“The West Surrey Cyclist” - October - December 2007
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Front cover - the design of the 25th anniversary Tour of the Hills medal
Inner front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association 2007 - as in previous issue except that the late George Alesbury is no longer listed as a Vice-President
Editorial front matter - very similar to previous issue
Riding Around - with Editor Geoff Smith
Our Front Cover
From the President - by Rico Signore
George Alesbury - obituary by Les Houlton
My CTC AGM Ride - by Chris Jeggo
Organised Cycle Rides October - December 2007 - the Rides List
Litton Cheney, Dorset, Mayday Weekend - by Libia Gomez-Jupe
The Fair-weather Cyclist and the Jeggo Curse - by Dane Maslen
Letters to the Editor -
... It’s Not Cricket - from John Fasey
... First Things First - from Jeff Banks
Tour of the Hills 2007 - by Tim Bar
Looking Good in Our DA Shirts
Have the magazine delivered for £4 a year - (price increase)
Yummy Stuff Worth Waiting For
Photo Competition at AGM
Dates for Your Diary - (just the changes from previous issues)
DA Personalities - Fourteen - (Rico Signore)
Nomination form for AGM
WAS IT a million, two million, or even three million - the total number of London and Kent Tour de France spectators? How can you judge such things? But whatever you believe to be true numerically there is emotionally one certainty concerning that opening weekend of this year’s tour - it was joyous, totally so.
I have just a couple of observations of the two days of riding. Richard Ellis and I watched the prologue at the top of The Mall surrounded by keenies. They knew all the stars, calling to them during their practice rides (which continued on our part of the course, incidentally, even beyond the 3pm start of the event), and during the six hours or so we were in position the talk was of all matters cycling. Wonderful stuff.
Then the next day we took up position in Tenterden, where the crowd was completely different. This time it was families with loads of excited kids enjoying the freebies from the cavalcade vehicles and the stalls and music on the green, and adults who, in the main, were none too sure what to expect.
The fun for us knowing types was in answering questions like: Do women ride in the Tour? Are you in it? How fast do they go? Excitement reached fever pitch as the riders came through and again for me there was this feeling of exhilaration as everyone dispersed.
Yet again the Tour had worked its magic. Kent was looking at its best, London likewise. I was born and spent my career in London, and was brought up in Kent. I am a proud man.
WHAT, after equipment to cope with puncture repair, is the next most important piece of kit to carry with you on a cycling trip? I pondered this as I lurked in a semi-dark toilet deep in the Pyrenees this summer.
We had come upon a cozy Logis de France establishment and demolished a fine petit dejeuner, after which I repaired to the said smallest room. On attempting to leave, the lock knob broke off in my hand. It had been there doing its job for decades. Just my luck it had reached the end of its useful life at the point I wished to resume mine.
Thanks to my logical mind, I soon determined I was trapped. I called as quietly as possible for my wife to come to the rescue. Could she get me out? What do you think? She summoned the proprietor with a well-executed “Monsieur, problem” and he turned white as he wondered what on earth was going on.
His relief was as palpable as mine as he released me by manipulating the bolt with his Swiss army knife. Mine, of course, was outside in my bike bag.
So I hereby nominate a Swiss army knife as the next most essential piece of kit for a cycling trip. Just make sure you have it with you at all times.
The cover for this issue features Martin Hine’s design for the medal commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Tour of the Hills. (Note the inclusion of the definite article and absence of location. West Surrey CTC pedants, of whom the Editor is one, insist our Tour was the first of its kind and has therefore earned the right to take the “the” and embody no other adjectival adornment.)
In the April issue I highlighted the unacceptably high number of cycling accidents in our DA. Guess who managed to crash into an unforgiving concrete post? None other than Yours Truly, which ended Don Jones’ and my End-to-End ride prematurely. Result: a spiral fracture of the femur, which keeps me off my bike for a while. However, after choosing the wettest June in living memory, indications are that we might have thrown in the (very wet) towel at some stage anyway!
Any outsider reading the Headlines in the last magazine might think that our DA has many problems, which is fortunately not the case:
IT’S NOT CRICKET
Leaders vanishing into the distance is not really acceptable: our club rides should be an enjoyable experience for all, which involves being considerate to fellow riders who may not be as fast, fit or experienced as the leader(s).
Refresh your memory by reading Phil’s article again, a timely reminder to leave gaps between small groups (ideally around 6 riders), thus minimising the danger for both overtaking motorists and us cyclists. Do your utmost to stay in touch with riders and groups, both ahead of and behind you. Admittedly not an easy task, but well worth the effort for everybody’s benefit!
