the howies headquarters
Another Thursday, another bank holiday opening times message - I could get used to these 3 day weeks!
so here we go:
- howies HQ will be closed tomorrow & Monday, reopening at 9am Tuesday morning to answer your emails and take your calls
- Carnaby street will be open all weekend, open normal hours Saturday/Sunday and then shorter hours tomorrow & Monday (11-5pm) - if you're in London and don't happen to have an invite to a certain wedding then pop in!
- Cardigan shop will be open as usual on Saturday, closed Sunday... and then 11-4pm tomorrow & on Monday.
....So - what will you be doing over the weekend? and how about you Londoners, will you be caught up in royal wedding fever tomorrow and joining the billions watching, or will you become a Silence Seeker & head for the nearest escape route away from the city?
Me? I'll be off on the hunt to find a bike, that white 1988 Raleigh caprice is out there somewhere I'm sure!
Have a good one whatever you get up to.... and don't forget to send us a photo! (see Ruben's photo comp blog here)
Wish You Were There
phone photo comp
All you have to do is snap a pic with your phone camera of what you get up to this weekend.
Be it skateboarding, biking, hiking, canoeing, climbing, or just walking the dog.
Make it soulful, make it beautiful, make it funny, make it blurry, make it sharp, make it whatever.
But above all, just make us wish we were there.
And the 30 best shots will win a t-shirt and feature on the howies blog.
Good luck. Get mobile.
If you're not on Facebook or Twitter, you can mail your entries to email@example.com
The deadline for entries is Tuesday 3rd May. Winners will be announced Monday the 9th May.
Al is an adventurer through and through. If you broke him in half like a stick of rock he would have it written in his bones. But please don't do that.
This year, he is keeping his itchy feet mainly inside the UK and attempting to keep his hunger for adventure fed with a series of 'Microadventures'
Microadventure 2: Use Your Weekend
My aim for the year is to showcase small, cheap, simple, close-to-home microadventures.
Microadventures serve to scratch the itch for adventurous souls trapped by the bludgeoning of fate in sensible office jobs. They act as stepping stones for people who dream of a major expedition but feel that at the moment they are not quite ready. And they are a kick up the backside to anyone whinging and whining with excuses about how they don’t have the time or the money or the skills to get out there and challenge themselves. I have started deliberately small, with ideas that absolutely anyone can manage. In January I entered a race. And in February I went for a weekend away. These are micro microadventures. But they are brilliant.
If you add up all the weekends, statutory leave and Bank Holidays you’ll discover that you have at least 132 free days every year. 132 days is a long time. You could row across the Indian Ocean in 132 days. The difficulty of course is the fragmented nature of these 132 days. You have to be determined to use your weekends rather than frittering them with IKEA and the X-Factor.
So my microadventure for this month is a challenge to Use Your Weekend. Annoyingly I live about as far from wilderness as is possible. And yet by late morning on Saturday I was still high on a Welsh hillside, breathing in fresh air, looking down over the sunlit Bristol Channel, and about to scare myself silly on a downhill mountain bike trail.
Go somewhere you have never been before. Ride hard. Get wet, cold and muddy. Laugh with your mates. Then relax, aching and exhausted, having earned your beer. Use Your Weekend.
Do you have any examples of inspiring, invigorating weekend microadventures?
And do you have any recommendations of microadventures I can try this year?
Have your say in the comments or let me know on Twitter @al_humphreys
I'm not sure what it says about me, but I love packing my bag for a trip - making sure everything is neatly stowed away and easy to get at when it's needed.
Today I thought I'd go ultra light, and commute with my smallest bag.
I managed to fit in: half a liter of water, a cereal bar, a pair of jeans, socks & spare pants, a t-shirt, my phone, wallet and keys, a small torch, an emergency whistle & a stripped down first aid kit (because you never know).
