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!