Tuesday 30 September 2014

Buzzing the Cotswolds with the LBC

Woke up feeling excited that I was going on yet another London Brompton Ride but this time we was heading northwards to the Cotswolds where we, the legend and I haven't been before.

I was dreading and excited about this ride cause it offered me something I hated but 2 things I loved.

Hills, cupcakes & brownies.

Made arrangements with Samantha S to meet up with James H who was driving to Charlbury Station from Kings Cross.

3 Brompton's & riders ready to go

When I was looking at the GPS profile that Dina & Rob had provided on their many recce rides I made the mistake of looking its profile. When looking at the profile you could see this ride was going to be a hilly and demanding one.

We arrived in plenty of time at Charlbury Station where everyone arrived by various means.

The first surprise, well for me was that Dina had made cupcakes for the ride and even a couple of extra special ones.

LBC is now fuelled by cupcakes
Legendary BBB cupcake
We wasn't expecting it at all,  well I was expecting cupcakes but a cupcake designed just for us. I decided to save mine till the end of the ride as a reward to myself.

The gathering of Bromptons
With everyone gathered and Rob & Dina giving a brief outline of the coming ride we set off from the station carpark in a classic LBC peloton. No matter how many times I go on a group ride, riding with other Bromptons there is something extra special. All basically the same bike but unique to each rider, even the bikes have personalities.

As soon as we exited the carpark we hit the first big hill, according to strava a "Category 4 Climb" according to strava.

Categories are determined by a number of factors (Strava)
  • have a gradient of at least 3%; and
  • achieve a score of 8,000 or higher (so 1km at 8%; 1.5km at 6%; 2km at 4% etc).
If the minimum criteria are met, climbs are classified according to the following points scale:
  • 8,000  or greater: Category 4
  • 16,000 or greater: Category 3
  • 32,000 or greater: Category 2
  • 64,000 or greater: Category 1
  • 80,000 or greater: Hors Cat├ęgorie
No matter how you look at it, its still going up dreaded hills on a Brompton but then the fun bit was going down the other side.

The trick is getting into the right gear from the very beginning of the hill, you may feel that your in the wrong gear as your "spinning" to fast but when the hill does hit your spinning will slow down as the incline takes hold and you will slow down but your cadence will be good. My normal cadence is around the 90's which I can keep going forever if need be.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it felt, I know I've been improving somewhat over the last few months but it always surprises me.

Me & Samantha getting to the top

With everyone hitting this hill and getting nicely warmed up we all stopped at the top started to strip off as it was turning out to be a very nice warm day.

Everyone stripping down
Banana's the fuel of cycling
The hills where coming thick and fast but this time I wasn't really bothered by them as much as I used to be. Yeah I rode up them slow but I RODE up them.

This time I decided to also take my InfraRed converted camera seeing we was gogint o be out in the countryside.


Onwards we go but after a couple of miles someone had a puncture at the back of the pack, we pulled over and waited knowing it would be fixed in no time.

 Only one puncture on this ride but it was all under control with seasoned Bromptoneers.

We came across a lovely little spot and decided to take a group shot not to far from where we was going to have lunch.

LBC group shot
There is always something really interesting to see on our rides.

A kindred spirit


The lunch stop (Church Hill Lodge, Bluewater Lodges) was about 10miles from the end of the ride and a lovely place it was too.

Mmmm yummy chicken breasts #lbclub #food #cyclefuel
Chicken Breasts with Tomato sauce & new potatoes
Lovely little lunch so I topped it off with dessert.

Mmm lemon tart and ice cream #food #cyclefuel #sweets
Lemon tart with Vanilla Ice Cream
Not long after leaving our lunch stop we turned a corner and found this great sign in stone.

PAD: 27th September 2014

Another short hold and another photo opportunity and things are starting to get a little silly.

As always Jenny enjoying herself

They go 2 by 2
and finally down to the towards the station.

After a good ride I was looking forward to my prize, The BBB cupcake and yummy it was too

The BumbleB cupcake by Dina. And yummy it was too. #lbclub #bromptonbicycle #food #caketime

Another good ride with the LBC, thanks to Dina & Rob for organizing and the yummy cupcakes & for everyone that had a chance to come along. I got a feeling cupcakes should be the main stay of future LBC rides ;)

Garmin Data of the ride: LBC Ride: Bromptons go wild in the Cotswolds

Sunday 14 September 2014

The legend meets the Tour of Britain

Yesterday BBB & I went to Brighton. This was to be a recce small ride with just 4 of us. Anne M & David P & my cycling partner OrangeBrompton. But at the last moment OrangeBrompton had something come up so couldn't attend.

The weather promised to be good but for some odd reason I still packed my waterproofs. It was clear as soon as I got to Victoria Station to catch the train to Brighton it would be a perfect cycling day & we may even catch a glimpse of the "Tour of Britain" which was finishing in Brighton later on in the day.
LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce
Legend is ready
I was expecting the train to be busy but it was pretty empty all the way though. I was guessing the train back would be busy with the Tour Of Britain finishing there so had mentally prepared myself for that.

Once I settled BBB down for the train ride I got a msg from Anne & David had boarded the train  after a couple of stops but further down.

Finally we arrived at Brighton station where I spotted Anne & David, had out usual hellos and hugs and seeing we was all here we set of for our little ride in Brighton.

LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce
The Legend, Bobo & HotLips are prepared
First off we headed off to the UnderCliffs where we have been many a time on a Brighton ride.

