Saturday, 31 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
After our satisfying pit stop we decided to continue our adventure and rode down an interesting bit of coastal bridleway. In the past I have always enjoyed this route as there are usually some very friendly pigs, hens and geese that you can chatter too and pet!
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
I blame Mikey, he’d had a cold the previous week! But me being me, and always having to go one step further, got a truly stinking strain of it:- a permanent headache, a sore throat that felt like I’d swallowed a shed load of carpet tacks, a soaring temperature, aching joints and a barrel load of snot! Interestingly, when I entered my symptoms to NHSDirect.com they said I had the dreaded swine flu – what a bunch of scare-mongering! What’s wrong with just having a good old fashioned cold?
Anyway, whatever it is, it left me too poorly sick to go out on my bike. More annoyingly though, despite my best efforts to keep the infection off my chest, it has left my lungs in a sad old state! Grrr! I had hoped that the last few months getting fit would have helped more. Guess I shouldn't grumble though, as things probably could have been worse so I won’t let it damper my enthusiasm.
Thankfully, I am starting to feel slightly better now and am itching to get out on my bike. Just can’t decide if I should wait for my lungs to completely clear or go for a ride and let the wind blast it all out!
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
So, on to my next “2nd”… my 2nd ever puncture (this time on my MTB) and yep amusingly, you guessed it, yet again we had gone out without any spare tubes or a repair kit! Thankfully though, we were riding with my Mam, who must have been a good Girl Guide as she had everything we needed for a quick fix. Phewph! I guess, I really must invest in the bare essentials as it really is hopeless relying on Mikey! I have my eye on an Innovations Survival Canister, which I’ve seen on the internet, but being that we live in Cornwall, there appears to be no local stockists and I always like to see things to check the quality before I spend my hard earned cash!
In other VeloCake related news, I want to say a BIG thank you to a certain someone (I wont name them for fear of repercussions and poaching accusations!) who has cyc-logged (http://www.cyclogs.org/) their miles for Team VeloCake and taken us way up the leader board and into a much more respectable position. If you’re reading this, you know who you are, so a BIG thanks you from me.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
As me and Mullerton were both off work this week we had planned to ride do the Coast to Coast Mineral Tramways Trail that takes you off-road from Portreath to Devoran.
To my amazement the place didn’t offer any safety lids with each hire bicycle but the bikes were of half decent standard and I guess as the route is quite gentle and rarely near any traffic helmets weren’t seen as vital.
Anyway, off we pootled and despite an earlier downpour the skies were clear and the sun was HOT HOT HOT! The route was relatively simple – no huge hills, just undulating, twisty-turny rocky, gravelly and occasionally very muddy tracks. The scenery was spectacular and ever-changing – shady wooded areas, farmland, mining engine houses, open quarries and broad sweeping estuaries.
9 miles in and we had reached our destination – a pub that sold a nice array of food. After a satisfying meal of butties and cheesy chips (and of course local ale for the males) we were back in our saddles and homeward bound.
Halfway home one of the hire bikes needed bicycle repairman’s expertise as the chain had bust a link and the gears were unresponsive. Thankfully, this time, Mikey had the required tools and we were soon off and able to complete the ride.
Oh, I forgot to mention that we also saw the infamous Beast of Portreath. In the field where we had parked, we saw a giant black creature with piercing eyes. It looked wild and rabid. Sadly my camera was in the car so I don’t have any photos. Anyway, as we continued to unpack the car we suddenly found ourselves face to face with this crazed animal. Unknown to any of us it had stealthily crossed the field and sneakily jumped into the car, sniffing at Mikey’s cycling shoes. Mikey bravely grabbed it and removed it from the boot – as the last thing I needed was feline hair on the upholstery – I am highly allergic! And no sooner as he had done it, the determined beast jumped into my Aunties’ new Mini. What a menace! I have to say though, that despite its reputation I found the encounter with this furry beast far from scary – it was a pussy cat!!
Anyway, back to the tale at hand, the ride was lovely and despite it being nearly double the mileage I'm used to, I found it really easy and enjoyable and with 19 miles added to my monthly totaliser, I’m laughing.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
As “VeloCakers” are aware, last Sunday saw “Team VeloCake” doing numerous CycloCross races nationwide. Much to my dismay I was unable to be a groupie at such an event (Don’t ask why – it’s complicated!) so I decided I would participate in my own race. OK, yes I was the only entrant but at least that would mean I could win! So off I went – not too far from home – just in case of a bike emergency, as Mikey still hasn’t prepared me a cycling survival kit.