SPURNED INTO A SOLO RIDE
Unbeknown to “the elderly lady”, her usual companions decided to change the nominated coffee-stop. Unfazed, she set out on an obviously most enjoyable (and astonishingly long) ride, to be repeated with her group. May I remind the same “elderly lady” that she was guilty of a similar “spurning” when, last winter, she decided that coffee stops were too time-consuming and proceeded directly to a lunch-stop. Fine, except that some “slower” riders wished to join her group at the designated coffee stop and failed to find any kindred spirits!
WHERE TO, GUV?
Due to circumstances beyond our control there is sometimes a shortage of leaders and communications are liable to break down occasionally. Instead of following any cyclist haphazardly, why not ask their intentions? Better still, how about being more pro-active and boldly deciding to lead a ride yourself? No doubt your chosen route and pub will suit many other riders. It has become a bit of a habit to rely on the few to lead the many. Many club-members have ridden with us for years and it should be easy to remember a suitable route and lunch venue (though admittedly some still don’t know East from West and Cobham from Chobham)!
George worked all his life at Vickers Armstrong, later to become British Aerospace, apart from war service in the RAF. On retirement he had reached the position of Design Systems Engineer. Many times he took off from Wisley Airfield on proving flights.
He joined the CTC in 1935 and held many offices including events organiser, committee member, treasurer, and DA president. He was latterly a vice-president.
Our sincere sympathies go to his wife Evelyn and family.
- Les Houlton
The specification for rides on Sunday, 29th April, following the national AGM and dinner in Guildford the previous day, was to start at Guildford Railway Station at 9am, finish there at 3pm, and have breaks for coffee and lunch. My aim was therefore to show our area to best advantage within these constraints, riding at about 12mph. Also, two other rides were Chris Juden’s off-road ride and Julie Rand’s family ride on lanes and tracks, so my ride was to be mainly on road.
My first decision was to aim to stop for lunch at 12:30 at about one hour’s ride from Guildford, thus allowing 1½ hours for lunch and contingencies. From this followed the second decision to aim to stop for coffee at 10:30. My outline allocation of time was 3 hours riding, 1½ hours for the breaks and 1½ hours for sight-seeing and contingencies, giving a total distance of about 36 miles. The route had to thread together pleasant cycling roads and places of interest; main roads were to be strongly avoided and built-up areas were to be pretty villages rather than boring suburbia as far as possible.
The Surrey Hills to the south-east of Guildford looked attractive, but getting there and back avoiding too much main road, off-road and suburbia is difficult. This direction looked better for a longer ride, i.e. just what Mark Waters was planning for his AGM ride.
I therefore turned my attention to the south-west of Guildford, and things immediately started to fall into place. We just had to ride the lane between Puttenham and Seale, and where better to have elevenses than Manor Farm Craft Centre. How about an interesting building to visit? Churches have services on Sunday mornings. If it’s somewhere that charges for entrance then some will not want to go in, and those who do will want to spend long enough to get their money’s worth. The Watts Gallery and Watts Chapel are free, but the Gallery is likely to divide the group into the uninterested who whizz round and the art lovers who linger, so I plumped for the Chapel.
Other places of interest and beauty spots to consider were The Tarn at Cutt Mill, the medieval bridges over the River Wey and Frensham Ponds. Waverley Abbey was also a possibility, but involves using the busy B3001.
Choosing a lunch place required some thought; most of the pubs I know are further out. ‘The Good Intent’ at Puttenham is excellent but too close to both the Guildford finish and the Seale coffee place. I did wonder whether the ride could get across to ‘The Merry Harriers’ at Hambledon, until I heard that that was where Chris Juden was taking his group.
So that is why my informal ride on Easter Sunday turned into a ‘recce’. We visited, and I photographed, most of the Wey bridges built by the Cistercian monks of Waverley Abbey in the thirteenth century and since modified to varying degrees. We had lunch at ‘The Barley Mow’ at Tilford, a ‘first’ for me, amazingly. It was a good pint and a good ploughman’s lunch in an attractive pub with a pleasant garden, but it cost nearer to £11 than £10. Hmm! So we went straight from there to the Rural Life Centre in Reeds Road for a cuppa, and checked their menu. Their prices are rather more reasonable, so we could offer the punters a choice of no beer or no money left!
