FNRttC FNRttC to Shoreham, April 19 2024. Ride report

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Silencing his legs regularly
Yes, I know there was discussion already…in the thread for the 2021 edition. But (IMHO) better to have a new thread.

…and we're back. The first FNR of 2024, and a return to Shoreham for the first time since that 2021 ride. Jim took the ride leader role on, and did a fine job. This was less a ride of two halves, more one of three acts. Act One: Seamless, flowing, like clockwork. Act Two: That Bit Of The Film Where Our Heroes Have Issues to Deal With. Act Three: It all turns out OK in the end. Very well indeed, in fact.

But first, back to the beginning of my evening, as so often, the end of my working…well, shift, given it was 2130. Usual (since 2015) seven and a half minutes to get self bike and gear out the door and onto the rail service of choice (the bail-out option is half an hour later, and a slower service, though still in plenty of time for the pre-ride formalities). I roll up to the platform as the train pulls in, bike in space 2137, job done. Usual mobile changing room, eating, phone charging routine ensues. Into Waterloo on time (2245) and fill up the bottles- once I discovered the ground floor bottle filling point is still out of action on account of the ongoing works on the toilets. Upstairs to the mezzanine alternative, and then round to the NT at eleven. Where I am the first. But I didn't have long to wait before the rest of the peloton made its way there. About forty had registered, but we were down to 35 or so in the end. Some regulars were absent through illness or Other Things, some had clearly decided the weather forecast didn't suit them, but half a dozen or so newcomers weren't put off, and seemed to enjoy themselves, though it proved a bit eventful for one.

Forecast was that it would be A Bit Parky, down to three or four degrees (not including wind chill), but dry, and with a strong wind (northerly, so helpful- not so later on, for me at least). Forecast was accurate. So, winter clothing it was. Bib tights, the Fridays long-sleeve jersey, Alpkit gloves, the trusty Uniqlo thermal base layer, skull cap, the Shimano boots, and (in reserve for now) a second buff and jumper, plus the Sealskinz socks. That proved comfortably warm enough for the first part of the ride, aided by our steady turn of speed.

First part of the route south was pretty much stock- round past the Old Vic, Kennington, Stockwell, Tooting, Mitcham. From there, Hackbridge and Carshalton rather than Wallington and Coulsdon, on to Chipstead (and the Proper Dark). Swinging east of Reigate & Redhill, and we were on to the halfway-home stretch, on target to reach the Burstow scout hut not long after three. At about 2.45, it all went a bit pear-shaped. The total lack of mechanicals- not even a puncture so far, I think- abruptly ended with not one but two rear derailleur breakages. Those tend to be ride-ending, at best 'knock up something that'll get you riding to a train home'. In this case, it would sadly prove to be the former. As so often in the past, the nice warm well-lit halfway was so near yet so far. The tail end was some distance back from the rest of the ride, so Jim took the decision to lead the rest of us on. Bob was designated virtual tail-ender, the very tail end would follow on their own. At the bottom of Rookery Hill, I took the last turn before the final stretch on Redehall Road. And waited. And waited. And waited. A couple of newcomers (who seemed to be grinning all night!) remarked they'd heard a nightingale as they passed. Apart from a couple of cars, one other rider (I think), I was alone for what seemed like a Very Long Time, to the extent I was imagining non-existant lights in the distance. The extremities were definitely feeling the cold.. after about 35 minutes- which definitely seemed longer- Bob appeared and we made our way the last couple of miles to the scout hut. Phew!

It was very much a relief to warm up a bit and get food. Quite a bit of food, you won't be surprised to read. Eventually, we were joined by the tail end. Max of the scout group very helpfully recovered the mechanical casualties. @matticus was one of them- I'll let him discuss that, but it was a snapped pin in the derailleur if I remember correctly. As for the other one…one of our newcomers, a charming guy who'd done something very odd to his bike. A Boardman, which came with a Shimano Sora group, cable mechanical disc brakes. For some reason he'd then fitted a Sensah 12-speed groupset, with bar end shifters (the Shimano STIs remained in place). For those of you scratching your heads, yes, me too. If Simon L saw that, the legendary Eyebrow of Disapproval would have been deployed. Greg's verdict was his usual direct one. For those unaware, Sensah are a Chinese manufacturer getting some positive press as a cheaper alternative to the big groupset manufacturers. Judging by this one, their QA is a bit lacking. RD no worky, a spring broken I think. Tim H, always a handy person in such situations, had had a go in the field but was unable to sort it. He was more confident of getting it rideable in an impromptu well-lit workshop, but his efforts proved in vain, even a single-speed option was out of reach. So, trains for those two it would be.

At five, on we went. If extra layers didn't help warm us up, Turners Hill certainly did. From there, we swung southwest through Handcross to Lower Beeding, then south through Partridge Green (rolling past the industrial estate that's home to the Hunt wheels I was riding on), Ashurst and Steyning. There were no big climbs after Turners but plenty of short steep ones, I got caught out a couple of times and ended up walking.

