Day one was to prove eventful. The slogan for the Folding Bike Challenge was ’400 kilometres, 4 days, 1 bike’ By the time I had covered the route from the London Eye to Portsmouth I was on bike number 3. It was a great route. A photo call at the London Eye was followed by a short train trip to Hampton Court. From there we cycled as a group to Cobham before carrying on at our own pace to the first rest stop in Shere. It was there we saw for the first time the bucketloads of food that would appear at each stop. From traditional and healthy cyclists’ snacks like bananas to the frankly questionable Pringles, there was masses of choice and masses of volume.
Proceeding from Shere to the faintly oddly named Lickfold the pace quickened at the front and it was there that the Tikit decided to leave the trip. The left fork snapped at the weld and I was thrown over the handle bars onto the road, making a sound which Andy described as ‘like a piece of steak being thown onto a butchers block’. (This is an ongoing issue and I will blog about it in more detail once Bike Friday have had a chance to respond.)
Anyway, this is where the Action Challenge folks really showed their professionalism. I was assessed and patched up by the medic Will and Martin the mechanic removed my pedals so that they could go on a replacement bike. Julian lent me his Brompton so I could continue to the lunch at Lickfold. I have to admit that the climbs through the South Downs in the afternoon required some walking.
Arriving at the rest stop at Rowlands Castle it was a joy to see that Graham from Foldingbikehut had got me an Oyama folder to test for the rest of the ride. This proved to be a great bike. Oyama (apparently it means ‘big mountain’) used to make folders for Dahon but are planning to sell direct in the UK and this was an opportunity to test one out. A detailed review will follow.
The rest of the day passed in a bit of blur, we had a meal, got on the ferry and I was asleep within seconds.