“The West Surrey Cyclist” - July - September 2004
|Previous magazine . Next magazine|
|Inner||front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association - as in previous issue except that Bob McLeod’s and Geoff Smith’s addresses have been added, and Peter Fennemore’s telephone number updated.|
IT was suggested to me recently that I should perhaps attend a neighbouring Cycle Forum as well as my own, which happens to be Woking.
I instinctively turned it down but can now understand why the suggestion was made. We really do need more cyclists attending these meetings. Heaven knows, it took a lot of effort by some of us to set them up. If they wither on the vine we active cyclists would have only ourselves to blame.
So what are these forums? They are run in every borough and district in Surrey by Surrey County Council to act as a link-up between cyclists, “other vulnerable road-user groups”, councillors, and council highway and transportation officers.
Some, notably Elmbridge, have a reasonably good attendance from all sectors. Others, regrettably, fall short in the cyclists department. At least one only rarely has a councillor attending.
Yet, these forums provide an excellent opportunity not only for our voices to be heard but also for cyclists to actually persuade the SCC and district councils to do positive things for the benefit of cyclists and cycling in our county.
Their constitution states that district cycle forums “will comprise an integral part of the production and implementation of improved facilities for cycling and walking in the relevant district area”. That to my innocent eyes seems straightforward enough. Far from having a deficit in cyclists attending I would have thought the meetings would have an embarrassing surplus of two-wheeled proponents.
You see, if you are a member of the CTC and would like to contribute to the local cycling issues debate then these forums as presently constituted will welcome you. I will not give the dates, times, and places of meetings here but your local council can advise.
If you indicate you might like to attend they might send you an agenda and minutes of the previous meeting. But if these are not to hand, go along anyway. And if possible let our secretary Richard Ellis and committee member Peter Clint (Right to Ride officer for Woking and Elmbridge) know you are going.
The constitution also says that each forum will, through its local knowledge, advise the county council in its role as highway authority on a whole host of strategic cycling-related schemes, highway-related planning applications and improvements, and promote cycling and walking by any means seen fit.
They provide us with a chance to really make a difference. So why not give these forums your active support?
ALL committee members were delighted to approve making a £100 grant to the Puttenham Barns Project, which has been set up to provide overnight accommodation for cyclists and ramblers close to the centre of that delightful village.
This is seen as a small token of our current support for something which should be a great asset to many cycle tourists. It was noted that a bike shed complete with Sheffield stands is being provided, so the bikes will be accommodated cosily as well.
More details on this project will be reported in future issues of the mag. Meanwhile, DA committee member Keith Chesterton is our contact for information concerning the likely opening date.
THE unmitigated shock to my system of losing an hour’s sleep to do the Danebury 150km ride on the day the clocks went forward was eased somewhat when I arrived back at the Elstead hall to see a magnificent spread laid out before me.
Vast quantities of meats, cheeses, salads, chocky cakes, as well as tea and coffee, were freely available to tired riders in return for a donation depending on whether or not you noticed the small receptacle for coins.
No wonder the “profit” on the event was down slightly on 2003, not that this is my point.
I just feel that with our Danebury-Stonehenge and Tour of the Hills showcase events we give much more to participants for their small entry fees than do the promoters of many similar Audax-type rides.
The amount of effort put in by volunteers and the hire of various premises and facilities can never be compensated adequately by financial profit but I feel we really ought to be revising our entry fees upwards by pounds rather than pennies or nothing at all. What do you think?
Meanwhile, our DA funds overall continue to be healthy, which means many of our activities can be provided free or financially subsidised, so there is no cause for alarm - yet.
TWO new social events are worth your support. The Black Swan/Mucky Duck is the venue for a Sunday lunchtime gathering for all rides groups, friends and families, on July 11th. If it is anything like the regular January special lunch session of the Midweek Wayfarers we are in for a jolly time.
And continuing the theme of a social evening a couple of years ago when we visited Hogs Back Brewery, Tongham, I am organising an evening on the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line’s Real Ale Train on Saturday August 21st starting at Alton railway station. See the special piece elsewhere in this issue for more details and please book up ASAP with me.
