Thursday, 30 June 2022

Preparing for the Dunwich Dynamo

It does seem like ages since I participated in the Dunwich Dynamo. The stumbling block has for me always been how one gets home. This year with a coach ticket and Geoff attending I am looking forward to it. 

The Dunwich Dynamo will take place on Saturday, 16ht July into Sunday 17th July and will almost certainly see a few thousand riders on all sorts of bicycles take part. The ride is over 110 miles and I cannot really say (despite the title of this blog) that I have done any preparation at all for it. 

I have yet to decide which of my Brompton bicycles I will take with me. I have completed a previous Dynamo on my Orange Black Special Edition. I might take it again but my Orange Superlight or my Cloud Blue would word equally as well. I will decide nearer the time perhaps.

My only prep it seems will hopefully be a nocturnal run to the coast with Dr John, sometime better now and next week. Apart from that, no preparation of any kind will be done. 

Part of the appeal of this and other night rides is the sunset and sunrise and experiencing cycling along country lanes, where the only sounds that can be heard are those from your bicycle or nature around you. It is quite additive. This year will feature a very strong and sizable Brompton contingent. I look forward to that. The other thing I will look forward to is not having to queue up for a place on a coach that won't depart for hours. This year, thing should be pretty slick. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Friday, 10 June 2022

Brompton London Bridges Jubilee ride

Saturday outside Liverpool Street Station at 20:00 was the meeting / start point for an all Brompton ride with the simple remit of crossing over a few of the bridges in London that span the river Thames. 

From NW8 my route to Liverpool Street on quieter roads would be about 6 miles. I had decided to take my Orange, Black Special Edition out for a spin and glad that I was to give it a recreational outing, rather than it usual workhorse role. I arrived in good time and said hello to a few familiar faces and to some new ones.

We set off pretty promptly and headed into fairly quiet streets. I have always said that being in a Brompton peloton is quite a thing and this day was no exception. There were over 20 riders and even a few with orange coloured bikes - always a welcome bonus. 

Our first real stop was at Tower Bridge near St Katherine's dock. Many - like me - used the famous landmark as a suitable background for a photo of their Brompton. It really is a thing and if you out there reading this and have a Brompton, I am sure that you do the same. 

It goes without say that after photographs of Tower Bridge in the background and with this being a bridges ride, we were soon to cycle over Tower Bridge itself. 

The sun took its time to set and depending on what direction you looked, the sky was still quite blue or turning different hues of yellow and orange. It was all rather pretty.

Next on the list was London Bridge with some rather lovely views of the city of London skyline as you travel north over the Thames.

Not far away from London Bridge, Southwark Bridge offers equally good views. Some rather good view of the Shard can be had - assuming you like that building of course. 

Southwark Bridge

Once over to the south side of the Thames again we arrived at Southbank passing the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern on the way. 

At certain points the sky looked quite wonderful as the sun seemed to be making more of an effort to set. 

Our next bridge, Blackfriars, provided even better skies and induced many of us to dismount and take more photos. Well, it has to be done!

Blackfriars Bridge

When we reached Waterloo Bridge, even more of us stopped to take photos and the few tourists that were out and about, started taking photos of us taking photos of outr bikes. 

Waterloo Bridge

One of the last bridges we cycled across was Westminster Bridge. In the distance the Houses of Parliament were lit up in red, white and blue in honour of the Jubilee celebrations that had and were still taking place. 

Westminster Bridge

Our penultimate bridge, Battersea, brought us to the end of the ride in the view of Battersea Power Station. 

This entire area has been transformed greatly and all but unrecognisable from what it was a few years ago. It was pretty much a derelict building with no access (apart from a lucky few once every few years who managed to secure an hour slot to take some photos). 

After a group photo (or two) some said their goodbyes while a few of us followed Jenny, our ride leader, back to Marble Arch. 

We cycled through Battersea Park before heading across the always lovely Albert Bridge. At Marble Arch, I said my goodbyes and cycled as far as the borders of NW8 with a first time Brompton Club rider, who thoroughly enjoyed his first outing.

Albert Bridge

I really enjoyed this ride and after a busy week with lots going on, it was exactly what was needed. There is nothing like a Brompton group ride. In many ways I feel sorry for our roadie cousins as I cannot believe they have half as much fun as we do. 

Many thanks to Jenny for leading the ride and to the lovely Brompton peeps who went on the ride. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people. 

Monday, 30 May 2022

RideLondon Essex 100 competed on an Orange Brompton

What a day!  I have wanted to complete the Ride100 event on a Brompton for years but was always unsuccessful in the ballot. I did get into the last one that would have been held in Surrey but the 'C' word took hold and we all know what happened thereafter. I was looking forward to this day, despite the fact I had done very little in the way of training and it sort of arrived rather quickly.

