Happy Easter


If you follow our FB page, you will already know the Easter period was always going to be a quiet one for training.

Rob is off spending time with his family. I have flown over to Ireland for a long weekend and Ryanair wouldn’t let me bring the bike on as hand luggage. Neale is also spending time away with family and friends.

So, I thought I would spend a little time reflecting on what we plan to do on the bike ride, maybe put it into perspective. I think if I break it down then maybe we will understand the challenge a little bit more. I do admit this may be a dangerous approach, up until now I have happily kept bike helmeted head in a rather large bucket of sand.

So, Lands End to John O’Groats. This is a very well known journey from the most southern point of the U.K mainland to the most northern point. It’s quite the coveted prize for hikers and cyclists across our glorious nation. It’s a trip of between 900 and 1000plus miles (depending on your route). We are aiming to do this over a period of 8 days which means an average of 120 plus miles a day.

120plus miles a day… For eight days a row… Where’s that bucket of sand?

I’ve heard it said that riding100 miles is the equivalent of running a marathon. I’m not sure if that is true or not but it sounds good so I’ll happily quote that because it makes me look cool.

A week or so ago I rode three days in a row, each day riding for about 34 miles. At the end of the week I felt pretty awesome because I’d ridden 100 miles in 3 days. Although the word ‘awesome’ only applies if you choose to ignore the tender rump I ended up with after riding three days in a row.

It’s April now and we are riding LEJOG (acronym for Lands End / John O’Groats) in September. So between now and then my mileage on the rather narrow saddle needs to improve significantly (as does my pain threshold).

And make no mistake, this isn’t some foregone conclusion that we rock up and eight days later finish. For me personally this is an uber challenge. I’m not expecting anything but tears and pain. But I can’t help but think that, yes we are going to do this ride but 8 days later it’s all done. We can go home, feel proud and rub various creams into tender rumps. But the people who work for these charities, they can’t just go home after 8 days. The constant struggle to find the funds to maintain their good work must be overwhelming at times.

So, yes, I feel awesome picking up this challenge. It’s massive for me but compared to what the good people at LAM Action and Meningitis Now do on a daily basis, well it’s clear to me where the hard work really is. It’s clear to me where the heroes are.

I hope the readers of this blog agree and if any of you can afford a donation, I know all the riders will be as grateful as the charities.

Thanks for your time reading this, and thanks for any donations.




To make it easy for you to hand over a little of your well earned wonga to the two great causes we are doing all this for.


PLEASE TEXT ….LAMM99 followed by your chosen amount (up to £10) to 70070

or go to our JUSTGIVING page at;




Please text MENI56 followed by your chosen amount to 70070

or go to the JUSTGIVING page at;



My First Sportive (of 2014)




I have previously reported that part of my plan was to book up a sportive a month to measure my progress.

Well, I was true to my word and last Sunday was the date of the first of these.

If any of you dont understand what a sportive is then allow me to explain. A sportive is a planned event where your average cyclist pays for the privelidge of riding a preconceived course.

These planned events occur all over the country all year round. They seem to offer cycling for all types too whether you are a super-dooper-paratrooper-cyclist (Rob) or big fat lazy bearded type (me). To accommodate all there are normally two or three diferent distances, this year the mileage splits seems to be;

Short – 35ish miles

Medium – 65ish miles

Long – 100ish miles.

My first sportive was a planned short distance. The next one I plan to do at the end of April will be for the middle distance. By June I plan to be riding the long distances. Although you should already know this as I have discussed this on a previous blog.

So, last Sunday was my first sportive and 35 miles later I was driving home, feeling quite proud of myself.

But why would anyone pay for the priviledge when they can just get out on their bike and ride whatever distance they like.

And you know what, I agree. Why would any muppet pay to ride their bike on public highway roads. So here it is, justification why you should do sportives.

1. The payment is a bit of a pain but for that you get a sign posted route that clearly directs you around the loop, normally in an area you have never ridden before. So the change is nice.

