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Maybe, just maybe, we might be through the cold spell. Out walking around the south of the area yesterday and felt like I was wearing too many layers. Really warm in the sun, and not too much wind.

Out on the bike today. Only the second ride of the year and still taking it easy. Planned a quick run to Wendover and back, but still felt good at the end so added on a loop down to Gerrard’s Cross and Beaconsfield. In all that was just over 70km. Again quite warm – relatively speaking, compared to the bitter, icy weather of the last four weeks. Bit of wind out of the south today so a bit chilly in parts.

Lots of cyclists out on the road today – charity bike ride for a local hospice taking place around the area.


For various reasons I’ve had zero bike time over the winter. Partly that was down to work pressures, part was the terrible weather, but mostly down to an overwhelming lethargy that struck.

Time off work this week, and woke yesterday to glorious weather (though I had slept late and missed a chunk of the day). Warm sun from a cloudless sky. Made sandwiches, packed the saddlebag, and out for a short tour, over towards Aylesbury.

All day the roads were mobbed by cyclists, everyone out on the first good day of the year to cast off the winter cobwebs

Headed first to the Hampden Crossroads above Chequers, then on to Loosley Row. Stopped for a spot of lunch and made the first change of plan. I have been spending all my time over the last few years around the northern part of the Chilterns, and out across the Aylesbury Vale. I may be moving back to the south of the area soon [long story], so decided to make a detour to the area where I used to do my mountain-biking. South then, to West Wycombe. From there I thought that I could take a quick trip to the Chiltern Scarp for a view out across the Oxfordshire Plain, so on through Stokenchurch to Christmas Common. Very hazy here, but could just about make out Didcott Power Station on the horizon.

Back through North End to Turville and Fingest. The road through Turville is one of those bits of Buckinghamshire that was very obviously once a Carriage Way running through deer park as it approached the Big House.

Took a wrong turn past Fingest. Should have headed to Frieth. but ended up on a sod of a climb up to Bolter End. On a geared bike it would have been fairly easy, but on the fixie it was a real struggle. From there it was back to West Wycombe, then through High Wycombe to Beaconsfield before turning north and heading home.

Just shy of 100km in a rather slow four and a half hours, but since it’s my first outing on the bike for four months I think an understandably leisurely ride

A couple of days off work and thought that I might use it to get a decent mileage under the wheels of the fixie.

Yeah, right.

Only if I want to drown. Saturday was a fair day, cool but sunny and I did a fair bit of walking. Sunday was non-stop rain with a stiff wind to boot. By evening I was going stir crazy from being inside all day so had to go out for a walk. Out for about an hour and soaked to the skin when I got back.

Today started out much the same. Constant rain and wind so went and spent the day in the Natural History Museum.

Still hoping for at least a few hours of bike time during my time off.

Good day out on the bike. A warm day, but not so bad as some recently. Didn’t go above 28 degrees, but still used almost the whole CamelBak.
Headed south towards Gerrard’s Cross then to Beaconsfield. Realised I haven’t done the southern loop this summer so went on to Taplow and Maidenhead before going back up to Wooburn and along to Wycombe. Still felt pretty good so headed up via Risborough to Stoke Mandeville.

Started back home but around 14h30 a wind got up and I was cycling – in a now tired state – into a headwind. Tired when I got back home, but seeing the trip meter was showing 96km I had to add in another small loop to take me to the (metric) century. Final distance was 104km in five hours and five minutes.

But I’ll be sore in work tomorrow…

Q: How can you tell if a pro-athlete is taking performance enhancing drugs?

A: They’re on a bicycle

I don’t watch sport, I find it boring watching a bunch of people running around a field, or kicking a ball back and forth. I enjoy being out cycling, but watching cyclists is mind-numbingly boring.

Only once did I follow sport for a short time. That was more out of professional interest when Phonak, one of the major hearing aid manufacturers, sponsored a pro-cycle team. The team only lasted around three seasons – it was wound up because of recurring drug use amongst team members, including Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton who were sometime team mates of Lance Armstrong. Maybe that’s what you get when you have Alex Zulle as a team manger. Since then I’ve been deeply cynical about pro-cyclists. I just assume now that they’re all taking performance enhancers.

What a wonderful day

Yesterday was the Spring Equinox, and today was forecast to be warm and sunny. For once the Met Office got it right. Spring has arrived.

Woke with the sunlight streaming in through a crack in the curtains, and on the spur of the moment I decided to take a trip into London for a change. Quickly made up some sandwiches and grabbed some breakfast. Packed my bag and got the bike. Up the hill and caught the tube in to town, out at Finchley Road and through Regent’s Park, then through Paddington to Hyde Park. All over town, Londoners were doing what Londoners do best. Sit in traffic jams.

