Sunday, 27 September 2009

Never mind your bollocks, here's the Spongy Wonder!

The Spongy Wonder saddle from Canada is designed to protect your bits from the damage inflicted upon them by conventional saddles. Get one today, you know it makes sense.

If ever you get that numb feeling in your Jacobs, it might be time to consider a different sort of saddle, one that will get you noticed ('That's an unusual saddle!'). It's called the Spongy Wonder and it comes from Canada, like the Konas. In a nutshell, excuse the pun, it protects your family jewels from being damaged. Cycling's good fun, but you don't want to be damaging your nuts, do you.

Both Andy and I have Spongy Wonder saddles. They take about a dozen or so rides to get used to, but I wouldn't go back to a conventional saddle. Furthermore, I reckon I could cycle my bike naked with no adverse effects. Not that I'm going to, but it just goes to show that saddles like the Spongy Wonder make Lycra cycling shorts obselete – but then Andy and I wouldn't know about Lycra, we don't wear it.

For more information on the Spongy Wonder saddle, click here.

Fresh air, lovely views and it keeps you fit!

This photograph was taken on the A2024 after climbing out of Westerham en route to Botley Hill and home. The view is looking out towards Oxted in Surrey. You probably can't see it, but down below is Pilgrim's Lane, an excellent road that runs from the bottom of Titsey Hill all the way over to Sundridge in Kent, a route we take when we're going to Chevening Church, the lake at Chipstead in Kent or Dunton Green.

What is amazing about the Pilgrim's Lane is that, even though you're only a short distance from Croydon, and the M25 is a stone's throw away, you get the feeling that you are in the middle of nowhere. It's a great road for cycling along too, especially in the summer time.

Andy's old bike. He now owns a Kona Blast...

Andy's old bike at Warlingham Green. He is now the proud owner of a Kona Blast.
Andy's old bike did belong to his brother before he went to Australia. He's back now but whether he wants the bike is another question. It's a Peugeot and to be fair, it has served Andy well for the past three years. He now has a Kona Blast but we haven't got round to taking a photograph of it yet. Watch this space. The Blast has a strange hum to it. Andy can't work out where it is coming from, but if he's behind me, I can tell when he's getting closer!

Everything stops for tea...

We love our tea and cereal bars, they give us something to look forward to as we cycle towards our destination, wherever it might be. This photograph shows Andy tucking in to a mug of tea at that bus stop on the way to Westerham (A2024).

Whatever the weather!

Excuse the quality of these shots, taken in April 2008 on mobile phones, but just look at that weather. Quite good fun until the cold starts to attack your face. We're either dedicated cyclists or just plain crazy.

Unless it is raining before we leave the house, we go out on a ride. Sometimes bad weather catches us like it did back in April 2008 when it started to snow. We took shelter at the bus stop on the road down towards Westerham from Botley Hill. Pretty severe weather, though. It made our faces ache, that's how cold it was.

My Kona Scrap dirtjumper – a great bike!

Pictures show my brother Jon on his Kona Fire Mountain and my Kona Scrap. Both shots taken on Woodmansterne Green, one of our weekend destinations.
This is my current bike, a Canadian Kona Scrap. Okay, it's a dirtjumper, which means it's not ideal for riding on the road, but I'll admit now that I'm a big kid and I bought the bike because I liked the look of it, no other reason. Alright, I convinced myself that the upright riding position would be good for my back, but who am I kidding? Those tyres are huge, the gearing is lower, there are only 16 gears (unlike most bikes these days, which tend to have 27 gears) but there's no escaping it – the Kona Scrap is a bloody good bike.

In fact, I'm a pretty good salesman. I've managed to convince both Andy and my brother Jon to buy Kona. Andy has a Kona Blast and Jon has a Fire Mountain.

Would you like to buy a Kona? Click here.

My old Marin Bear Valley Special Edition

I bought this excellent mountain bike in 1992 and never, ever got a puncture. It's done London to Brighton a couple of times, London to Cambridge twice and London to Oxford just the once, plus a number of Sutton to Redhill runs. What a great bike. I sold it on Ebay for about £100 and I hope the guy that bought it is enjoying it as much as I did.

If you would like to buy a Marin, click here.

26 & 27 September 2009

Pictures show my Millets flask full of tea and our cereal bars (top). The other shot shows Andy, with his old bike (he now has a Kona Blast) and my Kona Scrap at Warlingham Green. These pictures were taken earlier in the year, hence the flowers!

We've been cycling for three years now, just over to be precise. It all started with a curry in Whyteleafe where Andy Smith, my co-cyclist, told me that he had started cycling. I told him I'd been doing it on and off for some time and that I'd started going out to Westerham early in the morning (to avoid traffic). We decided to do it together and from August 2006 to the present day, we've been getting up at the crack of dawn and cycling out to Westerham, Botley Hill Farm (the bus stop on the road down to Westerham), the lake at Chipstead in Kent, Knockholt, Redhill, Banstead Woods, Westerham Woods, Dunton Green, Chevening church, you name it. We love it.

This weekend we went out towards Woodmansterne Green and then down Park Road towards Banstead Woods, emerging on the A217 on Canon's Lane. We turned right, rode along the A217 and then turned left in to Waterhouse Lane, down through Chipstead, into Coulsdon and home. A good run of around 20 miles.

The weather was fairly good, warm, although a little cold when we set out. It's an odd time of year: it's starting to get cold but we're still wearing tee-shirts from the summer. Banstead Woods was good but there are signs saying 'no cycling' and a few runners passed comments as they jogged by. Irritating.

At Coulsdon, Andy and I go our own separate ways: he goes off towards Caterham, I travel down the A23 into Purley and then up the Purley Downs Road into Sanderstead.

On Sunday we decided to ride our traditional route from Warlingham Green to the bus stop just past the Botley Hill Farm pub. I say 'just past', you have to go towards the roundabout, hang a left as if you're going towards Westerham and then, about half a mile down, you'll see a wooden bus shelter.

There are two ways of getting here: first is the fast way along the main road, which can be busy; or the slow way through the poncy streets of Woldingham and then eventually hanging a left, going past Mohammad Al Fayed's gaff, up towards the Botley Roundabout and then down to the bus stop.

We sit and chew the fat when we reach our destination. Today's subject, the X Factor, but it varies and we often touch upon politics, pop music, you name it. As always we tuck into a cereal bar, courtesy of Andy, and a cup of tea, courtesy of yours truly's Millets flask and then we head back home. Today we took the slow route through Woldingham and came back along the main road to Warlingham Green and then Hamsey. We part at the Good Companions pub. I go down towards Sanderstead and Andy travels down Tithepit Shaw Lane, through Whyteleafe and then up the hill towards Caterham.

Weather was good on both Saturday and Sunday and neither of us had a puncture – I'll explain more about our punctures later.