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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

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Autumn A-wheel

2014 Autumn tour with Casper the Little White Moulton and of course the Co-pilot is from London to Glasgow via Lindisfarne.

Live reports here

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Three wheeling – ShelaghT goes Flatlanding

IMG_1561I don’t know which member of the team was most apprehensive at 6am, Saturday 13th September 2014. Me, the Co-pilot or ShelaghT. For all of us it would be three wheels into the unknown as the steersman and hanger-outer would be one person and not two.

We rolled out of the start at Great Dunmow into a very misty but beautiful morning. The first control would be the legendary Red Lodge truckers cafe. Trundling along sans our usual aid de camp, the Bike Butler (as he was doing a spot of faffing at the start) a peloton of two wheels grew around our three, including fellow trike on two wheels, Steve Poulton. With some very pleasant bunch banter the kms sped past. At the control we were greeted and stamped by that fearsome Brommie wheeler, Wilkyboy. An ample slice of carrot caik washed down with tea and we were on our way again. The Bike Butler arrived as we were almost about to depart, so we left him sampling the delights of Red Lodge.

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Yet more unexpected but wonderful company joined us at we headed for Whittlesey. First Mike Wiggley then the Bike Butler and AndyC. Whittlesey proved to be a rather fine oasis, with a selection of eateries, none of which was a service station. Rather then the standard UK randonneurs faire of baked beans on toast the Bike Butler indulged in a Tai green curry!

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Our next destination was Boston, less the tea party via the delights of Spalding. Here we partook of our first ‘Spoons’. We left AndyC doing a little light liquid carbo loading as Kirton-in-Lindsey beckoned. For this leg we were again joined by Mike W and Steve P, who were going to share the rest of our journey at intervals for the next 400km.

Leaving the local corner shop at Kirton-in-Lindsey, stripped almost bare by hungry randonneurs, we headed into the dark to the bright lights of Goole. The roads were very familiar from the many Arrows with the Cardiff Byways but were now given a new dimension with the extra wheel. The skull cinema provided replays of lots of kms shared with the legendary Dave Lewis as we rolled along. As we neared Swinefleat, we were greeted by a swift procession of headlights and cheery hellos from our fellow riders who were now heading to the arrivee. Soon we were threading our way through Goole to the 24 hour garage and 377km under our wheels.

Next on the menu was a little off route excursion to sunny Scunny for some well earned sleep at the Travelodge. In our search for the Travelodge we had our first sighting of the fleet of Eliptigos, headed up by Stuart Boemfield. Why they were in Scunthorpe which wasn’t on the route in either direction is still a mystery yet to be answered. Reception at the Travelodge was fantastic, ensuring the ShelaghT had a warm cosy spot to sleep until morning.

Five fifteen am and we were back on the road. This time for another arrow control town, Gainsborough. As we arrived at the control we made our second sighting of the Eliptigos who had been getting full value by riding all night.

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As time is kilometers, we remounted with about half an hour of control closing time. Our last sighting of the fleet of Eliptigos , esconsed on Stuarts back wheel was made as we passed them on route for Lincoln. Sleaford would be our next destination.

A swift second ‘breakfast’ was purchased at Greggs in Sleaford. We then pedalled into glorious sunshine towards the next control; another legendary cyclists cafe, The Green Welly at Chatteris. The route took us through splendid Fen lanes with some fascinating surfaces if your were three wheeling.

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We caught up with Mike Wiggley who after waxing lyrical about his bivy spot zipped off into the distance. Passing the ‘Spoons’ in Spalding was just too much to resist, so we stepped inside for a swift pint of orange and lemonade. We weren’t the only weak ones, as Steve Poulton couldn’t resist stopping for a cup of coffee. We left as a group of three which was going to set the pattern for the final kilometers of the ride.

 

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Arrival at the Green Welly was magnificent as we caught up with many friends. Veloman, from the French 1000km adventure was there plus a small peloton of the Big Green Audax Machine from Ireland. The Tomsk the Tank-Engine peloton was sat at a family table with their head honcho and ride director, Tomsk stamping and signing our cards.

 

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Leaving Chattris, there was now only 80km of this rather fine weekend of three wheeling left. Our mini peloton of me, the Bike Butler, Steve and Mike stayed together until the arrivee. Some guest riders flitted in and out of the group, including an exiled Kiwi YACF forumite Alotronic and a chap from Jersey doing his first 600km brevet.

As we free wheeled into the arrivee, except for the Bike Butler who couldn’t IMG_1626’cause he was fixed, not only had we bagged a rather lovely 600km BRM brevet but we had beaten final food orders at the Angel and Harp pub, which was our controls. Dinner, a spot of brevet card admin and it was all to soon to leave the fantastic company of our fellow randonneurs for home.

If you haven’t ridden this brevet, it’s definitely one to put down on your to do list.  Although of the X-rated brand for AUK ride, the ride is brilliantly thought and laid out.  The route is rider friendly with minimum climbing with the charming towns and big view of the Fens, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.

