Well it has been a chilly old week or so, it seems. I have found it hard on the old motivation to get home in the evening and head on out again to the gym, but I have been (mostly) keeping to my rules. I have however been submitting to the lesser evil of doing HIIT repeats on the bike in front of the telly rather than braving the cold and wind to get down to the gym. I noticed the other day on my program sheet that my attendance for the last month has been fairly spotty, so must try to do better on that count this month.

My gym session on the weekend ended up being the occasion of my first little run in ages. I headed out on Saturday afternoon in my gym gear with a jumper. I normally walk to the gym but it was so freezing that I decided I should start my warmup straight away and went for a little run for the kilometre or so that it takes to get to my gym. I think that counts as going for a run.

I had been thinking about regularly using the treadmill to make my ten minute warmup at the gym a short jog. However, I don’t know that I can run on the tready – I feel unco and keep imagining that I am going to trip or fall off or something (things that are not outside of the realm of possibility for me).

The task for this month is to be a bit more intentional about scheduling my workouts in my diary so that I don’t lose track of what I am doing.

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So last week I had a lovely day for my birthday. We headed out to buy me a bike – actually the first bike I have actually owned since I was but a wee child. After tooling around the car park on the different models they recommended, I rather embarrassingly settled on almost the same model as Hub’s bike.

So we have taken the opportunity to go out for a few rides together on our matching his n hers bikes. I am still pretty rusty on the cycling front – I feel terrified on the road so we try to stick to paths as much as possible for now. Generally this leads to us getting hopelessly lost, me getting pissed off and chucking a massive tanty because I just don’t want to keep riding any more. Today involved a cross country event and walking our bikes up a staircase. It’s great fun.

Once I get home and showered and fed I am normally much more civil to everyone. At the moment I am just happy that the sore arse and sore legs are the things making me groan, rather than fear of coughing up a lung. For those that haven’t yet – make sure you get your flu shot cause this year’s strain is a doozy.

So I was feeling all positive about how everything was going but then was struck down by a terrible lurgy which has been hanging around for over two weeks now. The question of whether or not to exercise didn’t even rate a rumpled brow as I tried to once again cough up a lung.

Surely enough the first sign of feeling better was feeling crabby and envious of Hub going out on his new bike. So my first outing was to head out on the bike with Hub for a leisurely 20K or so along foreshore bike paths. The way out was fine, but for the lack of suspension and/or padding on my bike seat meaning that every rock and pebble vibrated through whatever bones are being hidden by my ample buttocks.

The last 5K or so was wretched, mainly cause my sinuses started streaming (and the aforementioned bone vibration system was not getting any better). Anyway, Hub is keen to keep on schedule with the weekend rides o togetherness, even though he is cheating by getting in lots of kms on the rest of the days of the week just so he can show me up.

With Easter coming up (and me hopefully feeling better again still) the weekend will be longer and the expectation of rides correspondingly higher. So I bit the bullet and got myself some stretchy lycra shorts with associated padding to assist with the whole bone buttock vibration phenomenon. I will try not to frighten the kiddies.

It’s Hub here!

I am not sure that I should admit that considering some of what has been posted about “hub” at this site. So, let me say this at the start: it is all lies!

Anyway, I purchased my bike a couple of weeks ago. Some of you even offered advice on the sort of things to look out for, a big thank you for your input.

The short story is that I ended up buying a [Merida Crossway TS500D]


So, what about the long story?

Well, after visiting four local bike shops I felt like my head was going to explode with the options. The problem for newcomers to the sport is that each bike store stock their own particular brand and therefore push a different bike. As a new person to bikes I had no idea on how to go about comparing what was best. One thing I did like from the bike shops is how willing they were to spend time with me. They listened to my needs and offered suggestions. Other than one store, I could not have hoped for better service.

When asked what my needs were I spoke about how I wanted to ride the Mornington Peninsula foreshore trails. These trails are a mixture of tar paths, compact sandy soil and some bits have loose sand for a few metres. The other use would be the bike paths in the northern suburbs for my commute to work which are tar/concrete paths. I did still want to retain the option of being able to ride on the road in a way that allowed me to experience road riding, as though I felt I wasn’t ready now, I did want the option of testing out if I wanted to buy a road bike later.

The main issue became a choice between a mountain bike – Giant Talon 2 and a Merida Crossway. Each of these were proposed by a different store. The Giant Talon is a mountain bike and the Merida is a Hybrid. The first store I went to (which is closest to our weekender) pushed the Giant Talon strongly. Their argument was that the mountain bike would handle the foreshore well, as well as offering me the road as an option by placing slicker tyres on the bike. The guy seemed somewhat of a purist to me as he was not a fan of hybrids at all. He effectively said: you should either get a mountain bike or a road bike and even better get both.

The second shop (about 20 mins away from our weekender), pushed the Merida Crossway or another mountain bike. Hearing that I wanted to test out road riding they felt the hybrid would offer a better experience on the road, while still being able handle the foreshore tracks.

