Embracing a key philosophy – ‘make stuff up’


Only its mother could love it. A frankenbike I’d lent to one of my sons in London. A DIY single speed, looking (accurately) like it’s not worth stealing. I’ve ridden it around the village (pre rear puncture) and it’s great fun – but it might not be the bike to ride out to the alps

Situation normal: I have set myself a challenge and have no real idea about how I should train for it, how much training is necessary or whether I can actually do it.

One of my great friends at work was the Marketing Director. His key philosophies were summarised as B&W, D&D and MSU (‘bob and weave’, ‘duck and dive’ and ‘make stuff up’). As Legal Director I didn’t feel those were quite so open to me – but I always admired them in him. Now is another chance for me to embrace the ‘make stuff up’ approach.

The only comfort is that I’ve been here before with the Cinglé du Mont-Ventoux and everesting – and they both worked out OK. I do as much as I feel I can, recognise that it could always be more, decide not to worry about that – and just get on with it. That’s going to have to be the approach this time too.

The most humbling thing is to compare my meagre challenges with those that some folks take on and blog about. Too many to list them all but for cycle touring you might have a look at three by inspirational ladies:

Gobi bike    Capital A Adventures    Sharron Yaxley

So, with about 10 weeks until I take the ferry across the Channel and ride to the alps, what do I do? The key challenges, I guess, will be the distance, the required speed and the multi-day nature of the trip (to say nothing of navigation, drinking, eating, sleeping and recovery). It looks like training will be focused on time in the saddle and putting in the miles.

When I trained for my London marathons (in 1998 and 1999) the longest training run I ever did was 20 miles so based on that I don’t suppose I need to do rides of over 200km (125 miles) but that’s only guesswork on my part. Despite that, setting myself a target of 150km a week would seem totally inadequate in view of the fact that I’ll be aiming to do three days averaging 270km (167 miles) a day – but I’ve got to start somewhere.

I know that the turbo gives rather soft kms as I can record well over 40km an hour on it, but for the first week a 150km target will be OK.

I have sent off for some bags for the bike. I am using my standard approach of attempting to disguise my inherent meanness as the embracing of a challenge to do this cheaply. A 10 litre saddle bag and a frame bag are costing a combined £14.51 (under $20) so it will be interesting to see if they are fit for purpose and big enough.

Everything I read says that comfort on the bike is key. I plan to keep my saddle even though it might not be the most comfortable available. It weighs very little and, after all, I am taking the bike out for a week in the alps, after the 3 days to the alps.


I’d better start thinking about what I need to take. I left some cycling kit and everyday clothes out there when we went skiing so it’s mainly stuff for the journey itself – how little can I get away with – plus padded undershorts to go with the bibs?

I’ll also need to think route finalisation, getting comfortable on the tribars, and starting to pray for a good crossing, good weather, a tail wind, and the finding of suitable accommodation.

Oh yes, I remember that I don’t speak French – I guess it’s too late to start lessons?



7 thoughts on “Embracing a key philosophy – ‘make stuff up’

  1. tempocyclist.com

    You could easily learn enough French in 10 weeks to get by. Surely as long as you can say “Where is the nearest cafe” and “Put me back on my bike” you’ll be fine! 😉

    Apart from that, I suck at training and have never ridden 200+ km in a day so I have nothing more to offer you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      At school I took German instead of French – and when the time came to opt for a second foreign language it was clear that I was no linguist … so I didn’t. It now may be a case of ‘old dogs and new tricks’ but some pre-prepared phrases is a great idea. Perhaps ‘Je suis absolument knackered’ and ‘Où est la crème de chamois’.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bgddyjim

    Okay, I can help with the training part. I do a four-day, 385 mile trip every year. Same idea, fewer miles.

    Start early with teaching your body to ride hard several days in a row. Three fifty-milers in a row should do. Then add distance. You’re the old man in Lycra so I assume you’re retired. That should be doable. From there I would increase the distance… maybe a 100 miler followed by a 50 and another 50. Then two 100’s and a 50. The culmination of my training would be a 150, a 125, and something decent for the third day. The fourth will work itself out.

    We do that four-day without ever riding two 100 milers in a row all season long.

    Now, a couple of keys – you want a new pair of shorts or bibs for each day. Don’t try to squeeze two days out of a pair. You’ll get saddle sores. Finally, if you can get to that two 125’s, figure knocking 1 mph off your average pace and 168 shouldn’t be too big a stretch.

    It’s a big goal! Oh, and leave the single speed home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you very much. Although I’d have preferred the answer to have been ‘Stay at home and eat chocolate’ I was thinking that was a bit unlikely.
      I’ll look for the opportunity for consecutive day blocks of riding, with increasing distances – if I can fit them in around the busy schedule that is retirement!

      Liked by 1 person


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