Sunday, 28 June 2020

What a scorcher

I have been very lucky with the mostly pleasant weather. It has rained but it's never been so bad I didn't go out.

This week the sun stepped up a few notches. By Wednesday I was starting the struggle, so on Thursday I didn't go out until mid afternoon. It was still very hot but at least there was the occasional patches of shade, not available at midday. 

water bottle

I stopped under a tree for a drink and something to eat, it was just the boost I needed to get home.
For the first time in my life I might have a tan that people will notice. Normally when I get back from holiday I'm asked if it rained the whole time. I put plenty of suncream on so any colour change takes a while to develop.

ironsbottom

I rode a new route, riding through Irons Bottom. It's south of Reigate on the way to Leigh, pronounced lie. Two roads I took to get there were Hogtrough Lane and Philanthropic Road; between Nutfield and Earlswood.



There is another strange name near Godstone; Bullbeggars Lane.

I might start scanning the map and head for a location just because of the name.

No more weird place or road names but I did stop to allow a grass snake to move off the road.


Friday wasn't such a good day, I got my first puncture on the road bike. I saw some debris too late  and couldn't avoid it. Ten miles from home and at first I thought I might have damaged the tyre or wheel; the hit was very hard. But fortunately it was only the inner tube, once swapped, causing a snapped tyre lever, I was good to go. I decided not to continue on my intended thirty mile loop, but head straight for home. I hadn't left the house even later, just after five because of the heat so I was now running behind schedule.
fixing a puncture
All fixed, time to head home.
I bought the bike in May 2019, and in the last three month alone I have ridden it well over twelve hundred miles without a problem. That is a long way without a flat tyre.

What difference Saturday was; I now left later than normal to avoid the heavy rain. I got a little lost but made it back in good time.

The Royal Oak Brockham

I stopped for a drink from my water bottle opposite The Royal Oak Brockham. It'll be opening soon, so I may return for a beer. The only question being; is there somewhere to lock up the bike?

Nearly home on Saturday and saw this group. How good is this?




Sunday, 21 June 2020

206

This weekend marks nearly three months of lockdown. I never thought it would last this long, I'm sure most people didn't.

It has been a weird period; life has gone on, whilst also being paused.

I have cycled over 1900 miles, and none of my clothes fit. Yes; there is 7.4 kg less of me, that's 5 cms less around the waist. 

Hills that once presented a tough challenge - are still not easy - don't fill me with dread. I can now climb them confidently. 

Here are some recent pictures. The kona hasn't had many outings lately.



how much do your like your bike?
It's been mostly about the Giant, I find it much more responsive and rewarding to ride.




On Tuesday it rained all morning, I was still determined to get out. As I got on my bike the rain stopped and I had a nice warm ride. A little muddy, but still very pleasant. It started raining again as I got home. How great is that?

The bike got fairly muddy; it's amazing how much muck appears when it rains after a long dry period.





As I got to this junction, the rain water was evaporating from the hot tarmac.

Thursday tested my determination; it rained heavily for thirty minutes at the start. Yes, I left the house while it was raining.



Most of the ride was rain free, but the roads were slippery so I took it easy. I arrived home in sunshine, with a grey tan on my legs. It is amazing how much crud you pickup.

grey tan after a ride
grey tan after a ride

I don't usually make a big deal about the distance I ride, everyone has different schedules into which cycling has to have time allocated. But; I did 206 miles this week, despite rain most days. I'm very happy with that. The toughest part is riding alone, I can't wait for group rides.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Cycling Nirvana

I've been cycling much more than normal over the past few months. It took me a while to adjust, and then it became routine. Unfortunately so did the usual routes and destinations. I had a dip in motivation; reversed by exploring new places. As traffic increased my criteria changed. I looked for quiet lanes, which meant two weeks of cycling through Bletchingley, Outwood; turning around at Smallfields. Three or four miles at the beginning is really poorly surfaced - potholes, gouges and sunken drain covers. This short section was putting me off going out. It's not just hills or distance that causes fatigue; constant jarring can be equally tiring. On Monday I tested an alternative. There is more time in the saddle, but it's worth it.


Most of the route is this well surfaced, and the drivers know how to overtake cyclists.

The steps drew my attention to a big house - easy mounting and dismounting from your horse at the gate.

steps to ease mounting and dismounting from your horse at the gate

Even the rain during the second half of the week didn't dampen my enthusiasm.
Wednesday and Thursday I missed the short showers, but Friday I got soaked. It was on my way home. I was getting hot by then, so it didn't really affect me. I hope the weather improves again, or am I spoilt?


Sunday, 7 June 2020

Tilting at windmills


Windmill and magpie

A new month, I think my last before going back to work. The sun is still beaming down on my rides.
For my windmill loving blog fan; here is another picture of a windmill.

I often feel I'm fighting an imagined foe - motorists - and their intolerance of cyclists. I'm not sure it's made any difference, but I'll keep reporting them.

June has arrived and the world is starting to get back to normal. Social distancing is still the norm, and it's likely to stay that way for some time. We can however meet other people, if we keep our distance. For two months the only non virtual contact has been during trips to the shops. 

Last Sunday I rode to Westerham to meet Matt, I arrived first and knew we wouldn't be staying. People sitting on the green looked to be well separated, but unfortunately other cyclists and a group of Vespa riders seemed to think big groups were okay. I called Matt and told him to stop, turn around, and head for the churchyard. This was a good decision, we had our own benches with no-one else to bother us.

Separate benches social distancing

A few people did arrive later, but they all had their own seats, so all was calm. We chatted about this and that, as normal. And arranged to do this again next weekend.