British Cyclosportive (Etape Anglais)

A major, unique event in the cyclosportive season, following the route of stage 1 of the Tour de France on its historic UK Grand Depart, the event will take up to 5000 riders on an epic 192k (120mi) journey from beautiful and historic Greenwich out of London and through the Kent countryside to finish in Canterbury, in the shadow of the city?s ancient cathedral. A must-do, once-in-a-lifetime chance for any serious cyclosportive rider to blaze the trail of Le Tour itself.

British Cyclosportive website

With that spiel in mind, I entered. Last minute, mind. Wouldn’t want to appear interested. Not my style at all.

Sat 13:00

Registered at Greenwich Park in the pissing rain. Should be fun – “severe weather warnings have been issued for London and South East”.. grand, just grand!

Sat 20:24

Finished cleaning bike from last weeks drenching. Cleaned and lubed chain. Fitted brand new Blackburn Airstick to frame. Filled saddle pack with 2 tubes, puncture kit and keys. I’m actually very nervous about this as I really don’t know what to expect. But I rarely clean the bike so now that I’ve done it I HAVE to ride!

Sat 20:30

Continue panic. 192k (120mi) for the ride proper and I still have to get to the start 30k away from home. Decided to take the 06:26 train as far as Paddington and try to ride the remaining 10k to Greenwich without getting lost. Oh crap! :S


Woke at 5am and prepped more stuff, dressed in my new ?75 Assos knicks (the most expensive knicks I’ve ever bought) and even tried coating my undercarriage with Assos chamois cream! It was an odd sensation riding to the station with chilled inner arse cheeks! In the end (ha!) the gear worked a treat and it was my lower back and knee tendon thingies that pained me rather than my butt.

Two other guys were at the station. I showed them how to fit the timing chip to the front skewer and then we trained to Paddington. They had somewhat more of an idea how to get to Greenwich so I followed them. On arrival I unloaded the necessities from my Crumpler into my jersey pockets and left the rest in a black sack for the trucks to carry to Canterbury. Change of clothes for the bus ride home, that kind of thing.

Had a piss and rolled over to the start line right on 07:45, my alotted time. A guy fell over behind me before we even got the countdown to start! They were starting 40 riders every minute from 6am.

I came in at 7:03. That’s not too shabby for a ride way over my normal distances, solo except for two solid 15min bouts of bunch riding and stopping at every food station to maintain my ‘fatness’ (and I still lost ~6kg!!).

My average speed was 28.4kph so ride time was around 6.30-6.40 which was pretty bloody good for a lardy sprinter type like me.

As someone else made a comment about, I took a rain jacket and then didn’t put it on for the whole ride. It did rain and people were faffing about with clothing by the roadside but the showers only lasted 5 minutes at most, so not worth stopping for.

With riding from Greenwich to Ealing I ended up with 237.5k for the day which is the most I’ve ever done in a single day. Was a good ride.

I saw one fixed rider (there were more) and was glad I was geared. I was riding pretty hard and was cramping like a mofo up the hills. Ow!

Another report

Tour de Arsenal & Smithfield Nocturne

Good day out. Rode to Arsenal Emirates stadium with 31trum. Met slaam and Aidan and then beat 31trum at a roller race. Three LFGSS members in the top 10 for the day. Fixed Aidan’s puncture (I’m so frickin’ helpful ain’t I?). Then met Mal in the Duke of York, downed a few pints and rolled over to the Smithfield Nocturne – a series of races around Smithfield Market, including elites, couriers and even a Le Man start folding-bike race! Got home eventually. Great day!

Rollapaluza – Tour de Arsenal

Smithfield Nocturne

hippy’s photos

beatznbobbz photos

Rolling to the Stones

Starting in 2001, the police re-opened the Stones on the Solstices, permitting free access to the circle for the duration of the night before the Summer Solstice Sunrise. In 2003 the London messenger community decided to institute an annual pilgrimage to the Stones, leaving at sunset with the intention of riding through the shortest night and beating the Sun to the Stones. Of the 4 editions so far, success has only has only been achieved on 2 occasions. This year, under the leadership of Dazzler, the throng will be assembling at 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th at Speaker?s Corner. This allows 9 hours to pedal the 90 miles.


I met Dazzler and Tim from Go-Betweens Couriers and Julian from LFGSS at Speakers Corner (Hyde Park) around 8.30 and we set off as planned at 9pm. We hauled butt out of London with Dazzler leading. A stray commuter jumped onto our bunch.. but wait.. this was no ordinary commuter.. Dan had heard about the ride somehow and was joining us.

Map check and then zoom on through Hammersmith, Chiswick, Hounslow, Bedfont and onto the A30, heading SW..

Dazzler was riding a blue Ribble like mine (awww!) but the road bike version as opposed to the heavier Audax version. Julian had a blue Cannondale CAAD3, Tim was riding a grey gearie of some description(?) and Dan had a Specialized Allez, although you wouldn’t know it as he’d covered the whole thing in grey reflective material!! Looks wicked under lights:

reflective bike

We were averaging 32kph (20mph) out of the city and we started to hit hills. Thankfully, Dazzler was confident we’d make it if we dropped the pace a little and took a 10min break every hour (for rum and rollies of course!). This was good – I wasn’t sure how much more of this belting along I could handle!

