“The West Surrey Cyclist” - October - December 2008

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Contents:

Front cover - as previous issue
Inner front cover - Welcome to Our World
Inner front cover - CTC West Surrey 2008 (officers & committee as previous issue)
Editorial front matter - very similar to previous issue
Riding Around - with Editor Geoff Smith
A Pilgrim’s Story - by Derek Tanner
Advertisement - 2008 International Veteran Cycle Rally (Beaulieu)
Organised Cycle Rides  October - December 2008 - the Rides List
Thundering Along the Road - with Bill Thompson and the Vets
Protecting the Extremities - by Brian Ross & Helen Veasey
Activities of the Archivist - by Chris Jeggo
Snippets from The Tour of the Hills
The Joys of Folding - by Dave Williamson
Surrey Scoreathon - June 1st 2008 - by Keith Chesterton
The Scoreathon - by John and Jane Gilbe
Dates for Your Diary
Ride Leaders (displaced from its previous inner front cover spot)
Group Personalities - Eighteen - Harold C
Nomination form for the AGM

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


WELCOME TO OUR WORLD

Some may imagine Surrey to be suburban but the reality is that away from the London conurbation there is a dense network of quieter lanes in scenic countryside which has been protected by Green Belt legislation, such as the North Downs and the Surrey Hills (AONB).  According to the Forestry Commission, Surrey is England’s most wooded county, followed closely by Hampshire and Sussex.  This is precisely where we do most of our cycling.

Outside Surrey, but easily within a day’s ride, there is a wide variety of scenery - the pastoral Thames Valley, beech-clad Chilterns, Berkshire and Hampshire Downs intersected by their trout streams, rural Sussex including the South Downs and coastal stretch, and parts of the Weald.

There is a corresponding variety of architectural styles in the many picturesque villages with their traditional pubs.  Since many locals go in for “retail therapy” there are also plenty of garden centres with coffee shops where we can refuel.


RIDING AROUND

With Editor Geoff Smith

HERE’s a question for readers who might consider themselves to be experts in all things cycling:  Does it matter what hand you use to extract a drinks bottle from its cage on the front or seat tube of your steed?  Of course it does, otherwise I would not have posed it.

I found out the hard way when a cage - an expensive one, I may say - snapped, the said snap occurring down one side of the contraption.

The manufacturer is given to promising seemingly endless guarantees of the quality of its workmanship, so I thought I would try my luck back at the bike shop.

I proffered the stricken accessory to the learned gentleman behind the counter, to be given the disappointing verdict:  “That’s fair wear and tear, Sir.  You can see where it is worn.”

Then came a revelatory interjection from his (younger) colleague:  “So why has it broken only on the one side?”

The reply was swift and brooked no further argument:  “He’s obviously right-handed.”

Indeed so.  To obtain maximum life from your bottle cage it is essential to extract the bottle using each hand alternately, at least until an enterprising manufacturer produces a left- or right-biased bottle cage.  I am sure you want to know that.


WE ALL know the problems associated with cycling on cycle paths which are not properly maintained - and that seems to be the case with most in the West Surrey area.  The trouble is no one body seems to accept responsibility for clearing debris and trimming overhanging shrubbery and tree branches.  Once the paths are actually established they are left to the mercy of the elements and a rampant mother nature.

From personal experience I would advise taking extreme caution when setting out along the path between Woking and Chertsey.  Parts of this are nothing more than a dank, dangerous jungle.

But it is pleasing to note that the well-used A3 stretch between Bolder Mere and the Ripley roundabout, once almost as bad, has had a facelift.

Our President, Rico Signore, reported to me in August:  “It had been totally overgrown and nearly uncyclable, but I have now found all the undergrowth has been cleared to a very wide margin on both sides, and the overhanging branches and bushes cut back - a very good job indeed.

“The path alongside the A3 between Burnt Oak and beyond Potters Lane had also been cleared, so again some work is being done on some of the cycle paths.”

News, good or bad, of the state of other cycle paths in our region would be welcome.


THANKS to Paul Holmes for his piece in the July-September issue on the pros and cons of folding bicycles.  Dave Williamson, who has recently bought a Brompton, keeps the subject going in the following pages.  As Editor (and Brompton rider) I had some say in the birth of both pieces.

