Dog walk after burn-off

Dog walk after burn-off

At the end of April (2022) there was a burn-off in Gandy’s Gully. A few weeks after, I walked through with Bear and took some photos. I was surprised to find some trees still smouldering. I suspect the burn-off got a bit hotter than expected thanks to a surprise change in wind direction during the burn-off.

XL biking Kickstarter

XL biking Kickstarter

Every body is a cycling body.

“Every body is a cycling body.”

The benefits of bike riding are enormous. I rely on it pretty heavily for the health and fitness benefits, along with the mental health benefits. BetterHealth, a branch of the Victorian Government, lists the following benefits to regular cycling:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease
  • reduced anxiety and depression.

Read the entire article here.

For many years, I didn’t really think that there was any benefit to cycling-specific clothing, but I am absolutely a convert. But this is where the problems start.

People who ride bikes are all skinny whippety mountain goats, right? It would certainly seem that way if you look at the clothes available for bike riders. Me, a verified “big-fella” who normally wears XL clothing, has to go and hunt through the slim pickings in the XXXL section at the bike shop to find bib-shorts that fit – and I feel lucky if I find something that fits. And there are many people bigger than me out there.

The problems for bigger bike riders don’t stop there, though. Bike frames and bike wheels are designed to a weight limit. A weight limit I’ve been close to hitting, at times – which is particularly scary when it’s a carbon frame. And again, there are many people out there who are bigger than me.

The solution here is having a positive, noisy, inspiring person to advocate for us fat cyclists. Someone who can convince the bike industry that they need to start being inclusive. Bigger clothes. Stronger frames. Stronger wheels. All bodies on bikes.

This positive, noisy, and inspiring person is Ebbe Silva, and his brand XL biking.

Ebbe has been selling jerseys on his website for quite some time, but wants to expand the range to include more sizes (S-10XL). He is also going to design larger cycling bibs, a gravel collection, and a road cycling collection. But all this design takes time, and costs money. Which is why Ebbe has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Read all about it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/xlbiking/xl-biking, and if you’re able to, throw some money his way.

We need Ebbe’s advocacy for an inclusive cycling industry!

Links:

Instagram
Twitter
Website
Kickstarter

Pioneer Women’s Trail

Pioneer Women’s Trail

If you’re looking for a moderately long hike with gorgeous views that’s also very dogs-off-lead friendly, give the Pioneer Women’s Trail from Beaumont up to Mt. Osmond a go. It’s a winding 7.2 km out-and-back walk with about 180 metres of elevation change. At a brisk pace it takes about 80 minutes for me, but it’s worth slowing down for the views of the city, suburbs, coast, and airport.

Start at Brock Reserve (///moving.dangerously.deeply, OpenStreetMap) on Dashwood Road, then follow the signs until you get to the top. If you’re walking next to the golf course, you’ve gone too far. There are plenty of shortcuts if you want to go for a steeper, but shorter variant of the walk – you’ll probably see plenty of people coming up Bayview Track, Centre Track, and Travers Track when you’re out there.

Here’s the map.
And here’s the view from the top.

Challenging People

Challenging People

I’ve ridden quite a bit in the last year. Last October I rode more than 600 km as part of the Great Cycle Challenge (which I will probably do again this year). I rode over 4,500 km in 2018. I climbed more than 41,000 metres. 263 hours in the saddle.

This isn’t a lot for some people, and that’s exactly what I want to write about: Challenging People.

I don’t mean people who are difficult to deal with. I mean people who challenge you to do more/better/faster/longer. I’m surrounded by people who climb hills faster, descend faster, ride further, ride longer. To the extent where when I’ve been for a 90 km ride, or been for a ride where I’ve climbed 1,000 metres, and I tell people about it (which I do like doing because it’s a good source of praise), I don’t really feel like I’ve done anything special. The achievement, something which many would consider to be big (or even impossible), has been completely normalised/trivialised.

I don’t think this is a bad thing – it’s helping me push myself to ride further and faster.

This all came to me when I was listening to a podcast by Adam Spencer (I was riding up the Patrick Joncker Veloway at the time). He was interviewing an ultra-marathoner, Michael Hull, who fell into being an ultra-marathoner partly by accident/serendipity, because he was surrounded by endurance athletes in his teens, and it was the norm. The details might be a bit fuzzy beacuse it’s a long time since I listened to the podcast, but I think it went something like that. There’s a link to the podcast at the bottom of the page.

I didn’t surround myself with challenging people intentionally. It just happened, and I’m really glad it did. I’ve challenged myself significantly in the last 12 months, both mentally and physically, and I don’t think I would have had I not had these challenging people in my life.

