Went for a ride

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
thelawnet
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Went for a ride

Postby thelawnet » 11 Feb 2019, 10:49pm

2:30pm is a bit late for this time of year but never mind.

I find the land usage of the home counties quite interesting.

Woking is quite close to the M25. There's an inevitable process of 'leaving hell', in that the nice roads are some way distant. There are busier roads and quieter ones nearby, but none are terribly lovely. Through Guildford is inevitably 'not good', as it's a fair sized city. Was passed very close by an ironically named 'Safeguard' coach, presumably on its way to pick up kids from one of the many local private schools.

There are several interesting lanes that pass through Guildford.

This is Halfpenny Lane:

halfpenny.jpg


It's up to about a 10% descent, but I was only brave enough to descend at 15mph, as it's not wide enough for car + bike to pass. According to Strava the bravest soul has done it at 26mph, which is not that fast for a descent, but still much faster than I would do.

From the bottom of that hill it was empty lanes and English villages with big old houses. It's striking just how much empty land there is, in comparison to bits closer to London - there just aren't the houses to create any sort of traffic. One house was apparently a bit newer and it had two giant white fibreglass (?) stags in the garden. A quick glance to the right revealed a McMansion of monstrous proportions.

Heading onwards for around 25 miles of 'B' and unclassified roads after leaving Guildford I thought of England, and what it means, to its inhabitants and also to people have perhaps never visited. I suspect big houses, empty countryside and white people, are a lot of people in far-off lands idea of what England is, and for 25 miles I had not seen anything else. And when I heard the church bells as I turned off the quiet roads and onto the A283 in Chiddingfold, I thought 'perhaps they are right'. So I stopped at the newsagent, struggling to find anything not sugar taxed/castrated, and paid the staff (owners?), a British Asian couple had a quick drink and got back on the road.

Being now on the A road, and approaching sunset all feelings about a bygone England quickly disappeared, as the traffic makes you feel like less of a traveller through an empty land, and more like a combatant in a war. 'Am I holding up the traffic?' 'Why is he not passing me?'

My hastily planned route was mostly downhill on the A road, so the miles ticked by rather quickly, till I got to a couple of roundabouts and it became clear I had been routed onto the A3, a murderous 70mph triple carriageway. 'No way, José', so I took the next exit, a B-road, though as it was now dark, and busy, not particularly pleasant.

The rest of my route was now quite dark, though it had the advantage of being on the home stretch so it wasn't too bad.

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cycleruk
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby cycleruk » 12 Feb 2019, 10:50am

I would expect that most of the forum-ites would have a similar experience to your ride. The majority of us live in towns and the first part of any ride is how to navigate an easy exit. Some will be lucky and have just a short escape route but others, especially in the major cities, will take a while. Five miles for me before I hit the first country lane and it's then that I consider the ride starts. Because I live by the coast there is only a limited way I can go which is basically east. Therefore I am a bit envious of others who, living inland, maybe can chose their out direction perhaps with regard to the wind. Our rides usually end by an enduring headwind coming home.
Once into the lanes we can fan out a bit to other points of the compass and chose which cafe to go to. :P

My favourite lane out, or back:-
2016-01-18 11.07.17.jpg
Every time I go along this lane it changes. Some days it is even sunny. :wink:

16 miles of flatlands to the foot of the Pennines with the odd hump-back bridge to test the legs.
There's no such thing as a tailwind.
It's either a headwind, or you're going well.

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 12 Feb 2019, 1:34pm

That’s often my stomping ground, when I’m doing longer rides. There are some dreadful road surface round that area of the world, but also some stunning scenery.

Vorpal
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby Vorpal » 12 Feb 2019, 1:36pm

There are many things I like about living in Norway, but I miss the rural lanes of England. I miss seeing wonky medieval cottages with postcard picture perfect roses climbing the walls, hedges teeming with all manner of small creatures, grass growing in the middle of a lane, and cream teas in sunny gardens on a Sunday afternoon. I miss the scenery of gentle hills, broken by gnarled and ancient oaks. I miss that it is green, even in the depths of winter. I miss being able to ride on road tyres almost year round. I even miss the little signposts with signs that give no indication of direction or destination, just the name of the green at the next junction, or some such.
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al_yrpal
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby al_yrpal » 12 Feb 2019, 2:30pm

The OP's post makes me appreciate how lucky I have been living here for 40 years. The country lanes start 300 yards from my home and go on and on. Very little traffic if you avoid main roads, mostly narrow lanes through beechwoods and farmland connecting quiet villages and hamlets. The odd surviving pub, tearoom and farm shop. Plenty of deer and birdlife. Eggs, jams and veg for sale at the roadside. Free tea and biscuits in a church porch. Hundreds of bridleways for your MTB. Shortish steep climbs up the Chiltern ridge to maintain your fitness, nothing brutal although brutal bits can be found in plenty off road. I sometimes forget that most of us live in towns and cities, hence all the swipes at motorists who are mostly very careful and pleasant here. Heres some views of the locality... https://www.flickr.com/gp/alyrpal/Mn9im5

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cycleruk
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby cycleruk » 12 Feb 2019, 2:36pm

Just for Vorpal:-
2014-06-06 11.49.37 (1280x960).jpg
wonky medieval cottage
There's no such thing as a tailwind.
It's either a headwind, or you're going well.

thelawnet
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby thelawnet » 12 Feb 2019, 5:00pm

al_yrpal wrote:The OP's post makes me appreciate how lucky I have been living here for 40 years. The country lanes start 300 yards from my home and go on and on. Very little traffic if you avoid main roads, mostly narrow lanes through beechwoods and farmland connecting quiet villages and hamlets. The odd surviving pub, tearoom and farm shop. Plenty of deer and birdlife. Eggs, jams and veg for sale at the roadside.


