Monday, 7 October 2013

Summer tour 2013 by Dawn.

Day 1- MK to Mildenhall

Distance = 111km
Climbing = 668m
Duration = 7 hours 39 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -4m
Maximum Altitude = 114m
Average Speed - Moving  = 18.2kph
Time At Rest = 2 hours 34 minutes

We loaded the bikes and were ready for the off at 08.45. Got going to a good start as I had fresh legs and I wanted to do the route better than last year when we rode the same route home from Mildenhall.
The first stop was at Sandy at a bakers were I had cake and fruit juice, it was getting warm at this point and I was glad of the quick stop. The only trouble with this was that we then had to climb up to Sandy Heath with slightly cold legs.
The roads we used were all reasonably quiet and we stopped at Toft for the packed lunch we had brought with us. Cambridge came along next and Rich was charging down the outside of the traffic queues with me having to pedal like mad to try and keep up!! He forgets I'm an old bird and can't go as fast.
We stopped at a coop for more water and some headache tablets (for me!) and got on our way for the last leg of the day.
Next stop was for an ice cream at Fordham where we saw Tomsk (from yacf) and his son heading for the site also. The last few mile signs as like all good signs kept going up and down, one minute they said Mildenhall 4 miles then 5 and back to 4!!
More traffic through the center of Mildenhall but it didn't take long to register and get the tent up and kettle on for tea :-)

Day 2 - No cycling today

A day off the bike today so we walked into town for some food and drink for the weekend and a lazy day chatting to friends and other visitors to the site.
A friend from MK (Lesley Sung) came over for the 300km audax today and I said we would be there when she got in at whatever time it turned out to be. After an 04.00 start she got in at 22.30 with over 90 minutes to spare, me and Rich had gone for a walk across the camp site to where the riders came in and it just happened to be the time she got in.
I helped her find her tent and loaded her bike into the car as she needed the toilet and disappeared into the bushes. Thanks also goes to Steve A for helping her round her 1st 300 .

Day 3 - Ride to Risby tea rooms.

Distance = 37km
Climbing = 690m
Duration = 4 hours 16 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -31m
Maximum Altitude = 120m
Average Speed - Moving  = 17.4kph
Time At Rest = 2 hours 8 minutes

Rich had started the morning helping Kevin from D-Tek cycles to set up his stall. He had a nice tandem recumbent trike there, which Rich was staring wantingly at. "Step away from the trike, we can't afford it!!"
Then out for an pre-organised ride out to a cafe in Risby with 14 other yacf riders for a cream tea. I could have stayed there all day looking around the antiques barns and spending more money than we have.
Some of the group went on to a pub for dinner but 5 of us decided to head back to the site via a different route.
We then spent a lazy day sat around a couple of picnic tables (moved from the other side of the school) looking at stoves, camping and cycling gear, eating takeaways and drinking until about 23.00 when the lady from the tent by the stalls asked us to keep the noise down.

Day 4 - Mildenhall to Norwich Camping and Caravanning club site

Distance = 77km
Climbing = 1,417m
Duration = 6 hours 16 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -66m
Maximum Altitude = 192m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.1kph

Time At Rest = 2 hours 45 minutes

We wanted to get away a bit earlier than last year and got packed up and on the road for 11.
The 1st part of the ride was on busy roads towards Brandon and then Thetford. After this the roads got quieter as most of the traffic then went over to the A11.
It was a hot day so a few stops to top up the bottles was needed. Not a bad ride over but it's surpising how rolling the lanes are around here the other side of the fens.
We got to the site at around 5ish got set up and had a well welcomed shower. The showers had to be seen to be believed at Mildenhall school, fine for kids but not great for hordes of cyclists!
A couple of pints at the pub and slept well.

Day 5 - Norwich to West Runton C+CC site

Distance = 51km
Climbing = 952m
Duration = 5 hours 32 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -7m
Maximum Altitude = 133m
Average Speed - Moving = 16.9kph

Time At Rest = 2 hours 29 minutes

The day started with a tin of cold rice pudding for Rich and custard for me (actually quite nice for breakfast) and a ride into Norwich city center. We had to visit the T-Mob shop to get a new phone for Rich (he came out with one for me too). 1 point I'd like to make is, Norwich is very hilly!
A full breakfast in a cafe on the way out of Norwich was good but within minutes we were climbing up out of the town towards Rackheath.
The roads weren't too busy until we got closer to Wroxham, the roads were nose to tail here and Rich was away again up the outside of the traffic! He was waiting for me in the town center.
North Walsham was the stop for lunch from the local coop then back into the traffic through towards Cromer. The shortcut bypassing Cromer was busy as everyone else takes this road also.
Arrived at the site late afternoon, the road down to which is about 1/2 a mile long. We new this site from a visit with the kids back in June.
We spent some time washing and drying the cycle gear so to have clean stuff for the last few days of the trip.
Food was again a mix of beans and rice, we couldn't be asked to walk down to the pub so had an early night.

