I’ve always said that I can’t ride more than 40 miles by myself as I get bored, but yesterday I decided to put that to the test, make the most of the nice weather and ride to my parents house in Cambridgeshire.
Preparations consisted of eating some crisps, faffing about for ages trying to decide which shorts to wear and not planning a route. I didn’t eat proper breakfast and realised I had no food to make any lunch. BIG FAIL. Armed with a water bottle and a packet of chewing gum, I set out.
I’ve driven to my parents house many times – straight up the A1, simples. I figured I’d do the same cycling. I just needed to find it… I headed aimlessly north until I remembered that Edgware Road goes to Edgware and I should probably just ride up to there. And there was the A1! Simples indeed.
So, after about 20 miles I was finally on the other side of London and was enjoying the A1. I like A roads as there’s limited thought involved and I like to imagine the looks of Clarkson-esque rage on drivers’ faces when they see me. Alas the A1 had other ideas and turned itself into a motorway, and I had to think more and go on other roads. I started to feel hungry. I got a bit lost in various Hertfordshire towns but all in all was enjoying myself and the sunshine.
Just after Stevenage, things got a bit gloomy. I was really hungry and ran out of water. My arms felt like I was getting sunburnt and of course I hadn’t brought extra sunblock. My shorts weren’t quite as comfortable as I’d hoped. I’d spent too long by myself and was starting to overthink things. I really needed food. I told myself that I’d stop at the next place I saw to buy food, and then of course, saw nowhere. Eventually at Baldock, I saw a sign for the motorway services. “Great”, I thought, “that’ll do”. It didn’t do. The knobjockey working in the petrol station refused to let me bring my bike inside the shop and I refused to leave my bike outside (have you ever been to Baldock?!), which culminated in a screaming row, me being thrown out of the shop and me not getting any food. Fail.
Things got more gloomy. I rode on. Lots of villages. Lots of fields, some lovely views. NO SHOPS. I contemplated throwing myself in a ditch. I did the only thing I could do in the circumstances and started listening to the James Bond theme tunes album on my ipod. Ah, James Bond songs. I sang along. Things felt a bit better and I forgot to stop singing when I got to a village and got some very strange looks.
Finally I came to a village with a pub! I jumped off the bike, stashed it in the beer garden and went to buy a lemonade, it was AMAZING. From the outside the pub looked quite normal but inside it was super fancy and full of couples in their 60s, out for their Sunday roast. No one looked impressed to see me, sweaty, sunburnt and in lycra.
From the pub it was one long straight road all the way to my parents. Cambridgeshire is nice and flat and has lots of long straight roads, the joys of being dug out of the sea I suppose. The final 15 miles went by nicely despite the odd kamikaze rabbit. I arrived at my parents absolutely famished and ate all my brothers bagels. Mmm.
So, lessons learnt: I can ride by myself without driving myself mad, though I’d still prefer to do long rides with someone else, for ease of buying stuff at petrol stations if nothing else. Not riding on A roads is actually quite nice as there’s some beautiful scenery, even in boring old Cambridgeshire. Must take food on rides in future. My new shorts really aren’t all that comfortable. Need to listen to more James Bond theme tunes.
According to my good friend strava, in all I did 82.1 miles at a 16.5 mph average speed. I’m still hungry.