Monday 27 May 2024

Epic Brompton cycling weekend part 1 - Whitstable.

Last Friday was the second night ride to the coast and one of my favourites to Whitstable. I had resigned myself to give it a miss as I had a fairly unexpected and last minute place on the Ride100. There was no way I could both? Well, you will need to wait a few days for the second part of this, as yes I did do both but a little drama on my Brompton Electric as I arrived home almost scuppered my plans. 

The meeting point was the usual one and I cycled gently the 6 miles it would take to get me there. Thankfully no strange going on as I descended Swain's Lane.

Our ride leader Kim was there busy ticking names off and soon Geoff rolled into view - always a very welcome sight. Kim remarked on a little confusion with regards food at the halfway stop. Tim - a former ride leader, magician and host for the best halfway stop refreshments bar none, send me an email about food choices while I was at work. A little confused at the offering of jam rolls, marmite or jam and peanut butter I replied. It seemed that I had picked the vegan option somehow - I say somehow but I have large hands and they sometimes don't always mix with an iPhone. I have nothing against vegans (I am all but a vegetarian) but I did find it funny. 

The night riding thing was still a joy. The weather was pretty good. No rain or real chance of rain and pretty mild. The sounds of just your bicycle doing its thing and that of others was pretty much the only sound to be heard, apart from the odd bird calling here and there. 

The first half of the route was different to that of previous year and I actually preferred the old one - along the Thames, Woolwich, The Call Boy pub... Cycling through Lewisham was not the best and I am glad we were cycling at speed. Someone was having a disagreement and attempting to throw a bottle at the window of a pub. It was a plastic bottle and as karma would have it, said bottle bounced off the window and hit them in the face. 

We reached the halfway stop in good time and a feast awaitied us. I had difficulty staying awake and conversation was pretty minimal from everyone. 

We emerged into daylight and as always a little chillier. A boil in the bag needed to go on for a few miles. 

At one point our path was blocked by deep excavations. Very carefully, the gap in the fence was moved, allowing us to pass through and the fence placed back into place before we left. 

The sun started shining and it was a glorious morning. I had not actually utilised my battery at all so far but it was nice to know it was there. 

The morning sunshine produced some great scenery and country lanes provided for some lovely cycling. 

When we got to view of the Dartford crossing, the phones were out for several photos. 

As we arrived at Faversham the church with its unusual spire came into view. Sadly, we did not stop there long enough for any more photos. 

The point came where we reached the last turn from which we could cycle at our own speed and ride ahead of the ride leader. At this I turned the power on and headed off. Perhaps it was being tired but it has not occurred to me that above 15.5 mph, I would be powering my Brompton! It was only when I stopped at a set of traffic lights when I arrived at Whitstable and them moved off, that the power kicked in. 

Arriving back at Whitstable station, I was on the 08:28. It was a very busy train and the journey took almost 90 minutes. A lovely nocturnal adventure. Many thanks to Kim for leading and also Claire who acted at temporary ride leader for a bit, Tim for the wonderful food, my fellow cyclists and of course Geoff. 

I arrived back at Victoria station and headed for home. It would be almost 7 miles and the power was on and I loved it. As I neared home the rear was not doing what it should. It was as if the wheel was stuck. Upon closer inspection the rear hub is definitely f@#%ed internally. No way that it should have gone like this on a new bike. I will now have to take it to a dealer and see if the fabled Brompton after care is what people say it is. I will let you know about that one!

So, I was unable to take the Brompton Electric on the Ride100. I will post a blog about that in a few days. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

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