“The West Surrey Cyclist” - October - December 2003
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Front cover - very similar to previous issue
Inner front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association - same as in previous issue
Editorial front matter - as in previous issue
Riding Around - with the Editor
Letter from Woking Town Twinning Association to Geoff Smith
Organisers - Please Take Note
Treasurer’s Plea - by Phil Hamilton
Celebrating 75 Years of West Surrey Cycling - by Derek Tanner
My End-to-End - by Christine Campbell
Use of Helmets, Do or Don’t? - by Peter Clint, Right to Ride Officer
Get the Magazine Delivered for £3 a Year
West Surrey Rough Stuff 13 July 2003 - by Derek Tanner
Guarding the Wooden Crank - by John Ostrom
Struggle, You Swine!
Annual General Meeting and Lunch - notice and details
Committee nomination form
Outer back cover - Reliability Ride - the Event - by Phil Hamilton
HECTIC, hectic, hectic..... Yes, it has been that kind of summer both for West Surrey District Association collectively and for me personally. So you might well detect a feeling of breathlessness about these notes. I’m just hoping I remember all I want to say. If not, there is always the next issue - provided I am still your editor.
Actually, that is a serious point. Is it time for a change? As ever, it is a decision for the annual general meeting. More importantly, this year the AGM must address the issue of finding a new secretary and new treasurer - vital roles indeed, for without a secretary and treasurer in place we cannot effectively continue to operate under local control.
If you do nothing else regarding the CTC in the next few weeks, give this some thought. Can YOU take on an active role for the DA in these or other roles which are threatening to become vacant on the committee? If so, let this become known and have the proposal form in this issue completed and handed in by November 8th.
If all else fails and no nominations for a particular vacancy are received, nominations can be taken on the day. And don’t forget that, of course - Saturday November 22nd, Hoebridge Golf Centre, Old Woking Road, Old Woking, 10.30am for coffee and 11am for the start. Full details are elsewhere in this issue.
AS FOR the actual riding, there have been many, many good times for countless West Surrey CTC cyclists during the past quarter - the annual Roughstuff Events and Tour of the Hills/Tour of the Greensand Hills being augmented by the DA’s 75th anniversary Birthday Rides, tea party and film show.
The venerable Tour of the Hills had a record 172 entrants and at least 46 of us crowded into the tearooms at Seale Craft Centre for the birthday tea and jolly aftermath. Several day rides on Sundays and Wednesdays had turnouts of around 30.
Among the group touring holidays I know about, 11 West Surrey types were among the 29 on the Swiss Rollers 2003 tour. Four set off - and three completed - an end-to-end of France. And four survived the dangerous August heat-wave in France (plus a few geographic brainteasers) to take part in the 65th Semaine Federale Internationale de Cyclotourisme based in Aurillac, Auvergne. Hey Edwina, Roy, Alan, Bob, Jeff, Chris, Peter - how about writing some reports for the next issue?
IN JUNE, I was invited by Woking’s twin towns association to set up a day ride for cyclists from Rastatt, Germany. Rico Signore readily agreed to prepare a 100km route out into Hampshire and with his usual attention to detail produced a bilingual routesheet to help our guests.
On the day itself, the Mayor gave us a rather sumptuous breakfast send-off from the Civic Offices and many German and non-German speakers from the DA acted as hosts. Once again there were about 30 in all in the party, some joining or leaving at Seale and at the lunchstop at Binsted.
Now the Rastatt riders, who had cycled to Woking mostly in relay, want us to visit them, hopefully next year.
ALAN Fordham, Surrey County Council cycling support officer, is putting the finishing touches to the long-awaited plan for signing a Surrey Cycleway link route between Egham, Woking, Ripley, and joining the established cycleway itself at Coombe Bottom, Shere.
Rico Signore rode with Alan to finalise the actual locations of the signs between Egham and Woking, and I did likewise from Woking continuing south. We had fascinating afternoons trying to put ourselves into the position of cyclists unfamiliar with our roads as they attempt to reach the cycleway proper.
Both of us were impressed with Alan’s attention to detail and we look forward to the signs being installed next spring. A new free map will be published at the same time showing the new link and including written details of how to join it and stick with it.
