June (not much) cycling

I didn’t get to do much cycling this month as I had an operation to remove some metalwork from my ankle.

Five years ago I got side-swiped by a van whilst riding my scooter on the way to work. I flew through the air a bit and landed into the kerb. When I looked down my foot was pointing the wrong way, so I asked someone to call for an ambulance.

A&E 2010

Luckily I had skipped breakfast that morning, which meant I could be anaesthetised and operated on that same morning. I received excellent treatment at University College Hospital.

I had some metal work fitted. There was quite a lot of ligament damage and subsequent swelling which meant I got to spend 5 days in hospital and then another week of prescribed bed rest at home, before a month of bumbling around on crutches.

Post-op bionic X-ray

Recovery was slow, but in due course I was back on my feet.  I appreciated my mobility more, and felt motivated to do more running and cycling. The scooter was a write-off at the accident so I started cycling to work again. In fact the more I did, the better I felt.

Every day over the past 5 years the ankle has been a bit of an annoyance because it gives aches and pains e.g. whilst walking, and the two bottom screws poked out slightly which meant I couldn’t wear boots. Also if I ever knocked that part of my leg it was pretty painful! So I went to see my GP earlier this year who referred me on to a consultant back at UCLH. The consultant agreed to the removal of the metalwork from the left-hand side of the leg. So in June 2015 I had the op under general anaesthetic, spent a week with my foot up and then another on crutches. After that I received the all clear, so started cycling again, albeit taking things a little easy.

Other than commuting, I did just one longer ride in June with the London Brompton Club, on the first day I was back cycling. The route was a gentle, flat ride along the Thames to Greenwich. It felt good to be back 🙂

LBC Thames ride
LBC Thames ride


I also went to two bike-themed events at Look Mum No Hands this month.

The first was a film screening event in conjunction with the BFI. One of the films shown, Racing Cyclist, featured Barrie Witcomb. He was also at the event and did a Q&A session where he talked about his life of cycling. This included what life was like training and racing in Britain in the 60s, as well as working in the family bicycle shop and hand-building frames.

The other event I went to was the book-launch of the English language version of The Grand Tour Cookbook by Hannah Grant – nutritionist and caterer for one of the pro tour cycling teams.

The Grand Tour Cookbook
The Grand Tour Cookbook

May cycling

I did 100 km of Swains Lane loop – which turned out to be 41 ascents (Mont Ventoux is the equivalent of 24 ascents). This earned me a 2015 ‘King of the Mountain’ award for Swains Lane which I’m quite proud of. I will buy a red polkadot mug to celebrate in due course 🙂

41 laps of Swains Lane

I cycled from Otford to Whitstable on a very enjoyable London Brompton Club ride. The bike got muddy, but I’m ok with that 🙂

Whitstable winder

April cycling

The front rim was about to fail on the Brompton so I built a new front wheel.

Brompton wheel rebuild

Two days after building the new wheel I cycled to Paris on it (but got the train back).
Read the write-up

Arriving at the Eiffel Tower

I rode the Rapha ‘Hell of the North’ with Iancu. It wasn’t my idea of hell.
Watch Iancu’s video

Happiness is not a destinationHell of a bike

I built a new front wheel with hub dynamo and fitted a light to my Condor bike

Son hub dynamo

I cycled 413 km in one ride by doing a 300 km audax as well as commuting to and from the start. My bum really hurt towards the end.
Read the write up


I cycled around the Isle of Wight on the Brompton for the annual IoW randonnee. Recommended!

Isle of Wight randonee


February cycling

I got to commute in the snow 🙂

Snow commute

The rear rim failed on Brompton, I discovered this *after* I rode to Windsor, did a sportive and rode back. Whilst I was waiting for the new rim to be delivered, the Condor got a bit of use.

Brompton rim failure

The advantage of living on a big hill is training rides look cool:

Swains Lane

I discovered the local chip shop serves excellent recovery food. It’s all healthy stuff, honest.

Pangs fish and chips

I took a nice trip to explore South London cycle routes 20 and 21.

