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 coincidence.....so 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!
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. Um......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!|