“The West Surrey Cyclist” - July - September 2005

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Contents:

Front cover - very similar to previous issue
Inner front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association
Editorial front matter - similar to previous issue
Riding Around - With Editor Geoff Smith
Reliability Ride - The Event - Phil Hamilton
Surrey Hills Saunter, 62km, March 6th 2005 - by Mark Waters
Was It Like This for Lance? - by Barry Rolfe
Looking Good ..... in Our DA Shirts
Have the magazine delivered for £3 a year
Mayday at Stow - by Derek Tanner
Organised Cycle Rides  July - September 2005 - the Rides List
Brake, Break - by Dane Maslen
Web Matters - by Chris Jeggo
Benstead Cup, Keith Parfitt Memorial Cup and other awards - points scheme
Bierhaüsle - Freiburg - by Dennis Clarke
In Memory of Peter Marvell - by Anke Blackburn
Are You Interested in Off-roading? - by Bob McLeod
Toot, Toot - an observation by Dave Williamson
Right to Ride Report - by Peter Clint
Sunday Riders’ Easter Tour - by Paul Holmes
Wish Pedalling Again - Bill Thompson issues his annual invitation
Dates for Your Diary
DA Personalities - Five - Rico Signore

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


WEST SURREY CTC DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

PRESIDENT  Rico Signore  01483 822240

SECRETARY  Jeff Banks, 17 Waldens Park Road, Horsell, Woking GU14 4RN.  01483 772616  jeff@labaule.freeserve.co.uk
TREASURER  Tim Bar  01483 825691
RUNS SECRETARY  Bob McLeod, 23 Beresford Close, Frimley Green, Camberley GU16 6LB.  Phone 01252 835321

COMMITTEE MEMBERS  Geoff Smith 01483 769051;  Peter Callaghan 01483 770902;  Derek Tanner 01276 474553

VICE-PRESIDENTS  George Alesbury, Harold Coleman, Chris Jeggo, Clive Richardson

MAGAZINE EDITOR  Geoff Smith, 2 Julian Close, Woking GU21 3HD.  Phone 01483 769051

ARCHIVIST  Keith Chesterton  01483 563392

CTC AREA RIGHT TO RIDE OFFICER
Peter Clint  6 Pendennis Close, West Byfleet  01932 340564

RIDE LEADERS

SUNDAY RIDERS  Clive Richardson  01428 724390
GUILDFORD AND GODALMING WAYFARERS  Peter Fennemore  01483 300689
MIDWEEK WAYFARERS  Rico Signore 01483 822240;  Roy Banks 01344 842676;  Sybil Preston 01483 837839
WOKING WAYFARERS  Anke Blackburn  01483 765837
FARNHAM CRN  Liz Palethorpe  01252 792187


RIDING AROUND

With Editor Geoff Smith

IT IS a good idea to keep a journal of bicycle tours.  The really clever folk among us combine their literary effort with a thumbnail sketch or two placed between the paragraphs.  I wish I could do that;  I have to resign myself to taking pictures and, damn it, they are separate.  They cannot really be part of the tea-, wine- and beer-stained notebook itself.

As I see it, the point of the journal is that it should be compiled on the spot, or as close to it as possible.  I remember one talented friend doing a little sketch in his notebook after an evening meal in a French restaurant.  It was of his unusual knife, fork, and plate.  That, with his accompanying words, really brought the day alive for my friend and I am sure has continued to do so.

Anyway, I am happy with my notebook scribblings, all stream of consciousness stuff, often wrong - a bit like this column - but recording how I feel, think, and react to things at the time.  Without the journal one day’s cycling on a tour would merge into another.  Then it all gets jumbled up in the memory until you can barely remember what country you are in let alone what a particular day’s riding was like.

It could be I have written on this subject here before but I have been prompted to do so now because I have found a scrap of a French café placemat on which I have jotted down some notes, about our lovable rides secretary and committee member Bob McLeod.

For some reason they were not transferred to my journal when I wrote it in my tent later that night so here goes now.  Posterity cannot be denied....

