FNRttC FNRttC Southend 15 March 2019

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StuAff

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
Well.....that was surprisingly good. Surprisingly in respect of the rather depleted turnout (47 or so registered, if I recall correctly), only about 25 gathered at the NT, with a mix of a few old lags, a few older lags, and a few remarkably enthusiastic first-timers. Then there was the weather, which had clearly put a lot of the potential runners and riders out (as in, they looked out the window, thought 'er, no', and went to bed instead), but was remarkably pleasant compared to the forecast. Though I'm certain that the only people who did the SMRbtH were locals, even the (absent) usual suspects wouldn't have done forty-odd miles into a 50 mph headwind.....

For me, the transport disruption started (very) early. If I'm going to do, or bail, on a night ride on a working day, I have to make that decision a lot earlier than most of you, as I work on a late shift, finishing 9.30, and even before the job moved twenty miles away from home, that means bringing the gear into work, and travelling up to the smoke straight after work. Going home first would make getting to the NT for midnight impossible, and a darn sight more awkward if it wasn't. Check the National Rail website at eleven or so, find out there has been signal problems outside Waterloo, and SWR services are SNAFU. The one-an-hour service I get to work on a ride day (to London via Eastleigh, break journey there for the short ride to the office) is affected- the 11.17 one, prior to mine, is marked as delayed and eventually cancelled. So I go to the station a bit early, so I've got time to (if need be) buy another ticket and go for a plan B service. Phew, no need- 12.17 is running as normal. No speed restrictions because of the wind, yet, so bang on time into Eastleigh, and plenty of time to get to work and have lunch before the 2pm start. As per usual, the job and finish finishes at the 9.30 wire, but I win the sprint challenge for the 2138 Waterloo-bound train from the airport station, rolling round to the northbound platform just after the service gets there. Mobile changing room it was then, before polishing off Morrisons meal deal number one. Into Waterloo on time, so I wait in the usual spot under the arch opposite Costa. And wait, and wait....nope, no-one else is coming via Waterloo. Round to the NT, and those numbers are so clearly way down. Ride leader is absent, fortunately he's just cutting it finer. Sign-in is, in I think a first, a case of running through the entire list to see who turned up, not merely 'is so-and-so here?'. Then the safety talk, with yours truly doing the signals after my turn on the Xmas ride worked out OK (when Titus had a bit of a cold and needed help from someone loud). We left slightly late, but given the numbers and the (generally speaking) tailwind, not exactly a problem.

What was more of a problem, unsurprisingly, punctures. High wind plus rain= perforating crud on roads, and concealed perforating crud at that. John's tubeless setup developed a slow leak that the sealant failed to fix, and after a couple of stops it ended up tubed (I think that happened last year as well). @sagefly suffered a fairy visit, somewhat ironically given his TEC role, and Titus reckoned there were five deflations in all (I lost count but that sounds about right, we've certainly had many more). Apart from a few longish waits when way marking, no real problems, no repeat of Bob's issues (about which he was reminded at length) last year. Or my chain problems, for that matter (multiple 11-speed chain links remain thankfully unused in my tool bag). On the subject of way marking, new people readily stepped up to the plate and did a good job, though there was one mini-roundabout towards South Ockendon that seemed to get left (whoops), though the then-tail end knew where we were going.

And on to J31. As I posted on the night, exciting news. There are now two good things about it. To go with the excellent hand-dryers, there are now high-power USB ports on the plug sockets. Very handy for a quick top-up of phone and Garmin. The Costa seemed to have a decent array of food for those who wanted it (good), but one person serving (not good), so an epic queue resulted. And the £1 not-entirely-unlike-tea machine was out of service. Oh joy. Those who preferred not to queue, or go to the nearby branches of Tesco or the golden arches, had mostly brought sandwiches, as had I. Morrisons meal deal number two was definitely the better option for me.

