Saturday, 16 August 2014

Towers And Poppies

Hello blog lover

It was a gorgeous morning and afternoon and me and the Old Boy had no plans apart from riding somewhere.  The Old Boy wanted to know where I go with Nagging Sister when we go to London, so that was out destintation today, but not just stopping at St Catherines Dock, we were going to see the poppies.

I am not very good at remember directions, and once I kind of know away of getting somewhere I generally stick to it.  Now the Old Boy, in fact I am sure all men, are built with inner SatNav, said to me when we got to Cator Park,  "If I knew you wanted to get here ......" Well you can guess the rest. But that was the only way I know of getting into London a nice way, (i.e. the WaterWay Link).

And besides, it's nice to cycle along the little rivers.  And the Old Boy had a good time reminiscing about when he was a small boy and used to play in one of the parks we rode through.  His dad used to live in the area and they used to go and visit his nanny and aunties.

All the diversions, all the little turns left and right, we finally got to Surrey Docks Farm. And then it's up to the Old Boy to find the way from there.  It was not too far, but we made a meal of it, well, its the first reccy to the Tower of London!  We eventually found our way to Tower Bridge and had to get off our bikes and walk for a bit as there were so many people around. We had lunch first and then made our way to the Tower of London itself.

When we got there it was just exactly what I expected.   I was a bit overwhelmed when I saw it, knowing that in June the first of 888,246 were 'planted' by a Yeoman warden,  and each one is representing a person killed in the first world war!  The last poppy will be planted on November 11, Armistice Day.  The installation is called 'Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red'  I just stood and looked, said a prayer of thanks, and then did the 'tourist' thing with the camera! It just had to be done!  Looking at all those poppies you just can't help but be thankful to all those young boys and men who went to war so that we could have the freedom we enjoy now! Very humbling!  Here is some photos.

A panoramic view

Just looks like the Tower is
bleeding!




As I was walking around the tower I saw a proper tourist and he had asked one of the volunteer 'info' ladies what the significance of the poppies are.  Are really wanted to tell him but I thought it would be better coming from those who were there to answer such questions.







After we walked around there we made our way back in the homeward direction, stopping to photograph this,
 Then we had a slight detour. We headed for the Cutty Sark to have a look around there.  She is a gorgeous ship and both me and the Old Boy decided that our little grandson would love to see that, so I think a day out with nanny and granddad will be someone in our agenda soon.



From there we headed back to get back on track with cycle route 21.  All the way home, but a slightly different way again!  It seems I am destined never to go the same way home twice!  Getting to Cator Park is easy, but from there getting home is again a differently way, in fact we didn't even go into the park this time! Oh well. It's all good, and it's good to find out new routes, isn't it?

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin

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Friday, 8 August 2014

There's That MoJo!

Hello blog lovers.

It's been a long while since I've blogged.  The 17th of July to be exact!  Somehow during a nights sleep I twisted of trapped or did something quite nasty to my back and I have been out of action for all this time.

The doctors has told me that I can start running again pretty soon, but that cycling is ok, (less impact on the back!) so my first day free from children and from pain in the lower back, I decided to go for a bike ride.

I got up early, ish, showered, went and got some cash out (the place where I am heading for lunch need £10.00 or over for card use) and then pottered about.  I laid back on my bed, I sat up, I looked at facebook, I had breakfast.  Anything but get ready to go for a bike ride!  I just didn't think I could go that far by myself. And by far I mean up to London, Surrey Docks to be precise.

So after really telling myself to get a move on and get out there, I did! My bike pumped and ready, I got my new cycling top on and ready for the off.  I stepped outside the house before I decided to do any of the housework, (and there was need of a tidy up) and headed off in the direction of London.

I just hoped I remembered the way.  I am useless with directions.  I wanted to go the way through the nice roads to get to Cator Park.  Going through Beckenham High street is not nice, and then there's that horrible unmade road to ride on as well, nah, nah, nah!  I am going to try and remember the way to go.

You guessed it! I got lost! Thank goodness for Maps for IPhone! That got me back on tract to Cator Park.  Now I should (she says hopefully) find my way all the way to the River Thames!.  Well, I got lost! Only slightly, due to the amount of silly roadworks and buildings.  All those diversions just threw me.  I didn't know whether I was coming or going!

But one thing I did notice.  I wasn't worried.  I wasn't bothered, I wasn't rushed or pressured or anything. I had my own agenda, no kids to be picked up from school runs, so I was just going to enjoy time in the saddle! I eventually go to where I was heading, and that was the Moby Dick for lunch!  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.  I had a smile on my face virtually from the moment I left the house and I was feeling really good!

