Friday, 29 August 2014

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of......Grunting!

Hello blog lovers.

A gorgeous day, way to good to be sat in doors moping around, waiting for work to begin in September!  Today is a day to get out there on bikes and ride!  Ok, so it's not going to be a mega ride to the seaside, not just yet anyway, but a ride is a ride, and this one we have planned to do to the countryside.

Bims (Nagging Sisters new 'Old' nickname) and I decided that although London is lovely, it's a flat route, traffic free, until London that is, and that what we needed was some hills!  Yup that's right I said hills.  I hate hills, but I know that to get over them (pun intended) I need to do some work on them.  I really wasn't looking forward to riding up them, after last Saturdays disastrous attempt at one of the Old Boys routes that he wanted to try, I felt a little apprehensive.

So we chose our route carefully, starting off with the not so hilly of our hilly routes, and that's down to Eynsford via Shoreham.  This is just such a beautiful ride, well, riding through Shoreham and Eynsford is, the roads are a lot to be desired. The A21, for instance.  We cut some of that off by going through the housing estates and joining the A21 from Tuppington Lane, and then cycling up to the garage where we crossed over to cycle along the cycle path to Knockholt Station, using the trees to block our view of the dreaded road.

For some reason that little bit of road seamed a lot easier than cycling along with the traffic to the turnoff!  Strange.  We were making good time for a couple of old girls out for a leisurely cycle ride and we got to to roundabout in under 50 minutes, quite good for me and bims!  We took the 2nd of the exits towards Shoreham, a nice little country road, hardly any traffic on these roads and of course that lovely little stream to look at. But before you get there we have a couple of smaller hills, to deal with and downhills of course, but there is one particular hill, just by the farm that I seem to fly up with hardly any effort at all.  Every time I do this route, this hill surprises me.  I try and think what I have done differently, to see if I was in the right gear, ready for the next hill. But nothing is out of the ordinary, only the fact that this particular hill is an easy hill!  Strange!

We cycled through Shoreham and then face that nasty little hill to take us to the main road heading for Eynsford.  Again the cussing started, and not just from me!  "Who's idea was it to come here?" Bims said, "A couple of stupid old girls who think they are fit decided that it would be a good idea" I called back to her as I puffed and pushed and panted and cussed my way to the top!

It was a great relief to get to the top of that hill!  We turned left and made our way up, yes up, to Eynsford.  Thankfully those hills are not steep, they are just long. We made good progress to our lunch stop, The Plough at Eynsford, a nice grilled chicken fillet and salad for me, and two entrees for Bims, (she didn't like the mains, and being a veggie she is very particular!)

We sat and chatted and enjoyed our lunch, neither of us in a rush to get moving again, after all, this is a pleasure ride, albeit with those darn hills.  Which by the way we faced more or less as soon as we left the pub!  Foo Kin Hill to be exact, proper name being Crockenhill Lane!

As soon as I was on hill I could feel the burn in my legs!  That's the only problem about stopping for lunch is the whole getting started again! Especially when the getting started thing has a hill as your first road!  But we did it, and in fact we were quite surprised at just how quickly we 'ate up' the hill.  It didn't seem as bad as it was when we first tried it!  So, I guess doing hill work really does work!

But our hills didn't stop there! Oh no.  we decided to have a refreshment stop in Chislehurst, the Tigers Head, which means going up the ramp! And if that isn't enough hills for the day, then once we got to the top of that we still had to ride up to Chislehurst to get to the pub!

After we had put the world to rights over our refreshment, and tried to recruit some other ladies to the cycling world we made our home.  Now from here we could turn right and ride home through Petts Wood, which would leave Bims that little bit further from her home, or we could turn left and taking in the very last of the hills, that hill that always gets gasps from the PWR's everytime a group leaders mentions it, SUMMER HILL! Guess we way we chose! Yup Summer hill! What's one more hill eh?!

Geeky stats!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/577840405#



Saturday, 23 August 2014

Poppies and Cuckoo Trails

Hello blog lovers.

Here is a blog about the two rides I did these past two days.

The first ride was with my sister.  We had planned ages ago that on one Friday we will ride up to London and do the tourist thing.  Not just stop off at Surrey Quays, lunch and go home.  I had told her that me and the Old Boy had gone to see the poppies last week, so she wanted to go and do the same.

We had arranged to meet at 9:30 am, but things didn't get rolling until 10:00 when we met up at our usual place at Bromley South.  Nagging Sister or Bims as I shall now call her (after all that has been her nick name for many years!) was also running a tad late and I was waiting for her.  She took the lead to Cator Park as she said she is going to go a different way.  Another new way to get to Cator Park!

It was still a lovely way to get there, but I doubt if I will remember it!  Nice quieter roads and somehow a hill seems to be flattened off for us!  Always a bonus in my book!  We seemed to have the route sussed now from Cator Park to Surrey Quays as we both just cycled our way there. "This way" "That's the road we need" "Just this little diversion to take" And before we knew it we were at Surrey Docks Farm.

It just so happened that the Breeze ladies were going to go to Tower Bridge today as well.  We had caught them up as they were enjoying a coffee at the farm!  So we decided to tag along with them all the way to Tower Bridge.  Here is a photo of  us at the farm.