Day 6 - West Runton to Woodstock Farm (Nr Wereham)

Distance = 79km
Climbing = 662m
Duration = 6 hours 56 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -1m
Maximum Altitude = 128m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.8kph

Time At Rest = 3 hours 30 minutes

Another baking hot day expected so we were up early and away up the long hill out of the site (I didn't have to stop:-) ) and into the lanes of North Norfolk. The first part today was rolling again but not too hilly.
Breakfast/midmorning snack was a french stick and pate from a shop in Briston where we also put suncream on as it was getting hotter.
Lovely lanes towards Swaffham but as it flattened out in got a bit more windy.
We had lunch in Swaffham which was chips and cheeseburger for me and fish and chips for Rich. He also had a battered sausage. It was a foot long (has to be said in a Norfolk accent)!
He then had to go looking for some gas for the stove, the first shop he asked said try Dereham. Only a 10 mile detour along the A47! No thanks! He found some in a diy shop in the end.
A visit to the supermarket to stock up on supplies and away for the last leg to the site.
The site was a lovely little place with only ab few pitches for vans and tents alongside a small fishing lake.
Very quiet place apart from the odd jet flying into Marham airbase.
Lovely clean new showers there and a couple of shepards huts/converted stables that could be hired also.

Day 7 - Woodstock Farm to St Neots

Distance = 92km
Climbing = 451m
Duration = 7 hours 48 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -20m
Maximum Altitude = 50m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.4kph

Time At Rest = 3 hours 32 minutes

We knew this was going to be a longer day which could be hard if the wind picked up, we were up early again and were packed up and on the road for around 8.30.
1st stop was at Welney wildlife center for coffee and a bacon roll, the place is a bit pricey but so area lotof places nowdays.
The roads were straight and flat nearly all day, zigzagging like they do on the fens in and out of the headwind.
It was hard word and we were making steady but slow progress.
The heat didn't help so the plan of maybe cycling straight through to home was changed and we got to St Neots C+CC site around 5.
We had heard a lot of people liked this site being the best people have stopped at.
It was a lovely site and we had the choice of a pitch by the river or up the top. The decision of pitching by the river may have been the wrong one though as we were bitten to #### by the gnats there!!

We decided to have a walk into town to see if we could get some food but most places were shut by then, we did find another coop in the end and got supplies from there.
Also chips and curry sauce to go with the cold pasty :-D on the way past the Chinese just up the road from the site.

Day 8 - St Neots to Home

Distance = 49km
Climbing = 444m
Duration = 3 hours 43 minutes
Minimum Altitude = 9m
Maximum Altitude = 101m
Average Speed - Moving = 15.7kph

Time At Rest = 1 hours 35 minutes

It was climbing straight away out of St Neots, nothing too hilly but it seemed never ending and was getting to be hard work for me. The route was chosen for directness more than hills. Next time we'll more likely drop down south of Bedford as it's a bit flatter.
Pretty uneventful ride today and we were home by lunchtime.
All gear packed away and washing done. Then a leisurely evening doing bugger all apart from getting ready to go back to work tomorrow!!

All in all I really enjoyed the tour, some of it was hard work and I did say at the time of finishing that I wouldn't do it again.
But after getting over it and having a few good sleeps I would pack the bike and go again tomorrow.

Can't wait for next years trips now, I wonder what he has planned for me!!!

Dawn x

Photo's below in no particular order, other pic's can be found over on yacf


Monday, 8 July 2013

FSoTM July ride

 Planning of these rides is usually done in the Oct/Nov of the previous year. The ride around the lakes is a ride I've been doing for a few years now and it is a great trip around all the lakes in MK via the cycle paths.
I found out a while back that the NSPCC 1/2 marathon was going to be using a lot of the north MK redways that I planned to use so this months ride was going to have to change route.
I couldn't decide on the route until the Sunday Morning due to not knowing who was going to turn up.

 I rode over from Giffard Pk as usual and the temp's were getting warm even before I started off, I made sure I had sun-cream as it was going to be a warm day.
I got to Bletchley with plenty of time to spare, a couple were there already and we ended up with 9 riders in total. No families or children turned up so I decided on a ride to Stony Stratford via Whaddon.
The ride out along Buckingham road was stop and start as expected with the range of riders we had out.
After Buckingham road it was onto the redways around Snelshall then onto the quiet lanes through Whaddon, Upper, Middle and Lower Weald, Calverton and a stop at the garage in Stony for an Ice cream.

The ride back was all the way along the A5 using the redways, 3 riders left as we passed near their houses and we got back to Bletchley with 6 finished the ride.

I had written elsewhere that I'd do another loop if riders wanted to do more miles, 3 riders decided a Costa was a better option. Another said he was going to go and get some tea and it was just me and Lesley left to go out again on the 2nd loop.

As her car was parked at Bletchley we headed south and out through the Lakes Estate and up through Drayton Parslow. The hill up was warm work but once on the ridge it was a great ride through Swanbourne and around through Hoggeston and the constant rolling roads the other side of Stewkley.

