Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Breeze Of A Ride

Brenda, Yvonne and
Charlene, Normans Park
Hello blog lovers.

I saw on line that Yvonne, a Breeze Champion, was starting a ride from my neck of the woods!  I thought this would be brilliant for Charlene, she can pick Yvonnes brains for info at the coffee stop (because there is always coffee on a Breeze ride!). Charlene loves her trail ride, and mountain bike still riding, all down hill, heading head long into trees and bushes! Not my sort of thing, way to scary, give me lorries and buses any day!  But she also likes organised rides, and also learning confidence in group riding on roads (albeit very quiet roads) is always a welcome bonus.

So we both signed up the same night.  My bike ride that I had planned for Monday had been cancelled due to the weather, and this mornings weather was planned for some rain too, but we woke up to blue sky and sunshine!  Well that's a bonus, so much nicer riding in the sunshine!  We were there early, and I had a go on Charlen's bike. I sat on it, and I felt like I was on my grandsons bike!  She had the saddle so low, my knees were hitting my chin when I pedalled.  I thought maybe this is the way mountain bikers do it! Maybe they are so much up on their feet that a saddle is probably a nuisance anyway!

But for todays ride, a nice sedate ride around some quite roads and through parks and stopping for tea she needs to be comfortable.  She raised her seat and she rode around the car park at Normans Park (Hayes end) and she said "Oh wow, yes that feels so much better!"

Soon Yvonne turned up and we waited for two other ladies, Brenda was next but the other lady just didn't make a show.  After a brief outline of what Breeze is all about, specifically for our Charlene, and then we were off!  Yvonne did give a brief out line of our route, and it seems we are going ........ home!

The parks and routes that Yvonne had planned will be taking me and Charlene back to our estate! Just goes to show, we do have some lovely parks near by! We are so fortunate!  Through Normans park we rode towards Hook Farm Road, and then we turned left and road along the cycle path for just a couple of meters before crossing over and heading for our second park, Whitehall Rec.  It's a bit like De Ja'Vue as so far it's also like my Marathon training I did, only in reverse!

We followed a path all the way to a cul de sac!  Some where here, there is another path! It seems to have disappeared!  But then it was spotted a car had parked in front and we just couldn't see it! From there we carried on to Blackbrook Lane, (sound familiar?) and then through Jubilee park!  It was then I tried to take another picture but my silly phone said storage full!  So Yvonne took a brilliant selfie! See..

L to r   Yvonne, Brenda Charlene and me

We carried on with our ride as we came out of Tent Peg Lane, I was trying to figure out what little park was next, when she gave a brief outline earlier she said something about a park down Southborough lane, and it was until we were heading down there that I suddenly remembered about the little park, the Dump as the Old Boy and his generation called it, Scarborough Rec was what Charlene her generation no it as! Of course, how could I forget this little park.  It is one that I hardly use actually, is probably why, I don't even use it as a cut through, or short cut, because the way it's situated it just isn't!

We were on our way back now to have our tea, so through our local park and then up the path to Princes Plain, out at Church road and down Oakley road.  The only busy part of today's ride was this end!  We turned right into Barnet Wood Lane and then right and right again to finish our ride at the Village Cafe!  One bacon and egg sandwich and a cuppa and scintillating conversation!

What more can you want from a Breeze Ride!

Geeky stats, oh and I kept my Garmin going from home, along to Halfords after our ride and then back home again.

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Fresh Air!

Hello blog lovers!

I am getting a new 'lid' on my pad!  Scaffolding went up on Friday, so no cycling, I had planned to join Panagua ladies only ride this morning, (apparently it was a very lovely sun shining ride!) not that I am a bit Jel! but the New Lid men were coming today! I was not pleased!  Of course I am pleased I am getting a new roof, but still, when life interrupts your running or cycling it is a pretty damn inconvenience!

