Monday, 23 November 2015

It's A Bootie Ride!

Hello blog lovers.

Ok, maybe the title has double connotations! So it may attract more people to read my blog! But it really was a bootie ride.  It's cold out, it's the middle of November, and I'm on my bike!  So I finally got a chance to try out those overshoes the Old Boy bought me.  The do look like cute booties!

So there I was, everything ready and then......getting those booties on!  Talk about hard!  It's like squeezing the Michelin man into a size 8 wet suit! Yes, they're stretchy and they are the right size for me, in fact they are a size bigger because of the type of shoe I wear, but the positions I had to get into trying to get them on was ridiculous!  I got cramp in places I didn't know I could get cramp!

FinallyI was ready, I had more layers on than a full ballroom dancing dress has, my booties securely on my feet, and out of the door and heading for Hayes!  I hadn't a clue what the time was, I was hoping I was going to be in time, I had forgotten to pick up the Old Boys Garmin too, so I was just going to have to rely on the girls to let me know how far we would have done.

Didn't you just love
the old time ballroo dancing!

Towards the end of Barnet Wood Lane I heard a "Good Morning!" I turned to see who it was and it was a young lady that I hadn't met before. "Are you Donna, Donna Moosh?" she asked.  "Yes" I answered, still didn't know who she was.  "I'm Karen" she informed me!  Karen is one of the newest members of Panagua Ladies.  She has been on a few rides, but mainly on a Tuesday, the day that I can't ride.

We rode on together towards the cafe at Hayes.  Already there was Mhairi and Mary-Ann and also one other lady.  A newbie, never been before on a Panagua Ladies Ride, lady.  It was Brenda.  I had met Brenda before on a couple of Breeze rides with Yvonne and her girls.  So with the five of us we chose a route, just a short one, to Downe Village.

I was quite pleased it was a short one as I was having a little problem with my hand.  After I had fallen over a couple of weeks ago my hand is still hurting.  With every little pot hole or little lump I rode over it felt like I was bashing a huge bruise on my hand!  I was thinking that maybe the flat bar bike would have been a bit easier on my hand, at least for braking anyway, but too late now.

We set off with  Mhairi in front looking, as she said, like a traffic cone, Mary-Anne looking much the same as she proudly wore her Panagua colours, (I so got to get me some club gear!) and Karen next in line with Brenda slotting between them and me.  We turned right to go down the hill, the way we usually go.

The two ladies in front were in the zone as they pedalled along at a steady pace.  We got to the main road and Mhairi suggested that the two front runners go ahead at their pace, and we just keep on going on the way to Downe.  So off they went and that left just the three of us chatting and cycling along.

My little booties, I think were doing a good job.  I am sure my feet would be freezing by now.  I felt nice and toasty with my three layers on, and I didn't resort to putting on my liners in my gloves.  I should really try to start acclimatising myself to the winter onslaught.  I don't do cold very well, just ask the Old Boy, there has been many a times he has had to loan me his gloves to wear for the last little bit home! A little and often of getting out cycling is probably what I should be doing!

It was a steady slog up to Downe, I went in front and Mhairi cycled along with Brenda, I knew where we were going anyway.  We got to the tree in the middle of the village and had a little break there before we started off again.  I forgot to get a picture but as I was out in front again I thought it would be good to get an action shot of the two ladies. I stopped at the junction of Single Street and Jail Lane.  A 'decicision' making stop as to which way we would go, once the other two ladies had caught up.

We decided to carry on straight down Jail Lane and then take a left turn
through the quieter roads.  Our destination was going to be Costa's in Biggin Hill.  They do do a lovely coffee in there.  We cycled on through for just a few minutes more and before we knew it we were on our way down to the coffee shop!

This is us after we had warmed up with our coffee and hot chocolate, cakes, slices and choc cornflake treats!  Yum.

Brenda, me and Mhairi

After I said goodbye to Mhairi and Brenda and made my way back down.  I do love a bit of speed and it is so much easier to speed when you are at the top of the hill!  I was enjoying it so much that I continued all the way along to the Keston Mark, usually I turn left to go through Keston.  I don't know why I do that, I think because usually me and the Old Boy stop at the Greyhound for a pint before heading home.  I couldn't possibly do that now, not on my own......only because I didn't have my bike lock with me!

No geeky stats, it was a nice easy free ride!

Monday, 12 October 2015

A Genteel Ride!

Hello blog lovers.

I saw on our page yesterday that at least Debbie was keen to go for a ride, Mhari and Posh Totty were more of a 'Lets see how I am in the morning'  They had done a rather long hilly ride on Sunday!  Think kids drawing of a crown, with seven little spiky things on top, well that was their ride yesterday!  So you can imagine how pleased and surprised I was to see that they both said they wanted to meet up today!

I was kind of hoping that it would be cancelled.  I had a rather exciting day myself yesterday, after a very successful PWR's 10k event we were celebrating in the pub afterwards!  So I was feeling a little delicate.  But the day looked just too perfect to let it go by the by.  So I made an effort to get out there and meet up with my cycling buddies.

