Philobiblon: Spring on the Thames path

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring on the Thames path

Well, having managed not to fall off my bicycle and into the Thames, I'm back from my jaunt. The Thames path is gorgeous in many places and the English spring was doing its stuff: the new lambs were gambolling, the daffodils were blooming in the churchyards, the coxes at Henley-on-Thames were bawling at their crews, and the flocks of parakeets were swirling. (Those of you who find the last of that group odd; yes they were originally Australian, but escaped pets are apparently naturalising very successfully, and in large numbers, in the south-east of England.)

There was also a hovering raptor, but I wasn't close enough to the front to hear the identification. I wasn't Tail End Charlie ALL day, just most of it. This was a group I would never have kept up with were it not for the large numbers of otherwise irritating stiles that dot the path. We made it from Reading to Windsor (and some people set off to cycle on to London - though not on the Thames path, since it had taken us from 10ish to 4 to get that far.)

That was at least 35 miles, about half of it on non-sealed paths, forest tracks and straight out rough fields - and those soft and spongy river meadows are damn hard riding. I may have done a bit more than that - the juddering shook loose the speedo magnet; my knees are swearing it must have been at least 40 miles total for the day, and they might even be right.

UPDATE: in case you should think this means I'm a "real" cyclist, read this post to discover what real cyclists do.

SECOND UPDATE: Thanks to Barry, the organiser, I learn that the raptor was a red kite, "Very rare a few years spreading".


Blogger clanger said...

Um, spandex? :-)

4/17/2006 12:03:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Definitely not!I last had the figure for Spandex at about age 5. And actually I have tried it (shorts with a long T-shirt over) and don't find it particularly comfortable.

For summer I have baggy light cotton shorts, which work well, and for winter long and fairly loose specialist trousers. (Supposed to be shower-proof - but they weren't doing too well during yesterday afternoon's cloudburst.)

4/17/2006 02:08:00 pm  
Blogger Edward said...

Spandex is for 80s rockstars. Us 'real' cyclists wear lycra ;)

I can't believe I get back on my race bike for the first time in 8 months, do 3 rather rusty rides and am described as a 'real' cyclist. Hurrah!

Are you referring to Barry Mason of the Southwark Cyclists? That guy is brilliant - and an LSE alumnus to boot. About this time last year they all came to Suffolk for a cycle ride: we covered a few of the beautiful roads I cycled on Sunday.

4/19/2006 01:01:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Yes Barry was leading the ride. And you're my definition of a real cyclist, as the person who gave me the mad idea of doing the Dynamo. I haven't quite committed myself yet, but I probably will give it a go. It will probably take me about three times as long as it will take you...

4/19/2006 10:23:00 am  

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