Fully Paid

My Strava 60 day trial ended this month, but decided to bite the bullet and pay the annual fee. It seems to make a difference to my workout incentive; having a few achievable, but not too unrealistic goals.

Did actually achieve the final two, for this month - though the Arcteryx one took until the final day to complete.

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Pleased with getting them both; and have now enrolled in a few more for September. Mixing it up next month, with walking, cycling, workout, weights and Yoga.

It's A Heatwave!

An unreasonable, but perhaps not unseasonal, hot spell has hit the UK.
Averaging around 36 Centigrade /97 Fahrenheit, for the past six days; has led (at least for me) to a lot of unprecedented sweating from doing almost next to nothing. It's also left me feeling rather lethargic and withdrawn, plus a little annoyed with myself for not getting out on the bike - but it's too damn hot!
Perhaps that is an age thing, but, who knows? Although this blog is supposed to be about getting fit at the age I am!

I am walking a bit more than last month, which is a plus; and I did start the month with three targets; one of which I've completed.


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Another one I should, but the other one I have doubts about.

Another plus does seem to have been that I've lost some weight, about 2 kilos; which I put down to sweating a lot; that, and probably not eating as much - I don't get so hungry in the heat.


Hopefully the 'wave' will break soon, and I'll find the energy to get back on my bike Happy


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!

Energy

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.