“The West Surrey Cyclist” - July - September 2007
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Front cover - racing cyclist
Inner front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association 2007 - as in previous issue except that Anke Blackburn and Barbara Cheatham replace Sybil Preston as Midweek Wayfarers leaders
Editorial front matter - very similar to previous issue
Riding Around - with Editor Geoff Smith
Marion Thompson - obituary
It’s Not Cricket
Leading Rides - by Phil Hamilton (republication of an April 2005 article)
Spurned into a Solo Ride - by Anke Blackburn
Trapped in Mist on the Island - by Paul Holmes
Organised Cycle Rides July - September 2007 - the Rides List
Looking Good in Our DA Shirts
The Things That Happen
The Things They Say
The Things You Can Buy
And Another Thing ...
Youth Hostels - They Ain’t What They Used to Be - by Dennis Clarke
The Colour of Cycle Clothing - by Richard Ellis
Screwing and Waxing - by Chris Jeggo
Punctured Again - by Dave Williamson
Letters to the Editor -
... Where To, Guv? - from Cliff Cavaliere
... Isle of Wight for Benstead Cup? - from Clive Richardson
... Thanks to All - from Bill Thompson
Reliability Ride - the Event - by Phil Hamilton
Dates for Your Diary - (just the changes from previous issues)
DA Personalities - Thirteen - Jeff Banks
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I LOVE all the razzmatazz of cycling, invariably buying the special event jerseys, badges, medals and certificates, proudly displaying the best and quietly hoarding the rest. It comes from winning little in the physical realm as a boy. Now I can do it I quite like shouting about it.
But I am becoming uneasy about the commercialism and sheer flashiness surrounding some cycling events these days. What’s with this cyclo-sportive rides business for instance? Are they nothing more than challenge rides pure and simple?
Here we are on the verge of the Tour de France in London and Kent. It’s going to be great, not least because of the flash souvenirs, of which I will collect more than a few to add to my cycling memorabilia. Not that I will have anything from the Tour de France cyclo-sportive ride due to trace Stage One from Westminster to Canterbury on July 1st, a week before the actual race.
I missed out on the registration, the 5,000 rider places selling out on the first day. But I don’t feel too bad about it, not at £40 per entry. This fee set me thinking. Back in 1994 the dear old CTC organised a randonnee - quaint old word that - around the Hampshire stage of that year’s Tour de France for an entry fee of a couple of pounds as I recall. No flash, no razzmatazz. It was sublime.
The key to its success was it being held on the day before the event. The signage was in place and bunting was going up all around the circular course. Countless shops and schools were decorated and chairs being put into position in readiness for the pro peloton.
We lucky cyclists were occasionally feted as we rode around as virtually the entire county was blossoming into Tour de France madness. I have never done a ride like it before or since. No certificate was available but I ordered a small ceramic plaque with my name on it as a very special souvenir for another couple of pounds.
Now look at this year. £40 means a total take of £200,000. There will surely be plenty of glamour on offer to the participants for that but I doubt the occasion will top 1994. Good luck to all concerned, but if you think £40 is over the top, mark this - at least one national charity has touted places on the event for those who missed out with direct applications.
Proclaiming a “Once in a Lifetime Tour De France Opportunity”, this particular charity offered limited places at a registration fee of £99 and minimum sponsorship requirement of £750. Enterprising or exploitative? Forgive me, but I cannot find it in my heart to wish it well.
SPOTTING me in the pub in my cycling gear with my folding bike proudly at my side, a fellow regular presented me with his copy of the day’s Evening Standard with a page one lead in enormous type “New battle for safer cycling”. Not only that, but pages four, five and six devoted entirely to “Let’s make London a safer place to cycle” and then an editorial comment on page 12 endorsing a “charter for London’s cyclists”.
What’s going on here? This issue is certainly something for my souvenir box. Many of us will be aware of the usual arguments covered in detail in the paper’s stories but I liked the prominence given to why it can sometimes be safer to jump red lights, disobey one-way signs or ride on the pavement.