Bob and I were on a group cycling holiday from Geneva to Genova.  Crusty old CTC type Bob was experiencing a commercial cycling company’s idea of a tour for the first time.  His reactions to the brilliant Cycle Rides Ltd touring recipe gave me many a laugh.

Every day the courier went ahead sticking up little arrows so his precious charges would not get lost.  This was not true to the spirit of cycletouring for Bob, who commented on Day One:  “I’m a little bit worried over the arrows.”  - A day later he was enjoying the freedom of less wrestling with maps as much as anyone.

My next Bob note followed a discussion about drugs in pro-cycling.  Someone opined:  “A professional cyclist will take anything to make him go better.”  Bob rejoined:  “You mean alcohol?”

The young blades on the tour were much taken with Bob’s alcohol consumption, even more so by his open-toed sandals and the plastic bags into which he placed his feet on rainy days and cold descents.  But Bob was outscored on this by a tough Scot who also wore plastic bags - on his head.

Mention of rain leads me to my final Bob note on that Route des Grandes Alpes placemat.  It refers to Bob wimping out of camping in rain whenever possible.  One night he pitched in an open-sided barn to keep the rain off his tent.  On another he set up on concrete in a roofed corridor next to the site’s “facilities”, claiming his age and status were deserving of his own en suite shower and toilet.

Incidentally, Bob gave me a cuddle at the end of our German twin towns holiday in June.  For me it was like clutching a body beautiful, all muscle, nil fat.  You really must put on some weight, Bob;  you’re letting the side down.


TAKE a look at the district association officers list in the CTC’s Cycle and you will find some famous names.  There is a Terry Scott, Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rides?) and an Alastair Campbell.  - Which one is the comedian?

And we in West Surrey have Jeff Banks.  Now that really is fashionable.


CONFUSION remains over the Benstead Cup etc. points system, so a new explanation has been produced.  It is printed as a full page elsewhere in the mag exactly as received.  Good luck - and happy point scoring!


RELIABILITY RIDE - THE EVENT

Phil Hamilton

SANDWICHED between two days of dire weather, and despite the forecast, Sunday 24 April dawned cool but dry, and encouraged 41 people to start our 50-mile Reliability Ride.

For the statistically minded, we had one visitor (Bristol DA), 8 ladies, 19 veterans and 3 juniors.  33 riders completed the ride within the prescribed 5 hours, 5 completed the ride but exceeded the time limit and 3 managed to misread the directions and consequently did not finish.

My thanks to all who participated and to my team of helpers, without whom the event cannot be run.

The following will receive a certificate:

J Banks R Banks H Benson    R Benson S Bethell
M Carolan B Cheatham (Mrs)    P Clint H Coleman    G Davies
T Davies P Fennemore J Gilbe (Mrs)    J Gilbe D Hollebon (Ms)
C Jeggo D Johnson D Jones G Kirk I McGregor
C Moore (Ms)    C Richardson N Riley L Roberts C Shales
J Smith (Jnr)    A Tanner (Mrs)    D Tanner W Thompson    S Thorne (Ms)
L Todd C Tuffs      

All participants and helpers will be awarded the relevant Sunday Attendance and Cup points (the rules have recently been changed and I leave it to those who understand these things to apply them correctly).


SURREY HILLS SAUNTER, 62km, March 6th 2005

By Mark Waters

The background to this event is that there’s another great event organised by the West Surrey every year called the Tour of the Greensand Hills, and hardly anybody rides it!  The trouble is that it is run concurrently with the Tour of the Surrey Hills (arguably the best annual event of the year in south-east England).  So I thought, it’s a short ride so why not run it at the start of the season, make it a DATC event so people will travel to come and do it and, with luck, we’ll have another hit on our hands.  So I stole it, gave it a different name, adapted the route to start (and finish) at CTC’s HQ in Godalming and decided to start the event at a very civilized time of day - 10.30am.

It didn’t quite turn out to be the mega-event I’d hoped.  The statistics reveal that we had 21 entries, of which five were not West Surrey riders.  And, significantly, these were the five who didn’t finish!  Why not?  Well, three of them came together;  one of them had not even a patch or a tyre lever with him, so when his unusual-sized tyre got a puncture he was stuck and it took assistance from the others to get him home.  They arrived back after the 4pm deadline and disappeared without even saying goodbye!  The two others retired when good sense prevailed after they discovered ice on the top of Winterfold Hill - can’t blame them really.  This left 16 West Surrey riders who completed the course in fine style and, as far as I could see, had a good sociable ride together to boot.

