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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:42 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:32 pm
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Location: London, UK
I will put together a description of the days activities later, once I have had the chance to thaw out my face, down a few beers and replace some lost calories.

Luckily the ice gods smiled on us and although snowy and picturesque we encountered very few icy patches. No-one crashed out or got hit by a car, although there was a close call in Stratford with a psychotic driver.

For those that bailed out due to snow, I really fancy eggs for breakfast and I'd like you to lay me some, you big chickens. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:18 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:15 am
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Location: Getting fitter, I will beat the Surrey Hills....
Great day out, thanks for organising another excellent trek throught the city. If you could pick a day in future that isnt below freezing, that could be good. My toes are only just coming round again!

Look forward to the pictures 8)

Dan


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:09 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:32 pm
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Location: London, UK
This Saturday was in my diary for me to lead my second RetroBike tour around London, a long but relatively gentle ride around the parks, cycle lanes and canal footpaths of the capital. It looks like it will become a regular event, each ride brings in both new riders and those who have come back for another go.

With the recent snowfall it was looking to entail a fair amount of riding on snow, something I have done a couple of times before, but am still very much a novice at. The evening before the ride the forecast looked bleak and a number of riders made last minute bail outs. I began to doubt my own judgement too, so made a 6pm risk assessment, with a quick ride up and down my street. With 2" - 4" of crunchy compacted snow on the street, the riding was surprisingly good, the one sketchy bit was where the local kids had been sledging and reduced the surface to ice.

The following morning I awoke early and made a flurry of early morning texts and calls. Tim, facing a long drive up from Bournemouth, whilst hung over, wanted hard facts, I gave it a 50% chance of crashing out at some point. Dan, from Guildford had similar conditions, but was keen to carry on regardless. Whilst Andy, from the posh side of Purley, was still keen to go, providing it wasn't going to be some macho endurance race.

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On this cold, grey day amidst occasional flurries of snow, we gathered at East Croydon station and headed once more into the snowy wastes of South London. Luckily the riding was still good with crunchy snow under the tyres and not the slush over ice that you might have expected. Luckily all our bikes were shod with knobbly tyres and we all seemed to be keeping well without any spills.

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Heading out of Catford, the cold got to Tim and Dan, who's socks were not up to the task of holding in warmth whilst riding, so a detour to Lewisham was needed for an emergency sock stop. The High Street provided a TKMax, but no Millets or similar outdoor type shop. A fellow cyclist recommended one of the market stall holders who had tog 2.4! socks available, the pricing of which involved some new form of mathematics that even Stephen Hawkins may have had trouble with. A quick sock fitting session ensued, the sartorial results looking like a hybrid between Leroy Johnson from Fame and Nora Batty from The Last of the Summer Wine.

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Hypothermia averted, it was time for a quick slog up the hill to Blackheath, where we were greeted with some fairly unpleasant driving snow. Hastily we made our way to the statue of General Wolfe, overlooking Greenwich for the obligatory photo opportunity.
Before we cooled down too much, we made a downhill run for Greenwich and the lure of pie and chips. Fortified it was time to head over towards Stratford for a glance of the Olympic stadium. The local drivers displayed some pretty psychotic behaviour (wouldn't happen South of the River) which met with a robust and assertive response from Tim.

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As the general consensus was to get off road as soon as possible, we headed West and joined the canal network for a bleak but fun ride up the Regents Canal tow path towards Islington. We whizzed past the groovy hipsters, strollers and sundry tourists, clearing a path with my quacking front brake.

As darkness fell we took a quick coffee/chocolate rest stop thanks to Andy, sir you are a gent. Whilst we warmed up, it was time to award some prizes:
"Furthest distance travelled" was picked up by Tim, who had driven over 120 miles in foul weather to take part. "RetroBike du Jour", was a close call between Tim on his Diamond Back Axis 94 and Andy on his Marin Pine Mountain. Tim pipped Andy at the post, just because the Diamond Back looked almost new, with just a few scratches on the lacquer. To take such a nice bike out onto filthy, salt covered roads, shows an inspiring level of commitment worthy of reward.

We had hardly left the rest stop before we lost Dan, who had suffered his first puncture of the day. In the fading light a quick repair was made and we returned to street level. What seemed like 5 minutes later we had already passed St.Paul's Cathedral and were heading up The Strand and onto The Mall. Tim sprinted past me to do the "both arms raised" Tour de France finish line glide through Admiralty Arch. We had a few minutes break at Buckingham Palace, but with the onset of night time it was getting distinctly colder and simply had to keep moving.

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We upped the pace through South London to warm up and give "the youngsters" a chance to stretch their legs out a bit. On a bit of head down climbing towards Crystal Palace, the word came through that we were Danless once again, a phone call and some back tracking found him with a second puncture. There were no obvious signs of glass in the carcass and as he was running top quality Schwalbe tyres, we began to wonder if the cold had got to the valve seals on the inner tube.

