Tuesday 29 July 2014

Brompton World Championship 2014 Video

The Brompton World Championships 2014 was brilliant. I managed to capture footage via a camera attached to the rails of my seat. I have always liked this view and it makes it a steady platform.

As always view in the highest quality you can.

Link to my video

Monday 28 July 2014

My Brompton World Championships 2014 - Brilliant or what!

What a day! The day I, many had been waiting for had finally arrived. I had set the alarms at stupid o'clock but could not really get to sleep too much as transported to being like a small child, I was excited.

In the early hours when trying to bore myself to sleep, I saw that at some point very early into Sunday morning, there would be a live stream of the Didcot Power Station's cooling towers being demolished. I made a mental not that it would be quite a thing to see before nodding off. Strangely, I awoke during the two minute countdown and saw the three towers raised to the ground. This spurned me to rise and I was soon up and out and off to Goodwood.

I arrived in good time and made my way to the registration area. With goodie bag, time chip on laminated race number and participants wristband, I made my  way back to my car to get ready.

For this event I chose to take both of my Brompton bicycles. The Titanium Orange Brompton for the Sprint and the actual Brompton World Championships and my new P Type for the Meander. I would have to swop over the race number a few times, but armed with cable ties and wire cutters, I was ready.

As I wheeled my bike I saw Mark and Andrew who were nipping back to their cars to put some items away. Hearing that the track was open, I hastily made my way to the hallowed tarmac. On the track I accelerated hard and found my rhythm. There was a wicked headwind that slowed me down for some time and I hoped that it would subside before the big one!

Gradually familiar faces came into view - some to watch, some to take part in one of the three events and some to do the Treble - all three. It was great to see so many old hands and lovely to meet so many people from all over the world who were kind enough to say that they not only read my blog, but actually enjoyed it.

The first event was the sprint. A 500 metre full out blast to the finish line. After a brief, briefing we were let loose on the track. Lining up in 12's we positioned our bikes in the start position, ran to them and peddled like mad!

Mark and I were in the second batch to go along with some of the big names who had appeared as winners or in the top 10 of various events in the past. Glup! When the horn sounded I ran to my Brompton, flicked the back wheel forward and sort of jumped onto my saddle. It was far from dignified! I can only wager that an onlooker would have likened me to the highwayman, Dick Turpin rapidly making his escape from the Kings Men on his trusty steed, Black Bess!!

Seeing Dr Hutchinson and Gavin Morton in a YouTube video from last years BWC bend double as they pedalled in aerodynamic fashion, I attempted the same (when it struck me halfway that this was the thing to do). I have to report that I came in the top 24 overall.

The brief, briefing for the sprint

Mark (King of the Hill) ready for the Sprint

The first wave of the Sprint goes off

Taking my Titanium Orange Brompton back to the car, I exchanged it for my new P Type as the Meander was next. This would be a 26km cycle in picturesque countryside. The P Type was definitely the Brompton for this task. (Besides I was desperate to use it)!

After another briefing we were off again. Part of the route was a lap of the track. Once this was down we were out on the open road. The route was well marshalled and there never felt any possibility that I was going to get lost.

Meander briefing

Almost ready for the off

The countryside around Goodwood was stunning. I rode mainly with Mark but there were quite a few of us doing this event. I am glad to write that there was one long and sustained hill. I really enjoyed it and my P Type gave me the confidence that I could tackle anything. At the summit of this hill there was a pit stop where we were able to get some refreshment. I believe that it was locally sourced. A scotch egg was perhaps the best I have ever tasted! Very grateful for anything at all we headed off again.

Pit stop #1

There was a second pit stop where a different selection of food was offered, equally as tasty. It was all terribly British and I made a mental note to try and find out the name of company that made those scotch eggs!

Pit stop #2

When on the Meander I got talking to a really nice chap who turned out to be the Swiss Brompton Champion. He told me that he had cycled five days from Switzerland to be at Goodwood. Chapeau!!

