18 June 2011

Quick Rides in the Neighbourhood

Ever since I have first gotten in to cycling, I have viewed it as a day-long activity, usually done on a weekend. From the beginning, when it would take most of the day to cycle along Regent's canal from my old flat in Shadwell to Alberto's place in Kentish Town, to two weeks ago when we completed our 100 mile ride, I've always needed to set a day aside in order to have fun on the bike. Of course, I do commute on the bike (though not every day), but it just isn't the same, especially now that I had my Boardman -- which only ever comes out on the weekends.

However, I've been reading a lot of cycling blogs recently, and they are showing me that it doesn't have to be this way. One of my favourites is Bike Noob (probably because I'm such a newbie myself!), and there the Noob always talks about going for rides after work in his neighbourhood. Now, I'm sure his residential area is a lot bigger than ours, being in Texas while we're in central London, but I started to think about the hills in our local area which I sometimes have the misfortune of having to tackle when just riding around town.

Today, I needed to do a short ride to see whether my shoulder would give me any trouble while cycling (it's been bothering me since I took that clipless fall two weeks ago, but I haven't been able to see a doctor yet). So I decided to head out into the residential streets to the north and west of our flat. The roads are relatively quiet, but there are a fair number of intersections so it is difficult to build up any kind of speed, since I want to be ready to stop suddenly if a car comes along. However, there are several short streets with relatively steep climbs--not a problem the first time around, but I can imaging I could tire myself out if I kept going round them!

According to Map my Ride, I can do a series of three small concentric loops (each loop has a climb) with the whole thing adding up to 2.5km. So, my new goal is to make time to do 6 of these loops--a total of 15km--at least one night a week to start with. This is not much, but setting such a low goal makes me more likely to actually get out on the bike when I get home from work. This will probably take me an hour to complete due to the low speed I mentioned above, so at least in the summer months it should not be a problem to do in full daylight.

My hope is that this will help me stay fit between weekend rides (especially when we don't get a chance to ride every weekend!) and maybe I'll improve my hill abilities as a bonus! But really, I just don't want to have to leave my Boardman behind 6 days out of the week :-)

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