Rapha Festive 500 2013

Festive 500 2013_logoThis was my third consecutive Festive 500.  I was looking for a new twist in the string of rides that would form my 500km as I’d be covering pretty much the same ground as in the previous editions.   I decided to try and tell the story of the rides through the camera lens, rather than words.  Looking for photos whilst riding is always a joy and looking for new and interesting shots on very familiar roads is a challenge, which I hope I’ve met.  I tweeted the photos as the Festive 500 progressed via Tumblr for immediacy and also loaded the photos on Instagram.  Here in the blog, I’ve picked what I think are the best shots and added a few more words about my journey  to completing the Festive 500 challenge.  A new personal best mileater annual mileage of 17,039 miles (27,442km) would also be achieved by New Years Eve.

Preparation   Testing the deep-water cycling shoes seemed essential as the forecast was for another wet Festive 500.

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24th December 2013  Off to work was the order of the day for the night before Christmas.  Getting off work early, I took the opportunity to ride the lanes home.  The rain gods did visit and they gave a feeling of déjà vu.

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Festive 500 2012 revisited!

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A wonderful sunset ended the day as Scotti the roadified MTB bagged the first kms towards the Festive 500.

25th December 2013  Was the traditional (for me) Christmas Day 200km permanent brevet from home to Munsley Acre with the Bike Butler for the Marlboro AC Christmas holiday.

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A visitation from a rather too merry Pst….. Fairy, mere kms from home

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A traditional randonneur’s Christmas day lunch!

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A crisp and bright day showed the Cotswolds off beautifully

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Twinkle light at Newent with only a handful of kms to the arrivee and Christmas dinner with the Marlboro AC, my father’s old cycling club.

26th December 2013  Boxing day started off foggy before icy sunshine led to a beautiful day a-wheel with a small Marlboro AC peloton.

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The sun rises over the Malvern Hills

27th December 2013  Time to head home, up and over the Cotwolds and then the Chiltern Hills.   The day started off with heavy rain showers but, by Stow-on-the-Wold, had ‘fined up’.  However the promised tail wind failed to show!

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Stanway looked superb as we grovelled our way to Stow-on-the-Wold

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and a proper lunch at the CTC-approved St Edwards cafe.

28th December 2013  Time for some erandonneuring with Scotti back on duty, having spent the Christmas holiday at Munsley Acre on Zoe C, a flat-bar Condor cyclocrosser.

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29th December 2013  Rain stopped play; a zero km day.

30th December 2012  More Erandonneuring for a few more kms in the bank.

31st December 2013  My last opportunity to collect kms for both the Festive 500 and the mileater diary.

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The perfect sign to farewell 2013 and to greet 2014.

Factiods

Festive Total 705km
By Scotti 237km
By Zoe C 468km
punctures 1
photos taken 18
Audaxes 2
Shopping trailer loads 2

 

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

Going in Search of Wild Hairy Haggis

After much studying of 6 stupidly scary GPS tracks, the co-pilot and I decided that the Hummers Tour of all the hills between Lands End and John O Groats wasn’t for us. My legs and his kapok weren’t going to be up to it. Also, we wanted a tour, an adventure; not a boot camp for cyclists’. It took a while to re-invent the wheel, but eventually I managed to do so; having tiny tires in the equation may just have helped. This was declared a result by the co-pilot as not only was he going to get his ride on the Caledonian sleeper (ticket already in our hot sticky hands) but we would also be able to go in search of Nessy as well as wild hairy haggis. So a win, win, win. When and where we were going to be able to purchase a haggis whistle to find the wild and hairy ones was another matter.

The Cunning Pan

Our strange adventure; Bradford on Avon (BoA) to John O Groats (JoG) is going to begin with the annual pilgrimage and in our case prologue to The Hall via a 200km spin on Friday 6th September for the Moultoneers summer meet up. We will then loiter; something that we are good at on the Saturday at The Hall, BoA doing all things Moulton. We will then on the Sunday saunter over to the Three Cocks, near Hay on Wye to meet up with Hummers and his merry men. From there we will hopefully, with a few cunning adjustments suffer up to Crianlarich and a bed at the Youth Hotel having overnighted at Warrington and Longtown. Then there will be a parting of the ways as we will be heading over to Inverness for a two night stay and a search for Nessy. The alternative is the Hummers route which is a 733km bike ride with 10,658m of climbing. Then we will take the coast road up to John O Groats where we will be reunited with Hummers and his men for the arrivee.

After that, we will be on Postie’s Magical Mystery tour of Scotland for 4 days with the only known factors being a Travel Lodge in Inverness on Tuesday night and alighting on to the Caledonian Sleeper on Wednesday evening, arriving in London as the birds start tweeting Thursday morning.

We have been inspired by Cycling Europe (Andrew Sykes) and Reggie the Ridgeback with their blogging on their recent two month escapade in Europe. Having used Tumblr on Pedal On UK, we were going to give on the pedal blogging a whirl on our BoA-JoG, which time permitting.

Utilitaire Challenge

Go to Sans Brevet Card for the full report on MG’s utilitaire challenge