All posts by Alan

Wildebeest, Sprint Trains And Ride London

RIDE LONDON SURREY 100 – 31/07/16

Nature provides us with some truly inspiring events. Epic migrations of thousands or even millions of individuals over land, sea and air.

Driven by instinct they move across vast distances facing untold perils, hazards and predators in order to find new habitat on which to roam and survive.

Take the mind boggling annual wildebeest migration. Over 2 million animals moving from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. ( For Fawlty Towers fans you will definitely not see that out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window ! )

These amazing journeys driven by primeval urges take place across all species be they insects, fish, birds or mammals.

But now a new species has evolved that also feels that urge to undertake an epic annual migration.

They are the MAMILs.

Once a year at the end of July or early August they come from all corners of the UK and indeed farther afield and they head by land sea and air to a the concrete jungle of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

Along the way they shed their normal clothing, don garish brightly coloured lycra and climb aboard push bikes of all types, shapes and sizes ( although tri bars are definitely not allowed ! )

En masse they all then spontaneously cycle 100 miles.

This incredible spectacle of nature has now been given a name.

They call it Ride London.

Continue reading Wildebeest, Sprint Trains And Ride London

A Hundred, A Heist And A Hop


I had been casing the joint for weeks and had planned the heist meticulously.

Get up at an unfeasibly early hour on a weekend when only the birds and people up to no good are up and about. Skulk over to Vive-Le-Velo in North Ferriby and then ….do the place in !

Help myself to all kinds of cycling goodies…..after all, I’m not paying those prices !

What could possibly go wrong ?

After a 4.45 am alarm  I arrived at Vive-Le-Velo by 6.20 am suitably equipped for my criminal enterprise.

But what was this ? When the place should have been deserted, why was there a rather dishevelled Mark Ellam with a clipboard in the car park ?

Was he here to rob the place too ? Had he beaten me to the loot ?

To make matters worse a photographer snapping away from a parked car captured my startled expression. Oh no I’d walked straight into a police stakeout! You won’t take me alive copper !

” Morning Alan” said Mark ” put your name down here and sign , which one are you doing ? ”

I had to think fast on my feet.

” Err ….the middle one Mark ”

” OK buddy put 105 down on there and sign ”

And that my friends is how I came to take part in the 105 mile Humber Hop charity bike ride.

It was just a good job I had my bike and was wearing full cycling kit. How lucky was that ?!

Continue reading A Hundred, A Heist And A Hop

I Spy, Thunderbolts And Hedgehogs


REMAIN or LEAVE ?  This was the big question that had been occupying my thoughts for many weeks if not months.

Constantly mulling it over in my mind. I had lost a lot of sleep.

It certainly felt like one of the biggest decisions of my life and I couldn’t afford to get it wrong.

If I went for REMAIN would I be taken into unchartered territory by a larger group led by an unelected cabal ? Would my wishes for the direction of travel be diluted and diminished, drowned out  by many other opinions and agendas?

If I went for LEAVE and took back control of my destination would it effect my relationship with the others for ever ? Would I be shunned, unable to work with them anymore, cast out , isolated ?

This year’s Cottingham Road Club ( CRC ) charity bike ride was going to be laps of a 40 mile circuit for 24 hours non-stop. Each member could choose how many laps they were prepared to take on.

At the end of every lap I would be faced with the critical decision regarding doing another lap. Shall I REMAIN or LEAVE ?

What ?……..What else did you think I was talking about ?!

Continue reading I Spy, Thunderbolts And Hedgehogs

Counting Limbs, A Bunch Of Bovines And A Hilly Ride


The previous weekend the Cottingham Road Club ( CRC ) outing had been a pan flat ride ( well nearly ) to Naburn  near York. The weather had been glorious, the first warm and sunny weekend of the year.

The cafe stop was idyllic,  lounging in the sunshine at York Marina on the River Ouse. There was  beer quaffing and at least one of our number seriously contemplated a dip in the river.

Luckily Geoff was not aware of the main sewage treatment works for the city of York less than a mile upstream.

43 olympic swimming pools worth of sewage processed every day and yes I actually googled that stat.

That’s a lot of sh….  ”  Hi Alan, that was a great ride on Sunday wasn’t it ?! ”

Roll forward a few days to the Wednesday CRC starter ride and Geoff was still buzzing about the weekend

” Surely, that is what cycling is all about ! ” he said to me

Yes it is Geoff, yes it is.

Things were going to be vey different this weekend though….the hills were back.

Continue reading Counting Limbs, A Bunch Of Bovines And A Hilly Ride

Mini Pasties, Telepathy And The Heart Of The Wolds Sportive


The great thing about cycling is the freedom. You can hop on your machine and ride on the public roads and lanes at any time day or night for no cost.

All you need is some get up and go……and a bike of course that can set you back thousands if you are that way inclined.

But we won’t mention that.

Suffice to say the great outdoors is free. There are no gym memberships to pay, no green fees, no booking fees.

When you have experienced cycling on your own, then moved on to cycling with friends or in a club you are then ready to move onto the next stage of your development.

A stage where you willingly pay to ride the same roads and lanes you can ride at any other time for free.

A stage where you willingly pay to ride with the same friends and club mates that you always do.

The time has come for you to enter a sportive.

Continue reading Mini Pasties, Telepathy And The Heart Of The Wolds Sportive