My 2023 review

Wooah. That took a while. I have spent some time on the very last day of 2023, and in truth a few days after, reflecting on the year gone by. The main way this was done was by looking at all of the photos I have taken from the year. There were a lot of them! I have picked 600 of them, shown below.

2023 was a great year. 

In a slightly chronological but also thematic account, I cycled of course and this year I massively encouraged others to do.  I partook in every Critical Mass and launched Kidical Mass Nottingham.  I met up with family, friends and made some new friends.  I helped my best friend try to become a councillor, as he had helped me a few years before.  I took part in two naked cycle rides.  I campaigned for cycling.  I walked a lot more.  I got into running.  Firstly the threadmill where I ran many, many miles and to my surprise in the wild where I ran 155 miles  I celebrated Prides in Lincoln, London and Nottingham.  I went to Skegness.  At my old job in student accommodation as students checked out and left items, I collected them all and gave them away to those who needed it.  500 items were saved!  I used the tram a lot.  I started a new job!  I now work for the council helping to encourage and enable people to walk and cycle!  I had an MRI scan.  I did three Parkruns.  I went to see S Club.  I went to the gym a bit.  I ate out a lot.  I had takeaways a lot.  I went to Liverpool.  I had family time over Christmas.

Why the photo obsession?

So yes, I take a lot of photos. The idiom ‘if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound’, is, somewhat facetiously replaced with ‘if a photo is not taken, did it really happen’? There is fine line between living in the moment and over-recording the moment and the implications the latter has on the former can be problematic. The usefulness of my photo taking quest was proven just yesterday when I reviewed last year’s and the year before’s photos. Memories had faded but this brought them right back. I remembered my feelings at the time. Without a photo, would I remember them again?! Also, it does wonders for trying to grasp time. How was that only back in January? Or wow, that was only in January?!

I have photo reviewed 2022, 20212020201920182017 and 2016.

How was my cycling?

Firstly, tradition dictates that this blog post discusses my cycling. At some point earlier this year, I knew my total mileage cycled would be dismally low so I ceased to consider it a thing. In years gone by I would check often that my Garmin was working correctly by syncing the data and recording it correctly. Although the checking stopped, the turning on of the Garmin did not. Years of recording has made this act feel almost natural. I could pretend that without this check, there must have been a computer error and my incredibly low total of 880 miles was because many miles got missed. But I do think this is quite accurate. This is 375 miles lower than last year, is the lowest of 9 years and 1,468 miles lower than my peak year of 2019 [data here].

Why has this happened?

This is the first full year of living a minute away from a tram stop and having had a whole year’s season ticket for the tram. It is so cheap, regular, and easy. I never have to worry about the incompetent drivers close passing me or threatening to hit me. I never have to worry about parking my bicycle, and the worry of whether it will be there when I return. Although at the beginning of the year I still cycled to work, my new job, which I have been at for 4 months now, is directly on the tram line. Cycling is still my passion without a shadow of a doubt. In fact, my new job is working for the council in the transport strategy team encouraging and enabling more people to walk and cycle. So although my miles may be lower, I am hopefully getting more people to add to theirs.

Other movement instead

I think in years previous, there was a need to cycle (sometimes every day), because I sought the movement. As well as all of the other benefits of cycling, the activity and exercise is definitely up there. As my cycling has decreased, directly in its place this year has seen me walk a whole lot more and if my Google Watch tells me I am not near by 10,000 steps minimum then something is wrong. I have also developed an interest in running, or perhaps jogging.

I have dabbled in it, here and there but it never used to be my thing. In 2019, a stroke made any jogging for a few years afterwards just not feel right. My right leg was not exactly co-ordinating. This improved and in fact I found out no one could see a difference but in my head, especially if I concentrated, it felt like it was hugely out of place. At the beginning of this year, I had access to a free gym at my previous place of work. I ran a lot on the treadmill. Never did I ever think that I would like running outside. My watch tells me that in the summer, I got into running around my local park, Forest Recreation Ground. This year I ran a total distance of 155 miles outside with my longest single run being 7.63 miles and the average length 2.6. I got into Parkrun too. I have only done 3 of them and my personal best of 26:35.

And here are the photos of the year . . .

So what does it mean that a photo has been selected and another not so? I am not sure. I take a lot of photos. This process of selecting and narrowing them down could take me days so I have to be quick with my decisions. Perhaps the speed leaves not enough time to ponder the importance of one or may be there’s a hidden reason they are excluded? Or included?! Who knows?! Uploading this many photos meant there were a couple of technical glitches too.

Speak soon,


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