View from the #Carradice

#Coffeeneuring 2017 – Mission Accomplished

Coffees one to three had been excellent. Mainly mochas (but that’s what the Bird likes) but we’d also fitted in some GF caik and lot of three-wheeled kilometres. Motivation was therefore high to qualify for one of these rather lovely coffeeneuring patches for the first time. Of course that would leave the BIG question; which of my Carradice bags would have the honour of having it sewn on?

#Coffeeneuring 4

Three wheels again. This time a little spot of errandonneuring in Uxbridge in Middlesex. Despite its now modern appearance, two shopping malls etc. it is very old – dating back to the Saxons and mentioned in the Doomsday book. Uxbridge has been a spot for royalty to stay, a garrison town for Cromwell and an out-of-town staging post for coaches when they were pulled by horses. Click here for more info. 

It all got a bit damp around the edges on the way out, but an enjoyable ride, especially triking down a lumpy, bumpy bridlepath (the Pyghtle) in Denham a small village on the outer limits of Uxbridge. The errandonne was to collect some yarn from the Uxbridge Wool Barons for an afghan currently being crocheted by the Bird. This was successfully accomplished and now time to bag a coffeeneur; one with a difference. We had the delightful company of a coffee plant while the Bird partook of mocha and GF chocolate brownie.

As we had the mega-Carradice for the purpose of carrying yarn, on the way home the Bird just couldn’t resist filling it up with groceries.

Round trip 52km

#Coffeeneuring 5

A complete change of riding pace as we swapped out three wheels for two little wheels that folded for the next couple of coffeeneuring rides. A kind of mini-adventure to the Origami ride (for folding bikes  ) starting from Great Malvern in Worcestershire on Saturday but we’d travel up by train on Friday.

The interweb is a wonderful thing as the Bird pre-booked hotel and trains, which in my books are all good things. The only downside was a day at the office first. As work is such a tedious place, I spent the day in the Carradice Brompton bag until it was time to collect DaisyB (our Brompton) from the cycle shed and head over to Paddington Station. It’s not a bad ride through Paddington bear country and along the Grand Union canal which drops you right by the station. As we hadn’t seen Paddington in the Portobello Road during our ride, we figured we’d check the station. Bingo, there he was, so we took the chance for a coffee with him before boarding our train.

Round trip 44km

#Coffeeneuring 6

A day a-wheel on the Origami ride promised plenty of coffeeneuring opportunities. A leisurely day out on folding bikes (usually with little wheels) where the accent is on decent coffee, honest food, real ale and good company. The Great Malvern ride didn’t disappoint.

Before morning coffee, we hauled ourselves up a rather steep incline from our hotel to chase down CS Lewis and Edward Elgar. Unbeknown to us, Malvern was the inspiration for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe one wintery snowy night when CS Lewis had a beer with JRR Tolkien and George Sayer. So our first port of call with the Unicorn Pub where that beer was supped.  Click here for more info.

Just meters down the road, we checked in with probably Malvern’s favourite son, the composer Edward Elgar. Famed for riding the district on a Sunbeam bicycle, we acquainted Elgar with a more modern steed. Then woosh, down the hill to the railway station to meet the Origami peloton and score a cappuccino for #coffeeneuring 4 before a slow but enjoyable day a-wheel with old and new friends.

Round trip 36km

#Coffeeneuring 7

A mega-errandonnee as our closing coffeeneuring seemed kind of appropriate but there was the extra task of collecting my package residing at Pinner Post Office. The Bird handed the card to the bloke behind the counter.

Post Office postie: “Who’s Timpsie?”

Bird: “He is” pointing and putting me on the counter.

Postie: “Erm, does he have a passport?”

Bird: “No, he’s a world citizen.”

Postie: “Mmm. In that case, can he prove his address?”

Bird duly does so and my parcel appears. Result! A most wonderful wooly cycling hat from my buddy, Mr B.

A couple of other duties in Pinner and then we are a-wheel and heading for coffee and another errandonnee stop. With an off-road excursion (the Harrow area has retained a lot of its very old bridleways), we rolled up to the Wyvale Garden Centre and finally coffee plus wild bird food and spring bulbs. With panniers bulging, we pedalled off home with our 2017 #Coffeeneuring completed.

Round trip 12km

Total #Coffeeneuring kms 363

With some bonus coffee we exceeded the required 7. What’s not to like!

