Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A solo ride

I did a long(ish) solo cycle ride over the weekend. My first, ever. I've been on longer rides, but always with other people. I did my own navigating (a rare thing; see my last post).

These are my statistics of the event.

Kilometres travelled: 36.32
Miles travelled: 22.7
Time taken for the ride: Three hours (give or take).

Hills ascended: Three (oof).
Hills descended: wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Number of times I had to stop to check the map: At every juncture, um, maybe fifteen? Then, I checked the map obsessively during lunch.

Wrong turns taken: only one! Although, it was a biggie ... I turned right, instead of left, when leaving the Stately Home (see below) to cycle back home again. I realised after no more than a kilometre, so I was not well on the way to Scotland before I did an about face and cycled back past the little family of ramblers to whom I had just called out, "Hi there! Bike behind!" and to whom I now said, "Hi again! Silly cyclist coming back!" Mum and Dad grinned and kids waved.

Number of stupid cars who cut in front of me: One. Red. Driven by a blonde woman with a shoulder length bob. I'd recognise her again. Harrumph.

Number of nice drivers who shared the road with me: Lots. Yay them.

Number of steam-rollers passed: One, with me grinning a most amused grin, and the driver waving at me.

Amount of (rooibos) tea ingested: one thermos, or four cups.

Stately homes visited: One.
Regency dances viewed: Four.
Roses smelled: Seven (Pilgrim was best and Graham Thomas came a close second).
Time spent meandering around the Stately Home's grounds, having lunch, reading my book, drinking my thermos of tea, admiring the gardens, feeling jealous about the gardens, resisting buying a book from the second-hand book store nestled in the Stately Home's cellarium and contemplating whether I should cycle home soon because it might rain: Three and one half hours.

Punctures incurred: one
Punctures fixed: none
Spare carried: Thank goodness.
Tyre changed: YES!
Time spent considering whether I could fix the puncture, giving up and changing the inner tube instead: 45 minutes.

Offers of help declined: One

Times I considered catching the train home: Only once, initially, when I discovered where the puncture was on my inner tube (Right at the valve. Was that repairable? I had to phone a friend to double-check. The answer was no. My heart sunk.) But the train station was two miles from where I currently was, plus my home station is about two miles from home. That's pushing a bike a total of four, painstakingly slow, miles. I thought I'd rather spend ages trying to change the tyre before giving up to catch the train. But no! I am competent at practical things.

Number of nice old people who offered me their soap and water to wash my mucky hands: Two. And the old dude apologised for not offering to help because I "looked very professional changing the tyre". I beamed. And the old lady said,"He would not have been any good, love" and winked. Bless. I did not ask why they were carrying soap to visit a Stately Home (Gift horse. Mouth. Don't Look.)

Number of children who stood around giggling at my attempts to change my inner tube: Six. Go away children! You're not making it any easier.
Number of children who leapt about me and my bike and my worldly possessions (novel, check; beanie, check; thermos, check; emergency chocolate, check) scattered on the lawn: Two (but it felt like twenty). I discovered my puncture in the parking lot of the Stately Home, just prior to my homeward cycle, hence the abundance of people.

Number of trout in stream: One! Large! Spotty!

Photographs taken: None. I had no space to carry the Fuji camera (and my partner had the Ricoh) - I really need a pannier rack and pannier bags, but, because I am vertically challenged (who you callin' short, huh?), I cannot fit a pannier rack onto my bike (the seat is not high enough and a pannier rack attaches to the wheel nuts as well as to the joist thing holding the seat up.). My, there sure were a lot of qualifying clauses in that last sentence. I'm working on raising my seat, but I currently have the seat at just the height when, if I am at a stop, I am on my very tippiest of tippy-toes to hold steady, and even so, I regularly tumble. Gracefully, of course.


Anonymous said...

Your words are imagery enough, Oanh :-)

Hedgehog said...

You're really funny. It's amazing the way you talk about your grand adventure. I've never gone on such long rides before. You have to be careful on the road though, so many incompetent drivers out there. :D

ej said...

I'm so impressed!! I used to ride a lot around Beijing but that was pretty flat. I had grand plans to ride to the Great Wall that never eventuated. My longest bike ride was up the puy de dome from clermontferrand. . It took me about 5 hours to "ride" push the bike up...and about 15 minutes to whiz down..i think the tour de france people do it in less than an hour and a half. though my cousin made me drink beer mid way up. should have stuck to the spring water they are so famous for.
hmm i just googled it it was only 13km. now i'm embarrassed. the next day we hired electric bikes.

(formerly lbw - stopped bfeeding :) )

Oanh said...

You are too kind, Nikkipolani!

Thanks, Hedgehog. It's not the incompetent drivers I'm worried about - I'm keeping a sharp eye and alert mind for them - it's the aggressive, impatient drivers who don't want to share the road with a bike that really worry me.

Hi EJ (ex LBW)- the south of England is pretty flat too :-) Your adventures sounds like fun! My first 'ride' up a hill involved finding myself sliding backwards while still pedalling my little heart out, and then getting off and pushing - because I put myself into the wrong gear ...

I've not been on an electric bike - but the noise! Isn't it distracting?

Anonymous said...

a big bikeride, yay for you! regency dances?! maybe check out pannier brackets for your front wheel? pretty nifty and don't require any seat adjustment

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