Recover Ride needed before work today!

The sun is shining and it is a lovely day for it. Just a gentle recovery ride for me today, legs still feeling Whitstable Road and Tyler Hill from Sunday’s Pub Run, slowed down with fish and chips in Whitstable Harbour soaking up the sun.

Maybe just a bit more than our regular Bacon Butty Ride, it's an excuse for a cyclist social, a short ten mile quick fix, where we girls take a steady chatting pace, and put the world to rights. At least we sometimes carry on to the top of the hill, before turning back to The Cafe, at Recolver.   Bacon Butty, is just a training run, well that's what we tell ourselves. A quick spin, for the days when we're busy, limited by time, or the weather is miserable; our good intentions are squashed by the smell of bacon. It’s a twenty mile round trip coastal cycling on the flat from the Margate clock-tower.

Sunday's Turner to Pub Route, a bit more challenging 50 miles+, with a few hills thrown in for good measure. You can take the easy option along the national cycle route following the coastal path most of the way, before turning into a quiet Kentish lane. At The Freewheel, Britons first cyclists pub, you can fill your tubes with air, your stomach with ale or if you prefer energy bars, your lungs, with talk of all things bike this is a great place for any cyclist to head too, regardless of the type of bike rider you are or the direction from which you are coming. Alternatively head for the villages around Canterbury, cross country around Hoath, into Canterbury and out again for some added hills, I decided on the hills before food.   Serious roadie, mountain biker, or shopping bike with a basket, it is all about the bike, the landlord of the Freewheel, has been seen cycling to France on a lovely old cargo bike, for him it is as much about the good wine, food and fun with friends and of course the bike.

There are many good places to stop,  Whitstable, oysters cooked in batter at the Neptune an afordable pleasure.  Soaking up the rays in the trendy harbour fish market with inflated prices, it's a bit of a luxury, just don't give a care if you are in lycra, as some boozed up day tripper yuppies are bound to make fun of you, as they guzzle the next bottle of champers.    JoJo's in Tankerton,  excellent coffee, on an amazing little sun-trap terrace,  the food is also fab - phone and book a table as this place gets packed.

Fish and chips in Whitstable Harbour.

Download Turner to Pub Garmin route, although it may be better to go avoid the cut though Blean woods if you are on road tyres.    Yeh, a personal best on Canterbury Hill ;- )

Sundays Pub Run. 3000 calories plus burned, 

Ride Chartidge

What a fun weekend.

This event was published by British cycling on the events listings.  The Chiltern Hills are a wonderful place for cycling, hills enough to even challenge even the pro's. The Tour of Britain passed though Chesham last year. Whiteleaf Hill features in the 100 best climbs, even if that is way beyond my standard.

I had chosen the shorter, red route, the so called easy option, which was challenging enough. Halfway up Tom's Hill, which is 9.1% at it's steepest.  I had to stop to catch my breath.  Back in the saddle and onward, no way was I going to be caught by the photographer on the brow of the hill, pushing my bike!   Along the flattish to Ashridge, though flowering bluebell woods, refreshing shade and the sounds of birdsong a true pleasure. The "ridge" bit says it all. I felt on top of the world and the views proved it.

The sun shone, arm warmers and jacket off. A glance at the Garmin elevation, showed I was past the highest point. A time to chat with other riders, relaxed and simply enjoying the rhythm of the pedal. One last push into Wiggington village, I felt like Wiggo, even if stopped by the busy road crossing, momentum thrown, and in the wrong gear!  it was a struggle.   The Chiltern Hills felt like mountains, for one who lives on the flat, more of a sprinter than a climber, a tough challenge, even though it was a short 30 miler.

At The Lee Church, my mind wandered to the thought of cream teas. This ride was nearly done, I knew it was just a spin down the lane to the finish.   A slight decent on the finish, wow that's how all rides should end.

The private parking and shower, just a bonus and nothing compared to the pre-event dinner and a weekend away in company of friends - I did hold back on Jean's famously strong gins! even it was a roll out of bed to the start line.

For a school fund raiser, this was a brilliantly organised bike ride.

Vision and Goals

Effective time management starts with clear vision and goals

The work life balance has been heavy on the work side, not the gainful employment, but the working to improve the gainful employment prospects.

