Riding the London Revolution with the Foffa Geared Bike

The London Revolution bike riders

It’s with a combination of excitement and fear that you set off on a 100 mile bike ride. Fortunately, Foffa had lent me their, as yet unreleased, Geared Road Bike to complete the challenge in.

Introducing the London Revolution

The London Revolution is a new sportive by Threshold Sports. The route follows a 180 mile loop around the outskirts of London. Once you are outside of the capital, quiet country lanes and small villages are the order of the day. Exactly the sort of route that is perfect for cycling.

It’s a two day ride with a choice to complete the entire 180 miles with an overnight stopover or, alternatively, you can ride the first or second day. I chose to ride the first day and to experience the overnight stopover, which is one of the things that sets this ride apart from others.

According to the organisers, one of the things that they learnt from their Deloitte Ride Across Britain ride was that the camping and overnight basecamps made a huge difference to people’s experience. It was felt that by setting up bands, bars and an outdoor cinema people would be encouraged to meet new riders and get groups riding together. In my experience that was the case. When you sit down for a meal you immediately get chatting to those around you and it’s interesting to hear people’s different motivations and shared experiences.

Introducing the Foffa Gears Bike

Foffa Road Bike

When customers suggested that Foffa expand in to road bikes, Dani Foffa and the rest of the team listened. The result was a classically styled road bike with the entry level model coming in at just beneath the magical £1000 price point. For the next week or so, there’s 10% off pre-orders off the bike.

The bike features the lugged Columbus Cromor Double Butted steel frame. Which has space to attach panniers and two bottle cages. Excellent for those with longer trips in mind or wanting to train for the winter.

The first thirty miles

Power Grips on the Foffa Bike

After a couple of little tweaks to the Foffa Bike, such as adding in a bottle cage and some pedal straps, I set off along with a friend of mine to the starting line. This was located near the London City Airport. A part of London that is never much of a pleasure to cycle around.

The start was well organised and the sign in process was quick. We dropped off our bags in to the trucks and set off on the ride.

The first 25 miles out of the capital were not particularly pleasant. It was more of a “let’s just get through this so we can get to the country lanes”.

On our way to the first pit stop we were joined by two more cyclists. One was part of the Threshold Sports team. He suggested we form a small group which really helped get our average speed up.

Cyclist down

As the roads started to quieten one of the cyclists in our group reached for his drink bottle and took a tumble around a fast bend. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be too much damage but there was a lot of “thank god I was wearing a helmet as I really fell it”. It was a reminder that even if you choose to not wear a helmet around the centre of London, in fast paced rides such as the London Revolution they are pretty important.

The first pit stop

Pit stop along the London Revolution

Around 30 miles in, it was time to take a rest. At the mechanics station, which was manned by workers from Bike Works, there was much interest in the Foffa bike. Everyone had heard of the company and really liked the classical frame design.

At this point I was told that I’d be completing the next 70 miles without my riding buddy. He had his own very good reasons for stopping so at the next train station, he veered off to take the next train in to London.

50 miles to the next pit stop

Once you get yourself in to a good pace, you relax in to the ride. The next 50 miles flew by in a haze of gorgeous typical English countryside scenery. I wanted to stop along the way to take pictures but I don’t think my legs would have forgiven me.

At this point I really appreciated the performance of the Foffa Geared bike. It took on both hill climbing and speedy straight sections with ease. The gear shifting was quick, the braking confident and the ride felt comfortable. Cornering was also spot on.

I thought about some of the tweaks to the bike I’d make. I’d probably upgrade to a carbon seat post to absorb a little more of the impact of bumps in the road.

After knocking back plenty of water and courtesy energy gels the next pit stop appeared at the bottom of a short hill.

Restocked on energy gels it was time to complete the last section.

Aches and pains creep in

Initially, I picked up a good pace but with the end in sight various aches and pains started to creep in. It was mainly a pain in my knees which I combatted by switching to the smaller front chain ring to change up on where some of the pressure was being placed. This seemed to help but admittedly towards the last 5 miles I was just hoping for the end of the ride.

Arriving at the base camp on the Windsor race course was a good feeling. I walked over to my tend and collapsed for a short rest. Hunger took priority over resting so it was off to the restaurant.

There I met a number of fellow cyclists as many people had arrived on their own and were keen to chat about the last 100 miles. We got in to typical cycling discussions. Was Boris a good mayor for cycling? Should there be more segregated infrastructure? Should the signs along the route include mile markers?