A few hours out and the traffic had died down to almost nothing. My Dinotte kept turning itself off when I hit a bump – very bad when rocketing down a hill in pitch black! I’ve used it since with no problems so I think there was just a battery loose. Doh! There were a couple of punctures which allowed time to smoke, scoff Bassetts Animal Mix and drink Dazzler’s rum. No major mechanicals.

Around 2-3am I was flagging. I was basically falling asleep ‘at the wheel’ and needed a serious dose of illegal stimulants.

I had to settle for service station coffee and a kilo of sugary treats. After this pep up I was feeling much better and we made the final push for the ‘henge.

There was the long drag of a hill that Shaun had warned me about and then a fast descent towards the Stones. Lots of police baracades and the road in was cut to a single lane to cater for pedestrians walking to the solstice event.

Suddenly we were there. Stonehenge. I’d seen it in loads of books and the like, but it’s always better to see famous stuff in the flesh! It was well cool to just roll up to it on bikes.

I didn’t realise but there was a full-on party going on. The pics from the 2005 event didn’t really give it away but the solstice was a big event, with a few thousand people there. Druids, hippies, druggies, pikies, ravers, clean cut city folk wondering what’s going on. We locked the bikes up near security (note to self: bring a lock!) and spent a few hours watching the fun.

We’d made it with 30-45min to spare before sunrise. It was cloudy while the sun struggled upwards.. then finally, to massive cheers, it broke through!

and 20 seconds later it disappeared again! Next year.

Relaxed for a while more until it got a little too cold and we decided to ride to Salisbury along the River Avon. At the Wetherspoons there we had a mean fry-up and coffee for under ?5.

I’d only booked a morning off work so I had to bail. ?26 for a 1.5hr train ride back to London while the others rested near the Salisbury Cathedral (before riding part way back).

I was trashed. It was frickin’ great!

133k (83mi) in 7:15 (including all stops)

Big big thanks to Dazzler for pretty much sorting it all out and also danke to Julian, Tim and Dan for the top-notch ride company.

Rolling to the Stones pictures can be found here.

London 2 Brighton (2 London)

BHF London 2 Brighton Finish Line

Got to bed around 1am after MUSE and zzt zzt zzt zzt woke me at 5am. DOH!

(Actually, that’s a lie, my alarm is a Green Velvet’s track ‘Flash’. “We have some naughty naughty kids.. Cameras ready, prepare to flash!”)

Anyway, made a coffee and poured it on my eyeballs. It was the only way I was gonna get ’em to open! Ate some cinnamon bread.

Messed around with the bike and packed stuff. I’d fitted a Small Topeak clip-on saddle bag. It held: Alien II multi-tool, keys, money, debit card, rear LED, front Dinotte 5w LED and 4xAA battery pack and a gel. Nice. Wished I had my frame pump from the Peugeot.. it had to go in a jersey pocket, along with maps, ride numbers, money, phone, arm-warmers, puncture kit, tubes, Bassett’s Snakes and another Strawberry/Banana PowerGel.

I was so tired I ended up running 20+ min late (not much, but I’m usually very punctual for rides). Simo and Wills were waiting in matching Turkish flag t-shirts. They’d tried to call me to wear mine but I’d already left (and was in full Croydon Cycle Works kit). We rolled along to Clapham Common for the start.

Simo decided to make things interesting and fell off before we’d even got to the start line! It was the classic: “I’ve not used SPD for ages.. sudden stop.. oh no.. can’t unclip in time.. splat!” move. I watched it from behind and didn’t think much of his self-harm techniques, especially since he was pissing himself laughing while on the deck. Unfortunately, he did more damage than we thought and ended up riding the whole thing with a very sore elbow indeed. Not broken, the docs reckon, but he was obviously in a lot of pain. Wills and I kept our laughing and jokes to a bare minimum with this in mind..

Morning After Update from Simo: Apparently his elbow is chipped. He’s in a sling and on pain-killers. No cast.

Good stuff dude! Lesser men would have bailed. Next time, break it properly!

Our 7.30 start time turned into 8am with the largest collection of bikes I’ve ever seen waiting to roll out. Bike congestion was massive. We rolled VERY slowly away, dodging gumby riders left, right, centre. I couldn’t believe how many people were stopped to fix punctures in the first mile of the ride. People! Either your tyres are totally fscked or you are installing them incorrectly! Methinks the latter. (I can’t talk, I didn’t get a chance to test the new rear tyre I’d put on. It was well squirmy and had me worried but it must’ve just been softer side-walls or something).

