Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Overshoes Scott AS Shoes Cover

Not another review, I hear you saying.  Yes, it is not a review. I am not an expert to scrutinize this product.  This is merely my own personal experience in using this overshoes.

Do you call it overshoes or shoes cover?  Whatever, let me call it an overshoes.
Scott overshoes and Specialized Rime shoes

This is my second, well actually  my third pair of overshoes since I started riding my Brompton bike. The very first pair I had, I bought from Aldi last winter.  It cost about £5 or £7.  It was good. It lasted the whole winter of 2014. This winter I bought another one, again from Aldi, because it was cheap, but I did not like it. Well I did not like the look of it.  It looked like an overshoes worn by Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon. It is not snugly fit.  Although I must admit it served its purpose. I still have it, but I doubt I will wear it again.   

Over the succeeding months, in my perpetual quest to look "cool", I finally decided to get a proper cycling shoes.  I bought a Specialized Rime Shoes, although, I have no intention of attaching a cleat yet. I am not confident yet.  I am not that cool yet.
Yeah, my cycling shoes without cleats. Not cool ?

I like this shoes and I like it to last, so I decided to get myself a better overshoes.

I was quite surprised that there are a lot of choices, but I ended up buying the Scott As Shoecover.  Below is the item description which I copied without permission directly from www.wheelies.co.uk webpage. They will probably castigate me for doing so. 

----------------------------

An easy to use shoe cover with an outside zipper. The inside zipper flap helps keep the weather out while keeping your feet warm and dry

Fabric:
  • Shell: 88% polyamide 12% elastane
  • Shell insert: 100% neopren
Features:
  • Shoecover in bi-elastic fabric
  • Re-inforcement fabric on lower part
  • Preshaped for better fit
  • Left & Right laser cut label for easy use
  • Outside zipper location for easy use
  • Inside zipper flap to keep the weather out
  • Reflective Scott print for increased visibility
  • Small, Light and packable to fit into every pocket

------------------------------------------
 
Nicely packed.

Buying online has disadvantages.  You can not touch it. You can not smell it. But nevertheless I bought it because I thought it looks nice, neat and minimalist. It comes in 4 sizes.  Small (35-38), Medium (39-42), Large (43-46) and XLarge (47-50). Reference.  Since my shoes size ranges from 39 to 42, I opted for the Medium, which was spot on.

I wore this overshoes when we did the the Heathrow Airport Loop few weeks ago where part of the route was along the Grand Canal.  This was, I considered the most challenging ride I have ever experienced.  It was wet, and wet and very wet.  It was windy and raining.  We were virtually riding on water and thick mud.  
I like the reflective Logo

A week after that I joined another London Brompton Club ride where we traced the lost river of Effra. Again it was wet, windy and a lot colder.  It was about 6C.  

On both rides, the Scott AS Shoe Cover made my feet remained dry and comfortable.

So there you are, I highly recommend this overshoes.  The bit of downside thought is, it is not easy to put on.  But once it is on, it stays on.  

SUMMARY

Pros:  Neat and minimalist look.
Cons:  Not easy to put on
Zoomzoom Rating:  5 out of 5 stars.  ( Zoom zoom only give one rating - that is 5 star )

But one thing I have not told you, the rides that I mentioned above, I was also wearing a waterproof socks.  I bought it from Wheelies.co.uk.  Why?  Because they offer free postage and free return. 


There you are.  Highly recommended.  You must agree that I am now "cool".



 
 

   

Monday, 2 November 2015

St Crispin's Day Night Ride 2015 on Brompton

With a big smile, James Houston let me hold his banana.  It was still firm but cold, very cold.

I never thought I will say "no" to a banana, but that exactly what happened on midnight of Saturday or in  the early morning of Sunday the 25th of October during the St Crispin's Day Night Ride.

Bushy Park.  This is next to heaven


I have heard of this night ride since I bought my Brompton bike 18 months ago but I never really given it a thought. But as I participated in many London Brompton Club (LBC) rides, the topic about St Crispin's  always come to the fore.  I became curious and I came to a conclusion that this kind of ride is only for riders who are mad if not totally mental.

Really, who in their right mind would get up in the  middle of the night to cycle 161km ( 100 miles ) along the streets of London and into the dark country roads of South West London? And in the cold month of October ? No way, Jose.