A pint at the pub in Stewkley was well earned and then it was a blast downhill back to the start.
Lesley dropped off back at her car and a ride back through Simpson and the Woolstones got my mileage up to 51 for the day.

A nice ride out with good company as always.
Looking forward to the next one which will be on August 4th 40 miles to Ivinghoe
It coincides with the DLRR BBQ so if any members decide to come along we will finish up there after passing Bletchley for any riders going back to the start.


Monday, 1 July 2013

A weekend away camping

 The plan for this weekend when the time was booked off work was to join the "Because It's There" group on Facebook on their Dorset walking weekend.
On working out the cost including the petrol down and back, food and drink for the weekend it all came to too much as we have other stuff still to do and the house move 2 months ago added to the costs. We (me and Dawn) decided to do a mini cycle tour from home instead.

 The route I was looking at was on a lot of roads I've cycled before used on various audax rides and camping trips in the past.

 Day 1 - 80km MK to Chipping Norton
Took us out of MK via the GoOutdoors store for gas and on-wards around the villages south of Stony  towards Bicester. The rain was on and off for the first few hours and it was on and off with the jackets also.
Dawn said last year that I had it easier with the trailer on my bike when we were doing the ride from Yorkshire back to MK via Mildenhall so this time she wanted it on the back of hers.
It didn't quite fit correctly as it was pushing the gear cable on the rear derailleur causing it to miss gears, she said it would be ok so we rode with it like this anyway. I took the trike so as to carry the 2 panniers of clother (panniers don't fit the rack on my Bacchetta).

 All was good for the ride over towards Bicester although Dawn was starting to get tired, we found a Lidl store on the way in and got rolls cheese, ham and danish pastries to eat when we found somewhere to sit.
A bench in Middleton Stoney was this place.
After here it got a bit hillier as we approached the Cotswolds (no surprise there!) Dawn was starting to find it harder and the lack of gears was starting to test her patience slightly!
We eventually got to the Camping and Caravan club site south of Chipping Norton at around 18.00

Up early due to sleeping in a tent and the birds chirping, hardly anyone else about when we were packing up so away for 08.30 and straight downhill from the site. After a few more ups and downs we stopped so I could take the trailer off and add it to the back of the trike. Dawn took one pannier on her bike.
The trailer worked well on the trike, I had reservations
about it due to hearing that single wheel trailers don't
Ice S trike with pannier and trailer
perform well behind one.
It was obviously slower up hill due to the weight but I never had to use the granny ring at all throughout the ride.
It definitely got a lot of attention on the way through Oxford center and traffic passed even further away from me than on the trike alone.
The ride out of Oxford was a joy on the roads out to Watlington, and in a few places I had to push hard to keep up with Dawn on the flat.
If I was too far back cars came past me and either tried to get into the gap between us or try and push past her before oncoming traffic.
There was a few idiots who pass on blind bends and other places, a couple of times causing traffic coming in the opposite direction to stop.
Lunch stop listening to a band sound checking for a wedding and watching the Kites flying above the green at Stadhampton and on-wards to arrive at Watlington before 14.00

Dawn sat at the Fell Club bench at Watlington
 Tent set up next to the Fell Club bench, coffee made and a trip down to the village to get food and cider :-) for the evening.
It was still early so we decided to go for a walk up onto Watlington Hill to look at the views.
You could just about make out the tops of the Cotswolds over Oxford where we had come over from.
View towards the Cotswolds

Day 3 - 70km Watlington to MK
It was another early start as awake at about 6, all packed and away just before 8.
The ride through was great with a tailwind and I was rolling along at 25kph+ Dawn had to stop and wait for me a couple of times as she was pulling away!! I didn't want to go into the big ring as I knew there would be a few hills nearer the end and wanted to keep a steady pace.
Stopped at Thame for a Costa and Danish and got away before the school fun run/walk made it too busy.
Aylesbury came and went without problems (was a Sunday morning) and then onto the climb up from Weedon.
I did my usual pedal as fast as possible downhill to gain momentum to get as far up the other side as poss :-)
Made it all the way up without the small ring, which was good but hard work!! Dawn did better this time making it up with a drink stop on the way, last year she walked it. Next time she wants to ride it in one go.
Arrived in MK around 1200 and popped into my mums for coffee on the way through and a pint at Woolstone on the way past, just because :-D

Great weekend and looking forward to going back to Watlington for the ALC Birthday meet in 2 weeks.

Camp sites

All good things come to an end...

I have decided that after 14 years of doing the First Sunday of The Month rides the time has come to finish organising them.The last one will be the 30 mile ride to Salcey Forest on December 1st.

It's been great organising and cycling these rides and has been brilliant getting others out and about and going on to longer rides.
I still plan to organise longer rides and not being tied to a certain day of the month will mean I can do other things also.
If you are on Facebook search for "Cycle rides in and around Milton Keynes" as I will notify people when I plan to go out on there. Most riders I know are on there so it seems like the easiest place to sort them, and is great for doing things at short notice.

Thanks to all the riders that have come along over the 170+ rides, you have helped make the rides fun events and a pleasure to go out on.