Posts tagged with “Nightride”

June 16

A salutary tale

I have developed [a coping strategy]( "forum post that explains this strategy") for my cycling... well for the times when I feel danger has been inflicted upon me, for want of a better expression. My normal experiences of this are depressingly abusive towards myself - for example recently I was cut up by a driver, quite badly as she turned left despite my loud proclamation, "Please do not cut me up!" an don drawing level with her at the traffic lights she discarded a fag butt in my general direction and told me to "F**K Off" before I could even ask if she knew she had cut me up (obviously it was intentional). I was left feeling shitty despite my best efforts to drop her aura of shittiness all over me..... But then a couple of days ago things turned out with a most expected outcome... I was travelling up the first hill on my commute and a car seemed to whizz by about 18 inches off my elbow, which is enough to get my ire up... I managed to get a wriggle on and catch him in a queue of traffic on the other side of the hill... at first the driver appeared to be your usual, and showed no signs of hearing my complaint of less than three feet clearance on overtaking. Things seemed promising when he volunteered to pull over to discuss. We continued to dispute reasonably and I thanked him for taking the time to pull over. Not long after that he said "You don't know who I am do you?" and proceeded to reveal he was manager of [[Herne Hill Velodrome]]! He explained an oncoming car had been signalling left and then come straight on, combined with my perhaps not "keeping my line" and he had thought I was downshifting with my bike being a tourer etc. My mind was already thrown into turmoil and I sort of almost offered a salute. He asked if I had taken part in the recent "night ride" and I said not this year, but did it last year on our tandem. Before long we were comparing tandem tales, it turned out he once managed a 30 miles in a sub hour time and held a record on a day when that particular record was broken six times! Sadly his wife sold the tandem after apparently throwing up behind him, which I can imagine would be a pretty off-putting experience all round. But the tale is salutary in more ways than my involuntary salute I think... Given we one day hope to plan a tandem club ride involving a Velodrome stop for the café I am sure this could actually be the first time a positive new contact has been made in such apparently adverse circumstances.
08:49 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
June 14

London Nightride 2011

Mission Accomplished!

And what a ride it was, despite the excitement of variously discovering our rear lights were slightly out when we changed luggage plans at the last minute and having a bolt work loose which detached the upper stokers bars early in the ride.  The one thing which did perform throughout were our bluetooth Scala headsets, which were a definite help in keeping the team tandem spirits up.

There was a great sense of urgency and of a team event as we pressed on through the night.  One could be in no doubt of being in a city environment, the biggest delaying factors were jams and traffic lights, despite this being an overnight ride.  It's hard for me to single out any one particular moment, I was enjoying every moment of the ride and felt as though I was warming up as we progressed, perhaps peaking around the fifty five mile mark.  The breaks rolled around with regularity and it surprised me how much I could eat.  It was a real luxury to have various snacks available at the breaks and the mechanic from Druid Bicycles was patient and managed to improvise a safety strapping with cable tie and sticky plaster for the bars when we pulled up near Tower Bridge for the first break point.

The climb to Alexandra Palace was special, with the "rosie fingers of dawn" just visible over London to the South as we consumed our hot dog and bacon and egg baps!  No real need for coffee as the buzz of the ride and the exercise kept us awake.  I was filled with respect for the cyclist we met there who managed the climb with just one leg, having a prosthesis for the other.  Not only that, but he has already completed a 32 mile ride that morning, with a brief nap in the afternoon then on to the Nightride, making his total mileage over a hundred within 24 hours!

The descent from there through Hampstead was one I had experienced before, and but not on a tandem.  There was definitely something extra to be had from the descent with company, and it was interesting that an aerodynamic recumbent joined us during the descent and our idling speeds were comparable. 

Approaching the last ascent I suddenly realised that the walking riders we had just passed on the pavement were another tandem team!  I braked to a halt and we said hello - then got to hear their story.  These two young ladies had travelled down from Scotland on the Friday to collect a hired tandem they had never ridden before for the event!  Not only that, they were staying some ten miles from the start point and had been assured they could take the tandem there by bus!  I don't think so!  Having managed to walk and ride to the start they had set off and at the point we were completing our ride they were still shy of the half way mark!  We had to admire their spirit of adventure, but I really hope they called in for help and got taken back to the start before the weather closed in later on the Sunday.  Whatever became of them their adventure was surely something they will remember; I just hope it does not put them off tandem riding in future.

We plan to write up a better account than this one, but I wanted to lay out some of my impressions and memories early.

From our cycle computer we know we managed about seventy miles with 5:45 riding time, keeping an average of almost 12 mph.  I'm quite happy with that given that the event was a leisure ride and we were aiming to enjoy ourselves, which I think we did, possibly more than we could have hoped for.  The weather staying dry was a big help, the break stations and marshals were great and gave things a real team spirit, and the public we met along the way were generally great about it too.

12:25 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,