Category Archives: Sans brevet card

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

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.

Radio Silence

Through a combination of hours in the saddle and limited Internet access updates on the ride are being made to brevetbird.tumblr.com

Ticket To Ride

TUESDAY 10th SEPTEMBER
The fantastic company of the Moultoneers and a ride to Two Tunnels at Bath led by Dan Farrell was just too irresistible. So instead of Sunday being spent pedalling over to Hay on Wye we had a fantastic day on the Moultoneers ‘long ride’. Back in BoA at 3pm we headed home to Pinner by car to regroup and do some detailed planning which up till then we had rather over looked.

With the help of the Apple, the Internet and a Brompton train assisted ride to buy a train ticket, we now had a bomb proof plan which satisfied me and the Co-pilot. If the going got to tough for us we had a route ready and waiting on the GPS to make our life easier.

We are now ensconced on the Virgin train service to Glasgow, where we will alight at Lancaster. The Co-pilot and I are enjoying the indulgent delights of first class while Casper the Little White Moulton is in the bike room in standard class.

Once at Lancaster, we then ride to Longtown via Shap. The weather has fined up from Momday’s persistent rain, so it should be a great afternoon a-wheel.

Only down side is Postie is injured so we will be riding solo from JoG until we take our Caledonian sleeper home.

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A Grand Day Out – Pedal On UK (London)

The Prologue

PedalOnBlog23In order to start PedalOnUK me, my Condor bike, the Co-pilot, the pannier rack bag combo had to get from work in Isleworth to the pre-ride meet up, meal and overnight stay in down town Stratford (London E20). A micro adventure seemed to be in order. Therefore, I commissioned BikeHub to devise one by giving it the start and finish locations. Once created, it was fed into the faithful Garmin Etrex GPS and we were ready to ride once the home time bell rang at work.

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Given that the plan was to pedal rather then make donations to TfL each end of the Pedal On UK leg, keeping the luggage to a minimum was the order of packing. Various cunning plans were deployed, including leaving the Co-pilots sleeping bag at home. I was swiftly informed that ‘he wouldn’t be able to ride like the Sky boys’ if he couldn’t sleep in his own ‘bag’ the night before a big ride. I informed him that he was an international randonneur so could sleep anywhere, including the Holiday Inn, Stratford.

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For almost 100% of our journey to the inky depths of London, E20 BikeHub provided a delightful route. It saw us threading our way through some of the hidden gems of London, including some brilliant tucked away cobbled mews. We used the London Cycle Network several times and so got to experience bike rush hour, which although a little frenetic is a delight as it consists of bicycles and people of all shapes and sizes. Then, about 5km from our destination; The Holiday Inn Stratford, the joy of riding expired as we alighted onto CS2 otherwise known as the A11. If Dante had written about bike paths, this one would have featured in purgatory. Shortly after CS2 expired without warning we were at journeys end.

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The Stage (Stratford E20 to Cheshunt)

After a good pre ride feast and a nights rest at the Holiday Inn, the London Pedal On UK peloton was ready to ride. Our ride guides would be Saddle Skedaddle. The ride would be short, but with lots packed in. Our first port of call would be to pick up our ‘celebs’ and do one of many official photo shoots. The ride was short and sweet to rendezvous with Dame Kelly Holmes, David Stone (Paralympian road race trikie) Wayne Hemmingway and Lydia Rose Bright, which would provide the perfect back drop of the Olympic stadium to the shots that the Press would be taking.

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Then it was another short spin to Victoria Park for the bike breakfast where Pedal On UK was officially launch by Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans director. Some socialising and ride reporting onto the PedalOnUK blog and it was time Pedal On. The next destination was the unveiling of the South Bermondsey portrait bench. We arrived to the most marvellous carnival atmosphere, despite persistent drizzle. With the portraits of Michael Caine, Phyllis Pearsall (of A-Z fame) and local cycling hero Barry Mason unveiled, it was time to pedal our way through central London via the Rotherhithe ferry which disembarks into the reception at the Hilton hotel Canary Wharf and then to the Paddington portrait benches where our celebs would end their ride.

