bbmm cycling day out


The sun came out so we went cycling. There’s a waterfront bike path near the velodrome park that we’ve been talking of trying out for a long time. It turned out to be perfect! A little out of the way, we each have to travel around 1hr to get there, but once there it’s pretty easy. We explored signing up for one of the dockless bike schemes that seem to be everywhere nowadays but opted for the more expensive, but safer and more reliable, option of renting from a proper bike shop. We weren’t the only ones, plenty of other people were renting from him too; we’re glad the shop isn’t suffering because of the dockless bikes. The advantage of the dockless bikes is they’re so much cheaper, but that’s about it. Some of the bikes weren’t in the cleanest condition, and they had no gears. The bike shop guy let us try out machines until we found the ones we liked, he checked everything, put in a basket and gave us his mobile number in case of problems. The additional customer service is worth it. May be for other purposes we’ll try the dockless bikes another time.

Like I said, the bike path was great. Well used, but thankfully not overcrowded. Can imagine gridlock at the weekends. There were of course the usual idiots who think they’re Chris Hoy as well as whole families spread out along the entire width but by and large, fairly civilised. After negotiating our way past housing estates, the velodrome and a sports stadium we found our way to the waterfront area. Flat and straight almost the entire way. There was a bridge which provided the only gradient and even then for the lazy, there was a lift.

We brought snacks for a picnic, and there were lots of benches along the waterfront to rest and take in the view. A few boats moored around the end of the canal, a few people put-putting their small boats around. Other people running, walking, just enjoying the day.

We kept track of distance and out and back was only 5k, so a nice gentle day out with fresh air and a bit of exercise.

trashy exercise, trashy discovery shows

An upset stomach together with niggly aches and pains provided the perfect excuse to skip running today. I wasn’t entirely delinquent, I did 45mins on the stationary bike. Someone, somewhere posted that we should substitute elliptical or stationary bike for running by doing around the same amount of time with similar intensity. So, 6km was approx 45mins.

I tend to watch mindless discovery shows while on the bike, because it’s so old that the sound of the belt covers a lot of the sound from the tv. The shows tend to involve small groups of people fighting against each other in auctions to buy stuff cheaply, they then fix them and hopefully sell for a profit. The stuff range from old cars in Texas, houses in Arizona or abandoned storage units in California.

One theme that runs through these programs are how nasty most of the buyers are. There’s a lot of trash talk and boasting. Probably exaggerated for the cameras but by and large I find people on US reality tv to be rude egomaniacs. Of course everyone wants to win or get a profit, but they can’t seem to do that with even a modicum of manners.

Ambulance in Motion
flickr / benjamin ellis

If I can catch it, I watch 24hrs in A&E, which is as different to those trashy, trash-talking US reality shows as night is to day. It’s described as a medical documentary and is filmed in an A&E department round the clock for 28 days straight.

First of, it’s filmed at King’s. I’ve long ago gotten over the fantasy that I could have studied medicine there rather than chemistry. Some of my undergraduate friends lived at KC Hall over at Camberwell, so I know the area well. Even with gentrification, this is still a working class, gritty area. Not the posh Britain of Downton Abbey or Sloany Britain of Ab Fab or Privileged Britain of Sherlock.

One theme that shines through is the dedication of the staff, even though they are working in a busy, underfunded inner city hospital. I love the end when the patients are interviewed, most of them obviously having recovered. It’s been described as exploitative, then again which documentary, especially one that takes a fly-on-the-wall approach, isn’t? The patients and their friends & family are shown sympathetically. This snippet about a 5 year old with burns [youtube, can’t embed] brought in by her dad is typical of the realness and the professionalism of both the production and the staff at KCH.

jan-2015 runwalkbike total 100 miles


Yay, I broke 100 miles of run/walk/bike in january. Actual total 103 miles, of which 60 miles was running. That works out to be 15 miles a week, so there’s a long way to go in terms of marathon training—I need to get to 25-30 miles a week by the time the proper 18-week training program begins. Most of the walking was at the end of a run, when I go to the market near the parks and walk back after grabbing some fruit & veg or coke zero. So-called biking is on mum’s stationary bike.

I know it’s only the 30th and I could go tomorrow for an easy 4km to get to 100km running total. It doesn’t matter, I’ll get to 100km running soon enough, long runs in february are ramping up to 8miles/13km.

edit: did a couple miles walking on the 31st, bringing the monthly total to 105 miles / 169 km.

30in30 #6: bike 30mins

Task #6 in 30 in 30 is to run/walk/bike for 30 mins.

Continuing the “back to exercise” and “slowly letting the knee heal” themes, I did 30mins on mum’s stationary bike. The gears had come loose earlier but they recovered all on their own and I can go back to adjusting the tension. The electronics are still kaput so I continue to use the 1 mile per 5 minute estimate.

I’ll get back to running soon, I promise.

bbmm cycling and market

Met up with mm in the afternoon to go cycling. Walked around some snack shops and had something to eat first, because she just came from her piano lesson and hadn’t had lunch. By the time we finished it was around 4pm, so we figured we had about an hour or so. The rental bikes were pretty rudimentary, I never quite got mine to shift gears. But the bike path along an urban river was flat and easy. I’d been using mum’s stationary bike so I was quite happily cycling along, but mm isn’t used to exercise so we took a couple of stops. All in all, about 45mins of actual cycling. Sigh, I wish I still had my bike.

cny2014mkt06 cny2014mkt10

Took the train back into town and visited one of the markets that spring up at this time of year, the week before CNY. There were two main sections, one of young people selling soft toys and balloons and useless fun stuff. The other was a flower market. Lots of orchids, narcissus, chrysanthemums in all sorts of colours, and other flowers I don’t know the names of.

