Monday, 30 May 2016

Bank Holiday Major Mystery Tour Chip Shop Fiasco...

Have a good look at the screen shot above. As advertised an 86 mile ride with a chip shop stop...about halfway. It seemed perfect. I've not done as much riding as I'd like so far this year so another step towards my first century in 2016 seemed appropriate. Fish and Chips as an incentive and a flat route out in the fens all added up to a good idea. Then...we went wrong on the route a few miles in at Grafton Underwood. I'm uncertain if it was a Garmin error or a Steve error but hey ho. As we headed into the fens it became a bit of battle against the wind, so much so we might as well have been in the Alps. Never mind it was only 86 miles...oh hang on I'm home now and appear to have done 102 miles! To top it all the chip shop was closed! STEVE!!!!

The day started well (it ended well too and was bloody lovely in the middle, just so you know,) with a proper mug of tea and my new middle class breakfast of choice, granola and Greek yoghurt. A spin to the shop and I met up with a crowd of some of my favourite people. Steve of course. Andy P, Ian, Heather, Mark, Kev, Ken and someone I hadn't met before, Darren. Great I thought a newbie, perhaps I'll have some company at the such luck, Darren who views himself as a bit of a beginner kicked all of our butts today. Further more Darren was fueled today by the little blobs of goodness pictured below. I have to get me some of those!


We waited at the shop for a few extra minutes to see if the Princess of Profanity or 'smut crumpet,' as she is known would join us but alas no. It appears that a taxi ride around some great places to ride had worn her right out. Poor poppet!

Can you see this pair of 'nana's? No Andy and Steve I don't mean you. Look at the pockets, it's like synchronised bananaring! On that I have to say I was riding with truly wonderful people. Darren wins the combativity award. Steve was well, you know his 'eloquent as fuck,' self. Andy P is definitely the second most quick witted in the club. Heather is a road warrior, humble about her abilities but my goodness how strong? Ken's snippets of sagacious wisdom. In the hardest part of the ride as I fell off the back in that despicable wind Kev and Ian dragged me along on a road that would have been hideously lonely. Finally Mark who disproves the spitting image song, because he really is a likable South African. I don't know if all cycling clubs are full of people like this but who cares, I know ours is!

There was a lot of great gear in the bunch today. Not least Marks new hoops. It's amazing how good these Chinese Campagnola copies are. They sound great on the roll and and also when braking. OH OK they're real no fakes, it was fun to tease him about it though.

This route, if indeed we were following a route, had a first for me. I've never had to wait at a level crossing on a bike before.

Next we need to address a most serious matter and Forgive me Father for I Hath Sinned! Socks are it's said an important factor in cycling. The Velominati have the following rule:
  1. Rule #27//
    Shorts and socks should be like Goldilocks.
    Not too long and not too short. (Disclaimer: despite Sean Yates’ horrible choice in shorts length, he is a quintessential hard man of cycling and is deeply admired by the Velominati. Whereas Armstrong’s short and sock lengths are just plain wrong.) No socks is a no-no, as are those ankle-length ones that should only be worn by female tennis players.
As you will see below there was a lot of variety on show:

Acceptable sockage

Overshoes? Really I was boiling!!!

Steve was overdressed too

erm...oh...yes well I always wear ankle socks!

To hlep you out and so you don't mes it right up like me. Please access the following link.

Whilst we discussed sock length another thought occurred to me. Frankly I was very knackered and looking forward to Fish and Chips. Perhaps a bit late I decided to check with Steve if we knew the shop would actually be open? Steve assured me it would as he had checked. Now I'm naturally a bit curious so I thought I'd just drill down a bit. It turns out that Steve had checked in is own mind and concluded that they had to be open on bank holiday due to people coming back from the coast. I told Steve there and then it better be open because I didn't want a panini in some poncey coffee shop! Hmmm...I thought and we headed to Thorney, where as you know the chip shop was closed! It is however open at 5pm for people who may or not be heading back from the coast! No matter there was a tea room across the road...also closed!

We consoled ourselves with a quick look around the classic cars. The Cortina estate was a beaut and I hope either my Dad or Uncle get a look at the Rover because it reminded me of Granddad's car. 

Anyway we set off for Stamford which wasn't far apparently. After about an hour we found a sign that said Stamford 10 miles. This was made instantly longer by the Garmin boys taking us the wrong way again. However we did indeed make it to Stamford...

In Stamford we found a cafe, well new fangled coffee shop!

In the new fangled coffee shop I had a 'fucking panini!' I also had my favourite cappuccino with a shot of hazelnut syrup. The hipster barrista bloke was unimpressed by I like it so get lost. The banter flowed as we got a bit of our strength back. Leaving Stamford  we were able to appreciate the scenery fully as we left flat roads and entered the more lumpy and bumpy topography of the Welland Valley. Ken and Andy were particularly taken by it. After the fens it was nice to see something that wasn't flat!

The ride for me now was just a grind. The others had to wait for me continually and kept encouraging me with tows or any energy giving substance they had. Those cliff bloks are good! I'm always the slowest, I don't care though. What a great ride and what a great day!

Finally they tried to taunt me on Facebook by standing outside a closed chip shop in Kettering. Well the last laugh is on you! The most magnificent Lee Lindsley did a tour of chip shops and my tea is pictured below. If you're wondering the Werrington award winning chip shop was open!

Right I need a beer and to binge watch some TV. GoT already done, it's a cracker!

Happy Pedaling

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Just ride!!! It's the answer to most of life's questions!

Lots of things have interfered with my riding lately and subsequently my blogging has been interfered with too. There's been overtime, the Queen of cakes  falling down the stairs accident and a host of other ride limiting factors. I have managed the odd morning ride but nothing that significant. Today however was different. Today was time to ride. Not many friends were available to ride with but I was joined for 46 very sociable miles by Kev.

The only downside to today's ride is that we found every single piece of recently resurfaced road in Northamptonshire. I hate riding on that gritty nonsense and at one point it gave Kev a phantom puncture. What's a phantom puncture you ask? Well we both heard a hissing noise come from his bike indicating instant deflation but neither of his tyres lost pressure! Very weird...stupid little stones!!!

That said we really did have a lovely ride on lovely roads. This was a route I've used before and I have to say I prefer going West or North from Kettering.

Highlights of today's ride include the hills into Spratton, East Farndon, Griffin Road out of Braybrooke and my regular training hill into Harrington. Two of those have been used as QOM segments in the Ladies Tour of Britain. Those are good for you mountain goats, for us downhill specialists a big shout goes out to Isaac Newton for inventing gravity because what goes up must come down. On this route was the wonderous downhill between Sibbertoft and Marston Trussel which was ruined by a van coming up the hill today. Also spoiled was downhill out of East Farndon due to horses on the road. I cant be too critical they're pursuing their hobby in the same way we pursue ours.

On that, there was a lot of fellow lycra loonies out today. We saw Nat out with a very serious looking group, They looked like great zipping past us! Also runners were everywhere. I do feel sorry for them and wonder if someone nicked their bike or if they just never learned to ride. I occasionally go for a ride myself but would never choose running over cycling.

There's a grand old smattering of history with Naesby being on the route. To sum up the importance of Naesby you could say this: The decisive battle of the English Civil War that led to England significantly influencing the establishment of modern democracy. So like big right! I like this website if you want to know more: I just find it weird to imagine such a big old kerfuffle going on in sleepy Northants. 

OK not much else to say, Hopefully this is the start of a bit more regular riding. I know the club have special plans for |Bank Holiday Monday.

Happy Pedaling