Author Topic: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019  (Read 922 times)

StuAff

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Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« on: March 13, 2019, 09:58:02 am »
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the hardest night ride in the south of England is back again, for the sixth time. I forgot to post the thread on here last year, soz for anyone who might have joined me!

Previous attempts at finding a refreshment stop were unsuccessful, and the peloton for this one has for some reason remained compact and bijou. Oh, I remember: It's because there are hills. Lots of hills. Whatever type of hills you really don't like, it's got them. More climbing than you can shake a stick at. Therefore, as per previous editions, the halfway will be self-catered and in a car park, unless LOTS of people suddenly sign up. Sorry. And if you think I'm joking about the amount of climbing...around 4500ft in 67 miles. When I rode Pompey-London-Brighton-Pompey last year, that was 8219ft. In 190 miles....

So: If you'd like to do lots and lots of climbing on an island in the Solent with no convenient bail-out points, please express an interest.

As per the previous editions, this will not be a formal FNRttC (at least not without that halfway stop), but run very much in the same vein. Route will be thoroughly recced, waymarkers if needed, TECs, no-one left behind, and so on. Rather than write a whole new blurb, I'll (mostly) quote that from previous years:

Meet at the Portsmouth car ferry terminal (a short ride from Portsmouth Harbour station) in time for the 2359 sailing- you'll need to be checked in by 2344 at the absolute latest. Anyone going via an alternative route or an earlier sailing will need to be at the Fishbourne terminal to meet us at quarter to one or so. After the safety talk and letting The Traffic get on its way (there will be more vehicles on the ferry than we'll see the rest of the night ), we will head south and then east, picking up the IOW Randonnee route for a while, thus avoiding the exciting nightlife of Ryde. Round to The Only Shop That Is Open On The Entire Island, Ryde Tesco, for all your retail and rest stop needs. Then on clockwise to Bembridge, Sandown, and Shanklin. Undercliff Drive will still still be off the menu, it's been reopened and very nicely too. What isn't nice is the steep multiple-hairpin descent to get down there, and (you'll never guess) a steep climb up at the other end.

There is a further rest stop opportunity at Bonchurch (community toilets, open all night) before our half-way stop. Blackgang picnic site, al-fresco, but plenty of benches, and fantastic views. Unlike the roundabout at the bottom....

After that, the coastal road all the way to Freshwater- even if I say so myself, an absolutely glorious stretch, and then to the Needles and Alum Bay. View from the Needles is absolutely glorious, and you don't get it on the Randonnee. Then back north Yarmouth and on to Ryde, hopefully via Cowes and the chain ferry to East Cowes (the alternative via Newport is rather more prosaic and much busier). This is sadly dependant on the ongoing not-very-funny farce that is The New Chain Ferry being somehow sorted out. The alternative passenger launch might be an option. Breakfast in Ryde (Wetherspoons were very helpful and did an excellent job for previous rides, many other options available). Return to the mainland either from Ryde (catamaran to Portsmouth Harbour station- ideal for trains but you'll need to buy two singles, and cat tickets are more expensive as well) or four miles back west to Fishbourne (others may prefer to leave us at Yarmouth or East Cowes if it suits better).

Please be aware that this is considerably lumpier than any of the usual FNR routes, something in the region of 4,500 to 5,000ft of climbing. In comparison, London to Brighton, and then back to Pompey, is less than 3500ft, in 50% more miles. This is not a ride for those who are hill-phobic. There are flat sections of road, some visible without the aid of an electron microscope, but it never really settles over the 65 miles or so. Nothing really nasty, there are no Ditchling Beacons (those who did the first year, Cowleaze Hill will not be on the route this time....) but it's a lot of ups and downs. Compact or triple chainsets and sensible cassettes strongly recommended. I have seen people doing the Randonnee on fixed. Suffice to say, on your head be it....You will need good lights- large sections of the route are well-lit, but as much isn't. In view of the very limited bail-out opportunities (there are ferries during the night, but you might have a bit of a wait both to get back to the port and for the boat), please take extra care to check over your bike and kit, and make sure you have spare tubes, tools for non-quick release wheels (been there, done that....), and so on.

Oh, and if you think this might be more fun in daylight, do the Randonnee on the Sunday instead…;)

Recce pencilled in for Good Friday.

Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 08:43:56 am »
I could be up for this. Bit weather dependent though.
Reine de la Fauche


StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 11:29:19 pm »
I could be up for this. Bit weather dependent though.
:thumbsup:
We've generally been pretty lucky RE rain- one torrential downpour- but unfortunately, there will be a headwind at some point, crosswinds, and a tailwind. Strength and length of exposure to each to be determined by atmospheric conditions....;)

Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 09:40:22 pm »
Ridden round the Island a few times and have a bailout option at Yarmouth. I can live with wind but throw in buckets of rain as well and I might wimp out....
Reine de la Fauche


StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2019, 04:50:07 pm »
Bump. Did the recce in the small hours of Good Friday. More below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to Wightlink changing their timetable for no good reason, we will now be taking the 0100 ferry, there's no midnight one. Earlier sailing (2300) is too early for me on a work night, sorry (I did try getting the night off some weeks back, before I heard of the timetable alterations, no dice). You'll need to be at the ferry terminal by 0045.

