lnr: (feminist)

Over 26 years ago mum and dad bought me my first ever grown-up bike for my 11th birthday. For years I rode her and loved her - not just as a toy but later for commuting, and on many long rides. Despite being not really quite big enough for me once I was fully grown she's done the London to Cambridge more than once, been on adventures along the Norfolk Coast, and even off-road round Grafham Water.

After London-Cambridge cycle ride, July 2002 Mike, with bikes, in the evening sunshine by the windmill

These days however she's just been living in the shed as a spare, and getting less and less use, and feeling less and less safe each time. So today was finally the time to say goodbye. I've taken her out of the shed, brushed off the cobwebs to get a last few photos, and let a nice man from OWL Bikes in Sawston come and pick her up, to refurbish and sell for charity. It feels like the end of an era!

Bike Bike Bike

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I noticed on the way home last night that there seemed to be more insects around, from greenfly trying to get themselves eaten, or sticking to my clothes to a small cloud of midges hanging around while I was waiting at the level crossing. I don't know whether it was the midges, or an actual mosquito, but I realised once I was home that I had a bit on the back of my left wrist, and I later noticed a pink mark between the first two knuckles of that hand, and a bit of poking showed there was another bite there too. Irritating, but not the end of the world.

Overnight however I seem to have had a rather nasty reaction, a bit like my dad gets, and my left hand is now all puffy right round the first two knuckles, and it's even a bit hard to clench my fist! If it doesn't settle down soon I think I'm going to have to get someone to look at it. I don't mind the itching so much (OK, I lied, I *do* mind the itching) but the fact it actually *hurts* a bit is bad. Though the small bruise on the back of the same hand from my adventures in furniture moving over the weekend probably doesn't help.

Bah!

In rather cooler cycling news I was overtaken uphill (over a railway bridge anyway) by someone on a bakfiets cargo bike with a little girl in the front yesterday - turns out it had an electrical motor to assist the pedalling. Certainly not a quiet one mind. If all electric cars were that noisy you'd not have to worry about them silently sneaking up on you :)

And to finish with another bah, my mobile phone is sulking. I noticed a couple of weeks back that the battery was no longer lasting even 48 hours, so since it was under 6 months old I got Orange to replace it under warranty - assuming it was the battery at fault. Turns out it's still draining the battery in a day and a half even with a brand new battery. Really not looking forward to ringing them up again and getting them to replace the phone!

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The local council has recently installed a rather fab temporary bike rack outside a busy city pub, as part of the Bike Week celebrations:

temporary bike rack

As you can see it turns one parking space for a car into secure parking for around 10 bikes. They're planning to replace it with permanent normal racks later, and say they're intending to provide an alternative parking space somewhere where there are currently double yellow lines. They invite comments to transport.delivery@cambridgeshire.gov.uk, so I decide to write and encourage them:

Dear Transport Delivery Office,

As someone who has lived in Cambridge for many years, and still works
in the city, I am writing to congratulate you on the temporary cycle
parking outside the Kingston Arms which has been installed for bike
week.  I'm delighted to hear that this will be replaced with a
permanent installation at a later date.

The pavements in this area are often fully or partially blocked by
parked bicycles, and this should help relieve the pressure
considerably, making the area much nicer for both cyclists and
pedestrians, with very little inconvenience to motorists or residents.

I'd just like to note that I don't think an alternative parking space
should be necessary in this case, especially as it's not clear where
it would be suitable.

May I also encourage you to extend this scheme to other streets, and
to consider installations outside busy shops as well as other pubs.

Yours faithfully,

Eleanor Blair

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Last weekend we went up to Harrogate for my cousin Alistair's wedding. They chose a lovely venue - Rudding Park Hotel - and we spoiled ourselves by staying the night before as well. We had a nice potter round Harrogate itself on Friday afternoon: a walk in the valley gardens and a visit to the pump room museum where we admired the old bikes amongst other things and tried the waters (which tasted like an over-salted egg mayonnaise sandwich!). We considered afternoon tea at Betty's but declined in favour of cocktails, before heading to the hotel. Our room turned out to have not only its own terrace but a sauna in the bathroom! We didn't try the sauna but did have a lovely bubble bath and coffee on the terrace in our dressing gowns, and a fantastic dinner in the hotel restaurant.