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With the home straight in sight we completed the climb up to Crystal Palace for a beer in the snow, courtesy of Tim. Refreshed, there was a bitingly cold, but wonderful, flat out descent from Crystal Palace back to East Croydon. Tim was dropped off at his car which, surprisingly for Croydon, was still there, then Dan at the station, leaving just Andy and myself to cruise back to Purley.

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All in, a great days snow riding, in good company, what more could you ask for? Better weather seems to be the general consensus, as there is unlikely to be another ride till March let's hope so.


Last edited by PurleySquire on Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Superb day
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:28 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:53 pm
Posts: 11
Location: London
I too had a fabulous time on the ride. I can understand people bailing given the forecast - but you missed a treat.

The brisk trade done at the thermal socks stall on Lewisham market said something about the temperature - but the conditions weren't that bad.

The route was superb. I must have driven between Croydon and Greenwich 100+ times - but had no idea how "bikeable" this stretch is - through disused railway lines, country parks and the odd quiet backstreet.

The canal stretch between Bow and Islington was equally special.

As a newbie, I hadn't known what to expect in terms of pace, and had been mildly concerned, having seen references in the thread to speed records for various sections. But the pace proved just right for me. Relaxed in the snowy offroad sections, brisker through the roads. PyroTim could happily have gone a bit faster - as evidenced by the speed with which he chased down the occasional offensive driver - but there was no stress or pressure whatsoever.

Many thanks to all three fellow riders for being so relaxed and welcoming. Hats off to PyroTim and WhatleyMeister for braving long journeys before (and after) the ride began.

But top thanks go to PurleySquire for being the perfect leader. It must have taken hours of adjustment to get the perfect canada goose "honk" from his cantis - which was invaluable in busier parts of park and canal path. The moment which summed up the day for me came around 3pm along the canal side path when I was starting to feel weary - with the cold spreading beyond just fingers and toes. I said to PyroTim that I was feeling ready for a hot chocalate in a warm cafe - and within 30-40 seconds, PurleySquire drew us up at exactly what I'd just wished for. Priceless.


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 Post subject: Pictures up
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:46 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:32 pm
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Cheers for the kind words. I have dropped in the pictures now.

I only just remembered that I totally failed to see those steps leading down onto the canal at Bow and got very sideways stopping. Top marks to Dan? for riding down them. :lol:

Andy sorry to Tim for boxing you in when I stalled out, S.M.I.D.S.Y. :oops:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:26 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:58 pm
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Location: Bournemouth
Thanks to all 3 of you for a great ride, especially PurleySquire for organising it, providing the prizes, and for putting me up last night. Was cold, but very fun. I rode down the steps, and I'm sure someone else did too. Great to see how bikeable London was. You're always going to get idiots on the roads, but we encountered very few, and I think that's as much to do with the route chosen as anything.

The bike is surprisingly clean considering the state it is usually in after a RetroBike ride, which I account to the snow. I was pleasantly suprised that it wasn't blown sludge and ice, but either clear roads, or compact snow. I don't think anyone even had a nearly moment with regards to an off. Shame that both punctures on route were attributed to Whatleymeister, but that's modern tyres for you ;)

All in all great fun, and I look forward to doing it again.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:37 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Location: Getting fitter, I will beat the Surrey Hills....
Excellent write up! Indeed it was both Tim and I that rode down those steps, though I was graced with some lovely Reba forks which made the decent rather straight forward by comparison. It was good to see that I wasn't the only person in shorts and, as such, shame on the people who bailed because it was a bit chilly! :roll: :lol:

Those of you interested will be pleased to know that both tyres have since remained inflated which is promising, though I havent investigated the source of the original puntures.

Thanks to Andy for the spare inner tube and the cup of tea that was very welcomed! Thanks to Tim for providing my 'pint' at the end of the ride and special thanks to Mark for once again leading us round the metropolistic paradise that is London.

A big 'screw you' to mother nature for making it bloody freezing when we want to go out on a ride though!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:19 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:03 am
Posts: 173
Gutted I missed out, riding in the snow can be a good laugh. Glad you all had fun. Very keen to know when the next ride will be, will keep an eye out for future posts.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:02 am 
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This was right in my neck of the urban woods (BR1); got any plans for anymore of these this year?


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 Post subject: Yes to further rides
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:13 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:32 pm
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Location: London, UK
Yes there will be further rides. This route seems to be a perennial favourite, so I will keep running it until there are no further takers.

The next ride should be around March.

I am also keen to do some exploratory riding around; Keston, Shirley, Mitcham and Richmond to assess their potential for future rides. PM me if you want to come along :shock:


Last edited by PurleySquire on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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