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  1. #1
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Nightmare "Fun" Ride.

    Today was the London to brighton Charity Bike ride. 56 miles of 27,000 riders (Official entrants but a lot of extras). Unless you can get a start time before 7am- you have no chance of gettinf a clear run. We had a start time of 8AM and finally got away at 8.30. I was doing it with 3 other riders taht to say the least are Casual riders. One of them does take it a bit serious but he is not that fit this year. From 8.30 start- the firts thing you notice is that there are not many quality bikes. Very few road bikes and the majority are low end Mountain bikes- obviously new this year but you cannot tell the fitness of the riders. That is until the first slope. I would not even call them hills, but the pace of the wall of Bikes and bums in front of you slows down at every 1% gradient. Riding standards are diabolical to boot, and it is defensive riding all the way, and that is from the other riders. Then there are the Cars. Although the majority of the ride is on back lanes, The first 10 miles are in London. London drivers do not like bikes. Rest and fuel stops are numerous and it soon became obvious to me that the group I was with wanted to stop frequently. When we got to about the halfway point- I told the others that I would see them at the top of Ditchling beacon. The one hill on the route and it can be a basket. 1 mile long with most of it between 10 and 15%. My average up to this point was only around 9 mph but that 22 miles I covered on my own was done at 18MPH, and that included the Beacon. And what pleased me more was taht I did it on the new Road bike and 30/26 could have been a easier but I made it to the top, but when you see the picture of the top and see the crowds walking up the hill- It was made with some difficulty on avoiding the walkers and those that stopped immediatley in front of you.

    The new bike works. No pains- a bit of a stiff neck but that can be cured and eben the saddle has only caused a bit of discomfort so a bit of tuning to do there.

    Edit- attachments. The girl is nothing to do with us but she was riding the typical mountain bike-The 3 Lads are the ones I did the ride with, The start line(S) 6 start lines and this was only about 1/3 of the queues and only of 2 queues. First refreshment stop and you can see the numbers and the road shot was actually in a clear spot- You can see the 8 abreast in the background. Similarly the top Of Ditchling Beacon shows the congestion. I was looking for typical riders on this event as it is a Fun ride- I don't know what the two at the end in Hawaian dress are up to, or what they were on but lots of fancy dress and Lots of Fun.

    Additional edit---- nearly forgot this. The ride was 56 miles long- I am 59- so rode out 5 miles to a decent cafe and 5 miles back so done my First metric on the New road bike and rode my age on Fathers Day
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    Last edited by stapfam; 06-18-06 at 11:22 AM.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  2. #2
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    More photos of cute birds on Giants!

    I'm glad you got the ride done - I've never ridden with a group at all, so that pleasure is yet to be mine. Congrats on your birthday ride!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    Too much of a good thing is a bad thing 27,000?

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    Congrats on your ride Step. I rode my age yesterday as well. I don't think I did any 15% climbing but it did have 4000 total feet of climbing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I would think with 27000 riders you could pretty much claim any street in London, or any major city for that matter. Mass start rides are an interesting exercise in defensive riding. Last year the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia held it's Sept. Century ride and the start was a zoo with only several hundred riders. I can't imagine the chaos with such a large number.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    I would think with 27000 riders you could pretty much claim any street in London, or any major city for that matter. Mass start rides are an interesting exercise in defensive riding. Last year the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia held it's Sept. Century ride and the start was a zoo with only several hundred riders. I can't imagine the chaos with such a large number.
    Many moons ago I did a ride in France with 200 other riders. When we got back to Dover- we were the last ones off the ferry so got a bit annoyed at not being allowed to get off the boat earlier. 200 Riders, when they did get off the boat, brought Dover Harbour to a standstill.

    With 27,000 you have a different matter- Yes we did take over the roads, and a lot of roads were close or one way only for all users, but it was not Anarchy. It was idiot riders not realising that the roads were still open to cars and causing problems to all other road users. You imagine being a pedestrian wanting to cross aroad with a continual stream of riders for miles. And unfortunately- impatient car drivers at junctions waiting to get out for 30 minutes. This was the most accident ridden L2B that I have done. I saw 4 serious accidents. Think this was down to excessive speed by riders hitting other riders from behind, as all of them were on fast parts of the route. Unfortunately there were still the car drivers that did not realise that they were amongst cyclists- or not caring about them. It only takes one accident with a car to seriously injure a bike rider.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  7. #7
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    That ride is similar to our R.A.G.B.R.A.I. Ride every July only its about 27,000 over 6 days accross Iowa. It really is incredible to see that many bikers all at once.... Great pics!
    Carpe who?

  8. #8
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    Where does that Brighton route go Stap?

