesn't make me trust you. In fact if you post with the 'Ten Best' whatever, and all the links go to Amazon, I'm probably not going to trust you at all; which is a shame.
For personal preference, if you are going to post like that, then aim a link to the manufacturer website, so that I can look further into the product, and then make a decision. It's all about trust with me.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me back to comfort. If I'm comfortable, I'm more relaxed and in control, and trust myself on the bike and my ability to cycle correctly.

So, what do I need to change?

1) Pedals.

Clipless, Flat or Toe Clips?
This has proven to be the biggest stumbling block as far as YouTube videos are concerned. I have found only one YouTuber who has recommended flat pedals for the type of bike and cycling that I do - kudos to that man.
In general, it has been the promotion of clipless pedals, for both road and mountain bikes. This is definitely not my way forward.
Besides the pedals, you will definitely need specialist shoes, and of course the cleats. Becomes horribly expensive, and, I don't believe, all that comfortable - though I'm sure everyone gets used to it eventually.
I already had the rather cheap plastic toe clips that came with the bike, and do not feel comfortable with them, although I've ridden with toe clips in the past. Still having to look down to make sure that my foot's inside - not a good thing. So, I've gone for Flats.

2) Saddle.

It's not totally uncomfortable, in fact it's fine for short rides. But when you start planting your derriere onto a saddle for in excess of an hour, then I really think that you may have to look at something better. And I'm looking, and I'm basically spoilt for choice. There are a multitude of different saddles out there, and I am sure that there is one to suit each and every cheek. Haven't found one yet, but I am certain that I will.

Initially, that would be it for the alterations. *
With every small change, your interaction with the bike becomes different, and these are then either gotten used to, or changed again.
Time needs to be spent on the bike, to gain a feel for it and to find out whether the comfort has improved.
For me, a bike is for life.
For fitness, as a means of transport, a way to relax and clear my mind.
(It is not a friend or a lover, no matter what you may think?)
But just like in any lifestyle, a few minor tweaks and changes, can make a really big difference.

* If, on the other hand you are totally happy with your bike set up - don't change a thing!

Work Harder/Harder Work

Even after only two weeks, I am beginning to see some small gains; mostly in energy levels, but a little in fitness.
And what I've discovered, is that the fitter you get, the harder that you have to work to remain at that new level, and beyond.
Perhaps it's self-evident to most people; but it's just something that I hadn't actually considered.
I tend to work from my wrist heart rate watch, which shows different colours for different levels of exertion - i.e. how hard that your heart is working - red being the highest level.
As you get fitter, for the same route/exercise, you spend less time in the red zone, if exercising at the same level as before. Which, if you're trying to trim down a bit, means that you're burning less kcal, simply because you don't need to work so hard.
So, if you do want that trim, slim and enviable body; you have to work that much harder. The walks get longer, the rides get longer and the Yoga positions get held for a longer time and/or become more.
There's a benefit, of course; as I mentioned before, energy levels increase; more endorphins are released, making you happier, one hopes.
It seems the only goal that there can be is to get fitter, not just get fit. Find your level and maintain it, or go on and test yourself to see just how good you can be.
As I stated I'm only two weeks in, so very early stages; but I'm very glad to have started.


I don't know if this is a result of doing a little more exercise, but today I am filled with a lot more energy, and an impulse to get things done. How long that will last, I've no idea.
But this morning I have joined the Medium Partner Program and sketched out my first article for the publication; and enrolled in the Hubspot Academy, in order to discover more about how to set up and integrate within YouTube and Instagram stories.

I'd like to think that it's all to do with drinking more water, eating more healthily, walking further and stretching more - but I believe that it's far too early to tell, whether that's actually the case or not.

As an Update..

Received a discount voucher for €50 from Mammut in my inbox yesterday, for completing the challenge. Nice surprise. One drawback, you have to spend minimum €150 to get the discount. Still, not at all bad, and rather unexpected. Kudos to Mammut.

My First Success?

Did a little stretching/yoga this morning, uploaded it and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had completed the Mammut Local Adventure Challenge.

Screenshot 2020-06-17 at 11.16.42

Now search out some other relatively straightforward goals, and apply myself to those.

Day One - Week Two

Out on the Bike. Went for a Walk. Practised some Yoga. All three in one day - Hoorah! Don't actually feel fantastic. The bike ride was short and heavy-legged. The walk was considerably average. But the yoga was good. It's good to stretch.

Change in Diet?

This has been an ongoing thing since lockdown (and prior).
Not a vegan, though I like the concept. But am trying for a more healthy balance. So. I've invested (time/money) in looking at alternatives. The one that gels with me, partly because I'm inherently lazy, is the RTD (ready to drink) version of Huel. Discovered that I love the Vanilla and Chocolate flavours, not so keen on the Berry, a little too sweet. I've also tried their Huel bars, but I didn't get on with those either.
But the drinks are a nice alternative, and contain 400 kcal of good, healthy stuff; if you're calorie counting, and also quite good to have after a ride, or even during if it's a particularly long one.
There's a link below, if you want to try it.


How A 65 year old man regains (retains) his lust for life.

Jumped onto the Strava bandwagon, with a 60 day free trial. Should know whether it's going to happen in that time-scale. Joined the Mammut Local Adventure Challenge, which is to do 10 hours of 'outdoor' exercise in 30 days - chosen purely because it seemed like the easiest one at which to succeed. In five days I've actually done six hours already; in part, due to a two and a half hour walk yesterday, which has left me feeling less than elated and a little tired. From now on, regular and shorter would seem the better option.