RideLondon-Surrey, 100 miles, Sunday 29 July 2018

Finished! (click on any photo to enlarge)

Sunday 29 July: Many thanks for your support, encouragement and sponsorship for the 2018 Ride London-Surrey. Having initially planned for a hot day, plans were hastily changed to deal with the wet – this year’s ride started with light rain and continued with it for about 60 of my 100 miles.

Having had weeks of dry weather, roads were potentially very slippery and I soon abandoned any hopes of improving on last year’s time, concentrating more on finishing safely. So 6:44 overall time, lots of challenges, plenty of fun as well as some gritting of teeth and just grinding up some of the hills, as well as causing traffic chaos in London with lots of closed roads. Once again, a real privilege to have been able to take part.

Actual crowds were smaller in number because of the rain but were much appreciated because they braved it! Your encouragement certainly helped, as did the knowledge that my sponsorship target had now been exceeded – about £760 raised so far. A big thank you to all of you, especially the anonymous donor because I can’t thank you personally.

As last year, this was simply amazing – the sheer amount of organisation and team work with both paid staff and volunteers is huge and really seems to work well. Of course, the actual cycling is pretty easy compared to that!

Cycling towards the start at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford (at 5 something am), I began to see the directions for the different colour starting groups – mine was green and there were possibly 6, maybe more, different colours. Within each colour we all had Wave letters – mine was F, so I headed off to the holding area for that Wave. There I, and several hundred others, waited until we were called to start to move towards the actual start. We gradually moved forwards to find that there were two parallel starting grids so that one Wave was getting fully into position while another Wave was actually starting to ride. It had taken us nearly an hour to reach the start line from when we started moving – but bang on 7:12am (the exact time my instructions said we would start), my Wave was started and we rode onto the A12 towards the Blackwall Tunnel.

Turning left just before the tunnel, we headed East then to the area around City Airport and then West, through the Limehouse Link tunnel, along the Highway, past the Tower and onto the Embankment, around Trafalgar Square, onto Pall Mall, then past the Ritz, Harrods, over the Hammersmith fly-over and crossed the river at Chiswick. All these roads fully closed to traffic, so I frequently delighted in riding on the right-hand side of the road.
Then off to Richmond Park, Kingston, Molesey, Weybridge.



On the “wrong” side of the road


After about 40 miles, we started to climb the hills – Newlands Corner (warm up), Leith Hill (a bit of a prelude then around a bend and it’s steep and hard, but fortunately not that long). Careful descent in the wet, then a few miles grace until Box Hill (zig-zags for over a mile but never quite as steep as Leith Hill).


Box Hill (in the rain) – yes it was a bit grim!

No more big hills to come so keep the power on while remembering the sharp little bump at Wimbledon, which does hurt a bit at 90 miles. Then through Putney and onto the Embankment winding up towards Whitehall, through Admiralty Arch for the final 500 metres or so in the Mall with Buckingham Palace possibly visible (I only had eyes for the
finish line) – no opportunity for a real sprint finish as there was too big a group in front of me to spend the effort.

Now, you can also see a series of video clips in which I appear. It can be quite challenging to spot me, but, as you’ll have seen from the photos, here are some clues: white helmet, pink socks, orange and dark grey Arthritis Research jersey, mostly white bike, red handlebars and gloves, number F11788 with green background, mostly upright riding position:

My RideLondon 2018 Video

Did you note the weather and also the effort needed on Wimbledon Hill – that was easy-ish compared to the other hills!
More clues, if you can see the timings on the video
0:16 on the left, 0:34, 0:44 behind rider in light blue, part hidden by rider in black, 1:05 same, 1:19 on left, 1:45-48, 1:53-58, 2:09-16, 2:48,
3:03, 3:16, 3:29, 3:42, 3:55, 4:03, 4:24, 4:40 (gets a bit boring towards the end)

The pink socks are tribute to Chris Froome who won the 2018 Giro d’Italia with an amazing solo break for 50 miles. The Giro winner wears a pink jersey (unlike the yellow Tour de France). I’m not going to wear a pink jersey but socks are different – and they also get noticed, never a bad thing with some car drivers!










Too many in front to try to sprint for the finish!



RideLondon-Surrey, 100 miles, 30 July 2017

Simply amazing. Can’t fault the organisation and pleased with my own ride  aimed for 6 hours riding time but didn’t quite make it (6:18). A tremendous privilege to ride through closed roads in our capital city and Surrey with thousands of other riders.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Managed the hills, overwhelmed by the crowds who gathered along most of the road, especially in town centres and, of course, the finish. Over £1,400 raised for charity, split between Parkinsons and Wymondham Dementia
Support Group – thank you if you were among those who gave so generously.

