Monday, 9 December 2013

Shall I, Shan't I?

Hello blog lovers.

The title, 'Shall I shan't I?" That was referring to whether I write a blog this evening.  Well, yes, is obviously the answer.  It's all exercise to me.  1 mile running, or less than ten miles cycling, it's all getting out there and doing it.

I needed to get out for a bit of fresh air, the little lad I look after wasn't too well, and my house was not smelling too good after he had been sick!  The Old Boy wasn't feeling 100% either, so he suggested just a very short spin into Bromley and out again, via the Red Lion of course. 

Although it was quite a chilly night, as we were not out for that long, I found it quite comfortable.  I don't think I would have liked to be out for 2 or more hours cycling around. We kept to the roads, not going through the parks this evening. It would be just our luck to get a puncture on such a short journey and not be able to do even a two mile ride!  Straight up to Southborough from Faringdon Avenue, and then turn left towards Bromley. With the usual route to get to the pub. 

We stopped there for one pint and then headed directly, (kind of) home.  The Old Boy fancied some garlic bread to accompany our dinner for when we got home, so we rode on up the A21, past the bus garage to a little convenience store there.  He also bought a little treat for later on! It was nice getting home to my nice warm, thankfully aired sitting room! Plus a nice chilli con carne to enjoy.

There, this must be the shortest blog I have ever wrote, but with only 8 miles on the Garmin, on an uneventful ride out, I think I have covered everything.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Get Riding Before the Weather Turns!

Hello Blog lovers,

They say the weather is going to turn next week. It's going to be cold, there will be snow and ice and quite frankly not the sort of weather I enjoy riding in.  The day today was quite mild, after yesterdays lovely Sunshine day for the Santa run in Bromley! I am just hoping it will hold out until after the weekend at least, I have another race booked for Sunday!

So today, just to keep my legs spinning and enjoying being out riding on my bike and enjoying the last of the mild weather I chose the same route that we did last week.  I find this route so much better than going through the ally and then on the A21 from Princess Plain.  Much nicer to join the A21 from Tubbenden Lane.

I was getting quite warm as we headed for Halstead, and the ride up to the round about had me stopping briefly for a breather!  But I was soon on my way again.  I was looking forward to riding down Cudham Lane, even though I have Knoll Rise to contend with at the end of the ride!  But at least I know that we will be virtually home by then.

But before that time there was a quick stop at the Blacksmiths Arms.  I do like stopping here, and that's because of the lovely woodburner they have there.  I get right up close to it and it really does warm up my feet, which were the only part of me that's was feeling cold, oh and my ears too!

A very nice pleasant ride out, with some sort of cardio workout, with those hills that is the only thing that you can do.  But the Old Boy made me give it a little bit extra going down Farringdon, he said something about me getting up to 16 miles an hour on this straight bit of road before he flew past me!  

The geeky stats are from the Old Boys Garmin, and he did speed up and raced ahead of me on some parts of todays ride.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pedal Dash For A Santa Dash!

Hello blog lovers.

Just a short bike ride today, a short bike ride with just a little purpose to go out for as well as just the sheer pleasure of getting out! And that was to get mine and my grandsons running attire for our race! A Santa suit each! I entered me and the little dude into Bromleys Santa Dash for this Sunday!

I  put on my cycling attire for this very short ride, one reason, because cycling in jeans, especially as my jeans that I had on today were a fairly snug fitting, is not very easy! And also second, my cycling tights had the very effective reflective panels on them. As I had those on I might as well have gone the whole hog put my cycling jacket on! Even on short journeys it best to be seen!

Our plan was to stop off for a glass of ale, well, the Old Boy would be having the warm beer, I shall stick to a glass of the cold stuff, and then make our way to the Pavilion to pick up the Santa Suits.  Then just ride on home ready to take our dinner out of the oven. 

We left quite late, at least an hour later than we usually do, so it deffo will be a nice slow short 'dash' to Bromley and back.  I noticed some of the drivers coming down towards us, along Tylney Road, they waited their turn for the car drivers to go past them before making their way down the road Me and the Old Boy we were not slow off the mark to make our way along the road and kept up with the flow of traffic, but why those car drivers didn't wait a couple of seconds more until we passed by them I don't know!  After that we made our way to the Red Lion un hindered by anymore crazy drivers!

Anyway, the little dash was successful, I am now in possession of two Santa suits, on adult size and one child size, so bring on the Santa dash, and lets all start the festive month in a most fun way possible!  And what a great fun way to introduce grandson to the joys of running for fun!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

I'm The Leader!

Hello blog lovers

It's been a while since I posted a cycling blog, but I did go out last week, I just didn't get around to writing about it, and today I am still writing about my ride yesterday!  I am just a slow rider! Getting back late and then eating dinner! Well that's my excuse anyway!

So yesterdays route was slightly different to where we usually go, up to Halstead then through to Knockholt Village and then down Cudham Lane, across the round about and then down to Opington up the awful Knolls Rise and head on home! Simples.

The weather was kind to us, there was a few very short moments of drips of rain coming down at us, but that stopped before I had even realised it. We didn't go the usual way to Halstead either.  I don't really like going up the ally way, so we decided to go on through Pettswood, and I took a detour through the Palace estates.  It's where I sometimes go running with my running club, nice quite roads and streets.  Then we turned left to go up towards Orpington but turned right on to Newstead Avenue.  This is the way I go when I drop off a little squashy character to nursery school.  Again these are nice quite roads.  I chose these roads as we were cycling along, and I really did feel like I was the leader of a ride, even though there was only me and the Old Boy!

All the  latest  accidents resulting in  the deaths of cyclists have been really hitting the news lately, now I am not saying that I am a little more worried that usual,  but it does make you think.  I know people in the morning are all trying to get to work on time, and they're in a hurry, which you would hope, make the homeward journey a bit more relaxed.  But then drivers could be tired or stressed about a particular horrid day, and even thinking about their next days work, but yesterday I noticed there were quite a lot of drivers giving us plenty of room as they passed, and also when they were approaching us, instead of trying to squeeze by on the narrower lanes, they waited until we had passed them.  I was very pleased with that, and I said "Thank you" to the driver, not that he could hear me, but I just wanted to say it.  The Old Boy said "He must be a cyclists!"

We reached Cudham North Lane and the Old Boy gave me a choice, we could stick the the route that was suggested or turn left and go through to Biggin Hill.  Now I know that just down Cudham Lane here there is a very nice public house, with the outside smoking area being one of the most cosiest I know!  Wood burner, lights, books, not that I have a smoke here, or even a read, but it is a nice place to sit and you can keep an eye on your bikes without having to chain them up! So we turned right and headed for the Blacksmiths arms!

We slightly over stayed out usual 1 pint and off, as it was just so cosy there, cooking dinner went on the back burner (pun intended, I think) as we headed off towards Opington and that hill, but of course we had a new stopping destination added, and that was our local kebab shop for a tasty burger to go with our already prepared salad!

Just slightly under 20 miles, I shall grab the Old Boys geeky stats later this evening and upload them here. A very nice pleasant ride indeed, albeit blooming freezing, especially after coming out of the cosy room!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Wednesday Meander!

Hello blog lovers.

This blog is only about 24 hours late! But better late than never I hear you all say......right?  The Old Boy really had to cajole me into going out into the cold night air.  Well, for November it was quite mild, but I was just feeling nice and snug in my house, and maybe just a little bit jaded as well!

It was to be our usual route up to Halstead. From there.....well, from there we were going to discuss which way to make our way home.  I knew which way I wanted to go! But you never can tell, if I fancied a bit more of a challenge once I got there.

We along the path to Princes Plain and the rode up to the bus garage.  There was a runner going in the direction of Locksbottom.  I slowed down to let him go past. I knew I would be riding past him pretty soon.  He was running really well and I had to make a bit more of an effort to go past him, and then I took it a bit easier until the hill came.  I really did slow down, I pedalled as hard as I could and just then the runner caught up with me! I was mortified!  Then he started to over take me! How can this be, my legs were getting that 'burn' feeling as I chased after him! I managed to catch up to him as we were both going up hill and stayed neck and neck for a short while! But to me it seemed like an age!  Then the hill started to flatten out and I eventually went past him!  I had to make myself pedal just a little bit harder up the next hill just to make sure that he didn't catch up to me again!

