Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Great ride today or was it a bimble?

I'm off work this week,managed to get out last Sunday for a couple of hours, but Monday and Tuesday had me tied down with family committments. So this morning I was feeling guilty about not keeping my mileage up, I signed up to Phill's June 100#, and if anything my mileage has dropped off.

But getting back to my ride this morning. I left very late, which unusual for me, at about 07.45, the sun was out, splitting the trees,and the temperature was already 19 degrees centigrade, but with a cooling breeze. Conditions were fantastic, for what all you other cycling bloggers call........ bimbling along.

And that's just what I did, a 26 mile bimble down and up the Neath valley. It took me the best part of two and a half hours, because well I was just bimbling. Having a good look around at what was happening in the fields, along the canal towpath, and in the woods. I was rewarded with a sighting of a red kite, circling above a field where a farmer was cutting the grass with a large mower behind his tractor. I was able to watch a graceful display of gliding flight, seemingly effortless, I gazed in awe for a full five minutes, and just wished I'd brought my camera. Meanwhile, it was obvious that the kite's presence had made other birds dash for cover, even the large carrion crows.

Later while cycling along the towpath, I decided to take a look where a wooden footbridge over the canal led to. I was soon deep in the woods on the valley side, following a footpath/ trail, too steep and narrow to ride my bike. Several times I thought of turning back, but I just wanted to find out where it led to. Despite the fact that it was fast being overgrown, by foliage etc., it was obviously a path, because steps of wood and gravel had been installed. By this time it was dark under the canopy of trees, and the only sound, the buzzing of insects, I was glad I'd put on my insect repellent.

After climbing for 10 minutes or so, I came to a clearing, sheltered all around by trees, not a breath of breeze, and it was baking. The narrow path continued, quite distinct, through the knee high grass, but I was relieved, I could once again mount my bike. I was now expecting to find myself in a field of cows or horses, but no, as I came out of the clearing, the path widened into the width of a road, with walls either side, it was a bridge over the single railtrack that follows the canal from Cwmgwrach to Neath. From there I dropped down into a residential cul de sac, on the side of the hill towards Aberdulais, I'd gone full circle, back to the canal. Well nothing ventured..... At least I know where that bridge leads to now.

What I truely find amazing is the fact that, during my trip, I only saw half a dozen people, either walking dogs, or fishing on the river. Where was everyone on such a beautiful day ?

Lately, I've been experiencing some discomfort on my Brooks saddle, I'd been putting the problem down to my padded shorts not being up to the job. However, it dawned on me today, that whilst riding I keep pushing myself to the back of the saddle, so that my sit bone were perched on top of the very rear of the saddle. What if I adjusted the seat forward so that my sit bones sat on that area of the saddle all the time?

I did so, and I think the problem's solved.

Having said that, I wish I could afford a proper bikefit, instead of all this tinkering as I bimble.

I'm considering a new bike, a road bike, or a cross bike, (why are they cross?), might get it via the Bike2Work scheme. I thought that Halfords choice would be very limited, but for this scheme, they've introduced a special order catalogue, with a wide range of fantastic brands and models, none of which I can name at the moment, cos I'm tired. I can only access said catalogue via the works computer. Hopefully I'll get back to you, my reader, with more details and progress as it happens.