May’s bounty

I am REALLY motoring now. Another 22 miles today, including another trip to Aston Marina and back, 50+ miles in the week, and I’m now over 570 miles in to my 1000 mile target. And if it feels like it was only this time last week I was cooing about going past 500 miles, that’s because, well… it was!

The weather here has been really nice the last couple of weeks (on the whole!) and there’s a noticeable explosion of bicycles coming out of sheds and onto the roads. On Wednesday I even saw a guy wheel a red BSA Grenada past Costa’s, and pleasingly he stopped to take a closer look at my very similar (though slightly younger) bike locked up in the rack, though not long enough for me to stop him and say how much I liked his bike. There’s a significant minority of old-school lugged steel bikes about the place, including this gent I snapped crossing the road by Sainsbury’s last week:

Yesterday I popped into Henry Burton’s for some new pedals. Not that Crichton’s pedals need replacing, but I needed some new ones for Bike #2 and saw some nice old-fashioned strapped pedals on show the last time I popped in:

I tried them out last night but they’re terribly fiddly for stop-start commuting so I didn’t get a full assessment of them until my ride to Aston today. They’re not quite as comfortable as the standard-issue flat pedals, pressing on my soles a bit more, but I did enjoy the ability to pull as well as push when I was running out of steam. They do make me more reluctant to stop, and like cruise control on a car that can sometimes tempt one into some undesirable behaviours. They’re better for long rides on bumpy roads, and they look the part, but the flats are going back on for all my regular riding.

The ride out to Aston was glorious today. The weather was almost perfect save for a bit of a headwind, and I had a bit more capacity left over to really soak up the scenery. It really is a beautiful ride, with just three cars encountered against four or five cyclists who all said a cheery hello as we passed. All but one of them were dolled up in the full Lycra regalia, on some serious looking road bikes, and there I was on my three-speed wearing a cotton shirt and corduroy jeans… When I got to the Marina (without getting lost this time) I treated myself to a well-earned shandy and some lemon drizzle cake.

The Marina’s having a wedding fair tomorrow, and of course I’m going to get dragged along. It’s firmly established in my fiancé’s mind as preferred bidder to host our wedding reception, but I’m not so keen, mainly because the price is a bit on the “seriously mate you’re having a laugh” side. It’s the classic story of boy meets girl, boy and girl get engaged, girl dreams of the perfect wedding but boy feels that one mortgage to pay will be quite enough thank you very much. Well, we’ll see if tomorrow make’s me feel any different. It’s unarguably pretty:

So anyway, having established I can do the distance fairly comfortably with no ill effects, I’m going to put myself down for that 23 mile sportive in July. 

Incidentally, the title of this post comes from a recording I’ve got of iconic cricket commentator John Arlott reminiscing about some of the matches and players he’d known. He starts, in that magnificent West Country accent, with “Basingstoke. May’s Bounty…” and just those three words are enough to bring a smile to my face. My fiancé agree’s with me that ‘May’s Bounty’ (the name of the cricket ground in Basingstoke) would make a nice name for a house.


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