Sparked by a change in Employment Terms and Conditions, my focus changed, refreshed the C.V. gained some new qualifications, yes I have been studying too, applying for jobs, writing well crafted cover letters, half a dozen interviews, sifting out the dross jobs, it's quite a pleasure to turn some offers down.  It all takes time, days off suited and booted, and travelling here and there, selling myself to prospective employers.

So my cycling goals have been on the back burner, no time to sit in the saddle.   Totally out of character as even in 2 degrees- January's fog and sleet, I have managed 50 miles or so.  Demotivated by a lack of a place in Ride London, only going out once since the middle of February,  local charity ride in Whitstable cancelled, life is feeling heavy and my general fitness suffering. My knee playing up (old skiing injury) exercise actually helps.

Healthy lunch boxes have been a replacement for burning up the calories on the pedals,  I won't beat myself up that after five days the weekend started scoffing McDonalds, with all the extras that are fully loaded with rubbish calories. Having skipped breakfast, feeling famished and weak willpower.  What the hell, a week of salad box is boring, but without regular exercise,  I can't get away with rubbish food too often.

Time to draw up an action plan, set some goals and have a positive vision.  I start by scheduling a training plan into my diary, a few short rides to get back into the swing of things, and then some longer rides out, it won't be long before I'm once again keeping up with the boys!  and breezing through the spin class.

Sometimes it is necessary to simply say no, I'm busy that time and get on with the things that matter.
Get out there and get on my bike.

New Bikes - Are you thinking about spring and N+1

We agree that the number of bikes you should own is N+1?
Any cyclist will tell you, the number of bikes you should own is  the number you already own, plus one more.    It's agreed by us all.

If you are dreaming of the spring and spinning on a new bike, then the London bike show it the place to go, all the new seasons offerings, and of course it does't stop at bikes,  new kit, and just about everything cycling related, be it road, mountain or any other form of bike.

Thanks Shelley for the temptations to drool over, I'll be checking out the new machines

Chilly Weather Cycling

We all know what they say:  There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.  Well it is true with the right kit, you can still enjoy a bike ride throughout the year.

The answer is to layered up with thermal base layer long sleeved jersey over thick bib tights and woollen socks. So there is no excuse not to go out with friends even when it is just two degrees.  Shoes covered with overshoes, and hands snug in thick gloves.  It is chilly on the decants, when you are cruising and not putting in too much effort. Wind in your face, is nothing that a buff, neck warmer can’t cure. A cheap one from the supermarket, that cost under three pounds is worth every penny, and you can't have too many of these handy things, protecting your head and ears from the bitter cold and worn under the helmet.  

The only time you truly get cold is if you stand still, fixing the inevitable punctures, thanks to the road gritters,  expect more than usual. Make sure you have a tube and a pump, and or invest in a set of good winter tyres,  ride a solid bike.

Cycling home from a night shift, in the early hours of the morning today was a little chilly. Dressed in jeans and boots on an upright heavy bike, with bumpy tyres, a hoodie and a cycling jacket over the top, with a cheap pair of knitted gloves, that flashed christmas lights on the ends of the fingers,  We are not too old to enjoy the silly fun I felt like a kid, with the feel of crisp air in my lungs, cutting through the park, and watching the frost sparkle under the lights as I avoid the gritted roads as much as I could.  My day just ending as others are waking up.   I’m home, as others are de-iceding the car and feel pretty good too.

November Bike Rides

A mild start to the winter, so there has been no excuses not to get out on my bike, not a bad achievement for the time of year!

403KM done, in November, now I just have to work off a bit more due to the upcoming mince pies.

Liv Cycling Apparel - Even better than I thought.

How exciting, a big parcel has arrived, With a clue as to what was inside, from the Giant Cycling Gear blue and white tape around the box.

The competition prize from LIV - wow so exciting    A big shout out and Thank You LIv. It is all so much better than I though.   Now it is impossible possible to lose, not so fast and don't have a garage full of trophies,  but like Marian Voss wearing Liv looking the part and feeling great, when out on my bike.

This race day kit is superb quality with a fit like a glove, excuse the pun. The Liv Passion gloves have had their first ride this morning and already they feel as comfortable as a well worn pair, the gel padding in all the right places, it's even possible to use the touch screen of your gadgets while wearing them, that's a really nice touch.

