Monday, 28 September 2015

A Trio Of Panagua Ladies!

Hello blog lovers.

Well what a beautiful day! Way to gorgeous to waste inside a spin class BIMS! Putting on weight, well get out here and work some hills!  As you can guess Bims wasn't with us today, she is on a static bike, with blaring music, sweating in a small room with other 'wish I was out on a proper bike' people!

This morning I woke up in perfect time, even had a cup of tea and slice of toast. I got all of my stuff ready, helmet, gloves, keys, sorted out my long sleeve cycling jacket (just in case it's not as warm as it looks) and I was pretty much ready!

I left my house in plenty of time to get to the Village Cafe and rode there with a big smile on my face looking forward to my ride today.  I had in mind that Mhairi probably wouldn't be heading out to Botely Farm way, and maybe even had in mind to do one of our favourite routes, Downe Village, and the Spinning Wheel.  I had such a lot to do today, go shopping, bake a cake and make a lasagne!  But riding my bike on a glorious Monday morning, I just couldn't resist.

As I was just getting to the cafe I saw Posh-Totty (Mary-Annes new nick name!) just pulling up some chairs for everyone, but she was the only there. I must have been really early!  She had ordered herself a cup of coffee, a little pick-me-up, for the morning after the night before, on a school night too!

Deborah soon joined us and we sat and waited for our leaders.  Sure enough Fiona came by, looking very lovely in her Panagua cycling gear, (I so gotta get me some club colours!) and then she told us that Mhairi was having some mechanical!  Her wheel bearing is playing up and she can't ride with us.  This is how dedicated she is, she sent a message back that if she could get back to hers, change bikes and meet us on route she would do!

Fiona wasn't going to be able to ride with us either as she had to get back, but she wanted to come and tell us about Mhairi.  So it was just the three of us.  We discussed routes, with Fiona giving some suggestions as well, but (I guess with me whinging a bit) decided to do our Spinning Wheel route!  All I could think of is that beautiful long ride down hill.  As long as I think of that then those hills are going to be nothing! (Yeah, right!)

We set of with Deborah leading the way, onwards and upwards towards Keston.  Well, we did enjoy a short down hill first, but then it was the climb all the way to Down Village.  Now, you know how I hate hills, and really am trying to love them (through gritted teeth) but these two girls just seem to thrive on them.

I feel sure that they have found a way to tap into their endorphins real quickly, while I am still searching about in this body of mine for my own endorphins!  They breeze on up the hills, chatting away while I watch their skinny legs pedal up in front of me. Oh to have skinny legs, and Posh-Totty's waist seems to be shrinking too!

They were talking about weddings and wedding dresses, P-T has booked her wedding!  I am quite excited for her, I just can't join in the conversation though, even if I was close enough to hear anyway!  My breathing is just all over the place.  I so got to work on more h..., hi..... oh you know, those blooming upside down holes!

We stopped at the usual bus stop for a catchup, of course there is only me to catchup, and that's when Deborah offered me a 'sky' of her water. See I can talk kid lingo!  Just in case you haven't hear that before (or is that not the in thing to say any more, man) 'skying a drink' is when you squeeze the water into your mouth  from a distance, rather that greedily sucking the life out of the bottle! (Not that I would have done that anyway). But I have done Downe Village and the Spinning Wheel with the Old Boy before, and we rarely take water, so I didn't take any.  If it was a thirty miler than I might have had to take her up on her offer!

We crossed over the road and continued our way up to Downe.  And now the hills get steeper, those upside down holes on the earth, torturing me, mocking me, making me watch those two girls glide like ice skaters up the hill! Oh I could so do with some ice now!  The weather was just perfect, I however have come dressed as an onion! so many layers!  I even put on my long pants today!  I hate being cold!  I would rather do a slow strip on a ride then having nothing to keep me warm.

Once we got to Downe we had another catchup, and that was when I took up the offer of a drink, as Posh-Totty offered me her bottle.  Well, anything to have a slightly longer rest!   We continued our ride after another chat, and this is what I love about our rides, it's one of the highs, I love riding with the Panags, well that and the lovely long down hills we have on our routes!

Getting to the Spinning Wheel seemed quicker to me somehow, I won't put the mockers on it and say I must be getting faster, bad JooJoo and all that, but it did. Unless I am just wishing the hills away as quickly as possible and I got into some kind of zone until I come to the top of hills! But there we were, just about to enter the car park of the Spinning Wheel.  There was another cyclist who had come up Grays Road and he was grazing (see what I did there) on the blackberries that were growing there.  A little nourishment for the rest of his ride!

