>The Heat Is On

>The Heat is indeed on at present. London is very hot humid and sticky. That is both during the day and the night time. The weather forecaster tonight said temperature in London won’t fall below 19C, which is apparently the average temperature in the daytime for this time of year. Hot & sweaty time in bed- and I’m alone! It can’t be said that there “ain’t no sunshine” to end June.

I’d love to tell you all about the wonderful week of preparation I have had for the remaining stage of my ride. However, I have not done loads. I did 15 miles on Monday from work to home, 41+ miles on each of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and nothing on Friday as I didn’t ride to work.

Saturday brought a day on the bike with Jo, (she’s my “girlfriend” and for the doubters amongst you, “the girl is mine”) in for the main part strong sunshine and lots of heat & humidity. We were out for 9 hours, but only managed 20 miles as I was helping out at Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club for 3 or so hours in the morning. Then after that we rode down to Beckton as Jo wanted to go shopping. We then had a rather pleasant lunch and rode back into Ilford, via Halfords for another new mirror for Jo’s bike. We sat in the park at Ilford for about an hour or so watching the cricket before the rain came.

I say rain, it was actually, rain, hail, thunder and lightning. It was a very heavy down pour and we had a couple of miles to ride getting pelted by hailstones. Once home we watched a spectacular storm and the heavy rain.

Sunday brought about another beautiful morning, and a ride up into Central London for coffee and lunch in St James’ Park before riding along the Thames to the Isle of Dogs and an ice cream in Greenwich, before riding home via Woolwich and the ferry and then Beckton, Barking and Goodmayes. A total ride of 41.5miles. It was very hot and humid and not pleasant to ride a long distance. Praise must go to Jo for achieving by far her longest ever ride especially in the strength zapping humidity.

Back home after the ride, the reaction to catching the sun over the last 2 days differed. Jo was horrified that she has “strap” marks on her shoulders from her vest top, whereas I display my two tone cyclists suntanned arms and legs as a badge of honour.

Riding up into Central London took us past the end of Brick Lane/ Petticoat Lane and reminded me that it is many years since I made an early start to visit the market(s) there on a sunny (or otherwise)Sunday morning. I will have to get myself up there again and see how it has changed over the years.

It did dawn on me today, that since I returned home from Scotland, I have not ridden a single mile on a geared bike. All my riding has been on one of my two fixed wheel bikes. Was that a sensible idea? – only the next few days will tell me the answer. Its always strange switching back to riding a geared bike and being able to freewheel.

Well in addition to riding my bike, I have entered and paid for Tom (my son) and I to do the London – Southend bike ride in July. This is organised by the same people who arrange the London- Brighton event each year. Its a similar distance, but instead of 27,000 people going to Brighton there are only about 5000 riders riding to Southend. This suits Tom and I as it means we can ride without having to stop and try to avoid those once a year ( or less often) people on bikes who have no road sense and who can’t ride either up a bank or in a straight line. This year’s ride is on 19th July from victoria Park in Hackney Come along and join us. Tom & I will be aiming to be amongst the first riders off at 0700 after having riden up to the start (about 7-8 miles). Last year we did an incredibly fast time aided by a very strong tailwind – no not the sprout & baked bean curry the night before!

I have now hopefully sorted out my route planning for the last 4 days of this ride and just have to pack my bag, and I’m ready to go. Is just “human nature” to want to go back and finish what I started. I’m not going to let Scotland get the better of me, I’m going to “beat it”. 650 miles done and about 300 to go, so that voice keeps saying to me “we’re almost there.” mind you, what has that voice done to deserve some of the credit, I’m not sure.

Departure time looms and the little voice in my head is saying “we’re almost there.” Hopefully my next blog entry will be after the adventure has started again. I’m due to travel on the overnight sleeper train tomorrow night from London Euston to Crianlarich. Being the snob that I am, its a first class sleeper for me. I mean, if I went second class I may have to share a compartment with some fat slob who would snore and break wind all night.

I’ve never travelled on a sleeper train, so this will be a new adventure for me. I’d had many memorable train trips and slept on trains, tubes, metros etc, but not in a sleeper train in the UK. I did once travel to Berlin from the Hook of Holland in a couchette on a dutch train, but for some reason there was no bedding in our compartment. I still blame Mr Stella and his mates Mr Vodka and Mr Bacardi for that! Not all memorable train trips were memorable for sleeping, but at this point I’m going to follow my legal adice and say “no comment” to all further questions as what you hear may make you think that I’m “bad”.

