We had a boring business appointment today, as we are on the NEA for our small business, which meant that we had a meeting at our local Job Centre with an ‘advisor’ who knows nothing about business, nothing about dogs or grooming and has just dealt with people on the dole for the last 20 years of her life. She wasn’t what you might call dynamic or in the least bit interested in anything but getting me out of the door. I got no advice whatsoever, but having been in business for years until I broke my arm 2 years ago, I probably know a lot more about it than she does. Added to that, she rushed everything as she had forgotten about us and had remembered us 15 minutes after our appointment was due, and then when we went up and asked if she was going to see us today after all? So that half an hour meeting was done and dusted in 12 minutes dead.
Happily, the sun was shining when we got up this morning, it was still shining after our Weetabix and a cuppa and still shining after we had walked the dogs. We did notice that it was starting to cloud a bit when we were getting the bikes out but we decided to ignore that. What I hadn’t mentioned to Kenn was that I had been online and had a peep at the BBC weather forecast for our area and it mentioned scattered showers from 8am to 9am in the Norwich area but I decided to keep quiet about that and hope for the best. We did take our lightweight rain jackets though.
We took the pretty route into Dereham, its actually the shortest way in, along twisty country lanes. We went up the B1108, turned towards Barnham Broom, through Barnham Broom, down the hill and along, up the other side, which is a long slow old drag but I had read the hill climbing article in Cycling Active this month and decided to try relaxing up the hill instead of trying so hard to not slow down so much and keep my cadence up. That worked beautifully. I had never tried that before and was mightily impressed. My cadence stayed up, I slowed a lot but wasn’t that fussed as it was all so much easier. Once at the top, I waited for Kenn to catch up, he wasn’t far behind. Kenn said that getting up there was better than last time, when he tried hard.
We then took the Yaxham turning and followed the road called ‘Candlestick’ over the crossroads into Flood Lane (through a lot of puddles) and onwards to Yaxham. At Yaxham, its only 3 miles into Dereham itself and we made great time in and locked the bikes up at the library and walked to the JC bang on time for the meeting that my ‘advisor’ was late for. (see first paragraph where I had a moan about said ‘advisor).
From there, we had a quick 30 mins on the library computers, reading the Olympic cycling news and went on Cyclechat to see what chatter there is and about what. Then we cycled to Pauls Cycles, without bothering with the GPS thing, where I looked at my rear tyre with total horror! When did it get in such a state. I reckon that its from cycling down our drive as its got really stony and horrible with the farm vehicles driving up and down it all day. I made a mental note to walk up and down in from here on in. We bought a new Giant tyre for a massive £12 (much more inexpensive than I thought actually) fitted it and borrowed the lovely Pauls’ chap’s track pump as we only had our shortie pump which is not good for getting 100psi into a tyre with. We get knackered at about 85psi and call it a day.
From Pauls, we cycled to Tesco for a coffee and some brunch as Kenn was feeling rather wibbly, which is not what we like. There was a lovely stand offering free Cheerios to try today, so we had some, with milk and the man who was running the stand, asked if he could take a piccy of us in our cycling kit eating Cheerios. We said ‘why not’ and posed eating said food. Then we got our coffee, plus some scrambled eggs with bacon on 2 humungously fat bits of granary toast. I only ate one bit of toast as I was stuffed. Ken ate all his toast and a bit of mine before admitting defeat. On Slimming World, the bacon is free food on a Extra Easy day, as is the strangled egg. We checked how it was cooked and asked for all visible fat to be cut off the bacon. We calculate that we probably only had 8 syns in total and it was all really yummy. The coffee was good, we shared a medium cup and for medium, read huge.
When we left Tesco, we turned the GPS back on and headed home. It had got a tad cold and Kenn had put his rain jacket on, I had mine wrapped around my waist and was hoping for the best. By the time we reached Yaxham again, Kenn had stopped and had wrapped his rain jacket around his waist too. We went home the way we had come and had a great ride. We did have a short encounter with a hedgetrimming tractor as we rounded a corner, I thought that we were dodging around more twigs than we did on the way there and there was a fresh hedgy smell in the air. The nice tractor man stopped and moved slightly to the right allowing us to duck under the mowing arm on the left. Trying to concentrate on not hitting the moving mowing blades, not hitting the tractor and not cycling (or waddling with the bike still between our legs as it was) over blackthorn twigs was a bit of an effort but we were happier with Mr Mower-man scattering blackthorn everywhere being behind us. We cycled amazingly smoothly to the lovely downhill that takes us around the tight left hander, over the bridge and up the hill (18% at one point) into Barnham Broom. I accelerated over the bridge, sorted my gears to little front ring and something sensible on the back and concentrated on relaxing and spinning my pedals. Yet again, I had a good ride up a big (to me) hill. I cycled right up it, past the post office and to the bus stop, where I turned around and went to look for Kenn. Turned out that he had totally fluffed up his gear change and found a half a gear, span his legs madly and fallen off. He thought that his chain had dropped off but it turned out that it was just between two rear cogs. He decided that discretion was the better part of valour and walked up the first bit and then got back on and cycled up the last half.
We cycled through Barnham Broom and then took the Carlton Forhoe turning to take us on the B1108 and home. I did suggest going home via Barford village hall and turning there and then back up the hill to home but Kenn had knocked his leg coming off and just wanted a cuppa. So that’s what we did.
All in all, a great ride, and it didn’t rain even one spot. Having said that, if we had risked riding without taking our jackets, it would have poured down and we would have been drenched. Tomorrow, we are planning the Carlton Forehoe loop as a little leg turner before tackling something else on Saturday and Sunday. Onwards then.
Top speed: 38.7kph
Ave speed: 19.47kph