Monday, 8 December 2014

It Had To Be Done!

Hello blog lovers.

You can probably see, it's a cycling blog!  Yup, I am doing a bit of cross training trying to get as fit as I can before I do my second every marathon!  And probably the last one!  It's a bloomin long way, but I just want to do it one more time, but this time do it right!

Anyway, after a days Christmas shopping all I really wanted to do was to snuggle under my duvet and just browse the Internet, plays games and chat with family and friends.  So when the Old Boy said 'You coming out for a short one to Downe?" I really wasn't feeling 'it'.  It was dark and cold, and I was nice a warm and snuggle.  I was just about to browse the Internet for more gift ideas. I turned on my computer, pulled my blanket around me and started to settle down.

But a little voice in my head was telling me to get off my arse and get out and do some exercises, a bit of cross training will do me good!  It was a struggle, let me tell you!  I was looking at my computer trying to convince myself that this is where I should actually stay!  But I said to the Old Boy "Ok, lets do it, lets go for a ride"  I couldn't believe I was actually getting off my backside!  But there I was, going upstairs to put on cycling layers!

After pumping up my tyres we were ready.  We were only going to head up to Downe Village, along to Jail Lane and then down to Biggin Hill and home.  Like he says, a short one.  But for me, it's up hill and it won't be a quick one!  I have not been on my bike for ages, my cycling arse as all but gone, and my cycling legs have turned into running legs!  But it is very good cross training, and I should try and keep it up, at least once a week!

Downe Village, like I say, it's uphill, so its very good for training.  I am going to try and get up here in one go, without stopping.  I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but that is in my mind.  It's going to be uncomfortable, it's going to be a bit hard but I am going to try my hardest to do it none stop.  I should be able to, for goodness sakes, I've been at this running and cycling lark for flippin ages now!

The Old Boy stayed behind me all the way, and it was just as well, because just as we was coming down Church road he noticed that the batteries was going on my back light.  So carried on riding until we got the the entrance to the car park for High Elms country Park, and just pulled there to change the batteries.  With that done, and a nice little rest before the ascending road, we were back on our bikes.

I found it real tough, but I kept on, didn't stop!  I kept thinking, it's only a short ride, and once at the top its all virtually down hill with some little bumps till we get home!  Just before we got to the top I really did start to struggle. I so wanted to just stop for a second, or even walk, but I knew I would kick myself if I did.  I remembered last time I did this route, I stopped somewhere around about this very spot, and I was very annoyed with myself.  So I let out a groan, in fact several groans, I huffed and puffed, and moaned and groaned all the way up, "That's it Old Girl, we're nearly there, the flat bit is just up here" he said.

We could hear the dogs barking in the stables, probably because of the grunts and groans coming from me, and then I knew, just a little further and we will be in the centre of the Village, at least I think that is the centre, I am sure it is!  They had their festive lights on, with the obligatory glowing reindeer, moving reindeer at that!  It does look very pretty!

From here I find the rest of the ride home quite pleasant......normally.......but now that it's winter my feet are starting to get very cold.  Although I have two pair of socks on (one pair being thermals) they were still cold.  The rest of me at that time, was quite toasty.  I had thick winter gloves on with liners, a long sleeve top, long sleeve cycling jersey plus my rain/wind jacket!  Around my neck I had snood, (a freebie from the cycling magazines) plus another one on my head (again, another freebie from the Jogging Hippo, after I complained of being cold a couple of years ago!) and also I had a woolly hat one!  Do you think I was maybe a tad overdressed!  Well, all I knew is that I wasn't freezing!  I hate being cold. But my feet was started to worry me!

The lovely ride down to the Keston Mark was fantastic!  Of course there were those bumps to negotiate, but I tried to keep my legs spinning up the hills so that I didn't slow down too much, I not sure if I did too well, but we go there!

Just the short bit through the allyway and then home!  I felt quite pleased that I did it.  Although I really didn't want to go out earlier, I felt better that I actually listened to myself for once and did it!  I'm not sure if this new found mojo for exercise will stay with me, but I know it needs to!

Just one more thing, when I went to switch off my back light it wasn't there!  Heavens knows when that fell off my bike!  Flipping annoyed about that!!  If anyone sees it anyway, please let me know!! Thanks x

Monday, 10 November 2014

Just A Quickie

Hello blog lovers.

It was quite a pleasant evening, I had no running planned, so I thought I would join the Old Boy for a bike ride.  And when he said just a 'nice little gentle ride' it deffinitely made my mind up that I would join him.

"Up to Downe village" he said "and then cut through, just 20 miles"  That's his gentle ride, that for me is a good work out!  We got our selves ready, all lycra'ed up and nice bright shiny clothes and set off.  But before we got to the end of our path his light packed out for some reason.  We had to change our route and distance, as we wasn't quite sure how much power we had in the moons (rechargeable lights).  We changed our plans to ride for just 10 miles as we were already dressed for it.

It seems really mild for this time of year, really quite a pleasant evening for it.  Downe village would have been a great ride.  But going through Bromley wasn't too bad, through the streets so that we were able to see where to go if the lights failed!

I can deffinitely tell that I am not doing as much cycling as I used to, my backside is getting bloomin bruised again, I need to work on getting my saddle ass back!  But, even though it was a very short ride, though Jubilee park, up to Plaistow Lane, and then some higgledy piggledy turns that he went through we came about by Bromley North train station.  Down east street to the high street to Bromley South, and then we took at a right just after that, where Bromley Hospital used to be.

We were going to go to Hayes, and then through there to Barnet wood lane and then back home!  A real short, short ride!  But still very nice and I really enjoyed it, with just that one hill to contend with it was my sort  of riding, a pleasure ride!

Back for dinner and veg in front of the telly!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Pulling Power!

Hello blog lovers.

Forgive me blog readers, it's been a while since my last riding blog!  And today was just a perfect riding evening, clear skies, not cold, definitely no rain! What is not to like about this evening?

Me and the Old Boy eventually got ourselves ready and out of the door.  We were a little bit later that I wanted to be so were only going to go on a shorter ride, up to Downe Village and then Jail Lane before making our way home again.

I felt the A21 a bit tough today, don't know why, could be that it's been a while and I'm just not used to it again, but I kept it going.  We soon got to the turn off for Farnborough Village and then we have that lovely down hill to shire lane.  I kept my brakes on, I still don't just freewheel down here, not like I used to on my white Giant.  I don't know why, but I think I still get down it at a fair rate!

I was psyching myself up for that ascent to Downe Village.  I was determined to do it all in one go, no stopping, no pulling over, no moaning, just get up to the top.  After the lovely down hill we turned right and then left to make our way up to the top of the road, Downe!  I still find that ironic, I am sure who ever name the village had a sense of humour, maybe the little 'e' and the end of the name is the old way of spelling 'down'!  Anyway I digress.

We got to the top and then had a little break, the old boy was fiddling with his headlight, and I was much appreciative of the break!  But we soon headed up Jail Lane.  It's not exactly flat, but it's not as steep as the road we came up. There were some down bits, some up bits and some flat bits,  read on to find out exactly how I know this! We made our way steadily towards The Jail, but before we got there, the Old Boys bike made a funny noise and then the next thing was 'entrails' was scraping along the floor!  His chain had fallen off!

"Oh darn it, I was only just thinking about making sure I had a power link in my back pack" he said.  I am guessing that he hadn't actually acting on that thought!  So what to do now.  I certainly didn't have a power link in my possession nor did I have a spare chain!  Now to decide what to do,

  1. Walk the rest of the way to the Jail pub, leave me at the pub and he can ride my bike home and pick up the car to come back for me (that was my idea!)
  2. Call son to come and get us, but then his bike probably wouldn't fit in son's car, and that will also leave me cycling home alone.
  3. Some how tow him to Downe village and then he can free wheel most of the way home, with just a walk up chicken farm bends.   
He chose option 3, something I wasn't looking forward to, even if it was for just half a mile!

