Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Montane Featherlite Marathon jacket - long term review

This light weight jacket has gradually redeemed itself since my initial impressions when I commented that I was a bit disappointed.  That was quite some time ago and since then, it's been worn many times.

All of my original reservations still stand.  This includes not having any pockets and not being very breathable.

It also appeared a bit flimsy and I was thinking it was probably going to fall to pieces before too long.  Not so.  Most of its use has been as a running jacket rather than on the bike, as in the above photo.  I have gone through bushes, hedges, scraped it on gate posts and all manner of things which could cause a snag or a tear.  Not so, again.  In spite of my initial scepticism this little jacket has proved to be very durable after all.  After it has been washed, it looks new.  You'd never know how much it has been used from looking at it.

Montane has an Environmental statement and also a Manufacturing statement (click here)  which is good to see.  However I don't think they go far enough and I know I'm not the only person who makes a big deal of these things.  They talk about child labour and the terms of employment within their supply chain but sadly little more - there's much more they could elaborate on.  They also talk about the monitoring that goes on but they could do with publishing some of this information - the results, the outcomes and so on.

As ever it's important to keep this in perspective.  Price-wise it is fairly modest and economical so perhaps I'm asking too much in terms of breathability from a feather weight jacket that costs considerably less than a pair of running shoes.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Electrolyte drinks - do you really need them?

Ever noticed newcomers in the gym always seem to be constantly sipping from a water bottle, or folk starting to jog or run will be carrying a drink without fail?  Is it a comfort blanket or something really important?

When we exercise, our body temperature rises and we sweat in order to regulate the temperature.  Every one knows that.  Also, if we are feeling thirsty, the chances are that we are already dehydrated to a degree and performance can then fall away.  Dehydration that has symptoms of confusion or dizziness can be very serious.  So these are all valid reasons to drink while we exercise, or perhaps even beforehand.

But what about sports drinks and in particular those that make a big deal of being electrolyte drinks?  Electrolytes refer to trace minerals in the body and the role they have.  These include magnesium, sodium, potassium and one or two others.  They all have a particular function in our bodies which have been created and designed in the most amazing way, without question.  Potassium is needed for maintaining the right hydration levels in the body in any event but also helps to regulate the metabolism.  Magnesium is relevant for the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, metabolism, thyroid function, calcium absorption, reliving cramps and assisting with restful sleep - all very pertinent for any runner.

As a rule of thumb, exercising at a moderate or intensive level, dehydration and the loss of electrolytes will start to be noticeable at the 45 minute mark.  I say "rule of thumb" as it depends on the temperature, what you're wearing, what you're doing, how fit you are, what you have eaten or had to drink beforehand.  It all makes a difference.  As I run mostly in the early morning, while it is cold or cool, I never take a drink with me unless I'm running for more than 90 minutes, or it is warm.  I make sure I have had a mug of tea shortly before I start.

Apart from keeping your body functioning well while exercising, they do have another very important function.  Replacing those lost minerals and rehydrating will help you recover faster.  I can vouch for this.  I always seem to recover faster and lose that lactic acid burning sensation in my leg muscles if I replace my fluids.

What kind of drinks are there?

You can buy pre-mixed bottles.  There are many around, including Lucozade, and you will pay a premium price almost anywhere these days.  Supermarkets are probably the cheapest if you can buy a whole box in one go.  Buying any kind of drink which is mostly water is not very environmentally friendly - lorries and trucks use a lot of fuel delivering drinks which are mostly tap water; not to mention the plastic bottle etc.

I prefer the fizzy disolveable tablets, such as Zero High 5.  For every 750mls, use one or two of the tablets and mix with tap water.  This does the trick well and, unlike many sports drinks, they contain no calories.

An alternative, an one that I prefer myself is a glass of a smoothie.  Now, there are smoothies and smoothies - some better than others.  Cheaper smoothies tend to come with lots of sweet apple juice or mixed with a thin yoghurt.  These often taste really nice but aren't ideal as electrolyte sports drinks.  A 300ml glass of a 4 or 5 fruit smoothie will almost certainly nourish you extremely well.  With this in mind, why not check out this recipe that I came across:

Saturday, 22 September 2012

How to run up hills

Running up hills has many benefits for almost every runner; myself included.  I blogged about this in March 2011.  While there are clear benefits, I think it helps to have a good technique to make the most of these opportunities.  My comments below might be of benefit if you have already made a start at running and can, for example, run for at least 30 minutes without stopping.

