Some snaps of our esteemed founder Matts escapades on the Mallorca 225 with his Brompton, a ride for the ages! His full story below……..
“Did you get lost on your commute?”
One of many good questions I was asked on the day and since then, and here hopefully I can answer a few of them on what was a really enjoyable ride on my favorite bike, my beloved Brompton.
So this wasn’t part of the plan. I have a very nice road bike(Specialized Roubaix Pro Etap 2020) and was planning on using this to cycle around Mallorca with my friends who were also signed up to the main Mallora 312 event. Basically, on the day of packing up the road bike, I noticed to my horror the electronic rear derailleur had a power malfunction that would not come back to life in spite of all troubleshooting efforts. Being too late to get fixed in the UK, and having already paid for sports equipment baggage on my flight which couldn’t be changed. It did seem actually a sensible idea to take the faithful Brompton with a view to hiring a road bike in Mallorca for any bigger rides. I used the Ikea Dimpa bag to pack the bike in with all my clothes packed around it after seeing other Brompton riders use that method from the Brompton Touring Facebook Group, a very handy tip indeed as it turned out.
“I’ll meet you back at the hotel!”
Having arrived on the Tuesday with some members of my old club in London(Richmond Park Rouleurs) already there, we managed to get out for what was to date my longest ride on little wheels, approx 70 miles and 2000ft.
A great ride in general but it took a little while to get used to being on a Brompton for that long and got significant knee pain for the last 20 miles or so. I promptly made my excuses to my “roadie” friends so they could get back to our resort in good time. Sourcing a light road bike was all I thought about on the slow march home.
“I might ride the first 20km or so!”
So by the Friday I had given up on the idea of hiring a road bike all together. Mainly the thought of riding something for the first time on a big event, and the extra cost just put me off in general. I had done the Mallorca 312 event before, and I could still get in some “normal” rides for rest of the week and get some sun by the pool, enjoy the holiday as they say.
That was until we climbed Col De Femenia on a 40m jaunt on the Friday. By this point I was starting to feel pretty comfortable on the bike. I had leant someone my spd pedals so they could ride their road bike and put my spd-sl pedals on the Brompton which felt like a dream. The bike was climbing well and I got a taste of what might happen on the Saturday if I did ride a bit with the peloton.
A few nice comments up this climb form other riders convinced me and my ego to rock up the next day, if only for the comedy value. I was guarenteed to get some funny looks, and if it all went wrong I would be back at the hotel for a 2nd breakfast in no time. Lets see what happens!
“What are your intentions Matt?”
My fellow club members were probably wondering what I was doing up at 4:30am shoveling in the oats alongside them. My general intention was just to do 20km with the climbing likely to be insufferable on a bike weighing 12.6kg, it would be a fun little blast though.
So the first 20km was anything but fun in the end. The general speeds of the peloton was something I have never experienced on a Brommy before. My heart rate was through the roof trying to hang onto groups going at 25mph. It wasn’t until the climbing began that things settled down.
And here was also where I started getting so many nice and encouraging comments. At that speed and generally as riders would overtake it would be something along the lines of “you are a hero”,”wow, a Brompton, OMG!”, with the odd “I hope you make it!” The latter one did make me think if I was doing the right thing I must admit. But yes it was getting harder to think about turning around to leave this kind of adulation. 🙂
“I thought you said 167km”
As things went on and everyone was asking if I was going to go for the big 312km distance, my default response was a polite no thanks and the short 167km would be just fine. I was worried I might get some knee pain again so didn’t want to plan too far ahead. As it turns out I made the cut-off to go for the 225km with 30 mins or so to spare, so thought what the hell.
Generally in terms of the bike. I found the climbing and descending quite fine and enjoyable. The problem areas on the Brompton in this kind of event were more on the flat and fast sections. It does make you realize how easy it is to ride on road bikes with carbon rims compared. Trying to stay with groups going above 23mph on flat open sections was particularly hard. The feed stops were a bit crazy and as I hadn’t planned on being there I did my best to grab most of my water and snacks from towns on route.
I missed the cut-off for the full 312km distance by the end. I knew from past experience from other riders who have decided to keep going self supported that it an be a lonely(and slow) experience on that final section when all the groups to ride with are long gone. I felt good about taking the “easy” option to ride home, and possibly meet some more new Brompton fans on the way home as the 225km and 167km routes would merge again.
And that’s a wrap……
So me and the Brommy made it back safe and sound on what was an amazing day. I never thought I would make it around the 167km let alone the 225km. For those asking my Brompton was the M6L model, steel frame, with Brooks saddle, with 6 gears and 44 chainring to cater for hills.
I did finish wondering what might have been if I’d had a lighter Titanium Brompton. I would like to think I could come back and give it a proper go, but we will see what the future holds.
The bike was a dream to ride in general and a real eye-opener on what Bromptons are capable of. Thanks again to everyone on the day for all the encouragement and the nice comments on social media since then. Until next time………..