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‘Some fun on my day off’ – Balfe’s Bikes manager sets himself challenge of visiting 11 stores in one ride 

It’s always tough to stay motivated to ride during the winter months, as the days get shorter and the temperatures fall off.

That’s even more true for ultra-distance cyclists like Andrew Nippard, store manager of the Balfe’s Bikes branch in Sutton, south London. 

On Tuesday (November 9) Andrew set himself the unique challenge of riding to 11 Balfe’s stores in one-day, a test that would take almost nine hours and see him cover almost 90 miles. 

The ride took more than six hours in the saddle and covered 144km (Picture: Andrew Nippard/ Balfe’s Bikes

Andrew, who lives in Sutton, told BikeBiz: “Mainly it was just an interesting and different way to get some winter miles.

“As an ultra-endurance rider, coming up with different ways to get some saddle time is always necessary. I thought it would be fun and maybe get some other challenge ideas flowing amongst staff in our other shops.

“It was some fun on my day off…back to work the next day.”

Andrew set himself the goal of completing the ride, which he started and finished from Sutton, in nine hours.

After setting off at 8.30am, and covering 144km with six hours of moving time, along with plenty of waiting at traffic lights in central London, Andrew completed his effort with just five minutes to spare.

Having competed in some serious ultra-distance events, including a third-place finish in the 540km-long TransScotland event earlier this year, Andrew has plenty of experience of long days in the saddle. 

Normally Andrew spends his time riding in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire, but he said the most daunting aspect of this effort was the London traffic.

“The most challenging thing was cycling in central London. You have to be so switched on mentally. I do most of my riding in the country and I’m not naïve but the volume of traffic and, it must be said, the driving standard were really poor and unnecessarily aggressive.”

Read more: Bianchi creates limited edition Specialissima Giro105 frames

But Andrew’s ride helped him to prepare himself for 2022, as he has plans to take his Kinesis Pro 6 cyclocross bike on  some more brutal challenges, including the Frontier 300 coast-to-coast gravel event in Scotland and the South Downs Way Double, 200 miles over rugged terrain in 24 hours.   

Alex Ballinger

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