“The West Surrey Cyclist” - April - June 2006
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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 - similar to previous issue - new CTC HQ address
Riding Around - With Editor Geoff Smith
Reliability Ride 23 April 2006
Letters to the Editor
- Tyre/Tube Changing - from Phil Hamilton
- Rebuttal - from ‘Makepeace’ McGregor
- Benstead Cup - from Chris Jeggo
- The Sunny ‘50’ - from Chris Jeggo
- Get Snapping - from Bob McLeod
Looking Good ..... in Our DA Shirts
Sunday 21st May 2006 - Cycling for All - by Mark Waters
Organised Cycle Rides April - June 2006 - the Rides List
Have the magazine delivered for £3 a year
The Road Ahead - by Ian McGregor
Organisers, please take note
Jordan’s Caravans Café
A New Chapter for Surrey Cycling - by Geoff Smith
My 80th Birthday Ride - by Ron Richardson
What the Papers Say
A Gentle Hint to Contributors - from the Editor
Dates for Your Diary - (only the changes from the previous issue)
Brittany for the Tour?
Outer back cover - The B Group’s Lament - by Anke Blackburn, and .....
..... DA Personalities - Eight - Alan Holbrook
IN THE immediate aftermath of the dreadful Sunday morning carnage where four cyclists were killed near Abergele on January 8th, two questions were asked. In common with many other West Surrey riders I cannot get them out of my mind.
Both questions came from concerned members of the non-cycling public and both reached me at one step removed if not more. One was Should those cyclists have been on that road in those conditions? The other was Don’t you feel sorry for the motorist? He will have to live with it for the rest of his life?
The first point to make is that both questions were addressed to cyclists and I emphasise again they were made by persons who were adopting a caring and concerned mantle. There is nothing unusual in these questions. I and no doubt most readers have heard them before in connection with other accidents. Indeed, whenever there is a collision between motor vehicles and bicycles a variation of these two questions is commonly raised, and most of us riders know why. It would be simply wearisome if not so terribly serious.
In this incident, the driver of a Toyota Corolla lost control on ice on a bend and smashed into the group of Rhyl Cycling Club riders broadside, throwing some victims 20 yards over a wall into a field. The initial police comment was that the driver was not speeding and was naturally traumatised by the accident.
The CTC urged all cyclists to wear black arm bands while riding on the following Sunday. If any of the motoring organisations asked their members to do anything similar as a mark of concern or regret I must have missed it.
So, with the passage of time, what are my feelings now? I suppose it has to be my own personal reaction that remains in the forefront of my mind.
I do feel our confrontations with motorists while riding in Surrey seem to be increasing in frequency, perhaps in proportion to the perceived growth of the feeling that more should be done to help the beleaguered motorists have an easier time of it in this particularly car-congested county. I was even flashed in a quiet residential road repeatedly one evening, presumably because the angle of my front lamp beam in some way offended the oncoming driver - a trivial incident but one of many involving arrogance and frustration on the part of motorists hereabouts.
Perhaps at last the Abergele accident will lead to serious thought being given to changing the way our society generally reacts to accidents involving cyclists and cars. As I have said in this column before, in the Netherlands and some other countries there is a presumption in law of guilt by the drivers unless it is proved otherwise. This measure should be adopted here. Perhaps, in time, this would then lead to general acceptance that pity for motorists is not always appropriate and that it is not semi-automatically assumed that cyclists involved in collisions were “to blame” or should not have been on the road at all.
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.
Please note: The Godalming start is at the OLD CTC HQ (69 Meadrow)
“Adon” is correct that my article “Tyre/Tube Removal” (WSC Oct-Dec 2005) fails to address all aspects of puncture repair; but then it was not intended, nor entitled, to cover that wide subject!
