Yesterday I wasn't able to get out during the day which was probably just as well as it got a bit warm. I settled for a fairly easy ride using the knockabout bike in the evening and set out at about 7 with the thermometer still reading 28c.
I decided to head into town (saw my brother at work and he saw me and waved back this time) where the Quarry was busy with people out strolling, cycling, boating and picnicing. The preparations for the Flower Show have started and there are a few marquees up already.
The riverside path stayed fairly busy all the way to the weir so my progress was fairly leisurely. This wasn't the case for a rider on an electric bike though who was weaving round people rather than being patient and generally making himself disliked. Once onto a clear road on Sydney Avenue I caught him up again quite easily.
I wasn't sure who would be out and about on the canal path on a warm evening like this so took to Sundorne Road and rejoined the path at Pimley Manor en-route to Uffington and Upton Magna. There were a few other cyclists about on the lanes and also a Bentley convertible, the driver of which looked really miserable and didn't acknowledge me pulling in to let him pass. Meh.
I've mentioned having pulled my hip recently and this evening's ride made me realise that it is this bike that has been doing it as I started to ache quite early into the ride. Having had time to think about it I tried dropping the saddle a few mm which almost immediately made the hip feel better and also made it feel easier up the hills (although I think I might now be a bit slower on the flat).
I'd taken a left at Cross Houses and headed through Cound and up the lane to Acton Pigott and Acton Burnell. Here I decided to extend the ride a bit as there was plenty of time and the threatened rain didn't look like arriving anytime soon, so headed to Longnor where I found a blockage caused by cattle in the road. Not escapees this time as they were being driven between fields so I pulled into a convenient gateway to let them by. The farmer says "I bet that's not what you were expecting".
I had the wind and gradient in my favour for most of the way back so enjoyed a fairly quick run to home where I discovered that one of my rear lights had stopped working (bad connection). Glad I have two fitted.
28.2 miles at 13.3 mph average.
Lots of people using the river this evening.
Concord College glows in the setting sun.
Drink stop at Ryton before the last few miles to home as the sun sets. Still over 25c at this point.
Today: Despite having lost sleep due to the thunderstorms that rolled through in the early hours I was up early and set out on the Galaxy to get a few miles in before I needed to be ready for an appointment and before it got too warm. The route this time started out retracing my steps from last night to Longnor and Acton Burnell before turning towards Cressage. For a change I then went through Eyton on Severn and Wroxeter and cut things short by heading along to the old A5 to Atcham. Then it was well trodden ground to Cross Houses, Berrington, Condover and back up the A49.
After the storms last night the roads were wet with mud and gravel washed onto them in places so probably not the best bike to have chosen. I got on well at the start, appreciating as always how nice the Galaxy is to ride. I was quite lucky on the approach to Longnor not to do any damage to the bike when a stick got caught in the back wheel. It was on the drive side so I'm not sure how it avoided getting tangled in the derailleur.
I had a bit of wind assistance up to Acton Burnell, then again to Cressage so got on well. The road over the river seemed busier than usual then on the way to Dryton I got slightly annoyed by an overtake from an old Mercedes - the driver followed a van past me and gave just about adequate room, but seemed completely oblivious to the car coming the other way. I wish people would look ahead and not merely at what is happening directly in front of them.
It was nice to have the quiet of the lane to Wroxeter next to make up for it and this was a pleasant section before rejoining the busier and quite badly maintained roads heading for Atcham. The old A5 was busy but everyone was fairly well behaved then I had a fairly swift run to Cross Houses despite a headwind.
I swallowed something large and buzzy on King Street. Could have done without that. Time was getting on so I took the direct route back from Condover this time.
29.4 miles at 15.4 mph average.
The classic view from Cressage Bridge looking towards the Wrekin.
I accidentally became the highest bidder on another Dawes Kingpin about three weeks ago, today was the first time I had a chance to collect it, a four hour round trip in the car.
Once I got it home a quick safety check and pumped up the tyres and rode it round the village.
I have had a few of these pass through my hands over the years but never one as in good condition as this. Hardly any rust, the tyres pumped up no problem, the gears work and so do the dynamo lights. The bike is 51 years old ffs!
Much too hot to go out during the day, so after supper I kitted up, grabbed Wiggy #2, the Chartres, and off I went for a bimble.
Rode out via Downham Common and up through Downham. Dropped off a magazine at a friend's place in the village and watched some morris dancers performing outside The Plough before continuing into the westering sun along the hythe. The ridge of high ground gives you a fabulous view across the fen all the way to Ely.
From The Hythe, the rolling ridge takes me to Red Caps, where the road drops right down to the floor of the fen. After such a hot day, the air smelled amazing; drying hay, summer sun, and night-blooming flowers... To borrow a phrase from one of my poems, night breezes rich as wine. They were combining on the outskirts of Way Head.
