Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Riding with Sean Kelly Again

(photo by Robert Power)

We rode the Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford last year. This year, once again we made the trip over. It's quite a convenient time of year to do this event as it falls on the August bank holiday weekend. Also, we get to visit Fred's friends and family at the same time.

Our cycling weekend actually started in County Wicklow when we visited friends in Laragh near Glendalough. This is quite a touristic part of Ireland. The scenery is quite pretty. In fact I was quite impressed by the awesome views as we rode around the Sally Gap.

A hurricane which was taking place in the Caribbean was making the tail-end of its presence known in Ireland, so as we rode through the lanes we were "treated" to regular buffets of wind.

That initially put me off venturing up to this exposed gap in the Wicklow mountains. I began the climb with a certain trepidation, but after getting used to the head wind I thought I'd venture further and see how I far I could get. In fact I got all the way to the top and was able to admire th views below. The Sally Gap is a really spectacular area to ride, and the vistas are amazing. I was glad I hadn't stayed down in the valley.

After our time in the Wicklow area, we then headed on to Waterford, where we took part in the Sean Kelly Tour cyclosportive. Last year's edition of the event had been really enjoyable, so we headed over once again. Fred hadn't been able to ride it then, due to illness, so he was looking forward to it. I was looking forward to the ride as well, but I was slightly more anxious because I knew what the hills would be like, and I had struggled up Mahon falls and the Mama road the previous year. There was also the matter of me having to interview Sean Kelly for a Cycling Weekly article straight after the 100 mile ride. Would I really have any energy left to do that?

This was the third edition of the Sean Kelly Tour, and word had spread that this is cracking event. Consequently, a record 3000 riders signed up for it. The organisers at Waterford County Council were really pleased at the turnout. Apparently the town of Dungarvan, where the ride was based had been bracing itself in anticipation of this event for months before, and it had been the talk of the town.

On the morning of the event, I took a while to get myself together, and seeing the grim skies made it very tempting to roll over and stay in bed. Maybe I would just do the 50km family ride, which wouldn't be starting until 10.30am. But discipline got the better of me, as well as boyfriend who didn't stop goading me about what a wuss I was being, so rolled out of bed. Thankfully the good people in the organising committee had put us up in a hotel that was a stone's throw away from the start line.

Things got underway at around 9am. Not sure if it was a delay due to the overwhelming numbers or one of the dignatories oversleeping and turning up late. I could sympathise with him!
As we the peloton paraded through the streets of Dungarvan all the folks in the street cheered us on. It felt great being part of this event. The rain had stopped and the day was brightening up too.

My ride was quite straightforward this time. There were no surprises. The first significant climb, Seskin Hill was steep like before and lots of people had to walk or take a breather.

(photo by Robert Power)

I managed it though quite slowly, so as to save myself for the later difficulties. Mahon Falls was a stinker. I averaged 4 miles an hour up the 4 mile climb - like last year. Mama road was where I had a wobble - just like last year. I was supposed to ride with a friend of Fred's up this road. She's new to cycling (although she's an elite level orienteer) but I couldn't keep up with her. I could feel my wheels slowing down and my arms aching. I ignored the problem and continued to ride. We'd been chatting while riding along, but then a moment came when conversation become impractical and she latched onto a quicker group while I stayed back to deal with my difficulties.

Thankfully this climb was only 3 miles and I was glad to reach the summit. I also found my mojo again so was able to get some momentum back into my ride and pressed on home without stopping at the summit. Una ended up finishing behind me, as being a new rider she took the descents slower than me, and as it was a long descent practically all the way back to HQ I gained ground on her. I suspect that next year she will be descending as well as climbing quicker than me and I may not even see her during the ride!

A 100 mile cyclosportive always takes it out of you. Just being out on the road for several hours in the saddle tires you out. Even though I'd done a steady ride I still needed to wolf down everything in site when I reached Dungarvan sports centre. The organisers had thought about everything, and there was food aplenty. (Not only at the HQ but at the other indoor feed stations.)
Last year we posed for photos with Sean Kelly, like many of the participants. This year was different though, as we got to interview him. He was in a bit of a rush to get away as he had to travel to Eurosport HQ to do the commentary for the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) bike race.
(photo by Tom Keith)

Some folks had said the interview would be brief as Sean is not a man of many words. In fact, it wasn't the case at all. He was very amenable and had alot to say about the ride and cyclosportives. He also did alot of signing of autographs and posing for photos too. A very nice man.

