…..so it’s goodbye to 2013

I’m not one of those bloggers who likes to do a long, detailed summary of the last 12 months (thank goodness, I hear you say….). They usually end up being tedious “boasts on a post” (sometimes you get Christmas letters just like that). But I have noticed that it is many weeks since I talked about anything cycling-related. And having changed the header photo on my blog to an image of a walker (a picture I took in the early morning just north of Sheffield), you may be wondering if this man has hung up his wheels. Well, the short answer to that is…… no chance!

With Lake Pukaki, leading up to the base of Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand

With Lake Pukaki, leading up to the base of Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand

Despite the gales and heavy rains of the last few weeks, I decided not to be deterred, and December has turned out to have been a busy month on the bike….. even allowing for the interruption of Christmas (just shy of 1000 miles/1600kms). But it is also at this time of the year when I cast an eye over mileages, places visited and routes taken over the previous 12 months, that I may be guilty of ‘waxing lyrical’. If I do, please excuse me. If it bores you, just hit that little x at the in top right hand corner of your screen……

I was riding with a couple of cycling buddies a few weeks ago, and one of them said: “Frank, what mileage are you aiming for this year?”. I replied: “Well, there’s an outside chance I might hit 11,000 miles, but I’m not banking on it with these weather conditions”. Someone else teasingly said “Well, I shouldn’t tell you what I once did many years ago”. Well, of course, it invited the question from everyone in the group “So what did you do many years ago?” Almost soto voce, he said “26,000 miles”. My immediate response was “so you mustn’t have been working for a living……”. Well, of course, he did hold down a regular job, but was still covering more than 500 miles a week (including commuting and racing).

Tommy @odwin 1912-1975

Tommy Godwin 1912-1975

Of course, anything achieved by anyone in the light of what Tommy Godwin did back in 1939-40 pales into insignificance. He began on January 1st to ride 200 miles a day for a whole year, covering more than 75,000 miles (120,000 kms), and then proceeded to do the fastest 100,000 miles(162,000kms) on record, which he achieved in only 500 days. ‘Chapeau’ to him…… and remember, nearly half his mileage was during the first 6 months of the War, and he was riding a Raleigh weighing over 30lbs(14kgs)!

Anyway, let’s climb down from the dizzy heights of the super-achiever, and dwell in the realms of the ‘wannabes’ and the ‘might-have-beens’. This humble crank-turner did hit 11,000 miles just 3 days before the end of the year, which is just as well, because in the closing days and hours of the year, an annoying head cold is keeping him (almost) confined to quarters.

Outside the 2,500 miles/4000kms of my expedition Down Under, my biggest month of the year was the 1,250 miles cycled in August (including the CTC Birthdays Rides), and on only 6 days of the year did I exceed 100 miles/162kms (though many were just 5-10 miles short of that).

At the top of Mam Tor in Derbyshire

At the top of the Mam Tor road in Derbyshire

Jenny, my wife, constantly tells me I shouldn’t push myself so hard, and maybe I should listen more carefully to my body. Oh dear, the beginning of a new year means resolution time. Is it time to grow up and settle down…….? Slippers and pipe maybe…..? A good resolve for the coming year might be to find ourselves a more comfortable tandem, and to spend more time pedalling as a twosome with Jenny.

Now there’s a thought…….

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on December 30, 2013, in Cycling UK and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Giddy up Frank! Happy New Year to you.

  2. Hi Frank

    Did I read “PIPE & SLIPPERS”?

    I attach photos of a meerschaum calabash pipe owned by my life-long artist friend, DAVID FISHER ARTIST ( google him to inspect his gallery ). Unfortunately David died earlier in the year after a long battle with cancer and his wife sent me his pipe as a memento.

    I also attach pictures of sketches I made of my own similar pipe used during my college days when David and I studied together.

    If a pipe is on your agenda this is a rolls royce must have.

    Happy new year to you and yours,

    Phil Lewis, Chippenham Wheelers

    Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 18:39:00 +0000 To: philiproylewis@hotmail.co.uk

  3. Hi Frank, Wishing you all the best for 2014. ( we met in NZ – Huka falls). Quick question:- what security lock do you carry when you are touring ? The better locks seem to weigh so much (>1kg), and knowing how particular you are re weight thought you would be the perfect person to ask. Thanks Paul

    Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 18:39:01 +0000 To: paulmiller25@hotmail.com

    • And a very happy new year to you, Paul. With locks, I trade off security against weight. I carry a simple light lock, which is a visual deterrent for most potential thieves, and accept that the determined dedicated thief is going to get the bike anyway, whatever the lock.

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