I CONTINUE to notice the use of “cyclists” in advertisements and photographic endorsements of supposedly healthy activities and lifestyle products. And this includes the promotion of luxury new housing developments.
One huge apartments development locally has an all-singing-and-dancing CD ROM to give viewers a virtual tour of the properties and a taste of the surrounding town and country attractions.
Obviously we have the verdant green pastures and the pedestrianised shopping centre with happy shoppers strolling along.
And, sure enough, there goes the cyclist riding across the screen. All very desirable, all very safe, all very free. Just the sort of thing the developers want to convey about their homes and accompanying lifestyle.
The only trouble is that the cyclist is acting illegally as cycling is totally banned in the said precinct 24 hours a day. Watch out new flat-dwellers, the local authority will soon cut you down to size.
THE three items which require the most frequent attention on a bicycle are brake blocks, tyres and chains. Brake block and tyre attention is obvious but chain wear, equally important, is much less obvious.
Chain wear is very inconsistent, dependant upon the grit and dust of the terrain, the amount of rain encountered, and lubrication. A mileage when it should be changed cannot be predicted. It is therefore necessary to carefully measure the amount of stretch that has taken place.
If the chain is covered in thick oil, first remove it with white spirit. Put the chain on the largest chain-ring and a middle to small sprocket. Wedge the bike against the wall and, with the chainwheel crank horizontal forward, suspend a weight from the pedal. (A housebrick in a plastic bag is ideal. ) This puts the top section of the chain under tension.
The rivets on a chain are exactly one inch apart. It is the rivets which wear, and once a 10in length between rivet centres exceeds 10 and 1/16in (257mm) a new chain should be fitted. Doing this will avoid expensive sprocket wear.
(That’s Roy’s solution to a thorny problem. What’s yours? Or do you favour the use of one of a selection of gadgets available from bike shops? Let me know, in writing please - Geoff, Editor)
(The rivets on a chain are exactly a half inch apart, but that correction does not affect Roy's argument. However, 257mm is actually 10 and 1/8 in (254 + 3 mm). I use a Park Tools CC-3 Chain Wear Indicator which shows when chain wear exceeds either 0.75% (equivalent to 2mm elongation in 10in) or 1.0% (2.5mm). It’s much quicker, easier and more accurate than using a ruler. I replace the chain when the elongation is between 0.75% and 1%, i.e. somewhere between 1/16 in and 1/8 in. - Chris, web-page editor)
Newly retired and convalescing from an operation to recover the use of my left leg a gentle bike ride was the order of the day and Anne buys me the guide to the Danube cycle way (got to be flat).
Courtesy of British Airways we arrived with no bother to a sunny, if a little breezy, day in Budapest. By the time we arrived at our hostel it was dark and we were soaked. But soon the bikes and us were securely ensconced in our room with hot coffee. We easily occupied 6 days visiting the sites, the old medieval town of Buda, the exhibition park full of old communist statues, the opera house, a river cruise, and the thermal baths. All too soon it was time to set off up river; our plan, 5 days cycling to Vienna, where we had booked another 6 nights for sightseeing.
Fresh out into the early morning traffic we were soon on the cycle track across the chain bridge and on to the banks of the river and the Euro Cycle route, past the houses of parliament (modelled on those of London) and in 26 km after certain challenges due to poor or obliterated route markings we made it out into the country and the village of Szentendre, frequented by tourists for its charm and lace making industry. We made the “Golden Bend of the Danube” by late afternoon at Eztergom, a popular overnight stop for river cruises. After walking up to the viewpoint from the magnificent basilica it was easy to see why. Finding an out-of-the-way Italian restaurant with a German-speaking waitress we ordered an excellent meal with little difficulty. So good in fact that the next day we broke plan and took the inland route across the ridge to pick up with the river later. After climbing across one ridge into a small valley and over the next ridge getting steadily higher all day our efforts were rewarded with magnificent scenery and a long, long, long descent down into the town of Tata, the city of waterwheels, some as old as 500 years. Centred around a lake some 2 kilometers square it is an important stop-over point for migrating birds as well as a popular leisure area.
