Thursday, July 25

Ordinary cycling

There is to be a slight change of direction for this blog. I have begun to find that writing about cycling comes more easily to me than writing about sewing and sewing machines. I started the blog in 2015 with the intention of writing what I thought would be useful things about sewing that might help other people - just as I had found other sewing blogs useful. Cycling was also to be a big part of the blog, and anything else of interest to me, such as make do and mend, preserving and foraging.

However, I have found lately that I have rather lost my enthusiasm for writing about sewing, unless perhaps it is cycling related. Having said that, I do enjoy writing posts about repairs, such as the one on my Barbour jacket. That is actually my most popular post, with 2498 views! That seems like an awful lot of views to me! My sewing machine posts have been quite popular too. Somewhere in between come my cycling posts, some with much higher viewing figures than others. My review of Peter Walker's book "Bike Nation" has had over 500.

Many bloggers give up. I haven't run out of enthusiasm, but sometimes I think that I should blog about such and such on the sewing front, but I really don't feel like doing it - whereas I certainly do feel like blogging about cycling. So now cycling will take priority, although anything on the sewing front that is cycling related will definitely be included.

Now, my explanation for the title of this post is that I don't do a lot of cycling that is extra-ordinary in any way - only occasionally. Most of my cycling is very ordinary and every day, but actually, although I do love reading about other cyclists' extra-ordinary adventures, I am also very interested in the ordinary cycling that people do, the shopping, the commuting, the school runs, the awful rides, the fantastic rides, the just-using-the-bike-to-get-somewhere-because-that's-the-way-you-travel rides. I have never really written about my ordinary cycling; I thought that people would only really want to read about my more adventurous cycling, if you can call it that. But realizing how interested I am in the everyday cycling of others, I've decided to start writing about just that, and to try to write more frequent posts.

I actually find that even the most ordinary of cycle rides often becomes something quite out of the ordinary. Every one includes something of interest. I am very much the type of person who stops to look at things, and pick up things; I'm a natural scavenger and forager. The other day I picked up a dying pot plant thrown in the verge, and which I think is now coming back to life, and a very expensive pair of sunglasses, which I have put on the appropriate "Spotted" page on Facebook. They do rather suit me so I'm hoping I don't get any replies! I also stop and talk to people. And when I ring my friendly bell, people turn and smile!

So, here we go, let's start with today's ride! Bear in mind that when I say today, I am writing on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year (so far), Thursday, July 25th 2019. Most weeks I join my local CTC on a Thursday daytime ride, and really enjoy it. I normally ride to the start to join them, about 6 miles, and then either finish with them and ride the 6 miles home, or leave them at some point near the end to ride home. We do about 15-20 miles; the total for me usually ends up being in the region of 25-35 miles. The only things that have stopped me this year have been ice, illness and the birth of another grandchild - we had a third granddaughter in May!

Yesterday I had cycled to go shopping , and despite the heat had even chosen a long way home, with a good hill included, but I had set off about 8 am before it got too hot, and was home by 10.45, having done about 11 miles. But today I knew would be even hotter, and the ride was due to start at 10.30. To be honest, I knew it probably wasn't a good idea for me to go in this heat, but I didn't want to let people down as this ride has been advertised as a family bike ride, suitable for parents and children and slower and shorter than our usual rides. It's always good to have plenty of regular riders along to support the less regular, or even new, ones. I also very much enjoy the social side of these rides as well, chatting as we go along and stopping for coffee somewhere en route.

I was well prepared, having put one bottle of water in the freezer last night, and two others in the fridge, mostly for drinking (or as spare if anyone else needed any) but also for pouring over myself if I got too hot. I did that on very hot rides last year and it really helped. (Just to add that about 7.45 I'd  walked about 1 1/2 miles up a local track to look for, and hopefully give water to, a little cat that Husband had spotted on a bike ride last night, but I didn't find said cat, though I left some water near where he had seen it.) I drank plenty before I left, ate some yogurt and banana - breakfast had been about 6am - and I put on sunglasses and even my Tilley hat (I don't wear a helmet) which I don't particularly like wearing as it may shield me from the sun but it makes my head hotter, and set off about 9.40, on my choice of steed for today - my steel Trek of 20 plus years of age - by which time the temperature was already 30 degrees C.......

As I rode I was thinking -

"It's already incredibly hot, and I've got to ride back later on when it will be even hotter."

And then I thought -

"This is stupid. I shouldn't be cycling. For my own safety I'm going to turn back".

And so, after 2.8 miles, I did just that, cycling a total of 5.68 miles altogether. I was disappointed to miss the ride, but knew it was a sensible decision to turn back. I'm still sweating sitting here at the computer!

So that's the first report on my very ordinary bike rides! The one that got aborted!



  1. I think ordinary rides are the best rides! And most times they're all but ordinary, plus ordinary cycling accounts for 90% of my yearly mileage. On a ride to work last week, I spotted a deer - the first in 4 years of pedaling the same route.

    Also, FWIW, I write for myself, instead of letting the stats dictate my subjects, that way it's always a pleasure to pen what I find most interesting.

    I LOVE when you combine a cycling and sewing post. You're so creative!

  2. Thank you Annie - I think that writing will become more pleasurable again now that I've decided on the change of direction. I think my cycling posts have always been the ones I enjoyed writing most!

  3. I miss the ordinary rides. Seven years ago I routinely cycled almost everywhere. My work has changed and now I travel long distances that are just impossible on a bike. Now it is quite rare for me to do an ordinary ride.

    You have inspired me a little. I will check over the tyres and chain and go for a normal ride to the gym - instead of taking the tram.

  4. I hope you get that normal ride. Maybe miss out the gym and extend the ride!

  5. I enjoy your tales your cycling adventures. I find it hard to find the time to blog, especially in the summer when gardening takes over my life! Gosh it was hot last week, it was funny that I thought on Friday that 25 degrees was cool, it was showing 36 on the van on my way home on Thursday far too hot for anything. Glad you had the sense to turn back.

  6. I'm hoping that now I've decided to limit the blogging to mostly just cycling and cycling related things that I'll be able to blog more often. It does take me ages to write a post sometimes, which people reading it probably don't realize! Same for you I expect.


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