Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tracks, Ploughed Fields, Lodes and Dramatic Skies in the Fens

The weather is definitely getting more Autumnal and quite variable. Some mornings when I cycle to my local shop to fetch the newspaper it can be quite chilly. I am still wearing shorts and sandals, but have started wearing a fleece. For the record I don't wear socks when wearing my cycling sandals, well so far, I will probably start wearing socks before having to resort to wearing cycling shoes when it gets much colder. So far the lowest temperature as I have stepped out of the door (for the paper) has been around 5C.

But with three weeks to go before heading off to cycle around in India I must get a few (more) miles in. The one thing I cannot prepare for though is the heat, it is going to be pretty warm. Last year when I headed off to Bangkok (again in November) the heat on the first couple of days was almost unbearable. I had to force myself not to cool my hotel room with the air conditioning. Actually most of the hotels we stayed in had some form of air-con but since we spent most of the day out in the sun it got to the point where we sort-of acclimatised. This time we will be climbing a bit up to around 2000m or so so it could be a bit cooler. The tour organiser has suggested carrying some slightly warmer cycling gear.

My son came home for the weekend so we did a bit of ordering of cycle gear - Wiggle, SJS Cycles and Evans Cycles are the web sites I tend to use - they have all been reliable. Why three different web shops? Well they do not carry as wide a range as Amazon does with books! The good thing about ordering warm weather cycling gear at this time of year is that it tends to be on sale, the bad thing is that there is a reduced range and sometimes the available colours can be a little garish. I have a helmet - I bought a new one after getting knocked of my bike in February and I had persuaded my son that it would be a good idea - so he is going to pop into a local cycle shop to get the most aerated helmet he can find.

On a gloomy day it is much harder to get out on the bike, although once I am out I wonder what all the fuss was about. Today was no exception, whilst gloomy it was not windy and although there was a bit of rain in the air it never really started raining, just spitting occasionally.

The fields seemed to be getting double ploughed around here. They plough them and then use either what I would call a disc farrow or some seem to use a machine that vacuums up the soil, minces it and then sends it back out superfine. The peat soil is very fine - but they get better results than we can get in the garden.


I have been using my Marin hybrid, since it more closely matches the sort of bike I will use in India. Here it is locked out, whilst I take pictures.


I mentioned that there was rain in the air - here is a rainbow that appeared over the Fens, fortunately we did not get any rain.


Wicken Lode in the gloom.


Yet another ploughed and furrowed field - in parts the clouds lifted and the sun peeped through.


A boat heading down to Burwell on Burwell Lode - it is a dead end, but villagers do moor their boats near their houses. It must be quite nice living on a spur- they can get through to the River Great Ouse and the Cam. There is a lock at Upware to navigate though.


With the sun peeping though it was time for a picture of the dramatic skies again.


You don't seem many old tractors, like this one, around here anymore. As I had stopped to take the sky picture it was easy to get a picture of the tractor. You can see that it was not really as dark as the sky shot seems to show.


Heading back through White Fen the new cycle path seems to be cracking up. I am not surprised the roads around here undulate, it helps to stop motorists from driving too fast though. (On the roads). I hope these don't open up to the width of a cycle tyre - it could be very nasty after dark a trap for the unwary cyclist.


One thing I needed to do was brush up on my maintenance skills, so what better way than, as I was cycling along one of the farm tracks, cycling over some loose branches and getting one stuck between the front wheel and mudguard so that the mudguard fixings all got broken. The only maintenance I could do was to un-bend the mudguard and remove the stays that were supposed to hold it in place, but were now bent out of shape. The mudguard flapped around a bit but didn't lose too much of its function. I will replace it though. That is why MTBs do not have mudguards, they get in the way.

I did take the broken stays home with me - can't leave them lying around the countryside. Also in the best tradition of professional cyclists I also arranged to take some blood make sure that no doping had taken place before heading off to India. I know that it is usual to take blood from the arm. But with the help of my broken mudguard stays I was able to, most conveniently, extract some blood from my knee. I caught my leg as I got off the bike. The good news is that my blood does seem nice and red.


One thing I don't do is shave my legs, I think that it is to make it easier to treat gravel rash when professional cyclists fall/get knocked off their bikes.

No comments:

Post a Comment