Odd Day.

All started well, was making pretty good time and even planning how much further I could push things and maybe eat a bit out of tomorrow’s ride. By the time I got through Rugby I was totally cocking around and had found a new game, instead of saying hi to people say something else, so after a few verses of Klingon and a bit of Sindarin I think I’ve left Rugby baffled 😀

So I decided on some breakfast and made do with some things I picked up earlier in my travels… Not such a good idea rapidly can’t to mind. Terrible stomach cramps, blood levels going crazy, wanting to throw up. Ugh not good! This went on well into the afternoon and all the stopping and starting it was causing really scuppered progress.
By Northampton the Garmin decided it would be for the best to put me on the A5 AGAIN. What’s with the thing?! I’m beginning to think it’s deliberately trying to kill me! Saw some cycle paths so took off down them. Sorted much to its annoyance. Soon I was on the CMK, a smooth wide track for bikes into Milton Keynes, which connects to a brilliant bike path structure going everywhere and keeping well away from the roads. It’s how all bike path systems should be!

Soon I was on the CMK, a smooth wide track for bikes into Milton Keynes, which connects to a brilliant bike path structure going everywhere and keeping well away from the roads. It’s how all bike path systems should be!
Lancet developed an off pssh sound coming from something drive train related. Not sure what but the amount of crud on everything can’t be helping. So that will be tonight’s plan! The rain which had been on and off with quick showers since mid morning then went full on Keswick. Lovely, to went and hid for a bit under some trees and find this lass with a puncture so loaned her some proper tools. The

The rain which had been on and off with quick showers since mid morning then went full on Keswick. Lovely, to went and hid for a bit under some trees and find this lass with a puncture so loaned her some proper tools. The tyre levers she had were part of a multi tool so utterly a waste of time. Pedro’s to the rescue! And a proper pump too.

So given in for the night, early finish for once and decided to rest my stomach and prep for a good ride tomorrow.

Hills, Horses, and Garmin Gremlins.

Early morning ride to make up for yesterday. In the Keswick Bikes green jersey this morning, not quite the sprinters jersey but hoping that it will help make up plenty of time!

With the disastrous start yesterday I needed to make up some ground so set off at early hours on the back roads of Cheshire which felt very much like home which was a huge bonus. Even paid a quick visit to Jodrell Bank which is HUUUGE! I would say WOW but might get that’s probably really playing with words 😛 Sadly I couldn’t stay long to get a proper nose around as it was early hours, and I needed to get some miles in.

Eventually reached the town I was meant to stay in last night, Mow Cap. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get here last night as it would have killed me. A real swine of a climb right from home with a heart and lungs busting killer 25% summit. As some of the mHealth folks know I tend to have two modes with climbs, the grind and mutter, or the full on Jensie mode calling the hill every insult in the book! Will let you guess which this one was 😛 Total agony but at the top was an amazing tower ruin. On a clear day, the view is fantastic.

The descent gave my brakes a good workout with the load but still feel they could easily do far more. Starting zapping through towns and also taking a few pics of the various churches and old buildings. Reached Stoke in no time and a silly 6 lane A-road in the middle of town really wound up. So, in the end, thought sod it and took off down a cycle path which upset the Garmin no end. The path was great, right through the centre and I just kept on it. The Garmin kept attempting to correct me and go back to weaving though no end of back roads and traffic jams! Pfft to that!

Soon after the Garmin decides the route we are on is incorrect, so it attempts to divert me to Derby! OK, it might be fine to drop in and see my Aunt but not by adding an 80-mile diversion! So after losing a few miles to it besides figuring it out it was very annoying. Seems good old turning it off and on again fixed it though. Solution to all tech problems!

Passed the JCB factory, exactly at 12.30 as lines of cars, bikes, and everything exited the place filling the road. They had a huge toy sandpit, as in 6+ football pitch sized filled with people playing with all of JCB’s toy collection. Very impressive!

