Tag Archives: strava

Orrest Head Walk – Windermere

Quite frankly life has been a bit rubbish lately. As noted before, I have been back in the Uk for an extended period of time due to my mother’s illness. Unfortunately three weeks ago she lost her second battle with cancer. I love that word, “battle”. I can imagine my mum fighting off the cells on a horse with a sword, in full armour. She actually said, “stay strong, stand mighty!” in one of her more lucid moments, which added to the image.

So with the funeral “done and dusted” as mum would say, I took my dad out for a day in the Lake District. He stayed in Windermere to wander around while I walked up Orrest Head. This was the first walk ever done by Alfred Wainwright. Coming in from the city he fell in love with the area, I can see why. It really is one of the most beautiful parts of England.

This is an overview of the 5km walk. I think it is fairly safe in most weather conditions..most not all. Here is a link to the Strava entry created by my new TomTom watch. Love my new watch.

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The walk can be found in Wainwrights “The Outlying Fells of Lakeland”, which has shorter walks for the less fit….me, after months of sitting on a chair in the hospice.

This is the start of the walk.

Start of the walk, just north and left of the information centre.
Follow the road up, the start is all paved.


I think it is lovely in all seasons, especially autumn.
This tree stump is along the route and contains coins of wishes.
Of course there are lots of dry stone walls.
The view from a good resting spot. There are plenty of seats along the route for those needing a rest.
It has rained for days if not weeks, so today is a pretty good weather day. It is not the “Lake District” for nothing..where do you think the lakes come from?
Just up here you have to go through the dry stone wall…
…via this swinging gate.
“Thou who has given me eyes to see and love this sight so fair, give me a heart to find out thee and read thee everywhere.”
View of Lake Windermere from the top.
View with plaque and cairn.


The way down the other side.
The houses in the area have to blend with the original style…but this is an original house.
Once the walk is done enjoy the lake and birds. Maybe take a boat tour.
Lake Windermere.
Lake Windermere


If you ever visit England…forget London and travel North!

After the walk and the customary fish and chips we drove north to take in more of the area. Passing through Patterdale and Ullswater, my favourite part.

Also while researching this blog, I found this one written for DOGS!! It is a bit awesome. Since the passing of my mum I have noticed that every single dog I have passed has tried to give me a love. So if you have  a dog give them a hug from me, read this blog and give them a super day out.

Newmillerdam ride and walk

I haven’t been posting much recently due to some family issues. Basically I returned to Japan from the UK at the end of the summer holiday only to receive a phone call 2 weeks later asking me to return as my mother had taken a turn for the worse. After a quick flight and train I was back in Yorkshire. Now mum is a tiny bit more stable I can venture out a bit. It is good for stress relief. I also joined a gym so I can do something during the day close to home while mum has the district nurse and carers change her meds.

Knowing how much I like cycling my parents lent me some money, plane rides are expensive, and I found a second hand Giant Liv on ebay. It is exactly the one I wanted and my size. The giant I have in Japan is too big, now I know why having a good fit really helps. When I return and pay off my credit card 🙂 I will invest in the same one there.

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Today I didn’t go far as I was hoping my sister could meet me with mum in our other ebay purchase, thank goodness for honest ebayers, a wheelchair adapted car. To be honest it didn’t look good as she had had extra meds in the night. So while I waited to see what happened I wandered around the reservoir. As you can tell by the route map as I forgot to turn my watch off. But here is the route non-the-less.


Newmillerdam is a great place to wander in English woodland. There is an easy trail around the water, but you are not supposed to ride around it. Though that rule doesn’t seem to apply to children and I am ok with that. You can read more about the area here, here, and here.

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This is the actual dam. I thought there might be cycle parking near here, but there wasn’t and the path with the fence is small so you can’t chain it there. In the end I decided to take it with me, it is light.

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But first a 99 ice cream.

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It is a short walk perfect for families, dog walkers, and pushers of wheelchairs.

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When I completed the shorter circuit I got a message saying that I would not be met later so I decided to have a late breakfast before my return home. Then just as I finished another message saying they are coming. Yeah! Such is life right now, no set plans can be made.

