Midlothian is great for cycling. Some busy parts and some rough roads… but generally really nice.

From Eddie Izzard’s interview in 2017:

“I have a very strong sense that we are only on this planet for a short length of time,” he says. “And that is only growing. Religious people might think it goes on after death. My feeling is that if that is the case it would be nice if just one person came back and let us know it was all fine, all confirmed. Of all the billions of people who have died, if just one of them could come through the clouds and say, you know, ‘It’s me Jeanine, it’s brilliant, there’s a really good spa’, that would be great.” He pauses. “Although what if heaven was only like three-star, OK-ish. You know, ‘Some of the taps don’t work… “

just one

📺 A few thoughts on TV shows:
- Queen’s Gambit 👍🏻
- WandaVision - probably going to give it a shot, reviews are positive
- Tribes of Europa 👍🏻(so far)- definitely better than expected
- Godless 👍🏻
- The Chosen 👍🏻 (surprisingly good)
- For All Mankind 👍🏻 - I love 80s NASA
- Away 👎🏻
- See (looks interesting…)
- Ashoka Tano - can’t wait
- Boba Fett - could be good I guess
- Mindhunters 👍🏻
- The Champions 👍🏻 (The voiceover from Rainn Wilson is 🍑)
- The Last Dance - just a matter of getting round to it
- Snowpiercer (1001 cars long)👍🏻 - Film is good, TV Show also good.
- Foundation - very excited about this
- WestWorld 👍🏻 (only seen Series 1)

Completed my “Threshold Builder” in Zwift. I need to do a FTP/Ramp test at some point to actually find out what my threshold is.

Had a couple out-side rides - and doing a 26mile one on Saturday.. hopefully I’ll feel the difference.

Now considering races… just short ones..

Pretty much this:

Researching fans for my indoor-cycling set-up. Came accross this joy.
Link to fan here:

Got myself an indoor trainer.
Went with:
- Wahoo Kickr Core
- Shimano 11speed cassette
- will be getting a Zwift subscription

I’m not sure what else I’ll need. I have a sort of fan… this is the most likely purchase I’ll need to make.
There’s a whole Bluetooth vs ANT thing to work though. But I’ll assess this once I’ve got it set up.

Resolutions for 2020? Sure.

Read 26 (not including kids books). Did 27/20 in 2020 and 16/15 in 2019 so should be straightforward.
Also planning to make 2021 my Year of the Biography. Currently got Napoleon, McConaughey, Carnegie, Louverture, Obama x2 & MacArthur. Also thinking about Caro’s Power Broker… and maybe a 3 volume one.. either the Thatchter set or the Johnson set.

Watch 52. Managed 56 in 2020.. which is decent.

10 chapters a day. This is the most ambitious… but apparently it’s a thing.
We’ll see.

2,500 miles this year
45 miles a week
8000 feet of climbing per week

This is about right. Certainly the middle circles are accurate.

Autumn cycling is decent. The cold is fine - once you get going. The rain though… yuck. 🚲

Proper Cloth is fantastic. From the selection of fabrics, to the default style, to the precise adjustments you can make - it’s the only place i buy shirts. That link will get you $/£20 off - and give me $20 off.
I used to buy from Charles Tyrwhitt since they were the only place that did long enough sleeves but when I discovered Proper Cloth I haven’t looked back.
This is the latest shirt I bought… though I won’t be growing the tache to match!

I am considering n+1. My £300 Giant is solid but…


charity is not a thing for NWG yet

Having a slow burn-battle at work to get “Giving” or “Charity” recognised as a spending category in their mobile banking app. As well as just helping with accuracy it’s a very helpful nudge. There’s about 10 categories and most apps have 9-15 or different ones from the obvious “Bills” to the less obvious “Lunch”.
I wonder if a more crude approach would help over all though.. it’s interesting to know what you spent in narrow categories but a broader view might help with more reflection
How about Surviving (i.e. housing, utility bills, tax & grocerises), Thriving (fitness, leisure with others, books, cinema), Self (netflix, shopping etc.) and Giving/Others (charity etc)?

Couple days in I started hearing about Pogachar… and then following him.. and then cheering for him… and on the penultimate day (the stunning time trial) became a fully-fledged fan. What a phenom.

Also Marc Hirschi - what a fighter. Also one to watch.

I’m not sure they are enough to get me to follow cycling outside of the Tour… but maybe.

le Tour

The Tour de France RaceCentrer is a great site.
Inexplicably there’s no link from the main Tour de France site. So unless you get there from Google or some other way it’s not obvious. It’s really really weird.
Anyway despite their web developers needing a kick…

It’s hard not to support Jumbo-Visma and their gang of superhumans. I was gutted when Hirshi got reined in right at the end… but then Pogachar is a monster.
I always support the breakaway.

