For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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Short trip to London and HK. Plan to ride two chaingangs in Regents Park with Phoenix and then a 100k group ride on the weekend. In HK I will do a ride up Mt Barker in the evening.
My first trip with a bike with me. Let's see how it goes.
So packing the bike took about 1hr, took off the pedals, derailleur and handlebars.
Bag doesn't fit in the boot of the taxi. So it went in the back seat. Checked it no problems - 20kg (incl tools helmet, shoes etc.)
It arrived at Heathrow no problems. Short walk to the Heathrow express, black cab to Bow Lane. At work now, but will assemble it in the kitchen of the appartment tonight. Damn it is nice and warm here in London. Cloudy, but kind of humid.
The cyclists are crazy though - the fixies and the hire bike riders anway.
Jet lag aside, I am looking for the first ride tomorrow in Regents Park.
So 50km, and what must be about thirty laps around the inner circle of Regents Park. Getting from the City to Regents Park was, pretty scary. It is full of double decker buses and black cabs.
One thing I didn't consider was what to do with the cleaning of the bike at the appartment. It was like I had been to a cyclocross event. I was completely covered in mud. So I had to put the bike in the bath and wash it down. Yep that is right, in the bath.
London Phoenix run the show. Basically, rolling round in a 'chain gang.' Well it was raining, it is dark, it is slippery and there are a few cars going around the inner circle. There were only about 8 people who did the chain gang. Eventually, there were only three of us remaining. I wouldn't say it was super hard, but I think the bad weather kept a few people away.
On the way back to Bow Lane I stopped off at Bank to see the occupy wall street London movement. Quite a few people asked how I got so covered in mud. Once I knew the way it is easy. There are very few cars. I dropped into Evans Cycles near Marble Arch. It is huge. About 4 times bigger than any Aust store.
I returned to Regents Park Thurs do do another session of Chaingang with Phoenix. This time the weather was fine.
I got lost and ended up doing a lap of the outer circle. This is amazing. One traffic light the whole way around. Beautiful, grand buildings and of course the park.
Chaingang was a little better this time. By the end there were only two of us left and we just belted around doing a lap in the wind then a lap in the draft. But to be honest, an hour of going round that small circuit gets too boring. So we called it a night and went for a cup of tea.
The fastest laps I did in the lead were at 44kmh.
Haha...short knicks in mid Novembre!...weather is pretty special for this time of the year!.Although most of the cols are closed so you would have been able to put that cyclocross bike to proper use this weekend .
It was unbelievable weather TLL. Clear sunny days, after the ride all the groups got together and sat outside - just like in Sydney.
Thanks Mike, it was fun. As you can see the NSCC, London Phoenix and Bald Faced Stag kit were sort of a match.
Did the Sunday Early Ride out of East Finchley with Phoenix. Started with a group of about 30 plus owing to the super weather forecast. Because it was a big group and we were on narrow B or farm roads, it was a slow ride. There were a couple of spurts and they rode the hills fast but overall it was a leisurely saunter in the countryside. There was a bit of fog but it was pretty magic.
At one stage we rode right past my fatherâ€™s old local Pub which was a bit too coincidental. Lovely bunch.
Three times a driver stopped on a main road, to allow the whole bunch to turn right in front of them and carry on at 25kmh. Not once were we buzzed or accelerated past. There is just a different attitude to cyclists. And you can imagine being stuck behind us on a winding farm roadâ€¦
Good bit of the ride is missing as I frigged around with the Garmin.
So after a 14hr flight and an hour on the MTR and bus, I check in, assemble the bike and my friend is waiting downstairs. Literally no time to do anything. Feeling a little dozy from the sleeping tablets and the bottle of wineâ€¦.
We set off in the evening. The first climb is pretty savage for a non-climber like me â€“ 5km at an avg of 12% gradient. Some parts were up to 30%. We were going very slowly, I reckon my cadence was about 50rpm. Still it was hard work on a min of 39/25. But it was amazing to ride on closed roads. Just the occasional hiker.
Basically we were riding on this:
And over your shoulder through the bushes was this:
Sadly at the top of Mt Parker it was low cloud so we only saw the view â€“ amazing view of Kowloon, fleetingly.
Much like in London I decided to ride back to my Hotel through Kowloon. Lots of buses and taxis, unfamiliar and a bit scary but in truth not really dangerous.
It sounds like you had a great time. I miss riding around London. You are right, it is so much easier and safer than Sydney. I never got hassled once in the 5 years that I lived there. People are patient and realise that getting around you or in front of two cars only makes about 10 seconds difference in their trip.
If you go again, which I hope you do, can I offer these suggestions.
1. You could do the ride from London to Brighton and catch the train back. Not a bad ride through the city in to country side and down to the sea.
2. You could go for a ride around Surrey, where I was living. It's got some great hills and quiet roads. You could do a circuit around Guildford, Shere, Peaslake, Abinger, Donsfold, Haslemere, Elstead and back to Guildford. You could easily take your bike on the train and it is about 40 mins from London Waterloo.
3. If you were feeling adventurous and had a long weekend, you could even take a trip over to Belgium/France. You can catch the train to Dover ( I wouldn't recommend the ride) and it costs Â£10 to catch the ferry with your bike across to Dunkerque. From there you can easily ride to Belgium and enjoy many Belgian beers. I particularly aimed for the Sint Sixtus brewery as it is the only place that you can get the beers. Don't worry, you won't be the only one riding your bike to the cafe. There are many, young and old. You could then ride to Ypres, staying there and seeing the many historical World War sites. It's then a fairly easy ride back to the ferry in the next day or two.
There is so much crap that gets lifted up from the roads, especially during winter when the road grit goes down. I had a flouresent yellow jumper which is only yellow now.
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