Showing posts with label goal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goal. Show all posts

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

August round-up

So we are now into the last third of the year, and it's time to take stock of progress over another month. It's been a month for milestones, but more of that shortly. First I must follow tradition and review progress against goals.

  • In terms of miles covered things are looking a bit better. I started the month about 130 miles behind plan, and I ended it about 30 miles behind. At the rate I'm going I should be back on track in the next week or so. That will leave an average of 73 miles a week to cover for the rest of the year if I am going to meet my annual goal. It should be emminently do-able. 
  • I've also visited a few more churches on my list, and only need to reach four more to take the total to 50. Again, that should be emminently do-able. 
  • My Eddington number isn't rising as fast as I would like, but it is well on the way to the goal of 50 for this year, and reaching that shouldn't be a problem. I am steadily racking up rides of more than 60 miles, and I ought to be able to manage another 5 this year to reach the planned total of 30.
We should probably skate over the fact that I'm still more than 8 inches short of the ideal height for my weight, and move onto the milestones.

  • Milestone number one is a real one, between Colnbrook and Heathrow. I've been unsuccessfully trying to find this one on several recent outings. It turns out that I was looking in completely the wrong place, on the wrong road, about half a mile away from where I should have been looking. Not the most effective approach. Now that I've got myself sorted, I've completed the list of all the remaining milestones on this stretch of the Bath Road. 
  • Milestone number two is just that the new bike and I have now covered more than 2,000 miles together since the beginning of March.
  • Milestone number three is getting around my Winter Hill loop for the first time in less than 45 minutes.
  • But the best milestone of all is that I've had an apology from a beeper in a hatchback. He followed normal practice, coming up behind me, and sounding the horn to try and make me jump. I looked round and gave the stare that is meant to say "do grow up you silly child", but to be realistic probably just makes me look like a silly old fool. He continued past me, parked a few hundred yards up the road, got out, and as I rode past he shouted an apology. Granted, it was on behalf of his passenger (who he blamed for hitting the horn). And maybe it was some complicated wind-up that I don't get. But it still felt like a breakthrough.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bath road

Things are fairly hectic around here at the moment so there's not a lot of time for a decent ride. However I did manage a quick spin this morning. In the process I found several more of the milestones that are still in place along the Bath road. I photographed four and added them to OSM.

I can't get over how many milestones from the 18th / early 19th century are still around. Along the old Bath Road there's a bit of a gap in Reading, but between Twyford and Slough almost all of them still seem to be in place. A lot of those across England are listed and shown here. Pictures of those on a short stretch of the Bath road are here.

The old turnpike road from London to Bath lies along what is now the A4, so in itself it's not an ideal road for cycling. But on a Sunday morning things are fairly quiet. Today I joined up part of the A4 with some nice quiet lanes and bits of the Sustrans National Route 4 to make up a pleasant circular ride of about 18 miles.

From "A booklet on the Turnpike Roads around Reading" by Alan Rosevear:

Until the late 17th century the western road out of London was referred to as the Great Road to Bristol, the nation’s most important Atlantic port. However, this emphasis changed after Queen Anne began to patronise Bath as a restorative spa. Through the genius of Beau Nash this inland town to the south east of Bristol, grew to be the premier recreational destination for the wealthy and famous during the 18th century. The only practical way to Bath from London was by road and large numbers of private vehicles and public coaches began to travel along what became known as the Bath Road.
The Bath Road through Berkshire follows essentially the same route described by Ogilby in 1675. The route west from London, through Kensington, Brentford, Hounslow and Slough was over relatively low-lying ground, underlain by London Clay. Although the route did take advantage of stretches of heathland on old river gravels, most of the ground was wet heavy clay. that was cut into deep, water filled ruts in winter and baked to a hard uneven surface in the summer. Along this northern bank of the Thames, minor tributaries such as the Brent and the Coln presented no great barrier to travel. Between Colnbrook and Maidenhead the ground was not so bad and in 1688 Pepys travelling in his private carriage was even able to comment that the way mighty good. The road was carried over the Thames at Maidenhead where a succession of bridges has stood since medieval times. From Maidenhead an exposed area of the Chiltern chalk underlies the southern bank of the Thames provides relatively firm ground for a highway. The roads to Henley and Reading branch along low chalk ridges, avoiding Ashley Hill. The Bath Road takes an easy crossing of the Loddon where it is divided into several branches at Twyford (the twin fords). It then picks a path between the river and the high ground at Woodley to reach the major crossing of the Kennet at Reading. Much of the route is over low-lying gravel terraces close to the rivers except for the section west of Maidenhead. Instead of the route taken later by Brunel’s railway, the Bath Road climbs onto the high ground to go over Knowl Hill. Whether this is a reflection of the route being pulled north along the line of the Oxford Road or was to avoid the deeper parts of the Royal Forest of Bray is not clear.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

