Darren does the London to Cambridge

On the day when Brad Wiggins became the first ever British cyclist to win the Tour de France, several thousand non-elite cyclists descended on the Big Smoke for the Tour d'East Anglia. 60 miles from London to Cambridge - a breeze for seasoned cyclists, but for the newcomers it would prove an impressive feat of endurance.
My journey started at 4am when my alarm clock rang. Not being a morning person it took my best effort to drag myself out of bed to cycle the 7 miles to Midsummer Common where the coach to London was waiting to set off at 5.45am. When I arrived I was given bubble wrap to protect my bike. Then it was loaded on to a lorry and I took my place on the corresponding coach.
We arrived in London just before 8am and it was a short cycle ride to the leisure complex at Pickett’s Lock (Enfield) where the ride would begin. There were lots of stores set up selling cycling goods and food/drinks. After a quick photo opportunity, I set off slightly earlier than my planned start at 8.15am. I felt really lucky that it turned out to be such a warm sunny day, given the terrible weather which we’ve been having for the past month or so.
Seven miles into the ride at Waltham Abbey Woods, the strain had already begun to show for some riders who had conked out at the sight of the first hill. I negotiated my way around this motley crew and tried to pick up a decent pace.
About 14 miles into the ride, many riders took a break at The White Hart in Roydon, but I soldiered on to the second stop at 20 miles at the playing fields in Widford. There were lots of stores selling goods to refuel weary riders. I invested in a can of Coke and a buttered slice of malt loaf. Before leaving I took the opportunity to fill up my bottle using a handy tap in a soggy corner of the field.
By now the ride was thinning out a bit, so weaving around slower riders wasn’t such a challenge. There were a few hills along the way, but nothing too punishing. I passed a number of inline skaters joining in the fun, and some of them gave the cyclists a run for their money when it came to speeding up hills.
There were two more pub stops at The Brewery Tap in Furneux Pelham (28 miles) and The Bull in Langley (35 miles) which I passed by.  Shortly after this near Great Chesterford I heard a familiar voice behind me. Robin and Les magically appeared as my Willingham Wheels cheering squad. We rode together for a while and they certainly put me through my paces.
I’d run out of water when I reached Duxford (44 miles in) so I stopped at the last of the official stops at the primary school. I treated myself to a banana and a flapjack, and then cycled on towards the finish which now felt comfortably close.
When I reached Cambridge City Centre it was a real challenge to weave around all the cars and the sheer weight of other riders that were piling up. Not a great place to be using cleat pedals, Gonville Place and Parkside got a bit hairy and many cyclists took to the pavements, dodging pedestrians instead of cars!
I crossed the finishing line Midsummer common at around 12:25pm feeling like a winner. My family were waiting for me and I was given a cheesy medal by the organisers. I measured the ride to be around 59 miles in all, which I covered in 3 hours and 37 minutes at an average of 16.28 mph. I had stopped for around 55 minutes, my fastest speed was 34 mph (presumably down a big hill) and the Cyclemeter app I use suggested that I had burnt 3247 calories!
Here’s my ride as captured by the Cyclemeter app:
All in all I thought London to Cambridge bike ride 2012 was really well organised by Bike Events. I was never in doubt about where to turn and there were stewards dotted all over the route in case anyone got into bother. I’d certainly do it again next year.

1 comment

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by Admin on Wed, 07/25/2012 - 14:11
Well done Darren - much better effort than mine three years ago, and with those thick tyres too! Paul
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