The first rider got back at 1.45pm, three hours 15 minutes after the start, which is a good time, an average speed a touch better than 19kph.

I had described the ride in the promotional material as having one big hill, which is true, but I also said that, apart from this hill, it merely undulates.  Well, when I rode the route the previous Sunday - the first time since last summer - in cold, even snowy conditions, but with no ice to contend with - I discovered a few more hills.  Nothing tough, but enough of them to make you feel you’d done a good ride.

And that is at the root of this event.  It’s a good ride, made tougher because it’s early in the year.  I just hope that more people ride it next year and we can turn the event into an early season classic.

The following riders completed the route:  Geoff Smith (snr), Chris Jeggo, Leslie Todd, Anne Etherington, Phil Hamilton, Arthur Twiggs, Cyril Tuffs, Peter Clint, Geoff Smith (jnr), Mary Clarke, Jeff Banks, Tim Bar, Matt Carolan, Paul Holmes, Clive Richardson and Julie Rand.

Thanks to Bob McLeod without whose assistance, running the mid-point control, the event could not have been run, and thanks also to CTC for letting us use HQ for the start/finish.  A £5 donation has been given.


WAS IT LIKE THIS FOR LANCE?

By Barry Rolfe

It was sometime last year.  I’m driving along enjoying the tranquillity of the countryside when suddenly all these yellow- and green-garbed cyclists are hurtling towards me at breakneck speed - and then they’re gone.  Who are these guys?  What are they doing?  It looks like fun;  I wonder if I could join them?  And then the phone rang (hands-free) and the thought was discarded for a few months.

Not long after that I bought a bike, as did a pal of mine, so that we get out, cruise around, have a pint and relax.  Later, much later on, while surfing the net I tracked down the group from the lane.  A phone call quickly confirmed that I was in touch with the true guardians of the lanes and byways of Surrey and I’d be very welcome to join them.  Conversationally I was asked, “do you do much biking?”

“Oh yes, indeed, I’m out a couple of times a week.”  I should have added, that’s down to the newsagent on a Sunday morning, plus a good five miles to the pub - and back again!

My informant replied, “That’s great, we normally do about 50 miles (did he say 50 miles?) on a Wednesday;  but if you want a longer run, join us on a Sunday, when we can do 70 miles, or more.”

“Umph, actually I’m not sure I could manage that, perhaps the Wednesdays would suit me better.”

I was reassured and told that all standards were welcomed and that different groups proceeded at their own pace.  So I bought a pair of those skinny shorts with a built-in cod-piece and decided to give it a go.

Turning up on the first Wednesday I was amazed to see how many people were there;  and what were they riding?  Just about everything was lined up:  with mountain bikes, sit-up-and-beg bikes, bikes older than their owners (and in better nick), to the latest shiny, new, custom jobs.

Off we went, and a very pleasant ride it was too, until hisss, I’d got a flat.  In no time at all people had my bike stripped down, the tyre off, tube out and swapped over and we were back on the road;  that was impressive!  First stop for coffee, and everyone was really friendly with the conversation turning naturally to biking.  Next summer’s trip was being planned, someone was telling how he had almost completed all the alpine stages of the Tour de France and wondering what to do next.  A quizzical look came my way and inevitably, as I tried to avert my eyes, “What about you then, done much?”  The truth is I did a paper round about 50 years ago - not much street cred there!

All in all it’s been a super experience and I’m enjoying it.  The Wednesday group are really friendly and everyone is most helpful, and they need to be with such a novice.  I’ve been given lots of good advice, including, “get some mudguards or ride at the back!  Don’t brake going downhill or the man behind will crash into you!  Never, ever, overtake the Group Leader”;  all useful stuff to a beginner.

The rides have been great.  The autumn weather has been kind to us and the routes selected have been excellent.

Any regrets - only that I should have done this years ago, but I’ve still got to master Combe Bottom - maybe that’s another story.


