Your ride today....

C R

Guru
Location
Worcester
Missed my chance for the first ride of the year yesterday, but got a second chance today, being a bank holiday.

I needed to be back for nine, so up early, but I ended faffing about a bit and didn't set off until twenty past six. Fully dark, as today was the day of the latest sunrise, somewhat windy and a bit colder than expected. No clouds and no moon meant I had a good view of the stars along the dark lanes.

As my time was limited I decided to combine two local loops to be near home. Out up Hatfield, through the back lanes to Earls Croome, then a left for Pershore through Defford, and back via Rebecca Rd to Wadborough and Littleworth. I still had a bit more than an hour left, so decided to add a circuit of my lunchtime loop via Croome and Drakes Broughton.

Back just before nine, with 39 miles on the clock, having witnessed the latest sunrise of the Winter.
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The map
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gavgav

Guru
I’d set today aside to bag my January Half Century challenge ride, with what I’d hoped would be company, but that didn’t happen :sad:

Anyway, it was cooler than Friday’s spring like ride, so more layers were back on and that wind was stronger than initially forecast, gusting from the South/South West, which meant I was cycling directly into it for most of the initial 12 mile or so. Nice sunshine though, for half the ride at least.

I set out through Meole and then along the main road to Hook a Gate and Annscroft, before joining quieter lanes to Exfords Green and Stapleton. Dad had been out for a spin in his “sporty” car to Ludlow, this morning, so I didn’t expect him to be back yet, which was the case as I passed the house, only to meet him just past the church! So I doubled back and had a 10 minute chat to him, before continuing on to Gonsal and Ryton.

I was a bit worried that the lane to Longnor would have a flood or 2, as it’s prone to and the weather in Shropshire has been incessant rain for what seems like months. By the time I’d splashed through the 4th flood and got marooned in the last deep one, meaning shoes full of water, I’d lost a lot of the good feeling from the ride so far. 2 more floods between Longnor and the crossroads, meant I seriously considered just turning for home, but the water didn’t seem too cold and so I just put up with soggy feet for 20 miles.

The lane to Comley had another flood and the 2 small fords had more water in them than I’ve ever seen before, which just soaked my trouser legs as well from the splash :shy:

I finally turned out of the wind, as I began the hard climb up the corkscrew, to Enchmarsh, with it feeling particularly tough today for some reason, probably beer and food over the Christmas and New Year!

The descent to Cardington was good fun, other than 3 people walking, filling the whole lane, who, when I rang my bell, proceeded to act like a group of pheasants and run in all directions, without actually getting out of the way! I almost had to completely stop.

The sun was giving nice views over towards the hills, along the road to Gretton, so I paused to take a couple of snaps.
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I then set off again and after about a minute the chain came off, as I tried to switch from the big to small ring :wacko: Of course it had jammed as well and so I spent 5 minutes sorting that out and getting oily hands

Back onto the road and on towards Kenley, very little traffic along there, which was nice. I slowly reeled in a chap on a trike, as I climbed a bit, but as we enjoyed the nice wind assisted fast descent, he pulled away from me quite well, so they really do shift!

Kenley bank was open again, so I enjoyed the descent, but the road is still in an awful potholed state, so it wasn’t that they were fixing….There were another 2 floods in the usual places towards Concord College and Acton Burnell, before I joined the road to Pitchford, Cantlop and Betton Abbots. Ridiculously busy with traffic along there, to the point I was concerned something had happened on the A458, but I got to the junction and there didn’t seem to be anything amiss.

The traffic had been well behaved all ride, until now, as I joined the A458 and had an idiot in a Merc overtake me, when a car was waiting to turn right onto the A5, he must have missed both of us by inches. Closely followed by a moron in a van who squeezed past me and the bollards as you come off the island, missing me by inches again.

I looped through the nearby estate, to make sure I got the 50k mileage, before giving the bike a much needed wash, when I got home and put my shoes to dry.

A ride that felt like a war of attrition at times, but the first challenge ride is bagged. 32.39 miles at a slow 11.0mph.
 
