Last December, between Christmas and New Year, I cycled across London to visit my sister Mandy in Essex taking advantage of the unlimited exercise we were allowed to do in Tier 4 (remember Tiers?) It was a freezing cold day and I was really grateful for the extra layers she gave me to wear on the way back. I followed a Google maps bike route which included lots of miles on cycle lanes along main roads so it wasn’t exactly picturesque, but it was really satisfying going to visit my sister using pedal power.
Since then, I’ve done more long cycles to visit people which has been fun. I cycled to Margate in April to visit Harry and Grace. I cycled to Harpenden and back in May to deliver Seville oranges that had been sitting in my freezer to my sister Liz. I got lost on the way home, partly because the West Harp Reservoir was cordoned off by the police, and was so knackered when I got back that I didn’t have the energy to do the extra mile that would have made it 100k for the Strava badge.
The week after I left work in July, I cycled to Ely to visit my mum and my sister Susie. I followed the River Lee for about 15 miles from Tottenham Hale to Ware which was a bit of a trundle, but very beautiful and traffic-free. I came back on the train.
And then last week I cycled to Eastbourne to visit my friend Wendy. I used Google maps again and had my phone in my pocket so I could hear the directions. That works well when you’re following roads, but gets more complicated when you’re going down cycle paths as they usually don’t have names and ‘turn left’ can mean ‘go slightly left to join the cycle path’ rather than actually turning left. I ended up going the wrong way a few times and having to stop too often to check the route. I used to have a Garmin bike computer that I could load routes onto, but the rechargeable battery died very quickly so I’ve used my phone and a battery pack instead. I’ve now invested in a mount for my handlebars so I can see the route as well as hear the directions and hope that will make things easier! Still, it was a wonderful ride in gorgeous weather and the last 14 miles or so on the Cuckoo Trail were brilliant.
I had a great time in Eastbourne too, hanging out with Wendy, walking and running along the coast, trying to paddle board and swimming in the sea. Return journey was on the train again. Wondering who I can go and visit next.