29 December 2007

2008 already?

Where does the time seem to go?? I can remember being at the meeting some 4 months ago & agreeing to cycle this. Now 4 months later I am about 5 pounds lighter & probably not much fitter. It's not become a race against time (yet!) but you can probably guess my new years resolution! This may give you a clue!!



Carol (loving wife & very lucky woman) has now taken on the role of Hans Blix (EU weapons inspector in Iraq) & there are now certain items in the Clare household that make the list of banned substances.





So to all my readers, I hope you had a good Christmas & have a Happy New Year & watch for my training updates in the new year.








8 December 2007

Back to the gym

Well it's been a few weeks since my last post & I now getting over a cold (proper man flu that an average person would die from!!). I've been to the gym a few times & the classes don't seem to get any easier!


The gym has now new bikes for spin classes which are about a millions times harder, but that's what I need to train

I plan to start cycling to work soon, but it's taking me longer than I expected to get used to doing 12 hour shifts (I can't stay awake on the train coming home, I woke up last week surrounded by school children covered in dribble. Just imagine the dog from Turner & Hooch!!)




There of course an upside to 12 hour shifts, I get either 4 or 5 days off every 4 or 5 days & I seem to be living at the gym!!

Oh another piece of news I am no longer the Secretary for the Emerald Society, but I will be announced as the new Treasurer from Monday.


11 November 2007

A near death experience

It was my first trip back to the gym after my holiday & I have done nothing for nearly 4 weeks. It's fair to say that doing the spin class today I was struggling. My pulse averaged at 97% of my maximum, but at least I finished. My body was screaming in pain!!




I've been home an hour & my legs are killing me & my back is aching!

It can only get better!!

Good news I start my new job tomorrow. Wish me luck!!


5 November 2007

Amy Winehouse

Well it's probably fair to say that by using Amy Winehouse as a header I am hoping to get more hits from people surfing the net, however I did wake up a few mornings feeling like she must every day! Great holiday, where I managed to put back on over half a stone in weight!

Great hotel as well, click on the link & check out the spa.

http://www.orientalspagarden.com/menuingl.html

Well back down the gym & back on the bike. I am now officially famous, well probably a bit strong to say famous more infamous? I have had an interview published in Police Review last week regarding the ride & I now have 2 definate companions for the way.

I plan to sit down with them in the next few weeks & I will then arrange the accommodation etc. We will then go out on some training rides & there may well be some new pictures!


15 October 2007

Bank Account

I have had quite a few emails about people wanting to know how to sponsor this ride. I have gone to my local bank & opened a savings account. I am reluctant to actually handle the money myself, as the MPSES does have a charity coordinator, but if you want to make a donation, you can do it by either internet banking or by sending it to the branch direct. If you are sending it to the branch direct, please remember to add the account number etc. with it



The details of the account are:

Account Number: 81501968

Sort Code: 40-42-01

HSBC Sidcup Branch
83 High Street
Sidcup
Kent
DA14 6DN

Please cheques payable to P.Clare

Thank you in advance



A warning from Greenpeace

The training is going OK, I'm still concentrating on losing weight & am doing at least an hour in the gym everyday. My diet is improving & the weight is coming off. (Downfall I need to buy some new suits!)

I am doing about 4/5 spin classes a week at present, & my saddle soreness has now gone & I am really getting into this.

However, (why is there always a however??) I am off on holiday for a couple of weeks, so there will be no more training updates for a while. I want to continue the good work I have started when I am away & try to do a lot of swimming. I also want to dispel the nasty hurtful rumours that Greenpeace are heading for the Canaries!!



It's not big & it's not clever!!





I have received my first donation form a dear friend of mine who at the age of 48 has been diagnosed with cancer. He recently had 8 liters of fluid drained off his lungs & I was so touched that through all his treatment & pain he thought of me & my ride.

Certainly focuses the mind.





3 October 2007

Final update on Evans' cycles

Well it's only taken 2 months with 13 emails, 2 phone calls, my employer getting involved & a letter but today I have finally received my two elusive inner tubes. I think they were delivered by Lord Lucan riding Shergar & came via Atlantis!! It was so frustrating, despite repeated request for them to call me Evans' would only answer emails.