Grays road, although has lots of down hills, it is a rather undulating road.  I can pick up speed on the down hills but then those 'undulations' come and spoil it for me.  Posh-Totty and Deborah take the lead, I did set off first but I knew they would get in front of me at the first up hill.  And as we started the first up hill park so I heard the inevitable "Coming by on your right" as P-T rode passed followed by Deborah.  "My time will come" I said to myself as I pedal after their skinny legs, "That long lovely road awaits me"

We soon got there and the girls let me go before them!  Give me time to put a bit of distance, just in case they have been practising going fast down hills!  I just flew down there, smiling all the way! Love this road, even the undulations, as long as I can get the momentum I don't slow down too much on the ups.

Perfect!  And all to quickly it was over.  I waited in the car park for the other two ladies, they arrived about a minute behind me.  We had another quick chat, mainly about these two now going up Old Hill, while I continue on the A21 to go back home to do all those chores I needed to do.  That's when we discovered that P-T's tyre was a bit soft.

Posh got her pump off her bike, something she has yet to use and then put it over the valve and started to pump.  We could hear the air coming out, and said that maybe she needed to put it on a bit tighter,  Debs put the pump on and tightened a little knob over the valve and Posh again started pumping. "There is usually a lever that you move on other pumps" I said after all the pumping didn't seem to put much air in the tyre.  Posh-Tottys painted fingernails were certainly getting a work out!

One more look at the pump showed the lever! It's a bit like the blind leading the blind!  I know how my little gas canisters work on my bike, simply press hard on the valve and voila! Tyre up in seconds!  But Posh was still pumping away after tightening the knob and the lever to try and secure the pump on valve.  Posh laughed as she said "All the gear and no idea"  It made me chuckle, as I looked at the three of us, all in our lyrca cycling gear, two of us on road bikes trying to get this tyre pumped up.

In the end, Posh decided that she will take a slow ride back to the station and then flutter her eyes at the loved one and get him to sort it out for her next ride!  Me and Debs so wanted to have a go at changing it, which I know we could have done, but I guess I had to shoot off really and that would have meant Debs and Posh to deal with a possible puncture!

It was a great ride though, and I do hope I didn't keep the girls waiting for too long.  That is always my worry when I go riding with everyone, and that is letting them all down and not being able to keep up to well.  But the more I get to know these girls then I should know, they are not going to mind too much!

Oh this is a picture of Posh-Totty working on those arms of hers trying to pump up the tyre!

Posh-Totty with the helping finger
of Debs.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Just A Very Short Ride

Hello biog lovers.

Just to get out for a little ride, and see if I can keep up with the Old Boy (some hope) we went on a very short one to Bromley, the Red Lion, and back again.  

I really had to drag myself out this evening though, as after work I had a little nap!  I don't usually nap after work, but maybe today was a bit to hectic, what with having to a a quick ride out this morning and making sure I was back for the window cleaner!  But instead of saying no I went up my stairs to get into my long cycling pants!  That's been a while since I put those on!

Because we didn't get out early, we decided on this short route and headed towards Petts Wood area and then ride through Jubilee Park.  It was quite dark by the time we got there and I put on my brightest light to go through there.

We only had the one hill to climb really and that was Plaistow Lane.  It hurt! Even though it was just a short hill, maybe being in the evening has something to do with energy levels and what not, but it really hurt! Ok, maybe not as bad as getting up to Botley Farm, but I was pleased it was over and there wasn't going to be anymore hills this evening.

We rode around just a few more smaller roads before turning up at the Red Lion for a quick pint and then we came back home, virtually the same route!

So there you go, must be one of the shortest blogs of mine in my blogging history!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Rain, Schmain!!

Hello blog lovers.
My bike with her new 'shoes'
after a clean up!

It's Monday, and it looked quite nice out there this morning. of course that can only mean one thing! Get on me bike and meet up with the Panagua Ladies!  I wasn't sure how I was going to do today, as I ordered some new 'shoes' (pedals) for the Bi-atch.  I thought it was about time I bought myself some more 'grown up' pedals for my Spesh. I had hoped to have already tried them out before my ride today, but time just flew through the weekend, but I managed to get a little practice clipping in and out of them in my kitchen before I left this morning!  I must admit, it felt more difficult to clip in, and I had trouble 'finding' the right place to get my cleats in.