And then, on into (at last!) the countryside. Well, we could have gone for a more direct, more urban route, but then we'd have ended up in Southend a bit too early. And we'd have seen a lot more traffic. Nope, the scenic route was much more roundabout, but much more scenic. Though I, and I'm sure most of us, would like that climb into Rayleigh to be just a bit less climby! :smile: That, and that bugger of a ramp at Leigh-on-Sea, which I ended up walking after the chap with the Bike Friday came to a halt (chain drop), causing a mini-jam, and I knew I wasn't going to kick off again. And then, the flat home stretch, a few opting for trains from Chalkwell station. The front of the ride, helpfully powered by the strengthening wind, made Beaches at about 8.45 (we were averaging over 20 mph on the last stretch). A bit earlier than last year, but not much.

After the excellent Beaches breakfast, back, somewhat slower (I opted to walk the steep climb up, the headwind was brutal), to Southend Central station and train to Fenchurch Street. I phone the garage to check if the Honda's passed its MOT- yes, but the brake disc needs to be changed, bike won't be ready until Tuesday afternoon. Bah. I managed to take a very roundabout route to Waterloo, nonetheless in time for the 12.30 train, which wasn't on time due to speed restrictions. Eventually get into Fratton twenty-five minutes later than planned…and onto a much needed nap pronto.

Thanks everyone. Hoping for a rather larger turnout, and more favourable weather, for Whitstable, The halfway stop will certainly be up to its usual standard. The cakes are exceedingly good ;)
 
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OP
OP
StuAff

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
 

Redlight

Senior Member
That, and that bugger of a ramp at Leigh-on-Sea, which I ended up walking after the chap with the Bike Friday came to a halt (chain drop), causing a mini-jam, and I knew I wasn't going to kick off again.

For future reference, we could easily avoid that ramp by turning left at the end of Thames Drive, along Marine Parade, rather than going over the junction and down Belton Way, past the station. There are usually great views from the cliff top and we could go along Leigh Broadway and then down Grand Drive, to the start of the descent to Chalkwell Station.
 

rb58

Enigma
Location
Bexley, Kent
For future reference, we could easily avoid that ramp by turning left at the end of Thames Drive, along Marine Parade, rather than going over the junction and down Belton Way, past the station. There are usually great views from the cliff top and we could go along Leigh Broadway and then down Grand Drive, to the start of the descent to Chalkwell Station.
Are/were you local? I was brought up in Hadleigh and went to Westcliff High school.
 

Redlight

Senior Member
Are/were you local? I was brought up in Hadleigh and went to Westcliff High school.

I lived in Leigh from age 8 to 11 and went to North Street School. I had a place at Westcliff High but in the summer between primary and secondary schools we moved back to Lancashire instead. My parents, long retired, live there again now, on Elmsleigh Drive, so I am in the 'hood pretty regularly. When I first lived in London I would often cycle down to see them after work, stay overnight and cycle back the following morning - straight up the A127!
 

rb58

Enigma
Location
Bexley, Kent
When I first lived in London I would often cycle down to see them after work, stay overnight and cycle back the following morning - straight up the A127!
I did the A13 once. Just once.
 

BromyG

Über Member
Location
Deepest Essex
....Though I'm certain that the only people who did the SMRbtH were locals, even the (absent) usual suspects wouldn't have done forty-odd miles into a 50 mph headwind.....

Very local and the toughest 1.6 miles all night! https://www.strava.com/activities/2218156285

For future reference, we could easily avoid that ramp by turning left at the end of Thames Drive, along Marine Parade, rather than going over the junction and down Belton Way, past the station. There are usually great views from the cliff top and we could go along Leigh Broadway and then down Grand Drive, to the start of the descent to Chalkwell Station.

There are always easier ways round - but where's the fun in that!! Leigh Hill always comes as a surprise after the previous descent, particularly the final kick at the top. There was an unfortunate traffic jam this time, stopping many from getting a clear run at it
 

mmmmartin

Random geezer
Here's my blog post - about this ride in particular and Friday's rides in general : https://robmcivor.wordpress.com/201...southend-how-i-learned-to-love-cycling-again/

Both very interesting pieces, thanks very much.

for those who missed it the first time, here's Delzeqq's account in The Guardian: there was a spike in rider numbers after this was published.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/may/08/ethicalliving.cycling
 
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