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Tag: bike ride

Sunday Ride – A few photos and a puncture!

I managed to get out this morning for a short ride on my cyclocross bike – it’s been a while since I’ve ridden it as I’m using my Dawes touring bike for commuting and I haven’t had the chance to get out at the weekend for a while due to cadet activities.

So whilst the weather was good this morning, I managed to get out and about before the rain that was forecast for the afternoon. Whilst I didn’t manage to avoid the rain completely, it was a mainly dry ride and I’m glad I managed to get out.

As I said, took Atlas out for a spin. I’ve recently purchased a few items for it that are covered in a separate blog post and I was looking to try them out.

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I also decided that I wanted to get out and about on some unpaved routes as well to put the cyclo-cross part of the bike to the test. Whilst it did mean some road riding as well, I was able to get back on some trails that I haven’t ridden for a good while – not since I had my mountain bike and lived closer to them.

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The ride was cut slighty short by the fact that I got a puncture – oddly, not whilst I was doing the off road section of the ride but later, during the road section when I was starting to head back home anyhow! It meant that I had to cut my ride slightly short as I then ended up taking the faster route back home to avoid any further issues.

Changing the tube at the side of the ride, I found a slither of glass inside the tube that had caused the puncture – I can’t be certain whether this was what had caused the earlier puncture but I hadn’t fully removed the cause or not. However, the wet roads actually helped me find the cause – the bubbling water on the tyre as the air escaped betrayed the punctures position!

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Repairing the puncture, I headed home. Of all the cyclists that went past, only one slowed and asked if I was OK. In general, I’ve had better help in the past. I mean, if there’s a group of cyclists, I wouldn’t stop to offer a hand unless they looked like they really needed it, but I’m surprised that more people didn’t ask if a single cyclist was OK. It turns out that it wasn’t that much of an issue sorting the puncture so I wasn’t to bad.

However, I’ll keep an eye on the tyres. That’s two in less than four months – that’s two more than I’ve had in the past 12 months on my previous bikes! It may mean I have to look into some thicker, more puncture proof tyres!

In terms of how everything performed…

  • I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m no longer a huge fan of being clipped in. That might be different if I was just doing road riding or was off road on a proper mountain bike, but I wasn’t to keen on it on this one. Not being able to put my foot down if I wanted to in a hurry wasn’t good. Also, it requires some more playing to get my foot position right I think without it aching. I think flats would be the best replacement.

  • The bar bag isn’t in a good location, especially when hill climbing. I’d wanted it there for somewhere I could store my keys/wallet/phone but I think I’ll be replacing it. It might be better on a longer frame bike or one where I won’t be standing on the pedals to climb hills much. I’ve recently purchased a rack bag for my Dawes, so I’m looking at removing the saddlebag and placing it on this one instead.

  • I’m going to have to have to get used to riding off road again! And hills!

Overall, it was a good ride and I enjoyed it (even with the puncture). I’ve got a few things to change before I’m 100% happy with the ride (such as changing the pedals and changing the luggage options). Hopefully, I’ll be able to get out on the bike a bit more as the weather begins (slowly) to start improving.

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LBC: London to Brighton Again

This weekend I headed down to Brighton with some of the London Brompton Club.

I’d offered this ride to some of my work colleagues as we did this ride last year and it was a great ride, thanks to David’s excellent navigating skills, and a couple decided to come along this weekend. I also offered it to the LBC as well, though I was aware that this would clash with the Dunwhich Dynamo that was being ridden that evening. In the end, there were three from the Brompton Club that turned up – Anne and David and Tom, who I hadn’t met before but it was nice to meet. From work, my mate Dan ended up coming along – slightly nervous as he hadn’t done a long distance ride for quite some time. I did feel that perhaps I was the odd one out – I was the only one riding a Brompton, everyone else was on full size bikes!

We met up at Richmond Costa where the weather was pretty good – sunny and not quite as warm as it had been at the start of the week. However, it was reasonably windy with the wind coming from the South that would make life difficult for the ride down. Yet, we left in good spirits.

Quick stop for food and drink

Loki having a rest

We carried on and got to Headley where we stopped at the village hall and stores for a quick ice cream and drink.