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AndreaJ

Veteran
A first for me today, after always riding on my own I went out with a group. A post on a local Facebook page led to the group being set up, a route was chosen and the first ride was today. I had arranged to meet them in Welshampton which was near the start of the ride and meant I didn’t have to ride to Ellesmere to come back again. The other 3 ladies decided that they would rather carry on at their pace and meet back up at the end so 6 of us set off through Welshampton along the busy road to Bronnington where we turned towards Hanmer and into Penley, Lightwood Green and Overton. Turned off back towards Ellesmere where we finished at The Boathouse. Had a nice coffee sat outside in the sunshine next to the Mere before heading back to Welshampton, Northwood and home with 34 miles done.
The route was the Ellesmere triathlon route which was described as flat( it wasn’t flat 😂).
It was good to have a change of scenery and some company for a change on a lovely sunny day.
 

Rickshaw Phil

Overconfidentii Vulgaris
Moderator
Yesterday's ride:

I've been eyeing up this Bank Holiday Monday for quite a few days as the day to do my first challenge ride of the year. The forecast has been showing it as dry and mild (for the time of year) but a bit more windy than I'd really like, however I thought my route around the north of the county would work with that.

An early alarm was set but I actually got woken about an hour before that by the sound of howling wind and the rain driving against the window. Shortly afterwards the first flash of lightning came - I'm not joking - a thunderstorm in January!:wacko: When the alarm did finally go off I got myself ready anyway hoping that the showers would clear out of the way. It looked promising and I was able to get going just after seven.

The roads were sopping wet when I set out but on the plus side there was very little traffic about, which suited me. I had a fairly slow start due to the strength of the wind as I headed to Condover, Ryton and Gonsall, then slower still through Stapleton, Exford's Green, Plealey, Pontesbury and Minsterley. It didn't help having a shower blow through but thankfully I only caught the edge of it - I could see it raining a lot heavier to the south of me.

On the way to Westbury, Halfway House and Prince's Oak progress was easier as it was more of a crosswind or even helping on some sections. A completely clear crossing of the Welshpool road is always nice. I thought I'd struggle through Coedwy and Crew Green as I should have had a headwind but I think the Breidden hills were sheltering the road (now I understand why I never seem to get a good tailwind when riding this stretch the other way).

I had a break just after the bridge over the Severn then carried on with the wind helping, or at least not hindering. Just before Maesbrook I took the lane past Llwyntidmon Hall and through Waen Wen to Morton and Ball. I enjoyed having the main road into Oswestry nice and quiet so thoughts of trying an alternative to my usual route into the centre were put on hold again.

My usual route past the old hill fort took me to Gobowen and onto the very muddy signed NCN route to Ellesmere. I met a crowd of walkers shortly after joining the lanes who responded with humour to a ding of the bell ("Yay, Tour de France coming through") and several people riding horses at various other points.

Having had a break near Hindford I had no need to stop at Ellesmere and carried on to Coptiviney. The road was surprisingly clean beside Stocks Farm for once but that really showed up how damaged the road surface is - not nice when you have had a bit of downhill to get some speed up on. The 50 mile mark came up in Welshampton then I took the road to Hampton Bank and Northwood. Turning towards the sun here it was quite dazzling due to the reflections off the still wet roads but fortunately it was only for a short section.

From Northwood the riding is nice and flat and the wind was helping much of the time. I didn't push to go particularly fast but just enjoyed it being easier for a while through Whixall and Coton. There were more cyclists out and about by the time I reached Prees. One caught my eye on a spotless black Canyon with immaculate matching kit, triggering the thought that "you haven't come very far have you?". Without mudguards, none of it will be that colour by the end of his ride.;)

The climb out of Prees is always a hard pull after having been on the flat for several miles but I plodded up slowly and enjoyed the downhill the other side. The long gentle climb to Ightfield was nice and easy this time. I passed the metric century mark on the way to the village and took @ianbarton's advice to have my lunch break in the bus shelter where I really appreciated being out of the wind. The weather may not be as cold as usual for the time of year but the windchill was really getting through my layers.

I set off again towards Calverhall passing a few more cyclists on the way then took my usual more roundabout route to Longslow, Longford and into Market Drayton under the A53. I thought about taking the short way avoiding the centre but then thought that I'd have to climb up almost as high as that anyway so did take the tour through town before leaving past the golf club.