The Streak Helmet adjusts with a Clinch+ system and hugs the head snug, I have no intention of banging my head to really test it out, the safety standards that it comes with ensure that it will provide all the protection possible.

So once again to everyone at Liv
Thank you

Digital Marketing

It is alway good to learn something new, stretch the mind, evoke idea.  As an eternal student always looking for new thought, I have had great fun on the FutureLearn MOOC : Digital Marketing.

It seemed like a natural choice having already taken their 'The Secret Power of Brands'

Not all of the topics were new to me, but my mind was stretched and it's fascinating to join forum and hear the views of others,

  • Collaboration is king 
  • Crowdsource the future 

Having never given much thought to Gamification, or Geo-fencing,  these topics and discussions were very eye opening,  I have been unawarely subjected to these methods of marketing, even when out on my bike and eating cake, a time when I turn the phone off, or is it.

Here's a reflection of my day

all that is left is the analytics, which I need to look at very closely :-)

New cycling kit

So I'll be starting next season in the Liv kit.

Thanks to the goodie bag at Cycletta ride last week, I already have the bottle and the socks.   Now with this prize of Raceday shorts and jersey, matching hat and gloves.  I should prehaps use the correct name, the Halo Road Helmet and Liv Passion Gloves,  I'm going to look kind of swanky in the full kit.

The technical detail, of the clothing, it goes without saying will be good, but I'll give it a full review when I have worn it a while.   I can't afford one of the Liv's new bikes, but can manage some funky new handle bar tape for when the bike has her next service. 

What colour do you think my handlebar tape should be? free polls

Hog's Back

The Hogs Back is so much more than just part of the Cycletta Surrey cycle route.  As I check out the 60K course route, I'm learning something about our, topography, history,  local beer, and the Pilgrims' Way.

The Hogs Back is a name given to the ridgeway on the North Downs, at an elevation of 154 meters, (that's over 500ft for those of you who think in impereal measurements) when I saw that, I had a little panic, living by the coast on the flat, here in the South Eastern corner of Kent, I'm used to starting out for the day on my beloved bike at sea level, and not very often climbing more than 50 meters or so.

Loseley Park
Creative Commons Photo courtesy of,  James Stringer photographer
The Cycletta day we will will be starting at Loseley Park, which isn't at sea level, so its not as bad as I first thought.  Yet The Hogs Back is still raised dramatically around the surrounding countryside the ridge on the North Downs.

I suspect that will be our  maximum hill climb of the day, after  looking at the Cyceletta course route map, over and over again, it looks like we cross it twice!  First from the South, at the easten end,  then again at the not so high point towards the western end.   I'm looking forward to the challenge, hope for a clear day so we get the opportunity to see the spectacular views that were seen by Jane Austen and written in about in a letter to her sister.
"Upon the whole it was an excellent journey & very thoroughly enjoyed by me; the weather was delightful the greatest part of the day. Henry found it too warm, & talked of its being close sometimes, but to my capacity it was perfection. I never saw the country from the Hogsback so advantageously."
The views will have changed since those times, yet still spectacular, I found this facinating BBC, in pictures article, View from the top of the Hogs Back, especially as I may have my head down and be struggling on the climb, too busy pedalling and panting to take it all in, you never ever know with the Great British weather they sky might allow us to take a look at the views.

It's not just Jane Austen who mentions the Hogs Back, there is also a detective novel, The Hogs Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts, could be worth a read, I'll be looking out for it in the local bookstore, to save it for a time to put my feel up, at the end of a hard days cycling with a bottle of the local brew from The Hogs Back Brewery an independent real ale brewery is based in Tongham, one of the villages, just below the ridge that we will cycle through.

The Pilgrims' Way, a hiking route I have often thought about walking, or possibly doing on a mountain bike does not run along the top of the Hog's Back but over the southern slopes, parallel with the ridgeway, and through the village of Puttenham, it looks like our route crosses it.   I'll be checking that out for another day.

So I'm ready,
  • Bring on the Book, 
  • Bring on the Beer - 
First I have small the matter of The Human Race -Macmillan Cycletta Surrey.
Forget the walking boots, Bring on the Bike.