Today's Ride (long)

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Danny Colyer, Jun 15, 2003.

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  1. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Today was the day of Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride, which I've ridden the last 2 years and have been
    looking forward to this year. This year was special because it's the first time I've done it with
    my family.

    We chose to do the shortest of the 4 rides available, the 9 mile "Family Fiesta". I knew it was
    about 10 miles to the start and 10 miles home again at the end, which would make it the longest ride
    Catherine had ever done, and quite far enough for me to tow Jenny's trailer. (At the end of the ride
    the computers showed that we'd ridden a total of about
    26.5 miles).

    A month ago we were a little worried that Catherine might not have done enough training (having
    ridden very little last year while looking after a young baby, or the year before while pregnant).
    But we rode 20 miles last weekend and 16 miles the weekend before with no problems, so weren't too
    worried about the prospect of nearly 30 miles today. We also took Lucy (10), Michelle (13) and Jess
    (14) from next door but one. A month ago none of us would have believed they could do the distance,
    but they had no problems at all. They've been out with us a few times before, so I'd already made
    their bikes roadworthy and didn't have to worry about mechanical failures or rubbing brakes. The
    only extra thing to do for this ride was to fit bottle cages that I had offered to lend them from
    some of my spare machines.

    We had decided that we had to leave home by 09:30 to make the 11:00 start. We (rather impressively I
    thought) managed to get away at 09:35. While loading up the trailer I saw my next door neighbour
    head off on his PDQ and wondered if he was heading for the same event - I bumped into him later at
    the finish.

    After a pleasant ride along the cyclepath, we got slightly lost in the centre of Bristol and reached
    the start at 10:55. After stopping for a wee, we left slightly late, but that was hardly a problem.
    As ever, the first mile or so of the ride was like the start of the London Marathon, far too
    congested to ride at any speed. My computer registered 1.9, the first time I've seen it record
    anything below 2mph. But once we got onto the section of road closed to motor traffic, I was able to
    get to a nice leisurely 16mph to ride up the Portway.

    The Family Fiesta is a very simple route - up the Portway, then turn round and ride back down again.
    I only met one other recumbent rider, a chap riding a Dolphin. Which reminds me, he offered me a
    ride and I had planned to take him up on it later, but I never did. B*gg*r.

    When I met Catherine at the top she told me that she'd seen a unicyclist. I hadn't, but on the way
    back down I saw a girl riding up the hill on a 20" wheel. No-one I recognised, although I did
    recognise her Dad as someone I used to play unicycle hockey with many years ago.

    The end of the ride seemed badly planned. First, there were 3 possible ways to go at the bottom of
    the Portway and it was down to luck whether you saw a marshal to point the way (we lost Michelle
    and Jess at this point - they ended up back at the start). The correct way led cyclists past a
    sign saying "Cyclists must walk". At the end of the walking section was a footbridge across the
    river. A very narrow footbridge which had to be stepped up onto, stepped off at the end and had 4
    bollards along the middle. The only way to negotiate it was to detach the trailer, take the bikes
    and baby across, then go back and carry the trailer. And there were a lot of trailers on that
    ride. I also saw a chap in a wheelchair with a hand-cranked front wheel attachment being carried
    across. A great end to a ride whose official charity was Motivation, a charity which assists
    disabled people with mobility.

    Anyway, from there it was just a few hundred yards to the Brunel Way Picnic Park, where all the
    stalls had been set up and where we were due to meet a couple of friends who had been doing the 18
    mile Failand Heights ride. Catherine, Lucy and I arrived about 12:15. We found a patch of shade and
    I stayed with the bikes and the munchkin while Catherine and Lucy went in search of Jess and
    Michelle (with a complete lack of success, because, as mentioned earlier, they'd managed to find
    their way back to the start of the ride). Eventually I managed to raise Jess on her mobile and tell
    her where we were - they joined us about an hour later, shortly before Richard and Jamie finished
    the Failand Heights ride.

    (Note to anyone not used to taking kids out - despite my own child being too young to ask for a
    balloon, I still managed to end up riding home with 7 helium balloons tied to the trailer).