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Another wander around the water with a very red mother much to the annoyance of the Canadian geese.

Summer withdrawal and an Ebay bike

As I am an expat/international teacher I often fly home to England for the summer. That means I leave my bikes behind and go bike free. This summer I just couldn’t stand being bike free for a month. But what to do? I don’t want to spend loads of money on a bike I will use for only a short time and then leave for up to a year… Hello Ebay!

I did a bit of searching and looked for something that I could pick up locally, would be cheap, and in working order. That didn’t leave much room for movement. Eventually I got a bike for about $50 and my sister helped me pick it up. The guy we bought it from took off the front wheel, for that price there is no quick release.

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After I got the bike home I did a little more research and it has terrible reviews, but it is cheap, cheerful and will get me around. I have decided to call it Chav. I added lights and a spring lock, it may be cheap but I don’t want to replace it due to theft. The gears changed ok once you get use to them, but the brakes were none existent. So the first trip was a family ride to Halfords. A detour on the way back took us to Pugneys Water Park. By this point I had only cycled 18km, but I had forgot my cycling shorts and my butt was feeling a bit worse for wear.

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Also while I am away I can’t use my iphone and the Strava app, but my Garmin GPS watch worked fine and I downloaded the data from basecamp and uploaded it to the website with no issues. I have been careful to make my location private, blocking the start and finishing points. This is not Japan, though I have to say cycling on British roads was not as scary as I thought it would be. There has definitely been an increase in cycle awareness and use since I last rode a bike here.

Anyway, this may not be my best bike or one I will travel far on, but I am mobile and can trundle around when I want. Now I have fixed the brakes, with a bit of help from my brother-in-law who patiently gave me a lesson, I feel pretty happy and safer. I also feel much more relaxed knowing I can go out if I want.

Here is my first ride in the UK for a long time 🙂

Up Mount Tsukuba – almost

Ok, this was my first attempt on my giant bike to get up Mount Tsukuba or rather, up the back of it. A friend told me about a quieter route that goes around the back that many cyclists use. The main route can be chocker-block with cars with people going for hikes and being all touristy.

This is the route I took.

Again I used two apps, Runtastic and Strava, with my heart rate monitor.

I compared the two apps and in this case I really like Strava. I like the comparisons over segments. If other riders have done the same route it shows how you did compared to them. I didn’t do well, but I don’t mind. This was my first attempt over this route and I can only get better.

I read this book recently: Click here for the amazon page

climb like a pro

It was interesting, but a bit too competitive for me. I just want to get fitter and up the hill, not race. But it did let me know that I need better cadence, not power. Plus when other riders were zooming past me it made me remember not to worry and I will get better.

So on with the route. As I made the route on Google maps, it did put a few rough patches in. I felt like I was on the Paris-Roubaix, which is on TV right now.


There were no convenience stores along the route, but there was this handy local produce shop. I suggest stopping here and getting some food and drinks.

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Then eat it at this lovely park, especially if you do it during cherry blossom season. Soon after you will see other cyclists as you will start to go past carparks full of other people on this part of the route. You could skip the first bit and just go up and down from here. I wanted to do a circuit though.

Then it starts to go up. Last time I was around here I basically walked the whole way up to the torii gate or the point where you can catch a ride on a cable car. This time I rode/walked the road that takes you to the top car park. I would guess I rode 30-40% which is a huge improvement. I knew it was extremely ambition to think I could cycle all the way to the top or even part of the way, but you have to start somewhere.

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There were many other cyclists on the route going both directions. Many people passed me and it was inspiring to see them. The views were great.

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When see this bridge you still have a little way up to go, but the road starts to get much busier as it joins back with the main car route. There are cars on this route, but they are slower. After this point there are many boy racers trying out their cars, it was a little scary. I don’t think I have seen as many Lotus cars in one day. I saw some children on the route, one had a car following it with hazards on, which was a wise move.

When you are very close to the end of the ascent you will see this shrine.

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There is still a little more to ascend from this point, but then the pay off…the descent.


