“The West Surrey Cyclist” - July - September 2008
|Previous magazine . Next magazine|
Front cover - as previous issue
Inner front cover - CTC West Surrey 2008 (officers, committee, rides leaders) - as previous issue
Editorial front matter - very similar to previous issue
Riding Around - with Editor Geoff Smith
A Bicycle Trip to Paris - from a 1878 “The Surrey Advertiser and County Times”
A Sermon, a Saddle and a Suspect System - by Dave Williamson
Is It Bold to Fold? - by Paul Holmes
The Real Dangers of Cycling - by Dane Maslen
Organised Cycle Rides July - September 2008 - the Rides List
Reliability Rides: 30, 50, 75 and 100 miles, September 7th - by Rico Signore
A Corking Day Out - by Liz Palethorpe
Reliability Ride - The Event - by Phil Hamilton
Letter to the Editor -
... Leaders (and Followers) Needed - from Dane Maslen
Summer Shirts for Smart Syclists - by Peter Clint
Ian to Ride Tour de France - by Ian Callaghan
Meltdown on the Bicycle Icycle - by Mark Waters
May Day Bank Holiday Weekend - by Barbara Cheatham
A Sea Change for the West Surrey - proposed new CTC West Surrey Group Local Rules - by Secretary Jeff Banks
Dates for Your Diary - (mainly the changes from previous issues)
Group Personalities - Seventeen - Chris Jeggo
I WROTE in a recent column of the need to have your Swiss army knife with you at all times, but it seems there is another piece of kit which must always be with you, indeed on you - the trusty helmet.
On a weekend away at the Hilton, Newbury, I was disturbed at breakfast, while eating my whisky-laced breakfast porridge, by the apparition of a gangling male cyclist, a fellow resident, lining up at the buffet bar with his helmet not only firmly on his bonce but with the straps firmly buckled beneath his chin. Beware, low flying potato wedges, perhaps.
No wonder so many people think cyclists are utterly off the wall.
SIMILARLY on headgear, one of our female riders, a mumsie sort (or maybe not), told me a cautionary tale about cycle helmets, the dangers thereof.
It seems her cyclist son, a strapping lad known to some of us, left his in the kitchen, hooked up over the toaster. Not good. While the helmet did not actually catch fire, the straps, exactly in line with the rising heat, proceeded to melt.
The enterprising mum fished out a retired helmet to recommission its old straps - again, not a good idea. Put it this way, have you ever tried to remove straps from a cycle helmet, let alone rethread the things? There is no such thing any more as a simple job.
I HAVE even more important information about helmets, but first I must tell you that I have just embraced the world of digital photography. I have bought a neat little camera which fits into a rear jersey pocket and enables me to take zillions of bike tour pictures before the battery goes flat.
Leaving aside the fact that the facility to take so many pictures so cheaply means any semblance of care and creativity has now disappeared (as has the viewfinder), I am mortified to discover my new pocketable toy is already out of date.
The must-have now for a cyclist is, and I quote: “a stills and video camera that comes equipped with several quick-release base plates so that you can attach it to a helmet and record from different camera angles”.
Naturally, it is waterproof and, for all I know, bombproof as well.
Local London opt-out television news thought the appearance of someone wearing this contraption was so important that it merited screen time ahead of its inevitable nightly boring item about the appalling London Olympics. I have never seen a cyclist on TV look so happy as this chap did, given the opportunity to film buses and lorries cutting him up on the streets of our capital.
It can only be a matter of time before an enterprising rider with our group gets one to do the same with those ladies on the school run. Mind you, if he does, he will probably be had up for invasion of personal privacy or something worse.
LEADING a quartet of cyclists around a route in Berkshire I issued the command Left at a T-junction only to hear my strident female companion reply to the effect that it should be Right.
Again I told her Left. Again she contradicted me Right, gazing heavenwards in exasperation as she slowed to a stop. Then I saw it. Soaring overhead was a Kite.
