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Archive for the ‘Other rides’ Category

Friday Night Ride to the Coast

Posted on Friday 28 July 2017 by Nick Bloom

I’ve always liked cycling at night. After midnight, as even the clubbers drift home, the streets go silent. Riding into the countryside, the wildlife appears, shocked at a silent intruder gliding past. It’s rarely that dark (except in the woods). Our eyes acclimatise, our hearing sharpens. There’s activity all around. Distant glow from industry, the passing hubbub of a late party. Reflective eyes from a fox disturbed. A break after a few hours at some lonesome service station, then the early chill and tiredness. A glimmer, then, almost rudely, dawn. The early, early crowd rushing to their shift, perplexed. And rest, avoid the rush hour, eat, recover. Snooze on the train home.

Tempted? The Friday Night Ride to the Coast is an easy introduction. Sort of once a month, from early spring to late autumn, The Fridays have a monthly ride which usually starts at Southbank. And goes, as you might expect, to a coast, arriving for breakfast for 08.00. About 100km, with a long and leisurely stop halfway. Expect 40-50 riders on all sorts of bike (and even trikes), all ages, a high proportion of women. This is a friendly group ride – social rather than sporting. The front end can get brisk, the back end can be very relaxed, but nobody gets dropped. It would be suitable for any Central London rider who can manage one of my ‘slower 3*’ rides.

The next ride , to Whitstable on Friday August 25th into Saturday 26th, is a nice taster – a popular ride, not demanding, with plenty of sights. Village Hall at half-way, plus a couple of full-service comfort stops. Breakfast by the beach and plenty of trains back to London. If you’re interested, Have a look at the website.

You must sign-up in advance using the form on the ride page. £2 fee per year (there’s also the Xmas night ride round London), CTC membership required after one ‘taster’ – details on their site.

Some tips:

  1. check your bike thoroughly before you set off, especially tyres – pick out any flints, etc.
  2. bring two tubes and pump / levers.
  3. you need a decent ‘see by’ front light which will last six hours on a suitable beam. If you’re on a dynamo, bring a back-up or torch for emergencies. Your back light needs to last six hours on constant – no flashing lights please. Most USB rear lights don’t last this long.
  4. it will feel chilly when you leave the village hall, but it soon warms up – a shell should do, but each to their own.
  5. you don’t need to bring the kitchen sink. Bikes are not left unattended, there’s food and drink at 50km, plenty of mechanics. The only spare clothing I carry is my waterproof (and I don’t always take that).
  6. turn up well before the start to meet people and hear the briefing.


If you’ve any questions or concerns, you can ask me – nick@centrallondonctc.org.uk / 07768 354010

The race of truth (in post-truth times)

Posted on Tuesday 27 June 2017 by Jon McColl

What better way, as an occasional racing cyclist, to counter the disturbing ascendancy of alternative facts than to compete in the race of truth? Two indisputable numbers: a distance, and a time.  No room for misrepresentation or relativist interpretation, just an indisputable universal truth.

As a consequence I found myself, together with Alex Marzec of OV Cycling Club, on the start line of the Victoria CC 16.4km event for my first 2-up TTT. Conditions were nearly perfect: warm, but not overly so, with virtually no wind.  The course (E1/10A, don’t ask) is on the B1383 northwest of Saffron Walden.  It is undulating, out-and-back with just one turn at a roundabout.  No dual-carriageway dragstrip this.

Alex and I had ridden together only once before. We’d had a 30-minute session around Regent’s Park practising our changes and following closely on each other’s wheel.  This had gone well and we were hopeful of a respectable TTT result.

We started cautiously, not wishing to go out too fast. Short turns on the front and judging our efforts by perceived exertion – no power metres for us.  My latest indulgence – a self-built Condor Ultima TT bike – was riding beautifully.  We got into a steady rhythm and reached the turn with sufficient in the tank for the return leg.

Rule 82 observed – no gap here
© Garry Bowden | Sport in Pictures (www.sportinpictures.co.uk)

Now we were pushing harder. Alex leading up the drags but, with lactic acid levels beginning to build in my legs, small gaps opening up occasionally.  Calls of “easy” on my part ensured we stayed together.  I was marginally faster on the downhills.  On the flat sections of the course we were evenly matched and kept a tight formation – saving energy in each other’s slipstream.  The final mile was an all-out effort.  We crossed the finish line in a time of 27min 33sec; an average speed of just over 22.2mph and 1min 17sec quicker than the Veterans’ Time Trials Association standard.  A better result than either of us had expected.