MAYDAY AT STOW

by Derek Tanner

Riding with our editor last winter, he explained how the magazine needed articles that exposed the blood, the grit, the true pain and determination of cycling with West Surrey DA.  The Mayday weekend tour to Stow-on-the-Wold began to show every chance of fulfilling this role when the Friday afternoon train from Ascot was 10 minutes late, leaving a 4-minute change at Reading and a journey so fast that there wasn’t time for a coffee before Oxford.  From here the sweltering heat of early summer forced an extra stop for drinks and ice creams and a shopkeeper wondrous as to why anyone would want to cycle up the hill to Stow.

After several more miles of rolling farmland a passing motorist slowed to offer what appeared to be advice on sensible use of the road.  Turning to return the compliment we noticed it was a fellow West Surrey member rushing on to grab the best bed in the hostel.  The warden recommended a quiet ride through the Slaughters:  “Tourists don’t go there as they are put off by the name” she said.

Next morning we quickly found them at the bottom of an impressive hill, which raised howls of complaint from experienced members who had worked out that they would have to climb back up this at the end of the day.  Fortunately good humour had returned by the time a coffee stop was found at Hollow Bottom, but was beginning to thin a bit by lunch at Ford (at the bottom of another hill).  Trying to redress the balance and bring a ‘high point’ to the day our leader set off to Broadway Tower for magnificent views over the Malverns and Severn valley.  Here progress was halted as several members worked out that the slope of the tower made a perfect backrest and promptly fell asleep.

Tea at Moreton-in-Marsh demanded the appointment of a “mother” and a training course in use of the articulated tea strainer.  Perhaps by fate the return route led past Tesco’s and there was suddenly a mutinous detour for supplies of anaesthetic and restorative potions of the sauvignon and merlot variety.  They must have worked because everyone was so quiet the next morning.

First stop was the Rollright Stones.  Legend has it that the local witch threw up extra gradients in front of the king and his knights (and probably West Surrey Cyclists) just as they were getting to the top of the hill, before turning them to stone.

We thought the witch was with us when, only three miles from coffee, several bikes developed a major fault as we entered the village of Hook Norton and we were stranded for several hours in the pub next to the brewery.  A cautious ride into the brewery car park brought renewed interest as the ‘spillage control point’ was spotted.  “Exactly how many West Surrey Cyclists does it take to control a spillage in a brewery???”  But it was short lived, because at the bottom of the next hill, convinced that no broomstick could match the speed of our descent, we realised that the turning for home had been passed in a euphoric blur.  No-one was willing to turn around so maybe the witch had won.  Alas, Tesco’s was shut by the time we got back (but the Co-op was open).

Monday took in Bourton-on-the-Water where we were overwhelmed by the choice of ice cream shops and other touristy things to do, and eventually sought refuge in a pub along the river, until we were driven away by the approaching rain (back up the hill to Stow).  So in summary, apart from the good bits (none of which have been mentioned) and 100 miles of most enjoyable cycling, the weekend was a string of not to be repeated experiences - unless maybe you go to Alfriston, the popular vote for next year’s venue.


BRAKE, BREAK

by Dane Maslen

It would have been a mistake worthy of a beginner.  The pleasant autumn sunshine made me forget the overnight rain.  As we freewheeled down White Down Lane I braked too sharply, skidded on the wet dirt and leaves, and suddenly found the tarmac rushing up towards me.  The riders behind me were more competent and came to a safe stop despite the sudden appearance of an obstacle in the road.  Several of them immediately rushed to my assistance, but as I got to my feet I was already doing what any good cyclist would do in the circumstances, namely worrying about the bike!  Fortunately several of the others had anticipated this, had rushed to inspect it and were able to report that it looked OK, thus sparing me unnecessary mental anguish.

The bike had fared much better than me, although it was 10-15 minutes before I realised that my right arm was broken, and an hour or so before it became obvious that my left thumb had suffered a similar fate.  Thankfully the bright sunshine had not tempted me to wear shorts, so the grazing on my legs was fairly minor.  Afterwards many friends asked me if I had been wearing a helmet.  I had indeed, but it never came into contact with the ground.

