The Land Rover Owners Ex Wife

……becoming me again


Down hill, up hill and the wind tunnel effect!

Lincolnshire is NOT flat …. trust me, I know!

On a nice day (or rather the night before a nice day has been forecast), I will sometimes decide to cycle to work rather than use the car or take the bus. It’s only 8 miles or so. The route I take is slightly longer than any of the alternatives but it is the safest, as it by-passes all of the major roads. I did travel one of the other routes a couple of times but pretty soon realised that even wearing my fluorescent yellow cycle jacket and with my bike lights on, I miraculously metamorphose into the invisible woman, as soon as my foot touches the pedal and I start to move.

That said, the first obstacle I have to overcome on my cycling commute is the hill out of the village! It is very steep (approximately 1:14) and almost a mile long. I usually get about one third of the way up (the steepest bit) when the ‘Ohhhh my goodness!!! What am I doing?” thought (or something very similar but not quite so publishable) crosses my mind. There have been times ……. okay if I’m being truthful, every single time ….. when I reach this point and seriously consider turning around and heading back home for the car or bus. I never have though, pushing on through the pain of breathlessness, the gasping, the jelly legs – I obviously walk not ride up the hill – until I reach the final corner which is the start of a much kinder incline.

We live in a beautiful corner of England.

Once I’ve reached the top of the hill, the rest of the journey is much gentler, being mainly downhill with only the occasional gentle incline and I get my second wind pretty quickly. I can usually get to work in just under 50 minutes.

But of course the flip side is that each long, gentle slope that I cycle down in a morning becomes a thigh burning, breathlessness creating incline for the trip back. To be fair, some of them are barely there and I don’t have too much of an issue heading back on those but there are some humdingers, not so much for the steepness of them but the fact that they go on for a mile or more, some bits more inclined than others and it becomes a veritable battle of wills to keep on cycling on the best of days ….. but throw in a strong wind and boy, that’s a whole different ball game.

It’s much MUCH easier going down hill!

I cycled to work one day last week, in lovely sunny weather with just a hint of a chill in the air and it took around 48 minutes. But when I left work to come home that was a completely different story. From the first pedal stroke, I was battling the wind. The whole journey home felt a lot like I was trying to cycle in treacle and there were occasions when I was almost literally cycling on the spot, making next to no progress at all. My legs had gone way beyond jelly and fire and it took some serious will power not to give up – although, how I thought I was getting home if I wasn’t prepared to cycle, helped me stay focussed on the journey in hand.

Thanks to the undulating wind tunnels lanes of Lincolnshire, what would normally take me about 50 minutes took approximately 80 minutes, not that the residents of Mudville seemed to notice my non/late appearance. Trying to dismount outside the house was an event in itself, as my legs suddenly seemed to be devoid of bone and my poor muscles were in no fit state to support a feather, never mind the weight of an adult woman. I allowed myself a couple of minutes composure time before attempting to swing my leg up and over, to let the pins and needles in my hand fade away, to regain my breath. Getting my bike up the 9 inch deep front door step and through the ‘built in the days when people were hobbit sized’ internal doorways, was a work out in its’ own right and by the time I’d parked my bike in its’ usual spot, I was about ready to collapse and was uttering phrases along the lines of ‘Never again!!!’

I certainly slept well that night and was pleasantly surprised by just how little I was aching the following morning. Whenever possible and weather permitting, I intend to try and cycle a couple of times each week during the spring and summer months, maybe even as much as three times per week.

I did stop and take some pictures during that nightmare journey because wind and inclines aside, I do live in a particularly beautiful part of England.



