Monday, 28 February 2011

Killing two birds. . . ?!

So why killing two birds with one stone? Well, planning works well but sometimes unfortunate circumstances takes over!

I planned a 15mi ride for today only to get a desperate text/sms from my daughter asking: Mum, can you cycle to school and bring my PE kit?
School is sort of on the Holt/Farndon route so I thought I could do my 15 miler tomorrow. So while I did my duty as a good mum, I also got some exercise in.

I packed my pannier with the PE kit and head off. To my surprise it only took 40min to do the trip to school. Before heading off, I text my better half to ask if he will spend his lunch with me in Sainsbury's which is close to the school. I thought that I will probably need a cup of tea by that time so after the PE kit was dropped off, I headed for Sainsbury's. Had a lovely relaxing time waiting for him to arrive whilst I read the paper.

Coming out of the shop, it seemed that the weather decided that the nice morning was now over and it looked quite threatening. I covered everything up with rainproof covers and headed out, back along through town. I wasn't keen to go down to Holt due to the weather.

But the weather played along and it merely gave a drop here and there so I decided to stretch my return a bit and go via Eccleston and Pulford. The photos was taken just after I went through the arch bridge outside Eccleston, on my way down to the Grosvenor estate (Duke of Westminster lives there). The weather still kept at bay and I got my mileage in which paid off in calories (950 Cals burned).

So a successful cycle on my first day of leave! Roll on tomorrow...:)

The view towards the Welsh hills.

The arch bridge outside Eccleston.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Boris Bikes

I plucked up the courage tonight (yes you read correctly - tonight) to rent one of the Boris Bikes in London.

I travel to London fairly regularly and there is a docking station just outside Euston, but so far I've only glanced at it as I have been too self-conscious to go to the machine and try and figure it out.

Tonight was a different story. I was on my way to my hotel and passed another docking station outside Russell Square station. Mmm, I day.

That one day turned out to be tonight when I realised that the restaurant where I wanted to go is 0.7mi from the hotel. Of course it is walkable distance, but why walk if I can cycle. So a plan started to form and I went online to check out the procedure. There are also a few short videos to watch (which I did) but somehow I missed the fact that you need to insert your card twice into the pillar - once to register for usage and the second time for the release code for the bike to want to use. It took a phonecall to their helpline to get that info.

Well bike was released and off I went. And it was fun!! I rarely cycle in the dark so first of all - this was in the dark (well, you get it, lit streets in London) and secondly, I was on one of these sturdy bikes with wind in my hair. I checked the map before I left, so I had a good idea where the docking station was where I was heading.

Docking was a bliss and not difficult at all. Cycling back after my meal was more difficult for obvious reasons !! ;-)

So how much did these two rides cost me? Well only £1 (access charge for 24hrs) as you get the first 30min free of each journey. And I can do more journeys tomorrow as long as it is shorter than 30min and before 18h30 when my 24hr access expires.

I can recommend the Boris bike if you are in London.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


There is really no excuse for not posting. I am really sorry if you've been following me and (almost) gave up!

I can only say in my defence that it has been one of the coldest winters so far since I arrived in the UK. Blinking freezing cold. And I went into hibernation.

I don't have a turbo trainer or anything remotely as fancy as that so I had to do with an odd bike ride on days when it wasn't so icy or snowy. And those days were far in between. But hey! On the bright side, the buds are coming through and new leaves are on the verge of showing the world their gorgeous new green and my plans have since matured for 2011.

I'm very excited as I have next week 'off'. I've got 11 days leftover leave and as I can only carry over 5 days, I need to take 6 days before the end of March. My March is already pretty full so it is almost a squeeze but next week is special as I've set aside 4 days (Monday, Tuesday, Wenesday and Friday) to spend outside on my bike. I almost want to say that come rain or shine I will go out.

I have several rides booked for the next few months - I'm booked onto the Spring Tourist Trial, a 50mi CTC (local) ride on 17 April and the Wiggle Sportive Cheshire Cat on 27 March. In between there are local ladies CTC rides and I've been invited up to the Fylde Bicycle Belles on 20 March to join them for one of their rides in the beautiful countryside surrounding Preston.

So my March seems very busy with 3 rides booked on different weekends and I'm also considering joining the CTC Fabulous Ladies on their annual weekend away - this year in June.

I have nothing as elaborate as last year planned. Last year I did Land's End to John O'Groats in June - one of the most marvellous experiences I've ever done. If you haven't yet read my blog about that epic ride, here is the link again -

So there you are, I have some good times to look forward to and will soon have some more bits to share.

Happy cycling!