Thursday, 30 January 2014

Cycling? Tonight? Really?

Hello blog lovers.

After all the rain we had today, (and there has been a ton of the stuff today) I really didn't feel like going out cycling.  I had done 4 miles jogging in the rain this morning, and I felt that maybe that is enough.  But the rain had stopped! you could see the stars! And as I have already said once today, if we wait for the perfect weather then we really wouldn't get out much at all!

So after the Old Boy had pulled on his lycra I felt as if I just had to get out there.  I got changed and we got out quickly, before I had a chance to change my mind.  Our route was going to take us up to Halstead.  I chose to go the nicer way to get to the A21, going through the ally now, is just not an option for me anymore.  I mean, who choose to run the gauntlet of dog poo and kids smoking a sneaky ciggie away from mum and dads eyes?

So through Palace estates it was, and up over the hill and down Newstead and Tubbingdon Lane.  Why we didn't go through this way all the other times I shall never know!  I am still getting used to the directions to certain places from here.  I know that if you go straight across now you can get to Farnborough Village. But we are going to Halstead, so there was still a couple of roundabouts we need to pass before we head there.

When we got to Halstead, the mist and fog really started to come down.  I was glad of my head touch!  I had that pointing at the white lines (when they were there) in the middle of the road to stay in the middle.  When I looked a head all I could see was fog! My glasses steamed up and I really couldn't see very far at all.  I had to stop on a couple of occasions to clean my glasses.  This is my first experience of cycling in the fog! I didn't like it! It was quite scary and maybe just a tad exciting! But at least I was lit up like a Christmas tree!  The head touch was on it's brightest, it was also on beam.  We must have looked like a couple of Darleks as we 'glided' through the fog.

We did stop for a pint at the Blacksmiths, and I sat so close to the wood burner!  I just didn't want to move.  I even suggested that the Old Boy go home and then bring the car to come and fetch me!  But the ride home wasn't as bad once we started riding again.  It's all down hill which is good, but those fog patches were still scary and blooming chilly.

We stopped off a Pettswood to grab something to eat and then rode on home!

A good ride considering, and the Old Boy was right (as usual!) I did enjoy it once I got out......well apart from those foggy bits!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Don't Look Now, It's Not Raining! Shhh!

Hello blog lovers.

Going out on my bike when it's cold and windy and raining, is not my idea of keeping cycling fun!  There was a couple of days that we could have got out on our bikes, but  other issues needed our attention, illness and goodness knows what else was keeping us from getting out. But this evening, well it was just too good an opportunity to miss.

A bit of bike maintenance, pumping tyres mostly, before we left to make sure there wasn't going to be any punctures or flats, and we were ready.  We were only going to stay very local we did not bother to take extra inner tubes.  We were soon Bromley bound, with  our lights blazing, reflective trim looking sparkly and a smile on our faces.

My cycling has really taken a nose dive recently, what with the problems with my bike hating me and the fact that I now seem to have less strength in my left hand, my confidence seems to have nose dived as well.  This evening I am riding on my Giant, with the flat bars, to build my saddle bum again and also to boost my confidence on two wheels!

During the time when we first bought bikes up until now, we have had various different kind of lights.  Lights that look as bright as a tea light in tin can to lights that have aeroplanes trying to land on cycle path!  I do like having bright lights, I like to know that people can see me! The lights that we both were using today were predecessors of the ones that we now use on our 'posh bikes', in fact the Old Boy uses an even brighter light than the one that I have now!  But it is always re-assuring when you get told that the lights are bright, as this young man said to us while we had stopped at a local car dealership, (the Old Boy can't pass a car dealership without having a nose around)

Anyway, after this little break (for me it is most welcomed), we had the small hill to climb up. Plaistow Lane! If the timing of the traffic lights is with you then you can get a bit of speed on as you come down to the lights, turn right and then use the momentum to get up there.  Well, this evening we had the lights with us, but then a car, just two or three cars ahead of us, wanted to do the next right and held up the traffic!  I had to stop to let this clear. Bang goes my momentum to get up the hill!