Headley Village Hall

Once we got past Dorking, we ran in to trouble. Dan had been struggling with a bit with some of the hills prior to this point and unfortunately we left him behind slightly as we climbed the hill. As we got to the top and started down the otherside, I got a text that he’d punctured. I rode back to meet him as he’d spoken to me the day before and said he’d left his pump in Scotland. I managed to fix the puncture and inflate the wheel – it seems my purchase of a Topeak Mini Morph at the end of last year was a good one. But after it was fixed, Dan decided to leave us and head back to Dorking station.

At that point, I rushed to catch up with the others, who had carried on to Newdigate where we would be eating lunch. It turns out I wasn’t that far behind the others and I got to the pub about ten minutes after them.

After lunch, we carried on. The road continued towards the big finale at the end of the road, Devils Dyke. The hill appeared on the horizon and slowly grew in size…

I been perhaps struggling a bit up until now – the final stretch before Devils Dyke was a killer last year and was a drag this time around as well – perhaps the heat had been getting to me both times at this point. However, with Devils Dyke coming up rapidly, I found my second wind – I didn’t want to be beaten by it. Last year, I had to put a foot down about halfway up where you have to turn right off the main road and up towards the golf course. This time, there were no cars coming and so I was able to make the turn and carry on up the hill. And finally reached the summit with no foot down.

And with that, we headed down into Brighton. The ride down as ever was pretty quick and before we knew it, we were at the seafront. We didn’t wait around and we headed directly to the station, as all of us (with the exception of me) had booked tickets. I made the mistake of trusting to my annual Gold card for travel discount and ended up paying over double what both Anne and David had paid for both tickets! Perhaps I should consider pre-purchasing next time!

Managing to secure a bike spot on the train, we headed back to Clapham where we parted ways. I considered cycling to Wimbledon but I’d had enough for the day, so I got the train back to Wimbledon. And with that, another London to Brighton had been completed.

Mosquito Ride Preperation

Today I decided to ride part of the route I’ve got planned for the LBC ride on July 25th. I’ve ridden the first section numerous times – St Albans, Hatfield and Potters Bar featured heavily on my rides over the past few years as I lived there. However, I’d never really ventured past Hertford and so the second half of the route was a complete blank to me. Not really ideal for leading a ride over in that direction!

Ride

As I was doing this ride for the Brompton club and I was going to head into London afterwards for the weekend, I ended up doing the ride on the Brompton, though I really wanted to do it on my Pashley. Maybe I’ll do the actual ride on the Pashley as I’ve now scoped out the route (and by the time of the ride, I may have had the water bottle holder installed on the Pashley so I’d be able to drink).

I left the house and headed out to the Cole Green Way. This would be the start of the ride and would form the part of the route that would get me to Hertford. Most of the ride will be on cycle path and away from traffic and this forms a big section of that.

Getting to Hertford was easy – I’d done this section before so it wasn’t to hard to get there. Once I got to Hertford through, I was on new territory.

Hertford Wier

Leaving Hertford behind, I headed on towards Ware along the canal.

Looking back at Hartford

The route was pretty wide and open at this point and it was a pleasure to cycle. The path under the wheels was standard canal path – so not paved but not to bad under the wheels. It wasn’t long before I got to Ware.

Ware Wier

At this point, I stuck with the canal paths. My initial route finding had me come off the route at Ware and use the roads but before leaving, I thought that sticking to the canal might be the best option. I don’t think I was wrong. The canal was a great option.

The ride I’ll be leading is loosely themed about the de Haviland Mosquito, a World War 2 bomber that was built and operated locally to Hertforshire. In effect, it’s just an excuse to ride around Hertfordshire! So from Stanstead Abbots, I headed towards my destination, the old RAF airfield at Hunsdon. Leaving Stanstead Abbots and cycling around the corner I was greeted with a sign saying prepare for a 1:10 gradient! I wasn’t expecting that! However, I was needlessly worried and the route splits to the left avoiding the hill! Good news for those that want to do my ride, but don’t like hills!

I arrived at the airfield via a fairly dusty and gritty road, having had to go through a gate. In fact, I thought I’d stumbled upon a private road – I’m still not sure that the route is technically open to the public but I rode along it anyhow and no one mentioned anything – there were people at the airfield itself when I arrived. There were a number of Microlights out and about. I stopped for a photo opportunity and a drink before heading on.

