London to Brighton Cycle Ride with Carl and Jane

Jane and I went up to East Croydon on Saturday and stayed in the nosiest hotel in the whole of Europe, after about 3 hours kip we got up at 4:15am up and set off, riding 5.5 miles to the start line at Clapham Common for a 6 am start, which was delayed by about 10 minutes, we finally set off in the bright sunshine and a little wind.

I was riding the 43 old BSA Tour De France road bike that I recently restored, the ride was the first time for me but the second time for the bike, the previous owner Alan Davies rode the event 15 years ago. Jane was riding her super light Carbon Trak Madone bike, and we agreed to ride at our own pace and meet at the end, so once over the start line I didn’t see Jane again until the finish line.

I was a bit concerned about riding the old bike, I didn’t really know how it was going to perform,  I hadn’t done a lot of training and I’m used to riding my much lighter Trek Madone with more and better gears I should have been better prepared.

Anyway the bike was comfortable to ride for the first 5 miles or so, then I hit a bump and the seat post slipped into the seat tube, so I fixed that and set off again then after about two miles it did it again, then again after another two miles. The problem was I couldn’t tighten up the nut enough without it is affecting the brake cable hanger which kept moving and tightening the brakes against the rear wheel.  I gave up and rode the bike with the saddle down until I got to a feed stop area that had a bike mechanic. They very helpfully sorted out the problem, and after a cheese sarnie and a cuppa I was on my way again.

Then after another 5 miles I hit a dip in the road and down it went again, but I was quite close to another feed stop ( there were lots of them on this event), this time I suggested that we make shim out of a drinks can to see if we could get that to stop the post slipping, after a bit of hunting around the side of the road I found a flattened Red Bull drinks can, the mechanic cut a couple of strips from it, fed them into the seat tube with the seat post tightened up and I was on my way again. Would it work?

After About 10 miles of riding it started to rain, and it kept raining for the rest of the ride to Brighton, first it was just light drizzle, but then it got worse, and then it poured and everyone got soaked and the riding was a bit more hazardous, the bike was performing well, the saddle seemed to be behaving itself and it was a comfortable machine to ride, even though it weighs a ton, and has old fashioned gears and not enough of them.

I managed to get up the hills at Woodmanstern, Chipstead, Nuffield got up all the hills except Ditchling, then the roads flattened out a bit or rolling lanes then riding was easier and relaxed and lot of banter and chats with other riders. I met a woman who was riding her uncles’ old bike, it was an old Raleigh with the same frame as mine just different branding.  She challenged me to race up the next hill and off we went, she was winning but I finally caught up and only just pipped her to the top.

The rest of the ride was uneventful the wind and the rain became more unpleasant and by the time I got to Ditchling I was feeling a bit despondent, and I didn’t even bother to try and cycle up the hill, though I was walking up it faster than some of those riding, one young lad was riding up doing a wheelie, most impressive. Once at the top I stopped to take photos, though there wasn’t much to see because of the low cloud then it was downhill all the way to Brighton and to the finish line, and an attack of cramp and a medal.

Jane had got there and hour and a half earlier!

It was mostly a good day out on the bike, in fact almost any day out on a bike is better than not being on one, the event was well organised, and the event crew were brilliant, just wish the weather had been better. My longest ride of the year so far, just over 59 miles.

Jane and I manged to raise about £250.00 each, Jane’s company will match her donation pound for pound so not a bad day’s fundraising so just over £750.00 in total.

Thanks very much to all of you who have supported us. The links below show how much has been raised, please note they are still open if you would like to add to the sum. We also have some cash donations which will be paid in separately.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/janepitt52 https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carl-pettman1

Carl and Jane , Finches, Stream Road, Upton.