Posts Tagged ‘bike ride’

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Trek+Hyde Park = 77miles+Sore Bum

Tuesday September 1, 2009
Ready To Go

0700 And Ready To Go

Monday, 0700hrs,  and the Trek was out and ready for its longest journey to date.  It was a Bank Holiday yesterday so I took the opportunity to tackle one of my cycling challenges, to ride into London and back.

I set Hyde Park as my destination and stocked up with a couple of sandwiches and some water then hit the road.

I had my route planned in my head and on my GPS which was mounted to my handlebars.  The route would take me from Rochester, up through Strood to Gravesend, then through Dartford, following the River Thames past Woolwich.  I’d cross the River Thames over Tower Bridge and then continue to follow the river west before heading North to Trafalgar Square.  Then a short dash down The Mall and I’d be more or less at my destination.

Route Shown In Yellow

Route Shown In Yellow

Being a Bank Holiday the roads were fairly quiet so I was looking forward to a relatively easy ride into ‘the big smoke’.  This was to be my first time cycling in London – I’ve driven there and walked its streets many times but this would be a first.  But before the city streets I had to cycle the minor roads from Rochester.  The route I had planned may not have been the most direct but it kept me off the busiest roads whilst taking me to places I have not previously visited.  From door to Park the route was 36 miles, and with some random cycling en route, the total journey was going to easily break my previous record (~59 miles).

Dartford River Crossing Toll

Dartford Tolls

The route took me over the M25 at the Dartford Crossing and it was quite interesting to watch the traffic from the bridge near the toll booths.  I’ve been in those queues many times!  [Distance: 14.7 miles; Time: 1h33m]

Cycling hard, from there onwards towards London, the scenery was nothing to ‘write home’ about, quite bland and in places industrial.  However, before long I was entering the outskirts of London and stopped briefly at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for a few photos.  [Distance: 28.9 miles; Time 2h43m]

About 30 minutes later, dodging the increasing levels of traffic, I arrived at Tower Bridge – one of London’s most famous landmarks.  I hadn’t been there for quite a while.  These days, my trips to London are usually night-based and involve a lot of beer and the only sight-seeing I normally do there is of the female variety!  So, it was good to be doing the tourist thing and seeing what the visitors see.  [Distance: 32.8 miles; Time: 3h11m]

Once over Tower Bridge (now dodging tourists as well as cars), I turned left at the Tower of London and headed along the river.  Choking as I cycled through the Blackfriars  Underpass (fumes) and back into the sunlight as I proceeded along the Embankment.  Just after Hungerford Bridge I took a right up Northumberland Avenue and on to Trafalgar Square.  A few photos of Nelson later and I turned and headed down (or up?) The Mall towards Buckingham Palace.

Admiralty Arch

Admiralty Arch

The Mall itself was closed to vehicles due to some Horse Guard movements and there were police and tourists everywhere.  I pushed on through, took a few photos, and headed to my destination, along Constitution Hill.  Stopping briefly to buy a few cans of Coke and a Red Bull, I then stepped into Hyde Park.

I sat down and enjoyed the cool can of Coke in the Park.  37.3 miles, 4h10m (including stopping/photography time) – according to the GPS data.

After having my lunch I moved on towards The Serpentine, the lake in the Park, and relaxed under a tree with a coffee from ‘The Boat House’.  It had turned out to be a great summer day, the sun was out and it was very warm.  All the ‘Beautiful People’ were out either jogging or roller-blading alongside the lake.  Families played in the sun.  Birds flocked around children with bread.  My legs ached!

I spent about an hour in Hyde Park and then jumped back on the Trek and headed home.  The return journey was the same as the morning’s ride but I did take a short detour at the end of The Mall to have a quick look around Horse Guards (where they carry out the Trooping the Colour).

The ride home was hard, really hard.  It was hot, the sun was blazing down on me and I was tired.  My aching legs felt as though they’d give up at any moment.  I had to take frequent stops to rehydrate and relieve the pressure on my aching ‘bits’.

Thames Barrier

The Thames Barrier

I had a break at the Thames Barrier and drunk my last can of Coke on the grass overlooking the river.  Again, somewhere I haven’t been to for years – it’s now looking more grubby and ‘used’ since I saw it soon after it was built.

It was a struggle but I eventually got home at 1730, with my knees aching and having lost 6lbs in weight(!).  It had been a long day and the return had been pretty gruelling but I had completed my challenge and that really felt great.  The Trek performed well, although I do wish the saddle was bigger, far more padded and chilled!

I have not been out on the bike today!  🙂

Photos from my journey to London and back can be found on Flickr (click here).

The GPS Summary

The Trip Details At The End Of The Day

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Cycling This Weekend?

Friday July 24, 2009

qSo, the question on my mind is will I get out this weekend or not?!

I want to go out on a long ride, not just a cycle around town but something substantial.  I think I’ll start planning something and then keep my fingers crossed that the weather holds and I don’t get too lazy.

Better charge the camera battery just in case.

Oh, and the NiteRider light.

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29 Miles Around Maidstone

Sunday June 14, 2009

Another great day here in North Kent, the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze and it’s hot.  Having ticked quite a few things off my ‘to-do’ list on Friday and Saturday, I forced myself out of bed early this morning and took the Trek out for a spin.

I had a route in my head as to where I wanted to go but like all my rides, I like to see where the road, the scenery and my mood take me.  So today these ‘variables’ took me across the Medway and through Strood towards Cuxton and a destination of the river side in Maidstone.  I rested on the banks of the river in Maidstone, with a couple of swans, for about 10 minutes before beginning the return journey.

The return took my partially up Bluebell Hill then down into Aylesford and Eccles and then back into Rochester along Pilgrims’ Way, an “ancient trackway that runs across southern England from Winchester in the west to Canterbury“.

The Trek performed well again, but I really am beginning to see the benefit of road bikes!  Cyclists on ‘true’ road bikes easily powered past me as I struggled along with my big, fat off-road tyres.  Damn their slick wheels and brightly coloured lycra!  😉

No photos today as I didn’t take the camera – I was travelling light (i.e. I forgot it!).

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It’s Nice Out

Sunday September 14, 2008

A few hours out of the house has  done me the world of good! 

The Dahon really makes light work of the 1 mile journey into town.  I’m using the bike as a walk-bike sort of thing: the bike gets me to places where I can stroll around and relax; I’m not out ‘cycling’.  The bike is my mode of transport.

I still get a little frustrated that it won’t go faster but, apart from that, it’s a great bike.  I’m glad I bought it.  I would like to go further so I am still thinking of another bike for ‘real’ cycling.  Probably a mountain bike or a faster Dahon.  The latter would be more expensive but having two Dahons would still only take up about the same space as one ‘old style’ (!) bike.

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