Looking forward to planning #Coffeeneuring 2018 as there’s places we failed to reach this time around plus machines we didn’t ride.

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View from the #Carradice #Coffeeneuring 2017 3.5 cups and half way

With the amount of rando brevets me and the Brevet Bird have been riding, scheduling our coffeeneuring challenge has required some very careful Hoob planning. I have the time, sat on the sofa Monday to Friday while she is at work earning the groats for us to ride, enjoying challenges like this one. We are now officially at 3.5 cups, so half way – the half a cup of Americano with milk was drunk by Audax UK super-legend Barry Parslow, but more about that later.

#Coffeeneuring 1

This took us a-three-wheels from Chez Hirondelle into the glorious London Borough of Hillingdon. With the Bike Butler, we pedalled out to watch the British Human Power Club’s final criterium of the summer at Hillingdon Circuit. This outfit covers the dark-side in all its shades of black and into a wee bit of grey. That includes Moultons, as they are ‘special needs’ two wheeled bicycles, rather than standard carbon bling types. Of course tricycles are unquestionably included. We watch five mates from the Tricycle Association (TA) spin round and round chasing glory in the TA criterium league in session one for the slower machines. Once the trike race had been settled, we watched something like a golden bullet with two wheels called Beano flash round at an average of 32.9 mph in the second session. We were now cold enough to go and find coffee, the key mission of this outing for me and her. Along with the Bike Butler (he had come for the racing), we pedalled off to downtown Ruislip where we scored our first #coffeeneur; a cappuccino.

Round trip 48km

#Coffeeneuring 2

This was sans me as the Bird did this one on her way to work on two wheels. I was of course on the sofa waiting for the weekend to arrive and with it, cycling. I do have to say that this was a most essential coffeeneuring outing. The Bird’s work tea supplies were getting precariously low. So a visit to the tea and coffee specialist store Whittards was essential. This particular Whittards is located in Portobello Road, London in deepest Paddington bear country, although the Bird has yet to spot him visiting Mr Gruber for buns and tea. A purchase of Russian Caravan and 1864 black tea was stashed in her pannier bag to take back to the office.

Round trip 85km

#Coffeeneuring 3

I’m back and on three wheels again. Destination, the Marlboro Athletic Club cycling club’s lunch stop via a spot of coffeeneuring. Unlike the previous two coffeeneurs, we get the fantastic autumn colours of the Chiltern Lanes. Given that I want a decent coffee shop, not a Costa or similar, we decided that Amersham is our elevenses destination. The Bird does indeed find a coffee emporium that isn’t Costa and we spend a pleasant half hour on a comfy sofa with the Bird supping a very good Mocha.

After chatting to a chap with an APB Moulton (don’t see too many of those), we pedal on to Chesham to meet the Marlboro. A peloton of 9 members of the modern day Marlboro with not a bike between them has gathered for lunch. This includes the Great Barry Parslow. First Brit to ride PBP (in 1966) and then goes on to finish four more until his failing eyesight stopped play. Barry has many randonneuring exploits on trike, including PBP and the Trafalgar-Trafalgar 3,100km permanent from the tip of Spain to the centre of London. Barry finished the cup of coffee that brought us to half way in this challenge; a privilege indeed on coffeeneuring 2017.

NB – The Marlboro Athletic Club is actually a bicycle club is seriously old (well over 100 years), and the only bicycle club that is an AC in the United Kingdom.

Round trip 90km

In coffeeneuring cups 4 to 7, we will renew our acquaintance with the bear from darkest Peru, meet Mr Elgar, rendezvous with the Wool Barrons and do a spot of errandonneuring.

Timpsie #thishoobcan

Autumn Tour 2014 – Old Roads and New (borrowed from the great Jock Wadley)

We, the peloton

  • Me – The Brevet Bird
  • My side kick – the Co-pilot
  • Our trustee steed – Casper the Little White Moulton
  • Guest appearances, the Kit-Kat wrapper & Gollum the GPS

Day 1 – The big tailwind

IMG_1706A late start was cunningly achieved through lack of preparation caused by too many kilometres a-wheel in the preceding weeks. With tracks finally created and loaded onto the Garmin, Casper’s tiny tyres hit the asphalt and started to turn at round about 10am. Our destination was Surfleet, just outside of Spalding and the Ship Inn.

