Tag Archives: 30 days of biking

Spring has sprung (I think)

Six ways to know that Spring is here:

1. The bright white legs are making an appearance

I rode without leg warmers for the first time in a long time yesterday. Apologies to anyone passing me on the road who was blinded by the glare shining off my bright white legs.

2. More insects than normal are flying into my ears, nose, mouth and eyes

We all know that feeling: 35mph down a hill and a fly decides to make for your eyeball. Mostly blind, you’re suddenly aware of how fast you’re going and a lot of panicked blinking ensues. Now that Spring is here, there are wasps and bees competing for a space in your face, too. I’m very grateful for my sunglasses.

3. The roadsides are colourful

Daffodils. Lots of daffodils.

4. The fair weather cyclists are out in force

Suddenly there seem to be lots of Team Sky members riding around. I hadn’t realised there were so many of them! I thought I saw Wiggins yesterday – he’s getting a bit of a beer belly I tell you.

5. My instagram feed is even more full of photos than normal

When it’s warm and the sky is bluer and the grass is greener it’s hard to resist the urge to capture it all in a photo. Plus nobody likes stopping when it’s cold and rainy.

6. I can’t stop grinning

This can cause problems with swallowing flies (see ’2′) but other than that is no bad thing. Cycling with the sun on my back is enough to cheer me up on the worst of days. Pure simple joy.

Day 21 of 30DOB

Crashes, sunshine, foxes & dogs. (30 days of biking so far)

Things have been a bit mad here since the start of #30daysofbiking but I’ve finally found some time, so here is a little round up of the first sixteen days…

Day One - Riding without stabilisers.

Ride: A 40 mile loop through the Ashdown Forest.

Bike: Claud.

Rode to Groombridge where I ate lunch and lots of easter eggs with my family. I also rode half a mile with my cousins Josie (who can ride without stabilisers and has a dolly seat on her bike) and Tom (who is very nifty going over speed bumps on his micro-scooter).

Josie looking Pro in my helmet and glasses.

Days Two, Three, Four and Five- Riding to work, mostly..

Rides: The short ride to work, and a couple of lunchtime errands.

Bikes: Claud and Annie

The good thing about no longer working from home is that my studio is now a 5/10 minute ride away. That little bit of time on the bike is the perfect separation between work and home.

Annie, at the studio.

Claud, at the studio.

Day Six- Coffee, cake and an eclectic collection of bicycles.

Ride: A seafront ride to Shoreham and back.

Bike: Annie.

7 of us rode to Shoreham for coffee – two road bikes (belonging to Sid and Gill), one single speed (that would be Annie), one mountain bike (John’s), one Isla bike (Fynn’s) and one bike with a trike on the back (the combined leg power of Mandy and Cain). Love it.

Some of our bikes, at the cafe stop.

4 7ths of Team Cafe Ride.

4 7ths of Team Cafe Ride.

Day Seven – Vulpine collisions and crash-filled racing

Ride: Night ride and a trip to Chertsey (by car, sorry) to help out at the racing

Bike: Annie

All the best lessons are learnt by making stupid judgements, in other words: the hard way. I missed a train and ended up riding to Lewes in the wee small hours of the morning. I was riding Annie, who is kitted out for city riding, and as such doesn’t have the kind of lights which illuminate the pitch black cycle path on the side of the A27. The end of this story is that a fox ran out in front of me, I slammed on the brakes and…ouch, over the handlebars I went. Luckily I was rescued by a sensible person who told me what a wally I was. Lesson learnt.

After some sleep I woke up only slightly bruised from the vulpine incident, and headed off to Chertsey to watch some friends racing. I ended up in the passenger seat of the Assistant Commissaire car, which was fun. The only bad thing about the day was that there were a LOT of crashes. Highlight: Team ASL360′s Anna Railton winning the women’s race :-)

Women’s race…that was a nasty hill.

