Two punctures repaired, one by the side of the road.  Chunk of glass in tyre missed on fixing the first,  and then, a second.  Luckily I was not far from Mum’s so I walked the bike to her garden, had a coffee, and got a lift home to pick up the car and a second spare tube. Refitting the back wheel, in Mums garden, certainly more plesent than the side of the road. Mum cooked us both lunch which was yummy too.  Ops, over inflated the tube till it went bang, just like a burst balloon, certainly it made us all jump.

Took the frame and the wheel in the car, to St Peters Cycle shop to pick up a spare tube, they fitted and inflated it too.  At home I managed to refit the wheel a second time, although got  completely filthy doing so.  At least Doris has two inflated and fitted wheels and is running well, she has even had a clean, and some oil, I had a hot shower before spending the evening, watching T.V. while glueing and patching the first tube.

I have learnt a bit about fixing punctures at the side of the road!   Might be an idea to put some rubber gloves into the saddle bag, not that I’ve got a thing about rubber!  Nor that you want to glue glove to your inner tubes, check the tyre for damage and sharp things, and not to over-inflate the tube.    Can you cut up and old tube to make patches?  Surly one spare tube should be enough.

Bikathon Weekend

Doris my bike and I started the weekend on the high speed train, all very appropriately named, after britians fasted, “Sir Sebastian Coe”.

Start in Sunshine

Sunday morning we set off in sunshine, dressed in my unstoppable jersey, and Doris clean and freshly serviced, we were ready for a long day. The Mall had been closed for the duathlon, and I sprinted down it without any traffic, at some speed. Then found my way around Victoria, and to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, by following other cyclists in their red and black jerseys to the start line.

Early and, hanging about, waiting for my departure time, I somewhat emotional, which is strange after so many years.   Still I relate to those who were going through tough times dealing with blood cancer. Kids at the start   seeing their daddy off, set me off, and I chose to hide out and get a coffee from a parked van, rather than let them see my uncontrolled tears.

Soon we were off,  traffic was a bit of a nightmare, my concentration was fixed on the road – I’m not used to London’s traffic on a bike,  and I had had near miss with a red bus before even getting over the bridge.  Thinking that all the drivers were cursing us, and from then on cycling very cautiously, started at an average speed of about 10mph!  and thinking this going to take me ten hours!

A London black cab driver dropped his window at the traffic lights and told me “You are doing a great job, for a great cause“, which lifted my spirits and made me smile, brought back memories of a jolly cabbie that drove me to Great Ormond Street one Christmas morning, but that’s a story for another day.

It was fun taking in the sights, recognising the bridges over the Thames, the stop start of the traffic lights, a bit of a bummer.  Traffic was hellish and thats a Sunday morning, goodness knows what its like on a weekday.   I filled up on Bananas at Clapham Common, which brought back memories of London to Brighton and I had the obligatory porta-potty stop.  Lesson learned here, pick up food and eat it in the que for the loo..  had to wait a good while.

Once we got past the twenty-six miles point the traffic and cyclists started to thin out a bit and at times I managed to pick up some real speed but nothing record breaking.

On the way back the drizzle started,  Sky was grey and it looked like a storm was brewing, I was going strong and stopping only to put on waterproof  jacket, which had been picked up in Aldi for under a fiver,  a god send and I was more than pleased to have it with me.

Ham House, chocolate and rest, stopped for a breather, it would have been better to get further, before the rain, but I was going for a personal distance best, so was in no hurry, my goal just to finish. The energy helped, it was a nice touch to have to drinks and food supplied by the organisers, an altitude of 200ft at Chessington, for a girl who lives on the flat, and trains on the coast that is a “big high”!

It’s a push bike, not a mountain bike, Yes ‘push’ being the word,  because and I had to get off and push towards the end and up Wimbledon’s Copse Hill, which is now known affectionately by cyclists, as CORPSE HILL.  Lets face it I’m crap at the hills, even with the training up and down Ramsgate’s Military Road, it seemed to be never ending.  Proud I had managed this far,  I got a climb in, took a few sips of fizzy drink, got to the lowest gear I have ever riden in, carried on a bit,  before giving in, and ended up walking the rest,  I sipped more liquids from the bottle as I pushed Doris and let my heart rate recover, from its pounding, before enjoying the downhill ride to Putney Bridge and back to the Royal Chelsea Hospital.

finish line

A personal best, in distance, although not my quickest ride, finished in heavy rain, and didn’t fancy getting further soaked at the finishers party.  I could have easily polished off the hog roast, and stayed all afternoon, lounging on the grass, if the sun had been out, today just walking across a muddy field in the rain with my bike, that was enough.  The poor band, everybody seemed to be making a dash for it.  Brownie points to the few mad fools dancing in the mud, they looked like 100mile racers boys, who had got to the beer tent early?

