Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Audax => Topic started by: Bianchi Boy on January 27, 2018, 05:48:55 pm

Title: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Bianchi Boy on January 27, 2018, 05:48:55 pm
I have been sorting my calendar out and the weekend of the 9/10th June has magically become available. This ride has attracted me as I will get a good sleep in my own bed on Friday night before heading out at a sensible time to catch the train to Exeter.

Anybody else planning to ride?

I love riding through the night and starting at mid-day really has appealed. Could even ride back to Reading at the end.

 :thumbsup:

BB
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Bianchi Boy on April 29, 2018, 05:46:51 pm
There has been an issue with dooking rail tickets o GWR as there are extensive rail works in the Hayes area. The tickets are now available for Saturday morning and I will be on the train that gets into Exeter at 10:13. Should be enough time to find the start and get some food.

BB
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ajax Bay on April 29, 2018, 09:32:54 pm
http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/18-411/
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Gadget on May 12, 2018, 03:40:52 pm
I've entered this ride, and also like the look of a linear ride, especially as the finish is only 30 minutes from my house. Only Straight Outta Hackney is closer...
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on May 22, 2018, 11:18:01 am
Routesheet, gpxeditor map, and gpx file are all now published (subject to last-minute route-checking).
http://www.ukcyclist.co.uk/audax-events/73-back-to-the-smoke-400 (http://www.ukcyclist.co.uk/audax-events/73-back-to-the-smoke-400)
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ajax Bay on May 22, 2018, 02:47:16 pm
There has been an issue with dooking rail tickets o GWR as there are extensive rail works in the Hayes area. The tickets are now available for Saturday morning and I will be on the train that gets into Exeter at 10:13. Should be enough time to find the start and get some food.

BB
"Starting at 12 noon, 9 June 2018 from Exeter St David's Railway Station"
Hope you won't find 'finding the start' takes much time.
As far as getting an early lunch, rather than the rigors of the station cafe or climbing up into the city, I'd go to Exeter Quays; route:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27576143
Several eating options.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on May 22, 2018, 04:25:27 pm

As far as getting an early lunch, rather than the rigors of the station cafe or climbing up into the city, I'd go to Exeter Quays; route:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27576143
Several eating options.

Or, to save traipsing over Exe Bridges, the Imperial  (https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/england/devon/the-imperial-exeter)is just around the corner — better than average Wetherspoon in a nice building.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Bianchi Boy on May 22, 2018, 08:35:04 pm
Is anybody else considering an overnight sleep. There is a Premier Inn in Chipping Norton that looks a likely candidate.

By my calculation I would hope to be there at about midnight. If you fancy getting a few hours shuteye then drop me a pm.

BB
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on June 04, 2018, 09:54:59 pm
Everyone should have had an email today with the updated routesheet and gpx. 

I rode over the weekend in just over 21hrs.  That was with route-checking and annotating the routesheet, so it should be quite a fast 400.

I couldn't find any 24hr facilities at Buckingham, so I'd advise stocking up at Stow. 

See you on Saturday outside St David's.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Bianchi Boy on June 07, 2018, 10:30:50 pm
Everyone should have had an email today with the updated routesheet and gpx. 

I rode over the weekend in just over 21hrs.  That was with route-checking and annotating the routesheet, so it should be quite a fast 400.

I couldn't find any 24hr facilities at Buckingham, so I'd advise stocking up at Stow. 

See you on Saturday outside St David's.
https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham (https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham)
Is 24 hour - so the web says.....
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ben T on June 08, 2018, 08:45:41 am
Everyone should have had an email today with the updated routesheet and gpx. 

I rode over the weekend in just over 21hrs.  That was with route-checking and annotating the routesheet, so it should be quite a fast 400.

I couldn't find any 24hr facilities at Buckingham, so I'd advise stocking up at Stow. 

See you on Saturday outside St David's.
https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham (https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham)
Is 24 hour - so the web says.....
as does https://goo.gl/maps/o4WBZEBPrRr
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: nigeld on June 08, 2018, 09:04:40 am
https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham (https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham)
Is 24 hour - so the web says.....