Meeting at Surrey Docks Farm


I was glad about tagging along with them actually, although me and the Old Boy had gone to the Tower last week, I still wasn't quite sure of the way.  Ok, if we keep the river on our right then we are bound to get there eventually.  But for some strange reason architects and builders decided to put buildings right against the river, so we were for ever having to take little roads, and turnings to get around them.

But my goodness I was glad of it.  It was a great chance to see the buildings of old London.  The only thing I wasn't to pleased to see was those darn cobbled streets.  Not good for road bike riding!  I think next time up I shall bring my other bike, but I doubt if that would have made it any the more comfortable.  This is the girls in one of the older parts of London town.

The ladies in Old London 


We rode through some lovely little roads and still keeping the river just on our right, occasionally riding right along side it, and sometimes riding along side the buildings that were next to the river. Then we had to dismount and we had to walk along this little pathway that went up alongside a building and then disappeared though an archway.  It came out at this fantastic little place called Butlers Wharf!  A little bit of Old London again.  The old dockers yard were now fancy flats, but they kept the buildings as orignal as ever, but I expect that the interiors have somewhat been changed!

Walking the planks (of the bridge that is)


Just a little further on and we were soon at the base of Tower Bridge!  After group photos, me and Bims parted company from the lovely Breeze ladies!  It was great to ride with them again but me and Bims were on a mission to get to the Tower of London, where as the Breeze ladies will be going for lunch and then heading for London Bridge station to get the train back. Thanks Yvonne for getting us to here, a lovely route through London. I think  I would have taken the busy roads if I was left to my own devices!

Bims and I carried our bikes up the stairs so that we could cycle over Tower Bridge.  It really is an awesome bridge.  I remember running over it in 2013 as I neared the 12 mile marker of the marathon. Just an awesome sight and an awesome feeling of running that far, even though I still had half a marathon left!  But this time, as like last week, this was our destination, our turn around point!  We rode over to look at the poppies, I had to explain to Bims (this is where she gets her nick name by the way) that the poppies are all ceramic, they are not growing, the puzzled look from her face disappeared after I revealed that little piece of info!

And so next was our lunch.  We went in search of some good quality fare, she didn't fancy the pub where me and the Old Boy went last week, "It's not by the river" she says!  In the end we rode back over the bridge and ended up having lunch at Cafe Rouge. Ok so we could see water, with the nauticulas thingy sitting in a pond!  But we could also see the wall near the river!  One thing though! They had run out of burgers!  Can you believe it!  I ended up having duck! Duck!  Who has duck when they really wanted a burger? But the rest of the menu just didn't do it for me!  All because Bims saw the pasta picture, blooming vegetarian!

After lunch we made our way home, riding down the roads that we came up with the Breeze ladies.  We found our way with no problems, remember at least 99% of turnings and paths all the way back to Surrey Docks Farm.  We rode along by the river back to Creek Road and as we had no agenda we decided to ride along to the Cutty Sark!

A quick stop at the Trafalgar for light refreshment and then we made our way home after that.  A great ride, lovely company and great meeting up the with Breeze ladies!  No garmin geeky stats however because both me and Bims had forgotten to bring ours!

Next ride was todays ride, Saturday.  It's the day I like to spend with the Old Boy as he only gets Saturdays off.  He had this route in mind, riding a circular route around the High Weald area.  Now even that name put me in fear!  But when he showed me the profile of the ride then I knew it was going to be an extremely tough ride! But I agreed to do it as I wanted to ride with him today.
I saw this at the beginning
of the trail! A warning maybe?


We set off quite late in the morning, loading our bikes in the car to take us to Heathfield.  That was our starting point.  We were going to ride along the Cuckoo Trail, its an old disused railway line that goes to Eastbourne, about 14 miles from Heathfield.  And the first bit of our ride today was down, yes down here.  After that it was a series of ups and downs.

Completely cuckoo!

I am really not very good with the whole riding up hills, I know the more you do then the stronger you get.  I feel I need to do more hill work, but maybe during the day, when I am by myself and not actually on a bike ride!  Some of the hills were short with a nice down hill afterwards, but then some where just horrid.  I was really struggling with this ride, and I felt sure we hadn't even got to the biggest hills yet!

But in the end we decided that we would just get as far as Warbleton and turn around and come back the same way! Which means of course, all those lovely down hills are now my up hills!  Including the the last part, The Cuckoo Trail, that is up and up and up to the car park at the top!
Ok, where's the train!

I'm Waiting!

I was very tired by the time we got to the car, and a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to get around what is said to be 29 miles.  Here, this is the info about it, but just take a look at the profile of the ride! Not for the feint hearted.  It says it's a moderate to strenuous ride! Hmmm, I wished they asked me to describe the ride, at least the bit that I did manage to ride!





And here is the geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.

<iframe width='465' height='548' frameborder='0' src='http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/572129079'></iframe>



Tower Bridge photos courtesy of Yvonne Wright

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

<iframe width='465' height='548' frameborder='0' src='http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/566655986'></iframe>


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?