Finally, the route had to allow short cuts to keep the ride on schedule in the event of delays or extended sight-seeing, and, conversely, extra loops in case those who turned up just wanted to ride. The plan became: out of Guildford via The Mount and the good track atop the Hog’s Back, down to the Watts Chapel, from Compton to Puttenham via National Cycle Network Route 22 (or via the busy B3000 if the track was likely to be muddy), Shackleford, Cutt Mill, Puttenham, Seale (coffee), The Sands, Tilford (east bridge), Frensham Little Pond, Frensham Great Pond, Millbridge, lunch as above and Tilford west bridge, Elstead, Norney, Hurtmore, Compton, Hog’s Back and down Farnham Road back to Guildford Station. 36 miles. The brief description was written and sent off to National Office.
So how did it work out on the day? Not everything went to plan, of course. National Office had estimated that roughly half a dozen people would choose my ride. I got more than two dozen, so I pressed Dave Williamson into acting as ‘Tail-end Charlie’, a duty which he discharged with great efficiency, and admirable restraint considering that he was wearing a yellow jersey! When we got to the end of the Hog’s Back track, where it comes out on Farnham Road at the top of the hill, a four yard section was completely barred by blue and white police tape - “Do not cross”! Well, we were able to find gaps in the hedge, cross a bit of a bank and a bit of a ditch to reach a path in a field and come out on Farnham Road, but it cost ten minutes or so.
The Watts Chapel went down well. People were happy to spend quite a while looking round after hearing my brief potted history, garnered from the website. Getting back to the bikes, we heard “Ooh look, my tyre’s flat!” During repairs, Dave was despatched to warn the ladies at Seale about the size of the party. They coped perfectly well, of course. After all the delays, we went direct from Puttenham to Seale, one of my short cuts.
While stopped on the green at Tilford to admire the bridge I asked whether 3pm was a hard deadline for anyone. It wasn’t, so we had time to visit Frensham Great Pond but skipped the Little Pond. Returning through Millbridge I varied the route slightly to look at two pieces of Victorian cast iron, the CTC Repairer’s sign on the wall of Peter Hoyte’s ‘Village Workshop’ and the attractive and unusual fingerpost at the cross-roads.
After lunch I planned to turn left off the B3001 at Thundry Farm instead of going through Elstead, so we could visit Cutt Mill and Shackleford, missed in the morning. When we got to the junction there were cycle race marshalls equipped with red flags etc. I stopped and asked whether we could reach the next cross-roads before the race. I did not want to risk any of my charges getting into the wrong bunch by mistake! After admiring The Tarn we asked the Farnborough & Camberley CC marshalls when the race was due. “In two or three minutes”. So we waited and watched the bunch thunder through at a speed so greatly in excess of ours that no confusion would have been possible.
There was nothing particularly noteworthy during the rest of the ride, except to say that all traces of police tape had vanished from the Hog’s Back and that the morning’s excellent warm sunny weather continued throughout the afternoon. We saw leafy Surrey at its best!
I am not a very good cyclist and worse still a writer but as the Mayday weekend event is something that David and I enjoy and look forward to, I volunteered to write this article for the magazine.
Litton Cheney in Dorset was the venue. Some of the group stayed at the youth hostel and some in bed-and-breakfast. The Jupes in their tradition got lost on their way and arrived well past the Youth Hostel closing time. Fortunately for them, the Tanners’ forward thinking warned the warden and the double room was kept for them.
We gathered on Saturday morning outside the Youth Hostel ready to start the weekend with a fantastic group of twelve riders all eager to go. Derek led the group heading east, at a nice gentle pace, and the peloton soon got on their way. The weather was perfect, the lanes were quiet, the group soon settled into pairs chatting away, laughing and admiring the views until we encountered the first climb of the morning. Click, click changing the gears, pedalling hard, bottoms rising from the saddles, slowing down and finally the shameless getting off and pushing the bike for a few yards to give the leg muscles a little rest!
We stopped at Hardy’s Monument. The visibility was not too good but we made the best to admire the views and after posing for some snaps we were off on our way to Dorchester for morning coffee. Up and down the Dorset hills, off we went. At one point I came third down on one of the hills being overtaken by Derek firstly, whizzed past by Chris, and when I finally caught them up at the bottom they were comparing their speeds - very fast, may I add.
Dorchester is a lovely town and well worth a visit. We left the town via the High Street after being briefed by Derek to our next stop for lunch at the Seven Stars pub in East Burton.
