Having put out a general call for anyone to join me on the LLR Bikeathon on 31st August, I am pleased to say that I have now been joined by Nicki Crabb, my stage manager on the production of Calendar Girls I was in back in October 2012. Being 21 years younger than me, and already a keen runner and cyclist, Nicki has agreed to be my pacemaker and pull me around the London course by rope if necessary. Actually, I’m not sure she agreed to that last bit, but perhaps I can attach a rope to her saddle when she’s not looking.
The other bit of good news I had this week came when I worked out that the onboard computer shows distance covered in miles. Thus, the 10.5km I thought I had done the other week, was in fact 10.5 miles. Which is considerably heartening.
So, on Thursday, Nicki & I set off on a mammoth (for me) ride down the Forest Way, in East Sussex. Essentially, this follows the path of the old railway, and is therefore relatively flat. Until you reach the end of the Way at Groombridge and head “off-piste” in search of a pub. Then ensued a few miles of slogging uphill (OK, I got off and walked up some of the way) and zooming downhill (wondering how effective the brakes are), until we found a suitable establishment in which to refresh ourselves in preparation for the return journey.
Living in London, I was unaware of some of the potential perils of cycling cross country. Small dogs and children have little concept of the danger looming towards them in the form of “Middle-Aged Woman on Bike”, and similar MAWOBs heading in the opposite direction seem unsure whether to hold their ground or dive into the nearest nettlebed (it seems Mitcham Common doesn’t have a monopoly on nettles). However, the deadliest peril comes in the form of the formerly unknown MAMIL. Yes, the Middle-Aged Man in Lycra has eyes only for the road ahead, and if that road happens to be full of assorted dogs, children, MAWOBs and nettles, then they should get out of the way. Quickly.
Arriving back at the car X hours after we set off, I was pleased to see we had managed to cycle (apart from the hills) 18.29 miles. On getting home, I was capable of very little, and the following morning I discovered clumps of blisters and some very delicate parts of my anatomy. But, hey, riding round London on a Sunday morning can’t be too much worse. Can it?
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