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2011 WEEK 8

Roxy is Ready Norman Surplus and his gyrocopter, Roxy, are ready to resume their adventure this Spring

Welcome TO WEEK 8




I lOVE the National Trust’s ‘Outdoor Gym’ concept. If you’ve ever needed a programme that you can follow for free then it’s this. You download a month-long, day-by-day plan online which shows how you can make use of the natural surroundings become fitter and more active in the fresh air. Runs through the forest, chin ups on a climbing frame or situps on the grass are very simple ways of feeling like you’re actually doing something instead of staring at the red LCD digits counting down the time remaining on a treadmill. Exercising outdoors boosts your mood too. Go to the NT’s website, click on the ‘Local To You’ tab and find your local venue this week and give it a go. Snow continues to fall in Northern parts of the UK this week but many skiers in Europe have breathed a sigh of relief now that snow has begun falling again there after a long spell without any. Those heading out on a ski holiday should find good conditions – just in time for half term. In SKI & BOARD this week we’ve interviewed a chap who’s in the middle of a training course to be a ski instructor. He might not go on to work as one full time but it seems many of us are joining in these courses as a career break and a fast track way to really improve our abilities. Away from the snow in the Philippines, pilot Norman Surplus has flown out there to make sure his gyrocopter, called Roxy, is ready to re-start his round the world adventure in the Spring. Norman writes an excellent blog and you can also befriend him on Facebook – he’s up to nearly 5000 friends all over the World. He may want to check out Pentax’s new adventure camera as well. Being shockproof, waterproof and coldproof it’s an ideal companion and the GPS version even shows the locations of our photos on a map. It’s starting off a new way to tell our stories and if you have one you want to share, then let us know. Don’t forget, you can tweet us your adventures too @Adventure52mag





hink the National Trust is only there to look after crumbly old buildings and manicure shapely lawns? Well, think again, because for the whole of January, the National Trust was focused on you and your fitness. The Trust began the year talking about losing, rather than the saving and preserving that it’s known for. The losing referred to the extra 2kg that most of us Britons put on each Christmas period – no wonder gym memberships soar in January. But instead of going to the gym, the Trust came up with a different way to lose that weight. Cunningly named the Outdoor Gym Challenge, it was all about getting fit in the UK’s fine countryside. The Outdoor Gym Challenge involved a month-long, day-by-day plan. It detailed activities like power walking, jogging, bike riding, tree press-ups and spotty dogs (no, I’ve no idea what they are either!). If all 3.8 million of the Trust’s members joined in, the total weight loss could amount to 7,600 tonnes according to the National Trust’s man who’s good with figures. That’s 43 Boeing 747s or 42 fully grown blue whales. And if everyone in the UK joined in, that figure would grow to 80,000 tonnes. So how did they do? Jeanette Heard at the National Trust tells me that she’s still waiting for the final weight loss

TRUST THIS CHAL By Lisa Clatworthy

ABOVE Make use of the

surroundings at National Trust sites to get a good stretch LEFT Yoga in a beautiful

setting instead of a gym is often more appealing



total. However, she could tell me that the plan was downloaded 9000 times. And one of those downloading it was Martin Nugent from South Wales. Martin spent his teenage years dedicated to athletics, but work and then more recently the birth of son curbed his enthusiasm – and the time available. When he heard about the Challenge, it was just the motivation he needed. “I confess I didn’t follow the plan to the letter,” he tells me, “But we did buy a running pram so we could take our son along on some of the runs. The Challenge was the push I needed to get exercising again and knowing you had to send in your weight loss each week was motivating.” The Outdoor Gym challenge wasn’t just about weight loss though. Along with the physical benefits, the challenge aimed to contribute positively to mental health. Research from the University of Essex indicates that exercising in a natural environment boosts physical and mental health, lifting mood and selfesteem – even on the cold, dark days of a British winter. So along with losing a few pound and saving a few bob on a gym membership, the Outdoor Gym could put a smile on your face. And remember just like the proverbial dog at Christmas, the Outdoor Gym isn’t just for January. You can be doing this month and every other month of the year too.