Dragging yo' ass about with yo' entrails hanging out!

But once we got near Downe Village the Old Boy found those down hills, and he used those down hills to his advantage.  I just kept firmly behind him, just in case he needs another tow, and besides, I didn't want to go flat out on the down hills!

We had to walk up Chicken Farm bends, and then it was some more free wheeling all the way to trinity church!  Even on the path from turn around lamppost had some down hills and he kept on his bike virtually to Five Posts!  From about that point we both walked back together to the house.

Lovely evening, just unfortunate that his chain broke!  Oh well, there is always next time!

Monday, 6 October 2014

But It's Raining!

Hello blog lovers.

Can you believe that its been pigging ages since my last ride!  No wonder the whole biking mojo is hibernating!  But it's Monday, and me and the Old Boy used to always go out on Mondays, so he said, "Come on, just a short one, up to Downe Village and then Jail lane and back!"  "Ok" I said and then about 30 mins later he went up stairs to get changed into some Lycra.

I eventually came out of my blanket, and stood by the patio windows, my nose pressed against the glassed, looking at the rain!  I could still here him getting ready, maybe he hasn't looked out yet!  He came down the stairs, in his Lycra, telling me to go and get changed.  I thought round about this time would be good to draw his attention to the wet stuff coming down!  "It's ok, it's only passing"  I was a bit dubious!  I am not one for getting out there and cycling in the rain.  If it happens to start while I'm out then that's just too bad, I have to get home!

Some how I managed to drag my reluctant ass upstairs and into some lycra and warm clothing. If I'm doing thisthen I want to remain warm!  I decided to use my new running top as my base layer under my rain coat.  It's my consolation 'Sorry you didn't get VLM place" running top, as it is an autumn/winter running top I thought it would be perfect.

When I eventually got out of my house, my bike by my side, the rain had stopped, and it felt kinda mild out there.  Maybe it's not going to be too bad!  I decided to go along the dreaded A21 to the Farnborough right turn.  The rain had started again, I was sorely tempted to go back home, but the Old Boy persuaded me to keep going, "It's only a short ride" he said.  So on I plodded.

There was no speeding on this ride, there were wet leaves to think about, the rain coming down, the white lines will be wet, the yellow lines will be wet!  So I shall have to be totally focused!  The down hill on Church hill went without a hitch, I kept on my brakes all the way down. Then it was that up hill to Downe!  I didn't quite manage to do it in one go!  I stopped for just a quick breather, and I was virtually there!  But I am not going to beat myself up!

"Let's just go straight through to Keston" I said to the Old Boy "No, you're our now, might as well continue with the route,"  he said to me, I grumbled, like I usually do!  But as I was riding along Single Street and then Jail Lane I was feeling a lot more positive.  By the time I got to the other end, Biggin Hill, I was feeling bloody glad I did the route!  In fact I thought I even deserved a pint as well!  So off to the Greyhound we went.  Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps please!

Yup, pleased I went out!  Now lets try and keep it up!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Coaching The Coach!?

Hello blog lovers.

Fridays are going to be our days out on the bikes!  Either a nice leisurely breeze ride, or a bit of hill training at our own pace.  But today it was kind of both, kind of, well sort of.

DiscoRich, our coach at PWR's is wanting to add cycling to his repertoire of sports, but apart from a little poodle along to the rec, and a coaching job a mile or so away, he hasn't been that far.  So me and Bims asked him if he wanted to come along and join us on a Friday Day Out for a Meander, or FriDOM as I am going to call them from now on! Sounds just like Freedom to me!  A nice pootle about in the country side or even in the city!  Perfect.

Anyway, I arranged to meet everyone at Petts Wood Station and we were going to cycle to Keston, stopping at the Grey Hound for lunch, taking in Down Village first!  As it's DiscoRich's first ride along with us he did ask us to treat him kindly!  We guessed that he meant not to take him up too many hills.  As if!  I hate hills, but I also know that to get anywhere nice, and put some saddle time in and miles on the clock there will be hills!

I gave DiscoRich three options but after hearing him say that I decided that maybe the shorter route would be better, it has got that long climb up from Shire Lane to Downe Villiage.  I have done this a few times and so has Bims, so we put D.R. in front of us and said to go at his own pace, and stop if necessary, as this is not a race, just a fantastic friendly social!  Well, did I have egg on my face as DiscoRich seemed to glide effortlessly up the hill, me and Bims were left swearing as usual at the hill.
DiscoRich did pull over, of course I thought it was because he needed a rest, but I expect the real reason was to wait for us to catch up!  We got to Downe Village earlier than I had originally thought, (men, they are just so much stronger, right?) and so a unanimous decision was taken to ride along to Jail lane and then into Biggin Hill.  At least that will take up an extra fifteen minutues and then we wont have to wait too long before lunch!

Of course those down hill sections are just fantastic and I took the lead, and we all rode along past the Airport and then turned left to head for Keston.  A great ride today, but I do think that maybe DiscoRich can easily make some of those other hills, novice rider or not!

Geeky stats.

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Rest Day!

Hello blog lovers.

Rest days, don't you just love rest days!  It's also absolutely neccesary to have rest days to to make sure all your hard work that you have been doing has time to filter through to your bones! Get right in there and make you stronger, well that's how I am seeing it, and the principle is kind of right! things do need to heal and to grow stronger.

But the evening is such a lovely evening, no good just sitting in doors, lets get out on our bikes and do a lovely social 15 miles.  That's what we did, me and the Old Boy.  With a stop at the Grey Hound for some light refreshment before making our way home it made for the perfect evening social, nice and easy!

For all those that live in my area, to make a nice social ride of about 15 mile is difficult to keeping it nice and flat, especially if you want to include a favourite watering hole!.  I decided  that Downe Village would be a great turn around point.  Cycling from our house, up to Downe and then along Jail Lane to Biggin Hill.  At least from Biggin Hill it's all just a lovely coast down to Keston, with maybe just a couple of smaller hills to slow me down!

We got to Keston just as the sun popped behind the trees making the clouds a lovely orangy pink colour.  Perfect.  I love being out when the sun goes down, or indeed, when it comes up, but I have not seen the sun rise for ages! All in all a lovely social, easy paced (with a hill) ride!

Geeky stats up until we got to the Greyhound, and then we we left I forgot to re start my watch!  But the Old Boy had his Garmin and it said 15.01 miles.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of......Grunting!

Hello blog lovers.

A gorgeous day, way to good to be sat in doors moping around, waiting for work to begin in September!  Today is a day to get out there on bikes and ride!  Ok, so it's not going to be a mega ride to the seaside, not just yet anyway, but a ride is a ride, and this one we have planned to do to the countryside.

Bims (Nagging Sisters new 'Old' nickname) and I decided that although London is lovely, it's a flat route, traffic free, until London that is, and that what we needed was some hills!  Yup that's right I said hills.  I hate hills, but I know that to get over them (pun intended) I need to do some work on them.  I really wasn't looking forward to riding up them, after last Saturdays disastrous attempt at one of the Old Boys routes that he wanted to try, I felt a little apprehensive.

So we chose our route carefully, starting off with the not so hilly of our hilly routes, and that's down to Eynsford via Shoreham.  This is just such a beautiful ride, well, riding through Shoreham and Eynsford is, the roads are a lot to be desired. The A21, for instance.  We cut some of that off by going through the housing estates and joining the A21 from Tuppington Lane, and then cycling up to the garage where we crossed over to cycle along the cycle path to Knockholt Station, using the trees to block our view of the dreaded road.

