Monthly Archives: May 2016

Two Wheels Good

You may have noticed that my gaming posts have recently become less frequent and less detailed than back in the days of yore. We can lay the blame firmly at the feet of cycling.

As I mentioned back in November, I’ve signed up to the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge on 18 June. That means 106 miles of Northumbrian hills – by a fair way the longest ride I’ll have been on – and that in turn means a solid training programme. I’ve been ramping up the duration and intensity of my rides over the last few months, which has left me with less time and less energy to spend on blogging. I did 114 miles last week, over the course of five rides and nine hours in the saddle… which was obviously nine hours I couldn’t spend on anything else. Like blogging.

Actually, some of those 114 miles were virtual. I’ve been using an indoor trainer hooked up to Zwift, which is essentially a MMORPG… except the only role you can play is that of a cyclist and the only way you can get around the virtual world is by pedalling an actual bike in the real world. At the moment, I’m a level-10 halfling bard… sorry, a level-10 halfling cyclist. (Yes, genuinely, there are levels and XP.)

Virtual me on my virtual bike

Virtual me on my virtual bike riding round a virtual Richmond, Virginia on a virtual replica of the UCI (real-)World Championship road race course

It’s a fun way to relieve the monotony of indoor sessions (and avoid the horrendous winds and rain we’ve had over the last few months). My favourite rides are the ones when there’s a pro cyclist online; there’s always a massive crowd of fawning fans following them around the circuit, asking questions about heart rate and FTP on the in-game chat.

Anyway, all that aside, I wouldn’t expect too much gaming blog from me over the next couple of months, but something approaching normal service may resume in the summer. Until then, feel free to sponsor me for the Cyclone – I’m riding to raise money for ME Research UK. Click here to visit my JustGiving page.

(If you’re lucky, I’ll make it along to the all-day session at Newcastle Gamers on 28 May and write up some 18xx afterwards…)