I would now be riding mostly into the wind for the rest of the ride home and at Sutton a shower rolled through which, it turned out, would be the first of several. The wind increased quite a bit following the shower and I was struggling to do more than 10 mph on the flat. Approaching Tern Hill Airfield the windsock was pointed directly at me and it all felt a bit demoralising. Thankfully there was the shelter of some trees at Stoke Heath then the wind seemed to have eased a bit after those so I made slightly easier progress to Stoke on Tern and Ollerton. Another break for a drink and flapjack seemed a good idea here but did give a good view of the next shower rolling in.

Eaton on Tern, Little Bolas and the crossing of the A442 came and went. Just after Cold Hatton I met a group of horse riders and the lead horse spooked at the sight of me. Apparently it's well used to bicycles so it must have been me.:whistle: No issues with the next couple of horses I met further down the road.

I was running low on energy again after High Ercall so paused once off the main road for another drink and the last of the flapjack. Another rider came along while I was looking at a message on my phone and took quite some persuading that I was actually alright and had everything I needed. Nice chap and I do appreciate the kindness.:okay:

I passed through Rodington Heath and Withington then had another stop to break open the jelly babies which gave the energy to get the last few miles through Upton Magna, Atcham, Cross Houses and Berrington. I had enough distance in hand that I could either take my usual way through Condover or the short cut through Allfield. That decision was easy to make when I saw another shower approaching just beyond Lyth Hill, so the shorter way it was (saves about a mile). The rain started to fall when I was about a quarter of a mile from home.

102.13 miles for this one at 12.1 mph moving average. Total time was 10 hours and three minutes with all the stops. I'm pretty happy with that. The bike is going to need a good clean now.

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Near Ryton, sunrise is still a good 50 minutes away.

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At Pontesbury.

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Near Maesbrook looking back towards the Breidden. The rivers have been quite high so the lane I'm on would have been underwater just two or three days ago.

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The view towards Llanymynech Hill from near Waen Wen. Llanymynech is known for having the Welsh - English border running down the centre of the main street. Lots of confusion when Wales was locked down but England wasn't (and vice-versa).

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At the gates of Cae Glas Park in Oswestry.

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Taking a break between Gobowen and Ellesmere with some recent storm damage on show.

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At Prees.

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At Ightfield - I'm taking my lunch stop in the shelter just out of shot on the right.

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Market Drayton.

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The sun has just dropped behind the clouds after High Ercall - not going to be much of a sunset to ride into this time.
 

gavgav

Guru
Yesterday's ride:

I've been eyeing up this Bank Holiday Monday for quite a few days as the day to do my first challenge ride of the year. The forecast has been showing it as dry and mild (for the time of year) but a bit more windy than I'd really like, however I thought my route around the north of the country would work with that.

An early alarm was setbut I actually got woken about an hour before that by the sound of howling wind and the rain driving against the window. Shortly afterwards the first flash of lightning came - I'm not joking - a thunderstorm in January!:wacko: When the alarm did finally go off I got myself ready anyway hoping that the showers would clear out of the way. It looked promising and I was able to get going just after seven.

The roads were sopping wet when I set out but on the plus side there was very little traffic about, which suited me. I had a fairly slow start due to the strength of the wind as I headed to Condover, Ryton and Gonsall, then slower still through Stapleton, Exford's Green, Plealey, Pontesbury and Minsterley. It didn't help having a shower blow through but thankfully I only caught the edge of it - I could see it raining a lot heavier to the south of me.

On the way to Westbury, Halfway House and Prince's Oak progress was easier as it was more of a crosswind or even helping on some sections. A completely clear crossing of the Welshpool road is always nice. I thought I'd struggle through Coedwy and Crew Green as I should have had a headwind but I think the Breidden hills were sheltering the road (now I understand why I never seem to get a good tailwind when riding this stretch the other way).

I had a break just after the bridge over the Severn then carried on with the wind helping, or at least not hindering. Just before Maesbrook I took the lane past Llwyntidmon Hall and through Waen Wen to Morton and Ball. I enjoyed having the main road into Oswestry nice and quiet so thoughts of trying an alternative to my usual route into the centre were put on hold again.

