A Blog About Brian Albritton's September 2012 Cycling Ride Across Britain

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Riding with Stewart's Group and My Friend Nick

Stewart's Group
What made the ride bearable was cycling with a group. Beginning from the second "pit stop" on Day Two, I rode with with a group led by the "chaperone" Stewart. Above is a picture of our group. Stewart is the rider on the right of the sign with green sleeves.

The ride organizers would send out various chaperones who would set a certain pace of the ride for anyone who wanted to ride as a group at that pace. Most people, it seemed, did not ride with a chaperone and rode either alone or in their own groups. There were several chaperone groups; we were the slow group, riding at an average speed between 11-12 mph.

Stewart was great. He "pulled" us along, leading us in a long line. Sometimes our group would pick up more riders, and we would be as many as 30 riders. Stewart (and a lot of other riders for that matter) appeared to be immune from the cold, and he would only wear a jersey and a sleeveless gillet for most of the rides. When the sun would break through occasionally, Stewart would complain of the "heat wave" and that he was "sweating".  Of course, I would be freezing as it was cold almost all of the time.
My friend Nick

I became friends with one of the riders in our group, Nick who is an architect from London, and a bit younger than me. That's Nick and me in the picture. Nick was a very strong rider, and just a great person to ride with. We shared a lot of the same interests, including a mutual appreciation of the English show, "IT Crowd".  Nick was also a real help to me. As I frequently suffered from being cold, Nick would often surprise me with a cup of hot tea at a pit stop. On the day we rode the 134 mile leg, much of which was in cold wind and rain, Nick loaned me some leg warmers. I had fallen behind that day, and he "pulled" me the last 20 miles of the ride to base camp. Nick tried to tell me that if your feet are cold, you should cover them in plastic bags. He swore by it, and you would often see the plastic bags around his ankles. I tried it, but all the bags did for me was act as a sort of a refrigerator for my feet: preserving the cold as opposed to keeping in the heat.

Nick could climb the hills and mountains pretty well and was a pretty strong rider overall -- stronger than many of the younger riders. He had done some of his training by riding to work every day, roughly 15 miles each way, and treating it as a sort of time trial. Someday, I hope we get to ride together again somewhere.

A. Brian Albritton


  1. Brian, amazing story glad you did it and now, so glad you're back. Hope to see you soon!
    Love, Ann

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