Saturday, 20 September 2014

Suburban ride to mum's – 13.5 miles

At 0641hrs it's grey and misty outside, but it's dry too, which is good news. It's also very still as I sit here in the conservatory, the halogen glow from the computer screen illuminating a small space around the desk. Outside, the birds are tweeting. How they manage to get to grips with computers I'll never know.

Today the plan is an urban ride to mum's as nobody else is going cycling this weekend and it's a good opportunity to see Bon and mum and enjoy one of mum's cosy breakfasts. Both Phil and Andy are otherwise engaged, leaving me to my own devices. An urban ride to mum's means no need to pack a huge thermos flask of water plus milk and teabags. My load will be lightened in other words. I'll leave on the hour, so about 15 minutes more of sitting here writing.

Yesterday it was announced that Scotland has voted no to independence, paving the way for the resignation of Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond and enabling the British establishment to breathe a sigh of relief. Oddly, 45 per cent of Scots voted to break away from the UK with Glasgow and Dundee standing out as the most pro-independence regions of Scotland. I was expecting trouble on the streets – and there has been unrest in Glasgow – but I'm glad that the UK hasn't been broken up. I'm not a fan of nationalism of any sort. In my opinion nationalism is up there with religion as one of the major causes of unrest in the world. There's nothing worse than tribalism and that's what nationalism breeds – cue Scotsman with painted faces pretending to be Mel Gibson.
Halfway through breakfast at mum's this morning.

The French have been dropping bombs on ISIS positions in the Middle East and it seems to have gone quiet on the Ukraine front other than the country's president meeting Obama to ask for military assistance should his country be invaded by the Russians. Here in the UK a girl named Alice has gone missing and while nobody has dared mention that she might have been murdered, they've discovered that a Latvian convicted murderer might be involved as he passed the very spot where Alice was spotted on CCTV just 15 minutes after her, riding a mountain bike. The bike has been recovered by the police, but neither Alice nor the Latvian have been seen in three weeks. All very suspicious if you ask me, but one thing bugging most people, including yours truly, is why we have allowed a convicted Latvian murderer into the country.

Riding west towards Sutton
I left the house around 0710hrs, headed west along Barnfield Road, north along West Hill, and then west through Essenden Road. I turned right on to Carlton Road and rode towards Croydon following the Selsdon Road to the A23 Brighton Road, past Cycle King and up Warham Road. I rode through the council estate via Denning Avenue and on towards Five Ways (aka the Purley Way). Traffic was picking up as I rode along Stafford Road into Wallington heading for Boundary Road where I hung a right at the mini roundabout and then later turned left into Grosvenor Road. After making a right turn into Park Road, I skirted around the park and headed for Benyon Road where Jon called and I had to call him back to say I was approaching the lights at the Windsor Castle – no more than five minutes from mum's place.

When I got there, breakfast was almost ready: boiled egg and fingers; cereal; and soft bread rolls washed down with a cup of tea and followed by some fresh orange segments. We chatted about this and that – family stuff mainly – and then watched (on my iphone) a brief excerpt from an old children's programme from our childhood. The Singing Ringing Tree was released in 1957 (although we didn't start watching it until the mid-to-late 60s. It still holds a certain magic for us (it's also a little weird, but that was always its appeal). If you want to watch a bit of it, key 'Singing Ringing Tree' into Google or, better still, YouTube.

Yours truly and Jon ready to ride home from mum's
After bidding farewell to mum, Jon and I headed down Rossdale together, but went our separate ways at the bottom: Jon turned left on to the Westmead Road and rode towards Sutton. I headed right into Westmead Corner, turned right again into Shorts Road and then right again into Alma Road. At the T-junction with the Carshalton Road I turned left, rode past the BP Garage and turned right into Oxford Road. I was riding towards Carshalton Beeches High Street which morphs into Banstead Road and then Banstead Road South further up, turning left into Staplehurst and right on to Park Hill. From here onwards it gets a bit more rural with the Oaks Park on the right and a couple of smallholdings and fields on the left. After about a mile I turned right on to the Croydon Road and basically kept on going straight into Purley before winding my way along suburban back streets towards the Purley Downs Road, where, after a short climb, I turned left into Norman Road, past Purley Oaks railway station and then on to the lower end of the B269 – yes, the road to Botley Hill. After a couple of hundred yards I turned left into West Hill, the southerly end, which is very steep, but I managed it despite only having eight gears at my disposal (I couldn't change down for some reason). Lastly, I hung a right into Barnfield Road and was home by just gone 0930hrs.

I managed to burn 356 calories over 21.75km. In total I was on the saddle for roughly 90 minutes and my average speed was 14.7km per hour (roughly 9 miles per hour) but I wasn't pushing it. It was good to just mosey along at my own pace.

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