3 January 2013

Cycling in 2012

by Anton Piatek

Looking back over last year, I really tried to get into a regular pattern of cycling to work. Some good weeks and some bad added up to 31 days over the year, which sounds somewhat disappointing. 341 miles cycled to work and back sounds a little better, but I really must do better this year. It will be interesting to see how much I actually manage over the course of this year.

Mountain biking wasn’t really any better either, only managing just over 5 rides, though I really enjoyed them. Several of the rides were in the dark and my little light didn’t really do what was required, so I bought a pair of Chinese clones for a fairly modest price. Light-wise, they are brilliant. Not sure about the cardboard in the battery pack, but the light output is incredible for the price, and I have yet to have a single problem with them.

My first serious mountain bike ride was a 26km loop near hursley, following part of Clarendon way which was affectionately nicknamed the cheese-grater as we were going down a dirt staircase with barbed wire on one side at some speed in the dark. A nice ride, despite people getting a few punctures.

Then we went out to near Winchester for a ride a CheesefootHead – This was supposed to be a 20-25km ride, but turned out to be a 37km ride which nearly broke me. Not to mention being chased out of a field by a herd of very inquisitive and curious cows who were just getting that bit too friendly! Fantastic views from around here though, which I had brought a camera.

Then I went back for my second go around Queen Elizabeth Country park, having come-off badly on my first attempt with a good hole in my elbow. The uphill parts are pretty tiring, but the route is really nice and I really recommend getting out there if you are nearby.

We also did a ride from Hursley, up through the south edge of Winchester, along the golf course and down through Twyford, Colden Common, and Fair Oak. The time of year was bad as the nettles were massively overgrown, but it was a really nice ride. The GPS stopped in the middle, hence the straight line.

And the last ride of the year was another loop from Hursley, which gave me a really good chance to test out my newish lights as it was properly dark and pretty much all offroad. The lights worked great, and the really soft and muddy ground made for an interesting ride. Quite tiring and tricky because of the mud, but the hardest bit was trying to get the bike in the boot of the car without covering everything in mud!

tags: cycling - mountain biking