Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cycling in the Rain

I partook in two cycling events last week, Critical Mass in London and the Isle of Wight Randonee.

Both were absolutely brilliant fun, and on both I got completely and utterly soaked.

On Critical Mass we set off from beneath Waterloo Bridge around about 7pm, went straight over the bridge, down the Strand and to Trafalgar Square. Thankfully my wheel survived a rather inpatient motorbike rider who decided the most sensible option is to pile through the traffic. No matter how many times I do this I'm still dumbfounded by some of the drivers and the way they react to the mass! I also love the amount of people who come up to you and say things like, "What's all this in aid of?", "Why are all you cyclists here?" the shock of seeing so many cyclists really is too much for some people. The best response I heard to this was a cyclist go up to Taxi at the front of a long line of taxis and say, "Hey, what are all you taxis doing here tonight?"

Then up to Oxford Street, along that and eventually onto Park Lane, by this point the rain was pouring, pouring and pouring, which made me wet, wet, wet, I could even feel it in my fingers, and feel it in my toes! That's how wet it was! Up through Picadilly, along through Farringdon and eventually to the familiar sight of the Foundry.

The Foundry is where the debauchery started, booze, booze and more booze! Thank you to the chap on the Brompton who poured half his bottle of rum into my cider can! That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night!!! On to Dust bar where the booze kept on flowing and I did my first dj set off a usb stick - futuristic! Think I'll be sticking with the CDs for now.

Sop then I lost my bag, then found it attached to another cyclist outside - I still have your D-lock by the way!

So next day, amazing hang over, amazing sunglasses bought at the Hackney Wick Flea Market, then amazing downpour of rain whilst cycling home. So amazing that we (Olly, Sophie and I) decided to wait for it to subside before making our journey to Waterloo Station. We eventually found a break in the rain and made our way, via a little shop and a purchase of five bottles of red wine.

The train to Portsmouth was absolutely hilarious. This was mostly thanks to a girl with a pair of fake contact lenses trying to put them on in the train toilet, taking ages and her friends having to tell people that she had diarrhoea when they were waiting for the toilet, this escalated to becoming so funny Sophie decided to spray red wine all over the train!

We got to Portsmouth so late we were forced to take refuge in a pub for an hour or so where Olly managed to confuse half the pub into thinking that we'd cycled all the way from London to Portsmouth, needless to say they were impressed!! When we boarded the ferry for the Isle of Wight we were admittedly a little tipsy. I may have at one point lay down on the floor by the children's play table and taken a photo of myself in the mirror, and Olly may have had his trousers down to show Sophie and I his leg muscles at the exact same point that a member of staff on the boat walked past. These things may have happened.

We got to the Island and found the campsite, tent already set up, thank you Putzy! Had a little sit down, shared our stories with the folks there and slunked off to bed.

We woke up the next morning to a very wet Isle of Wight. The rather psychotic / strange / vocal / welsh campsite lady ensured that everyone was out of bed at 7:30 regardless of hangover!

Started the ride, and amazingly it wasn't raining. 100km around the island and we were keeping our hopes up that this would in fact be how the weather would stay. I asked a chap at the campsite checkpoint how long we could expect it to take, he looked at me in my gold leggings and cheery demeanour and said, "ooh, about five hours or so."

Sweet 100km in five hours. We set off and got to the next checkpoint where we were served a multitude of cakes, flapjacks, scones and rolls for a miniature price - YES! Then the rain started, it poured, then it stopped, then it poured, then it drizzled, then it stopped. By the next checkpoint Olly had taken a spill, on the wet, on the wrong side of the road, at approximately 30 mph according to Putzy. Thankfully he escaped with just a bum scrape. Next check point was reached without too much trouble, with the exception of a tractor turning out in front of me with hay bail held at head height, thank god my breaks worked ok! Next check point was 20 miles away in Freshwater.

Freshwater is a quaint little seaside town which you get too just after and evil climb. When I say evil climb I mean two sharp up hills after the other, all the while face being battered by strong winds and icy cold rain. There were a few moments there where it was just me and the bike, my single gear crunching away and my legs digging deep to pull my weight up the hill. Of course there was a great downhill afterwards, but I remember the climb a lot more clearly!!

This pic has been borrowed from Braker from the LFGSS

By this point there was a suffering amongst the group, Putzy decided to plug ahead, Sophie, Olly, Katie, Caroline, John, Tim and I decided to make our way to the pub to dry off (under a hand drier in the gents) and fuel up (chips, mayonnaise and a scotch on the rocks).

After the pub stop we continued along, the rain subsided and the winds picked up. The worst bit was, what would probably be a normally lovely place to cycle, a cycle along the coast looking across to Fawley Oil Refinery with the winds really hammering against us. Eventually we got to the chain ferry and across to the penultimate check point before a rather slow last 8 or 9 km back to the campsite!

NINE AND A HALF HOURS!!! not quite the five predicted earlier.

There was a huge reward around the corner though, a big fat sunday roast served up by the lovely Vayres Farm Powellys!!


1 comment:

  1. yo long! good times. cyclical motion is the best wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwang.