I forgot to celebrate when this blog passed the 1,000 views ten days or so ago (now around 1,330) so a Thank You is overdue to everyone who has visited and suffered my inconsequential mutterings and an extra Thank You to all who have been so impressed by my sheer cheek that they have put links to https://justwilliams.wordpress.com on their own blogs.
So why do I blog? Well, until a few weeks ago I had mixed feelings about it and would have replied that it is an excuse to write, which is something I enjoy doing because it makes me concentrate and marshall my thoughts, and there is just an outside chance that someone else might read and even respond to my ramblings. Now I have that excuse plus confirmation that it actually works. Just as I am a regular visitor (almost daily in some cases) to many of the other blogs linked here, I too have the pleasure of being visited and of receiving comments. Who knows how this might develop, given the growing popularity of cycling, or where it might go. But like cycling itself, the destination is not necessarily the important thing. What matters is to enjoy the journey.
As for my cycling, progress is being made. I am much more confident and in control than I felt just six weeks ago and while I arrive home tired after a typical ride, I feel so much better for having made the effort. I am slowly getting fitter and certainly have the weight under control. Even the fact that the weight has remained steady these past few weeks seems a good indication because I must have built or at least strengthened muscle (which is heavier than fat) and must therefore have lost a corresponding amount of fat – and trousers which were a perfect fit only weeks ago are now definitely loose. So if you are thinking about taking up cycling to improve health and fitness you can safely assume that I think it is a good idea, with the usual proviso that it would be wise to consult your doctor first if you have any health issues that raise doubts about the wisdom of cycling.
I had my usual mid-week ride again on Wednesday, from St Mellons to Marshfield, up the hill through Castleton and home again along the Newport road. It was uneventful except that when I stopped to consult a map I had company again. This time it was a cyclist whose bike was in the back of his car. He was heading towards one of his favourite cycling places on the coast but had taken an unfamiliar route and needed directions. It was soon obvious that he knew the coastal area rather well and I will be extending a Sunday ride soon to go and have a look.
The sign said “Traffic Calming Ahead”. The hill in the picture above followed shortly afterwards and it certainly calmed me. I don’t know what the gradient was but I can manage that hill without getting off the saddle. My method on hills is to drop down through the gears early and pedal fast on a light load for as long as possible. If I find it too hard to keep going while remaining firmly in the saddle, then it is time to walk. There is no hurry.
This is Newport road at Castleton, looking towards Cardiff. Though it is a major dual carriageway the traffic has been light between 11am and 3pm and the cycling has been quite enjoyable.
My Raleigh Oakland having a rest before setting off along Newport Road. Whether cycling, motoring or even walking I have developed a new habit recently of looking to see what potential exists for better cycling facilities. Perhaps it is a bit tough on the Welsh Assembly Government, and on our esteemed local authority here in Cardiff, but I have only one fairly comprehensive standard by which to measure local progress towards a green and bike-friendly environment. That is the video by Professor John Pucher that was widely publicised a few weeks ago.