As to the Standard’s own Charter, who could not approve its 12 points -
a real cycle network across London;
better cycle lanes with proper segregation;
enforcement of special advanced stop lines for cyclists;
HGVs to be fitted with special cyclist safety mirrors;
compulsory cyclist awareness training for all bus drivers and new HGV drivers;
cycle-friendly streets with fewer one-way systems which funnel cyclists into the middle of traffic;
more cycle parking across London;
a police crackdown on bike theft;
make safe the Thames bridges which are often the most dangerous places for cyclists;
campaign to alert the self-employed that they can claim 20p a mile cycling allowance against tax;
better cycle-bus-rail coordination with adequate parking at all railway stations;
cycle training for all schoolchildren and any adult who wants it.
The paper explained all of these in detail. Can we hope that the London Cycling Campaign and the CTC, which contributed to this exemplary coverage, will see that the Charter is promoted to other cities and towns throughout Britain?
Meanwhile, we can join the Standard’s own campaign by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
THE matter of cyclists likely to be killed by lorries accelerating away from traffic lights was also featured in The Times. It reported a Transport for London road safety unit finding that women cyclists are far more likely to be killed by a lorry because, unlike men, they tend to obey red lights and wait at junctions in the driver’s blind spot.
Apparently 86 per cent of the women cyclists killed in London between 1999 and 2004 were in collision with a lorry, contrasted with lorries being involved in 47 per cent of deaths of male cyclists.
So, male or female, do not feel guilty about jumping red lights (or riding on the pavement or the other way down a one-way street) if your road ahead is clear and you proceed with caution. I am grateful to Charles Green for sending me this cutting.
A GREAT cycling enthusiast, Marion Thompson died on March 25th after a long and courageous battle with cancer, quietly endured by her with few outside her immediate family appreciating the extent of her struggle and bravery. All who knew her will remember a lady of sparkling personality, eager to share her joys and convictions with everyone with whom she came into contact. She conveyed her many enthusiasms with a desire to have her listeners become as involved as she was in whatever was being discussed.
Many West Surrey CTC cyclists were present at the funeral at St Peter’s Church, Frimley, to hear how Marion stood out among her peers as a teacher of geography, “her beloved subject”, leading field trips in which she conveyed her passion for preserving the environment long before it became fashionable.
In her final decade, her cycling outings were sometimes curtailed but that did not stop her once riding the Make-A-Wish Camberley to Portsmouth ride while undergoing chemotherapy, touring in Europe, and twice completing the coast-to-coast in England.
During this time she rode often with our DA and helped with the administration of many events, especially the annual Reliability Ride, where she clocked in often exhausted riders with a cheery “Well done”.
Husband Bill and daughter and son-in-law Vicky and Nick rode this year’s Reliability Ride in April at which the spirit of Marion was particularly present. The deepest sympathies of all West Surrey riders who knew Marion are extended to Bill and the family.
TWICE in recent weeks the Wednesday Wayfarers have fared badly along their chosen way, at least as far as certain leading lights have shown by adopting irregular practices. In both instances regular riders have been let down.
In the first case, a veteran rider turned up at the published coffee stop to find all others in her group had decided at the designated start, on a whim of who knows who, to go to another café some miles and a hefty hill further away. She supped up and went home alone.
Secondly, a couple of riders were dropped by the leaders of another Wednesday Wayfarers group on the way to coffee. It had been announced at the start that the group would take a hilly route to Farnham.
This appealed to the two riders, but the delightful prospect of a bit of extra climbing waned when first one, then the other, was left behind. Neither had knowledge of the precise route to be taken (and, it is suspected, neither did the leaders). The second rider to be dropped had unsuccessfully waited a short while for the first, thus also losing the tear-away group.
As there were several route options at the point she was dropped, the first rider said later she had no idea where the others were going. She resigned herself to doing her own thing and eventually cut her losses and headed home.
“I did not know what had happened. One minute they were there, the next they were not. I felt as if I had been ignored,” she said.
