Creepy Tunnel Ride

Today’s ride was another slow ride around the local area, to warm the legs up before trying to get back on the road bike. Was a fantastic day in terms of weather after the storms of last week and the week before that - that was seen in the number of people out on bikes. Went past quite a few club rides out on the roads.

Route consisted of some busy A roads around Cockfosters (which I’m not keen on and I think I’ll perhaps be avoiding in the future if I can), some quieter roads around Barnet and then a stretch along the NCN Route 12.

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Route 12 runs from Enfield to Peterborough via Hatfield and Stevenage. According to the Sustrans website, the route itself isn’t yet complete (and there’s some big gaps after Letchworth upto Peterborough it seems) but it’s not to bad at this end.

However, the route isn’t all that suitable for road bikes - as can be seen, some aspects are quite muddy!

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Once you get past the mud, not to bad on the hybrid to be fair but a bit slippery in places, the track reverts to a gravel based path until you get to the M25 crossing and you have to go through a tunnel. And the namesake of this ride!

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Looking down the tunnel, all the lights are off making it fairly dark in there and you could just about see the water was still over the end part of the tunnel. I got off and walked the bike through this as I didn’t want to test the depth of the stream/river next to me! The floor was muddy underfoot and it was clear that the stream had overflowed in the past few weeks - understandable with the rain.

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As you can see, the final section is still underwater, thankfully not to deep and I just about splashed through the water and back onto the path.

From the tracks in the mud in the tunnel, I wasn’t the first cyclist though there recently.

However, after this, an issue arose with the bike - my feet would keep slipping from the pedals! Cleats are currently reserved for my road bike (and when I had it, my mountain bike) only as this one I commute the 2Km to the station every morning and it seems silly putting cleats on for that. It currently has the following:

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and as you can see, there is practically no grip at all! The shoes I use (an old pair of Teva Crank trainers) are designed for pedals and actually work pretty well on the pedals, but with the mud, my feet ended up all over the place. Making me think the cleats are probably a good idea and that I should get them. Though I was looking at getting rid of this bike when I move soon as I just wont have the storage space. A shame, as I’m beginning to think a hybrid would be a better option that my road bike - after all, I don’t always like sticking to the roads (as can be seen here!) and I think a hybrid would be quite good for touring. But I’m also hoping that the new bike would be able to handle some touring demands as well…