Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.


Filtering by Tag: Tour de March

Tour de March: Day 3.



Date: Monday 16th March, 2015
Distance: 136.6km | Elevation: 979m
Destinations: Norfolk — Holt — Kings Lynn

Start kms: 1,359.9km | Finish kms: 1,496.5km  | % complete: 15.0% 

One of us — and I don’t know who — must have pissed off Gorrod the night before, as he seemed hell-bent on giving one or both of us at best a puncture and at worst some form of frame damage. 

The beginnings of the route for our final day took us down towards a river and onto some questionable terrain. At first it was fun taking on the dips and mounds, with the tarmac becoming compressed dirt. It made for some decent photos, too.

But when the compressed dirt became loose gravel and boggy grassland for circa 5km, my phone was firmly put away and both hands were back on the handlebars to maintain some level of control whilst we all waited for something to go wrong for someone. 

Unbelievably, it didn’t and we managed to make it back onto the streets of Norwich, a little muddier than we’d of liked and having taken in some of the local highlights that included the sewage treatment plant — a treat not only for the eyes, but for the nose as well. 

Cyclocross excursion aside, we were on for a day of motoring. We had one rest stop planned mid-morning and would be straight back into i, heading for the invisible finish line we’d created for ourselves at Kings Lynn station. 

Sam had been spending a lof of time down his TT bars for the previous two days and I was impressed to see him back in them today. With no experience riding on them, I can’t imagine it being the most comfortable of riding positions — especially for upward of 400km — but he was making it look like light work. 

As the day wore on, I actually found myself longing for a set of my own TT bars. My backside had become very familiar with my saddle over the past 3 days and the 2 of them had stopped getting along somewhere on the approach to Norfolk. In a show of solidarity, my back, shoulders and arms had all chosen to do the same to the point where there was no new position for me to move to that wasn’t either as uncomfortable or worse than the previous. 

Upright on the handlebar straight: done. Down in the drops: over. Hands on the hoods: long gone. There was a short period where sitting up straight, hands off the handlebars and leaning myself as far back as I possibly could provided a bit of respite, but that too eventually became as good or bad as the rest of them.

Gorrod had failed to learn anything from yesterday’s snot rocket incident (or maybe he had and really did have it in for Sam and I today) as he continued to fire them out intermittently as we approached Holt. 

Thankfully, one of us had, and I chose to ride outside of his direct line. This was made infinitely easier by the fact that we’d finally planted ourselves on the side of the easterly wind as we headed westward. If there was any form of breeze blowing, it certainly wasn’t against us.

It was that and the previous nights curry that propelled us into what Sam informed us is known locally as ‘Chelsea on Sea’ and the best cafe stop of the tour: Black Apollo.

Having consumed gallons of milk since setting out on Saturday morning, I couldn’t face another cappuccino in a mug the size of a bucket and had the luxury of having a black Costa Rican filter to accompany my muffin. Delightful and precisely what I needed. 

Only sticking around for a quarter of an hour, we were off again and making a b-line for the finish. Sam was back in his drops as we rounded a bend to be confronted by a very large tractor. He was up and onto his breaks quickly and there was never any real threat, but I’m not sure I’d have had the quick-wittedness this late on in the trip to have avoided a front-on collision with its shiny grill.

Major incident avoided, we had our first and only minor incident of the trip. 

With our focus on the finish (and no doubt compounded by a little fatigue), it’s probably fair to say our camaraderie had slipped slightly. Conversation was certainly less free-flowing than it had been, as we all pedalled away furiously, fading in and out of our own worlds. 

It therefore wasn’t until a car pulled-up alongside Gorrod and told us our friend was “experiencing a bit of trouble back there” that we noticed we’d dropped Sam. A quick u-turn was made as we hurried back in the direction we’d just come. A few hundred metres away, we found him down on one knee with his bike on its back whilst he removed the back wheel.  

40km from a clean sheet and we were witnessing our first puncture.

With the speed and precision of a Formula 1 engineer, the wheel was off, the tube was out, replaced and pumped up and we were as good as new (perhaps lacking a few PSI thanks to the inefficiency of a roadside pump).

As we traced the perimeter of Samdringham, we were joined by the sun, which didn’t leave us for the rest of the ride. We all craned our necks, expectantly surveyed our surroundings for a slither of sea, but — surprisingly — didn’t end up with so much as a glimpse.

That was more than made up for by reaching Kings Lynn station and discovering it had Morrisons alongside it. 

The fact we found majesty in a purpose-built, industrial-sized supermarket, viewing it as an oasis in a tarmacced desert full of parked cars, probably says more than enough about where we were at both mentally and physically.

However, watching Gorrod pull his post-ride meal from its carrier bag as the train departed for London, I became convinced that some of us were a little more out of sorts than others. 

I feel I’d chosen well: a sandwich, an apple, a bag of cookies, a flapjack. All easy, unfussy and, at the time, unbelievably delicious. Meanwhile, in lieu of a knife, Gorrod tore apart a role with his hands, before using the same ‘utensil’ to remove the meat from a still-warm rotisserie chicken leg. This was piled into said roll and topped with the best part of an entire bag of reduced-price rocket.

Who buys a deconstructed sandwich? 

Some how, I feel as though that sandwich somehow epitomises the Tour de March. Haphazard, completely off kilter, not entirely thought through, somewhat disturbing to watch, but ultimately very, very enjoyable.