For some reason that little bit of road seamed a lot easier than cycling along with the traffic to the turnoff!  Strange.  We were making good time for a couple of old girls out for a leisurely cycle ride and we got to to roundabout in under 50 minutes, quite good for me and bims!  We took the 2nd of the exits towards Shoreham, a nice little country road, hardly any traffic on these roads and of course that lovely little stream to look at. But before you get there we have a couple of smaller hills, to deal with and downhills of course, but there is one particular hill, just by the farm that I seem to fly up with hardly any effort at all.  Every time I do this route, this hill surprises me.  I try and think what I have done differently, to see if I was in the right gear, ready for the next hill. But nothing is out of the ordinary, only the fact that this particular hill is an easy hill!  Strange!

We cycled through Shoreham and then face that nasty little hill to take us to the main road heading for Eynsford.  Again the cussing started, and not just from me!  "Who's idea was it to come here?" Bims said, "A couple of stupid old girls who think they are fit decided that it would be a good idea" I called back to her as I puffed and pushed and panted and cussed my way to the top!

It was a great relief to get to the top of that hill!  We turned left and made our way up, yes up, to Eynsford.  Thankfully those hills are not steep, they are just long. We made good progress to our lunch stop, The Plough at Eynsford, a nice grilled chicken fillet and salad for me, and two entrees for Bims, (she didn't like the mains, and being a veggie she is very particular!)

We sat and chatted and enjoyed our lunch, neither of us in a rush to get moving again, after all, this is a pleasure ride, albeit with those darn hills.  Which by the way we faced more or less as soon as we left the pub!  Foo Kin Hill to be exact, proper name being Crockenhill Lane!

As soon as I was on hill I could feel the burn in my legs!  That's the only problem about stopping for lunch is the whole getting started again! Especially when the getting started thing has a hill as your first road!  But we did it, and in fact we were quite surprised at just how quickly we 'ate up' the hill.  It didn't seem as bad as it was when we first tried it!  So, I guess doing hill work really does work!

But our hills didn't stop there! Oh no.  we decided to have a refreshment stop in Chislehurst, the Tigers Head, which means going up the ramp! And if that isn't enough hills for the day, then once we got to the top of that we still had to ride up to Chislehurst to get to the pub!

After we had put the world to rights over our refreshment, and tried to recruit some other ladies to the cycling world we made our home.  Now from here we could turn right and ride home through Petts Wood, which would leave Bims that little bit further from her home, or we could turn left and taking in the very last of the hills, that hill that always gets gasps from the PWR's everytime a group leaders mentions it, SUMMER HILL! Guess we way we chose! Yup Summer hill! What's one more hill eh?!

Geeky stats.

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Poppies and Cuckoo Trails

Hello blog lovers.

Here is a blog about the two rides I did these past two days.

The first ride was with my sister.  We had planned ages ago that on one Friday we will ride up to London and do the tourist thing.  Not just stop off at Surrey Quays, lunch and go home.  I had told her that me and the Old Boy had gone to see the poppies last week, so she wanted to go and do the same.

We had arranged to meet at 9:30 am, but things didn't get rolling until 10:00 when we met up at our usual place at Bromley South.  Nagging Sister or Bims as I shall now call her (after all that has been her nick name for many years!) was also running a tad late and I was waiting for her.  She took the lead to Cator Park as she said she is going to go a different way.  Another new way to get to Cator Park!

It was still a lovely way to get there, but I doubt if I will remember it!  Nice quieter roads and somehow a hill seems to be flattened off for us!  Always a bonus in my book!  We seemed to have the route sussed now from Cator Park to Surrey Quays as we both just cycled our way there. "This way" "That's the road we need" "Just this little diversion to take" And before we knew it we were at Surrey Docks Farm.

It just so happened that the Breeze ladies were going to go to Tower Bridge today as well.  We had caught them up as they were enjoying a coffee at the farm!  So we decided to tag along with them all the way to Tower Bridge.  Here is a photo of  us at the farm.

Meeting at Surrey Docks Farm

I was glad about tagging along with them actually, although me and the Old Boy had gone to the Tower last week, I still wasn't quite sure of the way.  Ok, if we keep the river on our right then we are bound to get there eventually.  But for some strange reason architects and builders decided to put buildings right against the river, so we were for ever having to take little roads, and turnings to get around them.

But my goodness I was glad of it.  It was a great chance to see the buildings of old London.  The only thing I wasn't to pleased to see was those darn cobbled streets.  Not good for road bike riding!  I think next time up I shall bring my other bike, but I doubt if that would have made it any the more comfortable.  This is the girls in one of the older parts of London town.

The ladies in Old London 

We rode through some lovely little roads and still keeping the river just on our right, occasionally riding right along side it, and sometimes riding along side the buildings that were next to the river. Then we had to dismount and we had to walk along this little pathway that went up alongside a building and then disappeared though an archway.  It came out at this fantastic little place called Butlers Wharf!  A little bit of Old London again.  The old dockers yard were now fancy flats, but they kept the buildings as orignal as ever, but I expect that the interiors have somewhat been changed!

Walking the planks (of the bridge that is)

Just a little further on and we were soon at the base of Tower Bridge!  After group photos, me and Bims parted company from the lovely Breeze ladies!  It was great to ride with them again but me and Bims were on a mission to get to the Tower of London, where as the Breeze ladies will be going for lunch and then heading for London Bridge station to get the train back. Thanks Yvonne for getting us to here, a lovely route through London. I think  I would have taken the busy roads if I was left to my own devices!

Bims and I carried our bikes up the stairs so that we could cycle over Tower Bridge.  It really is an awesome bridge.  I remember running over it in 2013 as I neared the 12 mile marker of the marathon. Just an awesome sight and an awesome feeling of running that far, even though I still had half a marathon left!  But this time, as like last week, this was our destination, our turn around point!  We rode over to look at the poppies, I had to explain to Bims (this is where she gets her nick name by the way) that the poppies are all ceramic, they are not growing, the puzzled look from her face disappeared after I revealed that little piece of info!

And so next was our lunch.  We went in search of some good quality fare, she didn't fancy the pub where me and the Old Boy went last week, "It's not by the river" she says!  In the end we rode back over the bridge and ended up having lunch at Cafe Rouge. Ok so we could see water, with the nauticulas thingy sitting in a pond!  But we could also see the wall near the river!  One thing though! They had run out of burgers!  Can you believe it!  I ended up having duck! Duck!  Who has duck when they really wanted a burger? But the rest of the menu just didn't do it for me!  All because Bims saw the pasta picture, blooming vegetarian!

After lunch we made our way home, riding down the roads that we came up with the Breeze ladies.  We found our way with no problems, remember at least 99% of turnings and paths all the way back to Surrey Docks Farm.  We rode along by the river back to Creek Road and as we had no agenda we decided to ride along to the Cutty Sark!

A quick stop at the Trafalgar for light refreshment and then we made our way home after that.  A great ride, lovely company and great meeting up the with Breeze ladies!  No garmin geeky stats however because both me and Bims had forgotten to bring ours!

Next ride was todays ride, Saturday.  It's the day I like to spend with the Old Boy as he only gets Saturdays off.  He had this route in mind, riding a circular route around the High Weald area.  Now even that name put me in fear!  But when he showed me the profile of the ride then I knew it was going to be an extremely tough ride! But I agreed to do it as I wanted to ride with him today.
I saw this at the beginning
of the trail! A warning maybe?

We set off quite late in the morning, loading our bikes in the car to take us to Heathfield.  That was our starting point.  We were going to ride along the Cuckoo Trail, its an old disused railway line that goes to Eastbourne, about 14 miles from Heathfield.  And the first bit of our ride today was down, yes down here.  After that it was a series of ups and downs.

