Archive for August, 2009

London- Brighton aka Europe’s most hectic bike ride / 21st June 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

This year there was close to 40,000 cyclists taking part which was a fantastic turn out for the British Heart Foundation, although ironic as there were people smoking while getting ready for the ride and at every single stop off point (one every few miles) there were participants sat on the grass devouring burgers! I’m no doctor but I’m sure smoking and bbq’s result in anything but a healthy heart.

We were booked in for the 9am start time and met up with a couple of friends who had the same start. They were a little more inventive than us having hired a tandem & even tapped cushions to their seats to combat saddle sore- genius! The shere number of people cycling made riding conditions difficult, it wasn’t like the Orchid ride the week before with serious cyclists everywhere- no most of these guys were complete amatures. When ever we reached a mole hill some people would get off their bikes and walk causing huge congestion which resulted in 30 minute long queues. That was fustraiting.

Nonetheless the weather was fantastic and we breezed through the ride although coming into Brighton through Ditchling lead us up a monster 600 metre climb over a mile. We rolled into Brighton and crossed the line in a respectable 6 hours (bearing in mind the hold ups which totalled about an hour and a half).

Orchid 75 mile Challenge / 14th June 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

The furthest I’ve ever cycled on a bicycle! The morning begun at 5.45am (not what you need on a sunday but I guess I’d better start getting used to it). Thanks to ‘not-work’ rail we had to cycle 6 miles to Broxbourne which we decided to treat as a warm up to the day ahead.

When we got to Billaricy you could spot the serious riders from the amateur ones, there were teams in matching lycra, helmets, gloves and even matching top of the range road bikes. We rocked up on our non matching top of the (lower) range hybrid bikes, although we did have matching TCC Challenge t-shirts. We weren’t there to compete, we were there for the endurance to see what 75 miles on a bike felt like not minding how long it took us.

In actual fact we managed a steady speed of around 10 mph including stops and finished in just over 7 hours. Pretty poor considering some of the serious bikers finished the 100 mile race way before us, but we achieved what we set out to do nonetheless and rolled in in time for a cold beer!

The day itself was glorious hot sunshine perfect cycling conditions and I was impressed at how well organised it all was. Every junction was signposted (although we still managed to miss a few), there were regular banana and water breaks and we were even awarded a certificate and a medal upon our triumphant return.

The night was finished off with a bbq at home with some friends. Later on Holly pointed out a blister on my bum- oh the joys of cycling…

The Tube Strike / 11th June 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

A good execuse it seemed to cycle to work while the tube workers continued their quest to secure more pay than government ministers and holiday than a part time student.

The distance from my flat to where I work (near bond street) is 25 miles, perfect as I’m planning to cycle 50 miles a day. If I can manage that with a 10 hour working day I’d be set.

The morning ride all seemed to be going well but then about a third of the way through my morning journey I got a flat as I was coming into Enfield. I turned over my bike & out came the tools which was fortunate for me as I usually forget things or just don’t think I’ll need it- lesson learned.

Despite the flat I still made it in good time, I followed a guy with a ‘city of westminster’ bag to lead the way (sense of direction is also not one of my key skills) who was a right ducker/diver hopping on & off curbs, weaving through crowds on the pavements & carving around buses.. it was good fun, nothing like a bit of an adrenaline kick in the morning.

Made it to work on time, had an awful day in the grind but the tires held out & I made it home in time for a devoted girlfriend waiting with cold beer and a massage, I am lucky I know.

Lake District / 1st April 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

We’ve just got back from 4 days cycling in the Lake District, our nephew’s christening seemed like the perfect opportunity to put my new bike through it’s paces and that we did.
Three and a half hours after catching the super fast virgin train from London Euston we arrived raring to go, I cycled the 20 miles from Penrith to the barn we hired in Warcop whereas Dom opted to run in preparation for the London marathon on the 26th April.

Fortunately we were blessed with some gorgeous weather, clear blue skies meant we could absorb the beauty of the landscape the lake district had to offer. Unfortunately for us that meant hills, lots of hills. We purposefully chose some of the steepest climbs we could including a 55 mile adventure to Ullswater on day 2. The other days were equally as challenging and saw us cycle next to the ‘danger area’ where the army and air force test their weapons so we had to dodge live ammunition as well as fight the lactic acid! At least we had a local village pub which proved to be our sanctuary serving thirst quenching ale.