You could imagine that I was looking forward to getting out from these four walls and to get my heart rate up a bit.  As you know, since becoming a fair weather rider of late, my saddle ass and bike fitness has somewhat disappeared, so our route was one that we always do, up to Downe village.  At least I know I can get up there without getting off my bike, it is a bit of a work out, well it would be with those hills! And besides, it is a lovely scenic route.

We left our house a bit earlier than usual, and got all the way to the ally......and came back!  I had a puncture! We came back and the Old Boy quickly changed it and we started again!  Through the ally and up the A21 and through Farnborough Village.  Already I felt as if I was a tad quicker than the last time I was with the Old Boy, but it's too soon to tell, and besides, it doesn't matter.  I was getting that 'I must get quicker than last time' moment, and quite frankly, for me, it doesn't matter!

I am sure I will get quicker again as time goes one, I did last time, but I was trying to, and beating myself up if I wasn't as quick as last time.  Always pushing harder and harder, instead of having fun.  I pushed a little harder today, but it was fun!  I thought to myself "Just see, see if you can give it a little bit up this hill, doesn't matter if you can't"  Until I download the Old Boys Garmin I won't know if I was or wasn't.  But the thing is.....I don't care!

I really had fun this evening, pushing a little when I wanted to, slowing down when I couldn't.  Now that is what its all about!  At one point I really thought "I want to stop getting up this hill now" but after a saw the road on the right, which I just can't remember what it is called right now, I knew that there wasn't far to go.  It was a bit of a struggle today, but I have come to expect things like that.  All days are different, whether I am running or cycling!

Something I have learned over the few years I have been doing physical exercise is that, Monday may follow Tuesday, followed by Wednesday etc, but things that happen in those days are different.  You may have not eaten as much, or eaten too much!  You may have had an awful night sleep, being slightly off colour, or your partner may have kept you awake, snoring! The weather deffo can affect you!

Anything, anything can have an adverse effect on your day, whether running, cycling or even doing a days work!  Which in my mind, every ride, ParkRun, fave Solo run, race, well it can only mean a PB! I feel as if I have spoken about nothing, but these are the things that went through my mind today, on my way round this course, and after I got back, feeling bloody brilliant!  A most pleasant ride indeed!

Geeky stats.

These will have to wait!  As the Old Boy used his Garmin today I will have to wait until he uploads them!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Bike, Coffee and Cake!

Hello blog lovers.

A friend of mine has just bought herself a bike, she has the week off, I am free, so that makes for a perfect opportunity to take it out for its maiden voyage!...well ride!  As it's been a while since she been on a bike I decided that a trip to Farnborough Village would be just perfect.  It was my first destination when I started getting on my bike, my old Raleigh Jaguar!

There are several ways to get there, and I was trying to figure out which way would be best.  The short sharp steeper hills, or the long steady climb, which is just one road, the A21.  The plus for that route is it does have the cycle path and after the hospital we could use the shared path.

I arrived at her house about 10 ish.  The weather had take a turn for the worse!  The wind had picked up and the rain had started to come down again.  I was hoping that it wouldn't get any worse, and maybe even the sun would come out, it had tried earlier!

I had thought that the long straight road would be the best way to get to Farnborough.  I took her through our local park, and we chatted all the way through, We then turned on to Magpie Hall lane and we cycled along in silence, well this is quite a busy little road. The drivers use it for a short cut. I cycled along towards the A21, thinking that Denise was behind me. Oh Denise is my friend by the way.  I looked behind me and she wasn't there!  I stopped and got on the pavement and waited.  I could see her as she cycled up to me!  I think I must have forgotten the first time I was on a bike.  Must remember to take it easy! Probably explains the riding along in silence too!

We walked the rest of the way to the A21 while she caught her breath.  I told her that this time she should go in front so that I can keep an eye on me.  I told her that we are going to ride all the way to Starts Hill and then we shall take a right.  She started riding along the cycle path, looking quite confident even with the traffic going past.

We got to the hill and Denise had to walk.  When I rode up this road I had to do it in 3 sections!  Although I didn't walk, I did have to stop, catch my breath and then get going.  We got to the crest of the hill and then we started again.  If she can get the speed right she should zip up the other side of the smaller hill and probably not even notice it!  I kept well behind her, I didn't want to put any pressure on her and just let her do it at her own pace.