Airfield Road

Memorial and Brompton

I’d planned to do laps of the airfield and the old runways, but seeing the road surface, this probably isn’t the best on a Brompton! It wasn’t the nicest surface to be cycling on but it wasn’t the worst I’ve been on (at least it wasn’t muddy)! The land around the airfield had some poppies growing alongside the route which I thought was nice. There’s still reminders of the original purpose of the airfield around as well – with pillboxes dotted around.

Leaving the airfield behind, I found myself heading back into built up areas and ended up in Harlow. The was a bit of cycling along a busy A road on the pavement here but it wasn’t to bad – it might prove to be an issue with a larger supply of Bromptoneers on the ride but might just take some time to cross.

Heading through Harlow was quite pleasant – like Stevenage, it seems to have a good network of bike paths. The views might not be the best, but it is off road and away from traffic so I can’t complain.

I left Harlow behind and ended up on a slight hill out of Harlow. Once that was out the way, there was some nice downhill (along some freshly tarmaced road) and then onto a road for the final stretch into Epping to finish. In fact, this last section (unavoidable) was probably the heaviest in terms of traffic, however, it might be a case of cycling down the rudimentary pavement if needed.

The ride ended in Epping – no relation to the Mosquito bomber, just the fact it’s the first tube stop you come to along the route! The ride back into London was easily down on the tube, where I jumped out at Liverpool Street and cycled onwards to Wimbledon.

However, it looks like it’ll be a cracking ride – I was impressed with how much of it was off road or on cycle paths. If the weather is good, it could be a cracking ride. And it shows the benefits of the Brompton – getting the train to Potters Bar and then heading onwards to Epping and then getting the tube back into London – multi modal travel at it’s finest.

I’m looking forward to the ride now that I’ve ridden it in full – should be a good ride.

LBC: Tweed Ride

This weekend saw the Brompton club do a tweed themed ride to celebrate a couple of members 40th birthdays (though, neither of them eventually made the ride, unfortunately). I’m not sure where the tweed part came in but it was an amusing addition to the ride!

I’ve a tweed jacket, but I ended up wearing a retro merino wool jersey that I’d got from Stolen Goat. Tweed is ok, but as we edge towards summer, I think I’d have been far far to warm. I rarely wear the jacket even in the winter!

Pashley

The ride started at the London Eye but I had to get to Kings Cross and pick up my new ride…

I purchased a Pashley parabike from Phoenix Cycles on the Friday and had kept it overnight at work. I was looking forward to giving it a good ride in “anger” (though, anger isn’t the ride word as I don’t think you could ever be angry on it)! I’d done 11Km back from Battersea but this would be 40Km on an untested bike (and, importantly, an untested Brooks saddle)!

I didn’t need to worry – the bike was great!

Jenny and Sam managed to snap a few pictures of me on it.

Pashley over Westminster bridge, thanks to Jenny Hung

Syon Park on a Pashley - Samantha Skye

The (Eventful) Ride

The ride was a 40Km ride from the London Eye out towards Richmond, where we had a table booked at Steins.

David led the way and off we started – and initially ran into issues! Heading up Whitehall the traffic was packed and me and John got stuck and separated from the rest of the group. They were waiting for us in Trafalgar Square, but we did have to ring them to see where they’d got to.

We then headed around Trafalgar Square with the intention of heading up the Mall, but found it closed. It seems that this was for the VE day celebrations concert on Horse Guards parade (judging by the TV on Sunday) which meant that we had to make a detour down Pall Mall. This wasn’t all bad – I stopped to get a quick snap at the RAF Bomber Command Memorial.

Heading into Hyde Park, we then found that the park itself was mainly closed for a weekend of triathalon! Following around the park, we ended up heading down past the Science Museum and Imperial College London and found that this road was closed as well! We managed to get around this on pavement and finally managed to get on.

A quick stop at Phoenix Cycles for Andrew to get his wheels looked at and we then headed on, away from the traffic on the cyclepath along the Thames.

