"The West Surrey Cyclist" - Issue 6 - Spring 1987

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Contents:

Front cover - same as Issue 1
Inner front cover - advertisement - F. W. Evans "Woking Cycles"
Editorial - by Helen Juden
DA Committee 1987
News & Notices
For Sale - cycle
News of Members
Obituaries -
- Clary Loughnane
- Reg Best
" ... And Elgar Came Too" by Les Warner
Centre pages - the 'Yellow Pages' - useful DA information -
- Calendar of Events
- Wednesday Evening Rides - programme
- Events Programme - the runs list for April to June - included in the magazine as the centre four pages - the first time this was done.
- Benstead Challenge Cup Competition - 1987
- National Bike Week 1987
International Biketoon
"An Octagenarian's Touch of Nostalgia - a Christmas Tour in North Wales" by Stan Underwood
Cartoon - "Every Club Should Have One" - "A Bicycle Belle"
Godalming Town Centre Cycle Races
Accommodation - two advertisements
Normandy Tours 1987
"Five Days in Normandy"
Attendance Competition (interim results)
Inner back cover - advertisement - Pedal Pushers
Outer back cover - advertisement - Get On Your Bike

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


EDITORIAL

Hello!  Here's issue six of 'The West Surrey Cyclist' and the first from a new Editor.  I'm very grateful to Robert and Hazel Shiels and Gerry Crawshaw for all the hard work they put into starting and establishing the magazine.  I hope Robert's wish, to be able to enjoy reading a copy that he hadn't already seen so many times during its creation, will be fulfilled!

This issue introduces two new features.  First we have our very own 'yellow pages', a pull-out centre section consisting of the runs list and information about forthcoming events.  Runs lists are also available from group leaders and committee members as usual, and there are plenty of copies so please take a few to distribute for publicity purposes if you can.  Second we have the 'International Biketoon' on p.17, which we hope will become a popular item unashamedly stolen from one of the many worldwide cycling periodicals as deserving a wider audience.

Without the continuing support of our advertisers the magazine could not continue, so please mention that you saw their ad in 'The West Surrey Cyclist' when you go to these shops.  More advertisers would help to secure the magazine's future; please contact the editor if you can suggest possibilities.

Material for the next issue should be sent to me by 14 June at the latest, preferably before.  If you can type the piece please use l½ line spacing and a width of 16 cm (6¼ inches).  Handwritten articles are equally welcome, especially 'letters to the Editor'.  Thanks are due to Bill Inder, Denis Gray and Chris Jeggo for items which were held over this time.

Helen Juden



DA COMMITTEE 1987


President: Mr Bill Inder, 33 High Street, Horsell, Woking  Tel. Woking 72074
Chairman: Mr Chris Juden, 7 Llanaway Close, Godalming, GU7 3ED  Tel. Godalming 25794
Secretary: Mrs Marguerite Statham, Springwood, Morton Road, Horsell, Woking GU21 4TN  Tel. Woking 63289
Assistant Secretary: Mrs Ann Greening, 19 Ferndale Road, Horsell, Woking GU21 4AJ  Tel. Woking 62875
Treasurer:  Mr Mike Harlow, Fox Hollow, Sutton Place, Abinger Hammer, Dorking RH5 6RL  Tel. Dorking 731218
Runs Secretary: Mr Russ Mantle, 68 Haig Road, Aldershot GU12 4PR  Tel. Aldershot 28275
Social Secretary Mrs Gillian Smith, 6 Brooklyn Court, Brooklyn Road, Woking  Tel. Woking 61294
Events:  Mr Roy Banks, 21 Sundon Crescent, Virginia Water  Tel. Wentworth 2676
Publicity:  Mr David Whittle, 30 Sycamore Road, Guildford  Tel. Guildford 576067
Membership:  Mr David Pinkess, 17 Hawkswell Walk, Goldsworth Park, Woking  Tel. Woking 24093
Intermediate Group: Miss Helen Gill, Cottonwood Cottage, Lickfold Road, Rowledge  Tel. Frensham 2893
Councillor:  Mr Keith Parfitt, 24 Elmside, Onslow Village, Guildford  Tel. Guildford 60776
General Group: Mr Russ Mantle (see above)
Wayfarers Group: Mr Bill Inder (see above)

Magazine Editor: Mrs Helen Juden, 7 Llanaway Close, Godalming, GU7 3ED  Tel. Godalming 25794


NEWS AND NOTICES

CYCLING IN THE PEAK PARK   This one-week cycling holiday is based at Losehill Hall, the Peak District National Park Study Centre and the leader is our own Paul Holmes. Dates: 27 July-1 August. For further details phone Marguerite, Woking 63289.

