So today the ladies from Southsea Fixed Gear (aka Lex (me) and Ingrid) embarked on our first 100miler without the lads for the global women’s cycling day that is Rapha’s Womens100. Fortunately we had a lovely group of ladies to join which was organised by Marcia Roberts from the Pompey Pedal Pushers.
As Ingrid (from Bike U Like) arrived to collect me it was bucketing down. We didn’t want to bail and were positive conditions would improve so soaked it up like a sponge and powered on. When we met the group the rain ceased and we left as a set of soggy cyclist.
The route was taking us along the coast from Portsmouth to Brighton. The aim was to complete a 50/60mile cycle which was a first for a few of the group. We all had a good range of bikes amongst us including road, touring, fixed and mountain.
The terrain was varied including a little bit of off-roading much to Ingrid’s dismay. Being off the road was so refreshing, plus I love the dirt!!
Our first well deserved stop was Aldingbourne Country Centre 23miles in. This cafe was a hidden beauty with cakes, pastries and a good selection of teas (definitely recommended). They also employed adults with learning difficulties and have fantastic facilities for all ages and occasions.
As we were about to leave Marcia got the first flat of the day 🙁 Ingrid got her hands dirty putting her workshop skills to good use and quickly had it fixed.
Fortunately the centre was very cycle friendly and randomly had a track pump for public use, big thumbs up!!
We got back on the road, winding our way through some idlic villages along the South Downs.
As we finally hit the coast and the sun started to peek through the clouds and reveal blue skies.
The route planned by Marcia was beautiful and well organised with sufficient and suitable stops for us ladies liking cake!!
I was hosting some WarmShowers chaps (Tim, Thyn & Koen) from Belgium that evening that were coming from Brighton. I was doubtful we would cross paths due to the various route options. Then I spotted them across the road all loaded up. Unfortunately to awkward to stop I bellowed across the road in passing.
This is definitely a new method of taking the dog for a walk.
With Brighton in our grasp we could see our end in site pushing hard through the sun and docks.
Finally hitting our destination Brighton was rammed full of tourist and suddenly trying to get food became a bit of a challenge with our bikes. Dehydrated and disorientated we headed to the seafront which in hindsight wasn’t the best option.
So quickly bailed and hit the lanes to a tasty Mexican restaurant. After a delicious meal we parted ways and eight became three, plus one with the awesome cycling beauty from Brighton that is Lyndsay! Who joined us for part of the cycle back out of town.
Myself, Ingrid and Marcia headed for home with a serious speed in mind. We were averaging around 17mph all the way home. Rushing back to try and catch up with our Warm Showers guest and dodging the storms behind us.
Unfortunately Marcia got a slow flat which she needed to stop to pump every few miles so we reluctantly parted ways in Emsworth, due to needing get back and help Andy host.
Then we finished the way we started with just the two Southsea Fixed Gear ladies. We were pushing hard to the last moment taking turns on the front and finished on a high.
Despite the soggy start it was a stunning day spent with beautiful souls and is hopefully the first of many more such rides to come!
To see our ride states via Strava click Alex & Ingrid.