This week I try out my route to work - but get a little lost along the way...
This week I did it! I set myself a target distance and actually achieved it. A 40mile round trip to the office in Central London and back home. It ended up being a little further than I planned though (43.4m) as I managed to get lost a few times. I’m finding that my navigation is fast becoming my biggest downfall in my cycling training. If I knew where I was going then I’m sure I’d get there much faster! I’ve learnt my lesson (slightly) after last weeks trip and my technology failure. This week I printed out the route to take with me, and armed myself with Transport for Londons Local Cycling Guides just in case.
And it worked brilliantly - if you take out the element of human error. Because, as it turns out. I’m not very good at following directions. I mean, I’m happy enough looking out for a road name and knowing that is the next turning to make. I just tend to forget that the next turning does not necessarily mean the next junction, and it might actually be more than a mile down the road! And, it does also rely on me realising that the reason I can’t find the next road is because I’m missing one of the pages in my directions (in fact, I was missing two! I didn’t even realise this until I got home as I resorted back to the gps map on my phone!) What I need is a bike equivalent of a car’s sat nav – which will tell me not just where to turn, but also when.
Despite these problems, I made it in to work, through areas I only know from seeing the names of stations on the train. It did take me nearly three hours though! I’m not sure how that fits in the league table of commutes but think I’ve got a bit of work to do if I’m going to make it a more regular trip! It was nice to get a contrast from the country lanes of last weekend. The sights in a city can still be impressive, even if they aren’t rolling hills and fields. I got to see Wembley stadium fairly close by and cycled along the Grand Union Canal, some of which is very pretty. It’s also strange how much more quickly my ride seemed to go this week. I’m not sure if it is because I always had people around me, even though I was cycling on my own. Or if it was because I had recognisable landmarks for me to gauge my progress.
The hardest part was the final 5miles or so, when I knew I was nearly home but not quite. I’m much happier with my progress this week though. I’ve upped my previous longest ride by 51% - not a percentage I’m going to use as a benchmark for the future. I’ve also now managed more than half of the length I’ll be cycling in first day of London to Paris. I’m beginning to understand how it feels to be in the saddle for a long period of time (and so far have only suffered minimally from the usual cyclists complaints!) Although I haven’t yet done it, I also think I’d be able to go out cycling for a second day as my aches and pains are significantly less than they were when I’d started out. Not bad with 20 weeks still left to train.
For more information on the Women's Only London to Paris Ride, call 0870 333 1662, visit Action Medical Research or contact email@example.com
Erica is riding a 2011 Ridgeback Radium road bike (RRP £799.99) For more information, visit www.ridgeback.co.uk or join the facebook page, facebook.com/ridgebackbikes
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