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Cobbles for breakfast

Back for 2022 and hosted by the wonderful bunch at Brixton CC, the Cobble Monster is London’s answer to Paris-Roubaix. A group of Wheelers took on the London’s pavé and seasoned classics rider Phil Barella reports back on the action…

The official website had the following to say “Returning after a three-year absence, it’s London’s original and best Urbosportive! Or, in plainer terms, it’s a bike ride around a route marked out for you across some challenging terrain, right here in the capital, inspired by the iconic Paris-Roubaix.”

Brixton cycles took over the running of this event that has been running up to 2019 for a few years with minor variations in the route for roadworks and building work every year, it really breaks up into 2 parts, the first is a test of your cobbled riding skills and the second your ability to navigate some short reasonably steep bergs including the shallower side of Canobie road. It is also good for practicing/ improving your bike handling as there are a few vaguely technical twists and turns.

The route takes in a fair few cobbled sectors going as far north as Russell square, round Charterhouse square, to Shoreditch (via Look mum no hands for a coffee) out to Stepney, across Tower bridge, past the Mayflower, around Canada water, where the cobbles pretty much end. Before that we stopped at Rinkoff’s, and had a refuel…

After the cobbles comes the short climbs, Maze Hill, Canobie road, and the Elliot bank, with the final climb up the Wells park road before dropping into Dulwich and then heading to the Herne Hill Velodrome for a (slow) flying lap and some lunch.

I have to thank my ride companions, Ian, G, Keith and his Son, Richard and Mags for a fun ride though there were the inevitable mechanicals. Mags had mudguard rub, Richard had a dying tyre! When I got home I heard a ping on the bike and the seatpost collar had fatigued… so I dodged a bullet there.

It really is such a good ride, with lots of friendly, fun cyclists and the traffic wasn’t actually that bad. Canobie road remains a bit of a tricky one but really, anyone vaguely fit can get up it, and the view from Brenchley gardens up to Canobie road gives a wonderful view of the city of London.

Thanks should go to Brixton Cycles for doing a great job for hosting it, and the entry fee for the Evelina hospital is always money well spent.

Hope to see some of you next year.