It didn't seem to get any easier even after I had loosened them so I decided, I would just ride on down to Hayes, to the Panagua Shop, and let the girls know that I will just poodle around Normans Park today and practice clipping in and out.  But when I got out, it was so much easier to get into my pedals, I had obviously needed to be on the road!  I was riding along, clipping in and out of them like a pro!  I even did an 'emergency' clip out of both of them at the same time! Perfect.  So I will be going with the girls after all!

But then on the way there, just as I got to Barnet Wood Lane, the rain started! Oh poo!  If there is one thing I really hate is riding in the rain!  Not only because I look completely twaty riding in the rain with dark sunglasses, (I have clear glasses but I didn't bring them!) but also the rain gets all over the lenses, I have no ass-savers (which I just found out this morning exists) and I just bloomin hate it!

When I got to the Village cafe Mhairi and Fiona  were already sitting at a table, Mary-Anne was in the bike shop.  She was having a wardrobe moment, was she going to be too hot, was she going to be too cold,  maybe keep a layer on or leave it at the shop!  Well, I just wished I had remembered to get my camera out, then you could see how she solved the problem.  I am sure the guy eating his breakfast would have agreed with her choice of cycling attire! We also had wait for Debbie, apparantly she was wrapped up in her duvet when she got a text about today but she was dragging herself out of her warm comfy bed  to be with us (she has only just got back from holiday)!

We waited for a while, with a coffee, just so that we could see if the rain would clear up.  We had such a laugh while it rained down, side splitting laughter only girls know how to do we we get together.   No rain was going to make us unhappy about today!  It eventually stopped raining and we quickly got on our bikes before it started up again!  Our destination......well, Mhairi had mentioned the White Bear, which means HILLS!  It's the same place that me and Bims went on Wednesday, only this time I have a wet ass to make me even more happy about it! (you know that I really do love riding really, just not hills!)

There were five of us today, a nice number, and of course they are all fitter than me, plus younger, and Deb's thighs are so skinny and now tanned after her holiday!  The girls are a caring bunch, and they all wait for me at the top of particularly nasty inclines till I get to them!  Fiona also stayed behind to chat with me.  I think I managed to talk back with  her using more than one word most of the time!

Going up the long, long incline, well all I can say is that I am so glad that we all have become firm friends now, and I can be as relaxed as I am when I am riding with Bims, because as Fiona will tell you, I am not particularly fond of hills, I don't like them in an shape or form, and did I say....I don't like hills, so I  have my own way of pshching myself up to get to the top of them!  It took a lot of psyching, let me tell you, especially in the rain!

It was like that all the way up to our 'turn around point'.  We had a couple of choices once we got there. We could either head towards Botley Farm Inn (no stopping there though!) and then through Biggin Hill, or turn right and go through Addington(?) I think that is that way, you know, heading towards Wallingham.  We never took either of those options, we chose the last option especially as the rain started and helped us make our minds up.  We were going to go down the same way we had just come up from with just a slight deviation so that we can ride past the White Bear instead, well she did mention we will be passing it!

It felt so good, it's the sweeties at the end of a ride, it's the cheery on the top of the cake.  Even in the rain I could get up a bit of speed.  Mhairi did offer to stay at the back with me, but then she remembered.......I will be flying on down these roads behind her!  So Mhairi took off, I past Debbie and Fiona, (she will still be staying at the back to make sure everyone takes the right road) and just took off after Mhairi!  Love, love, love hills! Erm, well, the down hills of course!

The rest of the ride was just perfect, the sun  even came out at some point en route!  We rode along Nash Lane again and then back down Gates Green road towards Cony Hall!  See, I am getting to know my way round now!  It's taken a while, but I am getting there.....I think!

Just one last hill to do before we got back to the cafe!  And it felt just as hard as all the climbing I had already done, the girls all of course overtook me!  We got back to the cafe and it was tea, coffee, paninies, burgers and eggs!  I was starving, and no I didn't eat all that lot by myself! But it did mean my camera didn't come out, although, again I wish I had, eggs on toast!  Believe me you had to be there!

This picture of the profile of todays ride on Mary-Anne's Garmin looks extremely impressive, like a huge mountain that we had just climbed up! (although not so on the big stcreen!)

The Taj Mahal?

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.

Donnas Panagua Ladies by ACC1960 at Garmin Connect - Details

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Up Up And Away!

Hello blog lovers.

I had completely forgotten that I had told Bims that I wasn't taking toddler group this week, which of course means that I have a whole free day to do what I want to, as long as I am back for the 3:30 school run.  She called me last night to 'make plans' of course that means 'which hills shall we ride up'.

