"The West Surrey Cyclist" - Issue 2 - Winter 1985/6
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|THE WEST SURREY CYCLIST
We live in interesting times as I believe somebody once said, at least I think we do but no one else in the DA seems to agree. The arrival of the new magazine has been greeted with total silence, if it is to survive this must change, lets have some lively debate, complaint or just general gossip, get those letters and articles rolling in so that we can look forward to further issues.
I understand that the AGM was a lively affair although the new committee seems a bit low on numbers. The first job the committee should address itself to are many of the valuable points which came out of the Open Forum evening, tbe main ones being:-
a. The committee should spend most and certainly more time organising the runs list.
b. Summer runs should start i.e. actually riding, no later than 0930 hrs.
c. Leaders should remember we are a touring club and make greater efforts to stop at interesting wayside places.
d. More runs should be organised to places of interest instead of just out and home.
e. The club should somehow take the emphasis off meeting for tea, especially in winter, and encourage the club room as the place where all sections can meet on a regular basis.
One very interesting point which I noted at the Open Forum was that several members made various comments about suggestions or offers to the club which had been neglected. It transpired that none of these offers had been made to the people who matter i.e. the Committee. The lesson is clear don't just pass something on to a friend make sure you get it in writing to a committee member and better still get your thoughts in a letter to the magazine.
Finally, no committee can satisfy everyone but let us hope our new
one will please some of the people some of the time, they are:-
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A CHRISTMAS TALE
Hebdens Cycle shop had seen the comings and goings of Allford High Street for the best part of one hundred years. The shop had always been owned and run by a Hebden ever since the present proprietors great grandfather had taken delight in the joys of 'bicycular perambulations' in the 1860's. The succession was now in doubt since Harry, or 'HH' to local clubmen, had never married and was in his sixtieth year. Nevertheless the shop was still well run, managed to keep a good stock of lightweight equipment and offered to the passing tourist all the right 'vibrations' and a service which was old fashioned in its courtesy and efficiency.
'HH' still told a good tale and passed on many a valuable piece of advice to youngsters who strayed into the shop, however, only the privileged few had experienced the rare treat of a guided tour by HH of the back sheds collection. The shed dominated the small yard behind the shop and contained equipment and complete cycles dating back to the start of the business. Pride of place went to an ancient racing machine still complete with bamboo sprint wheels and perishing hand made silk tubulars, this very machine had been ridden to victory by the late Silas Hebden in the 1901 world championships.
All of this was far from Bert's mind as he cycled rapidly through the frost bedecked countryside heading for the 'Wheelers' Xmas day ten. Bert had agreed to cycle to the limits of his range to act as turn marshal on this traditional fun event in exchange for a good Xmas lunch at his cousin Davids house and the promise of a not too serious ride in another local event on Boxing Day.
Checking his watch Bert noted that an increase in pace was needed if he was to reach the turn, just North of Allford, in time to see the first rider round. He also noted that the grey sky had fulfilled its promise and snow was starting to fall heavily and visibility was dropping. It was with considerable relief when later he managed to reach the lonely telegraph pole marking the turn point with some minutes to spare; the snow had increased and visibility was down to only ten yards. Bert stamped his feet against the cold and waited for the first rider.
A good half hour had passed and Bert considered that he'd seen the lot; two Santa Claus, one gorilla, a cycling Christmas tree, a tinselled tandem and even one or two skin suited riders who appeared to be taking the event seriously. Nobody had appeared out of the falling snow for the last ten minutes and Bert felt the time was right to cycle to the finish and make acquaintance with some of the riders who had passed him. He was about to mount his machine when a sight which remained in his memory for many years appeared out of the white snowy mist.
The dress appeared to be a perfect replica of an old time racer, alpaca jacket, flaked now with snow, black tights and the machine complimented the man, black enamel gleamed against nickel plated North Road bars. Bert felt he was looking at a perfect recreation of a racing man as depicted in some of the very old magazines now stored in his study.
The rider went into a smartish turn around Bert but slithered to a halt on the far kerb unexpectedly. Bert rushed across:
"Yes I'm afraid my front tyre has let me down this time".