  • Try to build at least one hill into your training run.  Okay, I accept if you live in rural Norfolk and other places not well known for their mountainous terrain, that could be a problem.  You might be able to find some urban feature like a multi story car park where you could sneak in for a run.
  • If the hill is reasonably steep, you will probably find you are running on the ball of your foot, rather than a heel-to-toe action.  That's absolutely fine.  As the hill gets steep you really need to to it like this - impossible otherwise!  Allow you feet time to adjust to this, especially if you're a new runner.
  • Try to judge how difficult or easy the hill will be - then try and keep the same pace all the way up.  This probably means not going too fast at the start.  By keeping the same pace, if you can, you will derive maximum benefit.  Sometimes takes a little trial and error to get this right.  Whatever you do, please don't push yourself too hard and expire.
  • I find it helpful to concentrate on my breathing rhythm.  Don't know why exactly, it just seems to help.
  • Some runners find it helpful to count, again helpful in getting into a good rhythm.  Some count 1,2,3,4, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.
  • Your arm movements, I believe, make an incredible difference.  The action of swaying your arms from side-to-side helps with balance and keeping those strides and footfall right.  If it helps, imagine you are holding a face flannel and you're rubbing your tummy from side to side with you elbows at right angles.
  • Clearly you need to lean forward slightly.  It goes without saying this will help you to balance but try carrying on when you go down the other side (but only slightly).  This will lesson the strain on your feet and legs through the pounding reverberating up from your shoes.  
  • When you get to the top, don't be afraid to rest for a minute.  Your heart rate might be at it's maximum for your age, or perhaps even higher.  Resting for a minute and then jogging for a while is fine, before you pick up some speed again
  • Once you have found running up hills have helped you improve your strength, cardiovascular capacity and running form, why not find some more challenging hills?
  • Do you stretch at all, before or after a run?  I prefer stretching after a run and when my muscles are warm.  Forward lunges are relevant for running up hill.  Also stretching musles from your heel up towards the back of your knee.  With you feet flat on the ground, try leaning forward toward some solid - a wall, a kitchen work top etc.  Hold at the point just before it starts to hurt and then ease off.  Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.  It is important not to stretch too far to the point of hurting: take care to avoid an injury.
  • Longer, less steep hills are ideal for improving stamina, especially if they are a mile or more
  • When I have been feeling really keen, I have reached the top of a hill, rather than just carrying on over my normal route, I have gone back down and run back up again.  I have done that on a 20% hill before now.  Do that a few times and you will seriously improve your fitness!
As I mentioned above, don't push yourself too hard.  Running up hill is likely to place some strain on your heart for the duration of the hill.  Know your limits and in an ideal world, going over your maximum heart rate should only be in short bursts.

Over all, running hills is brilliant.  I remember the times when I was just getting into running and I'd avoid them like the plague.  Persevere, don't give up.

Related post:
The benefits of running up hill

Monday, 17 September 2012

An update and a new Blog!

For nearly two years I have been really enjoying the world of blogging.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading other people's blogs as well as learning about blogging myself.

During this time I have been self-taught and have learned by my mistakes about what works and what doesn't.  I am still learning.

As part of a natural development it makes sense to separate cycling and start a new blog for that.  Just got it going, this last weekend.  I have copied across all the cycling posts from this blog.

I will continue blogging about running, food, healthy living here and may also develop a couple of other areas.    In fact we have a few hilarious stories (of family life) we ought to blog about.

So for now, if you read my blog with cycling in mind, please visit, bookmark, follow and support my new blog.  The address?

Update, what's going on?

We had a great summer holiday even though we didn't actually go away.  That's almost true, we visited my parents for a long weekend and I took Becky and Hannah camping near Buckingham (could be a blog post on its own).  B&H felt quite deprived when they realised we weren't jetting off somewhere and all their school friends were.  And then as we got into the swing of doing some interesting things, they ended up really enjoying themselves.  We did some great things earlier in the year, such as in June when we did the C2C bike ride and in October we have the opportunity to spend a week in Spain through the generosity of some friends who are lending us their apartment.

Once again, just making sure you've clocked it, our new cycling blog is

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review - Shimano BR-6403 brake pads

I needed to replace some brake pads pretty quickly and so for simplicity I got a pair of these pads from Evans.  That was a few hundred miles ago and I've had a good chance to try them out in mostly dry conditions and fitted to the rear brake calliper.

