“The West Surrey Cyclist” - January - March 2002
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|PRESIDENT||Les Houlton||01483 763816|
|VICE-PRESIDENTS||George Alesbury, Roy Banks, Harold Coleman,
Chris Jeggo, David Nightingale
|Geoff Smith (also fax)
|SUNDAY RIDERS||Tom Hargreaves||01483 851930|
|INTERMEDIATES||Trevor Strudwick||01483 730829|
|GUILDFORD AND GODALMING
|Peter Fennemore||01483 730829|
|WOKING WAYFARERS||David Nightingale||01483 725674|
|MIDWEEK WAYFARERS||Anke Blackburn
WHAT a lot of moaners we cyclists are! I am on the receiving end of loads of cycling-related moans on my rides with the DA and in my local council work. But, to be fair, take any group of cyclists, from a pair upwards, and there will soon be some diatribe or other about killer motorists, wayward pedestrians, and, of course, daft road and transport planners with their totally impractical cycleways, “cyclists dismount” signs, and their unworkable bans on cycling in town centres.
Scanning a Times magazine recently I came across a letter from a reader who “laughed buckets” at an earlier piece where the writer experienced problems on his cycling expeditions.
The lady letter-writer described how she fares on her routine shopping trip. She writes about what happens when her bike is loaded down with the week’s shopping as she comes back from work.
“(I) have a barrier to negotiate which entails going on to the pavement at an angle and then uphill through a barrier on to a railway bridge but with a pedestrian path just where I emerge from the barrier, entailing another sharp right turn before I mow down the innocents.
“And, yes, how good it feels the few times I have managed it. And the best thing is that now I know there is someone else in the world who won’t think me just sad.”
So come on, all you non-saddos, let us all share your favourite ways of beating the system on your rides, whether or not they are shopping trips. Drop me a line with the details and I will happily print them. We have all been affected by unnecessary obstructions and impositions but I know we have also risen above them. Let’s brag a bit.
I WILL be riding around South Island, New Zealand, for much of this quarter so hereby apologise in advance to fellow riders for boring tales from me before and after what I am sure will be an epic trip.
In this column a few issues ago, confronted with a routine crop of cards from friends visiting this cyclists’ Mecca and raving about the place, I pleaded for someone, anyone, to come up with something anti-NZ. This, as expected, was to no avail. As well as cyclists and “ordinary” tourists, I have recently met a lady motor-biker who confirms her two-wheeled fraternity is also mad about New Zealand.
So it just has to be great and I will surely become as besotted with New Zealand as apparently everyone else who has travelled in that country by whatever means.
Meanwhile, does anyone have a recipe for dealing with South Island’s sandflies? And is it worth tuning into the country’s unique 24-hours tourist information FM radio station? Indeed, is it worth lugging a radio around on this trip anyway?
I’m going with the CTC in a group of 20 in late January and most of February, staying in hotels and motels. Stand by everyone for more in my next column. No cancellation of subscriptions will be permitted but I gather a competition is under way for the best suggestion of getting rid of me on West Surrey Midweek Wayfarers rides when I return.
Perhaps I will be banished to the weekends. Aargh!
THE things we do for the CTC.... At a weak moment at a committee meeting I volunteered to act as a cheque signatory joining DA Treasurer Phil Hamilton and Secretary Derek Tanner in this awesome task. Phil, who has experience of these things, had heard dark tales of it taking four months to change signatures on club accounts but he had got it cracked - or so he thought.
So on his instructions Derek and I turned up with Phil at the Nationwide armed with fistfuls of ID. Feeling smug, we presented ourselves at the front desk and then, at the lady’s bidding, repaired to the cashiers’ counter. No, they could not help us. That was the front desk’s job. We retreated but were still of good heart. Oh no, it was not her, said the front counter lady. So we were directed to the financial adviser’s desk - the only other department operating at the time.
All then was well, or so we thought. But there were so many signatures on our dog-eared passbook there was no room for any others, despite all three of us having a go and being told to “press hard”. This new technology is fantastic, isn’t it?