All I can say is that I am glad it wasn't anything complicated I was missing or heaven knows how many hours I would have wasted trying to resolve it!!


There will be no more specific posts regarding Evans' Cycles now, unless they want to sponsor the ride with equipment etc. & I have emailed them to ask them! They are however sending me some vouchers as a gesture of good will. I shall now concentrate this blog back to it's original theme.......the ride, my sore bum & white vans that cut me up!! However I am taking Carol (wife & very lucky woman) away for a romantic weekend, so no more training until Monday. I can almost hear other women's hearts breaking (See previous posts of me in Lycra & you know why!!) & wishing they were Carol, or are they crying tears of sympathy?

Oh yes, one last thing, I have found out that I off to Marylebone on the 12th November, so it's back to working when it's dark!!






Worst thing is I will have to leave traffic, which is a shame as I really enjoyed the job I was doing. Mind you I suppose now I'm not a rat anymore people might speak to me again!!!







1 October 2007

A bit of police humor

Dear readers,

A little aside from the training that I know my police friends will agree with!!

You Might Be a Copper if...

You have the bladder capacity of five people.

You have ever restrained someone and it was not a sexual experience.

You believe that 75% of people are a waste of space.

Your idea of a good time is an armed robbery at shift change.

You call for a name check on anyone who is remotely friendly to you.

Discussing dismemberment over dinner seems perfectly normal to you.

You find humor in other peoples stupidity.

You have your weekends off planned for a year.

You believe the government should require a permit to reproduce.

You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says " God its Quiet today".

Whenever you phone someone, you ask them 'Are you free to speak?'

Your diet consists of food that has gone through more processing than a computer can track.

You're the only sober person in the kebab house.

You believe chocolate is a food group.

Having alcohol at 7am seems perfectly normal.

You have ever wanted to hold a seminar called "Suicide, getting it right the first time".

You believe "Too stupid to Live" should be a valid court outcome.

When you mention vegetables, you're not referring to a food group.

You think caffeine should be available in IV form.

Your prisoner states "I have no idea how I got here" - and neither have you.

You end normal conversations with loved ones with Roger or Acknowledged.

You walk down the street looking at people as potential criminal intelligence submissions

You believe the carpet bombing of certain areas of your beat is a viable alternative to policing

You believe that some crimes can be sorted out with a damn good kicking.

Your favorite hallucinogen is exhaustion.

You are the only person you know who ever uses the word 'liaise'.

Your partner tells you off for walking with your hands held together behind your back.

At least once every working day you use the phrase, "The job's f*cked!"

You regularly say, "With all due respect, Sir" but mean nothing of the sort.

You have a nose finely tuned to the smells of cannabis, decomposition and stale body odour.

You think Thursday is the best night to go into town for a drink with your mates.

You nodded and laughed at all of the above, and realised what a sick bunch we all are.
Keep smiling....................

The dreaded saddle!!

Well not much has been happening training wise. I've been going to the gym nearly everyday & doing a minimum of an hours cardio workout. I've been on a course at Kent Police HQ, so I've not been on the bike, but that will change this week

I'm now concentrating more on my diet to help my weight loss. Apparently hamburgers are not good for you??





No update on Evans' Cycles, still missing the two inner-tubes. I think I read that there is localised trouble on the Island of Java (Next island over from Bali). The main stay of the economy is rubber. Could this be the problem with the inner-tubes or just sheer incompetence??




My only other news is that I have been told I am being posted to the City of Westminster on promotion. I should find out today, when & to what Police Station.




21 September 2007

Update on Evans Cycles

It's been a week now since I wrote to Evans' Cycles regarding my missing equipment & general awful service.

I received an email saying that the store was out of stock of inner tubes & how they pride themselves on customer service (Please, my sides are splitting here!). This is from a nationwide company who has a mail order section & online ordering. So it would appear there is a world wide shortage of rubber??




A shortage of Lycra I can understand!!


Perhaps they will blame El Nino or the political election crises that is currently consuming Belgium (see I keep up to date with European news!) You would think that 2 inner tubes would be posted from their central stores? or even, heaven forbid ,another shop?

