Addicted to bikes

As much as I love road racing I caught a bit of Cross Vegas last year. This piqued my interest in cyclocross. But having been so busy in the winter last year and still a newbie to the biking scene, I had pretty much forgotten about it until this year when i saw (via Twitter) that Cross Vegas was on again.

I managed to watch some of it via YouTube. Then started realising that some of my fave tweeps (Twitter people that I follow/ follow me) have a go at ‘cross as well. And some of them are fairly new to it as well!

This led to me asking the twitterverse if there is anything around here (Basingstoke). Not for me to have a go at (although if you would like to give me a ‘cross bike and kit… and a lift to the nearest event I would do!). I would just like to go and watch… Or help out at.

Thanks to a couple of replies I have found out a bit more. HargrovesRT do some although not much within driving distance (petrol to expensive!!!) except for an event in December in the War Memorial park in B’stoke.

Best of all I found out that i might be able to go to Rapha Super Cross in London on 28th October. Now that’s more like it!

As for today, hopefully I’ll be testing my dhb winter tights out shortly as I go to cheer my friend Fran Roberts on in the B’stoke half marathon!! 

How much is too much? Cycletta.

Hmm, I wanted to have a look at the cycletta in Swindon and was then told it was £42 (for the 40km route). This struck me a a bit ridiculous, and consequently tweeted about it. No reply currently from cycletta, but I did get one from EtapeCymru:

@elzrocks hi, the extra investment goes into lots of safety, post event pampering, amazing venues and goodie bags. Fab cyclist experience

Yeah ok, safety needed etc, but Wiggle’s Magnificat had post event massage (not that I used it, but I did see people that did!). We also got a commemorative medal (which actually I had no idea about until I got it). I entered this for £9 (alright with a discount), but it’s still MILES cheaper than cycletta. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea, but with times like this, for some of us £42 is a hell of a lot of money (thanks to my lovely twitter people here who also agreed with me). Also with so few things happening in Basingstoke, I have to look further afield. Swindon is a town I used to know fairly well.
I cannot afford to do this. £42 is about what I have left weekly, and that has to cover my mobile bill, food, etc.

I would like to point out I am not having a go at anyone here. I just think it’s a high price to pay, when we should be encouraging more people to cycle. Especially women.

I promise this wasn’t a rant!

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. I’m not bothered!

Keep smiling.

Not a typical weekend!

Saturday morning, I once again joined up with (part of the Breeze network). Meeting in the War Memorial Park at 8.45, one of the ladies informed us that there was part of the cycle path cordoned off by police. This happened to be the way we were going, so we duly set off to investigate. No, we were not allowed through, and I still don’t know what had happened, but there was a police car and it was certainly off limits. We were redirected back past the tennis centre to rejoin the cycle path further down with much wondering what had happened!
Did I also mention there was a Park Run on? Ah, yeah, there was people EVERYWHERE!!
This was only a social ride, and road bikes probably shouldn’t be used going up through Crabtree plantation (far too gravelly really!) but I survived! A short run sort of around Old Basing and back via Eastrop Park (where Breeze leader Ruth took a lovely piccy of us ladies!).
On the smoothest, loveliest piece of road I switched to a higher gear and my sodding chain came off – cue mortification!
Honestly the weather and company was perfect for a short ride! I thoroughly enjoyed it, but once home I was soon bored!

After a quick wander around town, I decided to take my bike over to my parents (Kingston Lisle in Oxfordshire) and go for a short ride around there. Dad wondered whether to join me on his Eddy Merckx but he’d already been out for a long ride in the morning, so I thought that @v_girlracer might like to join me! She did an it was a lovely easy ride until we got to Common Hill.

Common Hill. Yep, for two not very fit people, it is a bast**d of a hill to climb as it’s steep enough, it twists and turns and the road surface isn’t great, but we both managed to stay on our bikes and get up it! Needless to say I was pretty damn pleased with myself. Thank god once up Common Hill we were back in Kingston Lisle, and only a short ride back to my parents.

Then still in lycra we decided to play tennis (although ‘play’ wouldn’t describe it as there was certainly no scoring – unless you count hitting miscellaneous objects as points). We had a whale of a time, even if the odd ‘Oiiii’ from mum (yeah we might have hit the window ;S ) made us calm down a bit.

So back to Basingstoke and Sunday morning meant putting together a flat pack (fabric) wardrobe, set of shelves and a bedside cabinet. And not doing any TdF planning (unless you included talking)!



Bugs and Oakleys

Wow, did I see sunshine?? After a hazy warmish start at work, with a cold wind (we can’t obviously have it all y’know!), I was delighted to find the sun actually shone today! Having had to go to the doctors, then drive home, I was able to get out on my Lexa. Thank God. Oh sh*t. Well that’ll teach me not to get on the bike for a couple of weeks!

I didn’t go far, round the Bounty cricket/footy pitch, onto route 23, into the War Memorial park and out down through Eastrop Park (I really wish they would try and maintain this route better as in parts it’s categorically sh*te. Yes I am trying not to swear! From there I have no idea which roads/footpaths I followed, but I came back into Eastrop and back up the same route home. Now I feel great for being out, but I really am unfit (note to self – cut out the cakes!!!) and puffing going up the hills (snigger – small upward slope would describe it better) has reminded me to get out more.

I just hate going out on my own!

