A little utility ride today. Less than 6 miles of riding around Felixstowe.

I needed to go to the bank to stick some money in and then I needed to pop up to the Blue Cross rehoming centre to give them some money as they very nicely said that I could take a greyhound collar and lead and come back the next day to pay for them. It wasn’t the next day, it was the day after, but we’ve given them the donation. Kenn popped in to ask about castration discounts (for the dog, not for himself) as our youngster needs neutering now. He’s 15 months so it’s time that he was done.

It was a bit fresh and windy out. Warmer than it looked but we could feel the wind getting up. The BBC said that it was going to be gusty, they weren’t wrong.

We are trying to use our bikes for little utility trips. We are far enough out of town to make it worth the change of shoes and locking up to pop in a shop is a bit safer here than in Norwich. Kenn is breaking in new tyres on his CX bikes. They are wide road tyres, 28mm. I had bought them for my CX bike but Kenn’s need is greater than mine at the moment. He seems to like them. He’s got Vittoria Pave CGs and rather likes them. We have something a bit tougher for when he wants to off road.

We are trying to get a dog walking business off the ground. New website up for Rambling Rose Dog Walking, new phone number and new adverts. Covering the local area means that we should be able to cycle to and fro, unless we are walking more than one household’s dog at a time or walking a client’s dog that is not near conveniently good walking, then we have a lovely large estate car, dog friendly, and super reliable. Between a bit of dog walking and a bit of admin at Norwich Guitar Academy, I can make a sensible sort of living without having to get a proper job and stuff my wrist up again.

This part-time work malarkey makes for more time with my bikes, my dogs and my guitar. I really don’t like it when the real world gets in the way of cycling. I am hoping for a good ride tomorrow night, weather permitting. There are wind warnings for the evening, 50mph gusts. I love riding but don’t want to die just to get a ride in. I might try and persuade Kenn to have a morning ride, before dialysis. I’m only 6 miles up on my monthly target. That’s pretty much unheard of for the middle of the month, this year. So far, it’s been a very good riding year.

Bike cleaning then. Poor Eric got a bit mucky out today. There were puddles.

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Night ride to Ipswich

I do love a night ride and tonight was no exception. One of the advantages of moving to the Suffolk Coast is it’s just over 11 miles to meet Kenn from dialysis. When we were in Wymondham, the direct route was just over 8 miles, in Norwich it was a whopping 2.8 miles – I never actually took the short route there though, unless you count going on foot with the dogs – so the direct route to Ipswich hospital is the longest yet. Very pleasing.

It’s been raining all day. Horrible, horizontal rain. The stuff that stings your face as it’s driven off the sea, by the wind. Even the terriers wouldn’t go out in it. The hounds wouldn’t even go into the garden, they are so nesh. My new winter cycling boots arrived today so I definitely wanted to go out to play on my bike. An absolute bargain as they came from a Cyclechat member, they are DiadorabootsDiadora Chili winter cycling boots. Very warm and toasty they are too. The lovely cyclechatter even threw in SPD cleats to go with them. Saved me taking my cleats off my Shimano MTB shoes.

Even in the evening, the rain was still pouring down, the wind had got up and the BBC had weather warmings up for the rain and 40mph winds. I reckoned that the wind was nowhere near 40mph and that the BBC might be telling porky-pies about that. It was still pouring with rain at 9pm so I told Kenn that I was going to stay home. Then, naturally, it stopped raining so I told Kenn that I’d changed my mind and was going to ride to meet him. Got Eric the CX out, sorted out my saddlebag and then got changed.

Before getting the bike out, I checked that the deluge hadn’t begun again, it hadn’t, so off I went. By the end of the road, I noticed how blowy it was. Turning right at the end of the road, made for happier riding as the wind was behind me right up to Walton High Street. Riding through the Trimleys was quite fun. I took it nice and steady as it was a tad blustery but not bad enough to turn back.