And thus concluded a very enjoyable day through the Comeragh mountains on the Sean Kelly Tour. Thanks to Johnny Brunnock and his team at Waterford Council for welcoming us, and also to the staff at the Tannery Townhouse and Restaurant.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

24 hours with Velib - How it was for us - Part 2

So we were all set with our temporary membership cards with Velib and we picked our bikes. Now, for all the years that I've been riding 2 wheelers I still needed to give myself a bit of a warm-up, getting used to riding these bikes with a different geometry.

My body was in a very upright position and my arms were higher up than I would normally hold them. The saddle was wide enough to accommodate my ample bottom, although it wasn't a soft gel saddle. The pedals were probably slightly more forward than I'd been accustomed to. Overall it felt quite strange. Things were abit wobbly as I circled the block several times. People looked at me quizzically, wondering why I was wasting my money hiring a bike just ride around in circles. I almost wanted to explain to people - "I am a real cyclist, honest. I just need to get used to this new fangled thing!"

After a bit of jiggery pokery and fettling with our bikes to get a better set-up, we were zooming through the bright lights of Paris.

Fred had a cunning plan of changing bikes after 25 minutes of riding so that we could avoid paying anything for going over the 30minute mark with the same bike. So when we arrived at the Quai d'Orsay we stopped at a station and decided to make the change. Typically things didn't quite go according to plan. The people ahead of us in the queue didn't know how to operate the console, and we had to help them with it, which took a few minutes. He managed to hook his bike back into the station on the 29th minute, but it turned out he hadn't hooked the bike in correctly so he was still charged anyway!
Tip - when you hook your bike in the Velib station wait for a beep sound which confirms the bike is properly in place and your rental period has finished.

We then set off with new bikes and continued our journey, having decided not to try that trick again!
Our journey was more than 2 hours in total and it cost us 5 euros each. It's more than we'd expected to pay, but still it was not bad considering the distance we travelled.

The following day we became more accustomed to the system and were soon real Velib dab hands. We knew how to adjust the bikes for a better fit, we could collect and deposit bikes in a jiffy, and we were pretty good at finding our way around Paris - also helped by the various green and white bicycle direction signs.

Our trips on Monday:
Ledru Rollin Metro station to Hotel de Ville - 16 minutes
Chatelet (Boulevard Sebastopol) to Gare de l'Est - 13 minutes
Gare de l'Est to Pigalle - 10 minutes
Pigalle to Republique - 19 minutes
Republique to Bastille - 17 minutes

As seen, alot of distance was covered that day. As all of the journeys took less than half an hour, we didn't pay anything to use the bikes, which was great - and we had glorious weather to boot.

Just be careful that some of the stations we went to - notably at Pigalle and at Republique had nowhere to return the bikes to so we spent a few more minutes riding to another station (not usually more than 200m away) to where we could deposit our bikes.
Also, when choosing a bicycle to pick up at the Velib station have a quick look at all of them and check out the one you would like first before you make your selection. Some of the bikes are not in the best nick and it takes time if you have to keep changing bikes.

This was a different cycling experience to the fast and furious commute around London, or even the daft commuter races that take place. This was very laid back and pleasant. It was also quite a weight off your mind parking your bicycle and knowing that you didn't have to think about locking it or wondering if it would still be there when you returned to it!
I definitely recommend Velib.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

24 hours with Vélib - How it was for us - Part 1

I'd heard lots of positive things about Vélib, so as we had a few days in Paris in July, we decided to give it a go.

We initially thought of signing up with Vélib on Sunday afternoon when we arrived in the Bois de Vincennes, just on the Eastern edge of Paris and saw loads of these bikes at the Vélib station.

The Vélib station outside the entrance to the Parc Floral de Paris was flush with bikes. In fact, there were more bikes than racks at the station so some people had just chained their Vélib bikes randomly to railings or trees.

Great, we thought. We won't have trouble finding a bicycle when we want to ride back into central Paris.

After our afternoon of strolling around the woods, watching a jazz concert and basking in the sunshine in the Parc Floral, we decided to make our way back into the central zone.

Alas, everyone else had had the same idea as us to pick up a bicycle from the Vélib station - except that they did so before us! When we arrived at the station there was just one lonely bike left. No one wanted it because most people arriving at the station were in pairs or groups. Vélib bikes are sturdy, but not really designed to be ridden Cuban style with all your friends, family and shopping perched on the handlebars!

Instead of a sunny overground route to take us back into Bastille, we took the métro.