LADIES WEEKEND   Owing to pressure of work and our impending move, I'm afraid I can't organise a weekend this spring.  Is there a lady member who would be prepared to do the 'donkey work'?  I would be pleased to help in any way I could.  Just phone me at Woking 61294 or Woking 72074.

Gill Smith

DA SPRING LUNCH   26 April after the '50' at Felbury House, Holmbury St Mary, 1.30 pm, which will give those of you riding the 50 or 25 mile rides time to rest before lunch!
Menu: soup, quiche and salad, gateau, tea or coffee.
Tickets £4, including glass of beer or cider, which must be paid for by 19 April.

Gill Smith

(Not transcribed at present:  Godalming Holiday Fun, Home Counties Rally (Essex), East End to Southend, British Cycle Touring Competition, Bikes on Trains.)

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS    Not all members may realise that when they pay their CTC subscription all the money goes to the national office to fund its operations. Local CTC groups, such as the West Surrey CTC, have to raise their own funds. About 18 months ago a scheme was set up whereby members could decide that a small part of their subscription should be paid to their DA. We have now decided to take advantage of this, so when you next renew your membership please complete and detach the '50p slip' and give it to our Treasurer or any committee member - don't send it to the CTC with your payment. Many thanks to those members who have already contributed in this way, their vouchers have now all been redeemed.

(Not transcribed at present:  North Wales Cycling Holiday.)



NEWS OF MEMBERS

CONGRATULATIONS to Claudia and Dave Whittle on the birth of their son, Gerald, on 10 January.  Unfortunately Claudia has not been well and is still in hospital.  We send our best wishes for her continued recovery and hope that the family will soon be together at home.




OBITUARIES

We have lost two of our older members in recent months.

Clary Loughnane, who first started riding with the D.A. in the late 1920's, died on 2nd November last, aged 82, as the result of a fall causing a broken hip.  He was living in Co.Kerry near the Lakes of Killarney and was buried at Aghadore.  Clary was the source of many pranks and much eccentric behaviour, as explained in more detail in the D.A's history - "Sixty years on."

Reg. Best suffered a heart attack and died on 27th December last at the age of 75.  He first rode with the West Surreys in 1931 and, being a strong rider, led some very tough runs.  The following year he led a party of eight on a night ride through London to Epping Forest for breakfast in Great Dunmow.  He also persuaded his neighbour Mr.Stewart to put a large room in his Horsell home at members' disposal as a club room and he started a series of articles for the "Woking Review" - on equipment as well as reporting the D.A's activities and these continued until his call-up in 1939.

Both Clary and Reg had served on the D.A. committee and although neither had taken a prominent part in our affairs in recent years, both contributed much during their more active years and older members will be saddened that they are no longer with us.

W.I.



... AND ELGAR CAME TOO.

Strange how from time-to-time along life's wandering highway one can acquire a hankering to visit a particular place.  It generally happens for no especial reason, or at least doesn't seem to;  sometimes the dream is sadly never realised;  yet the first awareness of the "call" can - over a long period of time - develop almost into an obsession.

I suppose it was rather like that with me and the Malvern Hills.  Not that I had never seen them, for stored away in the deep recesses of memory was a fleeting glimpse of their distinctive bulk as I hurried on a long haul home from a Whit weekend way back in the early fifties.  Twenty years or so later, they were sighted again from the train window as we clattered past en route for a family tour in mid-Wales.  Perhaps those two brief encounters had sown and nurtured the seeds of longing.  On the other hand, however, perhaps not:  rather, I think, was it a growing affection for the music of Elgar, much of whose life was bound-up in the area and who had somehow been able to breathe the very essence of the English countryside into his orchestral writing.  No, not the patriotic "Land of Hope and Glory" stuff:  that wasn't exactly his own favourite cup-of-tea, anyway.