After lunch it was time to head back.  I usually can remember the way back and everything went perfectly, no getting lost, even with those diversions.  That is until I get back to Cator Park.  I still wanted to head home the nice way, the way with less traffic!  But I got lost!  I just couldn't remember the way that Nagging Sister showed me.

In fact I ended up by going a completely different way than I did to get there! I climbed up a hill that I couldn't remember coming down and ended up at Crab Hill!  So where did that come from? I tried to use my Map feature on my Iphone but it was just taking so long!  So I tried another sort of navigational device, my brain!  I sort of thought I lived in a particular direction and that was the way I was going to head, so you can image how I felt when rode up to a road that I knew!  Relieved or what?!  I took this road and then I started o remember exactly where this road leads to, and the road that I was going to have to go up! Oh no!  Farnaby Road takes me to the bottom of a road near Shortlands Station.  I was going to have to go up there.  I really didn't feel as if I could do that hill and decided to take another road instead, and then to walk up through the park to the Churchill Theatre.  From there I know each where to go!

I got to the park and I needed to use the loo, so there was only one thing to do, head for the nearest loo stop, which just happened to be Belgos! A quick pit stop,  a little refreshment and I was ready to get home!

So who cares that it took me hours to enjoy my bike ride, who cares that it was slightly raining I certainly wasn't!

What a lovely day!  I guess housework can still wait!



 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Lost In Surrey Quays!



Hello blog lovers.

Just a tad late with my blog, but when I do two lots of activities on the same day then its difficult to get everything down in one go. 

So, our trip back to Surrey Quays! Eventful, well if you call getting lost eventful then yes!  Me and Nagging Sister enjoyed the trip to London so much on Friday we decided to repeat it yesterday as our morning exercise.

Getting to Cator park is no problem.  I met N.S. at Bromley South (I was a tad late as my cycling gear was still in the washing machine in the morning!) but we still had plenty of time to get to the docks and back again in time for her to get ready for work later that day.  I led the way to Cator Park and as we were not meeting anyone there we rode on through it.

Getting to Lewisham was no problem, that is all well and truly logged into the old grey matter, it was from Lewisham to Surrey Quays that was going to be the challenge.  Yvonne went down so many nooks and crannies, and what with all the road works, it really was going to test the brain cell!

We made steady pace until those nooks and crannies, twists and turns.  We kept going slightly wrong and coming out of places only to spot the place where we should have come from.  We just couldn't figure out where we were going wrong.  It was only a few days ago, and to me seemed virtually impossible to get lost.  But I suppose when you are following someone you don't actually take it all in.  I was just like a sheep on that day, and so it seems was Nagging Sister!

But it was fun finding out where it all fitted in, and doing the whole touristy bit, and, something that is alien to men, we even asked directions!  Thankfully we didn't say "Where is the Thames please" because we was virtually paddling in it, we were that close!

We rode all the down to Surrey Dock Farm, which really we didn't want to do.  We were actually looking for was the pub we saw when we took a detour with Yvonne to look at the statues of Michael Cain, Charlie Chaplin and a bicycle! Do you think we could find it.  We road left along the Thames, we rode right along the Thames!  But somehow we just couldn't see it!  There was something we were doing wrong! We were just totally baffled!

I think what it was, we were just not thinking  'docks' we were thinking 'river'. The pub we wanted was by water, (a dock) we were thinking it was by the river, the Thames. We just didn't think to look behind us, and head away from the river to were the Quays (docks) were.  Once we sussed that we soon found the pub we wanted,  The Moby Dick. We had brunch, (I came out without having breakfast)  Bims had soup and I had a rather nice sausage sandwich. with doorstop think bread! N.S. fella also turned up just before we were leaving as he works in the area!

After lunch and N.S. said her goodbyes to her fella we set off on our way home! Lets see if we can remember the way!  Of course we couldn't! We had gone around in circles earlier and places started to look all the same.  We still managed to miss a couple of turnings which we though "How did we miss that"  There was so many "I don't remember passing this place" and "This is a busy road, I don't remember coming along here"  But we did suss out our way, and no, I am not writing this now because I have only just go home either!  I was just busy yesterday! 

Once back in Lewisham it was plain sailing.......almost, Bims did take a right turn when we should have been turning left to go over a bridge! But then her nickname (our family nickname for her) is Bimbo!