So, I went back to the first store. The guy was still insistent that the mountain bike would be better than the hybrid. I was not convinced and asked to see some hybrids – basically didn’t want to show them to me. He then showed me a road bike, which I liked but I wasn’t ready for that step yet.

So, the next day I went back to the store selling the Merida Crossway and purchased it.

In the end, I am glad that the process of buying the bike is over and I am really enjoying the sport. It is addictive but in a healthy way. Lots more opportunity to spend money on books, magazines, gadgets and other accessories much to Deege’s dismay.

So Hub finally bought his bike. Thanks to those that gave advice. For those that are interested in the details, he is going to post his sordid tale in a guest post later this week.

Today we headed off for a ride together. The plan was to check out the bike path near us which would be Hub’s route to work, stop somewhere and grab some lunch, then meander back home after exploring a little more. The first bit was fun – we thought it would be fitting to have lunch at Human Powered Cafe which was scrummy.

So we headed out again, to try to find another path that we thought would link up with a way home. Turns out we were entirely mistaken about the path linking up, and we were left with a whole series of big hills left between us and our destination. And this is where I started to wilt. You see, Hub was using his schmicko new bike with all the mod cons. And I was using an old and poorly maintained moutain bike with none of the mod cons. Hub was good humouredly complaining that I was going too slow, while I was envying him his bike’s suspension as I caught every bump though my butt.

And did anyone notice it was hot and sunny today?

Anyway it was a good first venture and I told Hub that it won’t hurt him to have to ride at a slower speed once a week. Plus it is nice to justify the nice lunch with a good ride around (my arse doesn’t agree, but it will come around).

So I arrived home today to a box!! (I love deliveries)
A lonely box on my doorstep

A friend had recommended Aussie Farmers Direct for their random fruit and veggie box delivery. I had previously looked into a couple of options for this, but none seemed convenient to my area. So I signed up for an account and set up a couple of one off deliveries to see what it was like. They have two sets of delivery – one for meat, eggs and dairy which is delivered before 7am in the morning, and one for fruits and vegetables which comes sometime in the afternoon.

I have a meat, eggs and dairy order coming next week which should arrive before I leave for work. For the fresh delivery it seems you buy a reuseable cool bag which you put out the night before. For the veg delivery, they bring you a lovely (and very practical) box. I am totally using these things to reorganise my garage.

They have a random seasonal fruit and veg box for $25 for couples (other packages for families are available). I elected to go with the custom order cause I eat bugger all fruit. As long as the order is at least $25, you don’t pay delivery. As for price, I haven’t compared item for item, but my $25 box contained the following:

There’s some broccoli, red and green capsicum, carrots, beans, peas, cabbage and some truss tomatoes. The quality as you would expect from produce direct from farmers is a big step up from the supermarket options, though not at the organic boutique produce level. Probably at the standard of a good fresh market. If I went to a fresh market, I am sure that I could get cheaper, but I tend to do a semi-regular veg shop at the supermarket where I pick up these basic items and rarely come out spending much less than this. So in terms of value and convenience this is a big win for me.

I cooked up a bunch of veggies with some kanga meat chilli tonight and it was fantastic. So far I am sold. If the quality continues to be this good and the service as good, I might just switch to a regular order.

It was so nice to have a long weekend in Melbourne just gone. We spent the Saturday with the help of our friend taking some old white goods to the tip, along with some general crap which was cluttering up our carport. It was nice to see all the junk areas cleaned up at long last, but it is amazing how quickly you find more junk. In this case, our junk was washing machines, dishwashers and fridges which had crapped out at various times over the last couple of months.

And when you get the replacements, you suddenly have another big cardboard box and packaging which doesn’t in and of itself fit in your normal garbage. It took less than 24 hours for a new box of crap to find its way there. This is because we finally decided to chuck out my heirloom family microwave. As our weekender is our second residence (we live the rest of the time in a house owned by Hub’s work), our furnishing of both houses is a mix of new stuff and bizarre hand-me-downs. In this case, my parents had offered the use of the very first microwave that our family owned growing up. It dated back to the 1980s (still working) and this weekend we finally admitted that it was probably spewing all sorts of unhealthy rays at us, and to add to that it was the size of a minivan. So no sooner than we had cleaned out all of the crap (including the mini-van microwave) than we had more boxes and packaging (from the new microwave) to fill the niche. Sigh.

I think I got the worst end of the stick though. While the boys were carting whitegoods on the trailer, I was left with cleaning up the mess left behind said white goods (two of the fridges hadn’t been moved since we bought the place). Ugh.

When we finally got back from our various chores, we realised the downside of our unintentional failure to do any shopping. We had stuff in the house we could eat, but nothing to snack on. Who wants broccoli for lunch? Instead of going for a shop, we proceeded to indulge mightily on 3 or 4 separate occasions over the weekend. We still didn’t go shopping as we had real food in the house, but we talked ourselves out of real food and into hamburgers (they were real hamburgers from a fish n chipper so they tasted goood) and later into pizza (again, at least it was good quality pizza).

