FNRttC Friday Night Ride - London to Shoreham - 11th October

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
Also en route. Won the 2138 sprint challenge, but the train is running five minutes late anyway. Will loiter at Waterloo as per usual.
 

kimble

Veteran
In the interests of not being mistaken for a rain wuss, I'm compelled to point out that I'm not coming because I'm going camping. In Wales.
I'm now loitering within tent, listening to the sound of owls and intermittent precipitation. Nearly wussed out because of lurgy, too.

Have a good ride everyone.
 

Domus

Veteran
Location
Sunny Radcliffe
Had a couple of hours shuteye and posted this on the 50 K challenge thread.

Not as wet as the infamous 2019 Manchester to Blackpool FNRttC ride but it came close. Stayed in Steyning for a long weekend, to do the ride and catch up with Hove based family members. The ride down to Shoreham station on Friday evening set the tone. A headwind with driving rain meant my gentle warm up was awful. My glasses became almost a blindfold, the standing water on the A27, added to the fast up and down traffic did not calm the nerves. My heart rate eased once on board the train to Victoria. There I met Nigel who had kindly offered to guide a northern country bumpkin to the start. Buck house and the Palace of Westminster were kindly lit by officers of the Met with pretty flashing blue lights. Nigel introduced us to London ways, we rode on pavements, past No Entry signs and even through a red light. We survived this prelude, met Adam and rode South. John and I bailed out just before Partridge Green as his train back to the north was beckoning I kept him company to my hotel where I abandoned him to his fate lured by breakfast with Mrs Domus and a hot shower.
Thanks to all for making us welcome, I’m sure others will fill in the details of the actual ride.
 

Redlight

Well-Known Member
Quite a frustrating evening for me. It was fine getting out of the central area - the Lambeth-Kennington route is better than going over the river twice via Battersea - but I soon picked up my first slow puncture of the night. I couldn't find any obvious cause but had hit a pothole a few minutes earlier so assumed it was a pinch puncture and simply swapped the tube. Big mistake. A few miles up the road and it was softening again. Again, still no obvious cause. This time, abetted by our TEC and travelling mechanic, Tim, I put in tube no 2. That seemed fine or a while until, climbing the narrow lane over the downs, I encountered a rider, in Wigmore kit, who had just pulled over. Anther puncture.

TEC and Tim soon arrived and all four of us "helped". I was glad that I did since, less than a mile up the road my rear tyre went down again. This time, after much faffing on my part, and an unsuccessful attempt to inflate a tube with a broken valve (spare no 3), we discovered a tiny piece of flint embedded in the tyre. Despite our collective efforts - and taking into account that it was cold and pi**ing down, the Wigmore rider very kindly donated a spare tyre ( leaving me feeling very embarrassed not to have mine with me, as I usually do). In went spare tube no 4 and off we went.

We were now along way behind the main group. The four became five at the next junction and six at the following one where we encountered a chap multi-tasking by acting as a turn marker while also.... fixing a puncture. We were now a very long way behind the others, who were already reported to be at the scout hut. Not much further up the road, and finally outside of the M25, the 6 became 12 as we came across another group. Can you guess what they were doing?

Somehow three escaped off the front, which was a wise move on their part as we soon had stop again. By now, we were a ridiculously long way - in time - behind the main group. By the time we got to the scout hut, they were itching to get moving again, so our stay was pretty short. Certainly, I hadn't managed to make enough time to eat something and patch the tubes I had previously used when the summons came to get back on the road.

I contemplated carrying on, as I was really enjoying the ride, despite the hassles, but the prospect of possibly puncturing again and having no readily available tubes wasn't appealing and I didn't want to find myself causing a major hold up at the back of the ride, so I'm afraid I turned right at the lights and headed for the airport. It was a disappointing end to the night but, I think, a sensible decision - vindicated partly by the fact that as I sat on the train patching the tubes, I discovered that in each case there were two holes, each so tiny that it would have been near impossible to find them in the dark.

Thanks to Adam for leading and to everyone who helped me along the way. I hope the rest of the ride was trouble-free.
 

Arthur Scrimshaw

Senior Member
We had to pack at Horley, my partner was feeling a bit under the weather before the ride but the weather really did for her and by the stop she was quite unwell. We made a dash for Horley station and picked up a train to Brighton and then on to Chichester. Apologies for not saying proper goodbyes but it was all a bit sudden, thanks to Adam and the team for another great ride, shame we didn’t make it to the finish.
 
Nigel introduced us to London ways, we rode on pavements, past No Entry signs and even through a red light.
Guilty, Your Honour.

In my defence, I would like to plead extenuating circumstances. It was a dank evening with very little traffic and the local populace seemed to mostly be enjoying the dry comforts of pub or home.
i) the only ridden pavement I recall was at the Wellington Arch. This is wider than many of the lanes near my house and certainly wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass each other (except under the Arch). If they were allowed.
ii) these were temporary yellow rectangular signs - not circular, therefore not an order - situated at strategic points on Westminster Bridge. I believe they were not intended for pedestrians or cyclists. There were many groups of police located at various points along the Bridge and environs. I do not believe they were interested in 'having a word' with 5 cyclists scurrying across.
iii) this occurred in a cycle lane adjacent to the main roadway which had a green light and as there were no other road users in the vicinity, I felt it prudent in making progress to take this course of action.
 