The route was very familiar and at most contained undulations. Sneaking out of the Chilterns back door via Wendover, we then headed to Tingewick via Silverstone. Knowing that lunch opportunities would be thin on the ground, lunch was grabbed at the preferred cafe at Towcester.

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The sun continued to shine and the wind blew from behind. It was a wonderful, almost autumnal day to be out on the bike. Traversing Northampton was its usual painful self. But once we had poppws out the other side into Moulton, the lanes were delightful. Good progress was made and the back of the Kit-Kat wrapper calculation said that despite the late start that arrival at the Ship Inn would be in goodly time.

Spalding seemed to dangle from our grasp for far too long. Then suddenly we zoomed over the Spalding prime sign. Just 10km and we would be at the day’s arrivee.

At 8pm we arrived at the Ship Inn. It turned out to be an excellent choice with a warm welcome, excellent food and a room with a centrally heated washing line located in the bathroom. What more could a super tourist randonneur wish for?  213km

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Day 2 – The Headwinds Start

Our destination was York YHA. We would be traveling mostly on well laid Easter Arrow tramlines with the added frisson of the Lincolnshire Wolds thrown in. Again, not a hilly day if you were counting contour lines, but plenty of Dutch hills created by the rather unkindly headwind that didn’t vanish all day.

The day started in an over relaxed fashion as the back of the Kit-Kat wrapper said we had plenty of time. It lied. Because I thought we had the time, I succumbed to rather too many photo stops, which were on the whole too good to decline. The Co-pilot remonstrated with me that I was stuffing around. I took no notice.

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When we reached Boston, where there was no tea party, I realised that I had made an error on the track. Luckily the Spoons provided the internet power to check what the route should really look like. Thus we headed off to Spilsby, then to Horncastle where it seemed like a good idea to have lunch. This turned out to be quite correct as we didn’t pass any more cafes for the next 130km.

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After lunch we crept up the Lincolnshire wolds as the headwind caused an increase in these gentle climbs. At Brigg, I’d forgotten that we were not travelling just before dawn, so taking the A18 to Scunthorpe wasn’t necessarily the best idea I’d ever had. Scunthorpe at peak hour isn’t a place to endear itself to you. Then it was the switchback lanes following for the most part the River Trent to Goole via Swinefleet.

Goole provide both the highlight and excitement of the day. The swing bridge was in operation. As a child, my dad had waxed lyrical about this bridge as we crossed it in the car most Easters. However, I’d never seen it in action. In the evening sun, approaching dusk it was a pleasure to watch it in action.

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Once the bridge was swung and dropped into place, it was off to Howden and then the bad lands of great flatness to York.

York arrived as per the evil Kit-Kat wrapper’s prediction, late. A cunning plan formed to solve the question of dinner. Pick up take away fish and chips. Simple in the planning, it turned out to be tricky in the executing. After what seemed like ages, but probably wasn’t, fish and chips were purchased and attached to the Carradice.

York YHA had been extended and upgraded since my last visit. It now had a large and welcoming reception area with a bar and plenty of space to eat and relax. Once the fish and chips had been consumed it was time for a shower and bed. I was most pleased to find new bunk beds with individual power points. So there were no dramas charging the various gadgets overnight.  217km

Day 3 – The Lunacy Starts and the Head Wind Continues

I should have known better when I planned the route to Durham, our next stage town. But I was kind of like a kid in a sweet shop. I wanted it all even if it wasn’t god for me. In this case it was going to make the legs hurt. Basically I’d picked places on the basis of revisiting some of my early touring memories and forgetting how the roads between them were going to join up. I’d found 3,000 meters of assent, with it turned out an added bonus headwind.

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The plan was to have lunch in Kirby Stephen as I remembered a great café there. But the wind had been so pesky that I decided that a late elevensees stop was in order. A suitable cafe beckoned in Leycock. The dreaded Kit-Kat wrapper popped its head up and adjusted the truth. The 30km to Kirby Stephen was not going to take us one and a half hours. With the head wind, rain and super gloom it was going to be a good two hours of gutter grovelling. On the upside, once the super gloom disappeared the views didn’t disappoint and the decent into Kirby Stephen was rather pleasurable. That’s where the pleasure of arrival took a temporary halt. Every café was closed, including the one lodged in my memory banks. Desperation set in. Then I spotted a rather odd little shop that promised caike. I hurried in to check. Indeed caike and coffee were on offer. OK, not a perfectly balanced lunch, but hey needs must.