These appear to be Shimano's standard, no nonsense, catch all service replacement set.  They fit to the callipers by means of an allen key bolt and are compatible with Shimano 105, Ultegra, RX100 and Tiagra brakes.  As the pattern seems conventional it is likely they'll fit many other callipers brakes.

Fitting them is a cinch.  You just need a 4mm allen key once you've removed the previous pads.  There is no toe-in feature so you simply align the pad next to the rim and tighten.  Easy as that.  There's no mistaking which pad to fit to which side as the guide fin points downward.

These are disposable pads as the actual pad material is not removable or replaceable on its own.

In use I like the fact the height of the pad wasn't too big, so it fits the [Mavic Open Sport] rim easily with at least 1mm spare above and below.  There is no toe-in facility.  This means that the pad is parallel to the rim and no facility for juggling washers so that the leading edge of the brake pad contacts the rim first.  In doing this the pad gets pulled in and this increases the braking power slightly.

In use they're okay, acceptable, a bit mediocre and unspectacular.  Like the original pads, they are adequate in both wet and dry conditions (as normal wet rims take a little longer to slow down).  They're also quiet, as you can rightly expect.

The RRP cost is £10.99 which, I suppose is probably okay.  Whilst it maybe possible to scour the internet and get it cheaper, that is the price I paid at Evans.

Would I buy these again?

Well yes, if I needed to, just as I did this last time.  At 10.99 or less it's almost worth keeping a pair in stock.   I will research and seek out something a bit better for the next set that needs replacing: given that they last me a few thousand miles, spending a little more is justified in order to improve the braking performance.

Related ramble:

Routine brake pad check

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


A few days ago I was waiting for a tube train in London and I spotted an advert for bikeworks and have now taken a closer look at their website as I think they appear a really great organisation and worth a blog post here.

Bikeworks is a Community Interest Company; this means that any profits or trading surpluses are ploughed back into the community it serves.  This means there's no fatcat directors or shareholders exploiting the workers and creaming off the profits.  They've been trading for a few years, picked up a few awards now and seem to have grown to encompass three sites now.

They refurbish bicycles and see they get used again.  There's a number of other strands to the enterprise which supports cycling around London.  You might think this is worthy enough (which on it's own, it is!) but they go a step further and this is what makes it even more worthwhile.  Lifted directly from their website is the following:

Bikeworks operate as an 'intermediate labour market', this means we offer work opportunities to individuals who would not be able to begin, or sustain mainstream employment without intensive support.
By providing these supported opportunities at Bikeworks, we can offer a real employment experience, accredited training and a work reference. This opportunity is important for those people who have been isolated from the work place for a long time and for those that have little or no work experience.

Another facility that caught my eye is the All Ability Cycling Clubs that are dotted around.  This gives a real opportunity for those who might ordinarily miss out on the joys of cycling.  The clubs give opportunities for people with a disability to try out different kinds of bikes in a safe manner.  Looks like their carers are welcome too. That's good.

They also sell bikes (new and refurbished) and offer cycle training, bike hire, maintenance courses etc. Certainly it looks like a growing organisation with a social conscience, which is brilliant.  I can tell you, I wish I could go and say "hello" personally but whenever I visit London I'm normally dashing around Westminster, Pimlico and Victoria on business.  I'll just have to see what I can do next time I'm in town.....

Here's their website:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Review - Knog Frog 1 LED front light

This is not your average frog.  This one is battery powered, straps easily to your handlebars and get's on with beaming its little ray of light out into the world.   Sounds cute, doesn't it?  It is available in a few different colours, as you'd come to expect from Knog.  Knog, by the way, are an Australian company with a quirky approach to design.  They also do a growing range of cycle computers, tools as well as other lights.   They're about adopting a fun, youthful approach to cycling which is arguably a refreshing change from the all-too-serious technical approach.  For this alone, I like them and they certainly deserve a slice of the market.

Techie stuff

It's a really small LED light with just one button.  This does the on/off bit and toggles between the steady light and the flashing strobe light.  
Takes two CR2032 coin type batteries.  These are said to last 80 hours on stead and 160 on the flashing mode.
Made with a silicon rubbery kind of material which is soft and stretchy, allowing it to be fixed onto handlebars, head tube or even onto your helmet.
It weighs just 12 grammes.  In old money that's about half an ounce - i.e. hardly anything at all.

The price

£6.99.  How many other bike lights are around for this money?

But is it any good?

