Privy life

Checking in!

 

We’ve only got an outside toilet at our new house now.

Gloves, hat and torch are required! The youth of today believe a smart phone is necessary for entertainment whilst on the loo – nope – not when you’ve only got a privy. Too cold for that nonsense. Entertainment comes in the form of keeping an eye out for spiders, mice etc. instead.

 

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Okay so this isn’t our outside loo!

 

Here’s a gallery of the latest demolition works.

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Despite all of this work, I have managed to get on my bike two small times for some exploring. We have a massive hill, 0.75miles away from our house. When I looked at the gradient stats it got up to 14%. It’s just under a mile long and at the top we have a great view of our house and garden. There’s so much more to explore, and lots and lots of ruralness 🙂

 

I might escape out on my bike tomorrow, whilst the boys work. I tried today but ended up going to the tip and then later on brushing up the dust. A lucky escape from what would have been a very wet ride.

 

Off to sleep in the outhouse now.

 

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When sleeping inside no longer becomes viable.

 

Laura 🙂

Progress and a special birthday

We completed on our house on Friday, and have since completely wrecked it and ourselves! Today is the first day in a few months where I have felt complete and utter -fall asleep in meetings – exhaustion. And I haven’t even done any training.

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Arriving after 9pm in a loud van, trying to reverse into a tight space…ooops sorry new neighbours!

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Finally, I packed the essentials:

 

 

BUT, who’s bitthday is it?! Well, according to Facebook, its a year since I collected my Ribble; talking of which…it’s about time it comes down from the winch.

 

 

When the weather man gets it wrong

After (fair) comments in the office this week, about the state of my filthy bike, I decided to wash it. A proper wash! Something the chain was rather resistant to at first, having previously been re-lubed on top of the dirty stuff.

It was a lovely morning, and weirdly, I decided to clean my bike BEFORE going out on a ride. The weather was forecast as pretty nice all day, so I thought I would have lunch and go out for a ride this afternoon.

But, when I was about half way through (wheels off), and was filling a bucket with water and bubbles it occurred to me that the bubbles were really rather unruly. There were white bits everywhere. But then, at about the same point that a Robin, looking rather pleased, came to sit with me, I realised it was snowing.

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Snow beginning to settle

Snow isn’t the ideal weather for bike washing, but I carried on anyway. Needless to say though, I have ditched the idea of going for a ride this afternoon. I mainly just want to warm up.

Anyone know any bike washers for hire?

 

(The pictures make the snow look really rather pathetic!)

 

 

Hello there, have you missed me?

Hello 2016! Hello Cyclists! Hello Loyal Followers!

Are you still there?!?

It’s been a while. Sorry about that.

So much has happened. I turned 30! I finished the taught section of my Masters, 2016 came along and we’re buying a house!

But, not very much training or blogging has happened. In my defence, I am trying to write a Dissertation proposal.

Its just under 16 weeks until Vatternrundan. That’s around 112 days and I am extremely unfit. When should one start to train for something like this? I don’t want to overdo it again.

Talking of which, I don’t know if I have fully recovered from my fatigue. I may still be fatigued, or I may have become lazy, or it might just be that I have lost fitness. I can now do 20 miles without too much trouble, but after that things begin to get a bit tougher – I may just be unfit though.

I’ve become a cyclocommuter – which is about 10 miles a day. Every little helps, but I am planning on doing a little more each week to try to build the fitness back up. I know I should also be doing core fitness but how do you fit it all in!?!

Hopefully it won’t be so long until next time. Being out on the bike will bring inspiration I am sure.

Laura

 

 

A change of branding

I’ve been thinking for a while that I should change the branding of my blog; “Laura Kate cycles London…the trials of a novice cyclist attempting 100 miles..” really isn’t relevant anymore. I’ve not really had the time to do anything about it though – but now I have a reason and it was a fairly simple change too.

We are going to Sweden!!!!!!!

We spent all weekend considering it, and decided that now is the time to do it. It’s going to be a mission, an adventure and extremely hard but hopefully somewhere in there it will be amazing and kind of fun too!

So, we will leave after work, drive to the coast, hop on a ferry – sleep on the ferry for 8 hours, drive for something insane like an entire day, sleep, drive, cycle over night, sleep, drive, ferry…home, work. Work for about 2 weeks and then go to the Alps for some light relief.

