The house is strangely quiet, the skies are leaden; perfect conditions for a quick blog post (it’s that or clean my chain!). I’ve just said good-bye to my brother Stephen, and Sister-in-law Kate, after a weekend visit with their 30 year old tandem called Lucy (neither of them have the faintest memory of why that name was chosen!). They voluntarily requested to try a couple of ‘less ordinary’ rides and I was more than happy to oblige.
The first ride was a city ride, which is described in a previous blog, and requires urban riding skills, like negotiating kissing gates, ramps, cobbles, tight corners and on occasion, the art of going slow on busy paths shared with pedestrians. When we set out I was a bit concerned that it would be a lot of stop, start and dismounting for the Tandem, but Stephen relished the challenge. In fact, I swear the more I warned him of up and coming challenges, the more determined he was to not to have to put his foot down.
The were, however, a couple of unavoidable dismounts, one being the pedestrian flyover at Bow Lock, which is designed for horses and before the age of gentle inclines. Half way up the incline, with closed spaced cobble ridges for the horses hoofs (and with Kate on the back making her displeasure known), he realised he wasn’t going to make it to the top. There was much hurried un-cleating……… and laughter from the two guys riding behind me!
Culinary memories include the ever reliable and ultimate scotch-egg experience at the Cutty Sark pub in Greenwich, devouring home-made ham and tomato sandwiches in the rain, under a tree somewhere north of the Victoria and Albert dock, and a very refined cup of tea at St Katherines Dock……in the sun.
On Sunday we decided to go to Whitstable; a trip down memory lane for Kate as she grew up in Chatham. Lucy the Tandem started to show her age and there were a few moments at the start, when I doubted we would actually leave Whitstable. Her buckled back wheel resulted in many brake and mudguard adjustments! We eventually made head-way east along the coastal path through Herne Bay, past Kate’s grandparents off-license (now an angling association) to Reculver for a cuppa and a muffin. The route turned landwards across Wade Marsh and we continued through the villages of Plucks Gutter and Stodmarsh, for a quick spot of very late lunch at Canterbury before returning to Whitstable on the Crab and Winkle Way. This is a traffic free cycle route that uses part of a disused railway line that had the honour of being the first regular steam passenger railway in the world, and a lot of it is downhill, which is always welcome after lunch.
We got back to the car at 5 o’clock and took 3 hours to get home, through gnarly traffic and what the BBC Weatherman described as Gert’s moist remnants …..not something to be recommended! (Gert was the name of a North Atlantic hurricane, for those that don’t study the weather).
It was all a tad on the bonkers side, and reminded me of all the good things associated with belonging to a slightly eccentric family!
(top featured photo: Trying to beat Gert’s moist remnants at a service station on the Medway!)