This was my first lone ride since my early 20’s and I was slightly apprehensive before I started. I hadn’t even pedalled 200yards when an elderly farmer in flat cap and wellies stopped me. Eek! Was he about to stop me for cycling down a public footpath that clearly displayed signs reading “NO BICYCLES, NO SKATEBOARDS!” at either end. I was worried - but had to laugh when I realised he had stopped me for a chat about the weather. Still laughing, I continued on my way only to be face to face with yet another walker. OMG! Had my luck run out? Would they grumble about my wheels? Nope, again they cheerily smiled and said “Hello, Nice afternoon isn’t it?” Puzzled (by this nonchalance) I quickly came to the conclusion that it was because I was still in close proximity to a public house on a Sunday afternoon. But this joviality didn’t stop there.
Halfway up my 1st hill (which happens to be a single track lane) a man in an oncoming Land Rover pulled into a lay-by to let me pass and then gave me a broad grin and cheery wave.
I suddenly felt self conscious. Did I have my helmet on backwards? Oh my God, had I forgotten to put my trousers on? Did I have odd shoes? What was with all these jolly salutations? Phewph! I was fully and sensibly dressed and contrary to the advice from cycling weekly I wasn’t even wearing a pink and frilly Laura Ashley dress!
The greetings and chatter continued. The polite driving carried on. Everyone I met seemed really happy to see me and even the local horses and woolly cows came over to say hello. I had a great time! I felt like a true local – I had been accepted into the community and beyond.
Sadly, during the next ride with Michael things returned to normal. Cars whizzed by too close for comfort, grumpy farmers and miserable dog walkers uttered no more than a grunt which loosely interpreted could mean hello.
...By 'eck, being a lassy really does have it’s perks!
Thursday, 1 October 2009
The burning question now is what to ride?
When I was in my teens and early twenties my mountain bike was my best friend. I'd ride everywhere. It went on numerous trips to Wales & the Peak District with me. Basically back then, 100+miles a month was nothing... it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! Unfortunatly, since then, much has changed and my fitness level has dramatically changed to that of a 65+ old and the bout of Pneumonia last year left my already unfit/asthmatic lungs in a sad old state!
Another big change is our location. Sadly, there’s not much in the way of Mountain terrain around Cornwall. Don’t get me wrong there’s tonnes of off-road trails, but it’s very much lacking compared to what I was used to, such as N.Wales and Delamere Forest.
Hmm? My misspent youth and the exhilaration that comes with mountain-bikin' remains embedded in my heart - I most definitely can’t ever see myself without my MTB. They're great, and have so many benefits… you get more burn on the legs, you have to be able to use your gears correctly and do more technical riding. And what about the excitement? Nothing beats that adrenaline rush of being so scared that you can’t even open your mouth to scream!
Which makes me wonder do I really need to have a Mountain-Bike? Would I be better with something else? Something lighter perhaps? Since my re-discovery of bicycle riding I have predominantly ridden my trusty hybrid, as I have found ridin' on the road, the best option to regain my fitness and stamina. The simplicity of riding smooth roads has drawn me in though and now I keep ponderin' if I still need a bicycle with suspension and big knobbly tyres?
But as I said, I am currently predominantly riding on the road as I really do see it’s benefits for overall cardio and fitness. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I think I have actually caught the road riding bug. I love that all I need to do is get on the bike from home and ride. I really enjoy the speed that road ridin' offers; even as a novice rider I can see the advantage over mountain bikes on the road.
The only downside to road-riding that I see, is that sadly, it tends to get boring. Pfft… and how could I forget the other major drawback; the other roadusers - those blinkin’ loonatic car drivers!!
That said, and despite all the near-miss-accidents due to careless car-drivers, I am really enjoyin’ road ridin', but I keep asking myself would I be better off with something lighter? I love my hybrid with all its utilities (mudguards, dynamo lights, rack and - that all important - kickstand) but, oh, how the thought of something lighter and nippier keeps nagging away at my thoughts. Hmm? Again, I surely can’t get rid of my hybrid… it is far to useful with all its bit n’ bobs! Epecially for carrying stuff!
However, with Velocakes current cyclo-cross phase I now see that a cross-bike offers the best of both worlds. As quick and as efficient as road bikes, but with slightly bigger tires for those exhilarating short-cuts through granite and gravel trails that are so abundant around here.
So, I think a cyclocross bike would be my answer and as Mikey has a bike for almost every occasion… why shouldn’t I?
Maybe if I stick with this riding lark, Father Christmas will put a shiney Cross bike in my stocking!!
(Anyway, on that note I best go dig out my gel shorts its time for a whizz round the block before it gets dark.)