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Brooks saddle ~12,000 miles

April 12, 2017
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WOW, thanks Brooks Saddles.

I treated myself back in 2013 to a ‘Brooks’ saddle. Alas, last month after about 12,000miles (been doing >3000 a year) I heard a snap.

I had to switch my Brooks Flyer for the old off-the-self saddle that came with the bike that, yes, looked comfy but after a day my backside was not happy about the cheap ‘comfy looking’ saddle.

After 4 years of 5day-a-week riding, my Brooks is like an old pair of boots! Snug as slippers!

Disappointed, and fearing the worst, I called and emailed Brooks with my ride history and proof of purchase. Seven days later my saddle’s been returned fixed! WOW, ready for another 12,000 miles at least!

Like I said, my brooks saddle’s like an old pair of leather boots – snug as! Thanks SG and Brooks Saddles.

Simply, a walk…

April 11, 2017

It’s that time of year again. Last March we posted a Spring walk. This week we did our first ramble of 2017.

Nothing difficult, simply a round walk along The River Soar from Barrow to Mountsorrel, up the mound, and back down to The Waterside for an anniversary ale (13 years), and then there’s The Navigation for another on your return (site of our first date).

I have recently been reading, watching and listening to more stuff that reinforces Ezra Bayda’s “What happens when we slow down and pay attention? Everything! Innumerable delights are right at hand.”

It’s coming to the end of Lent and although I have not been able to focus on it this year, a few nuggets have settled in the sands of uncertainty.

I’ve forgotten all I learnt in the desert.
I didn’t, as the guide advised, create notes.
So the soothing mirages we realised have melted.
Yes, nothing held back, nothing held onto.
Nothing, only breath.
And a hope for bird song in the privet.

Your conscious experience (reality) is really just an immediate memory.

Apostle Paul was “reasoning with Jews in the synagogue and Greeks in the marketplace about {stuff}” Acts 17:17
Reason, not abstract concepts.

“the mind, like the feet, works at about 3mph … modern life is moving faster than the speed of thoughtfulness”

“You don’t perceive things as they are, you perceive things as you are…”

“Beauty is the discovery that objects are not objects; love is the discovery that others are not others.“ Rupert Spira

“Perhaps the way we do anything is the way we do everything”

“We humans prefer a managable complexity to an unmanageable simplicity” Fr Bruno Barnhart

“…and I am lucky enough to know that I am in the Midst” Barbara Brown Taylor

…there is a wholeness which lies on the other side of ego, where we can learn to rest assured … to know “for the first time” a “second innocence”… a simplicity that takes us beyond the simplistic. (Brian Draper)
“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Words; midst, rebuke, becalm

There are some other walks we’ve done here if you’re interested: Walks

Flyer “Improved Performance”

April 4, 2017
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DJS Sports Massage are about to launch and came to me for a bit of bling!

Dan needed some fliers and imagery to reinforce the service and help spread the word.

DS Sports Massage is a new venture run in Leicester by Dan Squires, a recently qualified Sports Massage Therapist. They offer mobile house calls so you can enjoy a massage in the comfort of your own home. DJS offer a range of professional services from sports massage treatments to sports injury rehabilitation programmes.  Sports Massage offers full treatments which include a range of various techniques including:

  • Deep friction
  • Soft tissue release (STR) 
  • Myofascial Release Techniques (Deep Tissue)
  • Neuromuscular Techniques (NMT) 
  • Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)
  • -Pre & Post event Massage

Check them out here:

Butterflies 2017

March 31, 2017


In 2011, we did this. We thought we’d do it again as the kids seemed enthusiastic and curious.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve watched 5 caterpillars, eat, grow, form chrysalis and emerge as butterflies.

I read that “to become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself … certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures”

A caterpillar is a larva. We watched them eat, eat and eat, and shed their skins to get bigger and bigger.

After about 10 days, they climbed to the top of the cup, shed their skin one last time, and each formed a chrysalis. The chrysalis hardened, and within this the caterpillar transformed its body into a butterfly.

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I am told, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. Certain groups of cells survive the digestive process. All the information needed to become a butterfly is present in the caterpillar when it initially grows from an egg.

While in the hardened chrysalis, most of the transformation is an unseen process, but you see the chrysalis harden and bulge over about 10 days. It wiggles every now and then, reminding you that something’s going on in there.

Finally, after about 10 days, out climb butterflies – simply amazing.

You can get the kit here:



People on bikes – again

March 28, 2017

After the local press asked about my ‘person on a bike‘ experiences last week, they put a piece in the paper.
I put a blog post together for the record – see ‘Simply Riding a Bike

Now the local BBC TV have (again) asked me, and some local campaign groups, about our experiences of ‘riding a bike’ in and around Leicester.

As mentioned last week: People on bikes are simply asking for drivers to look out for and have a little due care and attention for, that person on their bike.

The TV article focused on the ‘close pass’ items:

  • The vulnerability of people on bikes mixing with motor vehicles needs to be recognised by authorities and drivers.
  • people on bikes’ mixed with motor vehicles are in a vulnerability position – this needs to be publicised, and where appropriate, people driving without due care and attention need to be prosecuted.
  • West Mids. Police have been doing this and I would hope other forces will see that it’s necessary if we are to encourage more bike use.
  • Almost every day I encounter at least one driver who does not give due care and attention when passing cyclists – hence a lot of my route is now off main roads.

