Today I did the longest bike ride in years.

I loved all 38 mile of the cycle on the roads around Co. Durham (UK) and through the historic City of Durham itself.

Hundreds of motorists would have seen me cycling through the streets today. Hundreds of motorists looking at my bum on my saddle – you do, you just can’t help it !

Imagine having a sponsor emblazoned on my cycle shorts on my bum – hundreds of potential clients a day – thousands a year.

But not just my backside – also my back, thighs, chest etc.

This is my plan to achieve my goal of 1 year job free just cycling, running – getting fitter, healthier and improving my mindset and hopefully changing my path of depression through job problems and feeling mentally drained.

To have the time to focus my mind on some of the creative projects running around in my head that will never see the light of day while I have to go to work.

It’s not that I don’t want to work – I just don’t think I can work in a modern manufacturing environment anymore.




Let me tell you a little (ok – a LOT) about my background and “where I am now.”

Having left school at 16 I had to take a couple of government schemes to get by in an era of youth unrest and high unemployment rates.

Having spent a year on the dole after a second government employment scheme I landed a dream (by the standards of youth) job down the coalmine. This was the best time of my life. I finally had the money to do what I wanted and grasped my new found prosperity with both hands.

I bought my first decent camera and became a freelance photographer for a local newspaper. I was photographing Sunday League football, presentations, flower shows, leek shows, fetes etc. I was being offered drinks and getting straight in to venues. With this came an almost celebrity status amongst my peers as I was getting noticed more and more.

(this is all relevant to “where I am now”)

I also found the time to start cycling again and bought my first decent mountain bike – the scene was very new and the equipment quite basic.

With my camera in tow I started photographing mountain bike races and thought it looked quite fun but I was sure I was nowhere near fit enough to do one. Over the next year I trained hard and entered my first mountain bike race the following (cold) spring. It was freezing, muddy, wet, and I was knackered – I WAS HOOKED !

Miner, Mountain Bike Racer, Photographer – I was living the dream.

Then redundancy was offered at the coalmine and I took it early before 1500 other men were looking for jobs too. After a brief time on the dole again I secured a job in a small factory with a small team of employees and office staff.

This was to be the longest employment of my life so far.

During  the 14 and a half years I was there I had moved from humble machine operator to Research and Development member on the engineering side. And between that stretch I also headed a number of operations that grew larger with time.

I was held in high regard by managers, sales people and peers alike. I knew my job well and took a great interest in the products we made.

I also bought a house, found a girl and started a family in those 14 and a half years !

THEN, once again, redundancy was offered and I thought I would see what else was out there.

Having spent 2 weeks in an electrical wiring factory and 2 months in a call centre I landed a job in a warehouse. It was a bit of low point and when I started I thought OMG. The people who worked there – it was like a remand centre for very bad people!!  I stuck it out and told myself it would only be for 6 months at the most until I found a job more fitting to my talents.

Four and a half years later I finally left. It had been interesting to say the least. I had become, as before, a revered member of the team. I was multi-talented and could run a team of 30, work all the computer systems, trained in nearly every aspect of the warehouse and trusted and held in high regard by the team leaders and managers. I took an interest in the way the warehouse worked and the products we distributed. The craic was great, the people were funny and the work was hard.

Working 4on 4off 12 hour days it was a tough shift – walking between 15 – 20 mile a day through the aisles. Then on my 4 days off I would be running and cycling for miles. I had never been fitter OR slimmer.

It had also toughened me up a little. Despite making the unlikeliest alliances with people I never would have imagined to make friends with and getting on with the hardest looking men (and women) you could ever see there were still differences between people that had to be resolved face to face without intervention from others. I learned to stand my ground, voice my opinions and argue my point !

There is relevance to all this I promise.

The problem with the warehouse was low pay – and it was about to move elsewhere – we were working on borrowed time. So I got another job and left. Briefly, I hated this job and lasted 6 months. The next job was a stressful health hazard with chemical impregnated dust floating around all day. I lasted 18 month there.


I was offered a job in a manufacturing warehouse at a local factory and thought “Finally this is my time to slow down and start taking it a little easier – just sitting on the fork lift unloading and loading vehicles.”


