Monday 24 December 2012

2012 has been some year!

2012 has been quite a year for me. I remember at the end of January 2012 being very excited at passing the 15,000 page views for my humble blog. It now stands (at time of writing) at 90,190. This is to me an incredible achievement. It is of course thanks to you my loyal and ever growing readership!

Despite going on quite a few rides with the Small Wheels chaps during the first half of the year, I was still quite unfit and possibly approaching two stone heavier than I am now. At the start of August I made a concerted effort to watch what I eat and cycle a bit more. At the start of the Brompton World Championships I was just over 14 stone (possibly having lost a little weight already) and fitter than 2011 for sure. I now weigh 12 and a half stone and feel fitter still. I am hoping to lose a little more weight but I suspect that at 43 years young, I have plateaued somewhat. (I also have Christmas to get through)!

I am going to provide a list of highlights from 2012 and provide the links to my blog so that you can relive the past year with me. At the end I am going to try and pick one event that I regard as being my personal highlight of the year - which believe me will not be easy as I have participated in so many great rides.

February 2012

Way back in February 2012 I somehow heard about, Small Wheel Big Difference. Looking back I cannot recall how I heard about them? I think I read a tweet and saw that they were inviting fellow Brompton owners to join them on a training ride from London to Tunbridge. I hemmed and hawed about whether to go on this but I was glad that I actually did. It was the longest ride I had ever been on and to my surprise I actually enjoyed it!

London to Tonbridge with Small Wheels Big Difference

April 2012

April was quite a busy month. I joined Small Wheel Big Difference for their 'Brompton Monopoly Ride' which was excellent. This was the first time that iCrazyBee and I met but we didn't really speak to each other as we were on different teams. Little did I know what we would get up to then?

Brompton Monopoly

Also in April was The London Cycling Campaign, 'Big Ride.' This was the first time that iCrazyBee and I went on a ride together and it was to be the start of a beautiful friendship. On this ride I joined thousands of other cyclists in Central London in support of safer routes for cyclists.

The Big Ride

Finally, a ride I will never forget - Oxford to London with Small Wheel Big Difference. On this ride I started out with a naivety that still has the power to shock me. Click on the link and you will discover how I thought I'd survive this quite demanding ride with nothing more than a chocolate bar for breakfast! Never again have I made that mistake!

Oxford to London with Small Wheels

May 2012

At the start of May I managed to get a place on the Tweed Run. This was a wonderful ride and I loved it. Wearing as much tweed as possible we cycled at a sedate pace around London. The look on the faces of tourists was a picture.

The Tweed Run

I joined Small Wheel Big Difference for another of their interesting training runs, this time London to Cambridge. If you click on the link you can see if I learned from the error of my ways on the Oxford to London ride.

London to Cambridge with Small Wheels

June 2012

An event I had not heard of before but managed to get a place on was the IG Markets London Nocturne. This was a brilliant day out and I loved it. I even managed to get in to the final. Fingers crossed that I get a place in the January ride and then the one in June 2013!

At midnight I went on my first ever all night ride on something called the Velonotte. I cycled around London, ending up at Canary Wharf at 05:00 am. It rained throughout the entire ride!

July 2012

The Brompton World Championships was very much in my thoughts in July. The launch ride for the Championships was held in Manchester earlier in the year and there was no way I would have been able to travel that far. Luckily Brompton decided to put on their 'Factory Ride' where those lucky enough to get selected were able to enjoy a scenic ride. The ride ended up at the Brompton factory and guided tours allowed us almost backstage passes. It was a great event and very good of Brompton to put it on.

Factory Ride - Part 1 

Factory Ride - Part 2

August 2012

There was only one thing to think about in August and that was the Brompton World Championships. This year one could enter three events. Yes, I entered all three! It was a fantastic day and I absolutely loved it. Again, Brompton really do know how to put on a great event!

After the high of the Brompton World Championships I sensed that many Brompton riders wanted something more to get their teeth in to. I put forward a Richmond to Oxford ride for the Brompton Club and it proved to be very successful.

Richmond to Oxford

October 2012

Another ride with the Brompton Club saw us cycle along the Grand Union Canal and pay an impromptu visit to the Brompton Factory just to take photographs. There were a few welcome surprises!

December 2012

The Greenwich Loop saw some of the Brompton Club go on and over the River Thames. It was a largest attended club ride and for me, one of the most enjoyable.

Epic on the Thames and Over the Thames Greenwich Loop

I thought about a night time ride in order to take photographs of London asleep. My idea was to become a reality as several other club members joined me at a 01:00 am start riding to famous landmarks and locations in London. Mad or what?

Well, how do you pick a highlight, a favourite among this lot? Thinking about it and trying to choose is very difficult!

I have loved receiving all the comments, emails, tweets from you my readership telling me that I have had a part to play in you buying or considering getting a Brompton. To hear that some of you have decided to get out of a weekend and go on your own cycling adventures is wonderful.

In terms of me getting out and riding more on my Brompton, I feel I have done this and the blossoming of the  London Brompton Club has provided a suitable fix for getting out, meeting like minded (slightly mad) people. It had been through these rides that I have met up with some great characters - I would not have know otherwise. I have a few new friends - particularly my riding partner, the legend that is iCrazyBee, Mark W and our Commander and Chief Mick B.  I am sure that 2013 will continue to be an even better year on this front with all the rides we have planned.

I really enjoyed all the rides with the Small Wheels Big Difference chaps. It was on the longer rides that I had to push myself hard and consider my fitness. They were excellent hosts and their aim of riding from Lands End to John o'Groats for charity was a noble and worthy cause.

The IG London Nocturne was a brilliant event and I left wanting to do it all again but for me the Brompton World Championships was the one event that I looked forward to above all others. Entering all three events (hope that they keep this for 2013) was as fun as it was a challenge and I loved coming home with three medals!

I suspect that when Brompton announce where the World Championships are to be held for 2013 (as it probably won't be at Blenheim Palace) my thoughts will be dominated by it. I will want to get ready for it physically/mentally and more importantly, consider at length what I am going to wear!

I have lots of plans for 2013 and it could well be my most active year since owning my Brompton, so keep coming back to my blog to hear all about it. Thank you for reading my humble blog and I hope that I can continue to keep you entertained and occasionally put a smile on your face and tell your friends about it.

All that I have to write now it that I wish you all a very happy Christmas and hope that 2013 is going to be a good year for you!

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