"The West Surrey Cyclist" - Issue 5 - Winter 1986/7
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Another milestone in the DA magazine's life as we're about to start a new year. I hope its a good one in every sense for all our readers especially Claudia and Helen who are both expecting baby cyclists! We all wish them both well during the coming months and look forward to having at least two new recruits to the DA.
This will be my last magazine as Editor but I look forward to contributing to future editions, at least the DA will have one rider who's prepared to push his articles forward. Come on all you promising novelists the past four issues have really suffered from a shortage of material so get your pens out now and start writing for 1987. We still don't have a new Editor but in the meantime articles can be passed to me at 32, Wensleydale Drive, Camberley where I will forward them on for Number Six.
Hazel and I have'nt managed to do much autumn riding with the DA since we've been away pursuing the best pastime of all; cycletouring. We hope to see you all in the New Year and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
C.T.C. - WEST SURREY DA COMMITTEE 1987
|President||Mr. Bill Inder|
|Secretary||Mrs. Marguerite Stratham|
|Treasurer||Mr. Mike Harlow|
|Runs Secretary||Mr. Russ Mantle|
|Mrs. Gillian Smith|
|Mrs. Ann Greening|
|Miss Helen Gill|
|Mr. David Whittle|
|Mr. Keith Parfitt|
|Mr. Chris Juden|
|Mr. Roy Banks|
|Mr. David Pinkess|
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Club Room Nights - Contact Keith Parfitt on Guildford 60776.
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"TO SEE THE COLOURED COUNTIES ......"
"Rain at first", said the early-morning weatherman, "with scattered showers dying out during the afternoon." Funny (very!) there were patches of blue in the sky and deceitful bursts of sunshine around nine o'clock, but as The Famous Five pedalled forth from Farncombe just after eleven it started to drizzle. Never mind: fortified by Helen's coffee and hot crumpets (in the middle of the morning!), we were prepared for anything.
At least, I hoped I was prepared, for this was to be my first weekend of club riding for more years than I care to count. Mad old fool: but, then, I only had to hang on to the tandemed Judens, Russ Mantle and Barry Anniss. Only! The pace was brisk enough as we disposed of the Saturday-busy miles through Shalford, Chilworth and Albury, eventually shaking ourselves relatively free of the traffic as we turned off the A248 for the climb towards Brook. A muck-spreader just over the offside hedge did its best to shower us with sh-sh-shrapnel as we steamed to the top; the late-Autumn countryside smelled lovely! And I was glad I wasn't the only "perspirant" who had need to remove some clothing at the summit.
Friendly old lanes through Hoe and Sutton Abinger, straight across the A25, and ahead lay the long drag up White Downs. Russ soared away on the hairpin ("...you all do know this Mantle") - and I realised I daren't walk it! We did pause once in our pedalling, though, to take in the full splendour of golden trees against a manacing sky - and to try to capture it on film. Autumn landscape can be stunning, and early November has some dramatic days. But darkening gloom gathered over Ranmore, and as we dropped to Dorking down came the rain. The showers were obviously dying out!
Just the right conditions now for a little rough-stuff (it's always better in a cape) across Betchworth Park Golf Course, but reward was in sight as Helen announced lunch at Brockham -where the Guy Fawkes bonfire (reputedly always Surrey's biggest) stood tall on the Green. Here, in days long past, W.G. Grace went out to bat, and the local players wore straw hats made by the village rush-chair maker. Grub without Grace today, though, and The King's Head did us well with a warm welcome out of the wet and a variety of hot food at the bar.
Betchworth went by in the drizzle. Narrow, meandering lanes around Trumpets Hill, tyre-deep in amber leaves, brought us to sprawling Reigate; but with the Juden map-reading partnership at its best we fidgeted round the fringe of it - and so via Bletchingley to Godstone for tea (- and scones - and cakes!). Rain doesn't deter the inquisitive, however, and we diverted first to tucked-away Church Town to see the attractive St Mary's Almshouses and their adjoining chapel, given to the village in Victorian times by the Hunt family of nearby Wonham in memory of a cherished daughter who died in her teens. Sir George Gilbert-Scott was responsible for their design, and also for the restoration in 1872 of the Parish Church itself, where in the graveyard lies buried one Walker Miles - a pioneer of rambling clubs (no kidding!)