LLENGE LEFT Forest trails on a

mountain bike beat a stationary bike any day RIGHT Join in with a

IMAGE - John Millar

IMAGE - National Trust Emma Williams

group at many of the National Trust’s organised fitness events

This Vincent Black Prince has been ridden nearly one million kilometres



TOP Stuart on

Vinnylonglegs in 2011 LEFT Stuart on the same

motorcycle in 1955

AFTER telling you the story of Ernest Bell’s adventure on a 1952 Norton Dominator in the Week 6 issue comes this one about a 1955 Vincent Black Prince which has notched up 721,703 miles. The bike, owned by 83-year-old Stuart Jenkinson is probably one of the most travelled in existence and has taken Stuart on countless adventures. He bought it for £350 in 1955 and it now expects to fetch £35,000 to £40,000 when it’s auctioned at the International Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire on April 24th 2011. Stuart nicknamed his machine Vinnylonglegs and in 1980 he set up a business running guided motorcycle tours in Europe which has helped him to rack up the 721,703 miles. Stuart is upset about selling but says it’s time for it to go, “As any long term owner of a bike or car will understand, selling Vinnylonglegs after 56 years and almost three quarters of a million miles is going to be a serious wrench,” he says. “I’ll just have to make do now with the memories of all our wonderful trips.” The bike has been rebuilt three times and progressively developed to cope with challenging European tours. Adventure motorcyclists reading this will know that no bike is ideally suited to long distance travel and making modifications is part of the fun. In the case of Vinnylonglegs, Stuart re-designed the front fairing, added twin headlamps for better visibility at night and replaced the original upper frame with a stiffer box section Series C frame. He also added a four-gallon Series C fuel tank for longer distances. The electrical equipment was made safer and more reliable, while disc brakes and Koni dampers gave him a bit more riding comfort. The pannier frames carry two fivegallon boxes and the shelf above carries a large army kit bag with full camping gear. Ben Walker, Head of Motorcycles at Bonhams, who will auction the bike said, “I hope the new owner takes it over the 750,000 mile mark.”


CARVING A CAREER? By Lisa Clatworthy


ICTURE the scene. You’re talking turkey with your potential new boss. Real nitty-gritty stuff, like flexitime, free lunches and three months unpaid leave so you can go off and train to be a ski instructor. Can’t imagine that? Well, Jon Wilson doesn’t need to imagine it. That’s exactly how it was for him. He’s now halfway through a three-month training course to become a ski instructor in Meribel, France. “Thankfully, my boss has been really decent about it,” he says. “I told him I really wanted to come back to my job. It was just that I also really wanted to do this.” A UK-based software developer, Jon is training to get his licence as a British Association of Snowsports Instructor Alpine Level 2 ski instructor. The qualification enables him to teach beginners in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. So is this course just the beginning of the adventure for Jon? Does he see himself negotiating another deal with his boss so he can spend half the year on the slopes and the other half


behind a desk? “No,” he chuckles. “I think this is the adventure. While I would love to teach, it’s not very realistic. I’m not really prepared to move and I’m not sure my wife would want to either. Doing this course is really about boosting my confidence and being able to teach friends and family.” Jon signed up for an all-inclusive deal with Ski New Generation. The deal includes the training, all the ‘fantastic

food’ and accommodation with the other 19 on his course. “It’s a bit like Big Brother,” he jokes. Not quite like it though, as Jon reveals that despite the wide age range (17 to 53), they’re all getting on. They all muck in together – even setting up their own bar in the chalet – and work and play hard. Working hard translates as spending 9 to 5, Monday to Friday on the slopes, with an occasional Saturday morning session and some evening seminars in the chalet. On the slopes, it’s a mix of perfecting their own skills and shadowing ski schools, to see how it’s done. Evening seminars cover what to do in an avalanche, servicing equipment and teaching and learning styles. There’s no big exam at the end as it’s all continuous assessment. The playing hard part of it obviously means après ski. The chalet is out of the town, but that doesn’t stop them. At the bottom of the slopes they head in for a swift drink in the bar before skiing down in the dark to the gondola. “It’s not often you can get the gondola home from the pub!” laughs Jon. And with that he’s gone, off out to try out bobsleighing. www.basi.org.uk