There are a few measures in place to slow people down though I think these might cause issues on rainy days. It doesn’t matter how hard an ascent is, coming down the other side is awesome and worth it all. I can’t wait to get fitter and be able to get all the way up to really earn this pleasure.


The route I made didn’t make use of the RinRin, but I decided to take it as it was right there.IMG_1648

I also decided to skip another off road section, but was greeted with a better route that took me down a street with many traditional houses. By this time my phone was dying, even with an extra battery, that seemed to affect the camera functions.

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And that was my day. This weekend I cycled 100km, spring has sprung and so have I.

To Strava, Runtastic or Mapmyride, or just not.

I haven’t been on a long cycle for a while, just too busy with work. But I have gone on lots of smaller rides. I have been trying out various apps to record my rides. I use an iphone and there are a plethora of apps on itunes. So here are the ones I tried over the last two weeks: Mapmyride, Strava, Runtastic, and Wahoo (heart monitor).

I recently switched from mapmyride to strava on the advice of a friend. I find both are great apps and websites. I must admit having the connection to someone on strava made it more interesting for the short time I used it. Unfortunately, none of my other friends will use any kind of app as they don’t live in Japan, cycle that much, or like technology. I mention living in Japan because if you let an app record what you are doing and it automatically shares it live, that could be a problem. It lets everyone know you are not at home, where your home is, and where you store your expensive bike. This is not such an issue in nice, safe Japan, but it has been an issue in other countries. This news report and this one gives a few more details about this.

Anyway both of these apps record the same kind of information, but I like the interface of Strava more than mapmyride. Both systems let you create maps, but only mapmyride lets you upload GPX files which is important to me. Strava on the other hand has many more people using it and there are lots of maps already out there to borrow or share. Mapmyride has routes and courses, which to me seems confusing and unnecessary as I would create one on my computer expecting it to show on my phone and it doesn’t…unless I send it to myself via an email. Annoying.

After this trial I decide to try a few more things. I then reverted back to runtastic which I used to use quite often. It has a number of apps. There is an all in one app for loads of sports, a mountain bike app, and a road cycling app. There are free and paid versions. I have all the paid versions because I am an idiot. The all in one app works well, but I prefer to use that for running and the cycling ones for cycling…because why buy them otherwise. I researched the differences between the mountain bike app and the road cycling app…and there isn’t one. Apart from a minor detail that the maps it finds for you are definitely road based for the road one and the mountain bike one will flag trail routes. So you don’t need to buy both. I like that you can also create maps and upload gpx file. You also don’t have to email maps to yourself as they sync seamlessly with the app. Runtastic is a popular system and there are loads of routes out there. I also like that you can use the all in one app on a treadmill, though you do have to input the distance via the website later. I have found only Nike+ works really well on a treadmill using a step counter.

I also use the app and website myfitnesspal and all of the apps mentioned (not counting Nike+ because they are elitist) syncs with that effortlessly.

Then to top it all off I tried to connect my old heart monitor with the apps to see what kind of feedback I would get. I found out my garmin gps watch and heart monitor does not sync with an iphone because it works on ANT+ and not bluetooth. I decided to get a new heart rate monitor and opted for a wahoo tickr as it has bluetooth and ANT+ and it was much cheaper than a new watch. I used it for running and it connected to runtastic perfectly. I have yet to use it when cycling because I am having a lazy weekend. I do not like the app that you are “supposed” to use as it looks so boring and naff. Good equipment poor apps, but that us just my opinion. Others may really like it.

Anyway, back to my lazy weekend.

UPDATE – 2016/05/01

I decided to add a bit as this page gets more hits than the other pages combined. A year later I still use the Strava app and website, almost exclusively. I sold my Garmin watch and heart rate monitor then bought a TomTom multicardio sports watch. I got it second hand on eBay. It works seemlessly with strava, and doesn’t drain my phone battery. The battery on the watch lasts longer than the Garmin I had so when I go out all day there isn’t an issue. It has a built in heart rate monitor so I don’t have to wear a chest strap. I can also use it for treadmill workouts and hiking (in the freestyle mode). I love it and highly recommend it.