Once clear of the streetlights and the houses, I could really feel that wind, coming in from my left. I had found a nice pace and decided to work with that. The light in the sky was amazing. The lower clouds were few and far between but they were really shifting across the sky, obviously in a hurry to get somewhere. The clouds above were blue, purple, even a reddish hue. The sky looked like it was bruised and battered. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sky like that before. Not like a reddish sunset, as it was 10pm and dark, but beautiful, like a painting.

By the time I’d passed the Nacton turning, I was getting fed up with fighting to stay in a straight line, so I headed off up Straight Road, to Foxhall. I was planning on heading in the direct route to Sainsburys and then on to the Bixley Road but I just needed a bit of respite from that side wind. For the first time ever, I was the only person using Straight Road. There is usually some car driver gagging to pass me from either ahead or behind, but not tonight. Along the Bucklesham Road from Foxhall, the wind seemed better, probably my imagination. At one point, I seemed to be riding through a leaf storm. There were just leaves in the air everywhere, all swirling about. It was rather lovely as my bike lights caught them in some mad dance.

At the end of Bucklesham Road, there is a horrible roundabout, which I avoid in the day time as it’s a pain in the backside to get over or around. At night, it’s not so bad. I could see it was completely empty so I kicked on and round before anything had a chance to arrive at the roundabout. From there, it’s the climb up Bixley Road. Not much of a climb at an average of 1% over about a kilometer. I was a bit impressed with myself as I got a personal best along there, on my CX bike. The wind at my back was a massive help, cheating really but a PB is  PB.

I got to the Dialysis unit about 2 minutes before Kenn got out. I’d only just turned my lights off and looked at my GPS unit before he came out. Obviously, my timing is improving.

One of the great things about Kenn’s late dialysis is cycling on what my Mother used to call the G.O.A.D.I.C.O.N.S. method of fitness – or Going Out After Dark In Case Our Neighbour’s See. We’ve been here nearly 2 months now. I think that they think that we are a little eccentric. Apparently, going cycling in cycling clothes is a touch odd. It’s not as if we are without eccentrics around here. There is a chap who goes jogging up and down the prom, in a pair of barefoot training shoes and a pair of speedos. He runs a while then stops and does tricep dips or press-ups on the benches along there. Sometimes there is an nice, older Oriental lady who uses the railings at the edge of the Prom, like a barre. They both look jolly fit actually. Must be the sea air.

Anyway, tonight was 11.4 miles at a nice average pace of 14mph. 14 minutes from Home to the Sausage Shop. 48 minutes from Home to the Hospital. My feet, in their new boots? Warm and toasty. The boots are just lovely.


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6 months since last blog and a lot has happened

Oh where to start!

I still have my beloved Planet X Pro Carbon and I still have lovely Eric the PX CX bike. Both have done sterling work over the summer and autumn. My 2000 mile goal has been smushed and I am on my way to 2500, currently 2300 miles and change in to that. Garmin connect is being a pain in the situpon today and won’t upload the 7 miles to the Sausage Shop and back.

Better start catching up. On the 1st January this year, I weighed myself at a hideous 90kg and sought to do something a bit radical about that. 3 months of Exante Diet ( a VLCD – not recommended if you want to ride your bike a lot but it got me through the colder months) followed by Slimming World, which is more carby and bike friendly, then joining a gym now sees me at a much more sensible 67kg. People have congratulated me on my “new body”. Those who know me will tell you that it’s my ‘old’ body and I’ve got it back and it’s staying back. I still follow Slimming World but tweak it a bit. For instance, I have a big mug of curried butternut squash soup in front of me. Slimming World free food. However, I have been dunking a nice big bit of French Stick into it, definitely a few Syns but such is life. I had a chocolate biscuit earlier too. Not feeling any fatter so it’s all good.

Next bit of news. For my Norwich friends, who have known me forever, they know that half way up the A140 the map clearly says “Here Be Dragons”, right next to the real life sign that says ‘Suffolk’. For people who know me from other places than Norwich, you’ll all know about my insatiable wanderlust so ignore the ‘Here be Dragons’ bit as exploring bits of the world where there is a risk of being eaten, just adds to the fun.

