Mid Life Crisis…. Moi?

The cheeky buggers!

Whilst collecting sponsorships for my London to Paris bike ride – www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood a couple of ‘friends’ mockingly (well I hope that they were mocking) asked whether I was having a mid life crisis.

What do you mean? I asked

The response – “well isn’t that what all MAMILs are doing?”

What’s a MAMIL? I asked

Middle Aged Men In Lycra – they shouted back at me. Ohhhh….

I could sit here and try to defend myself and all MAMILs but I don’t think I need to. After all, what is middle age today? I’m 47 and yes when I was 18, I would have thought 47 men were old, never mind middle aged. However, I don’t feel middle aged at all – in fact I see myself much more active than I’ve ever been, and I think that goes for most of my friends.

So Mid Life Crisis – no!

MAMIL – no! – if you have ever tried to ride a road bike for any distance without the padding around the butt, you’ll know what I mean!

Just a guy trying to keep fit, raising funds for a very important cause and enjoying it – what’s wrong with that.

Just wait until I drive up in my Ferrari and then you can say I’m having a mid life crisis!!

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What’s the point Jeremy Vine?

Peter Stringfellow

I was travelling earlier and listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2.

Peter Stringfellow was a guest, talking about his life and the fact that at age 72, he had just become a father again. Congratulations Peter, I say.

I have to say that my perception of Peter changed during the session – he was very thoughtful, eloquent and generally came across as a nice guy. All was good – a little mindless radio babble to help make the journey go quicker.

However, Mr Vine then stated that it was time for the audience to have their view on Peter’s fatherhood and after a series of general ‘well done’ ‘congratulations’ type calls, a ‘middle aged, ‘middle England’ sounding lady came on stating that it was wrong and very damaging for the child, blah blah blah.

Then another one saying that her son had unfortunately lost his father when he was just 4 (due to cancer) and it had a devastating effect on him and as such, Peter should have thought about such consequences!

What a load of rubbish – what has it got to do with anybody else what PS and his wife decide. Why do people call into such radio shows and state utter claptrap? Do they honestly believe what they are saying.

The biggest question though is why Jeremy Vine thought that this would make a good call in subject – it was obvious to any dimwit that the type of calls would be the ones he got – PS dealt with them all extremely well but honestly Jeremy – what was the point?

Two weeks to go…

London to Paris - 14 days to go

So, in two weeks, I’ll be in a Travelodge in Crystal Palace, London, meeting up with my fellow cyclists, all I’m sure looking forward (with trepidation) to our early morning start to what will be an amazing experience – riding in a group of around 100 from London to Paris.

I have to say, I’ve come a long way since signing up to the event 16 weeks ago. I admit that I signed up to force myself to get fit, to give myself a goal and a purpose to getting out of bed at ‘ridiculous o’clock’ to get in the training, to ensure that I would do the activity irrespective of the weather.

I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it or despise it. I remember saying to a colleague that although I would get to Paris, I might not ever want to get on a bike again!

Well, I can confirm that I have enjoyed the experience so far and feel a whole lot better for having done the training so far. I learned a lot about myself also – about the need to get away from it all and make time for quiet contemplation, about the need to push myself to better my previous times, about the need to push through barriers – tiredness, aches and pains – and the need to just enjoy the moment.

I will certainly be carrying on after the event and I’ve already started to look at more events for next year!

The next two weeks will be punishing – I need to up my daily mileage over the next week before laying off a little on the last few days leading up to the 14th. I also need to ensure that I’ve got all of my kit ready – still need a few things – weekend shopping trip coming up methinks!

I’ve finally managed to confirm the logistics of getting bike, kit and me down to London and back – good old Virgin trains will be carrying me First Class from Preston to London as well as the return. Only thing to sort out now is the best way of traversing London from Euston to Crystal Palace. So, a quick tip – if you are in London on the 13th – late afternoon and you see an ‘old bloke’ on a yellow bike with a kit bag on his back looking lost – stop and help me please!

Sponsoring is going well – I managed to get some ‘corporate’ sponsorship from xynergie and Intuitive Interim & Executive Search as well as MyGoalBook – just waiting for my kit to arrive now – take a look at this little number… Thanks to the guys at Clifton

MyGoalBook cycling Kit
The new MyGoalBook Cycling Kit

Always opportunities for more sponsorship, If you’re interested, go to www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood – everything raised is going to North West Air Ambulance.

NWAA

I’ll be blogging regularly for the next two weeks and during the event itself – I’ll also be posting pictures on my Facebook page as well as the event Facebook page.

Do MPs deserve a pay rise?

Just watching Question Time on the good old BBC and the first question related to proposed increase in MPs salaries. Three MPs on the panel were quick to highlight that they personally don’t think that the time is right, but avoided the real question as far as I’m concerned.