This is the most physically demanding job I have ever had. Stressful, hard, heavy fast. On top of this I also bought a house that needed fixing up (more than had been expected).

My body is drained my head is full to exploding with things to think about. I was diagnosed with depression and had to have a couple weeks off.

I decided to face my manager in a face to face man to man meeting instead of just phoning in sick. I thought it would be better to do it this way.

As it happens he didn’t believe me and went straight into the warehouse to ask if I had been looking for another job !

Obviously when I found this out I wasn’t very happy and my opinion of this man just nosedived.

Unfortunately a few weeks later I had a nasty accident on my mountain bike involving some dogs. Due to staff shortages I put nearly a week of agonising work in (with no light duties) before I finally couldn’t stand the pain any longer. I needed to completely rest (something VERY difficult for me) so I had to put another 4 days sick leave in. Despite the obviousness of my injuries and the difficulty I had walking the supervisor thought I was pulling a fast one and suggested I was just working on the house.

On top of this, after a year of working there, I was given my 12 month review where they said basically they didn’t like my attitude or my personality !! They didn’t like the way I spoke to people  (like men speak to men) they thought | was argumentative – to which I replied I thought I was actually more opinionated,  headstrong and forthright. Apparently they don’t like opinionated,  headstrong and forthright people (only sheep).


Sponsorship deals to help me take a year from work and focus on my life and my future.

And so we are here – today

My head is a mess and my body is drained. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on the way I am going. I feel like a blundering old fool and find it difficult to keep up with younger co-workers.

I feel as if I can no longer make it in a modern manufacturing environment and need to change my whole life.

I need a year out of my life to gather myself and be a man again and proud of my work and achievements. To try new things without the fear of failure and financial ruin. To take control rather than hanging on to the back of a runaway rollercoaster.

I have a plan to do this.

I like to cycle but don’t get out as much as I used to and should do due to work and other commitments. I also like to run a lot but again can’t do as much as I used to and would like to do.

Large companies sponsor large teams of sportsmen for vast amounts of money.

I am just an ordinary man

I need £26,000 to live 1 year cycling and running, finding myself again and becoming a stronger person both mentally and physically.

I aim to raise funds through sponsorship deals with various companies by selling space on my clothing for their branding.

For 15p per square mm of space for 12 months the company can be seen on my cycle/running/walking clothing wherever I go.

On top of this I will be blogging about my experiences and progression on a regular basis including photos and videos – with the sponsor logos on my clothing.

The possibilities for PR are quite unique too. SPONSORING AN ORDINARY MAN to help him find his way again.

I hate the TV junkies whose sole ambition is to be on TV as often as possible to satisfy their own arrogance and vanity but if it was to help my situation then any TV PR would be deplorable but necessary to further my cause.

I want to be like Forrest Gump – just go on and on and on and on


WP_20140719_073Today I finally achieved Zen since my accident. It was a lovely warm day and I was feeling good. I pushed 4 mile then 5 then almost 6 with no significant pain.

I reached “The Zone” and I loved it !!

One day I will be back.

But summer will be over soon and I have missed some good days – days lost. This makes me feel annoyed and depressed a little.

I should be running 9 mile XC on weekends now but am struggling with 6 – not happy at all but at least happy I am pushing nearly 6 now – it’s a major achievement for me.

1 Pill, 5 miles and zen (almost)

…………………. and a new pair of shorts.


Unfortunately it’s not some wonder drug but a continuation of my recovery after my cycle accident.

Last week I had to take 2 pain killers and only managed 4 mile at a struggle.

This week, to boost my confidence and make me feel a little better, I bought myself some new shorts ( was debating on whether to get the longer ones or the shorter ones but went for the shorter ones because it was sunny). Then I took only 1 painkiller before my run.


Managed to get 2 mile before any niggling soreness. But even this was mild and manageable so I continued without stopping.

I was going good – it was a warm night and I was feeling good.

As I neared the end of my run I realised I was on course for 4.7 mile – this was not good – 5 MILE was a mental marker I HAD to hit. So I ran back and forth a few times to put a few tenths of mile on and finished exactly on 5 mile – elation !!!!

