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

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