A.J. Walker

writerer

Cycling in the Dark

This cycling malarkey has continued. So far I've not yet had to go back to the cycle shop to get the gears readjusted (I was told they would need it a few weeks after getting them sorted). The cycling is a lot easier that it was on ZevonOne – not that much faster but easier and more comfortable at the moment. I dare say speed will improve with practice. I'm getting fitter in any case and have had to add another hole in to my belt. Not bad after about two months of cycling (especially as it's a by-product not an aim). A Brucey Bonus.

The other day I commuted in a van and it took over twenty minutes and cycling it is taking me as little as 32 minutes. So the time aspect is not really critical. The issues really are the impact of weather (a cold, wet, and windy day is a lot easier to face in the front of a van listening to your favourite music) and safety. Yesterday was my first time riding home all the way (i.e. not using the train to take any of the strain) and at this time of the year (especially after the clocks have changed) it means the later afternoon requires cycling in the pitch black. It was my first time so I thought I'd go with the same route I do in the morning – i.e. along the canal. Riding home in the pitch dark was exciting and it went fine – amazingly even in total darkness it only took me 3 minutes longer to get home than on the reverse of the trip in fine daylight. However in the long term I feel maybe that it is an accident waiting to happen: I was stopped the other day on a cycle path by a fallen tree for example. There are no lights at all along the canal path and whist my lamp on the bike is good it cannot replicate daylight. I'm thinking that I need to find a route on roads (or at least to make the trip a bit more on the road) as the roads are lit up and less susceptible to issues like holes in the ground, running dogs or swans, fallen branches and the severe wetness and deepness of a canal.

It seems a little counter intuitive to think going towards roads and drivers is safer but i think maybe the advantage of some lighting outweighs the fear of damn drivers…

I'll have to look at some maps and see what options reveal themselves.
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Gearing Up With ZevonTwo

Well I got and changed the inner tube. Must have been the first time I have done anything like that since I was a teenager. Went easily enough. Though I dare say it will be harder with the back wheel when I need to do that one.

Rode ZevonTwo a couple of times last week and as suspected the gears were not working. I could change to a couple of low gears only. I was stuck on the smallest chainring so found myself pedalling hard with little effect ie it wasn’t hard going but I couldn’t get any speed up, and going downhill I could not pedal fast enough to keep up with the wheels. So last weekend I took the bike to get the gears sorted. I took it to Parker’s Cycles in Burscough on a recommendation. Not near to me at all, but it’s best to go from recommendations when it’s for things you know nothing about! In any case it was a few doors down from two pubs that I could check out when I left it there.

ZevonTwo1
ZevonTwo in Walton Hall Park

Had a nice enough pint in the Hop Vine after leaving my bike with Barry, then went on to the Thirsty Duck and had a lovely pint of Ossett Silver King. Ormskirk afterwards was very disappointing. For a big student town it is mad that it doesn’t have more ale options. Still I had a couple of nice jars in Tap Room No.12 before heading back into Liverpool.

On Saturday I didn’t get a call until it was too late to get to Burscough unless I’d already been at Liverpool Central so I couldn’t pick her up until Monday. The gears were sorted anyway. Cosmetically the covers are missing on the gear selections on the handlebars but there is nothing to say that the shouldn’t work. No idea how they’ve ended up both missing – just tiny bits of plastic. But both? One of the gear cables (the one for the front crankset) had been in a perplexing situation in the bike. It apparently went back on itself somehow and was not simply seized or rusted. But whatever had been wrong with it it would have needed to be dealt with.

ZevonTwoToo
Me & My Girl in Walton Hall Park

I got the train back to Liverpool and took Zev2 home with just a two mile ride from Orrell Park so didn’t get to go through all the gears. In any case I don’t think my legs could yet go through the gears anyways! Today I went out for a 4.5 mile or so ride and took it through a few gears and at least got it onto the second wheel of the crankset (sorry I don’t know the correct terms yet). I’ll know more tomorrow about how well it is now when I go out on a familiar 5.75 mile trip on the Leeds–Liverpool Canal towpath. Shame the weather forecast at the moment isn’t great for that. The bike anyway should be better for me one way or another. Incidentally I’ve definitely been getting fitter over just this first six weeks. Think I may need to add another hole in my belt already!
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Nearly 40 Miles

This week’s summary (ending 26/9): I hit 91,870 steps equivalent (i.e. adding the cycling to the walks), which is good going. And I can very much feel the difference between how the muscles are affected by riding compared to walking - and I’m getting faster. My thighs on Friday and Saturday were still feeling the effects of nearly 40 miles of cycling. Not bad work last week after going from no cycling for thirty odd years. Ultimately I may end up having days when most my ‘steps’ are equivalent ones from cycling rather than actual walking. This week the cycling made up about a third of my leg work. The actual steps last week were 28.4 miles (60,965 steps) and the cycling was about 39.5 miles.

Canal 1

Been riding along canal pathways mostly and trying to limit the roads, which at the moment has been okay. I dare say it'll be less attractive soon as the morning and nighttime extends. Haven't done wet weather yet. Some of the cobbled surfaces could be a bit fun on a wet or frosty day. May end up combining some rail soon.

CanalBridge1

Week’s details (steps equivalent with walking and cycling combined):
Distance: 42.8 miles
Steps: 91,870k
Average Daily Distance: 6.1 miles
Average Steps: 13.1k

One nice thing about the cycling – apart from added fitness – is seeing some nice countryside and wildlife.

Maghull Bridge1

Onwards and Alongwards.
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Walk On & Ride On

Well last week became a bit different for me; because I started riding a bike as well as walking. First time in a saddle for decades. In any case I exceeded my weekly goal of 56k steps with just the walking, but together with the riding did even better. I had four days walking into Liverpool and those four days equated to between 12.8 and 13.9k steps per day. And there were three days when I did not get up to the 8k steps average goal. I’ve found a fudge factor to address the equivalent for cycling to steps so I could add the numbers up (I’ve used 110 steps/minute at this point).

This week’s summary (
ending 19/9) I hit c.74,589 steps, which is pretty damn fine. And I can feel the difference between how the muscles are affected by riding compared to walking - and day on day I’ve got faster on the bike without trying (though this may also be that the tyres were better inflated too). Initially I’m going to try going out on the bike three times a week. Let’s see how that goes. Ultimately I may end up having days when most my ‘steps’ are equivalent ones from cycling rather than actual steps. We shall see.

Week’s details:
Distance: 34.7 miles
Steps 74.6k
Average Daily Distance: 4.96 miles
Average Steps: 10.7k

Onwards and Alongwards.
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