We now live, 50 yards from the sea in Felixstowe. It’s fantastic. We go to the beach every day. The town is just a 20 minute walk away – along the beach, or Prom if the tide is in (or up the Sea Road if the tide is ‘really’ in). There are good shops, cafes, a cinema, decent branch of Specsavers, a Lidl and a jolly good bike shop. What’s not to like. We have been exploring for the last 8 weeks now and the bikes have been getting a workout.


I ride to meet Kenn from Dialysis – 11.5 miles to Ipswich, give or take. 16 the other day as I missed a turning and had a navigational adventure. I wasn’t supposed to visit Newbourne, but I did. More hills here. Scarier than dragons for a girl from the flatlands. We get off road and everything when we get lost find new and interesting, hitherto unthought of routes.


Some days the sun even shines. It’s been unseasonably warm of late,

So far we have discovered Newbourne and Waldringfield accidentally. Tuesday I discovered excellent cyclepaths through Martlesham, after missing a turning to Bucklesham. Today a quick 7 miler to the Sausage Shop and back to buy sausages. Other meat products are available I am told. We have (or at least I have) ridden approximately 406 miles since moving here.

I can’t seem to stay off my bikes. Even to the extent of meeting Kenn from hospital at 10.30 at night and exploring by Cateye. The silence of the Suffolk lanes is fantastic, the lack of light pollution is astounding. The other evening I spent 10 minutes just standing by my bike and looking at the millions and millions of stars in the night sky. There was no moon, just the clear blackness and the pinpoints of light making their amazing shapes in the sky. The night riding means that I see owls, bats and the occasional deer that dashes across the road and scares the daylights out of me but it’s not great for photographic opportunities. I am not lugging a 35mm SLR and a blooming tripod about with me.

I need to crack on and clean my chain as it’s not looking overly fabulous at the moment. That failing on me half way up a deserted road, in the pitch black, is not on my to do list. I’ll clean both the bike’s chains, my roadie is filthy after an adventure through some puddles earlier. Just waiting on Kenn to let me know what time to be at the hospital tonight. It’s windy out, the clouds are belting across the sky. Inland it will be less windy so I might well go and meet him. What’s another 11 miles when I have the dry weather to go out and play in. Better burn off that bit of French loaf. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

I will make more of an effort to take pictures, blog a bit and generally stay in touch with the world, Dragons not withstanding.

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Great Yarmouth to home. 1st ride from the coast this year

We were going to go yesterday but the 20mph + winds put us off a bit. We watched someone being blown down the road on a scooter and picking himself out of somebody’s hedge and decided to snuggle on the sofa, with the dogs, and watch Thor and Thor 2 instead. Mmmm Tom Hiddleston is such a good baddie.

Today, we got on our roadies and rode the 3.75 miles from home to Norwich Rail Station and got on the 11:36 to Great Yarmouth having coughed up £14.20 for two tickets. We did have the bike compartment to ourselves, when we got there so that was nice. Half an hour later, after sipping coffee and watching the scenary (mostly cows) go by, we arrived at Great Yarmouth Station and got on the bikes and followed the bike path out to the roundabout and headed for Caister. The fastest route out of Gt Yarmouth.

I’m a local and, after 50 years of wondering, I still don’t know what’s so great about the town. Not particularly great if you ask me. Dead all winter, bloody cold too. Full of sunburned grockles all summer, mostly rude. Nope. G.Y. is not a nice place. I know that millions love it, but then, they don’t live there.

Gt-Yarm-Home Route 1Not quite a straight line home but near enough. Riding over the marshes was not on our agenda anyway. The A149 is horrible, then it always is. Could have been worse. Could have been mid week or a bank holiday with caravans left right and centre. Once off the main road, we headed to Filby, nice wee village with rowing boats for hire on the Broad there.