MAIN Three months off

work has given Jon the chance to transform the way he skis for a lifetime




Norman Surplus and his gyrocopter, Roxy, are ready to resume their adventure this Spring By Dan Tye


AST year Norman Surplus was on an attempt to circumnavigate the world in his gyrocopter, G-YROX, when in September he called ‘half time’ on his adventure. He had faced all sorts of delays and setbacks which meant he would miss the time window for the best weather to cross the Bering Sea and continue on into higher latitudes. Sound airmanship prevailed and Norman decided to pause the attempt in the Philippines. In getting halfway, G-YROX flew the furthest straight line distance of any other gyrocopter in history crossing some 16 consecutive countries. Norman flew over seven major water crossings of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Thailand,the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. Norman is due to resume his adventure this Spring so this week he announced that he had flown back out to the Philippines to ensure his gyrocopter, a RotorSport MT-03 powered by a Rotax 914 and called Roxy, is airworthy to restart the journey. Leaving Roxy sat from September 2010 to May 2011 not doing anything would have been dangerous and in his blog Norman writes, “Pulling out your old bicycle from the garden shed for the briefest of summer months might just mean a pump up of the tyres and a bit of oil on the chain and away you go. But if the Gyro was left ‘in the shed’ in this way it would quickly deteriorate from being an active capable flying machine into a ‘mothballed’ assembly of parts that may or may not constitute a viable flying machine.” Whilst the gyro has been laid up, Jay Cook at Woodland Airpark in the Philippines has been starting the engine up regularly so that all moving parts are regularly exercised on the ground. Norman has even managed to renew Roxy’s permit–to-fly for another 12 months using a CAA surveyor just happened to be travelling back from attending to other business in Manila. Any pilot who will tell you at this time of year, sometimes remembering how to fly takes considerable mental effort after a long lay off over winter. Norman hasn’t flown Roxy for a while but it’s not the physical flying that you forget and he writes, “Where you become rusty is in the mechanics of the return to flight. The radio procedures, pre flight checks, start up procedures and take off procedures. These are all examples of the phases of the flight where you have to actively use your brain to recall processes, make decisions and act on judgment calls. By taking things slow and steady, thoughts are remembered in the correct sequence and actions taken safely and logically. In this way, once you’ve established your head back in “flight mode”, the more your automatic backside skills start to kick again. This in turn gives more brain capacity for extra functions such as clearing airspace, setting course, monitoring gauges and of course, ultimately, hopefully, safely navigating your aircraft right around the world.” Norman is due to resume his adventure in May. Follow his journey and read more in his blog. http://gyroxgoesglobal.blogspot.com/


RIGHT When you need

fuel in the desert...

BELOW This monk’s

blessing has helped Norman so far FAR RIGHT Norman

with Roxy in the Philippines; ready and raring to get going again




Pentax’s Optio WG1 camera can be plunged in 10 metres of water, frozen to minus 10 d

IF you’ve lost count of how many cameras you’ve broken over the years then Pentax’s Option WG1 may be the rugged electronic friend you’ve been looking for. As well as being able to survive a submersion (letting us take piccies underwater) it’ll also work after being frozen to minus 10 in a jacket pocket on a ski trip. The 14-megapixel camera will also cope with a drop onto the floor from 1.5 metres. Even a 100kg person could stand on it and it’d be okay. Two models are on offer with a GPS version including a geotagging feature. Take photos and the camera automatically stores your latitude/longitude so when we back home we can locate where we took our photos on a map (Google Earth, FlickR, Picasa). Both models also feature a 2.7 inch LCD screen, HD video recording function (1280 x 720 pixels) at 30 frames per second and an “enhanced microscope” function allowing us to enlarge pictures by up to six times. The standard model comes in black/blue and in purple and the GPS version is available in green and grey/black. On sale in March for £269.99 (£299.99 for the GPS model).




degrees Celsius and it’ll still work


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Profile for Adventure 52

Week 8  

The Weekly Adventure Lifestyle Magazine

Week 8  

The Weekly Adventure Lifestyle Magazine