Days Eight, Nine and Ten - If only I was one of those people who can cycle in a pencil skirt and heels.

Work was really, really busy until day 10. I had some important meetings and stuff that meant I didn’t get much riding in, other than the short trip to work. To make up for this, I took Thursday off for a day of bike……

Day Eleven - A love of gears and afternoon beers.

Ride: 32 miles of Sussex roads, with Monika.

Bike: Claud

Mon came down from London for the day, with her swanky new Genesis bike. We had lots of fun despite a few clippy-pedal-fail moments (not mine) and some wrong turns (mine). Mon’s been riding way longer than I have, but this is her first geared bike. What better way to celebrate than to find some hills to go up..and down :-)

We ended our Sussex ride in a Sussex pub, naturally.

The post-ride pint.

Days Twelve and Thirteen Just the short commute, again.

Day FourteenGood Lord, is that the SUN?!

Ride: 52 miles of glorious sunshine

Bike: Claud.

There are fewer things better than making new friends – especially if they ride a bike! Carine had read the blog and spotted that I was organising a road ride – having recently bought a new road bike and rediscovered her love of cycling, she joined Claud and I for our Sunday ride. We had coffee, and tried not to get too over-excited about the blue skies. It turned out we needn’t have contained our excitement – because it turned out to be a stunning day.

We avoided the crowds of the Brighton Marathon by riding over Devil’s Dyke to Henfield, out to Partridge Green and then East through Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks to Ditchling, where we stopped for coffee and food. I think I had a grin on my face for pretty much the whole ride – you just can’t beat a sociable ride on a sunny day. Once we’d conquered a few last hills and got back to Brighton, I decided to make the most of the day and headed out for a few more miles on my own.

Coffee stop at Ditchling Tea Rooms

Carine (who regretted the long sleeves!)

Day Fifteen - Ditchling Beacon has expanded in the heat.

Ride – Lewes to Brighton the painful way (over that hill people go on about)

Bike – Claud

I was pleased to find that I could still get over the Beacon in one go without the promise of free food at the end (the last time I rode it was for the Puncheur Sportif). Having said that, I am sure it has got longer and steeper since then.

Day SixteenThe dog ate my homework.

Ride: The 24ish miles to Steyning and back, with good intentions.

Bike: Claud

Dogs often feature in excuses – so here is mine:

I rode to Steyning last night to compete in my first time trial. I was a bit nervous, but mostly excited. On my way there I came across a very sweet looking dog wandering up the road on its own. Naturally I stopped and had a little chat with the creature, she was very sweet, and after knocking on some doors we reunited her with her owners. The conclusion of this tail (see what I did there?) is that I got to Steyning 5 minutes too late to enter the TT. Still, I had a very nice ride home again, and feel like I have now balanced out my karma after the fox incident.

I missed the TT, so I took a photo of my feet instead.

Here’s to the next 14 days!

30 Days of Biking – take two!

If you’re a long suffering reader of Claud & I then you may remember why I started it – to document my adventures during September’s round of 30 Days of Biking. In the process I completely fell in love with cycling, and found a community of cyclists – both locally and online – who have encouraged me to keep riding my bike, and keep the blog going. It’s almost April which means time for another round of 30 Days of Biking. Lots has changed in the last 8 months or so, but there is also plenty that hasn’t: I still love riding my bike, and I still love talking about it (try and stop me!)

Riding a bike is a simple pleasure; the bicycle a simple, yet wonderful, machine. And 30 Days of Biking is a simple idea: ride your bike every day for 30 days – and share your experiences online in whichever ways you like. There’s no form to fill in, no Strava badge to collect, no certificate at the end. I like anything that cuts the crap and gets people riding a bike, and 30 days of Biking does just that.

So, what does it actually involve? Joining 30 Days of Biking means making a two-part pledge:

  1. To ride your bike every single day in April, and
  2. To share your adventures online.

Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, your own blog…wherever it may be. It’s a wonderfully simple idea: ride your bike lots, and share it with a community of cyclists online. I also love the idea that if we have enough fun, people who don’t normally ride a bike will want to get involved – that’s how I ended up here!

