“The West Surrey Cyclist” - October - December 2010

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At the time of updating the magazine archive (December 2013) electronic copies of the entire magazine issue were not available.  If you are the author of one of the articles listed in 'Contents' below but your article is missing from the body of the page then if you still have an electronic copy of your article please email it to me and I will add it.  If you want to read one of the missing articles let me know;  it may be possible to scan it from the paper copy or re-type it.  My email address is on the history home page.


Front cover - Patterson drawing of Witley - same as previous issue
Inner front cover - same as previous issue
Editorial front matter - very similar to previous issue
Riding Around - with Geoff Smith, Editor 2000-2010
Reliability Ride - The Event (25 Apr 10) - by Phil Hamilton
50 Miles a Day on Indexed Steering - by Dane Maslen
The President’s Page - by Chris Jeggo
Cycling Poetry in Motion - by Rico Signore
Organised Cycle Rides  October - December 2010 - the Rides List
Surviving the Surrey Hills - from Cycling Weekly
UCC’s Track Cycling Event, July 30th 2010 - by Rico Signore
Nothing Changes - by Don Jones
The Danube Delta - by Derek Tanner (this article re-published in April 2011)
Welsh Festival of Cycling - by Chris Jeggo
Keeping You Informed - If You Want To Be - from the Secretary
Dates for Your Diary
CTC West Surrey Group Annual General Meeting
Nomination form

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


With Geoff Smith, Editor 2000-2010

AFTER 11 years as your Editor I am signing off as of this issue.  I suppose the most interesting aspect of the job over this time period has been the realisation of how much there is to learn and assimilate of the world of cycling;  I seem to have been picking up something new almost daily.  For instance, there was the time I was cleaning my favourite bike after it had been caught in a short downpour after some weeks of totally dry outings - for the bike that is, not me.

Dirt and grime was hardly visible but even so I decided to give it a thorough going over.  I worked with a liquid degreaser, applying it concentrated on the moving parts and diluted elsewhere.  Next time out on the bike, what a difference - smooth changing and gleaming steed cutting through the wind like Concorde with its nose up.  So, assuredly, a clean bike helps you cycle better and, if you will, faster.  And after a few outings with no cleaning, the performance-inhibiting dirt is certainly there even if you cannot see it.

AS TO routes, there is always something new to enjoy within our West Surrey region and way beyond, and this has been reflected in articles in the mag over the years.  A disappointment has been when I have failed to bring readers details of a route or holiday tour undertaken by our riders who have failed to deliver any form of words to me.  I don’t mind if they are scribbled on the back of an envelope if the story is good.

So while I am still waiting for elucidation on a novel east-west day trip undertaken from Surrey to the New Forest via the Isle of Wight more than a year ago, I now learn of a more ambitious idea also involving ferries.  In the near future we are promised a new cycle path linking the Normandy coastline and part of Brittany and our coast between Cornwall and Sussex.  Apparently the bit between Dieppe and Le Havre is complete and various circular options will be possible as the route expands right to Land’s End and through to Roscoff.  Will one or more of our intrepid riders give some of it a go and report back?  I hope so, although my “commissioning” role will now be taken up by another friendly (I hope) persuader.

BODY-wise, someone on our rides has been telling me about a phenomenon called “muscle memory”, also new to me.  I thought it would make a piece in this column but I cannot remember anything specific about it, my only note at the time being just the two words themselves.  Is it to do with the body and mind retaining something which helps you recover - for cycling, swimming, running - more quickly after injury or other lay-off, if you are fairly fit and experienced in the activity in the first place?  I do hope so, but where does the ageing process kick in?  Could it be that the muscle memory theory only works if you are young and still fairly fit when starting the recovery process?

WE HAVE had some fun over the years with such vital matters as best ways of removing and replacing tyres on rims, puncture repairing (and how many patches should be applied to tubes), the degree of tightness of pedals on cranks, and various formulae for cleaning chains and sprockets.  Correspondence on these subjects has run and run, although I confess as your Editor that I have done a fair bit of surreptitious prodding and cajoling on occasion to keep them going.

Here’s another one, based on something I overheard at a Farnham coffee stop:  Should cyclists dismount by throwing a leg over the front of their steed (i.e. the top bar) or over the back (i.e. the rear wheel)?  You might think this matters not a jot, but it does, dear reader, it does.  My overhear was from a rider who said he had been practising for some considerable time to perfect the art of passing his long and lanky lower limb frontwards over the bar without falling “because that’s the way real cyclists do it”.