At least cycling overnight means that you need one less bed and breakfast!

Better hope these supplements I’m taking help me to recover!

Laura

Vatternrundan

Vatternrundan Registration

Vatternrundan Registration

On Wednesday evening, we set the computers up side by side – copied our registration codes, ready to be pasted and watched the screen refresh over and over again – until 1900 Sweden time (1800 here) when the registration link appeared for Vatternrundan!

We quickly pasted in the codes and pressed send.

Done.

A bit of an anti-climax to be honest – we expected to have to do more. BUT we didn’t have to wait long until we received e-mails notifying us that we had been successful and that our start times were 2156 and 2206 (me first) on 17 June 2016.

EXCITING! – We are going to Sweden!!!!

And then we realised – Sweden is hard to get to, its quite far away and we only have a long weekend. Oh, and Vatternrundan is over 180 miles of cycling (not to mention that one of us can barely manage 20 miles at the moment!). Unbelievably, neither of us had considered how we, and two bikes might actually GET to Sweden.

So, we have 5 days (well 3 now) in which to pay, else we lose our places – 5 days to work out whether getting to Sweden cycling for about 17 hours and then getting back is possible!

Laura

An unbelievably small world

‘My’ team – Swindon Town Football Club’ (STFC), are going through a rough patch: bottom of the table, no manager and a lot of losses to their name.

So, while watching a rather boring game this evening (and another loss), my brother and I were chatting. I was telling him about a chap that Ollie and I came across in Central Park whilst we were riding our city bikes… A road cyclist who whilst cycling past us had said “When you want to get into road biking check out my bike shop – Echelon Cycles”.

I explained to Chris that after the guy had cycled by, Ollie and I had decided to race him; we got up to top speed on our basket-ed, heavy city bikes and whizzed by him – giggling and teasing him a little. Then we had a little chat.

And that was the extent of our encounter.

Chris responded, that he had met a NYC bike shop owner once, in Lake Garda. Of course, there is no chance it could be the same guy. Could it?

It turns out though, that it absolutely could, and was, the same chap that my brother and his friend met and cycled with for three days in Lake Garda in 2012.

How strange is that?

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Ollie in Central Park

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Me in Central Park

A change in perceptions

I think I would generally consider America to be the home of the motor car. Why? Well, the wide roads, the drive-thru’s (banks, food, pharmacies etc…), Henry Ford, and the general necessity to own a car in a country so broad. Surely riding a bike on these large roads, with huge trucks steaming past just doesn’t happen. 

On the other hand I consider England to be one of the big cycling nations. Why? I grew up knowing about cycling; my Grandad is a cyclist, my uncle was and as he grew up my brother became the next generation cyclist. The UK has some cycling greats: Wiggins, Froome and Cav; Before them: Hoy, Boardman, Simpson and Holland. And the girls… Pendleton, Trott and Armitstead. We have the Tour of Britain and compete strongly in the Tour De France. The Olympics of 2012 brought a renewed passion for the sport, and the launch of the Ride London sportive. 

But these were just my perceptions, based on exposure.
In reality, Canada and the USA have an extensive network of cycle lanes, multi-activity lanes and cycle-specific routes. Toronto has a cycle map which enables you to plan a safe cycle route through the city and some of these lanes even have their own traffic lights. But they have implemented more than just an infrastructure, the drivers have complete respect for cyclists; they yield to cyclists at junctions, or when a cycle path crosses a road. 

Conversely, with exception to London, the cycle network in the UK is either non-existent or unreliable. Road cyclists avoid cycle tracks due to the likelihood of them turning to gravel or becoming unrideable. Cycle lanes are shared with BUSES! And outside of the main towns and cities, nothing exists. We probably have slightly quieter roads, but they are smaller and have faster speed limits. Finally there is a complete lack of understanding, and thus respect, between cyclists and drivers – probably due to them having been thrown together in uncomfortably shared circumstances. Something which has caused a vicious circle or self-fulfilling prophecy to develop in which drivers and cyclists expect each other to exhibit certain behaviours and thus act defensively or aggressively in anticipation. 

To sum up, our two holidays this year have both left me wishing we had the cycling infrastructure of our foreign cousins – extensive, pleasant, well-kept and accessible. 

I wonder how NYC deals with cycle traffic…