Sunday 3 February 2013

LBC Ride: London to Cambridge 2013 (Recce)

Everything was packed and ready to go the night before. Fuelled myself up with porridge & toast, the fuel of LEGENDS.

Made it to the meeting point on the South Bank head on time, I could hear Big Ben's bells ringing 9am as I approached my fellow LBC nutcases. Yes there I said it NUTCASES

Got to have a look at the latest 2013 Brompton with all  the new bits and bobs on that was Matt's spanking new B. This will be Matt's first ride with the LBC and first ride on his new B. Pretty brave for a spanking new B too.

Before I left the house I managed to see there was a new updated route posted which I downloaded into my Garmin Edge 800 which later on would prove invaluable in places. On the way though towards Hackney area I was following Matt I saw the small wheel from the rear mudguard fell off, quick stop to pick up the pieces and we was off again. It was THAT new, hasn't been tightened up yet after leaving The London Bike Show, plus I think Matt had been tinkering with the new B the day before and hadn't tightened everything up as much as it should be. I definitely think the LBC Maintenance Class is in order for him to get to know his B better and get to know how to look after his prize winning currently unnamed Brompton.

We all set off in the direction of East London, yup my neck of the woods. We got to the Hackney area to meet up with Nancy & Alan the final members of the group going on this epic ride.

When we did set off again we actually went right past my garage and a few of my work mates saw me in my full cycling gear wondering what "What's that nut case up to now?!"
Told them I was on my way to Cambridge with a few friends. Cue stares of disbelieve.

Just after we past Lea Valley Ice Rink we started on our first bit of muddy path riding. With the recent weather the paths where pretty muddy and slowed everyone down quiet alot. This would have a major effect on all of us but especially me. Even with the brand new tires on it was VERY slippy out there and a few times my rear would slip out when I put the power on and front would slip away from me if I turned too quickly trying to avoid the bigger muddier puddles.
Short rest stop on Canal Lock

Off we go again

The Legend

Mr. O checking his muddy shoes
Continuing on along the canal paths we had our first major incident. A front puncture and guess who, yup Matt's spanking new B but it happens and with so many riders around we was able to get the puncture sorted in quick time too.
Wheel off
Checking tire is on straight
All pumped up with CO2 Regulator
We pushed onwards and northwards, after a good while we had to say goodbye to David (The map reading wizard) & Anne (Fashion icon)

We started to get on proper country lanes now and the roads where starting open up and we was getting exposed to the elements full force. I found this was the most difficult part of the ride as there was a few inclines which I always have trouble with no matter what but I soldiered onwards. I knew the half way point was close at hand and promised myself I would consider jumping in Mick's car for a short while afterwards as I was pretty much completely beat at this point. Managed to get to 'The Bull Inn' at Much Hadham at the half way point with the beaming smile of my Co Founder Mick beaming at me from a distance which stirred me on for the last few hundred meters. There is probably some photos of me looking pretty knackered on that last bit.

After having a damn good fish & chip lunch with a lovely lemon margarine pie I made the decision to join Nancy & Alan and take a rest in the Mick's car which was full of doughnuts. I resisted pretty well as it goes and there was about 30 different doughnuts in the back.

Hardcore LBC Riders set off
Getting though the village
Still happy after getting up that hill
Stopping for a little rest
Passing some lovely English countryside

Sunset is coming

Saved with Mick and his headlights.
It's pretty dark out in the country side
I have to say at this point I'm in awe of the 5 hardcore die hards that kept soldiering on at this point, I made the best decision to take this bit in the car as there was a number of rolling long hills that would have most definitely finished me off if I had kept going.

After a little stop off in Fowlmere, Mick suggested I re join the ride and thought I felt alot better and there where no more hills so I did for the last 10 miles into Cambridge.
Cambridge Cycle Path
 When we started to get  closer to the city we found the main route into Cambridge via these awesome looking cycle paths. At this point we had to say good bye to Mick, Alan & Nancy and headed off into the darkness. The only lights we now had where our own and also the little cycle path lights embedded into the path itself. I luv the multi colours of the cycle path and was nice, smooth and flat and just about lead us right up to the entrance to Cambridge Station. Seeing the trains pulling out of the station from a distance I knew this hard, difficult, cold, windy ride would soon be over and pushed on though trying to make the last few miles count. Practicely had to run for the train as it was just about pulling out of the station once we figured out the best trains me and Mr.OrangeBrompton  to get. We chose Kings Cross and the others went via Liverpool Street. 
One dirty tired Legend

Personal Thoughts:

I have to say that this was my most difficult ride to date. The weather being a major factor in this as well as my general fitness level which I really have say is pretty poor.
I will have to really think hard on some of the big long rides I have coming up this year as to whether I can actually do them.
I want to keep my "The Promise" I made myself that I would do every ride that came along but after this I may have to break that promise & see the reality of it. I get alot of encouragement from everyone that's around me which I truly dearly love and I love you all for it but I have to look at myself cold and hard to see if its actually possible for me to do these long distance rides.

My Garmin Edge 800 Ride Data  

LBC Ride: London to Cambridge 2013 (Recce) 1/2

 LBC Ride: London to Cambridge 2013 (Recce) 2/2


  1. Hi Mate
    I have been following your blog over the last month or so, hope to get a Brompton of my own soon.
    Don't feel bad about the ride you are a great ambassador and inspiration to many people with your exploits and both of you are, and continue to be Legends

    1. I'm glad you enjoying my blog, I'm enjoying writing it.

      folks commenting on it gets me blogging & smiling even more

    2. Well done to you all. I have been following your blog for a few weeks now but as yet haven't posted. I know how hard the ride is having completed the London to Cambridge bike events ride a few times. The last time was on a Dahon folder. I really enjoy your blog which is an inspiration. I have always cycled on and off and right now havent cycled since last November. My own fitness will need to be built back up when I start again - but I know it does come back so dont feel too down about it. By the time summer comes you will be buzzing along(no pun intened!).
      My own new Brompton is on order and due end of March. Orange and black with reduced 6 speed gearing to cope with the Cornish hills around where I live.Good luck to you Mr B and keep up those training runs.

  2. I don't agree. You have come a long way already - the rider you were a year ago. Saturdays ride was demanding for all, mainly due to weather conditions and time of year. You'd feel differently if it was a spring/summer ride - just look back to Oxford. You have lots of rides planned - most with me! I need my riding partner with me to keep me going. So believe in yourself that you can do it. You'll be getting fitter and these rides will only serve to spurn you on!

    1. I know I've come along way but I guess I thought I was further along. I think that's been the worse weather I've ever ridden in without heavy rain.

      Hopefully the weather will start getting better soon as we have a pretty full calendar a head of us