This evening, I did not freeze.

The evenings might well be lighter all of a sudden, thanks to the clocks changing last weekend, but boy was it cold today. I’d planned to go on a ‘proper’ ride this evening but seriously has second thoughts, thinking I’d freeze out there. But I went, and I’m glad I did.

I’d not planned a route in advance, and just as I was getting ready to go out my wife asked if I would be going anywhere near Datchworth to deliver something. That sorted out the first part of my route. I’d made a few minor adjustments to Bob’s bike since my little ride at the weekend, and it was much better this time. Still something unfamiliar about it, but much better than it was. It took some time to work out just what it was that felt so different, and eventually I realised that the handlebars are much wider. A full five inches wider than mine. So one of my adjustments was to move the brake/gear levers inwards an inch either side so my hands could sit just a bit closer together. I’d like to be able to lower the handlebars as well, but they’re already at their lowest.

After Datchworth (delivery duties completed, and a refreshing glass of water, too – thanks Kevin and Julia!) I decided not to head straight back northwards but followed an unfamiliar road out to Watton at Stone. Had no idea where I’d end up, but thankfully at the first junction there was a sign to Stevenage so I took my cue from that and started heading home. On arrival at Stevenage I could have taken the short route but decided to do the circuit round the perimeter. I’d thought that would mean I’d end my ride with a nice downhill stretch, and I was right, but only with a fair slog of  climb first. Anyway, 18.3 miles in an hour and 20 minutes of riding felt pretty good. Oh, and I didn’t freeze.

A few observations:

  • Most cars do give you enough room and show at least a degree of patience. (But if you were driving a white Audi TT on the A602 from Watton to Bragbury End, or a black Mondeo on Gresley Way near Sainsbury’s, shame on you!)
  • How come on a broadly circular route, there is almost always a headwind?
  • Padded cycling shorts are lovely.
  • Hills are not. (Any fellow Arch-to-Arc riders reading this, please note I crawl up hills at the moment.)

And the boring ride statistics:

Distance: 18.33 miles
Riding time: 1 hr 18 min
Average speed: 13.9 mph (It was as high as 15.9 at about the half way mark.)
Top speed: 24.3 mph

In other news, I picked up a pair of SPD compatible cycling shoes last week. No good to me yet, because I don’t have SPD pedals, but I’ve just ordered a pair of these:

I’ve never ridden with cleats before. Hope I get on okay with them. No doubt you’ll hear all about it here.


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