“The West Surrey Cyclist” - April - June 2005
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|Inner||front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association - as in the previous issue but with the addition of Liz Palethorpe as FARNHAM CRN Ride Leader.|
POPULARITY - court it and it may pass you by; be yourself and it may come your way. How else to explain the recent upsurge in popularity of West Surrey CTC Midweek Wayfarers’ rides? An increase in rider numbers has occurred in the winter quarter just when you would normally expect a decline in the turn-out or at best the stabilising of a hard core.
Why has this happened? It is probable that newcomers are in the main being drawn to our motley band because they have put themselves in the search mode and our details have emerged as being worthy of investigation.
I think it is significant that most established active group riders came into the fold precisely because we went through this process. We wanted to cycle with a group at midweek, weekends, or whenever, so we started making enquiries. We turned up at a ride start or at coffee, had a chat, cycled off, and that was it... Life would never be the same again (or perhaps that is a bit over the top).
But in the middle of winter? What is going on here? At least one has said it was the sight of our club shirts in the bunch that set him on our district CTC trail. But that was before the temperature dropped and said shirts were generally hidden beneath several top layers, if being worn at all.
Certainly the website has helped swell our numbers and, perhaps, so has the mag. One wonders, though, whether our leaflet and poster displays and stalls at various summer events have done much good at all. Anyway, it is a delightful position for the DA to be in.
The more the merrier, says our secretary Jeff Banks, and few would disagree with this. But there is a problem with a large number of riders setting forth en masse in the usually congested roads in our district and it is something we cannot ignore.
Initially the committee has come up with the idea of staggering the starts over a 15 minutes period, usually between 9.30 and 9.45am for midweek, slightly earlier for the Sunday Wayfarers in Woking and other rides groups where and whenever rider numbers warrant it.
The idea is that as soon as about eight riders have gathered they should set off straightaway for coffee with one of their number being designated leader and ideally riding in two groups of four keeping in sight of each other while leaving an appreciable gap to aid overtaking cars.
You see, we DO like to give consideration to other road users, even if it is not always appreciated. There have been several incidents of “road rage” directed at our riders recently and this is always unpleasant whoever is to blame, if blame there be.
So as we roll into summer we will give this staggered start idea an airing when necessary in the hope that we can keep ourselves into a series of small and manageable groups when circumstances are suitable. And not all bunch up together again at the first junction or traffic light stop.
Our overall aim must be to curtail potential aggression in motorists. Drivers, of course, have no justification in being aggressive in any situation. But increasingly they are and we are right to recognise that, even though it is an utter disgrace.
YOU will be aware that we are suffering from being too successful. Our numbers have grown so much that we can cause problems on the road, overcrowding at the coffee stop and even at the pub. The most important thing is to avoid trouble on the road. The committee have suggested that we have a 15-minute window for the start time, i.e. 9.30-9.45, so that as viable numbers assemble they can set off for coffee, so reducing the queuing there and giving more manageable groups of only 8-10 on the road. You will still meet your friends at coffee and we can then decide how to split up for the day’s ride.
Naturally this requires that we have more leaders. We are confident that many of you will be capable of leading a group to coffee, and not a few able to lead further. Perhaps some even now have knowledge of good routes and pubs; if so please let any club officer know. Given sufficient support from you, growing numbers will give even more choice of start points, coffee stops and routes.
We take it for granted that you are all CTC members; if not, the easiest way is to join via the internet, or please ask. It is critical that you are all members as that provides you with free third-party insurance and covers you as a leader. http://www.ctc.org.uk/resources/Training_and_Education/EXAMPLESOFCODESOFCONDUCT.doc provides good advice for both leaders and riders.
Thanks to all those who have offered suggestions for improving the midweek events; please keep them coming.
LEADING rides has never been without its problems, usually associated with speed and distance, but lately we have been experiencing problems caused by the popularity of our rides. In an attempt to address this problem we have been asked to ride in smaller groups, leaving gaps between each four to six riders, so that cars have a fighting chance of overtaking us in safety. In turn this format has led to the separation of some groups, originally heading for a destination unknown to the front rider/leader of the second group. This problem would not arise if we all took more notice of what is going on behind us - making sure that, at each junction, the rider behind us is aware of the direction we take (i.e. if you can’t see them, they can’t know which road you are taking!). In large groups it will take time for “delays”, whatever their cause, to become apparent to the leader but I can assure you that the system of separation and awareness does work, causes the least frustration to other road users and does not delay the group unduly. I commend it to you.
