Tuesday Ride II

John and a Lorry

It seemed to be threatening to thunder pretty much all day today, but the weather was good enough for riding despite a middling headwind. My first ride of the day was on the Brompton, from Bradford-on-Avon back home having dropped off my car for its MOT. A nice easy ride along the Braford-Trowbridge cycle path and then along the Wingfield straight. Buzzards aplenty on the route, I saw four and heard a couple of others.

In the evening I met up with John Hayes for what is becoming a regular Tuesday evening ride. I had been feeling pretty lethargic all day, perhaps due to the closeness of the air, so I’d tried to pep myself up with a large mug of black Java. It hadn’t kicked in by the time we started riding. We had some vague idea about taking the A36 and the Black Dog up to Cley Hill then back through Corsley onto the Frome bypass, but the A36 was closed due to an accident (expect the usual ‘Horror Smash’ headline in the Wiltshire Times if it was a bad one), so we swung out towards Frome. The headwind was making things less fun so we decided to head through Frome town centre where we hoped we’d get some shelter before getting the wind behind us to blast round the bypass. That was the theory.

I mounted a Pantaniesque breakaway on the hill into the outskirts of Frome, but pretty soon had to sit down and start clicking through the lower gears in order to keep moving. Into town pretty much bang on the speed limit then up the town centre hill, a nasty, steep, curving climb. Once again I was cursing the front mech, but John gave me some gearing tips to cure the slow shifting from big to middle ring. I led the way out of town at 17mph, we had a breather and a chat at the Roundabout by Sainsbury’s, then we began our descent onto the bypass. John led and we clocked 41.4mph on the downhill which felt pretty nice, hands on the drops blasting the pedals round in high gear. However it rapidly became apparent that the wind had shifted and we were once again cycling into a sodding headwind. There was a tremendous amount of fast moving traffic on the road so we were able to slipstream some lorries (see pic above) in order to get up the gradients. By Rode we turned right off the A361 towards Rudge. Away from the wind we thundered round the lanes two abreast. It got a bit dangerous when we came across a 4×4 hurtling up the narrow hill we were trying to come down at 30+mph. My back wheel started skidding out into John’s path as I braked, but I managed to stop the drift and squeeze past the stupidly large vehicle without mishap.

We stopped for another chat at Southwick before we went our seperate ways. Our average was down to 15.6 mph, John had blown his legs the evening before at the Gym. Still, not bad for 23 miles.

Next week mountain-biking, hopefully with our chum Rob Bunce. It should be interesting because I haven’t ridden off-road properly for years and also, I’ve always been pretty poor at it anyway, seemingly spending more time falling off than actually riding. We’ll see what happens.

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