DSCF7539I think that my PX looks rather lovely agains that sign. I know that the bar tape doesn’t match the saddle. It did but now it doesn’t. I’ve put the Selle Italia Flow back on. Really comfy now. Also, the Looks are white, but they came off Kenn’s Boardman, which is white.

We headed for Acle then South Walsham and then Ranworth where we stopped at the pub and had a coffee for me, Coke and Crisps for Kenn then went back the way we’d come to South Walsham. We turned for Panxworth and then turned off our usual route and headed for Pedham. Much prettier route. The roads were not so badly potholed as the old route. Really the other route has potholes that would swallow a Smart car with ease. The Pedham/Hemblington Route was nicer, prettier and still a bit hilly for Norfolk but who cares. Wisteria everywhere and I forgot to take a pic.

Once at the Plumstead cyclepath it was business as usual, except for stopping for the other half of a protein bar as I suddenly felt a bit wibbly. We stopped at the village hall and sat under a tree for  5 minutes before carrying on. We stopped again, at the Heartsease to belt into Tesco for some Alpro. Our Aldi doesn’t have Almond milk and I didn’t want to go out of my way, particularly.

The last 4 miles flew by. I managed to get up Marlpit Lane hill in reasonably good style. Kenn wasn’t far behind either.

34.25 all in all in 2:41:03 so averaged around 12.5mph or so. I thought that Kenn did really well. He’ll have tomorrow off for dialysis now. I’ll take a gentle leg turner down to meet him, maybe. Unless it rains. Hoping for a good ride on Tuesday now.


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Another couple of rides

Thursday morning dawned bright and sunny and, although it took me a couple of hours to get Kenn to the car with the bikes loaded into it, we went off for a pre-work ride. To be fair, we walked the dogs to the polling station, went and voted – not that it made any difference – finished dog walking and grabbed some breakfast first.

Themelthorpe Loop from Freelands

Themelthorpe Loop from Freeland’s Corner starting point

We drove up to Freelands Corner, on the Marriotts Way, parked and unloaded the bikes. I love the Marriotts Way, with its mostly flat trail, it’s wildlife and the general quiet of the place. Freelands Corner is the high point of the Marriotts, about 178′ above sea level. We weren’t terribly worried about altitude sickness :) We rode along together on our CX bikes. Quite a few dog walkers about at that time of the morning but we knew that we’d missed the ‘rush’ that happens at around 7.30am where it’s dog walking everywhere you look on the Marriotts.

We rode up and past the Whitwell Station cafe and on to the Themelthorpe loop. It’s narrower and muddier up here. Kenn is not fond of it. I went on ahead, as you can’t ride two abreast in most places along here. At a field opening, I sat and waited for Kenn and watched a pair of Hares running and playing in the field. Kenn came along and we both sat and watched them until they went off through the hedge and out of sight. Then we carried on. The Loop was partially closed last year due to the badger activity there. There are bits of fencing around the setts now. I think that the council were worried about people falling down a badger hole and suing them. It’s a nice 5 miles round the loop to Reepham and, when it was a M & GN railway line, served Themelthorpe.

At the top of the loop the surface gets better for a while, then worse again and then better as you approach Reepham Station Cafe. We rode past there and then whipped through Reepham and back to Whitwell, some 1.5 miles away. Much faster by road but no wildlife to watch. At Whitwell, we parked the bikes up against one of the cafe picnic tables and Kenn went off to forage for coffee & cake. I had the coffee, he had a huge bit of carrot cake – it looked amazing for those of whom like carrot cake (I do but am losing weight and not messing it up by eating a massive bit of carrot cake – anyway, it’s weigh-in day on Sunday). I actually wasn’t hungry anyway.

From there it was a nice 7 miles back to the carpark. 18.9 miles ridden with an average of 10.2mph which is about right for riding along the trail there. I really like that ride, well I like riding on the Marriotts full stop.

Yesterday (8/5/15) Kenn was at dialysis and I left the house a smidge later than I really meant to. I wasn’t sure where I was riding but thought that I would make it up as I went along. I headed off down Bluebell, more out of habit than anything else.