During April I’ll be organising a couple of social rides (have a look on the Rides page), and I’m sure others will be too. One of my most favourite memories from September’s round was a group ride in Brighton: there were road bikes, mountain bikes and hired Amsterdam style bikes – a bunch of misfits brought together.

Our 30DOB cafe ride in Brighton last September

30 Days of Biking isn’t a political statement. It’s not a bunch of eco-warriors, or road safety campaigners (not that I object to either of those groups!) or any other stereotype which may spring to mind. It’s an inclusive community who don’t care what your bike looks like, or what you look like, or how far you can ride in a day. It’s for the love of cycling: simple.

30DOB North American pals

Throughout April I’ll be cycling every day, and sharing my experiences online. Why not join me? Let’s hope for some sunshine…

Make the pledge: http://30daysofbiking.com/pledge

1 day to go!

30 Days of Biking begins tomorrow, so I thought I’d share a little bit more with you about myself, and my bike.

I wanted to start this blog for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one was to prove that you don’t have to be super-fit, experienced or the owner of an expensive bike to enjoy cycling and see its benefits.

I’ve had a couple of bicycles over the years. My last bike that I have any memory of was a hand-me-down from my mum: it was 20 years old when I inherited it, but a nice old bike nonetheless. It had a basket on the front and I used it for my weekly shop. Shortly after moving to a new flat in Brighton, some nasty bugger stole that bike from the railings it was chained to (lesson learnt: keep your bike inside if you live in the city).

A family friend gave me an (old, rusty) bike to replace the stolen one, which I was very thankful for, but did not enjoy riding. After a few months of riding the rust-bucket, the gears had given up. The final nail in the coffin was when my boyfriend at the time rode it through a muddy field and got the chain stuck…permanently. Once again, I was left bikeless! So, naturally, in this time of need I turned to Twitter…

After my friend Mark (_BLIXA_) retweeted me, the wonderful Kim Piper replied to say that she had a Claud Butler road bike sitting in her shed, which she would happily give to a loving home free of charge. Claud (as he will now be known) had been Kim’s first road bike, and she’d cycled London to Paris on him. I drove to Kim’s work place, and took Claud home in the back of my car. The next day I took him to be serviced by the lads at Future Cycles in Lewes, and rode him proudly home! The rest, as they say, is history.

So now you know a little about Claud, allow me to tell you just a bit about myself.

Before March of this year, when I started some training for the London to Brighton night ride, I had never cycled more than 10 miles. Ask any of my friends about my ‘hobbies’ and I can absolutely guarantee that anything sport, exercise or fitness related will not feature. Up until fairly recently I didn’t even own a pair of trainers, let alone any lycra!

That should have you convinced that I am neither experienced nor particularly fit. I still regularly feel like I might die when ascending a steep hill. All that said, it gets a bit easier every time I ride, and you learn to love the hills (no, really, you do.)

Words can’t quite portray the feeling of riding a bike. All your senses are heightened, and you notice things that you would whizz past without a second thought in a car. You can stop, just to take it all in, still sat on your top tube. And the satisfaction of covering distance on two wheels is infinitely more than on four.

I think I have fallen in love with cycling. If I still feel that way after the next 30 days, then it must be true love. Watch this space!

Hello!

I’ll be starting this blog properly on the 1st of September, when Autumn’s bonus round of 30 Days of Biking begins. If you don’t know what that is, you should read about it here.

Simply put, I pledge to ride my bike (Claud) every day for 30 days. Some days that will mean 50 miles, and other days a trip to the shop (more often the latter, I suspect). I’m also going to attempt to organise some bike rides in the Brighton area, just for fun. Keep an eye out for these on the Events page.

In the meantime, you can follow Claud & I on Twitter.