I would just like to add that I am constantly overjoyed with riding my Brompton in London and other busy places.  Why this elation?  It is down to the sheer speed of getting around.  It is not so much the speed of the actual cycling but the considerable amount of time-saving a fast-folding machine gives you when you reach your destination.  No more looking for somewhere to lock up.  No more wondering whether it really will be safe.  Just cart the thing in.  It is accepted absolutely everywhere.


A PILGRIM’S STORY

By Derek Tanner

Powering up the GPS, it tells us that we are 1227 kms from our target destination.  But with 60 days allocated to the ride it’s time for the new multi-fuel stove to make another cup of tea at the campsite on the banks of Lake Geneva.  Two days later we have purchased some maps, finished our sightseeing and picked up some route guidance information.  Bikes loaded we head off towards the route of GR65, the long-distance European walking route now adopted as a valid pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Crossing the ridge we cut across a meander of the Rhône for a first night at Seyssel.  After crossing the Roman bridge it’s an easy day’s riding downstream, via the gorges near Yenne.  Large peaks of the Alps are appearing closer from the east, prompting us to turn due west at St-Genix-sur-Guiers to follow “the route of sinners” past a succession of stone inlaid churches in the picturesque villages.  A final 60 kph descent brings us down into La Côte-St-André for our next stop.  The climb to La Chapelle-de-Surieu was hard enough for us to squat on the pavement outside the village shop in Assieu until we had raided them for sufficient high-energy foods to make the final 10km to St-Clair-du-Rhône, our final crossing-point of the Rhône.

At 10.00 am next morning, busily photographing the barges against the background of the nuclear power station from the bridge, we got into conversation with a fellow pilgrim walking from Germany.  On Day 20, he proudly showed us the stamps in his pilgrim’s passport.  In perspective, perhaps what we were putting ourselves through was not so bad.  By 4 pm we had covered another 14km and were sat looking down at the Rhône valley from Col d’Oeillon (1223m above sea level).  The next 20km took just over half an hour.  Stopping at the supermarket in St-Julien-Molin-Molette, we were met by our German friend from the morning having walked the footpath route.  Outside the church a pilgrims’ route board tells us we had another 1680km to go.

We are now on Day 10 and have already cycled 480km.  It was like being put through the infinite perspective vortex for the third time that day.  Down in Bourg-Argental there were no signs to the campsite.  We ended the day by chasing a local on a moped who offered to show us the way.  We were now in the Ardèche region where the plateau sits about 1000m above sea level.  The next morning took us up to 900m then back down to 550m for lunch, after which we pulled on to the road in front of a convoy of road-marking lorries which then spent the afternoon chasing us up the 18km climb to St-Bonnet (1100m).  Topping the climb at half past four it was just in time for them to pack up for home at the end of the day.  The helter-skelter ride down to St-Julien-Chaptueil the next day was one of the best of the tour.

Next stop was the medieval pilgrimage town of Le Puy.  It always rains when we visit here, and this time was no exception, but we managed to get restocked and the laundry dry for the next section of the tour.  It was typical weather for the bank holiday weekend as we spent the the next two days heading across the Haute Loire Region.

Arriving at 6pm after a hard 49km to Aumont Aubrac, the girl in the TI told us that the campsite was closed and we would have to go on another 26km.  At this point Anne decided (not for the first time) that playing pilgrims was not a good game and the girl then suggested we directed ourselves to the church refuge.  After an interview with the padre we were given a mattress each and directed to a space on the floor.  Fortunately we were carrying enough food to be able cook a meal in the communal kitchen, where the padre rejoined the inmates to break the bread and drink the wine, while Anne tried to inconspicuously finish her Jilly Cooper novel.  But perhaps our guardian angel was with us because it was a wild night.

