Friday, 25 May 2012

Lycra, Pelotons, Unicycles and Medals - The Prince's Trust Palace to Palace

Cycling solicitor Colin Martyr talking about the Prince's Trust Palace to Palace charity ride.

I wasn’t a complete novice. Lycra was no stranger to me. I’d  done plenty of, say, hilly rides of an hour or so on a town bike over the last few years. 45 miles, however, is bit further.

I needn’t have worried. The first time I went out on it I got as far as Market Bosworth (about 30 miles) and the next week after that I had established a loop of about 40 miles, paced out on Google Maps Street View. I was smart enough to realize that for a good ride in the country you need to ride from nowhere to nowhere and soon I was scuttling through villages off the beaten track – Thorpe Constantine, Clifton Campville, Ratcliffe Culey – that sounded like characters out of a Mills and Boon novel. And by now, I was beginning to enjoy it.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

“Twenty years old? £150.00? Ridiculous – Unless of course it’s a Dawes Galaxy.”

When Tim Beasley first suggested that we do the Palace to Palace West Midlands ride for charity on May 20th 2012, I faced a significant problem. No bike!

Actually, that’s not quite true. As a family we probably own, what, ten bikes? OK, I’m including three or four old “Halfords” that the kids, now adult-sized, have grown out of. We have an additional couple of boneshakers of one type or another, mostly dating from the bizarre fashion of the 90s to persuade absolutely everbody to buy an “off-roader” with huge knobbly tyres, completely useless for a pedal down to the breadshop or post office.

But what’s this quietly sleeping at the back of  the garage? Oh yes, my 1978 Dawes Galaxy tourer.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Prince's Trust Palace to Palace - Mission Accomplished!

Two thirds of the team at the start
The Levenes Cycle Injury Cycle Team joined the likes of Martin Johnson, Lewis Moody and Rebecca Romero in braving the chilly Warwickshire weather as we started out from Warwick Castle and then followed a route that took in Stratford upon Avon and Kenilworth Castle before returning once more to Warwick.

Grand Depart!
The start was momentous with riders accumulating in the central courtyard area before descending the cobbles through the main portcullis and then through the outer grounds. This short 10 metre section was not quite like the pavé of the Paris-Roubaix, which was fortunate as I am not sure that I would have coped with being shaken like that for 45 miles! Nonetheless it certainly was a “grand depart” worthy of such a fine mediaeval setting.

Mr Unicyclist
The ride itself was fun with lots of interest. There were a few “climbs” but nothing worse than 12% and they were only very short. I have to admit though, Granny gear did get a couple of short outings... well, until we overtook a unicyclist along the route, inspiring me to dig deep and just power up the hills in a higher gear instead!

The route was well signposted with a number of cheerful volunteers on key junctions to ensure that you did not go astray. How they kept warm and cheerful is a mystery to me! Chapeau to the Evans Cycles at strategic points helping out stricken riders with any mechanical mishaps, the organisers who ensured that it all went smoothly and to everyone who took part.

Colin going strong
The nice sunny weather we ordered failed to arrive but we didn't let that spoil our enjoyment of the ride. The cold forced us to go that little bit faster, which was fine, but it was a shame that it wasn't warmer because the Princes Trust had laid on a nice reception with a marquee, medals to be handed out even a free massage for those participants suffering just a little more than others. Finding myself stiffening up in the cold, I didn't hang around too long afterwards. We managed to raise over £300 for the Prince’s Trust which made it all worthwhile.

Having well and truly caught the bug, next up is the London to Paris!

by Tim Beasley

Mission Complete!
Colin with his medal

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tim's Cycling Diary Part 5 - A Bike, A Bike, My Kingdom for a Bike!

The final preparations for our Princes Trust Palace to Palace ride have been made with a 42 mile ride starting and finishing in Ashby de la Zouch . Two thirds of Levenes Cycle Injury team (Colin and I) took part taking a route along some quiet and not so quiet lanes through such wonderfully named villages as Ratcliffe Culey and Newton Burgoland.

The route took us through Market Bosworth and close to the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field where, according to Shakespeare, Richard III uttered the immortal lines “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”

Colin "The Mountain Goat" Martyr
We have learned much from our ride. Firstly, due to the natural advantage I enjoy over Colin, gravitationally speaking, I descend more quickly than him- which is a polite way of saying that I am heavier than him. On the other hand thanks to his mountain goat like legs, he is quicker going up hill.

It was a great ride, just slightly shorter than the Palace to Palace ride, but with a similar topology, I hope.

We're now both raring go.

Tim Beasley

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Kevin O'Sullivan's LCC Big Ride Photo Diary

Appalling weather didn't stop thousands turning out in force with plenty of colour and noise for cyclists' rights five days before the mayoral election. One of our solicitors, Kevin O'Sullivan was one of the many thousands of cyclists at the LCC organised event. Here are a few shots he took along the way.

Waiting for the start at Marble Arch

Apprehensive Cyclists

A novel solution to "being seen"

More signs calling for more lanes.

And we're off!

Following the leader

Excellent turnout

Cyclists as far as the eye can see!

Cycling in London should be this good every day.

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