Quantcast

Weather the weather

  • Posted by ade
  • 22 March 2013

Whatever the weather this weekend, dress for it and get out in it.

When you're home and changed with a cuppa, your pulsing thawing hands,
deeply aching thighs, burning cheeks and clear bloodshot eyes will be the reward.

The words of this old nursery rhyme says it all.

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

Use your loaf

  • Posted by ade
  • 21 February 2013

It’s annoying isn’t it? You pop out for a loaf of bread and it’s suddenly gone up to £1.50. Wasn’t it a £1 or something not so long ago? Oh well, toast and tea beckon. You stump up the cash and head home.

Not so easy in Kenya where poor families are being affected by the same huge price rises and the choice isn’t between granary or farmhouse white, but between breakfast or sending the kids to school.

So what’s going on? We keep hearing about bad weather and the impact it has on poor harvests, which translates into food shortages. What we don’t hear about so much are the dodgy deals that are pushing up food prices.

Since 2010 more than 44 million people have been driven into extreme poverty by the rising cost of food. At the same time, banks and financial investors are, quite literally making a killing by betting on food prices. The World Development Movement (WDM) estimates that Barclays makes up to £340 million each year through unregulated speculation in food markets, as people starve.

That’s the bad news. The good news is it’s easy to do something.

If you want to make change, legislation is going through the EU right now that can effectively control this greed. Go to http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-speculation for more information on food speculation and to lend them your voice.

Last Day of Summer

  • Posted by ade
  • 21 September 2012

It rained but we still rode our bikes.
It rained but we still ran new trails.
It rained but we still swam open water.
It rained but the days were still long.
It rained but we still had summer holidays.
It rained but we still went to the beach.
It rained but we still wore shorts.

It rained but it was still a great summer.

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.

Friendship through adversity

  • Posted by howies
  • 7 March 2012
Twenty-five years ago, Bill and I rode rigid steel mountain bikes from Kashgar in China to Chitral in Pakistan. It was hard yakka all the way. Our friendship was young as we set off: we’d come together for the adventure.

I ride a bicycle for many reasons. Perhaps the most powerful reason at this stage of my life is to share the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends. Happily, all my best friends ride. I’m not saying that we can’t be friends if you don’t ride – that would be absurd – nor am I suggesting that I’m friends with everyone I’ve ever ridden with. It’s just that all my best friends do ride. That’s the way things have turned out.

When I reflect upon the friends I have now, though, I realise the link between cycling and friendship is more profound than I’d previously thought. I see there is a direct correlation between how close my friends and I are, and how many miles we’ve put in together. I’m not talking about commuting miles or Sunday morning miles. I’m talking about the hard miles, the miles where you’re hanging and sore and need help, the miles where you’re far from home, shit’s gone wrong and your mettle is being tested. These are the miles that really count. Adversity puts friendship on the line. When things go awry, we subconsciously confide in each other. This leaves a lasting bond.

Twenty-five years ago, Bill and I rode rigid steel mountain bikes from Kashgar in China to Chitral in Pakistan. It was hard yakka all the way. Our friendship was young as we set off: we’d come together for the adventure. When my cheap aluminium luggage rack fell apart deep in the Hindu Kush, Bill offered to strap one of my panniers to his back. I knew then our friendship had distance. When I got married a decade later, he was my best man.

I have as many examples of hard miles with folk I’ve subsequently come to trust as I have good friends, so when my Dad died suddenly last autumn, old riding buddies were the first people I called.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: ‘A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.’ I believe in this. It’s why I’m still riding the hard miles, and why I’m still making new friends. It’s why I’ve hooked up with Ade and Alex and the howies team to organise a ride across Wales at night, in March. When I’m lost in a dark forest with a broken chain somewhere between Cardigan and Abergavenny, when the night seems dead, when hope is fading and the right road is gone, then new friendships will be forged.

Rob Penn
www.bikecation.co.uk

5 Item(s)

per page