There was a massive downhill section where I reached over 37mph. I could have gone much faster but had to apply the brakes as a few cars approached with incredulous looks on the occupants faces as a tall chap, on a little bike, dressed in orange, in the slipstream position flew past. I was pleased that I clocked it on my new P Type.

As I approached the finish line I could see the familiar sight of Bob. It was only fitting that he gave me my medal!

With the Meander done and another medal for the cabinet in my pocket I took stock of my new prize. In short I love my new P Type. I like the looks an I like the handling. The SON dynamo light is going to be worth its price as soon as I do some night rides and when winter approaches.

Loving my new P Type

I also managed to find some Brooks leather bar tape which matched by luck my saddle. I put them on, first inserting a thin layer of gel at crucial points. I think they look rather fetching.

The Brooks bar tape looks better than the all orange grips I think

The chainring bolts added another subtle orange touch and I doubt if I will bother with the orange chain guard that I have fitted to my Titanium Orange Brompton.

With the Meander completed we had a few hours to spare. I went back to swop bikes for the last time.  On the way I again met some lovely people who enquired whether I was 'Mr Orange.' It really was quite lovely meeting so many people, all with the shared interest of Brompton bicycles.

As time passed things got busier as people started to arrive for the main event - the Brompton World Championships itself. Some of the outfits were great.

Oh I say!
Very stylish

Joe in his winning outfit

The lovely Anne, elegant as per usual

A band tirelessly played to entertain the growing throng and many had refreshments provided to participants. I got a cup of tea and a box of tasty sandwiches, a couple of brownies and a jam pastry. It was an added bonus and I really enjoyed it.

At 14:00 the final of the Sprint took place. Convinced that my Garmin Edge 810 may have created the necessary drag to slow me down, I vowed to not have it attached to my bikes handlebars next year. Realising that this was utter nonsense I turned to watch riders at speed zooming past the start/finish line.

Here come the Italians
The time had come for the main event. The call was made for bikes to be positioned on the start line. I took it to my peg and I was to be in the first wave. Standing nearby was for the second year running, the uber fast, Gavin Morton. (I had my fingers cross that this would be his year). Being in such illustrious company I flippantly quipped that I would let him have a head start! Oh if only that were true!! Mr Morton was off into the distance before I had time to even reach my bike!

On the starting grid

There was a rumour that jackets were optional. It was hot and humid and I decided that my jacket would be off. Not only this, I took my shirt out and had my cuffs dangling as I had forgotten my cufflinks. I am thankful that my dear Mother neither reads this blog nor was present to witness this. I fear the shock would have been too much and probing questions about the company I keep would have been forthcoming! There was worse to come...

At the pre BWC briefing, we were told that jackets needed to be on. O to the M to the G (much to my Mothers disapproval probably) were the words that came to mind!! John M had kindly agreed to look after my jacket, meaning he had it and I didn't!

Texting and then calling John as the race, the first wave was about to start he informed me that Mark had got the jackets (John had his as well). Ringing mark, he informed me that he had left it at my bike. I was now at the back of the first wave!

The horn went and as for previous years (and my Mother would have been delighted) being brought up a gentleman I refused to run. I walked - minced more like - to where my jacket lay, like the tunic of the Unknown Soldier. Putting it on and taking the time to pull my cuffs out, I then put my Garmin on the handlebars and my Garmin Virb camera into its mount. Only then did I walk, yes walk my bike out of the paddock and onto tarmac.

Under the impression that the timing would start from the timing strip under the start/finish line I continued to walk along, like someone strolling to an idillic picnic spot in the Cotswolds. The timing actually started when the horn sounded...dash it all!!

My first lap was my quickest, of that I am certain. It needed to be! I was one of last out and wanted to catch up Andrew. He was some way ahead and it wasn't long until I caught him up. Overtaking him and ensuring that he didn't overtake me was my first goal. Andrew was looking pretty dam good and as I passed him I was certain he was going to do well!

