Today’s ride was hot and hilly. Getting on the saddle this morning was the most painful, even with padded shorts and specially shaped bike seats, our bottoms were sore!
After easing into the saddle, we ascended on the first hill climb of the day. It was long, hot, steep and full of cars, but it was good practice for the hills to come.
As this is primarily a blog about food, I thought I should tell you about what we eat to keep our energy levels up! Gel bars. Can I get an “mmmmm.”
No. Because they’re pretty gross. You wouldn’t want to eat them for pleasure, unless you like tubes of sweet flavoured goo. Orange is my least favourite as it tastes a little like curry flavoured goo. On the other hand they are perfect for cycling!
On the flip side, our amazing support, 1 man team, Gill, has also made some amazing Gill bars, an upgrade from Gel. They are oaty, seedy, buttery and fruity. Probably the best flapjack I have ever eaten, especially after 30 miles hard cycling. Gill has been our absolute saviour on this trip! She has made us lunch, met us with water, medicine, rescued us when our legs were too tired to peddle any more, the list goes on! The team wouldn’t be able to ride with life her, so a big thanks!
We have just got back from a rather late but huge country pub lunch, not a chip was left lonely! Next stop, bed.
Tried to post pics but I don’t have enough Internet!
So tomorrow we cycle to cornwall EEK. After weeks of waiting, hard work (for some…) and excitement the time has finally come! Chelmsford to Cornwall in 5 days. Some call us crazy, others say we have been brain washed by cycling aliens, I agree with them all. But we are certainly ready for an adventure!
So prepare for a week of lycra filled pictures, dodgy bikers tans and possibly a few grazes. Prepare for stories of singing cyclists, crying cyclists, lost cyclists and sleepy cyclists. Prepare like I have prepared for this ride… (I have not.) But I did prepare in the food department! Yes fatty over here may not care about the size of her muscles, but she does care about the happiness of her tummy; behold bike bars.
They are dead easy to make, lowfat, high energy, and perfect to enjoy after walking the dog in the park, or with a cup of tea when the weather gets more British. I hope I have room for a few in my rucksack.
You will need:
397g tin of condensed milk
2 tbsp golden syrup
300g of your favourite muesli- if you are on a budget Lidl’s own is great
50g mixed seeds
150g mixed dried fruit
. Set the oven to 150C and line a tin with baking parchment, the smaller it is the thicker the bars
. Heat the condensed milk and golden syrup in a heavy based saucepan for around 7 minutes. Then add the muesli, seeds, and dried fruit
. Stir the mix together so it forms a thick paste and the condensed milk has coated all the ingredients
. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and place on the middle shelf of your oven for around 30 mins until slightly chewey but golden on top. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they become.
Wish us luck and check back here tomorrow to see how our first day went!
If you had met me just 2 years ago, you would have known that I was pretty sure I was adopted. Kinda.
My whole family were heavily into cycling, we would go on holidays with the intention of spending our days on a bike in the forest, and my dad spends more time and money on his bikes than he does on the car, which barely gets a hoover or a hose down once a year. He has done a 4 day cycle from John O Groats to Lands End, and he, my mum and my brother have cycled from London to Paris.
If you had met me 2 years a go, the chances of me accompanying them on these ventures was nil. “I’ll sit in the van with snacks and water for you” I would say. “Cycling is not my thing, why would you cycle with no purpose, but to just… cycle?”
At least that is what I thought. Until I, the self confessed King Stinge, decided paying for the bus to uni was not on, and got on a bike. Little did I know I had just opened a whole new can of worms.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I hated cycling. One time we went mountain biking at Thetford Forest and I cried tears of misery and pain around the whole of the Blue run. I barely even cheered up when I ate lunch in the cafe, which if I am honest was the only reason I agreed to cycle with them in the first place. I would moan of having a bottom so bruised it had turned black, and complain that if I kept cycling I would end up with legs like Chris Hoy, never find a husband because of them, and die alone in my old house while my 10 cats nibbled at my huge muscly legs.
This year however, I have agreed to not just cycle on holiday, but cycle to our holiday. We are cycling to Lands End in Cornwall. For fun. Then we will travel to Polzeath (where I used to spend all my summers and love way too much) and stay there for a week. U turn is not even the phrase! My endless rants about cycling for no reason and refusing to get on a saddle have been completely undermined and I am a hypocrite. Meanwhile Papa Smole can sit there smugly as I confess I have been Smolenized and now enjoy cycling. Gah.
So why the sudden change of heart? Not sure. I guess in the last 2 years being at University has opened my mind to new things, made me meet new people and made me grow up a bit. Cycling has even become a way of getting out the house for some fresh air, not just a mode of transport for University.
Last year my bike, which was too expensive, got stolen from University despite it being tied up. I don’t think I’ve been that angry before, and I even refused to go into uni for a few days because I could not do so on my beloved bike! I really was gutted. The sun shone the next day, but I couldn’t go out on a little bike ride to enjoy it! So I bought a £30 second hand, battered bike off the back of the van. I called it the Fire Bolt. (Yes that is a Harry Potter reference)
The brakes didn’t work, and every time I changed gear my chain fell off. What is worse is it tended to fall off in the most dangerous places. Once in the middle of a busy roundabout and once in the middle of a very busy light controlled T junction. Each time I was left spinning my legs round extremely fast like an idiot, but going absolutely nowhere. Meanwhile cars would zoom past me, beep at me and generally make me feel like I was about to die. Several times I went flying through red lights (I don’t recommend it) because my breaks didn’t work.
Despite this, I still loved cycling. And the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it.
Over summer I started doing exactly what I hated before, going on long bike rides, in a loop from A to A, just for fun. Me and my mum would cycle about 20 miles, just because. I even went and watched the mountain biking at the Olympics, and loved it. What happend to me!?
Now, in one last final blow to any integrity I may still have regarding sticking to my beliefs about cycling, I am going to tell you to get on a bike to. Because it’s fun. And because it’s cheaper than getting a bus, and greener, and because you might discover you really enjoy it!