Saturday, 4 October 2014

Suburban ride to mum's, but no sign of Jon... (roughly 12 miles)

I left home around 0730hrs this morning having decided to get a ride in, despite plans simply not to bother. Mum's seemed like a good place to go as, normally, Jon is there and we have a chat about old times, check out our old bedroom and generally reminisce about dad and life at home in the good old days of childhood.
Mum and yours truly, Carshalton, Saturday October 4th 2014.
Normally I take a semi rural route through Purley, along Foxley Lane, down towards Woodmansterne Green and then right, passing the Oaks Park on the left and riding into Carshalton Beeches. Today, however, I took a busier route – heading down West Hill, into Essenden Road, on to Carlton, left into the Selsdon Road, left into Jarvis Road, on to the Brighton Road heading north for all of 10 yards and then hanging a left, going up the hill towards the mini roundabout at Pampisford Road and across towards Rockingham's Garden Centre, which used to be Purley Way Swimming Baths. I think they still have the old diving board, although it might have been taken down, not sure. Purley Way Baths, if I recall correctly, used to be an outdoor pool with a 15ft deep end and a high board that the school toughies would brag about. I don't think I ever swam there. My pools were Highfield Road in Carshalton, where I learnt to swim and which definitely no longer exists, and Westcroft, also in Carshalton, which has recently been transformed – it's still a leisure centre, but it has a library too as the old one off of the High Street has closed down.

The ride towards the A23 from Pampisford Road was great as there's a seemingly endless, vast expanse of lush, green playing fields, which used to form part of the old Croydon Airport and is now used for Sunday League footy and by those who fly huge kites that look like parachutes. There are houses facing the fields and I can only imagine that it must be lovely to wake up on a cold, misty (or snowy) morning and see the mist hanging heavy over the grass. I remember jogging around the fields in the late 90s with Sean Ferris, a work colleague. Or rather I remember doing it once or twice. We used to run around the edges and I think it amounted to just over three miles. However, as I've said many times before, running ain't my bag.
The fields near the A23 where kites fly and Sunday league footy is played.
I rode north along the A23 and then took a left, which took me along a lonely stretch of road flanked on either side by the rear ends of industrial units – it was a bit like riding through the mean streets of Grand Theft Auto, the video game. I rejoined reality when I emerged on the Stafford Road heading west towards Wallington.  I crossed the main lights at the top of the High Street and rode towards Boundary Road where I turned right at another mini roundabout before turning left just past the railway bridge. I followed Grosvenor Road for 100 yards or so and then turned right into Park Road. I skirted Carshalton Park and rode along Benyon Road, across the lights by the Windsor Castle pub, past the BP garage, right into Alma Road, left into Shorts Road, under the railway bridge and left into Rossdale and there I was – at mum's.

Tea and cake followed, we chatted about this and that, took the photograph accompanying this post (see top pic above) and then, after my customary mooch around the house, checking out my old bedroom, the one I shared with Jon for most of my first 24 years on this planet, I gave mum a hug and headed back home, taking roughly the same route as the outward journey except that I rode through Carshalton High Street and onwards past the Duke's Head and then the Plough, down towards Five Ways where I used the pavements to avoid increasingly heavy traffic before escaping up Denning Avenue, through the council estate in my ASBO specials, blending in, right into Nottingham Road, past Whitgift School and then right along the Brighton Road (A23) heading south this time and hanging a left after a few yards. I rejoined the Selsdon Road, passed the Rail View, under two railway bridges and turned right into Carlton Road, left into Essenden and right on to West Hill. The climb didn't feel too bad.

It was quite a good ride, but the traffic was a problem here and there: heavy in places, especially around Five Ways and this meant a lot of pedestrian crossings and using a mixture of the road and the path, which doesn't make for a relaxing ride, especially with faulty gears and one handlegrip. I've always maintained that it's more dangerous riding on the path than it is on the roads as not only are there pedestrians to deal with, there is also the risk of cars reversing out of driveways. Sometimes, however, it's easier – or it seems easier – than risking my neck negotiating busy road junctions.

Sometimes the path seems safer than the road, like here at Purley Way.
It was a good to see mum and nice to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of mum's 'test cake' – she's been baking Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings to order and had made a kind of 'pilot' cake, which was lovely. In the old days I might have enjoyed three of four portions, but today, just the one as I didn't want to turn back into a fat bastard – not that any transformation would have been instantaneous.

My gears are seriously playing up. I dare not stand and pedal as the gears slip and crunch constantly and that means smashing my nuts on the saddle. A visit to the bike shop is going to be necessary...and there's a lot to be done, but I don't fancy my local shop in Redhill, or Halfords, so I might take it to Andy's shop in Caterham, the one up the road from where he lives, as the guy there seems genuine and the shop is not part of a big chain. But it'll have to wait for a while as I'm still languishing on Skid Row. Until then, I'll have to remember not to stand up when I'm riding.

Time to look back...

Nice to look back on old posts occasionally. Click on the links below to find out what we were up to three and four years ago:-

Three years ago

Four years ago

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