Today marked the end of the year and with the weather being so nice, I managed to get out and about for a quick 30Km ride to enjoy the sun (though it was still quite damp out and with a bit of a chill).

I've spent the last few days umming and ahhing over whether to carry on using the Garmin or use a phone again for directions so I decided to get out and about using the GPS and directions to give me a route and to do a bit of exploring to test some new roads and lanes out.

Turns out that I made the right choice and there were some nice roads I found so I'll be doing some of them more often in the future.

I started by staying on the roads I knew out of Welwyn though did find a one way road along the Welwyn Golf Course, rather than use the probably muddy path through the forest. The new bike can sometimes struggle with short sharp climbs it seems, of which there was one here - it might just be me having to change how I change gear from using the Brompton though (i.e. I have to pedal to change gear on Odin, but I have to stop pedalling to change gear on the Brompton).

Heading west, I ended up coming across a flooded road.

The cyclist in the picture risked going through it whilst riding and seeing him successfully undertake the route - I did the same as him and made it through. If this was the road here, I wasn't looking forward to the route further on where I knew there was a ford.

Turns out I need not have worried - the ford was empty! At least there was no water over the road, so I'm not sure if it's been changed since I last went that way.

A quick loop out towards Stevenage but cutting short to go through Knebworth, I headed back. I went past the chocolate factory of Lessiters - however, I'm trying to burn off some of the chocolate from Christmas so I didn't stop!

A route through some countryside brought me back towards Welwyn (the original village, not the Garden City) and I found one of the best declines I've been down probably. The hill is 1.3Km long and drops about 60m in a nice open road. My max speed down here was 48.2Km/h (average was 35.5Km/h) - I feel that I've ridden it once or twice, I could have another go and speed that up! However, I intend to use this route for a bit for some hill training! It's rare this year that I've done much hill climbing - that'll show further down this post!

Anyhow, when I got to the bottom of the road, I almost missed the view!

Digswell Viaduct (or Welwyn viaduct) is a Victorian feat of engineering and part of the East Coast mainline. I stopped to get some photos, before heading onwards (as this is pretty close to home).

Overall, it was a nice ride and I enjoyed taking some roads that I'd not yet used.

2015 Summary

So 2015 is over - how do I feel I've done this year on the bike?

Veloviewer has put together a nice infographic for me.

It shows that I've done quite a distance this year. In fact, I've done far more than I have over the past few years.

Though, the amount of climbing I've done this year is significantly less than when I started cycling in Loughborough and Loughborough was considered to be fairly flat!

In general, a lot of miles this year have been getting to and from cadets (which is fairly flat) and also to and from Wimbledon (again, reasonably flat). Perhaps this well change going forward as I'll be riding more around Welwyn and I know I don't seem to cycle north of Welwyn much.

Some stats for the year:

  1. Longest ride - LBC: London to Whitstable (Strava)
  2. Most climbing - LBC: London to Whitstable (same ride as above)
  3. Most Used Bike - Loki (My Brompton) - 2,681 km

For 2016, I'm looking at various things. Perhaps some longer distance rides, but I also want to get in some regular, shorter rides. For example, when I started in 2011 and 2012, I was out almost every weekend. I might not be doing 60-70Km rides every weekend, but I was getting at least 20Km in under my belt.

This year it'll be harder to rack up as many kilometres perhaps, as I won't be cycling to and from work (which will also cut out weeknight rides to cadets) as I'll be driving, due to my new job that I start on the 4th Jan. However, once I get settled in, I'm considering riding a few times a week - I've already given it a test ride!.

I currently don't have any big rides planned for the year or training for anything so I don't think I'll be signing up to Ride With GPS or Strava premium quite yet. Obviously, this could change but I'll see what happens.

Anyhow - enough looking back. Here's to 2016!