Hello sunshine! Hello rain! My first (long overdue) commute of the year

I couldn't have picked a more eclectic day, weather-wise, to make my return to regular commuter cycling.

In the morning, the air was crisp and cold but there was gorgeous sunshine and an eternally blue sky.

In the evening, it was ice-cold, the wind was howling a gale, the rain was pelting down and, in some places, the cycle lanes resembled free-flowing rivers. And did I mention it was dark?


But there were lots of good things about my commute.

  • That feeling of freedom (and elation) at being back on the bike!
  • Very little motorised traffic on the route in, so that the roads were relatively quiet.
  • The feeling of arriving at work all energised and motivated for the day ahead.
  • The gorgeous (wintry) London scenery and landmarks I never see when I commute by tube. Even the Victoria Memorial (pictured above) looked beautiful in the pissing-down rain this evening. (I only stopped to take a photograph because I needed to check my new bike computer was working.)

The best part about today's cycle, however, was being able to use my new Garmin wireless speed and cadence sensor, together with a new heart-rate monitor, all Christmas gifts from my Other Half, to replace the wireless bike computer that died a mysterious death last November. Together with my iPhone5, that means I can now record all kinds of stats about my commute, map my journey and find out how well I am doing fitness wise.

For instance, I can tell you that on this morning's commute I cycled 6.08 miles, it took 38.29 minutes in total (32.52 minutes moving time), my average speed was 9.5mph and I burned 299 calories.

This evening's commute — the same route but in much worse conditions — I cycled 6.31 miles, it took 51.44 minutes (40.45 minutes moving time), my average speed was 7.4mph and I burned 247 calories. (I then wasted god knows how much energy having the world's hottest shower to regain feeling in my numb-with-cold hands, feet, legs, arms…)

And, finally, I even got to wear a new Garneau saphir bike helmet on the cycle home, having purchased a much-needed new one at lunch time! (After seven years of continuous use, the padding on the inside of my poor old Specialized helmet had rotted away and the straps were slightly worse for wear — it didn't owe me much.)

My cycling challenge for 2013: taking part in ‘London Revolution’ (also known as cycling 180 miles in just two days)

I haven't cycled in a long time — almost two months — and this blog has been much neglected. But all that is about to change.

I have a new goal in sight, something that will motivate me to get back into the saddle and do some "proper" training.

It's called London Revolution and it involves circumnavigating London by bike over two days on May 18 & 19. That's 180 miles. Yes, 180!

If I'm honest, I'm a bit nervous about the whole thing. I'm a middle-aged woman who trundles along at a relatively leisurely pace on an entry-level (but much loved) hybrid bicycle and I'm worried everyone else will be mamils (middle aged men in lycra), zipping past on high-end road bikes.

But I can't back out now. Threshold Sports, one of the organisers, has kindly offered me a free place in exchange for blogging about my training and the event itself. I plan on writing about my exploits — the good, the bad, the ugly — over the coming weeks.

To find out more about the event, visit the official website — or check out the video below: