Yesterday was the first proper Spring day here in England, well at least it certainly was in Milton Keynes where I am currently living. I think the temperature got up to about 15C which is positively balmy! It was glorious. And to celebrate this wonderful weather I went on my first bike ride since Burma 2009.
It was totally unplanned.
I was woken up by the tempting smell of bacon and stumbled wearily into the kitchen where I found my Daddio and little sister getting the bikes out of the garage. He said I had 15 minutes to get ready, we’re going on a bike ride! It’s only taken 31 years to go on my first bike ride with my Dad. Better late than never!
Now, I’m not especially known for my fitness but my back has started to play up over the past couple of weeks and as I have a history of back injury I know full well what the path of inactivity leads to. You see, working hard for me means sat chained to my computer for all hours of the day. This puts too much strain on my body and weakens my muscles. The only way to counteract the bad back is to keep moving.
So on Saturday I went for a 2.5 mile walk, I know it’s not marathon running or anything, but for me it was a big deal. I walked at a fast pace, I got my heart rate up and I felt a bit of sweat. It was great. I felt buzzy from moving about so much.
Then on Sunday when the opportunity for more exercise presented itself, I jumped on it. Sure, I could have stayed in and worked some more. But I need to prioritise my physical health.
The first stop was Bradwell Abbey.
We cycled along the redways, the Milton Keynes network of paths that avoid the roads. This is rather useful for a nervous cyclist like myself. The only dodging I had to make were for all the dog walkers making the most of the sunshine.
Bradwell Abbey was an old priory in the Middle Ages, all that is left standing is part of the old chapel and a farmhouse. It appears some restoration work is going on at the moment, which kind of ruins my photo!
In the Bradwell Abbey grounds we came across these gorgeous ponies having their breakfast.
Further along our route we spotted the infamous Milton Keynes concrete cows.
And my favourite discovery on our bike ride were these Roman ruins. The Bancroft Roman Villa is an incredible example of a large Roman villa in the UK. It’s huge! The stones marking out the rooms are actually modern, it turns out that this is one of the largest excavations of a Roman villa in the country but after removing the mosaics for safe-keeping they reburied the ruins to preserve them and mark out the rooms with modern stone.
Our next stop was to get a close up of the Concrete Cows. I love these sculptures, they’re so fun!
Although I’ve found out that these are not the originals. It turns out that replicas were made as some ‘locals’ kept taking to them with a hammer. Eugh. Darn philistines!
And that concludes my little bike ride in Milton Keynes.
I never realised that there is actually a really long rich history and cultural past to this city. I am now on a mission to find out more about this modern city. Sure, it might be known for its grid system of roads and roundabouts, but before city planners drew a circle around an area of land in Buckinghamshire there was a collection of old villages here with as interesting a history as anywhere in the UK.