I thought it was clear that the article is based on my personal views, and therefore what works for me. I note that the ‘Changing an Inner Tube’ section of ‘Basic Bike Maintenance’ in Cycle, Oct/Nov 2005, declines to state where one should commence the tyre removal process, but does refit the tyre commencing opposite the valve. The inference being that the CTC experts agree that removal should start at the valve (contrary to the photographs which show removal starting, and refitting finishing, opposite the valve!). Perusal of many repair/maintenance manuals generally concurs this view, and I stand by my recommendation. No doubt a comprehensive manual covering all aspects of puncture repair could be drafted in the proposed time scale, but I am far too busy riding my bicycle and changing other people’s punctured tubes to even give it a thought! Any one care to volunteer?
Regards, Phil Hamilton. February 2006
I am not in the habit of writing letters for publication, but having read and re-read the scurrilous contribution to your last edition regarding the subject of punctures by some pseudo-academic sheltering under the nom de plume “Adon” I feel compelled to reply.
I am able to deduce, as a result of a life-time study of criminal profiling, that the writer is in all probability a chip-munching Wirral wonk who is anti-establishment and disturbingly mixed up. He is typical of the type who on the one hand would draw attention to himself by sporting lurid luminous pink overshoes whilst having his residence hidden away on the top of a high hill at the outer extremes of the district where he is snowed in for three months of the year.
Makepeace McGregor (Mr)
I do hope members will not be put off by Jeff Banks saying in the last issue that “the Benstead Cup is within the grasp of only a handful of DA members”. If an overweight 59-year-old with a heart condition can be runner-up in 2005 (and would, according to the organiser, have won it on the current - 2006 - rules), then the many stronger riders in the DA, and many of the weaker ones, all stand a chance. The competition has remained true to its original purpose, to find the best all-round cyclist in the DA, which is not the same as the strongest one. It has always been the case that anyone who did not miss any of the qualifying events would be highly placed, and with a bit of luck would win.
The three components are attendance, reliability rides and competitive events. Anyone can do well in the attendance competition by turning up on club runs regularly.
The minimum requirements for getting maximum points for reliability rides are easier this year than last. In 2005 you had to complete all five rides, of which the hardest (considering only the easiest option on each day) was the Danebury 150 km (93 miles). This year you have to complete five out of six, so you could skip the hardest, the 75-mile reliability ride in September. The second hardest will be the Elstead 100 km, or arguably one of the shorter (~60 km) but hillier rides. There are a great many members who can manage 62 miles, while the ‘Surrey Hills Saunter’ and ‘Tour of the Greensand Hills’ have generous time limits to roam some of the most scenic lanes Surrey has to offer. Once Winterfold has been climbed these rides do not descend to low level again except at the end. The ‘50’ is always popular so I need not extol its virtues. You don’t need a mountain bike for the easier (50 km) Rough-stuff ride; I enjoyed it on my touring bike last year despite the rain!
The competitive events are where a good pair of legs might help. However, in the Scorathon speed will not compensate for poor map-reading, navigation or observation, and I guarantee that Keith Chesterton will reveal hidden gems you never knew existed. The Tricyclathon is a light-hearted event. Last year my weight produced a poor position in the hill-climb (despite the age-related handicapping system) but a good one in the free-wheeling. I somehow won the speed-judging, something I have never come close to before. Maybe one rides more steadily as one ages, in which case lots of us stand a good chance here!
After ignoring the competition for over twenty years, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed having another crack at it last year. All the events are excellent. Why not spice up your cycling this year by entering more of them, and supporting their hard-working organisers. A diet of nothing but club runs can be improved upon. Even non-competitive types can find a challenge stimulating, especially if it is not taken too seriously. Everyone’s a winner in such enjoyable events, and if Lady Luck smiles on you you might be the winner.
IN a 2001 ‘West Surrey Cyclist’ you printed Harold Coleman’s assertion that there had been a run of thirty 50-mile reliability rides undampened by rain, and asked members to check their memories. I have just come across the 1980-81 Annual Report, which states “... entries for the first Benstead Cup event of the year, the 50-mile ride, were down on last year, probably as a result of the poor weather ...”. Of course, it is possible that the weather was poor before, rather than during, the event. Further investigation is required.
Incidentally, this Annual Report was written by his wife. I sincerely hope that the shocking revelation above does not lead to a ‘domestic’.
