Category Archives: Cycling

Visiting far places and cycling Great Glens


After a day of enforced rest due to yet more high winds. We opted for a tour to the furthest westerly point in mainland UK. Ardnamurchan.
This gorgeous peninsular involved a short ferry trip before creeping along the roads that meandered along the coastline. It was gorgeous particularly as the colours were changing as autumn approached. Behind us lay a bank of cloud while the sun shone down on this peninsular.
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Catching the ferry to Ardenmurchan
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Possibly my two favourite vehicles
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It was an interesting reminder following the Brexit vote
We finally arrived at the end point. A lighthouse perched on a rocky outcrop and protected on all sides by stone built walls. We even became aquatinted to the local goat population. Before heading to a nearby beach to enjoy the white sandy beaches of Scotland. Almost like Barbados just a tad on the cooler side of things.

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white sandy beaches even in scotland
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The next day we woke early from our cosy glamping hut at wigwam. Our sights set on some nearby hills. Coming to our first option the wind began to increase and so we adapted our plan to a nearby summit. Later we found out this one was renowned for being windy. Making our way up the wind was increasing dramatically and the cloud level dropping. As we got closer to the top and with and the wind increasing substantially I thought it wiser to come down rather than to keep slogging for the sake of it. We managed it a few days later under slightly calmer conditions. The route up would have been ok particularly as the slightly more technical part of the route was in the lee of the wind.
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We made up for it with a fantastic cycle from Killin to Lochearnhead along a fantastic cycle route. The going was great heading quickly through the valley past streams and squeezing over cattle grids. We came across a Canadian cycling round Europe and was looking to head further north before it became too cold we headed our separate ways wishing him luck. With only an occasional shower and with the sun poking its head out we could enjoy the change of pace. Turning round we realised it had been a bit more of a downhill than we realised and the wind had been behind us. It was going to be tight with the bike hire place shutting. The last mile we lost our luck with the weather and it chucked it down.
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Finishing up we headed to our accommodation for the night. With views over the loch it was a gorgeous setting despite the clouds.
We certainly felt fresher for the more relaxed day and the cosy accommodation.

What Happened on Your Jubilee Week?


What have you done over the last week? Travelled anywhere special or did you soak up the parties around the UK or further a field?

Well the last week has flown by, I was up in Scotland last weekend meeting up with The Captain Leven Brown commodore of Ocean Row Events (just added the commodore bit to go with the sea theme) which was inspiring as expected and I came away with many plans and ideas but more on that later.  The rest of the weekend was spent soaking up the rare but incredible Scottish sun on the beach at St Andrews with our good friends from the Blown Away team. They took myself and my brother out on the Zap cats check out the video below:

I am pretty sure they said I could drive it next time too…

Check them out at:

http://blown-away.co.uk/

And of course checking out what was happening at the Jubilee weekend back in London where some of the team I row with each week were out on the river paddling in front of the Queen. I believe the TV didn’t do it justice and that being in the middle of it especially with the lashing rain was certainly an experience.

I managed to have with a segway experience with the family before shooting back down to London for the remainder of the week.

To top it off was a pretty speedy bike ride to Windsor with Ful-on tri and some great headwinds to battle, where we stopped off at the Chocolate Theatre for another fantastic hot chocolate and slice of carrot cake. Both were devoured pretty sharpish before a slightly more casual pace on the way back pushed along by our nemesis of the winds from our outward journey. Followed by a spot of rowing down in Richmond today. All in all a pretty awesome week!

Chocolate, Cycling and Castles


For quite a while I had been thinking and planning in my mind how good it would be to cycle out to Windsor, take in the sites and have a quick break at this chocolate café I had previously visited. I had a whole Saturday to spare and with the sun shining I thought it was finally time to get off my bum and rather than thinking and dreaming about it to go a head and do it. They always say the hardest part is getting out the front door regardless of whether your joe blog or Olympian and its true, at least certainly from my point of view.