Finding someone to ride behind or work in a group proved to be difficult. For the entire race I was on my own. I did however provide the buffer for a charming young lady (#20) who stayed in my slipstream for the race. She later thanked me.

I found my Garmin of great use. Last year I knew my average moving speed was 19mph. If I managed to keep it above this, I'd have a faster time than last year. Of course, I was still oblivious that my start was at the sounding of the horn and not crossing the start line. 

The real battle was trying to maintain something above 19mph and search for a train to latch on to. When I found none after a couple of laps, I pressed on. I remember last year being windy in certain places and this year was much the same, though not as bad. For me at least it was warmer, perhaps more humid.

With one lap to go I made a final push, despite tired legs I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin recording, when I remembered to, a short while later. My average speed was 19.4 mph and it was just over 29 minutes. I hoped for a sub 29 minutes time...

With a Brompton staff member placing my medal around my neck, shaking my hand and saying well done I felt elated. My fourth BWC and the third time I had completed the Treble. After this we retired to the rest area and compared tales of racing around Goodwood and congratulating each other.

The super fast David not only obtained a very good time, he did so after stopping to retrieve his Garmin Virb camera which had fallen off mid-race. Chapeau!!

While we were waiting, I visited the Brompton merchandise stand. As Brompton were forced to move the entire event to Sunday rather than it including the day before, it undoubtedly caused disruption to many. Acknowledging this Brompton very kindly placed a £20 voucher in with the goodie bag to spend on the day if one wished. I used it to get a couple of pairs of rather fetching BWC socks. Credit to Brompton for doing this.

The winners podium

The race results weren't available at first but eventually we were able to congratulate all the winners. I was pleased to see that Joe B won the best dressed male in a quite stunning outfit. A great rider, great outfit and a lovely chap.

Goodwood was again host to the the Brompton World Championships - last year was excellent and as you can see from the title of this blog, I certainly enjoyed it this year! This World Championships nearly didn't happen as one of the main organisers for whatever reasons were unable to proceed. Brompton, being Brompton (brilliant) charged an employee the enormous task of picking up the pieces. She was rightly and publicly praised for her hard work by Brompton MD, Will Butler-Adams. In fact all the Brompton staff need to be commended for putting on another great event! Again I am struck that even if it is wonderful marketing (and it is) Brompton continue to put on these events. Anyone reading this who can think of another company that does anything like this, please let us know by leaving a comment.

As I type this I am still on a high. I love this event! If I could sign up for for 2015 right now, I would. I also know that I will for a few days at least have some withdrawal symptoms. This will be easily rectified by putting an event in the calendar or simply getting out one of my Brompton bikes and going for an adventure.

The common theme for an event like this is the fact that lots of people have Brompton bicycles. The variety of owners in terms of age, country of origin, background etc.., is vast making for an even more enjoyable event. This was a stunning event and my favourite so far. I loved it.

For next year I would like them to go back to timing us all from the second we cross the start/finish line, as apposed to the horn sounding. I know that a lot of people have got quite heated over this issue but for me it provides another aspect to train for...running to my bike rather than mincing to it!

For me the two Brompton strategy worked well, although perhaps three would be better? As always I have started my training for 2015 already. One thing I am certain of is that I won't be alone.

Thank you yet again Brompton...you're Brilliant!

More medals - love these!!
My beloved Orange Brompton bikes!

The map and ride data for the Meander and BWC can be viewed by the links below.

Meander map and ride data

BWC 2014 Map and ride data

Thursday 24 July 2014

My Titanium M-Type becomes an S-Type

Regular readers will undoubtedly know that my Titanium Orange Brompton has been undergoing change. Today I took possession of my beloved titanium one and was rather pleased with what I saw. My M-Type has become an S-Type.