The day progressed along nicely. Found a nice lil Pinarello shop for a quick nosey. Later on, a group from it went flying past which I couldn’t stick with at all with me at my pedestrian pace. I did meet up with them down the road, and they have a shop ride out in middle of a Friday afternoon and the company van comes out to a pub they’ve ridden to and gives them the lift back to the shop. An interesting concept it seems.

Soon after met another group out, felt sorry for the poor guys at the back getting passed by someone with panniers on though. Was a bit of a shame the rest turned off as I was really looking forward to introducing them to the 10 cog on the next descent 😀

Eventually neared Nuneaton. Uttoxeter was great, very bike friendly to get through so was expecting similar. But sheesh no. Not even a handy pavement to hop on when trying to navigate the A5. The road has a 50 cap, not like anyone used it! Scared me witless and I had to get off the road almost instantly. Daft thing was I needed to get preferably 5 miles down it, but couldn’t see that happening without getting killed! Jam packed with traffic all going 70+. Terrifying! In the end though I had no option, it was the only way. Considered sitting or out till like 10pm and hope it got quiet. In the end found by dayglo’s, fitted my amazing Bontrager Flare RT to the rear, charged the radar, and dived into the maelstrom. Dove down the first exit road I could much too the annoyance of the Garmin but I didn’t care, I was off that road! Tomorrow wise I’m looking for another early start to get well away from the traffic chaos of Nuneaton and to give me plenty of time to deal with Milton Keynes and hopefully get a chance to visit Bletchley Park.

Tomorrow wise I’m looking for another early start to get well away from the traffic chaos of Nuneaton and to give me plenty of time to deal with Milton Keynes and hopefully get a chance to visit Bletchley Park.

A hard first day!

First off it took forever to escape the hospital. Yes, I had a “normal” checkup before leaving before the good ol’ handshakes and best wishes as this lunatic setoff. Think I wasted a good 90mins in the Hospital before getting going *sigh*.

Green Lane Garage, Garstang

Ten miles down the road in Garstang, my front rack failed… Not a happy bunny! But also all my own fault for not being thorough enough on checking every last nut and bolt. Thankfully not far off though was Green Lane Garage, and Chris there was an utter star and helped me out to get something together. Without him, I would of probably just got a taxi back to Lancaster and thought sod it all! I was really getting pretty downbeat by this time, and even more so when looking at the clock and I was two and half hours in and I had only done ten miles.

Eventually, I did get going and heading south and was soon in Preston and having no end of hassles both navigating the city and so many of places around it. It felt like being trapped in the backend of West Cumbria and unable to escape, but without the scenic areas to escape into. Scary! Also found it to be one of those places filled with bike hating jackasses who had no time for any other road user other than themselves in their metal boxes.

Escaping Preston and getting moving I was finding time slipping away badly and I was making very slow progress. In the end, I simply thought I had had enough for the day and needed to find a place to hide for the night and get rid of this day as soon as possible. I was about 13 miles away from my destination for the day from my initial plans but that could have been much worse. Tomorrow I hope to get an early start and if the roads keep like the ones here in Cheshire it should be pretty easy to get some decent miles in. Better luck tomorrow I hope!

Lancaster to Paris – Setting off on Thursday 18th May

 

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary last month opened its new Diabetes Hub to aid in even better care and research. Setting off on Thursday 18th May Allan will be riding from the Diabetes Hub to the Eiffel Tower, again on his own with just a bike, a tent, and panniers loaded with various pieces of equipment, medical supplies, and food. Along the way, there will be both a blog and live tracking on this site.

A point of interest for the ride is also the bike which Allan will be using. Made by himself, hand cut, shaped and welded by the lad himself. He is actually finding it somewhat amusing as he classes it as “the most advanced bike in the world” which raises many eyebrows as people wonder what it is he is going on about as it’s just a steel framed bike, lugged, resembling something to some degree as something from the sixties or seventies. Upon closer inspection things tend to differ though, the quiet monstrous hydraulic brakes which are routed internally, the electronic gearing, all of which are state of the art but hardly making it that advanced. An even closer look and the gearing system is some very strange hybrid, half mountain bike and half road bike, while very unusual still not that “advanced”. But then there is all the other strange electrical going’s on’s. The bike is sporting all manner of strange sensory equipment, various wireless systems, it is talking to a phone, the cloud. What is going on with it?!