Recce notes:
Rather faster and easier than last year's, not that wouldn't have been hard...did take a couple of detours which put paid to a repeat of getting to 'spoons by 7.30, but still made it there before 8. Which was nice.
This time, rather than popping down to Gunwharf early for a ticket, I bought it online & printed it out. Recommended, very simple and easy. Still hideously expensive, obviously...The new ferry, Victoria of Wight, is very nice, absolutely no difference whatsoever in boarding routine for pedestrians and cyclists- same rather narrow gangway etc, bikes against bow ramp. Road out of Fishbourne terminal is still horrendously potholed, it's now about the worst stretch on the entire route, with the bit after the Sunshine Trail running it close. Tesco sandwich selection, as ever at that branch in the small hours, somewhat sparse but adequate. Same old same old, in a good way, on the route. The island strangeness quotient: when I get to the Blackgang car park, there's a Ford Fiesta van parked there. No-one in it. Am about to leave when two young blokes appear from the nearby path (they inquired if I was all right). As to what they were doing there....pass. Wind was a bit gusty on the climbs before Freshwater Bay, but nothing too bad. Round to West Cowes, after managing to take a wrong turn and ending up in Gurnard (whoops). Ticket machines for chain ferry are still not working (!). It's still £1.50 for a return. Quarr Hill still just what you don't want with 60-odd miles in your legs. 'spoons large breakfast still ideal recovery. Tim Martin still a **** ;)
Route files same as last year.
Fishbourne-Tesco
Tesco-Ryde

Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2019, 06:34:55 pm »
I'll check my train times...
Reine de la Fauche


Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2019, 01:05:39 pm »
What on earth does one do in Portsmouth for an hour around midnight. I hope the waiting room is open! Oh and am I right assuming I need to join the Fridays for the ride; already a CTc member!
Reine de la Fauche


Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2019, 01:35:20 pm »
Give H a call, sure he knows a local bar still open

StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2019, 01:58:32 pm »
What on earth does one do in Portsmouth for an hour around midnight. I hope the waiting room is open! Oh and am I right assuming I need to join the Fridays for the ride; already a CTc member!
Nope, this isn't an official FNR, so no club membership required. The terminal will be open...

Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 05:44:23 pm »
Give H a call, sure he knows a local bar still open

I'm sure he does; however not the ideal preparation for me! ;D
Reine de la Fauche


StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2019, 10:51:47 pm »
Chris W will be bringing his jet boil stove, so if you'd like a hot drink at halfway bring ingredients (unless like him, you enjoy 'black unsweetened leaded coffee' as he put it)

Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 11:00:26 pm »
On the train heading to Portsmouth Harbour. Sotonia club kit and large Carradice. What have I let myself in for.....
Reine de la Fauche


StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2019, 11:11:04 pm »
On the train heading to Portsmouth Harbour. Sotonia club kit and large Carradice. What have I let myself in for.....
:thumbsup:Will head down there in about an hour. Lots of black, red Ortlieb.
Hills, basically :)

StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2019, 04:54:54 pm »
Well, that was eventful. This ride doesn't do uneventful, but this was in some respects a bit too eventful. But still good fun, and those of you fence-sitters who keep not signing up, or did but had to bail, not only missed wind and rain (and it wasn't that bad, at least with waterproof gear that was actually waterproof- and some of mine wasn't either!) but really great fun. And hopefully, next year, there will be a midnight ferry on Friday night, as Extremely Early In The Morning Ride Around the Coast is a considerably less catchy title, and a 2am start makes the time drag rather more.

Back to the small hours of Saturday. Thanks (but no thanks) to Wightlink's timetable changes, the post-work routine to get ready for this ride was somewhat more drawn-out. Down to the Gunwharf terminal just after midnight, to find the remaining five members of the night's peloton (four from the other place, and  JBB- lovely to meet you!), already getting acquainted/reacquainted). We were the only cyclists on the ferry so there was no danger of confusion with anyone else (there was a guy with a rather nice Planet X Pickenflick on the recce, so not impossible). Unlike the midnight ferry, which is usually fairly busy, the 2am sailing was very quiet, despite the best efforts of a somewhat enthusiastic canine. As per usual on this ride, we parked up at Fishbourne to let The Traffic get on its way before I did the safety talk and we played Dodge The Pothole on the road away from the terminal. Somewhat annoyingly, lost a few miles on the Garmin by not restarting the timer (am still looking for a way of editing the GPX to put the first part back in) but I knew the way to Tesco well enough. Shopping done, on we went, up to Seaview (for the titular aquatic vista that you don't get on the Randonnee, and which adds nothing to that ride's mileage), round to Bembridge, and then down to Sandown (well, up, then down, then up.....but that's the IOW). By this stage, the heavens had opened, and those of us who had extra rain gear had donned it. We stopped for a breather at Sandown (where the WCs were closed but offered a bit of shelter from the wind and rain), and then the Sunshine Trail. Which must be lovely in the daylight, not that I ever have ridden it then ;)