I listed the many "what if".

What if:

.. I get a puncture.
.. I get left behind.
.. I get off course and could not find the way.
.. it rains.
.. I get exhausted and could not finish.
.. it is too cold.
.. if I get separated from Brompton group.
.. if my front light is not bright enough for me to see the road.

Despite all the uncertainties, I signed up.

This is where we collected the wine and had a nice meal.


As the event day got closer, my excitement grew proportionately with my worries.  Can I really do this?  The longest ride I have done is 100 km (60 mile).  To add another 60 km to it seems impossible.  And doing it on a Brompton, a small wheel,  is next to suicidal.

The Facebook postings on the night of Saturday is going into crescendo.  From the most current whether forecast, last  minute putting on a mudguard, checking the front and rear lights, last minute dash to purchase an overshoes and postings to say they are on the way to the meeting point at Wellington Corner, the excitements are all building up.

The Brompton is taller than the Windsor Castle.


I have made a mental preparation during the day on what I was going to wear for the night ride.  I knew it could be a cold night as the forecast was 9C high and 6C low. I put on my best tights, my best soft shell jacket, my best waterproof shoes.  Well, I say my best, because I only have one of each really.  Every time I go for a ride I wear this same kit.  For me it is almost like a uniform.  The only kit that I change is the base layer.  And for this particular night I put on a base layer for deep winter.  And I was glad I did.

I contemplated on riding to Chiswick where the ride starts but when I realized it will take me 54 minutes to ride there or about 29 km I decided to bribe someone from our household to give me a lift in exchange for a bottle of wine. Yes the St Crispin's wine.

James H.  Appropriately attired.


I arrived with plenty of time to register and have a nice chit chat with other riders.  The first one I saw and said hello was John M.  Like me it is his first time doing  this ride and like me he is as worried as hell and yes, excited.  Tom S was also one of the first to arrive.  He brought his big wheeled though not his Brompton.  He has more sense. Soon the rest of the gang who met up at Wellington Arch arrived. It was also nice to see Tony D, who despite an injury wouldn't want to miss the fun and excitement at the starting line.  He joined us up to the Tower Bridge.  It was a fantastic atmosphere.  I can sense the feeling of excitement in everyone, the enthusiasm, the fun and agony that lies ahead. I have totally forgotten all my "what ifs".

The last thing I remembered at the start line was when David P prompted me to turn my lights and devices on as we were ready to pedal. And pedal we did.  It was a wonderful feeling as we all rushed away towards the City of London. The sights of blinking rear lights, the sounds of cleats engaging and disengaging, the friendly noise of conversation among the riders are but music to my ears.

Simon S.  He must have a DNA of Polar Bear if not a crocodile.  He doesn't feel the cold.


You will never know it is midnight in London, as the traffic is as heavy as anytime of the day.  The only hint that will prompt you that it is midnight is the sights of  beautiful women (and men) in their mini skirts, despite the single digit degree temperature,  queuing outside at the door of a pub/night club.  They don't seem to be in a hurry to get into the door though, and they chat with each other as if they are addressing the world. You can hear their voices as far away as Manchester.  I can not understand why they looked intoxicated even before they get in the door of the pub. They look happy and that's what matters.

The riders though were in a hurry to make a u-turn at the Tower Bridge.  I can only assume they want to reach the country road soon for a more relaxed and peaceful ride.  As always the traffic lights in London seem to turn red as I approach them.  I was trying to keep up with Bumble Bee and Geoff because I knew they know the way.   I had my Garmin on but it is still nice to know that we are heading in the same direction.  In one instance, I must have jumped an amber traffic light ( silly me ) which made me get away and ahead of the rest of the Bromptoneers.  I carried on pedaling because I know they will catch up soon anyway.

Photo courtesy:  Steve C.  At the start of the ride


I saw Steve went pass me like a rocket.  Apparently he was caught in the middle of the roadies so he thought he might as well keep up with the pace.  But when he saw me, he slowed down and he kept me company.   We continued cycling towards Richmond in a good pace anticipating that at any moment the LBC group will be right behind us.  I even had a visit to this nice luxurious open planned toilet overlooking the Thames River designed with no element of privacy.  Actually there are many of these in the country side but only open at midnight when no one is around.