So we made plans, we were going to head up to Botley Farm Inn for a lunch stop and then back the same way, which is the best bit, you will see why as you read on.  So I got up, bright and early! Too bright and early!  I looked at my clock and it said 10 past, so I jumped out of bed, into the shower and washed my hair, and washed a new day into my soul.

Back into my room and then I noticed that the clock said 7:30!  I was up an hour early!  Even the Old Boy was still in the house!  Still, I was all nice and clean and refreshed and wanting all that today was going to throw at me.  Then I saw it!  The rain!  That horrible, wishy washy, 'don't know whether to be heavy mist or power shower' type of rain.

I quickly text Bims, just in case she hadn't noticed. Of course she had!  "It's fine, its going to be over when we meet up, IT'S STILL HAPPENING" she said!  I carried on getting ready, hair dried, and straightened, why, I don't know, it's just going to get all frizzy in the rain!  As you can tell, I am procrastinating! It's my most favourite thing to do........just before exercises.  It's something I do a lot of when I run or ride solo, or even when I'm with just Bims.  I even do it when I write my blogs!

Anyway,  it stopped raining so I was out of the door ready for the ride, and also.....I was quite looking forward to it! Weirdly! It's all hills, I hate hills, but it is such a lovely route!

I met Bims at Trinity Church and I took the lead, as she wasn't quite sure of where we were going.  She couldn't even remember doing Nash Lane with Mhairi when she came on her first ride with the Panagua ladies!  It's going to be  a slow tough ride for my lunch today!

We got to Fox Lane in Keston.  Don't go being fooled by a pretty name this is a beast of a road. Did you see what I did there,, Fox Lane is in fact....a cliff with tarmac on it!  People actually get nose bleeds trying to walk up it, but there is no need for us to worry, we were going down it!  I am sure I will remember another way back so that we don't have to ride back up here! "Oh I love this hill, we are so going to do this on the way back, ay Moosh" she said to me. "What, I was planning on going....."
"No, no, we are coming home this way!  We can do this,"

And so my original plan gone out of the window, if I had any windows on my bike!  After we got to Nash Lane, it was then we started to the climbing. It's not steep, but it just goes on and on and on and on, all the way to Botley Farm Inn, our lunch stop!  The route threw in a coupe of down sections, just to keep you sweet, remind you of the good times, of why you like cycling, but mainly its all up hill.

"This is a really lovely route" said Bims
"It actually is" I said as I looked around the beautiful country side we are riding through as if I was seeing it all again for the first time.
"Why haven't you taken me here before?" she said as looked around.
"Maybe because I hate hills, its too far and it's hills and did I tell you I HATE HILLS.." I thought... but actually said "I have told you about it before"

It really is beautiful scenery around us, and we just had to stop for a photo shoot (thank goodness!) here, take a look.


Just that little break helped give the legs a little boost and we continued on our way, pedalling towards our lunch.  Up, up and up of course!  I was so pleased when we finally got to the road where the pub is!  We turned right and cycled on up, yes I thought we had reached the highest point but there was one last little flurry of undulations before we got to the pub!


Sunday Roast anyone!

We got to the pub about 11;40, Bims and I just looked around at the place. There were sheep in the garden, I just hoped Sunday Roast wasn't locally sourced lamb (that's a bit too local) but again the scenery was just spectacular!  So worth while the ride up to see this.  We went inside to order lunch, we were about 15 minutes early but that was fine, I was quite ravenous!  But when we tried to order they said it was too early!  We had to wait until 12 to put in our order!

But the wait was worth it!  This is our lunch, Bims had soup....soup! Who has flippin soup after a flippin hike up a mountain on a bike!? Mine is the chicken and bacon club sandwich!  It was tasty!

Lunch! Club sarnie for me!

After we went back, exactly the same way that we came.  Blink and you would miss all those lovely down hills that I was so looking forward to.  All that hard work of getting up them was now going past me in a flash "Oh wow, we're here already" Bims exclaimed in surprise when we got to Layams!  It was that quick!  The other roads went by just as quick.

But of course there is that beast of a hill to do!  Fox lane!  It's awful.  I wanted to quit just looking at it, let alone trying to ride up it!  Bims went first, she has stronger legs than me, and I knew she would just attempt every flippin centimetre of this hill!  Bims started up the hill, with me behind her, I stopped half way up the first section of the hill with Bims stopping just a little further on!

There were cars behind us and we let them go by before we got back to riding up the cliff!  The next section is the steepest and curviest part of the road.  I saw Bims going for it I tried but I just couldn't do it.  Cars were now behind me and coming down from the top!  There is not going to be enough room for all three of us on this bit of road!  So I had to get off and walk it while the two vehicles inched by each other behind me!

