>Down, Down, Deeper and Down

>Its not a comment on cycling, or even on my swimming, but it is sadly a comment on certain football teams.

Hmmm lets see Wigan gates of 15,000 and 7th in Premiership. Newcastle, gates of 52,000 and sinking faster than the Titanic. Mike Ashley and his Cockney Mafia aka S*nd*rl*nd Double Agents are doing their jobs superbly. And you thought circuses were no more…. I did think of having the title of this thread as Do you know the Way to MK (with apologies to Dionne Warwick) as its where we will be playing next season.

And as for Leyton Orient last Saturday…..the least said the better.

Cycling wise, I have managed a reasonable(ish) amount of cycling since last week. I managed to ride 44 miles on Wednesday to/from work. I even managed 12.5 miles on Thursday despite driving to and from Dover. I rode over to the LVYCC Committee meeting. I must comment that it is a shame that only 2 of us ride to the meeting and the rest come in their cars. Call themselves cyclists…….

I managed another 40 miles on Friday, a couple of short rides totalling 23 miles over the weekend with Tom and Jo, and then a 40 mile day again today. At least I’m now doing 40miles without too much effort. That must be a good sign.

Sadly, after tomorrow I will not get to ride again this week as I am off to Manchester and not able to take the bike.

Talking about work trips, i have to make 2 comments about my visit to Dover last week.

  1. Vera Lynn lied to me. There were no bluebirds over those cliffs
  2. I was surprised at how many Polish people were before the courts for customs related offences that day. Perhaps it was Polish day in court. In fact, if the Polish and other East European defendants were not before the court, then the morning’s list would have been completed before 11am.

and… talking of the weekend, I drove past Petticoat Lane Market. i have not been to the market itself for many many years. It requires an early start to get oneself down to the market before it gets too packed. From what I remember, it was an interesting morning out. It could be a great day out if one visits the area again in the evening as it is of course also home to Brick Lane and the curry houses there.

Its now less than seven weeks till I am due to start LEJoG. In fact in 2 months time today, I will be hopefully finishing the ride. Its coming round far too fast. I have not even sorted out my route yet, or tried to see if all my kit will fit in my bag etc.

Hopefully by this time next week I will have got closer to being ready.

>Bluebirds?

>Bluebirds? No, I’m not going to Cardiff, well not this week as far as I know. The title will be come apparent when you read on.

I’ve actually managed to get some cycling in this last week. i managed around 190+ miles last week in total, being a Sunday ride of 40 miles, 3 days commuting at 40+ miles and one day halfway commuting (I didn’t cycle home as I went to Nottingham for the weekend by train). I have then managed another 100+ miles this week so far, but only did 22miles on Monday as I travelled down from Nottingham by train.

Saturday was a chance to catch up with that *ahem* nice Mr Tr*lf*rd M*lls when I went up to Barnsley and showed him a copy of the http://www.nufc.com/ website from the 26th anniversary of THAT Brighton cup tie. He took it in great spirit and kept a copy of the printout for his scrap book. At least he can take a joke.

Anyway, back to the title of this thread….I’m not cycling to work tomorrow as I’m off to the South coast to make an appearance at Dover magistrates’ court – purely to observe – honest. Hopefully the court will finish early as I have to get back to London for a committee meeting of Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club in the evening.

Now, how is the planning for LEJoG coming on? i think I have most of the items I need. I have yet to try to see if I can manage to get all my kit into the saddle and handlebar bags.They are rather small bags. Hopefully it will all fit. I may try tomorrow to pack those bags. If the kit doesn’t fit, then I am not sure what I will jettison as I am already travelling with as little kit as I can.

The route planning has only got as far as Lancaster so far. I did have the route to Carlisle planned, but forgot to save it on the PC – D’oh! Any ideas on routes North of Carlisle?

>Manchester

>Mixed emotions today as I’ve just found out today that I’ve got to go to Manchester for 2 nights/ 3 days in a couple of weeks time for work.

Manchester is of course where I went to university and is of course the home of great music like The Smiths, Oasis etc. I like the city. The bad news is that it will mean missing another 3 days of cycling as I can’t take my bike with me.

Never mind. At least I got to choose the hotel we are all staying in. It is a hotel that has very happy memories for me from my last trip to Manchester for work some 2 years 8 months ago. there is a Wetherspoons pub opposite the hotel that I remember well. I spent a great night in there reading a book on the Manchester gang scene and sending texts that started a whole new chapter in my life….

So far this week, I’ve only ridden 3 out of four days, but have done at least 40 miles each day I have ridden and it feels good to be getting some semi-decent mileage in again. I have been using the saddle bag I will be taking with me- It seems awfully small to take 2 weeks worth of kit….

I am going to have to try soon to pack all my kit into the saddlebag and the bar bag and see if it will all fit. I will also have to see what it feels like to ride with 2 weeks worth of kit carried on the bike.

I have also started to try to plan the route for my ride. I have done as far as Lancaster, which should take me five days, all being well. I have accommodation there as my cousin is going to put me up for the night- Thanks Andy & Jan 🙂

>Blue Monday

>Well, its not me who is blue today, although my language maybe.

I managed to get 43 miles in today which i was pleased with given the weather was rather windy. I cycled the long way to work, doing 21 miles into a strong head wind, and had a tail wind home. Better that way round than the opposite.

