Sunday, May 27, 2018

So frustrated with weight!

I don't get it, I am doing everything I have ever done in the past to lose weight, in fact, I might go so far as to say, more! But nothing, I drop a chunk of pounds, then just sit there stuck at a number.

At the moment it is low 240s (lbs). I am cycling 100+ miles a week, running three times a week, eating clean for the most part. Saturated fat intake super low, protein intake good, calorie intake is in deficit to burn almost every day.

The issue is two pronged. Firstly, I don't like being this over weight, the numbers are too high, weight, waist measurement etc. It doesn't look good, doesn't feel good, and I know I can do better.
Secondly there are the physical impacts. Cycling I can do, running I can do, cycling up above average gradients kills be (as I found out yesterday, and stairs leave me a little breathless.

Recovery is great however, moments after the higher impact demand on my body, my HR drops, breathing settles, and I am able to resume normal activities. Ironically recovery used to be a weakness for me, but now its great. Just a shame about the rest.

100 mile ride, not too big a deal, managing to churn the miles out with no ill effect. Throw a few bigger hills in my way and suddenly (more recently) I struggle. Looking back a year or so, I was riding up Spanish hills in stupid heat, and while not perfection, it was more than doable. Now, meh!

So with all that in mind, what the hell is wrong. I don't want to go off down the "it's medical" route,I doubt very much it is. So what on earth is stopping the progress. Have I hit the wall, is this just a really slow and frustrating phase, or has my physiology changed, meaning I need a new approach. Time marches on and all that.

One of the difficulties I face is scheduling. I know I make life a bit of a rush at times, and possibly take on more than I can manage. By that I mean my own things, day to day stuff. Trying to fit in riding, running, commuting, working, a home life, seems a bit of a faff at times. Only this week have I managed to catch up with the weeks to match my running training. Running weeks have spread across calendar weeks where I have not managed to keep up.

So here we are on a Sunday, end of Week 3 of run training, now in sync with the calendar. Good miles so far on the bike this week too, with a combination of commuting and riding.

Another of my issues is obsessing about miles. Healthy or unhealthy, probably the latter. Seeing milestones within reach drives me to push harder than I possibly should. With a healthy annual goal of 4,250 miles, achieving it should not be too hard with the daily commute included. However, seeing the first 1,000 coming up , I pushed to get into four figures ASAP. 1,075 and I would be a quarter of the way into my goal etc. With only a few obvious goals it was fine, but now I am digging for statistics of my previous years, and obsessing about surpassing them in style. So much so, that after 146 days of the year, I am just over 100 miles away from reaching 3,000 miles so far! At 2,875 so far, my mind is saying do 25 today, then I only have 100 to do next week to hit 3,000.

At first glance, to some, that is not actually massive mileage, however, its the rest days that are probably my weakness. This is possibly where the whole thing is falling apart for me. Any healthy regime requires rest. But what is rest, and how much total rest vs "taking it easy" do I need? If I ride the easiest route to and from work, with low effort, is that enough to call it resting? Or do I need to take a strict DO NO EXERCISE day weekly, to allow my body to play catch up? It is all so confusing,

The last time I lost weight in bulk, I was not really cycling. If anything I was just starting out with occasional rides, and much more running. 4-5 times a week, improving in fitness all the time. Now, I commute daily, taking the longer way into work, equalling about 100 miles a week of cycling on my single speed.  Then, to get any fun rides in, I ride at the weekends on one of the road bikes, to get some air, light up my heat map, and tick off hills on the 100 Climbs list.
So am I over doing it with the cycling?

In reality I know I could do with more structure, could probably do with a proper nutrition review, wean myself off fizzy drinks, which can get a bit much at times. But with all that in mind, surely I should still be losing weight? Shouldn't I? I mean, at least a pound or two a week?

That is where it loops back around to medical. While I don't think it can be anything, I can't rule it out.

So right now, I am frustrated! I need to get my head around it, before it gets itself around my head.

Stats at the moment are

Day 146
Active days 122 (rest 24)
2,875 miles ridden
Longest ride 102 miles
Longest streak 49 days

Ideally I need to remain commuting, but I guess I could cut the miles down, a bit at least.
3 days of run training a week, C2-10K so 30-45 mins per session.
A bit of training on the bike, probably at home, few hours a week.
And finally, get some floor work, stretching and yoga in, to maintain general well being.

Is that too much?

I know, I will draw up a written plan!
Right, enough thinking aloud, time to get something written up to start making things a little more structured.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Cycliq Fly 12 bike camera / light

A couple of months ago I saw the price for the original Cycliq Fly 12 (non CE) drop, and thought I got to get me one of those!
As an avid commuter, having reliable footage, which I can access quickly, is great. If for nothing else, to show others some of the weird and wonderful sights I see daily in South London.