Completely cuckoo!

I am really not very good with the whole riding up hills, I know the more you do then the stronger you get.  I feel I need to do more hill work, but maybe during the day, when I am by myself and not actually on a bike ride!  Some of the hills were short with a nice down hill afterwards, but then some where just horrid.  I was really struggling with this ride, and I felt sure we hadn't even got to the biggest hills yet!

But in the end we decided that we would just get as far as Warbleton and turn around and come back the same way! Which means of course, all those lovely down hills are now my up hills!  Including the the last part, The Cuckoo Trail, that is up and up and up to the car park at the top!
Ok, where's the train!

I'm Waiting!

I was very tired by the time we got to the car, and a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to get around what is said to be 29 miles.  Here, this is the info about it, but just take a look at the profile of the ride! Not for the feint hearted.  It says it's a moderate to strenuous ride! Hmmm, I wished they asked me to describe the ride, at least the bit that I did manage to ride!

And here is the geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.

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Tower Bridge photos courtesy of Yvonne Wright

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Towers And Poppies

Hello blog lover

It was a gorgeous morning and afternoon and me and the Old Boy had no plans apart from riding somewhere.  The Old Boy wanted to know where I go with Nagging Sister when we go to London, so that was out destintation today, but not just stopping at St Catherines Dock, we were going to see the poppies.

I am not very good at remember directions, and once I kind of know away of getting somewhere I generally stick to it.  Now the Old Boy, in fact I am sure all men, are built with inner SatNav, said to me when we got to Cator Park,  "If I knew you wanted to get here ......" Well you can guess the rest. But that was the only way I know of getting into London a nice way, (i.e. the WaterWay Link).

And besides, it's nice to cycle along the little rivers.  And the Old Boy had a good time reminiscing about when he was a small boy and used to play in one of the parks we rode through.  His dad used to live in the area and they used to go and visit his nanny and aunties.

All the diversions, all the little turns left and right, we finally got to Surrey Docks Farm. And then it's up to the Old Boy to find the way from there.  It was not too far, but we made a meal of it, well, its the first reccy to the Tower of London!  We eventually found our way to Tower Bridge and had to get off our bikes and walk for a bit as there were so many people around. We had lunch first and then made our way to the Tower of London itself.

When we got there it was just exactly what I expected.   I was a bit overwhelmed when I saw it, knowing that in June the first of 888,246 were 'planted' by a Yeoman warden,  and each one is representing a person killed in the first world war!  The last poppy will be planted on November 11, Armistice Day.  The installation is called 'Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red'  I just stood and looked, said a prayer of thanks, and then did the 'tourist' thing with the camera! It just had to be done!  Looking at all those poppies you just can't help but be thankful to all those young boys and men who went to war so that we could have the freedom we enjoy now! Very humbling!  Here is some photos.

A panoramic view

Just looks like the Tower is

As I was walking around the tower I saw a proper tourist and he had asked one of the volunteer 'info' ladies what the significance of the poppies are.  Are really wanted to tell him but I thought it would be better coming from those who were there to answer such questions.

After we walked around there we made our way back in the homeward direction, stopping to photograph this,
 Then we had a slight detour. We headed for the Cutty Sark to have a look around there.  She is a gorgeous ship and both me and the Old Boy decided that our little grandson would love to see that, so I think a day out with nanny and granddad will be someone in our agenda soon.

From there we headed back to get back on track with cycle route 21.  All the way home, but a slightly different way again!  It seems I am destined never to go the same way home twice!  Getting to Cator Park is easy, but from there getting home is again a differently way, in fact we didn't even go into the park this time! Oh well. It's all good, and it's good to find out new routes, isn't it?

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin

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Friday, 8 August 2014

There's That MoJo!

Hello blog lovers.

It's been a long while since I've blogged.  The 17th of July to be exact!  Somehow during a nights sleep I twisted of trapped or did something quite nasty to my back and I have been out of action for all this time.

The doctors has told me that I can start running again pretty soon, but that cycling is ok, (less impact on the back!) so my first day free from children and from pain in the lower back, I decided to go for a bike ride.

I got up early, ish, showered, went and got some cash out (the place where I am heading for lunch need £10.00 or over for card use) and then pottered about.  I laid back on my bed, I sat up, I looked at facebook, I had breakfast.  Anything but get ready to go for a bike ride!  I just didn't think I could go that far by myself. And by far I mean up to London, Surrey Docks to be precise.

So after really telling myself to get a move on and get out there, I did! My bike pumped and ready, I got my new cycling top on and ready for the off.  I stepped outside the house before I decided to do any of the housework, (and there was need of a tidy up) and headed off in the direction of London.

I just hoped I remembered the way.  I am useless with directions.  I wanted to go the way through the nice roads to get to Cator Park.  Going through Beckenham High street is not nice, and then there's that horrible unmade road to ride on as well, nah, nah, nah!  I am going to try and remember the way to go.

You guessed it! I got lost! Thank goodness for Maps for IPhone! That got me back on tract to Cator Park.  Now I should (she says hopefully) find my way all the way to the River Thames!.  Well, I got lost! Only slightly, due to the amount of silly roadworks and buildings.  All those diversions just threw me.  I didn't know whether I was coming or going!

But one thing I did notice.  I wasn't worried.  I wasn't bothered, I wasn't rushed or pressured or anything. I had my own agenda, no kids to be picked up from school runs, so I was just going to enjoy time in the saddle! I eventually go to where I was heading, and that was the Moby Dick for lunch!  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.  I had a smile on my face virtually from the moment I left the house and I was feeling really good!

After lunch it was time to head back.  I usually can remember the way back and everything went perfectly, no getting lost, even with those diversions.  That is until I get back to Cator Park.  I still wanted to head home the nice way, the way with less traffic!  But I got lost!  I just couldn't remember the way that Nagging Sister showed me.

In fact I ended up by going a completely different way than I did to get there! I climbed up a hill that I couldn't remember coming down and ended up at Crab Hill!  So where did that come from? I tried to use my Map feature on my Iphone but it was just taking so long!  So I tried another sort of navigational device, my brain!  I sort of thought I lived in a particular direction and that was the way I was going to head, so you can image how I felt when rode up to a road that I knew!  Relieved or what?!  I took this road and then I started o remember exactly where this road leads to, and the road that I was going to have to go up! Oh no!  Farnaby Road takes me to the bottom of a road near Shortlands Station.  I was going to have to go up there.  I really didn't feel as if I could do that hill and decided to take another road instead, and then to walk up through the park to the Churchill Theatre.  From there I know each where to go!

I got to the park and I needed to use the loo, so there was only one thing to do, head for the nearest loo stop, which just happened to be Belgos! A quick pit stop,  a little refreshment and I was ready to get home!

So who cares that it took me hours to enjoy my bike ride, who cares that it was slightly raining I certainly wasn't!

What a lovely day!  I guess housework can still wait!


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Lost In Surrey Quays!

Hello blog lovers.

Just a tad late with my blog, but when I do two lots of activities on the same day then its difficult to get everything down in one go. 

So, our trip back to Surrey Quays! Eventful, well if you call getting lost eventful then yes!  Me and Nagging Sister enjoyed the trip to London so much on Friday we decided to repeat it yesterday as our morning exercise.

Getting to Cator park is no problem.  I met N.S. at Bromley South (I was a tad late as my cycling gear was still in the washing machine in the morning!) but we still had plenty of time to get to the docks and back again in time for her to get ready for work later that day.  I led the way to Cator Park and as we were not meeting anyone there we rode on through it.

