TR; Oxford to Henley - long and probably boring

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Stephen Pridgeo, Jul 1, 2003.

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  1. Wedding anniversary. In search of something interesting to do to mark the occasion, and to celebrate
    our new found fitness, Sharon and I decided to take the train to Oxford, spend the night there,
    cycle back to Henley, then get the train home. About 27 miles according to the CTC book, and, since
    S had easily done 25 miles, we should have no probs.

    Loaded the cheap panniers onto the Dawes Horizon, Sharon had a shopping basket on the front of
    her ladies "mountain" bike, and we got the train to Oxford. Bikes and trains don't mix. A nice
    guard suggested we get the fast train from Slough, setting off slightly later, getting there
    slightly later, but avoiding the need to constantly manouver cycles away from the door every 5
    mins. Good advice.

    Oxford - pretty. We were obviously Londoners because we were the only people wearing helmets out of
    the 1000+ people on bikes we saw all
    w/end. Cheap hotel (well, quite expensive if you ask me), then exploring. "Early night" we agreed.
    At midnight we wobbled into our room, very drunk, very tired, very full.

    Hangovers meant we didn't set out early, and the Sun was high as we stopped at Magdalen (?) bridge
    for the photos. Then out of Oxford on the B480. Hot. Very hot. Stopped off at the first pub we came
    to in Chalford, which didn't open till 12.00 !!! What is the world coming to? When we were moving
    the heat wasn't too bad, but when we stopped I rapidy began to overheat, so sat in the shade and
    made Sharon do all the fetching and carrying while we re-applied sunblock, and forced down snacks.
    Off through Chalford and we found some really nice pubs, which were open, but it was too late.

    We were making for Berrick Salome, just for the name. Looked lovely, but we didn't stop. The really
    strange thing was how empty the roads were, and how considerate the drivers were. Cycling there was
    really pleasant. We had to consult the map a few times to get to Ewelme, which raised frustrations
    and tempers, but we eventually got to the Sheperd's Hut pub, which I thought was in Ewelme, but I
    found out later was in completely the wrong place.

    Nice pub, recommended. A long lunch followed, and it was very hard to get back on the bike. Sharon's
    bum was aching now - the result of an overly soft saddle, all she wanted was an armchair strapped to
    her seatpost. Then we found the road to Ewelme, went through there, saw the classic cars out on a
    run, and started up the climb to the top of the Ridgeway. This should have been easy, certainly
    there were no chevrons on the map, but it was hellish. In retrospect I should have just said that
    we'd walk it, but Sharon was determined to cycle it.

    You know what it's like when you hit a wall going up a hill - especially when it's the first one
    you've ever had to do, and you are in the middle of nowhere, and it's shorter to go on than turn
    back, and it all gets a bit frightening...

    While we were having all these sensations, sat on the bank, having a crafty smoke, we were able to
    watch a variety of cyclists shoot past us, then immediately get into trouble as the road steepened
    dramatically 20yrds further on. Much amused sniggers from us as gears clicked frantically and they
    tried to reclaim some forward progress, but we knew that our time would come.

    To cut a long story short, I rode, Sharon pushed (eventally) and I think I was called every name
    under the sun, and then some. The hedgerows kept all cooling breeze off us, and made the road
    humid, heavy and sauna-ish. When she reached the top I gave her a big hug, and she just stared at
    me. It was a bit touch and go whether we'd actually have another wedding aniversary next year. To
    make up for this two wild fawns crossed the road in front of us a little further on. You wouldn't
    see that in a car.

    From there to Russell's Water (mind the apostrophe), across some sort of common, and down,
    steeply, to Stonor. Glad to report that the Horizon was solid all the way, and the brakes work
    even when loaded.

    Then just a long drag into Henley, with no shady resting places, and slightly impatient traffic, but
    still better than London. Best part of the ride - seeing the sign saying "Henley - 2 miles". Got to
    the station at 5, just in time for a train to Twyford, and thence back home on the very packed and
    busy train to London. Given our exhaused state we didn't care about the tutting, and people as we
    again constantly manouvered bikes and panniers around to let people get on the carriage.

