Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A bike! A bike! My kingdom for a Bike!

I've fallen in love.  Get yourself a cuppa and I'll tell you all about it, making it as clichéd as possible.

It's Autumn in London.  The plane arrived at Gatwick on a dark Thursday night, the tube shunts it's way mundanely towards our destination and we sit, unspeaking, waiting to arrive in Kensington High Street where sits my Gray and blue love alone at his docking station. 

In a bed so small my feet dangle off the edge (I'm 5ft.) we huddle together whilst the autumnal leaves of Hyde park fall like sailors to the deep.   Where the red and white brick townhouses seem to hold their occupants safe from the Posh Boys and Twendys, and the drunk girl with the excruciating laugh that we saw pee behind the bushes at Café Nero's.  These townhouses eventually unleash their inhabitants onto the city and there they flock out to the businesses and their doings.  The entire town gearing it's way towards the inevitable and knackering Christmas season.

We awoke on the Friday to a bright Autumnal day, and after a quick breakfast of the finest Poached Eggs on Toast, (The Muffin Man – v. good and open late.  Most expensive thing on the menu was about £14), rocketed off to find the best of London. 

Our first morning was spent in Hyde Park, and there he was.  My Life! My Love! And quite possibly the only bike I will ever be able to ride without holding on the handlebars!  A little chubby (at least 25kg) but reliable he stood looking resplendent in utilitarian grey, mudguards in black and accented in blue.  But alas, we were thwarted by an uncompromising docking station!  It would not register my bank card!  So on we pressed.  But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and love wins through out!  There he was again!  A short walk away…

I don't think I can keep this up but needless to say we went to London for the weekend and the Boris Bikes are ace.  They're basically public hire bikes stationed at various hubs around the city.  You hire them using your Oyster Card (a travel card that lets you use the tube/busses in London) or chip and pinning your debit card in one of the hubs.  Then you can roll around the city for the day – which isn't as nasty as it sounds.  In Kensington you can basically do about 20 miles without going onto any of the heavy trafficked streets.  I'm sure you could do a tour of the city entirely missing out the major roads.  They cost £1 for access and then you are charged up to £5 for 6 hours.  They are everywhere as well, with clusters turning up in all sorts of random places, and groups of bike hubs are within walking distance of each other so if there's none at one particular point you've not far to walk to another point.  Big comfortable and simple bikes, easily balanced you're not going to win any races with them, but for seeing the city they are bloody marvellous – only if you plan to hire one continuously you'll need a bike lock for loo stops and the like.   Busy times seemed to be at the end of the day when the sun goes a lovely orange colour, and entire docking stations were empty on Sunday morning (a few revellers perhaps missing the last bus on Saturday night?)  All sorts use them, we saw business men on them, road workers in their bright yellow working coats, school kids, ordinary people.  They're really well done. 

I wrote that about four weeks ago.  I've been ill.  It's been miserable.   Well, tea drinking, watching day time tv miserable.  So not really.  My sleeping's gone a bit off as because I've been ill I've not had time to do any sort of exercise – a horrible flu thing that made me look like I'd Slapped Cheek followed by a chest infection and a dodgy tummy. 

3 weeks of illness and what did I do the week before, having had all the time to keep folk ill informed of my well being?  Cancel t'interweb.  My flat is  Web free zone so no updates, just lots of napping, reading books and (quite shakily) walking the dog.

I've started having broken sleep again, and sleeping with the eyes open. It's extremely creepy, and a good way to test your boyfriend out to see what he's got the stomach for.  My dog on the other hand seems to have some sort of sleep addiction.  I think it may be the short days that are upsetting her some what.  It's getting up for Winter Solstice so it's not properly light until 9 at the earliest, with the sun beginning to set at 3.30.

Bike rides – The week before I got ill I managed 17miles, but I got chilled and I think that's when I succumbed to illness – much like a Edwardian heroine who gets wet then dies.  We went to see if we could see Grampian CTC but instead we met a lovely laydee called Louise and did the 17 with her.

Sunday (just there, 4th December) – Managed 21 miles with a massive café stop in between.  Drumoak Garden Centre does some of the loveliest Cullen Skink I've ever had.  Not too creamy not too light.  And also their cake is pretty fab!

I've also been doing (just these past two mornings) 10 minutes on the turbo trainer.   I'm managing to squeeze in about 3 miles each morning, though I intend to add up what I've managed at the end of week.

Last of the plans this week is to join that gym I've been meaning to join.  It's a good deal £16.99 a month non-contract, I'm paying £24 for my current gym but haven't been because they wouldn't let me pull a spin bike into the main hall.  I'm sure my one woman boycott will crush them (ignoring the fact that I've been paying them up until this month because that's when my contract finishes).

And today, Subway for lunch me thinks.

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