It was a little bit of fun (well, apart from the fact that I really did feel mortified!) But at least now I know what the 'burn' feels like! Something that I almost get to and then I stop before it kicks in.  I know that it was just a small example of what 'the burn' is and I have decided that I don't like it!  I am seriously going to look into this and see if it is actually good for you! (I think it will be though, as we touched on it during my recent L.i.F.C. that I took!)

I took it nice and easy all the way to Halstead and then the Old Boy told me that it took 47 minutes to get there! Now that is slow! I still had to get up to Knockholt and then to the Shampam, it really was going to be a slow ride. 

Struggling through Knockholt village but eventually getting to Cudham North Lane, I allowed myself a bit of a sigh of relief!  Nearly there. Just 20 minutes or so to the Shampan (that is an estimated guess, which I am not very good at, I didn't take my Garmin with me) and then it was the wonderful fast downhill although way to the put at Keston.

The lanes were pretty dark but me and the Old Boy were lit up like Christmas trees, you could deffo see us coming along! Lights is everything when you are out in the pitch dark lanes! Once we at the Shampan the Old Boy said that it was quite late! "Well, lets just go straight home" I said "No, we can stop for a swift one, if we can get there within 20 minutes" Well, I think I must had done it.  Riding through Biggin Hill is just so fantastic.  Mainly down hill, light traffic I can really begin to enjoy the ride, and it was good to see the Old Boy pull into the pub!

A very quick refreshment and then off to rescue our dinner at home!  22 minutes later than planned!

While I write this my thoughts are with the families of the cyclists that have been killed in London the past 10 days!  It truly is horrific, and I feel for the families.  But I am not ready to put away my bike, hang up my lycra or bag up my lights.  I just hope and pray that government will finally get their fingers out and start doing something to protect cyclists in our cities.

Here is the Old Boys geeky stats of yesterdays ride.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Stick To The Road!

Hello blog lovers.

It does seem a while since I posted a ride blog.  I did go out last week, but I just didn't get around to writing about it! Anyway, we decided to go out today and stick to the main roads!  There was a bit of a wind during the early hours of the morning, and was still going when the sun came up.  We lost a fence and a bit of felt from the shed roof.  So not too much damage.

But we wasn't quite sure how the lanes would have fared. Whether there were going to be trees and large branches across the roads.  We headed off into Bromley, staying on the main bus routes.  It seemed there was quite a bit of debris in the kerb side, spreading out filling up some of the cycle routes!  Leaves and twigs and other debris. 

We rode straight past our usual place in Bromley, this was going to be just a one refreshment stop ride, as its only going to be a short one.  The clocks have gone back, it's still quite wet out there and there is all that debris to consider!

We were doing a route that we have done before, and it has this particularly nasty little hill in West Wickham.  It's particularly nasty because when you are riding up it, there is no where to stop if you do get a bit tired, you just have to keep on going until you get to the top of it.  Not only that, but the cars that go past, for some reason only know one!  I just looked ahead and pedalled. I just wanted to get to the top of it as quickly as my little fat legs could do.

The Old Boy was very encouraging as he said, "That's it, keep going"  I just kept on pedalling, I didn't want to say anything back, acknowledge his encouragement, I just wanted to get up to the top.  As soon as I felt the hill flatten out then I relaxed a bit.  Apparantly I got up that hill at an average pace of 8 miles an hour, just steady and keeping the same pace!  I was pleased with that!

It wasn't that far to go to get to the Greyhound at Keston.  Just a little more undulating roads to get there.  The Old Boy put on his other light which lit up the very dark road like daylight.  The pub emerged through the darkness and filled up my horizon!  Now that was a very welcomed sight!

A quick pint in there and it was off towards home.  We decided to carry on sticking to the main roads and ride through to Locksbottom and then Crofton, Pettswood and home!

A nice ride, and the weather wasn't at all bad, quite mild really, and I was really pleased that the wind and rain was all done with this morning.

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.
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Monday, 7 October 2013

All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go!

Hello blog lovers.

Time to test out the padding on my bars! Apart from my bike look particularly lovely in the black tapes, I am hoping that the gels that was put on to my bars, will help with the issues of my hands! I so want this to be the answer.  I do love my bike, and I am getting more and more confident on it, until that is, my hands start to feel weak again. 

Today our ride was going through Farnborough, then up to Downe Village, and then up again through Biggin Hill again!  We are going to go the opposite way down Grays Road.  I don't think I have ever done that before!

It was getting pretty dark in the lanes on the way up to Downe, and the blinking light just had to go! I'm sure that could cause an epileptic fit if I had left it going! So I had my light on the lowest full beam.  But when the Old Boy put his light on it lit up like daylight! But it also cast this enormous shadow of me on the trees!  All I kept thinking was, "My thighs are still looking a bit big, and my bum deffo looks big in that light"  It's strange the things you think when you are pedalling up hills!

There was no stopping when we go the village, we turned right and the then left and headed for Jail lane.  More uphill climbing, although not half as bad as what we have done. And our lights looking really good, making sure that we are seen!   Once at the end of this road, we turned left!  Even though I fleetingly looked longingly at the right hand turn. The one that brings us closer to home!

But up we continued up the hill.  I couldn't quite figure out how far it was to the turning by the Shampan.  All I knew was that it was more up hill!  So I just get on going.  Trying my best, repositioning my hands when necessary, and just enjoying being out on my bike!  The weather is just lovely,  not too cold and no wind about! Perfect for riding about. 

Once at the Shampan we turned left and went down Grays road.  Usually I am riding up this hill, so I have quite a few down hill bits to look forward too!  The cars coming towards us, up really do see us coming, which is very reassuring.  I am sure that some think that it is a car and get a bit confused when me and the Old Boy pedal on by them. 

At the end of this road we turned left again, down, down, down Cudham North Lane!  We had a stop off at the Blacksmiths Arms! Well, it's thirsty work! We sat outside in the 'smoking' den, but they had this fantastic wood burner going.  It was just so warm and toastie, I just didn't want to get going again! 

After that, continued the downhill journey to the A21 and went home via Magpiehall Lane!  A very good ride today, my hand didn't feel too bad, I am hoping that it will continue to get stronger and stronger, back to how it used to, but right now, I know that I have done a ride!  It don't feel as bad as it has done, but still, it don't feel like it should do either! I am hoping that my hand will start to heal up so that I can start to enjoy my bike properly.

Anyway, geeky stats, and I am using the Old Boys, as I had forgotten to restart my after the pub stop!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cosmetic Surgery and New Clothes?!

Hello blog lovers.

My ride today was no so much as a pleasure ride, but a ride for a purpose.  Not only that but the exact time that I was ready to go out, the rain came! The issues with my hands was still giving me cause for concern, although, I am sure with each little tweak by the bike shop and each 20 mile bike ride that I have been doing is getting it solved.  The lovely chap at Bromley Bikes has still not given up with me, and his next thing to try was putting 'Fat' on my handlebars! I know! Usually us girls want fat removed, by Joe thinks that the gel cushions will do it. 

After he showed me what they looked like and also what colour tape I would like, put back on the bars, I left my Spesh in their capable hands, while I went in search of MeerKats and spiders! (with a spot of lunch thrown in)

It was only going to take about 40 minutes, so my first stop was to the post office, I had a parcel to collect from the near by post office.  This happened to be my Meerkat! Yes, I am afraid I have become a collector of Alexandr and his friends. So that explains the Meerkat. The spider was to be a costume for my grandson.  He wants to be insy winsy spider tomorrow, for his nursery rhyme day at school.  That was more difficult to find.  So his mummy found a 'cheeky monkey' costume, later in the day.

