We started this mad adventure way back in 2015. The regular Howl at the Moon and SPFG rides were drying up, leaving a gap for a new crew to ride out and become the only regular fixed gear ride in London.
Two years on and 50 or so rides later here we are, back at Cycle PS, where it all began. Waiting in the back I found ride regulars and a series of beautiful fixed gear bikes, all lined up under what can only be described as a mesmerising and awesome surprise. Adorning the wall were photos, in fact all the photos, a plethora of pictures, capturing the last two years of rides and races shot and compiled by our new Social Events Coordinator, Fraser.
As it got on for 3pm we decided it was time for wheels to roll. The group that had gathered inside made their way to the door to begin the the first leg of the anniversary ride. A short roll over to College Road and the first stop of the day came into view, the hill climb!
A small path that connected College Rd and Crescent Wood Rd, the crew looked at it slightly bewildered, then calmly and quickly split into two groups. Those who wanted to ride and those that wanted to watch. Starting relatively shallow the path swung to the right around halfway and then, unbeknownst to the competitors, increased in its severity, stretching outwards to its summit.
Badly organised as ever, it took a few minutes to work out exactly how to time each competitor, as the length, angle and distance of the route, made it impossible to see or here the spectators at the top. After a little faffing about, Ed, a new face on the ride, offered up his phone so we would have a continuous link with the hilltop, counting in each rider as they started their run.
After a lot of shouting, effort and exhaustion, the results were in, and the results were close. Penultimate rider Jewksy, came in with the win, clocking 1minute 17seconds, closely followed by Leo just a second behind and third place going to Christian with a time of 1minute 25seconds.
Having downed some water and recovered our breath it was time to roll onto our next location, a surprise stop with Dale, our new Race Team Manager, in Upper Norwood.
But then disaster struck! Whilst traversing the intersection near Cadence, our ride regular and good friend Leo, decided to do something we've all done at one time or another and attempted to adjust his foot straps on the fly. Unfortunately somehow he missed the foot-strap and caught his hand in his front wheel, causing him to flip himself and his bike in an awful but quite impressive tumble. Hurt but not mortally injured, he dusted himself down and we regrouped to access the damage. The forks were fucked, they had taken the brunt of the impact, giving the bike a much tighter front rake and a somewhat aggressive toe overlap.
To recover we quickly headed to our next planned stop, Dale's house, where we enjoyed some refreshments and a quick catch up with Dale and his housemates before beginning the next leg of the journey. Streaming back out into traffic we swung back onto Church Rd, searching for a small turning on the left called The Park. This was a short "cyclocross" style slide through some woodland, bringing us out onto Auckland Rd and then onto Thicket Rd where we entered Crystal Palace to see some dinosaurs!
Having survived the prehistoric reptiles we continued to the next location where our "skid" and "kick the can" competition could commence. The location was a platform, a raised section ofperfect tarmac, directly outside Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, perfect for all our sliding and whip-skidding needs.
A sort of ad hoc longest skid competition kicked off the proceedings, with ride regulars going head to head, launching themselves down the platform. This then moved to a kick the can bout with riders racing up and down trying to whip skid into cans with their back wheels. Cans, bottles and even a Go Pro Session cam, were fired into the air.
With plenty of tyre now smeared onto the road we started a new game, rather than kick the can, Digory, a ride regular, suggested we line up the cans and attempt to whip skid over them, rather than into them...this was genius! Leo now recovered from his accident earlier, began throwing down near parallel whip-skids, pushing them wider and longer each time, as the length of the can line was extended.
All skidded out and with tyres now warn down to the thread, we calmed things down a bit with a friendly track stand competition...
Sadly rain stopped play, forcing us to tidy up the cans and make a break for it. On the way back, the rain thankfully subsided as we headed up across Crystal Palace towards College Road, before shredding downhill into Dulwich village and on to Camberwell and our end point Cycle PS.
Back at Cycle PS, we stacking up the bikes and met late comers brave enough to battle the rain. Then at around 7pm, the promised food arrived, lovingly prepared by Big Andy. A vegan stew with spicy pitta's and nibbles put a smile on everyones face as we all relaxed and reflected on a great day out with the crew once again. Finally we rolled out the cake, baked by Co-Founder and race team member,Vroni. Vegan chocolate cake for everyone! Here's to another year of mayhem, see you all on the next ride, cheers.