Monday, December 21, 2009

Relaxed and comfortable - Not when you cycle through Balmain

Now back on my bike having had a restful couple of weeks. I'm actually in credit with THE coach, but need a bit more saddle time before I cash in my well earned reward ride.

Today I tried something a little different. Following Catherine's advice, that my preparation for riding in the Dordogne must include lots of hills, I decided to try a morning ride around Balmain. So I rode over the Iron Cove bridge, along the main road into Birchgrove and down towards the water through back streets, then back along Darling street, over Victoria road and through Rozelle. It was with great relief that I safely joined the Bay cycleway and rode home. Yes there were a few very short hills, but unfortunately there were also lots of potholes, narrow streets with many parked cars and quite a lot of morning traffic, including large buses. It was not a relaxed and comfortable ride. Don't think I'll do it again.

For tomorrow's ride it will be back to the tranquil cycle paths of Five Dock and Homebush where dogs off leash and ambling walkers listening to ipods are the main cycling hazards.

Have made progress with our trip plans. We will be staying in this apartment in Paris - thanks Beth for the recommendation.

On the cycling front I've been sourcing a few ideas from the following websites and photo collections on flickr.

An interesting website with general information about cycling in the Dordogne

Planning a trip is really half the fun...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Long time between blogposts and rides

Yes, it has been a long time between blog posts for many reasons.

Reason 1.
The weather - stinking hot weather kept me off my bike for a couple of days. Even THE Coach didn't ride one Sunday morning.
Reason 2.
Changes in work shifts so no time to ride after work - meetings after school, meetings before school etc.
Reason 3.
I'm sure there was a third reason...?

Anyway, I have only been for three rides since my last reward from THE Coach. This weekend was most exciting as I actually rode in company even though it wasn't with THE Coach. Thanks to Gen and Bill for driving over early on Sunday morning to join me on the Breakfast Point ride. Not quite as much fun as cycling in New York, or the Dordogne (we hope), but we did get on our bikes.

It was a lovely Sunday morning ride. Not too hot, not too many unleashed dogs and even the reward of coffee at the end of the ride with the 'speedy gonzales team' of Annie, Gerard and THE Coach. While Gen, Bill and I would have been happy to linger over our coffees swapping cycling tales, THE Coach and his 'team' had to move quickly to their next athletic event - the Coogee swim where they did battle with the swim bureaucracy and managed to make it round Wedding cake island without paying cent.

My only regret from the weekend - no photos as I'd left the camera at school.

News from France - have heard back from the Cyclomundo group - this is the link to their suggested tour.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gotta love THE coach!

Finally earned a ride with THE coach and it was worth the wait. We set out early this morning as THE coach was free from other riding commitments. My request was to ride to Homebush to learn the circuit, followed by coffee somewhere on the way home.

Coach was feeling very kind as he surprised me by suggesting that after completing the Homebush loop, we stop at the Armoury cafe along the river for a slice of sultana toast and coffee.
Needless to say I was 'over the moon' as I've been wanting to try this cafe for ages. We joined many other morning cyclists rewarding themselves with a well earned stop. As you can see, THE coach maintained his decorum for the photos even though his trainee was elated with a personal best - 40km ride. Won't mention the time.
After dinner with Gen and Bill on Friday night we have confirmed 6 cyclists for our trip through the French countryside. Tomorrow we plan to pay a deposit for our flights to Paris. More details to follow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jacarandas mean...

The Jacarandas are blooming everywhere at the moment. This one is at the end of our street and it is so beautiful I just had to stop and take a photo. Although they always remind me of exams, they also signal that summer is finally here! It has come in force today with 38degrees recorded as I left work at 6pm today. I am pleased I went for a ride this morning.

It's been slightly over a week since I last recorded my rides on the blog. I've actually lost count since a week or so ago, so I must have totalled more than the needed five solo rides to be eligible for a ride with Coach. Have to admit, his tough approach seems to be working to get me on my bike.

Last week I had a tranquil ride on the afternoon of Coach's birthday. The weather was perfect; water still, sky sunny and the bikepath was empty, not a dog, walker or magpie in sight, as I pedalled out to Breakfast Point.

On Saturday I also rode solo in the afternoon taking in the two bays of Drummoyne. The beautiful weather in the photos doesn't quite tell the whole story as the curse of cyclists - the wind, a southerly, was in full force. Still it was a lovely ride and as I set off from home I couldn't help but think of my father in law who would certainly have declared the day a "Bobby dazzler".

Finally, more exciting news about the plans for cycling in France next year. Sounds as though Bill and Gen might be joining us having caught the cycling bug from Monica and Paul in New York!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Solo Homebush ride

A brief entry for this week.
Only two solo rides as I'm back at work so time is more difficult to organise.

