It’s a little while since my last post, not because I’ve not been riding but rather because there’s only so much that can be said about the same commuting journey. Taken overall however I do feel more confident on Bob although there is one respect in which I feel a bit like it’s back to square one.
When I first started commuting from Barnet to Islington the bit that I dreaded was the climb from Archway up Highgate Hill. In fact I started out by walking up the first part until the pavement parts company with the road and then I’d ride up the rest. I don’t remember how long it took me to build the muscle to do the whole thing in one go, but this year I was doing it without any major problem. Alas I cannot say the same on Bob and so I’ve returned to the push up the hill. It gives me a moment of respite and I still get home primarily through pedalling. If only I could remember how long it took me last time! Having done this once before however, I’m confident that I’ll do it again… at some point. Not that I’m ever likely to be one of the world’s fastest climbers. My focus is on getting there – not getting there fastest – and so I don’t worry that I seem to be passed by virtually everybody else, and especially not by those standing on the pedals of their racing bikes!
Also in recent weeks the amount and regularity of cycling that I’ve been doing has been a bit like the weather this summer – variable. That’s probably partly due to the weather too although yesterday, lucky Friday 13th July, I didn’t let it stop me. The forecast was for rain, but having cycled in on Wednesday I did want Bob back for the weekend and I was determined to get more miles in.
I have to admit that the determination was wavering slightly as 5 minutes after leaving H2 Bike Run the rain started to come down in earnest. With the best part of 12 miles to go I was torn between returning to the garage and carrying on so… I carried on. It just seemed ridiculous to be put off by the rain in July when the weather’s reasonably warm. I’ve cycled in winter plenty of times before now and I intend doing so again if Bob really does end up (as planned) being my main means of transport.
While my intent held firm, so did the rain which, if anything, seemed to be getting worse. After debating over what to do I paused after crossing Grays Inn Road and put on my gillet. My preference is to be hot and wet on the inside due to sweat rather than cold and wet from the rain. Luckily my determination to get home outlasted that of the rain which eased off after another few minutes and didn’t trouble me again for the remainder of the journey.
What this has really done is remind me quite how much determination it takes to establish commuting over this sort of distance, not least when I’m having to build up my strength at the same time. Riding Bob there is no halfway house, no easy way of building up the distance as I could when using the Brompton to go part way on the train to Islington. This time not only is the distance longer, it’s also very much all or nothing.
So what’s the plan now? The plan this coming week is to cycle in on Monday and out on Tuesday, regardless of the weather (barring gales); rest on Wednesday; then in on Thursday and out on Friday. That will give me 4 rides totalling 50 miles from which I want to build up the distance and regularity. Where am I going to get the determination to do this from? Possibly from promising to report back to this blog next weekend with news of my efforts. I can’t believe I just wrote that… oh well, that’s gone and done it!!!!!