After all that was done it was back to the shop to pick up my bike.  There was a chap in there waiting for his bike to be finished, and he said "I guess that must the ladies bike there?" as he pointed out my bike.  "Did you guess that, or was it the pink that gave it away" I said jokingly. But when I saw my bike! Well, the obvious change was the lovely colour of tape that she was wearing! I bet you all think I've gone for pink! Well I didn't, my bike was now wearing lovely, 'slimmining' black tape.  And she needed it, as the 'cosmetic surgery', has provided a lovely, cushiony layer of 'Phat'.....ok, gel....underneath the new black 'clothes' on her handlebars.

It did feel a lot more comfortable on the ride home, just like holding on to an armchair!  But I am dying to show you a picture of her in her new clothes, so here she is!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Got To Keep On Going!

Hello blog lovers.

One blog this morning, and another one now! What is this Old Girl coming to?  Well, this morning, as you know was a path finder jog, to find out the distance of a new route for me to lead the Thursday morning running improvers group.  And, looking at the geeky stats, it looks very flat, but it wasn't!  But my legs were deffo complaining about something!

So there, I have set the scene for this blog.  I was feeling a tad tired.  The Old Boy was dressed in his finery before I had even put one foot on the floor in readiness to stand up!  So eventually ready, we set off in the direction of Halstead.. Trying to get a pb on our usual route!  I just know its not going to happen, but still, its good to be out, and putting more miles on my Specialized too!

I was looking at the weather, and I decided that I would prefer to ride in my other gloves, (the ones that are not fingerless) but those ones lack something else, and that's the padding in the palms!  I removed my rings as well, as Eddie said that he finds that his wedding ring can put pressure on his finger where it really shouldn't be.  I am giving everything a go!

I was a bit chilly to start with, but I soon warmed up, even getting a little sweaty! In fact the evening was a very pleasant temperature for riding in.  Not chilly and not to warm either.  The Old Boy had put our raincoats on our bikes, maybe he had seen the forecast for the evening, I was pleased that our coats were packed needlessly. 

The plod up to Halstead roundabout was slower, even I felt it was slower.  But I was enjoying it.  As long as I am having fun on my bike then, that to me, is all I need.  Cycling and running are great for me, and I enjoy doing both.  I would hate to think that either of them become a chore! I will always try keep them fun and enjoyable.  Yes, there were a couple of rides in the past that have had me in tears, as my running had done, while training for the marathon.  But, once I sorted out my head, and got back to treating both as fun activities it has all fallen into place again.

So, here is my geeky stats for the ride, from the Old Boys Garmin, but he was riding in my slip stream (so I was doing all the hard work really)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Where did The Summer Go?!

Hello blog lovers.

It's seems the summer has all but gone, ok it was still warm out, and the sun was shining this evening, but it's these dark nights I'm not liking!  We went for a twenty miler today, up to Halstead, left to Shoreham, and then through to Eynsford.

I am still giving my Spesh a thorough testing, it seems that 20 miles seems to be the 'magic' number of miles for my hand to start feeling weak again.  Thankfully not as bad as it has been but I feel sure if the ride was any longer then I would have problems of not being able to change gears with my left hand  or pull on the brakes while riding on the hoods! Which is not a good thing, as going down long hills I need to be on brakes, or I could quite easily break the speed limit.

But other than that, the ride was a lovely evenings activity.  I tried my best to keep a steady pace going, all the way up to the roundabout, but I don't think there were any PB's broken getting to there! After a quick stop, to get a chewing gum from the Old Boy, we headed off to Shoreham.  A bit of an undulating road, to get there, but there is one particular bit or up hill section that really seems, dare I say, quite easy to ride up!  It's just by the farm, and the pigs.  I seem to find this bit of hill less challenging, less hurty on the legs, almost like riding on a flat! Very peculiar indeed!  Why cant a hills feel like this?

The road down to the village of Shoreham is a great ride, but still feeling nervous on my bike, because of the problems I have had in the past, I was down on the bars with just enough pressure on the brakes to get down the hill, not slowly, but not as fast as I used to go on my Giant.  We stop at the pub for a lovely pint of the amber nectar.  I found it quite amusing that there were six people enjoying a refreshing drink outside, me and the Old Boy on our push bikes, two guys with lovely looking Harley Davidsons and then two other riders with real horsepower! Two people riding their magnificent looking horses!  I was a bit disappointed that I had forgotten my phone, so I couldn't take a picture.

We headed on up the road after we had finished our pint, and up to Eynsford.  But we were not stopping there, this is not a two pint ride, we are going straight home.  Up Foo Kin Hill to Orpington! Then up Poverest hill.  I am pleased to say that I didn't stop on any of the hills (again) I must be getting good at this cycling!  And apparently the Old Boys Gamin, only had 1 'hissy' fit, where it makes this beeping noise if we go slower than the average mile.  I usually hear that bleeping all the time, so again, I am pleased with that too!

Anyway, geeky stats.  And I think a call to the boys at my local bike shop tomorrow, to try and get this hand issue sorted out.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sheeeesh, Get Out Old Girl!

Hello blog lovers.

It was a struggle to get out of the house in my Lycra this evening.  Feeling a little jaded, and the 'Kiddie Germs' getting to me, I really had to force myself to get out of the door.  I even tried tempting the Old Boy to going to the pictures. That didn't work, so next I tried going for the jugular, and offering to buy  barbequed ribs from the rib house for him. But the Boy wasn't for swaying.

I knew once I got going it would be ok, it's like my running, once I'm there it's all good.  Usually though, the running is all over and done with, within the hour or less.  But having said that, we were only just going on a short ride, the O.B. could see that I wasn't 100% fit. Sneezing and drippy nose and the such gave him a clue.  So we were going to go through Bromley and head for Beckenham, West Wickham and Keston.  Not far at all!

We had a couple of hills to negotiate, hills that I really don't like!  Usually we were going in the opposite direction and going down them!  How I hate hills!  Trying to tell Tracy yesterday, when we were running up the inclines, that "hills are our friends! Embrace them!" I can just imagine her thoughts  at the time, now that I had struggled up those inclines!  But I didn't stop, I slowed down, obviously, but I didn't stop, for 12 miles solid I didn't stop, apart from traffic lights and junctions.  I was quite pleased with that considering how I was feeling! 

My legs are really complaining now though, still, its all good, rest day soon, on Friday maybe, if I don't fancy going out on a solo bike ride in the morning!

Geeky stats.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Double Bubble!

Hello log lovers.

I guess the title today could suggest that I had a double bubble and squeak breakfast, or maybe even a double bike ride yesterday, (as this blog is all about yesterdays bike ride.) But it is neither of those.  It's because I had double exercise yesterday.  First was the Thursday Improver's group (my first as leader of a group) and obviously the second was a bike ride in the evening with the Old Boy.

I have been feeling a bit down, and tired lately.  The thought of going out on my bike into a possible wet dark evening wasn't getting my mojo going either.  So when the Old Boy suggested just going to Downe Village, I thought to myself, "I can manage that"  Going up the A21 and on to Halstead seemed a pretty hard trek today.  Even though getting up to Downe is pretty hard anyway, at least its that bit closer.

We headed off while the light was still with us, we both had good lights anyway for when we get further into the lanes, and for now the rain has not started.  Unlike the morning when I went running, mind you at least it stayed away until I got into my car! Hopefully the rain will stay away till I get home.  I had my Specialized bike again, as it's a short journey, and she does feel very comfortable, and I just love it.  I am really hoping that the problems I had with my hands before are a one off.  I am remembering to shift my hand positions, and when going down hill I have more confidence to go down on the drops so that I can get more leverage on the brakes.  For some reason, still, I cannot pull the brakes up hard when I'm riding on the hoods!  Is it just me, have I just got weak hands and grip?  Maybe some hand strengthening exercises need to be done. (I am sure I have said that before!)

The long climb up to Downe village was tough.  We had our lights on by now, in blink mode, just to alert drivers that we are on the road.  I kept thinking to myself "Why does it feel particularly tough tonight?"  I surmised that I was just not quite 100%, maybe even baby germs getting to me again.  The schools are back and the kids coming home sneezing and coughing and sharing their germs again, it's quite possible.  It could also be possible that it's because of lack of exercise this week in general, due to my first born coming home from Oz, has something to do with it as well!

