Tuesday, January 11

Good Housekeeping

New, Improved National Cycle Network Route 65 -  makes me wanna get my head down & pedal!

I devoted a little time yesterday to revamping my weekly schedule.  Last year I set up a Google Calendar for all my household chores (and bike rides, of course!), with each room or task given a specific day and time and SMS alerts set to remind me when to do them.  Much as I wanted this system to work, I quickly discovered that it wasn't for me as I found it all too easy to ignore the reminders, or they'd come when I was out of the house and be forgotten before I got home.  So, the new system is this:
  • Monday is bike day - a long ride to push myself.  I also need to devote a little time to either cleaning the fridge or sorting the recycling in readiness for...
  • Tuesday, which is either bin day or recycling day (our council now collects on alternate weeks.)  Tuesday is also housework day.  By the time I've gone over the kitchen & bathroom I have a reasonably comprehensive shopping list, too, so I can spend the afternoon doing a shop.
  • Wednesday morning is when my veg box arrives, and as I don't usually start work until lunchtime there's a little time in the morning to plan my menu for the week.  In addition, as my commute takes me past the Household Waste Recycling Centre, once a month I'll load up my panniers with the bits that the recycling collection doesn't deal with. 
  • Thursday is a work day so I've tried not to commit to anything extra, though as it's also pay day it's a good day to get any extra bits of shopping done, especially the odd boring supermarket bits.
  • Friday I usually only work until lunchtime, making it a good day to get another ride in - lack of light will necessarily make it a shorter one for the next couple of months, and having to be on my feet all day Saturday means I need to take it a bit easier than on a Monday.  Also twice a month I need to pick up meat from the Community Supported Agriculture groups I'm part of, so my rides will have to come home via the collection point - and I'll have to remember to carry a rucksack!
  • Saturday is a work day (and the busiest of the week) so the only item on the schedule is a hot bubble bath when I get home!
  • Sunday always, always begins with a long lie-in, featuring breakfast in bed, the Archers omnibus and Saturday's papers.  Sunday being Sunday it's not a very structured day, the afternoon may involve a gentle social ride or just be spent watching old movies or pottering in the kitchen.  My aim is for it always to involve a proper Sunday dinner though.
The rest of yesterday was given over to a ride - a slightly windswept loop north of town, taking in the newly improved NCN Route 65, Skelton, Sutton-on-the-Forest, Flaxton and an ill-advised stop at the new "improved" Evans Cycles store at Monks Cross (the less said about that the better!)

Still a few icy spots.  This corner's tricky enough on a good day - 90 degree bend on a narrow path, at the bottom of a steep slope.  With the addition of ice & standing water I got off & walked.

The first half of the ride was great fun - Route 65 has had its gates widened, so you no longer need to come to a complete stop to manoeuvre your bike through, and at long last the final off-road half mile (leading to the Overton road) has been paved.  Having that set of beautiful swooping bends (see pic, top) finally covered in race-track perfect asphalt instead of sticky mud and gravel put a grin on my face that lasted for miles!

Song of the day.  For some reason this popped into my head somewhere around Clifton Ings & didn't go away.
Almost every pedal-stroke was helped along by a gentle breeze from the south, making for swift progress, until I turned the corner to leave Sutton-on-the-Forest where the gentle tailwind become a stiff headwind - the sort that forces you to change down a gear even downhill.  After barrelling along at a pretty fun pace (I haven't yet got round to fitting a cycle-computer to my bike so I don't know how fast I was going) the remaining two-thirds of the loop was a tedious slog.  The fact that it was apparently heating oil delivery day didn't help, with three or four cold, mucky showers from passing tankers doing little to improve my day (though fortunately going out in full waterproofs saved me from the worst.)  There were some lighter moments on the homeward part of the loop, like discovering a village I'd never even heard of before, despite having lived in this area for almost all of my life.  I didn't quite make it all the way to Farlington, but it looks pretty on StreetView and has a pub so maybe it'll be the target of another ride soon. 

Route map
31.1 miles
3 hours
average speed 10.4 mph

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