London to Brighton bike ride 2014
Yesterday I took part in the London to Brighton bike ride.
The event is held every year by the British Heart Foundation. It's the biggest bike ride in Europe with 27,500 riders making the 53 mile journey from Clapham Common in London to Madeira Drive in Brighton.
The ride was my 5th consecutive London to Brighton. Each year I've used a different bike to ride it. This year was no exception. Because one of my friends was using his mountain bike, I decided to use my 29er mtb.
The other rider with me, my colleague Mark, had an accident early on. He hit a temporary road sign which slashed his front tyre. I sorted his bike out with a temporary repair. As soon as we got to the first bike mechanic, they fitted a new tyre and a little more confidence returned.
The ride was fairly congested along the way. Sometimes it was due to accidents, most of the time due to the volume of cyclists. At one point we had to take a detour due to an accident ahead. Not before having to be in a slow moving queue for at least half an hour.
Having made it up Ditchling Beacon on all but my first attempt back in 2010, I had no concerns this year except for the fact it might be very busy. When it is busy you get lots of people walking their bikes up the hill and the space for cycling is very tight. The problem is compounded by slower riders not being able to get out of your way, so balance is key.
Congestion was not a problem this time and I managed to get up the Beacon using a 33x36T as my lowest gear (this is the lowest gear on the middle ring for non technical types).
Once you reach the top of Ditchling Beacon (886ft) you are rewarded by stunning views of the South Downs. From then on it's 7 miles of fast downhill and total flat to Brighton seafront.
We all crossed the line and collected our medal. More of the same next year :-)
I'd you'd like to sponsor me for my efforts this year for the BHF visit http://www.justgiving.com/toby2014 or text IBHF99 £2 to 70070. Thank you.