Monday, 27 July 2015

Deadly Encounter with Steve Backshall

I don't know about you but I do not really watch a great deal of television. Most of what comes on is of little interest to me. The only genre I do regularly watch is anything to do with wildlife and nature. When my two Orangettes were younger one of their favourite programmes was basically anything that Steve Backshall was in - various National Geographic progammes, 'The Really Wild Show' and perhaps their favourite of all 'Deadly 60.' They have of course got to an age where they have almost left such programmes behind but the chance to see Steve Backshall live in person at Whipsnade Zoo was too good an opportunity to miss.

Whipsnade have been running their 'Deadly Explorer Trail' since 18th July where you or your little ones can learn how to be an explorer, learning all the skills you might require. There were some adverts for 'Deadly Summer Shows' at which Steve Backshall would be there live to present some of there zoos own deadly residents. I said to the Orangettes that I was booking for us to see Steve Backshall and if truth be told I was perhaps more excited than they were. 

Arriving at the zoo in good time a queue had already formed and soon we were in it. We didn't have to wait too long and before we knew it we were seated and waiting. After a little build up out Steve came with an assortment of several parrots that instantly flew skyward. It was quite an opening. Some soared in a huge arc, while others flew just above the heads of those seated.

Steve was a very skilled presenter and engaged the crowd straight away. His knowledge about the animals he was presenting was extensive and he delivered it in an informative and enthusiastic manner.

When certain birds didn't cooperate he was unfazed and carried on like a trooper.

At one point in proceedings he opened the floor up to questions. A few children were lucky to ask their hero a question or two.

Thinking of the answer to a question

Nice chap

Sadly after 30 minutes which seemed to feel like 5 the curtain had to fall and the 'Deadly Summer Show' came to an end. Steve suggested that children line up in a great big semi-circle facing outwards and he would come along and pose for photos, as long as parents were at the ready with their cameras. I cannot tell you how I resisted the temptation of lining up among them to see the look of horror on my Orangette's faces.

Sadly, this was the last of the shows, so you won't be able to see him until he does it again in the future. As you may have guessed I like the 'Deadly 60' programmes and wish that Steve would make more of them and some more adult orientated nature programmes. He seems very sincere, passionate about what he does and for my money a very good presenter. The only thing now is to get a signed photo!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Finally a new pair of SPD shoes!

My current SPD shoes as regular readers will know have truly given up the ghost. They have served me well but all seems to have stretched to a point the straps have to be pulled pretty tight to keep the shoe from moving around. I had bought a pair of Shimano M089's but one of the straps broke so I returned them for a refund. Finally I bought a pair of 'B'twin 500 Mountain Bike Shoes' annd not only did I save some money they are more comfortable.

The 'B'twin 500 Mountain Bike Shoes' are a pretty standard pair of mountain bike SPD shoes that allow the user to walk quite happily and are compatible with SPD type cleats.

I used to have a pair of DHB which although not expensive were really comfortable and these remind me of them.

Three strap closure are positioned better than my old Specialized shoes and offer a very good and secure fit.

The heel is high and the cut out makes things comfortable on the ankle. Being padded only adds to this.

The insole is padded and provides a good about of support. The arch of the foot is well supported and the lightly padded tongue keeps the foot firmly in place.

The sole has a very good grip and there is even a place at the toe for additional studs to be fitted if they are perhaps being used for mountain bike rides. In terms of rigidity the nylon sole is quite stiff and provides a firm platform for pedalling.

If you have a look at the photo below of my old shoes you can see that the straps come down a long way. The upper is designed in the different way to that of the 'B'twin 500 Mountain Bike Shoes' but they have become unusable. I do not have a particular narrow foot and as I have suggested I can only put forward the notion that over the time I have have them, all has stretched?

Okay, how much? Well the Shimano M089's were £65. These were £44.99 and as I wrote, I was happy to save some money. Like lots of products from B'Twin they come with a two year guarantee, so I will be keeping the receipt just in case. I have very happy with these so far and pretty sure that they will serve me well for some time to come. I have posted a link directly to this product on the Decathlon website should you be interested in them.

Link to Decathlon Website

Saturday, 25 July 2015

2015 Brompton World Championships Almost Here!!

Well the premier cycling event bar none is almost upon us. My rider pack was received a few days ago and reading it had brought me to confront the fact that the one event I look forward to above all others is but a step away.

Things are a little different this year at the BWC. First, location. The event, for the first time is being held in London. This is only fitting as it is a bicycle made in London. Iconic is not too strong a word to use. As I type this I can only imagine what it is going to be like racing in front of a much greater number of spectators. In addition heading down The Mall with Buckingham Palace in full view will be...well...incredible!

In addition to the location, this represents the 10th Brompton World Championships and is therefore a rather important milestone.

The actual race format is also different. Rather than in previous years it simply being a timed event, where all complete a set number of laps to achieve a time it took to complete the course, this year will see a criterion. This means that when the front runner crosses the line on their eighth lap, the race is over for all. Scary stuff!

This year I feel the least prepared. Normally I'd be out doing some sort of training in the deluded belief that it might help my chances. I will have to rely on my current fitness to see me through.

Regarding which Orange Brompton to take, this is easy. My Titanium Orange Brompton will be coming with me. The only thing I am still deliberating over is whether or not to stay with Kojak tyres?

It is going to be an incredible event and it will be great for Brompton to showcase what their product is capable of. It will also display the passion Brompton owners (yours truly very much included in this) have for the company, the Brompton brand and their own bicycles.

At the BWC I always find it amazing that many Brompton bicycles in the days leading up exist  as commuter hacks but trasnformed at the BWC into racing thoroughbreds. How many other manufacturers of bicycles could say the same?

If you are attending as a participant, guest or spectator one thing to watch out for is the 'game face.' This becomes more and more obvious the closer it gets to the start of the race. You'll see it in-between the smiles, banter, nonchalant glances at other participants and their bicycles. Some may utter the words, 'I'm just here for fun' and I suggest you watch them the closest.

For everyone taking part, I wish you the very best of luck. If you are a reader of this humble blog and attending in any capacity, do find me, come over and say hello, I'd love to meet you however don't leave it too late as I am in the first group to go and believe me, I'll have my game face on!!