I know what some of you are possibly thinking. Why didn't he just get an S-Type to begin with? The truthful answer is that at the time I bought my Titanium Orange Brompton I didn't want one. I wanted the more upright M to cater for all types of journey. I wanted the classic shape that is the M-Type. I wanted the M-Type as it represented the original handlebar shape that has become a design classic. I thought that it would be an all rounder, catering for all my cycling needs.

The change from M to S if I am being truthful is something I have been deliberating upon since I took possession of my newest Brompton bike. I sold my Raw Lacquer S2L in order to part fund my Titanium Orange Brompton. If you have read or care to read my blog posts on that particular bike you will discover that I absolutely loved it. It didn't take me long to start missing the elegance of the S-Type and speculating upon whether I had made a mistake?

So, the decision to change to an S-Type was made several weeks ago. The more I tinkered with my Titanium Orange Brompton the more I longed for it to be an S-Type. Funds did not allow until recently but as soon as they did I bought the parts required and did not look back. Taking them to the place I bought the bike in the first place, they were able to complete the transformation swiftly and I now have the Brompton I dreamt of and dare I say should have ordered in the first place?

I have written about the how I see my Brompton bikes being used for very different tasks. The Original Orange Brompton (a bike I would never sell) will be my commuting hack and terrible weather Brompton. My Titanium Orange Brompton will be everything else. It will come out to play for weekend rides, training runs, Brompton Club rides, adventures, night rides and of course racing. Despite my Original Orange Brompton being my sole means for transport to and from work it will actually do less miles a month than my Titanium Orange Brompton.

Initial impressions are very favourable. I love this bike! What was a great bike as an M is transformed into a wondrous S. Although only over 100g lighter, psychologically the brain is fooled into thinking the bike to be lighter than I recall. The handling is good with steering responsive and nippy. Happy memories of my S2L flooded back. Trying to ascend a very steep hill proved to be easier than on my M perhaps as I felt more stable and confident when riding out of the saddle.

As for looks, to my eyes it is a beauty. There is something about the S-type shape that is filled with a sense of élan.

What will I do with the old stem and M bars? Well they won't be going back on my Titanium Orange Brompton - ever. I might put the orange stem on my Original Orange Brompton. After all, you can never have enough orange!

12 Ways the Brompton user might annoy a roadie

Owning a Brompton is a joy. There is something very special about owning, riding and looking after the best bicycle bar none. There are some aspects of owning a folding bicycle that may annoy others in the cycling world. When I write 'others' I do mean roadies.

#1 - Hills

The Brompton with its smaller 16 inch wheels has a distinct advantage over its larger wheeled road bike cousin. This is because of some complicated and long winded physics, but as I hated O-level physics, you'll have to take my word for it.

If you have hills on your commute or when out riding recreationally and see a road bike, try and take it on the hill. As your eyes travel upwards taking in their lycra-clad bodies to their face, you can compound the shame by letting fly cheery, 'lovely morning for it!' For the truly vindictive, a Brompton rider sporting a 'King of the Mountain' jersey adds that final insult.

#2 - Multi-modal

We have all been there. Weather can be awful: rain, snow, fog. The list is endless. With a Brompton if you get fed up with the weather you can simply fold and take it on an alternative form of transport. Just try doing this with a full sized road bike!

#3 - 'Oh look it's a Brompton!'

The Brompton user often hear the above words. You just don't hear passers by say, 'oh look it's a Bianchi...Specialized...Giant....Cube....'

#4 - Better than a Puppy

The Brompton is endearing and dare I say bordering on the cute to many. People who have never set eyes on one are often captivated by them and actively engage the owner in animated conversion. They are the cycling world equivalent of a puppy!

#5 - Brompton World Championships

By the very act of owning a Brompton, you can enter perhaps THE greatest cycling event. Once you have competed in a BWC you can officially regard yourself as an international world class athlete. A roadie might well be able to enter a sportive, but come on...what can compare to the sight of hundreds of Brompton owners racing against each other!?