Oh yes, there are certain things you don't find in towns. I did pass some 'free range rare breed eggs', apparently in basket outside someone's gate, though I didn't stop as where would I store them?

Another thing you see plenty of is pheasants, alive and dead. They are a bit like the chocolate box houses in a way - a rich man's toy, but the dead ones are dirt cheap, when you buy them near the source, rather than in cellophane in Waitrose.

When I am in Indonesia it's quite different, to state the obvious. There is only one surfaced road, in one direction, though there a few different tracks. There are no cream teas, but savoury food is readily available at any time. There is no sugar tax, and cold drinks cost 20p on the side of the road. There are no pubs. The wildlife is different, monkeys often, kingfishers and overhead raptors. 100 swallows roosting on the power line at dusk.

And there are no angry motorists. Not one. Quite few motorists at all (mopeds, mostly, quite noisy and unpleasant in their own right, but not in any way intimidating). You might be quite likely to by run over by a bus driver on his phone, but it doesn't feel that way.

Actually there was one thing I did notice - on passing through a village last week there was the lollipop lady, I slowed on approach and she raised her hand in thanks. It was a brief, pleasant moment in that there's a humanity of having the lollipop lady rather than a traffic robot with red + green lights stopping a queue of heavy traffic, and the fact that the roads felt empty made it seem quite pleasant - it's me, passing through in more-or-less silence, and a couple of children crossing the road. Yesterday, in some contrast, I approached a different lollipop crossing and there was apparently a queue of cars waiting for her. I passed them somewhat slowly, because you never know when you pass a car waiting at a crossing, whether 'the lights will change' and they will get enraged. It turned out in fact that there was a big a queue of cars backing out of the school car park, and this was the cause of the queue - people driving into the school - and not the lollipop lady stopping the traffic. This was in an otherwise nice village, so it did strike me the extent to which a few cars are able to make things unpleasant quite quickly.

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foxyrider
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby foxyrider » 12 Feb 2019, 5:57pm

I live in a city :(

Thought i'd take a picture of it on Saturday

DSCN0523.JPG


It's terrible riding around the city, horses, tractors, stupid pheasants make it a nightmare.


To be fair, I can be in this countryside in about five minutes including carrying the bike downstairs but OTOH if I go north it's best part of an hour of city to cross.

But which city is it?
Convention? what's that then?
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Audax67
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby Audax67 » 13 Feb 2019, 10:39am

I suppose we're rather spoilt around here: the nearest city is Strasbourg, around 50 km away. We live on the edge of a thickly-forested conservation area that stretches over 100 km end-to-end: quiet roads are easy to find, cycle paths are common and the Vosges mountains are within easy distance on a day-ride. The Vosges proper, that is, with 1000-metre cols; the more modest Northern Vosges are in our back yard.

One of my favourite rides, although I haven't done it for a few years, goes 100k south from here, over the Vosges at the Col du Donon and back north up the western side of the range. A few pics:

Molsheim, fairly typical for the region. Bugattis are built a couple of k out of town, which isn't so typical:
Image

A couple of k after the Donon, looking east:
Image

Lutzelbourg, on the Rhine-Marne canal. From here you can ride 60k to Strasbourg and join the cycle path that runs from Koblenz to Basel, or fork right at Mulhouse and continue on cycle path to Besançon:

Image
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charliepolecat
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby charliepolecat » 13 Feb 2019, 2:42pm

Audax67, It looks magical. :D

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cycleruk
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby cycleruk » 13 Feb 2019, 7:40pm

foxyrider wrote:I live in a city :(

Thought i'd take a picture of it on Saturday
DSCN0523.JPG
It's terrible riding around the city, horses, tractors, stupid pheasants make it a nightmare.
To be fair, I can be in this countryside in about five minutes including carrying the bike downstairs but OTOH if I go north it's best part of an hour of city to cross.
But which city is it?


Is it in South Yorkshire?
There's no such thing as a tailwind.
It's either a headwind, or you're going well.

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foxyrider
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby foxyrider » 13 Feb 2019, 8:38pm

cycleruk wrote:
foxyrider wrote:I live in a city :(

Thought i'd take a picture of it on Saturday
DSCN0523.JPG
It's terrible riding around the city, horses, tractors, stupid pheasants make it a nightmare.
To be fair, I can be in this countryside in about five minutes including carrying the bike downstairs but OTOH if I go north it's best part of an hour of city to cross.
But which city is it?


Is it in South Yorkshire?


Might just be :roll:
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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Sum
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby Sum » 13 Feb 2019, 9:33pm

Sheffield?

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Paulatic
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby Paulatic » 13 Feb 2019, 10:30pm

If this was QI I feel as though I can hear the Claxons :D

It can’t be that simple can it?
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foxyrider
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Re: Went for a ride

Postby foxyrider » 14 Feb 2019, 9:08am

Paulatic wrote:If this was QI I feel as though I can hear the Claxons :D

It can’t be that simple can it?


No idea what QI is but yes it's Sheffield, the only UK city partly in a National Park.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!