Many, many exciting things have happened in my world of cycling in the last month or so. I have been out riding in ever increasing circles on my newly serviced Ribble and I have bought a new bike: A Brompton M6L. In blue. With an extra long seat post and extension on the handlebar ‘for the taller rider’, apparently.
On the lunchtime of the 26th March, I went in to Evans Cycles at London Bridge to ‘talk’ about the Brompton only to find that by the time I left, I had bought one. To be honest, my mind had bought one a few days ago as I was bored of walking the same route to work everyday, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise.
My existing folding bike, a Dawes Diamond, was being sacrificed to help pay for the new one. This was a trusty steed for many a commute between Southend and Witham, but, with its clumsy folding mechanism, its heavy awkward bulk when folded and the fact the seat post kept sliding down, it wasn’t really suitable for the London commute.
I didn’t have to wait long to pick the bike up as the very next, very wet day I was cycling down Tooley Street on the way to work. Since then I have been buying more accessories than is healthy for my bank account and finding the best way to get from Liverpool Street to Shad Thames. Actually, I found that route really early, but it’s been great exploring Shoreditch, cycling down Brick Lane (the wrong way) and performing my own homage to the spring classics just days before Paris Roubaix by shuddering over the cobbles at St Katherine’s Dock.
Not that it needs exploring in the classical sense, because I suspect it has already been discovered, but since the service, I have been venturing further and further out in to Essex, bound only by my fitness. Once The Beast From the East’s little brother had gone the way of his fiercer sibling, this proved to be somewhat lacking when my grand plan of going it alone and smashing the 40 mile loop to East Haninngfield and back out to Blackmore, went the way of the shortcut. I have many excuses for this, rough British roads, going off too quick, and a realisation that my bike has much racier gearing that the one I hired in Mallorca (what can I say, I bought it when I was much fitter)! The fact that it was really cold was the clincher so I forded the ford, cut off the Hanningfields and looped around Ingatestone, Fryerning and Mountnessing powering (limping) home and jumping in a hot shower after just 13.5 miles.
The following day, managing expectations, I put aside all crazy notions of going further east than Billericay. I left later in the hope that it was marginally warmer and subsequently managed a whopping 22.5 miles. All very good practice for the following bank holiday weekend and, despite being April Fool’s Day, I finally achieved my 40 mile route, not least because Sandra came with me and is far better at pacing than I am.
Apart from taking the Brompton for a very short, five mile, country excursion, that was it for this month’s adventures in to nature. The remaining ride was even shorter: a three kilometre attempt at using the rollers. It was only three kilometres because, firstly I had forgotten how boring it was and secondly, I had to hold on to the wall, as I have lost any semblance of the technique I once had. This made it all too difficult and the excuses too easy to give in to.