Cursing hills and London hairiness

With just over three months to go, Bronwen starts proper bike training for Vachery Tri. Cue central London traffic, cursing Boris and the lure of curry…


I’m happy to say the last couple of weeks have been a little more action-packed than the sedentary ones I confessed to in my last post. For a start, the milder weather has meant that running has become more of a pleasure than a chilly chore, so I’ve been getting out more regularly.


I’ve also been to my first yoga class in a long while – I’d forgotten how useful I find it for stretching out tight muscles. Next time I might even try to be on time, so I don’t have to shuffle in awkwardly, fail to keep up, and indiscreetly copy the poses of my neighbours when the teacher’s not looking. 

I’m also conscious that I need to broaden my cardio training beyond just running (not least because I’m getting VERY bored of my running playlist. Suggestions for new songs welcome). Though it’s getting gradually warmer I still haven’t been brave enough for the lido, so the only other option has been to get out on my bike.

Though I mentioned previously that I cycle most days, in reality this doesn’t amount to much distance. I’m fortunate to live quite centrally in London, so I rarely need to travel far. In fact I probably burn more calories carrying my bike up and down the stairs to my third floor flat than I do actually cycling.

So I resolved to start doing some ‘proper’ rides. But, although I get pleasure out of riding my bike, I generally find that I need a destination to head towards if I’m going to cycle any distance. Unless I’m in the countryside, I find the notion of cycling in a loop for the sake of it hard to understand. So when my brother invited me over for a Saturday night curry, I saw my opportunity.

My brother and his family live in Kent, around 13 miles from my flat in north London, so when the sun came out on Saturday morning it seemed like a good time to saddle up. It had everything I was looking for from a bike ride: sunny weather, a specific destination and, most importantly, a tasty reward at the end.

I chose a slightly more circuitous route to bump the miles up to 16, and set off. The ride through central London was, as always, hairy. But once I got south of the river and out towards the ‘burbs it got a lot more pleasant (despite the cycle lanes that frequently disappear without warning or reason. Thanks Boris).

I cursed the hills, which became more frequent (and steeper) as I got closer to my brother’s house. But then I remembered that the Vachery organisers have promised a ‘testing climb’ on the bike leg, so I resolved to stop grumbling and take advantage of the training.

Eventually I arrived, feeling energised and not too tired, but pleased to have (just about) earned an indulgent meal. I recognise that curry isn’t a classic refuelling option, but frankly… I don’t care. It was delicious.


The next day I cycled the same route back, and again felt good. In fact, I think I could get into this cycling lark. All I need now is to start doing longer rides. Anyone in Surrey got a dinner party coming up…?