Thank god someone invented the wheel

We're a group of people who enjoy going out and trying new challenges on the bike. And we thought it would be nice to share some of the beautiful stuff we see. Enjoy.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

London to nearly Brighton /// 53 miles on a cold wintery day

Challenge: Ride from London to Brighton in cold and wet conditions
Difficulty: Medium. Well, it should be medium, but with the cold and the amount of punctures I had,
we never really set into a good rythm so the ride felt a lot tougher

To ben: note the difference between the old and new

We set off with the best of intentions: a good early start through potential rough weather from East London to Brighton in order to meet Alice Will and Rosa for a nice afternoon pub lunch and then back to London on the train: Perfect.

No further than tower bridge did I get the first puncture. This was to happen another 4 times that day on the same spot. As a result, our cycle became a game of stop/start/get cold and we lost momentum and motivation. However, we were gifted with spectacular forest colours from bright reds to yellow. Even the air and smells felt autumnal.

My summer tyre had reached an end of it's short era, the tyre was no more so we decided that the best thing was to finish the trip on the train from Haysworth Heath to Brighton. We had to shave about 10 miles off but we will do it again and complete it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Cornwall /// Falmouth /// Autumn ride 25 miles


Route: from Falmouth to Helford passage and back using the ferry and sipping local ale 25miles
Difficulty: easy/medium
A beautiful coastal autumn ride through the up and down roads of Cornwall passing through lovely
countryside and beaches

My mates Becky and Thom (tallthom) are based in Cornwall. We'd promised a nice weekend together for a long time, so it was rude not to put the bike on the train from Paddington and discover the area with a Sunday ride.

The scenery and hills live up to their promises. After a long night out drinking oysters and beer, Thom, Ollie and myself set off through the country lanes. A perfect Autumn ride with the last summer heat. When we got to Helford, we waited for the ferry to pick us up and we stopped for a Yum fish n chips and a couple ales.

Then back to Falmouth through the coastal road. Thanks all for such a mega weekend.

Massif Central to Geneva /// 270km in 12.5 hours


Challenge: Ste Sigolene to Geneva 270km (col du tracol,
Route: to follow
Difficulty: Hard. It all starts roses and it's mostly decent as you head to the vallee du Rhone.
Then starts the long day under heat on the straight flats and you finish on pre Alpine climbs
under 35 degrees beating on your back. A ride that pushes you through a lot of different

We attempted this bad boy 2 years ago but heavy rain and lack of equipment made us stop
and get the train to Geneva.. We were shivering to the bones..

This time round, things were looking bright and warm. I was going to attempt the ride solo
and complete it in one singular day. The plan was to get as far as possible before the sun gets
too hot. 36 degrees celcius predicted.

Bad night sleep through nervousness. 4:45Am wake up. 5:00AM, and I set off in total darkness
through country hamlets and forests... everything is pitch black and I prepare to sprint if any dog
attempts to race me. It did actually happen and I remember cursing the damn creature as he raced me
up a hill..

8AM: a quick breakfast in Serrieres and about 70km into the ride. This was the easy part and I'm only a quarter into the ride. To follow are the long flat straights (130km) which are OK as long as you feel fresh. On y va... after a couple hours I head north and catch a friendly tail wind. Everything is fine, I feel on top of the world but remind myself never to push on the pedals more than I need to. I just try and keep my steady pace and go economy on each breath. Drink, eat wisely.

I'm 220km into the trip with the hardest 50km to go, with right in front of me a 600m climb on hair pin roads. This would not be a problem at the start of the day but my sense of perspective is already distorted after today's effort and heatwave.

2:30PM, I go for it. It's tough and there is no way I'm stopping to take pictures because I just don't care anymore. I reach the top and cycle through an other few valleys before I finally hit the last hill. At the top of that, I see lake Geneva (5:00PM) .. it's all the way down from here to the finishing line.. The only fuel left is adrenaline... phew..

In a weird way, I enjoyed every bit of that trip. There is something nice about pushing yourself, getting an understanding of how you feel and how you'll cope with the physical and psychological pain.
I always think that so much time on a bike is going to solve my questions. It does not. In actual fact, it just makes me think about the simple things in life, ie water, pot holes, and how big our planet is when riding a bike.. and that's why I like it so much...

Psychologically, no surprises. I knew the last bit was going to be cruel and I managed to spread my energy wisely. I slept well that night and woke up feeling positive pain all over. Eddie Mercxx used to do these distances on a daily training basis.. sick.

Commuter //// Goodbye fixie

A final Goodbye to the fixie bike as far as I'm concerned as my last bike
undergoes its operation to become a good old single speed.

Why no more fixie?

Well, I've tried it out for at least a year and whilst I have enjoyed it, these are the main reasons
why I doubt I'll ever go back to it.

1. Hard on the bumps
2. One break at the front is not enough as a safety net
3. Three wrecked pairs of trousers

Au revoir mon petit fixie, a jamais..
photo taken a Lock7, London

Vitus Frame //// A discovery

Whilst on holiday my uncle explains to me how he used to work in a bike factory
assembling frames and different parts together for professional racers... As an actual fact,
he assembled a Vitus Alu frame and put it into the oven himself for the adhesives to stick together..

The frame is made and all assembled he tells me. It is lying at my Granny's in the cellar and has not
moved in the last 15-20 years... Could this be true? There is one way to find out.. I head to my nan's,
and head for the cellar. There it is, suspended at the back of some nails, a brand new Vitus racer frame,
never used.

I've taken it back to London to get it tested. And hopefully by the new year, this should be on the road. It will however have to be a Sunday bike and special occasion bike. These bikes were never meant to last long as the adhesive tends to brake with consecutive shocks. They would last a couple thousand km before having to be renewed. However, they look beautiful and I can't wait to try it out.

Merci Jean-Loups, j'ai hate de tester ce beau velo...

Massif Central /// Summer rides


Day 01: Ste Sigolene to Marhles
Difficulty: Easy
Day 02: Ste Sigolene to Mt Mezenc
Difficulty: Medium
Day 03: Ste Sigolene
Difficulty: Medium

Maps and stats to follow:

A couple of rides back in the la Haute-Loire. The weather was fortunate and we were
gifted a heat wave. Rides included morning trips to Marhles with my Dad, a solo
challenge to the Mt Mezenc summit via Chaudeyrolles as well as  a
new ride with my friend Jean-Luc Vincent who showed me some lovely new roads towards

The area is perfect for any type of ride, there are no flats available in the region but you chose your route according to how much you want to push yourself. When the sun is out, the rides are just
beautiful, I go back every year and every time the rides are different.

This was all good training for the big challenge ahead...265km in a day to Geneva

Surrey Hills /// Thank you WIGGO


Time: 2:15 / 2:40
Route: 43miles if this includes a finish on box hill.
Difficulty: Medium. The route has different 5 hill challenges throught a lovely English countryside.
It's very good for starting season training and does not take long to reach form central London.


We returned for a summer session to Surrey Hills (ah yes, back to good old Surrey hills). But this
time one of the big discussions was the victory of Wiggins in the tour de France. Mike put on a couple
of side burns as below.. Well done Wiggo, bout time a brit won it, and well done on the Olympics!!!