Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some Words on #30DaysOfBiking

Depending on when I get around to publishing this, we'll be nearly halfway through the challenge by this point.

Artist's (well my) impression of riding home last week.

Here, between Manchester and Crewe, it's been mercifully dry for most of the days to now, albeit with a strength and motivation sapping wind on my homeward commutes.

I'm sad to say that I've already missed one day - a Sunday (should have been a banker, I always ride Sundays) that I spent mostly trying to catch naughty dogs who didn't want to be walked, and doing other non cycling tasks that needed to be done - in the afternoon, the Tour of Flanders was on Eurosport, and I wasn't about to miss that.  I toyed with the idea of turning a pedal around the block, but it seemed like cheating. So as of now, my challenge is #29Daysofbiking.

All my commutes so far have been done in full, even on the day that the guard slept in, and my train left 30 minutes late (I was sorely tempted to ride in comfort all the way to Manchester, but did disembark to complete a 13 mile cycle commute rather than a 3 mile one).

Non commuting rides (all three of them) have been a mixture of the quotidian and exceptional.

We learn about right turns.

I took a ride into Crewe with my son to collect his pre-ordered 3DS, and sort out a Mothers' Day gift, he on his Decathlon Rockrider, and me on the Brompton.  It was a lovely day, and we rode partly on the road, and partly on shared paths - at some points we walked the bikes, largely because I thought tackling roundabouts in traffic was a bit advanced for the lad just now.  The sad truth is that British roads aren't very forgiving places for people just learning, because the space given to any cyclist, even young ones, by drivers is usually too small to allow for honestly made mistakes. As we got closer to town, it was simply quicker to walk than to sit with the traffic, which was fairly crawling into Crewe (again, I thought filtering a bit advanced at this point in his cycling career).

The distance we rode to town is something like two and a half miles, and I reckon we rode past about a mile of queueing traffic on the way.  We also got to leave the bikes in the town centre sheffield stands, rather than at a car park we'd have to walk from.  The whole business was eminently utilitarian and practical, and I can only assume that the folk who chose to drive instead were either physically infirm in some way, or were carrying lots of heavy things :)

The following Saturday, I rode a part of NCN5 that I'd always turned back from previously.

Looking Back Down the Towpath. This was the day before Paris Roubaix, and some cobbles seemed appropriate

Although it's possible to do towpaths on the SCR2.0, I'd sooner have more rubber between me and that sort of surface, and the LHT's 42c tyres are much more appropriate to this route.


From the bridge near Lock 49 (I think).

The cobbled ramps up to the locks on this route proved to be pretty interesting to ride - even on 42c tyres they felt a little skittery.  It was a leisurely sort of a ride, with lots of care needed because of folk out walking (our canals lack the wide paths that grace those I saw in Belgium) but none the worse for that.

On the way back, I spotted this sign on Newton's Lane - either someone knows something I don't, or preparations for next winter are VERY advanced in South Cheshire.

This was a ride I did now solely because of the #30daysofbiking challenge - I can't say for sure how long it would have languished on my "Wonder where that goes" list otherwise.  It's a joy to release the LHT from commuting duties and take it on some different routes - although still a road bike (low bottom bracket, &c) it's versatile enough with those big tyres to take on routes I'd not attempt on the SCR2, and surprisingly lively without commuting luggage.

The following Sunday I rode a quick 25 miles or so on the SCR2, the first time that bike had been out since last year, I think.  5 miles of somewhat achey adjustment to the different riding position ensued, as did a slightly longer period of wishing I'd done more to maintain my fitness over the winter.


An accurate sign, and an appropriately equipped bike.

A fairly unremarkable ride really, in the sense that I've done the route before plenty of times, and there were no surprises, nasty or otherwise.  Remarkable in the sense that being out in beautiful countryside, and covering that distance under your own steam is always remarkable.  It makes me feel lucky to be in Cheshire, with so much lovely countryside at hand, and to have cycling as an interest. 

However your #30daysofbiking is going, I hope you're taking the time to tick off some "one day" routes too.

Posted via email from monkeyphoto's posterous

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