Cycling and parkrunning
June 25, 2017
It’s been such a hectic long weekend. We’ve been out cycling with my mum, tried some new Muc-Off products, been to Penrose parkrun and generally had a lovely time in Cornwall.
Borrowing a bike
Friday was my mum’s birthday. She’s been working hard at losing weight and getting fitter, so after she’d been to her circuits class we decided to cycle to a nearby farm shop and restaurant. Stuart and I brought our cyclocross bikes and M’s trailer with us, so my mum just had to borrow a bike.
I wish it were easier for people in rural areas to be able to hire a bike. There are lots of bike hire places in cities, and also in popular cycling areas, such as the New Forest and the Camel Trail, but there weren’t many options in my local town. A nearby bike shop hires tandems and fat bikes, but they’re not the most practical options! My mum has been considering buying an e-bike as she lives in a hilly area and thinks that it would be the best way to get her cycling. (Have you tried an e-bike? What did you think of it?)
In the end, one of my mum’s neighbours agreed to lend her a hybrid bike, which was exactly what my mum needed. She hasn’t ridden a bike for about 30 years, so she was a bit nervous about the experience. However, I’d not ridden with M in the trailer before (apart from a brief spin up and down the street that I live on), so I promised that it wouldn’t be a fast ride.
Trying some Muc-Off products
I’ve not been in the saddle much recently and I’ve not had a chance to ride my cyclocross bike since having a bike fit, so I was worried about aches, pains and chafing. Luckily, I had packed my Muc-Off Athlete Performance Luxury Moisturising Chamois Cream. I was sent this product a little while ago by Cycle Republic and I’ve been trying it on my rides, but I’ve not blogged about it until now because I’m really behind with everything.
I’ve not had much luck with chamois cream in the past. I tried a brand that included menthol and found it to be a painful experience! I’ve also been quite lucky as I’ve had a well-fitting saddle and my SOAS shorts are really comfortable. My shorts haven’t changed, but after my other bikes were stolen, I’m still getting used to the saddles on my new bikes.
Review of the Muc-Off chamois cream
The Muc-Off chamois cream is an appealing product to use as it includes Aloe Vera, Shea butter and sunflower oils and is paraben free. It also has antibacterial properties. I’ve been fortunate to only have had a saddle sore once, but it’s not an experience that I’m keen to repeat!
The box appealed to me immediately as it matches my beautiful Canyon bike 😉 It’s a generously sized tub and the cream itself has a light and pleasant fragrance suitable for men or women. The product states that it can be used for other sports where athletes might experience chafing. I’d not considered this before, but think it would be useful for long sweaty runs as the back waistband of my shorts sometimes chafes. I’ll definitely be packing it for Thunder Run as I’m hoping to run 50k. As the cream washes off easily from clothing, I won’t be worried about getting it on my shorts. It will also be good for RideLondon (assuming that I make the start line).
Riding with my mum
My mum set off slightly ahead of Stuart and I as she wanted a head start. The first part of our ride was down an unadopted road, which is gravelly and pot-holed in places, so I went extremely slowly. Fortunately, the trailer doesn’t make too much difference to the steering of my bike, which was a relief.
There was a long downhill, and then a 90-degree turn. I took it fairly wide as I didn’t want the trailer to clip the kerb. I then had my first problem – a driver suddenly decided to pull out from a side road. If he had looked, he would definitely have been able to see me. I had chosen not to wear cleats, so I was able to stop easily. The driver didn’t even acknowledge that I had had to do an emergency stop.
The next part of the ride was on the main road, but it was only a short section before I had to tackle my first climb. I’m glad it wasn’t too long, but I found that I didn’t need to use all of my gears or get out of the saddle.
I made sure that Stuart rode behind me. He was able to keep an eye on baby M, who had a nap during the ride.
Lunch at Trevaskis Farm
We cycled through Gwithian and out to Connor Downs, before heading off to Trevaskis Farm. It’s a nice place to eat and is renowned for its enormous dessert portions.
I had a delicious salad with a trio of Cornish cheeses, but I managed to resist dessert as there was a bit of rain and I didn’t fancy having to cycle home in a shower.
On the way home, M managed to stay awake and seemed to enjoy looking out of the windows of the trailer. I just wish that the seats in trailers were better designed to accommodate children wearing helmets.
I’d put on my jumper whilst eating lunch and had kept it on. I realised it was a mistake when I got to the final climb to Phillack. It was so hot. I was really grateful that we had to stop and wait for mum for a few minutes.
When we got home, I asked my mum how she had found the ride. It turns out that she really enjoyed it and would like to go cycling again, so it was a great success!
Cleaning our bikes
After our ride, I used the Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine to clean our bikes. My bike and Stuart’s bike weren’t too dirty, although my bike had wet lube on it, which had picked up a lot of dust. (Do you make sure you’re using the right lube for the conditions? I lubed my bike in winter and haven’t ridden it much since 🙁 ) Anyway, the ‘Dirty Chain Machine’ was really easy to use and got our bikes back to sparkling clean within minutes. The bike that my mum had borrowed took a while longer – I completely failed to take before and after photos, which is a shame as you would have been able to see an obvious difference. The beauty of this device is that you stay clean – previously, I’ve ended up as dirty as my chain when trying to clean it!
The start of Penrose parkrun is narrow and congested, but I started at the back as I wasn’t really feeling like doing a speedy run. The air was muggy and my breathing wasn’t good.
I had encouraged my mum to start nearer to the front and after about 90 seconds we (M and I) caught up with her. It was so difficult to pass people that I had time to check my phone during the run.
It’s an out and back route, so I kept my eyes out for the front-runner to make sure that I wasn’t in their way. The lead runner seemed to be a long way ahead of the others. I was surprised to see my friend Mark from Ordnance Survey in second place (not surprised that Mark was so quick, but I didn’t expect to see him in Cornwall!) Several places behind was Stu who had told me that he intended to have an easy run.
On the way back, I could hear people behind me who were using me as a target, which made me pick up my pace. I saw my mum and gave her an encouraging cheer.
Finally, the end was in sight, so I did a bit of a sprint finish on the grass. My time was 28:16, which was OK considering I didn’t feel great, the course was congested and I was running with the buggy.
Running with my mum
After a chat with Mark and Stu, I set off back down the course to meet mum and encourage her. I didn’t think of taking photos when I had my phone out during the run, so I took some on my walk back along the course.
I turned and finished the end of the course with my mum. She achieved a PB, which is fantastic 🙂
If you’ve not been inspired to try parkrun yet, please watch this video: