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  1. Do MAMILs dream of electronic shifting?

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    My first road bike (back in the 80’s) had classic down tube gear levers, not only did you dice with death when changing gear at speed but you also had to fettle each change to avoid that annoying clicking when the gear isn’t quite lined up.

    Shimano then introduced the ‘indexed’ system which allowed accurate gear changes with a single click, no messing around moving a tiny lever minute amounts to get the gear in!


    But times move on and now electronic shifting is all the rage. Pro’s ride them so a Tour de France full of bikers can’t be wrong? I do wonder how many mechanicals are blamed on shifter failure, it can’t be that many or too detrimental or I suspect natural selection would kick in and a different solution found.

    I came across an interesting article on the Cyclist website discussing the future of intelligent shifting based upon data collected from each shift; some predict a world where manual shifting is a thing of the past. As a mediocre rider I remain to be convinced and at this point in time would spend my money on a wheel upgrade to improve my cycling. However, as a technology fan I can’t ignore the ingenious way these shifters work and maybe one lottery win later will see me riding them?

    This may just be the preserve of racing and sportives, LEJOG riders will probably want to stick with something they can fix at the roadside!


  2. Kindle Unlimited Trial – How unlimited is Unlimited?

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    The Kindle Unlimited Trial rolls on…

    I’ve now had a chance to test out the trial and all is going well. I have a stack of reading, downloading these books has been very simple but I have started to get the feeling that Kindle Unlimited is not so unlimited.

    Kindle Unlimited

    The Kindle Unlimited Free Trial might not be for everyone

    If you were considering doing the Kindle Unlimited free trial in order to download lots of books, cancel the subscription and enjoy your reading at a later date you will be a little disappointed. The limit is set at 10 downloads at any one time; you can return books to free up space for further downloads but be aware that when you cancel the trial, all your Kindle Unlimited books will disappear. They will, of course, remain if you decide to take the paid subscription after the trial period has ended.

    Although the books will disappear, any notes, bookmarks or highlights you might have made will be saved to your Amazon account. The theory is that these will be available if you buy the books or take out a Kindle Unlimited subscription and download it at a later date.

    Maybe a way to judge whether you want to keep going with the paid subscription (currently at £7.99 – Jan 2016) is perhaps to compare your reading wish list to Kindle Unlimited and see if the titles are offered. Most people sign up to save money I guess, but running a few calculations, I don’t think I can consume a book fast enough to really save a lot of money. The vast majority of books listed in Kindle Unlimited sell at $4.99 or less and there doesn’t seem to be a whole load of best sellers on offer. I tend to read novels at around 1-2 a month (not all are Kindle books) so I would be breaking even at best.

    If you are an Amazon Prime customer, you may wish to consider the Kindle On-Line Lending Library as an alternative, it’s part of the Prime Subscription and you don’t have to return books! If I was a Prime customer this might suit my personal circumstances a little better, I could borrow a book and get around to reading it at some point without paying any more for that privilege.

    So, I enjoyed browsing what was on offer and discovered a few new authors but I suspect I will not be signing up for Unlimited, it just doesn’t suit my reading habits. I know there are people out there who consume books a lot faster than I can so this might be a good option for them. Amazon are very good at telling you the benefits of a feature if it is positive, I had to hunt around to find out the not so positive stuff e.g. the 10 book limit download.

    speed readIf you do sign up for the free trial, Amazon will assume that you want to continue with Unlimited and pay the subscription, it’s down to you to cancel the trial before its end date. This date is made very clear by Amazon as is the need for you to cancel if you do not wish to continue with a paid subscription.

    My own Kindle publication is currently priced at $3.99 which equates to £2.80, I do offer it on Kindle Unlimited and have been pleased with the income generated, I donate all royalties to www.criduchat.org.uk. Although the download is ‘free’, I get paid per page read for the first time. Additionally, it gets my book out into the readers’ hands, with luck they will like it and talk about it to other people. The more people who recommend it, the more paid downloads will result (fingers crossed).

    But don’t take my word for it, have a look and see what you think, just click the cover image!


    If you fancy having a look at the trial, click here.

  3. Team 14 takes shape for a sponsored Ironman.

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    Team 14 takes shape.

    New Sponsored Challenge for 2015!

    I’ve been very fortunate in the past to get help from the right people when it comes to long challenges. The people I ride/train with are always the first point of call, their experiences and detailed knowledge of what it takes to be successful is invaluable. Mark P, Steve P, Ray, Phil T and Simon S, I count myself lucky to know these chaps, they have the endurance mind set.

    Then there are the fitness professionals who share my passion for being healthy and raising money for good causes.

    My gym, www.tfdgym.co.uk provided me with a place to train for the LEJOG ride in 2012, they also provided lots of expert knowledge to help me build up to the ride. I am in no doubt that things would have been a lot harder had I not had the right guidance. I met with Lisa and team in early January to float the idea of the Ironman, they have stepped up to the plate again, I was over-whelmed with their offers of help.

    At various times over the next few months, I’ll be posting about the people supporting this event which I have chosen to name Team14 (more on that in another bog).


    The Boss

    Lisa is a swimmer; in fact, we both were, swimming at the local club as kids. The word ‘legend’ is sadly over-used in today’s world but it is apt in Lisa’s case. She attempted to swim the English Channel in 2011, was fished out after 15 hours in the water with both eyes swollen shut, protesting that she was in the right place mentally and everything was good…that speaks volumes. The tide had turned within 3 miles of France, that is cruel.  I know this was a warm up for the main event though, to gain experience for when she achieves it at the next attempt!


    Psychological Edge

    Lena is Sports Psychology student and will be helping me to focus on achieving my training goals plus improving my concentration; pacing is key for an event like this and energy margins are slim, I can’t afford to take my eye off the ball. Her holistic approach covers all aspects of training and life; her help will provide a good base to see this challenge in the bag.


    Strength & Conditioning

    Martin will be working on a specific strength and conditioning programme. I like the idea behind this; it’s all about functional fitness, compound movements that employ many muscle groups. Martin is a stickler for correct form and execution, which ticks my OCD boxes nicely!


    All-round Core Strength

    Clare is helping me with core strength and flexibility, one of which is awful! I’ve never been the most flexible person there is but I have adopted a programme of stretching to help.  Additionally, I attended my first Pilates class on Wednesday to get an idea of some core exercise alternatives. My first impression is that anyone can do Pilates but it is difficult to do really well. The foam roller plus a tennis ball have become my best stretching buddies in the last few weeks!


    I have been training with the event in mind since Christmas; the additional input above will ensure that the programme becomes focused on the end goal. It’s great to be working with Team14!
    New Sponsored Challenge for 2015!


    For more information on this event, click here.

    Further reading…..

    If you liked this blog please take a moment to check out my book describing the solo Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in 2012, all profit from sales to www.criduchat.org.uk

    Please click the cover image for the Kindle version or click here to order a paperback copy. Thank you!


  4. Point North & Pedal makes Writing Magazine!

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    In a desperate bid to garner more publicity I submitted Point North & Pedal as a piece of writers news to Writing Magazine…good on ’em, they published my letter!

    Writing Magazine

    Further reading…..

    If you liked this blog please take a moment to check out my book describing the solo Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in 2012, all profit from sales to www.criduchat.org.uk

    Please click the cover image for the Kindle version or click here to order a paperback copy. Thank you!