The second rider made his own way to take in the hills around Puttenham Common, arriving at coffee shortly after the main so-called “hilly” group, which had perversely opted for the lower, easy valley road from Puttenham to Seale.
Throughout the ride to coffee, the second rider clocked an average of 15.5mph on his computer, yet still was dropped by the group racing ahead. He feels that this was not in the spirit of CTC Wayfarers’ touring. No indication was made at the start that such a fast pace would be adopted with no prisoners taken.
(This is a requested republication of a piece which first appeared in the April-June 2005 issue.)
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 small 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.
Wednesday, March 14. Meeting at Ripley, coffee in Gomshall were scheduled for this morning. I find that ride too strenuous these days and prefer to go by train, elderly lady that I am. Fortunately I don’t have to pay all that much; because of my retired railwayman husband I am entitled to privilege fares.
After arrival in Gomshall I looked out for my usual companions, but in vain, nobody was there, only the fast people, my lot had taken the easier option to go to Bocketts Farm, so I was told.
What to do? Quite honestly, I like to ride on my own, and was soon off via Peaslake to Ewhurst, pedalling through the still wintry-looking woods, there was almost no traffic, lovely. In Ewhurst I stopped to look inside the church, prayed in vain that God would prevent Parliament from approving the Trident replacement, the debate took place on that day, then sat outside to eat my sandwiches. Spring flowers were in bloom all over the cemetery around the church, the birds sang, the sun shone, what else can you ask for?
After that I cycled further south to Ellens Green and sat in the bus shelter, contemplating my next move. Bearing right towards Baynards and Alfold, or left into unknown territory, for which I had no map? (Does anyone have a cycle map No. 5 to spare?) However, a brown and white “Surrey Cycle Way” sign pointed to the left, so I went that way, thinking to myself, should I get lost, there will at least be nobody to laugh at me. All went well, I stopped for a good lunch at Oakwoodhill, although it is a strange feeling to enter a pub alone. I then followed the route to Ockley, Capel and Newdigate, places I had never seen before in all my years with the CTC. This was a really good ride, I can recommend it, very little traffic, quiet lanes through fields and woods.
From Newdigate I made my way back to Dorking. Having eaten two (small) bars of chocolate on the way, I then felt energetic enough to ride all the way back home to Woking, arriving fairly tired, but well pleased with my effort.
Finally, let me say, folks, I would like to lead you on the described route next time we start from Gomshall, you will surely like it!
It was the first Sunday in September, and a group of eight cyclists met at the sailing, some having come by car, others by train. There were Don, John, Chris and Amy, Dave, Mr and Mrs Smith (junior) and me. Gazing outside the terminal window, things did not look encouraging; grey skies, strong winds, and rain threatening. However, cyclists are a hardy bunch, so we weren’t too discouraged.
In the morning we went down the middle of the island, arriving at Godshill for coffee. The weather stayed bleak, and by the time we got to the sea, near Blackgang, we were nearly blown off our bikes. Rather than the normal spectacular views over to Dorset, we were trapped in sea mist and could hardly see over the hedges. Amy even put her lights on, being a sensible girl.
The annual ritual of a sea bathe at Ventnor was reduced to two brave souls, Geoff and me, who both struggled to keep upright due to the rough seas. We then had lunch on the promenade, looking at the windsurfers shooting across the bay at surprising speeds. Straight after lunch came a 1 in 3.5 - there are no easy ways out of Ventnor! The weather improved in the afternoon surprisingly quickly, and by the time we plunged down into Brading at 40mph we were cycling in sunshine and blue skies, with glorious views of the sea ahead of us as we descended.
The last leg of the journey had us passing Bembridge Airport, where we had a grandstand view of a stage of the Schneider Trophy. To see these light aircraft landing in a strong crosswind was quite unnerving, as they fought to hold their line. After that it was the houseboats of Bembridge Harbour, and yet another sharp climb, before we approached Seaview. At this point Mr and Mrs Smith left us, to spend a cosy night at Sandown Youth Hostel. The final section was navigated by Chris, as we zig-zagged our way along coastal roads and sea walls. Approaching Ryde from this direction was traffic-free, and gave us glorious, sunny views over the blue Solent to Portsmouth, now dominated by the Spinnaker Tower.