In the afternoon we continued our journey and visited T. E. Lawrence’s cottage, ‘Clouds Hill’ near Wareham. The National Trust attendant and guide made a meal out of the cottage. It turned out to be a disappointment - very small and for me of no historic importance. His memorial stone about 100 metres down the road marking the location of his fatal motorcycle accident was more interesting mainly because it is situated on the edge of the Bovington Army Camp practice range (no tank practising at weekends - pity!). We passed Wool Bridge and into Moreton where we stopped to see Lawrence’s grave and St Nicholas’s Church, famous for its engraved glass windows. This church was a normal little church until it was hit by a fleeing German bomber in World War 2. During the rebuilding, instead of replacing the stained glass, a series of spectacular engraved glass windows created by Laurence Whistler (1912-2000) were installed. The engravings are amazingly beautiful and have transformed the church into a magical place.
We had afternoon tea at Upwey Well Dressing and Garden, a quaint little tea room with an established landscaped garden and a wishing well, and very nice cakes too. We returned to Litton Cheney at about 18:00 hrs glowing and rewarded by having spent a fantastic day out. We estimated we cycled a distance of 51 miles - one puncture.
We got up early on Sunday to find out that the kitchen at the youth hostel had been taken over by a group of women walkers who took charge of the cooking and toasting facilities. They very kindly offered to facilitate our needs.
Chris led the group, of eleven now as Paul had his family with him and decided to spend the rest of the holiday with them. We headed north and straight up the hill to take us out of Litton Cheney. We had experienced this hill on our arrival and knew what to expect. The warning sign “hill 1 in 4 ahead” was not a good sight straight after breakfast and so early in the day. I was already in my bottom gear and going up so slowly that my pro, Anne, had to abandon me, leaving me with little tips to think about to get me up to the top. When I finished with them I tried to lift my spirits by playing little tricks with my mind. Find ten things to do if I was to win the lottery. Work? ... Forget it - no time for that. I ended up wondering what the riders in the Tour the France think of when climbing up the Pyrenees. It started to rain. I stopped and put on my rain jacket. Then the rain eased off and I was too hot, but I left my jacket on until I rejoined the rest at the top, where some were doing stretching exercises.
We stopped at Maiden Newton for coffee and then rode through Cattistock, Holywell, Hell Corner near Melbury Bubb, Chetnole and Leigh, all places with breath-taking views. We had lunch at the King’s Stag pub in Crouch Hill and met up with Harry Stratham, who many of you will remember. We returned via Cerne Abbas for tea and looked at the famous Cerne Abbas Giant (known as the “Rude Man”). We estimated we cycled a distance of 49 miles - no punctures.
On Monday morning, already saddened by the fact that this was our last day of the weekend, we headed west to West Bay, with ten riders; Chris had decided to rest due to an old injury. The weather was not on our side; it rained most of the morning and it was windy too. We had coffee by West Bay sea front and then continued our ride into Bridport and Eype where we were rewarded with a magnificent display of bluebells all along a huge bank where, we were told, the gypsies used to camp some years ago. After lunch in Whitchurch Canonicorum we made our way back to Litton Cheney for tea. Barbara led the group taking us back on the Sustrans Route 2. We pedalled really fast, stopping only at a farm shop for Dorset ice creams and other provisions. We had tea at the Youth Hostel. Estimated distance cycled 30 miles, with two punctures being mended in the pouring rain.
The group decided that next year’s Mayday Bank Holiday Weekend would be in the Exmoor area.
|13th May:||Chris organises full-day ride. Rain. Dane cowers indoors.|
|20th May:||Chris doesn’t organise anything. Fine. Dane does Danebury.|
|27th May:||Chris organises full-day ride. Rain. Dane cowers indoors.|
|3rd June:||Chris organises full-day ride. Dane expects rain so arranges to visit friends. Fine. What went wrong? Aha! The full-day ride was in Wiltshire so Woking was spared.|
|10th June:||Chris safely out of the way in France. Fine. Dane repeats Wednesday’s ride to Hammer Vale via Blackdown in an attempt to learn the route.|
|17th June:||Chris back from France but does not organise a ride. Fine. Dane has coffee at Bockett’s Farm, lunch at Dunsfold, tea at Seale.|
|24th June:||Chris organises full-day ride. Rain. Dane cowers indoors.|
|End of June:||Dane suggests sending Chris cycle-touring in Romania in a last-ditch attempt to save this year’s harvest from the severe drought they are suffering. Chris stays in UK. Wettest Wimbledon for 25 years.|
The article under this headline in the July-September issue reminded me of my last ride with the Sunday Wayfarers group some years ago.
Coffee had been at Runnymede and we were on the way back, tackling the short sharp hilly area around Virginia Water, when I was dropped off the back of the group. My fixed wheel was proving an unusual handicap on that particular Sunday.
