Your ride today....


Here for the ride.
Once the calendar clicks round to December I'll be able to hit two important targets, completion of a fourth Cyclechat imperial century a month and a first Audax randonnée round the year (RRtY). The excitement is becoming quite intense. ^_^

Many years ago, when I realised that 100 lifetime imperial centuries was going to be completed quite quickly, I revised that particular lifetime target and set myself the more searching target of 365, representing a year's worth. As of yesterday morning I had 363, so to set myself up for a truly memorable ride in the early days of December I needed to fit in another one. Yesterday was forecast to be largely windless but with a likelihood of steady rain through the afternoon. That'll do, I'll take that in preference to morning ice.

I did one of my "round the world" rides, setting off one way (southwards) and eventually returning from the opposite direction:


I picked a new route (for me) through the Cotswolds north from Cirencester. With a little sunshine at that time it looked magnificent, particularly around Barnsley (not that one!) but when I took out my camera it refused to operate so I assumed I'd left it on. After arriving home I found the battery cover wasn't quite attached properly. :sad:

As I reached the big descent out of the hills at Snowshill it began to rain in earnest, a rather thick drizzle which made glasses problematic for the rest of the day. The lack of wind was a blessing on the rather obvious stretch of Roman road (Ryknild Street) before crossing the Avon at Bidford.

I then passed through a succession of filthy lanes before reaching bigger roads at Pershore for the final stages. The river at Eckington Bridge still looks perilously high. At the very end my route into Gloucester was closed due to a collapsed sewer - so I had it all to myself. :laugh:

Final distance 110.12 miles.

Alex H

Does anyone else do anything similar?
Cheers, Donger.
Reiver did this, but in magical digital format. I've no idea how it was done and it's going to be impossible to find on the forum as his username has vanished. At least it saved space on the walls :okay:

I started doing a similar one of places I had been in the world - it's incredible how pathetic it looks :laugh:


Convoi Exceptionnel
Quedgeley, Glos.
Great idea, how do you mark, pins at the start/end? I can't quite work it out from the photos.
Just inked in with a "Sharpie" indelible ink pen. One day I shall add some photos and my audax brevet cards (and perhaps a bit of club kit) to the periphery of the maps and get them framed and glazed. I am finding already that I can remember every ride outside my home range ... who I was with and where we went. Should be a nice souvenir when I hang up my cycling shoes.

twentysix by twentyfive

Clinging on tightly
Over the Hill
I rode over to the meet but no Pete. So I went round to his. He was just getting out of bed. :tired: A cup of tea later:cuppa: he was ready to go. We took the Coddington run for Harbour Hill and Canon Frome. Ashperton took us to Trumpet and the cafe. Pete was now fully awake so he lead me by Falcon Lane to Ledbury and the Petty France run back. Just the second climb over the Wyche for me today to finish. Nice wee outing in lovely winter sunshine. 35 smiles


Anyone else do anything similar?
Cheers, Donger.
Here's my map of the last 5 years cycle rides showing a distinct need to spread my wings a bit. The map is from an old council building that was being demolished and must be around 40 years old at least given missing roads. The spiders web of cycled routes in the centre is Harrogate, and the mini spider web down to the right of that Wetherby.
Saving it for when I can no longer get up the hills!
Ah, but we do have headwinds that seem to keep track of where it is you are riding... :laugh:

Why do you think there is a large proportion of beans in my diet? :whistle:

Old jon

Blue sky again, and the breeze had dropped enough to eat breakfast on the balcony. And the raptors flew around to have a look. They did not really, but for once I saw them, half a dozen or more, fairly close up. I was going to bring a long lens with me this visit but two and a half kilos? Need more baggage allowance.

Rode most points of the compass this morning, ending up west of where I started. The flyover across the SC 401, right harpic ( that disinfectant used to be advertised to ‘clean around the bend’ ) and find the cycle track towards Beira Mar. This was quite busy this morning, stopped counting once double figures were reached very quickly. No rush for me today, or any day for that matter, I wanted to remind myself where a bike shop was. The inner tube idiocy mentioned a few posts ago has to be put right. When I remember.

Noted the shop position and carried on. The beach ends at the Bombeiro’s buildings. Fire brigade, ambulance service and given all the boats there maybe coastguards as well. More noticeable today, they seemed to have an open day in progress, queues of civilians by both entrances. Maybe the video caught this.

The second, usable, bridge has a bike track and I used that to cross to the mainland. Probably the steepest climb of the ride, but short enough. Sort of turn left then make a ‘U’ once across the bridge, the sort of thing that has me looking in every direction at once, it is too easy to forget traffic drives on the right. Anyway, continue, under the old bridge and another bike track starts. This, again, sticks close to the beach for a mile or so then exits onto a suburban road. Which has had a bike track added since last May. Mostly good, more later.

