Monday, April 28, 2008

CTC Cycle ride 20/04/2008: Oxford - Benson - Maidensgrove - Waterperry - Oxford

64 miles, as an intro to the Oxford city section of the CTC.

This was twice as long as i'd cycled in a day before. But oddly i didn't really suffer! Not for the first 45-50 miles, anyway. (Plug plug plug - Kellogg's cyclometer is about as accurate as the non-free equivalents).

So why do this thing? I've been a student member of the Cyclists' Touring Club since ( Google Mail for receipt...) 29/07/2007. Up until last week, all that involved was reading the magazine every couple of months. In that time i've become more of a cycling zealot (bike maintenance, righteous indignation, proselytizing, the works), and i suppose being fitter than last year helps. Spring, and a good weather forecast, swung the issue.

Sunday, 09:30, I met the CTC section on Broad Street outside Balliol. 12 friendly people! And not all in lycra, as i'd feared. (Ok, the majority were, but not all). Average age maybe 45, range 12 to (maybe) 70? Fit-looking, non-athletes. I'd heard they took it fairly easy, 12mph or so, but still, would I keep up?

They waited until assembled, then headed east out of Oxford. Cycling en masse is a strange feeling; it's still a personal activity, but you gain a reassuring "safety-in-numbers" feeling when you know the group is looking out for you. And the leader takes a regular count to ensure no-one's left behind.

Morning tea stop - Benson services. Full of lycra'ed cyclists! I'd had no idea there'd be so many of them out (or even that this community existed), but it's welcome.

Lunch - Maidensgrove, in (i assume) the "5 horseshoes" pub. With CTC company; v welcoming people. Discovered one of them is a morris dancer; not sure what i'm in for.

Afternoon tea stop - Waterperry Gardens. Yes, they took tea twice. Thoroughly, unapologetically English behaviour - but welcome. I'd have been hypoglycaemic without it.

And a final leg home. Countryside, all day, and good air. Mmm, food afterwards was incredible; real hunger is worth feeling once every so often. And a full day's exercise; it puts a ridiculous grin on one's face for a long time afterward. (Getting outside the Oxford ring road helps, too).

---------------- Now playing: blamstrain - [stress and consequences] holkop max

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