Anyway, the Nationwide was eventually sorted and we left clutching a new passbook containing our three very permanently chiselled sigs.
Onward to the Nat West to deal with our current account. Quick service there at the front counter. Photocopies done of our ID. Forms filled in. Bingo!
But wait. The Nat West man then turned to our Phil to ask for his ID, even though he had presented it before and has been happily signing our cheques for more than a year. Phil did not have any on him so collapse of stout party. Very sorry and all that. Nothing more to be done. Meeting adjourned, leaving Phil facing yet more work, inconvenience, travel, and demands on his time.
THEY are a bit averse to “fuss” but we cannot let long-time DA stalwarts Harry and Marguerite Statham leave West Surrey for darkest Dorset without just a mention here. Both of you will be missed, Marguerite for your acerbic wit most effectively deployed in defending all things cycling, and Harry for your quiet dedication to and promotion of our pastime.
NEW committee member Peter Clint is planning to represent the DA in a review by Surrey County Council of the busy A245 and A320 roads from the Brook House roundabout in Woking town centre, through Six Crossroads, and then on to the A3 junction at Pains Hill, Cobham.
Cyclists often experience problems on this route - but not so many as A3-bound rush-hour motorists as they approach the junction. Peter lives nearby and is only too well aware of the need for improvements. Our priority has to be the needs of cyclists so it is important that you make your views known to Peter. Call him now on 01932 848573 or drop him a line at Clock Cottage, Cavendish Road, Weybridge KT13 OJW.
The aims of the SCC study, to be undertaken by WSP Transportation consultants of Basingstoke, include providing a “consistent, appropriate and balanced level of transport provision for all road users throughout the area”, enhancing the environment, and “to reduce the reliance on the private car and encourage the use of alternative means of transport”.
WSP wants us to assist by defining the problems which exist, our concerns for the future, and suggesting the way the situation could be improved. The consultants would be happy to meet us if Peter feels this would be helpful.
MONEY: As of September 30th the West Surrey District Association had assets of £2,906.85, compared with £3,639.43, treasurer Phil Hamilton reported at the annual meeting, held at Manor House Hotel, Newlands Corner, Guildford, on November 18th. The Tour of the Hills profit was £223.37. The annual dinner (2000) was subsidised to the extent of £320.25.
THE ANNUAL REPORT stated that the DA organised six events during the year which contributed to to Benstead Cup/Audax/DATC events. A total of 46 riders from the DA took part in one or more of these events, which is well down on previous years.
TRIBUTE was paid in the annual report to Harry and Marguerite Statham who have supported the DA for many years with their experience and enthusiasm. About 50 members attended a presentation celebration to them during the Wednesday Midweek Wayfarers runs on October 31st.
RIDE GROUPS: Hardriders (now changed to Sunday Riders) had an average turnout of six riders. Intermediates achieved seven riders until leader Chris Jeggo was sidelined in April with Achilles tendonitis, then injured in a motorcycle accident in June. Attendances then dropped. Guildford and Godalming Wayfarers had typically four to six riders turning out and Woking Wayfarers had a steady core of more than ten riders.
The Midweek Wayfarers, which rides from various locations around Woking, had an average attendance of 20, with a high of 30, drawn from a total of 62 recorded members. The creation of the Paragon Lunch Group had proved very successful, allowing midweekers of all ages to make their own ways to the designated pub for a sociable lunchtime gathering.
The Cycle Rights Network (Farnham) Group organises rides on the second Sunday of the month. As a result of many years of hard work by many people, a cycle network around Farnham linking north and south Farnham, and east and west Farnham, with a link to a number of schools, has reached fruition by having the scheme incorporated into the Draft Local Plan of Waverley Borough Council, reported the Chairman, Brian Thomas.
Other successes included obtaining SITA Landfill Tax funding to upgrade a route between Farnham and Guildford north of the Hogs Back to make it usable all year round. The next objective is to obtain a route enabling reasonably safe cycling from Upper Hale all the way through to Wrecclesham.