We ate the last of our food for breakfast before heading off across the Margeride - a barren 1100m-high plateau strewn with clumps of boulders, worthy of comparison with Dartmoor or Snowdonia.  After a stop at a café where some Australian walkers were phoning for a taxi “to get them out of here” we made the 26km against the still howling gale to the next campsite at Nasbinals, just as they were serving a five-course lunch.  We then pitched the tent to catch up on some sleep.  We were at the edge of a ski-ing region and we needed a 50km ride to clear the mountain top and get down into the safety of the next valley.  The group in the tent and caravan were banging around at 0600 the next morning.  The wind had dropped and the sky was clear.  We caught a group of Germans on the climb and the leader dropped in alongside me to cycle up the col.  He was definitely not happy when the next head to clear the col was Anne having subtly overtaken his entourage in the 9km climb.  We were on the terrace of the Logis hotel taking coffee and croissants at 1030 when his regrouped party came by.  The rest of the day was spent on the descent with time for lunch and to pick up a spare tyre before making Estaing before the shops closed.  Next day “rain stopped play”.

The day after, we set out making 5km before the waterproofs had to come out.  Another 10km of climbing on roads running like rivers got us to Campuac where we “prayed like repentant pilgrims” in the church until the restaurant opened and we could be fully restored, with pancakes, fish, cheese and flan.  The weather improved and another 33km got us to Conques - a medieval village built around a Benedictine Priory jammed into a gorge and a major stopping point for pilgrims since the C12th.  After sightseeing it was lunch-time before we settled into the stiff climb to Chapel of St Roch with futuristic stained glass windows.  The pilgrim bit was beginning to kick in now and we started collecting pilgrim stamps in our logbook to justify our status in earnest.  The mountain road out of Decazeville was closed so we put in some extra miles to camp at the foot of the climb to Figeac.  Clearing the climb the next day we soon entered the Célé Gorges, passing the Monastery of Ste Eulalie, St Sulpice (built in the hillside) and the abbey at Marcilhac to pitch camp underneath St Cirq Lapopie.

A French group with a support bus overtook us as we tackled the climb to the medieval village next morning and were well gone before we started on the amazingly scenic ride along the ridge and back down into the Lot valley.  We were just too late for lunch when a cloudburst forced us into a restaurant as we were pushing the bikes down the main street in Cahors.  Here we met a Belgian returning from Compostela.  Showing us his certificate, his passport of “pilgrim stamps” and filling us with tales of forthcoming hardships, he was on his second bike having done 3,600km so far.  That night we said our “pilgrim’s prayer” for the young salesman in Evans Cycles who sold us our expedition tourers.  Next day we met a CTC tour group outside the Roman Abbey at Moissac.  Not happy, they had been plagued by rain for most of their tour.  A second thunderstorm at 0630 the next morning caught a lot of people off guard.  As we slid away with only the stupidity of leaving our towels not packed away, a French cycling group were trying to dry their worldly goods on the bushes while the Germans were crowded around the campsite spin-dryer commanding it to go faster.  Several were watching helplessly as their camper vans slowly sank to their axles.

It was a beautiful day when we stopped for the “Pilgrims’ Menu” in St Antoine, the site of an old pilgrims’ hospital.  The restaurant owner told us a South African girl had come through the day before using the same guidebook as ours.  The afternoon’s ride to the hilltop town of Lectoure then passed in a soporific blur.  Alternately we wanted to curl up and sleep as we swapped the lead.  Amazingly we ended the day with 65km behind us.  The camp site was empty - “the rain had driven them home”, the well dressed receptionist said - and Anne was wishing the same would happen to her.  Next day (Day 24) we broke the 1,000 km barrier.  After a decent lunch in Condom we met Garth - a German riding an exceptionally well fitted-out off-road bike - as we collected a stamp in our passport, and then visited the preserved walled medieval village of Larressingle - complete with portcullis and drawbridge - before pulling in to a really friendly campsite at Gondrin.  In the morning the campsite warden waved us off.  Stopping in Eauze (site of the Roman city of Elusa and the biggest archeological find of the period in France), we had the best coffee of the tour in the Hotel Commercial - where the owner got us to sign her pilgrims’ register.  Aire Sur L’Adour was a tourist honey-pot full of walkers on escorted tours.  The weather was warming now and we were eaten alive by mosquitoes, which made a nice change from the slugs and snails that had followed us for the last week.