April roundup

At the end of April, four months into the year, I had covered 1,232 miles out of an annual goal of 3,759 miles. Give or take a mile or two, that's a third of my goal in a third of the year. I've ridden further in the first four months of this year than I did in the first four months of last year, or the year before. I'm more or less back on track.

My Eddington number currently stands at 44 and is slowly creeping up. It would be nice to have seen more progress by now, but looking over the longer term I particularly need to concentrate on longer rides, and I'm pleased with the progress I'm making on rides of more than 60 miles.

I've only got one famous church left to visit on my list for this year. That's ahead of where I expected to be by his stage. The only concern in that area is whether I should have set myself a more ambitious goal. It looks as though I might be able to reach another 11 before the end of this year and take the tally all the way up to 50.

In summary it was a pretty flaky start to the year, but things have picked up over the last month. The risk is that I get knocked back by a hot summer or wet autumn. The trick, I suppose, is to build up a buffer by sustaining the pace that I set in April for a little bit longer.

Monday, 5 April 2010

P├ędaler dans la choucroute

If I've got this right, to "pedal in the sauerkraut" means expending a lot of energy to very little effect. It sounds like a useful expression. It's also a pretty good description of my efforts this afternoon to beat my previous time round my regular ten mile loop.

A while back I set a reference time for this particular route of 46 minutes, and I've been using that since to measure any improvement in my speed. I've convinced myself that I ought to be able to get round the loop in 40 minutes. After all, it's only ten miles, although it is quite hilly. In practice though, I get round in about 43 minutes when I'm on good form.

This afternoon's time was 47 minutes. That's long enough to think up some good excuses, but the only plausible one today was the headwind, and I'm not entirely convinced. Goodness knows how I originally got round in 46 minutes without all this practice and new bike.

Today it was like pedalling in sauerkraut.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

March round-up

We are now a quarter of the way through the year. I'm aiming to ride 3,759 miles by the end of December, and so far I've covered 757 miles, or 20%. I'm about a week and a half behind where I would like to be.

That's not ideal, but it could be worse. Recent weather hasn't been great for riding, and yet I've managed to pull up from being three weeks behind plan at the start of March. Things are not as busy as usual at work, and the clocks have gone forward so there is time in the evenings for some longer rides during the week. As long as the weather improves, I should be able to catch up with the plan in April (touch wood).
Mildly interesting things are happening with the Eddington number. The dotted dark line in the chart shows that I've done quite a lot of rides under 12 miles this year, and 7 rides of more than 60 miles, but not very many in between.

I'd reached an Eddington number of 41 at the start of the year, but despite seven long rides, this has only moved to 43 in the last three months. The trouble is that in the past I'd left a big gap between the 55 rides of  40+ miles that I'd done, and the 40 rides that I'd done at 45+ miles. So it is taking a lot of rides over 45 miles to shift the Eddington number. Things should move a bit more easily climbing from between an E-number of 45 and 50, then I will hit another cliff.

Progress on riding to my list of churches is looking a bit better. Of the fifteen that I'm trying to reach this year, I've already crossed off 12, leaving 3 to go. I've already ridden to the four most distant on my list. As a result some of the recent trips have been a bit too demanding for comfort, but the next few outings will be a bit easier.