Changing of The Guards

My previous attempt had seen my journey cut short as without a map and arriving at a very busy main road out of London I thought it best to spend some more time cycling round Richmond Park. I didn’t want this to happen again regardless of what happened.

The plan this time was simple try and follow this dodgy map I had printed out, head out to Windsor (no excuse for falling short of this), stop at the café and then head back. All ready I headed out the door, it started to rain.

The initial part of the ride is probably the easiest to navigate but also have the busiest roads adding to the challenge of getting about safely. I headed out to Richmond Park, passing some fellow fulon tri members who had made it out on the rider earlier than me, before following the meanders of the Thames out to Hampstead court. It was here that the first challenge of the day came in the form of the smells, sounds and sights of pimms, ice cream and sausages coming from the direction of The Foodie Festival, to go or not to go?? It was very tempting, but one for another day.

Heading out into greener pastures and I was travelling by the Thames, through smaller London boroughs, past cosy pubs and quaint house boats. I always think they would be great to live on, but that’s a story for another day. On reaching a decisive decision point I pulled out my printed off map and noted how useless it was, you could hardly make out the roads never mind the road numbers. Fortunately I met a friendly cyclist who pointed me in the right direction. Heading up to Chertsney, then Virginia Waters, followed by Staines and finally into Windsor. Sounded simple enough. I headed in the direction he said and the roads were great now, pretty quite and they had a bike lane.

The Deer of Richmond Park

Further on and the signs pointed in separate directions left for Virginia waters right for Staines. My thinking was Virginia waters and Windsor and both further west so no reason to head back into London. Which turned out to be not entirely true but I thought I couldn’t go wrong.

I was travelling through bright yellow fields, through wooded areas and past some huge mansions with a whole array of luxury cars parked outside. It was great being out in the open. I met a cyclist who showed me where we were on a map which confirmed that I was on the right route and got chatting about his trip he was planning across France which sounded fantastic. Another T junction and another decision to be made left or right, fortunately some cyclists came past and said they were travelling to Windsor. I jumped on my bike again and was on my way following close behind before overtaking and carrying on my journey. The route took me through and past the Royal Park. It was an awesome sight cycling along with trees towering over the road, blue flowers poking up all over the place and then this huge old tree appeared. It’s the beauty of cycling you are travelling slowly enough to experience all the sights and sounds around you that in a car you are closed off from to a greater extent. Pulling over to take in the sights and I got chatting to the first semi-drunk guy of the day and it was only 1pm but he was an old lad who had clearly been having a very good start to the day at his local.

A seriously old tree

I carried on into a bustling Windsor with the castle looming up a head of me, tourists and locals mingling in the high street and the thought of chocolate getting ever closer. I rolled up to the café called The Chocolate Theatre. I was greeted to a great sight of a whole heap of bikes parked up outside. Should have taken a photo thinking about it…

Windsor Castle on a Sunnier day

I ordered my “Penultimate Hot Chocolate” and a sandwich, chilling in the cool breeze and relaxing with the thought of the ride. It finally arrived; the long awaited moment one creamy hot chocolate, cream and chocolate flakes not sprinkled but placed gently on top as they were huge chunks of chocolate. Couldn’t help but smile.

The Penultimate Hot Chocolate

It was time for the ride back, if nothing else to burn off a huge number of calories and get the legs warm again which had cooled considerably during my stop. Riding a long and I was soon met by some of the cyclists that I had met previously just before the Royal Park. It was time to join the peloton Tour de France style, racing a long rotating the lead and allowing each other to be pulled along by the man in front. It was great travelling at higher speed and a welcome change to the afternoons bike ride. It also took me in a much more direct route back to the start point. Flying a long the country roads soon brought us back to Hampstead court and the surrounding area which was jammed with traffic where the peloton finally had to break apart as we each picked our way through the heavy traffic. All that was left was a burst into Kingston and the end of the cycle.

Not sure where my next route will be so if you have any ideas then let me know…