One of the actions that I have inherited from our previous rides secretary is to provide something interesting to be displayed on our handsome notice boards at the AGM.
An idea that has occurred to me is that members might like to provide, for display, photographs they have taken during the current year that have some connection, however tenuous, with cycling.
I’m sure that “still life” would include an unsuspecting cyclist caught napping in the sunshine. I am no expert but imagine that other classes such as “action”, “humorous”, “portrait” and “landscape” could be included. In the meantime, just take the pictures confident that they will be much appreciated on display at the next AGM.
Ed’s note: The committee has enthusiastically approved of Bob’s idea, with the suggestion that snappers should limit themselves to submitting their best five photographs. Meanwhile just snap away and bring your selection along to the AGM in October. There just may be a small prize....
Not just the Stonehenge and Danebury Audax events will be taking place on 21st May, but a whole assortment of rides to suit all abilities have been created to make it a day for everybody, whatever their ability.
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available from 7.30am in preparation for the departure of the riders doing one of the three longer rides. The shortest of these is a new 100km event, which is ridden under Audax UK regulations. The 1st Elstead Hundred basically follows the route of the Stonehenge and Danebury but turns south at Overton to head directly for New Alresford before returning to Elstead. All three rides earn you points in the DATC competition.
All the other rides are very much fun events with no time limits or controls. Farnham - Alton - Selborne (63km) is for people who enjoy the opportunity of looking around the occasional town and village as part of their day out. The Selborne Saunter (53kms) is for those who prefer to avoid towns altogether - it’s a pleasant rural ride which picks out a route which is almost entirely on minor roads.
The final three rides (35km, 25km and 22kms) are all based on quiet lanes and all include one opportunity to stop for refreshments; the ‘Two Cafés Ride’ takes in two cafés, surprisingly enough - the Seale Craft Centre and Frensham Garden Centre. All can be ridden any time during the day, and it is hoped that leaders will come forward to make them into conducted tours for those who prefer not to have to navigate. Estimated departure times for these are shown opposite.
Refreshments will be available at the start/finish throughout the day.
The Cycling for All day will be a great day out for everyone, with plenty of opportunity to meet others, as well as enjoy some excellent cycling. Do put the date in your diary now! If you would like to offer to help out at the hall for part of the day, perhaps making teas or even leading one of the rides, then do please get in touch with Mark Waters (tel 01483 414307 or markAwaters@bigfoot.com). Looking forward to seeing you on the day!
Route sheets & entry forms will be available in the New Year either on the CTC West Surrey website or directly from Mark Waters by email or by post - please send a SAE.
Start of all rides: Elstead Youth Centre, Elstead, Surrey (GR OS 186 - 904 435)
|The Stonehenge||200kms||Start 08.00 hrs (DATC / AUK)|
|The Danebury||150kms||Start 08.30 hrs (DATC / AUK)|
|The 1st Elstead Hundred||100kms||Start 09.00 hrs (DATC / AUK)|
|Entry fees: Stonehenge £4.00, Danebury & Elstead Hundred £3.50. Pre-booking essential using AUK standard entry form.|
|Farnham - Alton - Selborne||63kms||Start 10.30 hrs|
|The Selborne Saunter||53kms||Start 11.00 hrs|
|The Two Cafés Ride||35kms||Start anytime
(led ride departing 11.15 hrs)
|The Frensham Frolic||25kms||Start anytime
(led ride departing 11.30 hrs)
|The One Café Ride||22kms||Start anytime
(led ride departing 14.30 hrs)
|Notification of intent to ride one of these events would be helpful for catering purposes if you cannot manage to return an entry form before the event. £1.00 entry fee per person for any ride, plus donation for any refreshments taken. All proceeds go to the DA.|
Your editor has invited me to comment upon the recent article in “Cycle” magazine in respect of the revised Road Safety Bill. These are my personal, perhaps controversial, thoughts as a cyclist and occasional motorist who has to admit that it is an issue to which I have given little attention. This may surprise you, but as a retired practitioner it is my belief that changes to the law matter little as compared to the quality of the investigation following the commission of an offence or an accident, the evidence gathered and the manner in which it is presented and finally examined and argued over.
