I’m on the train to London thinking what a pleasure train journeys can be. Time to read and write, just to think. I realise one of the things that I am really looking forward to on the RAB is the focus on a single activity. Just get up and ride. The evenings are about getting ready for the next day’s ride. No work emails, no DIY, no shopping, cooking or washing up. It does feel very self-indulgent; but no matter as everyone else in the community will be in the same zone. Looking forward to the cycling and getting to know our fine Isles too of course.
How do you train for a ride like this? Just ride as much as possible. Easier said than done when you work full time and have a family. I’ve managed some 60 mile rides in the evenings, a couple of times two evenings in a row, but I can’t even remember the last time I’ve ridden 100 miles. I’ve tried some short cut simulation training rides. You feel tired and don’t want to ride, so go out for 4 hours. Don’t eat on a long ride to create the feeling of exhaustion. I don’t recommend this one- I collapsed on the kitchen floor when I got home. I came round next to an uneaten kebab that I didn’t remember buying. Ride miles from your house in the evening and try to get home again before it gets dark, simulating making cut off times. Also not advisable unless you take lights. Anyway, some riding has taken place, mainly extended commutes to work; not very long but at least daily.
I’m pleased to be on my way, mainly to stop the seemingly endless task of preparation. My inner worrier took on the persona of a hypochondriac, imagining all the possible ailments, accidents, aches and pains that lay in store. The trips to Boots were so frequent that I ended up getting a loyalty card and a larger wash bag to house the ever growing first aid kit.
On the subject of kit, many thanks to The Light Blue for the loan of a Robinson bike. Made of Reynolds Steel 731, it’s not the lightest of bikes but offers a comfortable geometry and a bit of welcome give in the frame. I’m impressed at the quality of the Shimano 105 group set, it just gets better every year. It’s the first time I’ve used disc brakes on a road bike; certainly welcomed on gravely descents when riding in large groups.
A big thank you to Alpkit too, who are experts in bikepacking. Great to be carrying everything in frame bags rather than rack and panniers. Upon my back as I write on the underground is a duffle bag come rucksack, containing 17 kg of kit (I’m 2 kilos over my allowance yet I followed the recommended kit list and dumped a few items. Must be the first aid kit.) It’s a great bag for train travel and fully waterproof, essential as it will spend the next nine days waiting to be loaded onto vans, no doubt sitting in the rain on a good few occasions.
Ok, off to get the train to Penzance. Hope to be reunited with my bike and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we ride.
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