Team Cycling Plus - Kay Bowen

Daytrippin' in the Isle of Wight

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Kay takes on the ups and downs of the sunny Isle of Wight...

Team member: Kay Bowen

36 year old Kay from Southampton is a very active person. She overcame thyroid cancer last year which has inspired her to try a whole host of new activities, including sailing, tennis, skiing and triathlons. As a triathlete, she already does a lot of cycling, but is keen to work on this aspect of her training. Her goals are to sustain longer distances and to go on a cycling holiday

Sunday was a glorious hot day and way back in February, when scheming a circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight with two good friends, we had no idea we would be returning victorious on the Red Funnel Ferry with tans as well as the euphoric spirit of those who have achieved the impossible – or cycled round the Isle of Wight. All 66 miles of up and down hills of it.

The start was an 8am ferry, whilst waiting for it a lovely elderly lady looked at my shoes and asked me if I was off to play football.  Vicky and Rachel were good friends to take on the Island challenge, especially as they were riding a Halfords Apollo mountain bike and a Raleigh with not quite enough gears to take on the hills. The Apollo’s chain fell off 13 times  -  we called it the Apollo 13 for obvious reasons. Raleigh Rachel walked up the bigger hills. And some of the smaller ones.  When you have cleats on your shoes you can’t get off and walk can you? I actually enjoyed the hills, ups and downs. The views out over the channel are amazing from the south side of the island, and lots of the route is through the mainly agricultural landscape – there are not that many forests on the island, so lots of sun and wind.

The bike was fantastic, I was freewheeling while the other two were pedalling along. At one point I was free wheeling up a hill with them both toiling in the cheap seats. I tried not to look too smug, honest.  Our lowest point was Apollo’s puncture, at about 4.30, with the one size fits all pump outwitting us all. We resorted to prowling around residential streets looking for ‘people who might have a pump’  - though how you know by looking at their faces I don’t know. The population of Bembridge are mainly known for their age rather than their biking skills, and all the young men I found were carrying fishing rods and not bike pumps.  We got lucky with a man with a van, and Rach showed us all how to mend a puncture.

This low was followed by the further low of a  road closure forcing us onto a main road for a few miles, a shame as the rest of the route is well signed and on quiet roads. I had been eager to sample an Island cream tea but there was nothing open, and by the time we got back we had been on the road for 10 hours, including all stops. That works out at 7mph on average. Luckily for me, the ferry had the biggest cream and jam filled scone ever seen so I got my cream tea at 7.30pm on the way home. The Isle of Wight has a reputation as a ‘cyclists’ paradise’ and as long as you are a cyclist who likes hills, it certainly lives up to its reputation.  We have made a pact to go back next year and do it clockwise.

Who are Team Cycling Plus?

Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page twitter.com/cyclingplus and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page

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