Not having Eurosport I’ve been stuck with ITV4.. which is lame. The ads, showing yesterdays racing while major events are unfolding in todays race is really annoying, the tedious commentary… but with the site open and the volume down it’s just about bearable.

Have included an image of stage 12 which looks good… today’s (stage 10) is just a solid line because it’s totally flat.
Finally, doing 150km+ every day with a rest day on Mondays… ouch.


Yep. I’m flying now. Might be slight tweaks to the cleats to get a better angle.
I can see why people like them. Did my worst hill without stopping.. and felt better


got my shoes… got them set up thanks to youtube guides…

And now it’s just raining…

Got no issues cycling in rain - but seems risky for the first time when I might be a bit unsteady and risk of falling off at stops is higher. And don’t want to get them all wet the first time…

Been investigating cycling shoes.

So far, it seems there’s 2 types of pedals… SPD and SPD-SL. The SLs are for racing shoes… which is what I think I want. Also it seems Shimano have the whole world sown up, which could be bad - but also gives the advantage of everything working together. But that means I need new pedals… and those are going to cost about £50, with £15 for cleats. So that means a pair of cycling shoes coming in at £120+…

I’ve gone with the dhb Troika Road shoe (in white) and they should be coming early next week. Looking forward to it. I was tempted to spend a bit more for carbon, but I’m thinking it’ll be such an upgrade that I don’t need to get any more. If I get even more serious over the next few years then I can always upgrade.

Will hopefully have one last cycle with my current beat up pair of trainers this Saturday and then I’ll be on to proper shoes.

playing with my VC/Zoom set-up.

From the start (of covid*) I was intruiged by using other backgrounds and tempted to try a green screen. I used to have a piece of green felt - that was used as a table-cloth when I used to play poker a lot more, but I couldn’t find it.
Anyway, after getting access to mmhmm.app I thought I’d have a go at supercharging my set-up. It’s worth checking out this video to see what the fuss is about.

Currently I’ve got:
- a green sheet hanging on the wall behind me.
- a “gooseneck” iPhone stand behind my iMac so I can use my iPhone 11 as a better webcam. The iMac’s webcam is okay at best.
- Camo as the software to make my iPhone into a webcam (at 960x540)
- and mmhmm of course.

And to not rock the boat at work, while I’m figuring this out, I’ve actually taken a picture of my usual background so that it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything.

For a few calls I’m going to pass it off as no change, before attempting clever stuff.

Next steps?
- figure out how to hang the sheet a bit better. (It’s currently held in place by a bourbon, 4 whiskys, 2 bottles of IRN BRU 1901, a bottle of gin and a tape dispenser. It’s also not that secure… so if a 5-year-old pulls on the sheet, all that glass is coming down with a crash.)
- figure out lighting
- decide if I want to pay Camo to remove their watermark * was there time before covid?


social distancing


One concept that I’ve just been thinking about is the “law of diminishing returns”. Wikipedia has this as an economic concept - I think it’s popular enough that it has moved beyond the technical definition. This idea, which I generally agree with, is that the deeper you get into something the less valuable it is. A great example is of course Excel, the software tool I use the most, which has all kinds of niche functionality there is only used by a small numbers of the entire Excel user base. This means that while it might take you a few months to get up to speed on the tool, after that it’s less and less valuable to learn more. This concept was also highlighted a recent episode of ATP (link to come later), When a listener asked a question about the depth of knowledge in particular software languages. John Siracusa highlighted the concept again to say after while the depth of the language you know becomes less practical to know more niche activity.
I think this is pretty common to most people and in many areas, right? We all have a friend who knows football stats from the 70s that nobody really cares about except when it comes to a pub quiz round every 10 years. But this idea also has a negative aspect, the pervasive dismissal of expert in all sorts of areas - particular health in this time of COVID-19.
I think this is also spread to our approach to theology. And I think it can be seen to be anti-intellectualism - I wonder if this law of diminishing returns plays into this as well. It if often assumed that the deeper you go into an issue is vanity, and subject to the law of diminishing returns. But this is where something like theology is different. If there is a finite amount of knowledge, which is the case in many subjects there is, then the closer you get to the edge the less useful it is. But if you believe that theology is the study of something infinite, then additional knowledge or going deeper into the subject may not be subject to the law of diminishing returns. And we dismiss so-called niche areas at our peril.
As Paul says:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Just got access to the mmhmm beta. It’s so so good. Can’t wait to amaze my colleagues. Sadly I’ve now got two weeks of holiday.

matched rides

Love this feature in Strava. It’s obviously really simple for software to do this and takes any hassle out of having to deal with the data yourself.
And of course makes for pleasant reading if your speed is improving. Aiming for 16-18mph averages. Currently I’m probably at about 15mph on most. I think I’m maxed out on downhills (as least safely), could do better on the flats, but the big area of improvement has to be all the climbs. Currently I’m only clmbing at 9-12mph.

These ferns get everywhere