Lights-on soon after tea, for the final leg of the invasion into darkest Kent. We had trouble crossing the border when we found our way completely barred by major repairs to a railway bridge over a minor lane, arc-lamps a-blazing and giant crane a-swinging. Russ the Redoubtable managed to crawl under the crane and disappeared into the unknown as the warning hooter blew (and they unleashed the bloodhounds): The Judens jibbed, Barry baulked, and Warner wavered, so deciding that discretion really was the better part of valour they retraced to find a less hostile route to Crockham Hill.
The Hostel cycle "shed" was a melee of coloured capes and damp bodies, most of them recently arrived from East Sussex. And cyclists all: not a hiker or a "hitcher" to be seen. Nice to recognise one or two old familiar faces from another DA, and also of course to spot Chris Jeggo's junior-back, he and eight-years old Michael having ridden from Chertsey during the afternoon. Young Clive appeared, too, fresh from Edenbridge Station as he had had to work for part of the day. Finally, the darkness brought forth Russ, his muddied saddlebag and oil-smeared cape bearing witness to his frontier escapade.
Freshened and fed, we spent a happy common-room evening entertained by ex-Warden Kev Reynolds with a series of superb slides to illustrate his travels since leaving YHA employment in April this year. Something of a hostelling legend in south-east England, and an experienced walker, Kev has now turned his talents to writing travel guide-books, and we enjoyed our arm-chair journeying with him as he tramped two long-distance paths in Kent, wandered in the Atlas Mountains and climbed in the Swiss Engadine - all in the space of seven months. Just walking and writing. Mmmm .. makes you think!
Sunday, glorious SUNday; fresh, washed and amber-clad under a sky-blue cloak. The tyres sang on the still-damp road as we - six of us now - sped away towards Edenbridge, soon to turn and make for Staffhurst Wood, where the bell of the little church-in-the-trees was tolling the scattered children to Sunday school. At the entrance to Crowhurst Place, Chris and Helen swung the tandem under the gatehouse arch and up the drive as if they were just arriving home: we dutifully followed, only to find that there was no Welcome at the drawbridge. Politely, we were asked to "about turn", but not before we'd managed a quick shufti at the stately Tudor pile (once a hunting lodge for Henry VIII) complete with moat and gliding black swans. A Sussex idyll.
Our trespass forgiven, we had no qualms about lingering a while in Lingfield to view the village's famed and forbidding "Cage", where local miscreants were once locked up for their minor offences against the community. Clap 'em in the Cage: those were the days - days, no doubt, when poacher Juden might have thought twice about stowing in his tucker-bag the plump, still-warm pheasant that some passing motorist had winged and left to breathe its last by the roadside, "one for the pot", as Prince Philip would say. Have you plucked it yet, Helen?
Perhaps inspired by his feathered find, Chris led us on through Great Wildgoose Wood - and up and over the West Hoathly contours, fold upon fold of coloured landscape. What a civilised human way of travelling this cycling is: threading through the lanes - a new vista to be savoured at every turn, free of the temptation to risk anything for the sake of carburettored speed, free of instrusive noise - save the buzz of conversation and the spontaneous laughter of the shared joke. Just feel the countryside, the falling leaf, the spicey tang of Autumn, the nostalgia of wood-smoke.
Coffee can smell good, too, at half-past eleven, and it went down well in the comfort of the Ardingly Hotel. Where next, then, on this hedge-hopping ride? Whitemans Green (no doubt Haringay Council would like to wipe that one out) - with signs of activity for the London-Brighton Veteran Car run, soon to be confirmed by the tail-back of diverted traffic nose-to-tail along the B2114. Fumes of frustration filled the air: whether wanting to get a glimpse of the "crocks" or the coast, they didn't seem to be having much success. We left them to it (they're welcome) and alighted on Handcross for lunch in the back-room of the Sweet Shop. Maybe only "something-on-toast and apple pie", but what treasures such little places still are; oases in the fast-food desert, and - alas - few and far between now.
Afternoon brought with it a playful sun and a chill in the air as we took the by-way into Slaugham. The pretty cluster of cottages and church was over-run by the cars still lingering at the pub, but we had the road through the Park all to ourselves (just nip round the locked gates!) before skirting St. Leonard's Forest and the hammer ponds near Mannings Heath. Hello and a quick good-bye to the Horsham suberbs, and across to Warnham. Level-crossing gates closed all day on Sunday, so carry your bike (tandem too!) down and up the steps - and paddle through the subway. Ride along the platform if you feel that way. We didn't.