OFFICERS: The new officers are listed on page two.
LUNCH: A total of 39 members and friends attended the annual lunch at the hotel after the meeting.
Benstead Cup, Tom Hargreaves; Benstead runner-up, Don Jones; Ladies Benstead Shield, Anne Tanner; Bernard Howell Trophy (highest placed veteran), Don Jones; Bill Inder Sunday Attendance, Tom Hargreaves; George Alesbury Tankard (Midweek Wayfarers attendance) Rico Signore; Bert Bartholomew Trophy (oldest member completing Reliability Ride), Bill Thompson.
Wooden Crank: After a vote, this was awarded to Keith Chesterton for achieving the plural feat of breaking both elbows in a cycling accident.
DA Medals: Gold - Tom Hargreaves; Silver - Don Jones, Geoff Smith Jnr, Trevor Strudwick, Phil Hamilton; Bronze - Doug Johnson, Chris Boggon, Clive Richardson, Anne Tanner, John Gillbe, Rico Signore, Harold Coleman, Peter Callaghan.
A TOTAL of 97 intrepid souls started in what was a bad weather day. There were 26 no-shows, all of whom had paid their fees in advance. The rain cleared up later in the day but many riders dropped out and debris on the roads led to many punctures.
Cycling Weekly gave the event excellent pre- and post-publicity, which undoubtedly led to a strong contingent of racing cyclists from the London clubs. The December 1st issue contained a double-page spread comprising two articles, three colour pictures, and two panels of quotes and names of finishers including those from Cycling Weekly itself. There was also a most welcome plug for the 2002 event, scheduled for August 18th.
Total climbing was 2000-plus metres over a slightly longer route than usual because of the closure of Landslide Lane following a landslip during the winter.
For 2002, organiser Tom Hargreaves is planning to provide a change to the route to avoid Dorking town centre. He also hopes to introduce an additional shorter route on the day, August 18th, to take riders over the Greensands area south of Shere.
OPENING hours of this popular Abinger Hammer venue (and loyal advertisers in this mag) have changed during the winter period to 10am to 5pm, Thursdays to Sundays only. Our Wednesday Midweek Wayfarers riders are consequently in mourning but will try to provide extra patronage during the weekends and in spring and summer.
JANUARY 1st - Seale Craft Centre tearoom will be open
during the morning specially for West Surrey DA cyclists and
An organised club run will leave Woking Post Office for Seale at 9.15am.
JANUARY 9th - Midweek Wayfarers annual lunch, Black Swan, Martyr’s Green - crossroads of Ockham Lane and Old Lane, OS map 187, reference 573089. 12.30pm-ish.
FEBRUARY 17th - Coffee rendezvous for all runs, Seale Craft Centre.
APRIL 13th or 20th - Scorathon (treasure hunt) to be organised by committee member Keith Chesterton, phone 01483 563392.
MAY 4th, 5th, 6th - Three days of rides for May Day Weekend based at a YHA castle hostel in the Forest of Dean. Organiser: Tom Hargreaves, phone 01483 851930.
MAY 3rd - 6th -- CTC South of England Rally, Ringmer, East Sussex. Details, booking forms and accommodation list available from Dave Rix, 27 Fulwood Avenue, Newhaven, East Sussex. BN9 9SP.
MAY 12th - 50 miles Reliability Ride. Organiser Phil Hamilton, phone 01483 772008.
JUNE 9th - Danebury 150km and Stonehenge 200km. Organiser: Mark Waters, phone 01483 414307.
JULY 14th - Rough Stuff ride. Organiser: David Nightingale, phone 01483 725674.
AUGUST 18th - Tour of the Hills. Organiser: Tom Hargreaves, phone 01483 851930.
SEPTEMBER 22nd - Tricyclathon (hill climb, pace-judging of about five miles, freewheeling competition). Organiser: Tom Hargreaves, phone 01483 851930.
