Taken for a ride

It turns out that the end of the solo season doesn’t mean the end of 2015 cycling all together. Throughout the year we have neglected the tandem; opting to get solo training in instead. So after a week of complete rest it seemed the perfect time to take the tandem out for a spin! It was Ollie’s suggestion and I was under strict instructions to not over do it. It was great fun! We hooted at every road cyclist, much to their dislike!

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Tandem-ing is not a winter sport!

Today I learnt that:

1. Tandeming is not a winter sport. I can’t put my finger on why, but Ollie agrees. The tandem has gone into hibernation.

2. £3 saddles are priced as such for a reason. (A few months ago we popped into the expensive bike shop in town for a look, and came across their bargain box where we found three £60 saddles for £3 each, which of course we had to buy. Two for the tandem, and one for Ollie’s carbon bike).

3. Log fires in yurts are amazing.

4. Returning to the cold and having to cycle another 40 miles is not amazing.

5. I need lenses in my cycling glasses that will change themselves according to the light. It was bright this morning, I needed the tint, but by this evening I had to take them off and get rain in my eyes because I could no longer see anything.

We planned and rode a three part ride today; 35 miles solo followed by 20 tandem miles and finished off with another 20 solo miles. The weather was cold but dry and bright this morning, quite breezy but nothing like the gales of the past few days. We cycled to Ollie’s house, the long way, and dropped off our solo bikes so that we could go to lunch in the tandem. A couple of extra pairs of socks were also added! Matching, should have been expensive saddles were being trialled.

Needless to say mine will be going on to E-Bay.

After a great lunch at Jolly Nice, which is not far from Minchinhampton, we went back to Ollie’s house to reunite ourselves with our road bikes (we were happy to see them!)

Despite Ollie’s lodger insisting that we wouldn’t get rained on, we did, but it wasn’t heavy and we have faced a lot worse weather over the past month! The wind was the worst part of the ride home, mainly coming from the side, doing its best to dislodge us from our saddles. And then combined with the dark, it was all rather spooky. All in all a good day out in the saddle though and some good winter miles to add to the Strava counter.

Laura

The A-Z of 2014

A – Amazing/August: 2014 has been an amazing year and there was a massive build up to the main event in August.
B – Bicycle/Bertha/Blog: Bicycle speaks for itself. Bertha did her best to ruin the day. This blog has been great fun.
C – Century/Cadence/Caffeine: Completion of a century was the main goal of the year. Cadence was new to me, but made a difference when applied correctly. Caffeine was an amazing find.
D – Devizes/Dame: Devizes is where the 100 was finally completed. Dame cycling introduced me to many opportunities and lovely people throughout the year.
E – Energy: I never seem to have much anymore. 😄
F – Family: Were extremely supportive, and I wouldn’t have completed 100 miles without them.😘
G – Grand-beings: A new term, used to describe Grandparents and their various animals, as a collective.
H – Hurricane Bertha: Arrived at just the wrong time!
I – Italy: A great, cycle heavy holiday to relax after London!
J – Job: 2014 saw me starting a new job.
K – Killer hills: I still haven’t grown to love them. 😓
L – London: Closed roads, a hurricane and amazing crowds.
M -Master’s: It will be worth it. But it steals bike time.
N – Night riding: The Runway Rumble. Great fun and so disorientating in the dark.
O – One Hundred: The focus of the year.
P – Puncture: Way too many of these on 10th August.
Q – QOMs: I’ve actually got a few!!!
S – Sizzler: The Savernake SIzzler, our first big challenge.
T – Time trial/ Tandem/ Triathlon: So much choice! first time trial, first tandem purchase and my first team triathlon event.
U – Umbrella: Even an umbrella wouldn’t have helped on 10th August.
V – Vomit: What I’ve been scared of happening ever since the projectile vomit occurrence.
W – Wiggle: Great online cycling shop, Where all of my money goes. So addictive.
X – Xmas Day Cycling: A new up and coming tradition, which takes advantage of quiet roads and the laziness of other road users.
Y – Yellow Jersey: The only Y word I could think of.
Z – Zzzzzz: All of this cycling is tiring.

Happy New Year! 😃😀

Reflection on a year to treasure

Wow, it’s almost a month since I last posted.

Today is my birthday! 🙂

So I thought that I would briefly reflect on an interesting year. In fact one of the best years.

Since my last birthday I have:

  • been accepted to ride in a sportive I didn’t even enter
  • started this blog, to discuss the sportive which I didn’t even enter
  • projectile vomited, thanks to a bike ride
  • met the perfect man
  • inducted this same man into the cycling world
  • met some amazing cycling ladies (Dame Cycling)
  • competed in a time trial thanks to those ladies
  • joined a cycling club
  • ridden on an airfield, during the night
  • …and experienced being engulfed by a peloton
  • ridden in the sportive which I didn’t even enter (with the support of a couple of Dames!)
  • …in a hurricane, I will have you know
  • completed a century (but not the sportive that I didn’t even enter!)
  • raised £1,100 for Dressability
  • passed multiple Masters modules
  • competed in a team triathlon (something I would never previously of considered doing)
  • bought a tandem
  • started a new job
  • ridden 3,361.90 solo miles
  • ridden 67.7 tandem miles
  • completed 242 hours on my solo bike
  • completed 4 hours in the Rear Admiral’s saddle

All topped off with a cycling birthday treasure hunt of 31 miles, which resulted in me finding my presents right back at the start!