Now, this is the bit of our ride that infuriated me!  Maybe I am wrong here, but quite frankly, I don't think I am!  There is some temporary traffic lights just after the round about at the end of Plaistow lane, on the second exit. As I approached the lights they were green, we went passed them on green! It's not just a little bit of road works here, there is at least 50 or 60 meters of road works to pass by before you got to the other side.  Now I was riding along, after passing the green lights, which must have changed while I was passing the road works.  But before I had go to the end of the temporary road block the traffic ahead of me started coming towards me, on the road.  They had to drive on to my side of the road! Now they would never have done that if I happened to be in a car! I had to go onto the pavement to get out of the way of the them! 

Now, was I wrong! Maybe I should have waited to see how long the green light had been on before I went through it, waited until it had changed to red and then to green again, just to make sure I would have had enough time to pass by the road works!   Grrrr, makes me mad when people intimidate me!

Rant over! Still bloomin annoying though!  From there, it was just a few moments before we stopped off for a light refreshment at the Red Lion.  We sat outside, which is quite spooky really, it's winter time and we were sat outside enjoying our drinks.  Apparently the colder weather will soon be here. I expect my cycling to be taking yet another nose dive if it does!

We went through the high street, our destination is Hayes.  We are going to go through the ally way by the school and then ride through Hayes and up Barnet Wood Lane.  Just to make sure that I could be truly seen and to make sure that drivers were fully aware that I was on the road, I put my head torch on!  There, let them try and intimidate me now! I shall stare at them right in there own headlights!

We got home safe and sound, and both feeling fairly happy that we had finally managed just this small ride today.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

.....Erm.......Happy New Year People.

Hello Blog lovers.

Happy New Year to you all!

I must confess, it has been quite a while since I last had my backside on a saddle.  And boy does it notice! Where has my saddle bum gone, where is my cycle legs, where has my stamina gone?  Just a few shorts weeks of bloomin rain, cold weather, and zero enthusiasm for cycle riding and everything has gone!

Oh my goodness, sore backside is just half the story!  But, as the Old Boy has said, "Well it was good to get out"  The Old Boy has kept up his cycling, while I have been doing my running, (less time out in the freezing cold).  But today, it seemed the weather was with us, and I had no running commitments and the time was right. 

I decided to use my White Giant bike, my Specialized is all nice and clean, and looking at the state of the roads, I just didn't want to get it all mucky again. Also, I am still having a few issues with it, and I may do some other changes with it, but that is by the by. But our route is the nice way towards Downe Village, if there is such a beast, and it deffo is so much better than just pedalling along the A21.  Riding through Palace Estate, and turning left towards Orpington.  This is just a short hill, but my legs are feeling it as trying to get up Ditchling Beacon!.....ok maybe a slight exaggeration, but you can guess how my legs are feeling.

I was seriously thinking that I really am going to struggle getting to Downe village.  I was even thinking that when we do, I might just go the shortest way home again!  We did get to Downe, and I even had to have a short break somewhere on the way up too.  There was one particular place I was struggling so badly and going so slowly that I lost my balance slightly and wobbled towards the kerb, which had a very big ditch and the fence had barbed wire! My Nightmare scenario!  I was pleased I had my Giant, because If I had my Spesh, I know I wouldn't have been able to unclip and I would be ....well, who knows, I don't like to think about it.  But the Old Boy said, "You're going so slow, you can't even balance"  I don't think he could say anymore, because I could tell he was making up his own scenario.  The times that I have laughed as him as he fell off his bike, he is ready and poised to do the same!

So from Downe I could have said, "That's it, I've had enough," but instead, I headed for Jail lane, and decided to take the longer way home! Crazy I know, but really, to be truthful, I am quite disappointed in myself for not being able to do ride like I used to! And the only way that I am going to be able to get back to that same fitness is to ride, ride, ride and keep on riding!  I just hope the weather will be kind to us when on the days that I want to do my cycling.

It was still a bit of an up hill struggle for me, and of course the best bit was the long down hills towards Biggin Hill, and I think I got quite a bit of speed up as well! It did feel great to be back on the bike, and I really am looking forward to the summer months, for the nice long leisurely Saturday rides, with the Old Boy, with family and with friends.

Here's the geeky stats, the Old Boy kept behind me for most of the time, with just a couple of 'stretching the legs' as e put it, as he blasted down Church lane and then down towards Keston.