Quantcast

Author Archives: ruben

Plastic Bags?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 15 March 2013

To minimise our environmental impact, we try to use as little packaging as possible – we only bag stuff when we really need to.

So if you've been a customer of ours for a while, you may have noticed we’ve changed the material our bags are made of. They used to be paper, but now they're plastic.

We’ve switched to recyclable plastic as it is the most widely recycled material available in the UK at this time. They have less environmental impact than paper bags because they weigh less, take up less storage space and use less energy.

Likewise, we've found that recyclable plastic has less environmental impact than degradable plastic. This is because degradable plastic bags cannot be recycled or composted properly in the UK, so they end up as landfill. They leave small traces of plastic in the soil that never break down. They are also known to create more greenhouse gasses than conventional plastics and paper.

The change has had a big effect and more than halved the annual CO2 footprint of our packaging.

We don't pretend that recyclable plastic is perfect. But right now, it is the lowest impact way of packaging our stuff.

Click here to download the geeky analysis report from carbon footprint experts Tickety Boo.

Carbon Cycle

  • Posted by ruben
  • 7 March 2013

The carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about carbon footprinting. I have a friend who believed that owning and feeding a dog was more carbon intensive than owning and fueling a 4x4.

The truth is that depending on where you draw the boundaries you can prove anything with carbon footprinting. So if your 4x4 is super efficient and only drives 6,000 miles a year and if your dog eats loads of meat that has been reared just for it (i.e. not a by-product of other part of the meat industry and not mixed with vegetable/rice feed) then yes you can show that the 4x4 has a bigger footprint.

So I wasn’t that surprised to see that US Republican Ed Orcutt declare that the CO2 emissions from riding a bike are greater than that of driving a car. Clearly Mr Orcutt is deluded. Particularly as he cites the greater expiration of the cyclists as being the cause. We can ignore Mr Orcutt on the grounds of stupidity but the carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

Mike Berners-Lee in “How bad are bananas?” looks at the impact of cycling a mile. Now the interesting thing is that it depends on what you’ve eaten. This is the fuel for the bike. So if you are fueled by cheeseburgers the impact of cycling a mile is 260g of CO2e but if you are fueled by bananas this falls to 60g. These figures take into account the embodied impact of the bike per mile.

The embodied impact of a family car kept for 200,000 miles is 100g per mile plus the impact of burning a mile’s worth of fuel (between 150g and 200g per mile). But this doesn’t take into account the fact that the car driver will also have eaten food but that the calories from this food are not burnt off but accumulated. This in turn has a knock-on potential impact of running a health service to deal with those non-cyclists who become obese (note: not all non-cyclists become obese).

So the impact of driving a mile in a car is the impact of the fuel use, the embodied impact of the car and the impact of the food eaten by the driver. So if the driver eats cheeseburgers this gives a figure twice as large as that of a cheese burger eating cyclist.

Phew, that’s complex. The key thing is to understand is where the boundaries of your study are. My advice to Mr Orcutt is to get his facts straight, trust the science and ride a bike more.

Words and facts by Mark Shayler at tickety boo

Tomorrow's Heroes

  • Posted by ruben
  • 28 February 2013

Where are tomorrow's heroes?

They're not at home watching today's heroes on the TV.

They're not dreaming of luck in the queue for lottery tickets.

They're not waiting for anyone to give them a break.

They're out there right now doing what they love.

We don't know their names, we don't know their stories.

Yet.

Give us a glimpse of your adventure

  • Posted by ruben
  • 20 December 2012

The chatter in the office suggests most of us are planning adventures over the holidays.

There's talk of trail running up Cader Idris, mountain biking in the Dales, road rides over the Preseli Hills, surfing (if we're given the gift of waves) and New Year swims for the hardy.

Next year we'd like to build a short movie of these adventures and it would be great if you could get involved.

If you send us a 30 second(ish) video, a great picture or a map of your adventure by 14th January*, we'll select the best ones and they'll be put in the movie and featured on the blog.

Everyone who gets their adventure featured in the video will win a t-shirt specially designed for the event.

How To Enter

*To enter, email your video to us at info@howies.co.uk, upload your entry to our Facebook page or tweet us @howies.

Competition closes 14th January 2013, judges decisions are final, your photos and videos may be used on the howies site but you will be notified and credited. (We think it's important to be open and up front about that stuff.)

Distance is it's own reward

  • Posted by ruben
  • 3 October 2012

On Saturday, a few of the howies office team are making a short trip down to the south of Pembrokeshire to run in the first Endurancelife Costal Trail Series of the season.

