Wednesday, 15 April 2015

What A Lovely Day!

Hello Blog lovers

You will notice, if you are not as unobservant as I am, that this is my cycling blog!  One of the hottest days of 2015 so far requires the necessity of donning the Lycra padded shorts and cycling jersey! Normally I would be glued to the telly watching Hollyoaks, just love that programme, its the only English soap I watch these days!

But anyway.  The weather was just perfect for a spin on the bike, not too hot, deffo not cold.  And as I am in training, with just over a week and a half to go for D day, then a nice amble up to Downe Village and back home again via Jail Lane, Keston, stop off for a well deserved refreshment and then home again!

There were so many cyclists out this evening.  There is a certain camaraderie between cyclists, it's a bit like all those Porche drivers, except they acknowledge all those on two wheels no matter who made the bike!

I have noticed though that I have deffo lost my cycling fitness.  Whilst I have been concentrating on my running, and of course the dismal winter months where I just have not felt motivated to go out, has caused the loss!  Long live summer, I say!

Bims has discovered 'spinning' classes.  During those dismal cold awful weeks I have accompanied her on some of the classes.  Blimey, they are tough!  And I guess it's a good way to 'try' and practise getting up on your pedals while going up hill!  You would think that, wouldn't you? But let me tell you, being on a static bike is, of course, completely different to being on a REAL bike!  When you go up on your pedals at the gym you don't have to worry about losing balance, cars coming past or even looking where you are going!

Needless to say, I didn't get out of my seat going up to Downe Village, but I did cycle all the way!  No stopping, not even when we got to Downe Village itself!  Downe was just our turnaround point!  We, that's me and the Old Boy by the way, rode down Jail Lane, and then to Biggin Hill.  Just love that ride down there!  Easy on the legs!  With just those little undulations towards the turn off for Keston.

Those hills used to make me almost cry back when we first done this route.  After that lovely down hill section to go into those hills afterwards, by quads used to cry out to just give up!   I even had to pull over at the bus stop to recover a bit.  Today, I still found it tough, but I had enough energy to just keep going, slowly until the Keston turn off.

All the way down to the Greyhound, pint of lager (great carb loading for the VLM!) and then home!  Lovely ride, done at my speed!  I don't think I could have gone faster even if I wanted to anyway!

Geeky stats for tonights ride!

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Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Monday Plod Out

Hello blog lovers

Oh my goodness! Has it really been that long since I have been on my bike for a plod out!? Well, at least I know I can still ride!  My bum's sore though!  My saddle ass has definitely disappeared, probably replaced by this wide load one!

But anyway, I nice ride on a bank holiday Easter Monday to Eynsford and back home again.  I wasn't sure how I was going to do, I have been concentrating so much on my running for the marathon, my cycling has gone by the by.  Although I was thinking I could put cycling in as crosstraining, it just doesn't seem to have worked out!

The route was up the A21 to the Halstead Turn off and then right up up up to the roundabout.  From there it was the second exit to Shoreham..... ooops sorry was going into sat nav mode then!  But we did turn down the Shoreham turn off.  This route so far, has mostly been climbing, and considering I haven't been on my bike for ages, well apart from the odd trip to the rec to do the beginners running course, then I think I haven't done too badly. At least I haven't yet got off my bike and walked it yet.

While we was riding through the village of Shoreham we passed a pack of cyclists..... group, cluster, muster, gang.....what would you call loads of cyclists together?  It was the crew (another name!) from Bromley Cyclists, the Wednesday  Weekly Wanderers, yet today they were the Monday Marauders!, Meanderers, Members, out for a bank holiday ride.  There were loads of them, from youngsters, to not so youngsters! They were heading in the opposite direction to where we were going.  I could only imagine them going up that hill that I had just cycled down!  I wasn't envying them at all! Still it was nice to see them all!

