After a long day: setting off from the Northeast UK at 4am to get to the office in Seer Green, Buckinghamshire, before 9am, and then a long day of meetings - I was really glad I'd planned ahead and brought my bicycle down for some evening exercise.
I set out for a 45km route around the Chalfonts, Amersham, Homer Green, Beaconsfield and Gerards Cross; following a breadcrumb trail I'd created last night. I grew up in this area, went to school in Amersham, this was my playground when I was young; and now 20 years later I have a chance to cycle round the same roads.
I found the main roads a bit too busy and poor quality road surface, I was tempted to title this blog entry "Spelunking Buckinghamshire" at first, but once I'd made my way back to the single track lanes which criss-cross the hills I found that the roads were in much better condition than in the Northeast.
Everything was so deeply green and the hedgerows overgrown, there was a feeling of Buckinghamshire having gone to seed, but this is one of the wealthiest parts of the UK and I imagine that it is overgrown because people like it like this. The climb from Old Amersham to Amersham-on-the-hill is a bit like Leven Bank near Yarm; steep with some fast traffic, but about three times the length of the climb.
I stopped outside my early learning centre, which has had a lot of building work since I was a young 'un. Amersham was bustling with business, the shops and high street with many more shoppers than I see in Stockton, and yet Amersham is a much smaller place.
Guido's restaurant used to have a very good reputation when I was younger, and must be doing well to be here 20 years later. Here I turned the corner onto the most affluent road I know, Copperkins Lane in Chesham Bois and onwards to Hyde Heath. Descending Chalk Lane, a narrow twisty hill, I stopped to take a photograph and realised I could barely see the road at all!
Onwards through tiny little Chilterns villages, with flint walled houses and oak beams showing - and not just "for show". Getting across the A413 was challenging as there is a dual carriageway just round the corner and motorists have barely slowed down on this piece of A road.
I weaved my way through undulating Chiltern countryside to reach Homer Green and beyond this more peaceful agricultural land towards Beaconsfield.
I followed Gravelly Lane which was one of the smoothest pieces of tarmac I'd seen all day, and found I could bowl along in the big ring. I had the perfect time to be riding, with very few drivers using these back roads.
Finally after 45km, I found myself back at the Bull in Gerrards Cross and time for an evening meal and a pint with my colleague. I'm really pleased I took my bicycle in the back of the car on this business trip - this was much better than pounding on a treadmill in an indoor gym.
While I enjoyed dinner later in the evening the rain came hammering down - timing again - perfect. Here is an outline of the route I took, and as can be seen from the elevation there was not a lot of "flat" but the hills weren't much of a problem - especially after last Saturday's Grimpeur.