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Archive for April, 2009

killerOMG! Today was absolutely murder! They took us along the dual carriageway now that I can get up that slight incline. Remember uphill slog back in January. Well, I thought that was soooo hard but it was nothing compared with today.

I don’t know why they wanted to torture us but torture us they did!  Pedalling became very difficult. I wanted to stop but the instructor refused.  Slower and slower went the pedals.  The incline was so looooooong! But I didn’t stop.  I tried to focus and concentrate on my breathing.  It doesn’t matter how slow. Don’t stop! he encouraged.  So slowly I pedalled desperate not to stop and give up.  Exhaling and inhaling.  That worked and reallyslowly I got up the first hill.  That was a killer! 

But worse was yet to come as we turned right. Don’t look ahead  he warned.  Don’t think about it. Just pedal and breath! He knew there was another killer hill just waiting around the corner.  This is the photo of that dreaded hill. It’s all downhill from the top.  Yeah right!  I got to get to the top first! In agony I tried my best but this steep hill was soooo long and it just kept going up and up and up.  Three quarters of the way up this hill, I had to stop.  So I did.  My instructor wasn’t very pleased.  I don’t think he really understands how difficult it is. I couldn’t take any more. After a rest and a multiude of excuses, we continued where it eventually became a flat cycle path all the way to Greenwich Park. That was about 4 miles but with those two killer hills it felt like 8!

We rested at the cafe, where I asked the other learner how she got up the hills. Her reply was to take the pain.  She feels it in her stomach but I feel it in my thighs.

Back down a steep descent in Greenwich Park but then along the main A206 dual carriageway back to the base.  Nearly another 5 miles of slopes and slight inclines.  My thighs became very very tired but I didn’t stop. What a killer day! But it’s not finished yet.

new-bike-girlTraining had finished. Resting in the cafe, suddenly a swoop of about 11 cyclists descended upon the cafe. We got talking and they were a club on a easy ride day out.  They invited us to join the rest of the trip. It was soo exciting, that I forgot how tired I was. We rode together and then crossed the ferry to North Woolwich.

 Here is someone I met whilst training.  I took this photo whilst on the ferry. She has just brought her fantastic new bike and is eager to learn to ride as I am.  Another Saracen and another reason to celebrateseparate-from-the-road.

 

We reached the Flood Barrier along paths like this. Separate from the pavement and road, it was great!  Just like in the Netherlands!

 

thames-flood-barrier

 

The barriers were an awesome sight. It was fantastic.  The other riders continued their journey but I was too tired to go any further, especially as I still had to ride back home. The two of us cycled back to the base and then I rode all the way home.  

 

Let me tell you. I wasn’t just  knackered,   I was absolutely exhaused! ! I collapsed on the bed whilst consuming a tub of Tiramisu to take away the agony. Five hours later, I felt a bit better and couldn’t believe that I wanted to do it all again!!  What a day!

Never Mind That Bruise!

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Yay!!  I did it at last! I cycled alone all the way to training. My personal trainer takes all the credit. He reckons the fourteen miles we did the other day worked. It also helped that they showed us this route. He’s right but trying to manoeuvre my bike in the boot or on the back seats wasn’t easy. Some of the spokes and mudguards got bent and the front reflector broke off.  I got fed up with dismantling and assembling the bike in and out of the car. So remembering his stern words Get on yer bike! from last week, I just got on it and rode.

 

journey-1Here are photos of my journey. Turning right out of my house instead of left avoids the high street. Cycled down the slope braking quite hard, then slowing right down so I could see left and right long before I actually reached this junction. No traffic was coming, so I continued straight across. Up the slope to another junction and turned left …

 

journey2 straight across,  positioning myself correctly,  through the gap of this road block and then… 

 

  

 

 

 

journey3

 it’s a very straight, flat, quiet, residential road parallel to the high street. It’s narrow so when cars approached either on the opposite side or behind, I slow down and/or go into a gap between the parked cars ( although my trainer says not to because you can’t be seen!)…

 

 

 

journey5

 …turn left through the gap in yet another road block. Then turn right into a short residential road, cross two more quiet junctions, turn right again, cycle along another long residential road until there’s a dead end (railway) and turn left.  

  

 

 

journey8

 Cycle up a gentle incline and then….there’s the high street!  But traffic lights just to the left were on red so I continued to cycle quickly, turning right and maintaining my position assertively in the middle of the road. I saw a bus waiting  to cross from the minor road to the major road at the second junction…

 

  journey9

 …the bus driver stared at me and then smiled.  He seemed to be quite amused and waited the few seconds for me to cross this junction and up the slight incline to the cycle path that was on the pavement!   This is the start of the multi-lane carriageway. turned right to cross at the traffic lights, walked the bike across a narrow short bridge ….

