A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


Abingdon 85 mile loop

Updated - now with more accurate route


Did an 85 mile loop round Abingdon last Sunday. It was pretty flat, as is usual round here! Rounded it off with a swim in the Thames, further upriver than Abingdon, at a place called Radcot. The spot was scenic, but with a fast current - almost breaststroke pace. It would have been a great spot, except for the noisy music event at the pub nearby. Nirvana covers are not the most relaxing music to go outdoor swimming to!


Thames Path

Oo, 6 m elevation gain, apparently, on this morning’s run - I think that’s still an overestimate! It was a lovely morning for it - a perfect temperature, completely still, with the morning sun poking above the trees, and the water vapour rising from the river. The only blot on the horizon was the towers of Didcot Power Station, rising like Blake’s Dark Satanic Mills and visible from all around.

I wonder how far along the river the path goes - quite a way I imagine. I’ve cycled along it, but the cycle path takes a different route at that point, on the other side of the river. As I was wondering how far it goes, I was reminded of a tale from a few years ago, of a man called Robert Young, who set out to break the record for running across America; except he spent half of it travelling in his support vehicle. I wonder why someone would do that… for money, I suppose. The current record (by Pete Kostelnick) stands at 43 days. I doubt I’ll ever run that far, but It’ll be fun to explore this footpath some more!


An evening swim

Quite the flurry of blog posts today! There must be something wrong with me :o

Just to say, I had a lovely swim this evening in the Thames. I wish I’d had someone to share it with! The water seemed much clearer than the other times I’ve been in (as in, I could see my hands in front of me. Don’t get overexcited, I still couldn’t see the bottom even though I could stand up. And I know I’m not that tall, no need to remind me…). However - and I blame one of my friends for this, after a conversation about ‘the itch’ in a lake she swims in - I feel very itchy! I don’t know if it’s purely psychological ; I feel like it must be, since I was fine the other times I’ve swum here, and the water was so much clearer this time. And I showered straight afterwards. Oh well; if it happens next time I’ll be most miffed, I was starting to like that swimming spot!

I also saw a narrowboat for sale. Can you see me living on a boat, I wonder?


Wantage Wobble

I didn’t quite go through Wantage yesterday - that was on Saturday - but I was close. But I did explore along the line of the Ridgeway. I think it was named by someone with a sense of humour, because there’s no ridge for 50 miles round. Ridges imply hills, and this place has hills like the Sahara has water. Despite that, the area is actually pretty good for cycling; from the stones at Avebury, it’s possible to get almost all the way back to Abingdon on narrow country roads, with little traffic. I’d thought I might head along the Ridgeway itself for part of the way (it’s a circa 100 km long route of mostly byway and bridleway); but the roads were so quiet that it was fine just staying on those. I’d taken my older, touring road bike rather my new carbon one, although by the sound of it even on that there are parts of the Ridgeway that would have been challenging. Probably still comfier than my commute to work though - that route’s awful. The total distance for the day was 104 miles - more, much more, than I’d been planning. By the time I was back I just about had time for a pizza (not handmade) and then bed.


Another Parkrun

This seems to be becoming almost a running blog rather than a cycling one - I suppose that’s my focus for racing at the moment, what little racing I’m doing. My racing at the moment is restricted to Parkruns; and with my third attempt at the Abingdon one I seemed to be getting into my metaphorical and literal stride. A time of 18:33 puts me back on course for where I’d like to be this year, especially given how comfortable it felt - smooth and controlled the whole way round, and when I finished I felt like I had something left, despite getting a course pb by 10 s.