Michael gracefully cycles up and down the street unclipping and waving his legs in the air from one side to the other demonstrating with ease. We all tut and roll our eyes (hiding the secret envy we all feel).
David kindly put his fiancé forward as the first newbie to test the clip ins. Of course she drew to a halt and in typical text book fail fashion …. slowly keeled over with feet still stuck to the pedals. The smirks of those standing around watching soon disappeared as we all realised the hardest part of learning to use clip ins really is the pavement!
David was the next brave soul to try his new road shoes and pedals. He cycled up the road, performed a hook turn at the top before skidding to halt in front of Tim.
To everyone’s surprise, he unclipped effortlessly and stood, arms crossed and gloating in front of Tim. That is until he slipped on that deceptively flat piece of ground taking out a very unimpressed Tim at the same time. Sadly, I was too slow to capture it on camera but the skid mark is pretty impressive.
Our challenge was to cycle at least 40 miles along a route carefully selected by Vagner to include as many killers hills as possible! He even allowed us to travel at break neck speed down one hill only to cycle back up it. This was apparently Tim’s fault for going so fast that we missed our turn off and obviously nothing to do with the gadget playing up!
Now it was on one of these said killer hills that I almost lost my life. I think it was a combination of fatigue and the contraption fastening my pedals that caused it but as I came to a stop near the top of the hill, I was unable to unclip and spilled onto the busy dual carriage way … into the path of a juggernaught … doing a ton!!!!
The ever sympathetic Vagner gallantly rushed to my aid … gently unclipped my feet and reaching out his strong arms … picked up my bike! He wheeled it to the verge out of harms way whilst lovingly dusting it off and checking for scratches. I was left sprawled in the road! Guess I now know my place!
We carried on through the most amazing countryside. The sun was shining and we were all smiling and happy. A left turn and you guessed it, another killer hill, took us into the village of Malling where Vagner used to live. We waited at the top to the-group. Michael usually brings up the rear in mother hen fashion making sure everyone is safe and sound, but here he was pedalling furiously for a change with a determined, indeed almost anger look in his face. Every now and then he would glance to his left, where a little old granny with her Mary Poppins bike was cycling on the pavement. She had not a care in the world and was totally oblivious to the fact that she was beating Michael hands down on the ascent! We didn’t laugh at all!!!! Bwahahaha!!!! We filled our lungs with the fresh country air and drank in the open countryside. Everything was good ahead of us, but behind us a menacing black cloud was smothering the sky at an alarming rate. Initially, we thought we were going to be caught in a rain storm but within seconds, the light rain turned to hail and pebble dashed our faces.
‘Go ahead’ said Vagner, ‘I’ll make sure the others are OK’ said Vagner but as I battled the painful hail head on, I became aware that Vagner had not gone to check on the others but instead was tucked in closely behind me. The one and only time I have ever managed to get ahead of him and he was using me as a storm shield!
As I felt the hail slowly filling up the gaps in my helmet I spotted a pub. A cute little pub in the middle of nowhere called The North Pole!
The boys had The Big Bear Burger whilst I had homemade chicken pie and mash. I can’t give a better recommendation than the six empty plates afterwards! Service was great and everyone was so friendly! (And as a ps to those with kids – it had a play area outside which would be great in the summer).
Stuffed to the gunwales we rolled out and unanimously agreed to change route and make our way to Maidstone where we could get the train home!
If only it were that easy … Cycling around the countryside with only the teeny weeny garmin – no problem! Getting on the right train home … No chance!
We ended up in Lewisham … And as Tim so eloquently put it … There we were, six fools, trying desperately to get ourselves and bikes into the already sardine crammed carriages during rush hour in London!
We ended up cycling a further 1hr 25 mins back to Vagners.
Oh, and if he ever tells you
a) he knows where he lives and
b) it will only take 20 mins ….
Prepare to be sorely disappointed!
1. If you don’t use them you won’t fall off!
2. Twist your heel on your standing foot only to free it
3. Plan ahead and unclip well before stopping
4. Always unclip and clip at the bottom of the pedal rotation
5. Don’t look at the clips, just put your feet on and push down firmly.
6. You know you’re foot is attached when you hear the click.
So, yet again … Another fab and eventful outing. Thanks team!
A big fat beaming ‘Thank you’!
A big fat beaming thank you to everyone who has donated so far. We are blown away by the extreme kindness, support and generosity!