The next day was lovely: we had time for lunch with mum, dad, Steph, Dave, Oliver and Isobel (who slept throughout) before everyone else started to arrive. The wedding was short (civil ones always are) but sweet - I loved their vows and both Cath and Alistair looked very happy indeed. It was lovely to see all the girls from the hen night again two - three of them looking very swish as bridesmaids. And they couldn't have asked for nicer weather - the sun shone and no-one needed jackets despite it being mid-October. (I had a fantastic new dress too, which I found in Debenhams the week before - I rarely spend anywhere near that much on a frock but I knew it was worth it as soon as I tried it on!) There was the usual wedding breakfast and speeches and cake cutting and dancing - but there were also pirate hats and small children hiding behind curtains - a fab time was had by all.

I took Monday off work to catch up on housework and painting and to take my bike to the bike shop - I'd noticed a crack in the rim of the rear wheel earlier that week and had been riding it somewhat gingerly since then! They couldn't look at it right away but rang me back the next day to say if anything the front wheel was even worse, and I also needed a new set of cogs at the back and a new chain, plus a few odds and ends I was already expecting, and I'd be looking at at least £200-£230 to get it back on the road, if not more. So instead I decided it was time to invest in a new bike instead - the previous Ridgeback had done me a happy 5 years and over 8000 miles so I don't think it owed me much! (See when I bought it)

After picking it out and giving them time to set it up and move all my accessories over from the old bike I picked her up yesterday and rode her home after work. I'm going to have to take her out for a proper spin tomorrow but she's looking good, and I'm very happy so far. I even spent half an hour cleaning the shed out this morning in order to get the even old spare bike I've been riding this week tucked back away at the back and make some room for her.

Anyway, this wouldn't be a post of mine without some photos, so here's the wedding:

And here's the bikes:

In both cases click through for more.

lnr: (Default)

Gosh it's warm, isn't it?

It's been a funny couple of weeks. Last week we were in Leeds for Walter's funeral, which was really sad, but at the same time nice to see people. It doesn't half take it out of you! And since then we seem to have been mostly watching football or tennis :)

Still, yesterday I got to go into town and buy wedding shoes and try on my wedding dress, which is fabulous but *very* hot. And today we went for a lovely bike ride over to Fowlmere to wander round the RSPB nature reserve. We spotted a reed warbler and some reed buntings and a hobby, along with some very cute young moorhens and a *lot* of woodpigeons. And several fairly large fish in the beautifully clear stream. A lovely morning, but boy was it hot cycling home again. There'll be photos at some point, plus some from our garden a couple of weeks back.

Been a bit headachy on and off since, despite being careful to take water with us. Still, at least I avoided the sunburn. Spent the afternoon watching the footy and shouting at the ref :) And then managed to order our wedding cake and sort out a first draft of our invitation letter. A few people have already sadly said they can't make it but at least that means we can invite a few extras. Hopefully get these sorted and sent this week :) It's all very exciting!

Oh, and I should get round to writing up the last few books I've read before I forget them completely, but I really enjoyed Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White.

Things

Mar. 12th, 2010 02:09 pm
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Mum and dad came to visit the week after our gardening shopping, and we had a nice weekend. We went to Anglesey Abbey, because I had a vague feeling they were known to have snowdrops, turns out that's a bit of an understatement: they have the biggest collection in the country and over 240 varieties. Mum took loads of photos :) We also put up some pictures, which makes the house look better, and planted various things in the garden, and even flattered my dad into putting the bird box up, by pointing out he was tallest. It was lovely to see them.

The following weekend Karen and I went back to the wedding dress shop, and I re-tried the dress I loved first time round. Also tried a couple more and found another I like even better. It's more expensive, but also more me, so in the end I've ordered that one this week - it'll be here towards the end of June :) Also wedding related I managed to order and collect a tiara for Emily, which she's really pleased with - lovely to be able to help out.