ONE thing is for sure, many of us cyclists have individualistic - or should that be eccentric? - streaks.  I observed a West Surrey group rider the other day proud as a peacock over his new and fairly expensive road bike, to which he had attached an unsuitable large, wide, and not-pretty rear “flying” mudguard of the mountain bike crud-dispersing variety.  One has to have a sense of decorum over these matters.

OUR national CTC magazine Cycle contained a piece on global cyclist James Bowthorpe using an experimental carbon-fibre belt drive on a hub gear, which in his case meant a 14-speed Rohloff.  All went well on his trip but here is what grabbed my attention as I read about it:  “He only needed the lowest gear for the most extreme climbs in one exotic part of the world - ‘the Surrey Hills, right near the end’ ”.


By Dane Maslen

For several years I've been visiting a friend who spends his summers in the Perigord region of the Dordogne, a very scenic area.  His old farmhouse is over two miles from the nearest boulangerie, five from the nearest shop and eight from the nearest big town.  As I travel down by Eurostar and TGV, I used to be completely dependent on him for transport if I wanted to go shopping unless I went for a lengthy walk.

Taking a bike seemed an obvious solution, but TGVs don't accept undismantled bikes as personal luggage, so in 2003 I bought a folder.  I rapidly discovered that however light and easy to carry other people's folders might look, mine most certainly wasn't, probably because it's a cheap one.  So cheap indeed that its steering is 'indexed'.  Nonetheless the experiment was a success:  in addition to using the bike for a few shopping trips during my stay, I also went for a couple of longer rides to enjoy the countryside, discovering in the process that it wasn't quite as gently rolling as it had seemed when I had been walking it!

Having lugged the folded bike across Paris on the Metro the first year, in 2004 I gave my shoulder a rest and cycled from Gare du Nord to Gare de Montparnasse.  This was an 'interesting' experience, but it didn't put me off cycling in Paris - and the introduction of cycle lanes has now made the ride across Paris somewhat less fraught - so I've done the same in every subsequent year, though sometimes my itinerary involves changing in Lille, in which case I am spared the hassle of getting across Paris.

I hadn't expected the folder to be suitable for lengthy rides, but I found that I could put up with its twitchy handling, indexed steering and increasingly loose bottom bracket, so I got into the habit of doing a few reasonably long rides each year, the longest being a little over 80 miles.  You might well be horrified at the thought of such a distance on a folder, but as far as I was concerned, the only problem was that such rides extended well into the hottest part of the day.  Cycling in the morning was definitely much more enjoyable than in the afternoon.

Since 2008 I've made maximum use of the pleasant morning conditions by rising early each day, setting out as quickly as possible, stopping at a local boulangerie to buy pains au chocolat for breakfast (it's a tough job, but someone's got to do it) and finishing my rides by early afternoon.  Averaging about 50 miles a day on roads that are largely devoid of traffic, I've covered about 800 miles each year.  The loose bottom bracket continued to make occasional unpleasant noises, but didn't seem to be getting any worse until this year.  Thankfully it just about survived.

What, if anything, does this prove?  Well, if you're not too fussy about what you ride (and many of you will know that I'm not), then even a cheap folder can open up cycling possibilities, though I'd be the first to admit that lugging a folder around on trains has its problems.  Given the limited luggage space provided on British trains, I've only once taken the folder for a trip in the UK.  Even on Eurostars and TGVs, which have generous luggage space, I sometimes have to rearrange other people's bags to make room for my folder.

There was one journey when I encountered a serious problem.  In 2004 I took the bike to Brittany for a week.  It coincided with the Madrid bombings.  In a knee-jerk "we must be seen to be doing something, no matter how pointless" reaction SNCF took the large luggage racks at the ends of the TGV carriages out of use.  Amazingly my folder managed to fit into the overhead rack (try that on a British train!), but it was overhanging so much that I sat watching it for every second of the journey, convinced that it was about to fall off and brain the poor chap underneath.

DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE:  December 1st.  Get those cycling stories in to the Editor now

WEST SURREY CTC GROUP CYCLING SHIRTS are available from Peter Clint, phone 01932 340564.  Short sleeve, short zip, three pockets at back, sizes 7, 8, 10, 11, 13


By Chris Jeggo

MANY of you know that I retired in January.  Just as I was thinking it was about time to take early retirement, the company formally announced a ‘Redundancy Situation’, so I ended up walking out of the door with a pocket full of money.  And it’s burnt a hole in that pocket.  I visited Paul Hewitt Cycles during a trip to Yorkshire and Lancashire and ordered a Cheviot SE touring bicycle as recommended by Chris Juden in Cycle.  It arrived in time for my two week tour of Brittany in June and it was comfortable and worked perfectly throughout.  Its lowest gears were useful during the Welsh Festival of Cycling in July and will be even more so when I go to the Alps towards the end of August to sample some of the famous Tour de France cols.

Consequent upon my retirement, I am planning to move away from Woking some time next year.  Over the thirty-six years I have lived around here I have seen London’s tentacles and general traffic growth inexorably increase their malign influence on our cycling pleasure and I seek pastures new.  Well, they will feel new because I had yet to become a cycle tourist when I last lived there.  Accordingly, I am looking for people to replace me in three jobs I do for the group:  chairman, archivist, and group leader of the Sunday All-day Intermediates.  I will be stepping down from all three rôles at the AGM.  I have some ideas on which arms to twist, but I would be delighted to hear from people willing to volunteer themselves (or their friends!).  I may continue to lead a few rides but I need someone to take over responsibility for the rides group.  I shall be happy to assist each of my successors during a handover period to ensure a smooth transition.  So please consider whether you could make your contribution to the various activities which make our club what it is.  Don’t forget that in doing so you will learn new things that will still be useful to you after you have handed the baton to your successor.

Now it’s time to get on with planning some bike rides in Taiwan when Lynette and I go there in October to visit our son Will.


By Rico Signore

UCC? = Unusual Cycling Club - membership only ever SIX, i.e. those who rode London to Lausanne in 2003.  Since then UCC members meet once a year for a cycling week somewhere in Europe.  This year, it was the turn of French-speaking Switzerland and Vevey on the shoes of Lake Geneva.  One UCC member moved there recently and had the brilliant idea to book us for a two-hour session at the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) indoor track near Aigle, a small town situated roughly between Montreux and Martigny.  None of us had ever ridden a banked circuit nor had any experience of fixed wheels - therefore we were slightly apprehensive.

On arrival at the velodrome we were issued with fixed-wheel track bikes - our Shimano footwear was not compatible with aforesaid bike pedals, so we were issued with appropriate shoes.  To everyone’s relief, the release mechanism was identical to Shimano’s.  Saddle height adjustments, short rides in the centre of the arena to adjust to fixed wheels, took a bit of time.  Enter the gladiators on to the wooden “Big Track”, with the daunting steep curves.  Our instructor explained the do’s and don’ts of riding on a track with its very distinct divisions - inside the perimeter is a hand-rail for riders to hold on to for starting or slowing down and stopping.  The wide flat bit adjacent to it is for gently increasing speed.  Just below the banking is a blue ribbon, about a foot wide, called the “Côte d’Azur”, for accelerating to racing speed, with above it the black “racing” line and, a bit higher up, the blue line, both of the latter on the steep banking.

Overtaking is only ever allowed on the right, with one exception - if riding above the blue line “undertaking” is allowed.  Having more or less digested all this info and by riding closely behind the instructor, everything seemed to fall into place and, after a few circuits, we even rode to the top of the very steep embankment.  Interesting detail:  approaching the curves was like riding a slight uphill gradient, conversely on exit one gained quite a bit of speed.  To end the session, our tutor made us zig-zag up and down the track, so we really felt like seasoned pros.  Thanks to the expert tuition we had not one mishap during the two-hour session and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The complex is situated on the banks of the river Rhone with a superb cycle path alongside it, so access by bike is traffic-free and easy.  It is open to the general public with full (self-service) restaurant facilities and a superb display of the history of the Tour de France - it will bring back memories with names and pictures you had long forgotten.

If you are in the area I strongly recommend a visit.  Track tuition sessions can be booked in advance and cost around £188 for a two-hour session with a maximum of 10 participants.  The velodrome in Aigle is funded by UCI, the IOC and many other sponsors and is dedicated to training young cyclists, mainly from third-world countries, for both track- and road-racing.