Our route was going through the village and on to Jail lane.  Still with some more 'ups' but they don't seem as hard as what I had just done!  I began to feel a little more lifted as well.  Confirming the truth in the fact that exercises can help to lift moods! 

We got to the other end of Jail lane and the Old Boy gave me a choice.  Right, to go to Keston and then down the A21 through to Southborough and then through the park to home. Or left, UP to Grays road (about a mile of up hill riding) and then get to Cudham North Lane and turn left to go to the Blacksmiths, then down down down, over the round about, through to Orpington and then Up Knoll Rise!  I really did think about it, and I seriously considered going left, but my psyche wasn't with me and I decided to do the easier route and go right.

The ride down was brilliant, just sitting back after going through all the gears and letting the hill just take me was awesome!  Of course it's not all plain sailing down, there are a couple of bumps that you have to put some effort in, but all in all it's not that bad getting from Biggin Hill to Keston!  Mind you, when we got to the Greyhound it was closed! They are having it all decorated, so we had to continue our journey to Hayes and enjoy a pint at the George!

Lovely evening, the rain held off, and I wasn't feeling that cold, evening though the evenings are starting to chill down.

Geeky stats.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Rain And Breeze!

Hello blog Lovers.

How would you respond to this question?  Stay in bed, in the nice warm dry house, or go cycling? Do some much needed housework, in the nice warm dry house, or go cycling? Sit in doors all morning and some of the afternoon, in the nice warm dry house, or go cycling!  If you answered 'Cycling' to all of these, (and are of course female) then you truly are........crazy enough to come on a Breeze cycle ride to do the Lovely Ladywell route!

When I told Yvonne that I would be going with her on this ride yesterday, I had been sweltering in the heat, sweating in my house, with three sweaty boys all wanting to play football in the garden! I was longing to jump on the bike and pedal off in search of refreshing refreshment of the refreshing type. (usual Mr. Forster's or Dhr.Amstel)

But I couldn't let her down, .....could I! All dressed up, and raincoat tucked into my drinks rack on my Spesh (yes I am taking the pink one out, see if she can be a proper road bike, out in all weathers, or whether she is just all pink and glitz) my Garmin on my wrist, (which I forgot to switch on! Grrrr) and I headed off to Cator Park to meet Yvonne, and any other crazy ladies want to cycle for fun in the rain!

I got as far as Whitebeam, about 200 yards from my home, and I had to stop and put my rain coat on! Oh well, maybe the rain is only passing!  But the further I got the heavier the rain came down! Why didn't I get Yvonne's telephone number! I'm sure I had it from the last ride!  Maybe I will just cycle up to Cator Park, and then say I'm not going, and the go home! Of course then my brain kicked in, (for just a split second that is), "If you go all the way to Cator Park, you might as well continue to ride the rest of the way, after all its not 24 bike ride, is it Old Girl" So that's what I did.

Cycling in the rain, singing, yes singing on my own all the way to Cator Park.  I knew roughly where I was going this time, so no need to stop and get out my directions to find out which road next, which meant that I was there a little earlier than I was last time, 9:45.  Me, alone, standing under a tree, looking wet, with a bright orange coat on! I was still wondering if there would be any others turning up today, or if it will be just me and Yvonne. I then saw a lady approaching "Is this the Breeze ride" she said and I told her it was,  and that was Mary.

Then another lady turned up, "Breeze ride?" she said, and we both said "Yes" That was Brenda.  Next to arrive was Yvonne, she was a couple of minutes late due to technical difficulties with the printer, or register, or something, and then last but not least Anne arrived.  Quite a nice little group, a nice wet smiley group, to be going on a bike ride with!

Anne, Mary, Yvonne and Brenda
This was taken after the ride!

With the usual checks done, air in tyres (mine felt a little soft actually, but probably a good thing in this weather!) and then brakes and finally the chain. This time of year the trees are shedding bits of twigs all other the place, best to be on the safe side and give it a good look over! And then we were off. I was back marker, probably just as well as I am the only one who's bike has no mudguards! I shall be wearing my stripe with pride! (with a wet arse to boot......and no, that doesn't mean you can boot me!)  With the five of us making our colourful way through the park and onto coffee at Oscars, (and a cake or something for me!)

Yvonne managed to get an action shot, she look at this

Brenda, in blue, Mary in yellow,
me at the back.

There wasn't that many cyclists about, nor indeed pedestrians, on the WaterWay link to Lewisham, and we made quick time to the coffee shop.  The road works still in progress creating an awful noise and smell! Apparently its been like that for well over a year now! It must be all the preparations that take forever!  We arrived at Oscars coffee shop, a bit soggy, but all still very chatty.  I seemed to be the only looking a bit like I have wallowed in a mud bath, my legs were covered in dirt, a huge stripe up my jacket, and my hair!!! Well I don't want to even start with the hair! But my bike! My beautiful pink and black bike, she was covered in grit, mud grass and looking like she has been dragged through the same wallowing mud bath! All because 'she didn't want to 'wear mud guards' she is so vain my bike!

We ordered our coffee and sat down, I again was the only one who had something to eat! (hmmm? weight not in take same....cake check, one needs sugars.... croissants obviously breakfast is important......chocolate......purleeeeessse I am female......Nah, no connection)
They were a nice bunch of ladies, here is a picture of us all

Brenda Mary, Anne and me, (with that hair!)

But all too soon it was ready for the ride back.  Putting my jacket on felt really horrible! It was cold and wet! It may stop the water from getting in but it also stops the sweat getting out! It was just as wet on the inside as it was out!  Is there a coat, a raincoat that can cope with a cyclists needs, and a runners needs!  We don't want a lot, just to be comfortable, dry, warm, looking bloody gorgeous! Not a lot really!

The ride back was a little better, the rain was coming down as hard! If it had been sunny we could have taken so many great shots, where the trees were hanging down framing the bridge, it would have been great to take some action shots of the ladies through the trees! Oh well, next time!

We stopped off at the park, Yvonne said we wasn't allowed to play on the slide or the swings cos it was too wet, and we might get wet bums and we might fall over and get all muddy and we don't want that do we! Hmm, that don't sound like Yvonne at all, what she said was "I bet you want to go down don't you!?" Of course I did.......I did want to go down, but I thought, maybe not this time round!

Yvonne, Mary, Brenda and Anne

The ride as soon over, we said our good byes and we all went off, need to save the but, for the time being!

No Geeky stats, cos I forgot! But it was the same route as last time, so about 20 odd miles from door to door, a great ride, a great wet ride, and some lovely new cycling chums I have met too! How else do you get over a wet horrible day!

Oh yes, the Spesh handle ok in the wet, but I must remember to wear my gloves as the brake levers are pretty slippery when wet!

Monday, 2 September 2013

R'n'R - Racing and Rugby

Hello blog lovers.

What a glorious day it was today! Beautiful day spent with four very well behaved little boys at the Hop farm, put me in a brilliant mood for a nice cycle ride today.

So this evening I decided to do the old route, stick to that, stick to what I know and do as best as I can. Halstead is my first goal, get there as fast as I could, and work really hard to just keep going, obviously concentrating on my hands, and positioning and stuff! I got out and as we got up the ally I remembered to switch on my Garmin! I am going to use my own geeky stats this time, from my forerunner 110, ok so its a running watch mainly, but you can switch the icon on the website to a little bicycle, so you can tell which is which when you do a quick search.

As we were going along the A21, pass the lights at Starts Hill, I saw two other cyclists coming from there, cycling on the shared pavement.  They were all 'Lycra'd up' so I knew they would be over taking me at some point, if they were going my way that is.  So I made a consorted effort to get as far in front of them as I could, before they came onto the road and 'buzzed' me.  I could hear them getting closer, so I pushed a little harder, then two cyclists flew pass me! It wasn't them! It was two other cyclists! So a pushed a little harder, then the first of the two that I saw, passed me, I watched as he rode on pass the Old Boy, who was, now, in front of me.

