Thursday, 25 April 2013

Bikes and backpacks

First bike ride of the good weather for me... just a short one to start off again. Did a16 miles in an hour so not bad going.  I packed light, just the necessaries in case of emergency...

Water X3 bottles
Bike pump
puncture repair kit
spare inner tubes X2
First aid kit
keys/wallet etc

The thing is because I packed light, i shoved it all in a rucksack, slung it on my back and off i went.  The thing is after 5 miles my shoulders began to hurt.
Now I'm no stranger to cycling with a backpack.  i cycle to work with one, i cycled from Snowdon to Ben Nevis with a very heavy one and similarly from South to North Wales (no panniers for that one).  but this got me thinking....

I have panniers and will use them for Route 66.  i have previously laughed at people on websites who have said under no circumstances tour with a rucksack and i have done 100 miles in a day wearing one.  Maybe it was because I haven't been on my bike properly for a while, maybe it's cos i'm getting older LOL but the fact remains that 5 miles in, my shoulders hurt, after 10 miles i was shifting position on the bike to get more comfortable and after the 16 i was very glad to get it off and sink into my comfortable sofa.

I was planning for Route 66 to just have a Camelback with keys, money and stuff I didn't want off my person in. But even that is sounding rather heavy at the moment.  I don't particularly want a bar bag but even a small backpack with a litre of water will be heavy after the 3 day of 100 miles.

Still i still have a fair few days to go to think up a solution.  Either that or just put up and shut up, with the thought that I'm going to be soooo knackered that i won't notice aching shoulders at the end of the day.

would be interested to hear your views on this.. ultimately I guess the less kit the better! And Pain is Weakness leaving your body so it's all gotta help! :)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Rhode Island

So I may not have mentioned that i went to Rhode Island for the weekend.  The trip had no cycling involved but it is the first time I have gone over 'the pond' and as such was an interesting taster of some of the stuff I would encounter on my month long bike ride.

My trip was to go and see Joe Silva play for a benefit for a young boy with cancer.  Joe has kindly donated his time to play at a gig at the end of my bike ride and the gig was 3 hours of non-stop musical fun. His album Blue is available on itunes and well worth a download!!

I also got to meet up again with some of the people who came to Joe's abbey road recording session so that was also great.

The trip was good for 2 other reasons (at least).

Firstly i got to experience driving on the other side of the road before I aim to do it on a bike! Now this had several pitfalls... One, I have never driven on the wrong side of the road, 2, the steering wheel is also on the wrong side and 3, I've never driven an automatic.  Add a downpour and it was one very scared Lid sitting in the car at Boston airport, plucking up the courage to press my foot on the accelerator (use only the right foot at all times).

I did make it to Rhode Island, although all the other cars on the road probably wondered why I was going so slowly (I did make it up to 60mph, i hasten to add), but have a greater appreciation for the road layout and how I'm going to cope on a bike.  It will be interesting and I think I'll be glad when i get out of the cities onto the open road!  the road seemed to be in good condition with not too many potholes or other bike obstacles, however I only saw one cyclist in my 3 days there but am hoping that it was the weather keeping them off the roads!
I was actually shaking though when I got there so hopefully i won't be shaking all the way from chicago to LA, it will make it harder!

The difficult part I think on a bike will be the junctions and getting in the right lane.  There will probably some areas where getting off and walking across will be a better option.

Other bits that i found interesting/amusing....


I had a great time and all the travelling inevitably left me with a lot of time to think... especially as I switched flights because Delta offered me $600 to go via Amsterdam instead.

I was reading a book about a blind man who climbs mountains amongst other things.  It's these kind of people that inspire me.  there was a passage in his book about what freedom meant to him and it struck a chord with me....

Perhaps it was freedom to make of my life what I wanted it to be, or at least the freedom to try, or to fail in the trying.  Perhaps freedom itself was unobtainable and the goal was only to reach for it, strive for it, knowing all along that i would fall well short.  Perhaps the importance was in the reaching out, and in the impossibility of it all, and in the reaching out through the impossibility.

So through this trip I rediscovered my motivation.  i may fail to get to LA in time.  Circumstances may prevent me, my battered body may prevent me, someone may prevent me,.... but at least I will have tried, which is the most we can ever do.  With that in mind ... after the latest round of gigs, I will get myself on my bike, start my training again with this new found purpose.