#6 - Fun

Owning a Brompton is fun. I am sure that roadies have  fun time riding their bikes but does it induce a glance, smile, wave from passers by the way a Brompton does?

#7 - Other Brompton Users

Owning a Brompton means you are part of a club, a fraternity where a common bond is shared instantly. The roadie might nod at each other but the Brompton user quite often dings their distinctive bell at each other. Roadies are often infuriated at witnessing this.

#8 - Locks? Who needs a lock?!

Owning a road bike can be a pain. If you want to pop down the road for a pint of milk etc.., in this day and age you will have to carry a lock. Even then the roadie runs the risk of having their prize targeted by the criminal classes. With a Brompton you simply fold and take it with you. The worry at the back of your mind of whether your bike will still be there is removed, thus making the Brompton owner happier.

#9 - The Shame of being overtaken

If another cyclist overtakes a Brompton, so what. We have smaller wheels! However, if a Brompton user overtakes a roadie (also see #1 again) unless that roadie is of the steeliest disposition they will feel a burning sense of shame.

#10 - Crossover

Many Brompton users actively seek out equipment traditionally designed for the roadie. This could be pedals, lycra, water bottles, micro saddlebags, nutritional products. A simmering hatred can build up in the roadie customer or shop assistant when they find out it is all for a Brompton user!

#11 - Entering a traditionally road bike event

Not so long ago, yours truly and few more brave Bromptonians entered the 'Mitie Revolution' which is traditionally a road bike event. On the start line, outnumbered many times over, the brave Brompton riders had to contend with some withering stares, perhaps asking the question, what are they doling here?! When the ride really started, we were given incredulous glances as we were able to keep up with some of our road bike cousins.

#12 - Clown bikes?

Some roadies will describe the Brompton as above. Many do not perhaps feel the Brompton is a proper bicycle. The comment does say more about the person who uttered it, especially when one takes into account all of the above!

There you have it. A dozen ways the humble Brompton user might, unintentionally annoy the roadie. I would of course say that one should not go out of ones way to annoy any other road user but would highlight # 1, 5, 9 and 11 for the truly wicked out there!

Short Video London Eye to Greenwich and Back

Below you will find a link to a very short video I took on the London Eye to Greenwich and back midweek Brompton adventure. They are a series of photos put together. How many London landmarks can you spot?

This post also marks me passing the 600,000 pages views mark. I actually passed it sometime last week.

As always watch it in the highest quality you can.
Link to short video

Monday 21 July 2014

My New Orange Brompton is Here!!

Today was a rather exciting day as the dealer I ordered my new Brompton from informed me that my bike was ready and would be sent out by Brompton this very afternoon. Being the best Brompton dealer bar none, I was able to collect it a day early!

I set off as soon as I could and waiting for me was my prize. The specs are as follows:

  • P Type handlebar
  • 6 x Speed
  • 44T chainring
  • Mudguards
  • Orange frame and extremities
  • Extended seat post
  • Firm suspension
  • Marathon tyres
  • SON Hub Dynamo lighting
  • Eazy wheels
  • Brooks B17 Special 
Hurrying home before having to go out to work again in the early evening, I wasted little time in taking the black foam grips off and replacing them with something altogether more orange. There are a few other subtle changes - I wonder if you can spot them? (Any eagle eyed types leave a comment).

It is far too early to write anything at length other than I am VERY pleased with it. Below are some quick photos taken with my phone. Expect a great deal more!

The P Type isn't for everyone, but I have admired them from afar for several years. For me at least it will give me all I need for the type of riding I am doing now and into the future.

There is nothing like ordering a bespoke Brompton and there is something special when it finally arrives. Many thanks to the dealer I bought this Brompton from. He is a rather good chap and luckily for me a friend too.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Back East on a Brompton

Last Wednesday I took the opportunity to head into London after work for a ride organised by David. The meeting point was the London Eye and looking forward to this ride all day I did my best to try and get there by the allotted time.