It isn't bad, providing you don't expect too much (is that a politically sensitive comment?).  It is pretty useless for using it to see where you're going.  Clearly it is just one LED without a lens to magnify the light.  It is most conspicuous as a light to be seen and when it's used on the flashing strobe mode it is very eye catching making it ideal for urban use.

I like it as an "always there" get-you-home light that can just sit there on the handlebars and know that it's going to mind it's own business.  It is unlikely to attract too many light fingered scallywags who could easily unclip it in two seconds.  

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Which bicycle frame material?

Right now, there are loads of people buying new bikes.  Here in the UK summer has finally arrived just as it is normally finishing.  The fantastic Tour de France has been won by Bradley Wiggins and we've seen some inspiration coming from the Olympic and Para Olympic games.  These are all great reasons for people anywhere to start cycling.

Bicycles are wonderful machines and shops are getting their act together in terms of being more professional in the way cycling is promoted as a positive lifestyle. It is because of this that there is a bewildering choice of bike.  I'll blog soon about the different kinds of bike soon but in the meantime here is some information on the different materials used to make the frame of a bicycle.

Choosing the right frame material is important , unless you're thinking of buying a horrible heap of junk from a supermarket for £99 (cheap bikes like this will probably be crudely welded steel of the lowest gas-pipe grade and best avoided).  The frame material will be reflected in the price but they will have considerable overlap.  The very "feel" of a bike will be determined by the frame material, as will the speed, weight and stiffness of the bike.  Below is a break down of the different materials:


Mass produced aluminium frame MTB: 
Aluminium is a quite popular material for bicycles and I remember seeing my first Cannondale back in the late 1980s when steel was the norm.  It was Cannondale who made aluminium bikes so conspicuous with the over sized tubing at the time.  Having a bike which looked like it was made of drain pipes seemed attractive for many and they were pretty good bikes, well presented and equipped with some nice components.  

The advantages back in the 1980s were that bikes could be made lighter [than steel] but to be honest I don't think there was much in it.  They were often made with a large diameter tube in order for the frame to be stiff and not flex too much when pedalled reasonably hard.  We often used to wonder how thin (i.e. what gauge they were) and we concluded they must have been just like Coke cans welded together).

Some of those early frames (especially those which would now be 30 odd years old) might not be very reliable in terms of their integrity and could be prone to failing.  Having a frame fail while in use could be a serious event!  Consequently I wouldn't touch and old, tatty aluminium frame with a long pedal crank.

Overall they have improved much over the years and have become almost mainstream and a material used for mass produced bikes.  Many aluminium road bikes will be fitted with carbon fibre forks which probably saves weighth and helps the ride quality (in principle).  My two daughters have aluminium mountain bikes, both economical and they serve well enough.  The cheapest is crudely welded but streets better than something 10 years older (see photo) at the "budget" end of the market.  The other is a 2010 Specialised Myka and well made.

As for the ride, well I consider it to be a bit clinical and heartless and perhaps harsh at times.  When riding on a road bike with correctly inflated tyres it can be tiring after a couple of hours owing to the harshness.  However, it does depend on the geometry and some other factors.

While there are many good value decent bikes made from this material, you might have some difficulty in finding a frame builder who would be willing to carry out any kind of a repair or modification should that ever be needed.  It's because of this bikes that need various fittings for pannier racks, pump pegs, water bottle bosses, cantilever brakes etc are unlikely to be found on a light frame, probably more so on a thick walled heavy frame.

Some examples of current aluminium frame bikes are:

Dawes Giro 300 - road bike costing about £450
Cannondale CAAD10 road bike - road bike costing about £2000

Best to avoid tarring these bikes with the same brush.  No doubt the frames have a totally different feel and performance along with components which are (almost) from opposite ends of the spectrum.  If you're thinking of buying a new bike for well under £1,000 there's a good chance it'll be aluminium to a degree.  It'll serve you well but recognise it's not an Aston Martin; instead be content with the Ford, Nissan, Toyota you have.

Carbon fibre

This is the material of choice for many road cyclists.  It is light and strong and can be made to look very beautiful with sculpted joints between the tubes and a streamlined look.  

As carbon fibre frames are made by layering layer upon layer, frames can differ a great deal from one brand to another.  With this the thickness, strength and stiffness can be finely tuned from tube to tube.  From what I gather, the Bradley Wiggins crew will have carbon fibre as will many an enthusiastic amateur.

