We're at the end of the second full week of thirty days of biking now.
Again, a full week of commutes lies behind me. It's been a tolerably easy week for those, with some ok weather, and the worst of it being an annoying drizzle on a couple of mornings, rather than anything worse.
Towards the weekend, I've picked up a niggle in my left knee, that left me limping around on Friday evening, and hobbling at the weekend.
I'd already decided to do a short ride on Saturday, after feeling quite fatigued last week. In the end, this was a slightly forced affair - we headed out en famille to Crewe, in the car, and I loaded the Brompton in the boot, and rode back. An easy two and a half miles or so, spinning as much as I could to avoid stressing my knee.
On Sunday, my knee was no better, but I was still determined to ride. I ummed and ahhed about the route, deciding on NCN70 (the Cheshire Cycleway) in the direction of Audlem and Wrenbury, as I remembered it as being reasonably flat. The plan was not to go too hard, spin the pedals in a lowish gear, and I set myself a goal of 30 miles.
It was a grim ride, in some ways. Firstly, my recollection of the route was pretty far out, rolling, with occasional steep parts, that made it hard to settle to any sort of rhythm in my pedalling. My knee grumbled at every attempt to put serious power through it, and I ended up pulling that leg through with my right leg on the steeper parts. My continuous feeling on the ride was that I lacked gears to suit my new pedalling - either too low, with me "catching" the pedals on every rotation, or too high, with my knee shrieking at the effort. The bike I've ridden since 2007 was suddenly unfamiliar, alien, and at times only sheer bloody mindedness kept me rolling towards my mileage target.
With all that, even this ride had its wonderful moments - pedalling up through Englesea Brook, I saw young squirrels playing on a tree stump, and the spring flowers were in bloom all along the route. The weather was wonderful, the roads quiet, and the views breathtaking.
With a functioning knee, this sort of thing is my idea of fun.
Riding back, I discovered a new part of the Cheshire Cycleway that allows me to cut out a dull, high speed single carriageway that I've never particularly liked riding. Funny how a route you know can still throw up surprises.
Although it didn't feel like it at the time, I think "spinning" my knee has been good for it - it feels better today than it did on Friday, and I was able to put more power through my left leg on today's commute than I was on Sundays ride - hopefully it will continue to improve.