Thursday, 22 June 2017

Around Kiel in Germany

Arrived at Kiel in Germany, an important naval and sea port.  Cunard had offered a bike excursion around the town with a local hire company so could not refuse that.  A young student was the guide and we did a tour along the coast, across the Kiel canal and back and through the town back to the ship.  The weather was very kind to us with blue skies and warm sun.

The Beast!

This was my chosen steed.  What a beast of a bike this was.  A back pedalling brake (that took some getting used to) a very heavy bike, not all that comfortable to ride although it did have 8 gears.

Getting ready

All helmeted up (a Cunard requirement, not a legal one) and after a trial ride around the car park, off we went.

The touristy bit

There were frequent stops by the guide, who was very good by the way, to explain local points of interest.

Kiel Canal and Ferry

Completed in 1895, the Kiel Canal connects the Baltic and the North Sea and saves ships hundreds of miles getting around the Danish peninsula.  The locals at the time were upset that Kiel would be cut in two by the canal that the city fathers decreed that a ferry would be provided, with free travel for ever.  That is still the case despite the service costing the local government a fortune to run it.  Half of the ferry is taken up with room for bikes so plenty of room for us to get on.


What a good guide we had.  Stopped at this little cafe/bar for tea and cake.  The local apple strudel actually which was delicious.  Many tall sailing ships moored opposite the cafe.

Kiel Canal

A nice view of the canal and the entrance/exit locks to the sea.  This was taken from a 120' high road bridge which took us back from the north to the south side of the canal.  Sorry about the graffiti whatever it says, never spotted that till just now.

Queen Elizabeth

And back through the old town to where our ship is berthed.  Really enjoyed that ride.  Covered just over 12.3 miles in all.

Monday, 19 June 2017

A Trip around Tallin 6

Difficult to get a bike ride in when you are on a cruise!  First port of call was Hamburg.  Tried to hire a city bike there but failed.  Did some gym work on board ship and finally got out on the roads in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

City Bike

At least I got to sit on one!  Tried about 8 times to log on the computer to register but failed.  Hope the credit card details have failed as well. 

In the Gym

Not my favourite means of cycling but needs must.  A fancy set up this. Cruising through the Baltic Sea and watching and cycling a route through the New Forest.  At least it meant the legs were working a bit.

Queen Elizabeth at Tallin

Booked a cycling tour around Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.  This was done by a local operator and was very good. Saw places the average tourist wouldn't although it was a bit short really, only 6 miles.

And we are off

Nice cycle paths and the roads were very quiet, apparently because it was a Saturday morning.

An early submarine

Seen by the Naval dockyards, this early submarine was a four man job. Two to propel it, one to steer it and the fourth managed the explosives.  Risky business indeed, no wonder this design, wooden by the way which leaked, did not catch on.

Market place

The city centre market place, occupied mainly by tourists.  The locals keep well clear apparently (unless they are selling something).  A good atmosphere though.

Leaving the city

On our way back to the boat now by way of one of the medieval city gates.  A very picturesque city, not too keen on the cobbled roads in the old town though.

After that 6 miles, the next one is in Kiel in a few days time.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Old Gits to Burnham 21

Well, that was a windy old day.  Gusted up to 45 mph according to the forecast and at times it felt like it.  5 Old Gits met on the promenade at Weston and the main topic was whether to go or not.  One of them had been blown from his bike when a gust caught him, (no injuries or damage) and with the wind coming from the west, directly off the sea it was debatable.  With one more OG to meet on the way we set off, apprehensively it has to be said.  After a couple of miles, a couple of them turned back so left the four hardy ones to carry the flag.  Overall it was not too bad.  In the main the wind was from the side and only on a couple of shorter sections did it impact on our progress.  There was one dodgy spot as we turned onto the prom road at Burnham, three of us had to stop and push our machines around the corner.

Westcroft Egg Farm

On the way back, again the wind was mainly from the side and seemed to be a bit stronger.  Of course, we had to have the obligatory stop at the Westcroft Egg Farm and nursery in Red Road at Berrow.