The aim, with Vélib is that once you have made your journey you return your bike to a designated bike station to end the hire period and you stop being charged for the bike.

As it had been a lovely sunny afternoon, all of Paris (or at least those from the Eastern arrondissements) had decided to ride out to the woods for an afternoon picnic while watching the jazz festival.

Now the stations only have space for about 50 bikes, so many people had been left in that awkward position of leaving their bikes somewhere else. Railings or trees may show that you think outside the box, but this idea is heavy on your money box as you rack up charges until you return the bike to a designated Vélib station. Thus, your afternoon picnic with free jazz in the park for a few hours becomes quite expensive!

Note that Vélib hire charges are cheap for short periods of time (free for the first 30 minutes) and then the price increases quite significantly after 2 hours. The charging structure is designed to stop people hogging bikes for hours on end.

It's a good job we hadn't ridden to the Bois de Vincennes. Stations in places like Bois de Vincennes, on the outskirts of Paris don't have as many bike spaces as other Vélib stations in Central Paris.

That is one limitation, as it means then that you run the risk of arriving there and having no where to leave your bike - especially on summer weekends. You also have problems picking up bikes, especially at peak times at the end of the afternoon when everyone is leaving the woods.

Our date with Vélib was therefore put back until the next time we needed to travel somewhere outside of Bastille. And that wasn't until around 12.30am after our evening meal by the river near Bastille Arsenal, and a few shandies in some bars on rue de la Roquette.

We walked down to the Vélib station at Ledru Rollin métro station and registered there. The Vélib station has a console with a screen where you effect all your transactions. It was very easy to follow.

As we were only staying in Paris for a couple of days we just took out 24hour rental for the princely sum of 1 euro.

After leaving a credit/debit card deposit of 150euros (as an authorisation so not actually debited) we were issued with a hire account card and a security code for carrying out transactions and viewing our account details.

In the space of 5 minutes we had joined the Vélib world and we were ready to hire a bicycle. Fastoche! Easy Peasy!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Worrying Trend

Eilidh Cairns, 5th February, Notting Hill Gate

Rebecca Goosen, 8th April, Old Street

Meryem Ozekman, 9th April, Elephant & Castle roundabout

Adrianna Skrzypiec, 15th May, Woolwich

Maria Emma Garcia-Fernandez, 12th June, Charterhouse Street

Catriona Cockburn, 29th June Oval

Chrystelle Brown, 16th September, Whitechapel

What do all these women have in common?
They were all killed by trucks while they were out cycling in London this year.
Rest in Peace.

This is a very sad and worrying trend. In some of these cases the women were killed when trucks that were turning simply failed to see them.

Now, I don't know the exact circumstances of the above tragedies but something needs to be done to ensure the safety of us cyclists on London roads.

The London Cycling Campaign have designed a leaflet to be issued to drivers of heavy goods vehicles in order to raise their awareness of cyclists who may cycle within a blindspot.
There is also a campaign for special wing mirrors to be placed to improve peripheral vision.

We as cyclists also have a responsibility to ensure our own safety. Making sure that we can be seen and following the highway code.

And please, please be careful out there. DO NOT CUT INSIDE A LEFT TURNING VEHICLE. If in doubt, wait for it to pass. You will only lose a couple of seconds. The alternative may lose you your life!!

This may sound quite frank, but I am always so sorry to hear about people who lose their lives in such an unnecessary way. A few of these women were just on their way to work and never made it there or back home to their families.

In the name of safer cycling in London, let's do as much as possible to eradicate this worrying trend.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Paris à Vélo, C'est Sympa!

July 2009. Once again I found myself back in Paris with my bike. It was a repeat trip, just like I had done in September of last year.

This time I was with Fred, and this time we managed to get all the way into central Paris (and beyond) on two wheels.

As before, there was wall to wall sunshine and very little traffic on the roads up until the Western suburbs of Paris.

We stuck to D and C roads for most of the ride so they were very quiet. It was after we crossed through the St Germain en Laye forest and we came out at Maisons Lafitte that we noticed a certain hustle and bustle. As it was early evening the Parisians were probably rushing out to meet their mates for an aperitif. Some may have been rushing back from their day's shopping. Others were probably just rushing because that's what people do in Paris!

