Monday, 14 June 2010

A right royal bike tour

If you have good eyesight and peer carefully enough at this photo, you may just make out Windsor Castle lurking in the background. Don't worry - I haven't gone all monarchist on you, but I've realised that the bike ride I did yesterday took me past Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. Hence the title of this blog entry.

About once a year I grab my bike and head out to Windsor, picking up the Thames Path on the southern side of Hammersmith Bridge and sticking with the Thames most of the way. It's a great London cycle trip, going all the way from the centre of Westminster to the Surrey countryside, via Barnes, Kew, Richmond, Kingston, Hampton Court, Chertsy, Staines and Old Windsor. The gardens at Hampton Court area wonderful place to stop for lunch. The locks you pass are always jam-packed with boats. And be sure to check out the odd assortment of lovingly maintained waterfront properties with the union jacks flying proudly from the garden flagpole as you cycle past the Staines area of the river as well - it really is a different world!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Look mum no hands

Check out 'look mum no hands' - a fab new cycling themed cafe bar / bike workshop on old street in clerkenwell. Another thing to add to the list of what's fabulous about cycling in London!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A jaunt through the shires

Saturday morning and time to go cycling. We decided to pop by and see W's mum. Only thing is we live in north London and she lives on the Wiltshire / Dorset Borders. So we struck off for Paddington station and let the train take the strain as far as Reading. After a bit of faffing about food and the route we left around 10.15, had our first picnic lunch of the year on the very pleasant villiage green at Monxton (pictured) just before 2, and made it to Monkton Deverill for 6 - peddling our way through Berkshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire on our way.

Yesterday's ride had a definate military theme. We rode past Aldermaston, Burford and the huge Larkhill barracks, before hitting Salisbury plain - which seemed to stretch on forever. We also cycled past an awful lot of 'tanks crossing' signs but didn't run into any tanks. That probably wasn't a bad thing... Not something you come across much when cycling in London!

Yesterday was one of the longest day rides i've ever done, clocking in at just over 79 miles if you include the London bit. Which I do, cos I flipping well cycled it...

The route (kindly provided by googlemaps): Reading train station to Monkton Deveril via... Burghfield, padworth common, ashford hill, monxton, greatley, cholderton, bulford, larkhill, chitterne, Sutton veney, longbridge deveril.

The distance: 79.2 miles yesterday, 16 miles today

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Up in the North Downs

I learnt a very valuable lesson yesterday. If you're planning on doing an 80 mile bike ride, you really do need to leave the house before noon.

W and I set off from Finsbury Park, bound for the sunny south coast. W got as far as Surbiton and then had to head back - knee stopped play. I decided to head on but reality struck deep in the North Downs, and I realised I'd never make it in the light. Plus I was relying on the maps on my iPhone and the battery was clearly about to give up the ghost, so back to London it was.

Still, I had 57 miles of daffodil and cherry blossom filled, fabulous city and country riding taking in central and suburban London, a sunny lunch by the Thames, and the Surrey Hills part of the North Downs. It gave me some much needed hill practice. AND I didn't have to walk my bike up any of them! I'm yet to be convinced that I'm actually fit enough to cycle the end to end next month though...

Despite the fact that a general election is looming, londoners yesterday seemed much more preoccupied with the big Chelsea game - banners, scarfs and supporters tops abound. It was only when I hit rural Surrey that the campaign posters came out. Only for one party mind you, and not the one I'll be voting for!

Friday, 9 April 2010

A bit of country livin' in the big city

When I was cycling my way around bits of New Zealand five years ago I loved cycling past houses in the country where people left fruit, veg and flowers by their mailboxes for passing traffic to stop and buy. The buying bit usually involved leaving a bit of cash in an 'honesty box'.

Then, when I came back and started cycle touring in England, I realised people did it in the countryside here too!

But it was only when I moved to N4 that I realised people do it in London as well. I pass this house on my way home everyday, and there's flowers or plants for sale on a regular basis. They ask for money through the letterbox rather than an honesty box, but I love that there's a little bit of countryside life lurking in zone two of London. And if only I'd have had £2 on me, I'd have bought some flowers as well. I took a picture instead!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The dog ate my homework

Well, that wasn't quite my excuse for being late for work today, but late I was, nevertheless. The great thing about doing the late shift at work is that you don't have to be in until 11 am. The bad thing is that, if you go via horseguards parade, like I do, you sometimes get caught up by the horseguards. As they parade...

One of the many great things about cycling in London. 20 miles worth of top central London cycling today. Poppy + sunshine = almost unavoidable good mood.

It looks like the weather's going to be fabulous this weekend. Where shall I go cycling?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Cycling just got a lot more fun again

After seemingly endless months of cycling through the dark and the cold something wonderful has happened this week. The sun has come out. The wind has dropped. You can leave the house at 6.30 in the morning and it's light. You don't have to pile on layers of clothing. And lo and behold, cycling has suddenly become fun again. Wooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooooooo...