A spinoff in proper "Rhoda" style of my patented e-mail blastograms, this blog was created with the intention of keeping friends and family updated on and amused by my life.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


For those of you following me in Twitterland, you'll know that not only am I off to Uganda and Kenya tomorrow, but that I'm also feeling a bit unprepared for the whole thing. This morning I was looking at the health advice for the countries and realised that the entirety of Uganda is a 'high level risk' for malaria. Too bad I didn't have much left of my malarone stash...

So the bike journey today involved a stop off at a clinic to stock up and then a jounrey out west through Hammersmith then down to Kew Gardens and Richmond. Overall, not a bad trip. I was actually aiming for Windsor originally, but just didn't have the time in the end with all the waiting for anti-malarials. Well, maybe upon my return.

Over and out for a couple of weeks I suspect. I guess we'll see how the internet connection is.

Anti-malarial ride, 13 June 2009
Home > Travel clinic > Kew > Home, 24 miles

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sucker for Sun

After a day of diligent WAHing (that's Working at Home for the uninitiated) I found myself looking for some semblance of human interaction. So I phoned a friend and he suggested I come up to his in North London for dinner and a fillum. In fact, I believe the direct quote was 'I dare you to cycle to mine'.

Well, the sun having come out (thank you and welcome back! You can stay now!!! Or actually, you can be rainy for the next two weeks while I'm away in sunny Kenya and Uganda, but you have to come back when I do), and not one to turn down a dare, I thought it sounded like a good deal.

My way there I explored Chelsea and some of the posher bits of London. It was lovely, but because the neighbourhoods are quite as old as they are, the roads were fairly narrow -- which means no bike lanes. Booo. But I'll tell you what, a lovely place to get lost in. And lost I did, but I think that's half of what exploration is all about. And plus, in the end I found myself upon a road I hadn't travelled in at least a year. There's truly nothing better than thinking you are completely lost and then making a few turns and recognising exactly where you are!

I also stumbled across this rather nifty building, the Pall Mall Deposit.

The way home I took a more direct route through central London (which I had avoided at rush hour on the second day of a two-day tube strike for obvious reasons). I managed to fairly shoot down Kilburn High Road, whizz past Edgware Road (had I gone any slower, the smell of grilling meet from the kebab places might of tempted me), and zip around Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner. It was a perhaps a bit too much adrenaline though, as I managed to make a completely wrong turn at Victoria, which I didn't realise until the London Eye was looming directly in front of me. Nevertheless, a good bike home. I don't think I'd want to try that one while either impaired or during heavier traffic periods though!

Today's Ride - 10 June 2009
Home > Dollis Hill > Home, 21 miles

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hampton Court

Having previously been south (on several occasions) and east (to the Dartford Crossing) on my bike, I thought I should try a different cardinal direction today. And so, today I went WEST, with weird visions of 'Firefly the Musical' dancing in my head set to a soundtrack of Lily Allen's The Fear and the Village People's Go West.

Setting insanity aside, I was discussing with a friend the other day the subject of Hampton Court Palace. I hadn't been since the my very first full day in London EVER. That would have been while I was on a summer trip in junior high, for the record, or roughly 15 years ago.

One of my favourite things about first moving to London (now nearly three years ago, if we can believe it) was the sense of stumbling across something I had seen or someplace I had been during my past journeys. Familiar street corners that I now knew the location of. A building here. A monument there.

And so I thought getting out to Hampton Court would be a great way to tap into a sense of nostalgia I hadn't had in a while in London.

My favourite part was actually riding through Wimbeldon Common, though. They have some excellent gravel paths tucked away in the woods that I was able to try my hybrid bike out on for the first time. It was really good fun, and I can see how people good get addicted to off-road cycling. It's really a much different feel and technique to road biking.

I also, after having difficulty finding the entrance to the palace itself, managed to stumble upon the 'London Riviera', which looked absolutely spectacular as the sun was setting. I'm sure it's not quite the Mediterranean, but it's worth a look and maybe a picnic if you happen to be wandering by!

(to prove I made it in the end)

(You can see more on my flickr photostream.)

Hampton Court Ride, 1 June 2009, about 30 miles
Work > Kingston > Hampton Court > London Riviera > Super Market > Home

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Bank Holiday Weekend Well Spent

(c) Flickr/Dee Railer

Thank goodness for a three-day weekend. And even more thank goodness for a sunny London. I've maintained for ages that there's no city better in the world than London on a sunny day -- luckily that's roughly three out of 365 days per year or we'd be even more inundated with tourists than we already are!

So, with the sun at my back, I set off on a bike to the Eastern limits of London: to the Dartford Crossing on Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (pictured above). You can't actually bike across it, but they provide a free shuttle service for those cyclist adventerous enough to make it out that far. (I asked, and apparently they average about 20 cyclists per day).

All in all, a beautiful ride. I was able to catch some friends in East Dulwich for dinner and a pint in a biergarten, and I even managed to get my first (mild) sunburn that I remember getting in London, if you can believe it. A Bank Holiday weekend well spent, indeed!

My FunFact for the weekend (how long has it been since I've had one of those?) is that the M25 - the motorway circling London on the periphery - is not actually continuous. The Dartford Crossing is technically designated as an A-road and not a motorway so that vehicles that might otherwise be banned from crossing the bridge (southbound)/tunnel (northbound) can actually do so. See, you learn something new every day!

2nd May Bank Holiday Route, 24 May 2009
Chocolate Work > Purfleet > Across the QEII Bridge > Dartford > East Dulwich for a pint > Home = 40+ miles

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Yesterday's route

Made it about 30 miles yesterday. My legs are still burning a bit!

Yesterday's Bike Ride - 21 May 2009
Work > West Norwood > Coulsdon > Mitcham > Super market > Home