Somewhat foolishly I had also entered the event as a solo rider. I was off again an hour after the finish of the 2-up ride, having had little time for recovery.  The result of my solo effort; an underwhelming 30min 47sec (2min 42sec worse than standard) and more than 11 minutes outside the course record held by a Mr A Dowsett.

Sometimes, the truth hurts.

Sturm und Drang in Suffolk

Posted on Sunday 13 July 2014 by Martin Hayman

Many words have been spilt fruitlessly over the Dunwich Dynamo night ride: lame epithets like awesome, epic, or even iconic.

In previous accounts here and here of Central London CTC participations, we have steered clear of such rebarbative clichés. But for once, this time, most were applicable.

Jon McColl, as ever, planned this year’s effort, billing it an attempt to break the ‘club record’ set last year. In short, our aim was to get from the start at London Fields, Hackney to Dunwich, some 190(-ish) km distant on the Suffolk coast, in under 8 hours.

The beach at the world’s end! Pic by Fadil Mokhchane

Now in in reasonable conditions, and barring mechanicals, that is a perfectly feasible target more »

Paris-Roubaix Cyclosportive 2014

Posted on Saturday 14 June 2014 by Bob Davis

I had bored all of CTC Central London for months with talk of my target for 2014. The motivation for training through the winter was to deal with unfinished business:  in 2012 I had only done the shorter version of Velo Club Roubaix’ sportive event over the infamous cobbles of the great Paris-Roubaix Spring classic race. Now it was time for the full 210km including all of the 51km of cobbles that the professionals hammer over in April.

I travelled the same way as before (see my blog post here),  letting organisers Sports Tours do the work of sorting out the hotel and getting the registration, and we set off by coach from Victoria on the Friday, with the Saturday free for preparing bikes and having a leg-loosening ride.

Sunday: wake at 05.00 for an early breakfast, more »

Hell of the North (London)

Posted on Tuesday 22 April 2014 by Bob Davis

Just in case you don’t know, the hardest one day road cycle race is Paris-Roubaix, run over roads in north west France and including badly broken cobbles or “pavé” on sections covering a quarter of the course. I have done the Velo Club Roubaix’s sportive over the course,  held every two years, in 2012 over the shorter 120km, and plan to do the whole 210km  in June. (BTW, I note one of our members, Fadil Mokchane, has done the ASO cyclosportive over 170km last weekend – chapeau Fadil!).

To coincide with this, there is a tradition of organised rides with off-road sections being run outside North London. Patrick Field organised a few in the 90s, more recently Rapha have put on events. The idea is to incorporate the Welwyn velodrome at Gosling stadium (Paris-Roubaix finishes at the Roubaix velodrome) and to be outside north London (Hell of the North, geddit?). Sunday’s was their fifth version. more »

The Falling Leaves: North, South, West and East of Eden

Posted on Monday 7 October 2013 by Martin Hayman

Dulwich Paragon’s Ride of the Falling Leaves sportive has become a firm fixture in Central London CTC’s calendar. It’s the last opportunity of the season to bust a gut, if you are so minded; the Stevenage’s Summertime Reversed Audax is an amble by comparison.

So it was that no fewer than 11 Central London members signed up and on a sparkling morning assembled at Herne Hill Velodrome. All riders pass over the timing chip on to the track for a lap (or several if you like), assuring a unique départ for this rather wonderful event. Its character, as noted on previous editions (2012, 2011, 2010), is more that of a mega-clubrun than of a commercial sportive, with groups riding efficiently together.

And that is indeed how we started more »

Central London: More reasons to be cheerful

Posted on Tuesday 19 February 2013 by Martin Hayman

1 Brilliantly sunny and still morning

2 Ferrari-red Cinelli bike more »

Ragazzi irlandesi

Posted on Wednesday 7 November 2012 by Martin Hayman

You will have seen in in our report on the Ride of the Falling Leaves that our 4* ride animator, Damian McNamara, was headed to Mallorca for 10 days’ hard riding under the tutelage of the great Irish campionissimo (and Eurosport commentator) Sean Kelly. Lest you thought we were pulling your leg, here’s himself on the front with the great man! To be sure, there’ll be no slacking around on this winter’s club runs.

That’s Damian on the right. Is he half-wheeling Sean?

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