West Surrey District Association, Cyclists' Touring Club
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It is encouraging that the number of people who have ridden with the DA this year has risen to 183 (163 last year), despite a drop in CTC membership within the DA area to 810 (900). It is particularly encouraging to Gerry Crawshaw who, as Membership Secretary, has re-drafted the Information Letter which we send together with a Runs List to new members. The average attendance on Sunday runs has also risen, to 33 (29), even though this year's weather has been noticeably worse than last's.
The General Section continues to flourish under the leadership of Russ Mantle, our Runs Secretary. The Intermediate Section has had mixed fortunes during the year but has now stabilised with about ten regular riders, under the leadership of Gerry Crawshaw, Keith Parfitt, Robert Shiels and, recently, David Pinkess. The Wayfarers have increased in numbers, led by our President, Bill Inder, as always. Our thanks are due to all who have led sections during the year, and also to those who have led runs, particularly those who have done so for the first time. Such active participation can only benefit the DA. Our regular leaders appreciate a Sunday off, leading a run is enjoyable (try it if you don't believe me!), and every leader has his or her own style. Variety is the spice of life!
We continue to enjoy good teas at the end of our Sunday runs, which many DAs cannot manage, so we are particularly grateful to the members, and their families, who welcome us into their homes. We should also include in our thanks Mr. & Mrs. Vowler and helpers, who offer us hospitality of the same quality, but who do not of course live in a church hall. Finally, Mike and Jenny Harlow offered us a swim as well as tea, both much appreciated at the end of a sunny day's cycling.
There have been numerous weekend tours: to Alfriston YH in December; two at Easter to Normandy (19 riders!) and Welsh Bicknor; a ladies weekend on the Isle of Wight; YH tours to the Berkshire Downs, to visit the National AGM in Coventry and the Cyclists' Memorial Service at Meriden over a long weekend, and to Derbyshire; and a weekend in Dorset at the end of September.
Fifteen Saturday afternoon rides have been run, fortnightly since Easter. The attendance (averaging 7) comprised existing members rather than newcomers, as last year. The Wednesday Section has now been running for just over a year, with numbers building up to an average of about eight. It meets the SW London Midweek Wayfarers once or twice a month. A new venture this year, Wednesday evening rides were held from mid-May to the end of August, with numbers ranging from 12 to 20. A lot of new riders were attracted, and we were particularly pleased to welcome members of Headquarters staff. The Thursday Nighters continue to patronise the local hostelries, with attendance averaging 8.
We are indebted to Kath Parfitt for typing the Runs List.
Robert Shiels has continued to produce the Newsletter, much appreciated with its news, jokes and small ads., and to submit the DA's copy to "Cycletouring" every two months. Additionally, he has edited and produced the first edition of the DA Magazine, "The West Surrey Cyclist", and we must also thank Gerry Crawshaw for finding sponsors, and thank the sponsors themselves, three advertisers and one generous donor. This new venture deserves your support. Please submit an article, or at least write a controversial letter to the editor.
The Clubroom continues to be popular, with Keith and Kath Parfitt managing to lay on a slide show, talk or something similar every time.
The highlight of the year is the Annual Dinner and Dance. Gillian Smith, our Social Secretary, once again organised a most enjoyable evening in the Refectory, Guildford Cathedral, attended by 78 people. Fewer speeches this year allowed more time for dancing. A successful Barn Dance was held in March, but support from DA members was disappointing. Our Midsummer Social, also celebrating the President's birthday, took us to the Stonor Arms for skittles and a chicken and chips meal. This new idea was enjoyed immensely by those who went, but once again, we could have done with more of you there. Gillian works hard to run these events, and she does a good job, but she, and the committee, might think twice about repeating them if there is a risk of a financial flop, such as only half-filling a 41-seater coach. It is much better not to have to cross your fingers and hope that our numbers will be swelled sufficiently by visitors.
A poorly supported photographic competition and slide show at the beginning of the year was counterbalanced in March by an excellent slide show on India and Sri Lanka by Neville Chanin, at which there was standing room only.
We were saddened to hear of the death of Archibald Benstead, donor of the cup, on 8th January 1985 at the age of 97. He was a good friend of the DA.
This year's competition was masterminded by Dave Butler, who revised the information leaflet, which included the rationalised system of points for reliability rides.
Our events started as usual with the 50-mile ride, completed by 43 riders. On the same day, one person rode the 25-mile ride, and 11 veterans (accompanied by 3 younger riders) rode the all-day Veterans' '50'.
The Speed Judging in May attracted 14 entries. Clive Richardson won with a zero time difference, Steve Pack was 2nd at 2 secs, and Chris Ellis was 3rd at 4 secs. There were 10 entries for the Rough Stuff competition in the afternoon of the same day. A tougher course resulted in the places being decided by faults rather than times, which is an improvement. The results were: 1st - Dave Butler, 2nd - Helen Gill, 3rd - Chris Ellis.
At the beginning of June we ran our usual 200km Audax ride. Because Wanborough-Brighton-Wanborough was a new route which we wanted to try out, it was not widely publicised, and nearly all the 23 entrants were DA members. The event was well liked, will be repeated next year, and will be put in the Audax UK calendar and advertised elsewhere to attract riders from outside the DA. The Butlers deserve special thanks for this event, Dave for organising it, and Mr. & Mrs. Butler and their helpers for the excellent Wanborough control.