BOB McLEOD found the following newspaper story while researching his wife’s ancestors at the Surrey History Centre in Woking. He and I agree it is a pity the author’s name is not given. What a delightful final paragraph - Editor
Monday, Sept. 2 - By Alfold, Pulboro’ and Arundel to Littlehampton (35 miles), then by steamer to Honfleur, where I landed at one p.m. on Tuesday. The Douaniers did not know what to make of my machine. I had to go to the Custom-house, where, after much discussion, I was told if I came back by Honfleur there was nothing to pay, but on my return I was charged 2½ francs, an impost I believe to be illegal. The town is a quaint, old-fashioned port, with some very high, over-hanging houses. After getting something to eat, I set off at three o’clock up the hill at the back of the town, a fine, wide road, with two rows of trees on each side; along a level country, down into the valley of the Poucque (Touques - CRJ) river, and then up to Lisieux (22 miles). From there the next day to Evereux (46 miles). A head wind delayed me, or I should have gone further. From Evereux I rode by Bonnieres up the Seine valley, through Mantes and St. German-en-Saye (St-Germain-en-Laye) into Paris (70 miles).
Leaving Paris again on Monday, the 9th, at one p.m., I went by way of the Bois de Boulogne and St. Cloud to Versailles, through St. Cyr and Port Chartrian (Pontchartrain) to Mantes (31 miles). The next day down the Seine by Vernon and Gaillon to Rouen (48 miles). Leaving Rouen at 10.30 next morning, I went by Grand Couronne, Bourgachard and Pont Audemer to Honfleur, crossed in the night, and reached Guildford the following evening. The total distance in France was nearly 300 miles.
As far as Lisieux the scenery was very fine, deep valleys opening out one into another, with well wooded sides and meadows along the bottom. From there to the Seine the road is across high table land, nearly level, cut by deep river valleys every 10 or 20 miles. It is all cultivated, and would be uninteresting if it were not all strange. The valleys are very beautiful, with rough heather-covered sides of fir plantations. The descent to the Seine at Bonnieres is by a winding road, lined with accacia trees, high hill on the left, wooded ravine on the right. From Mantes to St. Germains it is open hilly ground, without much beauty. Near Pont Chartrian you get some magnificent views from the top of a steep hill. But the finest scenery I passed was between Vernon and Rouen, and between Rouen and Pont Audemer, where the road takes you over the high hills by the river, and you look down upon woods and meadows, and villages, and gardens, and villas and innumerable poplar trees. The fields are very small, mere patches, and look like market gardens. There are few homesteads, no country mansions, no parks, no large timber, and few hedges. The “Chemins des Travers,” as they call the main roads, are perfect for riding. They are as straight as red ink and rulers can make them, with unbroken surface, a row of trees on each side, and are carried up and down the hills by long easy gradients. They are too same, however, and would soon become monotonous. The kilometres are all marked by stones with clear figures upon them, and you pass them at a rate that is refreshing until you remember three kilometres don’t quite equal two miles. At each end of the villages there is an iron plate with the name of the place on it, and the name and distance of the next village you will come to. The roads are lined almost continuously with apple trees, from which you help yourself.
I had no difficulty whatever with officials of any kind, and was not stopped or questioned once, and my very meagre French proved quite sufficient to get all I wanted. There are some old-fashioned heavy bicycles in Paris, but none in the country, and I was occasionally the object of much attention, the silver club badge being the greatest mystery.
Travelling by bicycle you see everything - fields, orchards, vineyards, the new villages built in formal rows by the road side, the old ones in a tangled cluster. The sleepy, untidy, unpainted towns, the men in blue blouses and the women in white caps, the enormous carts and clumsy ploughs, cathedrals with wondrous stone tracery, and stately churches with tawdry altars. You have neither luggage to look after nor trains to catch. You pause as long as you like when a view pleases you, and you pass swiftly through prosaic parts. Given good weather (and I was not troubled by a drop of rain), and there is no better way of seeing a new tract of country.
In the article in the October - December magazine about his AGM ride, Chris Jeggo failed to report the comments from two American riders after he led them out of Guildford Station and straight up The Mount.
They reached the top eventually despite one of their bikes failing to engage the lower ratios. They didn’t seem to be very impressed by the opportunity given to them to get ‘warmed up’ early on in the ride. “That was a rather cruel and unusual punishment”, was their acerbic response. Thus ended their Sermon on The Mount.