Without thinking too much Bert helped remove the vintage machines front wheel and volunteered one of his sprints, held in carriers for tomorrows event against the front forks of his machine. The modern wheel was squeezed in and the rider remounted.
"Are you the last man?" asked Bert.
"Yes the very last" came the reply, "Thanks for the wheel, Hebdens the name, cycle shop in Allford" came the reply as the rider disappeared into the snow.
Bert then mounted his own machine and followed in the wheeltracks of this last rider. By the time Bert reached the finish most of the crowd was dispersing, which wasn't suprising in view of the weather. There was no sign of the vintage machine and rider but Bert decided he had plenty of time to reclaim the front wheel from the Allford shop in the morning.
Boxing Day arrived fine and clear and Bert rang the bell at HH's shop before a dressing-gowned elderly figure let him in. Bert gave a brief description of events the previous day, produced the vintage machines wheel and was then staggered by the look of shock on HH's face.
"I certainly recognise the wheel" he said "its from the prize of my collection, the worry I've got now is that the machine must have been stolen, I didn't ride yesterday and it certainly wasn't loaned to anybody" said HH.
A hurried walk through to the back shed revealed the 1901 World Championship machine safely hanging from the old roof beams but still slowly revolving in the front forks was a new chrome spoked sprint wheel! As HH said there are many things beyond human understanding in the world and perhaps old Silas had decided to retry his luck that snowy Christmas Day.
Perhaps some of the ghostly figures we cyclists pass on dark winter nights may be even more ghostly than we imagine and perhaps somewhere in the hereafter old Silas is even now preparing to enter this years Christmas event?
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CORNWALL - Y.H.A. Based Tour 1st-10th JUNE 1985
The prospect daunted me, but gradually the idea appealed. A holiday on my own. David couldn't get time off and my boss would have had a nervous breakdown if I didn't start taking sone annual leave this year.
Cornwall - with its mild weather?!x, many youth hostels; beaches and bays; National Trust properties, good food and fresh air, became my destination. Thus, armed with the Barts No. 1 Map, I trained from Woking - Exeter St. David - Liskeard.
My first two nights were spent at Golant Youth Hostel near Fowey. (Just as well the Barts map hides its contour lines - but never mind; the views from the hill tops of Bodmin Moor and St. Austell's Bay are "breathtaking" - or was it the hills!)
Golant Y.H. is a superior hostel with field study facilities. A beautiful large house at the end of a farm lane with views overlooking R. Fowey. Lovely views at night of the lights of Lostwithiel and Bodmin. With a menu choice at all meals, the food here was excellent. The homemade soup is highly recommended. Vegetarians are well catered for.
While staying at Golant I visited Fowey, a beautiful old fishing port; St. Austell - very hilly; Charlestown - a tourist resort and the National Trusts Lanhydrock House near Bodmin. The gardens and parkland are magnificent and a tour of the 17th Century mansion is well worth the money. What could be more peaceful and relaxing than cycling back to Fowey to watch all the boats return to harbour.
From Golant, I headed for Megavissey - hilly and touristy. Discovered lovely quiet roads, signposted St. Mawes. After miles, I found my way to the King Harry Ferry which took me across the Carrick Roads. One mile up from the ferry is Trelissick garden, another National Trust property. This property offers lovely gardens, exotic trees and shrubs, good views of the Carrick Roads and superb walks and picnic areas. From there, I cycled on the A39 to Falmouth. Sat and watched the boats go by for hours. Spent one night at Pendennis Castle.
Pendennis Castle is a standard grade hostel with a warm welcome from the staff - but beware of the creaky door and squeaky beds in the womens dorm!!
Then the weather became dull, misty and overcast. From Pendennis Castle, I meandered along the Helford river passing Mawnan Smith, Porth Navas and on to Gweet's seal sanctuary. Feeding time for the seals is 11.00 am and well worth foregoing elevenses. Due to the weather I had to steer clear of the misty Lizard and cycled through Helston to Penzance. As it was only 2.30 pm I decided to continue to Land's End Y.H. which I managed to find in a very thick mist.
Lands End Y.H. is a standard grade hostel. It is beautiful, peaceful, relaxing, homely and just what you need when doing the "End to End". Spent 3 nights here and discovered Pendeen Lighthouse, Gorver mines, Newlyn, Mousehole, Penberth, Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre - all in rain and sea mist.