After much deliberation Alan and I decided the best way of tackling the Woking Station situation was to sign it from both the north and south exits. Hopefully this will materialise.
The full Egham-Shere link will join the others from Farnham, Haslemere, Cranleigh, Leith Hill, Leigh, Outwood and Smallfield, and Caterham.
When the white-on-blue metal signs are in they may be augmented by bright little directional “stickies” to be fixed to various posts to keep everyone on the right road. It is likely that DA riders will be able to help in the positioning of these.
OUR Right to Ride officer has written a useful, reasoned piece in this issue on the wearing of helmets. In commending it to you I would suggest you also read the article on the same subject in the August-September issue of the CTC’s national magazine Cycle. Then you may be as confused as I am.
Why confused? - Well, I tend to wear the helmet on solo and club rides in the UK but not when I am nipping down to the town centre and not again when I am in searing heat in remote, sparsely populated parts of Europe.
From observation, I know I am not alone in taking this somewhat irrational, but also practical, course.
President: The Worshipful The Mayor of Woking
Dear Cllr Smith
I am writing to thank you again, on behalf of all the WTTA Committee, for your very kind help in entertaining our guests. We appreciate all the time you so generously gave to the organisation and management of the ride on Thursday, in particular. It was gratifying that so many members of CTC made the time to join the group. I would be grateful if you would pass our warm thanks to your club for their participation too.
Will you now be planning a return visit to Rastatt?
Thank you again for all your support.
Marion Baddeley, Honorary Secretary
Woking Borough Council
Surrey GU21 6YL
Tel: 01483 743001
EACH YEAR the Treasurer is required to balance the accounts and present them to the DA, for acceptance, and to HQ, for inclusion in the CTC’s accounts. Inevitably, there is an element of “carry over” from one year to the next, eg cheques written but not presented, which is easily understood by the Treasurer remaining in office, but less so for a new incumbent. As I am stepping down at the next AGM I am particularly keen to ensure a minimum of carry over this year, and all members who handle DA monies (including Committee Members with expenses claims, Event Organisers with Profit/Loss, and Magazine distributors with income or unsold mags) are requested to ensure they make complete returns to me as soon as possible.
A second request is that someone should volunteer to take over the Treasurer’s post, not least because the DA is not permitted to exist without one! The job occupies me for about one hour per week plus attendance at Committee Meetings, about one evening every two months. I am not computer-literate, and do the majority of the work longhand. PC and Mac templates exist for generation of the Balance Sheets. Anyone wanting to know more about the job can contact me on 01483 772008.
On Saturday 21st June 2003, the tea rooms at Manor Farm Craft Centre in Seale played host to West Surrey Section of the CTC for their 75th Anniversary event.
13 Riders left the tea rooms at 0930 to ride 75 miles round the boundary of the region.
During the day social groups each covering 25 kilometers left for morning coffee at Frensham Garden Centre, lunch at the Good Intent pub at Puttenham and afternoon tea back at Frensham Garden Centre, timing their return to Seale for a traditional tea party at the tea rooms.
George Alesbury, the longest serving member of the club with 67 years membership, was called upon to cut the birthday cake, which was decorated in club colours in the design of a cycle wheel.
President of the club, Roy Banks, himself a member of 24 years, thanked all the organisers and helpers of the day and congratulated the excellently produced souvenir handout and photograph albums recording the club’s history which were on display throughout the day.
The day concluded with an audio-visual film show provided by club secretary Derek Tanner, with sequences of recent tours in England, Wales, Vietnam and Nepal.
|1||Mark Hanson||11||Clive Richardson|
|2||Alan Richardson||12||Ian McGregor|
|3||Tim Bar||13||Don Jones|
|6||Tom Hargreaves (Ldr)||16|
25 KM @ 10.00 AM
25 KM @ NOON
|1||Bill Thompson||11||Peter Banks|
|2||Paul Slyfield (dnf)||12||Keith Chesterton (Ldr Wayf)|
|3||David Jupe||13||Anne Tanner (Support)|
|4||Libia Jupe||14||Trevor Strudwick|
|5||Richard Ellis||15||Peter Marvell|
|6||Edwina Roberts||16||Mary Clarke (Support)|
|7||Chris Jeggo (Ldr Int)||17||Geoff Smith|
|8||Alec McCalden||18||Debbie Hollebon|
Tea Party - 46 Persons & Film Show - 31 Persons
Cycling from Land’s End to John o’Groats is something I have wanted to do for many years and this year my personal circumstances were such that I could grab the opportunity.
