Tuesday 28 May 2024

Epic cycling weekend part 2 - Ride100

I have completed the Ride100 event a few times now but it has not been on my radar at all since the last time I took part. It would be true to say my stance on it was, done that. An opportunity arose to get a place so I signed up. 

As you might have read on my previous blog post, being 100 miles I was not going to do any cycling apart from the Ride100 but ended up doing an overnight London to Whitstable as well. (I must be stupid). Perhaps even more stupid, I didn't even have my Brompton Electric to take with me. (Again see the previous blog post). 

So, I cycled the 5.5ish miles to the start that began on The Mall and worked my way down the start waiting area. I took my Orange Titanium with me in absence of my Brompton Electric. Now I have a knee issue that is ongoing and I surmised if I simply pedalled at a sedate pace and where necessary, walk up any hills I could do it. (This worked well and I didn't actually need to walk up any hills just by taking things carefully). 

The start point waiting area was lots of fun. There were many who could not believe or comprehend why I would do this on a Brompton. I told them why it would be all okay - but didn't mention my knee! I also said that they would probably see a few others while we were out. 

My wave set off with little fuss and as I cycled along many cyclists came to cycle along with me to ask about my Brompton. There really was a great deal of love out there for all the diversity in terms of the bicycles and riders.

There were a few occasions where the ride stopped. For the in the photo below I think it was just a bottleneck created by a sharp right turn ahead. 

A second stop wasn't really a grinding to a halt but more of a rolling start. Bikes had to be pushed along for a while before things started up again. 

The third and final stop took quite a while to get through. No one could really tell what had caused it but it provided more opportunities to have a chat with fellow cyclists. Some liked the colour coordination, some my Brompton, others went away believing that my name was Mr Orange. (Well I suppose it is really on several levels). 

I spoke to one older gentleman as we cycled side by side for a while. He was on a rather lovely Specialized Electric. I did not know this until he told me. His plan was to only use it for the first half and then see how he went. He could get 50 miles out of it. I explained that I had wanted to do the same with my Brompton Electric but had to use the one I was on instead. About 100 metres ahead a lady came off her bike and had a really nasty tumble. She didn't crash into anyone or go into a pothole. and was probably cycling along at no more than 14-15 mph. I think she just applied the brakes and lost control. The rider she was with came to her aid thankfully, otherwise I would have stopped. 

I didn't really use the official stops a great deal other than to fill up my bottle with water, have a snack and check the bike over. As soon as this was done and I felt my knee was okay, I headed off.

When we passed through villages there were lots of people out cheering us all on. It was lovely. The novelty of a chap dressed in orange on an Orange Brompton was a dramatic change from the ubiquitous road bike and as such the cheers of encouragement were enthusiastic to say the least. Many had set up little tables and offered water and free snacks. It was quite wonderful and I very much appreciated it. 

The weather was pretty good and it was not too hot and not too chilly. There had been forecasts of rain the thunderstorms. In fact, I was sent weather advice from Ride100 late in the week advising what to wear, what precautions to take and generally what one should do in a thunderstorm. I thought we had got away with it until the heavens opened. I had to put on my light rain jacket and cycle on through. It didn't last too long thankfully and I soon dried as the sun came out afterwards. 

There were lots of different bicycles out there. I saw a couple of Brompton riders. One gentleman on a black Brompton with rack was elegantly powering along. As he passed me, he turned his head and smiled. I shouting out something along the lines, looking good and keep going and he glided into the distance. Another rider, powering along can be seen in the photo below. Her bicycle was wonderful and for me another welcome change from the road bikes. 

The last 25+ miles seemed hard. There lots of ups and downs, nothing too terrible but this along with a relentless headwind really did make things hard. I just kept pedalling - albeit much slower - but a few cyclists needed to stop and rest.

It was on the last few miles that a few of the participants showed that they were selfish, dangerous and totally arrogant in their desire to get the fastest time possible. I saw stupidly close passes - one where a rider passed so closely they actually made contact. I saw another swear at a rider who was merging into a coned part of the road - with their hand out indicating right - because he and his friends were riding side by side and she was not worthy of the same road space perhaps? Thankfully it was a minority; everyone I encountered  on the ride was lovely. 

By the time I reached the finish line I was glad to see it. The ride was over and I had done it. Tower Bridge was lined with spectators and the friends and relatives of participants. There was a great deal of love out there for all that passed by and I would like to think a little more vocal appreciation for someone doing it on an Orange Brompton. 

The medal was back to being made out of metal and much nicer than the wooden one I got the last time I did this. 

As I cycled back home, I had to negotiate the road closures for the Freecycle. I took things slowly and the legs and more importantly my right knee seemed okay. I do like the Ride100. Parts of the route are not that interesting but the atmosphere and the chance to cycle on traffic free roads more than make up for it. 

I would have loved to have completed this on my Brompton Electric, especially the last 25 miles. The good thing is that is has shown me that the altered approach to how I cycle has helped me with my knee issues. If I can do the Ride100, I can hopefully cope with anything else I usually do. Saying that, I doubt if I could have done both of these rides if I had not have used the Brompton Electric on the Whitstable run. As I type this I still feel okay and my body has definitely recovered. 

Earlier this morning I took my Brompton Electric into my favourite Brompton dealer so that they could have a look at its hub. I will let you know how I get on there and what they say. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

1 comment:

  1. Well done. I love my brompton and thinking of doing this myself. Not sure if a 4 speed is best over 6. But want to use newer bike.


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