Now before we to to Shoreham, I hadn't switched gear on my left hand, just changing the right hand gears.  With this ride today  I planned to not get off and walk on any part, and so far all has gone to plan. Although I may have flicked it once going up to Shacklands road, and didn't really realise that nothing changed!  I was just concentrating on going up the hill!  I had flicked it back into the middle gear, and carried on pedalling.

It wasn't until we started to go up the hill to the Tea Rooms, just by Shoreham station that the Old Boy had noticed that I could still drop a gear!  When I told him that the indicator on my handlebars was telling me that I was already in the lowest gear then we noticed that actually my derailer had stopped, it was stuck, there was no moving it! Well not with the cables anyway.  I decided to keep it in the middle cog, (I have a treble, but I expect you guessed that) and headed my way up to Eynsford.  I was looking forward to my a nice little stop over at the Plough!

Eynsford was soon in sight, The incline up wasn't too bad, I have normally done this part of the route in middle gear anyway, with of course switching to top gear when the hills were in my favour!   When we got to the ford we saw the Bromley Cyclists again!  They had gone up some of the hill that me and the Old Boy had previously come down, but then  they cut across to ride along past Lullingstone Castle and the Roman Villa!  Of course when you get to the little river it is almost impossible not to go and check out the ford.  And so that is where we bumped into them again!  Eve, and Steve, and Helena, and all the rest of the gang.

I just thought then that maybe just maybe someone may have some 'oil' on them, a can of WD40, but the only suggestion that was coming across was horse poo!  I didn't fancy trying that out.  Instead, the only lubricant that I was fancying at that time was a pint of Amstel at the plough!

After being suitably refreshed, we headed up Crockenhill Lane!  My legs were hurting!  I am not sure that the stop was a good idea!  The Old Boy suggested we 'hand moved' my derailer into the easier gear, just to get my up the hill.  Once at the top I can change it back into the middle ring.  I was determined not to walk any of this route though.  I know it is supposed to be a nice pleasure ride, and I even said that if I needed to walk any of it then I would do it!

I was so pleased that did it without getting of my bike or in fact even stopping, well not until I got to the bridge over the M25!  Which is where I got the Old Boy to again man handle my derailer again.  It is getting easier.  I think all the months that I haven't used it, and it's been in the shed, it has just seized up a bit, a bit of muck stuck!  A bit of TLC to do on my bike, me thinks!

We turned left and rode all the way down and up, to Orpington, we were going to tackle Poverest Hill.  Again I was determined to do the whole lot in one go. But by now my legs hurt, and my bum hurt!  My sit bones were complaining big time!  But guess what!  I did it! I rode up that blooming hill, slowly, but all the way in one go!  And then carried on till we got to Petts Wood.  With a quick stop there before going off home!

A lovely ride, I had fun, and I am glad I didn't get off and walk on any of this ride, or even just stop half way up the hills to get a breath, (just at the top of them!)  And it was really nice bumping into all the Bromley lads and lasses! Keep on cycling!

Geeky stats.

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Monday, 8 December 2014

It Had To Be Done!

Hello blog lovers.

You can probably see, it's a cycling blog!  Yup, I am doing a bit of cross training trying to get as fit as I can before I do my second every marathon!  And probably the last one!  It's a bloomin long way, but I just want to do it one more time, but this time do it right!

Anyway, after a days Christmas shopping all I really wanted to do was to snuggle under my duvet and just browse the Internet, plays games and chat with family and friends.  So when the Old Boy said 'You coming out for a short one to Downe?" I really wasn't feeling 'it'.  It was dark and cold, and I was nice a warm and snuggle.  I was just about to browse the Internet for more gift ideas. I turned on my computer, pulled my blanket around me and started to settle down.

But a little voice in my head was telling me to get off my arse and get out and do some exercises, a bit of cross training will do me good!  It was a struggle, let me tell you!  I was looking at my computer trying to convince myself that this is where I should actually stay!  But I said to the Old Boy "Ok, lets do it, lets go for a ride"  I couldn't believe I was actually getting off my backside!  But there I was, going upstairs to put on cycling layers!

