St Paul's Catherdral at 8am, my team of 13 volunteer 'Dr Bike' mechanics gather for their briefing. Our mission - to solve participants bike problems with minimal kit supplied by Cycling UK - it was a like the parable of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes as we repaired puncture after puncture cutting large patches in half to make them last the day. Folk came at us from all directions with all kinds of problems from broken chains to just needing to borrow a pump. We had a mixed range of skills between us and I loved how well we communicated when trying to solve a problem.
The highlight of the day was a woman who had a rear puncture on her Brompton half an hour before taking part in the 2017 Brompton World Championships. Stan removed the wheel and pulled out the inner tube which already had about 3 patches. With no spare tubes, I had no choice but to repair the puncture using our last patch. We put it all back together and sent her on her way. Chatting as the glue dried, she told me about her business which was advertised on her Brompton bag. I remembered the name and sent her an email asking how the race went....
...I got an answer back later to say thanks, her puncture had held and not only that, she was part of the winning female team! (photo below)
The next day, I was up at 4.15am to Brompton into Pall Mall for more mechanicing. This time to support the RideLondon Surrey 100 and 46 amateur Sportive. This was another 5 loaves and 2 fishes event as the rain had washed glass, flint and staples into the road we were inundated with repairs. My mechanic comrades had brought their own tools and we did what we could - thank goodness for big-hearted riders who shared their glueless patches with others who were also on their 3rd puncture. This was another amazing day of skill sharing and passing on great tips to riders.
This was a fantastically well attended event with whopping great medals for the finishers who completed either 100 or 46 miles out into Surrey and back. Thanks to the Mayor of London who with an array of partners, has made this the 5th year of RideLondon since the Olympics in 2012. My small part in all this was in response to Cycling UK's shout out for veloteers - happy to help.