Mid-Autumn Night Ride around Bracknell

I missed spinning class today again. It’s becoming a bad habit and bad habits need to be broken, so I decided I am going to try harder to cycle at least 2x (perhaps 3x) a week, no matter the weather.

Well, let’s make an exception for when is raining shall we?

So, it was about 6pm here and the sun had long gone. It was a really dark night today. Should I, perhaps, have chosen a more moon lit night to record the ride? I can always record it again.

Before you start watching the video, I have a few confessions to make:

  1. I lied! I am a member of a secret Ninja society (in my dreams at least).
  2. I am not, however, and never have been a thief, unless stealling female hearts count (in my dreams at least).
  3. I was a bit overdressed and when I got back home was dripping sweat. The weather has been very mild this week, but I prefer sweating a little than to feel cold… and once you’re out, you never really know what you´re going to get in this country.
  4. The sound quality of my speech at the start of the video was pretty bad, so I voiced over it in editing.
  5. This was essentially the same 21 Km route (with a few minor changes), I did with my children last weekend.

With that said, let´s go ride!

If you like the post or the video, feel free to, errr… “Like” and Share it on social media or click on the stars below to let me know how I am doing.

Thank you!

EyeCycled around Bracknell with my kids

How many of you, reading this post, have kids? If you do, perhaps this post will resonate with you.

One of the most difficult things for me, when my kids are staying with me, is to get them outdoors. By that I mean, to get them to do an outdoor activity like going out for a bike ride. If it is not going out for shopping or for a nice meal, all they want to do is to stay home and interact with their “screens” (Tables, Smartphones, PlayStation, TV, etc.).

It had been a while since I had a bike ride with them and today was such a nice day that I had to “put the foot down” (whoever watched “Inside out” with their kids will remember this). Well, in my case, “put my foot down” was followed by a bribe… the promise of a nice meal in one of our local pubs, the Peacock Farm, which they love (food is really great).

I guess cyclist parents want their kids to like their sport of choice, as much as football or rugby parents want their kids to like theirs. The competition with the screen is tough though, but there is nothing that a bribe won‘t get you these days with them. We thought them, perhaps, too well to negotiate in their favour.

Nevertheless it was a great day out… sunny and colourful. Hope you enjoy the video.

If you like this post, please share, like, Tweet or at least let me know how I am doing by clicking on the stars below.

Thanks for watching!

Mid-Autumn Ride to Windsor

The wonderful British Autumn season… Leaves are turning yellow, red and falling.

Last time I recorded a ride to Windsor was in the beginning of Autumn and the recording was over 1h long and probably no one watched it until the end, so I thought it was about time to record it again, but this time on a time-lapse photography fashion which compresses the entire ride in just a few minutes.

I have also separated the rides to Windsor and from Windsor in two different videos.

From Bracknell to Windsor.

From Windsor to Bracknell

Took a slightly different route on my return, a bit faster and more urban (more roads).

Hope you enjoy it and if you do, please like and share or at least click on the stars below to let me know how I am doing.

Thanks for watching!

Camino de Santiago, Day 7: Calzadilla de la Cueza to León

Municipal Hostel in Calzadilla de la Cueza
Municipal Hostel in Calzadilla de la Cueza

Welcome to the DAY 7 post of my Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by bike which happened on the 31st of May 2015. I did his stage of 81 Km or 50.33 miles from the tiny village of Calzadilla de la Cueza to León in 6h and 24m, of which 5h 16m were of moving time.

I left the hostel that morning just after 8:00am as usual. The first 18 Km on the familiar N-120 were reasonably uneventful. Passed by small villages and towns such as Ledigos, Terradillos de los Templarios, San Nicolas del Real Camino at a reasonably good pace. Just before Sahagún, however, I’ve made a mistake which I am still puzzled how I could have made.

About 2 Km from Sahagún. Immediately after crossing the river Valderaduey.
On the N-120, about 2 Km from Sahagún. Immediately after crossing the river Valderaduey.

As I was approaching Sahagún on the N-120, just after crossing the river Valderaduey, I saw one of the typical yellow arrows that guide the walking pilgrims and decided to leave the road and take the pilgrim’s route.

Stone bridge leading to the Ermita de la Virgen del Puente. Can you see the clear yellow signs?
Stone bridge leading to the Ermita de la Virgen del Puente. Can you see the clear yellow signs pointing to the chapel?

Few meters later I came to a small bridge over a creek and there was again a clear yellow sign pointing towards a small chapel passed the bridge, the “Ermita de la Virgen del Puente“. I don’t really understand what led me to ignore the sign and just continue straight ahead. That mistake cost me 35 min and an additional 7.28 Km to what could have been about 2 Km had I continued on the N-120.

A mistake with a nice view.
A mistake with a nice view. Beautiful poppie fields along the way.

