Can you answer these ‘Sitting’ Sports Pub Quiz questions? i.e. cycling, rowing, sailing etc – Something a little bit light hearted; Part 1

keep-calm-it-s-pub-quiz-night

So we have a pub quiz on tonight (Wed 31st July) in the cycling cafe Look Mum No Hands (at 6.30pm) to raise money for Streetlytes and kind of a send off for my cycle fundraiser from London to Istanbul. Anyway, although I will post the actual quiz questions tomorrow, here is a few questions we needed to drop (as we had to many but really because some of these are quite HARD!!!). Have a go and comment your answers below – no cheating!

  1. In what events did David Weir win his 4 gold medals in the Olympics?
  2. What was the name of the paralympic cyclist who made the shortlist of the 2012 Sports Personality of the Year award?
  3. What part of the UK is cyclist Mark Cavendish from?
  4. What brand of bike does Team Sky currently use?
  5. In which individual track discipline did Wiggins successfully defend in Beijing Olympics?
  6. Which race did Wiggins, along with Mark Cavendish finish 9th in the Beijing Olympics? Hint – This event has now been dropped from the Olympics
  7. What year did Lewis Hamilton win Formula one World Championship?
  8. In terms of most wins in Formula 1, if Michael Schumacher is 1st and Alain Prost is 2nd, who is 3rd?
  9. Who am I: Many consider me as the greatest chess player that ever lived. I was an American chess grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion, which I won from Boris Spassky of the USSR in a match widely publicized as a Cold War confrontation. It was the only time chess made primetime television. I came in conflict with the US government after a rematch in 1992 in Yugoslavia which was under a UN embargo, and never returned to my native country. I died in Iceland in 2008.
  10. Who are the 3 members of the gold winning women’s pursuit team in London 2012? (1 point if they get 2, 2 points if they get 3)
  11. How many Grand Tours has Eddy Merckx won? (Bonus Point) and in which Tour de France did he win all rider classifications
  12. What event did Amy Williams win in the 2010 Winter Olympics?
  13. What adventure & endurance feat did Ben Fogle and the Olympic rower James Cracknell complete in 2005?
  14. What was the name of the white water canoe slalom centre during the 2012 Olympics?
  15. Which European country has the most gold medals in wheelchair fencing since its inclusion in the paralympic games since 1960?
  16. If I was to cycle to the northern tip of Scotland which town may I pass through? i.e what is the northernmost town on the British mainland and we are not including John O’Groats 4 houses and holiday homes!
  17. What adventure & endurance feat did Ben Fogle and the Olympic rower James Cracknell complete in 2005?
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A Tour de France on your own

howtomeetamillionpeople

With the Tour de France 100th Anniversary just completed, and Chris Froome coming out on top after some mighty and determined displays in the Alps & Pyrenees, the pub talk around me always turns to the fact – ‘Is this the hardest endurance race in the world?’.

This monster of an event, consists of 22 teams of 8-8 cyclists with an army of back-up psychologists, team doctors, masseurs, drivers, chefs and well I suppose coffee boys.  And the Tour’s ‘supply chain’ doesn’t stop there, they have team cars loaded with extra bikes – each costing between $7000-$14000 – handing out water & energy bars. They have lunch placed for riders along the route, so they can keep their head down and bash it out up the mountains. Then of course there are marshalls, route maps, markers, closed roads (no traffic, very important note!). They also have good hotel rooms…

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Why bike helmets should be made mandatory; should this be part of cycling charities’ strategy

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James Cracknell had a very serious accident with a lorry why cycling across America and has since campaigned hard to get more people wearing helmets

With the 2446mile Transcontinental Bike Race in aid of Injured Rugby Players and WWF coming up in a matter of days, I wouldn’t dream of not wearing a helmet; practically going to be glued to my head for 2 weeks.

This is a heated discussion among many cyclists but admittedly not an issue that is a focus of many cycling charities. I think it should be.

Many people would agree, or at least this is an observation from the discussions I have been having, that helmets have at least ‘some’ protection for cyclists. The main focus of the counter argument is that the public health benefit of getting people out on the bike (and it is argued that mandatory rules on helmets would put people off this) outweighs the risk associated with not wearing a helmet. I would like to break this argument down into 2 main points – the protection from the use of a helmet and public health.