SATURDAY 22 September 2001; Guildford did its bit in the celebrations that occurred all over Britain with 19 cities participating in Car Free Day. (While in the rest of Europe thousands of places took part). The borough swung into action - Chapel Street and Tunsgate were closed from dawn to dusk. The park and ride scheme was made free for the day. Buses to the town had their fares slashed to just 10p. Cafes set out tables in the street with continental style abandon. A string quartet was on hand bringing further ambience to the sun-drenched day. Green-minded organisations had stalls under a marquee by Tunsgate, the DA amongst them. Shoppers came to see the stalls, look at electric bicycles, buy jam from the WI stall, have a ride in one of London’s cycle-taxis, and talk about cycling.
The DA stall was stocked up with leaflets on cycle routes in Guildford and Surrey, CTC promotional information and of course plenty of our Runs Lists to hand out to anyone who showed the slightest interest. Members of the CTC were on hand throughout the day to answer questions and give advice. People asked about cycle paths in the town, what sort of bicycle they should get to re-start cycling, how to be safe, and many other questions. A fun questionnaire was used to canvas attitudes towards cycling. Although about 100 respondents may not be a statistically well balanced or representative sample it was a bit of fun and, yes, the results of the questionnaire were sent to the planning departments in Guildford and Kingston. One lesson that was learnt was that over 90% of those questioned would like to cycle more - but are held back by the levels of traffic and the perceived risks.
We may not see any change to the numbers of riders who cycle with the DA as a consequence of our presence on just one Saturday in September. It does raise our profile in the local community, which is intrinsically useful. If such an event occurred in the spring at the beginning of the cycling season - and linked to a special “introductory” or “charity” type ride - who knows what might happen.
This was the first time that this event has taken place in Guildford and the council was, I suspect, a little cautious not to do anything too radical. Although they closed off two streets, they happen to be both about 100 metres long and are no-through roads linking to the pedestrianised High Street. This is hardly likely to cause the great motoring public to have palpitations. Will they have the courage of their rhetoric in a future year and close the road from the top of the Upper High Street, down the length of North Street and to the Friary Centre? Thereby making these areas people-friendly. Perhaps a move to extend the pedestrianisation out from the High Street towards the castle can now be contemplated. With the recent signing of the European Car-Free Day Charter, Britain may have changed its attitude to sustainable transport. There is, I suspect, a long way to go just to catch up with the developments in some other parts of Europe.
I am very thankful to Roy Benson, Cherry Allan and Hilary Stephenson for the help on the stall through the day.
PHONE 01963 210377 for Harry’s Bed and Breakfast Sandwich at £10 and Marguerite’s evening meal at £5 while enjoying the wonderful rolling Dorset countryside. Maximum of two nights.
MEMBER Wally Happy’s first Normandy trip of 2002, arranged for May 12th to 17th, is almost full, with many DA members going on the second trip, June 9th to 14th. A third is fixed for September 8th to 13th.
Wally offers five-day cycling excursions to Normandy for groups of up to 15, crossing Portsmouth to Caen, followed by a ride of 42 miles to his Swedish-style chalets in a rural setting in the Calvados region. Daily rides, barbecues, bike maintenance videos, and slide presentations by way of evening entertainment. The price without food is £110 per person. Chalet hire is available at £200 per week, rising to £250 in July and August.
Contact Wally at 2 Regent Close, Fleet, GU51 3NS, phone 01252 621164, fax 01252 684716, email@example.com.
THE Sunday Hardriders Group has been rebranded as Sunday Riders - “to appear less elitist”, according to Tom Hargreaves. The group will still aim to ride 70-90 miles in all at a steady pace of more than 14mph with routes planned to be slightly shorter during the winter months.
THERE is a proposal to visit Flanders, biking to battlefields, cemeteries and museums, with three nights in Ypres and four nights in the Cambrai/Arras area, travelling by coach with bikes from Woking either from May 11th to 18th or May 12th to 19th. The price will depend on numbers. If interested, please contact Rico on 01483 822240 or Geoff on 01483 769051.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 6 October 2009.