Before overtaking the rider in front to fill the gap that may have appeared, consider that he/she may have deliberately slowed to make that gap available to overtaking cars as recommended for group cycling.
Should we try to list the lunch pub stops, weather permitting, in the rides list? Then if groups get split up, or if people miss coffee or the start, they will know where to go.
We could issue small groups of riders with different coloured tiddlywinks as they turn up at the start or at coffee to tell them which leader to ride off with.
Change to single file riding when the call “car up/down” is heard. Normally the inside rider of each pair moves forward allowing the outside rider to slot in behind.
If there is traffic behind which is unable to overtake, split into smaller groups of about five to help it pass.
RIDING under the West Surrey DA banner, Richard Phipps was placed equal ninth in the 2004 DA Tourist Competition, achieving 101 points in ten rides during the year, just eight behind the overall winner.
Roger Philo was placed equal 63rd with 86 points and West Surrey was 18th out of a total of 62 teams.
COMBINE a country bike ride of 30 miles or less with a search for treasure by entering West Surrey DA’s Treasure Hunt route-finding event on Sunday May 15th starting between 10.30 and 11am at Puttenham Tarn car park (SU 910456).
Organiser Keith Chesterton (01483 563392) urges riders to support the event or it may not be held again. It is a DATC event and the winner would gain 100 points in the Benstead Cup contest.
Firstly, many thanks to you all for supporting our start-of-year events in such numbers. Since Janice opens the Seale Café on 1st January especially for us it is appropriate that we give her our wholehearted support. On Wednesday 5th January we had the Midweekers’ Annual Lunch at the Mucky Duck in Martyrs Green. Both events have become something of a tradition - and long may it continue!
Special thanks must go to Peter Clint for his continued and unstinting effort for our most pleasing new club outfit. Initially some members were very doubtful, but the constant flow of additional orders proves that many doubters have seen the appeal of the yellow and green colours and subsequently changed their minds.
Geoff Smith and I are very pleased to report that the Woking/Guildford Twinning venture has already proved a great success as the tour is sold out. All that is needed is good weather on the Continent in early June.
By the time you read this you will probably have spotted me on one of my trusted steeds more than once. However, I was most touched and flattered by all the visits I received, both at the hospital and at home, the get-well cards, the “get-better-soon” and “come back - all is forgiven” messages. I am happy to report that the hip is mending successfully - shame about the brain.
One colleague when visiting seemed very worried as it had been reported to him that I was in constant pain - I was most puzzled as it was definitely not true. It transpired later that one rider had a slightly senior moment in one ear and the word “Constipation” transformed into “Constant Pain”. Phew, another rumour demystified!
Looking forward to Spring and Summer I wish you many pleasant and relaxing rides!
40 people experienced the delights of cycling up the Danube, down the Loire and around the CTC tour of the Vias Verdes in Spain, at the AV show hosted by Derek Tanner.
The evening raised £45 for RNLI and £60 for the CTC Cyclists’ Defence Fund.
I was fascinated when I read Rico Signore’s article in which he told of his complex origins. He must surely be in a constant state of turmoil with all the various nationalities, of which he is composed, trying to assert authority over each other. No wonder he appears so harassed, and he is obviously confused when he says that he does not enjoy my company. With half a dozen languages (with their different pronunciations, grammar, spelling, meanings, etc. etc.) going around in his already overtaxed brain, it is a wonder that he can ever have a single clear thought; though he is, of course, a remarkable man. Somehow he has managed to blame innocent me for his misfortunes. The unfortunate, and undeserved, result of this mental conflict is that he has mistaken me for Ian McGregor - of whom the less said, the better - though at the offer of a pint, I’ll tell all that I know.
I trust that the above will serve to remove all blame from myself for any misunderstandings that Mr Signore may have had with a certain member, whose name I shall not mention again, for fear of upsetting my friend Rico further.
Finally, I would suggest that Mr Signore sticks to just one language in future - I suggest Esperanto!
P.S. After reading John Ostrom’s article ‘A Capital Day Out’ I tried phoning Edmund Spenser on the number supplied, 1552-1599 - but got no reply! Never mind, my disappointment was overcome when I read the sentence - ‘We were at it for nine hours in all’ - give them all a certificate!
ONCE again the time has come to think about the DA’s 50-mile Reliability Ride. As in previous years the routes will start at Pyrford Common Car Park and CTC HQ Godalming; with nominal start times of 0800, 0830 and 0900 for ride times of 5, 4 to 4.5, and 3.5 hours respectively. All participants and helpers should therefore be gathered at the Holmbury St Mary finish by 1pm to enjoy a social luncheon, and a leisurely ride home.
