Posted on Thursday 17 August 2017 by Charles Harvey
I was heavily involved in this year’s Ride London but never did any cycling on either day. On the Saturday FreeCycle event, I was on a Dr Bike stall run by CyclingUK (a.k.a. CTC). I’d responded to an appeal for volunteers from CyclingUK and duly turned up at St Pauls at 08.30.
It turned out to be a much bigger operation than I’d expected. There were about 15 people on my stall and it was one of six. Many of the volunteers had travelled a long way to help out.
My initial reaction at the start was that we seemed to be rather overstaffed for what we had to do. I was also impressed by the very high skill level. Quite a number on the people on my stall either were or had been professional cycle mechanics. We also had an impressive array of tools. I needn’t have worried about overstaffing. By mid-morning we were all working flat out. An informal triage system developed. Relatively unskilled people like me concentrated on the simpler jobs such as fixing punctures and referred the more complex jobs up the line to the professionals. As you would expect punctures were the most common fault we dealt with followed by front gear mechs that weren’t changing properly.
My band was playing out in Essex in the evening so I had to leave early at 14.15. At that stage everyone was still very busy. I hope they weren’t too badly affected by the rain later in the afternoon.
On the Sunday, the day of the Ride London Surrey 100 and the professional road races, I was up much earlier and spent the whole day observing and assisting in the St John Ambulance control room. But that’s another story …