Tuesday, 11 June 2013

London to Brighton 2013 (pre-ride stuff)

Many years ago, my Grandad woke up one morning and just decided on-the-spot to ride his bike from London to Brighton. This year he sadly passed away, so when I found out that some of my friends from Riddlesdown parkrun were forming a team to take part in the London to Brighton bike ride on Sunday 16 June, it felt right to sign up with them and follow in his footsteps, or maybe I should say cycle in his tracks.

The Bike
I'll be riding my B'twin Forme 5 (aka fitness 5). I bought it back in March and the decision to do so was mostly based on my entry into this event. The only upgrade I have made is to change the tyres. I have replaced the standard b'twin rubber with a set of special edition 'London' Schwalbe Durano Plus's - They are a lot more comfortable and are designed to be puncture resistant, so I have my finger's crossed for a puncture-free ride.

My training has largely been disrupted by a slightly sore knee, which ultimately means that I haven't done anywhere near the amount of training that I would have liked. Still, that element just adds to the fun. As well as being my first cycling event, this is also the first event I've taken part in where I have never covered the distance before. And to make it worse, I've barely touched any hills. So don't mention the Beacon!

This is the training distance/time I've done over the last few months:

June:111.6 km6:59:14
May:197.7 km12:34:19
April:197.1 km11:32:26
March:347.8 km20:46:38
February:84.4 km5:02:22

Fund Raising
The ride is organised by the British Heart Foundation, and our team leader Nicki has set up a team fundraising page. So if you feel the urge to hand over some of your dosh to the BHF you can do so here and we will all be very grateful for your support.

My parents donated some of my Grandad's belongings to the BHF and they have already raised over £500.

The Dreaded Backpack
I was trying to avoid carrying a backpack with me, but the list of things to take kept growing to the point where I reluctantly gave in to the inevitable. I have a long, but hopefully not too heavy, list of items to carry. Fortunately some of the items are going to be consumed along the way so the bag will get lighter. I've been wearing the backpack on most of my rides lately so I feel much more comfortable riding with it.

GPS Logging
Also having a bit of an issue (hopefully now resolved) with GPS tracking. I am considering buying a Garmin but until I finally work out which one to buy I am still using my phone's GPS, and currently using Strava - which I am loving by the way. I'm not entirely sure that the battery will last the whole journey, so I've ordered a second battery and will log the route in sections based on the points that we stop for breaks. When the battery looks like it won't successfully log another section, I'll switch to the second, fully charged, battery. That's the plan, maybe it'll work, maybe not. Hopefully there will be enough juice to take some photos and partake in a bit of tweeting along the way! (I won't be tweeting while cycling by the way)

Random nightmares aside, I'm feeling ok about it despite the awful training. I have no ambitions to finish in a particular time, just to make it to the end will be reward enough for me. The original plan was to book a hotel and spend a couple of days in Brighton with the ladies. However, this hasn't worked out and I have bought a ticket on the coach back to London - £24 gets me and the bike back to Clapham Common - I assume I'll have a very slow ride back to Westminster from here.

I'll write a full blog post about the day once it's all done. Thanks for reading.

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