After pumping up my tyres we were ready.  We were only going to head up to Downe Village, along to Jail Lane and then down to Biggin Hill and home.  Like he says, a short one.  But for me, it's up hill and it won't be a quick one!  I have not been on my bike for ages, my cycling arse as all but gone, and my cycling legs have turned into running legs!  But it is very good cross training, and I should try and keep it up, at least once a week!

Downe Village, like I say, it's uphill, so its very good for training.  I am going to try and get up here in one go, without stopping.  I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but that is in my mind.  It's going to be uncomfortable, it's going to be a bit hard but I am going to try my hardest to do it none stop.  I should be able to, for goodness sakes, I've been at this running and cycling lark for flippin ages now!

The Old Boy stayed behind me all the way, and it was just as well, because just as we was coming down Church road he noticed that the batteries was going on my back light.  So carried on riding until we got the the entrance to the car park for High Elms country Park, and just pulled there to change the batteries.  With that done, and a nice little rest before the ascending road, we were back on our bikes.

I found it real tough, but I kept on, didn't stop!  I kept thinking, it's only a short ride, and once at the top its all virtually down hill with some little bumps till we get home!  Just before we got to the top I really did start to struggle. I so wanted to just stop for a second, or even walk, but I knew I would kick myself if I did.  I remembered last time I did this route, I stopped somewhere around about this very spot, and I was very annoyed with myself.  So I let out a groan, in fact several groans, I huffed and puffed, and moaned and groaned all the way up, "That's it Old Girl, we're nearly there, the flat bit is just up here" he said.

We could hear the dogs barking in the stables, probably because of the grunts and groans coming from me, and then I knew, just a little further and we will be in the centre of the Village, at least I think that is the centre, I am sure it is!  They had their festive lights on, with the obligatory glowing reindeer, moving reindeer at that!  It does look very pretty!

From here I find the rest of the ride home quite pleasant......normally.......but now that it's winter my feet are starting to get very cold.  Although I have two pair of socks on (one pair being thermals) they were still cold.  The rest of me at that time, was quite toasty.  I had thick winter gloves on with liners, a long sleeve top, long sleeve cycling jersey plus my rain/wind jacket!  Around my neck I had snood, (a freebie from the cycling magazines) plus another one on my head (again, another freebie from the Jogging Hippo, after I complained of being cold a couple of years ago!) and also I had a woolly hat one!  Do you think I was maybe a tad overdressed!  Well, all I knew is that I wasn't freezing!  I hate being cold. But my feet was started to worry me!

The lovely ride down to the Keston Mark was fantastic!  Of course there were those bumps to negotiate, but I tried to keep my legs spinning up the hills so that I didn't slow down too much, I not sure if I did too well, but we go there!

Just the short bit through the allyway and then home!  I felt quite pleased that I did it.  Although I really didn't want to go out earlier, I felt better that I actually listened to myself for once and did it!  I'm not sure if this new found mojo for exercise will stay with me, but I know it needs to!

Just one more thing, when I went to switch off my back light it wasn't there!  Heavens knows when that fell off my bike!  Flipping annoyed about that!!  If anyone sees it anyway, please let me know!! Thanks x

Monday, 10 November 2014

Just A Quickie

Hello blog lovers.

It was quite a pleasant evening, I had no running planned, so I thought I would join the Old Boy for a bike ride.  And when he said just a 'nice little gentle ride' it deffinitely made my mind up that I would join him.

"Up to Downe village" he said "and then cut through, just 20 miles"  That's his gentle ride, that for me is a good work out!  We got our selves ready, all lycra'ed up and nice bright shiny clothes and set off.  But before we got to the end of our path his light packed out for some reason.  We had to change our route and distance, as we wasn't quite sure how much power we had in the moons (rechargeable lights).  We changed our plans to ride for just 10 miles as we were already dressed for it.

It seems really mild for this time of year, really quite a pleasant evening for it.  Downe village would have been a great ride.  But going through Bromley wasn't too bad, through the streets so that we were able to see where to go if the lights failed!

