Project BBTA a year on

Project BBTA a year on

Wow. It feels like so long ago that I wrote my Project BBTA post.

One year on, where have I got to?

Well for one, I’m back in my normal shoes!

I’ve cycled Land’s End to John O’Groats (see LEJOG947) raising over £3k in the process and in the main I’m back on track.


For the foreseeable future I’m on drugs to keep the joints under control, they mean I can’t drink (alas no uncle jack for me) but that’s OK.

I’ve got to do some cool things at work like this:

More importantly, there’s a new star wars coming out and it looks good!

Thanks for all your help and support along the way, pretty much we bought back the awesome(ness).

Next up, moving house and another challenge….

(the -ness is just for you Philly!)

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Thoughts on ad-blocking and why I’ve now gone to the dark side

Thoughts on ad-blocking and why I’ve now gone to the dark side

This weekend I moved to what some might call the dark side – I’ve installed an ad-blocker extension on my laptop and an ad-blocking browser on my phone.

Now I know some will say “what took you so long?” and others “the web will die without ads”… I have friends who work on ad-supported sites, so I felt at the least I owed them an explanation why.

I’m not opposed to adverts online, they form a vital part of funding for many websites but recently they’ve crossed a line, exhibit A:


An advert that stopped me from reading the content until I completed some ridiculous “quiz”, made even more inappropriate when it was a work-related news piece I was trying to read as part of my job.

Just so we’re clear: Dear Cadbury, this ad has absolutely guaranteed I will never buy this product ever.

And the real kicker… Monday night, I was returning from the excellent Dare Conference in London when tragically the train in front of us hit someone on the line.

Picture the scene…. we’ve just learnt that someone has died and have no idea when we’ll move on from Brockenhurst… I’m sat in the quiet carriage trying to work out when I’m likely to get home and finding out what I can about the incident… a news site starts auto-playing the audio of some pleb football commentator ranting on. No, just no.

And so I started looking at ad-blockers and I found out about the Acceptable Ads Manifesto used by some of them:

  1. Acceptable Ads are not annoying.

  2. Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read.

  3. Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.

  4. Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.

  5. Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.

Now that was something I could support and so I installed the Adblocker Plus extension for Chrome and the browser for my mobile – something that wasn’t really a factor for me, that has also been interesting, is the time to load pages has got noticeably quicker.

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LEJOG947 – this time it’s personal

It’s less than 12 weeks till LEJOG947 – cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats…. here’s an FAQ of sorts:

1) Isn’t that the wrong way, it’s all downhill if you start in Scotland isn’t it?

No, no it’s not. For one, prevailing winds in the UK are SW so it’s into the wind, for another the day with the most climbs is the first/last day in Cornwall and finally logistically it’s easier to get back from JOG (courier collects bikes, we get a train to Inverness then fly to Bournemouth) and be dropped off in Land’s End.

Finally NO. We start around sea level and end around sea level, don’t be a moron.

2) WHY?

I’ve always wanted to do it, having cycled loads my whole life. I wanted to raise some money for CALM and raise the profile of the work they do.

3) Are you staying in hotels each night, that’s not too hard… is it?

Nope, we’re carrying all our own kit and camping. Because we’re bad ass.

3) If I make a donation it’s just paying you to go on a holiday cycling about for 2 weeks right?

Nope EVERY penny goes to CALM or the RNLI, which are our chosen charities – my lead charity is CALM who do great work to promote male mental health issues – every cost has come out of my pocket.

4) I’m broke, can I help in other ways?

Yes, join me on a training ride and encourage me not to lose my way: eat badly, miss training, stay out late etc!

Training is going ok, I’ve clocked up around 600 miles so far this year and have a plan in place, this weekend’s ride was tough but has only toughened my training resolve.

I’ll be posting updates on twitter, instagram and on the donation page.

Bring it!

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the Samaritans Radar app

First off I should add a trigger warning, this post will contain some discussion about suicide and mental health issues I’ve experienced directly – I’m going to be blunt and open about some stuff, and if you could find that uncomfortable or a trigger in some way, please don’t read on.

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Project BBTA

Project BBTA

Forgive me blog for I have slipped, it’s been many months since my last post.

I did start a draft on 100 happy days, but felt no urge to complete it.

Lots of this year has sucked, there have been some awesome moments but on the whole… very sucky. It’s time to change that.

Just after I finished 100 happy days I got sick. The arthritis came back in a big bad, I’m struggling to move, kinda way (I won’t bore you with the back story but it stems from food poisoning some years ago – see Reiters posts).

For a couple of weeks my feet and knee were so swollen I could barely stand and had to work from home.


BTW This isn’t a “oh poor me, give me sympathy” post I just need to write it down as part of my process for moving on.

When the symptoms have flared up before it’s only lasted a week, steroids, boom back to normal. Not this time.

Mentally it was hard but it was some of the stupid things that really got to me: my feet were swelled to the point i couldn’t fit in any of my shoes without severe pain… I had to buy special wide fit old person shoes. Nooooo!

I found the uncertainty challenging. At times feeling like maybe this was it, this was how my life would be now, pain.

Some plans had to change, I wasn’t able to train for Land’s End to John O’Groats and took the soul destroying decision to postpone (I WILL do it next year).

But after months of tests, drugs by the bucket load I’m coming out the other side. I owe a great debt to the team at the RNLI who were so supportive, especially Emily and Nathan.

So, what is project BBTA?

This is the fight back. Time to Bring Back The Awesome!

Now I’m mostly better, my feet and index fingers being the only bits really affected, it’s time to take it up a notch.

There are a few small changes to my life like the medication I’m on means I can’t drink.

I’ve got a list of new things I’m going to try as part of BBTA (post to follow).

I’m also going to make more time to say thanks. Where I encounter people being awesome, I’ll write to their head office to spread the awesome.

Bring it.

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