What about the zen ? Oh well I would have hit the zen mode if I hadn’t been concentrating too much on the creeping pain but I was almost there – I could feel it. If it had rained as well (which it was threatening to all run) then Zen would have been achieved !!

Great thighs !

It’s getting somewhat disturbing the comments I have had from the medical fraternity in the last year.

A few month ago I had to visit the Hospital to get my scrotum checked (yeah- nice I know). Whilst getting checked with my pants down the (male) doctor was asking if it hurt during exercise. I said no and commented that I do a lot of cycling and running – to which he said “Yeah I can tell, you have nice good thighs” !!


A little disturbing but I am sure it was just a light hearted comment.

A few weeks ago I had a cycle accident and had to go to a walk in centre to get treated. Again I had to drop my pants and again the (male) doctor commented on my thighs as being “good thighs”

Further treatment for the accident today had me going to the physiotherapist to see if I needed a course of physiotherapy. AGAIN – with my pants down in front of the male physiotherapist he commented that it was obvious I did a lot of cycling and running as I had good strong thighs !!

NOW, maybe I am just a little homophobic and see every comment made by a man about my body as a low level gay compliment !!


I just have great thighs !!


I was in my local supermarket today picking my stuff for my bait (lunch, for those who don’t know) at work and was about to choose yoghurt to put over my strawberries and melon. Then I had a thought.


 With all the health debates on yoghurt – i.e. the fact it contains more sugar than a bar of chocolate – I thought I would cut the sugar and just get the dairy !

Why subject my body to the risk of heart attack, obesity, diabetes, cancer et al with the sugar laden yoghurt when I can just go straight to the coronary with the double cream !!




Are there such things as legal opiates ?

I really need to calm down what’s going on in my head. Can’t think straight or keep focussed at the moment and my mind is spinning around with too much information and thoughts and ideas and problems and plans and goals and and and everything.

My head hurts with all the stuff in my head. It’s like a bingo machine whirling round and round and then suddenly a little idea (ball) pops out !

I need something to calm my brain down and just think about – NOTHING



It’s been 6 weeks since my accident on my bike which saw me go head over handlebars (and dogs) and sustain a pretty painful ligament damage injury.
Thankfully I was back on the bike (albeit painfully) within 3 weeks – it was pain and torture but I had to do it to keep sane. Unfortunately I am also an avid runner too and this has taken a little longer to re-adapt to.

Last week ( A+ 5 weeks) I thought I might be ready for a run so I donned my wee running shorts and vest and set off into the woods and fields to test my mettle !!


Within a mile I was in agony. I soldiered on for a little longer but had to give up in the end – this left me VERY frustrated and angry and disappointed – and I looked like a right tit walking around in little shorts and a running vest with no visible sign of exertion or sweat.

I could not go much longer without the euphoric mindstate that running brings me – sure I can ride for 30 miles or so on my bike and my mind wonders but it just doesn’t seem to achieve ZEN as running seems to give me.

This week I thought RIGHT I’m gonna give it another go – a week has passed, I could be a little more healed.

I took out some pre run insurance by downing a few painkillers ( I hate them and rarely use them) a couple hours before.
I donned my slightly less wee shorts and slightly less tight running vest and set off again.
The first mile was good -“this is working” I thought Then at 1.02 mile the pain started.
I wasn’t going to give up though. Thankfully the painkillers numbed the pain enough to be tolerable so I continued.
2 miles ! Great, this was my first achievement marker in my head – 2 miles would be great, 3 mile a major milestone in my recovery.

All the way I was using visual markers and APP info to push that little further.

By 3.5 mile I was elated BUT hurting just a little uncomfortably now.

If I could manage 4 mile this would be a major mental boost. The slight problem was – the last half mile was all uphill. “If I manage this last half mile I will be ecstatic” I thought. And that would be it ! Stop and walk and reflect on my achievement.

Up and up I went, hoping the I would plateau out before 4 mile so I could take it easy – but oh no – the 4 mile mark was right on the very pinnacle of the climb. But I had made it –WOOHOO – and I DID stop and just chill for the last half mile back to the car – with a mental enema to boot !

Here is my Endomodo report to clarify !