Thursday, 25 February 2010

I don't know if you've noticed but it's raining...

The good news is, as you're only supposed to get rained on in London 12 times a year if you cycle, the rest of the year's cycling experiences should all be pretty dry. God, who comes out with these statistics? Hmmm...

Fortunately, just this week I bought myself some shiny new waterproofs. Good for getting home dry but very, very bad for cycle chic. Even if I was on Poppy the pink pashley.

Tomorrow I'm off to the fabulous Bobbin Bicycles - - to buy Poppy a new basket. It really is the most beautiful cycle shop in Britain. Think I'll ask them about how I can rock some winter cycling style.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Cycling - how else to get to a wedding? Or back again.

W and I went out on our first training ride in preperation for our planned May John O'Groats to Lands End ride on Sunday. But first we had a wedding to go to! So we packed up our panniers with our dressing up clothes and headed off to Oxford - only ten miles of cycling, and letting the train take the strain the rest of the way. Still, we appeared suitably eccentric when we showed up at the reception with our bikes (this was definately a trip for Geraldine the silver bicycle, not Poppy the pink).

One very fun wedding reception later, an anxious hour lying in bed listening to rain (because if you go on a cycling trip in February why ON EARTH would you ever think to bring waterproofs with you? We were very lucky it didn't rain when we were riding...) and a leisurely breakfast later, we were off. 50 miles, some very nice countryside and a couple of hills that I found much more difficult than I should have done, and we found ourselves at Chorleywood station on the Metropolitan line, ready to be whisked into London by the next train.

In all we did 55 miles on Sunday. It felt like pretty hard work at times. In May we're going to have to cycle 68 miles everyday for 16 days. OMG.

I'm going to have to do a lot of training in the next 12 weeks. In the meantime I've finally bitten the bullet and bought some new cycling waterproofs. Just in case it isn't gloriously sunny on every day of our 16 day end to end jaunt. And also quite helpful for those 'occasional' days when it rains in London...

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A bicycle made for two?

I've been wondering about tandems lately. Mostly along the lines of 'wouldn't it be easier to cycle up big hills on touring trips if someone else is also peddling the same bike' type thoughts. Also because I've been on holiday for the past three weeks and, quite frankly, it's a lot easier to dream about big cycling trips if you're not having to think about work, or ironing, or other equally not-very-exciting things that pretend to be everyday necessities of life.

So when the opportunity to try out a hire-tandem came up earlier this week whilst still in sunny Mendoza in Argentina, W and I couldn't resist. Now, it was a rubbish tandem bike, and I'm sure if we got our mitts on a beautiful Thorn touring tandem one we wouldn't have to contend with a crippling saddle, painful handlebar grips, no gears and our feet for brakes (you get the idea). BUT... I would still be stuck at the back of the bike, staring at W's t-shirt and having to crane my neck to either side to get a view. Which, lovely back though it is, ISN'T why I cycle. I want that view of the open road.
Plus I'm a control freak, and if you're stuck at the back of a tandem (which makes you a stoker) you don't have any control. You have to trust your 'pilot' (I'm loving the terminology). And 'W', as the slightly bigger of us would always be the pilot.
This is the man who cycles down hills like he has a death wish and who I've heard falling off a bike ("arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhh" is the subtle verbal clue that alerts me something has gone awry) on several occasions and into a line of cars waiting at a traffic light on another.

Yup, that's who I would have to trust. With my life. Gulp.

So, I'm definitely going to have to do some more thinking before I jump into tandem ownership. But if you ever happen to be in Mendoza and decide to do a tour of the wineries by bike, then do give a tandem a try. At least then you can blame the wobbling on the weird bike, rather than on the wine you've been downing!