Bims wasn't going to be there, she was having car issues, what on earth that has to do with cycling I don't know, but I expect she had to find time to take it to the garage!  So I shall let her off.  I got to the cafe at Hayes to find Mhari talking to a cyclists, I think she was getting 'Mitts envy'  This guy had these rather weired looking mitts attached to his drop handle bars, to keep the wind and the cold and the rain off!  How cool is that!

Soon the other ladies turned up, Sian, Debbie and then Mary-Anne (Posh Totty).  Mhairi was in need of a coffee before we set off, and I was so pleased about that, as I could get a bit of extra fluid inside of me.  I guess several pints the previous day is somewhat dehydrating!

But we soon got under way, "Tatsfield, that's where we will go" said Mhairi.  I couldn't quite think where that was, but I knew that she did say it's going to a nice slow and steady ride!  Perfect for a lazy, hungover Old Girl like me!

But of course these ladies are keen cyclists, (you have to be to tackle the ridiculous hills they did yesterday and then come out today!) and this nice genteel, slow ride takes in a hill.......or two!  What I didn't realise is that you get to Tatsfield from Botley Farm Inn!  So it's a slow and steady climb all the way to the top!  Yup, these girls love a hill!

Of course there is one good thing about going up slowly, on a nice country road is that we do chat.  This is where I noticed that they really were taking it easy, as I could keep up with them on some parts of the road.  We were chatting about all sorts, as usual.  But we also chat about really important stuff, stuff that really you can't chat about in mixed company!  So gentlemen, please skip the next paragraph or two, but I feel this needs to be out there!  This really needs careful consideration!

Commando or not?  Seriously, I have the same issues while running! Hungry bum!  I even wrote an article for a new running magazine about this, the most intimate of problems.  But now I find it needs to be spoken about, research needs to be done, unless it's done then the results need to published, and maybe even "How to use your new cycling shorts, bib and shorts, long tights etc"  Because, being a lady (ahem, no giggling ladies!) I do tend to dress carefully and um fully!

But is it necessary! After all the padding in the shorts are extremely comfortable!  But, I don't know, it's not a question I asked the guy and the cycling shop when I bought them!  Can you imagine the question "Er excuse me, knickers or not?"  Hmm.  It's something I need to know the answer to!

It's these things that I ponder about as I climb steadily and slowly, watching all the skinny bottoms in front or me cycling up.  It's on my to speak!  I was so pleased when we got to the top of the hill!  The very top, the part where all the other times I have been here, mostly (apart from the time me and Bims had lunch at the pub) we have executed the perfect U-turn and gone flying back down the magnificent hills!

But today, with the look of expectation in the eyes of my fellow Panagua Ladies, I [willingly] said "Yes, of course, lets turn left and ride on to the round about, passing the pub, with the most delicious bacon club sandwich"  The was a "Well done Old Girl" a they all encouraged me with my decision to carry on.

It wasn't until we got passed the roundabout and going down the road that Mhairi told me about the little hills that we needed to get up, after going down some rather steep twisty hills, with gravelly roads to negotiate!  Well, we are here to challenge ourselves, right?

The first hill I could get up, it was tough, but the only reason I kept going is because I was going so slowly that I didn't want to stop pedalling to unclip from the pedals otherwise I would have fallen off! Oh man was that a tough 'cheeky' little hill.  I think Mhairi has done this route on several occasions, but she was like the navigator in a rally car, "Ok, so the road is broken up a bit here, it bends to the right, be careful, then it rises........." and she continued to describe the whole of the road.  Excellent piece of leading/guiding (as she was at the back, she doesn't like anyone to ride this bit alone) and we all got up there.

Well, I did have to get off my bike and walk!  There was some horses just at the bottom of the hill, just about the place where you needed a bit of speed to use the momentum to get up some of this next hill!  It really was horrendous!  I virtually came to a stop almost immediately, in fact it was so immediate I forgot to shout out "Stopping"  Thankfully Mhairi is experienced and managed to ride around me.

At the top of this road we came out by the Shampan!  I didn't even know where we would end up!  But at least now I know that it is virtually all down hill!  We had the choice of going via Biggin Hill or continuing on down Grays Road and then flying down Cudham North.  But I really was feeling a tad tired now, most of my water had been drunk and I was in need of a bit of sugar, the jelly babies that Mhairi had given me early had been used up just walking up that bloomin hill!

So we rode down to Biggin Hill and stopped off at Costa Coffee.  A nice medium cup of coffee and some sort of crispy chocolaty thing was just what I needed.  I have no idea what the distance was today, but I know the ladies had their Garmins so I shall tag those later and let you know the distance!

After we had been refreshed we rode on home, some were heading in different directions so we said our goodbyes beforehand.

It was a brilliant ride, a tough one but I was so pleased that I decided to go their 'extra mile' and head to Tatsfield.  I didn't take my usual photos either.  My head was deffinitely not right this morning!

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