I can deffinitely tell that I am not doing as much cycling as I used to, my backside is getting bloomin bruised again, I need to work on getting my saddle ass back!  But, even though it was a very short ride, though Jubilee park, up to Plaistow Lane, and then some higgledy piggledy turns that he went through we came about by Bromley North train station.  Down east street to the high street to Bromley South, and then we took at a right just after that, where Bromley Hospital used to be.

We were going to go to Hayes, and then through there to Barnet wood lane and then back home!  A real short, short ride!  But still very nice and I really enjoyed it, with just that one hill to contend with it was my sort  of riding, a pleasure ride!

Back for dinner and veg in front of the telly!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Pulling Power!

Hello blog lovers.

Forgive me blog readers, it's been a while since my last riding blog!  And today was just a perfect riding evening, clear skies, not cold, definitely no rain! What is not to like about this evening?

Me and the Old Boy eventually got ourselves ready and out of the door.  We were a little bit later that I wanted to be so were only going to go on a shorter ride, up to Downe Village and then Jail Lane before making our way home again.

I felt the A21 a bit tough today, don't know why, could be that it's been a while and I'm just not used to it again, but I kept it going.  We soon got to the turn off for Farnborough Village and then we have that lovely down hill to shire lane.  I kept my brakes on, I still don't just freewheel down here, not like I used to on my white Giant.  I don't know why, but I think I still get down it at a fair rate!

I was psyching myself up for that ascent to Downe Village.  I was determined to do it all in one go, no stopping, no pulling over, no moaning, just get up to the top.  After the lovely down hill we turned right and then left to make our way up to the top of the road, Downe!  I still find that ironic, I am sure who ever name the village had a sense of humour, maybe the little 'e' and the end of the name is the old way of spelling 'down'!  Anyway I digress.

We got to the top and then had a little break, the old boy was fiddling with his headlight, and I was much appreciative of the break!  But we soon headed up Jail Lane.  It's not exactly flat, but it's not as steep as the road we came up. There were some down bits, some up bits and some flat bits,  read on to find out exactly how I know this! We made our way steadily towards The Jail, but before we got there, the Old Boys bike made a funny noise and then the next thing was 'entrails' was scraping along the floor!  His chain had fallen off!

"Oh darn it, I was only just thinking about making sure I had a power link in my back pack" he said.  I am guessing that he hadn't actually acting on that thought!  So what to do now.  I certainly didn't have a power link in my possession nor did I have a spare chain!  Now to decide what to do,

  1. Walk the rest of the way to the Jail pub, leave me at the pub and he can ride my bike home and pick up the car to come back for me (that was my idea!)
  2. Call son to come and get us, but then his bike probably wouldn't fit in son's car, and that will also leave me cycling home alone.
  3. Some how tow him to Downe village and then he can free wheel most of the way home, with just a walk up chicken farm bends.   
He chose option 3, something I wasn't looking forward to, even if it was for just half a mile!

Dragging yo' ass about with yo' entrails hanging out!

But once we got near Downe Village the Old Boy found those down hills, and he used those down hills to his advantage.  I just kept firmly behind him, just in case he needs another tow, and besides, I didn't want to go flat out on the down hills!

We had to walk up Chicken Farm bends, and then it was some more free wheeling all the way to trinity church!  Even on the path from turn around lamppost had some down hills and he kept on his bike virtually to Five Posts!  From about that point we both walked back together to the house.

Lovely evening, just unfortunate that his chain broke!  Oh well, there is always next time!

Monday, 6 October 2014

But It's Raining!

Hello blog lovers.

Can you believe that its been pigging ages since my last ride!  No wonder the whole biking mojo is hibernating!  But it's Monday, and me and the Old Boy used to always go out on Mondays, so he said, "Come on, just a short one, up to Downe Village and then Jail lane and back!"  "Ok" I said and then about 30 mins later he went up stairs to get changed into some Lycra.