4 of us are running the 10k (It'll be Pete's first off road run.)
1 of us is running the half-marathon-and-a-bit less than a week after she ran Bristol.
Another 3 are running the 35 mile "ultra" option.

That's three different distances and eight different people but all of us will be sharing the same apprehensions and excitement before the race, and on the day each of us will try to do exactly the same thing - run the best race we can and have fun doing our thing.

Whatever your distance, the Endurancelife CTS has something for you. Why not join us at one of them?

A new summit

  • Posted by ruben
  • 24 July 2012
The format is simple, you run to the top of Snowdon then straight back down to the finish. Since the first 86 competed at the inaugural race, the event has grown to over 600 runners today.

"Running takes you places." This is my first thought as I slap my hand down on the trig point on top of the tallest mountain in Wales and glance out at the stunning views below me. The sight of the guy I've been chasing turning to vanish down the other side leads to my second thought. "Just a shame I don't get longer to enjoy them."

I'm half way through my first 'official' mountain race. In a moment I will be hurtling down the same route I just climbed to finish the race with a knee-pounding, tooth-loosening descent back into the small town of Llanberis. 5 miles away as the crow flies, and a vertical kilometre below my feet.

If I wasn't staring at the ground ahead, focusing on my footing and trying to catch the guy in front, I'd be able to see miles in every direction, including the faint outline for Cardigan Island a hundred miles to the south marking home (and howies.)

The Snowdon Race has been held every year since 1976 and is part of the Skyrunner World Series. The format is simple, you run to the top of Snowdon then straight back down to the finish. Since the first 86 competed at the inaugural race, the event has grown to over 600 runners today.

Despite this surge in popularity, the course record was last broken in 1985 when K Stuart ran to the top and back in 1 hour 2 minutes and 29 seconds. This stat passes through my mind as I turn and start the descent with the clock already passing 1 hour 10.

Still, even though I hadn't given the race leaders anything to worry about as they flew down the mountain at speeds I could barely believe and even though I had walked a few hundred meters of the steepest part of the climb, I had already decided this wouldn't be my last mountain race.

The elation I felt on reaching the top of mountain, and the sense of accomplishment that began to sink in as I descended was something I haven't felt before in running.

Not the same as the emotions that wash through during a long run, but something different. A new summit.

Our Last Big Sale

  • Posted by ruben
  • 12 July 2012

Since parting ways with Timberland and becoming independent again
back in January, we've been slowly but surely changing the way we
do things. We've spent less time sweating over Powerpoint presentations
and more time getting muddy on our bikes or running in the hills.

We've also had some of the most exciting product meetings any of us
remember, and we're working on some big improvements to our
website with some new digital projects too.

A lot of these changes won't start to show up until next year, and right
now we still have a lot of SS12 stock that was bought back when we
were a tiny part of a huge corporation. In those days, we would submit
our carefully considered buy plan, but by the time it got back to us it
had always grown by about 40% and we ended up with too much.

So you'll probably notice a few offers landing in your inbox over the
next month or so as we clear all that stock out of the warehouse.
But after that, we are done with making too much. Next time around,
for SS13, we will buy only what we think we can sell and grow at our own pace.

So if you want a bargain, buy it now,
because we're hoping this will be our last big sale.

Small is good.

Shop men’s sale >     Shop women’s sale >

Ultra One

  • Posted by ruben
  • 25 January 2012

I ran my first ever ultra on Saturday - 34.3 miles of coastal trail around Anglesea, featuring several gruelling ascents of Holyhead mountain.

I finished almost last, but that's not the point. I finished an ultra. It was something I'd wanted to do since I first started running seriously a couple of years ago.

Back then, after a few 10k runs on local trails, I began to wonder what it would take to run a marathon. I thought I could do it, so with no training I set off to try. After 22 miles and 3 big hills, I collapsed completely, but the distance bug had taken a firm hold.

I went back to the drawing board, running shorter races and keeping the miles up between events. Less than a year after the first attempt, I ran my first marathon. Then another. I thought I was ready for longer distances, so I entered the Endurancelife CTS Anglesea ultra.

 

Work on the new howies website made training tough until the middle of November, but I managed to keep the miles up and by the time Christmas and New Year came round, I was feeling great. I thought I was in the best shape of my life.