I rode through Way Head and onwards up the long drag into Coveney. Stopping for a drink, I debated on whether to ride on to Wardy Hill, but decided to retrace my wheel tracks instead. By now, the sun was on the verge of setting, and well, those big fen skies are just so amazing...
I rode back into Downham in the growing dusk and did a loop around the green before deciding to drop down Mill Hill and continue on to Pymoor. So past Adventurer's Drove and Corker's Crisps and thence into Pymoor, triggering the speed gun at the stellar velocity of 10 mph! From there, it was home via the recreation ground, O Furlong and Dunkirk.
15 very pleasurable miles in total, even if I did manage to ingest some post-prandial protein...
Pete M asked for the outing to Moreton-in-Marsh. So Jules H, Steve E and I were in. Out by Tewkesbury and Greet was our familiar way. The climb at Hailes Abbey caused Jules some problems and he wasn't the same man after. Steve was amazed at the distance from the top of the climb to Moreton as we skirted off the TV Adam Hansen's Cotswold Farm Park as well as Stow-on-the-Wold. Steve got his spring back when we got about 3 miles out. The smell of coffee does that to him.
Pete chose the cafe and we managed to get some lovely squash to drink for free. Spot of lunch and Bottles filled we headed up and over by Chipping Campden to the Severn and Avon valley. We skirted Braodway to take the standard run back by Hinton X and the northern and western flanks of Bredon Hill. The wind was a hindrance and Jules was struggling. So I got him on my wheel and dragged him most of the way back. Steve called a beer stop in Upton so 2 pints went down before I took the Callow End way back to top my miles up. I met Simon T and John B out for the CTC evening pub ride. Nice to see them out and about. Ride topped up to 102 smiles as OCD kicks in when the anticipated finish will be mid 90's. (It's an Eddington number thing).
Most of this recent warm weather happened when I was wandering around foreign parts, well, t’other side o’ Pennines anyway. And aye, the sun did shine. And it does here at home today as well and bike riding is great, when you are moving. I just did my best to stop in shady spots.
It took most of the way through Holbeck before I realised I had no idea where I was going to ride this morning. Scratching your head when riding a bike rarely helps much, so along Great Wilson Street I pedalled, and turned left onto Crown Point Road. After crossing the river, a right turn off the Eastgate roundabout sort of aims for the Oakwood Clock. Hmm, think some more, after the clock is Boot Hill. Sort of warm for that much effort, OK turn left and ride past the fancy gates of Roundhay Park. Still uphill, but not so much. All along Street Lane to Harrogate Road, and turn right to head north. This time of day, a quiet road once across the Ring Road. A bit further on and it levels out too!
Turn left onto the road / byway / or something that leads to Eccup reservoir. Today there was a large flock of Canada geese playing in the water there. The road leads on towards Owlet Hall but circles around that bit. Down a dip, then the rise and the cattle grid near the top. Cattle grids are wonderful downhill and quickly. Uphill, not for this mister. And the restart at the other side, ah well, part of riding. Along the pleasant road to Eccup village and choose Village Road to ride along, turning left at the end. There is one other street but I do not know if it has been graced with a name, it does become Eccup Moor Road further on. Anyway, turn right onto Arthington Road.
And eventually left onto Kings Road to ride down to Bramhope. There was an idea to ride up through the village then turn left for more up to Cookridge. Nah, too hot. An immediate left turn at the roundabout onto the A 660 for the usual set of tyre tracks back to Headingley. Just caught sight of a group of riders by Golden Acre Park, they were riding faster than I was. No surprise there. And no surprise to be passed by another dozen or so by the Lawnswood Arms. Then I thought, hang on, its Thursday, I should be surprised. That is a lot of riders out for midweek around here. Through those lights at Headingley, turn right for Kirkstall and the towpath to Office Lock. Twiddle around a corner of Hunslet and the last stretch to home. After almost 24 miles and a lot of perspiration the sight of home made me smile.
An early ride out before the family get up.
Warm, misty with a bit of a southerly breeze..
I went due north after a nip around Alnmouth. Small local lanes with no one else out. The first sign of any other living soul came after 13 miles.
A slow paced jogger in the distance. Coming towards me. Closer up I could see he was not your typical runner. A small man, topless, and carrying a back pack, he was wearing baggy, black trousers. He also had a massive mane of matted, shaggy, black hair shot through with grey and what looked like straw complete with an equally impressive beard to match. His face and chest were a well weathered walnut colour. He could have been anywhere between 50 and 80. A cheery good morning as we passed saw us go our seperate ways.
Maybe a 'Gentleman of the Road'. If so, one who takes keeping fit seriously.
So it was on until I reached Bamburgh Castle.
No one was in, or at least they weren't answering the doorbell, so no bacon sandwich courtesy of the Lord of the Manor for me.
Miffed but hardly surprised I turned around and made my way back again. Rather boringly by pretty much the same route as I had come.