    After 3 hours picnicking and visiting the stalls, we headed home. This was the bit we were most
    worried about, as the old railway bed is gently uphill most of the way and this was the time when
    people were likely to be tired. But, with short breaks every couple of miles and a longer break at
    Mangotsfield Station, there were no problems at all. Jenny had a good kip, Catherine is tired and
    most definitely does *not* want to go cycling next weekend, but enjoyed herself, and the girls are
    all impatiently awaiting next year's ride.

    I set the video for today's local news broadcasts, the latest one mentioned that this had been the
    biggest ever BBBR with 6000 riders showing up.

    Thanks to the organisers for another great ride, we'll see you again next year.

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
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  2. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Today was the day of Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride, which I've ridden the last 2 years and have been
    > looking forward to this year. This year was special because it's the first time I've done it with
    > my family.
    >

    Thanks for the story Dan.
    --
    Simon Mason Anlaby East Yorkshire. 53°44'N 0°26'W http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
     
  3. Andy P

    Andy P Guest

    "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote

    > The end of the ride seemed badly planned. First, there were 3 possible ways to go at the bottom of
    > the Portway and it was down to luck whether you saw a marshal to point the way (we lost Michelle
    > and Jess at this point - they ended up back at the start). The correct way led cyclists past a
    > sign saying "Cyclists must walk". At the end of the walking section was a footbridge across the
    > river. A very narrow footbridge which had to be stepped up onto, stepped off at the end and had 4
    > bollards along the middle. The only way to negotiate it was to detach the trailer, take the bikes
    > and baby across, then go back and carry the trailer. And there were a lot of trailers on that
    > ride. I also saw a chap in a wheelchair with a hand-cranked front wheel attachment being carried
    > across. A great end to a ride whose official charity was Motivation, a charity which assists
    > disabled people with mobility.

    Assuming you're talking about the walkway over the lock gates at the end of the Portway, why on
    earth would they direct several thousand cyclists to go across that when there's a perfectly good
    road bridge a couple of hundred metres down the road which you would have passed on the way up from
    the city centre?
     
  4. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    On Mon, 16 Jun 2003 13:56:05 +0100, "Simon Mason" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >"Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >> Today was the day of Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride, which I've ridden the last 2 years and have
    >> been looking forward to this year. This year was special because it's the first time I've done it
    >> with my family.
    >>
    >
    >Thanks for the story Dan.

    <AOL> Me too. An excellent and enjoyable report. Thanks Danny. </AOL>

    --
    Dave...
     
  5. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Andy P wrote:
    > Assuming you're talking about the walkway over the lock gates at the end of the Portway,

    That would be it.

    > why on earth would they direct several thousand cyclists to go across that when there's a
    > perfectly good road bridge a couple of hundred metres down the road which you would have passed on
    > the way up from the city centre?

    I have no idea. I was all for turning round and going back, but Catherine didn't want to and the
    very helpful chap on security was almost falling over himself to help me carry the trailer across.

    I think the Family Fiesta was the only ride to cross the river at that point, so to be fair, it
    would only have been several hundred rather than several thousand ;-)

    Oh, and thanks to Simon and Dave for letting me know that typing all that was worthwhile.

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
  6. "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote: ( After 3 hours picnicking and visiting the stalls,
    we headed home. This ) was the bit we were most worried about, as the old railway bed is gently (
    uphill most of the way and this was the time when people were likely to ) be tired.

    I took someone on her first tour of any great length ("What! But that's more than a hundred and
    fifty miles!", "Yes, but we'll have five days...") last year, and started out up that track bed.
    Being a railway it is flat enough to look flat, but being (just) up hill it was steep enough that
    she was quite dispirited by dragging loaded panniers up it. If I ever have to take someone out on
    their first tour again, it will start out flat, or perhaps ever so slightly downhill.

    (I got to teach her to read British railway incline signage on that trip.)
     
  7. Geraint Jones <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >(I got to teach her to read British railway incline signage on that trip.)

    Ooh, you old romantic, you.
    --
    Selah
     
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