Met a few end to enders at Lands End - especially 'yer man' from the 3rd Paras who arrived at O'Groats from manoevres in Norway, collected his Coventry Eagle 10 gear bicycle and arrived in Lands End 9 days later!! His boast was that he never got off his bike to climb any of the hills - he seemed more pleased with that feat than doing the end to end in 9 days. The following day he was off to Brize Norton to go on manoevres to Germany.
From Lands End I cycled to Perranport alone the coastal road. Beware of the hillclimb out of Porthtowan. Perranporth Y.H. is a simple grade hostel. It is an old coastguard's look-out situated on the cliff top. Not recommended for sleep-walkers. The warden was very helpful with route suggestions and I enjoyed his chosen route by-passing Newquay.
From there, I cycled to Padstow - beautiful old sea port; Wadebridge - busy due to the Royal Cornwall Show and north to Boscastle. Breathtaking views of Boscastle, before a superb 2 mile downhill run to what must be the most picturesque village in Cornwall.
Boscastle Y.H. is a standard grade hostel. The warden is a part-time D.J. with a New York radio station - and so, all you Eagles, John Denver and Bruce Springstein fans is is the place pour vous. The morning alarm call is a nice blast of "Hotel California". Spent two very stormy nights here.
The village itself is National Trust protected. It is an old fishing port and has a working mill-wheel. The cliff walk is beautiful.
From there (having seen all the touristy bits like Tintagel) I climbed out of Boscastle savouring the view and then hit the road through Launceston (lovely old town), Okehampton and on to Exeter. Sixty-five miles in 5¼ hours - would Russ be pleased with me I wondered?
Exeter Y.H. is a superior grade hostel and not for those who like the peace and solitude of Lands End and Boscastle. The Exeter Maritime Museum, City Museum and Cathedral are well worth a visit. The City Museum is about 400 yds from Exeter Central Station and a nice place to wait for the train!
Although I used a Barts map, all the roads were well signposted. The hills were a bit steep some days, but the views, flora and fauna were more than compensatory. A few gears lower than a 37" would have been appreciated. The roads were good and dogs, plentiful!
The hostels and the people I met (all on their own like me) were great. The pubs were "a good crack" at night as were the "hostel get togethers" at Lands End and Boscastle.
Thanks to the experience gained in the past 10 months from regular cycling with the local D.A. I managed to cope with the minor cycle repairs; map-read; enter and enjoy cafes - even the sleasy ones (the things I'll do to murder a pot of tea!!); organise my routes and mileages, say "hello" to passing male cyclists; discover the joys of Youth Hostelling and above all, be unafraid of being miles away from home on my own with Mrs Evans (The bike).
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C.T.C. DA'S CONFERENCE
Did you know that 'civil war' in DAs is one of the reasons why people leave the CTC; that you can get a £2 discount on your sub. if you enrol a new member when you renew; or that the CTC has a logo and letterhead?
These were among the facts and ideas discussed by 70 representatives of DAs, Councillors and staff at a lively meeting in London in September. It was the second national DAs conference and many thought it was a more representative and thoughtful gathering than the CTC AGM.
Most of the discussion was about the DAs role in CTC policy. The recruitment campaign has a target of 45,000 members in 5 years. About 40,000 are needed just to maintain services as the club regularly has a deficit and depends on legacies. With the economies of scale, more members would allow legacies to be spent on capital projects such as the proposed CTC Museum or a CTC Touring Centre, which is presumably what benefactors would wish.
The discount for enrolling a friend is one aspect of the recruitment drive. Another is the co-operation with the Association of Cycle Traders, allowing ACT shops to sell CTC membership and insurance for a small commission. It is hoped to extend this to Youth Hostels. The new membership leaflet and redesigned stationery are part of the effort to promote the CTC as an energetic cycling organisation providing both touring services and protecting the cycling we enjoy.
The club's image is still thought to be a barrier to recruitment, especially in some DAs which are set in their ways and unwelcoming to newcomers. The importance of providing cycling for novices and 'once a year' cyclists, not necessarily leading to new members, was stressed.