I kept going concentrating on my 'race', there maybe one of them in front of me, but the other chap doesn't seem that keen on buzzing me!  I could hear him as he changed gears, was he 'using' me for a bit of a rest, slip streaming me (I had heard that on the cycling programmes I had been watching this year!) The Old Boy is always telling me to do that too, but I don't like cycling that close! or like anyone cycling that close to me either. 

He eventually over took me before the last roundabout before the turn off for Halstead. We all kept heading up the A21, with our missions in our minds.  I wonder if they will turn right and on to the Halstead road.  The first chap was waiting at the first turning to go right, I guess that has answered my questions.  But the other chap who by now had overtaken me was still riding straight up.  Then they all, that's the 2 chaps and the Old Boy, turned right.  Good, now is my chance to catch up, and maybe even overtake them!

I could see them ahead of me, I just put my head down and kept pedalling.  The Old boy was behind me now, I think he knew what I was up to, and just let me get on with it (of to see if I could do it).  I did say to him "If you want just fly up there, I will see you at the round about" but he wanted to stay where he was. 

Pedalling harder now, and up hill, I kept a steady pace going.  This is really going to be a testing ride.  But I need to get stronger! I need to build up more stamina! And I need to really test myself on my Specialized!  I started gaining on them! I was feeling very confident that I could catch them up, and who knows, maybe, just, don't be ridiculous women!  Not just yet, no overtaking yet, not until you can sustain the lead for some distance! But gaining on them and riding within a bikes length distance is what I want.  They were getting closer and closer, I was doing it! 

I could hear them having a conversation!  I had done it, couldn't quite hear what they were saying, (I was too busy keeping up with them to concentrate on anything else) I was very pleased, I stayed with them for the rest of the way to almost the top, but then I became a bit tired.  But they didn't get to far in front, and then they stopped at the top, me and the Old Boy stopped as well, I took a slug of his water, shoved my lungs back down my neck, and just rested up for a few minutes.  Then we were off again, the two other cyclists were still resting. (Shall I allow a quick smug look??? nah, it will only bite me on the arse!)

The next bit is of course through the village, through Knockholt village and then up to the Shampan.  I was just going to do this bit as a nice plod out, still trying to get up the hills a bit faster, but not knocking my guts out to do it. I got through this bit ok, nothing spectacular, and those other guys were obviously not coming this way, or just didn't want to keep the pace up again with me chasing them!

When we got to the Shampan, there, 're-grouping' was the Beckenham Boys and girls, looking as if they had had a good cycling ride too!  It was nice to say high to them all.  Then me and the Old Boy carried on our merry way, all down hill now, until Keston, and the Greyhound!  Perfect ride, pefect evening, and I enjoyed it!

Oh, and my hand is not too bad on this ride, although it feels a little weak, but not as much as it has done!  Little and often I think is the answer!

Geeky stats for you

Monday, 26 August 2013

Only Fools and Bicycles?

Hello blog lovers.

I think someone forgot to switch on the rain today, it was a gloriously sunny and warm day!  No complaining from me, we eventually got out for a nice ride! It really was a very pleasant ride, even with those darn hills.  It can't be helped, to out to the countryside we have to climb hills.  But I was just going to go at my own pace, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the changing sites and if I have to get off and walk, then so be it.

I made sure I had some drink in my rack, and we set off.  I was testing the running watch again, see how it handles for a bike ride.  I was sure it was set up, and it was going as the thing was buzzing away on my wrist telling me it was doing things.  But it is not there now!! It seems to have disappeared from the watch, it's not in the history. So unless I should have put in all the numbers first, for instance; Time, distance, etc, then I have obviously done something wrong! I really wanted to see how it coped on a bike run, especially as I could pause it and the satellites connection was never lost. Nor did it go to 'power save' mode like the Garmin does, and you have to get the satellites back again. Oh well, I shall just have to add the Old Boys at the end.

Sorry, jumped the gun a bit, but I wanted to get the TomTom thing out of the way, as it's still annoying me!  So today we are going to ride out and head towards Yalding way.  Whether we get there or not, it doesn't matter, there are plenty of pubs on the way if I can't cope with those darn hills! The Old Boy can do a fast blast tomorrow without me, if the pace of todays ride is to sedate for him.

The first part of our road trip today is our usual route, up to Halstead, so there is that climb to do first. It was just as we were passing Knockholt station that I looked at the watch to check on the numbers, and I could see it was still saying "go".  I'm sure when I tested it on a run I just ran and it did it's thing.  but I know I did 'plumb' in my distance, and the time I wanted to do it in.  But you would think that a watch, once switched on and it says 'go' would start recording.  And it did, when I switched it on to the next sceen, as it kept buzzing! OOOO makes me mad when things don't work for me!

Back to my ride.  I eventually got up to the roundabout and had a bit or a drink.  I was feeling quite warm now, it seems we were in the hottest part of the day so far.  We then were going through to Shoreham Village, but instead of turning left, heading for Eynsford we turned right, heading for Otford.  I have been up this road before.  I think I found it challenging then!  So today, I was just going to go at my pace, slowly and steadily up the hills! I was not going to put any pressure on myself to speed up them (....don't laugh, it may happen one day) or even to keep my backside in the saddle either. 

I was keeping an eye on the TomTom watch, and it was coming up for an hour. That's an hour since Knockholt station, and I was really  feeling the heat, and the hills were getting to me. For 17 miles I managed to stay in my saddle! Yes there were down hill bits, which I loved! But the hills seem to come think and fast.  Then the nastiest little blighter of all ready up in front of me! I did not manage to stay in my seat for this one! Jelly legs got the better of me and I had to walk up the hill.

We went through Plaxtol, my first photo stop! Even though we passed through some beautiful country side. But I was concentrating on damn hills! Here is just a couple of them at Plaxtol.

The Church at Plaxtol

From here it is all down hill. It looks like it on the map, doesn't it?  But there are a few tiny undulations of the roads that still get me puffing, and thinking, I really want something to eat now.  I was just pleased when he pulled into the Bush Blackbird and Thrush!  I was so very ready for some refreshment and something to eat!  We both opted for a ploughmans, with a pint to wash it down.

I don't think we were going to get as far as Yalding! With full bellys, we headed of after about an hour, for East Peckham! (I bet you were wondering where the Only fools and horses title was coming from.) And also, only crazy people will love riding up hills on Bicycles!  Of course its not East Peckham in London, we are going to a very lovely Village and then ride to the lovely weir there.

Here, this is what it looks like, and being such a lovely day, there were plenty of people and boats about.  Here, have a look at some of the pictures I took.

From here though, as it was getting late, we decided to ride to Tonbridge and get on the train!  I was feeling quite tired anyway, and I was very grateful for this suggestion!  On the way to Tonbridge, we stopped of at The Man of Kent pub for one last drink.  And a lovely little stream to look at, with the fish that just seem to hang around there!

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sunshine and Breeze! Ladies Style

Hello blog lovers.

Sunshine and Breeze made a for a perfect ride today.  The weather was just simply spot on for a gentle ride to Ladywell for an Americano and a coffee & walnut cake!  The sun was shining, it was lovely and warm and not even a breeze to cool us down. "Hang on a minute there Old Girl" I can hear you all saying "Where did there Breeze come from then?" Well let me just tell you.

Today I was meeting up with Yvonne Wright, one of the champions of the Breeze Network.  This organisation is solely aimed at women cyclist, to encourage them into cycling.  They have women only rides of differing abilities to various places, (usually cafes with cakes, yum!)  Not a testosterone filled cyclists among them!  You may think that its all a bit sexist, but .......tough! There are some ladies that do feel a tad bit intimated by all the lycra clad, speed junkies on super duper, 'lighter than a feather on the International Space Station', bikes.  So to encourage all ladies to get on their bikes Breeze was 'invented'  I think Yvonne said that only 3% of cyclists are women? I shall have to check that out, you know me and figures!

Anyway, I was going to cycle to the meeting place, after all this is a cycle ride.  When I have been on the Fridays rides, I have always rode into London, following Big E and the Old Boy. But today it's different! Today I am all by myself and I have to find my own way to Cator Park in Beckenham!  This is one thing I am not very good at, finding my way around.  But fortunately, I had two routes to choose from, both of them more or less just straight roads with hardly any twisting and turning.  Surely even I can do that!?