Ryde Pier wasn’t designed for cyclists with narrow tyres, so some of us had to walk it for the second time that day. At the end of the pier we had tea, followed by a rapid crossing on the catamaran.
See you all this year hopefully.
RON Richardson once found himself freewheeling in both directions and quickly surmised the freewheel had become loose. Ball bearings had sprayed out and he managed to collect them up and keep them safe in his cape. But what could he do about fixing them in place again? As he was deep in mid Wales countryside at the time this was not a simple matter.
He freewheeled down to a village shop and there found the solution.
“I needed something to hold the ball bearings in place, otherwise they would have gone everywhere,” he said. “I bought a tub of margarine and that did the job.”
“Is it true you can improve your carbon footprint by buying a carbon bike?” - Barry Rolfe at Seale Craft Centre café.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.” - Oscar Wilde, apparently (quoted by pro-cyclist David Millar).
Spotted in a national newspaper magazine’s fashion for men section, a cycle shirt commemorating the Grand Depart of the Tour de France from London. A top designer has worked with a cycle clothing manufacturer to produce this special maillot vert. It’s yours for a mere £175.
West Surrey DA cyclist at the head of the café queue: “How about a pot of tea?”
Tea lady: “How about a please?”
FOR many of my generation (60+) the first experience of cycle touring was based on youth hostels. Remember those dank dormitories, creaky beds with ex-army blankets and the compulsory cleaning duty that one had to discharge before getting one’s card returned next morning?
Well, it’s not like that any more.
After many years away I returned to the joys of hostelling in July 2006 whilst taking part in an End-to-End ride and I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of accommodation in most of them; spacious rooms, a clean sheet sleeping-bag usually included in the overnight charge and no scrubbing the floors before being let out in the morning. Breakfast is often available and some of the larger hostels do an evening meal. And every one that we used had a secure bike store.
I was so impressed by the experience that I did a short hostel tour in Norfolk in early September. One of those in which I stayed, Sheringham, not only provided excellent meals but stocked a selection of beers and wines as well - a far cry from the strictly enforced abstemiousness of days of yore. I even had a room to myself in each hostel.
Perhaps I’m preaching to the converted here (I know that some DA members regularly do youth hostel tours) but I recommend the new YHA for comfortable, friendly and inexpensive cycle touring accommodation. And for those hardy traditionalists who prefer the old spartan style there are still camping barns and bunkhouses.
Cyclists are putting their lives in danger by wearing unsuitable colours! It is pretty obvious that if you don’t wear visible colours you are increasing the risk of motorists bumping into you. According to ROSPA - Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents - 80% of cycle accidents occur in daytime (when most of us cycle), and during the spring and summer months, in urban areas. How many of us have heard the cry “but I didn’t see you!”
It’s a well-known fact that certain colours are more likely to be seen, specially in the yellow spectrum, and most fluorescent colours used by many cycling clubs. On the other hand, many riders - including sad to say West Surreys - habitually wear dark coloured clothing - black, grey, dark blue, red, green etc.
Of course there’s no guarantee that motorists will see you even in the most garish of colours, however one must admit an increase in the odds of an accident if you do wear dark clothing.
Personal preferences must be considered - but the issue of the colour of cycling clothing is really too important in the context of cycling safety, and it’s surprising that it’s not been addressed by the CTC and other bodies, including manufacturers, distributors, and shops. Maybe there is room for a code of best practice, and publication of industry guide-lines including an advisory colour chart.
Needless to say, the legal profession could have a “field day” in defending any motorist/motor-cyclist/pedestrian involved in an accident with a cyclist in dark colours, and there may be manufacturing difficulties - but this may be a small price to pay for increased safety.
