It's been a while since we've headed out on our bikes and so with a good forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend we found ourselves trying to choose the least warm day for a bit of cycle, not often that happens is it? Usually on a Bank Holiday we'd be trying to guess which day would be least wet...
We opted for Sunday for our ride and while it was warm, Monday was expected to be warmer. I've had a bit of a wobble with my bike lately, since I picked it up from its service. The brakes have been readjusted and are super efficient, I think I'd got so used to them being much looser than it gave me a bit of a surprise!
I've also struggled to get the saddle height right since then too. When we left the shop it was too high so coupled with new brakes and not being able to reach the ground (that's not so good) the cycle home was trickier than it should have been. We readjusted the saddle height but then it was too low and I felt as if my knees were reaching my ears as I cycled, and it was painful too.
We did get it better, I think it still needs some adjustment but I need to regain my confidence with it before we adjust it again. So when MOH suggested a cycle this weekend, he must have been wondering what he was letting himself in for.
He did the sensible thing though and suggested we started with food, and so we found ourselves ordering a cooked breakfast at the Riverside Tea Room in Eynsford seventeen seconds before they stopped serving breakfasts - not bad going - and I'm glad we did, it was a great breakfast.
Full of poached egg, sausage, beans, bacon and toast we set off following one of the routes in the Lost Lanes book, which I've had for a while and which we've often looked at but not cycled any of the routes until this weekend. As we left Eynsford it was uphill and I overtook a walking cyclist in full lycra and if I'm honest, he seemed as shocked as I was.
My bike was the only one with a basket I saw all day, and it did get some looks from those with road bikes and the lycra, but I did ok. I tired towards the end of the ride, and it was only when we got home that MOH let on that there was some debate online about this ride's rating as moderate, some suggesting it should be marked strenuous. Hmmn.
There were a couple of hills - around Shoreham - that I struggled with. My seven gears simply weren't enough. I've discovered I'm better with hills that are more gentle, even if they're longer than those that have a steeper incline. There were two of those that I ran out of gears for and so opted to get off and walk. It was hot too, and the two bottles of water I took were later supplemented by an extra bottle of water, and still wasn't enough.
After Shoreham I really had had enough and made the decision to cut short the second part of the ride and head along the A225 on the more direct route back to the car. It was a busy road, but not that busy, and I was done with hills. There were some of those gentler incline hills on our way back to Eynsford station, but given the road we were on I knew I needed to keep going, and so I did.
Along our route though there were plenty of pretty Kent villages - and considering we were something like twenty five minutes and fifteen miles from home - it was a world apart from our South London streets:
So a successful ride, if not a slightly shorter one than MOH hoped for, and a slightly hotter one than I'd hoped for too. And I think I've overcome that wobble I mentioned too, so it's likely that I'll be using it at least a couple of days to get to work this week.
And the rest of the day was spent recovering on a sun lounger in the garden... It would have been rude not to!
Well wasn't yesterday a lovely day? So nice that I decided to take my book and head outside at lunchtime. I'd planned to sit and read my book but it didn't quite work out that way, partly because there weren't enough benches out just yet and partly because it was one of the first times I'd had the inclination to explore the river setting in the car park at work. Usually I don't get past turning into the third row of parked cars, finding a space and heading indoors.
As I looked for a bench I couldn't help but spot this giant-like clump of bluebells. In the grass on their own. And before I knew it my iPhone was capturing a close-up too.
You see they really are quite by themselves.
Heading down towards the exit I soon found myself admiring the in-bud magnolia which was spilling onto the bridge.
I paused to admire the view of the river (below) and then spotted the abandoned estate agents board (above - bottom left!)
The sun was out, and the gorse was enjoying it as much as me. For some reason my phone over-exposed my next few shots, clearly it's not used to the sun either just now. But that meant I could play with the colours as I edited this shot.
The lush looking trees with new growth were competing with the ironwork railings, and it seems they've got the right idea by caging the ivy...
Heading back towards the benches - for a last check to see if there was space, there wasn't - I paused and wondered if I hadn't told you that the shot below was taken of the space between two office building's car parks, if you'd have known? It's quite countrified really isn't it?
And to end this post there's a grass silhouette of me, carrying my book looking for a bench. Yes it really was a lovely day for a wander around the car park.
And if you're wondering, no I didn't get any of my book read. I'll be trying again today, let's hope it's just as nice!