View at Caterham


Though I went off-piste a bit and found myself deep in mud.

Muddy path


The Condor handled it beautifully but needed a bath as soon as we got in.Muudy brakes

A month of cycling

One of my goals for 2015 is to cycle 10,000 km, which translates as almost 200 km per week. If I cycle to and from work every day (which I do almost religiously), I get about 100 km in, which leaves me a 100 km top up each weekend.

I have made an effort to do a mix of interesting rides in the weekends in January. It’s been great fun getting the kms in. If the next 11 months cycling is as enjoyable I’ll be lucky, and very happy.

Continue reading A month of cycling

European cycling trip on my Brompton

Rough outline of route
Rough outline of route

I’ve just completed a six-week 4,000 km European tour on my Brompton bicycle.

My brief tour diary entries are below. These were daily updates, blogging from my mobile phone.

In the next three five days I’ll post a blog with some more technical information which I hope will be of interest and help to anyone thinking about going on a similar kind of adventure. It will include things like the bike set-up, equipment, navigation, camping and things I learned about cycle touring along the way. If there’s anything you’d like to know in particular, please add a comment or get in touch via the contact form.

Thanks for reading. You may want to go from the first entry or see the blog entries in date order.

p.s. If anyone knows of a small flat to rent in the Kentish Town that has at least two of, ‘is interesting’, ‘is cheap’, ‘has a garden’ – please let me know!

Day 43 : Am I There (epilogue)

I went to bed around 1am on the ferry, and wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 5.45am to have breakfast and get ready, but then in a Phileas Fogg moment I realised I had the extra hour from going from France to the UK.

Carry on abroad
Carry on abroad

Today’s navigation was a bit of an issue. I had found a route online that someone had posted of a nice way to get from Portsmouth to London by bike, but I had no way of getting it onto my Garmin satnav, so it remained on my phone. However once I’d got into the countryside, I couldn’t use my phone as I had no reception, so I stumbled my way towards London just generally heading East and North.

Ahh – the English coutryside

The UK countryside between Portsmouth and London is very picturesque, and I saw many nice villages on the way.

“A lifetime of laughter is wished for you” – a bit weird.. laughing all the time like a mad man..

I took a few breaks to have sandwiches, but millions of breaks trying to figure out which direction I should be heading.

Dapper horsey

And lots of hills in West Sussex and Surrey too. Nothing major, and a few other cyclists out enjoying the morning.

The Brooks leather saddle is actually rather comfortable for long distance touring

My geography knowledge of Surrey and South London is completely lacking, and by pure chance I found myself going past the foot of Box Hill which is much used by cyclists. I’d never been here before so thought I’d have a go at going up it. It’s not actually steep at any point along it’s route, it’s just persistent, so I found it easily manageable after all the hills I’ve been doing for the past 6 weeks. I might try it again soon without all the touring gear. The toilets at the top were out of action with a note saying ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ – not sure if this was an intended pun.

Cycling up the short road from the Rheinfall in Switzerland.. now that was a hill

It was nice to pass over the M25 – now officially back in London.

Traffic looking good on the M25!

After bumbling my way across South London, I eventually found myself on Cycle Superhighway 7 – this is a painted blue lane which meant I didn’t have to worry about navigation any more as it would guide me into central London. I’m not sure what the ‘super’ refers to – I think it is the number of obstacles in the bike lane such as parked cars, people and broken glass.

Once I got close to the river I made my way across it, glad to be in an area I was more familiar with.

Tate Britain

I headed East along Millbank to Westminster.

Big Ben just about to chime 7

Then North up through Camden towards Enfield.

Nelson’s column

Traffic was awful across the whole of London as it was Saturday evening. It was only when I reacheded Palmers Green that the traffic petered out and I could cycle without interruption.

The final 10m
Made it!

I had a nice welcome home, with champagne celebration and dinner with tasty veg from the allotment. Cycling adventure over! What next?..

Portsmouth to London, 160 km. Total distance cycled = 4,152 km.