Hard Day in January '20 - Kent Downs Edition

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  • Chapeau Clement!
    Afraid no pics from Josh and I but we found a band in a record store that perfectly describes how I'm feeling after yesterday. Thanks again all, was super fun to meet and ride with you all, may it happen again :)

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  • Gibbs Hill is a right bugger, even on gears!

  • One for @General_Lucifer I think. My understanding is that the name was used as it's Yorkshire slang for an erect penis.

    Did you buy any of their records?

  • slang for a sore penis

    Sounds quite apt after yesterday’s ride

  • Just a Yo La Tengo. Passed on the Throbbing Gristle.

  • Every year I see this ride and think I wish I had done it. Need to have a sweet fixie for next year.

  • Throbbing Gristle were spectacular, Hull’s finest. Yeah, a reference to a particular turgid member but the band members went on to form bands that had a huge influence on alternative rock.

  • HDiJ Ride report 2020.

    It gives me a lot of pleasure to hear that the HDiJ is seen as an established part of the calendar – this goes way beyond my expectations when I was planning the 2009 ride (let alone the 1959 version). I hope this event will continue to cater for those who want an early season long distance fixed ride – let’s remember this sort of effort has played a part in the development of many champions.

    The Route

    The new route was an undoubted success – even though it did cause me some navigation problems, especially after the ‘closed’ bridge between Yalding and Wateringbury. I understand there was an additional 2,000 feet of climbing compared with last year, but the gradients were generally not so steep as to cause real difficulties; this seems to be an improvement (but I have to admit I speak as a spectator in a car).
    Another benefit was that much of the distance was on roads with as little traffic as one can hope for in 2020. A lot of the research for the route was done by Pastrybot and he should be congratulated for his work, but when it comes to thanks and congratulations we must remember we all owe a big debt to YAL.


    ‘Cycling’ would often include the leading riders’ gearing in reports of time trials, so I have recorded everyone’s gearing on this ride:

    Josh01 44x17 - 77”
    Lucy 46 x 16 (650’s) - 69” (but see note below)
    Cagimaha 47 x 17 - 73”
    Ivm (or donera ?) 44 x 16 - 73”
    Lobster Shorts 48x18 - 71”
    TTM 48 x 19 - 67”
    Jaeyukdapbap 47 x 17 - 74.7”
    Seager 42 x17 - 66”
    Pastrybot 38 x 15 – 67”
    Falconvitesse 48 x 18 - 71”
    YAL 46 x 18 - 66”

    Only CGG did not know his gear, which we will take as a sign of strength and confidence – he feels he doesn’t need to worry!
    Lucy stated her gear as 69” from 46 x 16 on 650 wheels. I don’t know the exact diameter of the 650’s, but to arrive at 69” they would need to be 24” diameter, and I suspect they are more like 26”, which would give about 74.5”. This seems a bit high, but perhaps she needs it to keep up with her impressively speedy partner, Josh01.

    Meritorious Ride Trophy

    This is not awarded to the strongest rider, but to the one who has had to struggle, in one way or another, to finish. We decided to make the award to Lucy.

    She had started with serious doubts about her own ability to cope with the distance, since she had previously thought of a single hour as a longish ride, and had restricted her competitive efforts to hill climbs. I’m sure that many outsiders would have thought it unwise for this petite young person to attempt such a tough ride on any machine, let alone on fixed. In practice, the lack of preparation did not show itself until she hit a bad patch at about seventy miles, but she managed to ride through it and finished looking perfectly happy.
    It’s perhaps worth mentioning that Lucy shares at least two characteristics with the great Eileen Sheridan* - they are both small and good at smiling when the going is tough.

    As some one who has always been keen on old bikes, I may consider creating an award for the oldest machine. I this 2020 ride it would certainly have gone to Falconvitesse, who did not seem to be troubled by the age of his Gillot which was set up with authentic 1950’s kit.

    Next Year

    There are three points I’d like to make.

    As we all know, riding a bike always involves an element of risk and very occasionally there can be damage to outsiders (pedestrians, horse riders). For this reason I hope everyone taking part in any forum event on the road has third party insurance (e.g. BC membership or similar). This is not just for the individual’s own benefit, but for the financial wellbeing of everyone involved.

    The view from behind the group, which is what the motorists see, could not be described as tidy. I realise it’s much easier for a club, where riders should know each other well, to ride neatly in pairs, while an ad hoc group like ours is bound to struggle. However I mention this in the hope that you can give some thought to the matter in the future.

    If there is a 2021 ride using the Kent route, I’d like to suggest that you try the Jungle Café at Addington, on the A20 for your café stop. Although the Kingdom has good points it is too upmarket for my personal taste, and it may be others share this view.
    The Jungle Café is a traditional transport caff which, having lost the lorry drivers, survives by providing excellent food at sensible prices. I don’t know how long it can survive, but while it does it’s well worth supporting.

    For 2020, you’ve started the year with a good, solid training ride. My advice is – keep on with more of the same, and then use the fitness gained in some form of competition.

    • Eileen Sheridan – if you don’t know about her, search her name. She is still alive and well and living in Isleworth.

  • Lucy, YAL and the Trophy.

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  • YAL’s Ride Report

    Another great year. I really enjoyed the riders and the route. The last minute change from Maidstone to Bromley South worked out well for everyone – including me living out here in The Regions.

    It was a milder year weather-wise but I’m sure some of the regulars were fine with lot less rain and a few extra degrees than previous editions. Kingdom as a café stop was certainly a step in a classier direction (for better and worse) than the H Café, but for all their posh coffee and insta friendly presentation they knocked out lunch for 14 people in about 20 mins which I hugely appreciated. I’m all about no-faff stops and minimising any shenanigans and games of roadside grab-ass. @clubman your café recommendation is noted for next year.