A great ride, just loved it.  Unpressured, quite roads, well apart from that busy one on the way back, water, adventure, sausage sandwiches!  And a go on the slide on the way back!



What more could you want from a morning and an afternoon! Although it was a 30 odd mile round trip, its was all about the smiles and not miles!  I have fallen in love again with my bike! No long is she a b-iatch, she is my beaut!

Geeky stats.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Breeze through to Surry Keyes

Hello blog lovers.

I thought it was about time I introduced Nagging sister to the Bromley Breeze ladies!  After the last few horrible rides up to Downe village, did I say horrible, of course I meant challenging rides, I thought it would be nice to have a no pressured, social, pleasant, flat, some traffic free paths, and lovely conversational type of ride! 

So after dropping the kids off at school I rode off to Bromley to meet Nagging Sister, and then we were going to Cator park to the meeting place.  We were going to be a little early, but I like to be early, and besides it didn't seem any point in going home only to come straight out again.

Coming down Southborough Lane some dimwit decides they don't have to wait for cyclists to pass by as he pulled in front of me from the right.  Of course he gave the obligatory, 'Ooops sorry, my fault' type of raise hand gesture.  But no harm done, at least I had the bus stop to pull into! The traffic was quite heavy along Bromley Common and it felt good to be flying past them as they sat in their cars!  I soon got to Bromley and there was N.S. waiting just as we planned.  I told her where we were going and then we were off!

 I was looking forward to this ride, it's a bit further than they other Breeze rides I have been on, but still going along the Waterway Link, those lovely traffic free places.  Of course there are a couple of roads that we need to negotiate but Yvonne (the ride leader), did a brilliant job of making sure that we all got over safely. 

All the little backstreets, and turnings we soon got to Surrey Docks Farm, where I was assured they do a fantastic bacon sandwich!  I was really looking forward to it.  Being a farm of course we had to have a look around.  We saw goats trying be king of the castle, the chickens running about in front of the sheep and the moo cows were making sure we could hear them to make sure we went over and gave them a butchers! Oooo, actually probably wrong rhyming slang to use at a farm!  Especially as just opposite the cows were the adorable ......... little pigs!!! Best not dwell to much on my bacon sandwich, darn it, why does it have to taste so good!

So after saying goodbye to my next bacon sandwi...... erm, pigs and sheep and things, we started on our way home.  We took a tiny little detour around the docks.  It is a far cry from the last time I was up there, way back in the 70's!  Seems a completely different place now, a place where I could quite easily live.....if I didn't like living where I am of course.

The ride back home was just as good as on the way there, a few more school kids o negotiate around, I presume there are off because of exams and stuff! it always seems quicker getting back to the start, probably because its all nearly over!  When we got back to Cator Park I had no time to say proper goodbyes as there were commitments, and I still had the ride back to mine to do.

Now, geeky stats, what can I say.  I was all set to borrow the Old Boys Garmin, it does this brilliant auto stop and start, I automatically picked up my running Garmin, so the geeky stats will look a bit odd and of course started from a completely different place to where we actually started, but it's nice to see the route home at least.

Oh and some pictures from todays ride are all on the bottom of the blog.

Drinks were deffo needed!

Is that the way we are going?

The whole Breeze Gang

Goat

  Lunch   Pig

The River Thames!

I bet this is an original pose!!!!

Cudham North Lane is the new regular Route!

Hello blog lovers.

So when did hills become part of my regular rides, in fact when did Cudham North lane become part of my training rides and not as just a little tester!?  Well, since Nagging Sister started coming with on a Friday for 'a little ride!'

So there we were, early, and eager to get moving.  Around the usual route to Greenstreet Green, Nagging Sister likes it, I don't think I have actually told her that it is about an extra mile longer, but she don't need to know that.

We soon started up the hill.  I told her that last time I did this I actually did it non stop from my home to the top by Grays road. So of course she said, "well its non stop again then, to the pub"  And so the long slog began! 

I will cut this short, because I am behind on my blogging, and besides, it was pretty uneventful to the pub.  Except I was thinking she meant the pub at Downe Village, but in actually fact......she mean the one on Cudham North Lane, The Blacksmith Arms!  Oh well, it was great to grab a break, and to also put some ice into our drinks!

Back on our bikes again to finish off our ride for the day. We continued our ride up to Grays Road, it always gets me how far this really is from The Blacksmiths! Even Naggining Sister wishes it was closer.  We turn right into Grays road and then its a pleasant ride all the way to the Shampan.  No stopping there either, we continue down the little country road that will take us towards Downe.