Next day our task was to get across the industrial Pau valley back into camping country.  We were going well at lunch where we shared a table with a French cyclist whose friend had just left him, exhausted, to take the train back home.  As we were eating, a girl cyclist on her own went through, not stopping to join us;  we wondered if it was the South African we had heard about a couple of days before.  After crossing the autoroute and the river we had done 65km as we came through the final section of built-up area, and reckoned on a 50% chance of a campsite in the next 15km.  But our pace was slowing as we started to climb out of the valley, it was beginning to look like rain, and stopping for a rest was becoming more and more frequent.  Decision made, we knocked on the door of a house displaying a B&B sign, the bikes went in the garage and the most almighty storm hit, causing us to double-close the shutters, just as we got into bed.

A campsite sign came up in 9km at Navarrenx as we went through the next morning and we spent a while taking a second breakfast and exploring the walled town.  The landscape was beginning to look very Pyrenean now and making good time we sat out the afternoon’s rain storm in the restaurant in St Palais.  The campsite was waterlogged, the other occupant was a walker with his wife following in the car, the warden gave us his home phone number in case things got worse and we set our stove and some chairs on the terrace in front of the toilets for the evening.  From here it was only another 38km to St Jean-Pied-de-Port including sightseeing detours through la Stèle de Gibraltar - the major junction of Routes across the Pyrenees, the C11th Chapel of Harambels and the ancient village of Ostabat.  Routing into St Jean-Pied-de-Port - as our guide book recommended - via the citadel was a gruelling climb, but after exactly four weeks and 1200 kms on tour, the experience of entering the medieval village by the Pilgrims’ Gate was the most moving so far.

(To be continued)


THUNDERING ALONG THE ROAD

With Bill Thompson and the Vets

THE Veteran Cycle Club, as the British arm of the International Veteran Cycle Association, hosted the 2008 International Rally at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.  The venue was ideal, with excellent camping facilities, very good meals in the cafeteria, and free entry to all attractions including Lord Montague’s collection of veteran cycles.

A series of rides was organised for pre-1936 machines, mostly penny-farthings or, more correctly, ordinaries.  One ride from Beaulieu to Lyndhurst attracted a great deal of interest with spectators being treated to the sight of scores of penny-farthings thundering along the road.  Lyndhurst Council laid on an excellent reception, the Mayor enjoying being photographed on a ‘penny’.

The highpoint of the rally was an attempt on the ‘Penny Stack’ record.  One hundred and six penny-farthings lined up, stationary, with their riders holding their neighbours’ handlebars.  This was an impressive sight but short of the world record by six machines.

An excellent dinner concluded the rally and was attended by Lord Montague and the Mayor and Mayoress of Lyndhurst.

The Veteran Cycling Club organises many events, not only the Ripley Jumble but also the Herne Hill family fun day and a Windsor Park summer ride, usually in June, where dozens of riders in Edwardian and Victorian dress ride through the Great Park.

Several West Surrey CTC Group members are also VCC members - Ken, Ron, Bill, Wally, Bob, to name a few.  They know what’s coming up.


PROTECTING THE EXTREMITIES

Brian Ross & Helen Veasey go battery-powered winter cycling

WE MAY not be tough guys, but at least our fingers and toes are comfortable when yours feel as though they don’t belong to you.  Or they do, and you wish they didn’t.

Helen has Reynaud’s syndrome, a condition where blood vessels in the fingers and toes close off in reaction to cold.  Cycling in winter used to be out of the question, and even on a cool summer’s day the wind-chill factor from a good downhill whizz can trigger it.  Brian is afflicted with chilblains.  It doesn’t stop the cycling, just brings tears to the eyes.  The joys of ageing!

As we write (December 2007), the temperature at 9 am when we set off has been below freezing, rising to perhaps +5°C in the early afternoon.  With batteries charged overnight, we know we can cycle all day in relative comfort.

This is their second winter of use, and we wouldn’t be without them.  The batteries (the same for both hands and feet) are quoted as lasting 10 hours on the lowest setting (37°C) and 2 hours on the highest (70°C).  That’s fairly accurate, with the middle setting lasting through to about 4 pm, provided we remember to switch them off during coffee and lunch breaks.  Life expectation for the batteries is stated to be 4 years and replacements are available.

The “Heat Glove” is made by Snowlife, a Swiss company specialising in skiing equipment.  The heating elements are at the ends of all 5 digits, just where you need them.  The gloves are washable and claim to be waterproof, but Helen has not tested them in a downpour.  You’ll still need to take them off to repair punctures, though, unless Phil is around!  The price is also Swiss - £110 to £120 including postage on the internet.

