A grand day out

Today we took a trip in London for the London Surrey Cycle Classic part of the ‘London Prepares’ series that replicates the route scheduled for the London Olympics in 2012. Today’s ride of 140 km did follow the route planned for the big event, but only took a couple of turns rather than the nine that will take place on the day. We had ‘Silver Wristbands’ (thank you J) which meant gaining access to the finish sprint down The Mall.

We, that is just Cyclo and me, drove into London and parked in a side street, then took the tube in, followed by a short walk. We were nodded in to the cordoned off area, where there was a lovely atmosphere. At first we found a place to sit and read the papers with a cup of coffee, but soon it was necessary to take our place along the barriers. From where we stood we could see that there were quite big crowds outside, several deep at the barriers, but we were lucky enough to have  a section of barrier to ourselves!

Looking back towards Buckingham Palace

Continue reading “A grand day out”

A view of Le Tour 2011

It was the helicopters I heard first,  approaching from the west, still quite high and then swooping lower, following the riders up the last winding ascent before the road flattened on the headland of Cap Frehel, Brittany.

Somewhere out of view, near the flamme rouge which marks 1 kilometre to the finish, began a Mexican wave of sound, a crescendo which rippled along the ten-deep bands of yellow-capped spectators lining either side of the road. Continue reading “A view of Le Tour 2011”

“Can you ride tandem?”

The catch phrase,”Can you ride tandem?” comes from a long line of PG tips tea adverts.
You may remember it?
It seems appropriate this week to mention it as it was called ‘Tour de France.’

Well until today I couldn’t say that I’d ever tried a tandem, but this afternoon that all changed.
At our annual  cycling club BBQ we strolled into the garage to ‘ew’ and ‘awe’ over the host’s new acquisition – a super light framed bike. The garage was full of bikes and bike bits and other bike related stuff. The car didn’t have a look in. The mower was squeezed in a corner.
I wandered off after seeing the bike, but soon returned to see what was going on when I heard jollity: a tandem had been unearthed and various folk were being allowed a go. Continue reading ““Can you ride tandem?””

A Tale of Two Bikes

You wouldn’t think it would be hard to spend upwards of £500 on a light, nippy, flat-barred road bike, would you?

I’m talking the kind of bike that you stick a rack on plus a pannier or two and maybe some mudguards and pedal reliably to work and back in the week. There must be loads of them. Well, there are on cycle shop websites anyway. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Bikes”


Last time the local cycle club ran a taster session no one new turned up. The weather was to blame. It was arranged for a  few weeks back, and was the same day as my mosaics course (which was my excuse for not being there) – but it  was also the day that Oxfordshire had a complete downpour of heavy heavy rain.

So this Saturday I was honour bound to turn up for the next taster session, despite the fact it was the day after an exhaustingly enjoyable trip to the Chelsea Flower Show, followed that evening by hosting a dinner party for 10 (and having maybe one more drink that was advisable for an early-ish start.)
Thing is that the clubs rides normally start at 9am and we had a 6 mile ride to get there, so the alarm was duly set and zombie fashion I got up, donned Lycra, rehydrated and breakfasted.
It was only as we drew up to the station (meeting point) that Cycloman groaned. Continue reading “Taster”

Hay ho

Something about being at Hay Festival compels me to sit and scribble. This is what I wrote yesterday.

So here I am back at Hay Festival again. A lively breeze is whipping the tops of the trees, the creaky aluminium-framed tents are protesting and the tall pastel ripple-edged flags are waving as though frantically trying to catch some attention. We are surrounded by green pastures. Continue reading “Hay ho”

Two percent

Gosh. Only two percent. That’s really not many. Bit of a shame really.

Just 2% of the female population cycle once a week compared with 6% of men.

Work to do for the promoters of cycling as a means of transport, of exhilarating recreation, of a fine and fitness-enhancing thing to do. Continue reading “Two percent”

Cotswold Bike Ride 2011

Writing this after a shower while my head’s still swimming with feel-good hormones.

Completed the 40 mile Cotswold Bike Ride today. Rode with two work colleagues, Kath and Sarah and their blokes. All respect to Sarah who was riding a borrowed bike and had done no training whatsoever for the ride but still finished – and her bloke who did the full distance without padded shorts and who suffered consequences which will only become truly evident over the next day or two! Continue reading “Cotswold Bike Ride 2011”

Twitchy on Sunday Mornings?

I’m not a twitcher, not really – but I am interested and my friend, Craig who helped me with the swift boxes had offered to lead a walk this morning helping a group of us identify birds by their calls.

“We’re meeting at 10am,” he said, “at the top of the lane. But don’t forget that  is will be an hour earlier body clock wise.” Craig has a wonderfully measured approach to life. He considers things and speaks with gentleness and authority.

Now I’m not an early riser, if I don’t have to be – and the weekend is catch up time – but I really thought 10 am on a Sunday morning, even though it would feel like 9 am wouldn’t be too difficult.
I hadn’t taken into account Cycloman’s schedules. Maybe because I hadn’t actually been told them?
On Friday a colleague asked about his cycling plans this weekend: would he be doing the Islip one? I didn’t know.
So when he arrived home on Friday I asked. Continue reading “Twitchy on Sunday Mornings?”

The leaning temple of Babylon

So, yes, the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean, Glos,  is definitely worth doing. Lots of sculptures hidden in dingly dells, on old railway lines, among the tumps of old mine workings, up trees. Continue reading “The leaning temple of Babylon”