The next day we crossed the western part of the “Hungarian Little Plain” through open tracts of farmland as far as the eye could see, with not so much as a cat’s-eye to get a bit of height. We arrived at Gyor (city of rivers) in time for some sightseeing, where we rejoined the Danube. From here it was another 59 flat miles to Bratislava. The quality of the cycle track, the signposting and the information / cyclists’ resting points gave a good idea of its popularity in season. We experimented with some of the advertised detours and soon found ourselves on an unsurfaced track on top of a dyke in the middle of nowhere, whereupon we got our second downpour of the expedition. From the town of Cunovo close to the border post in Slovakia the cycle track is par excellence all the way into Bratislava. Once again the bikes were chained to the bed for security and we admitted gastronomic retreat by resorting to McDonalds for a meal.
Next morning we spent far too long sightseeing in the old town, not remembering we had another 100 km to Vienna to make our prebooked reservation. Clearing the border post to Austria and some seemingly unnecessary backtracking of the route across some rolling farmland, the route crossed the river and put us firmly on top of a dead straight dyke with surfaced path with 40 miles of wind in our faces to Vienna. Best legs forward we were not sure who was most startled as we disturbed swans, eagles, heron and deer resting beside the path and made the outskirts of Vienna before it was dark, whereupon we flagged down two local cyclists (plenty of them about) to seek directions to the centre. Obligingly they offered to escort us and off they set at a cracking pace through the Prater woods and up the cycle ways to drop us in the dark outside the opera house about an hour later.
Apart from cycling to the launderette the bikes lay dormant for the next six days while we used our Vienna card and played tourist: Strauss/Mozart concert, Lipizzaner horses, Prater Park and the Ferris wheel, the castle, the cakes, the coffee, the expense!
Getting out of Vienna was not as bad as we feared, although we did have to manhandle the bikes down several sets of steps to get on to the cycle way alongside the canal. We then headed for the cyclists’ hostel at Krems. Once again we were right on the river’s edge for most of the day and during the afternoon the wind turned east to help us on our way.
Next morning we awoke to three inches of snow, which gave us an opportunity to visit Austria’s largest monastery, which sits above the town, and another night in the excellent hostel accommodation. The manager told us that in four years she had never had a tandem stay. Cycle paths looked ridable the next morning and we set off through the little villages and vineyards of the Wachau region perched, snow-covered, up above the river.
In a short day we arrived at the hostel at Melk, another very picturesque monastery town. Next day the river narrowed as it cut a steep-sided gorge into the hard rock and the sun provided brilliant reflections of the villages clinging to the hillside. Stopping overnight at Mauthausen, remembered primarily as a site of a former concentration camp and for murals decorating the buildings in the main street, we made Linz by lunch. It is easy to see why Hitler had chosen this as the capital of his empire, and an excellent afternoon was spent following a self-guided tour and riding the steepest non-rack railway in Europe for magnificent views.
Next morning, freezing fog on the river did not lift till lunchtime, by when we were approaching the famous Danube meanders where the mighty river twists and turns to cut its way through the hard rock of the alpine extremities, and in strong sun we expended an embarrassing amount of film. It being so quiet and still the wildlife was out in profusion. Even so we made the German border in time to find a hotel before dark.
Another freezing morning ride got us to Passau just as the sun lifted, and over a warming coffee we decided to explore our options to cut the tour short. It was easy to book a train to Cuxhaven that evening, giving us a long day sightseeing in Passau. Extremely picturesque in the old city, excellent views from the castles and churches on the surrounding hills, and the junction of three rivers where the Danube starts to take on its reputable size, it demands a return visit if only to visit the daily organ recital. A night on the train, a night on the ferry to Harwich, train to London, to Woking and indoors for a cup of tea before dark.
Several locals advised us that the best time to visit was in September, after the tourist rush but before things start shutting down. Having covered 735 km of the route, next year’s plan is to do just that and finish the 632 km back to the source at Donaueschingen.
Future dates as in the previous issue plus:-
JULY 11: Sunday lunchtime special social gathering for all riders, friends and rides groups, Black Swan/Mucky Duck, Martyr’s Green, Ockham
AUGUST 21: Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line Real Ale Train evening social event preceded by 20 miles afternoon ride from Alton station (Geoff Smith 01483 769051, Charles Green 01252 350074)
A NEW social event has been arranged for DA members and friends on Saturday August 21. The attraction is a combination of a bike ride from Alton railway station, followed by a steam train journey on the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line and the opportunity to enjoy locally produced real ale.
