I sit here writing this with 19 stitches in my face and bruising on my body that ranges in hue from cirrhosis yellow through too deep aubergine purple. It was a ride I enjoyed but not one I want to relive in a hurry. I guess it's best to start at the beginning...
The evening was beautiful, and the ride we had planned was fresh, new locations and fantastic views to enjoy. The uptake online had been great with around 25 riders planning to attend. The only dampener of the nights proceedings was my health. An awful cough had been plaguing me since the planning ride the Sunday before which had meant a second ride-through hadn't transpired. Still, with a good idea of the route still pencilled into my memory I felt sure I could wing this one and come out the other side. How hard could it be anyway?
Cycle PS was busy with more new faces including the boys from Gnar Park and one or two from previous rides as well as our sister ride P&P. Ill and tired I opted for a coke and an energy bar and made preparations for the ride, checking the social channels to see where everyone was at.
At around 7:45pm we set off, less organised than usual with one group hammering up Peckham Rd aiming for our first location Peckham Rye. We hit Rye Lane fragmented and already a man down due to a puncture, this didn't bode well. Regrouping outside The Nag's Head we soldiered on looking for the first turn, finding it in the shape of Soloman's Passage, a road which appeared to be another dead end were it not for the tiny corridor that linked it too Forester Rd. Squeezed through and ready to be tested, we continued first up Linden Grove and along past Nunhead Cemetery before taking a sharp left to cut through to Buchan Rd. From there we regrouped again heading up to the Kimberley Ave and then Gibbon Rd where we stopped at a Londis to grab a few drinks to enjoy at our first stop.
Loaded and raring to go we headed off, first ploughing up Oakdale Rd, crossing the two roundabouts to St Asaph Rd and up, up, to Aspinall Rd which became the rad looking railway bridge featured in one of our Instagram posts.
Safely across, one by one we joined Drakefell road and finally found ourselves at the summit of our first stop Telegraph Hill. The hill conquered and a beautiful night time cityscape laid out in front of us, we decided to celebrate with a sneaky early beer.
Refreshed and starting to get a little chilly, we binned our cans and made for the exit. All together and excited for the next section I announced the glory that is Erlanger Rd. A phenomenal stretch of tarmac, wide, smooth and all downhill till its terminus at Queen's Rd.
We nailed it like the kids your mum and dad warned you about, wild, sexy and rad as fuck! Next we joined Queen's rd for a brief moment before turning left abruptly to join Nettleton rd a clear back road which took us fast onto Brocklehurst St then right onto Cold Blow Lane and through the tunnels beneath the railway lines that connect Surrey Quays and New Cross Gate.
Emerging on the other side we immediately hung a left up Sanford St to join Trundleys Rd which took us quickly under the railway lines again to arrive on Grinstead Rd and Deptford Park. Sadly the park was closed so we navigated our way around the outside to meet on Evelyn St opposite the Shell garage.
After a brief break and regroup we began the next section, the brief journey to the Thames river passage and more fantastic views. Leading I headed first up Oxestalls Rd then left up Grove St before turning right to cut across an estate. This involved a quick straight then a sharp right turn onto another straight which ended with a split, one side a ramp, the other a steep four step drop. I hammered it up this straight and let us just say that I chose poorly when it came to the split. Unable to stop and with no other option other than to take my chances, I flew off the steps like a clipped in Evel Knievel.
I flew briefly and abruptly crumpled into the floor using my face and left shoulder as a brake. Knocked out I quickly came round to the worried faces of the group and flew into a rage as I was being held in a safety position against my will. Finally unleashed and after a few seconds of utter lunacy it dawned on me what had transpired. Then the pain began to widen and the uncomfortable reality that all was not well, especially with my head, which had large droplets of blood escaping from it. Thankfully however, and I mean this sincerely, all was fine, my bike had survived and looked to be unharmed.
Now sitting with a tissue on my head and awaiting the ambulance I urged everyone to carry on with the ride. Brilliantly just at this moment our good friend Jack from East London Fixed arrived and offered to take the helm, steering the ship onwards, to it's end point, Tower Bridge and City Hall.
What happened I have subsequently been told was all good, Jack keeping spirits up and finished the ride in true Fixed Beers style. I on the other hand spent the next eight or so hours in A&E with my co-organisers and best pals Vroni and James, waiting to have x-rays and my face stitched back together. Although the wait was long the junior doctor that patched me up was fantastic and did a first rate job.
I'm now two thirds of the way back to being mended and can't wait to get back on my bike and enjoy the next ride.