Good day, readers. We are well and truly in a different world now. A once in a 100 year event has hit humanity and we all, in one way or another, will be changed once it is over.

However, as an optimist, I firmly believe that some good things will arise from this pandemic in many aspects of our society and things will largely return to normal. But first, we have to get safely through this lockdown, the very real serious situation but also sadly an aspect of press sensationalism.

So it’s time for a very much needed break with another onein300 post of British, stiff upper lip guff, but hopefully with titbits of information you’d thought you never need, all presented in a package that will whisk you to a land far far away.

Here in the UK, we have progressed to a virtual complete shutdown, with a very simple “stay at home” message.

We are, however, ‘allowed’ out for exercise, food shopping and any vital ‘medical or other need’. It’s good common sense. Of course being lumbered with a life limiting disease means I certainly need to even more focused than many.

However, perhaps ironically, folks, the lockdown is not much different to my normal weekly routine having being constrained by MND/ALS for over 6 years. Some disabled people, on social media and elsewhere, have even recently referred to this situation as a great leveller in this one respect. Perhaps, just perhaps, it will bring a greater awareness of the restricted, challenged and hidden lives lived by many in this world.

As you are aware from my posts, I can still ride a recumbent bike (trike), which is pretty much my only exercise. However, it is more importantly one of the only treatments for my MND! Combined with regular physiotherapy, any movement that a person living with MND/ALS is still able to do, is absolutely vital.

So it is indeed a real conundrum, which is not portrayed in the media, when considering the current advice in the UK that guides those with certain severe health conditions to ‘ultra-isolate’ for 12 weeks. It is most certainly not a clear cut decision for me and, I suspect, others. The possibility of developing a bad respiratory infection is, of course, the last thing I need. But at the same time I have a ‘progressive’ neurodegenerative disease, one which could be severely speeded up by lack of movement and exercise. So err, it’s a heads you win, tails I lose sort of thing………

A quite awful song from one of the great bands of all time, but it matched my words!

So I am continuing to take exercise. However, please be totally assured readers, it as per strict government guidelines, once a day with more than adequate social distancing, locally and responsibly.

Riding the trike affords me the opportunity to actually help, in my small way, with the enforcement of 2m minimum (yes minimum folks) social distancing rule. I cycle on the road, safely away from any pedestrians. I am thinking, though, I might need this new prototype attachment because of the actions of some silent but deadly cyclists (Grrrrrhhh)! Sorry for that readers, a slight rant!

The Whiplash 2000 – Bruiser Edition

Riding a bike has always been, and will be, a “keep your eyes peeled” task, with a huge focus on safety. And if, like me, you used to once ride a motorcycle, you would have learnt that 2 wheels (or 3 now in my case) makes us far more vulnerable than 4 in any car. It’s only common sense that bike riders should ride more defensively than others. This is even more important in the days of COVID19. There is no point in exercising if you put yourself or others at any risk.

The perils of motorcycling have taught me the extreme art of observation. Let’s face it, you need to look for everything when sitting legs astride what is basically a hot bare lump of metal travelling at some speed! The dangers those on 2 wheels face also include the ever changing and undulating surface of a road. But this so much more than just those obvious gaping pot holes. Even something apparently as harmless as white painted lines, or a minor dip, can cause serious injury. A visual technique I learnt from motorcycling, that also pervaded into my driving of cars and cycles. is the art of “staring right into the whites of people’s eyes” at roundabouts (rotaries for my American friends) and other junctions (Intersections).

What you looking at!!?

It really grabs the attention!

But folks, I have lost my way today with this post! Returning to the current lockdown and our very strict going out rules. I have now added a brand new skill to my repertoire! It is the extremely cunning art of outriding! Combined with shouting (obviously in an MND voice), this new talent has enabled hygienic, responsible and of course, above all, smug exercising.

Outriding is best understood by the taking a viewing of the work of the Royal and VIP protection motorbike escorts as operated in the UK, a team known as the Special Escort Group!

No, this is not a group of discreet (or otherwise) adult services offered by Lord Bragg, but a highly trained mobile squad, and all armed! At a minimum, outriding is comprised of at least 3 riders working in unison and traffic hopping to clear a way for and protecting a VIP. Interestingly, in the video link above, which I have lined up to start (4m:13s) on a training sequence of escorting a VIP from Heathrow airport to Scotland Yard in central London. This task is achieved by the group in only 25 minutes through normal London traffic at no more than legal speed! It’s fascinating to watch, honest! It makes for rather absorbing viewing on many levels today, with the busy roads almost being from a forgotten time! These days will return, readers, but we have to be patient.

I have implemented a simpler, admittedly slightly less visually impressive, but equally as effective routine for cycling in the lockdown. When we walk the dogs, or Jean goes running, I now outride*! At those vulnerable or tricky areas, I might speed (a relative term, folks) ahead, and inspect entrances, corners etc for safety. Jean does the same, for me, with her running. For example, I did have one situation just last week when, how can I put it, I caught sight of a stray fellow cyclist ahead. I just knew he could be problematic, so I moved ahead of Jean with menacing intent! And yes I was proved 100% right, as he was going to do something rather foolish. But a firm “STAY PUT” from me, along with appropriate hand signals, enabled Jean, the VIP, to run past at safe distance. I thanked the rider, and proceeded on the way to the next protection point.

*Please note that my outriding services do not guarantee that the VIP will not step in dogs mess (dog poop for my American friends).

By the way, you should generally stop watching any Television news! I don’t think it’s good for anyone’s health currently. Instead why not recommend my blog to both your friends and enemies alike, along with it’s, now, enormous back catalog? So much better than doom laden journalists!

For my regular readers, you will be aware that I also write about research and thoughts on our disease. However, currently, this has been proving hard for me to formulate an appropriate commentary in this rather unique time. But, I think I now have some thoughts which can reflect the current world order, respectfully. I hope to put those together over the next couple of weeks. But, be in no doubt more guff is coming in my general posts!

Stay safe.