Anyway, as per usual my Oakleys (very old, 10+ years) were stored ‘pro style’ (upside down in my helmet. I flitted through the War Memorial Park and smack bang in big – massive – clouds of midges, needless to say a fair few went down my throat (bleugh!!). These black clouds of midges were a bit like cartoon clouds – I’ve actually never seen anything like it – and I persevered and got out the other side, without wearing my beloved Oakleys.

Not so on the way back – there were even more of the damn things! I nearly fell off my bike I braked that hard! Pulling my sunglasses off, about 50 dead ones fell off! Grrrrr, how dare they hit my lenses! Better idea to have my sunglasses on next time…

Funnily enough midges never bite me though and I’ve never been bothered by them when on a racehorse – horseflys though? Different story!!

Keep smiling 🙂

Quiet Friday… yeah really!

Good Friday isn’t a day off for me, it’s still work as usual, although for the afternoon we do start an hour later. I even fell asleep in my car at lunchtime – I can’t really go home and go back again as it’s a 30 minute drive! One day, maybe, I’ll bike to work – probably best avoided as the quickest route would be through Overton and Whitchurch – extremely busy ‘rat runs’ at the best of times, or down the A303, and believe me that’s NOT going to happen!

I still got home at the same time as usual, only to get a text from a friend of mine. Did I want to go for a ‘wee’ ride on the bike? Yep, too right! Now I can’t tell you exactly where we went, but it involved the War Memorial park cycle route, Old Basing, across the A30 by the Hatch pub, through Mapledurwell, er somewhere, somewhere, back across the A30, somewhere somewhere, Lychpit, back through Eastrop Park, then we parted ways and I hit the one way system at the top of town. Er, yeah, ok might sound like a load of gobbledgook, but I could cycle it again without a map!! And even though the weather wasn’t warm, there wasn’t much wind, just very cloudy.

We swapped bikes in the War Memorial park, I got on his ‘Soft tail’ mountain bike, and he had a go on my Trek Lexa. It’s a good job we a roughly the same height, although I felt like a kid on a Chopper with a raised seat.

‘How do the gears work?’ We both asked each other, ‘Where’s the bloody brakes?’ He asked me.
I was laughing so much I could barely peddle to catch up. Both of us agreed we prefer our own bikes, and duly swapped back before we left the park.

Now that time of night on any day of the week would usually result in endless cars cutting through on their rat runs home, but it was sooooo quiet. It was unbelievably quiet, needless to say I would be a bit wary of cycling that way on a normal weeknight, especially on my own.

It was great to ride with someone else, even if they do snigger at me puffing up the little hills! And it was great that the roads were so very quiet. However my knees didn’t like me much when I carried the bike up the stairs into the flat, but they seem to be ok now.

So 30 days of biking is turning out to be better than I thought! I did 13.3 miles in 1 hour 7mins, although in all honesty it was a leisurely ride as both of us were chatting away, although I still had a good sweat because I was wearing too many layers!!

Ciao for now 🙂

It’s not windy!

Now a certain event at work just proved that I’m slowly getting fitter. We have a circular gallop, which today we went round four times. When we stop I’m usually blowing pretty hard, but today, nothing. I wasn’t even out of breath! HAHAHA result! I was ridiculously pleased with myself…

It’s been pretty nippy outside all day, so again wearing four layers of clothes (on my top half!) I set off down the hill and along Winchester road. I had aimed to start around my usual block, but then go a bit further, so feeling pretty good, I pushed up to the top of the slight hill past B&Q and turned left. Mistake, BIG mistake. Headwind – quite a blustery headwind. Christ I was not liking this one bit, but I persevered, all the way to the next roundabout, then uphill again, and I almost made it to the next roundabout, but realised I wouldn’t have the strength to nip across there like usual. I got on the pavement, and tiredly made my way under and through to the other side. Feeling a bit better by then, I decided to hit the one way system at the top of town, and drop down Sarum Hill, then up past BCOT and back through the houses. That part went fine, and feeling ok I turned up the hill to home….. straight into the headwind…..

I made it up the hill in lowest gear……

Actually driving home, I hadn’t even noticed the wind, and looking out the window now, it just appears as if there is a slight breeze.

Just goes to show – whatever stage of fitness you are at, wind does NOT help! Thats also why they called off Stage 2 of the ToB (Tour of Britain) last year….

Keep smiling 😉

Cycle routes, glass and the road.

I wasn’t sure where to ride tonight, as again it seemed I was dodging imminent rain showers. It was definitely chilly out so wearing four layers, I decided to head up what has become my favourite route on day four of 30 Days of Biking.

This involves part of National Cycle route 23, which is great! Well sort of. On the road it’s actually very good, but I decided to follow the parts on the pavement for a while – especially when I’m slow going uphill. The part that’s not great is the debris. Glass, sharp twigs, stones. Now I’m happy enough with a decent riding surface, but swerving around the debris – look, I’m sorry, I don’t want punctures! – meant also swerving around pedestrians, fellow cyclists, joggers and kids. It also means slowing down, even outright stopping in places, whereas I prefer to keep going at a steady pace.

On the way home I stuck to the road so I could keep up a decent speed going downhill. I got beeped at, sworn at and a couple of tired grins from fellow cyclists heading in the opposite direction. Naturally I would rather be safe than sorry, but I don’t think riding on/ through that much debris on the cycle route is any good to anyone!

Anyway needless to say, I’m loving it. I successfully dodged ALL the showers, I didn’t get a puncture and I had a longer ride than yesterday. I did 7.6 miles in 41 mins – not overly rubbish (alright, please don’t laugh too much!).

So should I stick to the road, or ride on the cycle path?

Still can’t believe I missed the rain….. 🙂