September 2022 Stats

With the Schwinn’s arrival came physiotherapy, pain consultations and then experiments with Apple Fitness+, the first year’s free subscription to Bowflex’s JRNY app, and a trial of FulGaz.  The latter two are different from Fitness+ in that Apple are offering different duration classes only whereas the other two offer virtual rides using video of the actual routes.

In FulGaz’s case, they are adaptive workouts: speeding up or slowing down the videos to suit your pace/power which the app reads from the Schwinn.  They’re also linked to my Garmin f?nix 7S for my heart rate.

The other benefit of using FulGaz is that after each ride, it emails you a FIT file which you can import into Garmin Connect giving you the full details of the ride.  JRNY does not do this, sadly.

So hitting the Schwinn every has been beneficial for me, but also for my weight which has been coming down slowly, thereby improving the load on my knee.

Here’s my stats for the 399km – mainly virtual/indoor – in September 2022:

September 2022 Statistics

August 2022 Stats

We were still out in Corralejo for the first half of August 2022.

Back in London, it was a case of hammering the cheapo indoor bike, thinking we’d buy a Peloton bike when we move to Surrey and have a bigger garage and separate gym.  The Amazon special was OK, but I couldn’t stand up on it despite the Apple Fitness+ trainers suggesting I could.

And then a couple of things happened: a news article about Peloton’s losses being “an existential threat” made us think about whether a Peloton would be a good idea after all. They’re very expensive and rely on a paid subscription to Peloton if you want to do the guided rides (which I had really enjoyed in Big Sur).  If they went bust, the screen would effectively be useless and the purpose of the really expensive bike would go with them.

I looked at what Apple recommended/were using for their Fitness+ workouts and they were Schwinn bikes.  In the UK they’re supplied by – amongst others, I’m sure – Fitness Superstore and they had an offer on the Schwinn 800IC (formerly the IC8): already listed at half list price, they had an additional 10% off for the Bank Holiday weekend, so I pressed the button on one for delivery in early September.

Here are the stats for my 266km in August 2022:

August 2022 Stats

HMRC Making Tax Digital

There’s a lot of hoo-har over that utter shitshow that is Brexit and some of it is due to the many levels of bureaucracy forced upon British exporters now we’re no longer in the EU.  This, of course, despite the promises by the Brexshitters that leaving would get rid of all that red tape and make us more prosperous.

Well that same degree of fuckwitted belligerence applies to HMRC.  A few years back, they decided that it would be a good idea to roll out a new policy called “Making Tax Digital”:

“Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.”

Utter bollocks!

Originally, there was a threshold for turnover before you’d be forced to submit VAT returns in the way the HMRC demanded, but that threshold was shelved, so now, if you’re VAT-registered than you have to submit them their way.  The roll-out was delayed by COVID-19 – who knows why – but it’s up and running now.

I was self-employed for many years and was VAT-registered as 95% of the work I was doing was B2B (business to business).  For the last 14 years I’ve been employed but still do a minimal amount of work freelance, so I charge VAT and claim it back on the expenses I incur.

Copies of all invoices in and out are stored in folders on my computer (and backed up) and the calculations for my VAT returns (and indeed Self-Assessment) are entered manually on a spreadsheet.  I used to then enter the numbers on the VAT return online and voila! Straight after the end of the VAT period, in they went and I either paid out the VAT or reclaimed it.

But not any more.  I’m not allowed to do this myself. I have to keep records (like I already do) with an ‘audit trail’ (like I already do) but now I have to link my numbers through to a new spreadsheet or solution offered by one of the 196 providers of this so-called “bridging software”. By “offered” I mean “sold” either on a one-off basis or more often on an ongoing basis, costing hundreds of pounds a year … off my profit. That’s if the software works on your system: PWC’s, for instance, only works on a Windows computer and not a Mac, and costs £144 a year.  At least PWC say how much it is; some of their competitors don’t.

I’m away for a few weeks overseas every few weeks (in the EU and back four of five times a year) and as I’m writing this, I’m ready to submit a VAT return but cannot because the HMRC will only send my new username and password to me by post and I need to enter that in the bridging software so that my figures from my spreadsheet go via another spreadsheet to HMRC’s VAT portal.

You know, the one I used to copy the numbers into before and for zero extra cost…

July 2022 Stats

July 2022 was spent out at our home in Corralejo, Fuerteventura.

This meant I could use the mountain bike I have out there for lots of bike rides and the occasional walk – rather than vice versa – and I racked up around 250km that month:

July 2022 Statistics


June 2022 Stats

Back in June 2022, I was walking for fitness but was having a lot of pain in my bad knee, the one that I’d seen a consultant about back in 2012 who said I should stop running … before I ran the Berlin Marathon and a couple of half-marathons.

I had been recommended cycling, so was trying to introduce more of this into my training and then went to the USA in early June to do the Pacific Coast Highway. While we were there, I tried a Peloton fitness bike in a really expensive hotel we stayed at in Big Sur and started looking into buying one, just before seeing my consultant again.

He again recommended some weight loss and half an hour every day on a bicycle, with a recommendation for a cheap static bike.  That got me into finally using Apple Fitness+ and 30 minute rides.

So, here are my stats for June 2022.

June 2022 Stats

Garmin f?nix 7S

I’ve been using a Garmin f?nix 3 Sapphire for quite a while now; it’s a big, chunky lump of a fitness watch but then it is feature-packed and suitable for many forms of exercise.  I also have an Apple Watch Series 4 which works really well, but doesn’t measure blood oxygen levels like my wife’s latest one does.

I pair it with a heart rate monitor that clips to a strap you wear around your chest and then shower and dry it after exercising. We bought my wife a Garmin Forerunner 735XT a few years back and that has heart rate measuring built in (like the Apple Watch).

Now that we’re splitting our time between the UK and Fuerteventura I’m having to cart the Garmin back and forth, so I decided to leave it there where I work out more and use the Apple Watch in the UK. That’s not perfect because I then have to manually add each one to Garmin Connect.

So for my 60th birthday, Alison has bought me the new Garmin f?nix 7S, choosing the smaller S model so it’s not as chunky and large, especially as it encourages you to wear it 24/7 to monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep tracking, etc.  It’s early days yet but the results are fascinating. I expect over the next few weeks it should get to know me properly and calibrate all its reports around me.

Garmin f?nix 7S

An Update and Refocus

I’ve had a quick read of my running blog and I mention – but only in passing – the crash I had back in July 2019 that left me with “life-changing injuries”.

Since that other blog post with most of the details, I’ve had the rest of my little finger amputated (in December 2020) and I’m left with constant pain and a sufficient degree of disability to have qualified for a “blue badge” here in the UK.  Part of the pain management has been for us to move for part of the year out to Corralejo on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco with its low rainfall and warm temperatures all year round, which definitely helps reduce the pain in my hand and pelvis.

It also means that I am more able to go for walks and cycle rides to try to loosen up my joints, lose weight (to lessen the duty on my pelvis/hips) and to work on my ‘wellness’ generally.

The aim is still to try to run but I try to avoid painkillers and running piles that pain on! So it’s a slow and steady race to reduce weight for less strain on my joints – my consultant years ago told me to avoid running because of my knee gradually wearing out – by exercising and eating healthily, especially as I hit 60 years old this year.