BUT the rest of my TV interview and in my view a more important issue was along the lines of the below:

  • There is a healthy, cheap, invigorating alternative to the car.
  • Riding a bike is do-able –  I do it every weekday.
  • There are cyclable routes, but they are not ideal – inevitably, there are places where you’ll have to mix with motor vehicles traveling at speed. But for example, over my 9-mile commute, 8 miles of this are off roads!
  • Routes off the main roads are there, but design and creation of these routes need better consultation, planning, and investment. Bike routes need improvement and maintenance. Options for bikes; the value of encouraging and providing for people on bikes; needs to be embraced by authorities if we’re to encourage a broader section of people to ride bikes.

Who needs to exercise more?
Who would like to save money?
Who could do with space to clear their head?

There is a healthy, cheap, invigorating alternative to the car.

Riding a bike is do-able! I do it every weekday.

Flyer “Cleaned…”

March 25, 2017

I was asked if I could create a visually impacting flyer for a local home and garden maintenance company who are focusing on their window and conservatory cleaning service.

Of course.

I took a selection of standard photo’s they had taken and enhanced them to make them effective. I put together a basic content structure, redrew their logo, and using the logo’s shape as a design element created this flyer design for them.

Together with the final printed flyer printed 1000 items on a quality 250gsm stock, I supplied some imagery for them to share online and via social media.

If you need your outside white-work cleaned to looking like new … and you’re in Birstall or Charnwood Leicestershire … give ‘um a call.

“simply riding a bike”

March 11, 2017

I’ve wittered about this before I know, but after this recent encounter below, when the local press asked me about my experience of ‘riding a bike’, I had to respond.

Please look out for, and have a little due care and attention for, that person, simply riding their bike.

I like many other mums, fathers, daughters, and sons ride a bike to work.

The people you see on pedal bikes are just like you and me – people with hopes, cares, worries and ambitions. A person on a bike might be Mrs Miggins, Mr Chopra, cousin Johnny or little Veena. They have simply opted to ride a bike today*.

I’m privileged, as many are, to be able to bike daily to work rather than drive a car: It’s cheaper, it’s vastly healthier, and it has given me a new outlook on ‘stuff’ – an experience that I find priceless. After more than five years riding a bike daily, I’ve found myself having been through many ‘cyclist’ stages. Yes, the cycling ‘sport’, for fit adrenalin-fueled contenders is another matter – it’s not what I do. What I’m talking about is simply everyday people getting on a bike to pop to work, or town or wherever.

People on bikes find themselves in vulnerable positions and face frequent hazards when having to share road space with motor vehicles. One of the biggest discomforts is ‘the close pass’. When the driver of a motor vehicle, drives past a person on a bike without due care and attention; drivers travelling without monitoring and adjusting their speed and distance when faced with other more vulnerable road users. Motor vehicles travel at speed and they have bumpers, fenders, seat belts, airbags, impact absorption cells and safety devices. People on bikes do not. A collision between motor vehicle and a cyclist is speeding metal on mortal flesh – need I say more?

So why ride a bike when you can drive?

It’s taken me considered time to move from a driverly route and attitude to a more pedestrian one. My 9 mile cycle commute now takes me about 40 mins, while at rush hour in the car it’ll take perhaps 30mins. There is provision for people on bikes that is maintained, cleaned and signposted. Yes, it does need better management, upkeep and improvement in places, but it’s there if you look for it. For 90% of my journey I travel on shared pedestrian/cycle paths, designated Cycle Routes, and quiet back streets. But, of course I also have to share the unavoidable main roads.

Only about one mile of my nine mile commute is via main roads, sharing space with motor vehicle drivers. This main road space is where the cyclist can find themselves in potentially dangerous vulnerable positions.

All the law and common sense asks drivers is;

  • make sure the road is sufficiently clear ahead
  • make sure there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you plan to overtake
  • overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.
  • don’t get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake
  • pass quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking, once you have started to overtake. Allow plenty of room. Move back to the left as soon as you can but do not cut in.
  • give cyclists at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car
  • look out for cyclists before you emerge from a junction, turning, changing direction or lane
  • when passing cyclists, give them plenty of room. If they look over their shoulder it could mean that they intend to pull out, turn right or change direction. Give them time and space to do so.
  • cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road – give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make.

The police have recently started promoting and hopefully enforcing the rules of the road – see here; closepass

“The most effective tool to curtail adverse driver behaviour is the threat of prosecution” West Midlands Police WMP Traffic

Worryingly, there are drivers who do not seem to realise the potential danger of driving without due care and attention.
There are also drivers who seemingly do not seem to care about the potential danger of driving without due care and attention.

*Yes, I agree, people on bikes equally need to ride with due care and attention, and abide by similar common sense rules of the road.

All people on bikes ask, is for drivers to please look out for, and have a little due care and attention for, that person, simply riding their bike.