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Friday Night Ride to the Coast - Bognor
riot girl
Another spectacular yesterday from the Friday Night Rides.  This one was to Felpham, near Bognor Regis - about 70 miles from Hyde Park. 

Having done TRAT, then been poorly, I've not done a long ride since TRAT, and this was the perfect return to it. 

One thing I noticed on TRAT was that on around day 4, I found my cycling zen.  Usually on a long ride, I sit and convert miles to kilometres, kilometres back to miles, work out how far we've come, how far there is left to go, roughly how long it'll take us to the next stop, the finish - it's the adult equivalent of being the kid kicking the back of the car seat and whining "are we nearly there yet?"  But towards the end of TRAT, possibly because of the mindboggling distances involved, I managed just to pedal for the sake of pedalling.  It didn't matter how far we'd come, how far we had to go, all I had to do was to keep pedalling until I stopped.  It was beautiful, and I wanted to recreate that, so I set out without a cycle computer (so I couldn't obsessively stat my way round) and no watch, so I couldn't even guess.

I spent the first part of the ride talking feminism with the lovely marnameow and then chatting to Rachael, who runs this fantastic blog dedicated to her adventures as a lady cyclist in Londonton.  Rachael's commute takes her along the Uxbridge Road, same as mine, and we've seen one another on the Tour de Commute that runs along there.  Both of us have seen frankly stupid moves from people who think there's a yellow jersey waiting for them in Hanwell, and we've both encountered the tubby chaps on MTBs who think overtaking a girl listening to an iPod, with giant panniers, constitutes a 'scalp.'  Heh. 

I hung around at the back of the ride with the Tail End Charlies for a while, and chatted to a few newcomers, one of whom was on a full-sus MTB and doing a valiant effort under the circumstances.  So I missed the asthma attack and departure of marnameow and Pete - I hope you're feeling better!

Just before Epsom, a police car stopped to ask if we were going through the town centre.  We were.  "You're brave," said Dibble, "Don't stop there, will you."  My mind provided accompanying banjo music.  Epsom was full of shambling drink-zombies, but they seemed happydrunk rather than spoiling for a fight.

We got to the halfway point at Faygate before I was even thinking about stopping - courtesy of the zen cycling approach - and had a giant doorstop of a sausage sarnie and a cuppa.

More flats on this ride than ever before - including one on my front tyre.  This might have been due to Our Genial Host's decision to take us off-roading over a flint path, but that's just a wild guess y'unnerstand.  I should at this stage offer a huge vote of thanks to those who assisted me (I can change a flat, but I'm not too proud to turn down help.)

It was a gorgeous night - full moon, warm, little lanes wreathed in fog, a glorious sunrise, and gently rolling roads through the greenery of the Downs and over to the seaside.

Through the back roads and into Felpham for 9am - a late arrival, but with around 10 flats - a record! - that's not bad.  Full English and a train home to a hot shower and a snooze.  Perfect.

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I am feeling better now, ta! We are making apple pie and I have a glass of wine. Mostly I am miffed with my stupid lungs. But even getting home from the train station was a bit challenging, so I think stopping was prob a good idea. I am trying to figure out what triggered this lung-strop, and fretting that I might just not be up to late night cycling. Glad you had a good time! The sunrise was stunning from the train, and must have been even prettier from a bike.

It might have been the fog. It did get very foggy at one point, and that's not great if you've got stroppy lungs. Glad you're feeling better, anyway!

Sunrise was v pretty, but unfortunately we were riding westish so it was hard to see without turning round. There were some lovely red-sun-through-gaps-in-trees lighting effects in the more tunnel-like lanes, though :)

10 flats! Blimey. No wonder things seemed to go so slowly that last 3 hrs or so. (Also I confess I was getting a little focussed on breakfast at that point - another time would bring more backup food.) I did find some of the waiting around a bit frustrating - not sure I'm all that well suited to large group rides :-/

The computer on my good bike stopped working a while back & I never got around to fixing it. I don't miss it (although I do use a watch, and when doing something like touring or audaxing the map/routesheet tells you where you are).

10 flats? Bloody hell, no wonder we went so slowly after the flint path. Lucky it was such beautiful weather. Tour de Commute was ok this morning but my amazing bruises from the wipeout were a little achy!

Want want want.

Will have to be in Oct I guess. Please tell me they'll still be going in October. The website hasn't got any listed but it looks like they only put them up a few weeks in advance?

I should check what's going on in NYC too. Not sure if BrooklynBike is up to 70 miles odd though (though it must have gone at least half that on Sunday). (Or rather, I'm not sure that that my arse is up to 70 miles of BrooklynBike. I have bruises all down my inner thighs. Is that normal for riding on an old bike? Is that tmi? Shall I fork out for a better saddle? Shall I go and do some work now?).

They are still going in October... there is one on the 2nd and one on the 30th. I will find out where to...

Bruises on innner thighs = saddle too high and / or tilted too far up, usually. Try better saddle, better shorts, lower saddle by a fraction?

Now go and save the planet! :)

Interesting. My saddle is really very high - spent a while convincing the person who was adjusting it for me that no, really, I didn't want my knees round my ears, and may have ended up exaggerating. But why would that give me bruises there? - am trying to work out the angles of the thing.

Okay, will lower saddle by a fraction. (Will still not be paid for another week and am becoming a skinflint).

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