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

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
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.

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.
For the first part: I'm sure I speak for many when I say that you will be missed. A Felpham ride would be most welcome on the 2020 calendar. Apart from anything else can send some business your way on the Saturday morning :smile: Good luck with the new enterprise. Expect some familar-looking rubberneckers as soon as you open.

For the second part, I am reminded of the wise words of Greg LeMond: "It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster". True that.
 
OP
Flying Dodo

Flying Dodo

It'll soon be summer
….. 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.
If the two holes were in line or opposite each other, then that's a classic "snakebite" puncture due to underinflated tyres. Sensible though to look at them on the train as patching tyres on the road generally isn't worth it, as it's far quicker to just put a new inner tube. With 50+ riders, time marches on. For a night ride I normally have 3 on me, just in case. In the old days we used to have people start getting the rubber solution glue to patch a tube. In the wet of course, that's useless, but if you've run out of inner tubes, you can get a Park's instant patch to work ok, and that doesn't take much longer than fitting a new inner.
 

Redlight

Well-Known Member
I don't think the tyres were underinflated when I set off as I use a track pump and like to have them hard as rocks (having deflated them for the pre-ride inspection), but it was proving hard to get them sufficiently firm after the first puncture with my hand pump. I always carry at least two tubes and, anticipating lots of debris on the roads, had packed four this time, but I guess you can never have too many! I carry instant patches too, but the challenge on Friday night would have been finding the holes in the dark. Even on the brightly lit train, I could only find them by pumping in air and holding the tube to my lips to feel for it escaping. The real lesson for me was not to skimp on carrying a spare folding tyre just to make room for a change of clothes for the trip back.
 
Wet, very, very wet. Maybe not as wet as the Deluge on Eastbourne FNR or the biblical 'Wetstable' FNR I missed. Nonetheless, wet.

As agreed, I met @Domus at Victoria to guide him to Fridays Central start. Happy to also meet his mate from t'north Dr John and to be re-acquainted with @Arthur Scrimshaw plus partner, Life having precluded them on other FNRides this year. As there was a temporary lull in precipitation, a quick decision was made to make a ceremonial detour to Wellington Arch among other famous landmarks. Nice to see the segregated bike lane along Birdcage Walk. Due to this minor detour, we arrived slightly late for sign-on, apologies made to our leader for tardiness, but plenty of time for safety briefing.

Liked the route out of Town. Not being familiar with areas or streets of the metropolis, it always looks similar but different. Due to the conditions, I tended to watch the road, the tail lights ahead, errant motorists rather than my surroundings. Red lights and waymarking affords a different view: opposite the Old Vic, a young guy, obviously having imbibed but not inebriated, approached and asked if we were the Night Riders. I replied, that it was Friday Night and this is what we did. He headed back to his mates, seemingly satisfied. At the junction with Clapham North Tube, I waymarked. Excellent spot as opposite was a popular public house with a queue to enter. What amused me was that folk appeared to need assistance to stand upright before going in for a drink. Thoughts they really did not need another drink were probably better left unsaid.

Soon out of the Smoke and into the 'burbs. A chance to warm up with a gentle climb out of Carshalton, similar at Woodmansterne and the longer grind out of Chipstead. Lack of familiarity and the dank darkness made this easy to judge wrongly by going up too quickly and running out of gas. And then one more to the junction with the A25. A small group waited here while a puncture was sorted and we witnessed a very confused motorist. It approached us cautiously, slowing all the time, coming to a standstill 30 metres along the road. It waited a while, performed a poor 3 point turn and drove away in the direction from which it came.

Punctures. There were a few. The hex lock axle thingy @StuAff described so well above was bizarre. I will keep my QRs thank you. I lost accurate count after 7 or 8. Pity there is not an official final tally, fewer than Eastbourne though, so no records broken.

Burstow Scout Hut was a welcome sight. The tea and granola bar even more so. More tea and a banana. Due to time taken noshing and having arrived just before the TECs left no time to adequately dry gloves, feet, wring out overshoes and put on dry socks. No matter for the rain had eased when we departed.

A gentle pace up Turners Hill seemed to make it less lung bursting than usual and nearly nodded off seated at a picnic table outside the pub at the summit. The B2110 from Turners Hill to Handcross is a lovely stretch of road atop the Sussex Weald early morning. With great views to the left and sun rising behind Illuminating the road and countryside. Usually. Dense mist, suspended low, obscured any view. Another puncture. I left TEC Tim to assist as I sped along to inform Adam. The buildings of Worth School were almost invisible through the mist or maybe I just had my head down. Peloton rear to front took over 9km. The humidity hung in the air and any confidence of remaining dry was not high.