At low tide
Instead of going our normal route around Brighton we went east so we could meet up with the Tour of Britain at the top of a hill, atleast there the tour would be slower and me and BBB would get our first look at professional rides in action.

LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce
Port of Newhaven
Then before we left civilisation as David put it we stopped off for some proper fish 'n' chips with mushy peas.

LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce
Cod 'n' Chips with Mushy Peas yum

Now it was time for some proper hills after lunch which I will admit is still hellish for me. But now with the 44T chainring isn't so bad for me and BBB. As David and Anne motored off into the distance I started my slow climb up I think I got about a 1/3 of the way but my gearing had bottomed out for me, well I couldn't keep it going so I had to walk up the rest of the way. I was actually getting cheered on but a few people there where camped out by the side of the road waiting for the Tour of Britain to pass by. I always get a good energy boost when that happens.

HUGE  Eastdean hill
Thank god we hadn't gone all the way to Beachy Head as planned cause there was a couple of BIG hills which was actually on the Tour the Britain Route.

We got to the top of a major hill where quiet alot of people had gathered to watch the riders come past. At this point the riders would have just finished a major hill so would be tired and about slower so we got a chance for some good photos.

After the tour had passed we went to see how close we could get to the cliffs from the top by going though Crowlink right by where we was. It was across a field which had LOTS of sheep grazing.

Seeing 3 Bromptons had the sheep looking at us, probably wondering what the hell are these crazy humans up to now.


Well there was ALOT of sheep and with ALOT of sheep there was ALOT of sheep poo. It was pretty hard to cycle around it and find actual grass so it was near impossible not to hit it. I've never been so focused in my life when riding but was something new I can tell ya.

Looking towards the future...
After the excitement of the tour it was time to head back. Thankfully David P cut out some of the really rough bits we came though aswell as any more big hills.It was much quicker heading back to Brighton as alot of the traffic had died down as well. Just one quick stop for ice cream outside of Brighton and we got to see the finish of the race on a big screen.

LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce

By the time we got back into Brighton everything was just about packed up and gone and you would have never have known there was a big cycling event had taken place.

LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce

With plenty of time top spare we had alittle drink at our fav coffee place "Milk, No Sugar"

LBC: Brighton to Beachy Head Recce
Good day cycling with good friends
All in all a good day of cycling, alittle disappointed that I walked up the really big hill but I did alittle of it. I always see an improvement on my hill climbing so I'm relatively happy with that.

Thanks again for Ann M & David P for having me along and waiting for me at the top of the big hills.

See you all on the next ride,

Tuesday 2 September 2014

The Legend does #LondonBikeathon 2014

I felt pretty good after the 50 miles of the LBC Windsor ride and now it was time for the London Bikeathon which was another 52 miles. So in a way I have done the magical 100 mile stone.

Anyway this charity ride was for leukemia and lymphoma research. A very worthy cause. I  only found out afterwards that an aunt had lymphoma many yrs ago but has fully recovered.

Having met my partner in crime Mr. Orange at Holborn Station we headed around the corner to the official start at Corum's Field for 08:00.

A pretty impressive sight seeing so many riders all wearing the same red T shirt. I have to say I did feel a little odd wearing red instead of my trademark yellow but its for a good cause.

As everyone started to gather for the 08:00 start time, there was a safety talk to everyone to make sure they did obey the rules of the road and not jump red lights, no ride on the pavement etc...

There was a few times I saw cyclist going though red lights which always ticks me off as I always catch up to them when I have have waited for the lights to change, come on its not a race its a charity ride.

Cycling Safety Talk

We are at the start. Let's rock #londonbikeathon #bromptonbicycle #bee #legendary
Lets get ready to rumbleeeee...

I managed to keep up with my cycling partner for about 20 miles or so but the pace was high and having done the big ride the previous day my legs where a little shot. While we was cycling along the Thames River we some how missed out on a pitstop which I could have done with as I was starting to run low on water. As the ride was going though Richmond Park I knew there is a few points there to get water and something to eat.

There was a cross roads in Richmond Park where there was no signs so normally that means go straight ahead but my Garmin had other ideas. I had remembered to load up the route and it was telling me to go left. I tried to tell the other riders that was with me but they just kept going straight. Don't think I ever saw them again, they may well still be out there, lost and alone....

I finally got to Ham House which was the half way point where I welcomed a couple of bananas, some chocolate and lots of water. I decided to chill out a little here and enjoy the atmosphere of all the riders coming and going.

 We made it to the half way point. #londonbikeathon #bromptonbicycle #urban

While I was there some of the Cyclious gang turned up which was a great surprise as I thought they where well ahead of me so I joined them for the final leg back to Corum's Field

Stag in Richmond Park

Didn't really have time to take many photographs on the final half as I wanted to get this thing done and dusted. Good thing with the little gang I was with is that the pace was a good one and I felt strong the whole time.

We made it WOOP WOOP

Job done. Was a good ride for a damn good cause. #londonbikeathon #bromptonbicycle #legendary
Job Done!

I was worried that after doing a big ride the previous day that I wouldn't have been able to do it. But I did. I have to say that my legs felt pretty damn good, I was thinking after all this riding that I would be taking the underground back to the HiVE but as I started to head to the station my legs felt good so I decided to ride all the way back home. 

Having got home I checked my Garmin data and saw that my average speed was 12.0mph which I have to say was a nice surprise especially after a big ride the day before. 

It just goes to show that I'm improving slowly but surely. So over the course of the weekend I did do the Century (100 miles) My goal one day is to do "Century" in a single ride, which will be pretty soon by the looks of it.
til the next ride, bee safe