The heated insoles by Therm-ic, the German company that also produces the batteries, are similarly designed for skiing.  You cut them to size to fit your shoes, replacing your existing insoles.  The heating element is just behind the toes with the flat cable running under the sole to come out by the heel.  You can’t feel the lead under your foot;  just make sure it’s not twisted or crimped.  The longish lead is for connecting to batteries clipped to the outside of ski boots.  Wrapped once round the ankle and clipped onto a cycling shoe’s velcro strap works fine.  But do wear socks.  A small current running through an insulated wire for several hours produces enough heat to gently cook bare flesh, as Brian discovered last year.  Slightly cheaper than the gloves, the cost is £85 - £90 on the internet.

We have never used them for skiing, but both are ideal for winter walking, of course.


ACTIVITIES OF THE ARCHIVIST

By Chris Jeggo

A FEW months ago I visited George Alesbury’s widow, Eveline, happily tending her garden on a sunny spring afternoon.  We reminisced over a cup of tea, and then she showed me the many of George’s cycling possessions which she still has.  I advised her how to find a good home for some of these, and took away a spare copy of the DA history ‘Sixty Years On’ plus an almost complete run of the DA magazine from its first issue up to the end of 2004.  I decided to present these to the Surrey History Centre (in Goldsworth Road, Woking), having filled the few gaps by photocopying issues in my own collection.

They seemed really pleased to have them, so I have since brought their holding up to date from the DA’s collection of recent back-numbers plus some further photocopying.  Also, the Committee has agreed to donate future issues, so the SHC is now on Phil Hamilton’s distribution list.

Eveline also showed me George’s obituary that appeared in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s magazine The Aerospace Professional.  George was a modest man so I had known of only a fraction of his professional achievements.  At 18 he joined Vickers (Aviation) in Weybridge as an apprentice.  Vickers were at the forefront of landing gear development, and after the war George was assigned to this work and made it his lifelong speciality, responsible for the design of the landing gears of the Viscount, Varsity, Valiant, Vanguard, VC10, Super VC10, TSR2 and the BAC One-Eleven, culminating in devising the original design for the Concorde gear.  He was a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and rose to become Chief Mechanical Engineer and then Chief Systems Engineer at Weybridge.

However, it is for his cycling activities that we remember him.  He was active in W Surrey DA from his joining in 1935.  After the war he resumed cycling seriously in the 50s and became DA Treasurer in 1961, a position he held for 26 years.  In 1978 he was made a Vice-President, an office he held until his death just over a year ago.  He and Eveline could be relied upon to organise party games to keep us amused at the annual dinner and dance.  At the 1985 event he was presented with three books of Frank Patterson’s famous cycling sketches and a cheque to commemorate 50 years DA membership and 25 years as Treasurer.  A couple of years later he started the Midweek Wayfarers and led them for a good few years.  He became President after Bill Inder died but, typically, after his third full year in this rôle stepped down to give someone else a turn.  He was an asset on the DA Committee, positive and a sound advisor.  Apart from that, my main contact with him was on our Thursday night meets when, as always, he was good company.  Cycling was a major part of his life and he would be delighted that the documents he carefully preserved have found an appropriate home.


OVERHEARD ON THE TOUR OF THE HILLS

“Why don’t they have a tour of the flats?”

TASTED (by some) AFTER THE TOUR OF THE HILLS

Pauline McLeod’s inspired concoction of rice pudding - admittedly, cold rice pudding - and fruit.  A superb post-tour replenishment.


THE JOYS OF FOLDING

By Dave Williamson

“Yo!  folding bike dude, you are so cool!”.

The young lad smiles and waves peace signs (at least that is what I assume they are) as I try to cycle through the assembled limbs of pupils sprawled all over the cycle path outside the school.  Why do teenagers have this desire to lie down on any convenient (or in this case inconvenient) bit of pavement?  On the return journey, I pass another group of girls who seem to be losing the battle to stay upright having obviously sampled some kind of happy juice.  “Ooh!  that looks fun - I want a go,” one shouts as her friends try desperately to prop her up.