The hope for April is that the numbers will be boosted by better weather and more regular rides, Bluntly, more riding, and less fiddling with spreadsheets.

Monday, 1 March 2010

February roundup

Another month has gone by, and my mileage total for 2010 has only risen to 337. That's almost exactly the same as I had reached at this time last year. It's pretty disappointing. I was doing alright until the middle of the month, and keeping more or less on schedule despite some ropey weather. But in the last couple of weeks I've slipped behind again.

However, the weather picked up today. It's been a bit cold but sunny and dry. So I bunked off work a little bit early, and I went for a quick spin of about 10 miles before dinner. It was great. The highlight was three deer wandering across my path on the way along NCN4 near Littlewick Green, then scattering in all directions as I approached.

Whatever the weather turns out to be like I'm not going to fit in a long ride over the weekend, because we have other plans. But the forecast for tomorrow looks good, and it's not too bad for the following couple of days. So I could be breaking off early again before the week is over.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

It's a roll-over

A year ago I documented my cycling resolutions for 2009, so there is no getting away from knowing which ones I achieved and which ones I didn't. It's a bit of a mixed bag.

Unfortunately I failed to reach my goal of covering 3,249 miles. I've ridden 2,854 miles in 2009, which wasn't even as much as I covered in 2008. So that's a shortfall of 395 miles. I've decided to roll the shortfall over and add it to the goal I had already pencilled in for next year. That makes a target for 2010 of 3,759 miles, which gives me something of a challenge to stretch for.

I wanted to reach an Eddington number of 40 in 2009, and I've done slightly better with an Eddington number of 41. That's 41 rides of more than 41 miles since I started counting about two years ago. In 2009 alone I've done 32 rides of more than 32 miles. My mix of rides has changed. I'm doing fewer short rides and more long ones than before. So although I've not covered the total distance that I planned, I have been regularly doing rides of around 50 miles. As a result, the progression to higher Eddington numbers doesn't look too challenging until I get beyond 50. My plan for next year is to get my Eddington number up to 50, which I'm fairly optimistic about achieving. Beyond that it would be good to lay the groundwork for even higher Eddington numbers by ramping up the number of trips of more than 60 miles. This year I've done ten rides of more than 60 miles, so next year I'm going to try and add another 20. That won't affect my Eddington number in the short term, but it should help to prepare the ground for 2011.

I wanted to do at least one ride of 100 miles this year, and thank's to some friendly support I achieved it. I have a general intention to hit 100 miles in a day at some point in the year, but no specific plans at the moment.

As intended, I managed to visit the next 12 churches on Simon Jenkins' list of England's best. That brings my tally over two years up to 25. Each additional one I visit is a little bit further away than the last, but for the last two years I've reached a dozen well before the end of the year. I'm planning to be a bit more ambitious and try to reach 15 more this year, which will bring the total up to 40.

Last year I took time out to ride the Sustrans Coast and Castles route from Newcastle to Edinburgh. It was a great week, and ever since I got back I've been wondering which route to do next. I still haven't made my mind up, but I am looking forward to another week along the same lines, and I hope to fit in at least one overnight trip as well.

I'm not going to report on how I'm progressing towards the ideal height for my weight. Too little time on the bike in the last few weeks, too much turkey and too many mince pies. I'll take stock of this one in a few weeks time. I also had plans to fill some of the local gaps in Open Street Map, and retrace more of the routes around London that Charles Harper charted in 1902. Neither has worked out quite as I intended, though I have managed to trace some local cycle routes that were missing from OSM, and I've plugged a few gaps around Ascot, and Binfield.

In summary, it would have been nice if I had been able to tick my mileage goal for the year. But in retrospect that doesn't seem terribly important when I set it against lasting memories of the Coast and Castles ride, days out exploring the local area, and the experience of covering 100 miles in a day. It's been fun, and I'm looking forward to more in 2010.

For regular visitors, thanks for sticking with it. And for everyone, best wishes for 2010.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

August round-up

Four months ago I had just finished my week's ride from Newcastle to Edinburgh, and I'd covered just under 1,200 miles in the first four months of the year. Four months on and my total for the year has now passed 2,200 miles. To reach my goal of 3,249 miles over the year, that leaves just over 1,000 miles to cover in the next four months I'm just ahead of plan.

