Cycling with Topeak MTX bag
It’s that time of the year again when Sally is about to finish another trip around the sun so time for another joint trip. Previous years have seen as go to China, Turkey, Morocco, France, Majorca and Hungary. This year Sally wanted to do a multi-day bike ride, she didn’t fancy taking her bike on a plane so a UK trip was called for.
So this morning we waited for the rain to abate and with our smart new individual Topeak MTX luggage system with the MTX beam rack all encased in the custom rain cover we headed of in a northward direction towards the Lincolnshire Wolds with a lovely strong wind from the South pushing as along merrily.
My new gizmo the “Guardian Angel Radio Frequency Tracker” – which I’m using to try and keep us together when cycling worked great! The mini siren sounding when Sally was out of range ~15 yards or so. Enabling me to slow down safely. How long its puny batteries will last remains to be seen. The device packaging needs a revamp as well for cyclists but I see its made in Taiwan so maybe when I visit I can get it sorted. Thanks to @embedded_iot @amcewen and @lyndsaygirton for the help in locating the location device 🙂
We made the 62 miles to the Admiral Rodney Hotel in Horncastle in a great time with only a couple of tea breaks. A bit of consternation on checking in as I had stupidly made the booking for next Sunday 🙁 The hotel itself has just been refurbished and is very pleasant with a great dinner. The town itself seems to have survived the sixties and is really a very pleasant market town.
The Strava is:
and some pics are here:
Todays little ride was to visit the Blue Egg Cafe which is South of Great Bardfield in Essex. Someone at my party recommended it to us last weekend.
cycle.travel created a lovely 60 mile return route. For Sally and I It was a late start – after 11am delayed by a visit to the new Decathlon store followed by a rain shower. Unfortunately by the time we were climbing up to Balsham the heavens opened up with torrential rain making the road into a river 🙁 we sheltered under the eaves of a barn until the worse was over. We arrived in Balsham as the proverbial drowned rats and pretty cold 🙁 fortunately two of our CRC walking buddies were at home and took us in for a cuppa 🙂 sheltering in their conservatory, well away from any soft furnishings, as the next cloudburst passed over. After this the rain stopped and we decided to continue on the planned route 🙂 through lovely villages and quiet roads except for 3 builder nutters in a pickup truck trying to give us a shave 🙁
The Blue Egg Cafe is superb with fresh home made bread and cakes in very large portions 🙂 A decent cafe stop and a reasonable 30 miles from Cambridge.
The way back was sunny but with a coldish headwind 🙁 The worst bits were crossing and recrossing the A1307 to get into Linton plus a footbridge and rough tracks either side over the A11 butthis was followed by a lovely surprise, a real cycle track towards Sawston!
Todays Strava worked from the Apple Watch perfectly and my new cordless charger for it works too 🙂
A few photos are on Flickr
Today I decided to go and try the Letchworth Outdoor Pool for swimming. It’s only 27 miles from Cambridge so I thought it would make an excellent ride as well as a swim. The cycle.travel website created a circular route of 63 miles (100km) with quite a few hills.
The ride out was OK apart from the busy road near Foxton where they expect you to cross it then return once over crossing! A total nightmare with the huge queue passing after the gates go up 🙂 The SPAR in Bassingbourn is quite unbelievable behind its armour plating and anti-ram railings! So reminded me of Creswell in bygone times, not a respectable Cambridge village.
Otherwise, a lovely ride and the pool was quickly reached in just over two hours. What an excellent pool it is too! 50 metres long 8 lanes wide, heated and with real lifeguards sitting on their high chairs on diametrically opposed corners of the pool. The entrance fee was only £2.80 with a very friendly cashier. The place seems very well run and very professional. The showers are great! clean, really powerful, hot and a decent drainage system all about as far removed from Jesus Green as you can imagine. The surrounding grounds are well kept with a lovely cafe area overlooking the pool with no huge trees to block the sun or deposit leaves in the pool. I will certainly return. The only slight downside is the shallow end is quite shallow but eh it will teach me to keep my legs high 🙂
The way back was quite a bit further and much hillier so I think I will give it a miss in future and just return the way I went!
A great day, tiring on my old Schwinn bike, with a 100km ride and nearly 1000 metres swam the Apple Watch even managed to record all the day’s activities correctly.
After yesterday’s upset with its subsequent threatening email from Jesus Green Pool and the rather Orwellian named BETTER. I’ve decided to abandon swimming there for this year. Which now leaves me more time for cycling and exploring other swimming locations with, maybe, better lifeguards & showers.
Biking to Oxford and bussing home
So today I decided to retrace, more or less, my previous walk to Oxford this time on a bike which meant it was easily achievable in a day. Originally it was to stay the night and return a different route. However, no accommodation seemed to be available for under £100, which I refuse to pay for a pub or b&b! I then discovered that the wondrous X5 coach (free to oldies like me) takes bikes for free 🙂
I duly set off at 8.40 under overcast skies but the promise of sunshine in the afternoon. Very pleasurable too although oncoming cyclists on the narrow bikeway was somewhat hazardous. I was looking forward to some cake at Woburn which is halfway (walking it was my second night – today it was just over 3 hours into the day). However, when I arrived, I made a poor choice with the soulless Caprioli Tearoom and pitiful scones 🙁 The Apple Watch I subsequently found gave up recording to Strava here too – maybe it didn’t like having any 3G or WiFi 🙁
Today’s surprise was the number of main A roads I had to cross which I can’t remember from my walk plus the huge number of hills! the Oxfordshire roads were very potholed as well and I’m still surprised I didn’t get any broken spokes or thrown off the bike.
This time I crossed the Oxford bypass via bridges rather than running for my life across it although for some reason I ended up near the Mini plant at Cowley which seemed to have very few minis in its car park.
I arrived at the bus station just in time to sling the bike in the luggage compartment underneath and present my oldies card 🙂 The journey home was painfully slow, 4 hours – due to the rush hour traffic from Milton Keynes etc. Interestingly it covered the almost identical distance to my ride.
All in all, a very satisfactory day now to work out which pool or river to visit tomorrow 🙂