how times have changed

Whilst cycling to the station the other morning, I stopped at a set of traffic lights, when after about a minute it dawned on me that it is very quiet – eerily so. I knew it is Christmas time and there is not a lot of traffic on the roads, but I was also aware of some cars behind me, but now … nothing.

Turning around there they were, all four of them, not making a sound.

Fairly new cars all featuring stop-start technology.

just one of those strange moments

home made energy bars

Every time we do a weekend away riding, my lovely wife makes us some energy bars. I tried making some, but Mike complains that they’re too chewy, maybe his dentures keep getting stuck 😉

So I just leave it to her now.

Anyway, they usually get offered around the group, and it is always the same “you need to give me the recipe!”

So without further ado, here it is.

Ingredients
100 g dried fruit (dates, apricots, cranberries, goji berries…)
50 g raisins
50 g mixed broken nuts
50 g seeds (hemp, poppy, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower…)
25 g brown sugar
35 g carbohydrate powder (multodextrin) – (I leave this out if I make a batch for the little army at home, they’re hyper enough without it) 😉
80 g plain flour
60 g rice krispies
100 g runny honey
100 g golden syrup (sometimes I double up the honey instead of using syrup)
50 g fruit spread
150 g oats
100 g bar of dark chocolate

Preparation: Chop up the dried fruit.

Cooking: Place the dried fruit into a pan and add a little water. Simmer gently until the fruit is tender. Mix in the fruit spread, honey and syrup and gently heat until runny. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the syrup and honey mixture.  Stir thoroughly, with the extra nuts and seeds, you might need to add some more honey.  Pour into a greaseproof baking tin and place in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.

In the mean time melt a slab of dark chocolate, a glass bowl in a pot of boiling water does the trick.

energybars

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once cooled, spread the chocolate over the energy bars, to get real fancy you can melt a bit of white chocolate and make patterns on top of the brown, however, I’ve not met a cyclist that cares about this yet.

Get on your bike cycle somewhere nice and enjoy 😉

This was not my recipe to start with, I got the bare bones of it from the “Mountain Bike Fitness Training” book, however, found they started tasting better after adding nuts, seeds and other dried fruits and the chocolate…

unceremonious dismount

Friday one week ago, all was well with the world, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, I was just setting off on a quick 15 miler and it wasn’t too hot.  It had all the makings of a beautiful day.

I coast up to the traffic lights and catch up to one of my friends who is second in line, tap on his window and catch up for 30 seconds or so.

I see the light is about to change, so I say cheers and push off, only thing is, I am totally in the wrong gear, I hadn’t bothered to shift down, as I normally do, no problem, just push harder.  First car is gone and I’m on my way, one revolution, two revolutions, then nothing…  the most unreal feeling in the world pedalling hard and next second pedalling fresh air.

The bike I use for commuting is quite compact, i.e. I am normally seated quite upright, and with me standing and stomping on the pedals my centre of gravity was forward of my handlebars.

In Afrikaans they have a wonderful saying for what happened next. helmet, poepol, tekkies, literally translated means helmet, arse and trainers, in that order, and over the handle bars, but hey “that’s just the way I roll” 😉

Needless to say there was thankfully no major damage to myself (not counting my pride in front of my buddy), just a bit of bruising and some skin off the elbows, and I ALWAYS wear full finger gloves.  The bike now unfortunately has a totally disintegrated shifter, not sure if that was me hitting it or the bike landing on the ground.

This has left me to ponder the importance of bike maintenance, and by letting it slip I was potentially becoming a hazard.  The chain has been stretched for a while now and the only issue to date has been when going over very bumpy terrain, it would jump a tooth and make me think “I should really fix that”.

I have been putting off getting it replaced because I was looking into getting a cyclocross bike for commuting, and didn’t want to waste the money on the old bike (well over 20 years old and weighs a ton)

So another lesson learned,

Till next time and keep the rubber side down.

nothing takes the pace off as quickly as

a face full of windscreen wash 😉

So there I am in a rush for the train, minding my own business and cycling with gusto (gasping for air like a fish out of water) when a VW Golf comes past and the driver cleans the windscreen.

Next thing I know my breath is taken away by the strong smell of screen wash – really glad I wear cycling glasses, that would have stung…

that was a first for me

salt lick

On Sunday I took the family out for an early breakfast picnic by bicycle.

Did not go very far as the younger ones are not that fit yet, but this is an attempt to get them fitter and more used to cycling.  You see this is all part of my plan to get us all to cycle the “Downs Link” as a family later on this year.  Basically the Downs Link is an off-road trail that starts just south of Guildford and ends up at Shoreham-by-sea.  It follows along the lines of an old disused railway and is about 40 miles in length.

It was a lovely morning but the forecast was for rain at about 9, which was partly why we set off so early.  Surprised to see so many dog walkers out and about.

picnic

Storing all those bikes can be a bit of a pain, but the big difference in the cycling for the children has been getting them better/lighter bikes.

trusty steeds

Nice view over the lake, it was fun watching some dogs splashing about and trying to bite the water – very funny.  Some of them were so engrossed in their water play that they totally ignored the calls of their owners.  Also lovely to see the swans with their cygnets.

Then there were the COWS, they were grazing a short distance away and slowly made their way over to us.  They came closer.  And closer…. and

It is quite off-putting trying to eat a hot-cross-bun with a cow staring at you.

Next thing the cow on the right is licking my cycling bag.  My wife reckons it is because that’s the one I use for commuting and the cow thinks it is a giant Salt Lick.  Well I promptly removed that and sat down and tried to ignore her (the cow that is).

inquisitive cows

She then starts breathing down my neck and next thing I know she’s licking my back, I was up like a shot!!!!!  I’m just not that sort of guy, 🙂  I mean I don’t even remotely resemble a Salt Lick

wonder what that tastes like

They are quite intimidating when this close to you.  They showed a remarkable interest in the bike.

Next time I’m coming with a beef sandwich, let’s see how they like that !!! 😀

Oh and the best bit, “can we do that again next week”, now thats music to my ears

cobwebs in my shoes

not been out “riding” since coming back from Dorset, and now the spiders have taken to living in my cycling shoes! Eeeeuuww!!  And I don’t like spiders.

I commute every day but it is not the same as getting out into the hills and breathing the fresh air.

Gotta get this bathroom finished, it’s been dragging on for way too long, and this is the only way I can get it done, by promising myself a long ride at the end 😉

At least the dirty work is done, chasing pipes into the walls etc

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The end is in sight, most of the tiling has now been done and grouting to do, which I detest.

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It’s a funny thing not riding, I see people out early in the morning and feel a tinge of envy, especially when the day’s are as glorious as they were this morning.

Oh and it doesn’t help when you get a txt from Mike on Friday saying “Weekly reminder that you have a bike and might want to use it…”

And then another one today saying that he is stringing together as much single track as he can find. At least I will benefit from all his hard “legwork” 😉