How much to tighten pedals is not a matter of personal taste, not if you want to avoid mechanical problems. Cranks are very highly stressed components; the torques (twisting forces) on them when you put all your weight on one pedal are enormous. The joints between pedal and crank and between crank and bottom bracket axle have to bear these forces, and if the joints are a bit slack due to under-tightening then the load is spread over too small an effective contact area and the alloy of the cranks is deformed beyond its elastic limit. In a word - damaged. That is why the torques used to tighten pedals and crank bolts are among the highest of any torques used on bicycles.
Professional cycle mechanics use torque wrenches and follow manufacturers’ torque recommendations. Servicing instructions can be found on, for example, Shimano’s website and a typical value for crank bolts is 35 to 50 newton-metres, or 310 to 440 inch-pounds. I have a TA spanner (for TA crank bolts) that is about 7" long, so it requires a force of half a hundredweight applied to its end when tightening. Since the metal of this spanner is on the thin side, a really good track mitt is a really good idea to avoid denting your hand. Shimano’s recommended torque for pedals is 35 newton-metres (310 inch-pounds). My pedal spanner is about 11" long so that needs a mere quarter of a hundredweight!
Avoid cycle mechanics who are more gorilla than professional.
Whether to wax or oil is, in one significant sense, immaterial. The dirt that causes the dreaded ‘stretch’ is inside the chain. It is carried there by the dirty water that is sprayed all over our transmissions whenever we ride in the rain, and the only lubricant which might keep it out is distinctly gooey (neither waxy nor oily) and distinctly grit-attracting. That said, if you want to spend hours putting your chain to good use rather than cleaning it to no great effect, do as Peter Clint says and use something dry. I have used Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube recently and am pleased with it.
Re-reading the 2006 crop of The West Surrey Cyclist, I was struck by the fact that the subject of punctures and how to fix them was still very much to the fore. I expect that if you were to look in the CTC Gazette for 1885, in among the adverts for deerstalkers and corduroy bloomers, similar articles would be present. In our case, I see that someone writing under the nom de plume of ‘Adon’ suggested that the committee should commission a comprehensive manual on the subject which all members should adhere to. Well, there is no need because it already exists. On re-reading Adon’s piece, I reached immediately for my copy of The CTC Book of Cycling by John Whatmore (a previous secretary of the West Surrey section). My own copy was personally presented to me by the author. The exact procedure to be followed in mending a puncture is clearly outlined in John’s book but the most disputed points are explained as follows:-
So there we have it in black and white in an official CTC publication.
According to John, advanced initiates made it a point of honour to use just one tyre lever to get the tyre off and none to put it back on. All I can say is they should try that with Schwalbe Marathon Extras which are a snug fit to say the least. Interestingly, John explained to me that, although not stated in his book, the adhesive should be allowed to dry for the ‘time it takes to smoke a Woodbine’ before applying the patch.
Editor’s note: These topics seem likely to keep on rolling. Regarding the sticky stuff comment I personally adhere to the advice of CTC technical officer Chris Juden. As excitedly reported in my column in the July-September 2006 issue, Chris favours using as little adhesive as possible to effect a repair on the grounds that the more you use the more the chances are of a firm seal not being formed.
What next on these vital and emotive matters? Surely we have not reached the end of the road on punctures, tube patches, tightening of pedals, waxing and oiling? Do let me have your views.
I WOULD like to raise a point regarding the way in which the routes of our Wednesday rides are raised at the coffee stop. At the moment no decisions are made during the coffee break and riders are left trying to find out where the groups are going while riding down the road after the coffee stop. This can and does lead to confusion and has resulted in me joining the wrong group, one either going too far or one going home.
Rides need to be discussed and agreed before leaving the coffee break so that we all know where we are going.
- Cliff Cavaliere
OVER the years many West Surrey riders have enjoyed the annual 100km Isle of Wight round-the-island randonnee organised since 1985 by the island’s Wayfarer Cycle Touring Club (CTC affiliated). It takes place on the Sunday of the early May bank holiday weekend.