Of course I couldn't get back on and ride up it and carried on walking.  I saw Bims just a little further ahead, stopped!  She was looking back at me and telling me to get on and ride. "Yeah, that's going to happen!" I thought.  I walked up to her and caught my breath.  "Now we shall do this last bit all the way to the top, no stopping!" she said.

Do you know, we flipping did it!  We got to the top opposite the pub we were going to pop in to, we rode that last bit and popped out the top looking suitable knackered, like we had just rode the whole lot!  Flipping pity nobody was there to see us!

We stopped in the Greyhound for a refreshment before making our way back to our homes.  I chose the road that goes towards Hayes, Bims went on through there while I took Barnet Wood lane!

A great ride today, flipping tough! but so pretty!

I forgot to bring the Old Boys Garmin, so I just plotted out the route, just in case you want to see how far it is, for your own records of course!

Botley Hill Farm Inn on

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Biking Blonds!

Hello blog lovers!

It's Monday, the kids are all back at school and I'm free!!  It's been a long 6 weeks, I've missed the ladies, and I've been getting very jealous of their Monday rides without me!  But I expect they have been doing some great speedy rides while I've not been there!

Charlene was joining us for the first time today, she has been off her bike after a rather nasty fall involving tree stumps and mountain bikes!  That whole mountain biking thing is not for me, but Charlene loves it!  But this will be a good ride for her to test her legs on!

The Panagua Ladies were meeting up early today, as Mary-Anne needs just that little bit more time to get home and do stuff! We all met up at the Village Cafe in Hayes, Charlene needed to pump her tyres, and.....we had to wait for Mary-Ann, her train was running late! Oh well, nice to have a chat with everyone while we waited, she did let us all know that she would be late though!

On todays ride there was me, Bims, Charlene, Mhairi, Sian, Linda and Mary-Anne!  A nice size group really, and even though I say it myself, we are a stunningly gorgeous group of ladies!  All of us blond, so Mhairi pointed out!  As soon as we were all ready we headed out on one of our usual routes.  There are several very good reasons why we are heading out on the same route today, and that is, 1) There's  a few of us who have had less saddle time than some of the others, 2) It's Charlene's fist time out with us, 3) just in case people want to zip along on a faster ride, at least we all know where we all need to head for!  Mhairi will be zipping between the faster riders and the the slower rides (for slower riders read... Old Girl, ie ME)

So our destination is Downe village, then on to the Shampan.  Both lovely places, and apparantly there is a new coffee shop at Downe, and the Shampan is a lovely Curry house, but we will not be sampling their wares on this ride!  No, us ladies don't know the meaning of 'stopping!' not until we get to the end of our ride! Ok, well, we do stop for a photo shoot, and we do stop for hydration and cereal bars that we bought along when we get to the Shampan! But only then! And maybe a couple of catchup points, but no more!

I was way behind the ladies (as usual) as we were riding to Down Village, and I  started to beat myself up a bit.  Mhairi came to the back to check up on us, (for us read me!)  and she was exactly what I needed right then!  She really put me in my place!  There is no way I should be beating myself up, as she said, "We all have off days" and then she started to tell me there are all sorts of reasons why we feel less energetic on some days. There are hormonal changes,  the menopause, and other unmentionable things that only female comedians speak about in public, and that's just to mention a few! Of course she is right, the fact that I am out here desperately riding after all the other ladies, following, as they effortlessly fly up the hills, with their thin thighs, skinny waistlines and chiseled cheek bones, is all that needs to be said! I am here, I am doing it, I am riding!

So, after our photo shoot, heres the picture,
Charlene, Mary-Anne, Sian, Me, Bims, Linda and Mhairi
we had to accost a gentleman to take a picture of us all (first time we have all been photographed together on a ride!) we continued on our way to the Shampan.  Down Single street and then take the very short steep left then sharp right hand turn!  I took Charlene through the foot path and we could see that Linda took the foot path as well!  Makes sense to me really, who really loves hills!? Seriously, who does?!

After that it's the steady but not so steep climb to the top, where the Shampan is.  That will be our next catchup point.  The other girls had gone ahead,  me and Charlene were just pedalling along, nice and steady!  But Charlene was starting to struggle a little bit now, it was a rather nasty crash she had, even her knees came a cropper! Talk about bruises, and they were only  half as bad as her 'boat race!' Anyway, we don't dwell on that, we dwell on the fact that we are and will get stronger, fitter and better!