So I set off in plenty of time, after having brekkie and a cuppa, putting the lippy on, after all, it's going to be a nice genteel ride to Ladywell!  I am taking the Specialised out, I need to see if she is going to 'do my hand in' on a shorter ride.  Or if it is entirely my fault for holding on too tight, or not shifting my hands enough. But for now, I need to concentrate on getting to Cator park.  Armed with my route prompts and map I rode out, smiling, feeling very confident, and glad to be out on a beautiful day!

Needless to say I arrived at Cator Park with no problems.  I had to pull over by the Chinese garage to to check which road I was meant to go down, but all was well.  I couldn't see a sole at the park, well, not a sole with a bike that is.  I was wondering if in fact they had left without me, but I knew I was early, but about 10 minutes.  I cycled down the road for a bit, looking to see if I could see any ladies on cycles.  Two ladies were just getting their bikes out of the car. "Are you going on the cycle ride?" they asked me "Yes I am, but I can't see anyone else." I said to them  I told them I would cycle up the road a bit, and then come back if I had found any other ladies. 

Well, we were the first there, Yvonne arrived about 5 minutes after. Here is a picture of them, in fact Laura, Sue and me were the only ladies on todays 'exclusive' first time with Breeze ride!  Yvonne gave her apologies  and introduced herself to us.  Although me and Yvonne have spoken via FB messaging, we hadn't actually met, so it was good to meet her, and the two other ladies!

Yvonne, Sue and Laura

We were going to go on the 'Waterlinkway' route to Ladywell, have a coffee and cake, (although that was only me that was eating the cake!) and then make our way back to the start.  It was a brilliant route to ride, very few roads to negotiate only cycle paths, a great route for any riders that want to build up their confidence for riding their bikes. 

I couldn't believe it, it seemed like only half hour had passed and we were entering Ladywell Park.  There were no little squashy people playing on the slide.  It looked so inviting, and Yvonne thought it a great photo opportunity. Well I do like to pepper my blogs with pictures, so guess what,  the bikes were abandoned and...

Yvonne went up. Here, take a look.

"You're next" said Yvonne to me.  After hearing her say that it was a tight squeeze, I really didn't think I would get my backside up the ladder, let alone down the slide.  But after Yvonne polished (and dusted) the slide on her descent, I couldn't resist a little go. So up I went.  Now I have these little short legs, and the first step was challenging! and then trying to get through the hole at the top (think loft ladder type thing here) I had to hoick my self up and haul myself through.  Here is a picture of me just after getting to the top!

Me looking exhausted!

Then it was the descent, posing, I threw my hands in the air so that pictures would look fabulous in my blog today.  It was then that I realised, not only had Yvonne made a fine job of polishing and cleaning the slide, but my arse isn't that big anymore! 

On the down hill slide to rock bottom!

I didn't 'wedge' in to the sides like I used to the last time I tried to get on a childs slide! I flew down there like I was about to be launched into space!  Inevitably, coming to the bottom of the slide was way to quick for my little legs to cope with and I ended up sprawled face down in the dirt!

The ladies all very helpful.....taking pictures that is! And then killing them selves laughing!  I must admit, I was also laughing so much, I almost cried out for a Tena lady!  This is me picking myself up!

Me picking myself up!

We got to the coffee shop, and as there were only four of us we were allowed to bring out bikes through the shop to the garden, where we all enjoyed various types of coffee.  Do you remember the times that when you asked for coffee, the only question that was asked was "Do you want milk with that?" At least when I ordered my cake I just pointed and said "That one please"

It is a surprisingly small a world we all live it.  Have you all seen any those Kevin Bacon adverts on the telly, about connections, well, how about this for connections

Yvonne and I know each other on Facebook, due to the fact with both 'liked' Bromley cyclists page, Yvonne has someone that goes to secondary school which Laura and Sue both work at, in fact  Sue actually knows this person! Sue and Laura both come from Pettswood area, and by do I!  And now I have met these ladies in Cator Park! Now, I wonder if I can get thousands of pounds for saying that! Hello?...... anyone?.....just a couple of quid then?.....

Oh well, back to bike riding.  After our coffee break it was time to get back to the beginning and finish our ride.  We were taken through the other side of Ladywell park, which is just lovely, with more stuff for the kids to play on, a little river to dip your nets, and also a café mums and dads can use to grab a well deserved cuppa after running after the kids! All of that in the middle of London! Its' amazing what little gems are around our concrete jungles!  This is all of us at the other side of the park.

It seemed even quicker getting back, it's always the same when you have had a great time.  It seems ages to get there and then in a blink of an eye its all gone.  But I did stop for one last photo opportunity, the river that runs through the park! 

A lovely ride, and lovely way to be introduced to the Breeze Network and lovely to meet three lovely ladies! 

I took my Garmin, so check out the route from Cator Park to Lady well Park, brilliant if you have kids that want to go for a cycle ride with you. will notice a slight U turn, I kind of went the wrong way, but looking now at the map, I was still on track for where I wanted to be anyway!  This is why I need road by road instructions!

And......just one last picture, the bruise I have!  If you do go on the slide, HOLD ON TIGHT! If  ionly I could say it was cycling related, "The Old Girl girl was making the last turn on the last lap when Victoria Pendleton clipped her back wheel, sending her sprawling in the watching crowds" 

My war wound!

Friday, 16 August 2013

'B' is for........?

What is B for?...
Hello Blog Lovers.

Well I decided as I have a free day I would just pedal my Specialized in a loop around my area. No really huge hills, and the traffic is not that bad, I have been in worse! But when I woke up this morning there was the wet stuff falling from the sky!  Darn it.  How am I supposed to 'try out' the changes on my bike if the wet stuff comes down?

Only one thing to do and that's fall back to sleep and dream of winning a prestigious award for some sort of cycling event!  But as you can probably tell, I did eventually go out for a ride. Only after doing the house top to bottom.  And only because my son eventually came out of his hibernation and started to make a mess again! Agghh, I think I would rather cycle around in the rain than to watch the eating machine leave a trail of devastation in every room that he goes in!

The sky had cleared and it even felt rather warm, but that could be due to my manic house cleaning.  I had my 'running' Garmin with me, mainly because I'm not quite sure how to attached the Old Boys 'bike' Garmin to my bike so I shall just have to remember to turn it off once I reached my 'Lets have a nice cool cola" stop.

I was looking forward to this ride. It's just me, nobody else, I don't have an agenda, I don't need to be back at a certain time and I am not meeting up with anybody on route! It felt quite liberating really.  Sometimes solo cycling and running is even better than rest days!  The route is one of mine and the Old Boys short routes.  I didn't want to go far, even though I had all of the afternoon to do as much as I wanted. I didn't want to include any hills either, major hills that is.  I need to 'ease' into my Spesh, try out the changes etc slowly and gently. I think that could be the answer.

I was really enjoying my ride again, but what I didn't count on was the ache in my arm! If it's not one thing its the other!  My hand still felt a little week, especially when I pulled on the brakes, but the discomfort now is in my left arm at the top!  I kind of slept on it during my holidays recently, whilst stretched out on a sun lounger enjoying the peace and tranquillity of Kefalonia!  Since then I have had this slight pain and discomfort  at the top of my arm, and it's all just a tad blooming annoying.

The last bike ride I had was on my Giant, and all though I felt some slight discomfort, it wasn't as bad as what I was having on this occasion.  I was glad I was only going on a very short 10 miler, including a stop for a cola.   I kept on shifting positions, changing my hand positions etc.  I also really concentrated on my core. Trying not to lean on the handlebars, and only use my arms for steering.  I would really love to be able to do what most of, but not all, other cyclists can do and that's to cycle with no hands! Then I can walk in to that café/bar up in London with a smile on my face!

I used to think that they all did that to show off, to look clever, but I have now realised that its because they have perfect balance and their core is doing its job, where as mine has only just started to realise what it is there for! I guess I should start to learn to get the balance thing going on! I just wish I could be attached to a rope and pulley in case I fall over! How on earth do you learn to do that?!