Thirteen members rode the usual 100-mile course in early July, all inside 8 hours.
Our biggest event of the year was the Audax 100km Grimpeur, the "Tour of the Hills", well organised by Simon Doughty and sponsored by F. W. Evans, to whom we are indebted. There were 98 entries, a figure which would have been far exceeded had the weather been better. The coldest, wettest August day for over 40 years played havoc with the field, and only 34 finished. This is an event we can be proud of; and it's profitable too!
The Hill Climb in early October attracted 26 entries, with Steve Pack and Dave Butler tying for first place, and Richard Wareham third. That afternoon 21 riders contested the Freewheeling competition: 1st - Dave Butler, 2nd - Kevin Blackburn, 3rd - David Whittle.
The result of the (Sunday) Attendance Competition was: 1st - Bill Inder (133 pts), 2nd - Bert Bartholomew (130), 3rd - Clive Richardson (117). The winner of the Junior Attendance Cup was Stephen Davis. Bill Inder and Geoff Hone tied for the Thursday Nighters attendance trophy, with Gillian Smith a close third.
Finally, the overall result of the Benstead Cup competition was: 1st - Dave Butler (491 pts), 2nd - Clive Richardson (488), 3rd - Steve Pack (458). The Ladies' Benstead Cup competition: 1st - Helen Gill (304), who wins the shield, 2nd - Gillian Smith (259), 3rd - Helen Juden (192). The Junior Benstead Cup was won by Chris Ellis (176), 2nd - Stephen Davis (105).
An innovation this year was the designation of four events ('50', Rough Stuff, '100', "Tour of the Hills") as 'medal' events. Eight members won a bronze medal by completing three events, five won silver for completing four events, and five won gold for completing four events with stiffer time limits.
The Night Ride was cancelled for "lack of support". There was just enough support actually, but quite a few members did themselves and their clubmates out of a ride because they could not be bothered to submit their entries by the closing date. How silly! We only ask for entries in advance when there is good reason, in this case to make the catering arrangements. The event was transformed into a breakfast run, with 23 members taking part. Thanks are due to the Butlers again for this event.
Hiring Guildford Rowing Club for thirteen Wednesday nights per year entitles us to four free Saturday nights. Helen Juden organised a Treasure Hunt to exploit one of these in August, but only two people turned up. Even allowing for summer holidays, this was very disappointing. We never use all our free Saturdays: members' suggestions would be welcome.
Helen Juden also organised a Tourist Trial in September. Six pairs of riders took part, with Dave Butler and Helen Gill winning the event and the Bernard Howell Memorial Trophy for the year.
Gillian Smith organised a Sponsored Ride in aid of White Lodge Centre for spastic children, along the lines of the one run three years before. There were 33 sponsored riders, who raised over £1300, which will not only buy the specially adapted tricycles, as hoped for, but also leave some money over for other worthwhile projects. Thanks to all who gave time and/or money.
Publicity has been in the capable hands of Helen Juden. During National Bike Week two invitation rides were held, one of which resulted in the successful Wednesday evening runs. The DA publicity handout has been reprinted. Gerry Crawshaw has had envelope re-use labels printed, bearing an attractive cycling design by Chris Juden as well as the DA badge. The DA stand has seen service again, at St. Mark's School Fete, Godalming, and at Guildford Town Show. There were also riders on vintage cycles in both processions. The DA has been publicised in various local newspapers, etc., in the Guildford Town Centre Racing programme, and, lately, on ITV Oracle.
A Planning and Rights Sub-Committee was formed this year for the first time, comprising Helen Juden, Keith Parfitt and Chris Jeggo. Three meetings were held, one being attended also by Simon Watkins and Aussie Gray, both then HQ staff. Quite a number of items have been considered, and there has been correspondence and discussion with the relevant authorities. For example, we have commented on the Guildford High Street Pedestrianisation, the plans for dualling the A3 from Compton to Shackleford, and the outline plans for the A31 Runfold Diversion and the Blackwater Valley Relief Road (Southern Section). There have been successful negotiations concerning amendments to the Surrey Structure Plan and to local Borough Plans.
In addition to the YH tour to the AGM and Meriden mentioned above, DA members have taken part in the York Rally and the Birthday Rides. Helen Juden represented the DA at the DAs' conference, which was useful and stimulating, and Keith Parfitt attended the Cycling Campaign Network meeting in London. Four of our events ('50', '100', 200km, "Tour of the Hills") were included in the DA Tourist Competition. Keith Parfitt has served all year as a Councillor, and recently was returned unopposed for a further year, representing Division D (E. and W. Surrey and W. Sussex DAs).
The DA would like to thank all those who have helped with our many and varied activities during the year, and those who have promoted cycling outside the DA in areas of Cycling Proficiency, Road Safety and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. We hope that they will continue to do so in 1986. Finally, there is a special "thank you" for George Alesbury, who has now completed 25 years as DA Treasurer. Not only has the DA prospered, but the Committee has also much appreciated his wisdom and experience.
C. R. Jeggo
for the DA Committee
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 25 August 2009.