Welcome to the wonderfully, socially interactive world of Brompton ownership.  In reply to Paul Holmes’ piece in the last issue, this is an unforeseen part of owning a trendy, folding bike.  People were never as interested when I did the same journeys on a brand new Dawes Galaxy but seem strangely fascinated whenever ‘folding bike dude’ arrives in town.  They gather round for the folding and unfolding ceremony and I have even been stopped and asked to demonstrate.  I found I had to practice the art at home before appearing in public so as not to appear to be a bumbling amateur.  A slick 20-second folding act never fails to impress until the audience realises the bike’s not going to collapse down enough to fit inside the neat ‘lap-top bag’ that clips neatly on the front stem.  This usually results in a certain amount of disappointment that detracts from what is otherwise an impressive disappearing act.

The bike was an unexpected purchase on my part.  A punt on eBay to see how it worked resulted in my bid for ‘6-speed Brompton - never used’ being successful.  I was both pleased because I thought a Brompton would be a good thing to own and annoyed because it torpedoed a hole in that month’s disposable income that was earmarked for a replacement bathroom suite.  But a contract is a contract and the sale of another bike managed to plug part of the hole in my finances (I’m very grateful, Chris).  When I collected the bike, it even came with a leaflet produced by Peterborough Council expounding the joys of commuting from there to London using bikes and trains and where the local Brompton dealers were.

So what do you get for your money?  My bike as it stands would cost a bit over £700 from a dealer.  For that, you get an awful lot of plastic parts - clamps, pedals, gear shifters, most of the rear derailleur mechanism etc.  You can get a very flash, multi-geared mountain bike with suspension and disc brakes for less money.  You also have to say goodbye to luxuries like QD wheels and start carrying bone-shaped multi-spanners (remember them?) around again, like in the good old days.

What’s the ride like, I hear you ask?  Well, I found that running the special puncture-resistant tyres at the recommended pressure of 100 PSI really rattled my fillings, even with rubber block rear suspension.  It’s academic anyway as even with a car foot pump, I struggled to get past 85 so that’s the pressure I use.  In any case, you’d never get anywhere near the correct figure with the specially made Brompton/Zefal pump that clips on the rear frame.  The steering is very light and twitchy.  A bad road surface and hand signals are a dangerous combination.  I was thrown off in my first week of ownership trying to negotiate a very mild dropped kerb, and don’t mention loose chippings.  After riding the bike every day for a week I got on my mountain bike and was convinced I either had a flat front tyre or the steering head bearings had gone.  Nothing was wrong but the steering of ordinary bikes feels much heavier in comparison.  The Brompton could almost do with one of those friction steering dampers they used to fit to old British motorbikes.  The gearing provided by the 3-speed hub gear/2-speed derailleur is adequate for the plains of Woking but if I lived anywhere hilly I’d definitely get the gear lowering kit.

Most of the accessories are pricey.  Mine came with a special rear light that doesn’t interfere with anything when the bike is folded.  But it only turns on and off and has no flashing modes.  I found also that I had to unscrew it from its special bracket to change the batteries.  The lap-top bag is nicely made, but at the price of a set of normal rear panniers, it should be.  I miss SPD pedals but one of the Brompton’s main advantages is that you can leap aboard in ordinary clothes and shoes and pedal straight off.  Some of this might sound like a whinge but actually I’m very pleased with my purchase.  I wouldn’t want to go too far on the Brompton - the furthest I’ve ridden is about 15 miles one evening.  But I did so because of another big advantage - I just folded the bike and took it into the function and hid it behind a pillar.  It’s not fantastically light (12.5kg with rear light and pump) but carrying it for small distances is not too difficult.

In the meantime, the general public still seem fascinated.  A young boy on a BMX nods as I pass.  “I like your bike, mate”.  I pass a mother pushing a buggy.  “Mummy, look, that man’s got a really clever bike”.  The mother looks at me blankly.  “Hmmm, yes dear”.  Next morning as I approach the school again a teenage girl gets strangely excited - “Ha Ha - my granny’s got one of those”.  Actually, dear, your granny couldn’t afford one of these.  Maybe that’s part of the attraction.