2. You also (normally) get a few energy gels, possibly a free t-shirt, maybe a water bottle.

3. More importantly, you’ve paid the money so there is no way you wont bother turning up (unless you like wasting your own money) This incentive really helped me. I made sure Karen knew exactly how much these were costing, which meant there was no way I was not getting up and heading off without justifying the wasted money. Not that she would care but I’d rather ride than try fobbing a sob story onto deaf ears. THIS IS GOOD GOOD INCENTIVE for a right lazy bar-steward.

4. Free maintenance. Normally these places have an experienced mechanic that can sort out any basic issues you have with your bike. I have a huge problem with gears on a bike. I know how they work, I know all about the cable tension and the HIGH and LOW nuts. Still, everytime I try to tweak my gears I always mess it up. Answer – go to a sportive and get someone who knows what they are doing to do it for free – SIMPLES!!! Before the sportive my gears clunked like a bad-un, now they sing like a songbird.

5. Social side of the ride. I ride a lot on my own. I dont really know anyone else that rides, where I live. A sportive gives me chance to ride with others, have a quick chat, slate that last bloody hill, complain about the twat driving the audi back there…

So I did the 35 mile route (that only showed up as 30 miles on the old GARMIN). There were a few hills but I didnt mind that. I live in possibly the flatest of areas so hills are few and far between. Hills are good for training, mainly because they get you sweating harder than the Malaysian Minister of Transport at a Press Conference (apologies if that last comment is in bad taste but at the time of writing they had not found the plane – I mean how on earth can you lose a plane???).

Anyway, back to the riding. It was super cool to do the sportive. Mainly because it is part of the plan to ramp up the miles in preconceived steps. I now have a month to get up to the 60 mile mark, ready for the next one. I am actively aiming to be ready for that first 50 plus mile ride and the future looming sportive is helping bucket loads, which means my plan is working.

How awesome am I?



To make it easy for you to hand over a little of your well earned wonga to the two great causes we are doing all this for.


PLEASE TEXT ….LAMM99 followed by your chosen amount (up to £10) to 70070

or go to our JUSTGIVING page at;




Please text MENI56 followed by your chosen amount to 70070

or go to the JUSTGIVING page at;


Thanks and hugs from all the riders.

Just Typical

That blue fooking tyre took me an hours to get on my bike - AN HOUR!!!

That blue fooking tyre took me an hour to get on my bike – AN HOUR!!!

So where do I start? Well I think the gods are against me.

I know that sounds a little dramatic, paranoid even. I dont care, I actually do believe someone is out to get me, to make my journey to total yet subliminal fitness as difficult as possible.

It all started about three weeks ago. As part of my ‘getting as many miles under my belt as possible’ routine I was struggling to get out on the bike on a weekend. There are reasons behind this personal struggle. The main one is I’m lazy. The ‘almost as important’ other factor was the weather has been shite. So, and lets be honest here, when it comes to motivating my fat harris off the couch and onto the bike, well sometimes I struggle.

And dont patronize me, I know this is something only I can sort out. I know I have to get the miles in, I know theres loads of work to get through before September but sometimes I just dont have the interest in getting on my bike and going out for a ride in the cold and rain. I find it especially hard because I work away during the week and when I get home at the weekend I just wanna chill wiv-me-bird!!! (I’m so dead for calling her my bird)

Enter Karen (said bird but more importantly my beloved other half) who not only suggested I get a turbo trainer but also went out and investigated which ones were the best. Now I didnt want a turbo trainer, I thought they were loud. I thought using one would annoy everyone in the house as I peddled for 4-5 hours at a time (4-5 hours Harrold, who you kiddin’?) Even when I explained to Karen how much they cost, she didnt bat an eyelid (mainly because she already knew) and she persisted, saying it would benifit my training. Anyway I said no, I didn’t want one, and left it at that.

Several weekends later, I havent really been out on the bike at all. The weather has been rubbish and I was returning to work almost every Monday morning knowing another weekend had gone begging. A quick chat with Rob (Cheif Organiser) and a little heart to heart about not wanting to ride in the rain. He was full of sympathy (“Just get out and ride you lazy tw@t.”)