My arm was in a sling for four weeks and was then very weak and rather immobile for a further 2-3 weeks.  As such it was seven weeks before I finally found myself back in the saddle for a symbolic short ride to my local Waitrose:  I didn’t want my last ride of 2004 to have been the accident.

I knew that initially I was going to be less confident back in the saddle.  I had, after all, amply demonstrated good reason to lack confidence in my cycling abilities!  Given that traffic had played no part in my accident, it did, however, come as a surprise to find that I was nervous in traffic.  Perhaps now I will be more understanding of how beginners feel.  Fortunately it didn’t take long for this nervousness to pass.

Nowadays I’m very much a fair-weather cyclist, so as the accident had happened in November, I didn’t miss out on much cycling.  Nonetheless my muscle tone deteriorated more than usual during winter and I’ve spent most of spring struggling on club runs.  If Rico hadn’t been recovering from his hip-replacement operation, I’d have stood no chance of keeping up with him.

I’d like to finish by thanking everyone who wished me well during my recovery, and in particular I’d like to thank Bob McLeod for retrieving my bike from Abinger Hammer and housing it in his garage for six months.  The bike had emerged so unscathed from the accident that when I collected it, I only had to adjust the saddle slightly before riding it home.  I think it would, however, have been a better plan for me to have emerged unscathed and for the bike to have suffered the damage.


WEB MATTERS

By Chris Jeggo

THE history and archives web pages are developing well.  They now include all of the Don Field/Bill Inder DA history “Sixty Years On”, Ros Banks’ brief history bringing the story up to date, a well-illustrated page about DA colours, all the Newsletters (1978-85) preceding the magazine, and selected articles from a few early magazines.

Further material is being added and I am about to revise the three main introductory pages.


 
BENSTEAD CUP
 
Club Events
 
Attending of Club Events (within maximum time allowed) 50 points
Maximum of 250 points per year
 
Competitive Events
 
Winner 100 points
Other placings = 100 (1-[P-1]/N);  P = position, N = No. of entrants
Example:  20 entries:  1st = 100 points, 2nd = 95 points, 3rd = 90 points etc.  
Maximum of 100 points per year
 
Starting any Club or Competitive event
 
 
20 points
Attendance
 
Sundays max   
4 points
      Morning start = 1 point, mid-morning break 1 = point
      lunch = 1 point, afternoon tea = 1 point
 
Midweek 3 points
   
Sunday and Midweek attendances cannot be combined,
i.e. max of 4 points per week available.
 
Maximum of 100 points per year
 
 
KEITH PARFITT MEMORIAL CUP
for organising & marshalling
 
Organising and running Club Event
 
50 points
Marshalling Club Event 20 points
 

Other Cups and Shields are awarded for

Medals are awarded for


BIERHAÜSLE - FREIBURG

By Dennis Clarke

ASK any DA member who was on the German Journey 2005 what they thought of the Bierhaüsle and you will get a glowing recommendation.

Situated on the western outskirts of Freiburg in southwest Germany this three-star hotel has been run by the Schweier family since the mid nineteenth century and they positively encourage cyclists.  The manager, Karl Schweier, is himself an active cyclist and behind the hotel is a secure bike store.  The hotel sponsors a cycling team and you can buy a colourful racing jersey depicting the three mountain peaks in the nearby Black Forest.

Freiburg is in Breisgau, an area tucked away between France and Switzerland, and under the name of Breisgau Bike Tours the Bierhaüsle runs springtime training weeks for the more serious cyclist and will organise other cycling-based holidays according to demand (details on www.breisgaubike.de.  The area offers cycling to suit all abilities.  Within a few hundred metres of the hotel is a wide and well-surfaced riverside cycle-path leading to the centre of Freiburg to link with the roads up into the Black Forest or on to the Rhine plain.  If you manage to exhaust the local Breisgau routes and have your own transport, the Vosges mountains in France are within easy reach across the Rhine and offer some picturesque and challenging rides.

And if you fancy a break from the bike, the delightful old town of Freiburg is just a short train-ride from the end of the street.

Freiburg is easily accessible by road (6-7 hours from Calais) or rail (the hotel offers a pick-up service from the station) and Basle Airport is only sixty kilometres away.

