Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Cycling - new route

Yesterday it just rained and rained all day long, and I actually got a bit antsy - I wanted to ride my bike!

The forecast showed a potential window this morning when it may be just cloudy, so last night I formulated a plan to get up at relatively normal time, despite having a day off work, and to head out on my own for an hour.

I woke up to sun streaming through the window, and I was so happy!

Did a 7.5 mile route out into the countryside, which started with a mahoosive uphill, but which was matched by a wonderful long downhill section, punctuated by some deceptively steep but thankfully short uphill sections!

I actually think I was a better person today because of my ride!

Also got a parcel today - my head will be particularly visible from now on!

Forecast is looking lovely for Friday and the weekend, so I'm going to try and ride to work on Friday! (It's only 6.5 ish miles - but I'm not sure how long to allow, to give me a chance to arrive at my desk looking at least somewhat presentable lol!)

Katie x

Monday, 27 May 2013

Cycling - 8 Miles With My Small

First off, an additional injury from yesterday which I'd not noticed at the time!

No short skirts for me this week

My youngest, 13 year old Kira, decided she wanted to ride with me today.

She's just inherited my old bike, and we spent some time yesterday adjusting it for her.

We did 8 miles, very slowly! She's not yet very confident, so doesn't like going fast downhill, and when pedalling she's not yet got the leg strength.

But she did all 8 miles, and made it up all the hills, and she didn't fall off - so she's doing better than me this weekend! I nearly came a cropper when we'd only just left home when I hadn't even realised I'd clipped in! Managed to get my foot out just before I took us both over.

Some photos from today's ride!

Cycling - First Ride, and Joining the "Stationary Crash" Club!

Yesterday was my first ride out on my gorgeous new Trek Neko SL - it's a hybrid, so very much easier to ride on the roads than my old full suspension mountain bike, and it managed beautifully on the footpaths through the common we crossed (although riding through sand on any bike would have been tricky!).

I'd spent the first part of the day tinkering - new lights, swapping saddles (it comes with what feels like some kind of razor blade - I've reverted to my "granny saddle" and it's gel filled kindness!), fitting my saddle bag and phone holder, as well as my trusty dirt monkey mudguards!

Saddle loveliness!

Pedal On do a fantastic deal with "pedal points", where you get to choose 25% of the price of your bike in accessories! I chose SPD Pedals, the saddle bag, inner tubes and some Endura Humvee cycling 3/4 shorts.

Not knowing whether I'd get on with the SPD pedals (clippy pedals, as I like to call them!) I didn't want to spend the normal fortune on shoes, so I found these Cannondale Roam shoes on Amazon for less than £20 - nowhere else seems to do anything for less than £50, and the reviews were favourable, so I decided they were worth the risk.

One of the paths.

So, fully kitted out (all of the gear - no idea!) we headed out for a 13 miler.

When I'd mentioned on Facebook that I had clippy pedals, I was warned I was bound to join the Stationary Crash Club - falling over because you've stopped and forgotten your feet are attached to your pedals - it's like a right of passage - anyone who is anyone with clippy pedals has done it.

I did it....... Twice!

First time I hadn't forgotten - I'd unclipped my left foot, stopped, turned round to see where S was, and toppled over to my right! Spread myself quite inelegantly into the middle of a, thankfully quiet, country lane!

My knee took the brunt of the impact!

I disentangled myself and jumped back on, only to fall over (I can't say fell off - I was completely attached!) 2 minutes later when S made a surprise change of direction and I just threw myself into the brambly roadside! A passing car even stopped to check I was ok lol! More bruises from the bike landing on me than blood, but it took a while for me to sort myself out - I was still completely clipped in!

I soldiered on, and it was a lovely lovely ride. I've learnt to only use my cleats on long, uninterrupted stretches of road (I deliberately chose pedals that are only cleated on one side!), and to not ride too close to my husband!

Katie x

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Home - Kitchen Project

I mentioned in an earlier post that we've just (almost!) completed a big kitchen refurbishment.