We are taking a block booking on the RAT (real ale train) which will be serving locally brewed ales on two round trips along the line between Alton and Alresford, starting at Alton at 7.30pm.
Before then, Charles Green will lead a leisurely ride of about 20 miles leaving Alton railway station at 3.30pm and returning to the station after a tea stop at Chawton in good time for the train’s departure.
The suggestion is that some riders will go Alton station by train (for example the 14.46 from Woking) and secure bikes at Alton after the ride and while on board the RAT.
The steam train returns in time to connect with the 22.33 South West Trains London departure from Alton. Alternatively, car parking is available in Alton.
Bookings MUST be made in advance with Geoff Smith, 01483 769051. The price of the train ride is £8 including a free pint. Participation in the bike ride is, of course, not compulsory but an early arrival at Alton for the RAT is certainly essential as seat bookings cannot be made and we would obviously wish to be all together.
All ales are priced at £2 per pint. The on-board buffet will be selling wine and soft drinks as well as snacks. To accompany the real ale train there will also be hot food ranging from steak-in-a-bun to curry.
At last we are moving forward - the need to support cycling is beginning to be taken seriously by both central and local government.
Last February the government allocated £200K to Surrey County Council for the development and promotion of cycling within the county. This is in addition to the money made available for this purpose from its own resources.
Of this sum the lion’s share (£150K) is to be spent in Woking and Runnymede, with Woking being selected, as it is considered that the town would benefit most from the development of cycle routes as a means of access.
To implement a network of cycle routes, the 1998 Oskar Faber consultants’ report to Woking Council, which recommended 14 routes from surrounding areas to the town centre, has been revived, and the CTC along with the Woking Cycle Users Group have been co-opted to a committee to work closely with both Surrey and Woking Councils to re-visit and audit the suggested routes.
To achieve this all parties have been out on their bikes examining their suitability, recommending variations, looking at safety aspects, deciding on the road markings required, identifying possibilities of off-road routes and where cycle parking facilities would be beneficial. In addition we have had to consider the positioning of signposts, which are to incorporate destinations, route numbers and distances to correspond with the details to be shown on a number of free-standing network maps to be located along the routes. It is also intended that a local network map will be issued free of charge, to be made available through the normal channels.
The timetable for this work is as follows:-
To monitor the success of this scheme it is proposed to have automatic counts made both before and after the routes have been formally set up. This will be achieved by rotating six machines supplied free by the Department of Transport, which will be connected to a series of electrical loops powered by solar energy, with the information being automatically downloaded by means of telephone technology.
I am very hopeful that by the spring of 2005 Woking will have the foundations of an excellent local cycle network, and the fact that we have been consulted and are working with the councils does mean we can advise and monitor progress throughout its planning and development.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking both councils and particularly Alan Fordham (Surrey Cycle Officer) and John Masson (Senior Engineer) whose help and enthusiasm is making all this happen. A well planned cycle network can only be good for our community by improving health and creating a more pleasant environment, and hopefully more members of the CTC in the future.
You may be aware a set of eight excellent maps covering the Surrey Cycle Route Network are now available free of charge from the usual sources, i.e. cycle shops, libraries etc. From these sources you may only obtain the local area plus the two adjacent areas. If you require a full set you may do so by contacting the Council Offices direct, who will then send these to you.
Routes compilers - and your magazine editor - would appreciate your suggestions for possible new pub lunch stops. Compile a few paragraphs about likely hostelries, their drinks and food choices, and their overall ambience, and send them in to the mag and rides leaders.
The same applies to your news and views on cafes, their availability and reception for cyclists for mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.
Also, please advise us of any closures or alterations to opening times.
Swiss riders Oscar Camenzind, Alex Zülle and Fabian Jeker, and the Spanish rider Santos Gonzalez were knocked off their bikes by a driver aged 84 years, when on a training run in Spain’s Alicante region. Whilst Jeker had to be hospitalized for a week, the other three got away with a scare. It appears that the driver in question became incensed by the four cyclists riding two by two, instead of single file. He pulled alongside the riders, arguing furiously before executing an apparently deliberate swerve to knock over the foursome.