In the last four months I've also completed this year's Jenkin's quest. Meaning that since the beginning of last year I've used the bike to visit 25 of the best English churches ranked by distance from home. Every time I reach one the distance to the next is a bit further. Each round-trip is now approaching 60 miles, so I've put that project to one side until next year.

So my longer weekend trips are now a mixture. I've been taking advantage of return trips on the train to reach more distant centres, such as Oxford and Winchester, which encourage me to explore new routes. I've also been trying to map some of the gaps in OSM, which means I'm learning more about the local area. And I've fitted in a few interesting destinations and routes, like the Wey Navigation.

Overall I'm covering greater distances, in fewer, longer rides. I hadn't ridden 100km until earlier this year, but now I've done it five times. I've covered my age in kilometres 25 times, and in miles 11 times this year. So my Eddington number is up to 40.

I'm planning to do a 100 mile ride in a couple of weeks time, and that will be the next big challenge. Meanwhile I'm quite pleased with how things are going. My fear was that I would lose interest, and things would tail off, but there's no sign of that happening. Just the opposite. As the rides get more demanding they get more interesting. Where will it all end?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Update on the numbers

We are five months into the year now,  and a roundup is overdue on how the mileage is doing.

My goal for 2009 is 3,249 miles, and so far I've covered 1,439. That means that I've completed 44% of the target in 42% of the year, and I'm about 65 miles ahead of where I wanted to be at this stage. Things went a bit adrift in February, but at the end of April my week's cycling holiday in Northumberland and the borders put me back on track. Through May I've maintained a slight lead over my plan. If I average 60 miles a week for the next 7 months then I will reach my target for the year.

Looking at the diary, I've not taken the bike out as often this year as I did last year, but my trips have got longer. Since the beginning of 2009 I've  ridden my imperial age (57 miles) seven times, and I've done more than 100km three times. I still haven't done a ride of 100 miles, but there's time yet, and I hope to by the end of the year. As a result of longer rides my Eddington number is now up to 37, and I only need five more long rides to get it up to 40. My Eddington number just for this year is 21.

I've reached ten of the Jenkins churches that are on my list for this year, leaving two to complete the set. Including the 13 that I reached last year, that makes 23 in total. As I reach each church the next one on the list is a bit further away. The current batch are all about 20 miles away as the crow flies, so the round trips normally come out at about 60 miles. Importantly, the routes are not just getting longer, they are getting increasingly interesting as well. 

Progress on the height front is a bit disappointing. I've lost a few pounds since the beginning of the year, but not as much as I'd hoped. So I'm still 7½ inches short of the ideal height for my weight. The trouble is that all this exercise gives me an appetite.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

We're going to have a resolution

For the record (and to prevent cop-outs) my cycling goals for 2009 are:
  • Riding a total distance of at least 3,249 miles
  • Reaching an Eddington number of 40
  • At least one ride of 100 miles
  • Visting the next 12 churches on Simon Jenkins' list of England's best
  • Taking enough time out to cover one of the Sustrans long distance cycle routes (probably Coast and Castles)
As a side effect of the cycling, I'm hoping to get within 5.5 inches of the ideal height for my weight. 

I'm also going to try and fill gaps in Open Streetmap within 10 miles of home, starting with any to the North-West, because those are the best rides, and I'd like to retrace more of the routes around London that Charles Harper originally charted in 1902.

The bike has stayed in the shed for the first day of 2009, so there are just 364 days left, and time is running out...

Happy new year.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Statistics for 2008

Total mileage: 3,020 miles, in 214 trips, averaging 14 miles.

Eddington number: currently 30, up from 12 at the end of 2007.

Best outing: reaching Ewelme, and the church of St Mary the Virgin- the longest, and final trip in my efforts to reach 12 outstanding English churches, which I completed 7 months early - in May.

Worst outing: returning from Henley, in driving sleet, back in February.