The Sunday Riders group now make it a point of doing the ride as part of its programme and it occurs to me that such a rewarding and challenging ride should now be recognised as an official West Surrey club event and qualify for Benstead Cup points. What do you think?
- Clive Richardson
I WOULD like to extend my thanks to all West Surrey DA members who supported the family at Marion’s funeral.
- Bill Thompson
Were you one of the 60 starters on this year’s Reliability Ride? If not, then you missed an excellent day out. After a chilly start to the day, the light cloud was soon burnt off by the sun and the temperature probably reached the forecast 23 degrees, although the wind remained quite keen and lunch was best taken in a sheltered spot.
Of the starters, 4 were from other DAs, 10 from the Charlotteville, 4 from other Road Clubs and 42 from the West Surrey DA (of whom 3 did not finish). We had 32 veterans (over 50), of whom 3 were ladies, and a total of 12 ladies, one of whom was our only junior rider.
Let’s hope for equal support next year - and a few more helpers please.
The following CTC members qualified for a certificate, having completed the course in less than 5 hours:-
|T Bar||C Brim||A Byrne (Ms)||C Cavaliere|
|H Coleman||C Cooper||N Eason||J Gillbe (Mrs)|
|J Gillbe||P Gillingham||P Hackman||P Hampson|
|M Hine||L Hollis (Ms)||P Holmes||C Jeggo|
|D Johnson||D Jones||A Juden (Ms)||C Juden|
|D Jupe||J Lowe||R Mason||B McLeod|
|J Murdoch||L Palethorpe (Ms)||C Richardson||M Rose (Ms)|
|B Ross||R Shore (Ms)||R Signore||H Smith|
|G Smith (jnr)||A Tanner (Mrs)||D Tanner||R Taylor|
|B Thompson||S Thorne (Ms)||L Todd||A Twiggs|
|N Warr||V Warr (Mrs)||D Wood|
All participants and helpers will be awarded the relevant club points.
MRS RELIABLY Unreliable - that’s how fellow cyclists have come to know me, and I guess I didn’t let them down in the Reliability Ride from Godalming in April. It didn’t bode well from the start. On reflection, you don’t take your other half along to fix any possible punctures, not on a reliability ride anyway. You don’t turn up late and miss the start, especially when relying on friends because you don’t know the route and map-reading isn’t your forte.
It didn’t get any better. Mrs Reliably Unreliable’s husband had been doing a good job riding and map-reading but it went horribly wrong when he abandoned the map, preferring to follow the helpful-looking white markings on the road. Surely they had been put there by more reliable members of the club as they were “definitely following the same route, my love”. It was about seven miles and 45 minutes later that we realised the signs weren’t for the same route - or maybe it was when we dropped in on the squire of a country estate, cycling through his very private symmetrical gardens.
But the game was finally up when we spotted cyclists going in the other direction. Yes, we should win the wooden spoon for being the most unreliable in the Reliability Ride. At least we can be relied upon to win something.
- Mrs Reliably Unreliable
Two small changes from previous issues:-
SEPTEMBER 9th : Reliability Rides, 75 miles and 100 miles PLUS 50 miles and 30 miles, Pirbright Village Hall car park, 8am-9am (Rico Signore 01483 822240)
OCTOBER 27th (date now confirmed): Annual general meeting and lunch, Bird In Hand, Mayford Green, Woking. Coffee 10am, meeting starts 10.30am
|Putting on the style ranks
For Jeffrey Banks.
His bike, helmet, shirt, are matching red.
A message to our clerihew “poets” - We really do need more, please. “Personalities” already featured, and preferably to be avoided in future offerings, are Wally Happy, Leslie Houlton, Jean Tedder, Geoff Smith (Snr), Rico Signore, Ronald Beams, Don Jones, Alan Holbrook, Bob McLeod, Phil Hamilton, Peter Clint and Geoff Smith (Jnr).
How about some more by and/or featuring some newcomers and from the Sunday, Guildford and Godalming, and Farnham groups?
What’s a clerihew? - Look it up.
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