My usual route past the old hill fort took me to Gobowen and onto the very muddy signed NCN route to Ellesmere. I met a crowd of walkers shortly after joining the lanes who responded with humour to a ding of the bell ("Yay, Tour de France coming through") and several people riding horses at various other points.

Having had a break near Hindford I had no need to stop at Ellesmere and carried on to Coptiviney. The road was surprisingly clean beside Stocks Farm for once but that really showed up how damaged the road surface is - not nice when you have had a bit of downhill to get some speed up on. The 50 mile mark came up in Welshampton then I took the road to Hampton Bank and Northwood. Turning towards the sun here it was quite dazzling due to the reflections off the still wet roads but fortunately it was only for a short section.

From Northwood the riding is nice and flat and the wind was helping much of the time. I didn't push to go particularly fast but just enjoyed it being easier for a while through Whixall and Coton. There were more cyclists out and about by the time I reached Prees. One caught my eye on a spotless black Canyon with immaculate matching kit, triggering the thought that "you haven't come very far have you?". Without mudguards, none of it will be that colour by the end of his ride.;)

The climb out of Prees is always a hard pull after having been on the flat for several miles but I plodded up slowly and enjoyed the downhill the other side. The long gentle climb to Ightfield was nice and easy this time. I passed the metric century mark on the way to the village and took @ianbarton's advice to have my lunch break in the bus shelter where I really appreciated being out of the wind. The weather may not be as cold as usual for the time of year but the windchill was really getting through my layers.

I set off again towards Calverhall passing a few more cyclists on the way then took my usual more roundabout route to Longslow, Longford and into Market Drayton under the A53. I thought about taking the short way avoiding the centre but then thought that I'd have to climb up almost as high as that anyway so did take the tour through town before leaving past the golf club.

I would now be riding mostly into the wind for the rest of the ride home and at Sutton a shower rolled through which, it turned out, would be the first of several. The wind increased quite a bit following the shower and I was struggling to do more than 10 mph on the flat. Approaching Tern Hill Airfield the windsock was pointed directly at me and it all felt a bit demoralising. Thankfully there was the shelter of some trees at Stoke Heath then the wind seemed to have eased a bit after those so I made slightly easier progress to Stoke on Tern and Ollerton. Another break for a drink and flapjack seemed a good idea here but did give a good view of the next shower rolling in.

Eaton on Tern, Little Bolas and the crossing of the A442 came and went. Just after Cold Hatton I met a group of horse riders and the lead horse spooked at the sight of me. Apparently it's well used to bicycles so it must have been me.:whistle: No issues with the next couple of horses I met further down the road.

I was running low on energy again after High Ercall so paused once off the main road for another drink and the last of the flapjack. Another rider came along while I was looking at a message on my phone and took quite some persuading that I was actually alright and had everything I needed. Nice chap and I do appreciate the kindness.:okay:

I passed through Rodington Heath and Withington then had another stop to break open the jelly babies which gave the energy to get the last few miles through Upton Magna, Atcham, Cross Houses and Berrington. I had enough distance in hand that I could either take my usual way through Condover or the short cut through Allfield. That decision was easy to make when I saw another shower approaching just beyond Lyth Hill, so the shorter way it was (saves about a mile). The rain started to fall when I was about a quarter of a mile from home.

102.13 miles for this one at 12.1 mph moving average. Total time was 10 hours and three minutes with all the stops. I'm pretty happy with that. The bike is going to need a good clean now.

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Near Ryton, sunrise is still a good 50 minutes away.

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At Pontesbury.

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Near Maesbrook looking back towards the Breidden. The rivers have been quite high so the lane I'm on would have been underwater just two or three days ago.

View attachment 624973
The view towards Llanymynech Hill from near Waen Wen. Llanymynech is known for having the Welsh - English border running down the centre of the main street. Lots of confusion when Wales was locked down but England wasn't (and vice-versa).

View attachment 624974
At the gates of Cae Glas Park in Oswestry.

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Taking a break between Gobowen and Ellesmere with some recent storm damage on show.

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At Prees.

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At Ightfield - I'm taking my lunch stop in the shelter just out of shot on the right.

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Market Drayton.

