A cyclist is born

So keen to make up for having done precisely 0.0 miles last week on account of not having been at home, today I was looking to make up for it with a long ride. I was also curious to see how I got on with Strava, which I downloaded in the week.

This morning my fiancée and I went to Nero’s for coffee, but since we were both starting in the same place I thought it’d be a good opportunity for a race: car vs bicycle. The bike is slower and the route is longer, but has less traffic and parks right outside Nero’s, so it’s a good contest. The end result was virtually a dead heat!

In the afternoon I went out determined to really make the most of the good weather, so I cycled down Fairway to join the trail out to Baswich. When I got to the main road I decided to try out the cycle path round the back of Baswich, which is a really nice ride – flatish Tarmac with nice views. It comes out in the middle of a housing estate but I managed to find the main road on dead reckoning, then came back over Two Waters Way and head out on Beaconside. 

I really pushed myself on the uphill section (which I call Javelin Rise on account of the Gloster Javelin that older Stafford residents will remember was the gate guard aircraft at nearby RAF Stafford until about 20 years ago) and by the top I was properly tired, the kind of tired I haven’t felt since I did cross country running at school. It’s not so much that I was spent, more that I was working close to full capacity. I’d forgotten what that felt like!

I found the Isabel trail and headed round, and came upon the most wonderful sight. There was a father and daughter, and he was teaching her how to balance on her bicycle. She was probably about 7, and I hung back and pootled along for a bit to give them some space. She got going and dad had to jog along to keep up with her, and gradually you could see her confidence building. After about a hundred yards of meandering progress she stopped (with a little help). As I rode past me and dad grinned at each other, it was a nice moment.

Further along I had a couple of childish moments, reminding myself that it used to be a railway line, and as I pressed on I was saying to myself “chuff chuff chuff, hurry hurry hurry” like Gordon the big engine on Thomas the Tank Engine. Then I heard the familiar tinkling nearby – “Ice cream!!!” I squealed, though my excitement died down when I realised I hadn’t any money on me. Damn.

Anyway I came up to Sainsbury’s then decided to head round by the river through the park. It was one of those days where I was taking every opportunity to elongate my ride. Back through town, past Henry Burton cycles on Mill Street, then past Asda, along Fairway and home. Fully 15.35 miles in the day, which gains back some of last week’s lost miles.


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