>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.”

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