The second part of this story is just as important as the first, but for many different reasons. When you finish the London to Brighton bike ride you have to somehow get home. You can pay for a truck and bus service to transport you and your bike back to London, which is the only real option as the train companies won’t allow you to take your bike on the train. Alternatively you cycle back again and I’m not ready for this yet. The bus it is. The last morning bus leaves at 8am and this was not going to be a problem we decided upon the option of the afternoon service as this allows you to enjoy what Brighton has to offer, a beach and bars on a very hot summers day. Tired from the ride this was a good call.
From part 1 you will know of the slightly annoying PA announcer who was only doing his job, but I know, but he managed to remind us of the 3pm bus service will be leaving at 3pm from the finish. It was near the finish, about 500 yards away and when we arrived at 2.45pm we joined the queue to get home, hoping it would be a quick journey as I just wanted to sleep. The bikes were loaded onto a lorry and we boarded the bus.
Whilst this is not the exact bus, as I didn’t take a picture of it and for other reasons, it is good enough to set the scene. Remember Sunday afternoon was the hottest day of the year and back in the 1980’s when I assume the bus we used was built “air con” was just something you would find mentioned by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses as a new Business venture he was getting involved with, or just a con which he had fallen for! As you can imagine the environment on the bus was about as warm as a volcano when it was erupting and the humidity was around 400%. Moist was an understatement. If I had shower gel I could have taken a shower right there on the seat. Anyway i was tired and the journey wouldn’t be too long so get some sleep and just get on with it. Oh the windows opened about as far as the Royal Mail will allow for a standard small letter today!
We finally leave about 3.20 and the temperature drops to about 40C and I think I fall asleep. I wake up on the motorway in a long line of traffic somewhere Gatwick. Phone battery is running low and the same is occurring on @GrabsNowBlog mobile too. The driver did understand to a degree and eventually he did stop at a BP garage where we got some water and a large Twix, We had every window we could open except for the ones which had been screwed shut. The bus was obviously used on the school run during the week, so I can only assume they were screwed shut to stop the young people throwing things out from the upper deck. We were up stairs too, and I think it was marginally cooler here, but the margins were about the same as a bunch sprint in the tour when Cavendish won his last stage a few days ago – zero! At one point I turn to a fellow rider/passenger and say we need a hashtag for this experience. It now exists and is #stuckonaveryhotbus. If nothing else it should be used to unite those people who were together on “that bus” on “that afternoon” as we all shared “that horrible experience”.
We arrive back at Clapham Common and then pile off the bus, much to the annoyance of the local road users (in cars) who after waiting about 1.1 micro seconds started on the horns to move the bus. The road was blocked with a bus one side and a lorry the other. At this point, however I couldn’t see their point. The bus did move when everyone got off. It was only a few minutes. The lorries also moved, and the annoying thing about this was they contained our bikes so it was another half an hour waiting for them to return, before we could cycle north across London to get the train home. At this point I think I had lost more weight on the journey back to London than on the ride itself. If only the journey had taken 4h 38 minutes. It certainly felt longer although in reality it was about 3 hours.
Eventually the bikes were back in our possession and we started the ride back on the cycle lanes of London to the station north of the river. Luck would have it the train was there and we only had about a 5 minute wait. At last the final leg of the journey was here, well apart from the 3 miles cycle from the station to the house but that was the easy bit.
I hope you have enjoyed both parts of the 4 hours 38 minute story which is just my reflection of the experience. I have no doubt edited bits as my memory struggles to remember them and have not been as close to the mark as I could have been. Although saying that the ride was excellent, the travel back was very mush a chore.
The 14th July is just under two weeks away (at the time of writing) and its the time I will attempt to cycle from London to Brighton (#l2b) in sub four hours raising money for The British Heart Foundation. There is still time to get in a few more training rides this week, a big one at the weekend and then taper it off next week before the big day (or night). There is still time to show your support by visiting my fundraising page and push me over my target. I know you’ve been busy, but go on do it now! Every little helps.
As well as the training for the event I have had to look again at my equipment, train with it on so we know how it feels and how it and I perform with it all in place. Earlier posts refer to the bike, shoes, mits, pedals and jacket which will be the main part of my equipment for this challenge. Within the last two weeks my ride pack has arrived containing my number, map and other useful information. I also need to have alternative footwear for the time in Brighton before the travel service back to London, and therefore a small back pack to wear on the ride. Lessons from last year are this needs to be small as last year my rucksack was too big and didn’t help. I had thought of not having a bag and just use the pockets on jackets and saddle bag, but no space for footwear.
A solution has been found. I have managed to pick up this bright, reflective and very light backpack which is big enough to contain my jacket, flip flops (very stylish I know), wallet, keys and the mobile. This will leave the pockets in the jersey for the gels and food. The bag is also waterproof, especially as it has now been sprayed with some very good waterproofing spray from Millets before they disappeared from our high streets.
I have ordered my nutrition for the event from Wiggle who had a good deal to get the water bottle free. £3.19 for 5 energy bars is i thought a good deal so ordered two. This means ill have two bottles as well so ideal for the ride.
Also on order are some arm warmers as I will be wearing a short sleeved shirt and these will be easy to roll down when the weather gets warmer as we reach Brighton. I have checked the long range forecast and the Sunday afternoon could have sunny weather and 25 degrees C! If that is the case there will be a need for me to use the other lenses which will arrive with my new cycling glasses. The clear lenses will be ideal for the dark, or I could use the lo light ones, before changing them again for the sunny weather we could get come Sunday afternoon. Again these were available on Wiggle with an offer. The fact these have been recommended by Cycling Plus and you get the interchangeable lenses included, what a bargain (£32).
It would get cold without the jersey. It was a present from my last workplace and I now have an opportunity to wear it other than on a normal ride. It is tight, but then again cycling clothing is supposed to be, but this is the most snug I have ever felt in a cycle jersey. It isn’t too small (at L) and i have some idea of what the pro riders feel like when their wear their skin suits on time trials. I say some idea as this jersey is certainly not a second skin, but very close to it.
I think I am ready. Well I know i am ready. Just a few emails to chase by return coach and truck ticket, but I am sure this is in hand, and with a few more rides then it show time. Watch out people no. 2091 will be on his way in an attempt to complete 60 miles in sub four hours, in the process raising more then £250 for The British Heart Foundation. Please if you have read this and not get sponsored me please visit my fundraising page and help me make a different to people we don’t even know. Heart failure can affect anyone of us at any time, and I sure want a cure, so in the future, I am diagnosed with heart failure I might have a chance of living a different life to those present sufferers from the disease.
Thank you for supporting this great charity and fantastic cause. Also thank you to all the people who have wished me luck with my own personal challenge.