Getting to Lewisham was no problem, that is all well and truly logged into the old grey matter, it was from Lewisham to Surrey Quays that was going to be the challenge.  Yvonne went down so many nooks and crannies, and what with all the road works, it really was going to test the brain cell!

We made steady pace until those nooks and crannies, twists and turns.  We kept going slightly wrong and coming out of places only to spot the place where we should have come from.  We just couldn't figure out where we were going wrong.  It was only a few days ago, and to me seemed virtually impossible to get lost.  But I suppose when you are following someone you don't actually take it all in.  I was just like a sheep on that day, and so it seems was Nagging Sister!

But it was fun finding out where it all fitted in, and doing the whole touristy bit, and, something that is alien to men, we even asked directions!  Thankfully we didn't say "Where is the Thames please" because we was virtually paddling in it, we were that close!

We rode all the down to Surrey Dock Farm, which really we didn't want to do.  We were actually looking for was the pub we saw when we took a detour with Yvonne to look at the statues of Michael Cain, Charlie Chaplin and a bicycle! Do you think we could find it.  We road left along the Thames, we rode right along the Thames!  But somehow we just couldn't see it!  There was something we were doing wrong! We were just totally baffled!

I think what it was, we were just not thinking  'docks' we were thinking 'river'. The pub we wanted was by water, (a dock) we were thinking it was by the river, the Thames. We just didn't think to look behind us, and head away from the river to were the Quays (docks) were.  Once we sussed that we soon found the pub we wanted,  The Moby Dick. We had brunch, (I came out without having breakfast)  Bims had soup and I had a rather nice sausage sandwich. with doorstop think bread! N.S. fella also turned up just before we were leaving as he works in the area!

After lunch and N.S. said her goodbyes to her fella we set off on our way home! Lets see if we can remember the way!  Of course we couldn't! We had gone around in circles earlier and places started to look all the same.  We still managed to miss a couple of turnings which we though "How did we miss that"  There was so many "I don't remember passing this place" and "This is a busy road, I don't remember coming along here"  But we did suss out our way, and no, I am not writing this now because I have only just go home either!  I was just busy yesterday! 

Once back in Lewisham it was plain sailing.......almost, Bims did take a right turn when we should have been turning left to go over a bridge! But then her nickname (our family nickname for her) is Bimbo!

A great ride, just loved it.  Unpressured, quite roads, well apart from that busy one on the way back, water, adventure, sausage sandwiches!  And a go on the slide on the way back!

What more could you want from a morning and an afternoon! Although it was a 30 odd mile round trip, its was all about the smiles and not miles!  I have fallen in love again with my bike! No long is she a b-iatch, she is my beaut!

Geeky stats.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Breeze through to Surry Keyes

Hello blog lovers.

I thought it was about time I introduced Nagging sister to the Bromley Breeze ladies!  After the last few horrible rides up to Downe village, did I say horrible, of course I meant challenging rides, I thought it would be nice to have a no pressured, social, pleasant, flat, some traffic free paths, and lovely conversational type of ride! 

So after dropping the kids off at school I rode off to Bromley to meet Nagging Sister, and then we were going to Cator park to the meeting place.  We were going to be a little early, but I like to be early, and besides it didn't seem any point in going home only to come straight out again.

Coming down Southborough Lane some dimwit decides they don't have to wait for cyclists to pass by as he pulled in front of me from the right.  Of course he gave the obligatory, 'Ooops sorry, my fault' type of raise hand gesture.  But no harm done, at least I had the bus stop to pull into! The traffic was quite heavy along Bromley Common and it felt good to be flying past them as they sat in their cars!  I soon got to Bromley and there was N.S. waiting just as we planned.  I told her where we were going and then we were off!

 I was looking forward to this ride, it's a bit further than they other Breeze rides I have been on, but still going along the Waterway Link, those lovely traffic free places.  Of course there are a couple of roads that we need to negotiate but Yvonne (the ride leader), did a brilliant job of making sure that we all got over safely. 

All the little backstreets, and turnings we soon got to Surrey Docks Farm, where I was assured they do a fantastic bacon sandwich!  I was really looking forward to it.  Being a farm of course we had to have a look around.  We saw goats trying be king of the castle, the chickens running about in front of the sheep and the moo cows were making sure we could hear them to make sure we went over and gave them a butchers! Oooo, actually probably wrong rhyming slang to use at a farm!  Especially as just opposite the cows were the adorable ......... little pigs!!! Best not dwell to much on my bacon sandwich, darn it, why does it have to taste so good!

So after saying goodbye to my next bacon sandwi...... erm, pigs and sheep and things, we started on our way home.  We took a tiny little detour around the docks.  It is a far cry from the last time I was up there, way back in the 70's!  Seems a completely different place now, a place where I could quite easily live.....if I didn't like living where I am of course.

The ride back home was just as good as on the way there, a few more school kids o negotiate around, I presume there are off because of exams and stuff! it always seems quicker getting back to the start, probably because its all nearly over!  When we got back to Cator Park I had no time to say proper goodbyes as there were commitments, and I still had the ride back to mine to do.

Now, geeky stats, what can I say.  I was all set to borrow the Old Boys Garmin, it does this brilliant auto stop and start, I automatically picked up my running Garmin, so the geeky stats will look a bit odd and of course started from a completely different place to where we actually started, but it's nice to see the route home at least.

Oh and some pictures from todays ride are all on the bottom of the blog.

Drinks were deffo needed!

Is that the way we are going?

The whole Breeze Gang


  Lunch   Pig

The River Thames!

I bet this is an original pose!!!!

Cudham North Lane is the new regular Route!

Hello blog lovers.

So when did hills become part of my regular rides, in fact when did Cudham North lane become part of my training rides and not as just a little tester!?  Well, since Nagging Sister started coming with on a Friday for 'a little ride!'

So there we were, early, and eager to get moving.  Around the usual route to Greenstreet Green, Nagging Sister likes it, I don't think I have actually told her that it is about an extra mile longer, but she don't need to know that.

We soon started up the hill.  I told her that last time I did this I actually did it non stop from my home to the top by Grays road. So of course she said, "well its non stop again then, to the pub"  And so the long slog began! 

I will cut this short, because I am behind on my blogging, and besides, it was pretty uneventful to the pub.  Except I was thinking she meant the pub at Downe Village, but in actually fact......she mean the one on Cudham North Lane, The Blacksmith Arms!  Oh well, it was great to grab a break, and to also put some ice into our drinks!

Back on our bikes again to finish off our ride for the day. We continued our ride up to Grays Road, it always gets me how far this really is from The Blacksmiths! Even Naggining Sister wishes it was closer.  We turn right into Grays road and then its a pleasant ride all the way to the Shampan.  No stopping there either, we continue down the little country road that will take us towards Downe.

This time I didn't miss the turning!  Straight up there till the give way sign. I pointed out to Nagging sister the nice lovely down hill road on the right, and then the horrid up hill on the left. Of course we had to turn left to go up the huge steep hill.  I really wanted to do this in one go and o with a determination I set off after N.S.  just as I got a quarter of the way up a white van came up behind me, although the passenger shouted something encouraging, like "Keep going!" but  it put me off and I had to stop.  Although I didn't walk up the hill, I cycled it, I felt a little disappointed that I wimped out!

Anyway, its just a lovely ride along Single Street to Downe Village, where I was going to enjoy a nice bacon and brie baguette! I say 'was' because we didn't stop there for lunch, we were were about 40 minutes early!  They don't start serving lunch until 12!  So we cycled our way to Keston instead, I am sure we can get something at the Greyhound, but again, we must have cycled liked the clappers because we were still too bloomin early!

Only one thing for it now, and that is the café at Hayes!  That's were we will go.  At least they do an all day breakfast!  But I still had my bacon sandwich!

