Another glorious day today. The day was sunny, warm and was totally still. We were invited to tea with a very old and good friend, we looked at the map and saw that it was around 8 miles each way and thought that it would be good practice for commuting in to the city and back when we find work. Best of all today, was it marked the passing of another 100 mile marker so we are most pleased with ourselves.
We left our campsite and headed down a fairly major A road which, after 5 or 6 miles reaches the main city ring road. Knowing the city, as I do although it has been many years since I lived there, I had a vague idea of which way to go. We found that the A road was flattish but after a slight down hill for the first mile and a half, it then had a gentle rise for the next couple of miles. Kenn went from spinning along at 20mph to then dropping to about 12mph as we went along. It was a very gentle hill but it was 2 miles long and a bit of a drag. I was finding it fairly easy but Kenn seemed to be exerting more effort than he really wanted to.
Once we had circumnavigated the hellish junction at the ring road, it used to be a roundabout but now its a complicated junction where nobody ever seems to be in the correct lane. We managed to keep out of the way of all the lane changers and get ourselves onto a lovely downhill section of road which had far too many pedestrian crossings with red lights on for my liking. At a major junction, I surprised Kenn by getting into the right hand lane and changing direction. We went down another lovely downhill, round a roundabout and continued along. The cars passing us were all giving us a ton of room, which was gratifying as we were worried about city cycling. As we cycled along, I had a feeling that there was a lovely designated cycle path, cutting through a park and grassed area somewhere along on the left. I shouted to Kenn that I was looking for it and then yelled “it’s here” slammed my brakes on and totally missed the path gate. After a bit of jiffling, I got through the bike gate and freewheeled down the path onto the main cycleway. Kenn was right behind me, muttering a bit. I think that the sudden change of direction caught him slightly on the hop.
Once on the main cycleway, Kenn realised where he was and came alongside and we chatted as we went along. I did tell him that I was not overly sure of the best way through the city to the other side without going up a long, busy, city hill. In the end we cycled along a riverside path, out onto a road, up a short, steep hill, across a road, up another short hilly road and into the city centre. There were lots of other people riding their bikes there so we went through the city centre, doglegged around a department store and up along a road that I was sure was a two way road all the way up, now its only the top half that is two way. At the top there is a mare of a roundabout. There is a underpass under it but I had forgotten about it. I remembered for the way home though. After the roundabout, it was about 200 yards before our turning up a narrow street and another 100 yards before turning into my friend’s road.
We were taking no chances with the bikes though. We took the bikes in to the flat. There were bunches of bored looking youths around and I really don’t want to buy a new bike. My Giant is really nice, it looks really nice too!
We spent a very pleasant couple of hours with our friend before heading back to the caravan. We made a couple of discoveries on the return journey. Firstly, it’s a couple of hundred yards further back than there. Secondly, our lights are not good enough! We need better lights, as well as the ones we have. The back lights are fine. The front lights do not cast enough light forward for cycling once outside of the city streetlights.
Interestingly, we were both sure that it had taken less time to get back than it took to get there but, in reality, it took 3 minutes longer to get back. We think that we must be getting fitter, the ride was reasonably easy, flat though. We are not unduly tired either. As this will be our daily commute, we expect to get faster in the very near future.
Miles today: 16.32
Miles to date: 306.27
Miles to go: 693.73
Max speed: 22.1
Ave speed: 12.6