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
Oh my. That was a toughie. Certainly not on the scale of Manchester-Blackpool, which for me is definitely in the top one of hardest 2019 rides, nor Eastbourne (stair rods on steep descent...), but rain, multiple deflations, and of course not forgetting hills…

Thankfully, the real rain seemed to have confined itself to Friday morning. Got soaked to the skin doing an errand ride. The forecast 40 mph headwind for the ride from Eastleigh station to work did not materialise. Damp, nothing more. As I posted on the night, I again won the race to get to the northbound platform in time for the 2138 train. However, the train was late (typical!). Worked out OK though, as it made up the time and actually pulled into Waterloo early (oh my!).

A somewhat depleted peloton awaited at the NT. The bumper registration tally was down to 42 51 actual starters. A few bods decided to throw in the towel without notifying anyone. Firm words will no doubt be emailed to the miscreants. Most unfair and inconvenient to the ride leader & those at the stops.

Also inconvenient: punctures, lots of. The memo about checking one's tyres, if in doubt replace them (or use another bike!)... seemed to have slipped some minds. When we were sheltering under that railway bridge in Streatham, I was somewhat astonished to find that there were two deflations, both on Durano Plus tyres. I've ridden multiple sets on the Viner for something over 14,000 miles, and have suffered a solitary puncture. There has been the odd deflation suffered by others on group rides, but two in one night seemed extraordinary. At one point, as @Redlight has already noted, the back of the ride were so delayed that Adam temporarily split the ride in two, with yours truly deputising as all-up for the not-quite tail end. No sooner had we set off again than I found yet another puncture, with some of the Brompton contingent helping out. What didn't help (apart from the rain, natch) was that the front wheel was affixed with an anti-theft hex lock front wheel. Very awkward. Did Tullio Campagnolo not suffer a race loss from an awkward wheel change, inspiring him to invent the quick release, to sort just a problem? Actually, no he didn't, the story is sadly apocryphal, but the point stands…quick releases and through axles are so much easier. Not too long after that, there was a second puncture. Same tyre. By this stage, we were so delayed that the actual tail end caught up with the virtual one. Then, thankfully, with the front already at the scout hut, there were no more incidents, for a bit.

Now thoroughly in need of a break, the rear finally got to the hut at just after five. So only about an hour and a half later than usual! First half tally of punctures came to nine, I think. My first cup of tea barely touched bottom. We got about half an hour out of the drizzle before it was time to get going again. It would be nice to think that we'd got all the incident out of the way. Fat chance!

Not long after leaving the hut, we had the highest point of the ride. The ever-delightful grind up Turners Hill. In the dark, and wet. By the time dawn came (barely visible in the mist!) we'd barely got to the forty mile mark. Unsurprisingly, those with bookings for specific trains were increasingly concerned about the passage of time, and a few decided to crack on in search of breakfast, or direct to a station. The climbing didn't exactly stop- this is an Adam ride- and I wasn't alone in walking up a few of the short steep bits.

And then, praise be, to the airport. 9.30. Even if I fancied a forty mile ride in drizzle, and no, even I didn't, I'd had enough of rain by that stage, the time would have put paid to riding back. Breakfast was most delicious, as ever at the Hummingbird, and much needed. Made my way to Shoreham station in the company of Adam and our responsible adult, Rebecca, and we didn't have long to wait for the next train west. Not long after setting off- Worthing- we were joined by @Low Gear Guy, who'd decided he had enough of the drizzle. They all changed at Barnham, I got back to Fratton at 1.15. And then, a four hour nap, before finding out Pompey's game was as dull as the weather (0-0).

Thanks one and all. Intend to be on the (post-) Christmas ride…if the weather's as bad as Friday night we'll just end up in the pub a bit quicker!
 
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kimble

Veteran
Looks like I missed the excitement. I had hills, rain, slugs, more rain, owls, floodwater, trains that couldn't be arsed west of Shrewsbury, drizzle, mushrooms, and - thankfully - no punctures.
 
OP
Flying Dodo

Flying Dodo

It'll soon be summer
A watershed ride. Possibly in more ways than one. In the days prior to Friday, the weather forecasts had been veering almost as much as the wind. On the south coast itself it had been fairly windy on Friday evening, but it did seem we'd get a more respectably low level amount of wet stuff. And there was no wind on the ride itself.

At one point there were 98 riders registered including 30 first timers, but over the last week there'd been a number of people who got in touch to cancel, with about 2/3 quoting the expected weather. However 11 people didn't bother to let me know. Unlike the Eastbourne ride which was Wet with a capital W, to be honest setting off for Shoreham it was only drizzle. And it stayed as drizzle until it fizzled out just after 4 am, so the weather wasn't really an issue, especially bearing in mind it was mild. I've managed to retrieve my dried out list of names, and I'd added up the totals wrong, as in the end there were 51 of us rolling out of the South Bank of whom 11 were first timers.

