Posted by: Emily | October 28, 2010

Cycling to Derby (day one)

Day one: London -> Oxford (104 miles)

I woke very early on the first day of my trip and it was still dark when I left home, but with over 100 miles to cover I’d decided an early start was the way forward. My plan for the day was to follow the Thames Valley cycle route, which begins in Putney and goes all the way to Oxford. As with all of the National Cycle Network rides, it’s far from the most direct way to get from London to Oxford by bicycle, but it’s a great route that has lots of traffic-free sections.

By the time I’d reached Richmond Park the sun had risen and I was able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, including the freely wandering deer. Although it wasn’t sunny, it was dry and reasonably warm – great weather for cycling. As I sped along towards Kingston I was filled with excitement about my trip.

Having already done the first part of the Day One journey not long ago, I was hoping to benefit from knowing the route and get to Windsor, roughly 45 miles away, by midday. As it turned out, I managed to get there a full hour earlier than I’d hoped and decided to reward myself with an unplanned Starbucks break. With over 50 miles still to go I didn’t spend too long with my cappuccino and after 10 or so minutes was back on the bike.

From Windsor I took a main road to Maidenhead, where I re-joined the official route again. The next six or so miles were largely off-road and, at times, muddy and very uneven. There was also a surprising amount of ascent. Had I been riding either of my other bikes, my Condor Tempo or Scott CR1 Pro, I would probably have struggled. The Yukon, however, coped very well. Just as I got back onto a real path again, however, I realised I had a flat rear tyre. It wasn’t entirely surprising given what I’d just cycled through, but it was still annoying nonetheless. Fortunately it didn’t take long to replace the inner tube and I was soon back on the road heading towards Reading.

By the time I reached Reading I was very hungry and quite tired. I was also conscious of the fact that although my mini pump had enabled me to inflate my tyre to a rideable level, it was by no means fully inflated. Having recently downloaded the BikeHub app on my iPhone, I decided to put it to the test and do a search for nearby bike shops. As luck would have it, I was literally around the corner from one – Berkshire Bikes. Two minutes later a very helpful man was pumping up my tyres for me whilst I bought an extra two inner tubes. Well done BikeHub.

After a quick lunch at a small cafe close to Berkshire Bikes I felt much better and set off for Wallingford. From there I cycled to Didcot, where I once again abandoned the official route in favour of a couple of B roads which got me to Abingdon. I’d booked a night in a B&B about two miles out of Oxford and as I cycled the final eight or so miles of the day I was very much looking forward to a hot shower, something to eat and an early night. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate cycling 104 miles.



  1. […] first day, which I’ve already written about, was very enjoyable with over 100 miles of cycling in some really beautiful surroundings. Day two […]

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