I arrived at Pretorius Bikes a little earlier than the rest of the riders so that I could fit my spd pedals from my tourer onto this fancy loan bike Jean-Claude had kindly let me use for the day.
Soon enough the riders started arriving and the routine cup of coffee before the ride was served.
We then set off in the various bunches with JC leading the A bunch and Eryn leading the B bunch. I decided I would try and latch on to the B bunch for what was going to be a casual club ride.
As soon as we left the pace was over 30kmh and I realised this was going to be a fair gallop rather than a stroll in the park. We had hardly got started when one of the ladies in the bunch punctured and split her tyre. So a quick detour was required to exchange her front wheel at one of the club riders homes close by.
This done we set off again heading east out of London. We headed for the Epping Forest and rode many quiet country lanes through some smaller villages including Toot Hill. Fortunately the route was reasonably flat with drags rather than hills. There were of course a few steeper longish climbs and my I struggled to get my legs and heart rate into sync. The heart complained about the intensity required while the legs wanted to ride all day. The group was very patient and often had to slow down for the stragglers to rejoin the group.
The second half of the ride was better because the body was getting the idea that it had to deliver more than slow and steady with lots of power. I did get hunger knock by 75 kms but Eryn came to the rescue and gave me an energy gel. This helped get me home because I would have struggled to finish the final 25km without some food. Back at the shop we ordered pizzas and enjoyed a local craft beer.
I then headed to Helen’s home had a quick shower and hopped back on the bike for a short ride to the Pretorius’s home. I had a great visit and soon made friends with Moser, their lively young 2 year old son. Moser was due for his afternoon visit to Victoria Park so JC combined this with a sight seeing ride to the Olympic village quite close by.
Naturally I had to pop into the Lee Valley velodrome which is the one that Bradley Wiggins set a world hour record at 2 weeks ago. They sell hour sessions on the track and a group was busy with its hour session just as I visited.
They also have a one mile circuit around and under the velodrome that hosts kermesse style racing every Wednesday evening much like Killarney raceway in Cape Town.
Moser then had some fun playing in the park on a glorious summer day with the sun still hot at 6 pm.
Once Moser was tiring we headed home so that he could have dinner before he went to sleep. Then the adults got into the real SA traditional beer and a braai!!! They also had two friends/clients that joined us for the braai namely Robin and Hanneke. Hanneke had joined us on the club ride the morning while Robin had been away racing. He had won a tight sprint to take his first ever win in a bike race so we had reason enough to celebrate. Hanneke is from Swellendam and we spoke a little Afrikaans which amused all.
Along with giant rump steaks Eryn made some tasty salads and we feasted true South African style. I was sleeping at their home so after everyone had gone to Bed JC and I could reminisce and chatted away. By midnight we both were quite tired and headed for bed.
Sunday would be used to prep for the next part of the adventure and also to be sure my panniers will fit OK after the repairs to the rack.
Eugene on a bike somewhere in the world