Although very keen to attempt the trip I had some concerns, as I am not a particularly fast cyclist, my map reading skills are sketchy and I can just about change a tyre. However, after some strong reassurance from Colin Langdon who organised the trip (I booked it through the CTC) that I would not be left stranded somewhere or cycling on my own for three weeks, I booked the trip.
A further concern I had was that as we did not have a back-up team we needed to carry our own luggage and spares for our bicycles, which even when keeping items to a minimum weighed 26 pounds. I was told I would feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of the trip doing it this way. I was not convinced at the time or times when I had punctures (three in all) and especially when I was pushing my bike up Mallerstang Common in Cumbria, which seemed to go on for ever. However, having completed the journey I am now glad I did it this way.
I stayed with friends in Cornwall for a couple of days before the trip and cycling the 18 miles from Bodmin train station to their home in St Columb made me realise what I was letting myself in for. The night before the trip I could not sleep very well and went down for a cup of tea at 5.00am. My friend joined me as she could not sleep either and reassured me that I would get out of Cornwall even if she had to drive me out!
I started to feel more relaxed as soon as I met the group and discovered they weren’t all the type who wanted to get to John o’Groats as quickly as possible. There were five women and fifteen men who had signed up for the trip whose ages ranged from 30-69. Their reasons for undertaking the trip varied widely from those who were simply keen cyclists, 40th and 50th birthday challenges, an opportunity to raise money for various charities, and for the three oldest participants who were 69 they said a final chance of cycling a long-distance journey. Members of the group came from various parts of the UK and also from America and New Zealand.
On the first evening our accommodation was split between Land’s End Youth Hostel and White Sands Lodge in Sennen. I thought I had got the better deal staying in the latter. However, it turned out to be a backpackers and eight of us (four guys and four gals) were in one room sharing the largest bunk bed we had ever seen. It certainly broke the ice. I slept really well that night - perhaps it says something about me!
My concerns lessened once we set off and our days soon settled into a routine. We tended to travel in small groups; however, on the occasions when we travelled as one large group we must have looked pretty impressive with a recumbent leading the way flying the British and Scottish flags. We mainly travelled on B-roads and small lanes, although we travelled on A-roads in Scotland. The average mileage was around 60 miles per day, with the longest day being 82 miles and the shortest day 20 miles. We also covered more miles than expected as we occasionally took a wrong turn and the mileage was sometimes underestimated on the route sheets we had been given.
The journey was demanding and the first couple of nights I did not sleep very well as my legs were aching owing to the relentless Cornish and Devon hills. I have vowed never to cycle in Cornwall again as long as I live. I had been warned that long days in the saddle could put pressure on the behind and a regular application of Sudocrem was the answer to this problem. Those who thought they were above that kind of thing and had not bothered to bring the cream went en masse to a chemist in Preston on Day 9! We knew we had to eat regularly and drink plenty of water to keep our energy up and to remain hydrated, and it was certainly no hardship for me and those I cycled with visiting the many teashops along the route. In parts of Scotland we had problems with midges which suddenly appeared when we stopped, particularly in Arran, and therefore insect repellent was vital. Although the journey was demanding there were days when it all seemed so effortless, for example the 72-mile ride from Clun to Chester was a dream as the miles disappeared whilst we coasted along in the sunshine.
The journey took us up the west side of the country through Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Powys, Shropshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria. Half of the journey was through Scotland including the isles of Arran, Mull and Skye, and along the top of Scotland through Ullapool, Durness and Tongue.