Carbon fibre has been around in the bicycle world since the 1980s and there has been significant progress since.  Perhaps a slight oddity were the Raleigh Dynotech carbon fibre frames.  Aside from the utterly naff name, they weren't too bad although it isn't very often you'll see a carbon fibre bike with tubes glued or screwed into aluminimum lugs.  Are any still alive and still on the road?

While carbon fibre road bikes will almost certainly have a superb ride and bring out the best in any competitive cyclist, there are a few drawbacks.  The first is the cost.  Best to allow £1000 to get a start with carbon fibre with perhaps a Boardman bike from Halfords.  These aren't bad bikes at all, getting it coorrectly set up and tuned is suggested to be a lottery with Halfords.  There are other brands competing and perhaps one really worth checking out is Ribble cycles where you can have a carbon fibre bike for less than £900.

Another drawback is their durability.  Any crash involving riding into something will probably write off the frame.  Anything more serious that the lightest scratch or a gouge can also write the frame off.

If you are thinking of getting in to road racing and warming up for your first bike, consider going for a cheaper alumimium bike as above (be mindul of the limitations) and then treat yourself to a carbon fibre bike once you've lost a little weight and improved your fitness and cycling form.  Saving a little weight on a carbon fibre frame isn't suddenely going to make you into a really fast cyclist.  Imagine how embarrassing if you're riding your carbon fibre bike and you're overtaken by an older cyclist on a 20 year old bike and made of something heavier!


There are probably more bikes around the world made from steel than any other material.  These will range from cheap junior bikes through to bespoke made-to-measure touring bikes costing thousands.  Frame tubes will also range from crude gas pipes that are heavy, through to very light tubing made my Reynolds, Columbus etc.  This better tubing will normally be butted, meaning it is thicker at the ends (where it joins other tubes) and gives strength and thickness where it is most needed.  The middle section of the tube can be extremely thin but still retain much strength and rigidity.

Some neat welding with Reynolds steel tubes
Traditionally, frames were brazed together by fitting tubes inside a lug and then finished in the usual way.  Nowadays they are often welded together as shown in the photo.

Steel can be pretty light (Reynolds 753 springs to mind) as well as the inevitable gas pipe weight.  Yes, compared to carbon fibre, steel frames are a fair bit heavier.

The ride quality, however, is something different.  A good steel frame will combine stiffness (i.e. not twisting from side to side when stomping on the pedals) with comfort.  The comfort comes from the frame and forks flexing a little over a rough road surface.  In fact if you position yourself so you are looking straight down in line with the forks, you can see them absorb lots of road imperfections and road "noise".

Steel is a material favoured by many a tradtional frame builder; in the UK there are a number such as Argos, Dave Yates, Mercian and others.  Such frame builders can create a custom frame for you, with all the right angles, braze-ons and every other detail desired by you.  This is useful if you want a lot of braze-ons and can be helpful on touring bikes with pannier rack fittings, three water bottle bosses, cantilever brakes and so on.  A good frame builder can also repair a frame if it's damaged or needs a modification.

While twenty years ago there was a lot of steel around, nowadays it's a minority and the decent tube sets tend to be used for touring bikes, tandems, trikes and so on.  My Thorn Audax is made from steel and for me it is an ideal choice.

Some examples of other steel framed bikes:

Ridgeback Voyage 2012 long distance tourer
Pashley Princess Soverign town bike
Dawes Ultra Galaxy 2012 long distance tourer

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Cycling to work and the office shower

Commuting by bicycle in central London

I have been enjoying cycling to work over the last couple of months but generally only once or twice a week. Did I mention before it's about 43 miles there and back?  Well, it's turning out to be a bit of an adventure and here's a few of the "highlights":

Last week I turned up at the office.  There were already one or two smokers outside shortening their life expectancy and just couldn't be bothered to help open a heavy security door in spite of me struggling to manage that and my bike  Grrrrrrr.

Needless to say my MAMIL status (that's Middle Aged Man In Lycra) has attracted some attention, often along the lines of "oh have you cycled in or something?"  My silent reply is not for this blog.

The office shower is "interesting".  We have only one shower in an office building with 60 odd employees.  Doesn't sound much but I'm the only one who regularly uses it.  It's actually in the unisex disabled toilet room which itself is huge; much bigger than our bathroom at home.  The floor is a wet-room so the shower water drains away from the floor.  Except it doesn't drain very quickly and in fact the puddle grows faster than it can drain away.  This is a hazard to my office clothes as the growing puddle creeps ever closer across the floor and they start to soak up the water.