Now – this has covered the adjective definition of challenging, but there’s also the verb definition. I hope that I’m also challenging people when I talk about what I’ve done. I’m hoping that while I’m telling people about my achievements (and getting a bunch of praise for it), it’s also pushing someone to try something new. Try to ride further than normal. Up a steeper hill than normal.

I think if everyone had challenging people in their life, and spent time challenging people, we’d all achieve more. And achieving feels good.

Adam Spencer’s Big Questions – What’s it like to run for your life through fire.

2019

2019

I wonder how many thousand posts have been written in the last week about what changes people implement in their lives in 2019. They seem to be quite widely derided on Twitter, which I guess shouldn’t surprise me. It’s Twitter after all. A place mostly filled with grumpy, shouty people who complain about everything. But I think it’s a logical time of year to try to implement a major change – especially weight and health related. We’re 357 days away from Christmas, which is traditionally a food and drink heavy time of year. Easter is 15-ish weeks away, which also has some pretty delicious foods. So starting afresh in the new year seems like a good idea, because of the temporal distance to difficult times, and not just because it’s an arbitrary “we’re now in this spot in our orbit around the sun so I’m going to change…this time for sure”.

I have a few plans for this year, and I’m going to try to give them until Christmas 2019 before I re-evaluate how it’s going. No quick fixes. No shortcuts. No unrealistic expectations. My plan, beyond the immovable foci of work and (extended) family, is to focus on my fitness (mental and physical), my weight, and creativity.

Fitness

For fitness, I think I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, with a few tweaks. I love cycling and it helps my mental wellbeing as well as my physical, so I’m going to keep riding my bikes. Last year I managed a bit over 4,000 km of cycling. I’d like to crack the 5,000 km mark in 2019.

Cycling is gloriously meditative for me and it gives me time to process a lot of things, but it’s not as quick as the mental clean and sweep that I get from going for a run. I’m not going to set myself a target for running distance for 2019 because I should probably get rid of a few kilos before running, but for 2020 I’m going to aim for at least 365 km.

I think I should also work on overall strength and flexibility, so I’m going to ease myself into a calisthenics routine for overall strength, and as we live near one of the very good yoga schools in Adelaide, I should probably make use of that, too.

Weight and Food

I’m too heavy. This morning when I weighed myself I weighed 108.5 kg. A couple of years ago I was under 100 kg (I’d go as far as saying “mid 90’s”, even), and it was wonderful. I’d got there from my starting point of ~113 kg using Duromine, which I would recommend if you’ve tried everything else. I’d try it again, but I think it triggered some migraines for me, so I’m steering clear.

Weightloss and gain since November 2016

My climb back to 108.5 kg has been relatively slow, and considering how I’ve eaten the last 6 to 12 months isn’t surprising. Stress-levels have been high, and this has lead to some very poor chocolate-related diet decisions.

My goal is to be in the 80s, or low 90s, and the plan for 2019 is to use intermittent fasting to restrict my calories to get there. I’ve done it a bit in the last month or two and if nothing else, I enjoy the process. I’m not going for the popular 5 and 2 intermittent fasting, but opting for alternate day 24 hour fasts instead. Every second day (ish) I’ll skip breakfast and lunch and aim for a normal dinner. I’m hoping to do this at least 3 days a week. It’s said to be very good to combat insulin resistance, too, which couldn’t hurt.

I find this type of eating good from a social point of view, because that’s where it feels like my previous diets have come crashing down. Keto/LCHF makes it difficult to eat out, and I actually feel a bit ick eating like that. Generic calorie restriction makes it difficult to eat in general. With the alternate day 24h fasts, I can have dinner with people any night of the week, so ticks the “still works in a social group” box, and if I need to have lunch with people, I can shuffle my days around.

Creativity

I like being creative, and this year, I think, is the year for me to take it up a level. I have three main ways for being creative. The first is writing, and I’d really like to try my hand at some fiction writing. The second is Making, and I have some ideas for electronics projects to do for myself and with the kids. The third is music, and I think this is the year when I start playing with a group of people (I’ll avoid the word “band” for now), and give writing a song a proper crack.

Wish me luck.


Chamber’s Gully

Chamber’s Gully

This morning I decided to film my first ever descent into Chamber’s Gully. Enjoy!

The video starts at the corner of Bartrill Spur Track and Long Ridge Track, and winds its way down Bartrill Spur Track, Kirrang Track, and Chamber’s Gully Track.