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Looking beyond the handle bars

Looking forward to these Summer events.

Wayhey! evenings are drawing out, newly unfurling leaves are giving beech woods that amazing luminescent green glow of Spring and it’s even possible, admittedly on the odd bright day, to get out on the bike wearing less than 25 layers - yup Summer is just over the horizon.

So I’ve been thinking about organising some extra special events, actually, badgered into organising them by loads of you who enjoyed the rides I organised last year! 

Last year’s Southern Grit Gravel ride received some rave, almost OTT reviews, so it was a no-brainer to run it again. I’ve conjured up a completely different route, it’s still about 100km long, starting and finishing at the Velodrome in Herne Hill. I’ve recc’ed a good part of the route and have a good feeling about it, a lovely blend of gravel paths, some single track, the odd climb and some pretty cool descents, you'll love it! 

There will be pizza and beer back at the velodrome when you finish and all profits from the ride will be donated to the Velodrome’s Trail’s plan.

Then, I had this ridiculous notion for a mega challenge. Last year we rode the London Orbital Gravel route in 3 days on a bike packing adventure, could it be ridden in 24 hours? When I discussed the idea with Sarah, she just rolled her eyes in exasperation, suggesting that possibly, on balance, not that many people would be that foolhardy.  Not her exact words for sure, but I think you get the gist.

So, the challenge is modified, how far can you ride in a set time, 6, 12, 18 or 24 hours? with winners for every time category, all tracked on Strava, that’ll work!

So here’s the plan, for the London Orbital Gravel Challenge, everyone starts outside the Old Royal Hospital in Greenwich, decide how long you want to ride for and stop when you’ve had enough,  catch a train home. Make sure your ride is recorded on Strava and there will prizes and much kudo’s for those that have ridden furthest in 6, 12, 18 or 24 hours.

I’m not missing this one, going to be doing the full monty, any one want to join me?

Finally, and the When Wren Ride,  a sensible ride with a tongue twisting title, for grown ups with an appreciation of Architecture. It's 300 years since that polymath Sir Christopher Wren died, so here’s a ride visiting his most important masterpieces in London. 

Starting at one of the least well known, Hampton Court Palace the ride meanders down stream to Greenwich on a series of decent gravel paths, cycle routes and quiet roads. The route passes Chelsea Hospital, before running up through the Mall and on to St Paul’s Cathedral. Couldn’t possibly miss the Monument enroute to the Old Royal Naval Hospital in time for a refreshing full blown cream tea to replace those calories you’ve just burnt up! 

I’ll prepare a brief history for each of the buildings en route and details of some of those lesser known places Wren built, made or influenced. 

So there’s the Summer program, an eclectic selection to suit cyclists of all abilities. Which are you going to ride? 

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