My second sporting medal

Proudly I cycled with my bling around my neck to Slone Square tube,  had forgotten my Oyster card and just couldn’t be bothered to go to the hole in the wall to get money for a ticket,  my legs tired and needed to keep moving, so slowly biked it, across London to Kings Cross.  (all those extra miles adding up, you know!)

The journey home on the high speed train, to Margate was also apply named after Britain’s Fastest “Laura Trott”,  after the Harlow girl, who achived  two golds in the Ladies Cycling.  Tired and legs feeling sore, I bet Laura would have cycled home…. I was just smiling,  because I too,  have two bits of sporting bling,  the feeling was just as triumphant, as any gold medalist.    Bring on the next ride.

Together we raised over £750,000 – I’m proud to have been part of this, I’m one in the red and black jersey!

Preserving Energy

I have been taking it a bit easy on the bike this week, in preparation for the big charity ride on Sunday. Apart from a two hour ride to Sandwich and back, I’ve only used Doris my bike for pottering about town, she’s has had a full service, new pads and wires and is riding like a dream, since then the furthest I have gone is just up the footpath, to pick blackberries!

I’m preserve energy in the form of physical rest and a bit of jam making! 
Accommodation for the weekend is sorted, train times and diet planned with military precision, of a first class athlete. 
My kit, Unstoppable Jersey and padded shorts are packed and ready to go.  Fingers crossed the rain will have stopped and I won’t need the waterproofs..
Just hoping I will make it around the course on Sunday’s bikeathon.

Summer fruits for a winters day

Last years, bottled apple chunks in brandy and spices ended up in the Family and Friends, Christmas stockings, and I’ve had requests for more!

So this year I’ve done 15 jars of plums in syrup, and a few jars of apples. Listening to others complain that the small pears are hard as rock, I just explained you need to cook them! and was then given a whole carrier bag of wind- fall.

Tonight I will be picking up some cheap plonk to poach the pears in, and look around the grocers for some ideas, to jazz them up a bit.  Star anise, maybe almonds, in white wine, or a few elderberries, perhaps if I can find some black cherries make the jars look pretty, or spices and red wine, the possibilities are endless and there is nothing more satisfying than the day when you open a jar of ready made, home made food on a busy day.

Plans for this week, are to forage some damsons when I get some time.  There is a tree overhanging the road, on the A28, the pavement is littered with fruit, I’ve been past on my bike a few times and never had time to stop, or a bag to put them in.  Elderberries are plentiful right now, and I don’t need to look far to find them, at least two bushes overhang the car-park outside my flat, and there is a massive amount along the footpath withing 500 meters of here, so even modern living in a flat without a garden is no excuse for not eating the vitamin packed fruits, actually I’ve already produced a couple of bottles of pontack, and its tasting good, even before ageing.

It’s that time of year again when I’m searching the back of the larder for kilner jars!  I still have jam from last year, black-current and plum, and even found a couple of small jars of forgotten chutney, one which I started to tuck into last night with some fine cheese and crackers.

Think I need to go down to the bottle bank and see if I can scrounge some jam jars, stock is running low and the jars I have are all full

Cycle route fail

Regional Cycle Route – Viking Coastal Trail #fail

Along the coast from Margate to Minnis, for the cyclist is a lot of get off and walk, in the summer months, with many kids with buckets and spades – and beach huts spilling onto the cycle path makes it a slow ride, with a fair amount of walking.
So we responsible cyclists get off and push in the bays. Yet in other areas there are more hazards on a sunny day, families walking four abreast in the middle of cycle way to Recolver, meh, no cycle-way rage, but take care, you might get run into. 
Worse are the dogs walkers with extendable long leads which are nothing more than trip wires, going right across the path. 
Finally, to the man who complained I was on the footpath, it is a cycle way!   Please show consideration, the cycle route is to be shared by all. We walk where we need to, please keep to the side if you are walking