Tag Archives: winter

The sky is always blue when you’re cycling!

You could watch the weather on TV and start to believe that the best days for riding are behind us; that rain is coming, that the days are getting both shorter and colder. And you’re expecting me to tell you not to believe such nonsense?

Good times are where you find them, and your bike is that place. It’s always that place. You go to bed the night before your morning ride, noticing that there’s a bit of a chill in the area, listen to a noise that’s familiar and strangely comforting but then realize it’s the furnace kicking on (is it OK to be comforted by the sound of a furnace?), and you think back to just two weeks ago when you were able to go out without leg warmers. For the last time.

But the sky was blue this morning, and with daylight saving time behind us, it was also light out. Nothing wrong with being comforted by that! And yet, we had only a handful of riders this morning; myself, Kevin (son, not the pilot), Eric, Todd & Jim, joined up on Skyline by Steve L, whom we haven’t seen for a while (he usually rides with the older, er, I mean, more “mature” guys who ride a bit later and stay out of the hills). Looking at the video reminds me just how nice & clear it was as we set a deliberately non-challenging pace up Kings, hoping to avoid Kevin having one of his all-too-frequent seizures. Since he didn’t, I guess it worked! Unfortunately, when you look at our time climbing Kings, you come to realize that he can climb very fast, have a seizure, and finish in 29:30. Or he can climb at a pace where he won’t likely have a seizure, and finish in 29:30.

We did run into a bit of fog at the top, or maybe low clouds. Not bad, but the slight dampness made the 43 degrees up there seem a bit colder. Soon, 43 degrees will feel nearly toasty for us!

Watching the ride play on the video in front of me reminds me that I actually did ride this morning. What would it be like, riding without cameras or downloadable GPS data recording the ride? Without two computers on the handlebars, set to simultaneously display two different sets of data that I think are important (heart rate & speed in numbers large enough for 55-year-old eyes to read)? I don’t know. I understand there are people out there who have no computer on their bike at all, and somehow that works for them. Guess they haven’t discovered Strava yet.

You can’t go to England without going to Stonehenge. Right?

Our first trip to London, maybe 8 years ago, we really didn’t see much. Just a few days in town, saw the dungeon, did a cool walking tour of Buckingham Palace with the changing of the guard etc. Pretty much took it easy, too easy, and were blown away by how expensive everything was.

Breakfast at Paul
"Paul", a phenomenal bakery chain

I’m still blown away by how expensive everything is, but this time we’re seeing the stuff we didn’t before, with yesterday being an example of getting lots in with little downtime. The day started off with breakfast at Paul, which I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. From there it was down into the “Underground” to Lieciester Square to buy same-day discounted theater tickets for “Love Never Dies”. We arrived a bit early; the box office doesn’t open until 10am, so we had some time to get acquainted with what “cold” feels like. It feels bad. Bad enough that I quickly found a place with inexpensive warm gloves.

Inside the amazing Salisbury CathedralNext, head to Waterloo Station for a train trip to Salisbury, from which the Stonehenge Tour Bus departs. This is where I blew it; I had no idea that Salisbury would be a place I’d like to spend some real time in, a lovely town with an active central square/shopping district and the most-incredible cathedral you can imagine! Unfortunately, after finding a place to eat & warm up, we had very little time before having to catch the final tour bus out to Stonehenge; if you plan to visit the cathedral, plan to spend a good hour there, maybe even more. Oh, and did I mention they have the best-surviving copy of the Magna Carte?

The Stonehenge prop from Spinal Tap!
Spinal Tap aficionados will recognize this...
Stone Cold

Oh, did I mention it was cold? Stonehenge is a cold place by nature; there’s not much “warmth” to a display of large rocks. It is an amazing thing to see though, including the gift shop’s display of props from the movie “Spinal Tap.”

If you would like to see a bunch of Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral photos, I’ve put some up on our Picasa website.

After returning from Salisbury we went straight to the theater district (Strand) and ate at Leon’s, a sort of high-quality Mediterranean fast-food place that’s pretty spectacular. As for the play itself, “Love Never Dies” is no Phantom, and I thought the ending was a bit too predictable, but it did have the added adventure of being stopped about 10 minutes into the production by some sort of technical difficulty, resolved about 30 minutes later. If you go to see it, consider that the ending for “A Little Night Music” might have worked better.

So yes, yesterday was a pretty full day! We’re getting off to a bit later start this morning, and will be staying “local.” Our flight out leaves at 3:30pm tomorrow, giving us just enough time to fit in the London Eye before heading back. That’s the plan anyway.  –Mike–