    Back in Southall the traffic was a major shock, and I was getting very short-tempered, but we got
    back safely, threw the bikes in the garage, ate pasta and drank dakuris (I don't need to spell them,
    only make them) till we passed out well before 10.

    Main learning point - factor 30 sunblock still needs to be applied every hour.

    All in all a sucessful day, although we did bite off more than we could chew. About 30 miles door to
    door. S has proved that you don't need a decent bike to do touring (35 lbs, bright green, knobbly
    tyres, 15 speed, only 6 working) but I was very glad of the Horizon, Fizik saddle and Sora STi.
    Cheap panniers from Argos did the job. Our load felt about 20 lbs in total, maybe a bit less. No
    punctures, until we got to Southall.

    I know that for many people 30 miles isn't a huge distance - and I was shocked at how long it took
    us, but it was S's second big bike ride, and brings her mileage this year up to about 80. So a
    major achievement on her part, and she's finally started talking to me again, so all's well that
    end's well.

    Cheers, SteveP
     
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  2. In news:[email protected], stephen pridgeon
    <[email protected]> typed:
    > Sharon's bum was aching now - the result of an overly soft saddle, all she wanted was an armchair
    > strapped to her seatpost.

    Ah! You know, there's some people who might start out on their hobby horse if you say that.

    > ate pasta and drank dakuris (I don't need to spell them, only make them)

    daiquiris, IIRC.

    Thanks for the story. Inspired me for a ride.

    Ambrose
     
  3. Tenex

    Tenex Guest

    I particularly liked:

    > since S had easily done 25 miles, we should have no probs.

    ... in the context of:

    > and brings her mileage this year up to about 80.

    Evil slave driver. ;-)
     
  4. Henry Braun

    Henry Braun Guest

    On Tue, 1 Jul 2003, stephen pridgeon wrote:
    > Nice pub, recommended. A long lunch followed, and it was very hard to get back on the bike.
    > Sharon's bum was aching now - the result of an overly soft saddle, all she wanted was an armchair
    > strapped to her seatpost. Then we found the road to Ewelme, went through there, saw the classic
    > cars out on a run, and started up the climb to the top of the Ridgeway. This should have been
    > easy, certainly there were no chevrons on the map, but it was hellish. In retrospect I should have
    > just said that we'd walk it, but Sharon was determined to cycle it.

    The great advantage of taking the B480 up that hill at this time of year, despite the chevrons, is
    that the steep bits are through a wood so you're in the shade. Top tip #2: at Henley your sweaty
    lycra is a free passport to the regatta's Boat Tent Area where there are showers.
     
  5. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Ambrose Nankivell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > > Sharon's bum was aching now - the result of an overly soft saddle, all she wanted was an
    > > armchair strapped to her seatpost.

    > Ah! You know, there's some people who might start out on their hobby horse if you say that.

    Point of information: we're not the ones riding glorified hobby-horses ;-)

    --
    Guy
    ===

    WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.com
     
  6. "Tenex" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<ZCgMa.598$%[email protected]>...
    > I particularly liked:
    >
    > > since S had easily done 25 miles, we should have no probs.
    >
    > ... in the context of:
    >
    > > and brings her mileage this year up to about 80.
    >
    >
    > Evil slave driver. ;-)

    I've been told to point out that Sharon's mileage now stands at 120, not 80. So I'm not an "Evil
    slave driver" ;-)

    Henry, Thanks for the information, but it's highly unlikely that we will be doing this again - not
    until she's forgotten all about it - say in June 2013.

    Steve
     
  7. "stephen pridgeon" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Wedding anniversary. In search of something interesting to do to mark the occasion, and to
    > celebrate our new found fitness, Sharon and I decided to take the train to Oxford, spend the night
    > there, cycle back to Henley, then get the train home.

    Thanks for this - I live fairly near Henley and am considering getting a Dawes Horizon so this
    report is certainly not boring for me!