We waited for the group but because it was getting cold, we pressed on.   We will just wait for them at the first coffee stop.  Steve and I had a great chat.  We talked about his recently concluded 12,000 km ride of the eastern side of USA which I found to be very interesting.   Yes it was on a Brompton.

Zoomzoom enjoying the view at the coffee stop.


We kept pedaling.  Although we were anxious to reach the first coffee stop, we could not help but appreciate the fun of riding at night along the country roads. I have done 2 or 3 night rides before and I failed in every attempt to explain the joy of riding at night.  Night ride for me is wonderful.  It is surreal. It is an intoxicating cocktail of fun, sense of peace, exhilaration and a feeling of freedom. Or in other words, it is madness. 

Steve dictated the pace, fast, very fast.  At one point I felt we were doing 100 kph.  I thought at this speed I will not last if not crash.   But thank goodness for my son dynamo front light.  It saved me from destruction.  'Though, Steve dictated the pace I controlled the speed.  It was because I have a better front light than him.  So whenever we are in the dark, unlit road, he has to wait for me.

We finished and we were signing off. 


With a promise of cake, cookies  and hot drinks, we were getting more and more anxious to reach the coffee stop.  But the coffee stop is nowhere in sight.  I was getting hungry and thirsty and yes exhausted. We stopped at the pedestrian bridge in Eton at the foot of the  magnificent Windsor Castle.  I had many happy memories of this Castle.  The first time I saw it was when they opened it to the public to raise fund to rebuild after the fire. But none of these came to play in my mind because I cared nothing except to eat something.  I was hungry, very hungry.  Just as well as Steve does not look like a hot dog, otherwise, I would have eaten him.  We really should have stopped earlier.  But we didn't because we thought we were near the coffee stop.

We found a nice bench.   With no hesitation I grabbed a banana from my mini O bag.  I swallowed it in less than 60 seconds. I was just getting comfortable sat on this bench when I felt a sudden chill.  We had two choices.  Freeze while resting or continue riding.

All Smiles at the finish line.  Photo owner Jenny H.


About 10 minutes into the ride, I was starting to panic.  I could not feel my fingers.  It felt like it is encased in ice.  I was freezing from inside out.  The 6C degree forecast seemed incorrect.  It must be  minus 2C degree.  But I dare not check my apps.  I could not feel my fingers let alone feel the button on my iPhone. Scary thought were playing in my mind.  I thought, I can not afford to lose a nail, let alone a finger.  I am a masseur and my fingers and my hands are my livelihood.  I was going to ask Steve to hold my hands to save it and give it warmth. He will probably obliged but I don't think he will understand, more so because we were in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

At last we reached the stop.  We reached Twyford.  Yes, we missed the first stop. I checked my Garmin.  We have ridden 106 km ( virtually ) non stop. I said hi, to David P as he was coming out from the hall to do the return segment of the ride.  Tom S and Graham P on their big bikes were also on their way out.  

Bacon roll at the end. The famous Jenny selfie.


The sight of other riders, resting, chatting, eating, preparing for the next segment and the hearty hot meal chicken ( that looks like ) casserole with tomatoes,mushrooms and olives, prepared by St Crispin's lovely people made me forget instantly the fatigue and the cold temperature outside. After the meal I collected my trophy.  It is the St Crispin's Day wine.  My most precious wine.

As I was recuperating I realized what made me feel so cold during the last 30 km.  It was the banana.  I remembered the banana was so cold, it felt like I swallowed a solid piece of ice.  I learned my lesson.  Never again will I eat a cold banana.

Our Bromptons ready for more ride as we were having a breakfast.


We waited for about 2 hours until the Brompton gang arrived.  I was looking at James H holding up a banana to create a space for his wine in his bag.  With a big smile he offered me his banana. I held it.  It was still firm but cold.  I said "no thank you".  I can't believe I said no to James' banana.

Together again we made our final 60 km ride back to Chiswick. It was a more leisurely pace.  It was day light when we left Twyford.  As always it was fun riding with Brompton people.  We were like two year olds.  Starting and stopping, taking photos of us and our Bromptons.  James banana was still on offer but this time I went for Geoff's jelly babies.  We stopped for a class picture at Bushy Park.