I am at present trying to run in a new Brooks leather saddle. The thing had only been on the bike a day when I started to get all sorts of advice from other cyclists. “Shave the top layer off with a razor blade before you Proofide it” was one recommendation. “You should have soaked it in water for four hours then ridden it before putting the Proofide on - it’s too late now” was another. “You should put it in a vice and pummel it with a ball-pein hammer” was another opinion.
It strikes me that this could kick-start another run of readers’ letters to the magazine similar to the recent series advising on the best way to fix a puncture. In any case, if anyone has any tips on the subject, I would be pleased to hear them. In the mean time, I’m not sure if my new saddle is adapting to my shape or vice versa.
The road system in Woking has never been exactly brilliant - remember the swimming pool in the middle of a gyratory? It must be a nightmare for any stranger who winds himself into the middle and realises that it is the equivalent of a blind alley in a maze. The other morning as I cycled through the town, a driver of a large truck had managed to come to the dead end in Commercial Way by Church Path. He asked me how to find Monument Way West Trading Estate.
Having tried to explain how to navigate the various one-way streets, I decided that the simplest thing was for me to lead him. So that might explain, to anyone caught up in it, the 10 miles per hour traffic jam we caused and why the driver of a large truck was unwilling to overtake a slow cyclist. Apologies offered to all concerned.
PS. I got him there but he didn’t seem at all grateful.
Many West Surrey cyclists have a folder in their stable, perhaps for commuting use or occasional trips away. You do not often see them out on the hills or being used for a full day of touring but then, perhaps, that is not their purpose. Here PAUL HOLMES outlines his version of the pros and cons. The Editor fondly hopes that Brompton enthusiasts or other folder fans might care to pen a rejoinder.
TALKING to CTC members, a lot of them seem to fancy a folding bike, generally for occasional use. The trip up to London is well served by the excellent Brompton, which you can actually fit folded under your seat. However, for more extended use, most people find the Brompton unsuitable. You will find those who have toured on a Brompton, it is true, and I even remember seeing an article in Cycling World describing how someone crossed the Alps on one. Having said that, I am sure that someone has toured on a unicycle, or even a pogo stick, but that doesn’t mean that they are very suitable. The Brompton’s 16-inch wheels, short wheelbase, frame geometry and lack of drops make its handling and seating position less than ideal for proper touring.
So we might be looking at something like a Bike Friday or Airnimal, less compact but much better for extended riding. These bikes have both been reviewed quite favourably by Chris Juden, who generally knows what he is talking about. But do we all want to spend £1000 on a bike that we will only use occasionally? It might be only once a year, flying abroad, keen to escape the destructive tendencies of airline baggage handling.
The solution, I would submit, has been put forward by the late, lamented Sheldon Brown, on his cycling website (just Google his name). He recommends buying a Raleigh 20 and modifying it. These rather unpretentious small-wheel folders from the 1960s and 70s might seem beneath us, but they really handle extremely well. Point one down a steep hill and take it up to 30 mph and you will see what I mean. Then find a twisty descent and it will corner as well as your regular tourer. Hats off to the old Raleigh engineers, I say!
It is easy to pick one up for £25, but you will then want to upgrade it with alloy rims, lightweight seatpost and saddle, decent pedals, brakes, etc. The only real difficulty is fitting drops, but this can be done with a steerer tube extension, or perhaps a new pair of forks. You will be left with a folder of reasonable weight, probably 30 lbs, which isn’t very different from a purpose-built tourer. The gearing might seem a bit restrictive to those used to 27 gears, but gearing the Sturmey Archer on ”top normal” will give a bottom gear of roughly 40 inches, which certainly does me for day rides in quite hilly country. If this isn’t enough for you, a solution might be the trick of fitting two sprockets back-to-back, which could then give you a range of 90 inches down to 30 across 6 gears. Or perhaps fit a modern 7-speed hub if you want to, or even a triple chainset if you must.
There is plenty of entertainment value in creating your own folder, and the options with this one are endless. At least people will ask you about it. When did that last happen with your off-the-peg road bike?
