Riding from London (Russell?s) to Brussels

Cam, Russ, Grant, Steve, Phil and I rode from London to Brussels for fun. Since we started at Russell?s flat in Balham we coined the ride ?From Russell?s to Brussels?.

Kelvin and Louise kindly offered to drive a support van for us. Nothing happened between them and Steve has nothing to worry about.

The Route

London to Harwich (overnight ferry to Hook of Holland)
Hook of Holland to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Breda
Breda to Brussels

The total distance was about 550kms but I?ll never really know as my Garmin 910xt stopped recording new route information after Breda. Note for next time, record each day as a separate ride. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/186271823

Day 1 ? London to Harwich

Started the day with Steve getting a flat, followed by Phil. Steve likes to get the first flat on these long rides.

Great warm sunny flat ride all day to Harwich. Harwich has a Morrisons right next to the Port which was excellent for refuelling hungry cyclist prior to the ferry.

The overnight ferry was affordable, good quality, comfortable beds, brilliant showers and a it had a bar ?. Just what everyone needed after a long day in the saddle.

Day 2 ? Hook of Holland to Amsterdam

Day 2 did not go well. Despite the ride being in June/summer the weather was shockingly wet and cold. Hardly anyone had the right cold weather gear to keep warm in the conditions. Luckily I had enough of my commuter cycling clothing so wasn?t too bad. Also the non-commuters had no experience of riding in snow and sleet so it was a bit of a shock for them. At midday we found a mall to hide in and drink lots of hot drinks for a couple of hours. Even luckier the mall had a cycle shop and the boys blew around three hundred euros on cold weather gear.

Day 3 – Amsterdam to Breda

Weather greatly improved but still not really summery. Spent the day getting lost. Amazed by the cycling facilities in Holland.

Day 4 – Breda to Brussels

Final day into Brussels followed by a massive team meal and session on the rums.

All in all a fantastic ride with good mates and lots of good memories.


My first sprint-triathlon

Team GBH (Grievous/Grant, Bodily/Bill, Harm/Hubbers)

Today I completed my first sprint-triathlon. The location was the picturesque rowing lake at Eton which will be used for the for the rowing at the 2012 Olympics in London. The triathlon was a short one with shorter distances called a sprint triathlon. To make it even easier the race was run in sequence so each team member had to complete each discipline before the first team member could start the next discipline.

The whole race was a 400 meter swim followed by a 15 kilometre cycle and finally a 5 kms run.

Triathlete Swim 400m Bike 15kms Run 5km Total time
Bill 8.18 28.41 23.32 59.91
Hubbers 8.32 29.20 25.21 62.73
Grant 11.05 30.31 26.24 67.60

On the whole I am very happy with my times although my right calf exploded in pain about a third of the way into the run. At the time the only thing keeping me from quitting was the fact that I would have let Grant and Bill down. Five hours later it’s still quite sore so, at Cam’s suggestion, I have two ice packs strapped to it. I’m not 100% I can fully trust Cam as after imparting his medical advice he told me he is training towards an ultra-marathon in the Sahara so he is clearly mad.

Right calf getting some ice action after triathlon

Full results here

Thames Barrier Cycle Ride

Today after meeting some friends in Holborn for lunch I rode to the Thames Barrier. I’ve been meaning to get down there for ages to take some photos.

The Tames Path ride isn’t really what I expected. At several places along the Thames, apartments have been built right up to the edge of the river so you have to cycle back to a road to keep heading in the same direction. Sometimes when travelling on one of these back roads the Thames Path is signposted back towards the river and when you get there the path only goes for fifty meters or so before another apartment block forces you back on to the road you just came from. The net effect is that you end up with the feeling that you are zigzagging down the river and sometimes you end up a bit lost or on a main road.

A bit frustrating and not really what I expected from a quite cycle down the Thames.

Yesterday I rode past a dead cyclist in Holborn

Just after 9am yesterday morning I rode through the intersection of Southampton Row and High Holborn as I do on the way to work every day.

Yesterday the intersection was surrounded by police who had a white tent set up and were filming the intersection. Rather ominously a large white lorry parked half way around the corner of Southampton Row and High Holborn. I chatted with another cyclist about what the likely reason for the white tent was. He suggested it was probably another stabbing as the UK is having an epidemic of them at the moment.

I forgot about it until today when I saw this newspaper banner outside my office in Holborn.

Holborn: Cyclist Dies in Lorry Crash (Evening Standard)

This is the full article form the Evening Standard. Cyclist killed in lorry collision is the second victim in a week

The Kiwis and friends did a 40 mile charity cycle ride in the Cotswolds

The participants were myself, Bundy, Laura and Grant on team Kiwi. Rachel was team Wallaby, Masha team Anti-Democracy and Karim and Alexia were team Baguette.

Respect to the people who did it with little or no preparation. Masha didn’t get her bike until the day before the ride and Karim and Alexia were “not told” that the ride would be 40 miles long and very hilly. As Alexia put it “Amongst our French friends we are considered the fit ones. But when we go out with you Kiwis …”

Rachel looking puffed at the top of the first big long hill

Protest outside the Chinese embassy in London

Twice a day I ride past the Chinese embassy in London. It isn’t well marked so you would never know it was there if it weren’t for the permanent peaceful protest by supporters of Falun Gong. They are ticked off that their government imprisons them and sells their internal organs before they have finished using them. The other give away is the cop with a machine gun across the road.

Tonight the usual one or two man protest was slightly larger as about a hundred people turned up to protest the deaths of a number of protesters in Tibet. Naturally there was a much larger number of police with automatic weapons. The good news is that we live in a democracy where civil rights are protected by the law and the police don’t gun people down in the street who disagree with the government.

Protest outside Chinese Embassy London

Cyclists not seeing car door opened = Ouch!

When I ride through the city I give parked cars a wide berth because you never know when someone will open a door or someone will walk out. This morning I saw a stark reminder of why caution is the best policy.

While I was riding to work around Regents Park I saw a cyclist on the other side of the side of the road passing a parked car when the driver of the parked car opened the door without looking and knock the cyclist off his bike. From where I was it looked like the rider hit the door with his thigh and not his hand/handle bars. Luckily he wasn’t riding too fast but it still looked very painful.

I also found out today that the Transport for London website suggests that cyclists should look out for car doors being opened into your path. They should also suggest that cyclist should have reflexes of a cobra and the ability to read minds of other road users who don’t think looking is important.

  • Black cabs swerving to the kerb to pick up/drop off passengers
  • Pedestrians stepping out into the road without looking (and most of us do it on occasion)
  • Passengers hopping off or on Routemaster buses without looking
  • Vehicles turning left across you – even more serious if it is a bus or truck
  • Car doors being opened into your path
  • Vehicle creepage at junctions
  • Delivery vehicles parked in cycle lanes
  • Drivers failing to indicate properly leaving everyone guessing
  • Vehicles doing impromptu U-turns.

Survey Says: Alaskans are Friendly (sample 1)

Today I watched large tourist crossing the road nearly get knocked over by another cyclist. After the near miss he stopped for a chat and we had a laugh about how often cyclists nearly hit pedestrians. Anyway to make a long story short he was from Alaska. Bloody friendly people those Alaskans (not sure of the correct collective noun).