The article is informative and attempts to cover a wide number of complex issues; my own initial reaction to it is generally supportive. It contains statistical information that in respect of the public perceptions of anti-social behaviour I find rather hard to accept, and certainly when randomly tested does not coincide with the views of my non-cycling friends. The article raises three specific issues - speed - driver liability - and driving offences involving death.
I was aware of having a nagging feeling that we also have work to do to put our own house in order in respect of safety as there are many cyclists who are themselves dangerous and show little respect for the law, which causes even some of the most responsible of our motoring friends to comment that many if not all cyclists are a menace. The CTC does after all only represent a small proportion of cyclists, hopefully the more responsible element who are all covered by third party insurance. We know from our own knowledge within the D.A. that we can be guilty of lapses of concentration, mis-judgement and on occasions sheer bloody mindedness. The “let him wait” syndrome.
It is a proven fact that speed can kill, but it is also a fact that judges have ruled that speeds of even 150 miles an hour do not, alone, constitute dangerous driving. I have little sympathy with those caught by speed cameras as speeding convictions, like drink-driving convictions, are self-inflicted wounds. The default speed restriction policy which is recommended by the CTC is worthy of consideration, but new limits, to have credibility, should only be imposed following consultation with local residents and other interested parties. The changes to the penalty point system have some merit; on occasions other factors should be taken into consideration, such as weather conditions and time of day, as it is only right that the punishment should fit the crime, but it must be ensured that repeat offences of a serious nature are dealt with by the imposition of substantial periods of disqualification.
The reader should understand that any change in the onus of proof will only relate to litigation within the civil law and have no impact on criminal cases where the obligation to prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt must and will remain with the prosecution. This change will I am sure, if accepted, encourage more civil actions, which might lead to to a greater number of compensatory awards to cyclists, although it will do nothing to increase the level of settlements. This will not be a situation that insurance companies will accept lightly and I can already envisage lawyers rubbing their hands in anticipation of additional briefs. The bottom line is that no matter where the law deems the onus of responsibility to lie, no court is going to award meaningful damages unless there is corroborated independent evidence produced to counter the motorist’s cleverly argued claim that he was not the negligent party.
I do not think that the cyclist’s case is advanced by the statement that the worst that could happen to an innocent motorist would be the loss of his no-claims bonus, which after all could be as much as 65% of what will be an already higher premium introduced by insurers to meet their additional legal costs. Consider your own position and feelings in regard to the injustice caused if you knew you were the blameless party but could not prove it.
Whilst the civil court has the purpose of examining causation, attributing blame and awarding damages based on the balance of probability, the criminal court has to examine an allegation that an individual or body has committed a criminal offence, guilt having to be established by the prosecution beyond all reasonable doubt, sentence being passed after taking into account the circumstances of the offence, the previous history of the accused and sometimes the greater public interest including such matters as the deterrent value.
As the law stands at present, a motorist who kills a cyclist or any other person can be charged and convicted of one of three specific offences - murder, manslaughter or causing death by dangerous driving - dependant on the level of intent, malice, recklessness or degree of of bad or dangerous driving involved. In the case of the latter, death must be the direct result of the bad driving. Quite properly, the evidence required must be of the highest standard, capable of standing up to close scrutiny before being placed before a jury, who will often have a reluctance to convict. It is very difficult to obtain convictions and therefore pleas are often accepted to the lesser offences of driving without due care and attention or driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. Whilst the criminal courts do not award damages, the level of finding can of course greatly influence any civil hearing.
I am not at all sure that the new offence of causing death by careless driving is the correct way forward. I consider that the difference between careless and dangerous driving is one of state of mind. We are all capable of an involuntary or even a voluntary act of inconsiderate driving or letting our mind and therefore our attention drift. This is quite different to what I consider to be the selfish, irresponsible level of danger or recklessness required for the more serious offence. It is argued the introduction of a new offence when death arises as a direct result of the lesser acts would make convictions easier to obtain and would therefore act as a deterrent and lead to higher driving standards with more respect being shown towards cyclists. The marriage of the two ingredients required to prove the allegation are questionable, introducing a circumstance where a person will not be punished for the gravity of the act, but for its unfortunate consequences. Will juries with their natural tendency to shy away from issues involving death be any more prepared to convict? I somehow doubt it. At the end of it all we are back in “The Great Game” where everything depends on the quality of the evidence produced, and the expertise with which it is presented.
