Wednesday, 10th September
Chesham – Chenies – Chesham. 12.08 miles
With Monday being a day at the “office”, I’d been looking forward to yesterday, and some time out on the bike before working the night shift. Sadly, the day was horribly marred by weather that would make rain forests sound like a dry alternative, and I chose to sit on the turbo trainer rather than run the risk of being washed away. After an hour of staring through the window in the back door at the clock on the microwave, wondering why I don’t move and sit in front of the television, I gave up.
Today was a much better day. I expected to feel quite dreadful having been at work the previous night, and planned for nothing more than a brief excursion around the villages outside Chesham. I’m not sure whether it was that I expected to feel awful, or that the sun was shining, or I had a tailwind, or a combination of these things, but I felt superb. I felt like a cycling king.
This was until I’d ridden for a whole four-and-a-half miles. Then came the increasingly familiar feeling that resembled a rumbling I’d felt often during my youth, when I had a bicycle with solid rubber tyres. It was another puncture. You’d think that finding somewhere to stop and change a tube on a country road would be easy, but it’s not. I had to bounce along on the very uneven road surface for another quarter of a mile until I found somewhere that I’d be safe from the insanely-driven cars whizzing by, and promptly got to work.
I’d just finished changing the tube when a fellow cyclist came into view and, being a socially-responsible soul, stopped to see if I needed any assistance. I think he’d been hiding round the corner, making sure that I could manage before deciding that it was safe for him to approach and offer unneeded help. His name was Trevor, and rode a Specialized with full 105. There’s few other sports or activities where you might stop what you’re doing for a chat, but cycling can be one of them. It can be a very lonely sport. You can do it on your own, and you can spend hours in the saddle, without saying a word to anyone, and even when riding with others you can ride for miles without speaking to your companions. Perhaps this is why perfect strangers can talk for so long. Trevor told me of the sportive rides that he’s done, which ones he liked and didn’t like, and his proposed John O’Groats – Land’s End ride. I wish him all the best. He also told me where to find the best hills in the region, which is handy as the place is so flat.
The rest of the ride continued in much the same way as before, but with one notable difference – I felt like a two-wheeled monarch but, as befitting any king, my tyre walls remained unbreached.
Here’s the map:
Today’s bike: Pinarello Paris with full 9-speed Ultegra and Mavic Open Pros