I spent this weekend having MUCH FUN. ( Acid on Sea! )dogrando
, & I headed to Earls Court for the Great British Beer Festival. Located fernasto
(down from Manchester, hurrah), & boyofbadgers
. Drank tasty beer. Talked nonsense (some of it beer-related). Discovered that beer-decisions made much easier by the fact that it was the end of the festival & they were running out of beer. People brought me beer without me having to do much in the way of effort. Hurrah. We got all enthusiastic about going to Poptimism afterwards, but by the time we'd had some dinner, it was getting late & we were too tired, so returned to Bermondsey instead. uon
& go on a Bicycling Adventure. Specifically, on this occasion we were Adventuring to Brighton. (Which is <60 miles from home, in fact - a v pleasant cycle). The purpose of the exercise was for uon
to do his super-domestique thang ;-) & pace me a bit faster than I'm normally inclined to go. Also to go swimming & for tasty food.
The first 20mi or so were spent in extracting ourselves from London, via the A23 through Streatham & Croydon (OK at 9-10am on a Sunday but not a road I'd like to tackle later in the day). It was sunny, and a lovely day for a ride; and concentrating on navigating London meant that I got over my usual 10-mi or so hump (i.e. it takes me about that long to get into the swing of things) without really noticing it. We crossed the M25 just north of Reigate, which meant that we got to go down Reigate Hill. This is an *immense* amount of fun; sadly I didn't quite manage to break the speed limit (40mph), but only because the car in front had to brake for a corner which I'd have been able to take flat out otherwise.
Got slightly lost in Reigate, due to me not concentrating on the one-way system, but managed to extract ourselves & continue. I was doing reasonably well with the hanging onto doop's wheel (in "grim death" fashion when gradients sloped upwards; quite easily on the flat; overtaking him on downhills as I have better bike), and we were making splendid time. Stopped at the Hedgehog Inn (near Copthorne) for chips & BEER just after midday, at 32mi. Realised on departure that my rear brake was off, & possibly had been off for the duration. Whoops.
Unfortunately it was shortly after that that I registered Something Amiss with my back wheel: viz, a visit from the P****ure Fairy. The customary round of cursing ensued as I struggled with the removal of the excessively tight tyre (& eventually gave up & got doop to do it. Again. I can get it back on OK, though.). Somewhat unnerved at this point as I was feeling very untrusting of the rear tyre (inspection revealed it to be increasingly bald & scarred); had brought only 1 spare inner (the other being still on the coffee table awaiting fixing after the Dun Run); and had just discovered what appeared to be a very slow flat on the front as well. We went for the "pump everything up & hope for the best" option, & planned for a detour to Haywards Heath in 5 or 6 miles to locate a bike shop.
The next couple of miles were Not Good in speed terms - inflation level of tyres makes a massive difference. We did manage to find a Halfords in Haywards Heath, though, which reassured me; and after another 5 min of pumping it looked like both tyres were doing a bit better & should hold out.
Thus off! to Ditchling & the Beacon. I was pleased with myself on the way into Ditchling, as I managed to hold doop's wheel almost all the way to the top of a couple of hills (the increasing headwind helped my determination here...). The sun was back out again in full force by now, so we stopped in Ditchling for suncream application, water, & a handful of fortifying biscuits before tackling the Beacon. We looked up the road.
d: "That big green thing up there - that's the Beacon?"
J: "Yes, yes, it is."
d: "And we're going to cycle up that? Woman, we are both crazy."
Having done my best to push myself up most of the hills, I confess to returning to my customary "granny gear & twiddle" approach at this point (doop stormed off ahead as per). I will try it a bit faster next time! Made it up successfully albeit at average speed of 4mph; and the view at the top really is fantastic, right over the Downs in both directions, and back towards London, and down to the sea. Unfortunately the next couple of miles, which should have been rapid freewheel (mostly) were instead rapid battle into headwind; but the scenery continued glorious. Then DOWN the hill into Brighton (featuring several Experiments With Rapid Downhill Braking at traffic lights, inc doop's rear wheel locking up with thankfully no ill effect), & to the SEA!
We had a swim (best thing ever!), sat on the beach, & congratulated ourselves on getting to the seaside under our own steam :-) Then took ourselves off to Terre a Terre for a very very very nice dinner. I confess that I am now thinking that this is definitely a ride that warrants a repeat performance! Although probably cannot manage Terre a Terre on every occasion ;-)
59 mi, 4h15 riding time for riding average of 13.1mph (very good for me over that distance). 7h15 total time (faffage inc pub, tyre, Halfords, suncream application, etc etc - we weren't worrying about total time at all). Must ride the Beacon faster next time! 3 visits in 3 rides, after nothing at all for 2000 miles or so. I bought new tyres today.
Today I am at work. Boo to work. But it is nearly hometime.