The main road has to be used for a while, you can only travel in front of the naval college. A road leads off to the right, eventually, and goes through an area next to the beach all the way to a slip road to route 101. Not for this cyclist, this is the main north to south road of the country. A few thousand kilometres of it, all that I have seen busy. Turn around time.
Local knowledge is slowly increasing, local roads are certainly improving. Ah! The new bike track on the suburban road. It is only on one side of the road. I rode on the right, happily enough, the bike track on the other side. Car driver indicated I should be riding on the track. OK, I will do that. Next car driver, coming towards me on the other side of the road seemed to tell me to ride on the right. Ah, sphericals. Wend my way back to the bridge, cross to the island and make my way home. Twenty three miles of fun ride finished with a smile. Cannot be bad.

And the almost inevitable,



Been messing about a little with a certain virtual cycling platform but a weather window opened - dry and not too cold, so felt that this was the best opporunity for a good bimble. Left just before noon, up my usual route through the Dams to Darnley park and onto Stewarton Road. Engine good, twiddled the granny gears on the big climb to keep my HR in check (not ashamed), fabulous descent all the way to Stewarton, then pushed on to Irvine. An hour and a half in and felt great.

Got to the harbourside where the air was perhaps the clearest I have ever seen it. From the harbour entrance I was able to see the Paps of Jura more than 50 miles away.
I got a chance to use my camera that has been gathering dust for years.
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Paps of Jura disproving flat earthers (they're the pillars of Heracles-looking mountains in the far distance with what looks like open sea between them)
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Steed with Arran in the background

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Looking south across the bay towards Girvan

It started to get cold and daylight was burning so turned around and headed back, but rather than go back up the long drag I had powered down on the way here, the wind had turned so I chose the lowland route along Garnock Valley.

It all fell apart after Kilwinning as I realised that my legs were not able to produce any power as I climbed up from the old railway bridge that carries NCN7.
View attachment 494617

I was still 30 miles away from home and starting to get hurty but trundled along aware of the encroaching night. I also got completely lost because of the new Dalry bypass and ended up on a very busy, unpleasant road (the A737) for 3 horrid miles instead of the sedate lane I was used to. By the time I regained my bearings I headed to my old faithful, Castle Semple Loch, arriving just as the sun was about to go down.
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As soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped sharply (Garmin reckons -2.5'C, the old railway paths started to glint in the beam of my front light) and I tried to get some warmth into my legs for the last drag home, but with no stamina left what is normally an easy ride was much more challenging and I found myself struggling to maintain double digit speed at times.

Broken by the time I got back, 4 hours after setting out from Irvine, fighting rush hour traffic with shouty legs was not fun.

All in, 58 miles, 2400 feet of elevation and a deep sense of how bad I really am at cycling :surrender:View attachment 494625
Sounds like a great route....for a summer run.

footloose crow

Senior Member
Cornwall. UK
29 November; To Hayle and back

Sometimes you have to do a ride because the title is compelling. Actually, I can't think of another example right now of a punning ride title but I guess it could become a forum thread. So for fans of John Wayne and 1960s films about WW2, I offer 'To Hayle and back', with complete acknowledgement that a bike ride is not the same as war in the Pacific. I saw a dozen people out cycling today so like me, they have been watching today's weather window, a quiet day, an island of calm between days of rain with gales.

Pulled outside by blue sky and with some nerves about the length of the ride, I weave in and out of Truro's morning traffic. I have never tried to ride 50 miles before, a sad acceptance of my lowly status as a beginner cyclist, but today will give it a go. The first hill is brutal, steeper than it looked and with cold legs and sagging confidence I am about to stop to get my breathing under control when I glance to the side and there is a lady cyclist overtaking me. An admission - I was shamed into continuing. Would I have felt the same about a male cyclist? I ponder this as my throat stings, my nose runs and the bike moves uncertainly upwards in little jerks as I plunge down on the pedals. I have only done two miles. How will I do 48 more?

On, on past the hospital where I contemplate that this is the place to have the heart attack that I feel is imminent, on past Truro College, strangely quiet...ah an INSET day. No, it is 'climate change' day. I am doing my bit! Out of Truro into the netherworld that is neither rural or urban that makes up much of central Cornwall. Stark reminders of mining, chimneys, old tracks across the heath that surrounds me, scattered whitewashed cottages, hunkered down into the damp earth, brambles and scrub invading the rough grazing.

I start to hate the down hills. Every time the road goes down I know it must go up again. The steeper the down, the steeper the up. There is no respite. Up, down, enclosed by tall banks and then occasionally a glimpse of the Atlantic away to my right. When I moved to Cornwall I was told that the Cornish are like the hedges that crowd and narrow every road. They look soft and green, grassy banks with wildflower displays in spring, deep shadowed oak groves in summer. But beware, for beneath that soft exterior is a granite wall, one that has probably been in place since the Bronze Age, since once built they are hard to remove. A Cornishman or woman is as hard as granite, as unmoving in the face of modernity or change, they only go where they want and when they want but they are charming, kind and friendly if you and they are of the same mind. These are the thoughts that run randomly into my mind, my legs in lactic hell, staying with the granite hedges, up, down.

