I did a long(ish) solo cycle ride over the weekend. My first, ever. I’ve been on longer rides, but always with other people. I did my own navigating (a rare thing; see my last post).
These are my statistics of the event.
Kilometres travelled: 36.32
Miles travelled: 22.7
Time taken for the ride: Three hours (give or take).
Hills ascended: Three (oof).
Hills descended: wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Number of times I had to stop to check the map: At every juncture, um, maybe fifteen? Then, I checked the map obsessively during lunch.
Wrong turns taken: only one! Although, it was a biggie … I turned right, instead of left, when leaving the Stately Home (see below) to cycle back home again. I realised after no more than a kilometre, so I was not well on the way to Scotland before I did an about face and cycled back past the little family of ramblers to whom I had just called out, “Hi there! Bike behind!” and to whom I now said, “Hi again! Silly cyclist coming back!” Mum and Dad grinned and kids waved.
Number of stupid cars who cut in front of me: One. Red. Driven by a blonde woman with a shoulder length bob. I’d recognise her again. Harrumph.
Number of nice drivers who shared the road with me: Lots. Yay them.
Number of steam-rollers passed: One, with me grinning a most amused grin, and the driver waving at me.
Amount of (rooibos) tea ingested: one thermos, or four cups.
Stately homes visited: One.
Regency dances viewed: Four.
Roses smelled: Seven (Pilgrim was best and Graham Thomas came a close second).
Time spent meandering around the Stately Home’s grounds, having lunch, reading my book, drinking my thermos of tea, admiring the gardens, feeling jealous about the gardens, resisting buying a book from the second-hand book store nestled in the Stately Home’s cellarium and contemplating whether I should cycle home soon because it might rain: Three and one half hours.
Punctures incurred: one
Punctures fixed: none
Spare carried: Thank goodness.
Tyre changed: YES!
Time spent considering whether I could fix the puncture, giving up and changing the inner tube instead: 45 minutes.
Offers of help declined: One
Times I considered catching the train home: Only once, initially, when I discovered where the puncture was on my inner tube (Right at the valve. Was that repairable? I had to phone a friend to double-check. The answer was no. My heart sunk.) But the train station was two miles from where I currently was, plus my home station is about two miles from home. That’s pushing a bike a total of four, painstakingly slow, miles. I thought I’d rather spend ages trying to change the tyre before giving up to catch the train. But no! I am competent at practical things.
Number of nice old people who offered me their soap and water to wash my mucky hands: Two. And the old dude apologised for not offering to help because I “looked very professional changing the tyre”. I beamed. And the old lady said,”He would not have been any good, love” and winked. Bless. I did not ask why they were carrying soap to visit a Stately Home (Gift horse. Mouth. Don’t Look.)
Number of children who stood around giggling at my attempts to change my inner tube: Six. Go away children! You’re not making it any easier.
Number of children who leapt about me and my bike and my worldly possessions (novel, check; beanie, check; thermos, check; emergency chocolate, check) scattered on the lawn: Two (but it felt like twenty). I discovered my puncture in the parking lot of the Stately Home, just prior to my homeward cycle, hence the abundance of people.
Number of trout in stream: One! Large! Spotty!
Photographs taken: None. I had no space to carry the Fuji camera (and my partner had the Ricoh) – I really need a pannier rack and pannier bags, but, because I am vertically challenged (who you callin’ short, huh?), I cannot fit a pannier rack onto my bike (the seat is not high enough and a pannier rack attaches to the wheel nuts as well as to the joist thing holding the seat up.). My, there sure were a lot of qualifying clauses in that last sentence. I’m working on raising my seat, but I currently have the seat at just the height when, if I am at a stop, I am on my very tippiest of tippy-toes to hold steady, and even so, I regularly tumble. Gracefully, of course.