bikling

keithlard's one-step weight loss programme

Here is my famous one-step weight loss programme that I have invented. It is this:

  1. Do a lot of bikling.

It is not working at the moment as unfortunately I am addicted to BEER. It would be all right if the only beer you could get is fizzy dishwater like Carlsberg or Fosters, but now that I know delicious posh beer such as Leffe, Duvel, Erdinger, Bitburger, Etalon and Orval exists, I cannot stop drinking it.

And as you know BEER is a gateway drug to such as CURRY, which is fattening and bad for you (at least the nice ones are). Also SNACKS eg popcorn, pistachio nuts ekcetera. So basically I am not losing any weight at all even though I am cycling over 100,000 miles a day.

It does not matter though if you are having fun. I chatted to the sweet girl that works on the checkout in Tescos, she seems really intellergent and nice eg the type of person that you could talk to about stars and birds and PHYSICKS, I never know about that type of thing though in case people are not intrested. Most people are not.

I think if you do not read any papers or know about any pop groups, like me, there is a lot of left over space in your head for thinking about Go and LISP and phillersophy and genes and the Moon and children’s sweets from the 1970s and such. Unfortunately it has also used up the space reserved for making small talk with pretty girls which is why I usually find myself either uncharacteristically silent or suddenly blurting out something like ‘Imagine if we were like snakes and you could dislocate your jaw and swallow a whole chicken at once! That would be mental!’

It is usually at this point that I’m asked to leave the store by security.

Quite a few glasses of quite a few drinks

I went round to see my old friend Donald in Barnet, and he cooked a traditional Scotto-Chinese dinner of haggis, neeps, and stir-fried vegertables, which was delicious! Then we had a game of Go (I lost), and I played his 11-year-old son at Chess (I won - though I did feel a bit like the Competitive Dad from the Fast Show, punching the air and shouting ‘Yes!!’) We had some tasty Belgian beers and talked about Lisp and psychedelic music ekcetera.

So it was a great evening, the only weird thing was I cycled up there against a fierce headwind, by the time I came back the wind had backed 180 degrees (or pi radians if you are a computer) and was blowing the other way! All of which had the disconcerting and topographically unlikely effect of being uphill all the way there, and all the way back.

I am starting to develop some legs though, all cyclists know this feeling that you start to actually enjoy taking on a hill, and instead of going all hot and wobbly and having a little rest halfway up, you power all the way up and then instead of freewheeling down the other side, you just change up a couple of gears!

I pedalled home on Friday night after quite a few glasses of quite a few drinks at the Pineapple, with the cheerful invincibility that only comes from advanced intoxication. It is a long pull up Archway Road to Highgate station, but I do not think I paused for breath and it was only when I got off at Tescos in Finchley that I realised my lungs were burning and little lights were flashing in front of my eyes.

So my secret strategy if I ever go in for the Tour de France or something like that is to just get enormously drunk beforehand. King of the Mountains! I do not know why no one else has thought of that.

Things that happened

Well I decided I have been spending too much time in front of the computer doing electronick things, so I went out today in the sunshine and had a very cheerful day. I bikled down to the reservoir again (where I got the super pictures of swans ekcetera before) and did lots more photergraphy. So there will be pictures later. I saw our friend the pochard again, and even got some long-lens surveillance shots of the shy and retiring great crested grebe.

I took the opportunity to try out the super camera backpack I bought from my friend Mike. It has a regular backpack area, but also a separate watertight compartmint with foam padding and dividers for your camera and lenses and all the little rings, filters, batteries, flashcards, wotsits, doodads, and gewgaws that photographers seem to insist on carrying around. It is specially meant for people who like cycling and also like photography, and like cycling on their cycle to places where they can take photographs. And have a back. It is almost like they know me (or my friend Mike).

Anyway it is a magic backpack as although it looks a regular size on the outside, it is massive inside and has got room for a DSLR, 18-55mm lens, 30mm lens, 70-200mm lens, monopod, macro set, 2 litre bottles of finest wheat beer, a baking potato, a bag of ready-made salad, 2 packets of mini poppadoms, a cheesy roll, warm gloves, emergency Google “I’m feeling lucky” T-shirt, a packet of Penn State pretzels, and David Guterson’s Snow Falling On Cedars. So that is jolly good as by chance that is exactly the things that I needed to carry in it today.