Mhairi came back down the road and she said she would ride with Charlene while I carried on riding up the hill!  Smug mode coming up now. Here is this (cuddly) 50 something year old (thats me, just in case you hadn't realised), riding a rather lovely black and pink Specialized road bike,  up a (slight) incline towards the Shampan ahead of the abs sporting (ok, she has been injured) 20 something year old (and yes her knees were very, very badly bruised, stop making me feel bad for smug mode!) who was riding a rather lovely white and purple 'really heavy' mountain bike, with almost tractor like tyres!  But I still got in front of her, for the first time on this ride!

Ok, now smug mode over, but I won't delete above paragraph! This next bit of the ride is my favourite!  'I feel the need...for speed'!  It's the fast bit, it's a straight road all the way to Cudham North Lane, and I said to Charlene, I shall see her at the end!  It's not the fastest part of the ride, but we are getting close to it!  It's the undulations of Grays Road.

The first half of this road has been very nicely retarmacked, and it's a dream to ride on. Sian, Mary-Anne and Bims were in front of me, with Linda, Mhairi and Charlene at the back.  We just rode all the way to the end of the road. There were some fast bits, some slow bits, but so much easier than what we have been doing!  When we got to the end we waited for the others to get to us.

Once we were all there it was time for the most bestest bits of the ride!  Cudham North Lane, and we won't be turning right to go off somewhere else, missing this fantastic down hill section either! Mary-Anne, Sian and Bims were all in front of me, and we started on the down hill towards the A21!  Oh, it was sheer heaven!  But then I kept having to put my brakes on a bit as I got closer to Bims, there was only one thing for it "Coming past on your right" I said, and Bims, let me fly by, and so did Sian and Mary-Anne!  Fantastic.  All the way down to the bottom of the hill!

If only I could fly up hills too!  Anyway, once we all got to the bottom we made up way back, up the A21 then turned left to go to Farnborough Village!  We had coffee, tea, cakes scones and bacon sandwiches!  Of course, we only had one thing each!  After all it was only 20 miles (at least it will be by the time I get home) A great ride today, the weather was perfect, the company was perfect and I just so enjoyed it!

Here is the remnants of our coffee stop!  I aways forget to get pictures of the before!

Here is the geeky stats.  it's on the Old Boys Garmin, but do notice that 'top speed'!  I am sure that I didn't reach that, but I did take a peak at one point and saw that I was travelling at 27 mph! Crazy Old Girl!!

Bromley Common and Keston Ward Cycling by ACC1960 at Garmin Connect - Details

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

We're Feeling Moby Dick!

Hello blog lovers.

It's the last days of holidays, some kids have already gone to school but today I have a free day!  No kids, nothing!  Darren was waiting for an answer about whether I could meet up for a 'Training Ride' with some other ladies, but I was still waiting for a text last night to see if I was needed today.  It had arrived too late and Darren then booked himself to lead a spin class instead!

Which left me with a free day to do sweet nothing!  Until my sister had seen my post to Darren saying I had no kids!  She rang me this morning and encourage me to go for a bike ride!  She wanted to go to Eynsford.  But I wasn't 'feeling' Eynsford.  So I suggested The White Bear route.  Ok so it's a shorter route, it has one bastard hill, but with having all day to do it, add extra roads, maybe even get lost a bit, we could make it fun!

But Bims wasn't 'feeing' White bear.  But then she suggested up town.  Up to London, have a lunch, maybe even try the Wibbly Wobbly, if not the Moby Dick!  Well, we were both 'feeling' Moby Dick.  The Moby Dick route is a doable one!  We have all day, the weather looks stupendous and there is no pressure to pedal fast or anything!

I was still thinking the White Bear by the time she came to my house, but London it was!  I started to procrastinate.  First off, Bims was going all bloomin pc with the helmet thing.  I hate wearing my helmet, I didn't even know where it was, but of course we had to find it.  Then I had to find my gloves, and my glasses, and whatever else I may need.  And then off course to pump up my tyres up!  I haven't been on my bike for ages!

Eventually I think we set off about 11;30 ish!  I have no idea, broken Garmin!  Plus Bims had forgotten to bring hers along as well!  But we know the mileage more or less, so it don't matter so much.

We set off and headed for Beckenham.  Already I started to feel better!  Yeah, I think this is going to be a perfect day!  We pedalled and twiddled, and snaked our way all the way through to Cater park.  We can do this almost blind folded now!  Once we got to Cator Park we were just so relaxed, enjoying just being out in the last throes of summer.

I do love this ride, this route!  It is just perfect, virtually no traffic to worry about, well from Cator Park that is.  With just a few little roads its a very easy ride, and not hilly whatsoever!  Just getting to the park is where the hills are!