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The sun has just dropped behind the clouds after High Ercall - not going to be much of a sunset to ride into this time.
Bravo!!
 

Noodle Legs

Powered by cake and caffeine........
Cold and dark it may have been, but the lure of the great outdoors for a post work ride was just too much to resist.
Nipped out for a cheeky 20 miler round local lanes taking in Newtown Linford, Markfield and Thornton reservoir to name but a few. Quite hilly, but just what I needed to get my sorry fat ass back into shape.

https://www.relive.cc/view/veqzBwzGGBq

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CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
There's a water tower that dominates a ridge in Bedfordshire only about ten miles from my home and it can be seen for miles around, but it occurred to me last week that I've never actually been to the base of it, so I decided to go and visit it today! (And get on the water tower bagger's thread into the bargain).
It was cold and grey, and rain was forecast for 3 so not that pleasant out. Still, even though I've not ridden in a while, on the way it felt easy peasy, and not as cold as I'd expected. I'd find out why soon enough.

Having bagged my water tower at Meppershall I started back towards home into a bitterly cold head wind that had been quietly assisting me all the way there, unnoticed until now. Fingers soon went numb necessitating quite a few stops in bus shelters to warm up with my flask of tea.
Only 20 miles in all, but hard fought!
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Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I often stop for tea
Location
Dumnoniorum
Yesterday evening was the usual Wednesday pubrun, but a bit special as it was Heather's birthday. So we had a meal booked at our favourite (other favourites are available), the Merry Harriers, run by cyclist John.
I pumped the tyres on the Black Hallett, which hadn't been out for a few weeks, and set off for Cranbrook to meet some of the others. Rear tyre had gone a bit soft, so I put some more air in. In the end only two of us set off from there for a wet laney route to the pub. Jeremy gave me a hard time on the straight bits, I had to work hard to keep on his wheel. Ted had just arrived as we got there. Within a few minutes the others turned up and we set to with beer and food.

We were the last out. My back tyre had gone almost flat, so more air introduced. J & Heather set off down the main road and the rest of us headed back along the lanes. R & I said goodbye to two others in Talaton, I noticed the tyre getting a little soft again. When we got to street lights I stopped and pumped once more. Then back to the town, some friendly backchat from late-night revellers, and home.

57k in total and home before midnight. https://www.strava.com/activities/6478962821
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Postscript: the tyre was flat in the morning, but only because the sealant had gone dry over seven months. I stuck some more in and it's fine now (ready for the 200 on Saturday).
 
A lot of snow had fallen just west of us, although it was mainly rain here but it had turned really clear here overnight which meant temperatures first thing were Baltic 🥶 So I decided to wait a wee while for it to warm up. I had planned a little recovery ride to Kincardine (from Dunfermline) and back; a route which is usually ice free. En route though I remembered after 20 years or more they are finally resurfacing the 2nd section of the moon (Low Valleyfield to Culross) they done the 1st section a couple of years ago. You can get through, and I did, but its half a mile on a footway. With the weather improving I decided against going back through there and decided to go on a photo bimble instead. I thought initially about going round the Forth, another route that is usually ice free, but I had did that 2 days ago and decided it was now mild enough to get a little elevation.

I had saw a new cafe/farm shop had opened up pre the 2020 lockdown, at Aberdona near Forestmill but I hadn't been in it so I diverted in there. It's a bit off the beaten track but that meant it wouldn't be busy and that suited me.

I had intended after to take the main road back but I decided the day was now at its best so I cut down to Dollar and took the little roads by Muckhart and Lendrick Muir through to near Loch Leven, before coming back by Kelty and Kingseat to Dunfermline.

