Posts Tagged ‘hills’

positioningThis week we practised getting ‘pedal ready’ and correct positioning for left and right turns along a wide junction and then a smaller junction.  That lesson was just what I needed.


I didn’t take my new bike, Saracen,  this week to the disappointment of the instructors, as I couldn’t get it in the car and I wasn’t confident enough to cycle along the High Street alone.


The instructor walked us through the demonstrations.  Wider junctions allow impatient motorists to turn right by over or undertaking if a cyclist is positioned incorrectly at junctions which can be a problem.


Although I got ‘pedal ready’ with the right foot as soon as I stopped at the junction, I needed to put more force on the right pedal by pushing it firmly downwards in order to cycle more smoothly and quickly at junctions, this helps me to stop wobbling.  That was really useful. It didn’t help, however, that cars stopped in the middle of the opposite road, to let us turn right, perhaps we caused them some amusement!


torWe then went for a ride which I really enjoyed and passed, what I can only describe as this enormous grassy ‘ant’  hill in the middle of a housing estate.  Weird.  It had a circular path to the top and benches to admire the amazing 360 degree views.


Another uphill slog but I perservered.  Again I struggled.  Take deep breaths encouraged the instructor riding beside me.  It’s my thighs not my breath, I replied. My thighs are killing me!  


C’mon, you can do it.. we’re nearly there… look just around the the next bend… c’mon don’t stop… etc etc.  OMG It was so embarrassing!  I was the last one to get to the top. Would you believe that the other trainees, a grandmother (!) and an older mature lady got to the top before me!  Pushing those pedals got slower and slower but I kept going and received a cheer from everybody else when I got to the top!  Shame….


south-view1Some views from the top.  You can see the Millenium Dome (02) across the River Thames between the buildings in the background. Opposite are the new housing developments built on the marshes by the Thames.





Freewheeling down was a relief but the instructor said to keep pedalling in a low gear so your feet or legs or something didn’t freeze up.  You need a training program advised the instructor.  I’ll make a jogging program for you.

Oh no thanks.   I hate jogging…  I’ll just keep cycling and cycling and cycling….it’s so much more fun!



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cycle-laneBicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my Saracen                         I want to ride my Saracen
I want to ride my Saracen                      
I want to ride it where I like

Both nervous and very excited, I took Saracen out onto the streets this morning.  I cycled through the lower back streets (no hills).  I thought I’d go through some back streets to explore  (relatively new to this area). Some were dead ends, others were industrial areas.  

On these quiet streets, I slowed down, but didn’t come to a complete stop, (as these Victorian streets are narrow with parked cars on both sides), to let oncoming cars through,  looked left/right and slowed down early enough so I didn’t have to stop at the junctions if nothing was approaching.  Cycled in the middle of the road to avoid the ‘door zone’ of parked cars.

Double backed and decided to cycle the Thames Path that the instructors had shown me when I was alone at christmas

The above photo is of the cycle path in the direction of the Thames and parallel as well as an alternative to that 10% hill! Its very narrow and due to the parked cars seems to be of no good use!!  Had to avoid the ‘door zone’ and therefore cycled in the middle of the road where necessary.

At the entrance to the Thames Cycle Network Path, I cycled up that slope with gusto! I couldn’t manage that before! So happy to reach the Thames. thames-path-tarmaced This is futuristic looking building is the Crossness Incinerator plant.  A mile or so past this is the Victorian Sewage Works which has recently been restored to its former glory and in direct contrast to this space age sewage plant.  You can smell it a mile off!

I don’t know what purpose these barriers serve on this long stretch of tarmaced path!  


Several miles later, the tarmaced path turned into a dirt gravel track, still with sludges of snow/ice.  Then the realisation hit me!  Saracen was getting all dirty and muddy.  Oh dear!  So that’s what the instructors meant when they said I would have to wash and clean my bike.  My response to that was quite reluctant!  But I looked at bike whilst riding.  Dirty.. muddy.  Mmmm…  I  then made a conscious effort to avoid riding through dog mess cos I certainly didn’t want to clean that up! This colourful signage has some details on which I’ll get next time but Saracen likes to take photos!


pavedresting After a few miles, the path widens and is paved. In the far distance you can see Canary Wharf and other such buildings.  There are lots of places to rest and enjoy the River and its business in the peace and quiet.

I cycled miles on and then doubled back but not as far as the Smelly Futuristic  Building, got off before that, via another exit and then spent hours finding my way home, avoiding the dual carriageways and that hill.

Eventually, I  recognised my location and got home.  I was especially pleased with myself that I managed to cycle up the gentle slopes, of which there were quite a few!  I must have cycled miles and my thighs were absolutely aching but as they say no pain no gain and I rode my bicycle!

Get Set, Get Ready, Go!

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