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#LandsEnd2ASSOS — 7 Customers, 600km, 4 Rare Hardback Books
Are you as adventurous today as you'd like to be? Ever considered what cycling adventures you could find on your doorstep? What about where you would ride with friends and family to give them the ultimate ASSOS experience? Would you - but more importantly, they - be willing to take a train to the farthest, most southern tip of the UK to spend four days riding back to central London?
That's exactly the question that Philip Smith and Paul Dean from the ASSOS LDN Boutique posed to a handful of customers and competition winners.
Who fancied joining them for #LandsEnd2ASSOS?
Cycling is inherently selfish. When we ride, we're often doing it to gratify ourselves, as something inside us feeds off the endorphins we generate when pedaling hard. Paul Dean, ASSOS LDN's assistant manager, knows this all too well. "That's why we really wanted to do something unique for our clients as a thank you. Not just a standard Equipe ride like we run each month, but something that would blow all of us away. We turned to Guy Townsend, one of our regular ride leaders, for assistance with the route and full credit to the man — he took our requests on board and 100% nailed it."
The main stipulation for the four-day ride from Land's End, Penzance, to the ASSOS LDN Boutique on London's prestiguous Regent Street, was to make it "as rural as possible." An impressive feat given the arterial network of busy A-roads in the UK, Guy demonstrated a textbook-worthy feat of route planning with four days of stellar riding, with each day exceeding expectations. He mananged to carve out a route of B-roads and little lanes, taking in the scenic roads of Devon, Dartmoor, Shaftesbury, and its iconic cobbled Gold Hill with 20% gradients. The route can be found on the ASSOS LDN Strava and Paul's adamant that it's one worth repeating.
"I still can't believe how fortunate we were with the weather — that was immense," exclaims Paul. "What was also great was that during the full four days we only had one puncture!" he trails off, before somewhat sheepishly admitting that he'd been the unlucky one to puncture. "Six months planning really paid off," he adds with a broad smile, relief etched onto his face. The close-knit team at the central London boutique had arranged train transfers, the support car, high-end hotels, and mid-ride fueling — needless to say, there had been some sleepless nights in the run-up. Paul, however, is keen to run through the moments that really stood out to him: "On the first night we stayed at the Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, which set the literary and celebratory tone for the rest of the ride. Guy managed to source hardback copies of the book — no idea how — and we signed these before awarding to the rider of the day along with custom-made stem caps."
Paul pauses, reflecting on the ride that had clearly left an indelible mark on him. The nature of the sport might be largely for self-fulfillment, but there's something incredibly special about riding with an assorted group of people, some of whom you might not know so well, and others with whom you spend hours each day sorting out the EQUIPE line from the MILLE collection.
"Now that the #LandsEnd2ASSOS is over, we're now back onto our standard Equipe rides," says Paul, before grinning: "But we are already plotting next year's big ride."
Land's End to The Jamaica Inn, Bodmin Moor
2,350m of climbing
A day full of beautiful coastal roads, country lanes and lots and lots of hills. Barely a flat piece of road all day.
Rider of the day — Gaz Hurst
"I was a bit of a late entry to the ride from Land's End to London, only being able to confirm my participation on the actual day of travel. Philip and Paul were incredible in organizing getting my bike to the start. The actual ride itself was probably the best four days I've ever spent on a bike. Being a cross-country mountain biker through and through and only being used to spending 90 minutes on a bike at a time, I thought I might struggle with the big days, but the roads, the scenery, the company, and the support from Philip and Paul on the road meant the miles flew by far too quickly and easily. The only disappointment being when we arrived at the ASSOS London store and it was time to leave those amazing people and go back to my normal everyday life. Thankfully, I left London with awesome new friends and with memories that will stay with me forever."
Bodmin Moor to Yeovil
2,686m of climbing
A tough, tough day in the saddle.
Riders of the day — Anna Fallowfield and Peter Tilson
Yeovil to Newbury
2,000m of climbing
Highlight: the famous 20% cobbled climb featured in the Hovis TV commercial, closely followed by the incredible Zig Zag Hill.
Rider of the day — Andrew Payton
"A genuinely awesome four days. I've never truly appreciated the English countryside and the fantastic riding that can be had right on our doorstep. The route was was incredible, keeping us off all the major thoroughfares in favor of delightful lanes and tracks. The support from the ASSOS crew was excellent and their enthusiasm was evident throughout. A brilliant effort by all."
Newbury to London
960m of climbing
A glass of bubbly was awaiting everybody's arrival back at the Boutique.
A big thanks to our guests for their great company on the ride!
Guy Townsend (Ride Leader)
Tamala McGee (Ride Leader)