Thursday, 3 August 2017

RideLondon 46 on what I believe was the heaviest tandem there

While 24,000 riders took part in the 100 mile route, we had a lie in and joined the 4,000 riders taking part in the 46-mile version also known as ‘Bunking Box Hill’.

Waiting in the shadow of the ArcelorMittal Orbit for our wave to set off

The morning of RideLondon was the first time I had seen Chandni since we rode to Brighton over a month ago. We hadn’t trained together for weeks, I’d had three hours sleep thanks to some amorous foxes outside my window and the only preparations we had done was pump up the tyres on the Viking Timber Trail tandem, masking tape a bubble gun to the pannier rack and buy a bag of Haribo. Nonetheless, we were excited and on time at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to ride in the final wave of the day.

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Our favourite bits were going under tunnels and over flyovers that we aren’t usually allowed to cycle over. It was especially exciting to go over the Hammersmith Flyover because we are both west London girls so spent a large portion of our childhoods there, sitting in the back of our dad’s cars, stuck in traffic, being bored out of our minds. This was probably the fastest either of us had ever been over it. The Flyover leads on to the Talgarth Road, home to St Paul’s Studios, a Grade II-listed row of eight terraced houses built in 1891 with large double-story windows. These have always ranked really high on my list of favourite buildings. They have been home to many famous artists and dancers due to the north-facing light and wooden floored studio space. Please check them out if you aren’t familiar with them because they are wonderful. As we ride I describe the landscape and practise my tour guide facts.

We usually count how many people hilariously shout “SHE’S NOT CYCLING ON THE BACK!” at us. We estimated for a ride this long with this many people it would be about 30 but surprisingly only one person said it. Has a memo gone out that we weren’t aware of? We had fresh new comebacks prepared. 

A bubble gun taped to a pannier rack is a ride essential

This was a great ride, really well organised with lots of cycle mechanics riding the course helping people with punctures out. The riders were really friendly and gave us lots of space and the spectator support was amazing. It wasn’t too warm and it only rained for a bit a few times. The finishers medal featured a route map which I think should be a compulsory requirement on all medals. I think almost everyone was finished in time for lunch. Ok, two lunches. 

A mappy medal to match my new technical Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion t-shirt

My housemate was photographing the event for one of the charities and said she took some pictures of some guy who was probably famous as everyone was going nuts for him. While we were watching the RideLondon-Surrey Classic men’s race on the television as I ate my second dinner she said, “That’s him!”

It was Mark Cavendish.

If you want to find out more about vision impaired tandem cycling in London go to

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