It was a lovely evening down by the water and I spent hours admiring the birds dipping and cavorting, incarnadined by the dying rays of vermilion sun (good writing). There was swans and coots and mallards and the aforementioned pochard and grebe and tufted ducks and moorhens and herring gulls and Canada geese and crows and blackbirds. So it does not get any better than that really.

Bikesploring

Well as I have given my bike its Spring Cleaning I thought I should probably get it dirty again. If there is one thing that engenders deep suspicion in the cycling fraternity it is a nice clean shiny bike. It is a bit like those people that have a really expensive bike hanging on the wall of their immaculate designer flat, and you know in your heart that they never take it down, or indeed dream of soiling their crisp, dazzlingly white yachting trousers.

I went on a big adventure down the Dollis Brook where there is all sorts of birds, trees, and especially MUD. This is Hendon Lane Weir where the Dollis flows underneath the Great North Way and you can bikle through a sinister dark passage into a mystical land of wonder, populated by unicorns. (I did not see any of these in fact, so the guide book may be out of date.)

Some super Canada geese that I saw. It is grainy cameraphone photos sorry, as I did not bring the real camera and I do not have magic computer eyes like the Terminator. This is a shame in several respects.

This is a pond near Bell Lane with wizzo coots and moorhens ekcetera, the brilliant thing about this is that you can enjoy the peaceful idyll of the lake ruffled only by gentle zephyrs (good writing) while a few feet away, hundreds of cars and lorries thunder past along the North Circular completely unaware that any of this is here. In a way I suppose that is why it has not been built all over.

The most curious things end up stuck in a weir! This is a shopping trolley if you cannot tell. Obviously someone was walking home with their weekly shop and was just overcome with fatalistic or existential thoughts and realised, what is the point of it all basically? So they chucked the trolley in the river and went home. I feel like that some days.

I do not know what this is, but have decided it is a sinister witch’s cottage. There are a few clues which give it away to a trained eye, eg traces of gingerbread, but the main one is probably the sinister witch (not pictured).

The river path goes down about as far as where the A502 Brent St crosses over the North Circular, and from there you can bikle along the pavement as far as the dystopian concrete lacework of the Brent Cross Flyover. There our journey must end as it is the gateway to Brent Cross itself where only horror, madness, and surprising winter bargains await.

High above the North Circular itself at the Brent St junction. I was on the pedestrian footbridge in fact although it would be great if I had a magical flying bicycle like E.T. For one thing it would represent a considerable saving on tyre wear, and possibly get me closer to Drew Barrymore.

Your intrepid correspondent. On the way back I took an intresting detour via the River Brent up to Henleys Corner and the muddiest path I have ever found! It was flooded out in some places and the surrounding grass was heavily waterlogged; at several points I was pedalling super slowly in bottom gear and the back wheel was still sliding and sliding. It is a good job I was wearing my nice new Caterpillar boots (do not laugh it is obvious they are not made out of caterpillars; that would create more problems than it solved) as I had to get off and push the bike through lakes of mud occasionally. When I got back there was no question of even bringing the bike indoors; I had to get a bucket of soapy water and wash it down outside for fear of basically redecorating my flat in mud.

I had a super day out though!

They're happy because they eat mud

I went out bikling today! Because it is super weather. I have put on lots of weight over Xmas due to sossidges, and other nice foods, so I really need some proper exercise, and up till now it has been rainy and horrid. Today it was lovely and sunny though so I felt brave, brushed all the cobwebs and skellingtons off my bicycle, pumped up the tyres, and zoomed off to Coppetts Wood the nature reserve.

It was wizzo fun! Cycling is the second most enjoyable way to elevate your heart rate, and certainly the muddiest. I discovered various ponds, sekrit paths, and some leafy glades ekcetera, and I noticed some birds! It turns out I am not even as unfit as I thought although I did go into VF a couple of times. Luckily I saw on Blue Peter how to make a portable defibrillator out of two sink plungers, some sticky-backed plastic and a 9 volt battery (get a grown up to help you with this).

It is great as getting started is the hardest bit of anything, and I have dreaded getting started bikling again. Now I will be able to lose lots of pounds and look all lean and toned like Daniel Craig and fit into my super new clothes!

I am just relaxing with a freshly squeezed orange and mango juice drink, and then I am going to go and hose a substantial amount of nature reserve off my bike.