Backwards Intwood to Hospital

From there I went right at the lights and stopped very soon after as I managed to swallow a fly and it tried to fight back. Coughing and hacking, I managed to get a good glug of water while standing on the pavement, bike still between my knees. Horrible, horrible, horrible. How many calories in a fly anyway.
I rode up the hill and then turned up Keswick Road and headed off to Intwood & then East Carleton, past East Carleton Manor. I found that I was doing a favourite ride but in reverse and carried on to the Ketteringham Crossroads, where, after a quick look at my watch, I decided that heading right, rather than left, would be better. Had I gone left, I could have gone to Ketteringham and then popped out on the old Norwich Road near Kett’s Oak but I didn’t have the time. I went right and headed off for the A11/A47 junction as just before it, is a tight left hand bend where if you go up onto the pavement, there is a bridge over the A47.

You can only ride a bit of the way up the bridge, then it becomes wide steps but with a flat bit, to the left hand side, for ease of pushing your bike along. Somebody thought about this bridge. The steps are fine in road cleats, except for the one checkerplate step that each side has. One on the way up, one on the way down again. Fine in the dry, very slippery in the wet. Nice and dry today so not a bother. Once down the other side, it brings you back into Cringleford on Cantley Lane where I turned up the cyclepath, by the vets and then over the pedestrian/cycle crossing over the A11 and onto Roundhouse Way and off to the hospital.

It was a great ride. Just 10.7 miles in the sunshine, in a nice 44 minutes. I wished that I had started out earlier and gone further but never mind. Hoping for a nice ride on Sunday to break the 100 miles this month so far. Very windy out today with 20mph winds with gusts. I didn’t fancy riding back from Gt Yarmouth in it. Tomorrow though and we are looking forward to it.

586 miles done this year so over 25% of my target. Nearly 94 miles this month so pretty happy with that. I might even go and do a little leg turner later on. Or I might go and have a long walk instead. Who knows.

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May already

Blogging has been put to one side while guitar practice and bike riding happens.

I set a goal for April, of 120 miles but was through that by mid month so moved the goal out to 175 miles but ended up on 201. I know that it’s not much in the grand scheme of things but, for April, it’s not too bad for me. I was pleased with it, plus I am riding the Planet X pro carbon again.

We’ve had entertainment changing an innertube with it, as the Conti’s that came as standard on the bike, are tight beyond belief and I can’t reseat the tyres without pinching the tube. As it turned out – after 4 goes – neither can Kenn, so we got onto the Wiggle site and bought a pair of Schwalbe Lugano tyres. We’ve had them in the past, know them to be good and a bit more flexible too. Now the PX has a Lugano on the front wheel. We can’t quite bring ourselves to do battle with the rear tyre at the moment after we broke 4 tyre levers with the front one. We will get it done before summer kicks in though.

The old Conti, has gone on Kenn’s Boardman. Waste not, want not, as they say. My Vision wheels have quite deep rims and the Conti’s are too snug a fit for my stupid fingers to deal with. Boardman has Mavic CP22s on, not so deep rims so much easier. Kenn is happy, he has ‘new’ tyres with only 1000 miles in them so he doesn’t need to worry about buying new ones just yet.

May has a target of 200 miles for the month. So far, I’m up to 63 miles, including 4.5 miles in high winds yesterday. The crosswind was really nasty on a short utility ride to a client’s house and then to meet Kenn from dialysis. I rode down the hill by the UEA, covering the brakes and not actually pedalling as I was worried about being blown across the road. I was not terribly happy about that at all.
Hoping for a nice round 20 today, leaving in a few minutes, after Kenn has changed a tube on his bike, had his breakfast, another coffee and generally faffed about. He’s been faffing for 45 minutes so far and I have to be at work at noon, showered and tidy. I also want to be back by 11 as the BBC says that it’s going all cloudy and that it will rain.