Dinner was sashimi set. She also had a grilled fish head and I had a umeshu soda. Good day. She was feeling stressed and teary and the outdoor activity helped lighten her mood.

stationary bike mile vs running mile


It’s cold and very windy, I thought about going running, but decided to try something else. So I dusted off mum’s stationary bike and did a quick 20mins. It’s a really really old stationary bike, all the electronics are shot so no display of any sort. The belt still works and because it’s old and stiff, it provided effective resistance.

Normally I would just track the time, but I want distance to include in, guess what, the 101.1001 challenge. The trick is to try to convert 20mins stationary biking to equivalent in running or road cycling distance.

Naturally the actual distance covered on a stationary equipment is 0 miles. I’m aware of that.

It’s like asking does running 1 mile burn more calories than walking 1 mile. Most of the answers will be that we shouldn’t compare apples with oranges. Factors like pace, road surface, gradient, wind resistance make the activites differ. That said, there have been attempts to come up with some ratio based on calorie burnt, ie effort. Others anecdotally quote ratios ranging from 3:1 to 10:1, most commonly comparing a marathon with a century (100 miles bike).

There’s also a big difference between cycling on a road bike vs a stationary bike. Wind resistance and undulating surfaces primarily. I do find that with a road bike there’s also the momentum factor. Stop pedalling on a stationary bike and it does just that, it stops. In terms of effort, I’d say road bike requires more effort even with momentum.

Anyway on the ancient stationary bike I worked up a decent amount of sweat, my arms and thighs are stiff, so I did put in some effort. My current slow running pace is around 12min/mi so 20mins is 1.7miles. Using a very conservative 2:1 ratio and generously rounding up, I’m awarding myself 4 miles, or a mile every 5 mins. Who knows if it’s accurate, I’m sticking to it.

national bike week


It’s national bike week, with the aim of getting more people cycling. It is a big thing here, much more so than in the US. I had to go to the health centre at Harrow Road and I did take my bike, but I wasn’t happy about it. There is simply too much traffic and blockages even where there is a bus or bike lane. Until there are dedicated lanes and a culture where other road users take care of cyclists, London will never be an Amsterdam or Zurich.

bike 13 miles

I wanted to go to Fleet Feet Piper’s Alley to register for Thursday’s Turkey Trot 8k, they were doing registration and packet pickup in the store, so it saved me even registering online. Piper’s Alley is down in Uptown where the Saturday market is. The normal mode of transport would have been drive or get the #22 bus. Then I thought, it’s a good distance to bike — I run all the way to the boat when I was training, so it shouldn’t be a problem to take my bike. And it wasn’t. Except for parts where it got windy, it was a nice ride down and back home. Total 13.2 miles, according to google maps.

bike 15k


I’ve been looking forward to this all week. My first “official” cycling cross-training session. I’m still very cautious about riding on the streets, but once I got to the lake it was fine. It occurred to me how easy it was, didn’t have to take all the paraphernalia associated with going out for a run, didn’t even change out of work clothes.

A leisurely 25mins to Diversey Harbor. Running would have taken me almost 1.5hrs to get to that point. I read somewhere that bike:run effort ratio is between 3:1 to 4:1, so I guess cycling 50mins is like running 5k. Livestrong tells me that 45mins cycling at leisurely pace = 461 calories, when my rule of thumb for running is 30min = 220-230 calories. Something doesn’t track here. I think the cycling calories burned is too generous.

Anyway, I was able to measure the ride on google maps, but it made me realise how useful a garmin would be. The nike+ only functions for running whereas the garmin does running and cycling. Argh! Another gadget want.



I was window shopping on Clark yesterday, walked south till there were no more interesting shops, then walked north. Not looking for anything in particular. The only thing I bought was an ice cream at george’s.

The final destination was the produce place to get eggs and veg. The local bike store next to the produce place had 20-odd bikes out on the pavement, all refurbished and on sale. And remembering how nice it was to rent a bike a couple of weeks ago, I looked to see if they had something cheap. There was one for $100 I liked, but I wasn’t tall enough. They had a similar one at the back that they were still working on, but if I could come back in an hour they would have it ready. So I did. And I thought it was a pretty nice bike. I mean, it’s nothing fancy, but it suits my needs. Even if I go out on it 4 times, it’d be cheaper than renting. (Although, I forgot I had to buy a helmet and lights and a lock, so 4 times is probably more like 8.)

Took it out to the lake and rode as far as the totem pole. It will come in handy for training — the days I’m not running I should be cross-training and I haven’t done it so far. No more excuses.

bike 15 miles

chibike008belmont chibike007softball

What I should have done: 3-5k recovery run.

What I did: biked 15 miles down to Navy Pier.

Too gorgeous a day, even though I was a little sore from yesterday. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me to rent a bike, now I’m sorry I didn’t start doing it earlier in the summer.

The rental place is at Foster, I run past it every time. $30 for half a day and $35 for a whole day. I did just half a day. Smooth ride all the way down the lakefront, past Montrose and Belmont Harbors. Stopped for a bit at North Ave beach, which psychologically is a “turn around” point. But this time I went further south, ended up at Navy Pier.

Left the bike at the top of the pier and walked to the biergarten, wanting a beer. Wow, I paid attention to prices along the way, and it gets more expensive towards the end of the pier. Bud light for $5 at the biergarten, but there was one place near the entrance that had them for $3.75. So I went back and just sat on a bench in the shade, people watching. Lunch was beer and an orange creamsicle ice that was oh so delicious.

Nice ride back, I returned the bike early. I’m very tempted to buy a second hand bike, but it’s probably too late in the year for it. And besides, I always have to remember I’m only here temporarily.

Had a nap in the afternoon, then a quiet rest of the day. I’m the darkest I’ve ever been, cos of all the sun this summer.