I’m sure most of us have non-cycling friends who are convinced that cycling is terribly dangerous because of all the traffic on the roads. No doubt we all try to dissuade them of this, but how many of us admit the real dangers of cycling, namely the coffee stops? Whether it be coffee and walnut cake at Seale, scone and cream at Watts Gallery, Mars bar cake at Bocketts Farm or [editor’s note: unfortunately the final item on the list is illegible as Dane has drooled all over the paper] there’s no shortage of artery-clogging cholesterol available at coffee stops. This leads me to ask two questions. Why doesn’t the rides list include a government health warning? And can I sue Bob McLeod for reckless endangerment of my health?
Start at any time between 08.00 and 09.30 hrs at Pirbright Village Hall - no advance registration required, just turn up on the day and choose your ride. All the rides are on surfaced roads or lanes (no off-road sections), but avoid busy main roads wherever possible. The choice of four distances (30, 50, 75 and 100 miles) should be sufficient to accommodate all abilities and encourage all riders to take part in this reliability ride. No problem for “Easy Riders” either, they can easily complete the 30 mile ride by lunchtime!
Your £1 registration fee will give you an easy-to-follow route description - all you are required to do is answer a few Information Control questions (to prevent any unauthorised shortcuts!). There is no route marking, no marshals or refreshment stops, but many facilities are available en route (cafés, pubs, garden centres, garages etc).
Previous participants have been very complimentary, particularly about the longer rides, declaring the circuits very varied and enjoyable, with new vistas and unusual aspects. By using little-known lanes and country roads the rides take you through picturesque rural villages, past traditional country pubs and through forests and heathland. But yes, this being Surrey and the North Downs area (also in some cases Hampshire and West Sussex), there are a few climbs to be tackled.
Finishing point is the Gole Road Golf Club, around the corner from Pirbright Village Hall, where we shall register your arrival time to enable you to calculate your overall riding time. Refreshments are available at the clubhouse. The Control closes at 18.00 hours!
Please come and join us for an enjoyable Autumn Reliability Ride on Sunday, 7th September 2008.
POURING with rain, thick traffic, poor visibility - what are we doing - why are we doing this? The answer - making our way to Brockenhurst for a ride in the New Forest.
As we arrived the rain stopped, the sun came out and we found Judy making coffee on the camping stove - why, this isn’t so bad after all. We set off, ponies all around - do they have a brain? One pony standing in a flooded ditch chomping the grass on the edge. Making our way over a disused airfield and chatting along, masts appeared in the distance - good gracious, we are in Lymington. Here we were told that we were riding on a private drive but just this once we could use it. Over little roads, tracks and numerous cattle grids to The Filly Inn for lunch in the sun. Eventually we tore ourselves away, heading west we cycled along the disused railway track of the ‘Castleman Corkscrew’, so called as it wound its way in and out of the forest, and past a disused railway station. Then the ‘piece de resistance’ Annie’s Tea Room - scones, cakes, pots of tea - a cyclist’s delight. It wouldn’t be a proper ride without a puncture, and of course we had one. In the lovely early evening sun with ponies and deer all around we arrived back in Brockenhurst. Thank you, Judy and John Sadler.
A cool start, with the forecast of rain, gave way to bright sunshine by mid-morning, and many riders shed layers at the Kirdford control, where biscuits and squash were in good supply.
Well down on last year’s entrants we had 36 starters, comprising 2 from other DAs, 1 from the Charlotteville CC, 30 from the West Surrey DA and 2 guest riders. Only two riders failed to complete the course, and the following CTC members qualified for DATC points, having completed the course in less than 5 hours:-
|C Cavaliere||C Chales||P Clint||D Gadd|
|L Gagnon (Ms)||J Gillbe (Mrs)||J Gillbe||P Hackman|
|P Hampson||M Hine||A Holbrook||C Jeggo|
|C Jenkins||D Johnson||D Jones||J Lowe|
|D Maslen||R Masset||L Palethorpe (Ms)||M Rose (Ms)|
|B Ross||R Shore (Ms)||R Signore||H Smith|
|G Smith (sen)||D Tanner||R Taylor||S Thorne (Ms)|
|A Twiggs||H Veasey||A Warren||M Waters|
All West Surrey participants and helpers will be awarded the relevant club points.