Maybe I should admit to a little television influence as well, namely that now old but classic "Monitor" programme based on Elgar's life, with one particularly happy sequence depicting him pedalling away like mad on an early Rover Safety as he stormed the Malvern Hills.  Always an enthusiast for new inventions of the time, Elgar as a young man readily took to cycling, and spoke in later life of how "my friends had to go on long bicycle rides with me".  One of those friends was Rosa Burleigh, head-mistress of a local school, who has also recalled that "Edward and I used to cycle for miles together in the lovely countryside that surrounds the southern part of the Malvern Hills".

So there it was.  My own Holy Grail:  an equation of The Malverns = cycling = Elgar.  And on a memorable day in May 1986 I at last managed - as the saying goes - to "get my act together".

The curtain had in fact risen the previous morning, when Phil Parkinson and I set off on the first leg of the pilgrimage from the cherry-blossomed outskirts of Evesham, wheeling away through the lanes from our B&B cottage in the village of Little Comberton, to drop off the slopes of Bredon Hill and make for the Avon valley and Pershore - where the plums come from and the Abbey is a masterpiece.  The Severn lay ahead, and as our route to riverside Upton wound through the parkland of Croome Court there in the distance rose the Malverns, the long-backed ridge of hills - singular and proud above the plain, shimmering through the blue haze of the afternoon.  As Wordsworth "almost" said ...

... My heart leapt up when I beheld
them, painted on the sky.

No trouble booking in for a couple of nights at the YH:  a mere handful of us among the 54 beds - and consequently lashings of grub.  Anticipation-day dawned breezy and bright with spring sunshine, absolutely perfect as an opening theme.  With the pace appropriately 'moderato', we rode first to the centre of the town, there to turn steeply uphill and climb the winding hairpins to St Ann's Well.  The considerate local authority doesn't allow you to ride;  and for that excuse, much thanks!  From the Well onwards it's "Shank's Pony", anyway, so with the bikes abandoned behind the café and ourselves suitably refreshed by spa water from the spring (honest!) we made for the summit of Worcestershire Beacon.

Malvern itself dropped away below as the path took us high up, out onto the rolling, rounded slopes;  the nine-mile line of "tops" stretching north towards Worcester and more impressively southwards to the Herefordshire Beacon and the Forest of Dean way beyond.  And what a fortunate, marvellous time to be up there.  A wide blue bowl of a sky, clusters of drifting cumulus, and a boisterous wind to make you catch at your breath;  scattered white lambs wandering under the watchful eye of their wary mums, and some of England's loveliest "coloured counties" laid out at our feet.  Hardly another soul about, either;  though Elgar himself might have been at our shoulder.  He had mused that he might return to walk those Hills, and that - if so - the air would have been filled with his "Introduction and Allegro".  He would certainly have heard it that May morning.  For me, at least, it was everywhere:  that great uplifting surge of strings - rising to the Beacon and the heights beyond, and making light of the buffeting breeze.  One might go a hundred times and never find it so fair.

We thumbed our noses at authority and rode down the hairpins (good for a picture, anyway), particularly as less romantic matters were pressing:  Phil's rear wheel needed a new spoke - and it was nearly lunch-time.  Malvern Link provided both without difficulty;  in fact we found quite a good "bikie" shop with an ex-Londoner in charge who spied my Evans and turned out to know a number of the lads in the Redmon, and the neighbouring pub didn't take long to satisfy our appetites.  Hungry work, all that walking!

