In April, when I was away from London for a weekend, Michael finally got round to joining the Brent Cyclists for a bike ride to Elstree and Stanmore. This weekend then there was a bike ride to Windsor planned and he was keen to join again. Now, Windsor has been on my to-do list for a while, so (for some crazy reason) I decided to join in! I made sure that there were enough places where I could decide to stop and get a train back to London, and also that there are no significant hills, and this morning saw Michael, Chris (a friend from Cycletastic) and I meet at Willesden Green and make our way to North Harrow.
We were 12 people meeting at North Harrow: 10 guys and two girls. From first impressions it seemed like I would be the least experience cyclist. This was as I expected of course. However, Michael had convinced me that the pace would be quite leisurely, and that I would still fit into the ‘bell-curve of experience and fitness’ of the group (albeit at the lower ends).
From North Harrow we left at around 11:00am, making our way first to Uxbridge, where we had the first stop. So far so good! The scenery was quite decent, I was keeping up with the others quite well, and I was enjoying it. This was one of the major points where I could get off the main route, but as my body was still not complaining much I decided to go on. I was surprised at as we had already cycled around 11.2km! I was told that we were half-way there, so it sounded positive for the trip. I was also doing well with the new cycling experiences such as passing through the numerous gates in the way, cycling onto and off pavements, and most importantly, cycling in a group (though cycling and talking is still a bit beyond me).
The next half was the way from Uxbridge, out of London, through Slough and then on to Windsor. First half went well, but this second half? Hmm! I guess by now I was getting tired. Also, the terrain kept on going from dirt tracks in forests/parks which sap out your energy, to quite major roads which sap out my energy as I need to go fast. And remember what I said that we should have been half-way? Let’s just say it doesn’t seem like that to me! It took us around 1hr 15mins to get to Uxbridge, and another 2hrs or more to get to Windsor!
Finally though, we saw Windsor Castle! We were still a way away (around 30mins), but at least the end was literally in sight. So I pushed myself that bit more, and weaved my way through the streets, till I got there (much more exhausted than the others it seems!). Sitting down in the pub with a beer (yes! Me! A beer! I finally understood how nice it can be!) and a Sunday roast was bliss!
Following a rest in the pub, the plan was that we all cycle back, at least to Uxbridge. However, by now I was completely shattered and didn’t think that it was good to keep pushing myself, while at the same time keeping the others back. So I said my goodbyes, and jumped on a train back. You might think that that was copping out. However, having cycled 32km, I definitely don’t think so!