A lovely ride, extremely warm ride, just love the summer, don't you?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Yes! I Conquered Cudham!

Hello Blog lovers.

The weather wasn't what the experts predicted, well, not for this area anyway!  Yes there was a slight down pour and at least one clap of thunder and I was expecting that to just carry on through out the day!  So it was a great surprise when the 'storm' finished, and I was still stuck up at Kwik-Fits with the Old Boy waiting for bloomin hours for his tyres!

We particularly didn't plan an all day cycling day because of the expected 'storms', but we did have to do the tyres on the car.  Afterwards, however we made plans to cycling up Cudham North Lane and then ride on through to Downe and Keston.

Just before we left I did a  little bit more collecting 'Stuff' for the Spirit of Running Man event that I am busy with at the moment,  and then we got ourselves ready to go out cycling.  The Old Boy had already said, "Ok, so non stop all the way to Grays Road"  Well, in my mind that was just a tad to far!  It's a long bloomin hill, and to me, in my mind, just getting to the pub at the top will be a victory for me!  So I chose to ignore what he said, and psyched myself up to get up to the Blacksmiths, (at least) before I unclip my feet! (Roads and traffic allowing of course!) 

I went through the nice quite little roads,  they maybe a tad hillier than going straight up the A21, but it's what I like.  So much better than all that pollution going into your lungs.  And getting to the last rouandabout at Greenstreet Green, near Cudham North Lane seemed to come around even quicker than all the other times I rode here!  Am I getting better, or is the 'dreading of the hill' clouding my senses?!   We rode around the roundabout and then straight onto Cudham North lane.  No stopping to 'whet the whistle' albeit with orange juice, I carried on straight up the road with a feeling of foreboding! 

I tried to ignore that feeling!  I am going to get to the pub! I am going to get to the pub.  If I think positive then I am hoping that will be enough to get me to my goal! The Old Boy was already on the encouraging streak, "Come on, non stop until Grays, you can do it"  And this was just 5 minutes into the climb!   I don't like hills, I am trying to 'come to respect' them, although that seems as tough as actually riding on them!  I know the more I do, the stronger I become! It's a fact, isn't it?

I kept that thought in my mind.  My legs started to hurt after a while, but I remained focused.  The stupid driver who thought it was a wise move to really cut in close didn't even sway me from the fact that I am going to try my best to get to the pub!  The timing for me seems irrelevant at the moment, as I kept riding on up this bloody hill. I didn't care how long it took, I just wanted to get to my goal.  I have no idea how long it takes me each time, to get to some of the drive ways and roads that I recognise.  All I know is that it is long!  "I am going to stop, I can't do it" I said to the Old Boy "No, keep going, we're nearly there, you're doing so well, you are just so close" he said.  I just thought he was lying!  I knew the place that had me wanting to pull over and catch my breath, (which by now we had passed!) and I began waiting for that 'easier' bit he just mentioned.

"You get a little reprieve at the top of this bit" he said to me.  It did feel a little bit easier when I got there, and so I carried on.  Before I realised it the pub came into view!  I was just so pleased!  I had done it, I have finally, for the first time this year, got to The Blacksmiths arms.  But I didn't stop!  I carried on, the pub flew(?) passed me as I cycled on up the road.  I was smiling!  Can you believe it!  There I was smiling after riding up my nemesis! 

I thought to myself, "If you want to stop any time before Grays then that's just fine Old Girl"  But I didn't!  I rode on to Grays, and just stopped there!  I really did need to have a slug of squash! "Right, no more stopping until we get to Downe" said the Old Boy.  Well after what I have just did I thought that I may be just able to do it.

Along Grays Road right up to The Shampan and then turn right to go down the lovely country road to Berrys Green road, the road that I missed with Nagging Sister that time!

For me, up to that point, that was my exercises, after that it was all just a pleasure ride, apart from the nasty little blighter of a hill that is the left turn to take you up to Single Street! (I had to stop on that hill, but I didn't walk it, I just took a moment and then rode up it)

Yup, a very successful ride today, I did it! I finally did it!  All year, well, all the times this year that I have gone up this shit of a hill, I finally made it to the turn off!

Geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.  He was behind me all the way until the Shampan, and then he 'enjoyed' the faster ride to Downe from there.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Downe, the Right way!

Hello blog lovers

The Old Boy and I decided to have a little bike ride to down.  I wanted him to show me the right way to Downe from Cudham North Lane.  Although the way that me and Nagging Sister took the other day was challenging, I wouldn't want to repeat it too often!

We took the usual route that I take with the ladies, it's the one that takes us through Kelvin Parade area, and then up towards Newstead Avenue and left then right to go up Tubbenden.  But as we were going to Cudham North I still chose to do a couple of more hills just so that I can avoid the A21 just for a little bit longer.  I do no like cycling up there anymore!

In fact, soon I am going to find a route through the back streets to get to the turnoff that will take us up to Shoreham. I think that maybe be through Chelsfield, but I will look at that!  Anyway, for this evening we went to Greenstreet Green and then up Cudham North.  I was determined to do this as best as I could, but also at my pace.  I know the Old Boy likes to totally bring about totally 'Niagara falls' type sweat from his body when he goes up here, but my way, I just want to get up it, no matter how slow.

I was very determined, the Old Boy just plodding along next to me. My legs started to feel the hill.  I do not like hills! Although the few small hills were behind me, giving me a warm up, I seem to be never prepared for this hill.  It always surprises me just how bloody hard it all is!  But I am sure, that with practise, with determination and with sheer stubbornness I can get up to the pub, at least, before I take a glug from my drinks bottle.

But after a while it was the Old Boy who pulled over to the side!  Of course I know it would not be due to tiredness, there is something wrong.  It turned out to be a puncture!  The second one in two days!  So I had a quick glug of my drink, and then left him to it!  I was determined to get to the pub, The Blacksmiths Arms, at least, before he caught me up!  I couldn't work out just how far we were from the pub! That was a little bit of a motivational kick up the arse for me! 

I was pleased that I had got to the pub. I stopped for a glug from my drinks bottle and looked back for a few minutes to see if he was going to catch me up.  When he didn't appear after a few minutes I started on my way again.  Lets see how far I can get now!  We were going to go down  Grays Road until the Shampan, and then down the road next to the Shampan to find the road that I missed when I was leading last Friday!

I really wasn't feeling up to doing that huge hill again, let alone if he decided to still go to Downe and then have to do the other hill too!  The Old Boy told me to go in front. I am sure it was to see if I would miss the turning again, just so that he could see me go up those hills, or turn back and have to go back up the hill that way!

But I saw the turning!  I didn't miss it! And I was so pleased.  It is a bit of a down hill ride this bit, with just a bit of a hill, but then we came to another junction.  One way leads off down hill.  A lovely, gorgeous down hill road, nice and quiet! The other way disappeared around the corner.......going up hill! 

I can remember this bit, the O.B. told me about it the first time we went up here.  It's only a short hill, short and steep!  I had a nice little rest at the junction and then we started off up the hill!  I tried to get up there, I really did, but I just didn't make it! I pulled over unclipped myself on one side, but was still slightly leaning to the right! I had a moment there, that I thought I was going to topple over because of my clippies!! But I managed to unclip successfully without falling over!  I took another breather and then rode on up the hill!  I was determined I wasn't going to walk on any of the hills on this ride!  Not doing Downe Village this way, with just Cudham North Lane in my legs!  I managed to get to the top without any more stops and then it was plain cycling all the way down to Downe!

The Old Boy treated us to a most welcomed beverage! And then we made our way home via Keston and The GreyHound!  A lovely ride, a bit of challenging exercise for me, and a great time had on my bike! 

