Sunday 21 April 2024

London to Shorehan-by-Sea overnight Brompton ride

Last Friday night into Saturday morning was the first of the larger group rides to the coast. This one - as I mentioned in a recent blog post - was to Shoreham-by-Sea, roughly five miles from its perhaps better known neighbour Brighton. 

I set off from north London with my journey to the start location about 6 miles away. Cycling at a leisurely pace I made it there by 23:40ish. Geoff was there but Dr John bailed as he sometimes does if there is engineering works that spoils the fun. Geoff and I were the only members of the old firm but there was Stuart, Recumbent Bob, Greg and many others who have been doing this sort of thing well before Geoff and I have. (More on that later). After the briefing by Rider Leader Jim, a couple of minutes after midnight we were off. 

It was a coldish night but it did not take that long to warm up. Our progress was good and we passed through the busier parts of London purposefully. Once we turned left onto Cathles Road it always seems to mark the point at which things get a little quieter. This perhaps magnified by cycling through the green bits of Tooting Common and along the edge of Mitcham Golf Club. 

Instead of cycling up to and then over Farthing Downs we kept south passing Chipstead and through Reigate. I could be wrong but this might have been a route we used many years ago? 

As always, we stopped at certain points to regroup and were not really kept too long. The moon was reasonably full and illuminated our way when the clouds obliged. At one point I thought I heard a Nightingale singing along quite beautifully but as I cycled by I put it down to a Blackcap perhaps. 

We reached the sanctuary of the scout hut at Burstow where the welcome was as always warm and friendly. 

I enjoyed the food put on offer and the hot drinks but I did actually start to almost fall asleep. In fact I found it very difficult to keep my eyes open, knowing that if they were to shut, I might well be out for the count!

A couple of participants sadly had to bail at this point. Each of them had a rear derailleur break, despite some best efforts, proved to be the end. 

When I could speak, Geoff and I considered how long we have been going on these rides. We could not quite believe that it was over 11 years! Time really does fly. 

At 05:00 I ventured out into the early morning and I felt cold. I put on a couple of snoods and once we started pedaling felt a little better. 

Up until this point in the ride, I had only turned on the Brompton Electric once to ascend a little incline. (Don't tell Mrs Orange). Turners Hill is not really that bad I was going to cautiously make my way up. Considering that this might be the time to use it, I leaned over and turned the power on. I made rapid progress. I actually started to ease off quite considerably as I would have overtaken the front of the ride. As I did, I looked down at the Terry Thomas sticker on the frame and had to chuckle more than a little. The Brompton Electric really does destroy hills. I have used it on pretty much all the famous ascents in London and it makes them easy. You still need to put in some effort but my goodness does it make things easier. 

Dawn approached the pack of riders thinned out slightly. Those times cycling a few minutes alone are rather wonderful in their own right. I was then jolted into the realisation that I had not really used the Electric bit of my Brompton Electric that much. I had 48 miles come up on my Wahoo so I turned it on and glided along. 

We passed quaint little villages with picture postcard views and the miles seemed to glide by quickly. 

Reaching Shoreham, we headed for the end the ride and the possibility of breakfast. 

The breakfast location was called 'Port Kitchen.' I rarely stay for breakfast and usually head for the nearest station. The sun was shining and the food smelled really good so I decided to stay. Besides, I would be able to chew the fat with Geoff a little, we could cycle together to Brighton and get the same train. The breakfast was wonderful. The photo below is actually Geoff's breakfast. Mine disappeared swifty before I gave thought to things such a photos! 

Geoff and I made out way to Brighton and the station and boarded our train for London Bridge. The journey went quickly taking a little over an hour. A dog and their owner were seated not far away. It appeared friendly and got strokes from just about everyone close by - including Geoff. I eyed it with some suspicion as it looked at me and pretty much gave me the same look. It didn't come over to me, perhaps sensing I was a cat person!? At London Bridge we parted ways. Geoff was down the platform before I could say goodbye as the steps down to the exit lay ahead. I cycled back with my Brompton Electric on power setting 2. Things were pretty flat until I reached a road near a famous cemetery. A poor roadie looked broken when I glided by saying, 'lovely day for it.' 

I enjoyed this first nocturnal outing proper - the one a couple of weeks ago ended up being halted halfway. The route was a good one and the breakfast stop worth visiting instead of just getting the train home. This route might even feature as a ride I do outside of the group rides? The ride was just over 62 miles and as I type this entry, I feel fine. The knee is okay and my more cautious approach to inclines and cycling in general seems to be paying off, along with the power of the Brompton Electric. (I do need to use that power a little more than I do though). 

Thank you to Jim for doing an excellent job in leading the ride, the Tail End Charlies, Burstow Scouts and to Geoff for his company. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment.