12 hours of cycling

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Last weekend I rode my first 12 hour time trial championship. It was the National TT championships. I finished in 2nd place.

This is photo by Vilas, who helped me through the day, passing bottles e.t.c.

It is a different challenge to ride a 12 hour race, compared to short five minute hill climb. You can’t compare. One thing I like about 12 hour time trial is that it is a different kind of self-transcendence where you are riding an unknown distance. The most successful part of the day was when I was able to relax, get into a good rhythm and the feel the ‘flow’ of constant cycling.

Sri Chinmoy once said cycling reminds us of evolution – the constant movement to seek progress and transcendence and move into a better cycle. I like that metaphor.

“While we are cycling, we are reminding ourselves of evolution, of how the world is evolving in cycles. When we think of our planet, we think of a wheel turning; our life also is evolving like a wheel. So cycling reminds us of the process of evolution and of how everything goes in cycles.”

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Keep calm and carry on

As a general rule I try to avoid politics. However, the recent referendum on EU membership is more than your average political issue. Save living in a cave it’s been hard to avoid. In particular I am concerned how it has divided the nation on grounds of identity, nationality, age and more.

For me the ideal political climate is one where there is calm, and respect for people of different nationalities, race and political views. I also hope the nation will aspire to the ideal of unity in diversity. The UK is melting pot of different nations, cultures and nationalities. Understanding that, despite these differences, there is more that unites than separates is very important for creating a society where everyone feels welcomed. Continue Reading →

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Meditate to remember

Yesterday was our last running race of the season. A four mile race around the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile in Cutteslowe Park. We have a ‘grand prix’ series with runners from different categories getting points and trophies.

Before driving, I have a short meditation. Sri Chinmoy advised meditating for a minute for protection from accidents. I often find that this one minute of meditation can be very useful for remembering something I have forgotten. When you have a big event, you can get a little stressed and start to ‘rush’ When you start to rush, you can forget things. When you start to worry you might be late, you rush a little more. But, then you forget something important, and it is a real problem.

This one minute of meditation can be tempting to skip. But, last night it saved me forgetting an important file with all the previous results in. If you get somewhere a minute later, it never matters, but if you travel all the way and have to come back, that takes a long time. So the moral of the story, is meditate, clear your mind, and just maybe something from within will prompt you to remember something important. It has happened many times to me. Continue Reading →

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Muhammad Ali – the Greatest

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) was a champion boxer, and truly inspiring individual. One of those rare people who everyone feels a connection with.

Sri Chinmoy said to Muhammad Ali:

“You are changing the face and fate of mankind. Your very name encourages and inspires. As soon as people hear ‘Muhammad Ali,’ they are inspired. They get tremendous joy. They get such dynamism to be brave and face ignorance. Your very name does that. That’s why I am so grateful to you, so proud of you.”

– Sri Chinmoy (Sept 1977, during meeting with Muhammad Ali, New York.)

I have watched quite a few youtube videos where Michael Parkinson interviewed Muhammad Ali, and I get so much joy watching them.

If anyone else had been saying the same words “I am the greatest” it might have fallen flat and you thought the person arrogant, but with Ali, his self-belief and deeply held convictions were infectious. I think it was because underneath the bravado, you knew this was a deeply courageous and good person.

US President Barack Obama said of Ali:

“Ali shook up the world – and the world is better for it,” Obama said.

“He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing,” Obama added.

Continue Reading →

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Photos Oxford mid-May

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Sunday morning is a good time to take photos. I wanted this bus to disappear and take the bridge with just nature. But, in the end, the splash of red in the distance gives the photo a bit more interest, contrasting with the various shades of green from the trees. Continue Reading →

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Digital detox and camp grounded

I was interested in this new project in the US, Camp Grounded. A place where Americans pay over $500 for a weekend of digital detox. Participants pay the money to have their phones, watches, computers and electronic devices taken away from them for a few days. Instead, participants are given a feast of activities, such as camping, arts and crafts, star gazing, meditation, home cooking, typewriting. The aim is to recreate the joy of life without the distractions and addictions of modern-life. Also, participants are not allowed to talk about their profession, so people can’t define themselves by the work they do.

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photo from race in Wales.

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Shakespeare jokes

William Shakespeare is having a grand celebration for the 400th anniversary of his death. Shakespeare is literally every where at the moment, and it’s not just in the hundreds of words he helped push into the English language. We have Shakespeare’s Guide to Poisoning Plants,  Shakespeare’s Guide to Parenting and even Shakespeare’ Guide to winning at Scrabble.

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I wish I could write a serious post sufficiently literary to mark the occasion, but in the world of Shakespeare I am a bit of a failure. The only Shakespeare I read was Macbeth and that only because it was on the GCSE English reading list. My thoughts at the time of reading Shakespeare was probably something along the lines of: “He has a good turn of phrase every now and then, but I think sometimes he could express himself a bit more clearly”

I took up Economics, I was no loss to the department of English Literature.

I do like the odd Shakespeare joke though. I hope William would approve, apparently he had quite a sense of humour, but many of his jokes are lost on modern audiences because of changes in the English accent. Probably a good job because some of his jokes could be a little ribald for a GCSE English class.

One of my all time favourite joke. Probably because I heard it told by Peter Kay, with his typical infectious enthusiasm.

William Shakespeare walks into a pub, but the landlord says “Get out, you’re bard!”

Knock Knock Jokes


Knock, Knock.
Who’s there?
Noah.
Noah who?
Noah’s the winter of our discontent. Continue Reading →

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Photos of Oxford in May

Oxford in May is beautiful. After a long grey British winter, in late April and May there is a real transformation as trees come into leaf and blossom covers many of the streets. The city’s architecture is complemented by nature’s beauty. There is also a great feeling of newness because of the tremendous greenness, which is very vivid. I particularly notice it after coming back from New York in April. There are few countries, which see such an intense green – in UK, we like to complain about the weather but the rain does help the colour and freshness.

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I love these daises which grow in wildflower verges by the side of many roads.cutteslowe-park-1-may

May is also the month when we hold Sri Chinmoy Races at Cutteslowe Park, north Oxford. It is a great time to be in the park, which has quite a few areas of natural wildlife flowers.apple-blossom

Late flowering Apple Blossom on Marston road.cycling-to-exams
Continue Reading →

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Non-violence and the problem of slugs and snails

I have a dilemma. This year I’ve taken more interest in gardening, and have bought a few plants. The problem is that there has been an explosion in the population of slugs and snails. The garden is being decimated by these small creatures.

may-flowers

You wake up in the morning and new plants and old daffodils are mere shreds of their former selves, slugs greedily leaving a trail of their feasting.

It presents me with a dilemma – what to do about the slugs? Continue Reading →

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