Friday, 17 March 2017

Are You Up To A Challenge?

Over on the righthand side of the blog is a link titled "Challenges", which takes you to a brief potted history of some of the "organised" schemes I've signed up over the years in an effort to get myself out on my bike a little bit more than maybe I normally would without some kind of "incentive" (if that's the right term). 

I don't know about you, but I don't actually respond very well to the concept of a "challenge". I mean, I like to have goals, but as soon as I sign up to what someone else has defined as a "challenge", I swear my sub-conscious is quickly at work to invent ways not to do it!  (I like how G.E. of EndlessVeloLove explored the whole idea of goals and resolutions in a January 2017 post -- my own experience feels very different from hers because she and I define the words "resolution" and "goals" in almost opposite ways -- but oddly enough, the end result is often the same!)

A classic example for me is the #30daysofbiking challenge that runs the full month of April. When I'm not riding my bike much, then, as much as I like the idea of "pledging" to cycle, even just a short distance, every single day, no way is that going to happen. And if I'm cycling quite a lot, then to be honest, I want a day off now and then! (And the various chronic physical difficulties I deal with often have my sports massage therapist and personal trainer reminding me that recovery is essential, that muscles can only grow stronger if they're given a chance to rest.)

The exception for me has been Chasing Mailbox's spring and autumn challenges, Errandonneuring and Coffeeneuring respectively, which have at their heart the fundamental concept of, well, fun. Keeping it fun is what it's all about. I mean, if cycling didn't make me feel like a happy go-lucky kid again, I wouldn't be doing it. 

So here it is, spring once again and today saw the announcement of this year's Errandonnee Challenge

© M.G. / Chasing Mailboxes 2017

Am I in?  You bet!

But a few weeks ago, a Facebook friend also reminded me of the #30daysofbiking challenge and, you know what, I may actually have another go at that this year. 

Why? What makes this year different?  

Well, primarily I think it's the fact that I have been cycling very nearly every day since Christmas, more than I have ever cycled on a regular basis, and I'm significantly fitter and stronger than perhaps any other time in my life --- not to mention, for this time of the year!

Morning commute, Xmas/New Year 2016

And I actually think I can do it, without waking up very many mornings at all saying to my bike "sorry, lovely friend, but I need a break from you today". 


If you're thinking of giving Errandonneuring a go this year, check out the lively and fun Facebook group. (And the FB Coffeeneurs group is just about my favourite place on the internet, year round.)

So how about you? Does the idea of a 'challenge' motivate you or bring out the rebel ("you can't make me!") in you? 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A Year Of Transition

Yes, things have been a little quiet on the blog lately and an update is overdue. This post will be of most interest to friends and family living far away, and not so much to those who primarily read this blog for its cycling content. 

In the past 8 months, we somehow went from living in one family house to.... one house plus... my suddenly-empty-again London flat plus... a seaside flat that will, once probate is complete, belong to Adam. 

Our medium-to-long term plan has been to sell the house once Adam's (now grown) children fledged and find a new home of a size more appropriate to just two adults (plus approximately a <cough> number of bicycles). But the unexpected loss of my tenant and Adam's inheritance prompted a lot of re-thinking. 

The goal now is still to sell the house but, instead of buying something else, divide our time between the two flats. We can't do that immediately however because Adam still works in Harpenden, his son hasn't yet moved out (a whole 'nother story) and my flat really needs a lot of work before it can be a proper home again.

After mulling over a dizzying number of options (I can't even remember what they all were), we find ourselves nearly 3 months into a Transition Plan.

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