When I retire I might apply to work for Evans', I have a feeling I could make it more efficient & certainly more effective.

Another classic example of the cavalier attitude they have for customer care!

19 September 2007

Departed Merit


As two of the charities I have chosen to raise money for are cancer related (Which my dear friend Chris Jefford died from) I have decided to add another side panel in respect of departed merit where I shall name the people personally close to me who have died from cancer whilst I train.

It will help me to keep focused on why I am doing the ride, especially in the winter when it's cold & wet & lying in a warm bed is the preferred option!!

13 September 2007

Don't use Evans Cycles

This is a little distraction away from my training, but I want to tell you of my personal experiences with Evans Cycles & urge you not to use them.

Wiggle are excellent & can be found at

www.wiggle.co.uk


My employer (who do not want to be named in this blog???!!!) used Evans Cycles for the ride to work scheme. This is a Government base scheme to encourage more people to cycle to work. I along with thousands of my colleagues, brought bikes through this scheme. I can't remember the full details, but we don't pay tax on the bike & Evans also give you an additional 10% off. It's an excellent scheme & I would encourage everyone, if you get the chance to take full advantage of it.

My tale of woe started when I ordered my bike on the 23rd February 2007 & some accessories which came to £1188.82, which I think you'll agree is expensive for a bike, so you would expect a decent level of service??

The way the process works is you get a voucher from your employer which you give to the shop when you order the bike. They then prepare your bike for you & the employer then takes the money for the bike our of your wages at source over 10 months. As I said I can't remember the full details, but the tax is taken off at source & it works out about 60% of the normal cost??

The shop said that they would ring me, when it was ready to be collected. After a few days I rang the shop to be told that they were waiting for a bracket to fix the rear rack on with, but this should only be a few days. Having not heard anything for a few days I rang again & was told that they bracket was still on order. I suppose that I must have called about 3 or 4 times in the next couple of weeks & was advised that the bracket would soon be in & that they would contact me.

After about a month I still had not heard anything so I rang the shop & was told that the bike had been ready for collection for weeks!! So on the 6th April I went & collected it. Another calamity none of the extras I had purchased were on the bike. So I had an hour waiting in the shop for these to be fitted. I didn't care though as I had my bike!!

I had driven to work that day, so I took my nice new shiny bike home in the car. A Cannondale Bad Boy, 29 gears & a saddle like a razor blade (See other post re me & saddles!)




The first time I rode the bike I got about 5 miles into my journey to work & the rear end just didn't feel right. I put some more air in the tyre & it seemed to be OK. Mind you the next few miles were also dead straight, but by the time I got to the city I can only describe riding it as being like on a clowns bike. I had to walk the last few miles into work as the rear wheel was that unstable.

I got one of the highly trained collision investigators to examine the bike & it was discovered that a number of the rear spokes were loose enabling the hub to almost move freely on the rear wheel within the arc of the spokes. This could could have lead to a catastrophic failure, more importantly with me on it!!

I took the bike back to the West End branch & much to the amusement of the shop assistant they repaired it.

I had a few minor things go wrong with the bike, I have had to reattach the water bottle cage & the pulse monitor & tighten a few bolts. (These I would imagine would have be picked up at the first free service I was never offered)

I then was riding to work & got a puncture, which for those of you who cycle will know that this is a regular event. Not to worry when I brought the bike I also got some spare inner tubes for such an occasion. Guess what the ones that I was sold were the wrong fitting for the bike. (Mind you if they had of fitted the pump I was sold would not have fitted them anyway!) It was at this stage that I emailed Evans' customer service people & received an apologetic phone call offering me the free service that all new customers get?? This was news to me. She said that she had spoken to the store manager & how horrified he was that I had been sold wrong parts & not offered the service. He would ring me the next day to arrange the service. Needless to say he didn't call so I again emailed Evans customer service & received a call the following afternoon from the shop.

I arranged to take the bike into be serviced & it's fair to say that the person I spoke to was unable to comprehend why I was there. She couldn't understand what was wrong with the inner tubes, so in the end I just walked out. I again emailed the customer service department telling them of my disgust, but they didn't even had the courtesy to reply. I also told them that I would pay & have the bike serviced myself as I did not feel confident in their staff.