Gradually the group disappeared round the next bend and suddenly I was on my own, not feeling particularly well. I sat at the roadside eating a banana, then, walking hills, feeling dreadful, I slowly made my way home. Shortly afterwards I had a quad heart bypass operation.
In my young years during the 1950s I was a member of Addiscombe CC and usually in club runs we had a “tail end Charlie” who looked after any stragglers and ensured their wellbeing for the rest of the ride.
Although remaining a member of West Surrey I now ride solo at my own speed and progress enjoying the tranquil scenery. But a bitterness remains.
- John S. Fasey
Your magazine articles about puncture mending expertise are all very well but useless unless you have explained how to remove the wheel first.
- Jeff Banks
(To prove the point, Jeff attached a picture of a motley group of West Surrey riders obviously struggling with “litigation lugs” on an unlucky rider’s front wheel - Ed)
This year did see entrants down from 201 to 187, and starters on the day were 125 (164 last year) including 20 lady starters. The weather to my knowledge stayed broadly dry during the day, the early rain passing over by around 11am. However, the forecast undoubtedly put off a large number.
The first rider came in at 4:09. The last rider appeared just on the close of the finishing control at the hall - 5:30 pm. There were no reported accidents although I did hear of one rider who came off - but as he did not report it I cannot record it. After totting up the numbers there were 19 non-finishers (29 in 2006) so 106 of the 125 starters made it round the course. Three were disqualified for incomplete cards, so 103 were qualified finishers.
The following WSDA members entered on the line: Kevin Blackburn, Colin Brim, Anne Etherington, John Gillbe, David Gillbe, Bob McLeod, John Murdoch, Clive Richardson and Mark Waters.
TOH07 was a success yet again, thanks to the great help once more from many club members. The following marshalled: Don Jones, Doug Johnson, Martin Hine, Richard Ellis, Jeff Banks, Dennis Clarke, Chris Boggon, Peter Callaghan, Phil Hamilton, Bill Thompson, Karen Hodgson, Rico Signore, Paul Holmes, Mark Waters and Roger Philo. Thanks to them the ride went without a hitch - I only heard compliments about the marshalls.
Tour of the Greensands was somewhat rained out this year as entrants were down to 10 (nearly 30 last year). But all appeared to enjoy it and some stopped for spotted dick and custard at a pub on the way! Now that is style.....
Special thanks go: to Karen Hodgson who is not actually a WSDA member as far as I know but she volunteered anyway, to Bob Mcleod and Mark Waters for both assisting at the start before riding the event (and Bob helped at the end too - but he looked absolutely knackered by 6pm), and to Peter Callaghan for putting in further help at the finish.
A very special “thanks” to Pauline McLeod and Liz Callaghan for their unstinting work all morning to prepare a beautiful spread of food - and for the non-stop flow of tea. They were on their feet all day and did the hardest job of the lot!
Hopefully you have all been busy again with your cameras or mobile phones snapping lots of cycling-related pictures. Paul Harris and Richard Ellis got the free drinks last year (only one each!) so you can see it is well worth having a go!
The rules are the same as last year:-
All pictures should have some connection with cycling and must have been taken since the last AGM. There will be just two categories:-
Only 6 pictures may be submitted for each category giving a maximum of 12 for each individual. They may be mounted or not and of any size. The owner’s name should be on the reverse. We have a green baize notice board that makes it very easy to display pictures provided they have those little Velcro patches on the back. There will be some of these available at the AGM venue if required. If you are unable to attend please ensure that your pictures are sent in via any committee member or rides leader; they will all be returned.
In addition to the above, if you have photos of club events please bring them along for display. Only space will limit the numbers shown. Last year Jeff Banks displayed some prints in a handy plastic device that held several pictures and could be suspended on the wall saving the trouble of using the Velcro.
Changes from previous issues:-
OCTOBER 27th : Annual general meeting and lunch, Bird In Hand, Mayford Green, Woking. Coffee 10am, meeting starts 10.30am. The lunch, at £15 per person, payable on the day, will start at about 1.00pm and will have a choice of courses (choose on the day).
JANUARY 1st : New Year’s Day rendezvous for all riders, rides groups, supporters and friends, Seale Craft Centre (all morning). (Unconfirmed at time of writing but as certain as anything can be in this day and age.)
|A thousand miles they made a boast.
We’ll ride Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Then came a fall, one hit a post,
Before they reached the Cymru coast.
The end - 250 miles at most.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 13 November 2009.