It is good that the issues raised are now going to be the subject of public and parliamentary debate. We can only hope that the outcome will result in a positive contribution to the raft of improvements required to make cycling safer, which include better road engineering, maintenance and public education.
Cyclists in groups are asked to avoid this popular Gomshall café at weekends as it is usually mega-busy with the company’s caravan customers. All cycling groups are, however, still welcome on weekdays.
A “new chapter of the book” was opened at a meeting of Surrey County Council’s Woking Cycle Forum in December. The phrase came from Will Ward, the county’s newly appointed local transportation director for Runnymede, Woking, and Surrey Heath.
Fifteen years ago cycling was barely mentioned in council quarters, but attitudes have changed, Mr Ward said. As a cyclist himself he had noticed in the past couple of years that the curve of awareness of the needs of cyclists and cycling had begun to move upwards.
Projects like the National Cycle Network and where they fit in with overall roads planning had made a difference. The same could be said of the local cycle forums pressurising for funds allocation and highlighting what needs to be done.
In his previous role in Runnymede, Mr Ward persuaded politicians to commit £300,000 a year into cycling-related projects, which had resulted in a change of attitude and a belief that something good could grow. His cycle events in Egham and Staines had proved that people can be influenced and encouraged to cycle. He now looked forward to expanding such awareness events across his new wider area.
Mr Ward pleased his audience by saying it was now accepted that building more roads in Surrey was not the answer to the county’s traffic problems.
“Can we build ourselves out of congestion? - No,” he said emphatically.
The Woking forum gave him an enthusiastic reception and Mr Ward responded by saying he would be pleased to hear from any committed cyclist with ideas for county consideration in the future. Phone 01932 794141, mobile 07717 850911, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After Bern Thompson (who was a photographer and journalist for “Cycling” in the 1970s and a friend of long standing) told me that he was doing an 80-mile birthday ride last year with the Thursday Club (local to where he now lives in Rutland) whilst on their annual camping week, I decided I wanted to do the same but, like Bern, not in February when we both have our birthdays, preferring to wait for the summer. I mentioned this to Martyn Roach of the Hounslow and District Wheelers and he deserves very great thanks for spending so much time and effort in working out a splendid route, which incorporated elevenses, lunch and tea. On the day, the support from my club’s members for the ride was quite amazing; a fair number of people participated either partially or fully and quite a few were not on bikes. I was particularly gratified that my son Rob and grandson Jamie took part (Jamie for only 10 miles) as it meant three generations out on the run. Katie and Nikki, my daughter and daughter-in-law respectively, also joined us for the 10 miles.
On the arranged date, the day dawned bright with clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine, which looked like a good omen for the day and so it proved to be. Club-mate Jeff Marshall had arranged to pick me up by car and take me to Staines Bridge, reckoning that I’d be doing 100 miles plus if I rode to the bridge and back home after tea.
We met the club a little late and departed for Dinton Pastures, our elevenses stop. Some thirty riders met at the bridge, travelling via Windsor Great Park, then along roads as traffic-free as possible, and duly arrived at Dinton. After elevenses some of the riders left us, including Mark and Jo Silver, a few going home but others got into a car driven to Dinton by club member Tony Cosstick, who now joined us for the rest of the ride. We proceeded via Sindlesham, Arborfield Cross and Swallowfield. From this point the ride became really quite amazing, going along lanes that were almost completely free from traffic. We went through Beech Hill, Mortimer Hill and Silchester, where we did a loop around Calleva Atrebatum. Martyn included this because my first club was the Calleva Road Club, which was named after this Roman settlement. When I first joined them there was still an annual club run there.
