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On the new bike

By Dave Snowden  ·  June 23, 2014  ·  Diabetes, Musings

I took up cycling many moons ago when we lived in Send.  I'd more or less given up on running as a means of getting fit and the cycle seemed a better alternative.  The country lanes of Surrey proved ideal and I was hooked.  I had a hybrid bike then bought from Evans with little knowledge.   As luck would have it my final boss at DataSciences, Mike was an enthusiastic cyclist.  As a result we had an organised company party on the London to Brighton run and I took part.  To my shame I walked up Ditching Beacon but the overall experience set me up for longer distances than the odd hour at the end of the day.  So I got more serious and decided I needed a new bike.  My monthly review with Mike now became less about my performance and more about designing the bike which was eventually built for me to Dave Yates up in Newcastle. 

Life was now a little more serious and, after a week in North Wales which included one hundred mile route around and over the Berwyn Mountains, the next years Brighton run saw me make it ahead of anyone else in the party.  From then on I would go out for 30-50km every weekend but regrettably used that as an excuse to have a significantly cooked breakfast following the exercise!   Either way DataSciences was sold to IBM and I started the ruthless travel schedule that resulted in my gaining weight and gradually stopping exercise.  I briefly resumed around the time of my parents death, but then the pressure of setting up Cognitive Edge and even more travel meant I lapsed.   

Three years ago at the Hay Festival I bought another hybrid (I was too heavy for the Yates bespoke bike) and started to exercise again to a degree, that was also when I got back into long distance walking.  Then the diabetes diagnosis and the need to reduce weight and increase exercise saw me take both bikes in for a service and get back into some more serious work.  A few weeks ago the hybrid was frustrating me, too slow, too thick tyres.  The bespoke bike is great for roads but cannot take rough tracks and I wanted to do Lôn Las Cymru this year.  For those not in the know that is a 250 mile route from Cardiff to Holyhead and to do that I would need a different bike.  So I succumbed to the temptation of a cycle cross, with a more relaxed frame and thinner types so it's more of an off-load tourer and road bike.  I've had it a week and have completed three long rides and its a delight, although I need a Brooks Saddle so that is on order.  Its pictured above.

One of the things I have realised over the years is that I like endurance.  Not for me the adrenaline rush of running or mountain biking.  I like to settle in to an all day walk, or a 50km ride in which, after the first half hour I can start to loose myself in the rhythm of the process.  It's a form of meditation I suppose and the lanes of Wiltshire are my Yoga Mat ....