In February this year I took up cycling, and over the last eight months or so I have cycled several times a week (except the end of June, but I’ll get to why a bit later on). To say I embraced the Lycra look is not far from the truth, if people (be it family or
girlfriend) decide to buy me something, it is something to do with cycling.
All the cycling I did was leading up to a busy week in the last week of June. Sunday 15th June was the Wirral Bikeathon, which while only 28 miles, I wanted to do it under 3 hours, which I did (2 hours 43mins.), next years time target is around 2:15:00. Monday and Tuesday were nice gentle 10 miles rides. Wednesday on the other hand seemed to be a bunch of different group rides, starting with one at 10:30am, which was only 14 miles, then 4.5 miles home, grab a bit to eat then head out for another ride which was 24 miles. Thursday and Friday were another set of 10 miles each (and then tack on 4 miles walk home at 1 in the morning home on the Friday after an argument with someone, who then refused to give me a lift home, because yes leave the 20-something female to walk home ALONE through some rough neighbourhoods). Didn’t get home until after 2am. Saturday I was up early to join the Bicycle Belles on one of their rides, can’t exactly avoid it by saying that the meeting point is far away, since it is practically on my doorstep. That week they decided to do their longest ride of the year, 22 miles.
While it wasn’t hard I had to hold back a bit because I still had one more day of riding left to do and didn’t want to injury myself (oh the irony). I am the youngest Bicycle Belle in the group by a large margin, but there is nothing more embarrassing than someone in their sixites/seventies overtaking me (my greatest weakness is hills and sand….and curbs).
Then on Sunday came the day that I had been preparing for; Liverpool-Chester Bike Ride. My friend and I decided to go together, nothing more fun than meeting your friend at 7am on a Sunday morning, we decided that instead of driving over to Liverpool and have a hard hard time trying to find a parking space, that she will leave her van outside of my parents and we would get the first train of the day over. Seemed that a lot of people had the same idea, it was kind of surreal seeing so many bikes (and riders) crammed onto the train. While we were on the train we were debating which station to get off at (in Liverpool there are several stations within a short distance of where we needed to go), so when we got to the first station we disembarked with a group of riders and all of us just trudged through the station towards the lifts, then came the negotiating which lift to get into and who would get in (only 8 bikes and riders could fit into a lift at once), there might of been some disgruntled pedestrians getting accidentally hit with bikes. As soon as we got out of the station, we rode towards the starting point, it was strange seeing Liverpool so quiet, I guess it was because it was 8am on a Sunday morning. We registered for the 50 miles Liverpool – Chester – Liverpool, my friend jokingly said we should do the 100 miles Challenge because it was only £2 more.
100 Miles Challenge:
Probably one of the highlights of the ride was cycling through the Birkenhead Tunnel (side note: the tunnel was used to film the tunnel chase in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and also was used in Fast & Furious 6). Anyway, the tunnel was fun. Once out of the tunnel the route took us out through Rock Ferry and up to the Leaver Causeway and then on to the familiar lanes/roads that I frequently use on various rides.
The one HUGE niggling thing was some cyclists (hi2u Middle Aged Men In Lycra) decided that they owned the road and therefore the Highway Code did not apply them, examples included going through red lights, overtaking groups on blind bends (while on the wrong side of the road).
Near Mollington we ended up being bottle-necked for a few miles because of gates, so we unfortunately ended up cooling down a lot as we slowly made our way along the path. After a while we managed to get back on our bikes and got to the Countess of Chester Hospital. While we were there my friend met up with her boyfriend (who finished the ride around Delamere Forest), and I met up with a few people that I know from the Bicycle Belles. We parted way and my friend and I started on the return leg of our journey. Not far away from the Countess of Chester disaster hit, I accidentally clipped the back wheel of a M.A.M.I.L (who decided that overtaking an amateur really close was alright, so I ended up doing a forward flip over the handle bars and landed on the road. Fortunately my friend picked me up off the floor, unfortunately I broke the bracket that held the rear derailleur sheared off (well the bracket is a sacrificial piece), and damaged my right shoulder and left leg. My friend rang her boyfriend to see if he had left yet, fortunately he hadn’t gone far, so he turned round and came to our rescue. My friend was concerned about whether we should go get my shoulder looked at, but I stubbornly said that we should carry on, she offered me her road bike while she used her boyfriend’s, so we ended up swapping shoes around and I had a quick lesson in clip ins and off we went albeit slightly slower. We had a short break in Wirral Rugby Club so I could see if I could find a St. John’s Ambulance volunteer to quickly check my shoulder out, didn’t manage to find one so we carried on, we managed to pick up some speed and overtook a group of cyclists who went past me while I was on the floor on Leaver’s Causeway, I completely forgot that at the top of the Causeway had slowdown stripes, without suspension and with a damaged shoulder it was a painful experience for me. In fact every bump in the road made my shoulder hurt, but after a while we made it back to the tunnel for the final three miles, my friend and I decided to put our all into the tunnel and we sped off, only to be told to stop because there was an accident and two ambulances. So we lost all our momentum for the mile climb uphill, but we made it, I looked slightly more worse for wear (bonus points for having a photographer right outside the tunnel to capture the moments of ‘happiness’.)
So I think that sums up my really long cycling week, my next post might be about my trip to Bangor a couple of weeks later.
Also I did end up looking like I had been run over because I had huge bruises and road rash for days after.