I finally got the chance to use my saddle bag as I now have the replacement bracket for it.I thought I would try riding to work with it for a few days to ensure I have worked out how to fit it and to see how it affects the handling of the bike. It feels odd not to be carrying a rucksack and as I set off both this morning and tonight I had the feeling I had forgotten something. It was just the feeling of freedom from the rucksack straps.

I do have to say that I am starting to panic at how small the saddlebag is. I do not know how I am going to get all my kit in it for two weeks cycling. It is starting to look as if I will either whiff a bit by the time I get to JoG or I will have to try to find a launderette at regular intervals on the way.

No cycling tomorrow as I’m back to the Crown Court sitting at Canterbury for a spot of drug importation, money laundering and the like.

Only 60 days to go

>What Difference Does it Make?

>This is a question that I’m sure many of us ask regularly.

Well, as far as training is concerned, it makes a lot of difference. I actually got out and rode on a Sunday for the first time in ages. Many thanks to Tom for ensuring I got out and put in some 40miles round the Essex lanes. A lumpy ride in a strong south westerly wind made for good practice. I got to ride my good bike for the first time in months and remembered why I like that bike. It is a shame its not the one I’ll be LEJoGing on, but it doesn’t have mudguards, or room to fit them. It was a sobering thought to think that after today’s 40miles that that is only around 1/2 the distance I will have to do every day for a fortnight.

I have managed to get a few more arrangements sorted out for the ride now. I made a list of all the things i will need to take with me. Then when I remembered how small my Carradice Longflap Saddle bag is, I tried to prune the list, but only ended up adding more items to the list.

I now have my luggage bag(s) sorted, the saddlebag and the handlebar bag. I have also sourced a couple of minor items i need to get and now just have to work out how to use the GPS device and plot my route to upload into it.

Anyone fancy offering me accommodation en route?

I took my touring bike into the bike shop this weekend and whilst looking at what needed doing, discovered signs of fatigue in the wheel rim, so am having to fork out for a new rear wheel. However, better now than finding this out halfway to JoG.

>This Charming Man

>Another week passes, another week less training time.

As I write this, I’ve not long got back from my cultural trip back in time to the land that time forgot – yes, the West country. As I said last time, I promised Jo trip to St James’s Park, so we drove via SW1 in London and passed that park and Hyde Park as well as we headed for the 1950s. Fortunately, I had my sat nav in the car to guide me. It doesn’t express surprise that we pass Swindon and Bath on the M4 going to Bristol to get on the M5. Nor does the sat nav express surprise that the M5 heads to the Midlands as well as to Devon!

The Sat Nav eventually gets us to Exeter in time to check into the hotel, and find a pub or 2 before the game. Its great to find a pub within 50 yards of the turnstiles. It means you can still be drinking at 14:55 and still see kick off. St James’s Park can look like this on a match day.

Alternatively, it can look like this.
or this
Guess which one we were at?

The observant ones will note the double yellow lines on the road in the external picture of the ground. These are there to stop the locals blocking the streets by parking their tractors in the narrow streets round the ground. Sadly Darlington came out second best on the day. however the referee deserves a mention as in the 1st half, he gave nearly every decision Darlington’s way and in the second half he evened it up by giving every decision Exeter’s way. At least Jo was pleased her acquaintance didn’t score for Darlington, which was a shame as it could have livened up the game. I did have a moment of panic just before the game when I realised it was almost exactly 30 years ago to the day when the mighty Newcastle went to then 4th division Exeter for a cup replay and in front of the Sportsnight cameras managed to lose 4-0. [Just a thought, it wasn’t Tr&lf@rd Mills referring that night was it?]

An interesting night out was had in Exeter, lots to drink, including a pub doing buy one pint get one free on a Saturday night in the main high street. Then there was the nice bar that Jo took me into which had an army theme night and lots of couples making out with each other. i did try to point out that it is more common for couples to be of different sexes. Perhaps Jo will one day explain why and how she sought out the gay bar in Exeter.

Women can be strange creatures, and very unreasonable can’t they. I took on board Jo’s comments under my previous post about wanting to go to a Michelin restaurant, but she got most stroppy when I took her to the transport cafe at the Michelin tyre centre in Exeter for lunch on Saturday. I had to pacify her by promising her something romantic for later. Every man knows that women like breakfast in bed, so to try to be romantic after our night out in Exeter, I treated her to a meal in bed. Even then that was apparently the wrong thing to do. She said something about eating Chinese in bed in the early hours of a Sunday morning is not romantic. We men can’t win can we?

Sunday brought a very long trip home thanks to the reluctance of my motor car to start and the embarrassment for the driver of the breakdown truck when his vehicle also refused to start.

Anyway, what is happening on the cycling front I hear you ask? [Ok, its not you I hear asking, its the voices in my head telling me to start fires that I hear]. Well I managed to cycle Tuesday- Friday to work, but not as many miles as I would have liked, but I did eventually get in over 450 miles for the month. I have purchased a saddlebag now and the support bracket for it as well. however on Friday when I tried them out, it turns out the bracket is broken. A replacement bracket is as elusive as a [insert appropriate comment here]. I have had to arrange to get a different type of bracket and hopefully will have that next week. The saddle bag claims to be 23 litres in size. It looks very small. I’m going to have to travel very light! I’m going to need a change of clothes and a good shave etc when I get to the end of the ride!

I’m still trying to learn how to use the GPS device. Anyone know what the difference between a way point and a route point is? What is a track and what is a route? Tom, you are doing IT at school aren’t you? …I’ve got a job for you on the weekend…