 

journey13

 …and then down this ramp.  The descent is quite steep and circular, so I walked the bike down… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

journey12

 …cycled along this alleyway, (probably a bit dodgy at night), through another short underpass, right at the end, cycled up yet another grassy incline…  

 

 

 

 

 training

…to emerge from the underpass on the other side of the motorway. Cycled along a quiet road and then finally, arrival at training where the learners and instructors welcomed me with expressions of surprise and delight that I ditched the car and rode my bicycle to training…

 

and it wasn’t that bad after all!  My confidence must be growing…

Killer Hills

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Wow!  Am I lucky or what! I have now graduated to one to one training during the week as the days are getting longer (a good excuse to leave work early, for once!). This was my first time  hive-of-activitycycling during the week!  I was so excited. It’s time to get more confidence and experience out on the road so we met at my house and off we went. 

 But first we had an ‘M’ check on my driveway which is a maintenance check before you ride off.  Start either at the front centre wheel, check things up and then down in the shape of an ‘M’ and end up at the back wheel.

He was very encouraging.  I know it seems silly and even ridiculous but I had yet to ride my bike down my own road!  Previously I had walked my bike down the bottom of the hill errrrm, I mean slope and walked until I was no longer in sight of the children doing tricks with their bikes opposite my house!  And yes, they were out there when my personal trainer arrived, some on their sledges sliding down the slope and others freewheeling but my cycling trainer was having none of that.  Get on yer bike he said! Don’t take any notice of them! Cover your brakes!  And of course I did.  It wasn’t bad, actually. Having someone in your bridge-buildingear really does help!!

 We ended up at the Thames Cycle Path towards Erith and I took these photos.  Yer nat out on a jolly y’know!   he said.  This is training.  He laughed at me taking photos! We stopped to wonder at the noise of the most enormous hammer type thing knocking poles in the river. Opposite we watched a hive of building activity that wasn’t there a few weeks ago, near the sewage works.

We wondered whether it was the Thames Gateway Bridge that they were building which had caused so much controversy with local residents that it had been shelved by the Mayor of London.   It was supposed to have regenerated this part of South London linking Newham with Greenwich across the River Thames, all to do with the Olympics being hosted in Stratford (just across the river) in 2012.

off-the-path We cycled on and went off the path into this lovely green marshy area and at the end was yet another large lake surrounded by modern town houses and flats.  I must count the number of lakes around here. Never seen so many surrounded by what could only be described as a concrete jungle. Back on the path my thighs started to get tired after about eight miles. Had a break and continued but my legs were still aching.  A break was little relief.  Break through the pain!  Its mind over matter ! he said.   No, no its not my mind. It’s my thighs!  I have to go slower! 

It was time to go home through the back streets and up the slope on my road!  You can do it, you can do it, nearly there, look nearly there And I did.  Cycle all the way up the slope to my house instead of walking the bike.  All in all, we did about fourteen miles!  I was knackered. But I definitely noticed that the slopes are definitely getting easier. Thank goodness for that and my trainer.

 Cycling On The High Street

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high-clogs1

my-red-sandalsmy-silver-wedgesmy-red-wedgesflat-clogs1

 

 

 

 

Hooray! Spring at last! Out come my beloved sandals!

Just a few of my very favourite strapless sandals. I only wear two forms of footwear. That is wedges/clogs/sandals, as soon as the weather gets warmer and boots in the winter. But can you cycling in sandals like these?  Spring is here, the clocks have gone forward, the days are longer, the weather is much warmer (at last) and the shops are full of more delightful beautiful sandals for me to buy.  To me spring is the beginning of summer and I can’t wait.  Lots more cycling, going places and having fun in the sun!

 

I can just imagine myself cycling along whereever with friends and the sun on my face, maybe my oversized sunglasses, sunhat, wearing a gorgeous floaty colourful dress or top with capri trousers strapless sandals or a funky top and three quarter length jeans and wedges- it’s just the ticket.  Especially when the trees are full of blossom, flowers blooming and there’s music in the air.  It just puts everyone, including me, in a good mood.  I never had to think about this before now but its something I’ll have to figure out before the summer when it’ll be too warm to wear boots.  Herein lies my conundrum!

Personal Cycling Trainer

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