I contacted the department of my employer who can not be named (Voldermort!) & they have been in touch with their contact at Evans. He sent me a nice email two weeks ago, saying how sorry he was to hear of my problems & to rectify this he was making sure the relevant branch was to send me the manual for my bike & as a gesture of good will some inner tubes for my bike. (No offer of this free service at another branch I see & I'm not sure why sending the correct items that I have already paid for is a gesture of goodwill, more an apology for their incompetence)

Guess what, it hasn't arrived after 2 weeks, so I have again emailed the customer service people!

I require from Evans Cycles the following

1) The manual for my bike

2) The replacement inner-tubes I am still waiting for

What do you think my chances are ???

Well I got home today & the manual has arrived, but (I don't believe this) the shop has run out of inner tubes, but will send me some later (Second only to the phrases, The cheques in the post or Trust me I'm a policeman!!. There is a third phrase that you should never trust, but my mother reads this & it's rude!! - email me on pc.clare@gmail.com if you want to know)

You make up your own mind about Evans Cycles, I have chatted to a few people who have had similar problems. I was thinking of approaching them for sponsorship for the ride (not money, things like tyres etc, but I don't think I'll bother)

Oh yes, I should soon be in 'Police Review' as they are keen to follow the ride. They are doing an article on me & the training.

I am contemplating doing a trial ride in around May time form Belfast to Dublin. It's about 105/110 miles. This is on hold at the moment as I don't know what or where I will be working until they announce the promotion placements in a few weeks.

8 September 2007

A festival of Lycra!

Well I haven't manage to either get to the gym today or go out on my bike. Not to worry thinking ahead to the icy cold winter months I have got myself a home trainer, which I am racking up a few miles on with the bike which I intend to use for the ride. This may come as a surprise to my avid reader (Mark & family in France - check out their blog as they start a new life in France at www.youster.blogspot.com) that the saddle on this bike is made of poison ivy & brillo pads!!

Anyway the moment all of you have been waiting for:






ME IN LYCRA!!







I wasn't quick enough off the bike to grab the camera from Carol



Who ever thought that lycra could stretch that much!



Glad that was over, worst 30 seconds of my life!!

Tell me what you think of this blog & any questions you have please email me at pc.clare@gmail.com

First goal reached!

I've reached my first of many goals today by being below 19 stone, which means I have lost my first stone. I know its not much on the great scheme of things, but it's the first of many hurdles I have to pass.


I am concentrating on losing weight before Christmas manly & will increase my fitness & endurance in the New Year. I am aiming to be around 15 st by this time. I don't want to lose too much weight as I'll not be as efficient with the enforcer at work!!




5 September 2007

Back in the Saddle

My chap was convicted at court, so I now have more time on my hands to concentrate on my training & not spending the evenings running around for last minute statements & enquiries.

I have decided that the saddle is a medieaval torture device & I must have been a wizard in a previous life?? The device below is call "The Pear" & I think apart from making your eyes water is made from the same material as my saddle!




On a serious note, my training is now officially back on track. Alcohol is the devils wee-wee & chocolate is straight from the bowels of hell. I am determined to be below 19 stone on Sunday when I do my weekly weigh in. The only consolation is that I look FANTASTIC in Lycra. I am lucky that it suits me & not everyone can say that!!


29 August 2007

More time off than I expected

Well the excitement of being promoted has now worn off & I will soon be back training from this Saturday!! I've had nearly two weeks of eating & drinking all the wrong stuff in celebration, but I have to get my training back on schedule.




I'm at Wood Green Crown Court (above) all this week with a long complicated case death by dangerous driving & I have to keep my wits about me as officer in the case.




I have also registered Carol (my wife) & I for the hovis wheel round London day on the 23rd September. I haven't told Carol that we are cycling to central London. I'll contact the LAS to have an ambulance on standby for her!!

18 August 2007

A few days off

I've taken a few days off training for 2 reasons. My saddle soreness is still there, but after a chat with my wife & some nappy rash cream it's getting better. I should point out that she is a nurse.