Other promotional efforts include a scheme with the Heart of England Tourist Board offering cycling holidays organised by the CTC. Other ideas like this one are in the pipeline, but there was recognition that most publicity has to be at a local level, promoting all sorts of cycling as well as recruiting tourists to become like us. This is part of the thinking behind the 50p levy which members can allocate to be paid from their subscription to their DA. The Council intends a transfer of promotion from HQ to the DAs and is willing to allow a transfer of funds in support; grants will still be available for special projects but applications may be more strictly considered.
A natural reaction to this talk of recruitment and promotion is 'Why should I?'. The answer is that promoting cycling is in our own interests. It is essential just to stay as we are and if successful would give us more pleasure from our cycling. There are many activities clamouring for the attention of young people so we too have to shout to draw cycling to their attention. If we can encourage more people to cycle for pleasure and utility, cycling will be less easily ignored by decision makers. Some of them would join, so we could have more sections doing a wider variety of riding. It's up to all of us - where shall we start?
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A WEEKEND IN DORSET WITH BILL, GILLIAN, DAVID, JOHN, GEORGE, GEOFF AND JEREMY ORGANISED BY ANN AND CHRIS.
We humped our bikes to the centre of Woking Station to catch the 9.10 am train to Brockenhurst. Having settled in our seats and rattled over many miles Chris returned from the Buffet Car with a cardboard box tray of coffees, one of which he sold almost at a profit - to a total stranger! At Brockenhurst we carried our bikes to the exit, I really must take up weightlifting! - and then half the group got lost within the first half mile.!
Reunited we spread across the road to have a photo of us all crossing the ford.
We cruised our way to Burley - pausing to watch a Pony and Trap Rally - where we stopped for lunch. As most of us basked in the sunshine eating our sandwiches a hungry pony had a nibble at John's Tubi-grips much to everyone elses amusement! We continued at a leisurely pace to Bournemouth stopping at the Tricycle Museum in Christchurch en route. In Bournemouth some brave souls went for a swim while others including all the Ladies relaxed in the sunshine - although Gillian and Ann did go for a paddle - before finding our way to "our" Guest House - we were the only Residents apart from one other Lady who was 'down' for the Labour Conference due to start the next day.
A pleasant evening was spent in an Italian Restaurant deciphering the Menu, chatting and eventually eating and drinking. We then went window shopping around an almost deserted town before returning to the Guest House.
On Sunday morning, before breakfast, at least two 'early birds' took a walk along the sea front.
After most of us had devoured a substantial breakfast the bicycles were collected from the back yard and everyone seemed to have great pleasure (or was it relief?) in announcing that my bike had a puncture! Many thanks to David and John who changed the tube and to Chris for fixing the computer.
Eventually we dragged Geoff away from the 'Labour Party' Lady and set off for the Ferry that took us from Sandbanks to Studland. Shortly afterwards the group split and some headed straight for Corfe Castle while other - more energetic types - raced into Swanage for coffee before joining the others for lunch. While chatting in the sunshine in the pub's garden eating our sandwiches (again!) we met a young couple who were to join us again later in the afternoon.
The group split again after lunch and some took a less hilly route to Dorchester while the others visited Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door before turning inland for Winfrith, Newburgh and so on to Dorchester to reunite for tea before catching the train home.
The weather, both days, was perfect and I'm sure that we would all like to Thank Ann and Chris for organising a most varied and enjoyable weekend.
I heard later, that some members had thoroughly enjoyed the enormous blackberries that were picked from over the fence next to the Platform at Dorchester Station!
By the way, has anyone seen Jeremy again?
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The A3 between Compton and Milford is to be improved i.e. rebuilt as a dual carriageway without inconveniences such as junctions, corners or hills. The first stage, Compton to Shackleford, has been designed in detail and a Public Inquiry to consider objections will be held soon. Cyclists needing to cross the new road will be able to do so by under or over bridges without increase in journey length but those wishing to ride on the A3 will have to contend with a motorway-style road. The Milford bypass will be to the West of the village and six route and junction combinations have been proposed by the Dept. of Transport. Some of these would make cyclists ride considerably out of their way to cross the A3 and the DA Planning Sub-committee is deciding which scheme to support. If these changes could affect you and you would like to see the plans, please contact Helen Juden, as soon as possible.