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My meteo observations had been correct. We would get blown down to Middleton in Teesdale. It was a blast. Initially the wind was reasonably friendly, climbing out of Middleton. Then the wind turned nasty. It attacked us relentlessly from the side. So much so that over Weardale we were blown from gutter to gutter and almost onto the road. A short section of nifty SPD sandal work in the 24” gear was necessary to keep us moving, well enough not to grow moss. The rather lovely touch was the police van that drove pass but didn’t think to check that one small woman pushing a shopping bike was OK. I’ve never been quite so worried on a bike. After making a steep descent that felt more like a climb, we reach Stanhope and a very welcome right turn. Yippee, the wind was at our backs and remained so right up to our arrivee at the Star Inn, Durham.

Some undulations, then some climbing and suddenly we were descending and descending for multiple kilometres. There had to be some catch to this as Doughty’s law says ‘what goes down has to climb up again’, but for the moment we enjoyed a free ride.

The staff at the Star Inn were fantastic. I’d arrived just after kitchen close off time and the chef very kindly accepted my order for vegetarian lasagna, which was superb. All round the stay here was brilliant.  206km

Day 4 – Yet more lunacy and further headwinds

Doughty’s law was correct by virtue of my own cunning planning. To get to the next stage town of Bamburgh, we had to climb the descent of the previous evening. Of course the wind had remained in position, so we were climbing into a headwind plus occasional squally showers. Our reward for this putting up with this was some rather fine rainbows.

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Planning a route on soft mapping means that providing your GPS doesn’t have any emotional meltdowns, you always know you are going to get to the arrivee. However, what you can’t tell is how steep the undulations are. The answer to the rather beautiful back road to Alston was super severe.

As we ground up seemingly never ending steep inclines that we had not asked for on our way to Alston, a close relative of the wind that had inhabited Weardale relentlessly toyed with us. Again, keeping Casper upright and perhaps evening moving forwards was a challenge. The payback was magnificent panoramic views. The decent into Alston was down a series of very steep ‘steps’ which popped out onto the top of the famed cobbled road. I’d always wondered where this road went; it’s nice to have a question answered but not a road to be revisited in a hurry.

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This time memory and 2014 actuality matched. The café that I remembered in Alston was still there and as good as I the memory banks said it was. A swift lunch and we were rolling along with a helpful side wind and more down than up. Of course this arrangement couldn’t last forever.

At Haydon Bridge the crinkles started getting bigger and the head wind came back to pester us enough to be noticeable. Because I remembered it’s rather fine castle from a tour way back when, I put Alnwick on the days itinerary. I hadn’t though realised that a roller coster of lumpy bits would sit between us from Rothbury to Alnwick. Just as we had given up hope of reaching Alnwick, in the twilight it appeared. As we swung past the castle it didn’t disappoint.

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Although in theory the roads from Alnwick to Bamburgh were flat, to tired legs worn down by hills and headwinds it didn’t feel flat. A visit by the man with the hammer didn’t help, but a swift bar of Cadbury’s milk chocolate fixed the situation. Once we turned on to the coast road the speed picked up. Noticing the time on the Garmin, we sprinted across the Bamborough prime time to slide the day in just under the 13 hour mark. Despite Bamburgh being such a small place, locating our hotel was more challenging than expected. Finally tucked up in our hotel room enjoying picnic supper and doing the days write up, we looked back on a very fine day a-wheel. Tomorrow would be the rest day.  204km

Day 5 – Thus to Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne had been a place I had wanted to visit for some time. Galloping past it on Rufus the tandem trike on our 600km brevet earlier in the summer had been the nudge I’d needed to finally go. It didn’t disappoint.

After a leisurely breakfast, we set off into quite lanes and sunshine. Mainly using NCN1 we worked our way from Bamburgh to the causeway that takes you from the mainland to Lindisfarne. The magic of Lindisfarne started as soon as the causeway commenced. I’m not sure the impact in a car would have been the same as a-wheel. The smell of the sea, the squawking of the birds and the rustle of the tall grasses all added to a wow factor experience.

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Lindisfarne is very small, but packed with history. It’s where one of the book of Kells was written and where Saint Aidan set up his mission to convert the local pagans to Christianity. With so many tea shops to chose from, lunch was spread over two cafes. After a relaxing couple of hours it was time to retrace back to the mainland before the tide came in and covered the causeway for multiple hours.