Good find! Can we use that as the "control", or does it have to be somewhere in the town centre?

Nigel

Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on June 08, 2018, 09:41:54 am
https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham (https://www.spar.co.uk/store-locator/afb17957-spar-euro-garages-buckingham)
Is 24 hour - so the web says.....

Good find! Can we use that as the "control", or does it have to be somewhere in the town centre?

Nigel

If the address is 'Buckingham', then it's fine.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on June 09, 2018, 05:33:21 pm
Two riders had bike reservation problems and arrived at the station just over an hour late.  They look like the kind who'll catch up quite quickly.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on June 10, 2018, 03:36:23 pm
Time's up.  I know two packed.  I know seven finished.  As for the rest, we'll see what arrives in the post over the next week.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Bianchi Boy on June 10, 2018, 04:17:07 pm
I finished at 10am with Richard? Had a great ride.

Out to Wells in 4 hours and then to Durrington by about 7:30pm. Eat a meal in Durrington and then back on the road. Final climb to Stow BP services was a killer with my body screaming for food. From there to Buckingham was quite straight forward. After Buckingham I had a real low point and had to stop for a sleep. From there the ride into London was probably as good as you can manage, but I guess that is what you expect with a central London finish.

All i a great day and I really like the straight route, makes a real change to the standard loop.

BB
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ben T on June 10, 2018, 10:38:52 pm
I finished, got back to Marylebone just gone 11.
Good route. Would have found the durrington to stow leg a bit long if I hadn't inserted a pre planned stop half way.
Wiltshire was hillier than I had it down as. Stow was slightly foggy. After that the terrain was nicely rolling I thought and got light soon after stow.
Didn't get too dozy, couple of gate-leans before Buckingham though.
Got over hungry on the last leg and on finally getting to a mcds over-ate.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: grams on June 11, 2018, 08:33:14 am
Yep, enjoyed that a lot. I'd pencilled in a 24 hour garage on the A420 (off route towards Swindon) between Durrington and Stow, but ended up not needing it.

It was good to see the sights: Glastonbury Tor, Stonehenge, Abbey Road, genuine doggers on the M4 underpass*...

(* apparently "real men ride women". Given all I could see were a bunch of glum men standing around waiting, perhaps it was more of a plaintive plea for one to turn up)

Quote
From there the ride into London was probably as good as you can manage, but I guess that is what you expect with a central London finish

I found Watford-Cricklewood to be an order of magnitude worse than anything I normally choose to ride on in London. South of Edgware was gridlock mid-morning and required loads of dangerous filtering.

Aldenham Road, which broadly parallels the A41 section can be lovely and empty. You just have to choose the right roads.

