Sunday, 24 March 2013

I'm turning into a bit of a mechanic.....

Did the usual Sunday morning agenda for this household.

Then made the decision to go for a walk with her indoors, before doing the shopping. We drove to Swansea, and took a quick stroll around Llyn LLansamlet, looking at the ducks, swans and geese. I was amazed to see a solo swallow sweeping to and fro over the water, in these wintry conditions, which tend to make us all forget that this is the time swallows return here from Africa. Obviously, they are unaware of what the weather will be like on arrival.

We did the shopping, food and groceries for the three boys and ourselves. Had a light lunch in the supermarket, namely a sandwich, cake and a cup of tea.

Home by 15.30, I got changed and decided to get my Pioneer GT, pictured above, ready for my commute tomorrow. I'm 12 hour days, and need to be on my way by 04.00. Too dark to do any potching then.

My back brakes haven't been responding well of late, so I thought I'd try to adjust them. They are centre pull, and I mistakenly believed all I had to do was shorten the pull cable. Only to find out that when I'd done so, the left hand side brake pad was permanently rubbing against the wheel rim. I noticed that there was no spring or tension on the brake assembly on the left. Very bravely, I made the decision to take the left assembly off the frame, on the rear forks, to see what the problem was. By simply comparing the set up on the right with that on the left, I was able to discover the snag. The lead part of the spring that provides the tension was set to it's least setting i.e., the end of the spring fits into a small hole on the fork, one of three there to provide varying tensions. I put it into the topmost hole to match that on the right and found both sides had the same tension.

It was then simply a matter of screwing the assembly back into place, adjusting the the centre pull cable, and I had both brake pads equi-distant from the rims either side, and the brakes were working beautifully. Hey presto as they say! I then gave everything a dose of lube, tested the gearing (Currently, I only use the middle chain ring, after reading an extract of "Simply Ride", on Amazon books for kindle, where the author contends that a rider only needs 8 gears, OK so I have 9, but you get the drift.) Pumped up the tyres to the requisite pressures, took it for a test ride, did a little polishing and put the bike in the shed ready for the off tomorrow.

I'm feeling really pleased with myself.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Starting something new........

Mainly in the hope that I can force myself out of the rut I've gotten myself into.

I don't ride my bike enough, I eat too much, and I just think about all the things I should do to change my life with positive effect. I always knew I was a thinker, not a doer. But that has to change!

62 is old enough to finally grow up, and get on the right track at work, home and at play.

Just three weeks ago, I had to have my works medical, because I'm now over 60 I have to have medicals every two years. The good news is I had a "pass", meaning I meet the criteria to do my job. I'm flexible enough, both my eyesight and hearing are adequate, blood pressure etc., are fine. But "pass", and by the way, that is the only word used, whether you are super fit or just above the required standard. Now I know full well I'm not super fit, but was really deflated when the nurse said pass. I was more than a little peeved with her already, her comments such as " we're 62 now are we?...", "we can't expect to be as flexible, it's an age thing....", and so on. I'd never considered my "age" before, but her attitude made me feel senility had already set in. But hopefully, her condescension has given me a wake up call, to get on with things, important things, like getting out of this rut I'm in.

When I look at my particular rut, I see an all too comfortable comfort zone that I've become ensconced in. Nobody else put me there, I did it all by myself. I'm ashamed to say.

Life is good, no matter those constant worries in the background, always somewhere in my thoughts. I've got a good job, great wife, three well turned out grown up sons, a comfortable home, enough money for us all to live in comfort. But that isn't enough.

I restarted cycling seven years ago, I was 17 stone 10 pounds. In two years that dropped to 16 stone dead, so for the last five years, confirmed in my medical, that weight has remained static. At five foot seven inches, that makes me morbidly obese. What's unbelievable, is I've allowed that situation to continue for five long years. To say I feel great in myself, as I've done all through those years, has simply been a lie to myself. I only have to look at myself in the mirror, or catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window, for the truth to hit me between the eyes............. I'm a very fat man.

That very fat man, has always wanted to be a slimmer version of himself, but has been too weak to actually do something about it. Yes, getting on the bike, and persisting with it through all the flat tyres, and especially the jibes of my colleagues, was a wonderful achievement, but seven years on, I should have done so much more. According to medical averages I should be a maximum of 11 stone 7 pounds. Now I don't believe that the medical profession has nailed down the correct height weight ratios for adults, but I reckon I should be 12 stone at most.

It's shattering to realise that, that is a massive four stone, i.e., 56 pounds, or in old money, half a hundred weight of spuds, I'm carrying around with me, when I don't need to.

That can't be good for me, as nursie would say, "at your age". It isn't good for what I see in the mirror, and most definitely is not good for those viewing this body of mine. Suddenly, I feel quite sorry for that nurse.

What is wrong with me?

Simple, I eat far too much!!!


I've got to take action, and do something about this. As they say in that dreadful workspeak, you know those words such as empowerment, taking responbility , and being accountable. Does that mean I would have to give myself a good talking to, or even a slap if I go off course? That sounds inane, but how can I find the self discipline I need so desperately?

I'm on a mission to get this done, I think a good time to start is now! No chinese takeaway tonight then, and just a bottle of Magners while I surf the net for some advice, encouragement and realistic guidance.

And so it begins.......