I eventually came out of my blanket, and stood by the patio windows, my nose pressed against the glassed, looking at the rain!  I could still here him getting ready, maybe he hasn't looked out yet!  He came down the stairs, in his Lycra, telling me to go and get changed.  I thought round about this time would be good to draw his attention to the wet stuff coming down!  "It's ok, it's only passing"  I was a bit dubious!  I am not one for getting out there and cycling in the rain.  If it happens to start while I'm out then that's just too bad, I have to get home!

Some how I managed to drag my reluctant ass upstairs and into some lycra and warm clothing. If I'm doing thisthen I want to remain warm!  I decided to use my new running top as my base layer under my rain coat.  It's my consolation 'Sorry you didn't get VLM place" running top, as it is an autumn/winter running top I thought it would be perfect.

When I eventually got out of my house, my bike by my side, the rain had stopped, and it felt kinda mild out there.  Maybe it's not going to be too bad!  I decided to go along the dreaded A21 to the Farnborough right turn.  The rain had started again, I was sorely tempted to go back home, but the Old Boy persuaded me to keep going, "It's only a short ride" he said.  So on I plodded.

There was no speeding on this ride, there were wet leaves to think about, the rain coming down, the white lines will be wet, the yellow lines will be wet!  So I shall have to be totally focused!  The down hill on Church hill went without a hitch, I kept on my brakes all the way down. Then it was that up hill to Downe!  I didn't quite manage to do it in one go!  I stopped for just a quick breather, and I was virtually there!  But I am not going to beat myself up!

"Let's just go straight through to Keston" I said to the Old Boy "No, you're our now, might as well continue with the route,"  he said to me, I grumbled, like I usually do!  But as I was riding along Single Street and then Jail Lane I was feeling a lot more positive.  By the time I got to the other end, Biggin Hill, I was feeling bloody glad I did the route!  In fact I thought I even deserved a pint as well!  So off to the Greyhound we went.  Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps please!

Yup, pleased I went out!  Now lets try and keep it up!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Coaching The Coach!?

Hello blog lovers.

Fridays are going to be our days out on the bikes!  Either a nice leisurely breeze ride, or a bit of hill training at our own pace.  But today it was kind of both, kind of, well sort of.

DiscoRich, our coach at PWR's is wanting to add cycling to his repertoire of sports, but apart from a little poodle along to the rec, and a coaching job a mile or so away, he hasn't been that far.  So me and Bims asked him if he wanted to come along and join us on a Friday Day Out for a Meander, or FriDOM as I am going to call them from now on! Sounds just like Freedom to me!  A nice pootle about in the country side or even in the city!  Perfect.

Anyway, I arranged to meet everyone at Petts Wood Station and we were going to cycle to Keston, stopping at the Grey Hound for lunch, taking in Down Village first!  As it's DiscoRich's first ride along with us he did ask us to treat him kindly!  We guessed that he meant not to take him up too many hills.  As if!  I hate hills, but I also know that to get anywhere nice, and put some saddle time in and miles on the clock there will be hills!

I gave DiscoRich three options but after hearing him say that I decided that maybe the shorter route would be better, it has got that long climb up from Shire Lane to Downe Villiage.  I have done this a few times and so has Bims, so we put D.R. in front of us and said to go at his own pace, and stop if necessary, as this is not a race, just a fantastic friendly social!  Well, did I have egg on my face as DiscoRich seemed to glide effortlessly up the hill, me and Bims were left swearing as usual at the hill.
DiscoRich did pull over, of course I thought it was because he needed a rest, but I expect the real reason was to wait for us to catch up!  We got to Downe Village earlier than I had originally thought, (men, they are just so much stronger, right?) and so a unanimous decision was taken to ride along to Jail lane and then into Biggin Hill.  At least that will take up an extra fifteen minutues and then we wont have to wait too long before lunch!

Of course those down hill sections are just fantastic and I took the lead, and we all rode along past the Airport and then turned left to head for Keston.  A great ride today, but I do think that maybe DiscoRich can easily make some of those other hills, novice rider or not!

Geeky stats.

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