Cycle Routes: May

May was a big cycling month with plenty of long rides, and in total I clocked up just over 250 km which I'm surprised by too as it seems quite a long way. It's been a month of firsts - our first Tuesday Totter and another first which I'm less proud of but I guess it was bound to happen eventually (there's more on that further on). It's also been a month where preparation has been the theme, with some practice rides on consecutive days in Norfolk to work out what might ache when we finally get to Bavaria in June.

There's also been some mechanical problems, not for me but for MOH - his bike has been in for repairs as his bottom bracket needed replacing. All done relatively smoothly, but not so good on a bike that's barely four months old. That's had a bit of an impact on his training for the Ride 100 in August and on the amount of rides we've done in the latter part of the month.

1. A change of plan, with lunch

We started may with an easy 20k on the Bank Holiday through Greenwich and over to Docklands. Encountering Bank Holiday paced pedestrians in Greenwich prompted us to change our plans for our route back to avoid the crowds.

We retraced the route to Trinity Wharf, this time stopping in Fatboy's Diner for a late lunch/early tea.  If you're in this part of town and want to eat somewhere a bit different then this is a great place to go.

And then it was back south of the river using the much quieter Woolwich foot tunnel.

2. Our first Tuesday Totter

We joined the Lewisham cyclists for their fortnightly Tuesday Totter for the first time. They meet in Ladywell, which for us is just the other side of Lewisham so we set out in the early evening to make the 6.30pm meet time. We took a bit of a wrong turning along the way and by the time I caught up with MOH to let him know we'd gone more out of our way than we needed to, clocking up 7km before we'd even started the ride.

The Totter is billed as a relaxed ride, usually ending in the pub - sounds good to me! The plan for this trip was to head towards Tower Bridge and then back along the river to Greenwich. We'd got as far as Bermondsey last month when we ventured west along the Thames Path so were keen to go a bit further.

Because of the high winds, there was some debate as to whether or not a ride along the river was the best choice - remember those very windy days at the start of May? Yes this ride took place on one of those windy evenings - but in the end the consensus was yes to the ride, so off we set.

We cycled west along the south side of the Thames Path and then across Tower Bridge, which was pretty scary. But also in a large group of cyclists quite comforting. Ducking down into St Katherine's dock we headed back east along the north side of the river. There's a lot of docks and canals that way and one day when we cycle that way I'll stop to take some pictures, but this time I was concentrating on going forward against the wind. At times it felt like we were getting nowhere but it was great to join this friendly group of cyclists.

We crossed the river using the Greenwich foot tunnel and there we said our goodbyes as the pub was further out of our way than made sense. We did however make our own pub stop cycling along to the Trafalgar Tavern - and we discovered they served some fabulous sausage rolls! 

And we clocked up a steady 34km, not bad for a Tuesday evening ride!

3. My first falling off

So as we set out for the Tuesday Totter ride above - and before I'd been in any pubs - I managed to fall off my bike. Right outside the pub just along the road from us! I'm not quite sure how it happened but somehow both me and the bike ended up on the floor!

Both the bike and I were fine, if not a little bemused - as was MOH!

4. A practice 140km in Norfolk

I was keen to clock up some bike miles on consecutive days to see if I could physically do it. And it seems I can. I was relieved to discover that I didn't ache, or have any sore points. Phew! I did learn that our cycling clothes (even though I don't wear cycling gear) takes up quite some room. That was good practice too, as we've now booked two bags into the hold.  

We did three consecutive days of cycling each with a purpose:

1. To the pub for a pint and lunch - it's just the pub we choose was about 22km away!

2. To Sandringham for tea and cake - and a round trip of 46km.

3. To the fish shed at Brancaster Staithe to buy some fish for tea. I'd packed my cool bag in my basket, but we ended up buying a fish larger than the cool bag, so the nice lady in the shop packed the fish in a bag of ice for me. That worked well, apart from the weight. Clearly when I chose a bike with a basket I hadn't thought it through as I ended up carrying all the shopping and was even slower than usual up those hills.

5. To Maltby Street market

This meant another trip back along our favourite Thames Path. We set off heading west and then headed inland to search out the Maltby Street market.

We found it and although I knew it would be busy, I hadn't realised it was a full blown market in a small passageway. And it was busy...

We managed to wheel our bikes through the market, as all the places we could have locked our bikes were taken. Lunch was a pulled pork roll and my special feat is to balance one roll in my basket and the other in my left hand and continue to wheel the bike through the market without spilling any!

Well I was impressed. Full on pulled pork roll and the macaron I'd bought before hand we headed towards Tower Bridge and St Katharine's dock again. It was much busier this time and scarier than before, but safely across again we looked for the route we'd followed before. We missed a turning somewhere and ended up alongside the river sooner than we wanted to be. 

MOH was convinced he knew the way, I was less sure. But he was right - don't you just hate it when that happens? And then we were back on the route from the Tuesday Totter. Arriving home we put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea to go alongside that Portuguese custard tarts we'd bought at the market. Well after an almost 30km ride, I think we deserved another cake!


So that was May. June will bring cycling in Bavaria and (at least) 224 km in just six days. I expect we'll see some amazing sights, have a great time and I hope the German I've been learning sees me well. I've learnt the German for bike - fahrrad - and more importantly basket - korb - although I think the panniers our hire bike comes with are likely to be a more realistic option. I'll let you know how we get on!

Fitness 4 Mamas