My friend Ken tried for years to get a viable CTC section up and running where he lives.  He then started a folding-bike group for rides linked with public transport.  This has proved so popular, it’s sometimes touch and go whether they’ll get all the Bromptons on the buses and trains.  It seems you really can’t fail if you dare to fold.


SURREY SCOREATHON - June 1st 2008

By Keith Chesterton

THIS year’s scoreathon was a 34-mile route from the old Bramley rail station.  It was on quiet roads and a few hard tracks, using some of the recently improved Downs Link and NCN22.  The clues were almost all pretty easy, but as usual, in setting the clues, I found quite a few I’d passed several times and never noticed before.

I give the results below.  Apart from John and Jane Gilbe, who were streets ahead, everybody else was fairly close.  I sent in the results for the DATC, but I had to exclude all but 4 for collaborating - not permitted by DATC rules.  Not that it bothered many - you were there for the ride.

However, not enough did come for the ride and I’ve decided not to organise a scoreathon again.  I enjoy riding round and finding good routes and clues, but it takes quite a lot of time.  The small numbers coming don’t make it seem worthwhile.  But thank you to those who have supported the event since I first organised one in 1999.  I’ve organised 8 in total, and have all the courses, including this year’s, on my computer if anyone fancies trying them for the rides.  Like this year’s, they all use quiet roads with a few hard tracks.  Just Email me at strider100@ntlworld.com.

Jane Gillbe791 points     Andy Bridge (Crawley)216
John Gillbe791 J Bridge216
Mark Waters450 T Bridge216
Keith McCluskey  445 Mark Beauchamp (Tadley)  132
Richard Ellis350 Clive Richardson132
Bob McLeod337


THE SCOREATHON

By John and Jane Gilbe

BRAMLEY old station, a pleasant temperature but we needed one waterproof between the two of us just to make sure it didn’t rain.  And then Keith Chesterton’s words of caution:  make sure you are properly ready because the clock starts as soon as I give you the clue sheet.  Don’t we get enough pressure at work?  Why do we do these things in our “leisure” time as well?  Read on to find the answers...

So there we are, Jane without her reading glasses, only able to read the clues holding them at arm’s length, and John only able to see the detail on the maps (one kindly lent from Keith’s supply) by taking his specs off and peering at it from about 6 inches.  Thus came about a workable division of responsibilities, and off we went along the old railway track - beautifully surfaced now.  The route from clue to clue was fairly obvious, which didn’t stop us confusing ourselves from time to time, and although a few were not hugely exciting a good number were real eye-openers to local history and other features.  A good example is the “Holy Well” at Dunsfold Parish Church - the sort of thing that we would never see - or even be aware of - without Keith’s diligent homework.  Fascinating!  The route was largely on quiet country roads that we had not ventured along before, and we were rewarded by cuckoos and a badger amongst other delights of the natural world.  Although only about 34 miles if one went the shortest way, the stop/start nature of the event made it quite a challenge to complete the event in the allotted 4 hours:  we found we had to trade off between points gained for solving clues and time penalties.

Keith’s instruction sheet noted that some parts were on firm tracks rather than roads (and in much of Surrey these days that might seem the better alternative), but we were a bit caught out on 23mm tyres on one path that had turned to slippery mud in recent rain after Keith’s recce trips.  A good opportunity to improve our bike handling skills!  (Some might think that it served us right for using such bikes on a CTC event...)

So here’s the most difficult question:  why did only 11 people turn up for this excellent adventure?

Keith, thank you for all your hard work, and hopefully someone will take over your routes for future use.


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

OCTOBER 18th:  Annual General Meeting, Bird In Hand, Mayford Green, Woking, 10.30am.  Free tea and biscuits.  Pub lunch available after meeting.

JANUARY 1st:  New Year’s Day rendezvous for all riders, rides groups, supporters and friends at Seale Craft Centre (all morning).  (Unconfirmed at time of writing.)

Please send details of local upcoming events to the Editor, with an event contact name, phone number, and email address.  A preliminary news item, advertisement or background article about the event will also be welcome to be considered for inclusion in the mag.


And finally....

GROUP PERSONALITIES - EIGHTEEN

Harold C
Stops for tea
Summer and winter
At Seale Craft Centre

(More clerihews required.  We have plenty of new riders who should be subjected to this “accolade”.  Anonymity of poets is always respected - Editor)


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