Bierhaüsle literally translates as Little Beer-house, which is something of a misnomer.  It’s not little - the hotel easily accommodated our group of forty-five - and the excellent cuisine is hardly beer-house fare.  The English-speaking Schweier family and their staff are the ideal hosts for those who like to combine days out on the bike with the warm ambience and good cuisine of a comfortable hotel.  I’d like to go back.


IN MEMORY OF PETER MARVELL

By Anke Blackburn
(With thanks to Pauline and the Rev Barry Grimster)

Peter appeared to be his usual cheerful self when Alan and I visited him in Woking Hospice on one of the first days of February.  We remembered cycle outings we had enjoyed together.  A nurse we all knew came in and joined the conversation.  When we eventually left we felt reasonably sure that Peter would come back to cycling with us one day.  But it was not to be.  He died suddenly on February 7.

Peter was born in Barnehurst in 1955.  He and parents moved to Woking in the 1970s.  After A-levels he studied and graduated in 1976 with a BSc in Financial Management Planning.  Throughout his working life he was employed by the Central Electricity Generating Board, nowadays known as EDF, Electricite de France.

Also in 1976 he met Pauline while on a holiday abroad.  She became his lifelong love, yet they were not married until August last year.  For the ceremony at the Town Hall in Alkmaar, Holland, they arrived by bicycle and left again afterwards on the same mode of transport, much to the surprise of the officials!

That leads us to Peter’s cycling activities.  Together with Pauline he enjoyed cycling holidays in Holland.  Here in Woking he took part in the annual Bikeathons, before he joined the local group of the CTC.  His first outing with us was in May 2002 to Savill Gardens.  He became a regular Sunday rider;  sometimes he was also able to come out on Wednesdays, after his early retirement on health grounds in April 2004.

At first we knew only that Peter had lost one lung after a cancer operation.  But soon afterwards a brain tumour was detected, and it was that which eventually cost him his life.

Peter was an asset to our Sunday morning rider’s group, and we will remember a brave young man with respect.


Are you interested in off-roading?

by Bob McLeod

YOU may have realised that I have recently taken to mountain biking.  I’m having so much fun that naturally I wish to share it with others.  I have been entering some weekend competitive events that have been quite demanding but there are easier rides that we occasionally do during the week.  If you are interested in joining in please contact me, or any of those that you see with those bladders on their backs, for advice.  If nothing else it would be good training for the Rough Stuff event organised by Derek Tanner on the 24th July.


TOOT, TOOT

An observation by Dave Williamson

I RECENTLY saw someone at a cyclists’ gathering standing by his car, gently stroking his Scandinavian cycle carrier.  He was quietly crooning “Toola, Toola” (Thule, Thule) under his breath.  - I swear he was in love.


RIGHT TO RIDE REPORT

By Peter Clint

Prior to the election, the Government transferred some £72m, scheduled to improve the facilities allowing movement of non-motorised traffic over main arterial roads throughout the U.K., to the road development programme, dealing a considerable blow to our hopes that at last the non-motoring lobby were to be taken seriously.  We believe this was a political move aimed once more at placating the motorist, and we shall now have to work to have this decision reversed.

The good news is that Surrey County Council appears to wish to develop cycling in Woking as a matter of priority, and to this end have made a sum of £240,000 available in the current year to improve cycling facilities in the Borough.  This sum combined with a further £60,000 from developers should enable Woking to make some dramatic improvements between now and April 2006.

Consultation is now taking place to develop a safe on-road cycle route around the whole of the one-way system covering Heathside Crescent and Oriental Road with a suitable route to the station along White Rose Lane.  Providing Alan Fordham, Surrey’s Cycling Officer, can overcome the technical difficulties, as well as political inertia, work should begin on this before the end of 2005.

Consideration is also to be given to providing a north to south access for cyclists through Woking, although cyclists will still probably have to dismount when crossing the Town Square.  The practicalities of this scheme are comparatively simple, however it may well encounter problems from the strong anti-cycling lobby within Woking Council.  Please therefore make sure your local councillor is made aware of the need for this route, if we are ever to stem the tide of increasing motor traffic.