This time I didn't miss the turning!  Straight up there till the give way sign. I pointed out to Nagging sister the nice lovely down hill road on the right, and then the horrid up hill on the left. Of course we had to turn left to go up the huge steep hill.  I really wanted to do this in one go and o with a determination I set off after N.S.  just as I got a quarter of the way up a white van came up behind me, although the passenger shouted something encouraging, like "Keep going!" but  it put me off and I had to stop.  Although I didn't walk up the hill, I cycled it, I felt a little disappointed that I wimped out!

Anyway, its just a lovely ride along Single Street to Downe Village, where I was going to enjoy a nice bacon and brie baguette! I say 'was' because we didn't stop there for lunch, we were were about 40 minutes early!  They don't start serving lunch until 12!  So we cycled our way to Keston instead, I am sure we can get something at the Greyhound, but again, we must have cycled liked the clappers because we were still too bloomin early!

Only one thing for it now, and that is the cafĂ© at Hayes!  That's were we will go.  At least they do an all day breakfast!  But I still had my bacon sandwich!

A lovely ride, extremely warm ride, just love the summer, don't you?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Yes! I Conquered Cudham!

Hello Blog lovers.

The weather wasn't what the experts predicted, well, not for this area anyway!  Yes there was a slight down pour and at least one clap of thunder and I was expecting that to just carry on through out the day!  So it was a great surprise when the 'storm' finished, and I was still stuck up at Kwik-Fits with the Old Boy waiting for bloomin hours for his tyres!

We particularly didn't plan an all day cycling day because of the expected 'storms', but we did have to do the tyres on the car.  Afterwards, however we made plans to cycling up Cudham North Lane and then ride on through to Downe and Keston.

Just before we left I did a  little bit more collecting 'Stuff' for the Spirit of Running Man event that I am busy with at the moment,  and then we got ourselves ready to go out cycling.  The Old Boy had already said, "Ok, so non stop all the way to Grays Road"  Well, in my mind that was just a tad to far!  It's a long bloomin hill, and to me, in my mind, just getting to the pub at the top will be a victory for me!  So I chose to ignore what he said, and psyched myself up to get up to the Blacksmiths, (at least) before I unclip my feet! (Roads and traffic allowing of course!) 

I went through the nice quite little roads,  they maybe a tad hillier than going straight up the A21, but it's what I like.  So much better than all that pollution going into your lungs.  And getting to the last rouandabout at Greenstreet Green, near Cudham North Lane seemed to come around even quicker than all the other times I rode here!  Am I getting better, or is the 'dreading of the hill' clouding my senses?!   We rode around the roundabout and then straight onto Cudham North lane.  No stopping to 'whet the whistle' albeit with orange juice, I carried on straight up the road with a feeling of foreboding! 

I tried to ignore that feeling!  I am going to get to the pub! I am going to get to the pub.  If I think positive then I am hoping that will be enough to get me to my goal! The Old Boy was already on the encouraging streak, "Come on, non stop until Grays, you can do it"  And this was just 5 minutes into the climb!   I don't like hills, I am trying to 'come to respect' them, although that seems as tough as actually riding on them!  I know the more I do, the stronger I become! It's a fact, isn't it?

I kept that thought in my mind.  My legs started to hurt after a while, but I remained focused.  The stupid driver who thought it was a wise move to really cut in close didn't even sway me from the fact that I am going to try my best to get to the pub!  The timing for me seems irrelevant at the moment, as I kept riding on up this bloody hill. I didn't care how long it took, I just wanted to get to my goal.  I have no idea how long it takes me each time, to get to some of the drive ways and roads that I recognise.  All I know is that it is long!  "I am going to stop, I can't do it" I said to the Old Boy "No, keep going, we're nearly there, you're doing so well, you are just so close" he said.  I just thought he was lying!  I knew the place that had me wanting to pull over and catch my breath, (which by now we had passed!) and I began waiting for that 'easier' bit he just mentioned.

"You get a little reprieve at the top of this bit" he said to me.  It did feel a little bit easier when I got there, and so I carried on.  Before I realised it the pub came into view!  I was just so pleased!  I had done it, I have finally, for the first time this year, got to The Blacksmiths arms.  But I didn't stop!  I carried on, the pub flew(?) passed me as I cycled on up the road.  I was smiling!  Can you believe it!  There I was smiling after riding up my nemesis! 