After a quick wonder around to checkout the open air cinema and bars, I climbed back in to the tent. This is when the pains subside and you get that feeling of having just accomplished something pretty cool.

Sportive tent

Would I recommend the London Revolution?

I would definitely recommend the London Revolution ride. Everything was organised to perfection and it was a great experience. The ride is only in its first year yet the overnight option was sold out. It’s pretty clear that next year things will only expand as people bring along their friends.

You can register your interest for the ride on www.london-revolution.com and will be the first to hear about when tickets go on sale for the coming series.

Would I recommend the Foffa Geared Bike?

Definitely! It’s a beautifully styled bike, I love the fact you can customise the look and it’s clear a lot of thought has gone in to the components to provide strong performance without breaking the bank.

Checkout http://foffabikes.com/ for more details on the Geared bike as well as the rest of the Foffa bikes range.

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8 Responses to Riding the London Revolution with the Foffa Geared Bike

  1. Mike 25/05/2012 at 10:19 am #

    Well done. Sorry I missed it this year. I will definitely be on next years.

    • Andreas 25/05/2012 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks Mike! Was a really good ride – glad to see this sportive added to the calendar!

  2. Eddie Tomlinson 25/05/2012 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Andreas,

    I didn’t realise you were riding this (must have missed an email or two). I was there also, did the full 2 days – shame I didn’t know you were there I would have liked to stop by, say hello and oggle your bike! I must admit you perhaps made a wise move not riding the 2nd day – I found that really tough, especially with all the hills. Really nice feeling to have completed it though.

    One question – how did you find the overnight stop overall? Personally, I was a little disappointed. The shower queue was huge, I waited 1h45 mins for a massage and the “party” wasn’t really a party – most people were in the bar watching the football and the “band” was just 3 guys wandering around playing. I was expecting a stage – everyone in the one place listening to music, drinking, chatting etc. So for the money we paid I wasn’t overly impressed with the overnight.

    That said the actual organisation of the ride was spot on and I enjoyed the cycling aspect – this was the furthest distance I’ve ever cycled. Just a shame you didn’t get a medal for completing it!

    Eddie.

    • Andreas 25/05/2012 at 10:36 am #

      I was told the second day was particularly challenging. Despite being 20 miles less the hills sounded killer. When the announcer was talking about the next 80 miles I was very tempted to join in but already had other plans so was a little late. Especially liked the sound of the velodrome.

      In terms of the overnight… I saw the shower queue was pretty huge so decided to just grab one when I got home. Perhaps the organisers didn’t quite calculate how long each person would take etc – I’m sure it’s something they’ll adapt for next year.

      Was pleasantly surprised by the meal and the ease of getting to the tent, picking up bag and so forth. Thought there might be more of a queue but that all was very easy.

      I liked the look of the cinema but as you say the band was fairly small – think most of the socialising was to be had in the restaurant!

      Well done on doing the full ride – a much fitter rider than I am!

      Andreas

  3. James 25/05/2012 at 11:04 am #

    I’m sorry but anything near £1000 for that bike is LUDICROUS. I like Dani, and was met with really great service when I bought one of his prima ss bikes earlier in the year. The bike has gradually fallen to pieces however, and people should be aware that the foffa bikes are equipped from the outset with cheap parts, many of which seem to have been used on this rig (cheap single walled rims, cheap schwalbe tyres, cheap tektro brake set up, for example).

    A geared road bike that comes as standard without pedal straps/spds or even a bottle cage, for a grand? Does this not seem at all odd to anyone?

    You would have to be absolutely barking mad to pay ANYWHERE near £1000 for this, when upon closer inspection, the parts alone and a bit of weekend labour would have the same rig sitting in your shed for something closer to the £300 mark.

    On a lighter note, the sportive looks great. Good article!

    James.

    • James 10/08/2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Aside from the components, how was the paint job? I have a bike that needs a re-spray so it’s not important to me what components they use. I like the Foffa look, though, so could they help me do you think?

  4. Andrew 25/05/2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I don’t get why you’d start with a single speed bike and add a front derailleur. Suddenly you’ve lost the mechanical simplicity (you’ve got a front derailleur, plus a rear derailleur to take up chain slack), without gaining the range of gears that allow you to pedal at optimum cadence.

    Or am I missing something?

  5. Vijay 27/05/2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Hey, didn’t realise you were at London Rev! It was my first sportive but I really enjoyed it – I completely agree with one of the previous commenters about the disappointing overnight stay. Though the food provided was good, the organisation was top notch, I probably will stick to my own bed next year!

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