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We continued to turn the pedals onto lunch in the Finsbury Park cafe, bagging the Downhills portrait bench on our way. After a fantastic lunch organised by Saddle Skidaddle a leisurely ride was taken via the Lee Valley Park to our arrivee at Cheshunt. Despite his inadequate sleeping arrangements (the rack bag), the Co-pilot’s form had been top notch. The local Sustrans group and Mayor welcomed us with the most marvellous cakes plus the cyclist staple of tea or ‘if you must’ coffee. It was then time to bid our farewells to our follow Pedal On UK peloton members and Saddle Skidaddle tour guides as we each made our way onwards in many different directions.

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 Heading for Home

It was time for BikeHub via our Garmin to show us the way home. All started well as we went up and over the Paul Culley Bridge. At the bottom of the bridge, rather than continue on NCR1 we had to make an awkward turn to take a grassy footpath. There were not dramas in riding this until we came to this kissing gate that would not let cycles pass. By detaching the pannier bag, then hefting the bike over the metal fence we were able to make our right turn onto a metalled road. All went smoothly for less then 2km, where we arrived at a set of big and very shut electric gates upon which was a notice that said ‘phone reception to open’ and gave a number. Not wishing to retrace, we took the phone option. The lady at reception duly released the gates for us and we were on our way. PedalOnBlog210Everything was going smoothly, BikeHub taking us on a quite and pleasant route. That was until a certain psstttt fairy struck. Front wheel inner tube swapped for one that would contain air rather than deflate, we were a-wheel again, arriving home at just gone 8pm after a rather grand day out with Pedal On UK and a 100km offering for the 2013 Mile Eater diary.

Photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/swift_swallow/sets/72157635198866152/

Pedal On UK – A Welcome Change of Pace

Pedal On8Back in 2012, with the Olympics just about on my door step, my preferred involvement was ‘hands on’ rather than buying a ticket and going to watch one of the events. Sustrans provided just the right opportunity, firstly by asking for volunteer Active Travel Champions from within the NHS (my employer) and then asking those volunteers if they would like to support BikeBuddies with their led rides to the Olympic events in London, including the Olympic Park. I volunteered for both as I love using my bike as transport as well as for leisure and formerly for racing. I particularly liked the idea of trying to get more people cycling and walking to work as I’ve personally found it of great benefit to my physical and mental well-being as well as my wallet.

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Leading the rides to various London Olympic sites was a lot of fun and enabled me to meet up with both Sustrans volunteers outside my immediate area and members of the public. The routes we used, particularly to the Olympic Park used quite back roads and Sustrans routes, so were a delight to ride thanks to the careful and meticulous planning / route testing of Lynne from BikeBuddies. It also unexpectedly provided an excellent opportunity to see the Olympics at first hand; the cycling time trial.

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Post 2012 and a change in work location; Charing Cross Hospital to West Middlesex Hospital I continued with being an Active Travel Champion. I’m not too sure if I have made a particularly big impact on people’s travel habits as the NHS is a slow moving organisation that is set in its ways. However, when I do get the chance to encourage people to walk or cycle to work I’m happy to chat and provide encouragement. As a result one colleague is now walking as part of his work travel a couple of times a week.

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Much to my surprise, I was invited to be part of the London Pedal On, which I happily accepted as it sounded like a great event to be involved in. It would also provide a welcome change of pace from the long distance riding that I was already planned, including London Edinburgh London 1400km brevet, which would be ridden just shy of two weeks before Pedal On. The promise of a mini urban adventure mainly on cycle routes clinched the deal.

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An unexpected spin-off of being part of Pedal On is to be asked to be a Ride Reporter for the London leg of the event. I’d been reluctant to ‘do’ the blog, Twitter and Flicker ‘thing’ back in 2012. But with the encouragement of the Bike Butler, it’s something that I’ve come to enjoy. The only problem has been that you can’t write a blog and spend lots of hours a-wheel at the same time. Thankfully the Ride Reporting will be done real-time, so a perfect fit with the riding.

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The London leg of Pedal On UK departs from the Victoria Park (Bonner Gate) on Friday 16th August 2013, 07:00 to 12:00. There are events for members of the public as well as the pre-arranged riding group. If you have time to come along, please do.