GUILDFORD HIGH STREET
If you have been affected by the one-way traffic and part-time closure of Guildford High Street, please tell Helen who will send comments to the County Council which is monitoring the experimental period.
Monthly runs lists suitable for display in bike shops, libraries, sports centres etc., are available from the Publicity Secretary. If everyone reading the magazine could arrange for one list to be put up this would be of enormous help to the DA. Colour CTC posters, DA leaflets and other promotional materials are also available to anyone who can use them to advertise the club.
BIKES ON TRAINS
British Rail have changed the rules about bikes on inter-city 125 trains. On some routes advance reservation of cycle space is now Compulsory. This is done through the computer booking system, costs £1 and must be done by 18.00 the day before you travel. You also have to pay £3 each way for the bike on weekdays. You can still only use some of the trains on some of the routes. Only stations on 125 routes know about this and leaflets describing the changes are not available at other stations. There are other anomalies, too complicated to explain here. The result is total confusion; neither BR enquiry offices nor CTC HQ have full information. If you want to take your bike on a 125 train check thoroughly before you travel. If you object to these excessively restrictive rules write and complain to the Inter City Director (address and where to send copies in Oct. Cycletouring or from Helen). If anyone tries to make such a reservation, please let Helen know what happens!
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TOUR CENTRAL SPAIN IN 86
CASTILLE - the very name conjours visions of sweeping panoramas in pine blue mountains, impregnable castles shimmer on distant crags and ancient walled cities hide cool shaded alleys and courtyard oases of fountains and flowers.
Starting from Madrid in early May, this cycling tour crisscrosses the sierras dividing Castilla la Vieja and Nueva, visiting the cities of Segovia, Avila and Toledo, each of which occupy impressive sites and are steeped in history. The terrain will be mountainous and sometimes there are quite long distances to be covered between one hotel and the next. Some other days will be deliberately short, but there will be plenty of sights to see for those who don't want to just snooze in the sun and recover! At this time of year the countryside should be at its greenest, the last snows melting from the mountaintops and flowers blooming to a strong sun, which does not yet have summer's furnace heat.
We fly from Heathrow on Friday 2nd May, returning on Sunday the 18th, and will stay in hotels which may vary from, frankly basic to the luxurious (last night only). Flight and half board will come to about £360 for the fortnight.
What about the leader? I have toured in Spain on five occasions, once leading a Nottingham club group in Mallorca and led a successful CTC tour to N. Ireland in '85. Although not quite fluent, I speak Spanish, and have repaired most parts of a bicycle by the roadside. While this tour is a CTC tour, and will attract participants from all over the country, a few familiar faces from Surrey would be particularly welcome.
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There were fewer West Surrey CTC members and friends at this year's dinner and dance but it was a happy occasion with many riders from past years making it something of a reunion. An excellent meal for sixty at the Refectory, Guildford was followed by an outline of the association's many activities by Chris Jeggo the retiring Hon. Sec. He recalled the appalling weather on the day of the Tour of the Hills and congratulated Gillian Smith for organising the sponsored bike ride in aid of White Lodge Spastics Centre which raised some £1,400. Robert Shiels paid tribute to "The Ladies" which evoked a splendid response from Helen Juden. An "Epilogue" by president, Bill Inder pilloried some of his fellow members in good humour before the presentation of awards by Mrs Butler. There was also a surprise for George Alesbury who was celebrating 50 years as a CTC member and 25 years as the association's Hon. Treasurer, the gift comprising books of artist Frank Patterson's famous cycling sketches and a cheque. The "wooden crank" presented to the member perpetrating the biggest gaffe went to Clive Richardson of Liphook who drove back from a cycling week-end in Shropshire and left a wheel, mudguards, etc. at the Youth Hostel. Gifts went to Mesdames Butler and Alesbury then the rest of the evening was given over to dancing, much of the success of the evening being due to social secretary, Gillian Smith and M.C. Les Moss.