Chris suffered the first deflation on the trail, and no sooner had we got to the end than Dan punctured as well. By the time we'd ground up Blackgang the sun had risen- well, it was light, anyway- and paused for the alfresco stop. Chris's stove provided a most welcome cuppa, once we'd worked out where to position it out of the wind so it didn't get blown out (as Jim Royle would put it, "12 mph wind my ****", more like 20 mph). Garmins with temperature readings reckoned it was sub-zero. I wasn't convinced, but we were all shivering- my gloves were damp, and I opted to keep them on rather than get the second pair damp as well- and the wind chill was nasty.

On we went, Peter opting to head north at the appropriate junction (he was going to turn back instead, but a look at the map persuaded him otherwise) and on the Military Road, yet another puncture, for Julia this time. Chris felt the need for an urgent call of nature, and we unfortunately lost contact for the rest of the ride, though the last-minute route changes the rest of us made certainly didn't help. Julia was feeling inclined to bail at Yarmouth, get the ferry and ride home (Salisbury area) from Lymington, so once we'd got the grind up towards Freshwater Bay, then the (somewhat hairy in the crosswind) descent down to there, out of the way, a route change ensued, as we picked up the official round-Island route, an off-road path to Yarmouth. Julia left us there, and the remaining three of us carried on to Newport- by this stage I was of the view that the most direct route was the best option- and I wasn't physically flagging, but the mind wasn't terribly keen on the schlep up to West Cowes, the chain ferry, the nasty little climbs in East Cowes…the stretch to Newport proved a better option. The NW wind was certainly strong, but we must have been more sheltered in the middle of the island, as our speed picked up somewhat. Dan opted to part company here- his wife was meeting up with him, and his brother lives near Newport, and after conferring with Colin, we opted to (a) go for the catamaran rather than the car ferry and (b) skip breakfast (I know, shocking behaviour....but thanks to that late start, and incidents, time was pressing). My impromptu routing to Ryde (follow the signs, basically) thankfully avoided the 'motorway' (the only dual-carriageway on the island, and one of the nastiest bits of road I've ever ridden on), been there, done that…before we got back on the canonical route past Fishbourne, up the ever-lovely Quarr Hill, and into town. Straight past the Wetherspoons to the pier, and we got the very next cat, which was already boarding, in part thanks to a helpful Wightlink employee who opened the barrier for us. And there, in the bike racks, was a familiar Super Galaxy, Chris having made his own way back round.

On the other side, we parted company- Chris for a train home, Colin to his waiting (and sadly ailing) car, and I had to ride all the way home :smile:

Many thanks to the hardy few that joined me, it was a triumph over (very mild indeed) adversity. 2020. It shall return. Oi! You, reading this, yes you, sign up next time. Double figure head count would be nice.....but I'd do it on my own (well, twice if you count the recce). It's a fab ride, even when it's wet and windy. Though at the risk of stating the obvious, you are guaranteed to have a headwind at some point, and if you can't stand hills, look away now.....

Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2019, 06:23:14 pm »
I enjoyed it very much, a good group who support each other is always good.My original plan was to do the ride to breakfast, then back to Yarmouth and hence home. However with time getting on and the prospect of a headwind home I bailed at Yarmouth and caught the 8;45 ferry where my feet finally thawed out! Home and in the shower by 12:30.

I'll definitely try to do the next one; although I'd prefer something a little warmer. Lovely to meet you all and many thanks to Stu for organising!
Reine de la Fauche


StuAff

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Re: Night Ride Around The Coast (IOW) May 3 2019
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2019, 07:53:46 pm »
I enjoyed it very much, a good group who support each other is always good.My original plan was to do the ride to breakfast, then back to Yarmouth and hence home. However with time getting on and the prospect of a headwind home I bailed at Yarmouth and caught the 8;45 ferry where my feet finally thawed out! Home and in the shower by 12:30.

I'll definitely try to do the next one; although I'd prefer something a little warmer. Lovely to meet you all and many thanks to Stu for organising!
:thumbsup:+1 for the weather. Shame it wasn't as glorious as the recce!