February 2016 Update

Garry McGivern February 2016 update. Most of the month has been spent working, well, midweek anyway. A bit like most people do, I guess! It just still seems a bit strange to me. Because of the work thing I’ve been trying to go out on my bike as much as possible at the weekend, for a couple of reasons. One, that it still relieves my back, and two, I enjoy it! Although the weather is still not that brilliant, we still keep getting strong winds and rain. But I’ve still managed to get away a few times this month, admittedly only day rides, but that’s better than nothing.

The first weekend of the month was just too wet and windy. So I never bothered going anywhere and spent most of it in the pub!

The second weekend of the month, I cycled to Brighton and back. It made a nice change heading East for once. I usually head West as it’s against the prevailing wind. That way, I’ve always got the wind behind me on the way home. But this weekend, it was coming from the East. Once I’d got to Brighton I just took a few photos and then came home!

On the second weekend of the month, I wasn’t working on Friday. So, for a change, I decided to go out for a ride!! And ended up in Portsmouth (obviously a westerly wind blowing), and by the time I’d got home, I’d cycled 50 miles.

Keep Going

Bullied on by my ride to Portsmouth, I decided that I wanted to go camping. The only problem was that there aren’t a lot of campsites open at this time of year, if any at all. But there was one that I knew was open on the Isle of Wight.

Touring bike all loaded
Passepartout all loaded and ready to go on the first camping trip of the year

So, to make a ride of it, I thought I’d cycle down to the New Forest. Catch the ferry from Lymington to the Isle of Wight. Then, cycle across the island to Wotton Bridge, where the campsite was located, which was a nice ride of about 80 miles. But that never went according to plan! The wind got up and was gusting directly at me. So by the time I’d reached Southampton, I’d had enough as it had now started to rain as well!

That Was Different

Still wanting to go to the Isle of Wight (because I’d got it into my head that I was going there), I jumped on the ferry that left Southampton instead. It wouldn’t get me to the same place on the island as I’d originally planned. But it would get me a bit nearer to the campsite, which I thought would be fine. Also, once on the island, I knew that the wind would be behind me.

It was a really good crossing, one which I’ve never done before despite all the times I’ve been across to the island. And I even found somebody to sit with and bore for the hour that it took to cross! I was sitting talking to a man from Southampton who was on his way to his holiday home in Sandown to do a spot of DIY on it. After hearing that I was going camping, he invited me to stay at his place, which was really kind of him, but I’d already decided that I was camping, so I declined his very kind offer and said goodbye to him once the ferry had docked in East Cowes.

It was a short ride from the ferry to the campsite. In fact, a lot shorter than I thought; I’d only done 45 miles by the time I arrived! Thinking that 45 miles was such a miserable effort on my part and it was still relatively early. I decided to continue on. But with no other campsites open, I decided to head home. After all, the wind would be behind me all the way. Also, I knew that if I would have stopped too early, I would have got bored sitting in my tent. Particularly as it gets dark so early (There’s nothing on the campsite and the nearest pub is down a hill).

That’s one of the downfalls of camping at this time of year: getting dark so early! It’s fine stopping early when it’s light as you can sit watching others trying to put their tents up. Not succeeding, and the whole thing ended in an argument. Or the grey-haired nomads in their camper vans and caravans putting up their awnings and then setting everything out in it all, bar the kitchen sink! But when it’s dark, they’ve already arrived and closed up for the night! It was about 9.30 pm when I eventually walked through my door. But at least I’d got some half-decent miles under my belt, finishing on 74.

Looks like the doctor has landed in West Sussex, spotted this at Coldwaltham whilst on my way to London
Let’s Go Somewhere Else

Thinking that this was going to be a weekend of cycling. I decided to go out somewhere on Sunday. But the wind was still rather strong and blowing from the southwest. So rather than try and cycle against it again as I’d done yesterday, I took advantage of it and cycled to London!

Fortnum and Mason clock
The ornate clock outside Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly London

It was a good ride up, and I didn’t get lost this time. As I did when I cycled up last November. I followed the cycle super highway once I was in London,

Once in London, the only thing I did was to go to Chinatown to see it all decorated for the Chinese New Year. Then, once I’d done that, I jumped on a train to go home.

Chinese New Year decorations
Chinatown in London’s Soho all decorated out for the Chinese New Year
Chinese Dragon
Chinese Dragon in Chinatown London

The train was really crowded with standing room only. Luckily, I was on the train as soon as it arrived at the station and managed to get the bike on and also get a seat for myself.

The final weekend of the month, I was all set to go to London once again. Only this time, I was going to use the return train ticket that I’d brought the previous week and then cycle back from London this time. But I had to do boring household chores on Saturday, so couldn’t go away. So I got my bike ready and decided to get the earliest train possible on Sunday Morning.

Oh No

On Saturday night, whilst I was eating my curry, a must on a Saturday night! My elbow started to swell up and became really painful! Thinking that it would be better by the morning, I didn’t worry too much and went to bed. However, in the night it became even more painful and swollen and kept me awake for most of it! The following morning, I decided to go to the local hospital to get checked out.

After waiting for an hour or so, I saw the doctor, who thought that it was a severe joint infection and gave me some antibiotics. And said that if it gets any worse, I’m to either go back there or see my doctor. Well, unfortunately, it has got worse, and the swelling has now spread all the way down my arm! My doctor now thinks it might be cellulitis and has sent me for blood tests! Just as I was getting into this work thing as well! I’m now wondering if I’ll ever be fit again. All I seem to do is spend all my time being unwell and at the doctor’s!

One good thing is that it’s now spring, and the days are starting to get longer! #WhereShouldICycleTo

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