I must be mad. It is a conclusion not easily admitted but it must be true. I don't think I can even label myself eccentric. However the Small Wheels Big Difference chaps must border on insanity to allow me to accompany them on any of their interesting sojourns.
I dithered about going today - who wouldn't. 63 miles from the South Bank in London to Cambridge. I made up my mind at the last minute and headed off to the South Bank on my Raw Lacquer S2L. (The truth is Mrs MyOrangeBrompton allowed me out for good behaviour).
Unfortunately I was late by almost 20 minutes but everyone waited for me which I was very grateful for. We set off. It was also good to meet a fellow London Brompton club member, Geoff Snell.
Those of you who have read my woeful episode when I accompanied the Sw_bd chaps from Oxford to London will know that I ran out of fuel roughly half way. This morning I had porridge, bananas on toast with an extra dose of bananas for good luck. My S-Bag was laden with Haribo sweets and full fat Pepsi - not the diet variety I usually drink. I felt ready.
We headed out of London and it wasn't long until we were on the National Cycle Network Route Number 1. We cycled parallel to canal and river along gravel tracks. It was very picturesque.
At the halfway point we stopped at a pub (haven't a clue where it was) for liquid refreshment and sweets. Suitably nourished we headed off again. The more sensible stance I took with regards nutrition paid off as I didn't hit the wall. What I did start to feel was Jane Fonda's 'the burn.' My legs, more specifically my knees felt most of the burn and I found that the two gears were totally inadequate for this rider at least.
It is worth pointing out that a young lady called Isabel was also riding a 2 speed an S2R Turkish Blue. She seemed to have the speed, power and acceleration of Victoria Pendleton and was always at the head of the pack. I on the other hand brought up the rear like that witch on the original, Wizard of Oz furiously turning the pedals.
It was not long after we headed off that disaster struck. There was an audible pop and hiss as my rear tyre deflated. My initial thoughts I am ashamed to admit was, thank Christ. I'll have to phone for a taxi. At this moment I took on the persona of one of those blue rinse ladies from the WI. I have not a clue about how to change tyre. Geoff had a spare inner tube and Harry with great skill gave a how to change a rear wheel masterclass.
With tyre all ready and back on we headed off to, Newton where pub food waited. I imaged fish and chips, hot and steaming. Crispy batter with just a hint of salt and vinegar. When we arrived at Newton we saw the others waiting. (I was part of a sub-group that with the kindness of St Francis of Assisi kept me company as I ambled along).
The sub-group informed us that the pub was closed. Upon hearing this news I was very proud with myself for suppressing a scream - you would not believe the self-control this took. I wager Scott of the Antarctic went through the same emotions. We pressed on stoically.
Cambridge was 5 miles away. I saw the railway line and trains heading back to civilisation. Back to London. As fast as I could I pressed on. Eventually we arrived at Cambridge Station. I decided to go straight home while the others headed into Cambridge central for a well deserved rest and meal.
Back home in lovely London, slightly aching I still had a great time. I must say a very big thank you to all who went today and I'm sorry if the ride lasted longer than you'd have liked.
What the Small Wheels Big Difference team are embarking upon in a few weeks time really does need to be respected. Imagine riding this distance and often more every day for a few weeks. It is quite an undertaking. Please support them by donating what you can via their website.
I did take some pictures and I will post them in the next couple of days.