We finally reached the finish line at around midday.  We were probably one of the last bunch.  We posed for photo yet again, as an evidence for finishing the 100 mile ride. We enjoyed the complementary bacon rolls and hot tea.  We reluctantly said our goodbyes. 

Another of those famous Jenny selfie.


St Crispin's Day Night Ride was such a fantastic even.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. And doing it with the London Brompton Club  was even more fun and enjoyable.  It was my first 100 mile.  A ride I thought I could never do.

A big thank you to the people behind the St Crispin's Day Night Ride. It was a friendly event and well organized. They gave us a cap with a Brompton logo printed.  We felt special.

Thank you too to the beautiful people of LBC.  You are gems.  You are such fun people.

I am looking forward to the next year's St Crispin's.  But next time, I will not be bringing a banana. 



Our cap with Brompton Logo.  We are special.  Banana anyone?

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Brompton World Champtionship 2015 - You are in or out.

Simon Smith is the most important person for me at yesterday's Brompton World Championship 2015 (BWC).  I have been monitoring his movement all day from the time he boarded his train on the way to London from Hertfordshire.  He told me that his ETA (estimated arrival time ) at a station in London is 12.45pm.  I am anxious to met him for he has the "guest pass" that he no longer need but which I desperately require to gain access to the hospitality area along The Mall where the Brompton Bike race will take place.

Zoomzoom admiring The Mall
I have never met Simon before. But thanks to his London Bromptons Club (LBC) Facebook posting, we finally met at 3.33pm as he handed me the all important guest pass over the fence at the entrance to Brompton enclave. I was relieved.
The Belgian contingent

Without fear of hindrance and with high sense of being privileged, I walked confidently into Brompton hospitality area with Zoomzoom.  In plain English this is the area where the riders and their guest congregate before the start of the race, the exact area I want to get access to.  This is where I will be able to rub shoulders with the riders and say hi and hello to the lovely people from overseas I met during last year's BWC at Goodwood
Mac Beltran and friend from Italy

As soon as I stepped into the arena, I was in party mode.  I made sure I was dressed up for the occasion and as if I was going to participate in the race. As you know Lycra is a no no in Brompton Race.  So I wore a pair of expensive looking soft light gray leather shoes and Desigual shirt I bought in Barcelona, a dark blue summer suit and red shorts from H&M and a bow tie in navy blue with a touch of red and yellow.  I thought I looked smart casual.

From Japan
It was a very happy and festive atmosphere and everyone exchanged pleasantries.  My head turned into a rotating robotic head as I did not know where to look first.  Everyone was beautifully attired.
Everyone was looking young and beautiful.  Men were mostly in suit and tie and in fashionably cut shorts.  Oh no, it was not like those boring and almost uniform liked suits you see during FAMAS award nights.  The attires on displayed  were very individual in all exciting and personalized shapes and colours. The lady riders were equally impressive in their choice of gear.  My favorite was the lady wearing a full wedding gown accompanied by her groom. They are from Italy.

Representing Brompton Mafia from USA
The scenes were a feast for my eyes.  Everyone was so friendly and obliging when I asked permission to take their photos. I had a wonderful time chatting and taking photos of riders from Japan, Belgium, Barcelona, Norway, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France and Bristol and from other exotic parts for the world.

Valery Lopez and friend from Barcelona
I was also very happy to see David Parkinson from LBC finally getting a place in the race.  I almost lost my voice shouting and cheering for him and the rest of the LBC gang.  Jenny Chung was super.  She was flying over the race course effortlessly like a little swan. I was going to describe her as legendary but that word has been patented to Bubble Bee and of course Bubble Bee is the darling of everybody.  I was also so happy to see again a couple from Canada, Jon Rivero and partner.  I met them briefly last year and we promised to see each other this year.  It was a pity we had very little time to chat as the race was soon underway.
From France

In no time, the riders were in position and at the strike of 5pm, the first wave of riders were off like bullets, except for one rider who had difficulty unfolding her bike. She however, earned the loudest applause as she finally got it going.  I would have died from embarrassment but she took it in stride and pedal along cheerfully.