Everything was uneventful until we reached Fulham. Unfortunately, Brian took a tumble over a root induced crack in the pavement. He landed quite hard and we ended up staying with him for a bit. It wasn’t until later that we found out that he’s fractured his wrist. He let us carry on and Annie stayed with him until the ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital. All the best Brian and hopefully you’ll be back on the Brompton soon!

Carrying on, we went past Syon house and then carried on into Richmond for the end of the ride.

We crossed the river on a footbridge and carried onto the town. We ended up at Steins for Bratwurst and Bier (or in my case, Currywurst mit Bratkartoffeln)

After the meal, I headed back to Clapham and then to Kings Cross. The pace on the ride back was quicker – with various riders dropping off along the route between Richmond and Wimbledon. I meet Eileen at Clapham and we cycled back to Kings Cross, via Phoenix so the Brompton could be picked up. Stopping briefly for an ice cream in Battersea Park, we headed back and found a helicopter landing at the London Heliport.

Overall, it was a cracking ride and the new bike was extremely comfortable and the ride was an amusing ride and we certainly drew some looks from some of the tourists in London. Thanks to David for organising and leading the route and thanks to all that turned up.

LBC: London to Whitstable

Saturday morning is usually my lie in – its not often that my alarm will get me up at 6am in the morning on a Saturday as well as the work week! However, this weekend was different as I left Wimbledon on a train at 06:21 to get to Trafalgar Square. Why would I get up so early? Because of a bike ride!

The LBC have run a ride to Whitstable now for the last three years. I’d wanted to do the ride last year but missed out. I decided that I wouldn’t miss out again.

There were two options for the ride – the first, starting from Trafalgar Square and cycling the whole way or two, meeting up with the London riders at Otford and getting to Otford via the train. I decided that the London start was for me, hence my early start. London to Otford was out 48Km along the 129Km route so we needed to make tracks to get there for 10 when we were meeting the other riders.

National Gallery

Brompton in Trafalgar Square

I was first to arrive and waited for Mark and Orange Brompton to arrive before we set off on our way.

The route from London wasn’t to bad and it wasn’t to long before we got out in the countryside. I was testing my Samsung S5 as a navigation aid, along with the Ride With GPS app. I’d recently sold my Garmin 800 GPS as the plan was to use the phone – I’ll write a review of that separately. However, in short it worked fairly well.

Once we got into the countryside, we thought we’d be in some trouble as the hill we intended to cycle had a big sign saying the road was closed. Taking a risk, we followed the road and our original planned route. As it turns out, there was no reason the road should be closed and we passed on with no ill effect.

We arrived in Otford and stopped at a nice little tea shop – where upon I realised I’d suffered perhaps from the Londoner’s mentality and I’d forgotten to bring any cash! It seems that everywhere it London takes card these days so I tend not to carry any cash, so much so, I actually don’t have a change section in my wallet anymore as I use a Flipside Wallet!. Mark kindly lent me some cash so I can have a scone and drink before we moved on and met the rest of the gang, ZoomZoom, Brian and James, at the station.

The weather up until now had been nice and sunny, but there was a decline in the weather for a bit, with a misty, damp air coming down.

Misty

Misty as well

In fact, at one point, we stopped to cross a road (and waved at the passing car heading to the wedding with the bride in) and ended up putting our rain jackets on, only to have to take them off at the base of the hill as it had stopped raining! I can’t complain as the rest of the weather was reasonable and the mist burnt off the closer we got to the coast. One learning point to take away from this route was that I’d seriously underestimated my layering and I suffered for it along the route. I think I need to look at the purchase of a long sleeve top, like my Vulpine Merino one but one that’s a bit lighter weight than that.

A slight change of route took us out on to some trails, rather than road. Initially, this gave us some really good views and we stumbled across a barrow.

However, the trail came up to a gate that led down to a farm and a sign stated that it was private access land. Not wanting to get on the bad side of a farmer, we decided to take a detour. This detour led through a footpath, that ended up quite muddy. Now, a spot of cyclocross or off roading is a good spot of fun in my eyes, even if it’s not really suited to the Brompton. I enjoyed the first section immensely, speeding down a field past some horses that watched us go by, amused. The number of gates we had to negotiate made life tough, and then we came across the wooded section – the mud in here was more cloying and sticky and rapidly gummed up my Brompton tyres. Unlike some of the others (ZoomZoom and Orange), I kept my Brompton on the ground – I ended up actually dragging the Brompton at one point where the amount of mud on the rear wheel prevented it from turning!

