Last night, finally, the first Friday Night Ride to the Coast was taking place. For me, it all had started rather awkwardly.
On Wednesday, I realised that I really do need a new handlebar for the Grasshopper. Thanks to frequent tumbles when I was learning how to ride a recumbent the handlebar got a little bit twisted. I probably could use it for another 10 years, but I don’t take any chances with regard to such vital parts. Alright, I’d always fantasised about doing a night ride on the Brompton. Well, here you go.
The second issue was due to a guy I got to know on the German Brompton forum. He got in touch with me and told me that he was going to be in London in March. I touted the FNRttC and the joys of night riding and, rather unsurprisingly, he got interested. We were supposed to meet prior to the ride at 10 pm at pub close to Hyde Park Corner. Well. I was there. He wasn’t. At 9.45 pm he sent me a text that he was running late. When the pub was closing at 11pm I still was on my own. I can thoroughly assure you: There are things more funny than sitting in a London pup on a Friday night, fully dressed in Lycra and sipping on your sparkling water. (Of course, stuff happens but the guy only halfheartedly murmured an unconvincing apology.)
[Question to my English friends: What would you have been done in that situation? At 10.55pm I texted him: "The pub is going to close at 11pm. You guys are clowns. See you at HPC". Would you consider this rude?]
But anyway. When I got to Hyde Park Corner and had chatted with some so the usual suspects this was quickly forgotten.
Apart from the shaky start the ride was utterly brilliant. I was absolutely delighted and amazed that Andy, a recumbent rider who introduced me to the FNRttC, was on the ride. He’d got clipped by a van recently and suffered quite severe leg injuries. He has been (and will be) the only one in the history of mankind who did a FNRttC with having a crutch mounted to his bike. Absolutely outstanding!)
The night was beautiful. Cloudless skies, crystal clear air. Maybe a little bit chilly (the water in the drinking bottles froze, and some roads had an icy surface) but I was appropriately dressed (I can warmly recommend Thinsulate gloves (mine are “Insulation, 40 Gram” for those kind of rides. I also have some kind of insulated Gore Text cover for the shoes which, unfortunately, I cannot trace back on the internet) The dawn in Essex was most beautiful. The break in a town hall in Stock, Essex, was amazing: People getting up at 3am selling sandwiches for 50p to strangers donating the money for charity. Guys, your prices were too low!)
The Brompton was performing amazingly very well. As always, I was dreaming about riding back for three quarters of the ride (and, as always, took the train back to London….) After 63 miles (including getting to HPC and getting home from Fenchurch Station) my backside was a little bit sore (this doesn’t happen on the ‘bent) but it was endurable. At least five people on the ride asked me how I was doing on the Brompton (expressing subliminal disbelief the same time) . In a way it was even more fun than the ‘bent: It’s much easier to talk to all those bloody upright riders
I’m really looking forward to the next ride in April. It will be Manchester to Blackpool. Since I’ll have to get there (and home) by train, I’ll do that one on the Brompton as well.
Update: Here’s another blog on the ride.