Brother Cycles Big 'Un

Back in October I took part in an event called the Big ‘Un, run by Brother Cycles. I booked a place back in August, keen to have something on the calendar for the winter – how bad could the weather be?

Fast forward through the summer to the 21st of October to find me riding through sideways rain and strong headwinds with little let up, for 10 hours.

The rain was biblical and the organisers say that less than half of the 80-ish riders who started actually rode the whole route.

Mud. So much mud.

After one particularly muddy field, through which I’d had to drag my mud laden bike, I had to disassemble my rear derailleur in the rain to get my chain unstuck. After which my drivetrain sounded anguished for the remaining 50km+ of the route.

The initial headwinds had taken an early toll on my energy levels and it took me until there was about 30km left to perk up again, which shorty followed by the realisation that the noise my bike was making intermittently was because my rear brake pads were worn down to the metal, which was now grinding on the disc.

The final stretch back to Brother Cycles’ HQ was done in the dark, with only my front brake, along some bits of trail I’d’ve really preferred to have two brakes for.

There’s more photos from the day on the Brother Cycles website.

I was very glad to have the right kit for the day, I saw quite a few cold, wet, slightly miserable looking people. A new found outlook on ‘bad’ weather also helped – a bit of a chicken and egg thing with having the right kit, but I find that I’m no longer put off by winter/British weather. If anything, I prefer going out when it’s a bit damp out.

Wet but happy

That said, I would like to go back and do the route during the summer, when the off road sections aren’t basically rivers or death mud.

I also imagine that there’s a better event atmosphere and sociable element when it isn’t chucking down with rain from start to finish.

I would do it again, but I’m hoping to do a different event in 2024, that is likely to be around the same time, so maybe 2025 if it’s still happening by then.

Main photo by: @dearsusan