It would be rather premature to say the worst of the winter has passed, given that the siberian blast from Russia is due here next week, but the clear sunny weather today gave cyclists of every persuasion in the park a reason to be cheerful.
It was an enjoyable 3 laps of the park for me with a bit of extra mileage today. The highlight of today’s ride, with headphones in, was screaming down the big hill with Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a place on earth” blaring out. Through the sunlight, along the racing line; that’s what cycling should be all about.
There were some interesting riders out today, some of whom are worth mentioning. First, the woman on her tourer or old-fashioned racer who I’ve seen the last few weeks. She is silver-haired and I would guess at least in her sixties. She goes round clockwise at her own very even pace and must do at least 5 or more laps i reckon. Sometimes her expression is one of fixed determination, otherwise she has slight smile and seems to be thoroughly enjoying it.
Then there was the girl on a nice-looking racer who was wearing what I though was a parka type jacket in blue and one of those big woven scarves that are popular with the sort of woman you see a lot of in the home counties and west London. I could have sworn she was doing laps in a skirt and tights. Although I am willing to admit it may have been shorts over tights.
The other person worth a mention is the chap on the “fixed” which I think was a cannibalised Specialized of some sort. For those of you who haven’t dived into the world of cycling, a “fixed” or is pretty much what it sounds like. The back wheel is fixed so that you can’t freewheel – you only go as fast as you can manage to turn the pedals and, if you stop turning the pedals, you stop pretty abruptly and messily. It’s hard work but he kept up a pretty strong pace on the flat and the only time I felt I had the edge was on the downhill. We did a lap together and it was nice to have someone to tow round and to keep me honest. Sometimes it’s very easy to not push yourself when you are out on your own and just work within your limits.
I popped down to Kingston-on-Thames afterwards to get some new brake pads from Sigma Sport which is one of the best bike shops around. A lot of places these days the staff don’t really seem to know their bikes and don’t carry an evident passion to enthuse the customer with. The couple of times I’ve been in to Sigma they have been unfailingly helpful and chatty. They’ve never tried to sell me something I don’t need and always listened carefully. I can thoroughly recommend them and will be going to them for my next bike some time later this year.
Got home and threw the kit in the wash as I’d managed to sweat through my base layer and windproof jersey. Once I’m on a bike it really is like turning on a tap and I’ve yet to find a solution. No amount of technical fabric or wicking properties can cope. Roll on the warmer weather when getting a sweat on doesn’t mean that you very quickly end up as cold as a bag of frozen peas.