Who am I

Am I one of the armchair gang?

When I look back at photos of myself during competition years, I saw a slim super-fit handsome man. Today I I believe this was the Gent-Wevelgem have an antipathy of fat people even though standing in front of a full length mirror I see one before me, Waiting on the line of another race but the old images make me feel different to the arm chair fatties, I’m not like them (I tell myself). I’ve sometimes shown the photos to friends, just to illustrate how athletic I was and they’d ask the question “what happened?” My seasoned reply ‘it’s easy to put on half a stone in a year.’ No one disagrees, but the excuse continues; I’ve put on half a stone a year, every year for ten years. My race weight was eleven and a half stone so it doesn’t take a genius to work out my current weight. Almost a third of my body weight is fat or to bring things up to date; a third of my body weight was fat.

As time went on and other issues dominated my life, I got rid of my bikes, but kept one for posterity or to use occasionally to go to the chip shop if I was over the drink drive limit. After some nagging I sold this to a friend for five pound when his bike was stolen. I couldn’t face the prospect of a missing link to my past, so I needed (yes needed) another. I used to have a different bike for the four seasons; a cyclocross bike, a track bike, a mountain bike, a road race bike (which I would use in the summer but not on rainy days) and a hack bike (with mud guards and heavy winter wheels). One bike for all seasons was needed, a hybrid. The Procurators house

I scanned ebay for weeks to get the right one at the right price. Finally I bid and won a ‘Trek’ hybrid and excitingly picked it up from Birmingham the next week. As it sat gleaming in my bedroom (a space previously reserved for my best road bike) I felt whole again. There it sat gathering dust for the next two years until I was inspired to ride it again.

It’s important at this point to give some background to that inspiration. An excellent cyclist I once coached climbed back in to the saddle after a fair gap away. He was training to do the JOGLE (John o' Groats Lands End), when on the way to work he was hit off his motorbike. He broke his leg above the right boot, when the paramedic arrived he was still splayed out on the road, he told him; ‘I’ve broken my leg’. The paramedic asked, 'how’d you know that chap. You might be fine?'' His reply (if you’re squeamish jump to the next paragraph); ‘my boot was facing backwoods when I sat up, I put it back the right way.'

That was in mid April; six weeks in plaster and two weeks rehabilitation left just one month training for JOGLE. If he could do that, I could meet him on my bike and ride along to give some encouragement. I chose a day when they would be riding close to my house. I brushed the dust off the bike, oiled the chain, pumped the tyres up, put the kit on and put my bike in the boot of my car then drove to Aust services by the old seven bridge (a meer 15 mile away, nothing for an established bikey). When the JOGLE party were due to cross, I rode one and a half miles with my mate to the center of a windswept wet bridge and waited. When they arrived we shook hands and took the customary photos. When they wished to continue I said I’d ride across the bridge with them; it was embarrassing. These lads had just ridden three quarters of the country at an average speed of eighteen miles an hour and had three days left to complete their quest and I couldn’t keep up with them at ten mile an hour for one and a half miles back across the bridge (downhill by the way). That was almost three years ago and now I can easily do eighteen miles an hour (downhill of course), but there’s still a long way to go.

Life can be sweet

I believe I’m lucky which doesn’t mean bad things haven’t happened to me in my life, they have, but problems seem to have had a way of working themselves out. I love travelling and have never stopped really, I’ve travelled all over the World. Since climbing back into the saddle, travelling has become different, it’s hard to explain; I suppose it’s been more fulfilling. I’ve had many adventures and many more to come I hope. It would’ve been useful to have prior information on my trips, there is some, but it’s limited. I hope the following pages help you in the planning and execution of a successful journey, but please put any inaccuracies down to poetic licence. The trips are not in chronological order.

Cycling is a passion

I’ve never lost the passion for cycling and I’ve had so much fun riding across North Wales this week I’ve decided to share the experience with anyone who’s willing to listen or to be more accurate whoever is willing to read. This fatty is on the warpath with his belly.