Here is the geeky stats, it was on the Old Boys bike, so any of the max speeds are not mine, but I guess the average speed overall is right for me!  After all we got home at the same time!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Surfs Up!

Hello blog lovers.

Ok, so the surf wasn't up in fact the sea looked remarkably tranquil, but the sun was up, and both me and the Old Boy are slowly getting over these silly colds that keep on finding us which means we are off out!  So after a bit of a tidy up in the garden, and meetings and other 'stuff' that needed doing we packed out bikes into the car and headed off to ride along some of the Viking way!

It wasn't going to be a long ride, it was going to be just to get out and enjoy cycling along the sea front!  Virtually traffic free, with the rest of the afternoon that we have left!  I think next weekend we are going to do the whole of the Viking Way!  It really is a lovely route.  And with just a couple of bumps to negotiate too, it's my kind of cycling!

We arrived at Reculver and quickly got the bikes out, and we got changed into our cycling gear!  The sun was shining brightly at the seaside too.  I was very glad of that!  The air felt slightly cool with the breeze bringing up goose bumps on my arms, but I knew that I would warm up as we set off.  There were quite a few cars with bike racks hanging off them or strapped on top!  I would imagine the cycle route will be quite busy.

Just before we went through the first gate I noticed this contraption where you can fit at least 6 to 8 people on it and each has pedals to use!  Fantastic!  That really is social riding or maybe even a family of cycling enthusiasts!  I am going to have to look out for something like that to have a go on, maybe even a girls night out! Just the front two riders need to be the 'designated' riders the rest can have a couple of bevys!!

The ride towards Margate a nice and easy paced ride, even though the Old Boy wanted to go a bit faster! I like to enjoy the surroundings, look around, listen to the birds and the sea and the kids enjoying the waves 'coming for them' on the beaches or slipways! 

We stopped for a coffee and cake about 2 miles out from Margate, it looked like it was a very popular place.  Underneath the walkway there were chaps with telescopes, trained towards the sea.  There were quite a few of them  I think they were star gazers who were there to promote star gazing I guess!

It didn't take long after that to get to Margate.  It all seems to have changed there, their council seems to have spent some money on the place its has some lovely looking pavements and pedestrian bits! After doing the usual seaside things, eating cockles and sharing a portion of chips, we head back the way we came.

It is quicker and easier on the way back!  Strangely enough, although we are on the edge of Britain, right next to the sea we seem to be cycling down hill!  Is that at all possible?! Getting to Margate, seems to be a little bit more effort, what do you know, eh!? Strange.

Anyway, after the lovely 'easier' ride back to Reculver we stopped at The King Ethelbert for a most refreshing and much needed drink!

No Garmis, no timings, it really was a very pleasant ride, no one knew how fast we were cycling, or how slowly, so no one can nag or moan, which ever the case may be!  Great fun, and I am looking forward to doing the whole route very soon.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Back Up Downe!

Hello blog lovers.

Well today, as I have no kiddiwinks till 3 ish I decided to go for another bike ride.  But this time Nagging Sister was coming with me. She was talking yesterday, on facebook about if its raining, and stuff like that, maybe not go.  But then I started saying things like, if she is not careful then I will take her up Cudham North Lane!  Do you know what? She took me up on my offer! "Bring it on" she said.

So that's what we did!  I was thinking, "What on earth was I thinking, I have a stupid cold effecting my lungs, and I'm heading up CNL"  I don't like riding along the A21, so I used the backstreets to get to the bottom of Cudham North lane, at Green Street Green.  After a quick breather we started up the darn hill.  "Why did you write that" I was thinking as the incline started.  I just knew there is about 5 miles of no stop inclines!  Oh well, the thought of lunch at the Queens Head is always inspiration!

The couple of little hills that we had to climb up are all forgotten now as the hill in front of me fills my thoughts and works my thighs......calfs, hams, lungs! The snot fairies were working overtime, and my headache seem to intensify as I breathed in.  But I had no intention of heading back down now!  Even if I have to stop, I will not be going back. 

I believe I got up to the Blacksmiths in about '3 moves'. We had a 'scheduled breather there and were ready for the next part and that is to Grays Road, and then to the Shampan.  All non stop too.  Well, this part of the ride is not too bad, I know I can do it.  Although my lungs were busting, and my head was hurting, I was still enjoying being out.  I was going to take Nagging Sister down the other country road and then get to Jail Lane all the way to Downe Village.  At least that was the plan!

After reaching The Shampan, instead of going down the main road, we went down Buckhurst road, a nice little country road. There is a turning down here that will take us to another road which then will take us up to Jail Lane, and Single Street! Perfect! But no, I missed a turning which took us all the way down the hill, and then all the up, up, up to, wait for it, The Blacksmiths Arms!

It would have been easier to have had our lunch there. But not what did I decided to do! I still want to go to Downe Village, down Church street, but then up up up to Downe! Crazy woman!

We eventually got there, here's the proof! Lunch, me with my usual bacon and brie baguette and N.S. with her....soup! Whatever takes your fancy! But for a drink she gets herself a nice little Pinot Grigio and I have a diet pepsi!  Still, the diet needs to be kept too! 

My lunch!

But when she goes ahead and orders herself this, well, I just had to have just a little taster!  How I didn't order myself one, I never know, it was delicious! 


It was so good!

But I need to lose these extra pounds so I just have to get on with it!  Just the ride back through to Pettswood to do now, and we went down to Shire Lane, and then across the field like me and Charlene did last week!

All in all a very nice ride, even if it did take forever, what with some more 'Gift Collecting' again for the tribute run that I am organising!  By the way, if I've given the impression that I rode up all of the hills, well, it didn't happen!  Nagging Sister, however did brilliantly!  She only stopped and took breathers on Cudham Road, (another hill that I walked up)

Geeky stats.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Up Downe!

Hello blog lovers.

What a lovely day it was this morning!  And a super day to go for a cycle ride.  It seems that my aging sister had forgotten about me and I was planning on doing a solo ride.  But with one quick upload to Facebook I managed to get a cycling buddy to come along.

Charlene is keen to go cycling and has been riding locally, she is young, tons younger than me and so well up for the ride to Downe Village for a lemonade and a sarnie!  I arrived at her place and she was all set, keen as anything to get going!  "It's a bit of a challenging ride" I told her, "Have you been to Downe before?"  She said she had, and what mum hasn't, with Christmas tree farm just a little bit further up the road from the village itself.

Well the first hill was a lungbuster, Hollingworth, just to get us in the mood, ok, it's a tiny little one, but it still gets you puffing and prepared for the hills to come, just a little warm up for the long, but not very steep ride up to Downe.

I wasn't quite sure how Charlene copes with main roads so I kept to the little side roads, before crossing over the A21 to get to Farnborough.  Our first proper bit of resting! Well, it is a rather nice ride down to Shire lane from there!  There's hardly any traffic either with is always a lot nicer than getting a lung full of fumes!

Just to keep off the road a little more we went in through the gate on Shire Lane to High Elms Country Park, and then we popped out on to the long, long road up!  I remember the first time I attempted this road, I did it in three!

Charlene was doing really well, but it was a hot day, and if you're not used to challenging roads it can be quite a thirsty thing, not to mention getting your heart rate pumping!  Here is Charelene,
Charlene.. Thirsty work!

 Now days it just takes me a while, but I can do it. But Charlene hasn't done this ride before, and it is quite a challenge for fresh legs!  So we took it easy!  I don't want her to not like cycling!  That's not what its all about.  So we walked some, we biked some, and we screamed at  some!

When we got to the Village we went straight to The Queens Head and had a very welcomed non alcoholic drink, with a sarnie!!  Most enjoyable!

