Playing catch up 3

Tim can’t get the day off, but is likely to let the team up by being the only fit member, so this is not really an issue. Henry is also busy, so I set off on the Brompton from Sailing Barge Cabby almost on time having cleared the decks (no pun intended) of the work I needed to do.

Grey weather, threatening rain, and a headwind making the most of the non-aero-dynamic front bag that Brompton’s sport. I am knackered by the time I get to Streatham with Brixton Hill sapping any strength I may have had. Chris arrives and he too is without a map. 66 miles to Brighton and the two people with the worst sense of direction I know are having to work from memory – I mean, the Marrakech Atlas Etape is a single road up and down and we struggle not to get lost on that – what could go wrong.

I struggled. Rose Hill, that dreadful slog past Sutton, Mitcham or somewhere. Main roads eventually stop as we turn onto the Dorking road, cross the M25 and pass the Pfeiffer factory. Christ this is hard (pun intended). Chris feeds me a bar of some sticky muck and the liquid foulness of a gell – as he describes below, I am in dire need of food.

Beyond Box Hill, the staff at the small post office, general store combo we stopped at looked shocked as I purchase Lucazades, greasy bacon and cheese number, 4 snickers and a couple of packets of jelly babies, however, it hit the spot and around 30 miles in I had warmed up.

The Brompton, while making me look like a bear on  clown bike, felt twitchily responsive. The handlebars of the P-type, while looking like an exercise bike, providing the variety of positions required for distance, climbs and the like. This is the bike I want to ride this year. I want to get a Brompton up the Ouka Monster for the third time – how to break it to Henry that I do not want to ride the tandem again?

Devils Dyke, Beach, beer, burgers and home in time to collect the children – that alone is a record!

 

Advertisements

Playing catch up 1

Back in February I wrote the below,

‘Below decks.

Bent double, no headroom. Red decks disguise the blood, sweat and tears as all noise is amplified back at you.

If the planks were etched by the feet and guns which have run over them in the course of naval service, this cramped space could be the gun deck of the ‘third rate’ HMS Captain, built here in Limehouse Yard and the command Nelson made his name (and knighthood) on in the Battle of Cape St Vincent, winning the day and boarding a ‘first rate’ to boot.

But no.

Feeble tungsten light struggles to penetrate the caged glass of the shade and illuminate the stacks of tools and tins of paint, sail lockers, diesel tanks, exposed bilges and float-switched pumps. This murky world with its strange acoustic; workshop and storage space, the damply claustrophobic bowels of the good Sailing Barge Cabby has its own hero.

No Horatio, maybe, but Henry took his first exercise for 33 years here as he began to train for the 2016 Marrakech Atlas Etape. He wedged himself between saddle and deck before cycling the turbo trainer mounted Kona Sutra through the pain barrier in his first set of interval training – still one of the funniest things I have filmed and I will be killed if I posted it again.

While easy to laugh, I am staggered by my lack of fitness this year…’

Reading it back in April with less than a fortnight to go to the big day, I am equally staggered that I spent time writing such pretentious twaddle rather than doing some exercise – this year I never did get on the turbo trainer..

The ‘gym’ on Sailing Barge Cabby – a Kona Sutra mounted on a turbo trainer between the sails and diesel tank.

This Sunday

A couple of days to go and starting to feel the pressure.

Today – fix and service the bike as it is currently, like its owner, in bits.
Tomorrow – fly to north Africa
Sunday – ride!

Eeeek.

FullSizeRender

The Pacific Cycles IF Reach in need of attention – as is Thames Sailing Barge Cabby in the background – I spot a theme!

All change

Well, my reader, it has been a while. Following the Etape with it’s death defying descent and the Brompton screaming around corners at 50+kmh – so fast that Strava got in touch and removed both my climbs (2013 and 2014) from my profile as it must have been done in a vehicle!

I was going to make a fuss, but on my return to London I got hit by a taxi – honestly, how often can you get a taxi on a Friday night in London – and broke my pelvis in three places. On the bright side the Brompton was unscathed and I am now able to forecast rain 24 hours in advance.

So, a summer of restricted movement and chasing two children taking advantage of the crutches, meant that I was unable to carry out the much needed maintenance on SB Cabby – the last wooden Thames Sailing Barge made, a Dunkirk Little Ship and a member of the National Historic Fleet, I was determined to get back on the bike and, taking a break from fund-raising for Education for All, start raising money to get the old girl fixed up in a Charity or Trust status.

Two days after getting back on the bike, the boat was broken into and, as luck would have it, the bike stolen!

So, a second sea change. I made the decision not to buy Brompton number three. They are great, very well geared and as I proved, despite Strava’s doubts, you can get them anywhere – however, they are heavy (even with the wheels on the stand), which does not go with the weather forecasting pelvis and, when contacted to support EFA, they were far from helpful.

Having said all that, I am still getting a folding bike. This time it is one you can wheel around a little easier in the form of a Pacific Reach – http://www.fudgescyclestore.com/index.php?p=167086