Satrouville, La Garenne Colombes, Maisons Lafitte. All pretty sounding names, but in fact these areas were just a haphazard mass of engines, concrete, traffic lights and roadworks! Weaving through the traffic around these 'burbs was testing. Weaving around the ring roads and dodging the road closures of La Défense was torturous! And for all the time spent in La Défense we still failed to see La Grande Arche, as it was directly on top of us, on the other side of the asphalt! At least the motorists were quite amenable towards us.

After crossing the final bridge at Puteaux, to make our entrance into Paris through the Bois de Boulogne and Porte Maillot, I could feel the excitement building up. As the Arc de Triomphe came slowly and surely into view, this was the culmination of our day of cycling through northern France. It was a great feeling to have arrived in Paris.

Last time I rode on the Champs Elysées I was going uphill away from the centre. Although there were so many sets of traffic lights it still didn't stop the vehicles from accelerating wildly up to....25mph only to come to a halt at the next set of lights! This time around we were going down the famous avenue to reach the centre. The cars, buses, scooters, taxis and Fred thought nothing of roaring up to 40mph for all of 100yards and then screeching to a halt at the next set of lights!

Despite all the craziness of the traffic, for me, riding through the centre of Paris is still really exciting. We made our way down to Concorde, along the rue St Honoré, on to Chatelet and then along the river to reach Bastille, where our hotel was.

We dumped our road bikes in the hotel bike store for the rest of our stay and then used Vélib bikes to travel around Paris. These were definitely a fun experience.

The best bit about using Velib bikes is that you can hire them at any moment of the day from wherever you like in Paris. There are loads of Velib stations so you just drop it off whenever you like as well.
Our first foray into Velib biking was when we hired bikes at one o'clock in the morning from a station just out Ledru Rollin tube station, near Bastille. After a few practice runs up and down the road, and adjusting the saddle etc we were ready to go on our nocturnal 2 wheel adventure.

We set off down rue du Faubourg St Antoine, across Place de la Bastille where all the party animals were hanging out. Our ride continued through the Marais and then on to Chatelet where we crossed over onto the left bank towards the Latin quarter - St Michel, Odeon, St Germain. It might have been a Sunday night, but there were lots of folks in the cafes just as if it were 8pm on a Friday night. As this was a holiday weekend though, to celebrate the upcoming 14th July national celebrations, everyone was getting into the groove.

We'd also gotten into the groove of things in a few bars and the alcohol was getting to me a little. We ended up spinning round a few times around Odeon before we got our bearings and found the river road. After a few minutes we were whizzing along the side of the River Seine, passing the various bridges and landmarks to get to the Eiffel Tower - pont Neuf, Musee d'Orsay, les Invalides, pont Alexander III, Place de l'Alma, with all the scribbled messages to Diana Princess of Wales. It's surprising how quickly you can get across Paris on a bicycle. At this time of night the traffic was very civilised too!

Once we arrived at Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower we admired this iron masterpiece in all its splendour. Even at night Gustave Eiffel's marvel was beautiful. It was probably decorated that bit more in anticipation of Bastille Day, and also for the arrival of that icon of French culture, Johnny Halliday!

After a photo opportunity, we were back on our bikes whizzing along the right bank to get back home. Once again we passed Place de la Concorde, Chatelet and then on to Place des Vosges and Bastille. We felt like we were being a bit crazy riding around Paris at 2 o'clock in the morning just for the fun of it. In fact, it was just the most normal thing in the world. No one batted an eyelid. In fact there were quite a few people around doing the same thing. In fact when we picked up bikes again at St Germain we even had to queue at the Velib station.
Cycling around Paris is fun - whether on a Velib or just a conventional bicycle, your experience of Paris is alot more pleasurable.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Wanna do the Quebrantahuesos?

The Quebrantahuesos is the biggest cyclosportive event in Spain, with 9,000 riders taking part.

It usually takes place on the third Saturday in June.

View Quebrantahuesos in a larger map
The ride starts and finishes in the small town of Sabinanigo in northern Spain, and covers a 200km route through the Spanish and the French pyrenees on closed roads.

The main climbs are: col de Somport, col de Marie Blanque, col du Pourtalet, Hoz de Jaca, with a total of 3,500m of climbing.

The col de Somport and Pourtalet, being main roads are quite wide so accommodate the large volume of cyclists on these closed roads.

Although the event is described as international, most of the participants are Spanish. Surprisingly there are comparatively few French people that take part even though half of the race runs through French territory.

There are cut-off points along the route. The times are based on you riding at 16km/h (10mph).

There is also a shorter distance, the Treparriscos - 90km and 955km of climbing.