    Is the CTC book the one by Christia Gauden and someone else whose name I have forgotten? I found a
    1980 edition of it in a charity shop, which shows two cyclists on the front with dark-green CTC
    jerseys. There is a Claude Butler tourer in front of them, and one (a male, not sure about the other
    who looked rather androgynous in the photo) has the CTC regulation moustache
    :)

    Alex
     
  8. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Thu, 3 Jul 2003 21:40:15 +0100, "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >There is a Claude Butler tourer in front of them, and one (a male, not sure about the other who
    >looked rather androgynous in the photo) has the CTC regulation moustache

    I feel honour bound to point out at this point that my Claud Butler tourer is post-1980, as is my
    moustache ;-)

    When around Henley: taking Remenham Lane past the Little Angel on the Remenham side of the river,
    you come to an inn on the left at Aston just before a sharp right hander. Just before this inn on
    your left is a track down to the river at Hambleden Lock, it's called Hambleden Ferry Lane - gated,
    but a right of way. You can ride down to the weir, push across, and ride on through the Hambleden
    valley the other side. Hambleden Church do tea and buns on certain Sundays :)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com Advance
    notice: ADSL service in process of transfer to a new ISP. Obviously there will be a week of downtime
    between the engineer removing the BT service and the same engineer connecting the same equipment on
    the same line in the same exchange and billing it to the new ISP.
     
  9. Steph Peters

    Steph Peters Guest

    [email protected] (stephen pridgeon) of http://groups.google.com/ wrote bits snipped from
    various places:
    > Sharon's bum was aching now - the result of an overly soft saddle, all she wanted was an armchair
    > strapped to her seatpost. S has proved that you don't need a decent bike to do touring (35 lbs,
    > bright green, knobbly tyres, 15 speed, only 6 working) but I was very glad of the Horizon, Fizik
    > saddle and Sora STi. I've been told to point out that Sharon's mileage now stands at 120, not 80.
    > So I'm not an "Evil slave driver" ;-)

    OK touring can be done on a crap bike, but it's not much fun and can be literally painful. If you
    want your wife to cycle you need to make cycling more comfortable for her. She's always going to be
    at a disadvantage having a heavier bike, so if it doesn't fit her well then replace it now. If the
    frame fits her then keep it and fix the gears, replace those knobblies with something more suitable
    for roads and get her a saddle that fits. Also a pair of padded womens cycle shorts that do not have
    a central seam between the legs will help a lot.

    --
    Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others,
    are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams Steph Peters delete
    invalid from [email protected] Tatting, lace & stitching page
    <http://www.sandbenders.demon.co.uk/index.htm
     
  10. "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "stephen pridgeon" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Wedding anniversary. In search of something interesting to do to mark the occasion, and to
    > > celebrate our new found fitness, Sharon and I decided to take the train to Oxford, spend the
    > > night there, cycle back to Henley, then get the train home.
    >
    > Thanks for this - I live fairly near Henley and am considering getting a Dawes Horizon so this
    > report is certainly not boring for me!
    >
    > Is the CTC book the one by Christia Gauden and someone else whose name I have forgotten? I found a
    > 1980 edition of it in a charity shop, which shows two cyclists on the front with dark-green CTC
    > jerseys. There is a Claude Butler tourer in front of them, and one (a male, not sure about the
    > other who looked rather androgynous in the photo) has the CTC regulation moustache
    > :)
    >
    > Alex

    Alex, I've posted lots on the Dawes Horizon, charting my uncertain beginnings with it (due to never
    having been on a bike for 15 yrs), my joyful discoveries, and now our fondness and affection we
    feel for each other including a shared understanding of each others' faults. Mine now sports
    Panaracer Parsela tyres, a Fizik saddle, and a long ITM stem. I've replaced the cassette twice now,
    and the chain two or three times over, but that is more to do with my cleaning regime (none
    existant) than the bike. Got to say that I wish I'd got something with sportier wheels, since the
    narrowest tyre I can get on it is a 28mm dia. Pretty soon I'll fit a track stem, so the bars go
    really low for Winter training.

    The book sounds familiar - but I can't remember the cover. I do remember charming gems of advice,
    obviously aimed at the foreign cycles, including "...there are few houses where a polite request to
    refill water bottles will be denied." Makes me glad to be British.

    It's just got lots and lots of really basic (but suprisingly accurate) sketch maps, with the barest
    notes alongside each one.

    ATB SteveP
     
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