Sunday, 28 June 2009

That was an eventful 40 miles

What a ride that was. Enjoyable, frustrating, fascinating, and embarrassing.

Why embarrassing? Because I fell off. Didn’t crash, didn’t hit anything, no mechanical failure. Just fell off. How come? Well, I recently bought a new pair of pedals which my shoes clip into (go figure). Stories abound on forums and at my cycling club that just falling over with clipless pedals is quite a common occurrence while trying to get used to them. Anticipation is everything. And failing to anticipate that I might need to put my foot on the ground was certainly the cause of the problem in my case.

This isn’t as dumb as it sounds. Picture this. I was cycling up a hill with a roundabout at the top. There was a queue of cars which I cycled up the inside of. Then, when I got to the roundabout, I was second guessing if the car in front would go so that I could follow him round. Well, it turned out that he wasn’t going to move off and as I was still having to pedal quite hard (I was going up hill remember), I didn’t try to free my shoes until the last minute. Then panic sets in and there is no way they are ever going to unclip. And I have to admit, I felt like the dumbest idiot ever to get on a bike. I simply came to a halt and toppled over onto the pavement. Luckily ending up with nothing more serious than road rash on my left shin. But why bother with clipless pedals? (although I refute the statement that it’s safer):

and just how dumb did I look? A bit like this:

And so to frustrating. For some reason, and I know not what, the spokes on my front wheel decided to take it in turns to come lose. And there is nothing more irritating than hearing a bussing sound while riding. To be exact, any roadie will tell, the bike should be silent apart from the noise of the tyres. It’s one of the golden rules of road cycling. Similar to your bike having to be at least 10 times shinier than when you bought it. I must have stopped at least four or five times to tighten the spokes. Time for a service I think.

And fascinating? I didn’t have any particular route planned and turned off of the main road, following a sign to Fambridge. No idea why and the road didn’t go any further than Fambridge anyway. But I came across this which I can only describe as a cross between a tombstone and an obelisk.

It certainly wasn’t a long lived airfield, only having been open for 9 months but it does claim to have been the first in England. I suppose opening and closing an airfield wasn’t that much of big thing back in 1909 either. A quick Google search revealed that:

It marks the site of what was almost certainly Britain’s earliest dedicated airfield. ... [But] Fambridge proved a failure, except as a bog. The rickety flying machines, far from heading into the skies, tended to get mired down in the Essex mud.
And just down the road the claim for the control and rule of England was settled by a battle which took place at Ashingdon in 1016 AD, when Canute fought Edmund and won both the battle and soon after, secured the Kingdom of all England including the Saxon Wessex and their territories.

All that from taking a right turn and exploring a little.

And enjoyable? Any time spent riding a bike is enjoyable, no matter what.


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