Cycloboy Rides Again 5

So I’ve signed up for Christian Aids’ ‘Cathedrals to Coast’ bike ride.

(Seriously it is for a good cause and I’m really glad to be supporting the work of Christian Aid. See the link for more details of what they do, and if you feel so inclined you could sponsor me at my justgiving address too.)

Lacking in nearby Cathedrals I thought it might be fun (?) to build my training rides around local churches instead. Who knows? If the training went well, I might include some not so local churches too! Eventually, so the theory goes, enough churches will mean I’m ready to tackle some Cathedrals!

So, here’s Training Session number 5 (if you count all that cycling in Amsterdam!)

Training Session No:  St. Peter‘s Parish Church at Offham (near Lewes)

Distance:    22.6 miles

Time:1 hour and 47 minutes

Average speedI make that about 15mph – going up!

Name of Church:St. Peter’s Parish Church

Fitness Feedback: Ah yes, well here I have to admit to being extremely stupid and a bear of very little brain. I used to cycle to Lewes to visit the library there, write some of my book (see Peter Johannsen and the Device of Wonders) and then cycle home. It seemed a good way to keep up the cycling and also gave me a good bit of space for writing. So, as I set off today I was thinking “Ah yes, there’s that little church outside Lewes. Now, let me see, I think that’s about 11 miles, so that would make a good training ride.” (Have you spotted my deliberate mistake?) Of course, what my tiny brain was not factoring in was the return journey. The return journey is, of course, extremely important in enabling the intrepid rider to … well, to get home. So, I’m rather embarassed to confess that it was not until I was about halfway to Offham that I realised this would be a slightly longer training ride than I had envisaged when I set off. Ho hum. How bad could it be?

Weather: Pretty bad, actually. Around the same moment that I realised the journey was going to take longer than I thought, it also became clear that I was not going to escape being utterly soaked. The dark clouds that had been reassuringly distant very rapidly marched down to greet me somewhere outside Chailey. Now the issue for cyclists seems to be,  just how long you keep going in wet weather before you pull over and pull on your waterproof gear. You couldn’t be doing it every time you had a drop of rain, not least because the waterproof clothes (well, mine, at least) also make one very hot, very quickly. On the other hand, leave it too long, and by the time you get your weather gear on, you are already soaked to the skin and are bound to get cold and feel uncomfortable anyway.

Maybe I’m out of practice, but I blew it. Waited too long before pulling over and consequently spent the rest of the journey – with intermittent showers – either being too hot (and wet) or too wet (and wet), if that makes sense.

Coffee Shops and Cake: Sadly, no. I could of done with a nice flat white and a large slice of Victoria sponge to warm my bones. There are a few pubs along the way and one nearly opposite – plenty of excellent ones actually in Lewes itself – but the only thing worse than not having a coffee shop must be having one, but sitting in it shivering with wet clothes and a long journey home to come.

Roads: Ah yes, wet roads. How I’ve missed them. The water spinning up in your face, the puddles soaking your feet, the splashes from the passing cars and, not to be underestimated, the squinting eyes and freezing forehead as you try to see the road ahead so that you don’t bump into anything.

Navigation:  Apart from the mileage misunderstanding, a pretty straight journey. There are quite a few ways to get into Lewes and maybe it wasn’t raining on some of those routes. But looking for the rain free route is like looking for the shortest queue at the supermarket.

Traffic Tantrums / Near misses: No near misses but something strange does seem to happen to drivers when it’s raining. I do generally find that they drive harder when it’s raining than when it’s fine. It must be a psychological thing. When the weather is fine, the happy driver can loll behind the struggling cyclist for a few minutes – watch the wildlife, listen to the radio perhaps, look across the green fields – but if it’s raining? Well, if it’s raining they need to get from a to b as fast as they can! And woe betide anyone who keeps them waiting!  So no incidents but not much courtesy either.

Wildlife: Ha, don’t be silly. In weather like that, all sensible creatures are safely tucked away in their homes. Only the foolish would be out and about when it’s tipping down with rain. Was that a little Rabbit laugh I heard? Or a Finches giggle as I struggle past?

Bugs Eaten: Well, the bugs are just as canny as the other animals and avoid the wet weather too.

Recovery Time:How long does it take for a pair of lycra shorts to dry out?

See you next time,



About Stuart Dyer

Stuart Dyer, Christian Writer and Musician living in West Sussex, England. Works in the hope of producing the worthy novel or solo; giggles at Oliver Hardy, Peter Sellers and Spike Jones; admires Hudson Taylor, Dickens, Salinger, Bill Bailey and Neil Peart; listens from Wagner to Miles with lots of stops in between; dances to motown and aims to achieve balance in all things.
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