And last weekend was Emily's hen do, in London. She didn't even know where we were going until she got on the train in the morning, and every stage was a complete surprise to her, which was brilliant. Even better she has lots of lovely friends (and family :) and we all had a really good time together. Champagne in St Pancras, pizza, Sister Act at the Palladium, and then dinner and music from King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys at The Pigalle Club. The food was fabulous, the music even better, and the atmosphere brilliant. The hard-core few stayed until 2:30 and then finished off a bottle of cava back at the hotel. I crashed out at 3:30 but I gather the last three managed to get the doorman to let them order in pizza, and god know when they got to bed :) An absolutely fabulous day.

This week I've been mostly catching up on lost sleep. That and helping out with a bike survey at the station yesterday, standing in the cold for an hour and a half at rush hour. Between us we counted (as best we could) every bike going through the gate line to the platforms, every bike leaving or arriving in the main bike parking areas, and at lunchtime every bike currently parked. Turns out there were half as many again bikes as parking spaces, which shows what a problem there is, and well over 1000 bikes through the gates too. It feels good to have helped out.

Planning a quiet weekend now, definitely needed!

Addendum: Oh, and apparently my liver function test came back perfectly normal after a month off the statins. Will go see doc next Weds and discuss the other tests that were done at the same time as the abnormal liver one, and see if I still need to take the metformin.

Typical

Jan. 28th, 2010 01:30 pm
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They're just like buses: you don't have a puncture for over a year and then 3 turn up at once. Saturday's was in the back tyre, yesterday's in the front and today's in the rear again. The two I already repaired were both due to small chips of flint, and I expect today's was too (unless it's just my previous repair failing), and that I cycled over a patch of chips at some point recently and they've been working their way through the tyres since. I picked half a dozen other small chips and pieces of glass from the front tyre yesterday.

All in all it's clear the tyres are getting a bit old and worn and aren't as resistant as they used to be. So I took the bike to the local bike shop and asked them to do me some new Marathon Plus tyres, supposedly some of the most puncture resistant ones available. New tubes (since the rear is already doubly patched) and some new front brake blocks while it's there and all in all it's going to be quite expensive, but there you go. Still, it's cheaper than running a car or getting the bus every day.

Of course speaking of buses I then had to get one to work. I waited about 20 minutes for the every-10-minutes bus, but apparently it was actually 35 minutes since one of other people waiting had just missed the previous one. And guess what, two turned up at once.

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Today we set out to see if we could follow NCN11 all the way to Stansted Mountfichet, where it apparently runs out. On the way (and before we set off) we did our best to make a start with our copy of the Usborne Spotter's Guide to Birds, which was a present from mum (she gave us each a copy, and kept one herself).

NCN11 review: much better than expected. It has some of the usual flaws (trying to use the pavement on busy stretches, with dismounts for side roads, and some slightly long detours) but once it got to Hinxton it was actually lovely, with some great single track roads, and the one big detour was a lovely route so well worth it, and probably only added a couple of miles. It needs a better route between Shelford and Hinxton really we were wondering if it's the ford/mini-bridge at Duxford that puts them off the Little Shelford/Whittlesford/Duxford route instead.

It's been an absolutely gorgeous day, even if a bit cold. Cold enough that we found there were a few places which still had snow on the road, never mind icy puddles, and one tiny one-track road had a 100m section which was basically ice the whole way across the road. We got off and walked up that bit! Totally beautiful though, and we had a lovely time, and got to Stansted Mountfichet just 15 minutes before the hourly train home, which couldn't have been much better timing!

Route map extracted from the GPS here: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/2010-01-03-NCN11. Almost exactly 25 miles.

And here's the birds we've seen:

  • Blackbird
  • Blue tit
  • Carrion Crow
  • Chaffinch
  • Common Gull (maybe)
  • Fieldfare
  • Goldfinch
  • Grey Heron
  • House Sparrow
  • Magpie
  • Moorhen
  • Pheasant
  • Robin
  • Rook
  • Starling

We're fairly sure we saw both rooks and crows, given a good look at legs and beak with the binoculars, and the crows being in pairs and the rooks in larger groups. The gull I'm less sure wasn't a Herring Gull though: from a distance it's hard to tell size, but the book describes the common gull as being more northern, but sometimes southern and inland during the winter, and doesn't mention the herring gull coming inland, which is what made us initially decide that's what it was. Herring gulls score fewer points though, so I suspect since we saw several more later on that that's what they were. The fieldfare was definitely a treat though, since I don't think I've seen one before, and from the drawings it couldn't really have been anything else: the pale front, rich brown back and grey head were very distinctive.

