www.dadswell.co.uk  Mostly cycling records, mostly on three wheels

More Epic Stuff - the continuing wheeltracks of the Tandem Tricycle                 May 2005    Back to Rides in 2005


Today's piece of brisk exercise was a 109 mile ride over the road from Watford to Banbury and back, with Dave Johnson being the one on the rear.  Once again, we didn't have a tandem tricycle record to beat, and so we could only measure ourselves against the various other rides that had taken place, with the fastest being the men's bicycle record of 4h 44m 14s (by Simon Maddox in 1991).  Thus a schedule was dreamt up with a target time of 4h 45m. 

Since Simon's ride, the A41 has been re-routed to avoid Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley.  The new road is a few miles further, and quite a bit hillier.  However, on balance it seemed likely to be a quicker option, particularly as the bypassed towns have now gained considerable amounts of traffic calming measures.

The chosen start/finish point for our ride was just west of Aylesbury.  And so we set off at 8am on Sunday 8th May 2005, in chilly but bright conditions.  Aylesbury was quiet, and we were soon into our stride along the "new" Aston Clinton bypass.  We passed the Chesham junction with a 3 minute advantage over the schedule, and this had grown to 8 minutes when we passed under the M25.  A few miles later in Watford, we completed 25 miles in 55 minutes.  When Tom Morley witnessed us as we rode around the turn, we were 10 minutes up, but fairly certain that the ride back was going to be tougher !

We were right, and once past the M25, the speed was shockingly slow.  By the Chesham turning, we were down to 6 minutes up, and this was down to 5 minutes as we approached Aylesbury again.  The town was a little bit busy, but we emerged unscathed to clock 2h 5m for 50 miles, and pass the start point in 2h 6m.   A quick calculation showed that the second 25 miles had taken 15 minutes longer than the first !

A few miles later, we had to stop for a minute, as Dave was feeling ... err .... 'bladdered'.  At the next check, approaching Bicester, we had one minute left.  Leaving Bicester we were a minute down.  This wind was really quite irritating.  Despite the benefits of his earlier relief break, Dave announced that he was feeling 'absolutely wasted', which was encouraging, as we had 20 miles into the wind ahead of us, followed by 30 miles back to the start, which could not be guaranteed to be a free ride.

Of course, it's never quite as bad as he claims - I'm sure it's just a cunning plan to make me try harder.  We hobbled along to Aynho, where we were three minutes down, and zoomed to Adderbury, where we made the final turning to start the run in to Banbury.  We had arranged for two witnesses to be at Banbury.  This was a good thing, as by this point we knew that one of them was on his bike somewhere behind us ....   We were 5 minutes behind schedule as Laurie Allitt checked us through at Banbury Cross (thanks!). 

It was a relief to know that there would be no more headwinds, but we still had plenty of work to do, including climbing the hill out of the town.  And then there was the sharp ascent to Aynho, and another grind shortly afterwards.  But let's stop the complaining.  We were 3.5 minutes adrift at Bicester, reducing to 2.5 minutes when we rejoined the A41 with 12 miles to go.  Despite good weather conditions, we were still only riding at 25 mph here, and so still had another minute to make up from Waddesdon to the end.  Those last 3 miles were flat out, but still not especially fast, and it was with a silly tinge of regret that we crossed the line 13 seconds behind the (arbitrarily chosen) target.

We soon lightened up, and made for nearest pub.

Ralph  May 05

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