Sunday, 3 January 2010

St Mary the Virgin, Ivinghoe

Saint Mary the Virgin, Ivinghoe is the 35th in my list of churches to visit by bike, and ranks tenth for 2010 - but it is the first one that I have visited this year.

It's a pleasant church ,in a nice village, surrounded by lovely countryside. It took longer to get there than planned, and it was very cold, so I didn't hang around for long. There is some nice carving, the roof is held up by angels, and there is an interesting sign on the back of the door. There is also an old windmill just outside the village.

But the point of all this is isn't sight-seeing. It's really about setting myself the challenge of reaching destinations that are further and further away. Each time I reach another church on my list, it means that the next one is a bit further away. Today it meant a round trip of 63 miles on the bike, in glorious sunny, but very cold winter's weather. I got a good day's exercise, and as normal I got to explore some countryside that I wouldn't otherwise think of visiting.

The busier roads were clear enough, but the little country lanes were icy where the sun hadn't reached them. That made for some interesting moments, but I only went over once. I did chose a slightly different route back though, to avoid riding on icy lanes in the dark.

The way there and back is fairly hilly - it's in the Chilterns, after all. To be frank, it probably wasn't a good idea to be quite so ambitious on a cold day after a long break. By the time I got home I was over-tired, pretty sore, and more than ready for a hearty dinner. But without doubt it was worth it. I've ticked off one church, and one ride of more than 60 miles towards my annual goals and the weekly mileage is ahead of plan. And I enjoyed myself.

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