Friday, 6 June 2008

Day 4 – Bristol to Worcester 63 miles – Night Riders!


Day 4 – Bristol to Worcester 63 miles – Night Riders!

Today we discussed sacking the project! Morale hit absolute rock bottom; can anything else go wrong with this bike? Nevertheless, we all dug deep found some emotional backbone and having lost 9 hours in which we couldn’t move from Bristol, we decided to ensure we remained on programme by riding through the night on a completely different route. We are the end2end night riders! By 0100 hrs we arrived, exhausted and emotionally elated at Worcester RA TA centre. Beers and scampi fries formed our dinner. What a day – bike is now sweet but bodily the team is becoming broken.

We awoke to the sweet smell of stale beer in the Gunner’s Arms Bar (Bristol University Officer Training Corps), rapidly up, showered and established our bike workshop in the Gun sheds. Ali and Tony set up their team physio clinic. Jonathan wrote the blog in the HQ. It was time for breakfast – Whiteladies Road provided us a superb greasy spoon café and after 5 artery clogging breakfasts with 'Uncle Digger' we were sorted for another day. Ali and Tony took the bike to a local bike shop to get to the rear disc break repaired. The bike seemed much tighter although someone had obviously knocked the bike over in the TA centre and snapped off the rearview mirror. That was bloody irritating. Morale was high as we finalised our IT, bike, repacked the vehicle and departed the BUOTC at 1330hrs. We hoped a leisurely ride Leominster here we come. Severn Bridge was before us - we set off.

Cycling up Whiteladies road was great, young student girls cycled next to us asking what we were doing. It was very flattering for the 4 old boys on the bike! As we descended and climbed the Bristolian hills towards the A38 we suddenly realised that the bike brakes were still not capable of holding us. Our nerves and confidence in the bike was shattered, especially after yesterdays blow outs. We had travelled 1 mile from the BUOTC and we were once again pulled into another grassy verge with the bike on a stand. Morale was as low as it could go. The team huddled into each other and we had one of the discussions that few will forget. “Fellas we have 3 options, continue to ride a bike that could kill us, nurse the bike to Southport or sack the project now and accept that we remain alive and in one piece.” The team looked at each other and decided we must do everything possible to keep the project on track. “This badboy not going to beat us!” Emotions ran high as we all snapped at each other. John and Ruth (JD Cycles) were phoned for more technical advice. We decide to see if we could replace the front fork and wheel. Tony and Ray disappeared off to Bristol. The 3 Cunningham brothers just sat as waited. The picture of Al is taken at our lowest moment – no one was speaking!

The afternoon passed by although it gave the team time to discuss the route. We concluded that the bike is not designed for the stresses of hills (especially downhill) but she loves long, open flat roads. The route was changed to a longer but faster option going via Gloucester and Worcester. Phone calls were made and TA accommodation was sorted. The support boys arrived back; they couldn’t fit the hydraulic brakes, we had no choice but to nurse the bike north.

We departed from our grassy Bristol verge at 1830 hrs but determined not to be put off track we decided to push through the night. The Bristol traffic was unreal – how can anyone sit in traffic for so long? The evening sun was stunning – night quickly closed in. As we pushed through Gloucester Ray positioned the vehicle behind with 4 way flashes on, protecting our rear and providing light so we could avoid the potholes and ‘road kills’. Morale was now high, although Alistair was elated almost on a high (See picture of Ali and Tony ‘digging in’) Bottoms were in serious rag with energy levels depleted. However the bike was running like a dream, we were maintaining an average of 16 mph but she loves 18.5 mph, this being her natural frequency. Tewksbury by night was the most beautiful market town you could hope to see, shame it wasn’t in the day. The closed country pubs only teased us as we silently sailed passed. No one spoke or made comment, only the low whir of the chain through the gears could be heard. The team was knackered – it was almost like we had assumed some knight rider stealth mode. What an experience, we would never forget this night, bring it on! The miles were chomped…mile by mile.

By 1245 hrs we pulled into the TA centre exhausted and drained. We all embraced in a big man hug in true recognition of what we had achieved. We met Clive the caretaker who couldn’t do enough for us. A couple of beers and some scampi fries were consumed. Another ‘special day’ had been endured we have bonded as a team and now know what the bike can and can’t do. Bed…

2 comments:

info said...

How Do Boys,

sounds like you are having fun. I don't think any more full English breakfasts should be consumed if you are experiencing frame malfunction. MARK was that much tape necessary ! . When do you think you will arrive in Southport ?.
Keep pedalling,

Best, Rick H.

A Cyclists Prayer: "Dear God. If there is such a thing as reincarnation then please may I return as a ladies bicycle seat"

Mr Robson said...

Greetings Fellas,
looks like you are all enduring the ride rather than enjoying it, keep it up tho as you are all making the big man proud!!Nice to see Mark couldnt resist getting his banana out for all to see, bet it wont be long before he gets his grapes out for a soothing massage from Al!!Take it easy gentlemen and stay safe!!
All the best , Mr Robson