The bike, or Lancet as he refers to it in reference to finger pricking devices used by diabetics (and a running joke in the diabetic world as they are made from steel and last forever never getting swapped) uses it’s sensors to read Allan’s insulin pump and takes his insulin levels and amount of food he’s taken. It is also taking his blood glucose readings every four minutes and attempts to predict the direction of his blood glucose and reducing or increasing his insulin levels based on those directions. Reading sensors on the bike for his power output and heart rate it’s also able to make predictions based on the amount of food he has taken as to if he’ll need more based on the earlier readings for insulin in his blood stream and the direction of his blood glucose. All this information is sent to a small Garmin screen so he can view his current blood glucose level and see what the onboard systems are doing to him, alongside normal navigation and riding information. Along with his self-made concoction of a bike this also self-made ridable artificial pancreas based system makes for a very unusual and unique bicycle.

Allan expresses a huge thank you to everyone for the response and donations thus far. He also thanks his local GP’s over the years who have aided Allan with this condition. And for the fantastic team looking after him at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary he is immensely grateful for getting him where he is now, and for the check-up, he has to have before he’s allowed to set off. Ok, maybe not so much that last point!

If you wish to make a donation they can be made online at http://bit.ly/2rfEucC

 

Medtronic 640G Pump Fliddling

Went down to the Lancaster i Pumps tonight. Got out of work and utterly blitzed it home. Got to Penrith with spare time and even got to the meeting early. One of those nights I guess.

The big topic of the night was the new Medtronic 640G pump with a presentation from Medtronic with help from local test user of the pump Dave Sowerby.

Not actually being able to use one I can’t actually say how well the Smart Guard hypo prevention works when really pushed in my usual inevitable taking things to the limits, and then take them a bit further just to see how far they’ll go. But still it did look a nice touch.

So getting to fiddling with it for five minutes. The new user interface and general feel of it is improved. The ability to create presets for various things is a very nice feature. Bolus Wizard has been tweaked, it always was good but seems better still now. Being waterproof is great, and long overdue as we live with British weather! Shining a torch on the screen seemed to work as a test to see if it’s readable in bright direct light…seemed pretty clear even then so that’s very nice!

The pumps heavy reliance on CGM sensors was discussed, which is always a hot topic as to can we or can’t we get them out of a hospital. With its Smart Guard needing CGM sensors all the time that really will depend on how the NHS becomes more open to general CGM sensor funding for all…that as we all know is best not holding your breath for. It does work without the CGM sensors, yet without them it really just becomes another pump with a colour screen, and a software upgrade.

So do I like it? I honestly don’t know. The portrait layout of the device compared to the landscape format of all the earlier models will make it more difficult for me personally if I had one mounted on my arm as I usually do. But only as far as I’d need to have more slack tubing in my arm pouch so I could rotate it around. That could in theory at least result it tugging on it and make it rotate while on my arm but this really can’t be known until it’s tried in use.  Am I putting how to attach it to me over actually it’s features and use? Probably.  Would I like one? With the CGM sensors yes for the Smart Guard, without them hmm, not overly sure…maybe *shrug*

Off to Lancaster again…

OK, a few goofs already. Firstly I couldn’t find a “sample” bottle do not taking one. That’ll get me in the dog house right off. And I’ve also not brought the correct blood/food is had book, so going to be in the dog house for that also, although that’s an easy fix as they can download it all off my pump, along with the sensor data off the ride. Still expecting to get moaned at though.

On a good note just set a personal best time to Penrith train station in 81mins. Oddly didn’t really feel that I was pushing it, no silly out of the seat sprints needed to get the train either. Guess my legs are still pretty decent at the moment.

Appointments

I woke and my bloods are a nice 5.3, a good bowl of Alpen and I was ready for the off. Slight snag being it was 5.30 and I had an appointment at the Royal Lancaster at 9 to get a new CGM (Constant Glucose Monitor) sensor fitted. I really needed to be out at 4 to make that.