The other reason is my head has been sore. I discovered yesterday that I am going to be promoted to an Inspector at work, hence why my head hurts this morning!!


Back on the bike from tomorrow. I am determined to be below 19 stone by next weekend!

13 August 2007

Keiser/Spin Classes

I have had a few emails asking what a keiser or spin class is. It's a static exercise class in the gym on a fixed bike to music. The classes last between 30 & 45 mins & I burn, according to my pulse monitor, somewhere in the region of 750 calories in 45 mins.




The funnest thing ever was watching Carol (Long suffering wife to new readers AKA Soup Dragon) doing a class. She is the only person I know that has flared cycle shorts!

5 August 2007

By Popular Demand

I've been training quite hard now & my saddle soreness is still there. On reading other websites it will eventually go.

By Popular demand I have added a picture of myself taken when I was cycling into work. I have donned my luck wig & Viking Helmet!


God I look good!




I had my first puncture today going into work. Not a problem I bought a new bike a few months ago & I purchased some extra inner tubes. Guess what, they didn't fit the wheel. I am seriously unimpressed with Evans Cycles (there is a long list of problems with my bike & Evans, which I will bore you with some other time).

The bike I brought was a Cannondale Bad Boy, & is the first bike I have had with disc brakes front & rear. The saddle I think is made out of stinging nettles & rusty barbed wire!


1 August 2007

The training


I seem to remember that bicycles were more comfortable when I was younger & cycle shorts don't seem to help either!!

I've been out for quite a few training rides & have also done a fair amount of 'spin' classes down the gym (Yes I do belong to one!). Apart from obvious places; I ache like mad. My right knee is particularly sore, however it's not stopping me; slowing me perhaps but not stopping me. The only up side is I am sleeping a lot better.

Remember to vote on my on-line poll & continue to check back for updates

27 July 2007

The Route




The record for this is an incredible 41 hours, 22 mins & 2 seconds. I think it will take me between 8 to 10 days & I hope to cycle around 80 to 90 miles a day.

I've been looking on the internet & there are a large number of people who have done this route, reading their websites you get the impression how hard this is. (note to self, engage brain before mouth in future!)

I have had two other officers offer to ride with me, this could turn into a team time trial!!

Off out for a cycle now

The start

Well here I am 40 & fat or should that read fat & 40? Either way I am the same percentage of fat as a pork scratching & I have decided that I need to do something about it before I go to an early grave. Being 20 stone is no fun, especially when you can't get clothes to fit you in high street shops.

This blog is going to tell how I am preparing to cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats in July 2008 for charity. I have chosen 5 charities which are:

Care of Police Survivors (www.ukcops.org/)

RUC Widows & Orphans (www.rucbenevolentfund.org)

Garda Siochana Widows & Orphans

Breast Cancer (www.breastcancercampaign.org)

Prostate Cancer (www.prostate-cancer.org.uk)

The 5 chosen charities were easy. You can probably tell my profession from the first 3!!. I am currently a Senior Investigating Officer with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), where I investigate fatal road traffic collisions. I am also the secretary of the MPS Emerald Society (www.mpsemeralds.org.uk) which is a staff association for officers & police staff of Irish decent. Hence why I feel it is important to include the PSNI & Garda.

I am also keen to help the charities that support widows & orphans. I have lost friends & colleagues in recent years at work; Pc Tony Haines was killed in March 2001 in a collision & more recently Pc Chris Jefford died of a brain tumor in December 2005. Both very sadly missed

Cancer is a disease that will effect everyone in someway throughout their lives. My mother had breast cancer 4 years ago & thankfully she was cured. In the past 3 weeks I have seen 2 of my friends buried for prostate cancer.

Over the next few weeks I will try to get some corporate sponsorship for the ride (Bike, Helmet, clothing etc), start a training programme & start training!!

Did you know that you can get a cheap bike to ride to work on via a Government Scheme called ride to work?

I would also like to dispel rumors early I have not tested positive for dope, I must be a dope for agreeing to doing थिस however, there is good chance I could test positive for marmite which will really impress my wife as she hates the stuff!!