So eating wise, the weekend was a write off. That being said, we didn’t regret it for a moment – just a long weekend version of a cheat day and it helps that we were sufficiently restrained that none of the indulgences left us feeling gross. But the long weekend is over and we don’t get another one until June, so it is back on the almighty bandwagon until then.

Needless to say, the steady downward progression on the scales stalled this week somewhat (though by no means disastrously), but I have no hesitation in saying it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Oh and thanks for those with advice about the bike buying below – have added some more information so if anyone has more suggestions they will be gratefully received.

Okay, so Hub has requested some advice on buying him a new bike for his forthcoming birthday. And we are stuck in the midst of too much information on the web and wondered whether others had some advice. We are aiming to spend around $800ish and want to balance not spending a heap of money on something that he may not use too much, against not getting something which will be immediately poorly chosen if he does really get into it.

Okay, so any thoughts on brands, things to look for, things to avoid, things to splurge on, things not to worry about would be very appreciated. If it makes a difference he is a big guy (both tall and solid). He has been doing a lot of time on the exercise bike for about 4 months (10-15 hours a week). If he gets into it, we will upgrade to a better option in a year or so.

Oh, and if you have suggestions for car bike racks that would be appreciated as well.

EDITED TO ADD – Okay, in response to Andrew’s questions below – almost entirely this will be used on bike paths and roads. For now he anticipates this will be for rides of about an hour, an hour and a half or longer.

I keep forgetting to keep up with the old blogarooney over here. The problem is that I don’t do that much which is interesting. At a certain point it becomes more of I-went-to-the-gym-again-and-then-came-home-and-ate-some-protein-and-vegetables. And frankly, repetitions of those sort of posts would just bore me (and doubtless everyone else) to tears.

Everything is going well, though, which I can be thankful for. We finally got our shower back. It is AWESOME.

So some short updates.

The weather is weird. Stop that.

Sasha the dog shaped girl has been having some health difficulties recently (again). Poor girl is getting older and we are on a campaign to fatten her up – every time she gets sick she loses more weight and she is on a restricted diet so it is very hard to get her to bulk up. Trying to convince her to carb up, but she prefers to eat lean and clean.

Wallet stolen and car broken into which is now three thefts separate thefts/break-ins in less than six months. Apart from the hassle of replacing cards and so on, it did give me an excuse to geek out over getting the best replacement wallet. We also managed to get the GPS stolen from our car back after the cops arrested the “gang” responsible and called us cause our address was listed as “home” in the GPS. Since then heaps of people have told me that you should never list your own address as “home” in the GPS cause it means people will know that you are out and then come and break in to your house. Seems like a much bigger hassle than just looking in someone’s driveway to see if they are home and choosing to break into *that* house.

So in my current edition of “turn over a new leafness” I took a piece of advice from one book and elected to get myself a pair of thermometer pants. Now I had already got myself some scales which show body fat percentage and started to take some regular measurements and various other steps to judge how the process is going without relying solely on the scale. I didn’t want to be discouraged by the failure to “pull big numbers” so the idea was to have some alternative measures to see how things were going.

As it happens, at least so far, my efforts to concentrate on what I am eating and in particular to cut out white and processed carbs has kept the scale ticking over at an unprecedented rate of knots. Hm, maybe doing some of that previously might have been an advantage. However, one measure which I have quite enjoyed is the thermometer pants. The idea is to get a pair of fitted pants (I took from this that tracky dacks would defeat the purpose) which are one to two sizes too small for you. The idea is that you try them on again every so often and you begin to notice that at first you can’t get them past your thighs, and then one time you can’t get them past your hips, and then you can put them on but can’t get close to doing them up etc. I chose a pair of jeans that were probably only a size too small. I had bought them because they were a super bargain and the tag misrepresented the actual size of the item (I hate that). As such, though I wear some items that have the same size written on them, when I tried in early January I couldn’t get them past my thighs. Even if you know something is too small, forcing yourself to actually see how far you can get into it is pretty demoralising.

(Heh, I just remembered an occasion when I was in my late teens/early twenties and I tried on some shorts and had to get a size 14 to fit. I remarked to my friend that if I had to resort to a size 14 to get it to fit me then they were being wholly unreasonable with their sizing and I would refuse to buy their clothes! Ahh look at the naive little poppin)

Anyway, although I had been feeling much more comfortable in my clothes and retiring an item or two at the top of the range, I hadn’t tried on the thermometers for a while. At last try they had not managed to get over the hips. I was going through the wardrobe looking for replacements for recently retired items of work clothing when I saw the thermometers lurking. On a whim I decided to see how they went. To my great surprise, I managed to get the zip up and the button fastened. Now, by no means would you say they *fit*. There was some incidence of muffin-toppage, and I don’t know what the tensile strength of the denim was to be able to cope under the onslaught for very long. But I was thrilled. At this rate in another fortnight or so I will be on the lookout for new thermometers.

So far I have found it a particularly good measure of my progress, so next time I am tempted to go with both bottom and top thermometers and might pull out one of my funky button-up shirts whose buttons haven’t met in a while and see if they can prompt similarly successful progress.