Sadly I'm not with you because I've been a bit of a poorly bunny recently. Enjoy.
Mission accomplished.This ride will be the culmination of a 13 year plan. Mini's first appearance on a London - Brighton FNRttC was shortly before the end of July 2006 (we sneaked in at Ditchling), and after that he has always wanted to do the whole thing.
Great distance that Stu. Well done.Well....
As my earlier thoughts will indicate, a tinge of regret at not riding back- conditions would have been perfect, even one of those tailwind thingies- but only a tinge. It would have been nice to avoid all usage of trains on this one for the second time in a row, and (thanks to northbound travel issues) I'd have bagged my second imperial 200. But, given the fatigue I was clearly feeling in the early morning, that would not have been sensible. OK, even less sensible. Ho hum.
Back to Friday afternoon. In anticipation of another attempt at drawing A Very Large Triangular GPS Track, I'd naturally taken the day off, and had a quiet morning with nothing much doing apart from a trip to the supermarket for a sandwich for later & checking the bike over. Set off just after two, on the usual route north. Vaguely headwindy, and unsurprisingly my pace was a little lower than normal, rolling average steadfastly refusing to get to 12 mph, let alone above, but nearly there…Anyway, stopped at Petersfield Tesco for a call of nature & a bag of doughnuts, then on to Haslemere- just about 2 3/4 hours there, so only a little slower than usual- before Guildford, the A3 bike path (I actually saw another bike on it! And it was all neat and tidy! Wow!), and then Ripley, where I paused for the sandwich at about 6.45. In view of my frequent fails to successfully navigate the Kingston upon Thames one-way system, I had a GPX track set up for the next stretch. Which took an age to load, and then didn't. Twice. Bah! I gave up on that, onward just after seven.
Through Ockham and on to the A307, and then Kingston. Oh dear. I ended up going over the footbridge to Teddington, then NE to Sheen, and finally to Putney and Wandsworth. Should have been nice and straightforward from there, but I stuffed up a roundabout on the A3 I've done many times before, and ended up turning south for a bit, which added yet more miles. Crossed the river again on Wandsworth Bridge, before finally through Chelsea, back over Westminster Bridge, and on to Belvedere Road at just about 10pm. 85 miles or so, so about six or seven miles more than had I taken all the right roads in the right order. Pizza Express for refuelling, and then to the NT…
A splendid turn-out awaited. 80 had registered, 72 made it to the NT. Three, including @Shadow, were marooned by major issues on Southern services (trespasser on the line at Balham, apparently). Nigel joined us at Ditchling though, chapeau! @Flying Dodo was delayed by those same problems but managed to find a working service into Clapham Junction & met us on the Common. Two more newcomers were running late, @Trickedem waited for them and they finally joined us on Portnalls Road. Adrian had decided to take, for the most part, the 'classic' FNR Brighton route- so, back over Westminster Bridge, along Millbank to Chelsea Bridge, then south to Clapham Common, where we gained one rider- Adam- and lost another. Apparently, the ride was too slow for him. Not entirely sure what he expected…he would have been a handy waymarker by the sounds of it.
Portnalls Road was the usual grind, and Reigate Hill the usual thrill. With it being off-menu in the past few years, not sure if I had ridden the Litespeed down it before, but was a reasurringly stable descender. Not entirely sure what speed I reached- checking the Garmin at the regroup showed a maximum of 30.4 mph (er, no), Garmin Connect data can't make its mind up (top speed shown Im Possible, maximum in lap data too slow), and Strava reckons 39.8 mph- that seems more plausible.
On to the Edifice, in my case as part of an advance party led by Tim, and a splendid spread awaited us as always. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have donned some additional layers there. Turners Hill, as ever, was a nice little workout. By the time dawn rose though, I was definitely feeling more fatigue than usual (and certainly more fatigued than on last year's installment). Should have put those layers on, but it was a bit late now. Ditchling should have gone better, though I certainly wasn't slow. For a walker. And I've never felt the need to nod off at the summit before. As usual, the drop into Brighton was punctuated by far too many red lights. Wetherspoons breakfast also the usual, then back out of the lovely concrete Marina to the station. Station is doing a more than usual impression of something by H. Bosch. Epic queues for ticket machines and seemingly every service delayed or cancelled. Ordinarily, I have two rail options for getting home (acts of replacement bus permitting)- one to Fratton, per hour, and one to service to Southampton that stops at Cosham per hour. Despite aforementioned epic queue, I should have been able to make the next train to Havant (the lines into Portsmouth were closed all weekend) at 11.08. Train is showing as on time, but no platform number is given. 1105, the listing disappears from the board. Some minutes later, it reappears, marked as delayed. Disappears again, never to reappear. Fortunately, the next Southampton service was on time (almost) and just paid an excess fare to get to Cosham rather than Havant. Back just after one, and then the land of nod for a couple of hours.
Thanks everyone. Shoreham? Surely…
Edit: Scores on the doors for Pompey-London-Brighton (including the run to the station). 149.61 miles in 13:19 moving, 20:41 elapsed. Average speed of 11.2 mph, 7,266ft of climbing.
So, @hatler - your chum might want to start here when looking for starter bike - restored to good condition and cheap. I have one, it does what it needs to do there are more expensive ways of buying a bike, but not necessarily a better bike.The rider with the hire bike is seriously considering buying a bike to make the ride a more pleasurable experience.
Oooo. Neat. I wasn't aware of them. Thank you. I will certainly pass this link to her. I've already offered my services with regard bike selection.
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