Nearly Autumn. Accidental bike

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I cannot believe that it’s September again. So far this year has just flown.

I have just about sorted out the new flat, although I seem to spend most of my time at P’s or at work. This place is very tidy but, as I’m not here much, it doesn’t get untidy. I do like this flat though and might well look into buying it if things continue to go well with P. It will give me some security and I can then let it out for an income.

P is now back from his travels and, as I asked him about rowing, gave me a rowing lesson. That was rather run, so I paid for a ‘Learn to Row’ course and have now had 2 lessons of that course.

The first lesson was horrific. I had had a stressful day at work and P was just winding me up saying that there would be loads of people there and that some of them were really judgey and sneery. I don’t really do people at the best of times, let alone horrible ones. He has since said that they are nice people, he was just messing. I wish that he wouldn’t. Consequently, I had a horrible row. I tried to follow P up the river, but as he was in front and I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, I couldn’t actually see him. I was trying to concentrate on going along and not falling in the water. I discovered that I can actually just sit in the boat, close my eyes and breath to get the panic under control. I had felt like abandoning the dang boat and swimming to the quay heading, so much was I loathing the whole boat experience. Once I got out of the hateful thing, at the end of the never ending hour’s lesson, I had pretty much decided that I wanted nothing more to do with water ever again. Including having a shower. I had paid for 5 more horrific lessons and was pretty happyto cut my losses and never speak of rowing again. Kayaking is way better. You go forwards for a start.

P suggested I tried again and that I had done well last time – he is such a liar – so I went out to the club again. I told him not to wind me up as I had had a lovely, stress free, work day and wanted to remain nice and stress free. P just cannot do that, so by the time I got in that hated, horrendous, bloody boat, I was all bunched up. I rowed around in big 120 yard, each way,  ovals for an hour, finding a rhythm and found myself talking to myself to hit said rhythm – ‘legs, arms, feather, unfeather’ rinse and repeat. It seemed to work. Only 4 more of these lessons and I can get back in a kayak. I quite like rowing but not that stress that P puts me under. Seems to be a hell of a lot of effort to not see where you are going.

As you may have noticed, at the top of the page, there is a new Peugeot to the bike stable. I bought this from Biggs on Cycle Chat. £85 and it’s pretty much, brand new. I need to replace the tubes and tyres as they are probably 20 years old and original, and there is a return spring on the right shifter that needs attention. Last Sunday, I took him out for a nice 35 miles, give or take. That saddle has to go.
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It turned out to be an ‘out and back’ as some of the roads that the Garmin suggested, online, have now been blocked off or turned into private roads with big ‘no entry’ signs slapped all over them.

I took one byroad and it turned into a field.

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I was a bit concerned about my 20 year old tyres but, sensibly, I do have recovery insurance with ETA. Not knowing my way about here or having someone reliable at the end of a phone to collect me in case of a mechanical.

I haven’t really ridden since. I have sort of lost the mojo to ride. I have got out a couple of times since last week. A 14 miler and a 2 miler – it poured with rain and I couldn’t see where I was going so went home. Some of the routes around here are boring, and windy. I am not loving the local cycling very much. I preferred the Lincolnshire routes but much prefer living here. Bit of a dilemma really. I have some time off work this week and have asked P about riding on the Peddars Way route, up and back for a bit. He’s said ‘maybe’ and ‘we’ll see’ which everyone who is my generation knows full well means ‘no’. I’ll get new tyres on Eric and go myself.

Eric is in P’s garage at the moment. He has Marathon Plus tyres on and they are fine for the summer but I am thinking of X-kings again and a nice ‘slime’ treatment. Gives me a good roll and a bit more ruggedness for riding. I would like to take PeeBee apart and give him a really good sort out, new drive train etc, but no mojo. I am trying to convince myself to take a roadie out now. It’s 9.15 on a Sunday morning and not raining. No mojo. It’s bloody windy out there though. Might go later. Even the dog has gone back to bed.

My bikes are looking at me and making me feel guilty. Actually, my sewing machines are doing the same. However, I do have a lovely ‘tat-bag’, made from recycled fabric and made on Vintage Singers, which is lovely. Mine is made from an old sail. Tat-bags are the siblings to ‘swanky bags’ from the same place. PJs, and I rather like them.

The inaugural shopping trip went well. Honey, yoghurt and mint sauce were all transported home.

Right, that ride. Better crack on a bit.

R

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Norfolk and Good

I have moved house. To Norfolk. West Norfolk to be exact.

I live in a market town, near King’s Lynn, in a 1 bed flat having exchanged it for a 2 bed house that was too expensive and in the wrong county. I have a great job just 9 miles up the road and I love it. Riding is OK, not as good as Lincs but still finding my way around. Moved on the 16th June and still unpacking and sorting out here. No hurry. P is away at the moment so I can take my time and sort it slowly and how I like it.

