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The continued adventures of the Fat Lad at the Back!

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The continued adventures of the Fat Lad at the Back!

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Ride London

August 20th, 2015

A few Sunday’s ago I was privileged to take part in the Prudential Ride London 100 mile adventure around London and the Surrey Hills as a press officer for Ride 25. This was to be my 4th big ride of the year and it was without doubt the one I was least prepared for having indulged in far too much Merlot and too many Marlboro Lights over the preceding weeks. However, accompanied by Ride 25’s inimitable cycle fitting, bike repairing and tour leading all round top dude Paul “Smudge” Smith we set off at ridiculous o’clock to enjoy what was my first closed road ride around London. I have to say that donning my trusty Fat Lad at the Back shorts that have served me so well upon my trusty, if slightly battle scarred, Pearson Iamnotanumber machine I felt good and looked forward to the ride.

The weather was amazing, which was a new experience for me on big rides this year, and the chance to experience London’s streets with nothing but cycles on them was intriguing. In particular, the initial phase of the ride was breath-taking as we eventually set off from the Olympic Park and headed down the newly resurfaced A12 into the heart of Canary Wharf and City of London. On beautifully smooth roads at 6.30am accompanied only by the sounds of multiple bikes in a peloton it was impossible to not enjoy the moment and get a bit carried away by really cracking on through the various tunnels even though I knew I would pay for it at some point.

Ride London

The run out through central and on to west London was fun, taking in the various tourist sights, particularly since I often ride on these roads it was great to experience them without the other traffic you normally encounter on a daily basis. This is not to say that you were completely free from danger, however, as even before we hit Hammersmith there were multiple accidents, some of them more worrying than others. I have to say, in general, that I saw some pretty inconsiderate riding and a general lack of manners during the entirety of the event.

Whilst I appreciate the serious Lycra Warriors were entering with the aim of doing a fast time, and indeed some of them were truly outstanding, I think that many of the incidents occurred because the participants rode in a manner not befitting both the number of riders on the road and the wide variety of skills and experience. The simple fact is it is a ride and not a race and some of the more hard-core riders might do well to remember that and consider entering a race to ride in that manner rather than on a mass participation ride where the general public were also a significant potential hazard.

The rest of the ride went by in a sunny blur as we headed out through Richmond Park into the Surrey Hills and then returned back through South West London and finished with the impressive turn under Admiralty Arch and onto The Mall for what became a very strong sprint win for my riding partner Smudge who shamelessly took advantage of the fact I had advised him I had nothing left in the locker for a big finish!

Spiller - Ride London

As ever, as I gently peddled back to my flat (adding a further 10kms to my longest ever one day ride), I ruminated on the day’s events and these were the things I learned:

  1. Merlot and Marlboro Lights are not an ideal training regime for long distance cycling especially when the temperature hits 25 degrees and you’re a larger chap from the North.

  1. Sharp tan lines are earned, not given.

  1. Leith Hill is significantly harder than Box Hill and I really need to get an 11-32 gear set if you don’t want to end up walking and wrecking yet another set of cleats.

  1. Ignoring your cycle fit and raising your saddle is not a good idea and basically ruins your posterior for the remaining 80kms of the ride.

  1. I might actually be a MAMIL as my continued denials that I am one are met with increasing incredulity by all my friends given the number of rides I’ve done. Perhaps its now time to just admit it and enter the dark side….

Thank you so much to the team from Ride 25 for asking me to represent the crew on the event, for Smudge for being my riding partner and I look forward to writing more about my continued adventures as the world’s most reluctant MAMIL.


Martin’s other ramblings can be followed on Twitter @MartinRSpiller

One Response to “The continued adventures of the Fat Lad at the Back!”

  1. Happy Cyclist Says:

    Wow what a adventure of 100 miles….I love it

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