A beautiful smile. 
The race was terrific. It was electrifying.  The front runners were so fast.  You blink and they disappear.  The race was soon over after the first rider crossed the finished line in just under 30 minutes.  Phew.... I was more exhausted than the riders for shouting and yelling and cheering.  I should have brought an amplifier.

Representing Malaysia
Slowly the riders descended unto the hospitality area once again exhausted but happy, exchanging their 30 minute race experience and carrying around necks their much earned medals. It was a nice medal.  I liked it.

A happy and lucky couple.  Both got a place in the race.
I had a nice time and I enjoyed cheering with few LBC members.  I stayed awhile then said my quick goodbye. 

As I hesitantly headed towards the exit, a little sadness crept into my senses.  For it confirmed in my mind that BWC 2015 is the beginning of an end of an era.
Jon Rivero and friend from Canada.  Nice to see you both. 

An era when BWC is more of a fun day out. A time when the whole Brompton family is one and united, when there were no barriers, no fences, when you can still say with certainty "see you next year".  It was an event when you see couples in matching costume, a bunch of riders in similar attire, a senior gent and ladies just happy to enjoy the ride instead of being there to race.  An era where the  the spectator is not segregated from the participant.

Flowers in a basket.  It won't be BWC without it.
Earlier before I stepped in the hospitality section, when I was waiting for Simon to hand me over the guest pass over the fence, I got into conversation with a young gentleman from France.  He told me that he is outside of the fence because he does not have a guest pass to join his girlfriend who got a place in the race. When I introduced myself, he gave me a big friendly smile and he said he had read my blog.  Zoomzoom's cruising and riding adventures.

From Scotland
I felt sorry for him, being outside, left alone and segregated. He was resigned to the fact that he will be watching the event from outside the fence on his own, away from his girlfriend. I decided to give him the guest pass that Simon gave me.  He was so happy and he could not believe his luck.

Representing Bristol
That guest pass was actually for a friend of mine who was in the same predicament as I was.  He too did not get a place in the race.  During the day we did the Freecycle together and the plan was after the Freecycle, we would separate.  I will join my LBC friends in the Brompton hospitality area and he will just wait for me somewhere until the race is over. But when I heard that Simon has a spare pass I grabbed the opportunity to have it for my friend.  My friend decided not to use the pass in the last minute because he said there is really nothing for him there.  He was not racing, I was not racing and he hardly know anyone there. He felt he would just be a hanger on. 

Switzerland ?  sorry I can't remember.
He was also disappointed and bitter about how Brompton carried on with this year's BWC.  This business of lottery where everyone is supposed to be have the same equal chance of getting a place seems to be more of a theory than a practice. He felt that your chance of getting a place increases dramatically depending on your age, your country of residence, and if you are well known to Brompton manufacturer. I share his sentiment. It was very noticeable that there were very few oldies among the riders as compared to last year's.
The young Frenchman I met outside without a guest pass.

I also saw a little disappointment in other people eyes.  I saw quite a number of couple where only one partner was wearing an attire.  Last year they were in matching attire.  I missed the other fun people and those "little eccentric" people from last year.  Moreover, I missed the Brompton family atmosphere.  

Well done David . So happy for you.  I will nick that nice medal.
This year's 10th BWC without doubt was held in the best venue imaginable.  The Mall, The Buckingham Palace, The Green Park are excellent location.  It is in the center of London if not the center of the Universe.  To be racing along the streets around these icons is an experience in itself.  I am almost certain Brompton will hold BWC championship again next year at this same location.  And why won't they?
Jenny Chung, Samantha Skye and friend. LBC people

However I find this year's BWC more of a polished public performance by Brompton Manufacturer via selected 500 privileged few, directed towards mass audience. It was not an event for the Brompton family of owners as the previous years.

This years BWC ,will be hailed as the best ever BWC.  It is true and I agree.  It is the best ever BWC to a beginning of an end of an era.

Guest pass.  You are in or out.
If this year is a template for next year's BWC, I for one, will not be looking forward to it. For even in the remote possibility that I get inside the fence, I will be thinking of those people close to my heart who will be outside the fence. To me, happiness is still happiest when shared. It is not easy to share when you are segregated.

All the best for everyone next year.  Will you be in or out the fence next year?

Bag of goodies giveaway as you exit the hospitality area

   


      

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Just Brompton it. An 80 kilometer ride to Whitstable

Should I go or should I stay ?

