For years I have had a plan to cycle from my current home of Southsea, on the South coast of England, back to my childhood home in Pampisford, Cambridgeshire. Up until recently this would have been a multi day trip and I have not had any real reason to do it. That was until I found out the Tour de France was going to be going past the end of my old road!!!




This seemed the perfect excuse to ride up and watch the pros go flying by and I even convinced Ben from Southsea Fixed Gear to join me for the adventure. In order to bypass London the route ended up being so whopping 146 miles long, a good 10+ miles further than our longest ride so far (Summer Solstice Ride), but despite the forecast of heavy rain we adjusted the chain tension on our fixed gears, packed our Carradice’s and headed off on the Saturday of Stage 1 in Yorkshire.
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Ben picked up a flat just south of Petersfield at mile 17, but managed to make an improvised work stand out of a fallen tree before getting back on the road.
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The rest of the ride was fairly straightforward and uneventful up until around the century mark in Berkhamsted where after polishing off my last banana sandwich we noticed Ben’s alloy Carradice rack had a crack in it.
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To make matters worse LoVelo, the local bike shop had just closed so we just pushed on hoping for the best.
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A mile or two down the road and I noticed things not looking to good as the left hand side of the rack was now just hanging off after cracking clean off.
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There was noting we could do apart from continue and hope the whole thing didn’t fall apart over the next 50 miles. It ended up holding on for the next 50 miles before finally giving up the ghost upon arrival. Never has the phrase ‘Steel is real’ been more true as my older steel version of the rack is as good as the day I first received it!

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The last few miles were through huge open fields and as the sun set on our 13 hour day we decided to take a break and re hydrate at the Robin Hood & Little John, Codicote.

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As we continued we had a huge bird of prey fly just over our heads, a bat fly along side us and chased a rabbit over the Essex boarder.

With our energy levels dropping we pulled on the short section of  Tour de France route leading us into Pampisford and the promise of a hot meal and cold beer 🙂

Sunday saw us head into Cambridge itself to see what fun we could have. On parker’s piece we charged Ben’s phone by riding a bike, raced each other on the Rollapaluza (Ben beat me and took 3rd spot overall, where as I could only manage 15th – although I was in flip-flops).

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Chatted to some roper gents about their very impressive vintage bike collections, had a go on a tandem recumbent and then tried to watch stage 2 in the local Wetherspoons only to have to leave when someone thought the women’s, doubles, disabled, tennis was more interesting!

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We did see a man playing guitar in a bin, though so every cloud and all that!

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Monday was the big day and we meet up with Alex, who had been in Bristol performing with Portsmouth Batala at St Paul’s Carnival. She even made it on to the TV thanks to the BBC, not many people can say that about their first gig!

There was a huge convoy of cars before the breakaway zoomed past, followed a few minuets later by the peloton itself.

It was amazing to see, but as with all major sporting events its not something I would rush to go and see again. After all, I prefer to be riding my bike then watching others ride theirs 😉