The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society
The planning, the bike, the navigation, and my body all have to work quite well for this to be a success Let’s start with me – what physical shape am I in?
I recently lost my watch and replaced it with a Fitbit that monitors activity, heart rate, sleep, etc. I’ve been amazed by the results, which are very reassuring. Over the last few weeks, my resting heart rate averaged 48-51 beats per minute. The American Heart Association guidance suggests that the population average rate is 60-80 bpm, but “usually lower for physically fit people”. And during my 100-mile ride last Friday, my maximum recorded heart rate was only 123 bpm. Admittedly, I wasn’t trying for speed, but there were a couple of short steep ascents.
I haven’t been following a rigorous training programme, I’ve certainly never been an athlete, nor have I ever taken up any formal sport, so this is a bit surprising. I’ve checked the measured rate a couple of times and it seems accurate. Presumably this means I won’t be running a high risk of heart failure. I guess the main reason for the low heart rate is cycling to work – and a restless nature. I walk and fidget a lot, rarely sitting still for more than half an hour at a time, and I use a standing desk. My average daily pedometer reading is over 12,000 steps, without making any conscious effort to raise it.
Other aspects of fitness aren’t so promising. My core strength isn’t very good, and there’s some evidence of tiring during long rides, with my average speed falling significantly towards the end of the day – partly due to the difficulty of maintaining an adequate food intake, I think.
Injury is another concern. I have particular trouble with my neck and upper back, and a while ago had so much pain from a back injury that I had to stop cycling for a week or so. If that happens en route, it will be disastrous. A dodgy right knee is another slight worry. Fingers crossed!