Sunday, 5 April 2020

Lockdown and future planning

Hi folks.
I, like a lot of you, am on "Lockdown".

I am actually a minor key worker, so I still go to work.
(I am at the practical end of logistics - I actually move things from A to B by vehicle, and it is not a job that can be done from home. And, like I said, I am officially a key worker providing an officially essential service - indeed, for the corp I work for, our most important contract is probably the one we have with the Government!)

However, I do not try to "stretch the point" or abuse my position.
I go to work the short way.
I come home the short way, stopping only for a bit of shopping once or twice a week.

Yes, I still cycle to work, and thus I can bring the shopping home by bike (I pack a pannier inside another pannier - the inside one has my lunch for work, and the outside one is for shopping.
I tend to take my lunch with me anyway, but like a lot of places, the local takeaways and food places are less available than usual.
Greggs is a few hundred metres/yards from the depot where I am based. McDonalds is under half a mile (800m). All closed now. There was a fish-and-chip shop right next to where I work, but that was closed for poor food hygiene violations even before the lockdown!

But like I said, I tend to take my lunch from home anyway.

This last week, I have been on annual vacation leave. It was booked with the personnel office more than a year ago. I thought it might get cancelled, but as we still seem to have most staff, the corp is keen not to pile up holidays that they owe us, and they are not keen to buy it back off us either!

So I have just had a week off. Including today, that is nine consecutive days.

Days off = 9
Shopping trips = 1 (that was my wife going off-peak on Wednesday, and we still have no bananas!)
Days out = zero
"Exercise" trips = 4 (but under 100m/yards to the exercise field!)

I am blessed in that I live almost next to a scruffy bit of field which is kind of officially a low grade biodiversity area (in practice it means the grass only gets cut twice a year, unlike a park!). It is only popular with kids, who will play anywhere, and who like to explore a bit (my daughter and I found a frog down there about 10 years ago, when she was a lot younger), and local dog walkers.

I have been out to the field 4 times in that nine days.
Twice I did a 5k (about 3.1 mile) run. (5k is just over 6 laps of the field!)
Once I did a 4.5k (about 2.8 mile) walk, with my wife.
And today, I did a short walk - the field looked a bit busy, so I thought I would stay away from other folks, so I came home again.

Today, I got our the little tent I have, and pitched it in the garden (we only have a small garden, perhaps 300 square feet? maybe 30 square metres)
My daughter cooked my some nice "Maggi" instant noodles and made me a cup of tea, both using the vintage Camping Gaz and kettle I have mentioned (and shown) in previous posts.

So we have been really trying really hard to follow both the letter and the spirit of the "lockdown" regulations,
But that little bit of garden is great - on a warm day, it is so much better to loaf about in the garden than it is to loaf about in the house,

On to planning.
I have a week off at the end of May.
I was planning on a cycle camping trip.
I suspect that is not going to happen.
So I am going to do a "simulated" cycle camping trip instead.
I will set up my turbo trainer (previously featured in my blog), and do a couple of hours of "pretend" miles, then stop for lunch, then do another couple of hours in the saddle (still doing "pretend" miles on the trainer), then pitch the tent.
All in the back garden.
I need to do the training miles with all the junk on the bike, and I ought to set the trainer a bit harder than usual to compensate for that,
I find a trainer setting of 4 seems to be similar to cycling on the flat - so maybe I ought to use 5 or 6 ;-)

My "bike sensors" (wheel rotation and cadence sensors) for the bike were lost/stolen a while back, so maybe I ought to get another set so I can see how many "simulated" miles I have ridden. But then again, I might just go for 2 hours at a heart rate of 120 bpm, and call it done.
(I normally pace at 130 for longer trips, but let's just assume that I am cycling slowly, and the "pretend" campsite is fairly close. I guess I am simulating a distance of about 40 miles / 64 km to the campsite, with 4 hours of modest cycling at 10 miles an hour - let us just pretend that I am taking it easy and enjoying the view, rather than racing to get there!)

To keep it realistic, I should be cooking all my food on that little camping gas stove, or eating it cold.
(to be honest, 20 to 30 years ago, when I used to "warm weather" camp quite a bit, I used to eat everything cold, drinking just water, milk, or beer!).
To minimise shopping trips (what with it likely to still be some form of lockdown, even if less severe), I will simulate fresh purchases by using the fridge and food cupboards in the house - but I need to keep quantities realistic. For example, bread is sold by the loaf, not by the slice, so I need to collect a whole loaf of bread in one go, not keep going into the house for a few slices at a time!

Cooking equipment, I think I have sorted - camping stove, old kettle, and a small, lightweight, frying pan my wife has already.
But like I said, I intend to strap it all to the bike for the "simulated ride" part of the trip, so I am going to work out how to pack it all on.
I am thinking rear panniers, with the tent and roll mat strapped to the top of the rear carrier (it has a 25kg/55lb weight rating), then refit my small Steco front cargo rack, and strap some sort of holdall/large carry sack to that. I might see about trying out the little front panniers I have as well - the camping stove set and kettle just about fill one small-ish pannier just by themselves.

On the last day of the "simulated camping", I will do the same 4 hours of "pretend" cycling to get back home again.
On the middle days, I was thinking about days to nearby sights of interest, leaving the tent on the campsite. So I will leave the tent pitched, and "pretend" to cycle to a few attractions up to about "10 miles away" or so.
Once or twice, I might use the kitchen at home to "pretend" I have walked into a cafe and bought a drink/snack/meal. But only once or twice. I don't eat out much anyway ;-)

So let us just say I am planning a "practice run" for camping as I probably can't do the real thing at the end of May.
And when all this is over, and I can properly go camping again, well, the "practice run" will hopefully give me the chance to enjoy the view, rather than worrying so much about my kit! That, really, is the whole point of "practice"!

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