So me and Bumble B 2.0 headed off to Central London. We was going to meet up with OrangeBrompton & Mark W at Trafalgar Square a little early and head over to the official FNRttC meeting point of the arch at Hyde Park Corner.
Got to Trafalgar Square pretty early as we all wanted to make sure we didn't miss the start of the ride. First to arrive was Mr. OrangeBrompton and then Mark W. Headed off to Hyde Park Corner.
Meet up with quiet a few other riders all sporting different kinds of bikes. Some bikes where super extra light and other types even a couple of recumbent bikes but we was the only Bromptons at this ride. After a roll call with Simon Legg the FNRttC Headman we started to head off into the darkness. In the end there was about 90 or so I think so we was quiet a sight winding out way though central London. There was a slight chill in the air but kept the legs pumping you didn't really feel the cold so much. Much to my surprise I got my clothing and layers just about perfect.
Found it hard going to start with but as I got into my cycling everything came together. Quiet a number of the other riders really liked what I had done to Bumble B and some said they remembered seeing me in the CTC & LCC magazines awhile back :)
Afew of the hills I managed to be able to get up a fair bit before having to dismount and walk up. Most of the time before I haven't been able to get up much so I can see a big improvement in my hill climbing with 6 gears now instead of 3. The only thing now is that I run out of puff while going up but I stop for a few mins I get my breath back and carry on. This seems to work, in time the pauses I take will get shorter and shorter till I don't stop at all and just keep going.
At about the half way point we entered into what I can only call "The Darkness" roads turned into muddy potholes, then bridle paths and then into plain muddy lanes. This lead us into the half way stopping point of "The Edifice, the grandest Scout Hut In The World just south-east of Horley." A VERY welcome sight for the riders. As we entered the hut we where greeted with warmth and the great smell of Hot Tea & coffee and sandwiches & CAKES :)
A few people had a few repairs to make but as always the Bromptons didn't need any tinkering. Just SOLID ready to get back on the road.
A BIG personal thanks to the people that have laid out a damn good spread at silly o'clock in the morning for us. Got chatting to a few of the other cyclist and noticed a few having overshoes on which meant they feet didn't feel the cold as much. Maybe something I should look into for future cold weather rides I think.
After about 40mins or so with everyone all warmed up it was time to head back out, after being in the warmth it was abit of a shock to the system when we headed back out and it seemed the temp had dropped a little again. Putting on my Pakajak to help cut the cold wind out was good and not too long afterwards after my body had warmed up I had to take it off as I was start to cook a little. I may look into getting a wind proof cycling jacket in the future with better ventilation.
Dawn was a great as always, we passed afew villages which where strangely quiet as being a Saturday, given a few hours they would be busy with people and traffic so we snaked though quietly.
At about the 52 mile mark we turned left and there it was. I've heard horror stories about this Ditchling Beacon and trust me its WELL DESERVED. It's the devil's hill and no mistake. I didn't even try to cycling up it as soon as I saw the incline I promptly got off and started walking. It's the long and winding road which definitely adds to its distance. I did noticed a few of the hardcore looked like they went up, came down and went up AGAIN a few times.
One of them even came down to help me back up just making sure I was ok and the last mile or so actually rode beside me as I walked up, pointed out the great sight of the valley below which I almost missed cause I was so focused on just getting to the top. Said my buddies where waiting for me at the top and there was a Deer sign just up ahead where the hill leveled off abit where I could problaby cycle the short distance to the summit. Finally getting to the summitt I was greeded by a small crowd and photographs was taken. The thoughts of the evil hill faded away and there was a big smile on my face as I knew that was the end of the BIG hill and it was all basically down hill into Brighton.
Nice open roads ahead of us after a little while I could see the sea on the horizon which spired me on as I knew the end was insight where I could rest and have a WELL EARNED breakfast. About 3 miles out from the finish point my Garmin 800's battery gave out :( booo but we was ont he home stretch.
We pulled along the beach front and then by the sea at the Madeira Cafe. Very well earned breakfast awaited us.
|Breakfast for Champions|
|Brighton Pier in the background|
|Bumble B 2.0, OrangeBrompton & Green Machine|
|The Legend continues|
Then went up the short hill towards the Station and caught out train home. There is probably a few snaps of me closing my eyes for a little while on the train.
|Me and Bumble B2.0 waiting for the train home|
Before this ride I was seriously considering not doing any more long rides like this as I didn't think I was fit enough for the distance. The last couple of rides have been a big disappointment but this one has really turned that around on its head.
Garmin Data: FNRttC: London to Brighton