Monday 30 August 2021

Bathing in nature

in search of offroad

Last time I wrote it was to suggest I should look up from numbers on the cycle computer; take in my surroundings. Since then I have continued to ride fast, to push myself. During the week I have eased off the distance and climbing, I was gradually adding to the effort. On Saturday it was a solo ride to a farm shop, I chose the long way to get there and fell into my default habit. I thought it was caused by being on the road bike, but no, I left Westerham on Sunday gripping the flat bars of my mountain bike and soon had my head down - pressing hard on the pedals. 

Bank holiday Monday gave me another chance. After our visit to Costa coffee I said goodbye to Matt and went in search of a slower pace. 


I found it not far away in woods we hadn't ridden through in many years. 

Many people have written about the healing available from nature, I'm not sure it's being surrounded by it that starts the process. I think it's more to do with having less distractions. Although solice may also be found gazing out of the window at a sunrise through the steam from the first tea of the day. 

Unfortunately I either didn't find the right path, or my memory had fooled me. The sound of traffic was ever present and each route led me back to a road. I continued on, searching for the next bridleway sign. One looked promising only to disappoint because a fly-tipper had chosen it as a place to unload a ton or so of garden waste. I gave up and turned for home. The only countryside views were over gates and fences.

They all seemed the herald the ending of summer; this year felt like it had never properly started.

christmas island head

It's weird, the Christmas Island heads always seem bigger on the television. I also hadn't heard one had gone missing.

smiths lane

This roads sign caught my attention, can't think why.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Look away from the numbers

poppy field


I watched a film that made me think about my rides in a different way. I tend to have a distination in mind or a distance to complete. And it's normally all about getting there and back or covering the distance as quickly as possible.

I do look for subjects to photograph, but I think I miss a lot of them. This is especially true as I head for home. 


My recent trip to Felpham was a case in point; all of the pictures I took were as I rode to the coastal town. I did have distant views of Arundal castle on the way home, but chose not to stop. 

Next time I'll visit the castle, see the town and take some pictures.

Surrey hills view

This could be a side effect of using Strava and a cycling computer. I now have a way to see my speed and heart rate as I ride. Maybe I'm now more focused on average speed and effort because I can see the numbers in realtime. It is useful as a sat nav, rather than trying to remember where I am going.

field view

If nothing else, increasing the pictures on posts will make them more interesting.

I'm not going to stop using the computer, reverting to maps or notes for navigation is okay on a shorter journey or when the weather is okay. But if the weather is bad, I don't want to be fighting with paper or relying on my memory.

field view

I live on the edge of or close to Surrey, Kent and Sussex.

I'll try to look away from the numbers, maybe slow down and pause to realise how lucky I am having great countryside so close to me.

Sunday 8 August 2021

What have I been up to?

July Chaldon

 I haven't posted since the 24th July. What have I been up to?

August Chaldon

As you can see above, I have continued to ride after work. The weather is very changeable, the odd day on the trainer in the garage. But I've been very lucky and avoided a proper soaking.

I had a few days off last week, and took advantage of the one good day to visit Felpham on the south coast.

Felpham seafront

I bought chips from the Boathouse cafe and paused to eat them sitting on the sea wall.

The last section had been tough, the south downs are very hilly.

I passed Arundel castle - a visit is planned for my next days off - I didn't get any good pictures.

Arundel castle

The next place of interest was the village of Ford. There is the prison and the former RNAS airfield with a Hawker Hunter at one entrance.

RNAS airfield with a Hawker Hunter
RNAS airfield with a Hawker Hunter

The week was rounded off with some shorter rides; Thursday was Chevening church.

Chevening Church

I had intended to eat at the Chipstead sailing club cafe, but I don't think it was open. I diverted to the church and ate my cereal bars. I made it home before the clouds opened.

I'm not sure what happened on Saturday; I intended to ride with my club but didn't feel very well. Starting a session on the trainer in the garage confirmed I was right not to venture further, I gave up after thirty minutes. I had recovered by the afternoon and rode my after work route.

Sunday was back to Westerham to meet Matt. A very brief and light shower on the way home didn't dampen my spirits. 

Another great week.