I’ve been riding out to Wymondham, Ketteringham way of late. I also took Kenn out for a ride to Salhouse, Woodbastwick, stopping for coffee at Ranworth Broad, then home via the Plumsteads, Thorpe End and back via the first 3 miles of the Marriotts. 29.77 miles. Had I known that, I’d have ridden around the block. He didn’t do too badly. He certainly didn’t moan for the last 25 miles of it, as he has done in the past.

Off out on the CXs in a min. Marriotts Way to Themelthorpe loop and back again. Looking forward to it.


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Eric the CX bike has been working hard since January!

My beloved Planet X CX bike – Eric to his friends – has been doing sterling work all winter. I’ve ridden 360 miles on him since having him and all but 2 rides this year have been done on him. I just adore that bike. I bought him a new bottle cage in a rather fetching cat sick day-glo green, to match his handlebars and he seems to like it. I have ridden 313 miles this year on Eric.

I have had 2 rides on my Pro Carbon this year too. I got out last week for a nice wee 16 miler from our new home out along the Hethersett Road, turned off to Ketteringham and headed to East Carleton and came home via Intwood, Cringleford then up past the hospital and across the UEA campus to home again. Great fun and I had forgotten how responsive the roadie is. I also realised how I need new handlebars, 40cm ones as the 42s make me feel like Andre Greipel as they seem so wide.

Today, I got a nice 32.7 mile ride in on the Pro Carbon – I really will have to think of a name for him. I’ve had him since May last year and the poor bike still has no name. Someone outside Halfords today (I bobbed in for a new innertube, just in case like) asked me waht sort of bike he was. I said that he was a road bike. Person looked confused and said “What MAKE is it” with big emphasis on the word ‘make’. I told them he was a Planet X, hence it saying it in huge letters on the downtube, the forks and the seatstay, not to mention the seatpost, stem and handlebars, but the chap hadn’t noticed the writing. Twazzock!
S. Walsham rideToday, I rode with my pal Mark and we made an assult on Gurney Road for the first time in my life, which is a bit bad being a local and all. I used to ride up Ketts Hill when I was younger but couldn’t face it today so I rode a wee way up Gurney and then cut across to Plumstead Road, via Brittania Road, past the Barracks on one side and St James’ Hill on the other. Lots of picnickers out today. We followed the Plumstead Road out for a few miles then turned left towards Salhouse and then right through Salhouse and out to Woodbastwick, past the brewary.

From there we took a quick detour (see dead end bit on map) along to Cockshoot Broad, because it’s pretty and Mark had never been there. Then back again and round the Ranworth, where we sat in the sun drinking coffee, outside the pub by the Broad. South Walsham was the next point of interest, followed by an amazing cyclepath between Little & Great Plumstead and then back to Mark’s via Thorpe End, Heartsease and a quick whip across Mousehold on the cycle path. Going down Gurney Road is easier than going up, but due to losing some 25lbs in total this year, riding up hill is a lot easier nowadays. Another 20lbs should see me down to ‘racing weight’ but I’d be happy with another stone lost really.

I left Mark at his, as he was shattered but I had another 3 miles or so to ride. I followed the cycle paths and Marriotts Way home but did the last bit via New Costessey and up the Oval Road rather than face Marlpit Lane with 30+ miles in my legs, this early in April.

This year, I am fitter on the bike than previous years. Eric has seen to that. I just love riding him and we’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Norfolk. The rest of the country has had snow but it missed us, except for a light dusting that was gone by lunch time a few weeks ago. Had I not seen the snow falling, I would have assumed that we’d had a hard frost.

I am planning – next week hopefully – to ride on the Marriotts to Aylsham, then along the Bure Valley to Wroxham again. This time with Mark. Kenn says that he will lend Mark his Whyte CX. I don’t think that Mark’s Defy would like the Marriotts very much. Not when it gets narrow and muddy anyway. Kenn has got himself up to about 14 miles but doesn’t really want to ride further than that at the mo. I think that if he gets back on his Boardman that he will change his mind. I’m holding out for a ride with him at the weekend, maybe even Thursday evening if the weather holds. That Ketteringham ride would be fabby again.


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