Then it was homage-time again, and to our astonishment (horror?) there - fixed on a lamp-standard just down the road was an official sign directing us along the "Elgar Route".  Complete with symbolic violin, too!  God save us from package-tourism and the English Tourist Board.  If it had been a little later in the year we might have cancelled our plan to visit the maestro's birthplace in the village of Broadheath, on the outskirts of Worcester:  today, however, we had the approaching lanes and the cottage almost entirely to ourselves.  It's a delightful, unpretentious little place, set in a well-tended garden, the Curator giving us a personal welcome as he came up the path with his afternoon cuppa (our hint that the pot might stretch a bit further obviously wasn't direct enough).  But, for once, tea was of secondary importance.  We entered the tiny front room to the haunting slow-movement strains of the "Serenade for Strings".  Piped maybe, but perfection.  The Curator started to explain the lay-out of the crowded museum, but I was off his wavelength.  "Leave him alone for a few minutes" said Phil, understanding as always, "until he comes down from Cloud Nine".

We had an interesting hour or so browsing among the memorabilia;  there's a lot of it, though Elgar spent only a brief part of his childhood in the cottage and never actually worked there.  Friend curator came to see us on our way as we retrieved the bikes, and enquired of our route back to Malvern.  "Do you know about the windflower?", he asked.  Strange question perhaps.  Well, I knew that it was a common name for the wood anemone, but also recalled that Elgar had referred to part of the Violin Concerto as having "windflower themes" as a way of writing into the music the pet-name he had for a lady of whom he was rather fond.  (.... and no Passes!)  Anyway, the upshot of it was that we were recommended to divert from our route at Berrow Green and take a narrow private lane (just mention my name if there's any trouble!) to the banks of the River Teme "where the windflowers and cowslips grow in profusion, undisturbed and unpicked:  a rare sight".

Dazzled by such an idyllic prospect in the May sunshine, we duly diverted.  The gritty lane plummeted dizzily down, not to the banks of the Teme at all - but straight into a farmyard, where we were all but savaged by a ratbag sheepdog.  Some idyll!  We foot-slogged back up the way we had descended, searching for the side-track we had obviously missed.  No sign of anything negotiable;  but there below lay the sparkling silver ribbon of the Teme, the hills on either side cloaked in the white geometry of well-tended orchards.  It was reward enough, but we saw not a single windflower.

There were drifts of cowslips in the fields, though, as the road wound on to Ravenhills Green, a picture-postcard landscape stretching out before us:  sheep safely grazing among the heavy-blossomed trees, a patchwork of green and brown fields cradling the river, and ahead the ever-beckoning Malverns - softer now in the evening light.  Down we coasted to Alfrick, to cross Leigh Brook where Elgar used to fish, and then a long, dragging climb up and over Birchwood Common.  Time was against us now;  so much so that I rode straight past the entrance to Birch Wood itself - the house where some of the best-loved music was written - without realising it.  Cloud Nine was obviously evaporating.

It was 'allegro vivace' all the way back to the hostel ... and we made it with about ten minutes to spare before the final coda of the supper-gong.  Time enough, though, to reflect a while on another memorable - and rather special - day:  cycling at its very best, and another ambition fulfilled.  In the years ahead, will the record I bought at Broadheath recall those few sunlit hours awheel in The Malverns?  Who knows? - though one of the short pieces is subtitled "That's for Remembrance".

I only hope, Sir Edward, that we conducted ourselves to your liking!

Les Warner



CALENDAR OF EVENTS

SUNDAY 26 April - 50 mile Reliability Ride - will start at the Scout HQ at Jacobs Well between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. and finish off at the Kings Head Holmbury St Mary.  Certificates for those finishing within 3½, 4, 4½ and 5 hours, also 10 pts for starting plus 40 for finishing within the time you chose before you started.

There will also be a club ride to the Kings Head starting at Victoria Railway Arch, Woking at 9.45 a.m.

All this will be followed by a CLUB LUNCH at 1.30 p.m. at FELBURY HOUSE, Holmbury St Mary - cost £4 to include a glass of wine or beer - tickets from Gillian Smith, Woking 61294.

SUNDAY 17 MAY - SPEEDJUDGING - a morning event starting near the Pride of the Valley Hotel, Rushmoor.  The 3½ mile course is ridden in both directions with the object of achieving similar times without the aid of a watch - all watches to be handed to the organiser before the start.  Winner 100 pts etc.  Winner also receives a badge.