Once I forgot to take any trousers to work.  It felt a bit odd sitting at my desk wearing cycle shorts and a formal shirt (perhaps even a tie) being worn on my top half.  That day was the day the Chief was introducing the new Board Chairman to employees.  They must have thought I was very rude not to stand up and shake their hands!

Another slight mishap from this morning was taking my clothes out of my pannier bag and wondering why they looked so grubby.  I then realised I last used the bag for a Sainsbury's shop where I bought a leaky bag of flour.  Flour and charcoal grey trousers are not a brilliant combination.  There always seems to be an official visitor to encounter as I pass (wet hair, no shoes, odd looks) from having had a shower on those occasions!

I have also been exploring some different cycle paths in order to avoid the roads.  Some of these routes are "interesting" and a bit daft sometimes.  I ignore about half of the paths; it seems easier to stay on the roads rather than go on stupid diversions or get directed up on to the pavement to avoid a bus top  I'll say one thing, I'm not finding this cycle commuting boring at all!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Stainless steel-v-galvanised steel cables

Stainless steel  gear cables
Through the work we've done in updating Becky's vintage Argos bike, the cables are being replaced.  We found that stainless steel cables seemed to feel a bit smoother than the (slightly) cheaper galvanised cables which is helpful for applications such as the rear brake.

These were new to me and worth looking into:

  • Galvanised cables are cheaper and more commonly used on mass produced bikes, including the complete heaps of garbage that some supermarkets sell for £99
  • Galvanising is really a zinc coating applied often by using a "hot dip" method and is a form of rust proofing
  • Stainless steel is a little more expensive
  • Stainless steel is smoother with less friction.  This means less drag from any casing the cable is running in, or from any guides the cable runs against
  • Stainless steel is slightly less pliable or bendy.  Therefore the routing should have gradual crurves, not sharp bends
  • Stainless steel may still corrode a little but it will be less obvious.  I imagine that when a cable is installed, a little dry lube could be applied and this may help with some protection
On balance we have decided to use on stainless steel from this point onwards and we'll take care to use lined casing (the outer cable) just to make sure the cables run as smoothly as possible,

Both types need sharp cutters and I mean really sharp cutters to ensure a clean cut.  The wire cutters we have are not up to the job, so I am going to look into improving my bike tool box.   It goes without saying a newly installed cable (gear or brake) must be finished off with a crimp-on cap, to prevent fraying.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Thinking about my blog....

I enjoy blogging and by that I mean reading other people's blogs and writing my own.

With other people's blogs, they're like reading a daily magazine for free.  I particularly like the more personal ones, where I feel as if I almost get to know the blogger.  I also follow a blog of someone that I know a little.  All these blogs bring me the things I'm interested in reading about and from time to time it's nice to spread a little further for political comment or comedy (and occasionally these might be in the same blog).

And then this, my own blog.  I have been writing it since late 2010 and it has developed from a general ramble about family life or anything that caught my eye, through to now concentrating on running, cycling and with a bit of family life thrown in.  I get about 5000 page views a month, which perhaps is quite modest .  Most of my readers are in the UK followed by the United States, Russia and others.  I make about £2 or £3 a month from Adsense which is pathetic.

On some of my recent rides and runs I've tossed around a few ideas about my blog and I thought I'd run these past you to see what you think:
  1. Carry on, as is
  2. Quit altogether - save time, electricity etc
  3. Quit Google blogspot, choose a new bespoke domain, get it hosted and add Affiliate links etc
  4. As number 3 but have separate blogs for running, cycling and healthy living i.e. much more detailed information, research and comment
Talking this over with Rachel, she promptly came up with this excellent guide which has made me think I need to get a grip and do something proactive.  Ramblings of Doug has taught me loads of things I never knew and in hindsight I would set it up different now.

So, please leave me a comment, Anonymous if you prefer, with some feedback

Update, a little later on....

Wow this blog post alone seems to have attracted so much attention recently, in recent weeks it's had over 3,500 hits.  I can't imagine why!

Now in early 2013 I am getting over 10,000 hits a month, so quite a few more than September 2012.

I have created a new blog The Cycle Hub which also includes Affilate links through to Wiggle and Amazon.  PLEASE help me by using this for any running, cycle etc purchases you plan to make.

I really enjoy blogging and I appreciate all comments but not meaningless spam.

So thanks - thank you for following my blog.  Please remember I am just an ordinary person, simply blogging about a few of the things which interest me and a space to express some occasional views. On things.  I'm always open to suggestions, advice, a little challenge and other dialogues.