Most memorable cycling event: catapulting myself over the handlebars in Windsor.

Favourite route: the ten mile loop over Winter Hill and Cookham, and back along the Thames to Maidenhead is the route that I have ridden most often, but....

Best route: the circle through Marlow, Frieth, Fingest, and Hambleden.

Activity on this blog: 242 posts (this is number 243), 9,317 hits in 4,314 visits, by 1,620 visitors (including roughly one in a million of European internet users).
And on the way, I'm proud of making a very small contribution to Open Streetmap, including a plot of the Round Berkshire Cycle route

OSM 2008: A Year of Edits from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


With rides of 11 miles on Monday, 13 on Friday, 22 yesterday, and 10 today, I have finally reached my extended goal of riding 3,000 miles on the bike this year. And there are still ten days to go.

Apart from ticking off the main objective, there has been nothing particularly memorable about any of the rides this week. Yesterday was the only time when I covered some fresh ground - tracing a few roads that were missing from Open Street Map. Otherwise, all have been variations on my regular circuits. I'll do a few more rides before the end of the year but the diary is pretty full, so they are likely to be in much the same vein: short, local and pleasant enough - but not very interesting.

I know there are plenty of people covering longer distances, but I've ridden quite bit further than I expected this year: and a lot further than I ever have before.

For ten days, I plan to bask in a self-satisfied glow. Then I'll start a new spreadsheet, with all the dials set back to zero, and start counting a fresh year.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Cycling goals for 2009 (part 1)

December is here, so I've started to think about what cycling goals I want to set myself for next year. First up is total mileage. It looks as though I'm going to manage 3,000 miles this year, so the question is how much further I should aim for. Originally I wanted to choose a nice round number, but 4,000 seems too ambitious. My family is very tolerant of me disappearing off on the bike regularly, but unless things slow down dramatically at work, I just can't afford that much time.

And then it occurred to me that there is no real reason why I should choose a round number. So 3,249 miles it is. 

That's the age I will reach next year, multiplied by itself. I suppose it's what you might call a square number, rather than a round one; and it sets a tougher goal than this year, without seeming too ambitious.

To encourage myself to undertake longer rides, I've already decided to try and take my Eddington number up to 40 from it's current 30. That means that I need to do a couple of dozen rides of more than 40 miles, compared to the 17 that I've done this year. Also, I still haven't ridden 100km in one day yet, never mind 100 miles, so some kind of century is on the cards.

I have found this year that it encourages me to ride further and more frequently if my outings have a purpose, over and above just covering a distance. Filling gaps in the Open Street Map encourages me to explore new roads. So did covering the whole of the Round Berkshire Cycle Route, as did seeking out the nearest of the outstanding English churches picked by Simon Jenkins. Destinations and routes also give me something to report here, other than just numbers.

But I've not taken any decisions yet about suitable destinations and routes for next year, so suggestions would be welcome. What goals are others setting (if any), or is it still too early to be thinking about it?

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Working the numbers

This is the spreadsheet where I have been recording all my rides this year.

The rows at the top record daily rides and calculate weekly statistics, while the boxes at the bottom show progress against various goals. It also generates various charts, such as this one showing week totals, and various averages:

The idea is that by setting myself goals, and tracking progress, I am more likely to overcome inertia, and hence get out and ride more often, further, and more energetically.

I know this won't work for everyone, but on the whole it seems to be working for me.

At present I am on track to cover more than the 2,500 miles that I am aiming to cover over the year. I am trying to ride 56 miles each week, and though I only achieve this 60% of the time, I average more - at nearly 58 miles a week. In any week I try to get out on the bike more days than not, and I do average four trips a week - though half of the time I am doing fewer rides in a week.

The spreadsheet also tell me that my Eddington number is 27, I have ridden nearly four times as far on my current bike (in 9 months) as I did on the previous one(in 18 months); I have ridden my metric age 17 times, and my imperial age four times; I am approaching Berlin on my virtual European tour, and I would be a third of the way round the moon, if I had been riding up there this year.