It worked a charm, I saw her fly up the other hill, I called out to her to go straight ahead.  I watch while she turned left!  "Maybe she will get off her bike and cross over the junction on foot.  It can be a bit intimidating going across this junction for the the first time on a bike!  With the left hand lane turning left, you have to keep your line and go straight!  Cars should know that you intend to go ahead and so not try and turn left in front of you.

I took the left hand lane so that I could join her as we crossed over, but I couldn't see her!  I got off my bike and just walked a little further into Locksbottom, and leaned over and looked down the road.  I could see Denise had rode down to a turnoff for the posh houses.  I just stood there and pointed to the way that we should have gone!  She walked back up to me laughing, saying that she though I had said turn left!

With just one more hill to negotiate we were almost there.  Going down the other side was lovely, Denise was flying down.  I told her to stop at the traffic lights and we will cross on foot to go through to the village.  This is where we were going to stop for a coffee and cake.

Here's a picture of Denise, and our coffee and cake,  Most delicious, a raspberry and white chocolate muffin!
Lovely cake!


After I took her home via Tubbenden lane, with just Tile Farm Road and Newstead Road as our challenging hills on the way back, it was mainly a down hill ride all the way home, with practise to ride along with traffic.

Most enjoyable ride.  Here is Denise with her new bike, the beginnings of many a happy times cycling!

New Bike!

No Geeky stats as i had forgotten to bring it along!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sunday Meander!

Hello blog lovers.

This is the first Sunday for ages where I haven't had to do a long run, or go to some sort of family do!  The first Sunday I can have a cuppa with church before coming home, the first Sunday which can feel relaxing.  So what do we do....go on a bike ride!

The Old Boy had the Sunday off work too, so while I was at church he prepared our dinner, fixed punctures and pumped up tyres! When I got back from church, and things were all ready, we got changed into our cycling gear and then went out.

It was going to be just a nice pleasant, leisurely fun ride.  The type I like.  Just plodding along, enjoying the sunshine (although that breeze was a bit strong). I chose a route to Farnborough, along the quieter roads, as I am thinking this may be a way I will be taking a friend of mine Tuesday Morning, but we shall see. We then continued up to Downe Village.  As this was a nice leisurely ride we stopped off here for refreshment!  It was a bit breezy sitting outside, and goosebumps appeared on my arms!  I was thinking that maybe I should have had long pants and long sleeves on!

But once we started moving again along Single Street and Jail Lane I soon warmed up again.  I need to work on my bike fitness again, I can definitely tell that I have become slower on my bike than I used to be.  But I am not too bothered, now that I have finished the marathon, I can get back and have some nice fun rides again.

We road all along Jail Lane and then turned right, heading towards Biggin Hill Airport!  Now this really is a fast bit of road, it's mainly downhill!  The Old Boy had his Garmin going and he was behind me, the stats recorded speeds up to 30 miles an hour at one point!  Me!? Going at that speed!

We rode on through Keston and then continued to Hayes where we stopped off at the George for a pint and a bowl of olives!  We were going to go home via Normans Park, and then across Chat and through our local park.  But when we were stopped at the George the Old Boy noticed that my back tyre was a bit soft!  Darn it!  I was hoping it will make it until we got home, where I can attempt to change the tube in the comfort of my own home!

We started our journey home, going through the park, but by the time we got to the other side, just  outside the gates I had to stop, my tyre was just to flat to continue. The Old Boy thought that this was a brilliant opportunity for me to practise changing the tube 'in the field' so to speak.  So there I was, on my knees, taking of my back wheel and changing the inner tube!

I did it, mainly!  I know I could do it if I was by myself or with a group of other ladies!  We could overcome a flat tyre situation!  That was very reassuring to me, but what I would have to practise is doing it faster!  It took about 15 ish minutes to do, which, on a weekday ride could mean I will be pedalling like the clappers to get to school on time!

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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