THE LONG PUSH 2012 is sponsored by...

THE LONG PUSH has been sponsored and supported by the following companies and individuals...



If you would like to sponsor me on my journeys, please contact me at the_long_push@btinternet.com

justgiving - sponsor me now!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

National Autistic Society Christmas Appeal

Last week before Christmas now, and like many of you, I'll be trying to work out how I'm going to get everything done in the time between work and sleep this week!  So I figure that I'm best signing off the blog until the New Year now, focusing on Christmas and then starting to develop The Long Push in earnest from January. Before I do though, I'd like to thank all of you who have taken the time to come and read any of my posts here so far. Please share the link to this blog http://thelongpush.blogspot.com/ and The Long Push 2012 at www.facebook.com with anyone you think will be interested.

I'd like to sign off for Christmas with two videos. Firstly this video for the National Autistic Society's Christmas Appeal 2011: http://www.autism.org.uk/christmasappeal
Please help if you are able to.

Finally then, before we all come back feeling a bit fuller and rounder and making other 'optimistic' resolutions to give up beer, chocolate, cigarettes etc. (delete as applicable) and look after ourselves a bit more, I'll leave you with this awesome short film from www.sector9.com, 'Second Nature', featuring some of the most amazingly scary downhill skateboarding I've ever seen.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2012 to you all.

Chris@The Long Push 2012

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

We interrupt this blog to bring you a weather warning...

And from SKY NEWS...

Winds of up to 70mph could hit the UK again as the country continues to endure heavy rain and stormy conditions.

A small area of low pressure is due to move across to southern parts of Wales and into central and southern England tonight, pushing up wind speeds.

The rest of the day will see sunshine and showers, turning wintry on higher ground and with heavy and frequent downpours for southern Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England.

Southern and south eastern parts of England may have an area of wintry showers moving eastwards, with a few snowflakes possible over the Chilterns and the Cotswolds.

Other areas of the UK will also see some wintry showers spreading eastwards this afternoon, but most of these will be on higher ground.

The Met Office has issued yellow alerts for snow for much of the UK, except Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands, East of England and London and the South East.

Wednesday night is set to be dry with clear skies and a widespread frost but there will be more wintry showers on Thursday.

Rain and severe gales are set to move in later into Thursday, with heavy downpours spreading east across central and southern England and Wales.

There could also be snow on higher ground in Wales and the Midlands.

High winds overnight on Monday caused a beech tree to snap in two and fall onto a diplomat's bungalow in Winchester.

Richard Wilkinson escaped serious injury despite the 30ft piece of tree destroying the roof of his home, where his daughter was also staying.

A lorry driver was killed on the M5 on Tuesday night in a collision believed to have been caused by poor weather conditions, including hail storms and black ice.

Not much chance of getting out on the board then...or is there? :o)

What is autism anyway? (Part 1)

As this blog is all about autism awareness I guess I should say a bit about it. So here goes...

Autism is not an illness, it's a lifelong condition or disorder that affects a person's social communication and social understanding. Some of the difficulties people with autism have have been bracketed under what is called 'The Triad of Impairment'. This includes the following:

  • SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL - Difficulties in understanding how to behave and interact with other people. Difficulties understanding their own feelings 
  • LANGUAGE & COMMUNICATION - Difficulties processing and understanding verbal communication. Difficulties in expressing their feelings in a socially appropriate manner.
  • FLEXIBILITY OF THOUGHT - Difficulties coping with change in routine, empathy, generalisation.

Although these are common symptoms of an autism diagnosis, no two people are exactly the same, and may also show additional behaviours such as sensory processing issues and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Because of this wide range of behaviours the current trend is to describe an autism diagnosis as a Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as the person will be somewhere on the wider autism spectrum dependent on the severity of their condition. Aspergers Syndrome, which you may have heard of, is on the autism spectrum. People with aspergers may be described as 'high functioning' because, although they may display some elements of the triad of impairment, they can still function in society in an independent manner. At the opposite end of the spectrum are people who simply cannot speak or are 'non-verbal', making social interaction and independence extremely difficult.

Sometimes a person with autism may seem rude, inappropriate or badly behaved, as a result of their difficulties in understanding the social rules which we as 'neuro typical' people take for granted. Early diagnosis can help by identifying a child's needs at an early stage and engaging the child in intensive speach and language therapy and coaching them in understanding their emotions and the social rules.

Find out more FACTS about autism at The NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY website http://www.autism.org.uk/

An autism diagnosis can have a huge impact on a family. Parents have to adapt to understand a child's condition and learn how to respond to the behaviours which can be very challenging. Siblings can also find great difficulty with this. Some children with ASD may never become the independent sons/daughters that parents always thought they would, and need constant emotional and/or physical support. This can put an enormous strain on families. Which is where The Long Push 2012 comes in.