Then, exactly a week before the run, I fell off my bike and landed heavily on my leg. A previous injury in my knee was reawakened and as the days passed with me limping around I began to worry. I thought about dropping out, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

On the trip up to the race with Chris (also running the ultra) and Alex (running his first trail half) I was subdued, and at dinner the night before I found myself massaging the damaged knee and mulling over what was to come. I knew this was bad, and that the doubts were probably more dangerous than the injury itself so I tried to put it all to the back of my mind.

 

 

Arriving at the start before daybreak we found the car park was a 10 minute walk from the event HQ at the Breakwater country park. And again, the pain from my knee started nagging at me. The howling wind and lashing rain didn't help, although thankfully both began to subside as the sun came up and we began to run.

The course started off with a short flat run to the foot of Holyhead mountain, before the first long climb began taking us around to the South Stack lighthouse. I was more than happy to walk the steep rock stairs, near vertical in some places. I knew we were coming back here later.

For the first few miles I was running with Chris, who had kept me company during my first trail marathon a couple of months before. I don't think I was great company this time as I was still struggling to control my negativity and I was actually quite relieved to see Chris head off up the road, running his own race. I was now alone, and I knew that was how it had to be.

 

I was soon beginning to feel much better and was enjoying the scenery as we passed Trearddur Bay. My thoughts were a lot more positive, although my knee was still giving me trouble. Shortly after the half way turn around on Rhoscolyn beach, it flared up and my leg cramped causing me to fall against a low wall. To my relief I was able to recover quickly and get back on my feet, although cramp (and the fear of cramp) plagued the rest of my run. Especially over the numerous stiles, which I now negotiated ver gingerly for fear of triggering another leg failure.

Heading back toward the finish line, I saw Holyhead mountain again in the distance. Knowing I would be having to climb the rock stairs around the mountain again before the finish and already approaching the furthest I had ever run I wasn't in a hurry to get there. I ran a steady pace, but making sure I could make the cut off point in time to be allowed back onto the mountain.

 

As we joined the half marathon course, I was quite glad to have the company of other runners again, as I had be plugging out the miles alone, save for odd fragments of conversation as I traded places with a couple of the other ultra runners. By chance I met up with Alex, who seemed to be having a great run in his half. He left me with one of his spare gels and carried on.

The miles all began to blur together and my mind wandered until I reached the foot of the mountain and the sharp ascent brought things back into focus. The sun was out, the views were amazing, and passing half marathon runners with their fresh legs on the climb gave me a massive boost. I passed nearly everyone I saw on the first climb, although my legs screamed at me to stop. Eventually I reached the summit and took a moment to enjoy the view before turning back down the mountain toward the marathon finish line.

 

I made the cut off more than 20 minutes before it closed. I knew this wasn't fast, but it meant I would now get to finish the ultra. I set off toward the mountain again, looking over my shoulder to check I wasn't last. Ray who runs the whole food shop in Cardigan and his friend were the next through the gate, about 500 yards behind me.

Seeing someone I knew behind me gave me another boost and I was determined to keep up a good pace as the climb began again. I was impressed that my legs seemed to have recovered from their earlier cramps and I was able to power my way back to the South Stack lighthouse checkpoint without stopping.

I ran into the checkpoint and headed straight back out again, not wanting to loose any more places before the finish. The course now took me back inland and I knew that another trip to the summit was coming. My legs were beginning to feel hollow and my mind was wandering. I was interested by the sensation, but refused to slow down.

Reaching the summit for the second time, I almost cried. I knew that gravity would do the rest. All I had to do was point my weary body int he right direction and not fall over. I plodded out the descent, drinking whatever was left in my bag and eating a bar. I realised I had too much food left, and should have been eating more. I was already planning my next ultra by the time I finished.

 

Chris and Alex were waiting for me at the finish line. I had to wait a few minutes to get my time. They'd turned the power off and had to restart the computer. As I waited, Ray and his friend came running home. I would later find out they were the only finishers behind me, although 9 runners dropped out.

I followed the others back to the car and was more than happy to let Chris drive home. I was done. I had run my first ultra.

 

We stopped at a little climbing cafe called Pete's Eats that Chris knew on the way back to Cardigan. The good coffee and baked potatoes seemed to serve as a fitting full stop to the run, and the reality of the achievement began to sink in.

There's such a difference between believing you can do something and knowing you can.

Running Safe

  • Posted by ruben
  • 8 December 2011

Categories:

Me, Chris & Hazel are running home tonight.

It's going to be dark, cold, windy, and a bit scary when cars pass.

I'll be running at the back, not just because I'm slow - but because I have the rear lights on my bag.

Stay safe, be seen.

Run home.

Items 10 to 18 of 352 total

per page
Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. ...
  7. 40