I’m grateful to have “one more chance” to complete this trip and am going to give it my best effort. After all “what more can I give”. Another failure would make me want to “cry”. Some of the big hills to come have the benefit of big descents down the other side. Bombing down those at speed will be a bit of a “thriller”

The weather forecast for London for the rest of the week is getting hotter and sunnier. Instead, where I’m going in Scotland, there “ain’t no sunshine”, instead its 4 days of rain forecast!

Well its time for me to end another “off the wall” blog entry, so I’ll “remember the time” & head for bed now.

Just got to say hello to Tom who is also going to join Jo & my parents in Scotland to support me, or is that jeer me? I’ll be in JoG by Saturday night, the question now is “will you be there.”

>Scarborough Fair

>Well its now only 9 days till I set off again to do battle with Scotland. since I returned from Crianlarich, I have not ridden more than 40 miles in a day, but have averaged about 30 miles each week days.

This weekend, I have made important preparations for the trip. I attended the Cyclist Touring Club’s annual York Rally and made my annual shopping for cycle kit and accessories, numerous inner tubes, new shoes, bib tights, patches,etc etc. Then it was on to Scarborough for the night. Trips to the seaside are always memorable. This was no exception. Ice cream on the seafront, good food, good company. More importantly, I received some birthday presents even though my birthday was days ago!

Back to Nottingham today, and its the train to London tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I will get a few miles in this week and at the weekend. Then its time to sort out final preparations before the sleeper train on Tuesday night to Crianlarich. I have had some interesting adventures on the train in the past and some incidents I’ll not repeat on a family website, but I have never slept in a bed on a train.

I have not yet sorted out my route. I have made a number of amendments in my mind to the route, extending it by about 15-20 miles to avoid a nasty hill at the end of one day.

I should have a few people to cheer me on as not only are my parents going to be there, but Jo has taken a couple of days off work and is driving all the way to JoG to be there when I finish, and then drive me back to Nottingham before I head off to London.

This last week has been a busy one for me, with my mother, sister, brother and my son Tom visiting me on Monday & Tuesday and then I travelled to York & Scarborough. I even fitted in a visit to the Doctor and to the hospital. Far more importantly though, the football fixture lists came out this week, so I can start plotting my weekends till May.

>The Boy Does Nothing

>Well its over 2 weeks since my LEJoG was temporarily halted by that pesky muscle injury.

The title of the post is pretty accurate for what I have been up to in the intervening time. After the injury struck, Jo had to drive for the next few days as I couldn’t even drive. Those who know me will realise how bad my injury must have been to make me agree to be a passenger not driver in a car. Its no comment on Jo’s driving, but more on the fact that I am the world’s worst passenger in a car.

We drove up as far as Inverness, but I refused to go to JoG as that is to be achieved on my bike. We drove back via Aviemore and stayed a night there, then 2 nights in Edinburgh, 2 on Tyneside, a visit to Beamish Open Air Museum included. I thoroughly recommend the place, but it is a full day visit.

I got the chance to show Jo the beautiful scenery in Northumberland, including a drive over to Holy Island as the tide was just going out as we got to the Causeway. I also got to see my favourite view in England, the castle at Bamburgh. It is beautiful and I think Jo appreciates now why I keep going on about it so much. Driving from Bamburgh to Tyneside brought back memories of childhood day trips to the coast and also memories of various courts I have visited when I used to work on Tyneside.

We spent a night at my parents house and met up with my sister and her partner there. Sadly as ever my parents temperance views prevailed at dinner ;-). The next day we went to Scarborough to visit Jo’s parents and to see her father on his birthday. I had to suffer the pain of watching on TV Newcastle drop out of the Premier League as well that day. 2 tragic events in one week for me. If I had not planned to do LEJoG, I would have been at Villa Park for the wake. Never mind- Old Trafford, The Emirates and Anfield are no match for trips to Scunthorpe, Plymouth and Bristol City.

A comment on the weather in Scotland- it rained, and when it was not raining, it was wet and foggy.

The rest of the last week was spent in Nottingham doing very little, apart from on Friday when I ventured onto my bike for a gentle 20 miles round the water sport centre in Nottingham. It is flat and therefore was no strain on my leg.

Monday brought a return to work, and a cycle commute- back on my fixed wheel bike. Its like what I imagine being reunited with a former lover again feels like! I did 30 miles yesterday, but did not commute home as I was staying in London the night. I did another 22 tonight on the way home and all appears well with the muscle so far.

The countdown to my return to Crianlarich is on! Only 250 miles left to ride on LEJoG