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The plan was to hug the coast up to Berwick upon Tweed using NCN1. However, when NCN1 turned into a goat track, that idea was swiftly abandoned and some off the cuff GPS navigating was deployed. Berwick turned out to be a rather delightful stage town. I’d booked the Youth Hostel, which other than the 4am fire alarm provided an excellent place to stay.  65km

Day 6 – Boarder Raid

Meeting up with my very good friends, Mark and Anne Brazier on the new bridge at Berwick, we spent a wonderful morning riding from England into the Scottish boarders. At Galashiels, Mark and Anne turned around to loop back to Berwick and we headed on to Edinburgh, Linlithgow and then Glasgow.

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At Innerleithen a cafe appeared right on time. We stopped. The most memorable item on the menu was haggis and brie panini. On leaving the cafe we took the most amazing road, quietly climbing through a beautiful glen with a gentle back wind. Then onto the hurly burly of Edinburgh. With time in hand, a well earned afternoon tea stop was taken in a little continental cafe just beyond the town centre.

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After that, the roads got a little unpleasant, but fortunately there was a shared use pavement to decamp onto rather than be squashed by the fast moving traffic on the A9. Then onto Linlithgow. Birthplace of Mary Queen of Scotts within the walls of it’s small palace. It didn’t disappoint, although it would have been nice to have stopped rather than just pass through.

Then came green fields, pleasantly undulating lanes and our final sunset of the IMG_1727tour before heading into the grey of Glasgow. The GPS guided us perfectly to Glasgow Central station and the finish of our tour. From here, following a spot of dinner we would take the sleeper back to London, home and work until the next tour beckoned.  210km

Click here for all the photos on Flickr

Just Passing Through – with Mega Mileater Steve Abraham

IMG_1998 On Steve Abraham’s journey to 75,065 miles or more, it was time to play away from home and sample some randonneur hospitality.  Chez Brevet Bird was the first stop of many by Steve to numerous AUK homes for a high speed bed, breakfast and evening meal.

The day had been made a bit more challenging for Steve with mega headwinds.  So he needed to forge a cunning plan to accumulate miles but minimise the draining effect of the headwind.  Steve’s rather neat solution was to form a one man circuit race and ride in circles, so getting turn and turnabout headwind and back wind with some sidewind thrown in for free.  Steve’s tenacity and dedication to doing what is needed for the record meant that he spent about nine hours in this lapping pattern.  Then it was time to head off for the dénouement of his ride, arrivee in windy Pinner.

As Steve wanted a route of least resistance that could be ridden at 16mph, I formulated one using a local evening 10 mile TT course plus some routes my Dad had taught me when we first went out cycling together with the Marlboro AC.  Dad’s mantra was always ‘why go up a hill if you can go around it’.  The most cunning part of this was sneaking around a rather fine and very steep hill that lives at Rickmansworth.

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By the time I’d ridden like a girl and fought the headwind and lost, I didn’t quite get to the pre-arranged rendezvous with Steve at Costa, Wendover.  As Steve had my route on his Garmin, it was a simple matter of riding until our paths crossed.  As we were the only ones to be daft enough to be riding bikes at 7:30pm on a Saturday night in winter, it wasn’t difficult to spot Steve’s bike headlights coming towards me and do a U-turn.

With the wind on our backs, Steve assuming the position on his tri-bars and me scurrying on his back wheel, we sped along the A413 to Amersham.  Things slowed down a little bit on the climb out of Amersham as Steve is riding to a very specific heart rate in order to ride as efficiently as he can each and every day.  It was almost time to enjoy the descent to Rickmansworth when I found I had a rear visitation from the Psttt Fairy.  As time is miles, Steve continued solo.

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Once my bike had both tyres with air in them, I recommenced pedalling as fast as I could.  I needed to be back at home to change from route guide to cook.  Arriving home just in time, I was able to have the pre-prepared dinner ready for Steve once he had showered.  Dinner, upload GPS track to Strava and it was, as Zebedee says ‘time for bed’.  As Steve headed for a very hard earned sleep, his cycling kit was fed to the washing machine.  In six hours, it needed to be ready for Steve to wear again.