Quote
Two riders had bike reservation problems

I made my reservation over the phone and didn't have anything printed and they insisted this would be fine. Some officious dickhead at Paddington demanded I go to the ticket office and get a printout with minutes to spare. Fortunately the train was the wrong way round and I didn't have to walk the full length to get to the bike spaces. Grrrrrr.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: RobD62 on July 07, 2018, 10:17:44 pm
Chippenham to Exeter train arriving with an hour and a half to spare and met Tom (Hackney AC) and Cris (Reading) We all took pre ride sustinance at the Spoons "Imperial" Met the local boys on a Breakfast ride (more breakfast thatn ride me thinks - they thought my pre 400 Shandy a bit bold!
Ian made the start a very civilised affair and the lights/junctions out of Exeter did a good job of splitting the goup of about 30 plus.  I was amazed at my pace on the roads to Taunton given the northerly wind drift the weater man had predicted and spent some of it wiht Tom.  Got to Wells in 4:20 and had posh cafe food with Chris and Allesando(both Hackney)  I let them go as I knew, form growing up in the area, what lay ahead...that climb out of Wells goies on for ever..and I do not climb quickly!. it was not until a gateway stop near Shrewton did I reealise how close I was to others when passed by three riders in quick succession.  Durrington I met up with Tom and others again but departed on my own.  joining up with Chris and Allenssandro whan they stopped to check on Tom who wsa having some shut eye before Shrivenham.  The doggers at the M4 turned into boy racers by the time I got there....all gave me a wide berth! considerate boy racers!  Rode with Tom for a bit again through Highworth and now understand why Upper Rissington is so called!  Hot Bacon and saussage bagguette with black coffee was welcome at the BP at Stow in the early hours.  The Sun rise after Chipping Norton wsa splendid.  then came the low point when all roads to Buckingham seemed to drag up!  the fella sorting the papers at the Spar garage at Buckingham came to check on me as I sat on a sack of out of season rock salt and devoured my egg and cress sandwich and more black coffee.  I deveated to Cheddington at Long Marston for toast, tea and a wash (clean shorts and under vest) at my son and his girlfriend's house stopped for about 50 minutes. This brightened me up no end and sharpened my senses for the ride into London.  Having commuted in the smoke for many a year I reverted to hearing and seeing all and treating London traffic with a great deal of respect.  Tom rolled into Marylebone about 25 minutes after me - the time was 12:55 happy with that.
Thank you Ian - I very much enjoyed the event - back to the smoke next year I hope....
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Wycombewheeler on March 06, 2019, 05:37:41 pm
I'm booked on to this ride for 2019 but it seems there are no train tickets to Exeter available on the saturday
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: grams on March 06, 2019, 06:14:32 pm
It's the first weekend of the new railway timetable and it takes time to finalise these things. Keep an eye on this page:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/44703.aspx
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Wycombewheeler on March 06, 2019, 07:42:55 pm
It's the first weekend of the new railway timetable and it takes time to finalise these things. Keep an eye on this page:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/44703.aspx

Thanks. Thought it was odd that it would offer me Friday or Sunday but no Saturday. Hard to believe there would be no trains or that every single train that day was booked.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Pip on March 06, 2019, 10:05:26 pm
I think the trains only take up to four bikes. I was strongly advised to book a bike reservation.
Really looking forward to this event.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: citoyen on March 08, 2019, 11:28:29 am
Thanks for the reminder - I've just booked myself and my bike on the 8.20 from Paddington, getting in to Exeter St David's at 11.42.

£14.50 for the train ticket, which is an absolute bloody bargain - it normally costs me more than that just to get from East Kent to London.

Are people planning on stopping en route or riding through the night? I'll bring my bivvy bag as I might need a kip on the way, but I'll probably aim to avoid stopping if I can help it.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: citoyen on March 08, 2019, 11:38:35 am
I made my reservation over the phone and didn't have anything printed and they insisted this would be fine. Some officious dickhead at Paddington demanded I go to the ticket office and get a printout with minutes to spare. Fortunately the train was the wrong way round and I didn't have to walk the full length to get to the bike spaces. Grrrrrr.

Useful to know. I'll make sure I get to Paddington in plenty of time...
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: grams on March 08, 2019, 11:53:38 am
Useful to know. I'll make sure I get to Paddington in plenty of time...

If you did the bike booking during the purchase you'll be fine - the bike reservation tickets will come out of the machine alongside your travel tickets. I only got in trouble because I did my bike booking over the phone.

But yeah, making sure you have extra time to get the bike loaded properly isn't a bad idea.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: citoyen on March 08, 2019, 11:56:58 am
If you did the bike booking during the purchase you'll be fine - the bike reservation tickets will come out of the machine alongside your travel tickets. I only got in trouble because I did my bike booking over the phone.

I bought the ticket from thetrainline.com then phoned GWR to make the bike reservation separately. I foresee problems...

I didn't realise until too late that GWR let you book bike spaces online at the same time as booking your ticket*, or I would have bought the ticket directly from them.


*other operators don't, so I assumed...
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Phil W on March 08, 2019, 12:09:13 pm
Are people planning on stopping en route or riding through the night? I'll bring my bivvy bag as I might need a kip on the way, but I'll probably aim to avoid stopping if I can help it.

There is a bird hide at a Tring should you find yourself flagging towards the end.  Depends how late you are running. 

As for phone booking for bike reservations. You should still get a reservation number out of that, that you can put into a ticket machine to get your bike reservation tickets out of.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Rod Marton on March 08, 2019, 12:47:02 pm
If you did the bike booking during the purchase you'll be fine - the bike reservation tickets will come out of the machine alongside your travel tickets. I only got in trouble because I did my bike booking over the phone.