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Last night (Wednesday 20th) I went to the club night for a talk/demonstration on Bicycle Maintenance which I found most interesting but completely baffling and long before Chris had finished his demonstration my bike was "in the Bicycle shop". However, Chris Juden is very good at putting the subject over and I am sure that the more intelligent members found the evening most useful. I did take one of Chris' books on maintenance home which I have passed on to my Husband!
In the New Year, before we have another Ladies weekend maybe we could have an evening entitled something like "A Puncture in the Rear Wheel of a Ladies Bike on the Isle of Wight". This would cover a multitude of problems and be most useful for a beginner with limited knowledge - like myself!
What do other Beginners think ....??
Marguerite A. Statham
If a beginner is leading a run please don't let's have any 'Back Seat Drivers', if you are fed up because someone has to keep studying the map - take off on your own - but just wait until it's your turn to lead a ride!!
If you know an area well you could ask the leader if he or she would like any help - but if necessary back off ....!! Some people don't appreciate help - it gives them a sense of failure.
Ed. Good points made here, I think I've been guilty in the past and will watch it in future.
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A kettle always used to be on the hob, Hob rhymes with Fob.
Does that help?
It was on County Sound!
Ed. I'm still not sure why on Minder 'kettle' is used as cockney slang for a watch. Other readers views please.
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Ed. The first edition was on sale at Club Nights but we're looking at the problem and may offer subscription facilities in due course.
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On the night of 23rd November 1985, where were all those Sons (and Daughters) of the Saddle who so valiantly challenged the lousy elements, and rode with the DA during the year?
There are 183 of these weatherbeaten souls according to our buoyant scribe in the Annual Report, but only a paltry 60 (which includes Guests) managed an appearance at the Dinner and Dance.
Last year we managed 78 and the year before 74, so this sudden decline in numbers makes me wonder what could be done to encourage more 'starters' for this annual "Event". (Perhaps points should be awarded for attendance!).
A questionnaire might provide a pointer or two:
Is the price right?
Is the venue inaccessible or inappropriate?
Is the occasion too formal?
Is the music too loud?
Is the absence of Guest Speakers a handicap?
With so many obvious 'wallflowers' in the DA - my husband included! - do we really need a Dance?
Your views please clubmates.
Ed. Agreed. The location, food and music were all excellent this time. If we get more attendees the price will come down too. Support the DA next year please or we'll lose this social highlight.
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Thank you, to all my friends in the DA who contributed so handsomely to the very splendid present and cheque which I received to mark my 25 years as Treasurer and 50 years of West Surrey membership. The three volumes of Pattersen sketches will provide many pleasant moments of relaxation and serve to remind me of the happy years of cycling which it has been my good fortune to enjoy with you.
Eveline wishes to express her sincere thanks for the lovely basket of flowers, which were presented to her at the same time, and also for the kind words from Gill Smith.
Although no longer very active club cyclists, we both continue to enjoy the social occasions immensely and have been more than happy to assist when required. Through the DA we have made many good friends and are deeply touched by their kindness at this time.
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BOXING DAY RIDE
Meet 10.30 a.m. Pirbright Green for a short spin to work off the Turkey.
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On 29th December '85 I shall be leading a run - everyone welcome - to London to see the lights and then return by train from Waterloo to arrive back in Woking at approx. 7 p.m.
We shall meet at my house where you are welcome to eat your sandwiches etc. Tea and coffee will be provided but we MUST BE READY to LEAVE by 12.30 p.m.
The route will be roughly via Weybridge, Hampton Court, Kingston, Richmond Park, Putney Bridge and along the Chelsea Embankment to arrive at a 'tea stop' at approx 4 p.m. - we may stop on the way as well.
Please phone me on Woking 63289 if you are interested - or just turn up on the day - at the moment there are two of us - Gillian and myself!
Springwood, Morton Road, Horsell, Woking.
Thank you to all contributors, some articles have had to be held over until the next edition.
Les Moss is organising a trip to Normandy with provisional dates 23rd to 27th May. Accommodation will be at reasonable hotels with a grand dinner on the evening of Monday May 26th.
This short tour will be a social occasion with a leisurely pace to enable you to enjoy the French countryside and cuisine.
Tandems will be particularly welcome.
Contact Les on Woking 63262 if you want your name added to the list.
DON'T DELAY - DO IT TODAY.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 8 December 2005.