This is probably the main event of the year for the people in the towns of Jaca and Sabinanigo. In fact they don't refer to it as the Quebrantahuesos, they just call it "the ride."

All the hotels and guest houses fill up several months before, and many of Spain's riders make this a regular pilgrimage so pre-book their rooms for the following year as they are checking out of that same hotel.
All the restaurants are full to the brim with cyclists at Friday lunchtime, and they are only serving pasta meals!

The pre-race registration takes place in a big exhibition area, with loads of stands selling various bike bits, clothing and nutrition. The local radio station does a live broadcast from there, carrying out interviews with various dignatories. Beneath the stage is a table showing an impressive array of medals and trophies on offer to the main contenders of the event. The winner's bronze statue of a Quebrantahuesos bird looks pretty scary!

The goody bag was impressive and included a cycling jersey. Women even got a specially designed women's cut jersey, something which is a rarity in cyclosportives. I was quite impressed given that there were only about 100 women out of 9,000 participants.

After the ride there is a supervised area to leave your bicycle. There's lots of food and entertainment, including free San Miguel beer.

The 2010 edition will be on Saturday 19th June.

I took part in the Quebrantahuesos this year and I really enjoyed it. I loved the atmosphere at the start of the ride as police and media helicopters hovered above, filming us as we started moving. Considering how many of us there were, the riding was very disciplined. The course was rolling for the first 10 miles, then after Jaca we began the climb to the col de Somport. This was just a gentle gradient but continued for around 10 miles. It was quite windy going up so it was all the more important for me to shelter in the group.
By the time we reached the summit we were riding through clouds and we could barely make out the spectators as they cheered us on. I couldn't see them at all. I could only hear them. The descent was surreal as we sped down through thick fog. I still felt perfectly safe as the marshalls had high visibility jackets and flags to signal the switchbacks.

We were now in France and I recognised some of the places from previous trips to the Pyrenees. At Escot we made a right hand turn to start the ascent to the col de Marie Blanque. I'd been really loving whizzing along the roads in the peloton, but on this climb things slowed right down. The col de Marie Blanque is only 8km long but it is a very chunky climb. The gradient is quite irregular, the road surface is very rough, and in the last 4km the gradient don't go below 11%. In fact I recorded sections of 23%. This climb really blew the groups apart, and brought many riders to the brink of despair. Many relinquished the challenge and just climbed off their bikes and walked, while others stopped at the side of the road for much needed respite. I just trundled on with barely any cadence, breathing heavily and feeling sick. I didn't want to stop as I knew I wouldn't be able to get back on my bike again.
The side of the road was thick with spectators all shouting, venga, venga, anima, allez! Some even ran alongside me or gave me a push, like in the Tour de France. As there weren't many women in the event the spectators made even more noise whenever they saw one of us. I just felt lucky to be riding in only 25 degrees celsius rather than the usual 35 degree+ conditions experienced on this climb. I was so relieved to see the summit I almost cried.

At the feed station on Plateau Benou I stuffed my face with everything in sight. I spent almost half an hour there trying to recover. Luckily when I hit the road again it was quite effortless as we descended into Laruns, before beginning the long climb back into Spain via the col du Pourtalet. This climb is very pleasant and really beautiful. You have all of 35km to admire it! For me this was a harder climb than it otherwise would have been, as my legs were still suffering from the battering they'd had on the Marie Blanque! The summit is quite spectacular and was my favourite part of the ride.

The descent back into Spain was a little exposed and windy, but thankfully we were taken round a more scenic route. We could have descended straight into Sabinanigo, but instead the route took us on a mini detour around a lake and over the Hoz de Jaca. This was only about 2km but it was quite steep - about 15%. Ironically this was my favourite climb. It ressembled the climbs that I ride back home in Kent and Surrey - abit like Toys Hill, but with more trees and a lake next to it.
By now my legs were feeling fresh again so I was able to tackle Hoz de Jaca with gusto before finally taking the run back in to Sabinanigo. Some guys in the organiser's car passed by and shouted to me to try and catch the group of riders ahead. I dug deep and took a tow from some cars to get up to the group. There were around 15 of them, including 3 other women - the only 3 women I'd seen on the ride all day! We did a brisk chain gang to get back to the HQ. It was a nice feeling crossing the finish line to the applause of an audience sitting in a specially erected spectators' gallery. I felt like I'd won the race!