We've lived in our house for almost 16 years, and we've been planning this kitchen project since we extended the house 5 years ago.

Prior to the extension this room had been our dining room - but as you can see, the room called "Timothy" (what are we going to call this room now it's not the dining room anymore? "Timothy" my husband replied - and so Timothy it was! - strange things happen in my house - what can I say lol!) had become a dumping ground. Originally intended to be a den-like area, it actually didn't get used for anything other than putting stuff that didn't have an alternative home! This is also the very first room you see as you come in the house.

So we cleared Timothy out.

No mean feat!

We then spent a whole weekend preparing the kitchen for it's time to meet it's maker!

And actually it looked so much bigger when all our junk had been taken out!

One reason behind the refurb, apart from the fact the units were literally falling apart (I'd had a "pan hole" rather than a "pan drawer" for 2 years after the drawer front fell off (and I'd repaired it 2 years prior to that, and this time it was terminal!), since we'd extended, the natural light in the kitchen was limited. Not only has the window to the garden shrunk, we'd put a 2 storey building directly where the sun fell, meaning the kitchen window was always in shadow!

So we decided a major job was required!

The lovely Ray, who had built our extension was called upon, and one sunny Monday in March I went to work with it looking like the photos above - and came home, just 7 hours later, to this :-)

You know, I think that's enough photos in one post - I shall carry on with the rest of it in a separate post! (It does get to looking much better, I promise:-))

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cycling - New Wheels!

I'm about to head out to collect my new bike from Pedal On - I may just be a little excited!

It's a hybrid Trek Neko SL so road riding should be easier, but it's still got (I think!) rugged good looks, with a sexy black, very grown up, paint job!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Cycling: Starting Up

As a child/teenager I used to cycle everywhere. We used to cycle a
4 mile round trip to school every day, and then round to friends house after school, and at the weekend, if we were bored, we'd just go for a bike ride, just for fun.

I've always had a bike, but since having kids cycling has only happened sporadically - neither of my girls are great cyclists (they can both ride, they just choose not to!) and we live half way up a very big, steep hill, so going anywhere is always going to involve a hill climb, either at the beginning or end of a ride - not to mention the many hills everywhere around here.

But I love cycling.

I did body combat for about 5 years, and this kept me fit and trim. Last summer I got bored. And I stopped going. I'd book a week in advance, but come the day, I'd cancel. I really wasn't feeling the love for combat anymore.

I found a new love for Pilates, but getting into classes can be tricky, and timings aren't always convenient, and while it's fabulous for strength and muscle tone, fitness? Not so much. So my fitness levels dropped like a stone.

In the new year I decided I'd try running. I did the couch to 5k programme. For 2 weeks. I am not a runner. It was not fun. I stopped.

So, I decided to go back to what I knew I enjoyed - back to the bike.

I love it!

So far I've done the following rides:

6th May - 10.42 miles
12th May - 12.49 miles
18th May - 10.39 miles
19th May - 8.51 miles

And then today I re-rode the 8.51 mile route.

I can feel my fitness levels returning. I can already ride faster, without as much huffing and puffing!

I'm aiming towards bike to work week in June - that would be a 13 mile round trip, do-able!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Well, what do I do next?

I blogged for a couple of years when I'd lost some weight and was struggling to find a sense of style, over at Rate My Outfit.

But now I feel I'm done with that. I've run out of time and energy for daily style shots. My style isn't out of the ordinary, it's not wacky or wonderful, so that's enough of that. I'll likely still go back for Dressember, or maybe I won't. I've got a currently empty blog called 21st Century Frocks, and maybe that'll be the new home for Dressember?

At the moment we've just come out of a big kitchen refurbishment project, and I'm aiming to get back towards my goal weight, and to get fit again. And I'm hoping to cycle my way back to fitness.  To that end I've ordered a new bike today, and I'm very excited by it!

I've also signed up to do a colour me beautiful personal stylist course.

So perhaps this blog will be a bit about my life, a bit about cycling, a bit about personal style, with maybe the odd daily style shot, when it's something share-worthy!

Join me along the way, won't you?