However, we preserved and got back on the road. Soon we got to the weir over the River Medway and shortly thereafter on to our lunch stop.

Lunch was an excellent little pub that Mark had pre-booked us a table but we ended up sitting outside as the weather wasn’t bad.

Moving onwards after lunch, we carried on. I’d hasten to add that the “undulations” that were mentioned were more like hills. In fact, this ride ranks as the third hilliest rides I’ve recorded on Strava (beaten only by the Tour of the National Forest sportive and the London Bikeathon). We came to Hollingbourne Hill which was a pig of a hill and I’m afraid to say, I didn’t make it to the top. On the last steepest section, I ended up having to get off. However, little did I know that I was almost at the top! If I’d known how far off the top I was, I think I’d have managed it but alas, I failed to conquer it. Maybe next time. However, I’ve got some more climbing practise in July when I ride London to Brighton again.

Brian suffered a mechanical issue (a broken spoke) climbing Hollingbourne Hill. However, no other major disasters befell the group (other than the mud on Orange’s and ZoomZoom’s bike) which was lucky. Brian successfully made it to the end of the ride without the rest of the spokes causing trouble.

Finally, we made it to Whitstable.

A quick chippy supper was had on the beach (disappointingly, the chips were a bit poor and we didn’t have a time for a 99 before heading to the station!) We didn’t have to much time before jumping onto the train to get back to London. Myself and James caught the Javelin back to St Pancras, where I was able to cross the road and catch the train to Welwyn from Kings Cross with only a minute to spare! The others joined us for the first stop and then changed at Faversham to get back into Victoria.

The whole ride was really good, though I was pretty tired at the end of it. I’ve not really done a long ride since January this year when I did the Evans Sportive so this was a long ride to get back into the swing of things.

Overall, I’d like to thank Mark for the excellent trip he’d organised and to the others for coming along. It makes a difference cycling with others!

LBC: Kew and Cake

Saturday saw me do a ride with the London Brompton club. It’s the first ride I’ve done with them for quite a while to be fair due to various reasons (such as not being in the country!)

The promise of cake made the ride seem like a good prospect and the good weather we’d been having for the last few days made me think that perhaps the ride would be accompanied with good weather. I wasn’t to disappointed on either front!

Tannus Tyres

The only let down for the ride was my Tannus tyres.

I let one of the other Brompton owners give them a go to try and the consensus was that they didn’t offer a decent ride (see blogpost on them soon). They marred what was an otherwise good ride. I managed to get a few pictures prior to passing the London Eye but then didn’t really stop to get any after that. Perhaps I should get on one of Ben’s Friday photo rides.

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As we cycled down the Thames, we were treated to a display of the Royal Air Force as they flew down the river in Chinooks for the ANZAC celebrations (I’m assuming RAF! – Could well have been others).

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As we reached Battersea Park, David joined us. This is having just led a ride to Southend overnight! Not something I think I’d be capable of at the minute! Though with proposed cadet activities coming up in the future, this might be something that I should work on soon!

We stopped at Fulham Reach for a tea and cake in Harris and Hoole. A decent cake and a reasonable tea, though not the best tea – unfortunately that was claimed by Brompton Junction and they no longer have the cafe 🙁

As we headed back, Ben ended up having some trouble with spokes so we sped up a bit to get back to Brompton Junction before it closed. However, I peeled off at Wandsworth and headed back out to Wimbledon.

Overall, it was a nice trip out and the first (and last) trip with the Tannus tyres – I got back and booked them to be removed that week!

Ireland Bike Ride

I have recently spent a few days in Ireland for a holiday, meeting my girlfriends family and friends from back home. Whilst I was there, I managed to get out and about for a quick bike ride.

I borrowed a bike from one of the family members and did a loop of the local area whilst the house was being setup for the extended family to arrive over the weekend.