It's a bit old unit, but does what it says on the box, records great footage, and allows nice Strava overlays too. Perfect I though, and bought one.

When I first got it, it connected to my phone via the app fine. ONCE !! After that, for two months it has been hit and miss, mainly miss. Until today. Frustrated, I did some playing around, and researching. Seeing people complaining about the connectivity were Android users, I recruited the help of a work colleague with one of those iPhone things. Installed the app, et voila, connected no issue.

OK, so it's an Android app issue then. So lets get thinking and see what I can work out. Resetting everything, I started fresh, still caught in the same eternal "connecting" loop. Nope, that't not going to work.

Now at this point it is worth noting, the device connects via both Bluetooth AND WiFi , depending what you are doing. All settings and status is done via Bluetooth, and footage is reviewed via WiFi.
Deleting all its remembered connections on the phone, I tried again, but this time, for some reason I decided to start from Flight Mode, and let it ask for each connection.

Turning the Fly on and scanning, it asked for Bluetooth connection, so I clicked "allow". Finding the device in record time, it checked the status, then I hit "review footage". This time it asked for WiFi connection....."allow".
To my surprise, but secretly confirming my suspicions, it connected and viewed thumbnails almost immediately.

So, I turned the Fly off again, closed the app and tried again, voila, lightning fast, it connected.
Turning cellular data back on again, re-opening the app, it was a big fat NO! Back to the eternal loop of searching and connecting.

So, my fellow Android using, Cycliq Fly 12 owners, when you want to review footage, turn off your cellular data / GSM network. Quite simply, as the Fly 12 creates a local WiFi hotspot with no internet connection, the handset will NOT drop its GSM connection to connect with the Fly 12. On the off chance your cellular network drops out during the time you are trying to connect, you might be lucky enough to get it to work.

I have to say, with that sorted out, I am now back to being delighted with my Fly 12, and cannot recommend it enough. Great footage, super overlays, and once working, nice app too.

PS, Cycliq, you are welcome :) If you want to send me a Fly 6 as thanks, I would be more than happy to accept it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

London has fallen!!

Or at least that is what I keep reading. Statistic sucking, doom mongering arseholes, the lot of them.
There is so much negativity coming from all angles, it is hard to keep up with who is the biggest problem.

First we have the good people of the UK. Lately there have been quite a few who no longer live in London (there is your first clue), who want to let everyone know that when they were growing up in recently post-war London, it was so much better. Errm, yes, the war had just finished you muppet. London was a thriving, and rapidly growing city.
Your decision to leave London in your later years indicates you had a preference to live elsewhere, so quite obviously your love of London was waning. It's not for everyone of course, and as it has exploded into the 24/7 city that it now is, I can totally understand peoples desire to move away.

If you have never lived in London, it is quite an overwhelming place to be. Many visit from afar in the UK, vowing never to return. So many people, so rude, too busy, so many police etc. I get it, I really do.

But then just because it is not for you, is no reason to condemn the place. Let's be honest, if you are not au fait with a place, or it is just not your cup of tea, your opinion is never going to be a good one, let alone very balanced. It's like getting a vegan to do a review of a new meat market!

I of course fully respect the opinions of those living in London currently, especially those in the slightly more "challenged" areas, shall we say.  South East London for example, where I live, and grew up too. Has it changed, sure it has, in ways which are almost impossible to explain. As I found out telling my niece the other day about how we used to play in the streets.

Has it "fallen"? Is it beyond repair? Un-salvageable as I saw it described the other day. No, of course not, don't be so dramatic and stupid about it.
The crime figures are up, the violence is getting a bit out of hand, and its crazy busy.
Statistically there is more chance of being a victim of a crime than there used to be. But that is probably the case for a hell of a lot of people.

But we hear about a new stabbing or shooting every day in London! Yes, that is probably the case. But just for one second, consider this, it is a media driven agenda. You will hear about whatever they choose, and it will be drummed into your head 24/7. Apparently amongst all this crime, a certain couple are getting married soon too. Just one couple of course, no one else, or at least that is the impression you get from the media.
There is an infinite amount of information out there to absorb daily, but most of us "trust" just a few sources. The more they report something, the more it must happen, and the more important it is, right? NO !!

I am not saying there is not a serious issue with stabbings, shootings, and other "epidemics" in London, I am simply saying that they are really not as wide spread, common, and expected as the media would have you believe. Most violent crimes (attacks not involving a secondary crime such as robbery) have a back story, although the character witnesses would have you believe otherwise.

The shortage of police is causing this!! Errm, no, no it didn't. While more could be invested in getting the numbers of police on the street up, the lack there of does not inspire someone to stab someone else. They behaviours and involvement in other circles are one of the biggest causes of that.