Tour de March: Day 1. 

Date: Saturday 14th March, 2015
Distance: 130.7km | Elevation: 1,297m
Destinations: New Cross – Angel – Epping – Sawbridgeworth – Cambridge – Buntingford – Milton

Start kms: 1,066.3km | Finish kms: 1,197.0km | % complete: 12%

It’s amazing what a few friends can put together when they put your minds to it.

Late last year, we put aside one day of holiday each to string out the weekend and made some vague gestures towards a map of the UK that were suggestive of a potentially coherent mini-Tour. 

As time marched on, vague trajectories became concrete routes, hotel possibilities became deposits that had left our bank accounts and friends’ parents houses had been requested and confirmed. 

4 of us rolled out on the Saturday — Hendo and I from south-east London by way of Angel to pick up Gorrod and Sam. As is tradition with group rides such as these, Hendo and I ensured we were adequately late in reaching Gorrod, Hendo helping to ensure this was the case by deciding 30 minutes before leaving his house that he’d switch his wheels out to the new pair of Zipps he’d just purchased. 

20 minutes late, we unashamedly hurried Gorrod and Sam along before heading north for Epping Forrest. 

We’d covered about 30km before the traffic seemed to subside as aggressively and quickly as it had been passing us. Along with the traffic and high-rise buildings, we also left behind that strange, ominous warmth that London seems to generate through some combination of its congested roads, densely packed streets of houses, flats and offices and its amalgamation of frenetically busy inhabitants and visitors. The drop in temperature was tangible and my optimistic decision to don fingerless gloves for the first time this year was at once deemed ill-informed by the weather. 

I quickly switched out. 

There was a definite easterly wind that was bringing with it a chill that we’d yet to shake off by the time we found ourselves on the other side of Epping Forrest, in Sawbridgeworth. We hoped a cup of warm coffee and the wait for it inside a heated building might help take the edge off. 

Only 3 out of 4 of us took The Shed up on this offer once we’d pulled in and unclipped. Sam, still firmly in a London state of mind, was adamant on guarding our bikes outside. In his defence, he was (and no doubt still is) still reeling from the recent theft of his Cube from outside his work, so it as entirely understandable. 

Empathetic friends that we are, we left Sam outside in the cold watching over all of our bikes and basked in the momentary warmth of the cafe. Our comeuppance was served piping hot via our drink choices and Gorrod, Hendo and I, in that order, all burnt out mouths (after each of us warning the other just how hot the drinks were). 

After the tree-lined, picturesque roads and fluid bends of Epping, the ride didn’t seem to find its stride for me again until after lunch, which was enthusiastically consumed at The March Hare Tea Room in Buntingford. As we gathered inside to pay, Sam headed into the loo. 

Knowing we had a substantial amount of time to play with as Sam fought with the logistical nightmare of using the toilet whilst wearing bib shorts, we couldn’t resist the temptation of hiding his bike. 

Because it’s always funny to aggressively poke at a fresh wound. 

He found the whole thing as hilarious as a recent victim of theft might be expected it to. We laughed, too.   

As we neared Cambridge proper, first came the surrounding countryside of Cambridgeshire. What would be considered hills on this ride would, on any other day, be more accurately described as humps and so didn’t put too much pressure on any of our legs. Instead, we were able to enjoy the undulating landscape of farmed fields, the stark contrast of the rich green of the hedgerows, the dark brown soil, the sand-coloured wheat fields and what had turned into a bright blue sky. 

These vistas (yes, I’m being ever-so-slightly hyperbolic) were only broken by the occasional placement of a farmhouse or, even less occasionally, a windmill. 

The historical city of Cambridge was brushed aside as we made our way through its outskirts to arrive just north of it, at The Jolly Brewers in Milton: a pub-slash-B&B and our bed for the night. 

I use these rides as an excuse to see what I can get away with packing, or, more accurately, not packing). 

Of course, there are essentials that cannot be left home without (I’ve learnt this the hard way): 3 inner tubes, 2 tyre levers, a bike tool, a bike pump, ride snacks and a waterproof shell tend to do the job. 

There are also things that I need to bring from an off-the-bike perspective: glasses, contact solution, a miniature bottle of whisky. 

But there are some things I consider a luxury not worth buying a bigger saddle bag to accommodate. Namely, a change of clothes for the evening, any spare cycling jerseys or fresh underwear. Make of that what you will, but the requirements for short cycling excursions dictate that the inherent need for fresh pants will be minimal. 

It being before 6 o’clock in the evening when we arrived, then, meant there was only one thing to do. 

Still very much clad in our lycra (and 2 of us in our matching kit), we waddled over from our rooms to the pub in our cleats, planted ourselves in a room full of strangers enjoying a few beers whilst watching the 6 Nations and did the same. 

We then created the same strange scene in the pubs restaurant. 

As I scraped the bowl that, moments earlier, contained an entire sticky toffee pudding and ice cream whilst a large, bald man on a nearby table looked suspiciously at our shoes, I realised I probably should have eaten more on the bike throughout the day. I’d already devastated a pile of ham faggots, a slab of cheesy garlic bread, a plate of pie and chips and anything else that anyone else had managed to leave on their plates (how they found themselves full, I do not know). 

Rolling in my smaller-than-single bed from my right side onto my left to reduce the discomfort of a food-induced stitch, I vowed to avoid doing the same again tomorrow.