The Long Push 2012 is going to be done to both raise autism awareness and to collect donations for an autism charity called FAMILIES CONNECTED

Families living with a child with ASD can find it to be an isolating experience. Families Connected was founded to provide avenues for communication between families who can understand each others experiences and help others through sharing. Families Connected works to help families find support from a community who understands the effects of ASD on family and daily life.

To find out more and donate to Families Connected please visit their website at http://www.families-connected.org.uk/

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Second Rule of Blogging is...'Know Your Audience'

Welcome to back to the Long Push 2012 blog. 

The UK appears to be gripped by high winds and heavy rain/hail-stones. Not a chance of getting out on a board, or even a bike so far this week. So that gives me time to address the Second Rule of Blogging: Know Your Audience

After a phone conversation last night, I realised that, this blog is hopefully going to be followed by people from many different backgrounds and perspectives. Hopefully some in the longboarding/skateboarding community will want to follow my journey, but after someone else said to me, "That ride you're going to do sounds great, but...what is a longboard anyway?", I realised, I have some explaining to do!

OK, longboarders of the world, look away now, because I am going to make the statement that we all know and understand, but seldom want to acknowledge, and I have no desire to offend any of you (us). Ready? OK, here we go...

A longboard is, essentially...an overlong skateboard!

There, I said it! Of course, it's not JUST an overlong skateboard, it's much more than that;

It's freedom.
It takes skateboarding back to it's most pure purpose and function.
It's a lifestyle. 

To be specific, a longboard is usually in the region of 38" upwards to about 60" long, sometimes longer. When you consider that the sort of skateboards you see being ridden in towns and skateparks across the world are generally about 31", you can see that a longboard is considerably er...longer! Hence the name! Shapes and styles of decks vary dramatically. Here are some of mine, next to a standard street style skateboard...

Longboards use bigger, softer wheels than standard skateboards. And because the wheels are further apart (known as the 'wheelbase') this helps them roll faster and cope with rougher surfaces better than hard skatepark wheels.

The axles for the wheels are called 'trucks', and again longboards differ from regular skateboards by using wider trucks which generally use a different geometry to standard skateboard trucks. The wide trucks and longer wheelbase also make longboards more stable.


I'm not going to bother getting technical here. Just giving a basic description. Longboarders of the world, forgive me for giving such basic descriptions. But hopefully I can keep us all together on one page for the ride.  There are more than enough sites for us more experienced longboarders to start discussing the technical merits of angled riser pads, truck bushings vs springs and spacers etc for me not to have to do it here! But I will detail the set-up I'm using each time I do a training ride, for those who are interested.

Of course, at this point in time I realise I don't know who's interested. Right now I'm writing these words for no one but myself, however, I very much hope that will change and some of you will join me for the ride and support me along the way.

So that's the Second Rule of Blogging out of the way. Next time I'll cover the First Rule of Blogging and...introduce myself! But until then, for the non-skaters among you, don't take it from me. Take a look at this video from Original Skateboards to give you more idea of what longboarding is all about...


Sunday, 4 December 2011

So, I had this idea...

Welcome to this, the first post in my blog for The Long Push 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness.

So, I had this idea, to do a bike ride for an autism charity, following my girlfriend's son being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) a little over 12 months ago, at age 11. We've experienced first hand the difficulties that a late diagnosis of ASD can have, and appreciate all the support we have had, but I felt I wanted to try and give something back. A bike ride seemed the best option, but then I thought..."Nah, everyone does bike rides. What about....a longboard journey?" So, I started to think about where I might ride to and from and I've now got a draft route in my head, (or is that just a 'daft' route in my head?) but I won't give you the detail of that just yet.

My plan is to write a blog entry each week, or whenever I have something to write, on the lead up to the ride, which will be in September or October 2012. Exact date will depend on the weather at the time. I need two or three dry days. There is also a Long Push 2012 Facebook page and Youtube channel. Links to those will come once I start to populate them.

So here we are in the beginning of December 2011. Not a great time to start training for the ride, as over here in the UK, once winter hits, the pavements take AGES to dry out! Not to mention that it's just been hail-stoning and snow is predicted this week! So I actually started to make some vids for the Youtube channel, but then my trusty old Nokia N95 that I was using to film the vids just...stopped working, before I'd uploaded the vids. So I have to start again! Bugger!

If all goes as I'm planning, I'll be skating each section separately, in order, over the coming months to check the surfaces, the distances of each section, how long it takes to complete each section and which set-up works best. This will also hopefully help me to generate interest, donations and/or sponsorship for the ride along the way, before I tackle the full 100 mile trip itself. 

I'll be documenting some of the training rides on video along the way, but over winter,
some of the vids may just be about the planning, or may even be drives of the route in the car.
I fear I may be the dullest presenter ever on Youtube! But hopefully some friends will help me spice things up a bit and make them a bit more interesting.

I hope some of you will want to follow my progress and take an interest in the charity I'm doing the ride for, which I'll tell you more about soon.

Till next time...