Week 21 – A Tale of Two Bikes

In which I Cycle 367k, Run 26k and Swim 2.6k

I finally put in some long hours on the bike – or rather, I should say, the bikes. You see, most of my cycling is around London on a beaten-up old Raleigh-framed bike that I mistreat as a workhorse. Half the gears don’t work, the wheel bearings are shot, the brakes minimal and everything about it speaks of neglect and disrepair. The saddle is exaggeratedly low for easy manouvreability and stop-starting or dismounting, so ergonomically it is astoundingly inefficient. On the plus side I don’t have to worry much that it will be stolen (or the saddle, which is a foam and plastic explosion) and I can generally be relaxed about mounting kerbs, cycling muddy footpaths and generally throwing it around. About two-thirds of my total mileage has been on this old jalopy.

My other bike is a Claude Butler 21-speed tourer, which I normally only use for out-of-town longer trips but this week I have pressed it into service doing park-circuits and mileage runs in town. The saddle is higher so my leg action is more efficient, the rolling resistance is much less and the bearings do not clank and groan as they do on the other bike. Cycling feels at least 10% more efficient and I have at last managed to make substantial mileage every day this week. All the same, I feel I am missing a trick  by not having a lightweight racing bike with skinny tyres – then I’m sure the miles would just fly by.

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The Workhorse
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The Thoroughbred

Thursday May 21st. A sunny morning – perfect for a trip to the park, a 6k run and 16k of cycling before a well-deserved latte and brownie at the park cafe. A library trip and some laps of the park in the afternoon brought up another 23k on the  bike.

Friday. I decided to pay the builders off for what they have done and finish the  job myself. Their work was of such poor quality and they seemed to cause more issues than fix. Spent the early morning casting a sill and then went for a 13k bike ride with a 2k run thrown in to work up an appetite for lunch. To the Buddhist Centre in the afternoon and some park circuits in the evening to top the daily total up to 40k and go past the 2,000k mark for the year (20%).

Saturday. A sociable Parkrun, with Lisbeth and David coming back for their second run. Detouring for the funfair made a longer-than-usual run but still only finished 2 seconds slower than my PB. En route I passed 500k of running for the year – HALFWAY! 🙂

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As it was a Bank Holiday weekend and the weather looked dry, I invited myself to visit friends in Milton Keynes, taking a train to the edge of London and cycling the rest of the way on a canal towpath in around 4 hours (73k).

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Mayflower – flowering in May – on the way to Milton Keynes

Sunday. The first day in about two weeks when I didn’t run. Instead, I reversed yesterday’s route with an extra turn of the park thrown in and posted another 78k by bike.

Bank Holiday Monday. Woke up feeling weary after all my recent cycling. Made it down to the South Bank for a coffee and a few laps of the park late in the afternoon to meet my daily biking requirement (40k). No energy for a run – maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday. Back in harness – a busy morning which started with a 2.6k swim followed after breakfast by a 6k run (29″41′) along the Parkland Walk and a total of 17k cycling before shopping trips and some park circuits topped the daily total up to 44k.

Wednesday. Another peerless summer morning  – a 7k run and lots of errands on the bike and a tour of neighbourhood in the afternoon to post 53k of cycling altogether.

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