    I ask because I'm doing London to Newhaven ie close to Brighton, as Day 1 of an event in July. I would not be surprised if the itineraries were similar.

    Cycling south out of London on the main roads is just the pits. How can there be that many traffic lights in the world? I practically needed a lung transplant afterwards.

    Despite my initial enthusiasm, I have concluded that cycling in the Metropolis sucks.....unless you get up very very early, when it can be really quite nice.
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  9. #9
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the photos. Very interesting ride. The logistics to handle 27k must be incredible.

    How in the world could you ride up the grade where folks are pushing their bikes with so many people on the road??

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    Thanks for the photos. Very interesting ride. The logistics to handle 27k must be incredible.

    How in the world could you ride up the grade where folks are pushing their bikes with so many people on the road??
    Big elbows and a lot of loud swearing.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
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    Unbelievable!! stapfam. I can't even begin to figure what it must be like to ride with 27,000 of your closest friends! That hill appears an absolute zoo with people walking etc. I appreciate the spirit, but think I might rather do the ride on my own the day after the scheduled ride.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p8rider
    Unbelievable!! stapfam. I can't even begin to figure what it must be like to ride with 27,000 of your closest friends! That hill appears an absolute zoo with people walking etc. I appreciate the spirit, but think I might rather do the ride on my own the day after the scheduled ride.

    Funny thing is the enjoyment of riding with so many people. The altzimers coming in but one incident I will relate.
    A girl lost contact with her partner and called his name, She only called his name once.

    "Walter"
    "Who did you say"?
    "Walter"
    Two voices in Unison and very loud-- "Walter--Where are you"? 10 second wait with no reply-- Again Louder but this time about 10 voices very loud-- "Walter-Where are you?---- Pass it on"

    Heard this reported down the line of riders about 6 Times--- Then "I'm here--Pass it back"

    "What are you doing there--- Pass it on"

    Reply came back "I'll wait by the bridge-- Pass it back "

    "OK-But we are stuck in a traffic jam-- Pass it on.

    "OK I'm Waiting Pass it back"

    20 minutes later got to the bridge- No Walter

    This time 20 Voices-- "Walter where are you" No need to pass it on as it just went up the line.

    Then a voice very close- like about 5 ft away-- "I'm Here"

    Wrong walter. Was he mad- He had waited 20 minutes for someone he did not know. When the rest around us heard that- He got 50 water bottles squirted at him for being the wrong Walter.

    The whole ride was like that. If you could not ride- you just chatted to the people around you. Surprising the area of England they came from for just this ride. All over England.

    Got another picture of the Traffic jam. No idea who the people are but this was on the flat before a steep downhill, and they were slowing people down and only double file to pass one of the numerous accidents. This one was serious and there was a Helicopter waiting above to transport if required. Don't think it was required but this was only about 15 miles from the strart
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    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  13. #13
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Lordy - that is HILARIOUS! I bet Walter was even more steamed after being squirted! Obviously, the REAL Walter wanted to avoid being found... I just can't imagine 27K riders! I've only ridden with a few folks, and even then, communication became an issue (I thought you wanted to draft me - no, I wanted to pull - no, I thought we were stopping for a water break...)

  14. #14
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    I would think with 27000 riders you could pretty much claim any street in London, or any major city for that matter. Mass start rides are an interesting exercise in defensive riding. Last year the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia held it's Sept. Century ride and the start was a zoo with only several hundred riders. I can't imagine the chaos with such a large number.
    Then try to imagine Bike New York. Mass start from lower Manhattan at 8am on a Sunday morning. Don't know how many riders we had, 40,000 at least, and the numbers on the ride vest went into the 60's of thousands.

    London to Brighton sounds like fun. That hill looks bigger than anything we had to deal with. Bigger than the Verrazano Bridge.
    How do you get back to London?

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cc_rider
    Then try to imagine Bike New York. Mass start from lower Manhattan at 8am on a Sunday morning. Don't know how many riders we had, 40,000 at least, and the numbers on the ride vest went into the 60's of thousands.

    London to Brighton sounds like fun. How do you get back to London?
    Transport is laid on with trucks for bikes and buses for riders. One truck and one bus make a unit- Your bike is in the truck you are following. Luckily- I live nearer brighton and all I had to do was get To Brighton. We arranged our transport to London in a Mini Bus. Lots of "Teams" of riders had arranged their transport to London and their Coach/ truck/ minibus or wife with the car-- Made their way to Brighton after dropping off the Riders. Only problem was that late starters trying to get into Brighton had a bit of a traffic jam- I heard of one rider dropped off at 8AM- wife then had breakfast and left London at 10am. By 2 pm she was stil 5 miles out of Brighton and the rider was waiting for her.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

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