Back to the ride. It really was a very easy paced ride for me. I didn't want to put any pressure on my self to go super speedy (as if that is ever going to happen!) and also just to tray and relax and begin to enjoy my bike again.  I must admit, when I was just poodling along she did feel great! Such a nice smooth ride!  I almost smiled, until I had to shift again because of the ache in my arm!

I arrived at The George in Hayes, and remembered I had forgotten to bring along a lock! Oh dam and blast.  So I parked my bike just by the entrance of the pub, and did this 'crab like' walk into the pub, one eye on my bike and the other on the look out for the bar staff.  Fortunately for me I didn't have to wait long.  My cola ordered and I even treated myself to a packet of crisps, I  went back outside to enjoy my drink. 

As I was sitting there just taking in the whole solitude of my ride today, the rain started to ever so gently fall.  At first it was hardly noticeable and I thought I must have been imagining it.  I was looking at the sky, putting my hand out, looking at the table to see any signs, and I thought I would probably be ok.  But then it came down just a little more.  Just ever so gentle, like the early morning dew touching your face, (Yes, I have actually been up that early to feel early morning dew!) That made me decide to go home, rather than go a little further up the road, to Keston.

I went through Normans park and just enjoyed the traffic free riding for a short while. The rain still falling as heavy mist, making me feel quite 'sticky', is the only way that I can describe it.  I kept looking at the sky and hoped that it wouldn't actually pour down until I got home.  As it happened, the heavy mist rain fall was as bad as it got! Maybe I should have pushed out just a little bit more!

Anyway, geeky stats for you


Oh and just one thing more,  this a friend of mine, a great champion of cycling, enthusiastic and most considerate.  Put it this way, I had to stop once, on one of my bike rides, I had cramp.  I pulled up and got of my bike, the next minute this chap came out of his house to see if he could help, he thought I had a puncture, and lo and behold, it was Spencer!  Now that is a very considerate and caring cyclists.  Vote for him ....... pleasee!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Do I not Like Hills!

Hello blog lovers.

This evening it was bike riding time! I have to try and get my cycle legs back, get them strong, get them toned again.  I have been a bit lazy since the marathon, but I am picking up again with my running, and now I am picking up again with my cycling!

This evenings route is going through Shoreham and Eynsford. From there it can be two ways, we will just have to wait and see when we get to Eynsford.  But first of all its that A21 to get up, and then the climb up to Halstead!  It's the route we have done many times now, but my cycling legs have shied away for the moment.  I am going to keep on trying to push as hard as I can.  This route is a hilly route, and I have in mind not to walk on any of the hills! 

But this Old Girl is feeling tired.  Maybe the 5 miler yesterday is still in my legs (even though it took me 1:00:58 to get around the course!) or maybe its the great holiday I had just had (the podgy belly is stretching my cycling pants and top!) who knows, but I was plodding along very slowly, I felt. When we got to the right turn to head towards Halstead there was no stopping for a sneaky rest as there was no traffic to wait for. Straight to the middle and then straight over. No stopping for a breath, I have to get to the top, the round about. That is where I have decided to take a break for a minute or two, and maybe even grab the Old Boys drink!

Very slowly going up towards the roundabout, my legs are beginning to get that 'jelly feeling', but I still have no plans to stop.  At the top, by the bus stop, that's where I will take my feet of the pedals. It seemed a long, slow plod up there, the Old Boy was behind me, encouraging me to push my legs more, to knock up a gear, but I just couldn't do it. The hill felt like it was going on forever!

Finally though, we did get to the top! And I stopped, even though the Old Boy tried to encourage me to keep on going.  I needed a drink!  It was thirsty work! But it really was just a quick pit stop, and then we were on our way again, to Shoreham and beyond.

Shoreham is a very pretty village, with at least 4 pubs that I can recall! And we didn't stop at one of them.  Mind you, my new regime is no alcohol until Friday and the weekend, if there is a function of some sort. Sunday through to Thursdays is alcohol free days.  I have also limited myself to just 3 cups of teas a day, instead of the usual earnfull!  I really need to lose a good few pounds!

We sped through Shorehamm, when I say sped, of course there is a hill to climb out of the village, so we went as fast as I usually do up hills, and the we went to Eynsford. More hills, but I think I did these ones a tad quicker than the ones I have just done.  I keep trying to go as fast as I can. 

We did stop though...once we were at Eynsford though, we did have a stop! We both opted for cola! Yup, a new regime indeed! As soon as we finished that we decided that we are going up 'Foo Kin Hill' as Nagging sister called it once, and it's stayed as that. but the really name is Crockenhill Lane! Even that sounds awful, it has the word 'hill' in it!  But again I was determined not to walk up any of them, even though by now I was feeling very tired.  I wasn't even answering the Old Boy, he was still sounding 'chipper' and like he is out for a morning stroll around the garden! 

There was mention of heading up to Crittals Corner, I really was looking forward to that hill. It's a long hill, on a very busy road, totally uninspiring hill, but then the Old Boy said "So which hill do you want, Knole Rise or Poverest?" I opted for Poverest.  I don't know why, but it is the first hill that we reach, more or less, that leads home.  There is of course Leesons Hill, but that is just way to horrid!

I pushed up this hill, it almost felt like 'a Hill to far' but I managed even that today! So not too bad for a potbellied Old Bird, who does have a fantastic tan though!

Me in Kefelonia! Just to show off really!

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin and he was behind me for 98% of the time!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Early Start!

Hello blog lovers

It was only 8 in the morning, on a Saturday, and the Old Boy was waking me up to go and get ready to for a bike ride.  It is only going to be a short one, about 20 miles, but I was going to take my White Giant bike.  My hand is getting better as time passes, and the weeks holiday I just had seems to have really helped things even more. 

For the time being I will use my Specialsed on shorter more relaxed rides of 20 miles and under.  And work up to more longer challenging rides each time.  I am trying to get this old body of my to learn to ride in the new position on my bike. I think maybe jumping straight from one style of riding and into another style of riding and doing it over longer distances, was maybe a contributing factor to why my hands went all weird!  At least its one notation I'm thinking about!

So todays bike ride was going to be a minimum of 20 mile, which means we could end up doing a little more, depending on how we feel, or more than likely, how I feel!  The week away has left me with just a bit of lazyitus and maybe a tad feeling of bloatedness! (ok very bloatedness!) So I wasn't expecting miracles, or indeed anything resembling speed!  It was all about getting back out there and doing it.

A climb up to Halstead left me in no doubt about how many miles I am going to be doing today!  20 miles, and that's it!  So from Halstead we made a steady (slow) climb to Cudham North/South Lane and then carried on climbing up to the Shampan!

I was really feeling it, I didn't really want to push out any further, or any harder, as I have a race to run tomorrow morning! A 5 miler! Nothing like giving myself a challenge for when I have a fantastic week on a beautiful Greek island, Cephelonia!

Altogether I think we rode about 23 miles, as we went to Hayes from Biggin Hill, to indulge in a coffee and bacon butty!  An average of about 10 miles an hour I'm guessing.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Testing The Changes!

Hello blog lovers,

Today the weather was a lot cooler than it has been for some time, so a good day to test out the changes that have been made to my bike.  Hopefully I will feel a lot more confident on it, I can apply the brakes when needed and hopefully help to sit in the right position for a darn good cycle ride today.

We left in the afternoon, I was wondering whether to take lights on or not, but I thought we would be back in plenty of time before they were needed.  (I should have realised that it was me that was riding, and not Chris Froome) It was going to be a very hilly ride as well, its one of the Old Boys, 'Get fitter' routes, and one that he does after he has left me on a Tuesday, around 6:30 ish, and then meets Pettswood in time to join me for a social drink with the PWR's around 9 ish in the evening.

I was still feeling a tad apprehensive about todays ride, yes I wanted to test the bike, and yes it needed to be a fairly challenging route, but I alo didn't want it do affect my hands too much if the bike and route was just too much for my already suffering hands.