In Richmond Park

This video does give an impression of some of the day. You’ll need to look carefully at what I’m wearing to spot me!

My RideLondon Video

To help you see me, the timings when I am visible are as follows:

0:12, 0:25, 0:35, 0:48, 1:00, 1:17, 1:36, 1:49, 2:04, 2:17, 2:34, 2:50, 2:57

During the song at the finish, I should be in the picture when you hear “Scooby-doo, I see you


While this wasn’t my first event since returning to cycling, it’s the event that sparked off this website and the idea of encouraging people to encourage me!

Finishing Sprint
Climbing Box Hill








This is a detailed record, all for my benefit – only read if you’re bored!

Stayed at Mark and Jen’s in Kennington – perfect location.

Set off soon after 5am from Mark’s, arrived about 6. Scores of other riders so just followed them. Also scores of punctures – must have been at least 20 before even got to the start. Also lots en route…puzzled – roads didn’t seem that much of a problem.

Sat around in Pink zone, had second breakfast, read, then toilet stop, then kit bag store – this was easy. Was a stall selling coffee but a long queue. Stacks of toilets, not really a need to queue – just waited till all looked quiet.

Put leg warmers in kitbag and also jacket (don’t do this next time). Could have carried a real book to preserve battery – though wasn’t an issue. Kept arm warmers on till a stop somewhere.

Joined the wave at wave opening time (7am). OK, waiting around till wave closing time (7.40) soon after which we started to move forwards to the start. Probably several hundred in the wave, seemed mixed abilities.

Actually two starts so two waves were alternating all the time.

Start at exactly 8.20, by now weather very pleasant (having started with rain overnight and light showers early).

No problems of bunching once on the road – plenty wide, used A12 for a bit then through dockland area near airport, on towards Limehouse Link tunnel, through it, along the Highway, around the Tower onto Gt Tower St then Embankment, Northumberland Ave. Can’t remember if we only had one half of these roads, but width was never an issue.

Up to Trafalgar Sq, Pall Mall, St James St, Piccadilly, Knightsbridge. At some point here we had lots of road. On to Hammersmith, up the flyover, onto Chiswick and over the river. Through to Richmond Park. While it was great going along Brompton Rd, Cromwell Rd and other roads where we had the whole road, going across Richmond Park was a bit more of a trial as slower riders didn’t stay on the left and often bunched. Nearly taken out by someone suddenly stopping in front of me.

Once past the Park, going was good, plenty of space, I used the right side of the road frequently. Still not used to going through red lights so mentally if not physically covering the brakes!

All turns were warned 100m ahead (though not the direction of the turn). No possibility of going astray as side roads cordoned off/marshalled.

Feed stations – avoided completely except for one stop for water – queues too long for food. Used a local park hidden in the woods. May have made a mistake in fuelling with a gel and not drinking enough water with it before the hills – felt a tiny bit  sick.


Newlands Corner – deceptive, thought I might have even gone up it but that was just a prelude. Sharp, hard but not that long – but narrow. Problem was other cyclists who wobbled more than I or walked – or were storming up. I just took it steadily and managed – just.

Leith Hill – Hard and longer, same problem, but made it. Took the descent cautiously as damp in places; stayed behind a young lady and let the faster ones go.

Box Hill – not as steep but a lot longer, seemed to go on for ever with twists and turns. By now the walkers seemed to have taken the diversions so a little easier to manage. Took the descent faster – nearly hit 40mph

Paused to eat an energy bar as wasn’t feeling that great – bit shaky, but after rest, drink and bar carried on no problem.

Fine, bowling along until Wimbledon Hill whose steepness was an unpleasant surprise, though the hill wasn’t unexpected! Stopped and stretched as was a bit worried re cramp

Now flattish, really helped by the crowds (and passing slower riders). (didn’t take any notice of faster ones – weren’t many by then). Tried to find wheels to sit on but no success. Over Putney bridge, cranking up as much as I could, onto Kings Rd then onto the Embankment. Mostly had the right side of the road to myself so 20mph+ all the way (wanted to get over 30!), up to Houses of Parliament, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty arch and onto the Mall as hard as I could. Chris Boardman’s comment – if you think you can sustain the pace, you’re not going fast enough – ringing in my head so kept the pressure on. Head down, occasional look up to ensure path clear.

Several accidents/people lying in the road (all attended) no idea what was wrong. Added a note of caution on the descents though. Heard someone died from a heart attack early on on the 46 mile route, apparently a pre-existing condition.