OK, that last bit isnt true but it is funny. Actually what he said was, “Why dont you get a turbo?”

Well, a quick ‘I told you so’ look from Karen and before I know it I’m onto Chain Reaction Cycles.com wondering why I’m forking out £250 for something I dont want.

A week later and I’m unpacking my new turbo trainer and I even bought a specific turbo trainer tyre, blue in colour and so stubborn it took over an hour to put onto my rear wheel. That was the Friday evening and it blowing a howler outside. As I struggle getting that ruddy tyre on I realised the weather outside was only proving Karen and Rob right, there was no way I would want to ride in that wind.

And here is where the gods conspire against me. The following day was the first of the sunny days. Everyone was out on the roads. Twitter was full of pics of people riding in the sun. Rob posted a gorgeous pic of the sun rising with some smug comment he could ride all day in weather like that and me… Well there was no way I was taking the blue turbo tyre off my bike so on that first sunny day of the year I cycled on my turbo in my kitchen and sweated my doo-dahs off.

Like I said, the gods are against me.

In all Seriousness

No funny caption - just a blatant promotion of worth-while-ness

No funny caption – just a blatant promotion of worth-while-ness


So that’s another week of my training gone. That’s means, unfortunately, another week of not doing as much as I wanted (whether that was in monitoring my food intake, getting into the gym or riding my bike). I need to get a grip because this is harder than I ever thought it would be (and I’ve only just started my training).

But this is not why we are here, today… Oh no, today is all about good positive stuff. It’s a ‘make you smile kinda thing’, a ‘wonder how you ever lived your life without this idiot scribbling crap down for your very enjoyment’ chapter of my blog…

I’m not even sure if that last paragraph actually made any sense at all but whatever.

Last week, Group Captain Rob (if you have read any of my previous blog entries you will know Rob is the dude, whose gig this is – hence the new nickname…) announced who we will be riding for when we start down south and, as the Jocks say, ‘head up the road’.

I mean obviously it would be a missed opportunity if we only put ourselves through all this for the sole sake of bragging rights. We have a chance here to raise some money for some very worthwhile charities. Luckily that won’t remove the opportunity of bragging about our achievement… and if I get all the way to John O’ Groats, then I am going to tell EVERYBODY.

‘So, what are the charities’, I hear you scream. Well that’s why we are here. It’s time to introduce you. Reader, meet the charities… Charities, don your best clobber and woo the potential donating masses.

There are two of ‘em. Meningitis Now and The LAM Foundation.

Meningitis Now – http://www.meningitisnow.org – Their mission statement = Our vision is a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.

The LAM Foundation – http://www.thelamfoundation.org – Their mission statement = The LAM Foundation urgently seeks safe and effective treatments, and ultimately a cure, for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) through advocacy and the funding of promising research. We are dedicated to serving the scientific, medical and patient communities by offering information, resources and a worldwide network of hope and support.

I was originally going to offer something informative about both of these charities but the web sites provide all the information and do so in a much more intelligent way than I could ever manage.

What I will say is both of these charities have personal meaning to the team with love ones affected by both diseases. We may be stupid enough to cycle from one end of the country to the other but we will do so with the drive of knowing we are helping good good causes.

I will post the link to the JUST GIVING PAGES once they have been set up (Hurry up Robbie Boy) and from here on in I will include the links on each and every blog post.

I would also like to just add that I know, in this age of social media, every man and his dog is out there looking for money for good causes. Even if you are not planning on donating please would you take a quick look at the charity pages. It would only take a couple of minutes and you may even learn something. LAM in particular may just appreciate the improved awareness.

Also, other friends / collegues may ask for support in the form of donations for their sponsored run etc but how many have a really cool, intelligent, funny yet thought provoking blog supporting all the prep work everyone is doing ready for the challenge of LEJOG (Lands End to John O’ Groats to the uninitiated… is that how you spell that?).

Hugs to all of you and thanks for your time… I will endeavour to return to funny yarns about my failings in training next week. I am also planning on introducing key players in this challenge and discussing more bikey stuff (If I can be arse to get on my bike for any decent period of time).