SUNDAY 17 MAY - ROUGH STUFF - an afternoon event on Bramshott Common.  Penalties: 1 pt for 'foot down' or 'hand used for support', 3 pts for 'off course' or 'falling off'.  In the event of a tie the rider with the quickest time shall be the winner who receives a medal.  Winner 100 pts etc

SUNDAY 14 JUNE - 200km RIDE - starting at WANBOROUGH.  In this Audax UK reliability ride all riders will be issued with a Brevet card which has to be signed or stamped at all check points.  50 pts available: 10 for starting plus 40 for finishing in 14 hours.

SUNDAY 19 JULY - TOUR OF THE HILLS - 100 km Reliability Ride.  An event run under the rules of Audax UK.  Special West Surrey medals available for finishing within 5 or 7 hours.  Some 6000 feet of climbing over 15 major climbs - no climb repeated.  50 pts available: 10 for starting plus 40 for finishing in 7 hours.

SUNDAY 13 SEPTEMBER - 100 mile reliability ride.  Certificates for riders completing in 7, 8, 9 and 10 hours so long as you finish within the time you stated before you started.  50 points: 10 for starting and 40 for finishing within your chosen time.  Also a 50 mile club ride (no points!)
 
SUNDAY 11 OCTOBER HILLCLIMB.  Winner 100 pts plus a badge.
FREEWHEELING - a descent of Wheatley Hill.  Saddlebags, tool kits, capes etc must be removed and crank firmly strapped to bike frame.  Winner 100 pts also a badge.  No tandems!

OTHER DATES

22 - 26 May - a tour of Normandy with Les Moss (Woking 63262) starting at Cherbourg or approx 1 week with Gillian Smith (Woking 61294) starting at CAEN.

JUNE - Approx one week in North Devon with Wednesday Rider John Ostrom (W.73777)

SUNDAY 8 NOVEMBER - AGM

SATURDAY 28 NOVEMBER - Photographic Competition



WEDNESDAY EVENING RIDES

Short, easy rides in the Godalming area will be held on Wednesday evenings during the summer.  All rides start from the CTC office, Meadrow, at 7.30 pm prompt.

The rides will explore local lanes and tracks before concluding at a nearby pub with garden.  Every four weeks the ride will finish at the CTC clubroom, Guildford Rowing Club, Shalford Road, where there is a bar and social evening.
 
13 May The Squirrel, Hurtmore
20 May Ram Cider House, Godalming
27 May Merry Harriers, Hambledon
 3 June CTC Clubroom, Guildford Rowing Club
10 June Cider House, Shackleford
17 June The Villagers, Blackheath
24 June Jolly Farmer, Puttenham
 1 July CTC Clubroom, Guildford Rowing Club
 8 July The Stag, Eashing
15 July The Parrot, Shalford
22 July The Star, Witley
29 July CTC Clubroom, Guildford Rowing Club
 5 August Grantley Arms, Wonersh
12 August Ram Cider House, Godalming
19 August Harrow, Compton
26 August CTC Clubroom, Guildford Rowing Club

Families are welcome but no unaccompanied under-12s please.  All cycles must have lights.  For further details phone Chris and Helen Juden on Godalming 25794.



BENSTEAD CHALLENGE CUP COMPETITION - 1987

The Benstead Challenge Cup was presented to the West Surrey D.A. in 1937 by Archibald Benstead, who was then Vice President of the D.A.  The Committee of the time decided on a programme of varied events, designed to give all riders as fair a chance as possible of emerging as the best all-round cyclist in the D.A.  The competition has continued to be popular from then on with the only break being from 194O to 1946 when members were in HM Forces.

The Cup is awarded annually to the West Surrey member who has accumulated the greatest number of points from the specified events.  Besides holding the cup for one year, the winner receives an engraved medal to keep, as does the runner-up.  The specified events are listed below, but should any events attract less than 4 entrants it shall not count towards the Benstead Cup Competition.  Points will be awarded on a percentage basis in all competitive events, e.g. if there are 20 entrants the winner received 100 pts, 2nd - 95, 3 - 90 etc.  Non-finishers receive the average number of points appropriate to the places not filled, e.g. if there are 3 non-finishers in a field of 20 they will each receive 10 pts.  In Reliability Rides 50 pts are available for finishing within the required time; non-finishers will receive 10 pts.