Hopefully all our active members will wish to support this event and it would be appreciated if those not wishing to ride could assist with the marshalling duties. To volunteer, please call me, Phil Hamilton, on 01483 772008, and I will give you details.
Without entrants it isn’t worth organising an event, but without helpers I cannot run the event.
All last winter the thought of completing the Danube Ride (abandoned the previous November) had been lurking in the back of our minds. So the Wednesday after Easter we took the train via the North London Line (Richmond - Stratford) and the ferry from Harwich to Cuxhaven. After a couple of days sightseeing in Hamburg the overnight train got us to Passau.
Arriving in blazing sunshine we quickly got 60km in the bag. Next morning dawned cold and grey and that was the sum of it until Regensburg, the first of the magnificent merchant cities on this section and where we stopped for three days in the campsite on the river-bank. In the tourist office we picked up an excellent guide (with optional English translation) of the route, published by “Deutsche Donau” (ISBN 3-931944-85-9). The route in Germany is not as well manicured as in Austria, but as our fitness improved, moving the expedition tourers loaded with camping kit was never a serious problem.
We made steady progress visiting all the recommended tourist spots and detours, including the Donau gorge after which the river is not navigable. Just around the corner the monastery village of Weltenburg brews its own beer. We even got close to Nuremburg by following the Altmühl detour for three days. This had the advantage of avoiding industrial Ingolstadt and discovering the wonderful architecture of Eichstätt. Here we discovered the “möglichkeit zeltplatz”. Intended for touring canoeists, cyclists are also welcomed to pitch tent on the canal bank outside the toilets and showers provided. Anyone wishing to feast on baroque architecture could get serious indigestion around here.
Returning to the Danube we backtracked to Neuberg, another old town with incredible architecture, and Donauwörth. Destroyed in WW2, it has been rebuilt in the original style. The following day we cycled past the Eurocopter factory where there were some interesting test flights going on. We passed the site of the battle of Blenheim and, arriving in Ulm on 1st May, discovered a concert and beer festival in full swing in the main square. We later found that our intended campsite in a village 20km upstream had been similarly taken over for a rock concert. We retreated 3km to a patch of nettles on the bank of a flooded gravel pit, and were kept awake until 0430 when the music stopped. Sleep patterns destroyed, we made an early start and after a two-hour climb descended with brakes and tyres burning into Blaubeuren. Here the River Blau rises in a crystal, awesome blue. Apparently the Danube used to run this way before the last ice age when it rerouted, so we thought it fair that we should too (besides, it’s twinned with Brecon in Wales).
The village of Rottenacker we will never forget. Because of Mayday we had run out of food and fell upon a bistro run by an ageing hell’s angel. As he plied us with schnapps he told us how he learnt his English from the lyrics of the heavy metal band he played in. In return we promised to carry the two bottles of schnapps that we left with to the source of the Danube before drinking them (there’s a song lyric in there somewhere). Returning to Ulm the next day by train we found it a peaceful walled city, the birthplace of Einstein with a compulsory exhibition, and with a small fishermen’s quarter. Over a meal we discovered from our guide book that we had just climbed 768 steps to the top of the tallest cathedral spire in the world.
The next day found us cycling through a succession of doll’s-house villages, each with little churches and storks nesting on the chimney tops. Then the valley narrowed as we reached the town of Sigmaringen only 50 miles from our objective. Here we waited for it to stop raining, giving us the opportunity to catch up on emails, laundry, food and bike maintenance, including straightening front panniers as a result of attempting a “gap too small” a couple of days earlier.
Three days later the wind came up, the sky cleared and we rapidly packed the tent and set off into the Danube gorge admiring the dramatic limestone cliffs and glad that we waited for the rain to stop. Largely offroad the conditions were not as bad as we feared but after 25 km we pitched tent at an idyllic-looking camp site nestling beside the river. Returning from an excursion to the Benedictine monastery at Beuron we found the tent in the teeth of a gale rushing down the valley and the thermometer in the campsite kitchen pointing stubbornly at 7 degrees C. That night we fell asleep to the sounds of pattering rain and owls hooting in the woods around us. Only 61km to go!
Next morning we were awakened by the sound of bells drifting down from the monastery, but it was dry. The higher we climbed, the stronger and colder the wind got and we hated the growing number of cyclists merrily cruising the other way. Donaueschingen sits on a plateau at 677m above sea level. Donauquelle (the source of the Danube) bubbles peacefully to the surface in the corner of the grounds of the Fürstenberg Schloss.