Not much remained now of OS l87; nice, though, and familiar features all the way. Oakwoodhill - Walliswood - Ewhurst Green - Cranleigh - and at last into the home paddock of Loxhill. Never take old friends for granted, though. As we came down the valley towards Vann, the bold brow of Blackdown stood sharp-etched against a fragile sky, the trees along The Raswell were dying flames in the dipping sun, and a small group of grazing deer turned at our approach and made for cover in the woods below Burgate House. A memorable few minutes at the close of play.
The spell was broken in the hubbub of DA tea at Sally Lunn's in Witley, outdoor faces being filled as reward for the day's labours. Just time for a toasted bun and a cuppa before the farewells - and into the dark for the last miles home. Thank you Chris and Helen for organising it all, for the immaculate map-reading and the precision timing; and thank you Barry, Russ and Clive for your company. I must try to hang on again some time.
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A CTC member from the Lake District has written to ask if any DA members have old CTC or Cycling Club badges, metal or cloth, which they would like to sell or donate to his collection. He's particularly interested in DA bars or 'crescents'.
Please contact Tom Houghton, 3, St. Anne's Cottages, Ellerigg Rd., Ambleside, LA22 9EU. Tel. 096 632054.
Congratulations to John and Guy Clark who won the clubroom Treasure Hunt with a maximum possible score of 10 marks. Linda Pack did well to score 7 in a lone effort. The six competing teams said they'd enjoyed the evening, but would have liked to have seen more participants during their riverside ramble. (Perhaps the snail population didn't mind!)
Members may be interested to learn that 'Get on Your Bike', Bridge Street, Godalming, is open on Sunday mornings. If you need a vital spare part, help with a repair or just an objective for a mornings ride, Dave Sears would be pleased to see you.
'La Alpina' cycle roof-rack, takes up to four bikes, suit most cars with gutters, £5 per day, 20% to club funds. Chris and Helen Juden, Godalming 25794.
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The clothing advertisements in "Cycling" show that skin arms and skin legs are now widely available. What next? Skin heads?
Is a Social Secretary really necessary?
Since being appointed, I've organised several Social Events which have all been plagued by lack of support, with numbers inevitably boosted by roping in willing friends and neighbours.
I feel that DA funds shouldn't be frittered away on subsidising such 'Social failures'.
Is it more enjoyable for the current membership to achieve the necessary 'togetherness' on the bike rather than on the dance floor (or in the skittle alley, motor boat etc!!)
Comments please from (passive) active members!
Since this letter was written the Annual Dinner and Dance has had to be cancelled because of lack of support thereby highlighting the current situation. SO PLEASE LETS HAVE YOUR VIEWS ON THE SUBJECT.
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MOSS TRAVEL - NORMANDY 1987
Les Moss is organising a tour in late May, 1987, 22nd - 26th May inclusive. Accommodation will be in reasonable hotels with a grand dinner on the evening of Monday 25th May.
This short tour will be a social occasion at 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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THE D.A. PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION
October saw a Saturday night meeting of cycling 'snappers' in the Club Room at Guildford. This year the whole format of the Competition was changed to make the event less formal and more accessible to the ordinary club member who occasionally takes photographs.
The rules are simple:-
a. Competitions for Slides and Prints (any size).
b. No photographs over 3 seasons old (i.e. next year none eligible taken before 1 Jan 84).
c. Limit of six pictures per entrant; any mix slides to prints.
d. Winners to be selected by audience voting.
The actual event saw the rules generally evolve during the evening. All present enjoyed seeing the large selection of holiday slides and prints and general opinion was that the informality of the evening was terrific.
Chris Juden won the slide section with a photo of Helen against a mountain background (which can be seen in the latest Cycletouring). Les Warner won the print section with a photo of his cycle leaning against a tree in beautiful autumn scene.
Following the competition those present were treated to an excellent slide show of a cycling and mountaineering (yes real vertical rock face stuff!) by David Whittle. Many of the scenes were beautifully dramatic and the Italian mountains produced thrilling climbing shots.
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