Friday, August 20, 2010

My Day On A Seven Seater (Single Geared) Conference Bike

After a car journey, a brief train ride to Long Buckby (no, I’d never heard of it either) and a lift in the van (which was in the exact state I expected it to be in after almost 3 weeks of things being bundled in and out) I arrived at the Barceló Daventry Hotel (4*). Immediately I was warmly welcomed into the CoBi family by fellow riders, Sarah and Harry. This was a pleasant surprise as I had come fully equipped to camp.

Dinner was delayed due to the fascination of the coach tour that were seduced by the seven seat bike sitting in the foyer, one of whom was 84 year old Walter, a former Cancer Research scientist and avid cyclist. He didn’t need much encouragement to climb aboard for a photo.

Three more cyclists joined us before bedtime and we spend the final hour of the day debating whether or not crocodiles make good pets* and was CoBi a fitness or social thing – the second pint of San Miguel confirmed it was more likely the latter.

After a cosy night sleep (6 beds, 9 people) and a hearty breakfast, we set off, not before wrestling the bike from the members of the coach tour who were threatening to abandon their previous days transportation for Miss CoBi.

On the bike to begin with were Ed (Can I tell you a story?), Amy (Scream if you want to go slower), Laura (the extra weight of that hoodie will slow us down), Martin (I enjoy a good poke), Harry (it’s all about the lycra), Stewart (I could start my own business but I’d rather ride a single gear seven seater bike) and myself (I don’t want this to be too easy), while in the van were Sarah (get you butts up this hill now), Jack (Whatever stories Ed told you, they’re completely made up) and Ian (I think I’ve cracked this driving lark now).

Our first stop came after only 1.5 miles when we were stopped by the man from BBC Radio Northampton for an interview. Over the next few hours we seemed to pick up people at every turn. Paul (I’m going to build my own conference bike) joined us at Towcester after driving 5 hours from Essex that morning, Chris (who needs shoes anyway) and Emily (from Norway) joined at Milton Keynes.

We made good time, completing a marathon distance in under 3 and a half hours, and we were delighted to see an actual buzzard hovering over Leyton Buzzard. There a real life rock band (Spring Offensive) joined the journey taking the total number of riders for the day to 16. They entertained us by playing most of their back catalogue both on the way out of Leyton Buzzard and back into it again. The 40 minute detour was a slight set back but once back on the road it was time to cruise into Hemel just after 7PM, our final destination.

An amazing and motivating day with really interesting people who'd joined in for all kinds of reasons, taking part in something both bonkers and worthy and as I laid my head on my pillow I could still feel my legs spinning round top speed.

If you see this big purple machine in your area in the next week, give them a honk or a cheerful wave and please give generously!

* we decided not as it might eat the cat.

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