Luckily, I managed to do this with more than enough time to spare and as I walked across Hungerford Bridge I stopped to take a few photographs.

Near the London Eye there were lots of street performers and stopping to have a look I was left with the feeling that I could do something more entertaining myself. Perhaps it is performer in me that makes me think this would be a possibility?

There were quite a few riders for this midweek event. There was another a few weeks ago which I was unable to attend and this one attracted some old and new faces - which is always a good thing. I was very pleased to see Anne and David. It seemed like ages since I saw them and I was definitely having withdrawal symptoms. This was also the case for my Partner in crime, Andrew who I had not seen since the Nocturne!!

Again I took my Titanium Orange Brompton - my only Brompton at the moment. One of the participants for the ride was asking about my bikes - as one does - and my new order. I politely declined to say what I was getting as I wanted this blog to be the first place I reveal it to the world. There was a puzzled expression on his face...

Also on the ride was Mark (King of the Hill) on his new single speed super light Green Brompton. It looked wonderful and Mark was rightly chuffed.

It was a hot an humid evening and our route was a good one that allowed us to hug the river Thames and not venture too much onto busy roads.

Also on the ride was Bob. It was good to see him and he was sporting a Brompton World Championship top from a few years back that in my opinion they should repeat. It is a stunner and I suspect they would sell hundreds.

Could this be the best cycling jersey ever?!

Part of the fun of riding a Brompton in a large group is the opportunity to travel in a Brompton peloton. This ephoria inducing experience is something all Brompton owners should have a go at!

Just after Tower Bridge we saw that Guy had also joined the ride. It was good to see him and sensibly owning more than one Brompton he was riding his M type rather than his usual Raw Lacquer P type.

When we reached Canary Wharf there was a concert playing, 'We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line' of all things. I hummed and sang along with this long after I passed earshot and did so for the next few days. In fact as I type this, it is in my head again and I will surely be humming and singing it for a few days more!!

At the Greenwich foot tunnel going under the Thames some of us walked down, while others took the lift. The difference in temperature was dramatic and felt as if we had entered a plush air-conditioned building.

We said goodbye to a few people once we had emerged from the tunnel while the rest of us pressed on for the return to the London Eye.

At the Eye we went our separate ways. Andrew and I rode as far as Hyde Park Corner together before we too parted company. This was a great little ride and many thanks to David for organising and to all the people who turned up. It was lovely to see some new faces.

The fact the ride was on a Wednesday, totally threw me for the rest of the week. In addition to singing and humming a certain war song,  I could not get it into my head that the next day was Thursday!

Next week is going to be a very busy one and as I will have lots to carry to and from work I doubt if I will be able to use my Brompton. The Brompton World Championships is next Sunday and I will gave to find the time to prepare for it...anyway I can!

The map and ride data can be viewed by clicking in the link below.
Link to map and ride data

Saturday 19 July 2014

Dunwich Dynamo - Longest Brompton Ride...Ever

Last Saturday I embarked on a ride/event that has been in my consciousness ever since I have owned a Brompton. I should have done this ride twelve months ago but wrongly positioned cleats induced much knee pain and trying this ride then - however much I wanted to - would have been plain stupid. The ride, event in question is the famous Dunwich Dynamo and last Saturday night, Sunday morning would prove to be a few hours I would not forget in a hurry.

The Dunwich Dynamo started back in 1993 when a group of bicycle messengers left London for the Suffolk coast on fixed wheeled  bikes. Since then it has grown in popularity attracting more and more participants.

The week leading up to the Dynamo I didn't really have a great deal of time to dwell on the prospect of cycling 112 miles on a Brompton. It was hectic at work and this meant thoughts of the Dynamo were our firmly to one side.