When I first started going out with the Woking Midweek Wayfarers seven years ago there were usually three groups. The speed difference between the groups was such that all riders could find the ideal group for them. Over the years there have been various changes, e.g. the influx of some younger and/or fitter riders, and often there are now just two groups with a substantial speed difference between them. This can make it difficult for a new rider to find a suitable group to cycle with. I believe that in addition some existing riders have been put off coming “because the fast group has become too fast”. There is a solution. Those who find the current fast group too fast should come along and volunteer to lead a group. They might even find themselves with some exhausted refugees from the fast group!
As Sterling Shrinks and Stagflation Sets in, the cost of Club Shirts Soars.
Following two years of price stability, our Belgium manufacturer has announced price increases of 50% with a further 17% currency surcharge. Following negotiations the impact of these increases has been reduced significantly.
If club members order two similar garments either individually or collectively (size irrelevant), the price increase has been restricted to 20% plus 10% currency surcharge.
Clearly the Sartorially Conscious Syclists amongst you will wish to improve their wardrobe, before costs rise further.
Contact Peter Clint for a quote on 01932-340564 and place your order.
Ian Callaghan, who has ridden with the West Surrey CTC for most of his life, is facing a big challenge this summer. Show your support by reading his blog and supporting his chosen charities - Ed.
Ian writes: I am planning to ride the entire Tour de France cycle route in July with a friend for charity. We shall be following in the wheel tracks of the best cyclists in the world in what is one of the most popular and spectacular events in the sporting calendar (some mountain stages can attract 1 million spectators!).
As you probably know, the route this year covers 2,200 miles in 23 days, taking in 19 high mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees, including two rest days. This equates to cycling about 106 miles per day (that’s equivalent to London to Bath or Glasgow-Edinburgh and back, every day, with the added bonus of mountains!).
We aim to complete it in the 23 days as the pros do. We will be starting and finishing two days behind them and obviously riding each stage at a considerably more sedate pace.
In the process we are hoping to raise substantial amounts of money for charity. Our chosen charities are Macmillan Cancer Support http://www.macmillan.org.uk and CLIC Sargent http://www.clicsargent.co.uk/Home.
We have put together a blog at http://www.ianandmatt.blogspot.com with links to our own sites.
THE ride attracted 10 riders of whom all but three were West Surrey riders. These were Anne Etherington, Clive Richardson, Russell Mason, Chris Jeggo, Don Jones, Peter Hampson, Graham Eklund. Additionally Mark Beauchamp came from North Hants DA and Pat Donahoe and JW Bruce were from Mississippi, USA, here on a business trip. They happened to meet Chris Jeggo and decided to come along for the ride. The organiser also rode the event making a total of 11 riders.
All completed the course. Riders went round in two groups, the first 6 taking 5 hours, the remainder taking 6 hours 25 minutes.
For the first time, possibly due to the later running of the event, the ride enjoyed good weather, better than the forecast predicted. It’s really a very enjoyable ride made all the better by good company.
It’s surprising that the ride attracts so few people; maybe next year it needs additional promotion, but short of making it an audax, it’s difficult to know how to promote the event to a wider group of potential participants. Ideas welcome.
EXFORD ON EXMOOR THE CHOSEN VENUE
...........TWELVE CYCLISTS, A WALKER TOO
THE WEEKEND WAS NO CHORE
JUST HOPING THE RAIN WOULD NOT POUR
DEREK FOUND HILLS A-MANY
AND VIEWS OF THE MOORS TWO A PENNY
PORLOCK HILL IN BOTH DIRECTIONS
TWAS DIFFERENT DAYS UPON REFLECTION
AT WEBBERS POST VIEW POINT A PANNIER PRODUCED
AN ENORMOUS BREAD PUDDING
................OH!....YES.....IT’S THE TRUTH
SO IN SPITE OF THE MET OFFICE DIRE FORECAST,
AND COMMENTS ‘WE SHOULD HAVE GONE EAST’
WE ENJOYED CYCLING EXMOOR
SADLY SUCH A SHORT TOUR
ALL TOO SOON
IT’S THE LAST AFTERNOON
FIVE COUPLES AND THREE HAD A NICE CUP OF TEA
AT HOLLY COTTAGE ON EXFORD GREEN
THE TINIEST COTTAGE YOU’VE EVER SEEN
Glad to hear you did all right;
Some of us rode the Randonnee on the Isle of Wight. - Ed.