Note: If this can happen in a cycle-friendly country, what hope is there for us?
You could be missing some goodies on the back page. When I phoned Phil Hamilton about whether there were any local frame repairers he immediately referred me to the back page of our local mag. Eureka, I read about RVJ Designs and after a telecon I managed to negotiate the dreadful Woking one-way system (by car due to my inability to ride and carry) and found him in Portugal Road.
A veritable Aladdin’s Cave. Full of racing car bodies, classics under restoration and various cycles receiving similar treatment. The joy of a business like this is that you have direct contact with the engineer who will do the job. Dr. Nick Jones did the job, superbly, within two days, so when you next need a frame repair, or in fact, a new frame in steel, aluminium or titanium, give him a call.
Some of us more senior chaps have difficulty removing and refitting tyres. I find the plastic levers either break or spring out to add to our already disfigured faces. St John Cycles have been advertising levers similar to the old VAR type. I’ve just bought one and am almost looking forward to my next puncture, but I’m almost ready to wager that they’ll give me a problem particularly since they were on offer at half price.
This year’s ride is using the same route as last year and a very scenic, interesting ride is on offer.
The start is from Tuscam Way in Camberley at 8am on Sunday 12th September, through Cove and Fleet and then into the pretty Hampshire countryside. The route continues through Crookham Village, Crondall, Bentley and Binsted to the halfway stop at Blackmoor where refreshments will be available.
The very young, old, unfit and infirm can call it a day here and watch the others go by, and similarly the less ambitious from the Portsmouth area can start here if they wish.
Blue Cycleway signs will now direct the riders through Liss then on to the cycleway alongside the A3 continuing through Sheet towards Buriton, up up up the hills (walk if you wish) but rest assured this is the easiest route to Hayling Island via Havant.
The old Hayling Billy railway track is the principal route to the Hayling Island Ferry; yes, there is a sea crossing !!! with no ticket to buy as this has been arranged within the entry fee thanks to a generous discount offered by the ferry owners. Riders on super lightweight machines could, if they wished, take the on-road option to the ferry but missing out on the views.
The ride terminates at Southsea where a festive event is being arranged by the Southsea District Scouts (68th Portsmouth).
There are ample refreshment facilities en route, all of which are listed on the route guide, so it will be possible to wine and dine in style, take a quick snack, or perhaps the odd “pint” in addition to tea or coffee and cakes at cyclist-friendly cafes.
Some magnificent and very old churches can be seen on the ride, one from the eleventh century and another from the thirteenth century; they are listed in the guide, do look out for them.
DESPITE my absence (or maybe because of it!) this year’s Reliability Ride appears to have been a great success, and my thanks are due to all those people who volunteered to marshal the event for me.
Of the 33 starters, 31 were DA members, one a visitor from the Bristol DA and one a non-CTC member - who I presume found details on the web site. We had 25 veterans, of whom 4 were ladies, one lady and one junior. We are obviously an ageing group and need to find ways to encourage some younger members (ideas to the Committee please).
Although the routes are now well worn, there are plenty of people to ride with and an excellent route sheet to follow(!), one DA member managed to get so lost that he failed to reach the Kings Head finish, where I understand the two Polish bar ladies got plenty of exercise serving high calorie meals to weary cyclists in the pub garden. Of the remainder, four unfortunately failed to complete the course within the prescribed 5 hours.
The following will receive a Certificate:
|J Banks||R Banks||T Bar||R Benson||P Callaghan|
|M Clarke (Ms)||P Clint||H Coleman||C Cooper||P Gasson|
|J Gilbe (Mrs)||J Gilbe||C Green||D Johnson||D Jones|
|K McClurey||S McClurey||I McGregor||R McLeod||C Richardson|
|C Shales||R Signore||G Smith (Jnr)||G Smith (Sen)||H Smith|
|T Strudwick||W Thompson|
All participants and helpers will be awarded the relevant Sunday Attendance and Benstead Cup points.
Little Mrs Tedder
Has said her
Is changing gear.
. Previous magazine . . Index to magazines . . Next magazine . . W. Surrey DA History & Archives home page .
Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 22 October 2009.