Finding the second clue at the top of the White Horse hill.

Finding the second clue at the top of the White Horse hill.

Treasure! Right back where I started!

Treasure! Right back where I started!

I think Ollie wants more cakes... amazing present :)

I think Ollie wants more cakes… amazing present 🙂

A fairly quick post, but thank you for your support and to everyone who has made this year so special.Thanks for the boost to the Carbon Bike Fund, the winter gear to keep me warm on these cold days and the games to play when I just can’t be bothered to get out on the road. Here’s to the next one, to all of us getting into the sportive that I did sign myself up for, and to some party planning for the big 3-0.

Laura x

I’m half crazy…

I finished my last post with the assumption that our adventures would be limited over the winter months, and in comparison to recent months I suppose they will be, however Ollie and I have a new exciting arrival which will see us chomping at the bit to get out in the winter sunshine.

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An exciting last minute E-Bay bid early last week, resulted in us owning this lovely tandem! It also meant a five hour round trip to Poole (which really is not that far away) to collect it after University on Wednesday. Once lectures were over I excitedly rushed off to prepare a picnic of bacon butties for Ollie and quiche for me, fairy cakes and snacks. Whilst we expecting a fairly long road trip, we weren’t expecting the mammoth queues which added an hour or so extra onto the trip. It was lucky for Ollie, the driver, that he had me to keep him awake and alert; my top volume, out of tune ‘singing’ to 80’s and 90’s hits was just the thing! (Who knew that ‘Mickey’ was one of the 50 greatest ever hits?!?) Arriving home at 2200, we had to plonk the tandem in the garage and get on with normal evening chores… okay well I did have one sneaky honk on its absolutely amazing horn! Sorry neighbours.

With the exception of colleagues, we decided to keep it a secret until we had used it. During a University coach trip on Tuesday I just happened to mention that we had bought it to some of my university ‘friends’; after their initial speechlessness, they then were highly amused and decided to tease me for the rest of the week. There was mention of them trying to get the word ‘Tandem’ into their Friday presentation as many times as they could – but with eight presentations to listen to they all blurred into one and I couldn’t tell you whether they bothered to or not!

With University, work and the weather it wasn’t until Saturday that we had our first trip out. The original plan for Saturday involved me studying all day while Ollie went to the gym, washed the bikes and did various other chores; but it didn’t work out quite like that. Ollie went to the gym, but I got fed up of studying, or more to the point I was too excited to study – so late on in the afternoon we decided to surprise my family. It was quite an ambitious route really for a first go, 42 miles in total, however we seemed to do okay and didn’t have any massive problems – it all went a little too well! That is not to say that we are ready to put clip-less pedals on just yet (though we have purchased them for when we do feel ready)!

I knocked on my parents door in giggles, and my Mum firstly noticed me and then Ollie – it was some moments before she realised that…

Your bikes are stuck together!

We weren’t able to stay for long as the light was drawing in, but my brother’s face was an interesting mix of amusement and complete disdain! A common theme through the ride, actually; Ollie commented that it was making a lot of people smile, and then on reflection said that he wasn’t sure whether we were making people smile or they were actually laughing at us. One lad appreciated us though; as we pulled away from my parents house and cycled along the road we honked a goodbye, which caused a group of lads to cheer and one of them ran alongside to give us a high-five. This tandem lark is fun! Mark my words, the tandem is the next big thing! Anyway…

Onwards Captain!

Next stop – Grandhouse! The Grandbeings met us – they had been warned of an arrival, and were waiting outside, they had no idea what they were waiting for though! Ollie honked like mad and I waved with two hands (you don’t even have to hold on, on the back!) until they saw us. They had a tandem, or several, before Granddog was around, so they were very excited, and my Gran had a ride along the road in the Rear Admiral’s seat, which must have gone down well as we received our first rental request!

Again, it was just a quick stop and we were back on the road. On the way back we spotted a chap on a road bike some way ahead and decided to try and catch him, which we managed, and eventually we overtook him – a mistake! On the flat we were faster than him, however on average over inclines etc… he and we were going around the same speed, which was 1. awkward and 2. meant that we felt we had to keep the speed up, having gone to the effort to pass him.  On the second ascent though he got fed up of drafting us and sped off up ahead. We were glad to see the back on him; totally knackered, post gym, Ollie experienced his first episode of bonking. Obviously, I did what any good girlfriend would in this situation and fed him jelly babies whilst swinging my legs out to the sides and telling him to pedal harder.

For all the teasing, we’ve had quite a few rental requests! So it can’t be THAT funny!