Saturday, 18 October 2014

Solo ride to Botley Hill (14 miles)

Both Phil and Andy aborted so it was left to me to fly the flag for the blog. I wavered a little at first, but around 0800hrs I headed for the garage and my awaiting bike. A short ride was on the cards so I opted for Botley Hill, although I toyed with the idea of the Tatsfield Bus Stop. However, with no tea to drink (I rarely make the tea when I'm riding alone) I figured that a virtually non-stop ride to Botley would be best, with a brief stop to take the obligatory photograph or two.

At The Ridge, near Botley Hill roundabout, Saturday 18 October 2014
The weather was amazing. While there was a fairly strong breeze, very gusty and travelling from right to left as I made my way along the B269, it was surprisingly warm, which was very pleasant. Not quite like having the hairdryer blowing on my face, but not far off. The sky was like a water colour painting, a kind of light blue-grey colour with streaked clouds here and there; talk about an Indian summer, it's getting to be more like an Indian winter (although I know what they're like, having visited Southern India at Christmas time a few years ago – and they're not like England in October).

My gears are still playing up. This time they were clunking and cracking a little more than usual, but, as always, they eventually settled down and at one stage I discovered that the chain had magically moved on to the lower crank at the right, something it hadn't done for a few weeks. So I need to pay a visit to the bike shop (as I said last week) but, sadly, once again, I'm still on Skid Row so it'll have to wait.

I rode past all the usual landmarks: Warlingham Sainsbury's; Knights Garden Centre; the pond at the top of Slines Oak Road and then all the way to Botley Hill where I rode past the pub, down to the roundabout and then, stopping briefly at the top of The Ridge to take the shots accompanying his post, I  re-mounted and rode home.

Yours truly at The Ridge this morning
While it had rained during the night or early morning (there were puddles to prove it and I got a wet arse due to my insistence not to buy mudguards) there was no sign of more rain throughout the ride and I reached home relatively unscathed by the weather. I must remember, however, not to ride 'no hands' when there are gusts of wind around – even if they are warm gusts. As I rode cockily down Church Way a sudden gust almost knocked off balance and off the bike, but, fortunately, I managed to retain control of the machine as I rode towards Morley Road and home.

Here's hoping that Andy's on for a ride tomorrow. I don't think Phil will be there as he seems to be fairly busy these days.

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