Brilliant day out.

Now with added Photos: over on Facebook (public link)

lnr: (cycle)

I'm surprised to find that once round the block is nearly 2 miles. Just far enough to test my new Nuvi 550 that Mike spoiled me to for Christmas. And to discover that it really was far too cold for cycling without gloves. And having come back in I've worked out how to translate the data into a format I can import into bikely for a map of where I've been. Yay!

I wonder if embedding works:

Apparently not, oh well, I'll leave this one anyway.

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Rae and Adam invited us and Fluffy for dinner on Saturday to say thankyou to Mike and Fluffy for being bridesmaids. So we got the train to Cardiff arriving late Saturday afternoon with just time to take the dog for a muddy 45 minutes walk before it got dark. Dinner was lovely, with good company and much playing of estimation whist and then hearts after dinner. On Sunday we got up and out of the house about 10:30 and took the dog for another much longer walk, about 2.5 hours with me on the lead for much of the time. I'm still surprised such a small dog is so strong, and so hard to wear out! We ended up with a nice walk along the cliffs though, and Mike and Monster made it down to the beach, although it was a bit too muddy for the rest of us to attempt. We finished off the weekend with a cheap and very plentiful lunch in the pub, and a lovely pint of Brains Dark, before Adam dropped us at the station.

Having gone all that way it seemed like a good idea to take a couple of days off work and go visit Mike's parents too. So we got a train to Newport, and the bus to Chepstow and a lift home from there to their house, for a lovely curry for dinner and much amusement for me with Gina's Wii Fit Plus: I've already put a copy on my amazon wishlist but Mike now tells me I may need to remove it again :) After dinner Evan dropped us at Phil's house for a pleasant evening of gossip and Rock Band.

On Monday we got up late and headed out after breakfast at nearly 12 for a nice little bike ride. 23.1 miles and 2100ft of climbing (and descending again!) in around three and a half hours rather completely wore me out, especially after all the walking the previous days. So we slumped on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon before trying to take Evan and Gina out for dinner. But despite us saying it could be a late birthday present to them they still insisted on paying for their half!

It was lovely to see them anyway, and we had a nice time, and have spent today travelling home again without having to worry about anything more disruptive to the rail network than a cow on the line at Roydon leading to a 15 minute delay. Tired now!

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Apologies for the repeat, but I messed up the poll. I'm still interested in how far people in Cambridge typically cycle to work. Not that I think this will get very statistically valid answers of course. [Poll #1414849]

Google maps, and bikely may help you plot your journey to find out how long it is, and here's a map of the boundaries

Feel free to add your commute even if you only do it once a week, rather than every day, and do comment with details if you'd like, or vote in comments if you don't have a livejournal account.

If your commute is entirely outside the city boundaries but you still consider yourself a Cambridge cyclist (perhaps you live in one of the boundary villages?) then do vote, but please comment.

lnr: (Default)

I'm curious about how far people commute by bike in Cambridge.

Arse, I missed 2-3 miles off the poll. Please accept my apologies and vote/comment again in the new version.

Feel free to add your commute even if you only do it once a week, rather than every day, and do comment with details if you'd like, or vote in comments if you don't have a livejournal account.

If your commute is entirely outside the city boundaries but you still consider yourself a Cambridge cyclist (perhaps you live in one of the boundary villages?) then do vote, but please comment.

NB in the second question "don't know/other" is intended to cover the answer "I am not a Cambridge cycle commuter". I knew I should have made that a specific option.

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We had an Easter: Sion and Ingi renewed their wedding vows with a touching ceremony in the light rain in their garden, and a lovely party. And Jan and Owen stayed over so we had a lovely big fry-up for breakfast and lots of chocolate on Easter Sunday itself. And on the Monday we cycled out along the Shelford-Addies bike path and finally got to go for a walk around the little nature reserve and see the Nine Wells springs and the obelisk, as well as assorted birds and wild violets.