Finally, the signing of the various cycle routes into Woking Town Centre from outlying areas has nearly been completed, and as funds become available further improvements should be seen.

I shall continue to press our case.


SUNDAY RIDERS’ EASTER TOUR

By Paul Holmes

This year we broke with tradition by going west, rather than north.  The target was Devon and Cornwall, this being decided as much as anything else by which trains could best take our bikes.

Those that went were Paul Holmes, Clive Richardson, Geoff Smith junior and Matt and Mark Carolan.  The revelation of the tour was Mark, complete with very smart new Trek, because he was able to keep up with Geoff on the hills...  He was only 15!  And hills there were aplenty.  Those not knowing the area were surprised to find that 50 miles could be quite a hard day.

The scenery was worth all the effort, though.  Highlights included the stunning cliff-top views from Tintagel Youth Hostel and the open moorland of Dartmoor.  The wildness of the country around Princetown, home of Dartmoor Prison, made a particular impression.

The Youth Hostels were all excellent stays.  The size of the meals at Bellever were ideal after a day on the road, and the converted engine shed at Okehampton got top marks for novelty.  Some of the group stayed out an extra night at Dartington Youth Hostel, a real sixteenth century cottage overlooking the estuary.  The favourite, though, was certainly Tintagel, a traditional simple hostel on the North Cornish cliffs.  The local beers were also well received by some members of the party - one pub in the evening had 5 real ales, all from local breweries.  Others preferred the local speciality, dizzyingly strong cider.

Finally, and pretty important, was the weather, which was very kind for the time of year.  We had no rain, and a fair amount of sunshine.  Even the top of Dartmoor wasn’t too cold.

Would we go back?  Definitely!


WISH PEDALLING AGAIN

Bill Thompson issues his annual invitation

Make-a-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, organises an annual charity cycle ride.

The ride has been running for over 10 years and has been supported every year by members of the West Surrey DA of the CTC.  Over £200,000 has been raised for the cause and DA members have contributed generously, year after year.  Indeed the DA has provided far more riders than any other team or organisation since the inception of the ride.

The current route was originally suggested by Marguerite Statham, who rode the first Camberley to Portsmouth event which had to negotiate heavy traffic in Portsmouth at peak time near the finish.  Two circular routes were ridden for two years but the traffic levels and countryside were far from enjoyable.

The present route, particularly the second half, includes some of the best Hampshire scenery yet minimises the number of difficult hills.

The final descent after the Buriton climb is superb. The route then passes through the outskirts of Havant then joins the interesting old Hayling Billy steam railway track.  Part of this track has been surfaced thanks to the Cycling Officer, Tracy Ford, and the Local MP, David Willetts, himself a cyclist.

The Hayling Ferry then transports the riders across Langstone Harbour, another unique feature, thence along the seafront to Castle Fields at Southsea, where the 68th Portsmouth Scouts have their annual event and where refreshments from fish and chips to beer and tea are available.

There are and have been several notable cyclists taking part including Tony Doyle MBE, twice World Pursuit Professional Champion (yes, ex-CTC), Mark and Jo Silver on their specially adapted tandem, and Ted Sedman, complete with eight-foot handlebar moustache and original nineteenth-century penny-farthing, accompanied by his wife on her 1930 loop-frame single-speed ladies roadster.

The latest event, 2004, raised nearly £30,000 from over 400 riders.

This year’s event, Sunday llth September, same route, same start.

SEE YOU ALL THERE


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

JULY 24th:  Rough Stuff 60km.  9.00am for 10.00 am start, Newlands Corner car park.  (Derek Tanner 01276 474553.  Derek is also seeking volunteers to help the “rough”day run smoothly)
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.  Coffee at 10.00am.  Meeting starts 10.30am.  The lunch, at £15 per person, will start at about 1.00pm and will have a choice of main course (choose on the day) plus a vegetarian option.  Put the date in your diary now.
 

And finally....

DA PERSONALITIES - Five

Mr Rico Signore
You cannot ignore
As a Surrey Swiss
He’s hard to miss.

(Memo to our clerihew poet, who wishes to remain anonymous:  More of these delightful offerings are now required.  - Ta, Editor)


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