I could not answer this question hence, I only signed up at the every last moment. In fact the ride has already started at 7 am, 23 May 2015 from Trafalgar Square for a 130 kilometer ride to Whitstable via Oftord, when I sent a text to Mark Woolard, our ride host, to tell my intention of joining.

Zoom zoom enjoying the seaside at Whitstable


This ride is brilliantly designed.  There are 3 meeting point options to choose from, actually 4.  The first and the earliest is at Trafalgar Square, the second is at 9.22 am at Victoria Station, the third is at Otford Station at 10 am and the fourth is at Whitstable at 5 pm, if one only wanted to join for the fish and chips.

I very much wanted to start from Trafalgar Square but the thought of a 50 km ride to Otford, then another 80 km to Whitstable made me wake up to my senses.  The longest distance Zoom zoom and I have done was a 100 km ride with a stand-by support car parked at home.  At 130 km ride that stand-by support car would need to be an ambulance.

Our first brief stop to get my breath back.  Brian wiping sweat on his forehead.


So I proceeded to Victoria Station instead to catch the 9.22 train to Otford.  I was so pleased to see that Brian Bowditch  was already there.  Soon, James Houston arrived in black shorts with matching soft textured collarless shirt looking so summery and relaxed, clutching a paper cup of coffee.

I thought, how dare he, looking so cool as if he is only going for a 5 km ride around the block. In contrast  I was wearing my best waterproof shoes, a shorts over a nano flex bib tights, a Cyclo-cross designed jersey over a base layer, a £2.50 sun glasses I got from Sleebus Jones on prior ride, and a helmet over a hat with large sun visor.  I was fully covered and protected.  I looked ridiculously over the top.
Allington Lock (Photo pirated from James Houston Collections)


Our train arrived on time at Otford Station and as we were leaving the platform, I received a text from Mark saying they will be arriving in 10  minutes, so be ready.  At 10.10 am,  Mark, Orange Brompton and Chris Salter arrived smiling as if they just cycled from around the corner.  There were no hint what so ever that they have already cycled 50 km from London.  Only then it struck me that I was in the company of the pros.  I was expecting that they will have at least half hour rest, but no.  After a quick "hi" and "hello" we were off to Whitstable.

I have met them all before on previous rides and I always enjoyed their company.  I will never forget Mark because he is the very first London Brompton Club (LBC) member I met in person.  The first LBC ride I joined was hosted by him. That was when he did the Thames Chaser ride. I was also very pleased to see Orange Brompton for I did not know he was joining.
Ohh no!!!  Private Road, no public access. (Photo courtesy James Houston)

It was also nice to see Chris for I wanted to talk about his "kiss and tell" encounter with Tannus tyre.  I just fitted a Tannus tyre to Zoom zoom so I was interested on his insight. We also chatted briefly about Strava versus Ride with GPS.

Chris is a very likable bloke.  He has this shy looking baby face, delicate creamy skin and his hair is minimalist in style.  He was wearing an apple green shorts with matching black top, fully color coordinated of course, with his virgin white Brompton.  He looked refreshingly energetic and sporty.  I was able to scoped out that he is very happy settled with his girl friend from Wimbledon.  I believe wedding bells will shortly be ringing.  I can just imagine Chris and his bride arriving at the altar on Brompton bikes. So for those LBC people who are single, you have no chance now.  Chris is sold.

The likeable Chris (Photo pirated from James Houston)

The first kilometer was an interesting uphill ride to joint the main thru road.  We were full of life, full of energy and full of enthusiasm knowing that we are all together now to tackle the second part of the ride.  We were  like bees carelessly flying about enjoying the countrysides, sometimes in cluster, most times in single file.
This is heaven. Photo by James Houston

It was a beautiful day, well for me anyway, because it was not sunny.  I prefer cloudy days than sunny days.  There was a threat of rain farther along the horizon, but this never really eventuate.  It was a perfect day for cycling.

The beautiful Kent country side ( Photo published without permission from James Houston)

English countryside is understatedly beautiful.  The wild flowers are in bloom, the meadows are green and the trees are in a hurry to display its new leaves.  And I think these are some of the reasons why this particular London Brompton Club ( LBC) ride is so special for it provided the chance for one to be closer to nature.