 

I am very happy here. I have started running again, which Toffee loves. My divorce is ticking along, as far as I know and it’s all good.

 

I am down on where I would like to be cycling wise, my Garmin Trek was nicked by someone who came to the old house. He was insistent on seeing it and I know that I took it from the car and put it on the hall shelves but it wasn’t there so suspect that he pocketed it. Garmins don’t just vanish into thin air without assistance. I have replaced it with an old Garmin, it has breadcrumb mapping and I can put routes in so that I don’t get lost. In conjunction with Googlemaps on my phone, I am finding my way about.

I will update more at some point.

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31st January 2018. 1 Month down, 11 to go

It’s not been a bad month, all in all.
Settling down at BT and hating it. Yes, you read that right. I loathe it. I love the talking to customers but the system sucks and the 9pm finishes are doing my noodle. P doesn’t like them either as I am shattered when I come in and we barely have time to speak, just head straight for bed, after walking the dog, as I am too tired to function. I’ve had a couple of stress migraines and that is telling me all I need to know there.

A move to the Norfolk area is imminent. P’s job is moving and I am following him. It will be May time but I can’t wait. Job hunting for a temp thing here and a job there, as well as a home swap. I will go private if I have to.

This month, I have ridden for 16 hours, which was the target time. 212 and a bit miles so it’s all good. I rode a quick 9.75 miles this morning, before work just to tip the 16 hour challenge for the month over. I’m doing the 30 minutes a day thing again.

I can see a couple of signs of Spring, thank heavens.

Bike wise. Eric needs a service, PeeBee needs serious brake attention, new ones for him I think and Bluey needs that rattle cassette sorting but my hands are a bit rubbish at the moment so he will have to wait, unless I can sweet talk P into it.

2018 is going to be a good year.

 

R

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Another year has gone

Well, 2017 was interesting, to say the least.

I bought a new bike, moved up-country to Lincolnshire, separated from 2n and found a new boyfriend/ride buddy. It all went on. I also found a permanent job at BT and rode 4044 miles exactly. According to Garmin, Velo Viewer says otherwise.
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I’ve put 3000 miles in the target bank for this year, I’ll tweak it come summer, and have ridden 2% of it so far with a 21 miler on New Year’s Day, 33 or so yesterday and 14 today. I’ve ridden for 5 hours so far this year so 90 minutes over my weekly target of 3hrs 30 mins a week, across the winter.

Let’s see what 2018 brings then. Bring it on.

R

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The end of October already.

I cannot believe how this year has flown. It’s been 2 months since my last blog and I’ve had to admit that I’m pretty rubbish at blogging really. No matter, we plough on.

The whole ride-buddy thing that banged into flames is still burning bright. Some clothes, a bike and a toothbrush have arrived at my home. There was a pasta maker – he’s a great cook – was here but he took it back this weekend to make pasta at his home. No doubt it will be back at some point.

I may have accidentally bought a new bike. New to me anyway. I have fancied a nice steel bike for a while, having seen some of the gorgeous bits of kit that Biggs on Cycle Chat has. I chatted with him about having one of his but they are mostly a smidge to big for me. He did give me the nod on a MB bike, hand made in Dronfield c. 1982. The drive train is a bit of a mish-mash but I will sort that. I might try to find a nice retro 105 set for him. The bike is definitely a him. I call him PeeBee. As he is my Purple Bike. He is, quite frankly, the best £150 that I have ever spent. I put Gatorskins on him a couple of days after getting him and gave him a good clean. First, shake down ride was 5 miles which morphed into a 50km. The saddle that came with him was some 80s retro thing. The most uncomfortable thing on the planet. I gave it to Ride-buddy who has a much more retro bum than I do. I like a ladies specific saddle.
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This pic was taken at Coltishall when I took him to Norwich for a nice ride. He is a proper mile muncher. I have changed the Selle Italia Flow for a Selle Italia Diva and put the flow back on my Carbon Roadie (Bluey – I have no imagination when it comes to naming bikes).
The week before I got PeeBee, I went out with the Yellow Bellies Cycling Club and we had a blast, right up until I broke a spoke and had to be recovered back to where my car was parked. Mavic are not best fast with delivering spokes. It’s been on order since 9th September and it’s still on order. I need a new set of wheels for the winter anyway, it might take until spring to get spokes at this rate. I’ll ring them again this week.

Since my last post, I set a date to finally get that 100 mile ride in. I was planning on doing the ride in the summer, but it was a hot one. Then I lost a bit of fitness (in my mind at least) and then I bought PeeBee. Looking at the forecast I figured that the 15th October would make a good one, just before the storms hit 3 or 4 days later and I knew that that weekend was my best shot for a bit. I organised that 2n would drive my car to Norwich so that I could get back home again. I organised with my friend Debbie that we would go to lunch so I could replenish some calories. Routing was interesting but I think that I did a good job.

