Saturday, 18 February 2017

Solo ride to Botley Hill in the fog...

I was awake at 0528hrs but lay in bed awaiting the news headlines at six. I jumped out of bed around 0610hrs and made myself a healthy breakfast: boiled egg, fingers, chopped orange, blueberries, banana plus a Weetabix. Then, around 0710hrs, tea made, I headed outside, jumped on the bike and headed for the green.
Fog at Botley Hill around 0800hrs Saturday.

I'd forgotten that Andy wasn't going until Sunday and only realised this when I reached the green and there was no sign of him. I checked my messages and there it was, "see you Sunday" so I had a range of choices: Westerham, Tatsfield Village, Botley Hill, mum's – or just cycling home. The latter appealed, only briefly, but riding to mum's nagged at me for a few minutes until I decided it was best to see mum late on Sunday afternoon – and take the car.

I headed for Botley Hill, the fast way – I couldn't face Beddlestead Lane – and as I made my way along the 269 I realised that there was going to be a lot of fog. There was no point in risking my neck on the road – you didn't really expect me to have working lights, did you? – so I took the off-road path, risking a puncture (far less damaging).

The fog was real thick so I decided, upon reaching Botley Hill, to go back on the off-road path, rejoining the 269 at Ledgers Road and then riding non-stop through the green and down the Limpsfield Road towards home.

It's weird. Having not been on the bike for the past three weeks I was a little sluggish, especially coming up Church Way, but I'm back in the zone now, which is good. I was, however, grateful to find myself freewheeling down Church Way at the end of the ride, having passed the Sanderstead pond where there were people feeding the ducks.

The weather was wonderful. Yes, it was misty, but it was also mild and dry, arguably the best conditions for riding a bike. I'm a bit worried about whether I'll have a puncture when I next check the bike out tomorrow morning; it's rare taking the off-road track on not getting one, put it that way, but here's hoping.

The off-road track on the 269...
Andy's back tomorrow so we'll probably head for Tatsfield Village and break out the tea and biscuits. Today, while I'd packed the tea and the milk and the hot water I never bothered to drink it – tea is for sharing. I rode non-stop to Botley and back, circling the car park and heading home. I didn't see many other riders, although that might have been the fog's fault. A couple of people were out – Lycra Monkeys – but that was about it.

Weatherwise, it's been mild and right now it's sunny too. I'm hoping things will remain this way for the rest of the weekend and I'm pretty confident they will.

The bike's fine too. I'm keeping it clean and the chain oiled. The old Kona is still in the garage, but it needs fixing: a new bottom bracket, new block, possibly a new crank and definitely a new front brake and possibly two new tyres. It's certainly unroadworthy at this present time.

I'm glad that I forgot Andy was not going today as I would have slobbed about if I'd checked my phone. Instead, I got out there, I took a ride and it was very enjoyable.

The early part of the 269 just past Ledgers Road...

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