– Protection from the use of a helmet

There is a very interesting study by Michael Dinh, Co-Director of Trauma Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital at University of Sydney – Australia being one of the few countries in the world in which mandatory helmet laws exist – (you can find the article here: http://theconversation.com/bike-helmets-an-emergency-doctors-perspective-13935) in which it was concluded, using data from 7 major trauma centres in Sydney, that the risk of severe head injury was more than 5 times higher if a cyclist doesn’t wear a helmet – compared to 3 times higher in motorcyclists. Severe head injuries were defined as significant brain haemorrhaging, skull fractures or brain swelling, with 70% of these patients ending up on a ventilator in an intensive care ward. Each of these cases was estimated to cost $4.5 million Australian dollars, an important fact when we come on to spending on public health campaigns later. The Cochrane Collaboration (an independent, globally recognized, leading body on providing high quality evidence for health care decision making) concluded that by wearing a helmet it reduced the risk of head or brain injury by approx two-thirds or more, regardless of whether the crash involved a motor vehicle – study can be found here. But let’s move on to the public health topic because of course that is the main element of the debate I feel – The British Medical Journal is an example of one organization that promotes the use of bicycle helmets but doesn’t wish for them to be made compulsory because they feel it would reduce the number of cyclists on the road.

– Public Health

I like to view this part of the debate in much the same way as the use of seatbelts in cars, rather than in the context of a healthy population. I’ll explain. The state/government takes away your personal freedom to choose whether to wear a seat belt because it has been found to protect you in the case of a car accident. Now as I have just described I think it is fair to say a bike helmet protects you in the case of an accident. In terms of public health, as Dr Michael Dinh explains in his blog, there have been conflicting studies on what deters people to cycle. The National Heart Foundation survey showed that overall road safety, road speed and the presence of dedicated bike paths was the main obstacles in limiting bicycle use, with only 17% of respondents identifying helmet use as a problem in Australia. On the other side we have Professor Chris Rissel, from the University of Sydney, who supported moves to make helmets optional to double the number of cyclists.

It is fair to say that a mandatory helmet law would deter some cyclists. However I would argue that the benefits of wearing a bike helmet – i.e. reducing head trauma as already described – outweighs those arguments on needing to encourage this minority to take up cycling. More effort needs to be made to get people active, that goes without argument. But I think that effort needs to be made through some of the ‘tactics’ listed below and not by compromising the safety of cyclists on the road. I think just like seat belts it is the state’s responsibility to enforce laws that are for the public good; need we compare this to the outlaw of harmful drugs because of people’s safety over personal freedom. I think ignoring this point and encouraging people to cycle without a helmet to improve physical activity rates is just putting off the more daring, controversial, but far more beneficial decisions that need to be made; some of which I have listed below:

– Get people out of the car – if we want to talk about the need for physical activity this is the big one. At a faction of the budget of motorways you could build extensive cycle lanes (which are protected from traffic – I appreciate this is very important to prevent accident on blind corners etc which has been the cause of many recent cyclists deaths in London).

– Making it easier to get bikes on trains (3 spaces on a whole train simply isn’t good enough) or perhaps providing discounts on rail tickets for those commuting at each end by bike.

– Here’s a big one – ban smoking. You want a big solution to help the health of the individual while also legislating for the health & safety of the public – there you go. Big debate on that one, but hey why hasn’t this decision been made while we can compromise on major head trauma with cyclists?

And of course the list goes on. But let’s leave this for comment below. I do admit my opinion is bias, I had a very bad bike accident 18 months ago and my helmet got destroyed while my head was left pretty intact (broken jaw and that’s about it). I also do appreciate the argument to get people on the bike as much as possible, however I don’t think this should compromise the safety of those on a bike. If we want to talk about personal freedom let’s talk about the choice for people to make that decision to get active – either by cycling with a helmet or running etc. Having a discussion on making helmets mandatory doesn’t need to distract from the larger environment of safe cycling – as the London Cycling Campaign argues (and in their support they are ultimately trying to bring down cycling deaths through better infrastructure; which as recent cyclist deaths would demonstrate is the major factor in improving safety in London) – and I think it should be on the table. In a fly away comment, at the very least why can’t Boris bikes provide a helmet and give casual cyclists the choice?