It was my first time in Ireland and I was impressed. I was in Clare, near the town of Kilkee. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere to fair – there wasn’t much about, though the towns had the basics in. It did however make for some nice riding. It was perhaps a bit flatter than I was expecting. Not entirely sure why I imagined that Ireland was all hills but I certainly wasn’t expecting the sun that we had! It was excellent weather all weekend and the days leading up to it

Doonbeg Tower

Doonbeg Bridge

I did a reasonably small loop, with a brief stop in one of the towns to get a drink as sadly my bike wasn’t equipped with a drinks holder so I couldn’t take anything with me.

Cidona

The views were fantastic. I certainly wasn’t too go back to Ireland again and perhaps do some cycling along the coast to explore a bit more. I’d bought a book on cycle touring in Ireland earlier in the year, so it seems like I should try and get some use out of it.

Kilkee Beach

Abandoned trains in Moyasta

Overall, I managed a loop of about 40Km, which was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and it made a change to not use the Brompton. I think I best start get planning a trip back to Ireland!

Battle of Britain Challenge

To date this year, I’ve not really signed up to do any bike challenges. About this time last year, I’d cycled from London to Loughborough, but I currently haven’t planned anything similar this year. I’d talked about doing the Devon Coast to Coast or the Way of the Roses but this has been hot air for the time being. I thought it was about time that I signed up and did something this year. My rides to date have mainly been commutes and transport, rather than recreational rides. I needed a challenge to get my teeth into.

Brompton Rides

I’d seen back in January that the Royal Air Force Benevolent fund were running a Paris to London bike ride in September. I liked the idea as it was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and that it was all on Bromptons. However, the off putting fact was the £1000 sponsorship target, so I initially dismissed it.

However, it kept popping up in the London Brompton Club Facebook group and it also cropped up on my Twitter feed when retweeted by various companies I follow (namely Brompton themselves). And so, I looked at it in a bit more detail.

£350 entry fees that covers all my expenses for the ride. It’s sponsored, by some big names – Thales, Brompton and Strava which has kept costs down for the riders. However, there is a £1000 sponsorship requirement (riders have to raise £1000 to take part) which had initially put me off.

However, the idea of the ride refused to leave me alone – images of cycling along the French countryside in a “formation” of up to 150 other Bromptons with the RAF March Past playing in the background kept cropping up whilst I was trying to work…

The Gauntlet is laid down

So last week, I eventually looked at the challenge again. And looked at the other tours that Ride 25 offered. Looking at the prices of running my own Paris to London trip, staying at hotels and getting the Eurostar there and the ferry back, £350 suddenly looked very good value for money. And then the opportunity to take part in a memorial ride and raise money for a charity, I decided that it would be worth the cost and it would be a great opportunity.

So I signed up and now have to start training for the ride in September! Hope to get a lot of pictures along the route and aim to do some rides with the London Brompton Club to get some training in for it. The ride will be four days of riding and the longest ride I’ve done to date is a two day ride – it looks like I need to get in the habit of cycling distances day after day again. I used to do 40Km rides on both Saturday and Sunday when I was at university so I’ll be looking at doing similar in training. The distance from my house to work is about 40Km so it would be good training to cycle in once or twice a week. The benefit of having the Brompton is that I can cycle in for the morning (or home in the evening) and I only have to do a ride in a single direction as I can bike on the train without having to get an off peak train.

Sponsorship

RAFBF Logo

So now comes the part where I ask if you’d care to sponsor me for this challenge and donate to a good cause.

There’s three ways you can help out:

  1. Firstly, you can donate directly at Just Giving. My page can be found here. All money is sent directly to the charity.

  2. Secondly, you can help raise money for me without any cost to yourself by using Easyfundraising. Basically, if you buy anything online, if you go to Easy Fundraising and click the shop link on their website, you get directed to the store website and can purchase your item as normal – however, the shop pays Easy Fundraising for each sale made through it’s store like this and this money is donated towards charity.

  3. Spread the word! If you don’t want to or can’t donate, then please pass on the details of the ride and my sponsorship page to others!

I think I’ll be organising some RAF themed rides over the coming year to get the right mindset. I lost a family member who was in the RAF during the war so this can be my tribute to him.

Never was so much owed by so many to so few

Cycling in Berlin

I spent last weekend in Berlin, as part of a work trip to Germany for a conference. Whilst I was there, I decided to spend some time cycling around Berlin with Fat Tire Bike Tours.