If you're interested the route and photos are in the video.

https://www.relive.cc/view/v7O9D48JrLv
 

13 rider

Guru
Location
leicester
Normally a 10.6 mile ride wouldn't be much to write about . But I've been off the bike since Tuesday which is not long for some but basically I ride everyday . While on a ride on the 2nd I could feel my back aching not to bad until I stopped at home and went to dismount it felt like I'd been punched in the back . Hobbled into home hunched over . Complete rest the next day and the back began to ease so much so I bike commuted to work on Tuesday on the hybrid much more upright position 16 miles in total . But the back wasn't right and my fairly physical job didn't help although sitting doing nothing makes it worse almost seizing up . So I've stayed off the bike until this morning waited until any frost was gone and the sun was out . Out the door at 11.30 and did my local 10 mile loop out to Swithland and back . The back was ok but getting on the drops I could feel the back so a nice steady ride taking it easy up any inclines . Home with not too much pain but I will certainly be taking it easy for a while longer . The centuries challenges for January are it doubt thankful I got my half century ride in
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I often stop for tea
Location
Dumnoniorum
Four of us took trains down to Penzance on Friday with the plan of riding a 200 back to East Devon on Saturday (it was meant to be seven but three cried off because of the awful forecast).
We set off at about 7am into heavy rain, riding through Marazion to join the B-road through Praze-an-Beeble to Redruth.
S isn't a fast rider & the relentless hills made for slow going. The others were getting cold. J was cold & wet enough that he decided to pack at Redruth & catch a train home.
We plodded on to Newquay where there was a welcoming baker with seats inside and a good line in pasties.
The rain had eased & a check of the forecast suggested mere showers for the rest of the day. As soon as we set off the heavens opened and it bucketed down.
We had a stretch of the A39 to ride before diverting via Delabole. A gusting cross-wind made S very nervous and slower. H announced she was too cold & would leave us to ride at her own pace. S decided to pack to Wadebridge and head for Bodmin station.
I continued & caught H fairly quickly. The route did a dog-leg, turning across-country to Launceston. We made a garage stop for food.
The tailwind gusted more strongly, and heavy showers kept us nicely damp. At Okehampton we got a bit lost looking for the Granite Way. A local told us it was shut for repairs, so we retraced to ride through the town.
The services at the East end was the final control. H said she would continue at her own pace and bade me ride on. She eventually got the Exeter & went straight home, just as I finished at Cranbrook.
I had a quick drink in the pub, then rode the final 18k home. The rain had pretty much ceased and my gloves were almost dry. My feet, encased in overshoes, were soaked. But I was fairly warm (& smelly). A total of 227k in under 12hrs.

Postscript: I had to be up early this morning to marshal our New Year 10. Rushing about, I slipped on a wet pavement & went down heavily. By the time the event finished I was in agony. A trip to hospital diagnosed probable broken ribs. Loads of painkillers prescribed.
https://www.strava.com/activities/6493112935
The evening before
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Cool and windy with rain forecast, not the most promising prospect but decided to take the bike south where it must be warmer, maybe. Climbed up to grouse moors at Harris End. No sign of the Duke shooting the hell out of the wildlife so continued to Chipping for early lunch. Cobbled Corner has reopened and was feeding at least 20 cyclists so decided to stand by the farm shop that has stood by us through lockdowns. Always nice to ride some new roads so picked my way up on to Longridge Fell. The road up was one of those you feel the front wheel lifting on and my efforts amused a barn owl that followed me up the fell. Then passed Mrs Kirkhams cheese emporium to Inglewhite and back home. 51 miles and 1100 m of climbing.

Pictures taken from top of Longridge Fell on a theme of ‘bleak’. It was the only theme available.

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footloose crow

Über Member
Location
Cornwall. UK
Normally a 10.6 mile ride wouldn't be much to write about . But I've been off the bike since Tuesday which is not long for some but basically I ride everyday . While on a ride on the 2nd I could feel my back aching not to bad until I stopped at home and went to dismount it felt like I'd been punched in the back . Hobbled into home hunched over . Complete rest the next day and the back began to ease so much so I bike commuted to work on Tuesday on the hybrid much more upright position 16 miles in total . But the back wasn't right and my fairly physical job didn't help although sitting doing nothing makes it worse almost seizing up . So I've stayed off the bike until this morning waited until any frost was gone and the sun was out . Out the door at 11.30 and did my local 10 mile loop out to Swithland and back . The back was ok but getting on the drops I could feel the back so a nice steady ride taking it easy up any inclines . Home with not too much pain but I will certainly be taking it easy for a while longer . The centuries challenges for January are it doubt thankful I got my half century ride in
You need to be careful. My back issues started like this - not with a single vent but an accumulation. The internet provides some good exercises for strengthening backs and avoiding disc issues.
 
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