All D.A. rides and events are intended for tourists on touring machines, therefore only riders on machines fitted with full mudguards can figure in the results of any D.A. event or gain points towards the Benstead Cup competition.  Tricycles are exempt from this rule, due to the difficulty in fitting mudguards.  All competitive events are restricted to solo machines, but tandems are accepted in Reliability Rides.  No entry shall be valid without payment of the entry fee prior to the start of the event.  The standard entry fee is 25p - under 16yrs 15p - but the 200km Reliability Ride, 'Tour of the Hills', costs more, due to the expense involved in running these events.  Points towards the competition will be taken from any two of the four Reliability Rides, but members are encouraged to ride them all.

A D.A. Badge is now available to those completing two or more of the Reliability Rides, '50', '100', '200km' and 'Tour of the Hills'.  A Gold Badge is awarded for completing all four rides.  A Silver for completing three and a Bronze for completing two.  An organiser will be appointed for each event by the D.A. Committee.  When possible the results will be announced shortly after the completion of the event.  Any protest must be lodged with the organiser within 30 mins of the completion of the event, following which the decision of the committee shall be final.  Riders must observe the Highway Code at all times - failure to do so can result in disqualification.  One entering an event of any sort does so completing at his/her own risk, and no liability will be accepted by the Organiser, the D.A. or the CTC.

ATTENDANCE - run on a yearly basis from 1 October to 30 September.  Points are awarded for attendance on Sunday runs and events which appear on the D.A. Runs List.  Morning start 1 point; elevenses 1 pt; lunch 1 pt; tea 1 pt so long as you are there at the stated tea time.  To gain points towards the Benstead cup from the competition, riders must have a minimum of 10 attendance points, winner 100 pts etc.  Winner also receives the Edwards Attendance Cup and a badge.  The highest placed junior receives the Junior Attendance cup (under 18yrs at 30 September).



NATIONAL BIKE WEEK
16th-24th May 1987

West Surrey CTC are promoting five special invitation rides during National Bike Week.  These will be easy rides on quiet country lanes suitable for beginners and occasional cyclists and will be led by experienced members.
 
Saturday 16 May Afternoon ride starting from the Wheatsheaf Recreation Ground, Woking, at 2.30 pm.  Home for tea, leader Bill Inder.
Saturday 16 May Afternoon ride starting from Farnham Sports Centre at 2.30 pm.  Home for tea, leader Helen Gill.
Wednesday 20 May Evening ride starting from the CTC office, 68 Meadrow, Godalming, at 7.30 pm.  Concluding at the Ram Cider House, Godalming at approx. 9 pm, leader Chris Juden.
Sunday 24 May Morning ride starting from the Clock House, Ripley. at 9.45 am.  Coffee at the Burford Bridge cafe, home for lunch, leader Gill Smith.
Sunday 24 May All-day ride starting from Guildford Central Library at 9.15 am.  Coffee at Darnleys, Haslemere; lunch Wisborough Green and tea at Peaslake Parlour, 5 pm.  Leader Helen Gill.

All members, friends and newcomers are welcome.  For further information contact Marguerite Statham, Tel. Woking 63289.

Organisers:
Cyclists' Touring Club, Transport 2000, Cycle Campaign Network, RoSPA, ACT, British Cycling Federation, Friends of the Earth, RTTC.
Sponsored by:
Cycling Weekly The UK's Biggest Selling Cycle Magazine
 



An Octogenarian's Touch of Nostalgia - a Christmas Tour in North Wales

Weatherwise, December 1928 was pretty much the same as 1986 - mild but wet - and, despite the time of year, two buddies and I had set our hearts on a tour to discover some of the magic associated with the mountains of Welsh Wales.

