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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Long Cycle in the Wind around The Broads

This week I did a long cycle ride of 65.52 miles (105.4 Km) in a total of 4 hours 44 minutes which makes it an average speed of 13.8 mph (22.3 km/h). This is a lower than average ride mainly due to the strong 20 mph (32 km/h) westerly winds which was not helped by the route being round part of The Broads which meant that there was a lot of places where there was no shelter from the wind.
Also I had just looked at the route on a paper map and thought it was about 40 miles so I was well short of that. The temperature was only 10c to 14c which did not take in to account the windchill but luckily I had a number of layers on and a backup woolly hat if I got really cold.

The route was scenic and was along the north sea coast for the first part of the ride following a couple of cycle routes in places.
Less than 10 miles in to a helicopter went overhead as it was just about to land at the heliport it and I could see the pilot from the underneath landing window. There was a few cafe’s and chip shops in the first 90 minutes but this was even too early in the ride even for me to stop!!

There was even a sea eagle (brown wings tips with grey wing) that went overhead from the north sea.

I could tell how strong the wind was by in addition to the pushing the bike around and all the grass and trees by the few wind turbines which were going round at a fare pace and all in the same direction.
I stopped a couple of times to eat some of the food I had with me, I did not want to attempt to do this one handed in the strong wind as I could have ended up anywhere along the road side.

Once I got to the furtherest point I thought the wind would help me but it was pushing me to the side so I had to lean my bike to the right and in to the wind which felt unusual. During this bit Iwas able to use my aerobars for a few miles and was going 20 mph+ before the strong winds made it a bit unsafe carry on with them.
Some sections through the broads where quite exposed and required a lot more effort in the wind and there was even some inclines!!
Once I got to about 3 1/2 hours into the ride I stopped at a local village post office which was open and got some supplies to have.

I then carried on down the road to the reedham chain ferry I had to get to cross the broads which seem to have waves on today!!

View Downstream

View Upstream

View across to the Ferry

View in the middle of the broads

In the middle of the broads

Getting ready exit the Ferry

Once a few miles the other side I had two options, to go a slightly shorter route but over a high bridge or a longer route but level bridges. Due to the wind still being strong I decided it would be better to the longer route but on a main A road which I knew the road and I could use the edge of the road in places to the traffic to more safely get past. During these 5+ miles I could use my aerobars again for longer periods and was able to maintain 20+ mph in places at this late stage of the ride.

I then got the local bridges and level crossings which there cars were stuck in a traffic jam but I was able to cruise past with a smile on my face :-)

Then within the last few miles of the ride was a steep hill to go up but somehow I managed it without using my lowest gear.

The ride was a slower than normal but was my longest cycle ride of the year. Plus in conditions I would not normally cycle in which was good training to improve my bike control. Overall I enjoyed this ride even when it was in hard conditions in places.

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