Down into Portreath, the beach empty and cold, lifeguards long gone with the summer crowds, paint peeling on the sandwich huts and that was a mistake because the only way back out is incredibly steep but thankfully short. A little wobble as I try to find the right road, through Illogan, past modern bungalows sitting next to decaying mine workings, large detached properties and then a row of stone terraces crowding onto the road, pushing cars into the middle. There is a reward coming now. A final hill and then I can see the sea again, the sun is out and three things occur that have never happened to me before. I have six miles of relatively flat road, I overtake another cyclist and there is no wind. The cliffs are a 100 metres to my right, the road is empty, the views are limitless or at least limited only by the curvature of the earth.


All good things must end but please not yet. I can't decide whether to go faster as it is flat and easy or slower so it lasts longer. A long downhill to Gwithian beach, memories of surfing there with my children long ago, now they surf all around the world, St Ives winking in the distance, lit up by winter sun.


Hayle arrives. I have done it. I have done half of it. I follow the NCN signs that take me along a tree root disrupted narrow path and then a gravel track. Next time I will stay on the road. A cafe, tea and cake. Twenty five miles down in two hours with about 1800 feet of uphill so far.

On, time to waste in these short winter days. Through Hayle, and then up and up, following a twisting road, the horizon never arriving, just another bend and more hill. Through Baripper, quiet and deserted, on to Camborne and quickly, steeply down to Redruth still following the blue trail of NCN signs that appear randomly and sometimes at junctions. There is a climb to come, long, steep, through terraced streets of Victorian stone cottages, paid for by mining and now green, mildewed and unrelentingly uphill. I need to stop, using the opportunity to swop from gloves to mitts as a reason to halt, but really to stop my breath sawing my throat, bring the heart rate down to something closer to 220 minus my age, consider the distance to A&E from here.

Out of Redruth and now I am on a belvedere, a thin strip of level tarmac, once a stone railway for the mines connecting the lodes and veins that run richly here, the mining heart of Cornwall. To my left I can see across the rooftops of Redruth to the blue Atlantic that runs straight from here to America, colours shifting as the sun moves between clouds. To my right is the bleak moorland of Carn Brea with it's distinctive memorial, an upright finger of granite blocks that dominates the skyline across the whole of mid Cornwall. Engine houses and chimneys, scruffy bits of rough grazing with ponies nibbling the yellowed grass, cottages that appear to be unconnected by road, sunk down into the ground, gradually subsiding into the earth from which they sprang. This is a unique landscape, but an uneasy one, marked by poverty, not a place to linger under the stares of groups of young men lingering in patches, hunched into hoodies, broken cars, tracks from scramble bikes cutting through the heather and scrubby trees.

Further from the town it feels safer, allowing a stop. A chance to eat something and drink.


On, on, spinning the pedals, legs complaining. forty miles down, ten to go. Without a GPS I rely on the map but it is old and doesn't show the NCN route. I get lost near St Day, missing the signs and then I am in United Downs, more urban than rural, scrap yards, fenced off compounds, a huge tip, dustbin lorries crowding me off the narrow lane. A fast down hill into the Bissoe Valley and I am on home territory. It is up through a quiet valley road, wet, overhung with oaks that still retain many of their leaves until Chacewater arrives and now it is easier, one more big hill and I am back into the Truro traffic.

I had a gel half an hour ago when I was flagging and suddenly there is a rush of energy. I am spinning downhill, faster and faster, competing with the traffic but safe in my bus/cycle lane and then a sweeping left hand turn and a quick right, braking too quickly, the back wheel spins and slides and I am down, scraping the tape off my handlebars, leaving gashes in the elbows of my jacket and bib tights. Yes it is greasy but I was going too fast. No real damage, I hope.

I go more slowly now, more aware of the greenness of the road, the steepness of the bends, corkscrewing down the steep cycle path and into the centre of Truro. One more hill and then home.

Madame Crow is out when I arrive, dirty, dishevelled so I ask Strava for some company: how far, how fast, how much uphill? I need to know. I need reassurance that I can still make progress, fighting the slowness of age and injury, not wanting to take the long downhill into old age. I text my son and share my day, "fifty miles, 3800 feet of uphill". He fails to understand why I need to do this, why don't I relax? In his life it is all struggle, make a living, pay the rent, finding time to surf before it is dark is hard for him now.

Instead, I am planning to go to Penzance next time, a longer trip perhaps 75 miles, chasing my vanishing youth, making a stand against time, consumed by a fever, a need to put down milestones of achievement that mean nothing - except to me.
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