I was wet when I got in from the heavy mist and everyone was up and about getting ready for the day's excursion.
In hot water (yet again) for making everyone wait.
It's from 1979 from the hub markings. Makes it practically the same age as my original junior Kingpin, which pleases me. Not quite as vintage as yours.
Woke up well before my alarm went off this morning and made the most of the bright morning to get a good ride in using the Raleigh before the weather got too hot. I went for a variation of my Melverley route this time heading to Condover intiially then Minsterley, Westbury, Halfway House and climbed up to Bulthy where instead of dropping down the hill I carried on climbing through the hidden valley between the Breidden and Middletown hills. There is a descent with good views then I headed back through Criggion, Crew Green, Melverley, Pentre, Shrawardine, Montford Bridge, Shelton and Meole Brace.
Starting out at 6.40 it was already nearly 20 degrees. I caught and overtook another rider on the way to Condover. Traffic was relatively busy on the lanes (lots of people start work early round here) but they nearly all treated me pretty well.
No sign of the cattle that escaped last time I was at Bulthy, just a couple of dog walkers who seemed surprised to see me. The climb through the valley was picturesque, although it has come out more hazy in my photos than it seemed at the time, and the views from the descent were pretty good too.
Reaching Crew Green, the speed sign seems to have been fixed as it didn't flag up my speed. I caught and passed another rider here as well.
The wind was an easterly (confirmed by the flags that I'd passed) so I was riding into it now and it seemed to take more off my speed than I'd expect from a fairly light headwind. Annoyingly it seemed to shift round to a southerly as I rode towards Shrewsbury so it was in my face for roughly the last third of the ride and I struggled to kep up the sort of pace I'm used to on this route.
43.5 miles at a slightly disappointing 14.2mph average. I enjoyed the ride despite that though.
A quirky little cottage at Minsterley. I'm about to go right at the island.
Climbing into the hills at Bulthy. Rodney's Pillar is the monument on the hill in the distance.
The view into Wales as I'm about to start the descent.
One of the buildings from the former military radio station at Criggion. Now converted into a house.
Three o'clock this afternoon found me sitting on an upturned milk crate on the forecourt of a petrol station in Ferryhill repeatedly pouring water from my cap onto my head. The cold water tap was a lifesaver but I still wasn't sure I could ride the remaining twelve miles home. Every time I tried to stand up my vision clouded, my head started spinning and my knees began to buckle. And it had all started off so well - kind of.
Plan A, to get out on the tandem, didn't survive Mrs. jg's encounter with an aggressive speed bump at the QE Infirmary. She'd tweaked her back badly enough to bail out but urged me to get out on a single so plan B was quickly formed; head South and try to avoid hills and the A167.
Set off into a hairdryer headwind but felt good. So good that when I'd finished my Cherry Bakewell Scone at the Number 4 Teashop in Sedgefield I decided to carry on to Eaglescliffe. Haven't been that way for ages but remembered the route from past Ferryhill Wheelers club runs and was down there in good time.
It was as I rode along Aislaby Road towards Middleton One Row that I began to get really hot. I guess it was because I was now missing the cooling effect of the headwind. No problem though, there are plenty of places to get refills and anyway the shortest way back was to carry on. I had to stop though at Middleton and again at Neasham, which isn't that much further on, because I was getting light headed.
River Tees at Neasham
Cheered myself up with the thought of a proper meal and a long sit down at Barton Truck Stop (a World Heritage Site according to @Skuhravy). Beans on toast, a pint of tea and an ice cold coke on the back of my throat saw me fit for action again so off I went down the Roman Road to Piercebridge. All was right with the world again apart from the thunderbugs getting up my nose.
Usually, at Piercebridge I'd take a hilly route home on the lanes but today thought the line of least resistance would be more sensible. Through Newton Aycliffe, charcoal burning everywhere, to the A167 and swing directly North. By now I'd drunk 7 bottles of water, a couple of pots of tea and a couple of cokes but was feeling groggy. I'd stopped sweating, hadn't had a pee for ages but just couldn't face anything else to drink.
That's when I found the tap at Ferryhill. Eventually I managed to get my body temperature down and could stand without feeling faint so I pottered home occasionally dowsing my head from my refilled bottles.
Met my mate Dave at 10.00am this morning on the outskirts of Altrincham. We headed out through Knutsford and on to the Riverside Organic farm cafe near Davenham. Coffee and goody consumed we skirted Northwich and found ourselves at the Swan with Two Nicks for refreshments. Fabulous weather
This i the second year in a row that I've had the hottest day of the year off work. Unlike last year when I stupidly did just short of 60 miles around Norfolk in the middle of the day, I took it much easier this year.
A short trip into Felixstowe for some cash in the morning, then a16 mile round trip to the Maybush at Waldringfield where I sat in the sun watching the world go by on the River Deben, reading a magazine while listening to the radio and having a coupe of cold