High points of the trip included reaching the top of Dartmoor where we enjoyed the spectacular views, and cycling through Cheddar Gorge where we felt like tiny specks on the horizon. Cycling on the islands and Scotland itself was particularly enjoyable and the contrast of the mountains and lochs and the ever-changing colours was magnificent, as were the beautiful sandy deserted beaches. Overall I enjoyed the sense of freedom I experienced, especially in the wide open spaces of Scotland. Several bridges we travelled over left a great impression, such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Severn Bridge, the toll bridge in Skye and the Kylesku Bridge in the Highlands of Scotland. The latter was particularly memorable as there were really strong side-winds and it was difficult to keep control of the bikes with many of us having to push our bikes over. There were also exhilarating moments such as the descent from Gospel Pass in Wales where we reached speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. I was stung by a wasp there whilst travelling at 30 miles an hour, which is not to be recommended.
The weather was very kind to us being overcast and mild in Cornwall, and the majority of the time dry and sunny. We had rain for the first time on our day off on Arran, plus two mornings in the Highlands where we also experienced very high winds. There were very strong head winds which made it necessary to pedal whilst going down hill and side-winds which made it a bit treacherous.
We stayed in Youth Hostels, which vary widely in the facilities and comforts that they offer. Kirby Stephen was the most unusual, being a converted church. Often there were just us five ladies sharing a room, but sometimes there could be as many as 14 in one room. Earplugs were definitely a requirement as some of the ladies snored! On arriving at the hostel we would shower, wash our clothes, have a meal and a chat, with lights out usually before 10.00pm. A luxury for us ladies was when we could hire a towel (the travel ones are not as good) and most important for us was finding a space for our washing in the drying room to dry our kit for the next day.
There was a lot of camaraderie among our group, which kept our spirits high. The support from our family and friends was also great, and meeting my family in Carlisle gave me a boost half-way through the trip. However, the final day’s cycling was spent in quiet reflection. We felt a great sense of achievement in reaching John o’Groats but also a little sadness as the trip was over. Paul, my husband, was there to meet me and we spent a few days relaxing in Scotland before returning home.
It was a tremendous challenge for me, cycling 1190 miles in 20 days, and at times very tiring, but I had a wonderful time. Additionally to this, I raised £1,000 for Whizz-Kidz, a charity which aims to improve the quality of life of disabled children and young people throughout the UK by providing customised mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and tricycles.
It is very hard tor me to come down on one side or the other.
The CTC’s position is clear - the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets will damage cycling by reducing the numbers using bikes as an alternative means of transport or as a recreational sport.
Statistics show that wherever compulsion has been adopted, the numbers taking to two wheels reduces.
The CTC also argues that the wearing of helmets does not always provide the protection it is supposed to, and in a minority of cases can exacerbate damage. This argument can however be levied at the car seat belt - yet undoubtedly the car seat belt has saved more lives than was the case before it was introduced.
If the number of cyclists were reduced by compulsion, once again it can be argued that this could be harmful, since less cyclists equals more environmentally unfriendly cars and more overweight people. Since in 2001 only 138 cyclist fatalities were recorded against 45,000 deaths from coronary heart disease related to inactivity, surely we should not be discouraging cycling by compulsion.
Recently the Government has introduced a promotional campaign to encourage not compel the wearing of cycle helmets, however the CTC opposes this by suggesting that the X-ray images depicting skulls wearing helmets will frighten both children and parents by associating cycling with hospitals and death, and as a result reduce the use of the bicycle.
But will this necessarily happen? - I don’t know, however those parents and children to whom I have shown the advert appear unconcerned, and surely the death of a child would have a far more devastating effect on cycling than such an advert.
To my mind there is no doubt that overall the wearing of a cycle helmet can save life and reduce injury to the head. Surely this must be good and therefore encouragement to do so sensible.
In promoting the use of cycle helmets the Government has employed many statistics which can be called into question, however we can all argue statistics until we fall off our bikes, for we all know statistics are lies and damn lies, to be manipulated to the needs of the user.
Having read the above you may well consider the Government’s campaign inappropriate, but surely rather than winge at what might happen, what we should be doing is seeking an alternative and more positive approach to cycle safety.
