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March 09, 2007


[this post is probably only really of interest to me, it's just a diary entry so I remember what I'm up to these days. You have been warned!]

Some of you may know that I spend a lot of my time cycling. I have a folding Brompton bicycle which I ride to the station in the morning, then catch a train, then ride up from Waterloo in London to my office near Bank. With the return journey, I'm covering approximately 15km a day.

Here's a picture of my Brompton folded up on the train Image009

I also cycle at weekends, doing a long ride on a Sunday morning of between 60 and 80 km. And I try my best to fit in 30-60 minutes on a stationary bike midweek too.

Even so, I wasn't sure how I'd cope with a commuting the whole distance to work, cutting out the train completely. Long rides can be quite draining, and I was worried I'd

Yesterday the weather forecast was for a fine day, so I made my preparations and set off from Ascot at 6am in the predawn light. It was a little chilly, but nowhere near freezing. It was very pleasant really to watch the sun come up and the mist on the River Thames outside Chertsey. Traffic was fairly light and I made good time to Kingston and into Richmond Park by about 7.10am. Once out of the park though, and onto the Lower Richmond Road and Putney Bridge, the heavy traffic forced me into a stop-start pattern which endured right to Bank. I'm used to clipless pedals, where your feet are physically attached to your bike and you can get much more power into each stroke. I'm used to having to unclip my left foot at traffic lights to avoid the ignomy of losing balance and falling over into an untidy and painful heap. But I'm not used to doing it quite so much, or so suddenly. And getting my foot firmly clipped back into the pedal again when I'm trying to pull away in front of ferocious motorists is a little intimidating. I managed though, and only whacked my ankle on the pedal painfully once.

I'm very competitive when I get on two wheels, and hate being overtaken by other bikes. I had to remind myself that I shouldn't worry today, as the people passing me probably hadn't cycled 50km over the last two hours and had fresher legs - it didn't always work though, there was no way anyone on a mountain bike was allowed to beat me.

So I made it to the office safely completing almost exactly 60km in 2 hours 25 minutes. When I use the train the same journey takes 1 hour 40 minutes. Of course, then I had to make my way over to my gym for a shower and clothes change. My cold legs and feet went bright red as very welcome hot water splashed over them.

Things to remember for next time - bike lock. I left my bike in our underground carpark, unlocked. It's guarded, but even so I was worried all day. Also, rememeber train pass. I forgot my pass and so any option for going home by rail was out - I'm far too mean to buy a ticket twice.

I didn't actually feel very tired - maybe the stop-start nature of the riding in the last hour allowed me enough rest. I wasn't too worried therefore by the thought of doing the return trip by bike again. But even by leaving at 4:30pm I knew I wouldn't be home in time, and also would be cycling in the dark in the evening rush hour, and for various reasons it was convenient to be picked up by car at 6pm in Staines. It wasn't sunny any more, but still daylight, and off I set.

I am not much of a fan of turning right across traffic, and I also missed an easy left turn outside Richmond so I ended up taking a different route this time. The only time I actually got any speed up was a 2.5 mile stretch of the A308 into Staines. I went right along the Thames embankment, over Putney Bridge and along to Richmond. Through Hanworth and then Feltham and on to Staines. I *hate* traffic lights, and wish I was one of those cyclists who feel free to ignore them.

I completed 40Km in around 90 minutes, making a total of 100km for the day. Once the days are a bit longer, I think with a 5.30am start to get more traffic-free riding, and a bit of work on my routing, I can seriously challenge the train times, and get fit enough for the 180km leg of my Ironman race in June.

Posted by se71 at March 9, 2007 09:49 AM


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