Depending on weather and other commitments, my distances fluctuate quite a lot from week to week. I can see that my longest trips were in May and June, and I haven't had a stretch of more than 45 miles since. Similarly, my total weekly mileage grew to begin with, but is settling down at a fairly consistent 58 miles a week.

All this has been a bit of an experiment to see what works, and what doesn't. So the whole spreadsheet has got a bit messy and over-complicated. It needs tidying up for next year, and some of the goals will need to be reset.
Meanwhile the ground-rules seem to be:

  • It's best to set goals that are challenging but not too difficult. 56 miles a week was a lot more than I was doing previously, and setting it fairly high forced me to change my approach. But if it had been much higher, failure would have been inevitable, which would act as a discouragement, rather than an encouragement. 
  • Without some prior knowledge of how difficult things are going to be, it is OK to set an initial goal, as an experiment, then change it in light of experience. It is far more encouraging to aim low initially, then raise the goal, rather than the other way round.  
  • It is better to set objectives where it is possible to recover from a glitch, rather than ones where success and failure are absolute. Originally I was aiming to do at least four rides every week. Inevitably, a week came when it was impossible to do four rides. So I changed the goal to an average of four rides every week. That way, after missing too many days, a bit more effort in the subsequent weeks will get me back on track.
  • It helps to set a mix of objectives, so that on different days, in different moods, there is always something to work on. For example, when a long ride is impossible, it is best if there is still an incentive to go for a short ride
  • It is important to set some long-term and some short-term goals. Seeing real progress towards a big long-term goal is more encouraging than repeatedly achieving small short-term goals. It is also far too easy to postpone work on a big, long-term goal, thinking that there will be plenty of time later
  • I like to express long-term goals in silly ways. I find it quite encouraging to pass the big round numbers (1,000 miles; 2,000 miles, etc.) but sometimes there is a long gap between them, and despite my age (or perhaps because of my age), I get childish pleasure from imagining that I have reached Paris, Rome, or Venice on the bike. 
Finally, I need to point out that this is just one of the ways that I encourage myself to get out on the bike. The satisfaction of watching the numbers move on appeals to one part of my nature, but I also enjoy the adventure of exploring unknown roads; the pleasure of discovering attractive countryside; and getting a feel for the shape of the landscape. So finding routes that appeal is also part of my motivation. But more of that later.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

July roundup

Inappropriate weather, a weeks holiday in Suffolk, and a more relaxed approach hasn't done much for the mileage in July.

My total for the month was only 177 miles, compared to 313 in June, and a monthly average of 261 since the end of January. It's my lowest monthly total since I got the new bike at the end of January.

Fewer trips, and shorter trips have both contributed to the drop in total distance, but the crucial difference is that I've not done any really long trips since the end of May.

I try to cover more than 56 miles each week, and I try to get out on the bike more days than not (at least four times a week). Unfortunately I am achieving the weekly mileage goal only 70% of the time, and the four trips goal only 63% of the time.

The more positive slant is that the year's total distance continues to creep up, and now stands at more than 1,600 miles. Although my weekly average has been falling through July, it remains above 60 miles a week. I'm still on track to pass 2,500 miles by the end of the year, and my Eddington number is up slightly - to 21. The level of activity on this blog is also increasing. (I'm not sure when it appeared, but astoundingly, a link to an earlier post is now included as a reference on the Wikipedia article about Arthur Stanley Eddington, and visitors started arriving from there in June).

Overall this month's performance has been disappointing in the face of difficulties, but all is not lost; the general plan remains on track and barring accidents, by the end of the year, with a bit of effort, I should end up where I want to be.

I doubt if everyone holidaying in Suffolk this year could confidently make the same claim.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Weekly roundup

With the aid of a bank holidy weekend, there have been several notable milestones this week:
  • The first time my total weekly mileage has gone into three figures (106miles)
  • I finshed marking up regional route 52 round Maidenhead, and have seen it rendered on the OSM cycle map
  • I have cycled to a business meeting for the first time (albeit an informal one, over lunch at a nearby pub)
  • I received a comment on the blog from Fat Lad
  • I completed my Winter Hill loop at an average of 13mph
Things seem to be getting back on track after my unimpressive efforts in April.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

April roundup

Some good progress, and some disappointing progress this month - but mostly not a very impressive effort. I can blame poor weather, and pressure of work to some extent, but the truth is that I should be trying harder.

