Spring has sprung and a dirty baker’s dozen braved the magpies and the wrath of their loved ones to embrace the sunshine and Bracegirdle’s by showing up for the SSRC L Ride.

It was to be the scene for SSRC’s annual Spring / Father’s Day special “L Ride Route 2”. Warning, this report has a gratuitous use of the word “Father”, along with some potentially shockingly poor Spring puns that will equinox your socks off.

New to the group today were Scott, a local of the region, infamous for his “pot hole accident” on California Rd descent , and Andrew, a newbie to Group riding, friend of the infamous Shav “I love my coffee” Bird.

As everyone arrived I prepared for the rider briefing, by following the Cricks strict instructions.

First item on the list, photos…that’s one thing I can do!

 Left to right, Father Jones, Father Andrew, Father Shav, Queen Renata, Father Scott

Queen Jolie with Father David hiding behind her, Father Brennan, Father Blake and Father Ellison (as Son Ellison is taking photos, I don’t actually appear in them).

Father Michael, clearly happy to be part of SSRC.

We proceed through the riding briefing; we all have helmets, safe bikes, spare tubes, etc.

With me being the lead and Father Brennan being the TEC we were soon on our way.

As it was a cool 12 degrees most riders came prepared and rugged up as though it were winter. The skies stayed clear, the wind was virtually non-existent in McLaren Vale, we rode along the bike path towards Binney Road, the scene of our first regroup, enjoying the lush green scenery of McLaren Vale at this time of year.

At the regroup we made sure that everyone was comfortable with pace and continued on our journey towards deep blue sea and the orange cliffs of Silver Sands.  
Malpas road was uneventful, and Bayliss Rd gave new Fathers a taste of the short climb they’d need to do on the return leg of our pilgrimage.

We crossed Main South Road and headed past Aldinga Oval. The traffic along this section of road was unusually busy, no doubt due to the local footy game being played.

Following Port Rd into Port Willunga we rode at a solid 25km/h, taking in the sights on what is possible the most beautiful road of the ride. The wind had started to pick up a little by now, so a little “wheel sucking” was had, and the benefits of riding in a peloton could be enjoyed by all…except for me, the guy up the front.

Heading south along The Esplanade, the group spread out a little as some people opted to stretch their legs and lungs by steeping the speed up a bit with average speeds ranging from 23km/h to 28km/h. As the half-way point at Silver Sands is at the end of this segment then it makes it an ideal spot to go your own pace along here.

We stopped and regrouped at Silver Sands for a good 15mins, leaving plenty of time for eating & bathroom breaks.

Father Shav, yes he really does ride his bike & Father Ellison on the approach to our Silver Sands rest stop.

Queen Jolie, with a queen like wave & Father Jones

Queen Renata getting chased down by a 4WD.

Father Andrew, he wouldn’t believe me when I told him to turn left.

Fathers Paul and Brennan

Stopping off at Silver Sands gave everyone the rest they needed and allowed them to regain that much needed Spring in their step ride.

As I said, deep blue sea and orange cliffs, oh and a Motley Crew.

A young fan approaching father David for his autograph, or stalking pray prey like a young tiger cub in spring.

Mmm, sexy bikes!

The obligatory group photo.

We turn around and started our journey back to Bracegirdle’s only for springs first dampener to arrive with Andrew getting a visit from the P@#$ture fairy only 800 metres after setting off.  Fortunately we have some very helpful individuals on the L ride who can help out, including the TEC who had his phone on silent and was uncontactable. Due to the lack of width on The Esplanade most of the group continued a little further to the bus stop while we waited for Andrew and team to replace the tube.

Waiting safely and patiently for the puncture to be repaired

Paul wasn’t sure if he could make it all the way back

It looks like Paul has made up his mind

Andrew’s tyre was fixed, the group had reformed and we set off for McLaren Vale once again. If a puncture is all that goes wrong today, then that would be a good, if uneventful ride.

As we cruised along The Esplanade the wind started to pick up. We managed to work as a group and keep our speed in the low to mid 20km/h range, making sure that everyone had a comfortable amount of space to ride in.

After crossing South Road we had a quick regroup, and a reminder was given to all that the small hill on Bayliss Road was coming up and that everyone should take it at a pace they are comfortable with.

After looking at Strava, that pace was apparently quick, we had both Father Ellison and Son Ellison (me) equal Rob Dobson’s King of the Mountain (KOM) record of 35 seconds. We also had Queen Renata claim the Queen of the Mountain (QOM, hence why she’s been called Queen all report) by besting Michelle Cricks previous mark by 3 seconds, lowering it to 52 seconds. We also had Father’s Michael and Scott move into 9th and 10th overall. Nobody had to stop and walk; everyone made it to the top for the regroup and felt better for it.

As we travelled along Malpas Road towards the bike track we had our 2nd failure of the day, unfortunately this one was more severe than Andrew’s puncture. We are not sure exactly the reasons why, whether Shav felt he had done enough riding, or he was suffering caffeine withdrawals or even if the yappy dogs on the corner of California Road and Malpas Road has plotted against him, but nonetheless Shav went off the rails. He suffered a rear derailleur failure, as it managed to bend itself into the spokes at roughly 25km/h, locking the rear wheel instantly. Fortunately through some skilful piloting Shav came to a stop without coming off the bike.

As a group we have a motto, leave no person behind… well unless they want to be left behind. The Matt’s took off due to expiring leave passes.
We gathered together to ascertain what had happened and to determine if we could fix it.

Shav stuck in that strange place between, “Wow I didn’t crash” and “This is a new bike, it shouldn’t look like that”. It’s that happy sad moment.

A close up of the twisted chain and derailleur

While Shav’s bike was being “inspected” we received a call from our regular ride leader Father Phil. He was in McLaren Vale and wanted to know how the L ride was progressing.

Cue 5 mins later and our support vehicle had arrived

Father Phil, his 2 apprentice mechanics, the support vehicle, a broken bike and a lucky Father Shav

From here on out the ride was smooth cycling, apart from the poor guy at the front being the lead out train in the increasing wind (it was me again).

Bracegirdle’s was generally enjoyed, but we got the feeling we should have ordered our food and drink last Spring. Due to severe understaffing it took 20mins to get to the front of the line to order, then another 20 minutes to receive drinks.

A few quick mentions;
Queen Jolie managed to claim QOM (hence why she’s been called Queen all report) for the entire “L ride route 2”, well done!
Father Blake for his efforts on moving around the pack to make sure he spoke to everyone.
Phil Crick for his awesome timing and speedy recovery service.

Thank you to everyone who attended, I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Happy Father’s Day!

L rides are a great way to get out, meet like minded people, have some fun on a bicycle and experience riding good distances in a fun and friendly environment.

Metres climbed: 200m

Total distance: 45km's

Average speed: 22.5 km/h

Pun***re Fairy visits: 1

Magpie attacks: 0

Grin Factor: 9.0/10

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Still at the bike station. Will call noel this afternoon to get the run down.

Thanks matt. It pays to think quick.

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