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All too soon, the sound of the Tour de France could be heard; the alarm had gone off, it was 4am.  Then it was check the weather station, get dressed, have breakfast and then get the pedals turning.  The weather station indicated that it was, for stupid o’clock, quite warm at 3C. However, with the wind again not behind but in front, it was pretty chilly.   The destination was one of Rocco Richardson’s favourite roads, the A4.  With little or no traffic about, we were able to utilise main roads as well as carefully chosen smaller roads andavoid Slough with its never-ending traffic lights.  Riding in the dark when most sensible people are still asleep, it felt like the late Pat Kenny was with us.  Riding at odd times of night and day was one of Pat’s fortes.  I’d never heard anyone else needing to go for a bike ride in the middle of the night to get a glass of water.

After some careful hill avoidance work, we arrived at Maidenhead and the A4.  Steve was to continue on the A4 until it was time to turn and head home with the back wind, and I had a significantly shorter ride back to my home.  Being a mileater, and despite the still very early hour of the morning, I looped around some of my favourite roads.  It was very nice when dawn IMG_2009popped up to meet me and the sun shone.  I arrived home at 10 am with 100km in the bag. Steve was back at his home at 8:30 pm with 299km and another milestone; 2000 miles since New Year’s Day; only 73,065 to go to join Tommy.

Rapha Festive 500 2014 – Numbers within Numbers

Rapha Festive 500 2014This year’s Festive 500 unintentionally acquired a theme – numbers.  Like a Russian doll within 29,000 would sit 500 and within this 8 would sit and within this 4 would sit.

The journey to the two biggest numbers, 29,000 and 500 would be accomplished by working through to number 8 which would lead to 4.  Here’s how things unfolded.

Day 1

The day started quietly with a ride to work on near deserted roads.  I was let off early as ’it twas the night before Christmas’.  With time on one hand and a bike on the other, the lanes beckoned. From Fulham I shimmied along old father Thames, then through to Syon Park.  Then there was the endless grey of Southall and Hillingdon, temporarily broken up by a short stretch along the Grand Union canal.

Finally into the lovely lanes of Buckinghamshire as twilight arrived.  Not as many houses decorated with festive lights as in Essex on the weekend, but enough to make the night bright and warm.  A small chunk of local suburbia and then I was at the door to the bikeroom.  102km

Darkness

Day 2

Christmas Day and a brilliantly sunny day waited, so time for a festive spin.  Scotti (MTB) was taken out of the bikeroom for his second Festive 500 ride.  Rack bag with inbuilt co-pilot was attached and the Garmin set in motion.  We headed for one of my favourite local loops, which contained ample skog and leaf chutney for Scotti to enjoy himself plus some super lanes.

The sunshine had brought out lots of folk walking, some of which shared season’s greetings.  The roads were as quiet as a mouse, which was rather nice.  I spotted three topless Noddy cars despite temperatures being somewhat nippy.  The count of fellow bike riders was seriously sadly no more than the Noddy cars. 72km

The Picture House, Bricket Wood

Day 3

This wasn’t just Boxing Day, but provided 62km could be ridden the number 29,000 would appear.  The day dawned cold and grey.  I dug ZoeC out of the bikeroom and off we went, with the co-pilot in winter cycling coat in the rack bag.  I zigzagged through my local lanes, pinging in and out of three counties (Middlesex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire).  Unfortunately, the weather forecast was right and bang on schedule it began to rain.

The Co-pilot

A watchful eye was kept on the Garmin for 62km to turn up. This happened just at the Croxley Green prime sign.  The biggest number of the numbers within numbers had been reached.

Despite the rain, stopping for a commemorative photo was a must.  With only 12km to go until reaching home and with the 29,000 captured, the trundle home was really quite jolly despite the rain becoming heavier. 80km

year total, 29,000km

Day 4

A short errandonneuring ride with Scotti and the Gecko trailer.  Quite cold, but towing a fully loaded trailer of groceries up hill home kept me warm.  As that well known supermarket says ‘every little helps’. 14km

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Day 5

The quite cold of Day 4 was blasted into old news by the super cold day of Day 5.  By 3pm the roads had defrosted enough to venture a-wheel.  Using some well-known former commuting routes, a swift two and a half hour ride was put in.  Thoughts of Pat Kenny, AUKs late great super mileater creeping out into the dark of the night to come by some illicit miles came into my head as I zoomed through the darkness.  Did normal people go out for night time bike rides I asked myself?  Answer still pending.  51km