I left home at about 4am after some porridge and a cup of coffee and headed off to Boston on the back road. At Boston my GPS had a hissy fit and stopped recording but kept directing me. I didn’t notice this until Fosdyke bridge where I went over the River Welland. I got it started again and doglegged a bit towards Holbeach Bank and Gedney Dyke. I got to Sutton Bridge just as it was light enough to take a picture.
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We went over the cyclepath/footpath bit, not the main road bit. Even at that time of the morning we deemed it far too scary for a woman and her bike. From there we headed to King’s Lynn and the McDonalds on the Hardwick Industrial Estate. Happily, the moment that I was over the bridge I found a lovely cyclepath that went for a good while.

The sunrise over the Gt Ouse was nice. I thought it made PeeBee look more attractive.
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The McDees was mostly empty and the manager said that I could bring PeeBee in while I ate my porridge and hash brown. I had a coffee and an espresso, which I dumped in the coffee. 2 beans that way. 2n turned up and had breakfast while I was there. I showed him where I was heading next and he spectacularly failed to find me or follow the correct road. No matter. I followed the B1145, which is a cracker of a road, past Gayton, Litcham, right the way to Bawdeswell where I picked up the A1067 which was very busy so I hooked off left and headed into Whitwell and bought cake and coffee and met up with 2n, changed out of longs and into shorts and jettisoned my jacket.

I headed along the trail a while until I picked up the Reepham road and then went into Norwich the pretty route, via Hainford and the A140 past the airport and into Cowgate, Norwich. It was enough to tip the GPS over the 100 mile mark. Poor GPS was on fumes and I stopped it at 1% battery remaining.
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Once I added on the bit that didn’t record. Re-routed it on my Garmin webpage at home, I found that I’d ridden an average 15mph and had completed 109.82 miles. I was very pleased with that.

I am not getting much riding at the moment. My new job means a longer day with a 30 minute commute each way. This will change soon as a new assignment means a 45 minute commute, less money but I’m getting a contact centre on my CV. Not that I don’t have contact centres on, it’s just not recent enough for most employers. Contact centres have a high churn rate which means that promotion is easier than in other sectors. I need a better pension so need to fast-track a bit.

I will try to keep my blog up. Rides will be shorter, colder and I’ll make more of an effort to take some decent photos.
R

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August and the riding stats are good

Here we are towards the tail end of August and I am sitting at 2648 miles of riding. Not bad for someone who set a 2000 mile target for the year. I’ve set another since, 3000 but think that I might well be going through that too. So far I have ridden the equivalent of riding from Louth, in Lincolnshire to Aswan, in Egypt. That’s not too shoddy.

What news have I?

Well, the riding is going well, the ride buddy has become something more. Quite a lot more actually. I am not sure what happened but he has mentioned that there was an inevitability about it from the minute we met. I’m not so sure, I thought he was OK but nothing to write home about. I didn’t fancy him at all. Getting to know him, slowly and with no pressure or expectation, was rather nice. I think that we have something quite special going on here now. Something that is going to last a while. That’s rather nice for a little hellcat like me.

On the job front, the new job was for 5 weeks and I hated it. Every single second of it. I was so boring it was untrue. For the first 3 weeks, I couldn’t actually log in to the system at all. I couldn’t even do any photocopying as you needed system access to do that. When I could log in, I got a whistle-stop tour of it and and it was a case of ‘off you go then’. Marvellous. I was expected to unlock if I was first in and lock up if last out. I was a temp and very uncomfortable with that, indeed. I didn’t mind the internal locking up, the setting of the alarms and proper locking up of the externals worried me a great deal. That is not the role of a bloody temp. I had no DBS check for this job so most of the other staff wouldn’t let me scan in their work in case I read it. Like anyone has time to read 30 page thick files before scanning and eventually shredding. I did need to take reference numbers off and make sure that they had a matching date of birth so needed to glance at the things, but that didn’t go down well.
Oh, no talking to the service users. It was frowned upon, even when they engaged me in conversation. I think the final straw, for me, came when a chap came in, who used to learn guitar with NGA and said ‘eff me Raffie, what the hell are you doing here and what the eff have you done with your hair?’. At NGA, my hair was moussed up and all ‘beach hair’, here it was all flat, combed and preppy. Turns out that the lad had been ill and was seriously uncommunicative, but chatted away to me about guitars, music and whatnot for a good half an hour before his appointment. Not suitable behaviour for a receptionist with nothing else to do in that time. Seriously, I had nothing else to do.
Contract ended, on not very good terms, but I don’t care. When I went in and was told ‘contract has finished, go home’ I skipped out into the sunshine like a woman released. Went online to search for a job and then went for a bike ride. As you do, to celebrate.

Interviews all day today, starting at 10.