A well earned Lemonade

My lunch!! Yum

Suitable refreshed and energised I decided to head back home the same way, out and back.  But to make Church Hill a little easier we went through a little path that was just opposite the road we came down from Downe.  A bit of 'off-roading' which is the kind of cycling that Charlene has been doing!  Heres some pictures of  the field we went through!

Sound Of Music moment!

Just can't wait to get back on that bike!

Yoo hoo, is that snake there!

Quick, I'm sure there is a snake!

After this I think she started to remember the down hill sections of our ride as she said "Oh, shoot!, we got to go up there now"

But all in all a great ride and at least Charlene was still smiling at the end of it, and she wants to come again on another ride! Maybe I shall try and choose one a little less challenging next time though, after all I want to keep it fun for everyone!

And Geeky stats, well, sort of!  I forgot to start my silly Garmin up on a couple of occasions!  Brain like a sieve!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Back On My Bike!

Here we are just
before we set off
Hello blog Lovers.

It's been quite a while since I have been on my bike!  But Tuesday I just needed to get back out there and do some riding.  Nagging Sister also wants to do some more riding, so we have decided that at least one day during the week we will go for a bike ride!  While I have free time then it just makes sense!

So after a particularly bad start to the morning, namely me finding myself double booked to be in two places at the same time, I eventually got out of bed to get ready for the bike ride.  Nagging Sister had already been on at me to get ready, the 09:00 start was way, way late!

We only wanted to do round about 10 miles together, and because of the upset I had that morning I hadn't even planned a route, we were just going to have to 'wing it'  So I just set off towards Pettswood.  I had in mind to do at least a couple of hills, just to try and get us used to cycling, get us stronger and fitter.

The hill I had in mind I kept to myself! I didn't want to tell her too soon, I didn't want to spoil the ride.  But the first undulating road was the one up to Chislehurst Road, and by the time we got there I think Nagging Sister had an idea of what hill I had in mind!

We turned left and then she realised that I was heading for Summer Hill!  But I did tell her about the little cheeky left turn that we can take, which will take us up a slightly less steeper way to get to Thornet wood Lane.  She hadn't know about this little road and was intrigued by it, and so that is where we shall go!  So the other end of Summer Hill will have to wait!

On our way there, however, we bumped into Nagging Sisters pal, in fact she used to run with us, had also had a nick name!  But do you think I can remember it at this moment!  This is how long she hasn't ran with us!  Because after she had stopped to just say hi and to catch up a bit on the old gossip, she some how managed to agree to at least two times a week running with Nagging Sister!  So no you can understand how and why Nagging Sister has her nickname!

After we said our goodbyes to Yvonne we headed for Summer Hill!  Just before we went down it I stopped at the top of the hill to check everything on my bike. I am sure I can hear a rattle that I have not heard before, so I wanted to make sure that I will be able to apply my brakes as I made my descent down the hill.  It had to be a nice slowish ride down as I didn't want to be whizzing past the left turn that we need to take!

Totally satisfied that my bike was just fine and dandy, and Nagging Sister checked hers as well we headed on down.  A nice controlled ride down to the bottom of the 'valley' and just before we headed up the hill we made our left turn.

Now this road is an unmade road.  Cars use it for a carpark as it's near the train station.  We had to twist and turn our bike around the big pit holes of the road.  Nagging Neighbour still wasn't quite sure where it will come out but I knew that as soon as we got to the tarmacked road she will know where she is.

After that we headed up Barfields Road and turned left to go through Jubilee Park.  When we got to Tent Peg Lane it was only 5 miles in distance!  "Well lets do it again" says Nagging Sister "Ok" I said, but this time we are going to go straight up and down Summer Hill, no turning through the unmade hill"  "Done" she said

So we did the whole loop again!  this time finishing at Bread and Butter for a coffee and a cake! Then I just rode with her to Blackbrook Lane, she went home one way, and I went home the other!

A great little ride, it felt good to be on my bike again!

Geeky stats for you.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Beaters, Fish and Bikes!

Hello blog lovers.

My lovely hubby was invited to a days fishing at Bewl Water, it was with his sea fishing buddies, who he usually goes fishing with on a boat out in the sea, but today they all wanted to do this fresh water fishing. So while they were busy getting all tangled up in their fly fishing lines me and a couple of the other wives who came along decided to hit the trail on our bikes.

I had no idea what sort of state the trails were going to be in, or indeed how long it was going to take us to get around around the lake, especially if the trails were all wet, muddy and impassable.  We arrived at Bewl Water for our 9 am meet up, and I met all the other fishermen.  It turned out there was only 3 of us wives who were going to do the cycle route around.  The Old Boy introduced me to his fishing buddies, who incidentally all go 'beating' together as well, for one of their fishing buddies who is a game keeper, I believe.  Beating is what they do to get the birds up in the air when there is a shoot on!

But their particular fishing today was also a friendly competition, it was for the 'Beaters Trophy', and who could get the biggest trout using the fly fishing technique!  I guess it all adds to the fun for the day.  But us ladies, well, we will not be sitting in a tiny boat, in the middle of a lake freezing our asses off! Oh no, we shall be hitting the cycle route around the lake.  It's approximately 13 miles around from beginning to end, so we should be back way before the boys get bored of catching no fish!  But there is a rather nice café/bar there, so we shall make ourselves very comfy in there while we wait for them.

We started off, going clockwise around the lake, after a quick pit stop for me tho,  I have been on this route before and I know there is no toilets anyway!  I do think there is a pub half way, but I am not quite sure of where, as you have to make a slight detour to get to it. But still, it's only 13 miles around, the pub may not even be open by the time we get to it.

When we arrived at the reservoir the chap in the ticket office warned me about the trail being a little churned up by the tractor, and enquired whether my bike is a road bike!  When my bike has got not quite road tyres, but still pretty skinny!  I shall just have to hang on tight and hope for the best! 

Over the top of the dam we cycled, and then through the first of the gates along the way,15 minutes into the ride.  Pat, one of the ladies, put on her 'Map my walk' app on her phone, just to see how far we will ride today.  Going around through the gate, in the opposite direction was about 6 ladies walking.  I wondered if they had actually started their walk or was nearing to end. 

I was out in front of the other two ladies, Pat and Shirley.  I wasn't sure of their cycling abilities and was worried that I was going along to slow for them, but they assured me it was a perfect pace.  We wasn't going out breakneck speed, this ride was all about just being out here because I other half's were here, so why not get out and enjoy the day together as well! 

This route is a very, very undulating route, with long upwards and long downwards and everything in between!  It turned out that the other two ladies last cycle ride together was sometime last year!  So they were please, very pleased that the pace was a very slow one, and I could relax a bit, thinking that I was going to fast for them, because it turned out that I was in fact leading!

How on earth I ended up doing that I don't know, by sense of direction is useless.  I guess you are all wondering, 'How can you go wrong, as long as you keep the lake on your right Old girl, you should be fine!'  Well, there was a couple of in land bits to go on to go, so that's how I knew I would go wrong, somewhere, probably on the road section of the ride!

Guess what folks, I did get a bit ahead of myself, and I actually missed the sign to get back on route. after we had to do a little bit of road riding!  I am not good at the whole orienteering thing, but between the three of us we circumnavigated the reservoir successfully and had fun. No pressure, just full out enjoyment.

Oh yes, the winner of the beaters trophy this year.......was The Old Boy!  Most chuffed with him!

This is some of what we saw en route!

Gorgeous display of flowers along a driveway
We saw so many pretty flowers today.

The sun shone throughout the morning

Pat and Shirley by the flowers

No countryside ride is
complete without the lambs!

The winner of the beaters Trophy!

Some of the other chaps who went fishing

Just a fantastic day!