Feb 182020
The glamour of long-distance cycling

In response to zero public demand, here’s a sort-of account of my Paris-Brest-Paris in 2019.  This was my fourth PBP, but the first since 2007.

You may have read quite a few accounts of PBP 2019 by now.  The normal account proceeds in an orderly fashion from soup to nuts.  This, however, is more like one of those modish small-plate restaurants where dishes arrive haphazardly, at the whim of the chef.  Except it’s alphabetical.  It’s a small-plate restaurant serving alphabetti spaghetti, with flambéed flimflam.  So take your seats for the ABC of PBP.

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 Posted by at 4:18 pm
Jun 252019

My first PBP was in 1999, on a low recumbent trike, though I’ll be on a more conventional machine this time. I recovered the following account of my ride, originally written for the Audax UK magazine Arrivée, from a file in a long-obsolete version of Word. Enjoy… And apologies for the lack of pictures

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 Posted by at 4:44 pm
Jul 192016

At the finish of the inaugural Wild Atlantic Way Audax (WAWA)—2,100km of hills, rain, and wind on the scenic west coast of Ireland, to be covered in 7 days and 7 hours—I struggled to sum up my experience to Eamon Nealon, the organiser. I’ll remember this ride as long as I live (I told him), which may not be very long if I do many events as hard as this…
So here’s my A-Z of the WAWA. I hope it’ll give you a flavour of the longest and most memorable ride of my randonneuring career.

Day 1. Looking towards the Sheep's Head peninsula. The weather wasn't always like this...

Day 1. Looking towards the Sheep’s Head peninsula. The weather wasn’t always like this…

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 Posted by at 10:13 pm
Jul 042013

Time for an update on the competition among saddles for the questionable honour of supporting my Buttocks of Steel on the 1400km of London-Edinburgh-London. You can read about the early running here. Of the two Selle SMP saddles, the Avant proved to suit me better. But it became evident on Mike Wigley’s Holland 600 that it was likely to get a little medieval on my ass over the longest distances—it’s not quite clear to me what the problem is, but there’s chafing after 600km to a degree that suggests that 1400km on this saddle would make my eyes water.

So what to do? I’m going to try another leather saddle. This time a Rivet Independence. This has a similar slot to the Brooks Imperial, but is reportedly less inclined to splay and go sway-backed. We shall see.

I can always open a museum of saddles…

 Posted by at 10:33 pm
Jun 252013

This is a report on the 2001 London-Edinburgh-London (more accurately, Thorne-Edinburgh-London-Thorne), which I rode on a prototype Trice Micro, a lightweight recumbent trike. The event was on a much smaller scale than LEL 2013, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t fun…

Winching my way up a Dorset hill on the Micro

Winching my way up a Dorset hill on the Micro

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 Posted by at 11:24 pm
Jun 252013

By this point in my LEL preparations, I should in theory have done a couple of 400s and a 600.  The first 400, Shawn Shaw’s Porkers, ended with a coughing fit in pitch-black Somerset lanes—a return of the lurgy that meant I didn’t even start the Hard-Boiled.  The second 400, Mike Wigley’s Llanfair PG, was a joy from start to finish.  Work-related travel meant I’d be unable to make the Brimstone or most of the other calendar 600s, so I showed up for Ian Hennessey’s Kernow and Southwest 600 the weekend after the Llanfair ride.  Unfortunately my motivation failed to turn up with me, so I bailed when it became clear that at the current rate of progress I’d have minimal sleep time.  OK, no 600s completed so far, and only one 400.  What now?  The answer:  a summer Arrow to York—a team ride with the spirit of our late lamented friend, Dave Lewis.  Here’s how it went.

Scenery (Mid-Wales)

Scenery (Mid-Wales)

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 Posted by at 10:34 pm
Feb 242013

Another old ride report, in which I seem to be channelling P.G. Wodehouse.  This ride, up to Scarborough, included a crossing of the Humber Bridge, which will also feature on this year’s Edinburgh-London.  It’s an elegant structure, and also a popular suicide spot (a fact that becomes readily comprehensible when you ride through Barton-on-Humber)…

The Humber Bridge on a sunny day.  Here's hoping...

The Humber Bridge on a sunny day. Here’s hoping…

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 Posted by at 1:24 pm