I bought the ticket from thetrainline.com then phoned GWR to make the bike reservation separately. I foresee problems...

I didn't realise until too late that GWR let you book bike spaces online at the same time as booking your ticket*, or I would have bought the ticket directly from them.


*other operators don't, so I assumed...

Don't worry, the GWR bike reservation system is broken.

I don't use Paddington, but no-one ever checks bike reservations elsewhere for this very reason. You may get some jobsworth there, but I think it's unlikely.

It's difficult to find the bike spaces on the new trains, so for your information:

On five carriage trains, one compartment in the second and one in the fourth carriage.

Ten carriage trains are two five-carriage units coupled together, so as above.

Nine carriage trains have compartments in the B, F, J (two compartments) and K carriages.

Each compartment is supposed to hold two bikes, but it's difficult to get the second one in (pretty much impossible if you use the recommended hook). Compartments are at the end of the carriage nearer the centre of the train. They double at luggage space, so sometimes you have to throw a few suitcases out.

Some trains have bike symbols by the doors to show where these compartments are. However GWR are as confused by the layouts of these trains as everyone else, so they aren't always in the right place.

There are a few of the old trans still running. If you are lucky you will get one of these.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: grams on March 08, 2019, 12:55:03 pm
As for phone booking for bike reservations. You should still get a reservation number out of that, that you can put into a ticket machine to get your bike reservation tickets out of.

Most companies do, but last year GWR gave me a reference number that was emphatically not a ToD pickup code.

I don't use Paddington, but no-one ever checks bike reservations elsewhere for this very reason. You may get some jobsworth there, but I think it's unlikely.

I was ambushed at the ticket gates last year with minutes to spare, so this is terrible advice!

(I've had multiple encounters with terrible jobsworths at Paddington - it seems to be a mecca for miserable gits)

Quote
There are a few of the old trans still running. If you are lucky you will get one of these.

By May there will be none (at least running to Paddington).
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: citoyen on March 08, 2019, 01:22:12 pm
Oh well, the office is near Paddington so maybe I’ll call in there on my lunch break and sort it out ahead of the day.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Wycombewheeler on March 08, 2019, 02:20:45 pm
Well I am booked. 9am at Reading to 11.06 in Exeter. I couldn't book from maidenhead as cycles not bootable on the maidenhead to reading trains. I guess I can either ride to reading or take any of the frequent local trains without a booking.

I've had the tickets posted to me for piece of mind that I have them.

I nearly called the whole thing off as the confirmation page before paying made no mention of the bike booking.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on March 08, 2019, 03:53:54 pm
Check-riding it last year and stopping frequently to write notes, I still finished in a 21hrs.  It's a pretty benign route (unless you bollox it up by allowing RWGPS to reroute you along all the main roads as someone did).

The route has changed a little around Watford, to avoid some busy dual-carriageway.  I have yet to check the new section, but the gps file won't be far out.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Wycombewheeler on May 14, 2019, 12:11:07 pm
Have I missed an email on this ride? Or do I just download the files from the website?
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on May 14, 2019, 01:34:44 pm
Have I missed an email on this ride? Or do I just download the files from the website?

Email will be end of this week.  Files unlikely to change in the meantime.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Wycombewheeler on May 14, 2019, 01:56:42 pm
Thanks.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: Ian H on May 17, 2019, 10:41:53 am
Email sent to all entrants (check your spam box if you haven't seen it).

Entry is still open at the moment, but I'll probably close it at 50.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: citoyen on May 17, 2019, 01:11:48 pm
Had to DNS the Invicta 400 last week due to matters not related to cycling. Putting my chances of being able to do this one at about 70% currently. Will let you know if I have to pull out.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: grams on May 20, 2019, 09:26:41 pm
I have a friend who's hoping to do this but can't find a bike space from London for Saturday morning. If anyone has one spare please let me know.
Title: Re: Back to the Smoke 2018
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on May 20, 2019, 10:40:29 pm
We ended up with Friday trains and accommodation for this reason alone.