A Hill to climb

The view back over the Humber

The view back over the Humber

Not too far from our village, is a hill which has become synonymous in my mind, with my year so far, specifically in relation to my health. It’s quite a steep hill which takes you up to the lane which runs along the top of the valley, giving spectacular views over the Humber and surrounding fields. It’s a hill that I really want to be able to climb but not on foot …… no, this hill is one that I want to be able to cycle up! Continue reading

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On the road again

Views like this can't help but inpsire

Views like this can’t help but inspire

Back in 2014, when Mud first suggest that we all get bikes and start going out on them as a family to try to get fit, I thought he was mad. I hadn’t been on a bike for over thirty years and the last time I had ridden one, I had come off, in spectacular style, by performing a flying dismount over the handlebars! Brushing aside my concerns, Mud ploughed on and I soon found myself the dubious owner of a rather lovely Pendleton Brooke Hybrid bike, complete with wicker basket and snazzy mud guards. Continue reading


Back on my bike

Perfect weather for bikes

Perfect weather for bikes

Back in April/May last year, when Mud first suggested that he and I also got a new bike each, so that we could go out for family bike rides, I reluctantly agreed. Very reluctantly to be honest, as I hadn’t been on a bike for over 30 years and my last memory of this childhood past time involved sailing over the handlebars, at great speed and landing in an undignified heap, at the feet of a boy I had the biggest crush on. Embarrassment outweighed physical pain at that point but didn’t last long, with the agonizing sensation of knees and elbows scraped almost to the bone by the rough tarmac, soon taking charge and surpassing the mortification factor by a country mile. As far as I can remember, that was the last time I ever rode a push bike, not the fondest memory, I’m sure you will agree. Continue reading


A not so relaxing walk

The long and icy path

The long and icy path

I posted last week about how, over the last three weeks or so, I have been walking my way back to a level of fitness in readiness for getting back on my bike. On the whole these walks have been invigorating and I can already feel and see the difference they are making. Continue reading

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Walking back to cycling

My trusty steed.

My trusty steed.

You may remember back in May last year Mud bought me a bicycle. In fact during April/May he bought bicycles for Middle Mudlet and Little Mudlet, for their birthdays (Little Mudlets’ was a very, very early birthday present but it meant she could use it during the Summer) and for himself. The idea was that we would be able to go for bike rides as a family and that Mud and I could go on additional rides to get fit. By the start of the summer holidays I was in the habit of taking myself off on a bike ride three mornings a week, after dropping the girls at school. Continue reading

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Spoiling the view

A stop for a drink and to catch our breath.

A stop for a drink and to catch our breath.

It’s been quite a while since we have been on a family bike ride due in equal measures to work commitments, the weather and ill health but last Sunday (28th), with the sun shining and everyone in Mudville back to full health (if still tired), Mud and I decided to take the girls on a bike ride. Concerned that due to his lack of cycling in the last four months, his fitness levels would have plummeted, Mud opted for the short run up to a local railway crossing and so we filled the drinks bottles, donned our helmets and set off.

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Beyond the Level Crossing: a Little Mudlet Adventure

I made it!

Little Mudlets great adventure!

For several weeks up to the start of the summer break, I had been going for 2 to 3 bike rides, pedalling a total of 15 to 20 miles each week. I have tried to maintain at least part of this regime over the holidays and have managed around 2 rides a week, although one of these has occasionally been a much shorter excursion, in the company of 1 or both of the Mudlets.

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Mudlets, bikes and trains

My gleaming steed

My gleaming steed

In recent weeks, I have been the only member of the family who has been able to get out on a bike on a regular basis. A huge workload has kept poor Mud tied to his desk late most nights and his well documented ability to attract bad weather on those days he isn’t working, has meant that family bike rides over the weekends have become a dim and distant memory, as what seems to be an entire weeks worth of rain is deposited in and around our village over Saturday and Sunday, making the thought of a bike ride, far from a pleasant prospect.

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Basic Cycling Proficiency: class of 2014

Middle Mudlets' badge of honour

Middle Mudlets’ badge of honour

Every year, the year 5 children in North Lincolnshire schools are offered the opportunity to undertake a basic road safety cycling course, otherwise known as Cycling Proficiency and, with Middle Mudlets safety paramount in our minds, Mud and I readily signed her up for this years course. Sessions of 1.5 hrs (with a 10 minute break half way) were held, over 4 consecutive Wednesdays and during these, the eight year 5 pupils from our school who had signed up for the course, were taught:

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