Monday, 18 February 2013

Cross Training, Happy Cyclist!

Hello Blog Lovers!

This Old Girl was back on the bike again today, my Spesh. I am taking things a little easier this week, before I attempt my first ever half marathon on Sunday, The Tunbridge Wells Half! A very challenging course, just what I need to help me get in shape for the London Marathon in April. (either that or do me in and save me the pain). So for some cross training, and some fun, I went with the Old Boy on a quite slow ride on one of our usual routes.

Each time I get back on my bike I have to re-familiarise myself with the gears, and try and remember the silly things I have said to remind me of how the gears go!  I know it should be natural, and total obvious, but not to me! My first encounter with a bike with gears was a twist shift on my old Raliegh. To me that made sense. Left hand big gears, twist it three times, either way, the right hand, twist up to 8 times, forward means high gears! Even I could grasp that.

Then my Giant with a couple more extra gears on the right hand side, but still quite simple to figure out, (eventually). One lever worked by your finger, the other worked by your thumb. Two different digits, easy enough to train yourself to do. But my new bike, the gears are on the brake, worked by push side ways. Still two levers, but worked using same digits! To me, an Old Girl trying to learn new tricks, it's taking it's time!

But still. It was a very pleasant ride up through to to Halstead, then through the lanes, with our very bright lights and head lamps lighting up like daylight. Then through to Biggin Hill, and of course Keston, for a pint!

I thought I was doing ok, riding up to Halstead, getting used to the gears, the new riding position, the 'twitchy' feel of the bike. But then came lanes! Normally I can get to grips with the undulating nature of this road. But I was starting to feel the chill, mainly in my feet, even though I have two pairs of socks on, and one of those pairs says thermal on them! And the I started panicking about the gear changes for the hills, some of which come up quite suddenly.  I did completely mess up one hill, just before the pub! I had forgotten about how steep this little bit is! I panicked, changed up, on both sets of gears, and then tried to change down, but it was all too late!  I eventually sorted it out and then carried on the rest of the way!

Going through Biggn Hill was a little more sedate for me, than I usually am on my Giant. But it still felt great going down hill. I was pedalling out, but that wa only because I didn't want to change the left hand gear, as I now had it on the middle cog! I was beginning to fill the chill even more now, but it wasn't that long before we got to Keston, after taking it really carefully, and really thinking about my bike on the inclines towards the Keston turn off!

I did cool down very quickly when we got to the pub! So we kind of smashed down our cold beer (why do I do that, I should ask for hot chocolate!) But still, it was very nice, it helped to wash down the poppadoms. Then it was a quick ride home, via the shop to grab some milk, oh and some chocolate! I am in training you know!

Geeky stats and these are from the Old Boys, I didn't push the start button on mine!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

I need My Fixie!

Hello blog lovers.

Mmm, shall I explain the title? Yes of course I will, just in case you all think I have gone totally bike barmy and bought another bike (a fixie) before I have even pumped up the tyres again on my Specialized! (well, actually I had to do that any way, as it's been sat in the nice warm utility room since I got it!)

But what I actually needed was be back out on my bike again, And not just any bike, I wanted to go out on my 'Spesh' It's been sat in my house, gleaming, wanting to get out and ride. The Old Boy's bike must have been teasing my bike, with all the mud and dirt dripping from it, the water bottle filled and then emptied! So this evening I thought I would give the running a miss and go for just a short ride, to familiarise myself, again, with all the gears, and riding style of my new bike.

I pulled on my spandex with the luminous panels on the sides, thermal socks, spesh shoes, tee-shirt, long sleeve shirt, cycling jacket, cycling rain jacket, buff, hat, thermal glove liners and outer gloves! by then there really was only time for a quick ten miler! But there is one thing that I really don't like, and that's being cold! 

I wheeled my bike to the front door in happy anticipation of this evenings short ride around, opened it and looked out in despair as the rain and sleet had just started to come down! "Oh,  Undercarriages" I said as I turned to the Old Boy. "Oh just go" he said, "If we don't go out, we never will, it will soon pass"

So we went out. But it looked as if we were going to cut our route even shorter than we planned. "Just go through the local park and we will go straight to Bromley" O.B. said. I did as directed. But when we got onto Southborough Lane the O.B. directed me to go up the A21, our original short bike ride, through Hayes!

I just pedalled along, trying t remember which lever did what to my gears, and trying to concentrate on the traffic, contend with the cold affected my eyes (which were leaking, and freezing on my face!) I had a permanent grin on my face, due to the cold. But do you know what, I was really enjoying it.

My arms hurt, my hands hurt, my face was frozen into an inane grimace, and I was well wrapped up and looking like the mitchilin man. I can't wait for the summer! I know I am going to have some fun on my bike and I am so glad I had a quick 'fix' of riding on my new bike this evening!  it has reminded me of  things to come.

I didn't take my Garmin with me today, as this was just a 'get out on my bike and and have some fun' ride (if riding in the freezing cold, sleet and rain can be classed as fun) but the Old Boy took his, and we actually rode about 11 and half miles at around 10 mph, with one stop at the Red Lion in Bromley North!