Gentleman Cyclist

June 18, 2006

Sunday Morning Pootle

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:35 pm

Posted on 18 June 2006

We made a real effort this morning. Up before 8, quick breakfast, fit the Cateye computer to Madge and off we went.

It promised to be a scorcher, but at this time although it wasn’t exactly cool, it was pleasant enough. Today we set off along Prittlewell Chase towards Belfairs Park and after an uneventful stretch of 30mph dual carriageway followed by a couple of fairly quiet residential roads, we turned “through roads not adopted and woodlanded ways” as a bridleway leading towards Poors Lane and Hadleigh invited us into the gloom.

There were some squeaks and protests emanating from behind me, but whether this was due to the uneven surface, the proximity of the trees, or the sheer excitement of diving off into the woods I am not certain. However, it wasn’t long before this rather muddy path was promoted to a track and eventually blossomed into a surfaced road.

We headed towards Dawes Heath Lane and eventually south into Rectory Road. A short distance later the John Burrows Hall appeared on our right, the home venue of the now-defunct Hadleigh Chess Club. We turned left into Scrub Lane, following the road straight back towards Belfairs Park where there were many people “spoiling a good walk”, as Mark Twain so aptly put it. We used one of the “cycle tracks” made infamous by the searing pen of Nutty, then back along Prittlewell Chase and home.

During the ride it was necessary to tighten the handlebar stem, whose bolts were looser than they should have been.

The total ride was 10.75 miles and we were home well before 10 a.m. That’s really important: if we can cover more than 10 miles in the first hour of the day, what can we do on a day ride? At that sort of pace, LEJoG in a fortnight becomes a distinct possibility…

June 17, 2006

Chest pains

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:30 pm

Posted on 17 June 2006

Had them in the night and again this morning. Decided that I ought to do something about it so Jan & I went to casualty.

After a whole afternoon of ECGs, blood tests, blood pressure tests, a chest X-ray and another blood test because the first one didn’t work properly, 5 hours later I was given a clean bill of health and told that I had probably pulled an intercostal muscle when riding my bike up Bread & Cheese Hill yesterday.

A very salutory experience in more ways than one.

Firstly, I was absolutely delighted with my cardiac performance. In all the times my blood pressure was checked (every 5 minutes or so the machine would take it automatically), the range was between 131 / 69 and 141 / 81. Typically my pulse rate was between 50 and 55. That’s pretty good for a middle-aged lard-arse.

Secondly, while we were waiting for the final blood test result to come along, I was moved out of A & E into the acute medical unit, i.e. I was admitted to a ward. It’s very sobering when a nurse comes and makes an inventory of your belongings and puts a name bracelet on your wrist. Suddenly you feel that you are no longer in control of your life.

Thirdly, now I know that I have the cardiovascular system of a finely-honed athlete, it only makes sense to get a body to match. I really must get my bloody weight down.

Fourthly, I was given a Hospital meal. I couldn’t survive on that! Denis informs me that the food in Southend is infinitely superior than the stuff served up at the Royal London.

Finally, the experience gave me an appreciation, which I certainly didn’t have before, of what my son has gone through over the past 12 years as his kidney disease has developed and has forced quite a few spells in hospital. I was an in-patient for about an hour and that’s more than enough for me!

June 6, 2006

An evening stroll – 6th June 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:00 pm

We have had other things on our minds for the past couple of weeks, so cycling was rather neglected apart from or maiden voyage on Madge (Mrs. Wow chose this name: Claud Butler Madg-estic geddit??).

Today was the hottest June day for almost a year, so as the cool shades of evening spread their mantle, off we rode towards the sunset.

We headed towards the sea front along what should have been peaceful residential roads, but at one point it became clear that there was a car approaching from behind at too high a speed. I looked over my shoulder to see this oik give far too little room for Jan as he squeezed past, so I took the primary riding position just to show him who was boss, until a sufficient gap in the parked cars allowed me to pull in and let him pass. To my surprise, no fewer than 4 chavmobiles zoomed past, pretty much bumper to bumper, in a road allowing little more than one car’s width between the parked cars on opposite sides.

After that the ride was fairly uneventful, apart from finding our path blocked by a parked car just where a (reasonably sensibly designed) cycle lane rejoins the road. Then to the sea front and, ignoring the NO CYCLING signs, we kept on the almost deserted promenade as far as Chalkwell Station.

Jan cycles pretty well. She could probably do with her saddle raised a little, but given that her starting technique is still a little suspect, she could really do with more confidence before that happens. This is the perenniel chicken and egg. She needs to ride more to get the confidence, but generally she lacks the confidence to ride alone. (Actually, she did have a solo ride this week: she went to the doctor’s to collect the prescription I had ordered more than a week previously.)

We returned in an easterly direction, and when we were close to the pier, we sat on a wall looking at the rising tide and gibbous moon. It was an idyllic scene of peace and tranquillity broken only by the occasional curse and slap as another mosquito bit the dust. We were then joined by two other cyclists and conversed about the history of Southend, speculated about ithe pier’s status as the longest pleasure pier in the world, and about the three fires and one ship which have damaged it in the past 30 years or so.

We continued east along purpose built cycle track for another couple of miles until we were in Fatbloke country and then took the option with the most gradual ascent returning to Chateau Wowbagger. Just short of 11 miles, total time 1 hours 50 minutes, total riding time about 50 minutes less than that.

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