Mike and I took Monday and Tuesday off work this week, and had another lovely long weekend. Gardening on Sunday, a long walk out at the gogs on Monday which resulted in minor sunburn (why do I never learn that even in April it's not safe to go out for two hours in a strappy top at lunchtime on a sunny day?). And yesterday was Mike's birthday: we cycled into town to go shopping shopping and had a nice late lunch at Tatties, then came home and spent the afternoon playing Lego Indiana Jones on the wii: one of the few games where game play is much improved by having two players! Then we headed back out on the bus for dinner. The plan was to go to Alimentum, but I hadn't booked, and they seemed to have some sort of function on. We weren't sure if they also had normal tables through in the other room, but it was impossible to say how long it would be before anyone would be available to ask, since the function guests were just arriving and standing around drinking bubbly. So we took plan B and went to Nando's instead, which was fun and tasty if not in the same league. We'll just have to go to Alimentum another time. I've bought Mike membership to the National Trust for a year for his birthday, with me as joint member, so it looks like we'll have to make some holiday plans around that later in the year.

As you can tell from all the cycling and walking my ankle really is getting much better. I've had my first two physio appointments, and am improving vastly. Exercises include practicing standing on one leg and on tiptoes, and now trying to balance on a wobble board. More fun than exercise! I'm wearing my walking boots whenever I'm out and about, and have a walking stick borrowed from Anna: I always feel like I'm barely using it, but then I try walking about without it and find I'm much more hobbling. So today is my first day back in the office completely under my own steam, and it feels very liberating. And all the more new and exciting because the main route into the department has finished being resurfaced and they've finished demolishing the portacabins in the courtyard (which have been here longer than I have) and we're soon going to be moving into a new office, so it's all very shiny.

If I hadn't had my bike key disintegrate on me earlier (now fixed with sellotape) or discovered this morning that the fridge door had been left open a crack and the light had cooked everything on the top shelf it would be a really brilliant day. I still haven't heard from Addies about an appointment to sort out my overactive parathyroid, but I've chased via the GP, and have instructions to chase again in about a week's time. All in all life's pretty damned good though.

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Had all the family visiting at the weekend (except John, who was off in Berlin getting very drunk any staying up til 10am with his mates). Takeaway curry and birthday/housewarming presents on Friday night. Then a nice chilled Saturday with the farmer's market in the village, pub lunch, a walk on the Magog Downs (while Mum, Dave and Emily went shopping in town), and a party in the evening with a rather *fabulous* buffet and cocktails. Steph and Dave made us breakfast on Sunday and Mike and I cooked a proper Sunday lunch while everyone had a go on wii music. It was a lovely weekend, even if we are now completely knackered. The house is now quite throughly warmed (we turned the heating up quite high all weekend give how cold it was outside) and contains many more vases and cushions and wine glasses then it used to.

Then an adventure on the way to work this morning: I parked up outside the Co-op while buying breakfast, and I dropped the bike as I unlocked it, and it landed hard on the derailleur side. The chain had come off the rear sprockets so I put it back on and turned the pedals until it settled back into gear. Poked stuff and it looked vaguely OK so I set off again for work. Then I thought I'd best see if I could change gear OK. There was a large thunk and my rear wheel locked solid and I didn't quite fall off but skidded to a stop. Stopped to look (and a nice chap who was just parking up had a look too). Seems I'd snapped the rear hanger (the bit the derailleur attaches to), and the derailleur had spun round and lodged itself in the wheel, above the sprokets, having bent the mudguard in the process. Here's me thinking "arse, can't weld aluminium, OMG am I going to have to buy a new frame??!?", because the lug had snapped clear through.

Turns out that bit is "fail safe" and replaceable for 15 quid. I presume by fail safe they mean "if you damage me a cheap part breaks off and you can replace it without having to replace the entire frame", since jamming the back wheel and trashing it in the process is not what people would usually call "safe". Actually I think the wheel is surprisingly OK and just needs a bit of trueing. But I may need a new rear mech, and will need a new mudguard, so it may turn out to be fairly expensive. Which is a shame when I've just decided that I *will* sell the bike I won in the raffle, and put the money towards staying in a posh hotel in Oxford for a couple of nights in January (instead of the cheap one we would normally have gone for). But hey, I do have a couple of people interested, and it's not the end of the world, and I didn't even fall off, so it could all be much worse.