Actually, it was too close to nature than we would have wanted, when we found ourselves deep into the forest. This happened when we did a slight diversion, after we found the Coldrum Stone Circle, (which in itself is a wonderful find of the day), as the road we were following suddenly came into a halt in front of a gate with a sign saying private road, no public access.  Instead of cycling back 5 kilometers we opted to take a short cut through a footpath. It was the longest short cut I experienced with LBC ride.  So much fun though.
If this stone can only talk.  Our best find of the day.

It looked alright in the first few meters but as we walked and pushed our bikes along, the mud became thicker and thicker and thicker.  I said to my self, this is not true, this is not happening. It is just a nightmare. But Zoom Zoom is loving all these.  He wanted me to ride or push him faster.  In many section of that foot path, I have to lift Zoom Zoom up otherwise he will be totally submerged in mud.

Mud.. Glorious mud and more mud (Photo courtesy James Houston)

It felt like forever when we finally reached the sealed road and by then I was half a meter taller due to the amount of mud that stuck to my shoes. This was despite me being very careful.  I intentionally followed  Mr Orange foot steps literally and precisely for I know he is good at keeping his bike shinny clean. But in the end, it looked like Mr Orange was 10 centimeter taller than me as his cleat shoes collected more mud.

I was right behind Mr O. Carefully following his steps ( Photo by James Houston)

I noticed though that while we were traversing along this muddy lane the sounds of the wild life were in full falsetto.  I could not quite figure out if they were angry with us for the disturbance or they were hilariously laughing away for the entertainment we were providing. Because come to think of it, it is not very often that they see 6 guys on Bromptons with matching mini O bags and in color coordinated attire, tip toeing along the mud creating temporary havoc to their habitat.
Oh yes.  I need help with Zoom zoom. (Photo stolen from James Houston)

We stopped for a lunch break at Kings Arms.  It never ceases to amaze me why pubs are commonly named Kings Arms or Queens Head.  I have yet to see a pub named say, Queens Butt or Kings Tummy or any parts of the body more interesting than just arms or heads.  I don't normally eat lunch on rides but this time since it was a long one I decided I needed some food for fuel.  I ordered coronation chicken baguettes.  I can only assume it was called coronation to make it sound a bit royal. It was nice and the serving was generous.
Lunch break.  Much welcomed lunch break.

We were off again pedaling along the country roads.  Wonderful country roads.  All I can remember was that every road seems to be uphill. I could not remember anything flat, except when we finally reached the peak of Hollingbourne Hill when Brian laid flat on his tummy on the grass as a reward for comfort as he conquered the hills. As I mentioned in Facebook, that Hollingbourne Hill is not a hill, it is a mountain. It was so much fun though.  This was the climb when I thought I lost my lungs.
We made it, thank godness, to the top of Hollingbourne Hill. (Photo nicked from James Houston)

It was nearing 5pm when we reached the seaside of Whitstable.  But 10 kilometers prior to that along the seafront, the sea breeze was deceivingly strong.  I was in first gear all the way through.  James slowed down for me to catch up.  We rewarded ourselves with a nice fish and chips as we recollect the day's wonderful ride.

Should I go or should I stay?

I have million reasons why I could have easily stayed. My Zoom Zoom is brand new and I was not used to it yet. It is an S type while the previous one was an M type.  I just fitted a Tannus tyre and I was not sure if I will get on well with it.  Doing an 80 km ride straight away seems to be not the best thing to do.

I missed it last year and I did not want to miss it again.  I got on well with the S type and the Tannus tyre.

It was a wonderful ride.  It was fantastic.  It was a great day and I enjoyed every moment of it.  That is one thing I like about an LBC ride.  Specially the long ones, there is no dull moment.  There are always some surprises.  Really it is a world of of entertainment better then Netflix (that is if you manage to stay alive from exhaustion).  And it gives me a chance to be with the beautiful and crazy people of LBC. 
No talking please.  We are having fish and chips (Photo begged from James Houston)

Thank you Mark for leading the ride.  Thank you Brian, James, Chris and Orange for your superb, crazy and inspiring company.  I was particularly inspired by Mark, Orange and Chris for riding the full way from London to Whitstable.  See you all again soon.

I was so glad I did go.