Back to cycling. I did a nice 101km ride on Sunday. Fuelled by cake mainly. Not so far on Monday night, just 12 miles and I was knackered. I really couldn’t keep up with P the ride-buddy. Yesterday I went out with my new bike club. It’s a brand new bike club and it was our pre-inaugural ride (that will be on the 9th Sept, in Louth). We are the Yellowbellies Social Ride club. We met at Woodhall Spa – I rode there and back – did a quick 14 miles or so, meaning that I did 31.5, or 50km if you prefer. It was brilliant. The cake was shocking in it’s stinginess.
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Seriously, look at the state of that. I’d burned that off just wielding the fork to eat the dang thing. That coffee needed a flaming stepladder to reach it too. Biggest waste of £3.50 ever and we shall be avoiding that place like the plague in future.

Once home, I made a couple of calls and paid a couple of bills and then P arrived for a ride (I must be mad), so I grabbed a quick shower and then we did a faster 20 miles than I would have liked. Averaging 15.3mph across the distance. P has gone clipless and is on an old roadie. He really flies on that thing. He’s 2 years younger than I am, fit as anything and very, very strong. I do sprint drills behind and past him (because I can) but I cannot hold him at bay unless we have some miles under our belt. I have more stamina simply because cycling is my sport and he rides to stay fit to go rowing.

I have stuff to crack on with before a day of interviews, so I shall.
Chat later

R

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Lots of riding has occurred

Since last posting there has been much riding. It was only just over a week ago and I have spent a fair bit of time with a bike under my bum.

My ride buddy has been away on his hols so I have been riding alone, which is fine as I have new Aftershokz Bluez 2s’ headphones. The old Aftershokz half died. The left speaker died anyway. I have linked to the wiggle site, but I didn’t pay that for them, mine were cheaper. They are also Kawasaki green and black. I like them. Smaller and a little weightier than my old Bluez but they feel a more solid product. My old Shokz lasted nearly 3 years so I was very happy with them. These are better as they sit flatter behind my ears and don’t make them poke out at all. Anyway, needing to try them out means tha I have to go out.
Last week I cleared off to Norwich to see my friends. Haircut, coffee, biscuits, more coffee (the Virgin Lounge is an excellent place to go, and the drinks are free. Kind of Club Tropicana for banking). There was much chatting and laughter. Bit of crying, more laughter, wine and pizza. I stayed over at my friend Jaide’s place and brought home a tomato plant that we have called Jody. It’s tall and strong, just like her husband, Jody, hence the name. Should get about 20 tomatoes from him.

I got a nice 50 miler in on Thursday last. Getting chatted up seems to be an occupational hazard when riding in lycra. It’s just so darn comfy but I think I’m going to start wearing a baggy tee-shirt over my top. It’s getting annoying. I don’t get this crap when riding with ride buddy. When I was fatter, I didn’t have this problem. I just don’t want to be fatter so it’s either a big tee shirt or I do the whole ‘suck it up buttercup’ thing.
I rode 32 miles on Friday. I didn’t want to go that far but I didn’t want to be in the house either. I got to the 28 mile mark and was knackered but I was not coming in at just under the 50km mark, having ridden that far already. Nope, nope and thrice nope.

I had planned to have Saturday off but it was a nice day so I hopped off for a little bit of a ride on some rolling terrain. Just 16 miles but that will do. Sunday was also an off day so I did a quick 10 and done with as I’d seen the forecast for Monday (yesterday) and it was Marti Pellow weather (that’s Wet Wet Wet for those who don’t know).

It wasn’t that bad after all. A light shower on the way to Woodhall and then a small, light shower over the river while we were riding. I was late home and I had forgotten my lights – rookie mistake right there – but I did watch the sunset, which is why I was late home.
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I thought that it was pretty. I love the colours and the reflections on the water. Ride buddy has a more up to date iPhone than I have and can do more on site photo editing. I really need to ask him to teach me things with my phone. I might ask tonight as it’s going to pour down. I suspect that riding might be suspended for a trip out for a coke or a coffee.

On the home front, 2n is off into a flat of his own, hopefully this weekend. If no viewing forthcoming today, I shall take him for a drive past this afternoon. Then he can see. It’s a 1st floor place in a purpose built house for over 55s or just unders with a medical condition. He can’t take the dog but I will look after Dylan for him. I’ve got Toffee, so one more is not a problem. I would rather have just the one dog but not about to be jettisoning hounds any time soon. I have a new job so a fresh start is happening. I find that I am so excited that I am bouncing about like a teenager, my thoughts leap from place to place and then fall out of my head altogether. More meditation required I think. I shall do that before 2n gets home from hospital and ride buddy starts texting. He normally has a bit of a text fest at around noon – his lunchtime but nobody elses though.

Onwards then. Let’s see what life is going to bring.

R

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