The Committee has approved a revision of the group rules in conjunction with CTC HQ. In a preface for this issue of The West Surrey Cyclist, Jeff Banks, Secretary, writes:
The revised CTC Handbook issued at the end of 2007 reflects a sea change in CTC thinking about the nature of its membership and activities going forward into the next decade. The new Handbook requires local Groups (formerly known as CTC District Associations, or “DAs”) similarly to revise their own Local Rules in order to conform with Handbook policies and requirements.
The West Surrey Group (DA) Committee has, therefore, agreed revised Local Rules with CTC’s headquarters staff. The new Local Rules reiterate much of the old Local Rules but expressed in terms that conform to the content of the new Handbook. The revised Local Rules are printed below in order for members of West Surrey to familiarise themselves with their content in readiness for their formal acknowledgement at the next Annual General Meeting in October. Any comments may, in the meantime, be addressed to the Secretary.
These Rules are to be read in conjunction with the Policy Handbook for CTC Member Groups and in the case of conflict the latter will apply.
The name of the Group shall be the “CTC West Surrey Group” hereinafter referred to as the “Group”.
Members of the Group shall comprise CTC members in such defined groups or geographical area as the Group Committee and the CTC together may determine from time to time.
a) to assist CTC members to meet and join in cycling activities organised and led by the Group and to help promote the policies and objectives of the CTC generally;
b) to conduct its activities free of charge except for such costs as may be appropriate for specific activities, events or publications.
a) The Group’s activities shall be managed by the Group Committee and its elected officers.
b) The Group’s activities may be carried on by any informal group or groups whom the Group Committee shall from time to time agree may operate under its over-arching management and financial responsibility on the understanding that no activity conducted by such informal group(s) shall place the Group or its Committee in breach of these Rules or the policies and objectives of the CTC generally.
a) The Committee shall comprise at least the following :
b) The Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Rides Secretary and other members of the Committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting.
c) The Committee may fill casual vacancies and may appoint such sub-committees and delegate thereto such of its powers as it may decide from time to time.
d) The CTC Councillor responsible for the area or activity covered by the Group shall be entitled to attend any meetings of the Committee but shall not be entitled to vote thereat.
e) A quorum for any meeting of the Committee shall be formed when not less than three members, of which one is the Chairman or Secretary, are present.
a) The duties of the Chairman shall be to preside at each meeting of the Committee and at the Annual General Meeting and to facilitate the efficient and correct conduct of the meeting as laid out in these Rules.
b) The duties of the Secretary shall include:
c) The duties of the Treasurer shall be:
a) The Group shall hold an annual general meeting of its members between October 15th and November 15th each year. Notice of the meeting shall be published in the September/October issue of “Cycle”. The business of the annual general meeting shall be:
b) A Special General Meeting may be convened:
Notice of a special general meeting shall be published in the issue of “Cycle” published in one of the two months before the date of the meeting. The notice shall state the business for which the meeting is called. No business other than that stated in the notice may be transacted.
Any business done at a general meeting with less than ten members present shall be subject to ratification by the CTC Council.
Mainly changes from previous issues:-
SEPTEMBER 7th: Reliability Rides 100miles, 75miles, 50miles, 30miles, Pirbright Village Hall car park 8am - 9am (Rico Signore 01483 822240).
SEPTEMBER 7th: Charlotteville Cycle Challenge 45km (£12), 85km (£20), 130km (£20). Signed and marshalled routes.
OCTOBER 18th: Annual General Meeting, Bird In Hand, Mayford Green, Woking, 10.30am. Free tea and biscuits. Pub lunch available after meeting.
Goes to work on an egg. Oh
Why doesn’t he hike
Or go on his bike?
. Previous magazine . . Index to magazines . . Next magazine . . W. Surrey DA History & Archives home page .
Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 20 November 2009.