    The group was quite a mix of strength and experience but I was very happy to see everyone make it around save for @jaeyukdapbap, one of the four riders who simultaneously went down on an oil slick, who listened to his impacted leg and wisely said ‘I’ll take the train at Borough Green’ and Rob who joined him for support.

    I think I would have liked the group to stay together more and ride a bit more tightly through the lanes but that is down to me – I should have said so at the beginning and communicated more directly on the road. Consequently I think quite a few of us spent more time in the wind than we needed to as the group compressed and extended like an accordion through the Weald. So I’ll say as much next year. But everyone did a good job counting heads and looking after one another so a big cheers for that.

    A huge thanks to @pastry_bot for the route. While I’m familiar with a large number of the roads his experience and knowledge was invaluable in linking them up, and made a lot of wise connections that gave us great views, woodland, fields and climbing but without unnecessary punishment. It was beautiful, bleak, challenging and gritty. Oli is the lanes, and a true don of the cog. He was again (for I think the 3rd year) nearly the Most Meretorious Rider for a number of reasons. I’m sure by next year he’ll be in line for the HDIJ Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Someone else who deserves a mention is @TTM who’s strength is on another level from the rest of us, but paced himself evenly (if strongly!) on the front and could have easily towed us all the way around significantly faster. So Tom your steady patience and strength were a huge (if under-utilised) benefit. The reason that he has action photos of us is that he was at the top of every climb before everyone else so had time to take pictures.

    Other than that @clubman has already nicely summed up the need to tidy up the group riding and Lucy’s deserving award of the Most Meretorious Rider. It was great to have her along and being her longest ride fixed and working through a bit of adversity made it straightforward to award it to her.

    Thanks again to everyone for making it a good and hard day out.

  • So jealous looking at the weather in your photos!

    I'm going to make the effort to get out and have another crack at my/our 100km route again before the end of the month and I hope to do at least a couple 100 miler fixed rides this year too so the Glasgow edition of HDIJ 2021 may well be a full distance version.

  • As the photos show I was well and truly knackered by the end so file that under "Great Success". Thanks Dan et al. for a nice day!

    For the record, Phil was riding my old bike (blue paint, yellow tape, Canelli) and was on 44x17 which puts him at 68" (I'm fairly sure Josh was on 44x15), and my own bike was running 47x18 but on wide 650b rubber which puts me at about 69".

  • I would like to point out a discrepancy in the latter ride report. I was not joining @jaeyukdapbap for support. I was well and truly nobbed by Gibbs Hill and The Hurst 😭

  • Reading about this is as heartwarming as ever. Lovely stuff, proper riding with a real community element.

  • sounds like a great day out.

    gutted to miss it, i was so prepared it was silly.

    knee is still swollen but pain free.

    next year......again....

  • Thanks again @clubman @youramericanlover and @pastrybot for everything!
    I can confirm I was supporting 69 gear inches as was on 650c wheels but you're right in that I do try my best to keep up with my speedy partner @Josh01 daily!

  • This is one of Bernard Thompson's pictures - it has been on the forum in the past, but I'm posting it again because it has a certain relevance to one of the photos of cgg above.

    Bernard titled his pic. 'On Rockingham Hill', but I would re-title it 'Jeff Shows the Superiority of Light Tyres '. Jeff Marshall (centre left, black and white cap) looks as though he is 'pinging' and dominating the group. Now look at his tyres and then look at the others. Jeff is on sprints with light tubs but the others are mostly on heavy 27 x 1.25 pressures. Riders of my generation believed strongly in the efficacy of light tyres and would have expected this effect on the pecking order. Our idea was that revolving weight is more important than static mass (like the frame).

    Now look at ccg's tyres - they are huge. This may be great for adhesion, comfort and bad road surfaces, but they must be heavy and I can't believe they are great for economising on effort.

    So I'm not surprised he was feeling slightly jaded at the finish!

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  • Great write-ups, always love reading about this ride! I was going to ask what happened with the road rash - sorry to hear that @jaeyukdapbap, hope it’s not serious.

  • 5 of us went down on some spilt diesel. YAL ahead of me and seeing a few more falling behind before I’d hit the ground.

    The rash is still seeping a bit...

  • Looks like it was a pretty epic ride all in all, I regret that I had to miss it after really enjoying last year's edition. I'll definitely try to make the one next year :)

  • It was a really good day out. Definitely next year @SwissChap!

    I might just take this opportunity to state for the record that although it's called the Hard Day in January, it's certainly not the hardest ride out there (not even in January in Kent) and nor is it supposed to be. It's not a mega difficult ride only meant for tough bastards, but rather a challenging ride done on fixed in winter with other like-minded riders. There are plenty of other rides which allow riders to suffer more for longer and in worse weather. Hopefully it's seen as just our own community's definition of hard that we enjoy.

  • Just got back from 'A Hard Day In May', the summer edition.


    A glorious day on the bike, marred only slightly by a near ride ending mechanical about a third of the way in. On a right turn the front tyre sidewall blew out, causing a low speed off. No damage to me, but the bike took a knock to the rear mech, bending the hanger substantially. I wasn't too far from East Grinstead, so made a detour to bike shop. Took an age to fix, but after a couple of hours it was back on the road.

    A truly glorious route (thanks again @pastry_bot) and a perfect day for it. Still bloody hard work.

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  • It was an amazing route, awesome effort for today though.

  • Did this today. Thanks again routemasters - found some lovely kenty lanes I'd not seen before.

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Hard Day in January '20 - Kent Downs Edition

Posted by Avatar for youramericanlover @youramericanlover