If you share my passion for helping sports injuries – and of course I include both sides of the fence in this (wearing helmets or not) – please take the time to visit my post on raising money for rugby injuries during my Transcontinental Bike Race from London-Istanbul, starting on 3rd August. – http://howtomeetamillionpeople.com/2013/07/24/why-i-picked-the-rfu-injured-players-foundation-as-one-of-my-charities-for-the-transcontinental-bike-race-london-istanbul-in-9-days/

List of cycling kit for 2400+mile endurance race over 12 days

Travelling light for an endurance cycling trip

Travelling light for an endurance cycling trip

Travelling light takes on a new meaning tonight. For the next few days I will be laying out the kit for the Transcontinental Bike Race for London to Istanbul. All of it has to fit in that saddle bag in the top left oh and on me! And just put in the route tonight – 2446miles – double checking the kit quite a few times.

The kit –

[Left-Right and back across] Medical kit – iodine, sudocream, etc ; lighter ; 2x spare tyres ; dry kit – cotton trousers, WWF T-shirt, water bottles, back-up energy gels (or just for day 1 to get going) emergency tent, thermal blankets, two cycling jerseys, 3x socks, toothpaste + brush, helmet camera [have to get charge lead], passport, visa, bank cards + emergency debit card, medical insurance dog-tag; tiny camera + associated leads, GARMIN Edge 800, emergency power source; MP3 (for those dark moments :p); light-weight rain coat; night bike torch; thermal layer; 2 x cycling shorts; calf supports [going to hurt after all!]; (to be made) translation flash cards + daily route highlights……..must get small suntan cream….small phone and power adaptor……..

Oh course there is also bike helmet, bike gloves and top tube snack bag…..let me know in the comments if I am missing anything!

A Tour de France on your own

With the Tour de France 100th Anniversary just completed, and Chris Froome coming out on top after some mighty and determined displays in the Alps & Pyrenees, the pub talk around me always turns to the fact – ‘Is this the hardest endurance race in the world?’.

This monster of an event, consists of 22 teams of 8-8 cyclists with an army of back-up psychologists, team doctors, masseurs, drivers, chefs and well I suppose coffee boys.  And the Tour’s ‘supply chain’ doesn’t stop there, they have team cars loaded with extra bikes – each costing between $7000-$14000 – handing out water & energy bars. They have lunch placed for riders along the route, so they can keep their head down and bash it out up the mountains. Then of course there are marshalls, route maps, markers, closed roads (no traffic, very important note!). They also have good hotel rooms, a regimented dinner and breakfast, a phone so they can ring loved ones whenever they like. And in addition to all of this they have the ability to draft behind team-mates/the peloton (which takes out about 40% of the effort) and 2 rest days (although on those rest days it is better to go for a little ride to keep those legs moving).

Now I wouldn’t dare say that the Tour de France is up there with the most difficult. The climbs and the speed of that race is far greater than any physical struggle on a football pitch (:p). Those athletes are some of the fittest people on the planet.

However…. there is a little race on 3rd August that will test the mind and body quite a lot too. Only 46 riders, who are not allowed to draft. They have two checkpoints scattered across Europe (1 in the 2nd highest pass in the Alps) which they have to find themselves amongst the 17-18hours (or no doubt sometimes 24hour) biking days, with limited battery on a GPS and a battered map. There is no support cars. The clock is always ticking. There is no stages. No rest days. You have to carry everything you will need. Not even a friend who will meet you at the end of the day. In fact you will be cycling across countries where no one speaks your language and quite frankly they don’t care what you are doing. Oh and to be competitive you are looking at doing a greater distance (2446miles according to Google maps) than the Tour de France this year in 2/3 of the time or about 13-14days.

This is the Transcontinental Bike Race. I will be on the start line.

To find out more about my charities –  WWF & RFU Injured Players Foundation – please follow the links. Pay for the pain.

Why we need adventure in our lives – pictures paint a thousand words

Ok I admit, after 2 weeks on the saddle, I will be sore. It is indeed the length of the Tour de France and unsupported – What the Transcontinental Race is all about . I will want a bed. Asterix and Obelix will have nothing on the amount I am going to eat. And yes, most of all I will want to see some friends and family. BUT. It will be a spanky good adventure. And just to encourage the wider interweb community to take up a challenge like this, I have posted some pictures of the landscape I will be going through.

Dolomites in the Italian Alps. Don't worry they will be a cruel mistress.

Dolomites in the Italian Alps. Don’t worry they will be a cruel mistress.

Lake Bled in Slovenia

Lake Bled in Slovenia

Belogradchik, Bulgaria

Belogradchik, Bulgaria

Serbia.....bet you are looking for cheap easyjet flights now!

Serbia…..bet you are looking for cheap easyjet flights now!