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.