Opposite the tourist information is a bookshop with an excellent map section where we spent hours deciding where to go next and what maps we would need. On the third day (Day 27 of the tour) we had made a decision to cross the Black Forest, head up the Rhine to Strasbourg, and then turn left towards the channel. On Day 49 we were cycling through Dieppe in the rain, noticed that there was a ferry in port, and six hours later we were indoors having a cup of tea. The tour distance was almost exactly 2500 km. The souvenir map of the Danube has pride of place on the wall and there, beckoning, is the last section from Budapest to the Black Sea.
On Saturday 21st May Godalming joins the likes of London, Wolverhampton, Dorchester and Ryde when the Godalming Cycle Campaign hosts the Spring CCN/CTC Conference.
I assume you all know who the CTC are, but who are the CCN? The Cycle Campaign Network is the national federation of cycle campaign groups.
So what’s the conference about? A wide range of topics has been covered over the years. We’ve heard about research on drivers’ perceptions of cyclists from the TRL, local schemes that succeeded and those initiatives that have failed. Speakers have ranged from the political Ken Livingstone and Steve Norris to the practical Ian Colqhoun. He’s a Cycling Paramedic from Norwich who gave a very entertaining (and informative) talk at the Dorchester Conference. At present we’re finalising the programme of speakers for Godalming and we hope to have a presentation on the Cycle Friendly Infrastructure revision and one on the A3 Hindhead Inquiry.
But it’s not only the Saturday. On Friday we’ll be meeting in the Red Lion, Mill Lane, Godalming (south end of the High Street) for an informal gathering. There’s a meal on Saturday evening. On Sunday we hope that some of the delegates will ride the Stonehenge 200km or Danebury 150km.
The cost of the Saturday conference is £15, which includes lunch, refreshments and a conference pack. Pre-booking is essential and will start around the beginning of April 2005. For more details visit the Godalming Cycle Campaign website www.godalmingcycle.org.uk or contact me.
We could use helpers on the day and volunteers to accommodate campaigners who are staying the weekend. Please contact me - David Kirkham 01483 425646 email@example.com
MANY cycling friends attended the funeral of Peter Marvell, who died aged 49. Peter was an enthusiastic Wayfarers rider who fought his illness bravely and brightened some of our social gatherings at this time.
Benstead Cup points for 2005 will be - attending club events within maximum time, 50 (max 250); 1st in competitive events, 100; other placings, eg 20 entrants, 2nd 95, 3rd 90 etc (max 100); starting club or competitive event, 20; attending regular rides, Sundays max 4, midweek max 3 (max 4 a week, max 100 in year). Keith Parfitt Cup - Organising and running club event, 50; marshalling, 20. Benstead Ladies, highest points for a female; Bill Inder Trophy, overall highest Sunday points; George Alesbury Tankard, overall highest midweek points; Bernard Howell Trophy, veteran highest points; Bert Bartholomew Trophy, oldest DA rider in 50 mile event; Wooden Crank, biggest blunder. Medals, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, for seniors (retired) and juniors (working).
Former DA secretary Richard Ellis celebrated his 70th birthday with a party, the invitation for which contained three cycling pictures of our man aged seven, 17, and 70 itself.
MAY 1st: Isle of Wight round-the-island randonnee
APRIL 24th: Reliability Ride 50 miles (Phil Hamilton 01483 772008). More details elsewhere in this issue.
APRIL 30th - MAY 2nd (May Day bank holiday): Rides from Stow-on-the-Wold Youth Hostel (Derek Tanner 01276 474553) For accommodation at hostel, phone 0870 770 6050. Or obtain accommodation details from Tewkesbury Tourist Office, 01684 295027
MAY 15th: Treasure Hunt route-finding event, 30 miles or shorter (Keith Chesterton 01483 563392). More details elsewhere in this issue.
MAY 22nd: Stonehenge 200km/Danebury 150km Audax events (Mark Waters 01483 414307)
JUNE 11th - 18th: Bike Week
JULY 24th: Rough Stuff 60km (Derek Tanner 01276 474553)
AUGUST 21st: Tour of the Hills 110km/Tour of the Greensand Hills 53km (Tim Bar 01483 825691). Early booking advisable
SEPTEMBER 25th: Tricyclathon
|SATURDAY OCTOBER 22nd: Annual general meeting and lunch, Bird In Hand, Mayford Green, Woking. More details in the next issue. Meanwhile, book this date now.|
Mr Geoffrey Smith
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