Come say hello to my little fwend!

Hards as nails this bike... I wouldnt want to carry me for 20 miles.

Hards as nails this bike… I wouldnt want to carry me for 20 miles.

It won’t take a genius to realise I have cracked the bike open and introduced it into my training regime.

I was originally planning two rides this weekend (one on Saturday and one on Sunday)… Yesterday, Saturday, was well windy (innit) and I really couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm to get out in such horrible conditions. I know, I know but it was really windy. Deflection was in the form of a jedi mind trick and with one swish of the hand Karen wouldn’t let me out in such dangerous conditions… These are not the droids you are looking for.

In all seriousness, Karen had nothing to do with my laziness, it was horrible yesterday so I didn’t ride – that’s all.

But I did ride today. I smacked out my 22 mile loop of Rutland Water. It’s my ‘little’ loop, not terribly hilly but good enough to start with. I know it’s not exactly LEJOG distances but I have to start somewhere and it was windier than a windy thing sat in a wind tunnel after eating beans and drinking Guiness.

And that’s what I really want to talk about here. My mate Rob (the idiot / good good friend / you decide) who bought up the subject of LEJOG is as fit as a butchers dog, he regularly goes on 100 mile rides. He loves it, he gets on his turbo trainer every day and smacks out, and I quote, ‘an hour or two’. Where he is with his personal fitness is miles away from where I am with mine.

It would be easy to become deflated. I’ll never get that fit, on a bike I’m nowhere near as good as him. He races… I eat cake. How on earth can I compete with that?

I don’t know about you but I’ve felt the same when entering a gym for the first time. I mean, you’re nervous anyway before you enter a place like that. And there they are, loads of ’em, lifting sh!t, running, rowing, cycling, checking out their bodies in the wall sized mirror. They’ve been doing this stuff for ages, all lean and confident and there you are waddling about. Old tracky bottoms that have seen better days and a baggy t-shirt that still rides up and shows off your hairy fat belly whenever you lift your arms above your head. And it’s these niggling little thoughts that can chip away at any confidence you have.

So here is my advice. Fuck ’em! This is not about anyone but you. Only you can do anything about that Pirelli you carry about day in, day out. If you’re struggling at whatever level you are, it’s not about the fit bloke bench pressing a small car over in the corner. It’s not about the gym bunny with her perfect hair and lycra clad peanut cracking buttocks. Stop deflecting, that will get you nowhere, this is about you and only you.

They all had to start somewhere. They just started years before you and showed enough resolve to persevere. They have progressed to a point you can count their abs under the designer Nike top. You’re months / years away from that. Yes, we would all love to fast forward to the point where lycra shows off the firm stuff and not the wobbly stuff. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of this. Any trickery, easy win promises, super fad diets – it’s all smoke and mirrors. Sorry but it is. If you’re fat, only hard work and perseverance will get you in a smaller / fitter body.

Now it’s about here, I offer the obvious get out clause – this is my opinion nothing else, I am no doctor (my handwriting is perfectly legible, thank you very much).

Obviously if you enjoy how you put the work in (for me it’s riding my bike), then the success should be easier sought but make no bones about it – this is fooking hard, it takes commitment and lots have failed for every successful fatty to thinny story out there.

Your personal story if just that – yours. My story is my destiny and only mine. Yes, others can help but there isn’t anyone out there who could force me onto my bike. If I don’t want to ride, I dont care who you are I ain’t getting on that saddle and my size and stubbornness make me as immovable as the Incredible Hulk concentrating on having a poo.

This is up to us. You, me (them… everybody!!! Sorry, I grew up in the 80’s #LovetheBluesBrothers). Concentrate, Russell… where was I? Oh yeah, we take control. Our destiny = our path and we seek success in any small way we can get it. Unfortunately for me this week’s success involved sweating and panting and collapsing after 22 miles peddling against the ruddy wind…


Pt 3 of 3 (Gym… Not Gin)

Yep, all this has to either go or its coming with me up north...

