Wet morning, sunny evening — but roadworks all the way!

Two contrasting rides today.

This morning was slow going, with a seemingly endless queue of red buses snaking up Kensington High Street making it impossible to get very far very quickly. It didn’t help that I caught EVERY red light along a one-mile stretch, so it was pretty much stop, start, stop, start all the way.

And then, once I’d safely entered the parks (Kensington, Hyde and Green) and exited out the other side, it was roadworks hell. Practically the whole two-mile stretch I traverse along the south side of the river is undergoing some kind of work right now, whether it be new water pipes being laid or new road surfaces been put down. This means there are temporary traffic lights everywhere and dangerous situations in which motorised traffic is forced to drive through cycle lanes, leaving bikes to fight it out for road space.

To make matters worse, it rained. The whole way. That kind of misty, get-into-everything type rain. By the time I’d arrived at the office I’d felt like I’d already done a full days’ work and was ready for a bit of a lie down and a wee rest!

The commute home was exactly the opposite weather-wise: beautiful and sunny! How lovely it was riding down Birdcage Walk and seeing all the plane trees coming into bud. It won’t be long before I am cycling down a green, leafy corridor again and musing about the beauty of London in the summertime!

Unfortunately,  I was still plagued by roadworks and had to change some of my route to avoid the worst of it. This meant cycling around a rather hairy roundabout I’d never cycled through before and getting a little bit lost in the process, but eventually I got back onto my normal route without adding too much time to my journey.

The rest of the ride home was fairly uneventful, although I did survive an almost-crash with a fellow cyclist who thought he could cut me up while I was just setting off from a temporary traffic light on the South Carriage. He came within an inch or two of knocking me off my treadly and gave me such a fright — I had not heard him approach at all — that I’m afraid I yelled a rather shocked "For f**k’s sake!!" at him while he disappeared into the distance. Typically, it’s not the motorised traffic you have to be wary of in London, but the other cyclists who lack manners and knowledge of the road rules. I’ve got a funny feeling my whole summer is going to be filled with them.

Total distance: 12.37 miles | Ride time: 1hr, 14min and 19sec | Average speed: 10.85mph | Top speed: 19.0mph

A problem with my back

After eight months or more of intermittent flank pain, I went to the doctor who advised me to stop riding the bike for a month to see if that might alleviate it, because he suspects it might be muscular. Alas, I stop riding and the pain gets worse. After almost a week of constant niggling pain, I decided to ride the bike this morning because maybe the exercise would help. And you know what? It did. There was no pain while riding and, furthermore, I sat comfortably in my office chair all day and did not feel the usual discomfort. I’ve arrived home and can only just feel a dull ache, but nowhere near as bad as it has been over the past 10 or so days. I will see how I feel tomorrow and make my own judgement call as to whether riding the bike is the cause of my backache or my salvation.

Total distance: 12.16 miles | Ride time: 1hr, 11min and 46sec | Average speed: 10.79mph | Top speed: 19.8mph