It was a great day out, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who does cyclosportives.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Yorks - Cumbria - Lancs Tour

View Leeds - Dales - Cumbria - Lancs in a larger map

This is a rough route of the tour I did on the Spring Bank Holiday in late May. I started in Leeds, headed into the Yorkshire Dales, went across to the Lake District and then headed back into Yorkshire via the Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland. The circuit is not quite complete as I ended my bike ride in Gargrave near Skipton. I then jumped on a train to Leeds, just so that I would be sure to get there in time for my connection back to King's Cross.

I also did the Richmond Five Dales Cyclosportive while on this trip. So it ended up being quite a big mileage weekend - 300 miles and around 3,500m of climbing. I didn't feel too bad feasting on scampy, chips and beer on the last day!

The highpoint was having dinner beside Lake Windermere on an unseasonably warm sunny day in that part of the country!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Summer Highlights

I will probably do separate posts on some of these activities but just as a quick summary these have been the highlights of my summer :


Richmond Five Dales Sportive
Actually mine was the Richmond Four Dales as I only did the 80 mile option rather than the full 100 miles.
A tough cyclosportive through the Yorkshire Dales that started and finished in Richmond, North Yorkshire. The Stang and Tan Hill took strength out of my legs so "sadly" I missed the cut off to allow me to go up Fleet Moss (from the Hawes) and Park Rash (from Kettlewell). What a relief!

The Richmond Sportive was part of a bank holiday weekend of cycling in Yorkshire.
The trip started in Leeds from where I made my way to the Yorkshire Dales via Thirsk, with a stopover in Masham for a pint of Black Sheep.
The day ended with a very tough climb over some lost and lonely moors which was actually the edge of the military firing range. I just had the sound of gun shots for company as I sauntered over to the Youth Hostel at Grinton Lodge.
After my exploits at the cyclosportive I made my way over to the Lake District where I enjoyed a lovely evening meal with my friend Lois, on the edge of Lake Windermere, in the shadow of the mountains. The following day I wended my way back into Yorkshire to pick up my train. This involved riding across the Forest of Bowland - and guess what, it doesn't have any trees at all!


Quebrantahuesos cyclosportive. It was amazing to see how to small villages in the foothills of the Pyrenees - Jaca and Sabinanigo could just be completed invaded by cyclists. At lunchtime in Jaca you couldn't get into a restaurant for love nor money. Every single table in the town was taken up with what appeared to be every cyclist in Spain - well apart from the ones who were in all the restaurants in Sabinanigo!
The event was a real festival of cycling and the climb up the col de Marie Blanque was a killer!


Ride to Paris - from Wallington to Bastille (via Arc de Triomphe) was all done on two wheels (apart from the bit between Newhaven and Dieppe). The ride was done almost exclusively on country lanes all the way to the Western suburbs of Paris. Our first view of Paris was from the top of a hill just outside Poissy. The sight of the whole metropolis with the landmarks of Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Montparnasse Tower were real sites to behold. It felt really emotional when we finally emerged from the Bois de Boulogne onto Avenue de la Grande Armee and saw the Arc de Triomphe come into view.

Grimpeur des Wolds - Riding this cyclosportive with a nice group of guys and girls from Hull Thursday Club cycling club made for a very pleasant day out. We rode at a leisurely pace and it was all very social and civilised. We were even blessed with wall to wall sunshine.


Ride to Canterbury - One of the guys in my club organised a ride to Canterbury. The route was done via country lanes and it was very scenic. It's one place I'd never ridden to before. It was a very pleasant day out. We also stopped at Rochester, where there's another well known cathedral. Once in Canterbury we all had a well earned pint of Shepherd Neame.

Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford cyclosportive - A great weekend away. We even got to eat in one of Ireland's top restaurants, the Tannery at Dungarvan. As ever, I suffered twoards the end of this cyclosportive, but I still enjoyed it. The folks were friendly and very chatty. It was a well organised event with loads to eat, and also a chance to socialise at the indoor feedstations. It was great meeting Sean Kelly as well.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Out of Estivation!

Hello, I'm back.

So I am back from my summer sleep. I would love to say that I was taking it easy protecting myself from the extreme heat and arid conditions experienced here in South London, but sadly that was not the case. (We didn't have any heatwave but in fairness this summer has been drier then those of last year and of 2007.)

I just got busy with other matters, and before I knew it, life was getting in the way and my blog was off the radar.

So, apologies for the silence on the airwaves. The blog is getting up and will be running with tales, musings, gossip and other bits that you care to read.
Keep watching this space!

I hope you have enjoyed a good summer and have had lots fun on two wheels.