We followed the little water way, which is where the name comes from the Water Way Link, and now that the kids are at school it is really quiet too!  We have to go over a few bridges to get to our ultimate goal but there was this one bridge in particular. To get over it you have to take a 'run' at it, to get up over the hump.  But as I was 'going for it' I slowed down and then stopped on the bridge.  I spotted a group of gentlemen, wearing waders and wellies, and it looks like they were about to make a brew!  Their van had Thames something or other written on it and they were cleaning up the waters, weeding and generally looking after all our water ways, ponds and lakes, for our wildlife!

"You shouldn't have stopped" they said to me  And I had to be honest and say that I was being nosey!  And also thought that they were about to make a cuppa!  "Would you like one then" said another chat! "Well, that would be very gentlemanly of you" I said.  And the next minute we dismounted, helmets off and a cuppa put in our hands!

Now that wouldn't have happened if we to Eynsford or the White bear!  We had such a lovely time, just chatting with the 5 or 6 gentlemen and Lucy the dog!  I wished I had taken a photo of these guys, they were just so friendly!  Then to top it all one of them came out with a bag of onion bhaji and chocolate biscuits!  Heaven!  Although I didn't take the bhajis, a choc biscuit to dunk in my tea was just the job.

After a few more minutes we said our goodbyes and then carried on a way, with a smile on a faces, and just a renewed sense of 'kindness' in the world we live in. We were riding along towards Lewisham and just before we got out of the park we passed a group of ladies who I recognise.  They were the Breeze Ladies on one of the weekly outings!  Also on the way to Surrey Quays we pass a friends office Big E, I wondered if he would be in his office today!  Probably expecting a cuppa would probably be expecting to much!  But I sent a text to say we would be riding past very soon!

He did come our to say hello!  He is bike crazy, he likes to look over bikes, they man rides mega miles in just one day!  He rode back from Doncaster just a few weeks ago, and there is me, wanting to do nice short easy, flat routes!  With pub and tea stops thrown in of course!

After we chatted for just a few minutes we carried on.  The Moby Dick is now put on hold as Bims fancied trying the Wibbly Wobbly, its a pub on a boat, or at least the boat is the pub!  But when we got there it was closed!  So it deffo was the Moby Dick for us!

Bims, and our

I couldn't get my
leg over!
We had a great lunch there, took pictures of course, of lunch drinks and ourselves!  Then we made our way to a huge sports store Decathlon.  I had told Bims that it's a big place and would deffo do something nice for her, a cycling jersey, at a reasonable price!  It said so, on the walls and floors, "Over 70 sports" catered for!  I can't even think of 70 sports!

We asked the chap for the cycling section! Of course it was quite obvious,
She could!
it was were all the bikes were!  We walked over to it and looked for the clothing.  We looked behind the long aisle of male clothing, and we looked along the next aisle.  "Oh here how about this" says Bims. "Its running stuff" I told her.  So we decided to ask someone.  He showed us where the womens section of cycling clothing is!

Well! I couldn't believe it. If you take the size of a football field, fill it with 70 sports equipment and accompany 'stuff' and gear, the mens cycling gear would be the size of say the goal posts, the ladies section would be just a quarter of that!  If indeed that is not being too generous!  We just left, totally disappointed!  Even asked the stuff if there was an Aldi's near by!

We began to make our way home riding all the way back through where we had ridden earlier!  There were more children about now as the first day of school had finished, yet the park at Ladywell was clear.  I made sure I was in front of Bims, and totally focused on cycling without stopping, but I could hear her "It's clear" and then again "There's no one here" and still "Come on"  I replied "no" of course.  I wasn't going to try and get on that one piece of apparatus that we tried once before!  Bims peed her pants and I am sure a little bit of wee came out as well as we both fell about laughing to get on it!  No that was not going to happen today!

It didn't take long to get to Cator Park, and then Beckenham!  But as we were going through there I got a puncture!  Darn it!  But the thing is, the tube in my bag was an old one!  I had forgotten to replace it!!  So I walked up to the high street, Bims rode up there and bought me a new tube.  My bike all fixed we made our way to our last watering hole The Richmal Compton at Bromley South!

Just had we had finished our refreshment then the rain started!  With just 10 or so minutes to get back home it wasn't so bad!  A great ride and we met a great bunch of guys too!  I am so glad that we went up to London today, a nice easy, un-pressured, none training day, perfect fun bike ride!

Cheers everyone!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Which Way Ladies?!

Hello blog lovers.

