By user12625760 on Apr 16, 2006
I'm not out riding today with Molesey BBT. The same BBT that was mentioned in the back of the Times Magazine on Saturday (Beta Male).
On Saturday morning I did my first ever CTC ride. The ride was from Hyde Park Corner to Brighton via Gatwick Airport. The reason for travelling via the delights of Gatwick Airport was that we left at Midnight and so there are not many Cafes open in the early hours of the morning. The ride went out through South London, Balham, Tooting, Mitchham, Wallington and then out into the Surrey. Despite the near full Moon the darkness was complete thanks to Fog which made for no view allowed the shadows created by the lights of the following cyclist to form strange patterns. It also limited our speed since only two of the four riders had lights that allowed to safely travel at a moderate speed without street lights. The good lights were both SON powered lights, mine traditional lights but wired for 12V operation, the other a very bright LED. Another vote for “Dynamo” lights in particular SON generators wired to deliver 12V.
In Surrey we climbed out of Wallington and into the Fog. Fog that would be with us until we dropped down into Brighton at Dawn. Along Chipstead Valley and up over the North Downs at Rigate. Dropping down Rigate hill some riders managed over 40mph which as the street lights cut through the Fog was not as crazy as it would have been on the hill down into Chipstead Valley.
Out of Rigate, turning onto Lownsome Lane into the back of Horley. Here we took to the back roads and paths to suddenly find ourselves on the Gatwick cycle route. Then our leader rode into what looked like a cupboard in which there was a Freight Lift which took all four of us, plus bikes onto the Check-in area of Gatwick airport's South Terminal.
At the airport we had a Coffee at Costa Coffee to perk us up a bit. By now I was beginning to feel the loss of sleep so this was good.
Out of the Airport via Schlumberger's car park and a short path, a road with seed bumps that were hard to see and then turned into bumps with a gap for cyclists in the middle, then a mud track. This was the only time I wished the SON could deliver 12V at less than 10mph as the extra light would have helped to pick out the path.
After this we were on the same road as the annual London to Brighton bike ride so things were more familiar and our progress quicker. We reached Ditching Beacon as the light was beginning to break through the Fog and by the time we were dropping into Brighton day light was with us and the Fog a memory.
On the front we posed for a photo, taken for us by someone returning from all night out, who found it hard to grasp that we had also been out all night and even harder to grasp that we may have enjoyed it.
Our Leader then caught the train home leaving me to lead the other to back via Devils Dyke and St Leonards Forest for a breakfast at Henfold Lakes then home the usual way: Dorking, Leatherhead, Oxshot, Esher.
Home by 10:45 116miles, slower than I expected but it was just brilliant fun. It did however mean I was even more useless Saturday afternoon and today decided that riding some more would be pushing my luck. Still the first 300mile week of the year.