A few weeks ago, I had an argument with two Police Inspectors. No, I hadn’t stolen anything, or tried to kill anyone, or attempted to run off with their batons/PAVA/handcuffs/helicopter. I was at work, and being at work necessitates being in close proximity to officers of the law.

We were arguing about ways of measuring things. More specifically, ways of measuring bike rides. I like to work in kilometers. They like to work in miles. They accused me of being French. I accused them of being old.

I’m of the opinion that we should stop trying to cling on to our archaic use of miles, and accept that the metric system make far more sense and is a lot easier to use. We aren’t still using pounds, shillings, and pence to pay for things, and cookbooks no longer ask us to weigh things out in pounds and ounces, so why do our road signs and speed limits still live in the Imperial age?

A mile is 5,280 feet. Or 1,760 yards. Or 1,609 metres. This is ridiculous. A kilometer is 1,000 metres, in the same way that a pound is 100 pence, and a kilogram is 1,000 grams. It took a conscious effort to start using kilometers to measure my bike rides and (very occasional) runs, but now I do it without thinking. And anyway, the numbers go up more quickly when you work in kilometers, which is a psychological boost!

So, I’m now going to go against everything I stand for and tell you all about the 100 mile (528,000 ft.) bike ride I’ll be completing with my friend Bret tomorrow. We’re doing a 100 mile ride simply because this is a popular target for long distance cyclists to aim for, and Bret hasn’t done one yet. In total, I’ll be riding 107.39 miles (picking Bret up in Nettleham along the way, resulting in the extra distance), which is 172.82km. I’ll make my next target 200km, and ditch the miles once and for all.

Bret came close to a 100-miler last year, when we cycled to my Uncle’s farm and back. He had never eaten fennel before, and doesn’t like soup, and we arrived at Island Farm, the half-way point of the ride, to a lunch of fennel soup. Fortunately, Bret consumed a quantity of soup roughly equivalent to the capacity of an Olympic swimming pool (which is 50 metres in length), and a disaster was averted. Fennel is now on the list of accepted foodstuffs, and Bret maintains that my Uncle makes the best soup in the world. 

Tomorrow’s ride will be a long circular route, more-or-less going round and over the Lincolnshire Wolds. It’ll be a fairly hilly day, but nothing compared to the Devon coast-to-coast I rode in July, and we’ll climb a total of 677m.

Looking at the elevation profile, the worst of the climbs will be the section immediately after South Willingham up to the Caistor High Street, then out of Donington on Bain up to the Bluestone Heath Road, the climb back up into the Wolds out of Louth, and then a nasty looking ascent just before Market Rasen. Other than that, it’ll be some fairly flat riding between Lincoln and the Wolds, and then a series of short climbs and descents in the middle, when we’ll be on some lovely rural roads in the middle of the Wolds.

Conveniently (purposefully), we pass through Louth at around the 100km mark, so will be making a fuel stop at Mother’s…

Fennel soup anyone?


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