I had a lot to concentrate on, my riding position, my cleats, hands to make sure I change positions, the roads and traffic of course, and  obviously to try and keep the speed going to make it as enjoyable for the Old Boy as I can..

The first test for me was going to be on Fox Hill! Going down hill has been a bit of a worry for me, with the whole applying of the brakes issue, I know I like to go fast, but I also like to know that I can slow down and stop when needed. I started down the hill, and kept the brakes going on and off, testing my hands, slowing the bike down and speeding up.  I didn't feel totally comfortable, but I was glad that I could slow the bike down when I wanted to.

That hill done and now its the up hill part.  The bit I need to relax on, not grip tight on the bars, relax in my saddle, keep a bend in my arms and try and get my whole core working together to make for a better, safer more efficient ride.  It's a lot to remember for this Old Girl. And not only that, but also the climb up Botley Hill to do!

I think I did pretty well. Put it this way, I didn't get off and walk!  It was  tough climb but the Old Boy told me there is yet another nasty little blighter yet to come.  It's a hill that I haven't managed to cycle up, a bit like Ditchling Beacon. A total challenge for me, one that I have failed on several occasions!  I gave it a damn good go though.  but I'm afraid it beat me. I was totally furious with myself, I felt like a complete fraud in my Lycra, cleated shoes and 'racing bi-atch bike'.  I am afraid the Old Boy got the full force of my total failure frustration!  Lucky he loves me!  It took about 2 or 3 stops to get up to the top, by this time, the Old Boy was in front of me.  I tried and tried to keep up, but I just plodded along about -2 miles an hour!  There is a pub at the top of this hill, and that is where the Old Boy was waiting for me!

He went in and the came out with....2 packets of crisps!  "What, no beer?" I said "They are having problems with the electrics" he said to me! "NOOOOOOOO!" I cried out.  I looked at my orange juice sitting in my bike rack, I was just too tired to move to get it out.  But just then the lovely young lady bought out our beer!

From there we went on to do a tad more hill climbing.  Until we got to the most scenic scene, over looking a body of water called Bough Beach, I took a picture of it, look.

 I didn't think I could do another hill, but I managed it. In fact from there on, there was not one hill that I didn't manage to get up in one on the way home!  We went through Goathurst Common to Besuls Green down into Riverhead, Dunton Green and Shoreham. Shoreham was where we stopped for another refreshmet.

I knew where I was from here, 9 and half miles or so from home IF we went up towards Halstead!  But I thought I need a ton more training and decided to go to Eynsford and up Foo Kin Hill!  I think I must have been delirious by this time!,  but really, there is only hills in the way of my home!  No matter which way I went.

It took me forever to do this route, a route that normally takes the Old Boy 2 and half, but with me on board it took nigh on six hours but we did have three stops for refreshment, and to pick up a dinner, as it was getting fairly late, and I for one didn't fancy cooking!

I did take a picture of the lavender fields up near Eysnford, the smell is just gorgeous as we cycled passed the fields.

oh and he is the geeky stats, from the Old Boys garmin, he was mostly behind me, even when we reached the giddying speed of 33 miles an hour, in a 30 mile hour zone!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Taming of the Spe-shrew-lised!

Hello blog lovers.

Only a short blog today, just to update about the bi-atch.  Last week I had a word with the nice young man at the bike shop where I bought my bike, and he suggested I bring my bike in so he can see me on it.

Well today was that day, as the shop is open later on Thursday so after work, a bit of rest up it was on to the shop.  The chap was there, and was quick to see me on my bike.  My bike was 'plumbed' into the turbo trainer, (a great gizmo actually, might have to ask Santa for one) as he watched as I peddled along I felt very conscious! .  The first thing he said, was that my saddle could be raised a tad! I thought maybe I had done that bit right at least, and then the stem was changed to a shorter one. 

I also told him about my brakes, and the fact that I do have a bit of trouble pulling them on!  He had a go on them and agreed with me that they were a bit hard to pull on.  It turned out that my brake cable had become rotten inside, a white powdery stuff was on them. So the cable was quickly changed and the brakes did feel a lot easier to pull on.  I am just hoping that I haven't done any permanent damage to my mitts and that every that my LBS (that's Local Bike Shop, by the way) young man has done will sort out all the issues I have with my hands.

Small changes, nothing to drastic so lets just see how it goes now.  "Ride it about a bit" said the nice young man.  So that is what I am going to do.  But today, we just went to treat ourselves to a shared kilo of mussels and frites.

So, lets hope that this is going to solve the issues of the pins and needles hands, and numbness!  (by the way, did you see what I did the the sub title there?)

My bike, before the slight changes, and new pedals


Monday, 15 July 2013

Who Goes Out In This Heat!?

Hello blog lovers.

Why do I do it? Why don't I just sit in doors, with the fan on eating ice cream an drinking beer!? Why?  I tell you why, cos I love exercise! Even going up Cudham North lane in the furnace type temperatures.  I need to get back my cycling legs, and I need to work on getting my Specialized bike set up properly for me.  Well, that particular thing is going to happen on Thursday, I had a word with the shop that I bought the bike from and they are going to 'look at me on the bike'  Put me on the turbo trainer and see what can be done! But in the mean time, my cycle legs need work on.

So today, as it I just so hot, we are going on a shorter ride, but one with a bit of hard work thrown in.  Cudham North Lane!  I can't remember the last time I got up this hill, or even thought about getting up this hill.  Normally we just fly past it heading for Halstead. But today, the most very hottest evening so far, I think, we decided to tackle it! 

But I also decided that on this particular evening I will stop for a pint as well! After all, I am cycling in a furnace!  I took my white Giant today, as I wanted to save my hands getting too numb and pins and needles.  But I think the damage has been done, as even on my giant today I felt some pins and needles in my hands!  The sooner I get my bikes sorted the better, I'm thinking!

The hill was soon there. No stopping for a rest, just straight up it.  There was mention of the pub on this road, the Blacksmiths Arms, but unfortunately that was all it was!!  Our route was going to go straight up to Grays Road, then down the hill through Biggin Hill and on for a stop at Keston, the Greyhound. But then he said something about going through to Knockholt, back down to the A21 and then going on to Orpington to attempt my nemesis, Knoll Rise! But I talked him out of that.  I like to have a route in my mind, and I am prepared for it, but chucking in last minute changes, while cycling up Cudham North Lane, well....that had no chance of even get thought about!

I did stop at the pub though, but not for a pint, just to take a drink from my bottle of orange squash that I bought along!  My mouth was just so dry!  It was a very warm evening.  In fact it was so warm, that the ice cubes had long since melted, and my squash was already warming up! But at least that was the only stop I took until we got to the Shampan. 

On the way to the Shampan the Old Boy asked me if I fancied a pint at the Queens Head, in Downe, instead of at Keston. Well, by this time, I was just about over the ordeal of Cudham, so I said "Yes, ok, so how do we get there?"  After I had said yes, I started to remember the 'how' and started to think that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.  Anyway, we got to the top, by the curry house, and there sat on the road side were a few cyclists.  We were going to take the road that went passed the restaurant instead of the one that goes to Biggin Hill.  We said good evening to these cyclists, well, cyclists are very nice people, and we started riding along the road.

There were a good few other cyclists heading towards the group of cyclist, I can only guess they were going to meeting their buddies by the Shampan.  Each one that we passed said good evening!  I told you they are a great bunch!  It was all down hill from there, but I knew there was a very cheeky hill coming up, the one that takes us to Jail Lane.  It's quite a steep hill but it doesn't go on for very long.  I kept in my mind the end of it, the  top of the hill, Jail Lane.  I stayed focused and the concentrated on getting to the top!  I did it, without getting off and walking!

There was another cyclist coming our way, but I just didn't have the breath to say hi to him!  Downe village was just at the end of this road!  We stopped off for a pint,  I went in to buy it and I came out to see another chap chatting to the Old Boy about his bike!  You wait till my pink bike gets sorted out, see everyone coo over her!!!

Anyway, geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.  I have decided that I am not going to take my Garmin anyone, because I keep forgetting to switch it on and off again.!