Lower Beeding junction next waymark. After about 20 minutes a motorist wound her window down and asked if I was looking for a large bunch of cyclists who were waiting at the next junction. She went on her cheery way when I told her I was waiting for a few coming from the other direction! Minutes later a lone roadie asked if I was looking for a guy in a red jacket also waiting ahead. Concluded that Adam decided it was time to roll the Ride on!

Roll we did. That is the nature of Newells Lane. Another lovely stretch along Littleworth Lane with a super view of the Carthusian Monastery spire to the east. Down into Steyning and the final push over the short sharp shock of Annington Hill, down and along Coombes Road to the hugely welcome breakfast and coffee at the airport.

Wildlife? Very little to report, a couple of urban foxes. Unusual these days not to see a fox. Not seen, but heard plenty of barn owls screeching in the early morning mist after Turners Hill.

Thanks Adam - for this and your sterling support and effort to the wonder that is FNRttC.
 

Domus

Veteran
Location
Sunny Radcliffe
Speaking of wildlife, we saw two deer munching on the grass verge of the M6 Toll road on our journey Darn Sarf. As it was Thursday afternoon it probably doesn't count as a spot on a Friday night ride. :laugh:

Managed to stay awake during our Saturday night meal with Hove based family in the Crabtree in Lower Beeding, visited Nymans Gardens in Handcross and got home about 6 ish on Sunday. Bike washed, tyres checked, chain lubed and kit washed.
Thanks again for an interesting and full weekend.

Now waiting for the 2020 ride programme 👍
 

Redlight

Well-Known Member
I use a track pump and like to have them hard as rocks (having deflated them for the pre-ride inspection)
As a little adjunct to the cautionary tale, today was the first time it was dry enough to take the bike outside and clean it. Doing the post-clean inspection of the front tyre, I removed no few than 8 small pieces of glass, stone or thorn that had pierced the outer layer and were, no doubt, burrowing their way toward the inner tube. Looks like my caution on Saturday morning was vindicated.
 

Domus

Veteran
Location
Sunny Radcliffe
I have only been cycling for 4 years and in that time had two punctures. Both on the same December day in Cumbria after hedge cutting day. I ditched the Gatorskins and fitted Durano DDs.
Can I ask the riders who punctured on Friday night what tyres they were riding?
I’m curious to ascertain if there is a better or worse tyre. Some people swear by Gatorskins but I found them very thin when I changed.
 
Can I ask the riders who punctured on Friday night what tyres they were riding?
I have only ever had one puncture on a FNR - Eastbourne this year, we had heavy rain for 3 hours. Bike was shod with Conti GP 4000 or some such (not the 4 Seasons) - not ideal for the conditions but sometimes it is down to just bad luck regardless of tyre on nights like last friday.
 
OP
Flying Dodo

Flying Dodo

It'll soon be summer
In 14 years of night rides, I think I've only had 2 punctures. Simon Legg helped pump up one of them, and promptly broke his brand new mega expensive carbon fibre pump. When I'm TEC-ing, I do often use CO² cartridges, as they are so much faster and means you can get 100psi into a tyre, and then get the rider back on the road again in under 5 minutes. Although not so ecologically friendly.

The pre-ride advice, originally advocated by Jurek, to deflate your tyres and carefully inspect them to remove all traces of grit or stone, definitely helps generally. That and having decent quality tyres to start with.
 

kimble

Veteran
I had a puncture on a FNRttC once. It was a slow one, picked up just as we pulled into the halfway stop, where ironically I was recruited for TEC duty on the second half of the ride, and was therefore one of the last to leave...

My touring bike's shod with Schwalbe Marathons (not Plus). I reckon on a puncture every year or two with those (though it doesn't do a lot of urban miles). The fast bike with Duranos (I've relegated the Pro Ones to a race-only wheelset, because they're a liability to deal with at the roadside) is a bit more puncture-prone, but I tend not to be riding that one when it's cold and wet.

I'd generally lean towards sturdier tyres when conditions aren't conducive to be hanging around fixing punctures. That goes double when you're holding up a group (which is also a strong argument for CO2). Unless you're really pushing the envelope fitness wise, it's not like the extra performance of thinner tyres matters much on these rides. And the Jurek treatment is well worth it.
 

AlexB

Über Member
Watching people struggle to pump up tyres with tiny mini pumps was quite frustrating at times. A Zefal hpx doesn't weigh that much and they are so much more effective. As for tyres, I tend towards cheap Michelin or Vittoria tyres, I rarely pay more than £10 for one. Just replacing them before they get too thin is as important as tyre pressure.
 

kimble

Veteran
Mini pumps are okay for putting a puff of air into a new inner tube before fitting it and deploying the CO2, or for getting your Brompton to the next tube station. At least on a group ride there's usually someone with a HPX or a Road Morph or similar. I find that lending people a decent pump tends to speak a thousand words where mini-pumps are concerned.
 
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