With only one Brompton to use I took my Titanium Orange Brompton. If my new Brompton had of been around I would have taken that but as it wasn't I had no other option. I packed as light as I could but had to forgo the Mini O bag in favour of its bigger brother the O bag. (I am really glad I did but more on that later). My main concern was water and fuel. I wanted to be more or less self-sufficient and stop only when necessary.

I was riding with Geoff and a work acquaintance of Guy called Richard. The meeting point was Liverpool Street Station and instead of getting the tube there, I cycled. In doing so I clocked up close to 12 miles in the way of a warm up. Of course I got lost and had a concerned Geoff on the phone enquiring where I was. I knew I was nearby but when Google Maps indicated that I had in fact reached my destination, it dawn on me that Liverpool Street Station was across the road!

As the three of us set off for the official start at Hackney Fields it started to drizzle. Was this an omen of what was to come? It was on our way to the start I learnt that my Partner in Crime, Andrew was not coming to see us off as planned. Unfortunately, Andrew was unable to get time off work to participate in the Dynamo and didn't want to have to take off a couple of valuable days holiday. This was a shame as I suspect he would have enjoyed it.

The start was busy and there were a nervous tension in some riders. You could see it on their faces, in unsure glances and in small talk. I didn't feel that nervous at all as I didn't really know too much about the route other than the milage and felt prepared physically and mentally.

The start - a very clean Orange Brompton

Without a great deal of fuss we headed to the blue bridge that marked the unofficial, official start at about 20:10. Cycling off with all manner of bicycles left, right, forward and behind we formed a neat little pack. It reminded me of watching the Tour on television.

Initial miles getting out of London were slow and one had to keep ones whits. There was sudden braking, overtaking on the inside and generally selfish cycling. I was glad when we eventually reached Epping Forest as we thinned out and had more space.

Geoff and I didn't go mad with the pace. With hindsight we could have gone considerably faster and not suffered any ill effects but it wasn't a race and for my first Dynamo I was happy to conserve energy just in case.

As we cycled along several roadies commented on the fact that I was attempting the Dynamo on a Brompton. They thought I was crazy buy admired the fact I was not only doing it but maintaining a good pace. Many of them were hoping to complete the run in under seven hours. When they said their goodbyes they accelerated off into the distance and their speed was nightly impressive.

About about 22:30 the heavens opened. This was a torrential downpour and looking skyward the rain was so heavy it stung my face. Realising that we had better take sanctuary, we found the garages of some flats and laid up until the worse of it was over. We were joined by other cyclists who sensibly decided to wait things out too. Unfortunately, it was the point at which we lost Richard who had been a little further back. Setting off after a few minutes we had waterproof jackets on but felt hot in them, it being a rather hot and humid affair. Thankfully, as traces of rain disappeared we were able to get rid of them.

At midnight I reached the halfway stop at more or less 50 miles. This surprised me as we had made excellent  pace in such a short space of time. I reached this point alone as unbeknownst to me Geoff had suffered a rear wheel puncture. Richard rolled in not long after and with a text from Geoff we decided to wait for him.

The halfway point at midnight

Roughly 45 minutes later we were off again for the final push. As we cycled by we saw little candles, lit and strategically placed by persons unknown at critical junctions. They were rather pretty and a welcome sight. As the night was still, they weren't blown out and must have lasted for many hours.

As we cycled along for the next few hours we lost Richard again and were not to see him again for the rest of the ride. This was unfortunate as we had hoped to stay together. Geoff and I maintained a good pace together but he started to go into the distance and I lost sight of him. I was defiantly getting slower and the cycling felt like hard work. I was starting to feel real tired so I stopped to have an energy bar and take on some water. A fellow cyclist past me and shouted, 'flat front tyre.' Having a look at my tyre, it was indeed very flat. Not wishing to put some air into it and see it that would do, I had the wheel off and replaced the inner tube. Examining the old one I could find nothing wrong and the tyre looked good too. I suspect there might have been something wrong with the value?

