Monday, June 23, 2014

Exploring behind King's Cross

Twenty years ago, that'd be something both dodgy, and frankly not for public consumption.
But post regeneration it's a pleasure.  Good coffee to hand, good food (by the look if it).

If these projects keeps up, is there going to be a seamier side of London left?

This was the old Great North Railway goods yard a long time ago.  Now they are setting up for Strawberries and Screen - the Wimbledon large screen experience. Blimey!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Monday, June 09, 2014

#BBBR14 and finally, the statistics:

Monday - Brussels to Mons
Distance: 55.13 miles
Elevation: 1,940 feet
Calories burned: 3,712
Tuesday - Mons to Arras
Distance: 74.07 miles
Elevation: 1,317 feet
Calories burned: 4,323
Wednesday - Arras to Amiens
Distance: 49.50 miles
Elevation: 1,443 feet
Calories burned: 2,892
Thursday Amiens to Compiegne
Distance: 62.83 miles
Elevation: 2,147 feet
Calories burned: 3,920
Friday - Compiegne to Paris
Distance: 55.41miles
Elevation: 1,517 feet
Calories burned: 3,633
Sunday - Ride into Blackheath
Distance: 11.19 miles
Elevation: 303 feet
Calories burned: 716
Sunday - Hero Ride to Horseguards
Distance: 9.58 miles
Elevation: 116  feet
Calories burned: 612
Grand Totals
Distance: 317.71 miles
Elevation: 8,783 feet
Calories burned: 19,808

#BBBR14 Finished!!!

Ready to go home and struggle with London Underground and First Capital Connect (and yes, it was a struggle!)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

After the ride... #BBBR14

After a security delay we're flashing through northern France at 180mph.

After a long week (and perhaps the odd late night!), people all around me are snoozing!

Day 6 - Hurry up and wait #BBBR14

Entirely predictably today is a lot of nothing. Get up late, breakfast, watch the England NZ game, wait for the coach (current situation!), wait for passport control, wait for train, wait for coach, wait at hotel, wait for coach to dinner, wait for dinner, wait for coach back. Bed.

Tomorrow will be much better, up early, breakfast, ride, wait, lunch, Hero Ride. Go home!

#BBBR14 the bit that hurt...

Some distance into the final day and we're storming along.  Despite the strong sun, some heavy dappled shade hides the road surface.

At about 18mph I hit the pavé (cobbles). Some were missing, the gaps were huge and the opportunity to back off or brake is 0.

All you can really do is tough it out, or at least back off reducing contact points from 5 to 4 and let the bike oscillate under you. 

An interesting experience (about 150 yards of it), and not one I'd have wittingly done (!), but worth having done once.

As i write (Saturday morning) we are holding for coaches to the train for London, and have just seen England lose at the death in the first test match in NZ.

Muscles all sore, skin all burned.  I may have overdone the forcing up the hill in front of others bit, and underdone the protect your skin bit!!

Celebratory dinner tonight. Hero Ride in the morning, and then home, away from the H4H family and bubble after the best of the three BBBR rides I have done.

Thanks to everyone who donated to support such a great cause!

Day 5 - an assortment #BBBR14

Rolling guide stop for water. One of the early actions "The affair at Nemy" sounds a bit Poirot!

A rather fine final lunch stop.

The final scenes in Paris, and a fire at the brasserie!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Day 5 - spot the... #BBBR14

Day when it was finally very sunny, and someone forgot his sun lotion...

And so it begins. #BBBR14

The ride into Paris, ending with an escorted peloton through the Champs Elysee. A rare privilege.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Day 4 - the rest... #BBBR14

We moved on to lunch and water stops over what seemed (to my quads!) ceaseless challenging rises (along with concomitant descents).

The sun was getting stronger and stronger and by mid-afternoon it was sleeves off and full tanning opportunity!

Before the water stop in the afternoon a road side medical incident (not really an emergency) took its toll of the schedule and at the water stop my bike was appropriated for the organisers to chase down a rider who went the wrong way (that's a first!)

Thereafter the hills pretty much ended and a rolling road to Compiègne ended at the hotel for dinner, a briefing on tomorrows plans (pretty exciting ones) and a beer or so.

Legs weary, brain tired, and a few square inches of skin tanned, it was time for bed...

Day 4 - Sun!!! Eventually. #BBBR14

A decent start, perhaps a tad too frsh (fussy!) and we head off out of Amiens by an inverted V route to Villiers-Bretenneux, a town with deserved links to Australia.

The service focussed on Mates4Mates the Oz equivalent of H4H who are just starting and Mark spoke movingly of his Rwandan tour of duty and the effects on him and his family. Along with the help he has received.

Crosses laid at Thiepval #BBBR14

Suddenly it's Thursday morning #BBBR14

Our next wake up call is going to be for the last day of the ride. Strewth.
Legs are a bit sore today, but some quad stretches should help.
Oh, damn, shoes are still wet from yesterday's rain... Today's sun should sort that (it is still forecast)


And finally... #BBBR14

One of the reasons to do a ride like this, and raise monies for Help For Heroes.

The privilege of a guided tour of Thiepval wood #BBBR14

The spoon was found in the excavations and with initials and serial number was tied to a lad who was shot through the leg, just below the right knee.

It seems the spoon was tucked into his puttees and fell out when first attended.  Now the challenge is to trace family!

Although a decent size... #BBBR14

They pale into insignificance against the background of over 72,000 names.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

#BBBR14 The peddling padre

Fr Roger Dawson in action at the memorial to missing in Arras.

#BBBR14 Day 2 and the final guided stops

#BBBR14 and finally.

The longest day, just over 73 miles, (should have been on the 6th really :-) )
And the hotel view. Dinner, a beer, and bed for a late start at 7am!

#BBBR14 day 2

A typical water stop, this morning's. Loads of trackers, medleys, nuts, jelly babies, tea, coffee (and water!) to keep a few hundred cyclists rolling. For me it's also breakfast as are early starts come before i can really face any food :-)

A poignant reminder of what we are commemorating on #BBBR14

Collin spotted this and dived over the road, we two less observant companions agreed it was worth the effort.

This was after a few of us had stormed a really long (i will check the Garmin, but it felt like 10k or more) straight upon which we made some fantastic time.  I was cycling at 18mph or so whilst singing most of The Wall. No effort ;-)

During this we happened across one of Frances large industrial canals. There was a car on the roof of the barge that you can (just) see in the picture.