If you’ve been checking in on this blog with my monthly workout stats and/or following my latest individual workout activities over here, then you’ll know that while I’m in the UK, I tend to just use our Schwinn 800IC static bike and I’m pretty much settling for FulGaz as my preferred workout program, given its “adaptive” video rides.
I’ve received an update from FulGaz today about the “LEJOG Challenge“: Land’s End to John O’Groats over 500km and 20 stages, most being over an hour and some like Hardknott Pass being a little bit ‘bumpy’ too…
We flew out to our place in Fuerteventura again on Saturday 1st October and after the weekend I started back with the real-world cycling on the Monday, having decided to up the ante a tad with my distances and to make sure I was following my consultant’s orders to do at least 30 minutes a day.
I’m still pleased with the result: 331.33km this month (including walking).
In other news, we’ve gone a bit keto with our diets and the results are promising: I weighed 93.3kg on the Garmin Index S2 scales we have here at the start of the month and today I weigh 91kg (up 0.5kg from yesterday morning, which was a new low since the crash and muscle-wasting in July 2019).
With the Schwinn’s arrival came physiotherapy, pain consultations and then experiments with Apple Fitness+, the first year’s free subscription to Bowflex’s JRNY app, and a trial of FulGaz. The latter two are different from Fitness+ in that Apple are offering different duration classes only whereas the other two offer virtual rides using video of the actual routes.
In FulGaz’s case, they are adaptive workouts: speeding up or slowing down the videos to suit your pace/power which the app reads from the Schwinn. They’re also linked to my Garmin fēnix 7S for my heart rate.
The other benefit of using FulGaz is that after each ride, it emails you a FIT file which you can import into Garmin Connect giving you the full details of the ride. JRNY does not do this, sadly.
So hitting the Schwinn every has been beneficial for me, but also for my weight which has been coming down slowly, thereby improving the load on my knee.
Here’s my stats for the 399km – mainly virtual/indoor – in September 2022:
We were still out in Corralejo for the first half of August 2022.
Back in London, it was a case of hammering the cheapo indoor bike, thinking we’d buy a Peloton bike when we move to Surrey and have a bigger garage and separate gym. The Amazon special was OK, but I couldn’t stand up on it despite the Apple Fitness+ trainers suggesting I could.
And then a couple of things happened: a news article about Peloton’s losses being “an existential threat” made us think about whether a Peloton would be a good idea after all. They’re very expensive and rely on a paid subscription to Peloton if you want to do the guided rides (which I had really enjoyed in Big Sur). If they went bust, the screen would effectively be useless and the purpose of the really expensive bike would go with them.
I looked at what Apple recommended/were using for their Fitness+ workouts and they were Schwinn bikes. In the UK they’re supplied by – amongst others, I’m sure – Fitness Superstore and they had an offer on the Schwinn 800IC (formerly the IC8): already listed at half list price, they had an additional 10% off for the Bank Holiday weekend, so I pressed the button on one for delivery in early September.
Back in June 2022, I was walking for fitness but was having a lot of pain in my bad knee, the one that I’d seen a consultant about back in 2012 who said I should stop running … before I ran the Berlin Marathon and a couple of half-marathons.
I had been recommended cycling, so was trying to introduce more of this into my training and then went to the USA in early June to do the Pacific Coast Highway. While we were there, I tried a Peloton fitness bike in a really expensive hotel we stayed at in Big Sur and started looking into buying one, just before seeing my consultant again.
He again recommended some weight loss and half an hour every day on a bicycle, with a recommendation for a cheap static bike. That got me into finally using Apple Fitness+ and 30 minute rides.
I’ve been using a Garmin fēnix 3 Sapphire for quite a while now; it’s a big, chunky lump of a fitness watch but then it is feature-packed and suitable for many forms of exercise. I also have an Apple Watch Series 4 which works really well, but doesn’t measure blood oxygen levels like my wife’s latest one does.
I pair it with a heart rate monitor that clips to a strap you wear around your chest and then shower and dry it after exercising. We bought my wife a Garmin Forerunner 735XT a few years back and that has heart rate measuring built in (like the Apple Watch).
So for my 60th birthday, Alison has bought me the new Garmin fēnix 7S, choosing the smaller S model so it’s not as chunky and large, especially as it encourages you to wear it 24/7 to monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep tracking, etc. It’s early days yet but the results are fascinating. I expect over the next few weeks it should get to know me properly and calibrate all its reports around me.
Tricky run this evening around the Hagaparken: chilly and a tight chest (tree pollen or asthma maybe?)
We have also bought some Garmin Index Scales which are wireless and mean we can track our weight individually direct into Garmin Connect without having to use a watch and then upload from there; much easier.
