Yesterday I completed this year’s Festive 500 – an annual challenge set to the cycling community by the cycle clothing company Rapha. The challenge is for individuals to complete 500km (310 miles) of cycling over the eight days between Christmas Eve and the end of the year.
Earlier this week I visited some of London’s remaining police call boxes. I took some photos and dug into the history a little, the result of which you can find here:
London police boxes
This is the first song I’ve recorded on this year’s project of converting an old upright piano into a electric piano / recording studio. The video shows some pictures of the process. If you want me to make you one let me know 😛
Over the past year I’ve explored many of London’s lost rivers on bike and foot: The Westbourne, Fleet, Walbrook, Ravensbourne, Earl’s Sluice, Peck, Neckinger, Effra and Wandle.
This weekend I gave a small bike tour of the Tyburn, and have produced a very condensed version of some of its history which is available here: River Tyburn bike ride
I built some cadence controlled LED bike lights this week to put on my bike for this weekend’s Dunwich Dynamo – an annual overnight cycle ride from London to the coast.
Here is a quick demo of the thing in action:
I organised a bike tour to visit a number of London’s notable cats. Eleven Brompton riders came, and we snaked our way all over London, fighting Saturday crowds and traffic.
I’ve written up some notes on the ride and cats here: London cats bike ride
I’d heard good things about the Berlin marathon; it’s a great city, the marathon route takes you past a lot of famous sights, and the course is flat so it is ‘fast’/’easy’.
Whilst visiting Hilla in Munich last year we got to talking about Berlin and how I should pay it a visit. The conclusion was that running the marathon and then cycling back would be a good thing to do.
Back on the bike after my ankle operation, and in addition to the usual commute I got in a few long, fun rides. I pressed ‘pause’ on long rides in the first week of August to concentrate on running for a bit. There’s more to life than cycling after all! More of that later…
Dunwich Dynamo 2015
Dunwich Dynamo is an annual semi-organised cycling event which starts at London Fields on a Saturday evening and after cycling through the night you end up over 100 miles away at Dunwich beach sometime on Sunday.
It was a nice night. The weather was kind to us right up until we arrived at Dunwich, when it started raining.
One advantage to doing this ride on the Brompton is that we were able to just fold our bikes up and put them in the hold of the coach rather than stacking them up with loads of other bikes in the trailer.
Cycling throughout the night is a tiring experience. This is what the coach home looked like(!):
In the summer we did a few extra rides mid-week after work, and explored routes in Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey.
Saturday river ride
On a particularly sunny Saturday, three of us rode to Richmond and then continued along The Thames. This was such a nice ride we’ll have to repeat it in a larger group on another sunny day.
‘Four go down to Dartmoor’ – the sequel. We went on a day-trip to Devon, taking an early train down, a cycle around, and a late train home. Daniel planned this route, and it was packed with hills, breathtaking views and sunshine.
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100
I did the Pru 100 on my big-wheeled bike. It was really well organised and cycling through London on closed roads is an opportunity not to be missed. There was a bit of congestion up the hills in Surrey, but otherwise a very enjoyable ride. It was really nice to see so many spectators lining the streets too. My time was 5h44m. I’ve signed up again to be considered in the ballot for 2016. If I get in I’ll probably do it on my Brompton to add extra fun 🙂
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.