Christmas cyclingDays 6 and 7

For these days I was back to the commute.  So just bog standard days.  However, I wasn’t to know that Day 6 would up the ante on super cold and that Day 7 would lift the bar higher.  Frost masqueraded as micro snow and some Big Apple ice dancing was performed in tandem with Scotti.  Thankfully we remained up-right.   128km

Christmas pudding for the head

Day 8

The cold of the final morning of the Festive 500 hit an all-time high, er low of -2C.  The roads were seriously quiet which translated into super icy as there weren’t enough cars to chase away the ice and frost.  Work were being kindly and I was able to leave early.  The icing on the cake was that the weather had changed its mind and had decided not to be cold.  Without hesitation I headed the long way home to enjoy the extra free time a-wheel.  Before reaching home the number 500 was past and then added to.  92km

Fulham Bridge

And the numbers as that old C&W song goes;

  • 29,000   is the number of kms that I have ridden this year
  • 500   is the number of kms that you need to ride to complete a Festive 500
  • 8 i  s the number of riding days for the Festive 500
  • 4   this is now the number of Festive 500s that I have completed

It’s been a rather splendid Rapha Festive 500.

Photos on Flickr

A Mileating Start to 2015 – Steve starts chasing Tommy

Number 1 - One Tear Time TrialI’ve known Steve Abraham for so long now, I can’t really remember a time when his antics both on and off the bike haven’t been a part of my life.  Riding a November 600 with Steve and Ian Hennessey particularly stands out.   Steve’s ability to cover lots of miles, usually on brevets, and to eat large quantities of food is legendary within the Audax UK community.  Steve is putting both of these extra-special talents to take on Tommy Godwin’s long-standing year mileage record of 75,065 miles, set in 1939.

Being an audaxer used to riding his bike at odd hours of the night and not wanting to waste a minute of the 365 days he has to accumulate more miles than Tommy did, Steve started turning the pedals of his Raleigh bicycle at 00:01 on 1st January 2015.

Dream Machine - Mean Machine

After spending the night a-wheel, Steve rocked up at 10am to ride his club’s New Year’s Day 10 mile time trial.  Well, every little helps!  Donning a number befitting the winner of the Tour de France, Steve sped (relatively speaking, with 116 miles in his legs) down the North Bucks Road Club course.  Playing with a rather evil headwind and sleepy tiredness, Steve returned to the time keeper half an hour later.  After speaking to the men from the telly, it was time to get pedalling again.  As Nev Chanin used to say, time is miles.

And he's off

Steve departed with a small peloton of AUKs in the direction of Bicester.  One of these being Drew Buck, well-known super-AUK for his exploits on various crazy machines around Paris Brest Paris.   Bunch banter was good with Drew telling us various stories, including the PBP where he and Steve shared a triplet bicycle with Nigel Winter as their middleman.  The persistent headwind was a bit pesky and the appearance of hedges and houses to slow the wind down was much appreciated.

Steve & Drew - Two AUK ledgens

After a night feasting on flapjack, the hunger gods tapped Steve on the shoulder and it was time to head to a source of food.  Cue an early visit to Bicester on top of the one planned at 3pm for a mega feed before heading back to Milton Keynes.  Steve’s encyclopaedic knowledge of food emporiums was deployed and a baby KFC was chosen.  Standing in the queue, Steve enjoyed a brief moment of normal life.  Once replete with chicken (sans tea or coffee, as the machine wasn’t working), it was time for Steve to ride in circles until his next scheduled rendezvous with Bicester’s eateries.   I swung in the opposite direction to meet up with the Bike Butler and then home.

No coffee, no tea - got to be Pepsi then

Score on the One Year Time Trial door for 01/01/2015: 222 miles (358km in new money) – mine was considerably less.

Bye bye Touring – Hello Israeli 1200km brevet

We’re leaving the gentle arts of touring behind for the cut and thrust of a 1200km brevet with Randonneurs Israel. This will be RI’s first 1200km following hot on the heels of last year’s 1000km brevet.  The course has been organised by Tal Katzir, so should be a cracker.

Tal pre rode the ride last week with a small group of Israeli Randonneurs who will be helping on the ride.  Tal’s ride report can be found on www.israeli-randonneur.blogspot.com.

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Tal and Netta make frame placards

The little wheels start turning on Tuesday 28th October 2014, 10pm from Tel Aviv.

The ride can be followed on Twitter @IsraeliRando #IL12CK