Monday 26 June 2017

Back in the Saddle (LGD -321 Days)
Monday 26 June 2017, 111 Miles

Click here for Route Flyby

Hello readers! Yes, I’m still here and apologies for the silence. I can see that it has been over three weeks since I last communicated with you. Sorry! I’ve actually been really busy on a number of fronts. But in case you think I’ve been neglecting the bike I’ve actually ridden just under 500 miles since my last post – excluding today’s century, of which more about in a minute.

Well, what have I been up to? Earlier this month I was away in the south west, in Devon and Dorset for another instalment of walking on the South West Coast Path. This year we walked from Budleigh Salterton to Portland Bill along more of the wonderful coastline. I have come home with over 600 photos from the week’s walking. Each year I collate a selection of the photos into an animation on DVD with some music and commentary as a sort of personal diary. Unlike my cycling which goes at a rather faster pace, our SW Coast Path adventure is very much a case of “A Long Walk, Done Very Slowly”. What started out in 2005 as gentle stroll round the Land’s End Peninsula has evolved into something rather more ambitious. I have now walked all the way from Minehead, in Somerset to the tip of Portland Bill (570 miles) with just 60 miles left to reach Poole. Rumours of carrying on along the south coast to Kent and the Thames Estuary may not be unfounded!  But anyway it’s time to return from the dark side.

Most of my recent rides have been unremarkable local outings. Unremarkable yes, but all very enjoyable, especially in the recent hot sunshine. I absolutely love riding in hot sunshine it must stem from my childhood in the West Indies. There are some who say that I come alive above 25˚C and I’m not going to argue with that. Yesterday’s ride was a big success for two reasons.

iRide Cafe Stop
In a couple of Sunday’s time we are hosting a gathering of the Bianchi cousins for an iRide in South West Norfolk. The “we” here are Daren (Nairo) Morgan and me. So yesterday we went to check out the planned route and most importantly sample the fare on offer at the proposed café stop – our Bianchi cousins are rather partial to cake! Well, I can report that the route (54 miles) showcases almost everything to be seen in Norfolk, apart from the Broads and the seaside. Quiet, almost traffic-free roads, beautiful, gently rolling countryside and some quaint villages will make this a ride to be savoured. And not forgetting those long straights which are a defining characteristic of this part of East Anglia. What’s that? I haven’t mentioned the cakes? Well, you’ll just have to come and find out – I don’t think “disappointing” is a word that will be heard on the day.

The other reason for yesterday’s success was related to my ongoing top-secret, hush-hush project which I last tantalised you with on 25 May. The publicity machine for the project has recently changed up a few gears and is now moving at a decent cadence. So today was the photoshoot – a chance to get some head and shoulders shots of meee! Yes, meee! Let’s keep our feet in the pedals though folks. I’m not talking David Bailey or Annie Leibovitz. The budget doesn’t run that far. In addition to being a good rider, a highly skilled magician and an all-round top bloke, Nairo is also a great photographer so he was able to oblige me. The results are now winging their way to Emily, the secret project’s PR guru for her consideration. And the most exciting thing about the secret project? A launch date in mid-October is now being whispered about. So, watch this space.

On the sea front, Holland-On-Sea
Well what about today’s ride? I’ve been feeling a bit century starved so I decided to get one in today. With the return of the sun, though (sadly) not the heat of last week I decided to ride to Holland. “Holland”, I hear you say; “the Captain’s lost it.” Well not quite, because even I wouldn’t attempt to ride from Suffolk to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. My Holland, was Holland-on-Sea on The Naze by Clacton. And a great ride it was too. I especially enjoyed the couple of miles riding along the seafront on the cliffs above the sandy beaches around the pier at Clacton. I was amazed how quiet the sea front was with very few people around. Even the wind turbines offshore seemed to be having a day off as none of them were spinning. Post ride research on the Interweb revealed that there are 48 turbines in a farm called Gunfleet Sands. And many, many more to be seen further away. For none of them to be spinning did seem rather strange though.

The rest of the ride, once I had escaped the traffic heading up a busy B-road to Colchester was a delight. My route along Dedham Vale through some lovely chocolate-box villages, eventually reaching Lavenham was pure bliss. A quick pause enroute for a cold drink in Boxford was all that was needed to sustain this happy rider on the final leg of the outing. I can’t wait for my next century.

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