Yep, all this has to either go or its coming with me up north…

The third and final approach I am championing in my quest to get my fat harris a little smaller is the introduction of a gym regime. I have also cut out the booze.

My place of work is away from where I live so I spend a majority of the working week away from my lovely partner (Karen – who you will be introduced to as we go along because I can’t see any way of completing this challenge without her support)… Right enough gushy, where was I? Oh yeah, I work away from home during the week but luckily the building I work in has a gym.

Last week I approached the gym instructor, Dominic, and asked for him to create a regime for me to follow that would complement my riding at the weekends. In particular I was looking at promoting the loss of weight, working on my overall fitness and building leg muscle. He was very good and we agreed an approach.

My regime will be;

  • Monday – Vipr class
  • Tuesday – Fitness and leg work
  • Wednesday – Spinning Class
  • Thursday – Fitness and leg work

We agreed I would start the following Monday (yesterday) and I was very excited this was all kicking off. I’m not sure if you know what Vipr classes are, I certainly didn’t know when I signed up. But regardless, this was all starting and life was a positive old bean. I was attempting something aggressive to ensure maximum possible chance of completing the LEJOG challenge I have set myself and anyway, how hard can it be?

That was yesterday, this is today and I swear to you here and now, this morning I felt like I wanted to die.

In my best whiny American accent, OH-MY-GOD!!!

And for reference, Vipr classes involve a circuit like approach with weighted tubes. Each exercise stage targets different parts of the body. There were three laps of the circuit. After the first of these I remember thinking, ‘huh, whats the big deal?’. After the third of the circuits, well I dont remember anything. And  I have no idea how much time each of these stages involved. The first couple seem to last about two minutes, the last couple seem to last about a week.

My back screamed, my legs buckled, my arms exploded and my lungs just gave up and walked home alone muttering something about not having to take this anymore.

So if I am stupid enough to ask how hard can it be. Well the answer is fooking hard.

I panted like a rabbid dog, I sweated like a 70s Top of The Pops presenter with the police at my door. It was so bad that I struggled to use the stairs afterwards. I died and just when I thought it was bad, I woke up this morning to a stiffness that is causing me all kinds of trouble at work (when I walk it looks like I’ve sh!t myself).

I know in my second entry in this blog (The Hardest Part of a Long Journey…) I bragged about how easy all this training was… Well I admit it now, I was an idiot. The training is difficult but to be fair there is a lot of work to do and it’s all part and parcel. If I don’t put the effort in then my challenge in September will be extremely difficult as opposed to just difficult.

Focus, fatty, focus!!!

Pt2 of 3 (Food, Glorious Food)

What do you mean I have to change my attitude?

What do you mean I have to change my attitude?

Now if ever this lad had a weekness, its food… and lazyness… why am i doing this again?

I do love a burger… and cakes… and… alright, I love food, big deal… Move on.

So by now you should be aware of my challenge (if not see the very first beardedmamil blog) and you will be aware I need to sort out my eating habits (i.e STOP EATING YOU LARDY BAR STEWARD!!!) The obvious reason for this surely has to be taking less weight on the bike journey (less wieght = less work).

We all know I am currently 21 stone and that I have 8 months to prepare for my Lands End to John O Groats bike ride. So I need to shed some of the winter coat.

We all know how demanding dieting can be (especially for us jaded, at risk of cat2 diebetes, lazy gits). So how am I going to promote wieght loss? Well a calorie controlled diet should be good for starters. I am also going to promote a healthier intake of calories and not rely solely on Big Macs and bacon butties.

Now I know this is going to be a challenge. I have dieted before and I am all too familiar with the concept of eating fooking lettuce til the end of days. I am not looking forward to this aspect of this challenge, I would rather go train my tits off that eat cherry tomatoes and celery.

But sacrifices are the order of the day so how can I ensure I keep to this?

Well I am going to use an app on my iphone. Ive used MyFitnessPal before and like it. All I have to do now is use the ruddy thing (I have been guilty of using it for a couple of days then quitting). My login on MyFitnessPal is devonbadger, come say hello and lets help each other lose this sh!t… LOL.