Feeling quite proud of myself for changing a tyre 'in the field' I set off. Instantly things felt much better and normal service was resumed. It was not long before I saw Geoff and we were to remain together for the rest of the ride.

The early hours of the morning were as beguiling as they were beautiful. A myst covered the countryside like white blankets draped over old furniture. The dawn chorus began and birds competed in their quests for the greatest song.

At 97 miles Geoff and I stopped at one of the many roadside refreshment points for a bacon roll and a mug of coffee. This was like food from the Gods. Feeling pretty good for having cycled 97 miles, on a Brompton through the night we pressed on for the finish.

97 mile stop for food

At almost 112 miles we reached the end at about 07:45. We had done it. The Dunwich Dynamo had been completed. A long term goal had been realised. There were not medals, no photographers to take your picture to view/buy online later...just the satisfaction of completing an organic cycling event.

Geoff's coach was off pretty quickly and we said our goodbyes. It was great cycling with Geoff. This was his second Dunwich Dynamo and I am not sure I could have done it without him.

The line for the coaches

I was using a different coach company and had to wait in line for some considerable time to see what time my coach would leave. Eventually I found out I was on the noon coach. Retiring to the beach, not overly impressed I sat gazing out to the sea. This was the part of the ride I did not care for. I wanted to get home, see my wife and family, tell them about my adventures and that I had completed the Dynamo on my Orange Brompton. No...I sat on a beach watching people (who in public should be fully clothed at all times) discard their clothing for a dip in the sea.

Not long afterwards and feeling slightly less truculent, I saw a few more familiar faces from the Brompton Club. They had done the Dynamo too and the sense of achievement and general happiness at compelling the 112 miles was obvious.

A couple of people came up to me enquiring if I was that Orange Brompton chap. It was nice to meet the readers of my blog, if not rather surreal.

A vert dirty Orange Brompton

My orange O bag proved to be worth its weight in gold. My intention was to travel ultra light but I was unable to carrying wet weather gear, food and water. At no point did I feel it slowing me down and I ended the ride totally loving it - more that I already did. Added to this was the fact that I had total confidence in it waterproofing prowess.

Oh dear!

Just after 11:00 and having enough of the beach I headed for the coach park. I was able to place my Brompton, folded in the coaches boot. The driver was excellent and cardboard was placed around it so it wouldn't get scratched. Retiring to a seat on the coach I waited for noon and departure.

We left on time. I have very few memories of the journey home. At points I woke up from my slumber to look round and see all fast asleep. I awoke for the last 10 minutes and at 14:40 we arrived back in London, in Southwark.

I wasted little time and set off. By the time I reached my car I had cycled getting on for 150 miles (including my cycle to the meeting point, the Dynamo itself and then this journey). When I got home I felt as if I needed some sleep but the legs felt fine.

The next day I felt fine too and was able to cycle to work as normal. I suspect that going on lots of Friday night rides to the coast and some of the longer rides this year have all helped.

In the build up to the Dynamo I changed my mind about whether or not I would be going several times. I am glad that I did. In my book there is little point sitting around saying you'd like to do something and then back out. Any ride of 100 miles plus is demanding and the Dynamo was the longest single ride I have ever done. This is now the second time this year I have ridden over 100 miles. I suspect there will be more.

Would I do it again? When I was waiting in the line for coaches and then sitting on the beach no. When I was on the coach, falling asleep and waking up no. When I reached London and had to cycle even more, no. When I reached the car and was driving home and got home, maybe. The next day commuting to work on my Orange Brompton, feeling pretty good, yes. The only caveat is that I would need to find some riding partners able to cycle at a decent pace - not too slow and not too fast. The Dynamo would be a lonely affair on ones own...but I wouldn't rule it out totally. (If I do it next year it will be on my new Touring Orange Brompton which might well be being build as I type this blog entry. More on that though, when it arrives).

Many thanks to Geoff and Richard for the company and I hope that we can all find the time to do it again next year.

Link to map and ride data