Everyone was at it. As I dodged through the jams, people everywhere were carrying picnic lunches out to their cars, and joining the jams.

Once beyond the jams, Londoners were doing the other thing they do best; Enjoying their river and enjoying their open spaces.

Made my way south and across the river then turned east towards Kew. In two weeks time this area will be absolutely mobbed as the annual circus that is the University Boat Race comes to town. Hit the river around Hammersmith Bridge and then followed the riverside path down stream to Putney Bridge. I never realised just how much this area was given over to rowing. All around the Putney and Hammersmith Reaches the riverbank is lined by boathouses. Prime riverside development potential, these rowing clubs must be sitting on an absolute fortune. Continuing down the river, keeping as close to the river as possible until I reached Parliament. Embankment was blocked off from Parliament to Balckfriars for some charity event so I diverted up to St James’ Park to Hyde Park. Did a few laps then sat beside the Serpentine with a coffee and an ice cream. Back to Finchley Road and home.

The weather forecast for Saturday was for glorious sunshine and the first warmth of Spring, so out for the first long ride of the season. Fortunately I took an extra layer with me, just in case. Bloody cold, with a strong wind – predominantly from the South-West, but backing. Ended up being a headwind most of the way.

Out to Chesham and then over to Aldbury, one of my favourite of the little villages in the area. An episode of the Avengers was set here, where Steed and Mrs Peel ran into some villagers-turned-assassins.

From there, continued north-ish towards Ivinghoe. Small village, big church. The Chilterns form one of the major landmarks in the south east, particularly the prominent northern tip at Ivinghoe Beacon. Here around Ivinghoe has always been a meeting place, and it forms the meeting point for two ancient roadways, the Icknield Way and the Ridgeway. Lots of pilgrims, big church to leach off the passing trade.

Turning south towards the Tring reservoirs, which initially seem to be in a strange location as there are no major towns or cities in the area that might need such a supply. The nearest big town is London, on the other side of the Chilterns. These are not here to provide drinking water though. The Ivinghoe / Piltstone area marks the highest point of the Grand Union Canal. During the height of the summer, hundreds of boats pass through the locks every day, and everytime the locks open, water flows downhill. The reservoirs provide enough supply to ensure that the canals don’t empty in the summer.

From there, through Aston Clinton to Ayelsbury and then the direct route back home. Lovely trip, or would have been if it had been a bit warmer. Once we get some properly warm weather then this is a route I can see myself doing on a regular basis

Another ride out onto the Vale of Aylesbury, total of 75km in about three and a half hours. Bloody cold again. Skies were if not clear blue, then there were at least large blue patches amongst the clouds. Within about fifteen minutes of leaving I was cycling through a blizzard. Nearly turned back, but pressed on and within half an hour the sun was out and I wondered if I had too many layers on. Once out on the Vale, out of cover from the lee of the hills, the wind really got up and I was bitterly cold again. Out past Chequers and then onto the Vale. Did a loop around Owlswick, Kimblewick, Ford, Stone and Bishopstone, before returning to Aylesbury and the final run back home. Couldn’t feel my feet by the time I got home.

Found quite a few good roads and routes, looking forward to the spring and summer now, to get out on them in the sunshine.

Odd day today, at least with regards to meteorology. Set off for a cycle ride under clear blue skies, but within half an hour we had both wind and low cloud, with the cloud base being at 180m and me living at 220m. Lifted a bit later in the day, but for the whole day we had an odd very thin haze across the county which gave a wan light to the sun.

For the cycle ride today I headed over to Terrick and then out onto the Vale of Aylesbury. I think that there must have been an Audax going on today, more cycles out on the roads than I’ve seen in a long time. Counted at least a hundred, some in small groups, some in pairs. Did 69.4km, and feet like blocks of ice by the end.

Another excellent ride today, of around 65km. Touch chilly with around 5°C for most of the route.

Down towards the Chalfonts on what were today extremely busy roads. Across to Beaconsfield and Holtspur, mainly on the quieter back-roads, then down to Wooburn Green.

Through High Wycombe was difficult as usual. Roads were horrendously busy at that time of day; the alternative routes meant a climb up the side of the valley and I didn’t fancy that, knowing that there was another climb to come shortly afterwards. Short halt at West Wycombe to watch (and unsuccessfully attempt to photograph) a gathering of around ten Red Kites that obviously had their eyes on some large piece of carrion in a field.Climbed up through the Bradenham Woods to Naphill and then along the ridge (into the face of a nasty north wind that I hadn’t noticed in the valleys) to Loosley Row and round to Great Hampden. Down onto the Chequers Road and the usual return through Great Missenden and back home.

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