Hello blog lovers.
Well, for all you usual readers of my blogs,my usuall mid week rides consist of about about 18 to 20 miles, a poodle around the local area, and then back home again, (usually via a fav public house). But judging by last Saturdays riding I am, indeed, in need of as many miles in the saddle as possible. But I still wasn't expecting exactly the ride that we did this evening.
Let me start from the beginning, always a good place to start. The Old Boy told me he was going to do about 20ish miles, the usual, I thought. And that is up Halstead, and beyond. In my mind I am still thinking 20 ish miles, I feel sure that is what he said. But then he said we are going to Shoreham but coming in from the opposite direction. We have to ride up to Polhill Garden centre and then ride all the way down!
The last time I had some long down hills to do I was a bit nervous on my bike, and even more nervous when the only way to control my speed was to get down onto the drop bars to get a good grip on the brakes! But since then Big E did something to my bike. He turned the steering thingy upside down, so that it is in a more pointy upward direction. So now, that should help me get better control of my brakes, make more of a comfortable ride, or so I am told.
To be honest, and don't tell him or the others that suggested I do this, I couldn't understand how it would help with the whole gripping of the brakes issue! But it did! And it was more comfortable being slightly upright! Just because my bike looks like a 'grown ups' bike, it doesn't mean that have to suffer for fashion (just like we do with the high heels girls, am I right or am I right?) The Old Boy did the same with his steering thingy as well, so it's a more comfy ride for him too.
So there I am, in my spandex and my bright pink rain coat. Well, the weather looked really iffy! In fact when we left the house it had just started to rain! I asked the Old Boy if he wanted to go and get his raincoat but he was more optimistic than me. "We are heading over there, towards that patch of blue sky" he said "And besides, this is just a passing shower" I looked over at the patch of blue, and looked up at the big black cloud above. I had to admire his optimism! It was a tad chilly too! I was hoping the ride up to Halstead will sort that one out.
I really have 'lost' my cycle legs. The A21 seemed to be particularly hard today! I was going so slowly up. The OB had his Garmin going, telling me exactly how slowly we was creeping up there. He wanted to do an average pace of about 10 mph! Lets hope I can pull that back on the downhill sections.
As we were getting to to the top of the Halsted hill, where I usually stop and catch my breath, glug of water/juice/air!, I thought to myself I am going to go straight on, but before I could say that the OB mentioned that we are not going to stop there, and that we are going to Shoreham. The down hills towards Shoreham were the ones I was very nervous about last time we went down there. Now I shall see if the little flipping of the thingy-me-bob has done the trick. But, instead of turning left he said that we were going straight up, over the round about and then down Polhill hill. Now this is a long, long downhill section. I certainly wouldn't like to be climbing it in the opposite direction! Now we shall really see if its a move comfortable and safer ride for me. With still a bit or nervousness going on those drops (which I probably won't do) we proceeded down the hill.
Then the descent started. So far so good. I was comfortable on my bike, and I was using the brakes! Ok, so it worked. Had no doubt it would (liar liar pants on fire!) All the way down to a turning that pointed the way to Shoreham. I was getting more and more confident on my bike, even letting go of the brakes and picking up a bit more speed. I think it was a good idea of mine to twist the steering head tubey thingy......darn it ok, so I still not quite sure of the anatomy of a bike, and I didn't think of the idea to flip it over, but I am sure pleased that it worked!
Once in Shoreham it was, again, straight through and onwards towards Eynsford. No stopping yet for a refreshment. We are going through Eynsford and on to Farningham. I had a quick stop though, to look at the little river! Whats the point on going out on your bike if your can't stop and admire all around you, right! I wished I had my phone though, I could have taken some pictures, especially when we got to Farningham! What a lovely little place that is, and it has this lovely......well.......what I can guess from reading about it, its a cattle grid thingy that goes across the river. They think it was built to stop the cows wandering off down river when they were crossing the ford. But it really is a pretty looking bridge thingy. I will have to get some pictures next we pass through there.
Form here it seemed to be a long slog of undulations to Sutton at Hone. From there it was a slow ride into Swanley to a a most welcome sight for sore eyes.....legs, bum etc. I have stopped there before, and I know that the WWW's stop there on occasions too, it's called The Lamb. The landlady let us wheel our bikes through and put them in the back yard! Nice and safe and I can sit in the warmth to enjoy my pint of 'Boom' and packet of ready salted crisps.
I noticed the time, and it was ten to nine, "I think it's going to be a takeaway for dinner tonight" the Old boy said. I didn't appreciate how far we had to go before we got home! We soon got on our way. I was glad of my raincoat, it's warm, even if it not raining. I was also feeling a bit tired as well. I know my face was glowing pink when we arrived at the pub, and now there is to be more undulations to keep the colour up!
Another long slog through Hextable and Swanley, still with undulations just not as high as they have been. The Old by gave me a choice when we got to the big round about, onwards towards Crittals corner, which I really didn't fancy, or turn left and go through St Mary Cray and Orpington and then up Knoll Rise. I know Know Rise has had me out of my saddle a few times, and I know I have conquered it a few times, but at least it's nearer to home. I feel like I am almost there. So I chose to go there, and it was just as well, because the road towards Crittals Corner was blocked by police! I just hope that it wasn't a fatality!
The back streets through the 'Crays's seemed to go on and on. Each mini roundabout I thought would be the last one before the High street turnoff. The local kebab shop was looking very good, in my mind, now. Deffo no way am I cooking dinner! We were soon zooming up the high street, only Knoll Rise to do now, then its plain sailing.....ooops wrong sport.....plain riding all the way via the local Kebab shop.
Dinner in hand, or at least hanging on the handle bars of the Old Boys bike, cans of pop in my back pocket and the last mile home! Needless to say, in the beginning I had misheard the Old saying how many miles were were going to be doing today! 30 miles! Mid week! what ever next for this Old Girl.
A good ride out for a mid week. Maybe next time though I should start off as sooner rather than later!