Lost in transition from my usual bigger bag were: an A5 moleskine, iPad, 6 pens, a highlighter, 2 pairs of headphones, some loose change, a handful of old receipts, another torch and a few cables for assorted stuff.
I never usually need those things. I may as well have been carrying half a brick most days.
And it was great to feel light on the way in.
What do you carry with you every day, and what bag do you use?
I'm very happy to welcome Matt to team howies.
We share the same back yard, and ride the same trails.
We will be helping him out with off the bike stuff.
Many of you will already know who Matt is and like me, you may have been lapped by him at more than a couple of races out there - but for those of you who don't know, here's an introduction in his own words -
For some people cycling is just a hobby, but for me I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that it is my job. It hasn't been easy to get where I am now and it has taken many years of hard work and dedication.
I won't bore everyone with my life history, but let's just say that I have always been active and enjoyed the outdoors. Cycling, running, walking, climbing and camping were all hobbies and the love of the outdoors is something that has stuck with me. Racing a bike didn't really get going until I was in my early 20's and I started entering the relatively new Marathon/Enduro events that were springing up. I seemed to go far better in the longer races than in the shorter XC races.
If I were to pick one thing that made me into the cyclist that I am now it would be getting a job as a cycle courier in Cardiff. I went from riding a few times a week to riding 80-100 miles a day 5 days a week, then racing the Mountain Bike on the weekend. It was tough going at times, but it gave me a great base fitness and I the results started to improve pretty quickly. In 2007 I won a 12hr solo race and then a 24hr race in 2008 and each year since along with other results along the way. The job as a courier lasted for 2 years until I decided to return back to Llandovery where I was raised in order to train with more control and structure. Another 2 years of tough training whilst working full time as a postman paid dividends and I won the inaugural UK 24hr solo championship in May 2010 and had the chance of a lifetime to travel to Australia to compete in the World Championships where I finished 6th despite what I consider to be a bad race.
Fast forward to 2011 and the chance to become a full time athlete presented itself, which is what I have been working towards for so many years. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but I am already feeling the difference as the consistency of my training has improved and also the amount of rest and recovery time.
One big reason why I love the outdoors and cycling so much is the beautiful Welsh countryside that I live in. Living near the town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire just 40 miles from howies base in Cardigan is to me the perfect cycling area. Quiet country roads, big road climbs and amazing scenery give me endless choices and motivation to “get out and ride”. The off-road riding is pretty special as well, with the Cwm Rhaeadr trail just 2 miles up the road and Brechfa about 20 miles away I have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am and grant it for granted far too often.
This year is already well underway and my racing and training has been going well. I have moved up to Elite in XC racing, a dramatic departure from 24hr solo racing but something that I feel benefits my training. My first major event of the year is less than 2 weeks away, the UK 24hr solo championships where I hope to defend my title. Later this year I am going to tackle some big races including the Mega Avalanche and Etape d'Tour on consecutive days and a big stage race called Iron Bike, which is an 8-day race in the Italian Alps with an average of over 3000m climbing and 100km distance per day!
2011 is going to be a really exciting year and I am extremely happy to have the support of howies, especially as they are such a local company to me. I'll be keeping everyone updated of my racing and training progress as the year unfolds.
Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you're all recovering well from the traditional 'eat a lot of chocolate' weekend?
Here's a video featuring some gratuitous physical activity that may inspire you to shift some Easter pounds.
This guy is some kind of fiend. Climbing a 13,000 foot mountain in less time than most of us could run a marathon.
UPDATE: Simon has just informed me that this record was beaten last week by Dani Arnold who made the ascent in 2 hours 28 minutes. These guys are machines.
The conversations span topics from the buttons on a new cardigan that's coming out this autumn to what the AV vote means to UK politics or what you should eat to keep yourself going on a long ride or run.
There are a lot of interesting people out there, and we love hearing from you. Ask us a question or just say hello.
By the way, Facebook and Twitter are also great places to find out about new products and the offers we run.