I thought to myself, "If you want to stop any time before Grays then that's just fine Old Girl"  But I didn't!  I rode on to Grays, and just stopped there!  I really did need to have a slug of squash! "Right, no more stopping until we get to Downe" said the Old Boy.  Well after what I have just did I thought that I may be just able to do it.

Along Grays Road right up to The Shampan and then turn right to go down the lovely country road to Berrys Green road, the road that I missed with Nagging Sister that time!

For me, up to that point, that was my exercises, after that it was all just a pleasure ride, apart from the nasty little blighter of a hill that is the left turn to take you up to Single Street! (I had to stop on that hill, but I didn't walk it, I just took a moment and then rode up it)

Yup, a very successful ride today, I did it! I finally did it!  All year, well, all the times this year that I have gone up this shit of a hill, I finally made it to the turn off!

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.  He was behind me all the way until the Shampan, and then he 'enjoyed' the faster ride to Downe from there.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Downe, the Right way!

Hello blog lovers


The Old Boy and I decided to have a little bike ride to down.  I wanted him to show me the right way to Downe from Cudham North Lane.  Although the way that me and Nagging Sister took the other day was challenging, I wouldn't want to repeat it too often!

We took the usual route that I take with the ladies, it's the one that takes us through Kelvin Parade area, and then up towards Newstead Avenue and left then right to go up Tubbenden.  But as we were going to Cudham North I still chose to do a couple of more hills just so that I can avoid the A21 just for a little bit longer.  I do no like cycling up there anymore!

In fact, soon I am going to find a route through the back streets to get to the turnoff that will take us up to Shoreham. I think that maybe be through Chelsfield, but I will look at that!  Anyway, for this evening we went to Greenstreet Green and then up Cudham North.  I was determined to do this as best as I could, but also at my pace.  I know the Old Boy likes to totally bring about totally 'Niagara falls' type sweat from his body when he goes up here, but my way, I just want to get up it, no matter how slow.

I was very determined, the Old Boy just plodding along next to me. My legs started to feel the hill.  I do not like hills! Although the few small hills were behind me, giving me a warm up, I seem to be never prepared for this hill.  It always surprises me just how bloody hard it all is!  But I am sure, that with practise, with determination and with sheer stubbornness I can get up to the pub, at least, before I take a glug from my drinks bottle.

But after a while it was the Old Boy who pulled over to the side!  Of course I know it would not be due to tiredness, there is something wrong.  It turned out to be a puncture!  The second one in two days!  So I had a quick glug of my drink, and then left him to it!  I was determined to get to the pub, The Blacksmiths Arms, at least, before he caught me up!  I couldn't work out just how far we were from the pub! That was a little bit of a motivational kick up the arse for me! 

I was pleased that I had got to the pub. I stopped for a glug from my drinks bottle and looked back for a few minutes to see if he was going to catch me up.  When he didn't appear after a few minutes I started on my way again.  Lets see how far I can get now!  We were going to go down  Grays Road until the Shampan, and then down the road next to the Shampan to find the road that I missed when I was leading last Friday!

I really wasn't feeling up to doing that huge hill again, let alone if he decided to still go to Downe and then have to do the other hill too!  The Old Boy told me to go in front. I am sure it was to see if I would miss the turning again, just so that he could see me go up those hills, or turn back and have to go back up the hill that way!

But I saw the turning!  I didn't miss it! And I was so pleased.  It is a bit of a down hill ride this bit, with just a bit of a hill, but then we came to another junction.  One way leads off down hill.  A lovely, gorgeous down hill road, nice and quiet! The other way disappeared around the corner.......going up hill! 

I can remember this bit, the O.B. told me about it the first time we went up here.  It's only a short hill, short and steep!  I had a nice little rest at the junction and then we started off up the hill!  I tried to get up there, I really did, but I just didn't make it! I pulled over unclipped myself on one side, but was still slightly leaning to the right! I had a moment there, that I thought I was going to topple over because of my clippies!! But I managed to unclip successfully without falling over!  I took another breather and then rode on up the hill!  I was determined I wasn't going to walk on any of the hills on this ride!  Not doing Downe Village this way, with just Cudham North Lane in my legs!  I managed to get to the top without any more stops and then it was plain cycling all the way down to Downe!

The Old Boy treated us to a most welcomed beverage! And then we made our way home via Keston and The GreyHound!  A lovely ride, a bit of challenging exercise for me, and a great time had on my bike! 

Here is the geeky stats, it was on the Old Boys bike, so any of the max speeds are not mine, but I guess the average speed overall is right for me!  After all we got home at the same time!