A challenging 21 miles but with the satisfaction at the end of it that we had battled the elements and won!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Circular ride to Clevedon 39

Running an errand to Clevedon today.  It is my future son in law's birthday tomorrow and needed to deliver his birthday card.  This way, it is much cheaper than the 56pence for a second class stamp, and is much more fun despite the rain that kept coming down.  Took a slightly longer route than normal and managed to get some hill training as well.  Must be doing some good, this time last year I would avoid some of these climbs yet manage them today without too much trouble.  Haven't got round to racing up them yet though!

Another Bus Shelter

Climbing up the long incline from Sanford to Churchill, found this bus shelter at the top where the road meets the busy A38.  Quite a stylistic little shelter, nicely kept with inside, a couple of silhouetted figures superimposed upon a colourful simple map of the area.  Took advantage of the stop because it was raining at the time.  After delivering the card, returned to Weston and had to seek shelter in Yatton Railway Station cafe before going on the northern part of the Strawberry Line.  Not doing that again with a mug of tea costing £1.80.  Why can a lot of other places do exactly the same for a £1?

Made it home surprisingly dry as the sun had come out for the last 5 miles.  Clocked up 39 miles today making the weekly total of 171 miles a personal best.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Two Old Git's on the Levels 43

Debating first thing this morning wether to go out or not when a text message dropped in my lap.  'Fancy a ride' said one of the Old Gits and after a 1.3 second hesitation I replied 'Yes please".  So off we went towards the Somerset Levels with no real plan in mind.  The weather was dull but warm, no wind to speak of and not a bad day at all.  Going through Mark,  a plan formed.  As we are both doing a big ride in July, the Great Weston Ride from Bristol to Weston, it would be a good idea to get some miles in and do some hills whilst we are at it.

Kindling anyone?

The initial intention was to go to Wedmore, south of Cheddar, using the minor side roads.  A slight map reading error by yours truly meant we had to skip Wedmore and take a long climb to Mudgely Hill where we then careered down there at about 35 mph.  After tea at Speeds cafe near Westhay, we turned off to get to Burnham via Burtle.  Just along that road, within a couple of hundred yards of each other, we saw some self service roadside stalls.  The first was selling kindling at £1.50 a bag plus eggs and other sundry items.  This one was quite a colourful, cheerful little stall.

The second was this little display cabinet full of honey and home made jams.  Plants were also on offer.  An excellent way to supplement an income but don't tell the taxman.  At Burnham on Sea, tea and a snack went down well before returning to Weston.

A good ride today, 43 miles for me, Andy had clocked 50 by the time he arrived home.  

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Over the Mendips 32

Another good day out there.  Warm, not too windy, not too sunny.  Decided to get some 'hill training' in as myself and some Old Gits are riding the Great Weston Ride in July which is at least 56 miles, part of which is over the Mendip Hills.  As most to the rides I undertake are on the Somerset Levels (the clue is in the name) it would be prudent to start climbing.

Went out towards Bristol and turned up onto the Mendip Hills at Churchill.  It was quite a climb, about 500 feet over 3 miles, to the top before descending into Cheddar.  Back through Axbridge and East Brent.  Tough going at times but worth the effort.  Covered 32 miles and a total of 1,400 feet climbing.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Burnham on Sea plus a bit 32

Not a bad day out there today.  Pleasantly warm, light wind, slightly overcast.  No need for sun cream today.  Extended the usual run down to Burnham on Sea by heading slightly further south to East Huntspill and across the M5 to the A38 south of Highbridge.  Tea and toast at the Bay View Cafe as usual and back through Uphill Nature Reserve to home.  Stopped at the bird hide on the reserve and watched a cormorant fishing on the lake.  Mrs Cuckoo was quite loud nearby as well but did not get a sighting at all.  Big coincidence on the way back through Uphill Marina, a chap I know well from Redditch was cycling in the opposite direction. Couldn't believe it. Stopped for a chat of course.  Small world is the old cliche.
Clocked 32 miles today without taking any photos.