The ride was slow. It was like the biggest critical mass you’ve ever seen, without all the beeping horns and aggression. You’d ride 500m and then have to stop at some lights. Ride another 500m and stop. After and hour it was more like, ride 2k and stop at a hill where 10,000 people were walking up. They should stick walkers to the left so people who can ride up.. can, well, ride up! My shoes took a beating – I wanted to wear my SPDs but training for the Etape Anglais demanded that I wear what I’ll use for that – SPD-SL road shoes. Some places were clear enough to zipped down and zig-zag around people but not many. Frustrated with the slow pace I zipped away from Simo and Wills somewhere before Turners Hill. I was going to wait for them but the road was clear(er) so decided to continue at a higher pace. At stop M near Wivelsfield I bought a ‘nana, drink and cake for a whole ?2. While munching this down I watched a recumbent go by, a Langster (one of two fixies I spotted) and.. a carbon-monocoque Lotus Superbike with full disc rear and tri-spoke front!!! Nuts!!!

Best road-side sign: “Smile if your bum hurts”

Ditchling Beacon was actually piss easy. It would be a lot easier without 10,000 people riding up it at once but I struggled not. I’d wait behind a bunch and when the gap was sufficient call out and ride through. Zipped past loads of people up there. I’m sure it could be made to hurt more doing it solo but not today. Pretty much fast downhill for the rest of the way into Brighton. Lots of cheering from random people at the finish line. Thanks folks – great finish atmosphere!! Quite a lot of riders already in and loads of people milling around.

I chatted to a guy with an amazing looking red/grey LOOK. He’s doing the Etape as well. Got a call from the guys a while later and met them at the Start Line with their support crew (friends and family). Scoffed Simo’s old mans chips (cheers!) and when they headed for a restaurant I headed for London..

I’d given Simo my return bus ticket because he didn’t get his in the mail. It was a glorious day weather-wise and I decided I needed the kays so after getting some directions from the Info booth I headed back towards London on the A23. Got lost around Pyecombe but a German(?) guy helped me out and I headed towards Hassocks on the A237. Through Ditchling, Ardingly and at some point onto the B2028(?). Past Gatwick, through Horley and back onto the A23. Asked another guy for directions to Redhill. Caught some riders wearing Evans Cycles kit. I sat on for a bit, decided they were hostiles and moved off their wheels but kept getting greasy looks so I flew past and didn’t see them again. Continued up through hot-hatch territory Croydon, through crazy-cabbie land Brixton and raced a couple of the returning buses through to Clapham Common. Through Battersea, over Westminster Bridge, past Nelson’s Column, up Regent’s St. and then it was like a normal commute out along Oxford St./Uxbridge Rd. I made it home in good time, almost an hour faster than the ride to Brighton. I was pretty trashed when I got home though. It took 30min before my feet decompressed enough that I could feel pain instead of numbness. I lay down until I was ready to eat. Understandable really given that I’d just ridden 206 kilometres!! That’s almost double my normal club run distance. Shockingly I wasn’t in any pain – no sore arms, no sore back. Have I cracked my positioning woes?? Perhaps.

All in all a very good day out on the bike. Good confidence builder for the 120mi British Cyclosportive and I have tan lines to last through another winter now 🙂

Route to Brighton: – BHF-London-to-Brighton-2004

Stats to follow I think the average speed out was 17kph and returning was 26kph. Not pro speeds by any stretch but I was riding alone and having to navigate..

Roberto took some pics during his ride.

Isle of Wight Festival 2007

Fri: Left work onsite and busted a move to the ferry with Mal. Arrived to a setup tent (thanks lads!!) and got to business with partying down to Groove Armada and Snow Patrol.

Sat: Relaxed in the sun for most of the day and then went a little bit mad for Wolfmother, Kasabian and, of course, MUSE! Brilliant!!

Sun: ‘hippy’ passes the baton and becomes ‘Damage’ once more until all settles down in the arvo. Pints help and all is nice again for the rockin’ Rolling Stones!

Great weekend with the ‘tribe of hedonists’ I know and love! 🙂

Cyclists 3x more likely to get injured on bendy bus routes

Bendy Bus

“Cyclists are three times more likely to get injured on bendy bus routes as opposed to conventional bus routes. Given there are only 345 bendy buses, these numbers are worryingly high.

‘We have had claims from cyclists that they have been terrified to find themselves crowded against safety barriers by bendy buses making left turns. Both pedestrians and cyclists find it hard to judge the line the bus is going to take.

‘TfL have launched a costly advertising campaign about safer cycling. But these figures show that the money would be better spent stepping up safety training for drivers as well as a ‘how is my driving’ hotline to report poor driving. TfL should order and urgent and full review of bendy bus routes”

Anthony may be silly?

This is what happens when you stay in Mildura too long (well, other than getting girls pregnant and drinking yourself into beergutville).

You go mental.

Anthony has entered a 24hr MTB enduro… solo… something that was a good idea in my own head for all of 10 seconds. Something I contemplated when I was fit. Something to dream about when I was motivated to punish myself during a race. Err.. well at least he has the motivation bit! The first step is the hardest.. now he just has to haul his butt out of the van and onto the trails.. lots! Dude, good luck! The offer for the Avanti (or bits of it) still stands.

Posted in MTB