Talking of which, my weight is down 0.4kg since the start of 2019.
This morning was my first commute into the office on the Brompton.
I dressed as normal in a suit, shirt and tie (but still wore my Nike walking/running shoes as I keep formal shoes at the office) and then rode in. The weather forecast was for showers and indeed a little over halfway there the drizzle started, enough to leave a trace on my Garmin and to feel it, but not really enough to make me wet, fortunately.
But that does raise the question of what to wear as winter draws in: when I run, I wear clothes including waterproofs/water resistant jackets that are fine for warm, cool or cold weather. I wear a different suit every day for work, so simply leaving one at the office won’t work for me. So my choices are either to wear the suit into the office and risk getting it wet or carry one in every day and change when I get in. But how to carry the suit? I looked at some of Brompton’s luggage that clips to the block on the frame of the bike, but none really looked right as a suit bag. I already have a number of suit carriers but none would be suitable to sling over my shoulder without them falling off again or they’d be flapping in the breeze. No, a better alternative was needed, so off I went to the Internet.
The first decent one – according to all the reviews I read – was the Henty Wingman Backpack which rolls the suit to prevent creases rather than the normal folding suit bags. In addition, some stiffeners in the bag prevent it from folding and hopefully leave the suit and shirt crease-free. The garment bag takes a suit and a couple of shirts max and is zipped up and a second roll bag then clips in front of it, intended to take your shoes and toiletries, etc. before the whole lot gets rolled up. I preferred the backpack design to the messenger bag version. I’ll probably just use the roll bag for waterproofs and additional layers, I expect, plus my wallet, although that can go in the outside pocket. So I’ve ordered one to pick up today and try out tomorrow.
Yes, I’ve gone and done it: I’ve bought one of those ridiculous-looking folding commuter bikes, but in my case a strictly limited-edition one with a rather nice paint finish.
When I say “ridiculous-looking” it’s not been one of those bikes that lends itself to too much in the way of ridicule unlike the MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) shots or at least that was until the BBC’s “W1A” satirical show featured them:
Anyway, I’d long thought about riding in to the office on my Carrera Kraken 09 20″ mountain bike but its lack of mudguards, our lack of a shower at the office and more particularly my lack of anywhere to keep a full-sized bicycle safe whilst I’m inside had put paid to that idea so instead I’ve been walking both ways, which is fine in itself other than arriving a tad sweaty in a suit and spending around 35 minutes each way walking the 3½km each way.
The downside of that is my getting through a pair of Nike shoes every year and it taking so long.
So I had a look on their website and decided that they looked quite good, but what colour to specify? Easy: when i saw the Nine Streets limited edition, I was sold.
“Originally launched in 2017 to celebrate the opening of the Brompton Junction Amsterdam. Nine Streets sports the never before seen, special fade finish. The effect is a special fade finish of Red and Blue lacquer which is created using a hand sprayed [sic]. The process leaves a unique finish on each Nine Streets bike, meaning no 2 bikes are the same.
“Nine Streets is produced in the Brompton factory in London. Each bike is handmade with the highest quality craftmanship to create the Nine Streets unique finish.
“Inspired by Amsterdam 9 Straatjesis well known for it’s stylish shops and creative influence, Nine Streets is a nod to the iconic canal-district area in the Netherlands.
“Only a small batch of Nine Streets Edition bikes have been produced…”
Brompton Nine Streets
The paint job is fantastic, starting with blue at the front and fading into red at the back:
Red at the back…
and blue at the front
Click on the first image to see it at larger scale.
I’ve gone for the higher-barred H-series handlebar version and a longer seat post for my 33″-34″ inside leg measurement. It comes with the 6-speed set of gears: 3 internal hub and 2 external rings.
It also comes with dynamo-driven front and rear lights powered from the dynamo mounted in the front wheel hub:
Front Wheel Hub
As it’s limited in numbers, I couldn’t order one direct from Brompton but found one at Evans Cycles near Waterloo; I pick it up tomorrow. This is the spec.:
Edition: Nine Streets Edition
Handlebar Type: H
Mudguards / Rack: Mudguards, no rack
Frame Material: Steel
Main Frame Colour: 2-tone fusion of Red and Blue lacquer
Extremities Colour: 2-tone fusion of Red and Blue lacquer
Gear Ratio: Standard
Lighting: Shimano Hub Dynamo
Saddle: Brompton Standard
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Racer
Front Luggage Mount: Yes
Bike Cover: No
Additional info: Unique Serial Number plate
I’ve also ordered a cadence sensor from Garmin to grab a few more stats like on the Carrera onto Garmin Connect.
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