At the age of 22 I had been a club cyclist for three years and a member of the National Cyclists Union before that.  My companions were Don.Wallis, the same age as myself, and Cecil Smith familiarly known in the Charlotteville C.C. as "Smiggs".  He was a couple of years older and was - and still is - a friend of the two Bills - Inder and Stickley.  Wallis was the proud owner of a Freddy Grubb machine;  mine was a Selbach while Smiggs had just got one of the new Sporting Sunbeams.  Practically the only gears available were Sturmy Archers but nearly all club cyclists rode fixed wheels with a different sized sprocket on each side of the hub so that the wheel had to be reversed for a lower or higher gear.

For night riding Wallis and I had Lucas Silver King oil lamps while Smiggs boasted a Lucas King of the Road acetylene job that gave a better light than the present day dynamo, having a longer and wider beam.  There was no wind-cheating clothing in those days but we all wore plus-fours and, if one wanted to keep warm, a scarf was necessary to cover the open fronted sports jackets.

I lived in West End near the Gordon Boys' Home so we all met at the nearby cross roads (now a roundabout) and we started off by riding through Bagshot and Bracknell to Reading and, passing Wallingford, we stopped in Dorchester for a meal at the Fleur de Lys a pub we used for tea sometimes.  Then it was on again to Oxford and Chipping Norton.  We had a look round the place then pushed on to Long Compton, a village of stone and thatched cottages where the Charlotteville sometimes went for week-ends.

After a comfortable night there we continued next day through Shipston on Stour, Stratford on Avon and Alcester and so into Worcester - another interesting old town that we stopped to explore.

By way of Kidderminster and Bridgnorth we stayed the next night at a little place called Craven Arms but it was a long haul across the Shropshire hills before we crossed into the enduring magic of Wales and came to Llangollen, a town that I have stayed in several times over the years.  Then the valley road led to Bettws y Coed where I saw the Swallow Falls for the first time.  They were in full spate but by then it was beginning to get dark so I saw the falls with the aid of Smiggs' gas lamp.  In those days nearly every other house seemed to have a C.T.C. appointment sign and the going rate for B & B was about 5s/6d (27½p).  Circulating round through Capel Curig we stayed the night in Beddgelert, a lovely little village nestling in the heart of a majestic landscape with the Snowdon range rising steeply to the north.  I was so impressed with the beauty of the place that I have stayed there lots of times since.

Next day we carried on to Ffestiniog and Portmadoc.  (Years later I stayed there for a week with my wife and daughter when we were in that area by car).  After a little place with a big name - Penrhyndeudraeth - our route took us to Dolgellau and across to Bala Lake which I believe is the largest lake in Wales.  Later we retraced our route for a few miles then took a track that would lead us over the Berwyns to Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceriog.  Wallis said he knew the way and this caused quite an argument between him and Smiggs during the next three or four hours.  We had previously booked in for two nights at The West Arms in Llanarmon which in those days was a favourite place for cyclists.  We had left Bala Lake at five o'olock and it was now dark.  According to Wallis's reckoning we still had about twenty miles to do and it was now pouring with rain.  After about two hours I had come to the conclusion that we were going to spend the night on the Berwyns however, after a lot of cussing and swearing from the other two we finally made it to the West Arms.  It was now about an hour and a half after midnight but we need not have worried as the place was all lit up and there was a party going on.  They were all cyclists - C.T.C. groups from Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham as well as several others like ourselves.

After a good clean up and something to eat, we joined in the fun.  I don't think anyone had much sleep that night but we made up for it the following night.  I think that night crossing of the Berwyns was one of the most frightful experiences of my life;  a recurring nightmare.  Looking at the A.A. handbook some years later, I found that the West Arms has since become a five star hotel.  I cannot remember which way we went the next morning but we stopped in Welshpool and somewhere after that Wallis left us.  We still had another day and I recall walking up the steep hill out of Broadway to spend the night at Stow-on-the-Wold.

As there was not much of a mileage left, we pottered home on the final day and that, more or less, was the end of 1928 for us.

I lost track of Wallis years ago but Smiggs is now 83 years of age and lives in Bournemouth.  He is practically blind but gets plenty of walking exercise.  My wife has been a total invalid for the last sixteen years so I am not very much in circulation in the D.A. although, for a number of years, I have been a regular Thursday Nighter so I manage to keep in touch.