I started at an ungodly hour and totally misjudged how long it would take to get from NW8 to the start line. As such I had to pedal pretty hard and fast to get down to Pall Mall from where I could enter the start route. 

Once on the start route it did seem as if I need not have bothered to get to my early start window as riders a great del earlier and later than mine, rocked up and started together. The start was quite slow and we wheeled our bicycles along. On a Brompton, I was in a sea of road bikes and for the entire event I was to only see one other Brompton rider. Those of us attempting it on small wheels must have been very low in numbers. One theme for the entire ride was the considerable amount of attention directed my way by virtue of me choosing to ride on an Orange Brompton! More on that later.

I had taken part in the Ride46 and the start line for that was very much like a 'Club 18-30' holiday - music, loud music and audience participation. (Don't worry I have never been on one of those holidays). We were told to mount our bikes for the rolling start and with the chirps and bleeps of the machine that registered the timing chips we all had, we were off. 

In a previous blog post you may recall that I had been suffering from a bit of a cold leading up to this ride. Before and the actual day of the RideLondon, I had all but lost my voice. (I had felt okay apart from a sore throat). Because of this my speaking voice could be likened to Vito Corleone portrayed by the late Marlon Brando. My first utterance to being asked whether any other Brompton riders were doing this event and using the word 'family' to describe my Brompton friends was as ironic as it was comical!!

Throughout the entire ride - and I really do mean the entire ride - I was patted on the back, encouraged and commended about attempting the event on a Brompton. I do think that the bright orange bike and attire helped but the level of love and support was wonderful from my big wheeled cousins.

I didn't really stop at the official rest stops at all, in favour of being self-sufficient. (This was for me a test run for the Dunwich Dynamo in a few weeks time. I am glad that I did as I gather there wasn't a great deal on offer and some stops running out of what they had. 

I had taken my Orange Titanium with me and ditched the normal saddlebag in favour of my trusty Mini O front bag and a small and lightweight Brompton pouch attached to the saddle containing additional water. This setup worked really well and the Mini O bag (that I have been using all the time on my Cloud Blue Brompton) was brilliant. 

The route was lovely and undulating. We passed through some lovely little villages almost suspended in time and I resisted the instinctive need to stop and take photos! Almost!!

I only saw one other Brompton rider the whole day. He was on a Chpt3 and looking strong. He glided past and shouted out hello. I replied to my fellow brother and he disappeared into the distance. 

There didn't seem to be as many people out lining the route as I remember on the Ride46 but those that did were vocal in their support and even more so for a chap dressed in Orange on an Orange Brompton! As with many of the participants they could not quite believe it and I suppose I was rather unique compared to the thousands of carbon road bikes going by. I am always surprised at the patience of people living in areas where road closures for an even like this takes place. They need to be commended. 

There were a couple of points in a ride where things came to a stop. I would say that they must have been almost 30ish minutes in total. Sadly, these were for accidents. I am not too good at seeing these, so when we were eventually allowed to cycled on and I saw some poor chap on the floor with a bandage around his head, I went to my happy place, looked the other way and hoped he was okay. 

The last 25 miles due to the stops was perhaps my slowest 25 miles of the entire ride. It was also where there was some rather selfish cycling. Some cyclists went at top speed undertaking, weaving and having little regard for anyone else. The Tunnel near the end was rather scary because of this. However, it could not dampen the enjoyment of the day. 

The RideLondon Essex 100 turned out to be 102 miles but hey who is counting. The finish line at Tower Bridge was a lovely way to end things. We had to wheel our bikes quite a bit to where the medals were handed out and on the way I chatted to fellow riders, equally as pleased that they had completed the ride.

The medal was a little different in that it was made of wood and not metal. I quite liked this and the fact it was more environmentally friendly to make a win win. 

As you can tell I enjoyed this ride a great deal. I cycled on my own but I chatted to scores of people on the way, albeit wheezing like Vito Corleone!  I managed to get round in 7 hours 50ish minutes. The moving time on my Wahoo was a great deal less than this. I didn't realise that your time would be stopped when you entered two of the stops, so I should have used them instead of stopping wherever I liked. The whole timing thing is the one aspect I don't really care for. When I do the Dunwich Dynamo in a few weeks time, the distance will be greater but the time aspect will not be a factor. With this there will also be a huge number of Brompton peeps taking part. Would I do this all again? If I could get in, I just might. 

This morning, after a very good nights sleep, I don't feel bad at all. The legs are telling me that they have cycled 102+ miles but apart from that no issues at all. Many thanks to the organisers, the people who live along the route and had to put up with road closures and to my fellow participants who took a shine to a chap on an Orange Brompton. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!