Proves that if you just let your thoughts wander too much while on a pilgrimage and don’t pay attention where you are going you will pay for it physically later. There is no mistake, however, that cannot be corrected, so once I realized I was heading the wrong way I took the LE-6707 and rode back to Sahagún. As I crossed under the N-120, there was no point of entry back onto the main road, so I had to ride into the outskirts of Sahagún to get back to the N-120. This was by far not the biggest mistake I´ve made (more on that in later posts), but it got me very pissed anyway. So, if you download the GPX file with the intention of using it to guide you in your pilgrimage, please make a mental note that as you reach the river Valderaduey you should just continue on the N-120 and you will be fine. If you are walking I recommend you follow the yellow signs to avoid the roads.

Via Trajana. Pilgrim's resting place amongst the trees to the right.
Via Trajana. Pilgrim’s resting place amongst the trees to the right.

About 5 Km after I re-joined the N-120, I left it towards Calzada del Coto, crossing through this little village to take a dirt road identified in Google Maps as Via Trajana. There are no ideal road alternatives from that point onwards as the N-120 takes a turn south (and Leon is north) and it is forbidden to cycle or walk in motorways (the A-231 motorway runs parallel to the via Trajana a few Kilometres south). About 9 Km later at around 11am I reached the village of Calzadilla de los Hermanillos and stopped for late breakfast or early lunch, whatever you prefer to call it.

After Calzadilla de los Hermanillos in the direction to Reliegos.
After Calzadilla de los Hermanillos in the direction to Reliegos.

After Calzadilla de los Hermanillos I rode for another 4 Km on tarmac (not very good though) to the point where the road crosses the LE-6620 and then 14 Km on a dirt road all the way to a village called Reliegos.

Dirt road littered with stones.
Dirt road littered with stones.

Those 14 Km were somewhat challenging for me because the sun was hitting me hard and the stones on the path were shaking the bike all the time and making me change tracks from right to left and vice-versa very often. It was in one of these moments that I stopped for a few seconds thinking how much that situation reflected my life (our lives?). We are always looking for the easy way, a way with less stones. I decided then to capture these thoughts in a voice recording, originally with the intention to write about them, but I´ve taken the decision to expose myself a little and share the recording with you. Hope you won´t consider me a fool for doing so. There were several moments in this pilgrimage I felt emotional and this was just one of them.

Wild Poppies on the streets of Reliegos.
Wild Poppies on the streets of Reliegos.

After Reliegos, the remaining 24 Km to León were all on good tarmac on the LE-6615 and all pretty flat, but I was feeling tired from all the shaking of the previous 14 Km. It took me just over 2 h to reach León. In León I stayed at the Albergue del Monasterio de las Benedictinas (Carbajalas) which was 5€ a night and was very basic. The hostel is maintained by volunteers and you need the pilgrim credentials to stay. It´s essential one large room with slots of 6 bunk beds on the left separated by thin plastic walls.

Pilgrims's resting place near Mansilla de las Mulas
Pilgrims’s resting place near Mansilla de las Mulas

The hostel is relatively large with 132 beds (66 bunk beds) and the number of bathrooms didn’t seem to be enough. In terms of hygiene it was also not the best in my opinion, but it was OK. If you expect to find a power outlet to charge your electronic devices (phone, etc) good luck. I didn´t find any near to my bed and the place somehow did not inspire in me the confidence to simply leave my gadgets unattended. There is Wi-Fi outside by the reception area, but no Wi-Fi in the room. There is also no lockers or safe places to leave your stuff, but I didn’t have any problems (nothing was missing).

Arrival in León
Arrival in León

I had dinner in the restaurant in the “hospedaria” which opens at 7pm. The pilgrim’s menu was 9€ and the food was OK (not exceptional though).

Pilgrims' Menu
Pilgrims’ Menu

Before dinner I walked around the city centre for about 2h. León is a great place. I felt well there. Very interesting gothic architecture and lots of flowers. I walked around the cathedral, but I did not enter it, as I thought I was not dressed in a respectful manner for that type of venue given the mass was just about to start, but from the outside it looks very impressive in all aspects. I’ll add some pictures of my short walk around town on the bottom of the post. The next video is of the cathedral bells calling the faithful for the mass.

Well, that´s it for day 7. Please feel free to leave comments, questions or at least indicate if you like it or not by clicking on the stars on the bottom of the post. Sometimes I have the feeling I am wasting my time here, but I do enjoy the opportunity to travel back in time, in my mind, and relive all those wonderful moments in the Camino.

Photos of León

Old city wallsOld city walls

Plaza Sta Maria del Camino.Plaza Sta Maria del Camino.

Where to?Where to?

Plaza San MarceloPlaza San Marcelo.

Plaza San Marcelo Plaza San Marcelo.

3D map of León3D map of León.

The Botines Building. Designed by Gaudi.The Botines Building. Designed by Gaudi.

Before e-Bikes there were petrol head bikes.Before e-Bikes there were petrol head bikes.
León's impressive CathedralLeón’s impressive Cathedral.
10 to 610 to 6.
Right side of the CathedralRight side of the Cathedral.
Water Fountain at the Plaza de Santo DomingoWater Fountain at the Plaza de Santo Domingo.
Wonder how they taste Wonder how they taste
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