One way might be to project the wearing of cycle helmets as “sexy”, after all advertising is a very powerful tool in the promotion of many products and ideas. Another, and I feel far more sensible, direction is for Government to plough far more money into the creation of a national safe cycle network, such as is already well developed over much of the continent.
Recently I was in the north of Finland, well beyond the Arctic Circle - and guess what - Yes, even here most towns have a full network of broad, well used and well maintained cyclepaths, despite there being few cars on the roads; indeed there is a plan to link these by 2007 to form a continuous path the length of the country.
Hopefully this will happen in the U.K. in due course, but it will not unless we as cyclists make our views known to those who plan our lives.
I would therefore urge you, should you feel strongly about all or any of the matters raised above, viz:-
to write to all or any of the following as appropriate:-
|Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP.,
10, Downing Street,
Fax - 020 - 7925 - 0918
|Rt. Hon. Alistair Darling MP.,
Secretary of State for Transport,
Department for Transport,
Great Minster House,
76, Marsham Street,
|Rt. Hon. Dr. John Reed MP.,
Secretary of State for Health,
Department of Health,
Yet again the solution may well be in your hands.
Only by making our individual voices heard can we expect any improvement.
Remember one letter equals ten thousand votes in the hands of politicians.
|NAME||MFJ||CTCDA||Time at Control||Time at Finish|
|1||Steve Brown||M||South Bucks||11:15||13:45|
|3||Stuart Hoxley||M||South Bucks||11:15||13:45|
|4||James Callahan||M||West Surrey||12:15||DNF|
|1||Mike Waite||M||South Bucks||11:08||13:08|
|2||Tim Bar||M||West Surrey||10:45||12:35|
|3||Harold Coleman||M||West Surrey||11:48||16:16|
|4||Peter Callaghan||M||West Surrey||11:48||16:16|
|5||Trevor Strudwick||M||West Surrey||11:48||16:16|
|6||Derek Tanner||M||West Surrey||12:10||16:27|
|7||Anne Tanner||F||West Surrey||12:10||16:27|
|Start||- Derek Tanner, Anne Tanner|
|Control||- Peter Fennemore|
|Finish||- Hilary Stephenson, Richard Ellis|
A blistering hot day saw 14 riders set off on the rough stuff event - Going was good with very little deep mud.
The day was enjoyed by all. Thanks go to those who turned out to marshall - especially Peter Fennemore for bringing supplies of drinks and biscuits to Baynards (Hope you managed in your mission to make sure none of the chocolate ones melted before they were eaten).
The days grow shorter and the hours we can safely devote to our favourite pursuit are dwindling. For me this signals the end of a happy relationship - the period during which it has been my duty to guard the sacred Wooden Crank. It also marks the anniversary of the daft exploit whereby I acquired that solemn trust. Andy Warhol once said that in the future everyone would be famous for a quarter of an hour. My thanks to Members for granting me my fifteen minutes.
The names of illustrious forebears, legendary figures from a long gone, heroic age are engraved in runes upon the Crank and perhaps mine will take its place there in the fullness of time. Among so many giants I mention only gentle Parfitt, bold Bolingbroke and of course venerable Father Inder himself.
I dreamt of retaining the trophy for another year by perpetrating some Olympic class tomfoolery, thus earning the ribbon of the WC and Bar. It was not to be, so now I prepare to yield the hallowed relic, that it may be bestowed on another. Whosoever he may be I salute him (or her!) - he will be part of that select group, who are not as other members, but who strive to emulate Mr Edward Lear’s Old Man of Thermopylae (Who never did anything properly). As George Orwell might have said - “All men are fallible but some men are more fallible than others”. Now we must await the arcane rituals of the AGM when members will vote for next year’s Resident Idiot. Choose well, choose wisely. Remember it might be you.
Anke Blackburn has submitted a translation of a lengthy feature under this heading in a German newspaper, thinking that it will interest and amuse our members. As I am a little worried about copyright, the following is a short “report” of the article by me - Geoff Smith, Editor
THE article’s author, Max Kueng, condemns “struggle” as far too short a word to describe what it really means to ride up Alpe d’Huez, especially when he was on the 14th of 21 hairpin bends under a hot sun and with no shade anywhere.