I have removed my bike lights from my bike in case they can't fix it today. That way once I've got the bus or train home tonight I can fit them on my spare so I have something to ride in the meantime. It's a shame I didn't have a camera handy to take a picture of the mess though!

Edit: They rescued the mudguard, but £57.95 got me the replacement bit and a new rear mech, new chain by the look of it too, and the labour and re-truing of the wheel. A fair whack but much better than a whole new bike, and on the other hand I've just found a promotion that gets me 60 quid off the hotel room for January if I pay now rather than then, so it's all worked out quite well really.

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They recently had a promotion in the canteen at work. One raffle ticket for every sandwich you bought. I ended up with 3 tickets, so was very surprised to find that I'd won. And this is what I won:

Saracen Diva

It's definitely a more expensive bike than I was expecting it to be (more details). But I'm not entirely surprised to find it doesn't have any lights. And I'm not *quite* sure what I'm going to do with it :-)

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Finally got round to uploading the photos from our summer holiday cycling in Cheshire/Shropshire. Lots of pics of our walk round Chester, some good ones of and from Beeston Castle (including the panorama below), and a couple from Colemere. As usual click through for the full gallery

Some things

Sep. 6th, 2008 10:31 am
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We went on a holiday. There are maps (day one, day two, day three, day four). We went up and down hills, visited Beeston Castle and a lake, ate lots of big breakfasts and nice dinners and very little in the way of lunch and also before cycling had a nice explore of Chester which has walls all the way round and roman ruins and a cathedral and weird shopping streets where there's a second level of shops as a gallery above the first. It didn't rain and it wasn't too hot and we had no injuries and only one puncture. Very much a success. There will be photos of some of it at some point.

We went to see our solicitor, and signed things and made a couple of decisions, then we checked with the vendor and now we have an exchange date (12th September) and a completion date (23rd September) and I'm busy getting removal and insurance quotes and it's all very exciting. Eek! (in a good way).

Last night it absolutely tipped it down. We were very impressed and stopped the DVD we were watching to open the back door and look at it properly, then we went upstairs to listen to it on the roof and coming through the skylights into the bathroom, and then we thought sod it and put on swimming costumes and went outside and splashed about in it in the dark. It was *brilliant*, if completely mad. Ace.

lnr: (cycle)

On which note here's this year's bike rides:

list )

lnr: (Default)

Last Sunday's weather was nice, so Mike and I planned a short bike ride. Out to Girton and Oakington, along a road that's closed currently to motor traffic to Cottenham, then through Landbeach to Waterbeach and back along the river. Much of it we've done before, except the Oakington to Cottenham stretch, and it's only 20 miles, but it was a very pleasant ride. With a rather unexpected long break in the middle, as it turns out Cottenham were having some sort of fete, and we waited with the expectant crowds for the parade of floats. It was rather nice.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/2007-10-14-Oakington-and-Cottenham-loop

Yesterday being lovely weather again, and having woken early enough, we got ourselves on the 10:14 train to Brandon, and headed into Thetford Forest to cycle some woodland trails. We started with an 11 mile or so loop which combined parts of the Green (easy) and Blue (moderate) trails, which was pleasant but not terribly challenging - though the Blue trail managed one slightly tough bit of hill. It's much harder climbing when you're doing it on grass and earth and flint pebbles. We stopped for a bit of lunch, and to get the bike hire place to replace the two bolts holding my rear pannier carrier on - it was rattling like anything!

Then we decided to give the Red route a go. It's a one-way figure of 8 route, though you can decide to cut it short and just do one of the loops of the 8, and it's intended for "aspiring cyclists who want a bit of a challenge" which sounded interesting. It started out much like the blue route really, but then after some broad paths it headed off into a bit of dense pine wood, winding through the trees, and with deliberate banking on the corners to let you go faster round them, and some obstacles built of earth and logs. I skipped most of the obstacles, but the ones I did have a go at were brilliant fun, although I'm not sure it was wise with a bike I already knew had a slightly bent rear wheel (it's booked in for a service already, but I fear I may have made it worse - bad me. I shall walk to work the rest of this week until I get it fixed).