What should the salaries be? Of MPs but also of Ministers etc.

Overall, you might say that their base salary is good- £60k+ but is it really when compared with mid management salaries in general. Don’t we want the best people in Parliament to ensure that the country is governed correctly, that budgets are managed effectively and that core objectives are set and delivered.

Ultimately, I’m a believer in the adage that you get what you pay for – so we probably shouldn’t be too surprised that the country is in the state that it is!

The Moors Murderers

I was born in 1965, in Oldham, Lancashire in the foothills of the Saddleworth Moors where over the previous two years, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley had undertaken some of the most horrifying crimes to date, murdering and burying five children over a two year period.

One of the bodies has still not been discovered, almost 50 years later!

So why is this topical again?

Well, Ian Brady is making a case that he should be moved out of a ‘secured institution’ back into a regular prison so that he can have more freedom to take his own life.

The dilemma that many in the country are facing is whether this man should have any rights at all. Why should he have choices when he ensured that the five children had none? Why should we be incurring all this extra expense to arrange the court hearings to decide on whether he can be moved? One the other side, the question of why don’t we just let him die – at least then we don’t have to continue to pay for this mass murderer to live.

It is a story that can and probably will fill the TV debate programmes for many weeks. However, every time something like this is brought up, the frenzy starts all over again and I feel for the families who are again thrown into the centre of focus.

I think we should let Ian Brady die where he can reunited with Myra Hindley in hell.

I’m getting into the cycling malarkey!

I have to be honest and tell you that when I signed up for the London to Paris cycling challenge, a part of me wondered whether I’d (1) complete the challenge and (2) if I did, would I ever get on a bike again.

After just four weeks, I now know the answer to both of these questions. Without a shadow of doubt, the answer is Yes and Yes. Yes, I will definitely complete the challenge and ride into Paris on the 17th August 2013 and have a photograph taken along with the rest of the group under the Eiffel Tower and Yes, I will definitely continue to cycle.

It is great fun, provides me with time to think and is doing amazing things with my fitness and body tone. I’ve been building up my miles and keeping a detailed record of progress on an App – Strava. There are a number of similar apps out there but this one is ideal and best of all Free. It keeps a detailed record of the journeys that I take, highlights times for specific sections, it even tells me how I compare with other Stava users. A very useful addition to my training plan.

I’ve taken a week off to take in the sun with the family and I’ve missed the bike rides. I’m itching to get back in the saddle and build up the miles again! The next few weeks will be telling though as I’ve really got to start to build up the distances on consecutive days – ideally, a few days of over 25 miles each day within the next couple of weeks would be great, especially if on one of those days, I can stretch to 50+ miles.

I’ve still got over 10 weeks to go, before I need to be at Crystal Palace for 06:30 for the start of what I’m sure will be an amazing four days.

I must have got into this cycling malarkey though – I’ve started to look for the next challenge!

The London to Paris trip is in aid of my 2013 Charity of the Year, North West Air Ambulance. I’m hoping to raise a minimum of £2000 for them from this event and all donations are greatly appreciated. Go to http://www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood if you’d like to contribute.

Training Starts in Earnest…

London to Paris Cycling Challenege

So, I’ve signed up, I bought the kit (Lycra – not a pretty sight!) and I oiled up  – the bike!

Best get off and start the training.

I’m 18 weeks away from cycling London to Paris over 4 days – travelling an average of circa 70 miles a day. Given that I’ve been a social rider so far – i.e. a couple of times a year with the kids, this is a significant challenge for me.

I have to say, I’m not sure that I have the right kit – my hybrid bike is OK but heavy and not streamlined – what can I do to upgrade it? Let’s check the internet….  Things have certainly moved on a lot since I was last ‘into’ bikes. I uncover the latest technology on pedals and click, I’ve ordered them, now lets look at tyres as my off road ones seem to strip off speed better than my brakes, either that or the big bloke on top of the bike is acting like a big ‘sail brake’ – I’ll go for the tyres and see if they make the difference.

Found this great app  – Strava Cycling – downloaded it and instantly, I have a way to measure my efforts and record my activities – in basic form (and I certainly don’t need anything else) it’s free – highly recommended.

Downloaded a 18 week training plan – just what I need – slow start – 3/4 miles for the first couple of weeks building up to 70 miles plus in week 16. Perfect.

So I slide into the saddle and I’m away….

Over the next 17 weeks and during the ride itself, I will be blogging and updating my progress on Facebook.

I’ve set up my sponsorship page at http://www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood and have set myself the challenge to raise a minimum of £2000, so if you would like to contribute, however small, all donations will be gratefully accepted.