On each of the bends there is a board indicating the height reached and depicting a large and fat marmot, an animal in the coat of arms of the region.
As he climbed higher, the marmot’s grin grew larger until, at the last bend, he had the feeling it was laughing at him scornfully while the sweat was running into his eyes.
By then, the 13 per cent gradient was a bit too steep and he knew the worst was yet to come.
He had prepared himself by buying the Lance Armstrong Training Programme, a home trainer and a pulse rate measuring machine. He also adopted a diet concentrating on complex carbohydrates at the expense of red meat, alcohol, sweets, and white bread.
It did not seem to be working as he toiled upwards with no questions and nothing on his mind other than the need to keep going.
And of course he made it. As we all do, he forgot to look at his watch and had no idea how long it took him to climb Alpe d’Huez.
Ninety minutes? More? No matter. Forget the time, the experience was enough for him as he took his last turn left into Avenue Rif Nel, the wide finishing straight so familiar to Tour de France fans.
But no-one waited for our man, no cheering crowd, no ladies with bouquets of flowers. But he could buy a Diplome Cycliste, signed by the Mayor, from the Tourist Information Office.
He did so. It cost one euro and confirmed for all eternity that he had mastered the Alpe, “13 kilometres, 21 virages, 1,100 metres de dénivelée, l’étape du Tour de France Cycliste”.
The Annual General Meeting of the West Surrey District Association will take place at the Hoebridge Golf Centre, Old Woking Road, Old Woking, on Saturday 22nd November 2003.
Proceedings will commence at 10.30 am with coffee and biscuits at a cost of £1, with the General Meeting beginning at 11am.
If you would like to cycle to this event, you will be pleased to learn that suitable storage facilities for your bikes will be made available.
Following the A.G.M., there will be an opportunity for all those attending to meet in the bar where drinks can be purchased at very reasonable club prices.
Shortly thereafter we shall be having our club annual lunch, and it is hoped as many of you as possible will take advantage of the excellent food which we can guarantee will be served. Once more you can purchase Wine or other refreshment at your table, all of which are excellent value.
The menu available for you is set out below, and what will be a superb meal will cost you a mere £15.50p.
You will note there are several choices for each course. When making your reservation we shall be grateful if you will indicate your preference, one choice for each course, and at the same time send your payment made out to “C.T.C. - West Surrey District Association” to Peter Clint, High Trees, Pendennis Close, West Byfleet, Surrey. KT14 6RX. No acknowledgement will be given, however you are welcome to telephone 01932 - 340564 to confirm your reservation has been received. Cheques will not be banked until one week before the event and no refund can be given after that date.
You may rest assured, the servings are large and delicious, so come hungry.
We look forward to seeing you all on this occasion, and look forward to your input at the A.G.M. - don’t forget to bring your wives, girlfriends and partners.
DESPITE the suggestion that we should have a less demanding, 30-mile route, I received no request to give it further consideration and this year’s Reliability Ride followed the well worn, 50 mile, routes out of Pyrford and Godalming - with only the finish point being changed as our usual pub was in the course of refurbishment.
A cool start saw 32 entrants set off for the Royal Oak at Holmbury St Mary, where many enjoyed a good lunch and chat, prior to taking a less stressed route homewards. All successfully completed the ride within the allotted 5 hours, and will receive a certificate.
My thanks to all those who took part, and very special thanks to those who assisted at the Start, Control and Finish - without whom the event could not have been run.
The following will receive a Certificate:
|R Banks||T Bar||P Callaghan||M Carolan||M Carolan|
|M Clarke (Ms)||H Coleman||J Cordery||J Gilbe (Mrs)||J Gilbe|
|C Green||A Holbrook||P Holmes||D Johnson||G Kirk|
|K McClurey||S McClurey||R McLeod||D Jones||N Kenworthy (Ms)|
|R Page||C Richardson||E Roberts (Mrs)||R Signore||G Smith (Jnr)|
|G Smith (Sen)||T Strudwick||H Smith||P Slyfield||A Tanner (Mrs)|
|D Tanner||W Thompson|
All participants and helpers will be awarded the relevant Sunday Attendance and Benstead Cup points.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 15 October 2009.