Anyway after a slightly more restful bit we were once again in dense pine wood, and here the deliberate dips in the path started to turn into puddles, and then we found ourselves on a downhill slope with about 10 big puddles in a row. I took it really slowly and didn't really enjoy this bit much, and found myself sliding a little and unexpectedly stopping leant on a tree partway down, which handily let the guy behind us who knew what he was doing go past. Mike was ahead of me and actually came off about 2 puddles from the end, getting somewhat muddy in the process but no damage done, and miraculously missed dunking the pannier. After this experience we decided we'd take the shorter version of the route, in case anything else equally hard turned up. We still had a few more puddles to deal with, and some fun sections of windy bumpy path, and we had to make a stop to get the mud unjammed from my front mudguard, but we made it back to the lodge just before 3 for a well deserved piece of cake each before heading back to Brandon along a now very familiar route for the train home.

We did 26.5 miles in all, about 18 of which were off-road. And although it wasn't much further than the previous week's ride it was *much* harder work. And despite my fears and the fact I usually hate surfaces which make my rear wheel slide about I had a really really good time. I think if we go back we might want to make sure it isn't in a week when it's recently rained for 18 hours solid though. And it'll be a while before I'm confident enough to try the black route! More info on these trails at: forestry.gov.uk.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/2007-10-20-Thetford-Forest

Weekend++

Sep. 18th, 2007 10:52 am
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On Friday Mike and I joined a large bunch of his colleagues in the Boathouse for Pete's leaving do. It's really quite a big pub, which is just as well as we took over a large part of it. Nice pub food though - we shared nachos with chilli etc, and chose from an impressive array of burgers. It was a nice evening, even though I was really tired, and I was surprised to realise it was already 10:30 when we were thinking of going.

Saturday was a fairly lazy day, apart from being woken by yelling so loud Mike couldn't bear to stay in bed. Geeking in the morning followed by some gardening in the afternoon. I'm getting to quite like the sort of gardening that involves sitting on the lawn in the sunshine pulling out weeds. There's a particularly invasive one which creeps and almost entirely kills off the grass, combined with a thick layer of moss, and there's a certain amount of skill in getting them out and still leaving the tiny tufts of grass behind. Still, I think we've reduced its stranglehold on the lawn by about a third now. It looks rather bare as a result but hopefully it will fill out again with time. In the evening I learned that Ian had come off his bike rather nastily, and could do with some company, and coincidentally that the 3 of us available happened to be bridge players, so after a nice dinner (courtesy Tesco Finest) with Mike I headed over to MR for the first time for a couple of hours of bridge, in which Ross and I came out ahead again, but once more had the lion's share of the luck. Ian really does look a state, but it's mostly just grazes and nasty bruising, and he didn't seem to be suffering from concussion, which was the worry. Hopefully he'll get better soon.

On Sunday we got up in reasonable time and decide to make the most of the lovely weather and indulge our cycling addiction a bit more. Read more... )

In Newmarket we sat and caught our breath for a while then went for a wander. Admiring the training grounds for the races, and the vast numbers of shiny conkers. We took a look at the maps in WHSmith but decided we knew what route we were taking home, and didn't want to carry anything extra. Then we had a lovely lunch sitting outside a cafe by All Saints Church, which was covered in bunting for a flower festival. Definitely a "this is the life" moment. Still, we figured that given it was going to be a headwind on the way back we'd better head home. Read more... )

As usual there's a route map on Bikely. Our dinner of steak and eggs felt very well deserved.

Back to work on Monday as usual, but since it was exactly 6 months since we moved into our house we decided we needed to go out and celebrate. We spent our lunch break looking at menus online, and finally decided on the Riverside Restaurant at the University Centre. I had smoked duck, rabbit, and a vanilla and raspberry pannacotta style pudding. Mike had chicken and chorizo terrine, belly pork, and a chocolate cheesecake. It was strange eating in a room with only two other parties, but it was really nice, and the food was very good. In fact it was a really lovely evening all told, and a good way to mark how happy we are. Yay.

August 2017

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