3 – Update / Photo drop!

It’s about 7 weeks to go until the Pan Celtic Race starts.

I’ve been sticking reasonably well to my training plan, which means going for a long ride on Sunday, and doing at least an hour and a half ride before work on the weekdays. This often involves either some hills, or some laps of Hyde Park or Regents Park – the benefit of which being I can get to cycle fairly continuously without having to slow down much for junctions. On Saturdays I usually take a break from cycling and go for a long walk instead.

Here are a few of the longer rides I’ve done recently.

14 March 2021 – Shoreham, Kent loop

50 miles (80 km) / 3,045 ft (928 m) elevation

I haven’t done much exploring of Kent despite living close. This ride took in a lot of nice lanes and a few hills.

28 March 2021 – Windsor

103 miles (166 km) / 4,390 ft (1,338 m) elevation

Cycle to Windsor Great Park and back with Chris and Esmail.

4 April 2021 – Ride to Teapot Island

80 miles (129 km) / 4,777 ft (1,456 m) elevation

Another trip to Kent, this time to visit Teapot Island.

5 April 2021 – Capital Ring

50 miles (81 km) / 1,927 ft (587 m) elevation

A ride around the Southern part of the Capital Ring with the London Clarion Cycling Club.

10 April 2021 – Rapha ‘A Day In Hell’

Rapha’s annual off-road self-supported ride. This time I picked the route out to the Essex countryside. A really nice day.

18 April 2021 – New wheels ride to Kent

79 mile (127 km) / 4,399 ft (1,341 m) elevation

The rims were wearing thin, so I painted some new rims and built new wheels. Photo trip out to Kent.

25 April 2021 – Brighton and back

124 miles (200 km) / 5,899 ft (1,798 m) elevation

Rapha have a coffee van where they serve free coffee to cyclists. They were parked at the Ditchling Beacon so I took the opportunity to cycle down to Shoreham, along the coast to Brighton, then over Ditchling, picked up my free coffee, and back to London.

2 May 2021 – Toot Hill / Great Escape Route

150 miles (242 km) / 6,079 ft (1,853 m) elevation

This week the Rapha coffee van was at Toot Hill, so I took the opportunity to swing by and then continuing on the Islington Cycle Club Great Escape route before heading back. When I arrived in central London I cycled along the Thames to take a look at the bridges which are all now being decoratively lit.

9 May 2021 – Chiltern Cycleway

158 miles (254 km) / 2,291 m (7,515 feet) elevation

Rapha van was in for repair this weekend, but I decided to head out to it’s intended location anyway, which was Ivinghoe Beacon. I headed out on the Edgeware Road which is a fairly direct route. I decided to walk over the peak (it would be a shame to go all the way without going to the top), then I followed the Chiltern Cycleway route (the Westerly half) to Henley-on-Thames. I arrived at Henley at 6pm, so then headed home along the Thames valley.

The bike

My current best Brompton is only about 3 years old, but it’s done quite a few miles in that time (including Pan Celtic Race two years ago), and has had various things break in the last year including a catastrophic failure of the titanium rear triangle, which Brompton swiftly replaced for free. Whilst happy to use as my daily rider, I’m not entirely comfortable with using it for this year’s race as most parts are getting on a bit, so I’ve been on the look out to buy a new bike. My ideal bike would be very similar – an ‘M6R’ specification Brompton. I love the titanium fork as it really helps eliminate getting numb fingers on long rides. When I cycled the Transatlantic Way Race on a steel-forked Brompton it took several months after the race to regain full feeling in my fingers. I’m not too keen on the titanium rear triangle as I find it a bit too ‘squishy’. I wrote to Brompton and Brompton Junction to ask if I could buy a bike with Ti fork and steel rear triangle (at full Ti price), but they weren’t willing to help. Anyhow I’ve given up on that idea now and instead have managed to order a new Ti bike through my favourite Brompton reseller – I’ll share more details in due course.

~ An té a bhíónn siúlach, bíonn scéalach. ~
~ We who travel have stories to tell. ~