By Chris Jeggo

IT’S alright to camp on rugby or football pitches during the summer months, but not on fairways or greens.  So Rhosgoch Golf Club got a local farmer to mow an adjacent field for this year’s rally at the end of July.  The golf club itself provided showers, bar (with TV - for cycling DVDs and the Tour de France), breakfasts and evening meals (including an excellent barbecue and curry supper on two nights), and made us very welcome in general.  The campers were pretty happy with this, except that the nearest shop for milk was at the filling station at Clyro, more than 3 miles away over a substantial hill.  Most other amenities had to be sought 5 miles away in Hay-on-Wye, where Lynette and I and others found B&B.  Sue, well organised as ever, managed to book the only available B&B room that was less than 2 miles from the site.

Derek and Anne were christening, and showing off, their new tent.  Carpet, electric lighting, windows and blinds - that’s not the camping I learnt in the Boy Scouts!  (But I am young enough to learn new tricks....)

The view from the club house was terrific, except when the occasional shower blotted it out.  A woodpecker was spotted tapping on a telegraph pole just outside.  Towards the horizon it was hills rather than mountains, but don’t think the rides were easy - even the few ‘level bits’ in this area undulate.  As usual the ride routes were excellent, with some spectacular scenery and memorable downhill swoops.  One took us over the Gospel Pass, the best on-road way to sample the Black Mountains, and another to the well stocked and interesting National Cycle Collection at Llandrindod Wells.  Bob McLeod stayed in the area overnight with former W Surrey member Cyril so they could ride Sunday’s 100km Audax together.

The participants covered a broad spectrum from families with young children through to geriatrics via the athletic types tackling the 200km hilly Audax.  And then there was the dog that rode in a basket behind its owner, a local gentleman of considerable character.  It was a small terrier with short legs which it was allowed to stretch up the steepest hills.

All too soon it only remained to say, “See you next year!”


From the Secretary

Have you ever turned up at a coffee stop, only to discover it's closed and that only you hadn't known that the rides' list had been changed?

Have you ever wondered how other people, but not you, get to hear about small companies that offer specialised cycling holidays?

The answer to both questions is probably that you haven't 'signed up' to receive the emails that I and ride leaders send to those members who want to be kept informed.  I want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to two Yahoo groups that we have set up and to suggest that you consider asking to be added to one or both of them.

WokingMidweekWayfarers:  we use this to notify members of changes to the published rides' list for the Woking Midweek Wayfarers.

CTCWestSurreyNews:  I have been using this to pass on emails that I have received as Secretary that might be of interest to members (past examples include news of a new cycle shop in Farnham and cycling holidays in the Loire Valley, Ireland and Lanzarote).  In the future we might well also use it to remind members about the AGM and events etc.

If you do sign up to receive these, you certainly aren't going to be buried under an avalanche of emails.  Changes to the published rides' list are rare, while the number of news items currently barely reaches double figures in a year.  You don't need to have a Yahoo account to receive these emails, though if you do have one, you can look back at old CTCWestSurreyNews messages.

Because we use Yahoo groups for the distribution lists, there is no risk of your email address being visible to other recipients.  In fact it's also invisible to most of the people who can send messages to the groups.  So why not send an email to me (secretary@ctcwestsurrey.org.uk) asking to be added to one or other group?


SEPTEMBER 19th :  Freewheeling and pace judging competitions, Seale Craft Centre, 10.45am (finish by 12.30pm)  (Dane Maslen 01483 721856)

OCTOBER 10th :  Gridiron 100km, New Forest.  (01202 247888, terrywessex@yahoo.co.uk, www.wessexctc.org)

OCTOBER 30th :  CTC West Surrey Group AGM, Bird In Hand, Mayford Green, Woking, 10.30am, preceded by free tea and coffee, followed by pub lunch (see separate article and nomination form).

CTC West Surrey Group Annual General Meeting

Our AGM will be at 10.30am on Saturday 30th October at The Bird in Hand, Mayford Green, Woking.  There will be free tea and coffee before the meeting.  We hope that as many members as possible will come to the AGM and then stay for a pub lunch, choosing from the pub's standard menu, afterwards.  This proved a success last year.

Motions for consideration at the AGM must be submitted to the secretary at least two weeks in advance, as should nominations - using the form on the back page of this magazine - for chairman, secretary, treasurer and rides' secretary (all ex-officio members of the committee), other committee members and auditor.  Nominations for the honorary posts of president and vice-presidents can be made either in advance or at the meeting.

The current chairman is stepping down so nominations for this post are particularly important.

In addition to the election of officials and the consideration of formal motions the AGM gives members the opportunity to make and discuss suggestions, e.g. about our publications, our social, rides' and events' programmes, and how to attract younger participants.  Bring along some good ideas!

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