My total mileage in the month was 211 miles. That is significantly down from 285 in March, and 273 in February. My average trip is up slightly, from 13 to 13.2 miles, so the decline is mostly because the number of outings was down: from 23 in February and 22 in March, to only 16 in April. There was only one week in April when I managed to reach both of my weekly goals - of 56 miles and four outings. Even the number of postings on this blog is falling: from 34 in February, to 24 in March and only 20 in April.

Despite that, I am still keeping the weekly average distance high enough to stay on track for my annual goal of 2,500 miles. In April, I also managed my longest ride yet - of 56 miles. That means that for the first time ever I have ridden my imperial age. I have also reached all but one of the Jenkins churches that I am trying to visit on the bike by the end of the year. In the process my Eddington number rose to 15 by the end of April (and to 16 yesterday, on my first proper trip in May).

In total I have covered 876 miles this year, and am now theoretically heading for Florence on my virtual European tour.

The first priority in May is to get the monthly mileage back up to the distances I was managing to cover earlier in the year, which means maintaining the average trip length, while increasing the number of outings. My second priority is to increase average speed. I am still averaging about 8mph on a long trip, and it should be a lot more. If I am going to cover increased distance then I need to go faster.

Neverthleess, my waistline has come down a little bit, and I am feeling better for it all. The Maharajah is well - and so am I.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Weekly roundup

This is Summerleaze footbridge, crossing the Thames between Maidenhead and Windsor. It is here to mark one of my standard routes from home to Windsor and back; following the Jubilee river outwards, and following the Thames back.

I took this route on Sunday, after a more imaginative trip to Lower Missenden on Saturday. In the rest of the week I've just done short suburban trundles. The whole adds up to just over 70 miles, which is a little bit higher than my weekly average, and comfortably above ny weekly target, but nothing very exceptional.

Looking at the log over the last couple of months, it turns out that I'm pretty good at getting out on the bike on Saturdays (nine out of ten opportunities), but not so good on tuesdays (six out of ten opportunities). On other days of the week, I manage to get out 70-80% of the time. At the moment I can't see why there should be any particular rythm to this (it is made up of individual decisions based on weather and other commitments) but I will be watching to see if a pattern develops over a longer period.

Meanwhle, the deadlines at work are easing off a bit, so if weather permits, I should have bit more scope for more ambitious trips. However, if the weather stays unpredictable, then it's just a case of grasping as many opportunities as possible to clock up the trips and the miles.

Spring is definitely arriving, but at least as far as this weekend is concerned, the conditions look less than perfect. We shall see what we shall see.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

February roundup

Yesterday marked the end of my first full month with the new bike. I am fairly satisfied with the amount of effort I have put in, pleased with the results; and delighted with the new bike.

The total distance covered at the end of February was 335 miles, which gets me to somewhere just south of Paris on my virtual European tour, and on track for my goal of covering 2,500 miles by the end of the year. This year I have done ten trips of more than ten miles, and I have ridden my age in kilometres twice, but I have not yet ridden my age in miles.

I have succeeded in the aim that I will "get out on the bike more often than not" in every week of February; with at least four outings every week, and six outings in three of them. I have also achieved my goal of covering at least 56 miles a week in every week of February.

Total mileage in February was 273 miles, the longest trip was 41 miles, and the average just under 12 miles.

I have now visited 7 of the 12 Jenkins churches that I am planning to visit by the end of the year. So although the remaining distances are getting longer, that goal may prove a bit unambitious.

I still need to work on getting faster - I am averaging round 10 mph on shorter journeys. Including breaks, I average about 7 miles an hour on longer journeys. I think I should be doing better.

Last, but not least, I have been able to move my belt buckle in by two notches since I started, which is better than I expected by this stage.

I reckon it is not a bad start, on the whole. The trick now is to keep it up.