The road was great, lovely and wish. My legs were ok, but I couldn’t climb at all. Caldbeck yesterday obviously really did them in sadly. But needs must and all that. By the time I had reached Ambleside side I was already through a bottle of my sports mix drink and a chocolate bar, and I was still going down. It seems my body was still recharging from yesterday’s silliness.

By the time I reached Kendal it was already turning 9. This want going to plan. I contacted the hospital and said I would be there as soon as possible.

It wasn’t that soon. My legs were having none of it. To try and save time, and hassle of the main A roads to Lancaster I decided to go didn’t the cycle track… Big mistake. Hills and my weak legs and more miles. Exactly what I didn’t need. The good thing though was my bloods were stable again.

Looking at the map I decided to cut out the lovely cycle route along the canal and nail it down the main road. And while on the flat, with the right blood levels, I really did nail it. Finally getting to the hospital at 11.54 which was just a little late. Thankfully the diabetic specialist nurse who was with a trainee was there to get me ready for the next half of this ride.

While in Lancaster I used the opportunity to pick up a security cable to secure the panniers as I’ve been worried about those. And also got some lunch. While passing Greenhalghs bakers, there was a lady outside giving away test samples of pie. Beautiful. Soon as I got a bit, it seemed the street descended on her hehe. But as we got talking, she kindly donated lunch to my ride. I’ve put the value of the lunch into the JDRF as it’s not really possible to donate food to a charity but love her kindness.

While eating my dinner in the central square paved area, not sure actually is name, will have to ask. I lady with a pram asked if I had a pump she could borrow as the pram had a flat. Sadly my pump is Presta only so wasn’t any use. Then I had a brain wave. The emergency inflater CO2 bottles. I have a few on me so I could spare one for a good cause. I screwed on the valve, attached it and poof, sorted. Leaving a ice chunk on the rim. She was delighted, and said she’ll have to pick one up as it was so handy.

Back on the cycle track I was just asking directions off a local lady when this old gentleman on a bike pulls up and we get chatting as the lady left. It all turns out he’s the SusTrans Ranger for this part of the route. He gave me some nice directions and route tweaks and also donated £10 which was fantastic. A really nice guy.

I got going again and was aiming to get into Preston. But my knees started aching and thought best not to push them hard today after yesterday. Phoned around a few places to stay, included what the Yellow Pages said was a Hostel, which was actually a retirement home. Anyhow, long story short phoned around, and got a room at the Best Western. A little more expensive than the b&b’s in Scotland by overall not bad at all for a place with an en suite golf course. And best of all, a very comfy legs.

Always an Adventure Part 2

Well…dinner was delayed. Seems I couldn’t order any dinner till 5.30pm, which OK was a 45mins wait which was the best solution since I felt I needed it.

The long delay in Ambleside of 90mins and the wind was still as nasty as it was beforehand. The long slog climb up Dunmail was nasty with the headwind in my face all the way, so much so by the time I reached Thirlmere I decided to duck behind it and hide from the wind for a bit even if it did mean I was adding an extra couple of miles.

It was nice, very quiet without a single car. That made up for the added distance in itself just about! But best of all the wind was much more pleasant being sheltered by the trees until I reached the dam wall. The wind was seriously blasting while crossing, and continued to do so all the way home.

On a nice day, that ride would of been brilliant I think. The canal, the lakes and the views. But with the headwind sapping all the way it sadly really did pull on my all the way. But these are learning experiences so that’s all good!

Always an adventure…

There is something nice about every ride and that is they are all adventures. Small or large doesn’t matter, but they all have a tale to tell.

Today has had loads of lovely little things. There was the suicidal rabbit this morning which ran between my wheels and scared me for a moment. There was the police sniffer pups in training which were a lot of fun. The gentle ride along the canal, the little kids with the ducks and the narrow boats. Me getting hopelessly lost in Kendal with its one way system. The train crossing, never ridden over one of those before. And the headwind on the way home, causing huge white horses on Windermere making it resemble the sea more than a lake.

So while I wait for my dinner in Ambleside I sit enjoying the sun looking forward to the ride home…