What I am getting at here is, London is far from a danger zone, a no go zone or any other negative term. It is a thriving City, with plenty to offer, and pretty damn safe on the grand scheme of things.
Amazing how our focus is diverted from one thing and onto another. London is dangerous, there are stabbings. Well yes, there are. But lets not forget it being the focus of terrorism too. However that is quickly forgotten after a week or two of media bombardment, telling us to believe something else.

Having grown up in London while the IRA was still very active. Seen areas like Bishopsgate, and Isle of Dogs overhauled with explosives and hatred, I would say the threat has changed, but the city and its streets remain as they always were. The streets of a capital, any capital are tainted with an air of danger, all from their own unique threats. There is no such thing as complete safety, believing it, or suggesting  / promising it is utter bullshit.

Now there is the other side to all this. While the media drive the agenda, and make sure the world sees its current portrayal of the city, the politicians also play their games too.

If your car broke down, and an onlooker suggested they could fix it, you would welcome them, work together and fix it.
So in politics you would hope it would work the same way. After all, politicians get into politics to serve the people, and for their love of their towns and cities, right?
Well, no, actually, when it comes to politics the analogy is slightly different. Going back to the car, the onlooker will stand there and mock you, berate you, and carry on until you give up on the car, then walk away. Then they will run over and take the car. It still won't run right, but they will botch the fix to drive off in it, only to break down a bit further down the road.

What really pisses me off, in times when the reputation and future of London is in question, is seeing these politicians standing around mocking each other. Saying how they would have done things differently, and when they get back into power, they will make everything better again.
If you cared, if you really wanted to make a difference, you would act NOW, offer the solutions, sit around the table and have the discussions which would lead to a better London. At the end of all that, I would not only respect the opposition a lot more, but I would also be better informed as to who some of these people really are, and be able to see who the genuine politicians are.

Instead, bad crime figures are seem as a posturing opportunity. Rather than trying to be constructive and help improve things, they are used to try and secure their future term in power. If we are totally honest about this, investment in the police will not STOP the issue, but will instead allow more manpower to gather intelligence and act on it. Having a stable economy didn't stop the IRA, having good exam pass marks hasn't changed the threat from ISIS, and having a strong housing market and good job prospects will not change the attitudes of the scummy little fuckers who are causing all the issues with gang violence and moped enabled crimes.

Watching politicians attacking each other on TV just shows how disorganised things are at the top, and chips away at the belief and trust we have in the politicians. Seeing them squabble and shout over each other at PMQ's and other debates in the house, just set a bad example to society. Politicians have no respect for each other, and bad mouth each other both privately and publicly at every opportunity, so why should anyone else behave differently?

Then finally we have the public. Large swathes of them with no respect for the police, but as usual, calling upon them to put a stop to everything. Stop and search is bad, but why are people being left to walk about with weapons. Tactical stops on mopeds involved in crimes need to happen, but if someones child is injured while involved in such a crime, lynch the copper from the nearest tree.

I will finish up with saying this.
Instead of blaming the schools, police, politicians, labour market, housing market etc, take a look a little closer to home.
For every one of these trouble making scrotes, there is someone who knows them simply as a human being. Sure other member of a gang are not going to pacify them, but somewhere in their social circles there is a friend or family member who knows the real person. These are the people who come out in mourning when a loved one is killed. They are the people who can see something isn't right, but do nothing.
I am not saying it is their fault, however they are the first to see there is an issue, the first to have the opportunity to say something to someone, and the first link in the chain which eventually leads the person to an early death or prison.

While it is easy, just like the politicians, to point your finger and blame others, society also needs to take some responsibility, and do their bit. Stitches for snitches, no one likes a grass etc, all the wise words of wisdom which over the years have pushed the decline in family and friends interventions.  Sadly, sometimes, it is the best way.

London isn't broken, it is just running a bit rough at the moment. It is not un-salvageable, it is simply undesirable to certain groups of people.
We, Londoners, just need to pull our bloody fingers out and each play our part. No more turning a blind eye, no more "someone else will report it", take some bloody responsibility.
Likelihood of that happening of course is about as high as the chances of everyone clearing the snow from outside their house, which in turn would clear the whole street. Rather than whining at the local authority to hurry up and do it.

Entitled, lazy, uninvolved, just a few words which describe the modern day Londoner. And maybe that is the problem. Not immigration, the influx of people from other countries wanting a better life for them and their families. Willing to work long hours, doing manual jobs for little financial reward.  But the influx of selfish, entitled, and disengaged people from elsewhere, demanding gentrification, the removal of the poorer members of society, who are too self obsessed to play the important role which is required of them.