This is a ride report from this weekends bike riding, in which my friend Mieke and I cycled from London to Nottingham (for me it was to sheffield). Mieke has taken on a personal challenge for the year, to travel using her own energy, all powered by herself (walking, running, cycling). This includes commutes in excess of 100 miles. For me, I was lucky enough to join this powerhouse of a human for this one, and to put in some much needed training miles for myself. Here is how it went.
I arrived in London on Friday night and made my way over to Bermondsey. Mieks was putting some finishing touches to her bike. We agreed an early night and an early start was a good idea. The early start was achieved, however for me the early night was not. Like a child, I couldn’t contain my excitement before bed and 1A.M. was the last time I heard my Casio beep before I was asleep. Fortunately, that same excitement that was keeping me awake, also masked my tiredness in the morning.
We shared some life and energy giving breakfast in the form of coffee and porridge, and was out the door on our bikes by 7:30. Although you couldn’t describe the weather as ‘a beautiful day’, it was perfect cycling conditions. Not too hot, not too cold. It was just right, and with a tail wind to assist our efforts.
In my mind, every other time I have exited London on my ‘bici’, its been a shit show of heavy traffic and doing laps of an area looking for a cycle lane so I don’t have to use what is essentially a motorway. This time it seemed to be a breeze. I guess London traffic is never quiet, but there certainly is more preferable times and this was one of them. After a brief stop on the very outskirts of the city for another dose of coffee and some travel snacks, we pushed on with the smog ridden sky rises well behind us now.
Normally I cycle solo and it was a super welcome change to have some company. Due to Mieke’s presence, riding time didn’t seem to be a factor. 3 hours of celebrating mini milestones (10kms done = whooop, 20 kms done = whooop and so on) had passed without any thoughts of burning legs at all. It all felt too easy. We switched it up for a while and headed for some riding along a canal path. It was a lovely change of scenery and gave our brains some relief from cars, vans and lorries howling past our shoulders every other second. Eventually the path transformed into muddy sludge and was unridable on our chosen bikes.
After around 5 hours or so, we stopped for a pub lunch and general recharge somewhere within the vicinity of Leighton Buzzard. We were buzzing for buzzard, but setting off again we weren’t so buzzing. NOTE – cycling after a big lunch makes you burpy and sausage rolls don’t taste as nice the second time round.
The rest of the 1st day was almost as easy as the start, we only really began to suffer a bit towards the very end once we had already cycled more than 120 kilometers. It took us a little time to find our bearings in Northampton and locate the hotel we were staying at. We had made it, and celebrated with about 8 in a row of some of the worst high-5s I’ve ever taken a part of in my lifetime. After a shower and a change into some civilian clothes, we made our way down to the bar and met up with Mieke’s husband and dear friend of mine Adam, and ‘the in-laws’. It was a great evening of eating, drinking, laughing and general cavorting. I don’t normally drink, but was convinced after Mieke pointed out that I’d feel hungover in one way or another in the morning. I managed two beers and got wobbly.
Eventually we retired and and were all watching Crufts on the hotel TV from out hotel bed agreeing that this level of dog pageantry was absurd.
Day 1 – 145.4kms. Thank you and good night.
SUPPORT MIEKE’S EFFORTS ON POWERED BY ME