I’d spent a few days walking around Magdeburg whilst I was there, mainly from the university (where the conference was) to the hotel, making sure I got to see the sights along the way. I’d considered taking the Brompton with me, as my flight tickets included a checked bag, but I decided not to this time around.

I’d looked around prior to going to Berlin to see if they have a bike hire system like the London Boris Bikes – I think they do, but it seemed that it was a lot cheaper and easier to just hire a bike for the day instead (my hotel for example, rented bikes out for €12 a day). Cycling seems a lot more common (or at least a lot safer and more accessible. The lack of hills in Berlin might help as well!) than in London so it wasn’t hard to find myself a bike. However, as I wanted to do a ride around Berlin to see as many sites as possible whilst I was there, I came across, and decided to go on, one of the Fat Tire Bike Tours. They seem to have tours in a few major cities in Europe and it had good reviews on TripAdvisor.

Tour

I walked to the Alexanderplatz where we started the ride. Alexanderplatz is the site of the famous TV tower, the tallest structure in Germany.

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Bikes for the day were Dutch style bikes.

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Scarlet (as mine was called) actually turned out to be very comfy and a fantastic way to see the city. With only three gears, there’s wasn’t a huge scope for speed or climbing potential, but Berlin is extremely flat, so that wasn’t an issue!

We left Alexanderplatz and cycled around Berlin. This was a quick tour, so there wasn’t a huge amount of time for photos at each stop over but I did manage to get a few here and there.

Checkpoint Charlie was interesting and our guide managed to give a good background to how the wall came about which was interesting and not something that I’d really learnt in school, so it was really interesting to find out about it.

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We passed onwards passed onto the memorial for the Jewish Holocaust victims (there are other memorials for the other victims of the Holocaust through Berlin, some near to this one).

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A quick ride through the Tiergarten and then a stop at a nice cafe which I had some pretty tasty Hackbraten (meat loaf). We then came back into Central (or Mitte) Berlin, stopping off at the Riechstag and Brandburger Tor on our way back to Alexanderplatz.

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Whilst this was just a quick tour of Berlin, I would love to go again and visit. There seemed to be lots of interesting architecture about (the Hauptbahnhof puts some of the London stations to shame!).

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2015-03-25 16.03.04

I would love to go back and investigate some more (by bike of course). Fat Bike Tours also do a trip to Potsdam – I went through this on the train to Magdeburg and it looked like that was well worth visiting as well. Unfortunately, my visit was in March when only the basic bike tours were being run and the tourist season it seems doesn’t start until April. However, that does give me the indication of when to go back next time!

I forgot to start Strava quite at the beginning, so the route isn’t quite the full route!

Weeks Riding

This past week has seen me ride more than I rode in the entirety of last January! In fact, taking into account the Evans organised ride, it means that I’ve done about three times the amount of cycling in comparison to last year!

I’ve put in 19 hours to date this month, and this time last year, I’d completed 10 (and that included runs, which I’ve not done this year). In terms of distance, that’s a bit more.

However, some of the trips I’ve made this week, hasn’t been on my own Brompton! I took my Brompton into Brompton Junction store for a bit of a service. The brakes were performing as they should and in fact, that morning, they had decided to remain on for the entire time I cycled to the station. So I booked the Brompton in and they were kind enough to lend me a Brompton whilst mine was being fixed (it’s one of the main reasons I use them, over Cycle Surgery which is much closer to my office). Thankfully, it allowed me to get to my meeting in Brighton!

The more eagle eyed amongst you will noticed that the Brompton in the picture isn’t an S type and you’d be correct! I believe it’s the M type, rather than the H, but it was a conscious decision to get that one, rather than an S type so I could try it out. I can say that the M type is quite different – definitely a more upright ride. In fact, I think it suited London riding a bit better than the S type but I do like my S type. Maybe I’ll consider an M type in the future.

The week ended with a ride on my hybrid.

This topped the week off. It was quite a muddy and wet ride – the hybrid doesn’t actually have any mudguards so I got splattered. I do have a pair that will fit, I just need to get the screws together to fit them.

Here’s hoping this is indicative of my riding for the year!