Just before the A27 crossing, Steve was deputised to lead a fast group onwards to breakfast. I think the bulk of the ride ended up joining it, including me (I might just know the way!!!). So, having negotiated the hideously complicated crossing of the roadworks on the A27, a very pleasant off-road path ended up at the mini-roundabout by the Ropetackle arts centre (where I saw another rider with Kinesis titanium). Then it was the two easy miles on the A259 to breakfast, the new(ish-2021) Port Kitchen at Shoreham port (actually in Portslade, pedants). Wow. A serious contender for Best FNR Breakfast venue. Fabulous location- views of the port without being on the wrong side of the locks from the A259, plus plenty of bike racks. Efficient friendly service. And the food…my word. Went for the big breakfast. It tasted as good as looked...

Suitably refuelled, I bade my farewells to the stragglers (and a lapsed Friday who happened to be there) and made my way west, on a see-how-it-goes basis, at 9.15. How it went was not well. The wind was now a crosswind, but it blew the temperature down and hindered the speed. It took 45 minutes to get to Worthing (roadworks with a slow set of lights didn't help) and I decided the train was the best option, riding all the way home was going to be nothing but a slog. Proceeded to the station, and was on the platform at 10.15 for the 1025 to Portsmouth Harbour, just under seventy miles done. Off at Fratton, a further slog in a headwind home, and a nap at noon. Thanks Jim and everyone else.
Whistable? Need you ask? :smile:
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Great write up Stu. Thanks


Über Member
The Flatlands
Great report, thanks. Planning to do Whitstable :hello:
I wasn’t entirely convinced that the orange bike would behave itself, so opted for an Other Thing closer to home with a bike unsuitable for night rides*

*tested this on the Brighton ride that involved Slugwash Lane. Notalotoffun without a dynamo light.


Indeed a most excellent night out, only my second run, but far less apprehensive this time, so knew it would be fun. As said forecast was dry, and cold, spot on. Clothing was just right, luckily as it’s always a gamble. Nice to see parts of town that I’d never seen, and had no idea where I was, most of the time, which is good. Major mechanicals were a shame for those affected, unusual to have two issues the same, one chap came off on a big hill, going up, not sure what happened, think he might have had to alter course quickly, due to an abrupt ‘stopping’ in front. I put my bike down and assisted his unclipping, as he seemed tangled up in his bike, all ok though, and walked up the steepest bit as there was a hesitant ‘oil up’ coming through. Scout hut was excellent, as was the food, and much titter from behind the counter as I plonked my ‘tin mug’ on the counter for filling, ‘ haven’t seen one of those in years, all I remember is burning my lips on them’ said one, what a jolly bunch of helpers.When the back bunch came in, they did indeed look ‘very cold’, but soon warmed up. Time to leave the hut, my goodness the temp had dropped, so on with 2 xtra layers, then almost ready to leave , the sun was starting to come up, I felt overly warm? So I quickly , very quickly , shed one layer, and I was just right. I was chatting to a n other, and we commented on how the ride was different, it didn’t seem like the same day, it was as if we had done a night ride, gone to a hostel, got up next morning early, and we’re off again, strange. A few regroups along the way, then we were there, brekkie was most excellent, and a fair price too, and a nice view. Said fairwells, and wandered off back to Shorham, along the cycle route 2, keeping off the main road at the front. Found the station, and worked out which platform, which is important, as the barriers close for at least 5 mins when the London trains are due, and there is no way to get over if the wrong side! Had a wander round, went to the beach, and there was an excellent busker on the long footbridge, but it was a very windy and cold spot. I caught the 11.13 to Victoria, and all was fine until Gatwick, when half of Italy seems to board the train, and they were very noisy, which helped me stay awake. The train was due in at 12.28, and my connection from Plat 6 left at 12.42, hmm 12 mins….it’ll be grand……..ooh the trains a bit late ….hmm. It arrived at 12.36, so I had to force my way out of the very packed carriage, and my bike, run up the very packed platform, ringing my bell as I went, bike got stuck in the ticket gate!, manage to get out ran across the VERY packed station hall, ringing my bell all the time, bike got stuck in another ticket gate, ( I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to use them with a bike!) got it free, ran up the platform and sat down on the train as the door closed, phew! I had bought an advance ticket so had to get on THAT train. Had a wee nap in t’ afternoon, and reflected on my adventure, then realized I was grinning, silly old fool! Thanks all.


Considering a new username
Leafy Surrey
and much titter from behind the counter as I plonked my ‘tin mug’ on the counter for filling, ‘ haven’t seen one of those in years, all I remember is burning my lips on them’ said one, what a jolly bunch of helpers.

This tin mug? I kept noticing it all night... But concluded it was probably decorative only!


This tin mug? I kept noticing it all night... But concluded it was probably decorative only!
View attachment 728278

I bought that for 50p at a boot fair in Whitstable, ooooooo, probably nearly 35 years ago, it’s my ‘adventure mug’ , goes with me most places, all the rage now apparently. ‘ I’m allways ahead of the trends,(or behind them)


Kilometre nibbler
I bought that for 50p at a boot fair in Whitstable, ooooooo, probably nearly 35 years ago, it’s my ‘adventure mug’ , goes with me most places, all the rage now apparently. ‘ I’m allways ahead of the trends,(or behind them)

At one point I heard a "tink tink tink" noise and was wondering if I had a problem with my bike :smile:
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