After that we travelled via Little London, Camber End, Charter Abbey, Ramsdell, Baughurst, Wheat Hold, Kingsclere and then a climb up White Hill and on to Hannington for lunch. Here we were joined by various non-cycling members, including Jan my wife who brought the three who were to join the ride for the next ten miles. After an excellent meal and much chat, we got on our way again, taking a different route this time, via Ibworth, Upper Wootton, Wootton St Lawrence, Sherborne St John, Bramley, Stratfield Saye, back to Beech Hill and on to Birds Hill Golf Centre at Hawthorn Hill, the tea venue. Some three miles from tea, I mentioned that I had just clocked 80 miles and a cheer went up from the club run riders.
We finally reached Birds Hill Golf Centre, where son-in-law Andy and grandchildren Ellen and Luke awaited the arrival of my daughter Katie. Again, it was still lovely enough to eat outside. At that point I had reached a total of 83 miles so opted to have my bike put on the roof of our car for the journey home.
While I was at it, I thought it would be a good idea to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation, a fitting charity as Jan had had that wretched illness a few years ago. I wanted to do 80/80/80, i.e. 80 years, 80 miles and £80. In the event I collected £111 thanks to the generosity of everyone. I received a very nice thank-you letter from the charity in which they expressed the thought that I might like to do a replay when I reached 90! Somehow, I think not.
Club member Chris Lovibond, in his Hounslow’s Press Officer’s hat, had even arranged for an article, complete with two photographs, to appear in the Hounslow Chronicle and, again, it seemed to raise a lot of interest. The article also appeared, with one photograph, in the Woking edition of the Informer. (Not to be outdone, although he wasn’t aware of it, my son Rob also had his picture in the Reading Post in the same week, after winning the 20K Endurance event at Reading Track League). I can only think that “Mr Man in the Street” would be horrified at such a mileage whereas to seasoned dyed-in-the-wool cyclists, it’s just another ride - even if an extended one for me nowadays.
HOW is your fitness diet going as you gear up for summer cycling? You may have read of an Antony Worrall Thompson pudding concoction at 1,250 calories a slice which has been condemned in a Food Commission report as “one of the most unhealthy recipes ever published”.
Sounds great to me, made as it is with sugar, eggs and five chopped Snickers bars, all baked in puff pastry. In commending it to you, I can cite nothing less than a Daily Telegraph editorial which asked: “Why call it unhealthy?”
“Nourishing is more like it,” the paper proclaimed, calling upon all its patriotic fervour to add: “The nation was made great when the roast beef of Old England came with batter pudding. It was food to fight on. So don’t blame the pud. Do more exercise.”
Who could possibly disagree with that? - Geoff, Editor
Restricting articles for the mag to two pages would mean they stand a better chance of being published quickly. Alternatively for longer accounts, particularly of holidays and other tours, please produce them in episodes.
The Editor regrets that a handful of recent pieces submitted have had to be held over purely because of length. They are excellent and interesting but their length has meant that they could not be fitted in this time.
As in the previous issue except:-
MAY 14th : Scorathon route-finding event, 30 miles or shorter, Horsley Station (Keith Chesterton 01483 569932)
OCTOBER 21st : This is the PROVISIONAL date of the annual general meeting and lunch at the Bird In Hand, May ford 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.
Chris Jeggo (01483 870218) asks if anyone is interested in a trip to Brittany on July 7th - 10th to see the Tour de France go through. He knows a good B and B.
|We are intrepid
not yet decrepit,
we never give up
before reaching the pub,
yet down to three
is cycling group B.
|Be it Shackleford or Chiddingfold,
Haslemere or God-knows-where,
there is nothing quite like
rolling in on a bike;
we may run out of puff,
but have never enough.
|It’s true, we don’t hurry
through pretty Surrey,
we look at the scenery
on our itinerary,
where many a sight
is sheer delight.
|Our problem is only
we are a bit lonely,
could do with some company
(with leading ability);
if that could be you,
please join us, do!
|Mr Alan Holbrook,
Off to France he took.
Injured his knee,
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 30 October 2009.