I'm conscious that due to geography, any route out of London heading for Shoreham can end up initially being very similar as the route for Brighton or Bognor, so I'd spent a bit of time looking at alternatives. So before getting to Clapham Common we turned left at Clapham North tube station to then go along Bedford Road which was gloriously quiet, to then arrive under a railway bridge in Tooting Bec Common which allows a comfort break. And also an opportunity to deal with punctures. I helped with one, whilst Tim helped with another one. Which then become a third. However, I'd made an allowance for stoppages, so wasn't too worried. At least, not at that point. We then carried on, still on empty roads, turning right past Streatham Common station, and then further on, left past Mitcham Eastfields station, to then roll past Mitcham Common, and pick up the A237 towards Beddington. That section of road had some enormous sections under water, allowing for a variety of calls such as lake, rather than the usual puddle. Using my normal diversion through Carshalton, the various stops were used to allow other punctures to be fixed.

One advantage of the heavy rain we've had in the last week was that it had washed away a lot of the leaves that had been coating some of the descents in a nasty sticky mess when I'd done the recce. This meant that I only ended up calling out a "Chutney" warning once. After crossing underneath the M25, we had another long wait due to punctures. And I also had a phone call from someone who'd had a puncture in London, but had missed the ride going past. With hindsight, I realised I'd missed a few things off my pre-ride briefing such as saying about making sure the Tail End Charlie knows you've stopped, so I'd messed up there. Fortunately the rider knew where they were going and carried onto the Scout Hut. After everyone else set off again, we went another new way, through Gatton Park and then a nice easy long section heading south to then go around Redhill Aerodrome to then head for Smallfield and the Scout Hut just beyond. I had a near miss with what I though was a very large fox which crossed immediately in front of me, but was assured had in fact been a small deer. After that excitement, there were still more punctures before everyone eventually got to the Scout Hut. I waited outside for about 30 minutes to direct people in, but it was surprising how a few people went past regardless and had to be shouted at to turn round. More punctures were dealt with, but the usual hearty spread laid on by the volunteers at the Scout group was greatly appreciated.

When we eventually set off an hour later than I had planned, I was a bit concerned about the time, so quite understood about people abandoning (see above), which was fine. Unfortunately due to a misplaced waymarker, a group went the wrong way which added to the time delay. Then we had Turners Hill which got a few people walking. At the top, there was some comment that it was felt to be harder than Ditchling! Regardless, on we went, through Handcross and onto Lower Beeding, by which time it was light. Still, I'm sure that must have made it a bit easier to deal with the more punctures that occurred. I rang the airport to say we'd be at least an hour late. Some riders headed off, due to timed trains, and the rest of us slowly made our way south. At the A283 north of Steyning, I sent Nigel on ahead with a group of faster riders, whilst I stayed with the others, which also allowed me to waymark a turn, and then race back up front again. Which was nice, as I don't often get the chance to do that, as normally I'm either leading the ride or being a TEC at the back. I don't think at that point there were any more punctures. Overall all though, it was certainly in double figures.

The origin of some of the punctures could well be due to under inflated tyres. I may well recommend a national campaign to equip everyone with track pumps, as going over a bump and feeling the tyre bottom out shouldn't happen with properly inflated tyres. Using a hand pump at home just won't get a road bike tyre to the required 80-100 psi. When I'm doing Dr Bike sessions I sometimes ask people to have a guess at what their tyres are inflated to compared with what the rated amount is, and they squeeze them a bit (often on the top, rather than the sidewall like they should do, to gauge how much air is in there), and they usually say something around 75% of the expected figure, when the reality is it's often around 20% of what it should be, as they don't realise the tyre should be almost rock hard. In addition I think I'll amend some of our pre-ride advice to say only bring new inner tubes, rather than patched ones. There's also the fact that generally whoever is the TEC can deal with a puncture far quicker than the rider, so please don't turn down the assistance from those offering to help.

Anyway, I eventually rolled in around 9.40, nearly 2 hours later than I had originally planned. Fortunately breakfast was still warm, and after profuse apologies to the restaurant, they were happy, despite not having the expected numbers of attendees.

Special thanks to Tim & Nick at the back, Nigel for zooming around and leading the fast group at the end, and all the waymarkers, some of whom were standing around for a very long time.

This may be the last night ride I do for a while, as my new bike shop is almost ready to open, so I won't have Saturdays free. I've been doing the rides almost since they first started in 2005 - I think I was on the third one ever. Back then it was just Brighton, with about 6 other people. Below is a picture someone took of me on one of the early rides, back when I had some hair, which must be why I was holding onto my head, along with Simon Legg who started it all.

The first time I did Ditchling, I had to walk after the first bend. Now it doesn't bother me. So for those of you out there who might have struggled with the climbs, stick with it. They do get easier.

Keep on pedalling.

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