I was so pleased to hear from Debbie yesterday that she was going to be at Panaguas usual meeting spot for a little ride today.  This is the first time I've been on my bike for ages, and a first Monday Panagua ride since school holidays started!  I have taken this week off so that I too can enjoy the summer holidays and do what I want to do.  And today, that is riding with my Panagua pals!

We had no leader as such, being as it is the school holidays of course our leaders have all gone away with their families, but I feel sure we could muddle through! There was a couple of routes that was being talked about, either the White Bear route or the Shampan route.  It didn't matter which one they both have hills!  But I am going to try to not moan about them!  Hills are our friends, hills are our friends!  I must remember that mantra when going up the first of the hills.

Our route was the Shampan route, so it was up hill more or less from the start of our ride!  And as usual, I forgot to put my Garmin on.  Lynne loves a hill, Debbie loves the challenge of a hill, Bims has this love/hate thing going on. I'm not sure how Mary-Anne feels about them, but they don't seem to bother her at all!  She just flies up them "On your right" she calls out as he passes me by! Me, I will just try to remember the mantra!

We got to Downe village, me bringing up the rear, and I thought, keeping in with the title of this blog, it was a great photo opportunity!  So here

This way, no this way, I'm sure its this way! Up?

We continued our ride down Single Street, past Downe House.  We were heading for the usual Berry Street, but I will take the path, just like Billy Bunter avoiding a salad, I will be avoiding yet another hill!  Lynne was also taking the path, Debbie, Bims and Mary-Anne are going down the steep hill.  As I got to the end of the path I saw Debbie coming up from the hill, followed by Bims.  We both pulled up a little further by a drive way while we waited for Mary-Anne and Lynne.

We waited a little longer than I thought we should have before we saw them coming up.  Mary-Anne missed the right hand turn, it comes up quite quickly, and when you heading down a steep hill it's easily done!  So she had just a little bit more of a climb to do to get back to the turn!

We carried on climbing up, not so steep now, but still a climb.  We arrived at the road that takes us directly to the Shampan.  This part of the road seems to be always covered in debris, big stones and pebbles!  Why is that!  I was so pleased to get to the Shampan, not only because some of it has been newly relaid, but also because just after that road is the long, long ride down to the Rose and Crown pub! Oh how I love that road!  My hands relax on my bike, a big smile spreads over my face, ..... oh yes! Perfect.

But when we got to Cudham North Lane, we started along it all well and good, after all, its the way home, but then Lynne puts her hand out to make a right hand turn!  What, no long winding down hill, no relaxing on my bars, wind in my hair, speed!?

She was taking us through Knockholt and Halstead!  Oh well.  It was different and it was a lovely road that we went down.  It was winding road, a narrow road,  so we went a down it a lot slower than we would have done had it been Cudham lane, or even the other road, further one!  I think its called Badgers Mount, but it takes us past Knockholt train station.

We went down the A21 until we got to  the Rose and Crown,  "Who fancies one more hill"  Quite frankly I am not sure who said it, but everyone seemed to say "Yeah why not!" Everyone, that is, except me, of course!  I was going into panic mode, as the only hill that was right by u s at that time was the one I have tried running up before, with my running club!  Old Hill,I think Debbie called it! Old hill indeed, and it will kill this Old Girl!

I watched all the others go up it first.  I knew I was going to be slow "I will be walking up this hill" I said before we started on it. "Now get rid of the attitude straight away!" said Debbie with a smile on her face, and a waving finger!  She right of course, embrace the hills!

So as I said, I saw them all go up, I started my ascent, I must of got about 10 yards and thought "Feck it!" and I got off my bike, "I am just going to have to walk it" I said to my self!  I took two or three steps up the hill and then grabbed myself by the scruff of the neck, metaphorically of course, and plonked my lazy arse back on my bike! "Get yourself up that hill, you lazy mare" I said to myself.

I went up it slowly.  I stopped, but didn't get off my bike. I waited till passing cars went by and then  tried again.  Rode some more and stopped, then rode some more and stopped. That is how I got up it! It had to be done, I had to ride the hill.  I couldn't let myself be lazy any more I coudn't not  attempt to do the hill!  I did it, slowly, slowly but I did it!  I was so pleased with myself.

I met up with the other girls and we continued on our way.  There was one more hill to do, and that was the hill going into Farnborough!  We didn't stop at the cafe there as Debbie had to get back to Panagua bike shop, she had left her rucksack there for safe keeping!

The bacon sandwich at the Village Cafe was most welcomed! Oh perfect.  The weather was good, the ride was good and the company was good!  Loved it!

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