Cycled to Homebush without Coach yesterday and managed to beat the rain. I do prefer cycling in the mornings; less wind, less people and lots of morning sights and smells. That's one thing I really notice in the mornings - the smell of freshly brewed coffee as I cycle past homes in Five Dock and Concord. Wonder what we'll sniff in the French countryside?
Coach kindly met me at a cafe in Wareemba for a quick coffee on his way back from Parramatta. This was a bonus coffee as it didn't include a ride. (I think he's using intermitent reinforcement with his cycling pupil to keep her motivated.)
I've already planned my next cycle with Coach. Hopefully the rain will clear tomorrow and I'll be back on my bike for three more rides, so I can ride learn the Homebush circuit on Saturday. Here's hoping...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Homebush reward

The holidays are over and I achieved my goal of cycling to Homebush - just made it!

Coach was feeling generous so granted my reward, even though I was one ride down.

It was a beautiful afternoon - warm with little wind. Coach had been on a ride in the morning so he'd spotted an 'artisan bakery' for my reward lunch.

After cycling along the usual route to Breakfast Point, avoiding the last leg where the known magpie lurks, we headed inland through Mortlake. Finally made it to Homebush where a very kind woman offered to take our photo.

A proud coach and his exhausted trainee.
On the way back we took a shorter, more direct route. Stopped at the cafe for lunch and then back on our bikes to ride home.

I'll now confess it was only 33kms - the longest ride I've had so far.

Thanks for the questions Monica - you'll keep me honest. I won't say how long I took, but I should mention that as it was the coach's second ride for the day, he totalled 78 km all up.

That's why he's the coach...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Threes OR a beautiful ride almost ruined

Finally the weather has improved and I've been able to complete a full training ride. After cold, windy wet weather last week, with only 2 DNC rides to my name, I was pleased to leave for an early morning ride. Parting words of encouragement from a shocked coach and I was on my bike.

A perfect riding morning, or so it seemed.

The attack was sudden, totally unexpected and occured in a spot where I was most vulnerable - almost at gate on the bike path so I was slowing a little. As I screamed and shouted, "Ahhh, get away, Ahhh!!!" I hoped that I hadn't alarmed the residents of Breakfast Point munching their morning weetbix. As no one appeared to offer assistance, I was left to fend off the attacker alone. I presume they are used to such screams piercing the morning stillness.

Can't wait to ride in France - a magpie free zone.

The return trip was not quite incident free - my chain came off for no real reason and then, only moments later as I slowly left the bike path, I was over and on the grass. So that was it, the third unfortunate event on what had begun as a perfect ride. Chain off again so I dusted myself down, reassembled the bike and gingerly rode home. At least I can tell coach that this time I completed the ride.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cycling in Canberra

The coach kindly agreed to take me on a short cycling intensive weekend to Canberra. It was a great break and most enjoyable cycling as there were very few places where we needed to cycle on the road. We stopped in at Floriade, the National Gallery and the War Memorial so made the most of staying in Tim's flat and its central location.

Luckily we managed two rides even though the weather was overcast, as is evident in the photo. The rain held off so there were no real dramas, although we suffered one swooping magpie attack. As I waved madly to fend off the bird, I thought thank goodness there aren't magpies in France! Only managed to clock up 25 kms and 18kms. The longer ride was a little hilly so I felt it in my legs the next day. Coach reminded me that as Iwas in a 'solo ride deficit ' I wasn't entitled to a coffee stop reward - got to earn his company!

Back home today for my first day of the October holidays. No riding today but hopefully the chilly, wet weather will improve and I'll be on my bike for a few solo rides over this week. Monica sent through a great article about cycling in France where the following cycling company was recommended.
Looks like a very comprehensive site so I'll need to explore the many options and will post some more plans during this break.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exciting news!

Great news!
It looks as though Monica and Paul will be able to join us on our cycling trip in France next year. As this blog is a work in progress, and there are no firm plans about where we intend to go, I will add websites of interest as I discover them. From the blog and comments I'm sure an exciting cycling route will emerge.

The first website I've explored is A very small company run by an English couple who specialise in hiring bikes with panniers and providing maps etc so people can plan their own cycling trips. I like the sound of the hotel accommodation rather than camping. The region of Brittany sounds beautiful, perfect for cycling. Worth exploring this site in more detail.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So it begins...

An old coach with a new contract...

Two cycle rides this weekend, inspired by Monica and Paul's lengthy ride in New York.
THE coach has agreed to take me on again under his strict conditions - the 5-1 ratio. Five rides solo earns one ride, plus coffee, plus breakfast with THE coach. He completed his first commitment by showing me a safe ride through Wareemba and out to Breakfast Point, 24Kms in all. Yesterday we rode together, today I did 22 Kms alone.

This morning's solo ride was most pleasant - still water, few people, even fewer dogs and no magpies. Two interesting sights - a man fishing from a canoe and, an elderly gentleman doubling his equally elderly wife sidesaddle, as they returned with bags of groceries alone the bikepath around Canada Bay.

So the goal this week, two rides alone so THE coach has to ride with me next weekend.

THE coach celebrating a new contract with his old client.

Short term goal - Homebush cyclepath by the end of the October holidays.

Long term goal - Cycling in France, July 2010