I’VE called this blog Boots & Bikes but so far there has been very little about bikes. Time to put that right.
I started this new blog just over a week ago and it’s largely been a non-cycling week thanks to crap weather and a good dose of man-flu. But I did get out today and although I didn’t go very far – about 20 miles – I didn’t feel too bad. I guess all the previous training helped me make a quick recovery.
What training, I hear you ask?
After riding La Manche to Montpellier earlier this year I didn’t get a lot of cycling done, largely because I was busy hiking and filming for our BBC Scotland Christmas specials, two hour-long programmes called the Pilgrims’ Trail, but more of that later. It wasn’t really until October that I managed to get some miles in on the bike and it was a good month for cycling too with lots of still, mild, rain-free weather. Surprisingly, the same weather carried on through November so the miles rolled under my wheels and I was beginning to shed some weight and feel more like a cyclist when the snow and ice and winds of early December arrived, along with the man-flu.
So what’s the training in aid of?
Hamish and I are keen to keep our end-to-end bike trips going so following on from Land’s End to John O’Groats and La Manche to the Med we’re hoping to ride Mizen Head to Malin Head, an end-to-end through Ireland next spring. I’ll be warming up for that with two sportives on consecutive weekends, the Loch Ness Etape and the Caledonian Etape. I also hope to take part in the Ride The North two-day event next August and I’m hoping the Adventure Show will film it for BBC Scotland.
For all that I want to lose at least a stone in weight, or maybe more, God willing! Although I suspect the Irish Guinness might keep the scales tipped in the ‘up’ direction. I’ve got to train for the other aspect of touring in Ireland too!
Talking of touring, I also hope to get some good bike-packing in this winter. I’ve been checking out some of the new bike-packing gear, have bought a Wildcat Tiger saddle Harness and a Mountain Lion handlebar harness and I’m just waiting for Alpkit to make me one of their new Stingray frame bags. I really like the idea of using the knowledge and skills of ultra lightweight backpacking on a bike. I’m happy using traditional panniers on road trips, but I’d be happier with something lighter on my mountain bike. I’ll blog more about that in a future post.