Stan. Underwood


First published in 'Wheelmarks', the magazine of South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire CTC, and reproduced with thanks.



GODALMING TOWN CENTRE CYCLE RACES

Closed circuit racing comes to Godalming on Bank Holiday Monday, 4 May, with an afternoon of races promoted by David Sears of 'Get on Your Bike'.  Invitations have been sent to Godalming's twin towns, Mayen in Germany and Joigny in France, in the hope of attracting overseas entries to make the races an international event.

The course will be along High Street, Bridge Street, The Burys and Moss Lane which should make for exciting racing as it features an acute bend and a stretch of cobbles.  The main event, for 1st and 2nd category riders, will be 1 hour plus five laps, with shorter races for 2nds and 3rds, and Juniors and Ladies.  The four-hour programme starts at 1 pm and will include a postman's race and vintage cycle display as well as entertainment from the Town Band.

The cost of promoting the event is estimated at about £2000, including a prize list of nearly £300.  The Borough Council and several local businesses, including traders around the course, have pledged support but David is still working hard to sign-up more sponsors.  As well as monetary prizes, sponsors have donated bottles of champagne and bouquets of flowers which will be presented to the three winners by the Mayor of Godalming.

Road race licence holders have until 13 April to enter to the Farnham Road Club which is administering the races under BCF rules.

Helpers will be needed before, during and after the races to set-out the course, marshall and clear-up.  We hope that members will volunteer their services to support what must be the biggest promotion of cycling seen in Godalming for many years - please phone David Sears on Godalming 20055.  We plan to display the CTC publicity stand near the course; if you can help with this please phone Keith Parfitt on Guildford 60776.



NORMANDY TOURS 1987

Following the highly successful club tour to Normandy last year, two trips have been planned for May 1987.

21-25 May Tour from Cherbourg organised by Les Moss (Woking 63262)

22 May for one week, tour organised by Gill Smith (Woking 61294)

Both tours have now been booked but it may still be possible for late applicants to be accommodated, subject to availability of ferry tickets.  Interested members should contact the organisers as soon as possible.  To wet your appetite here's an account of last year's trip.



FIVE DAYS IN NORMANDY

From the 23rd to the 27th May the lush and sunny countryside of Normandy became the happy hunting ground for 15 West Surrey C.T.C. members.  By train or car, 11 men and 4 ladies arrived at Portsmouth in drizzle to catch the 9.15am ferry to Cherbourg.  In brighter weather they docked at 3pm French time and cycled into the hills behind the sprawling town for coffee in a humble wayside cafe.  Only a few yards from the window was one of those primative al fresco "toilets" for men that caused much amusement and - no doubt feigned - embarrassment among our ladies.  The hotel in Valognes put on a lavish evening meal that left the party in high spirits.  On Saturday the riders split into three groups, between them covering a wide area that included Utah invasion beaches, Carentan and Periers.  The main party stayed overnight in La Haye while the rest had a comfortable billet in the historic old town of Coutances.  Sunday brought sunshine all day, some getting as far south as Granville, others getting very sunburnt on the beach at Coutainville.  Bill Inder dozed away the afternoon only to be told on awakening that he had missed all the topless ladies sunning themselves.  However, he confessed to be too old to find much interest in such goings on and anyway had got over all that nonsense years ago.  Nearly all the rides were confined to second class roads - all in excellent condition in contrast to the deplorable state of roads on this side of the channel.  On Monday all the riders converged on Valognes for another memorable evening meal that, amid much hilarity, lasted nearly three hours and at the end there were a great many "dead men" or empty bottles littering the table.  Even so, most of the party went into the town for a final nightcap.  Tuesday saw the trek back to Cherbourg to rain the hyper-market before boarding for the 4½ hour crossing to Portsmouth.

Altogether a most enjoyable trip with many thanks due to Les.Moss and Geoff Hone for fixing tickets and accommodation.  Les was also the chief linguist with help from Joy Adams.  One of the week-end's laughs was the sight of George Alesbury parading along the corridor in his silk dressing gown.


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Web page by Chris Jeggo.  Last revised:  12 March 2005.