2014 saw my first full year of retirement and a certain trepidation of how I would fill my time. I should not have worried as a sailing challenge got ticked off the bucket list and a cycling milestone of pedalling ten thousand miles in the year.
This left 2015 with an empty diary so with a desire to travel and cycle as much as we can we made the decision to combine the two and purchase a motorhome, complete with garage to store the bikes.
We will take delivery in March and after a few days away to familiarise ourselves with this new style of adventure Kaye will be driving as I cycle from Lands End to John O Groats in May. The van will offer overnight accommodation for the trip. I have decided to try to aim to complete the challenge in fifteen days which will mean a manageable sixty to seventy miles a day and time to take in the views and with the freedom the motorhome offers it will not be necessary to prebook lodgings in advance and the added stress that puts on the ride schedule, it will also give us a taster of Scotland a country we have never explored before.
As well as this iconic cyclists challenge we also plan to complete a few local events, The Isle Of Wight Randonnee, Magna Carta Ride, Dunwich Dynamo and if I am successful in the ballot, the Ride London.
This should take us nicely into August and the first chance for taking the motorhome into Europe and the Semaine Federale, an eight-day cycling festival in France followed by a slow drive and cycle back sampling the wine and a bit more of rural France that we so enjoyed briefly in 2014.
Now after a few weeks off the bike in January it will be back into training and hopefully a Devon Coast to Coast in early April before LeJog in May.
Training for these rides and being retired, I try to get out on my bike as much as possible, after all you may as well enjoy the preparation and sitting on a turbo trainer or exercise bike in the gym is not my idea of fun. I mix the distances and severity of the rides, typically I will cycle on my own on Monday, Wednesday and or Friday with one ride of about thirty miles at a fast (for me 16 – 17 mph) pace and one ride of about sixty to seventy miles at a moderate pace. On Tuesday and Thursdays I join up with Fleet CTC for between forty and sixty miles and a day out with coffee and lunch. Saturday afternoon is an Alton CTC ride of between thirty and forty miles to coffee and cake and Sunday morning is the weekly fifty mile club run with Alton CC.
I have built these distances gradually over time from a base of ten-mile rides and have found that this method works for me. I do not do any special training for hills, I just accept they are there and pedal at my own pace making sure I am spinning and not straining muscles by pushing big gears. I normally take one or two days off each week and will try to get in a walk if conditions do not allow me to cycle.
Retirement does have its benefits, I am not really sure how I used to find time to work !!