"The West Surrey Cyclist" - Issue 15 - Summer 1989
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There's an understandable but unfortunate tendancy amongst club cyclists to classify cycle users as 'real' cyclists or bike riders. This attitude does not help us to acheive our objectives of promoting and protecting recreational cycling, because one of the most effective ways of doing to is to increase our numbers, thus strengthening our minority. Is this our objective? Well if we consider ourselves as part of the CTC it should be, because that's the purpose of the whole club. But I wonder if some of our riders maintain their membership mainly to facilitate the arrangement of cycle excursions and social gatherings of like-minded fellows where ousiders are neither encouraged nor welcomed. Such a person doesn't need the CTC to go for rides by private invitation, but does the CTC need his membership? - that's a more difficult question to answer.
We all started cycling in a modest way once upon a time, and perhaps we should reflect on how much we enjoyed some early rides when we may have been inept and ill-equipped.
One of the greatest expressions of CTC club spirit is the annual rally at York. This comprises rides, arena events and evening activities, but most importantly a gathering of thousands of cyclists of all persuasions ( and the biggest public cycle show in the country - which is free!). A few Surrey members will be going, but generally there is very little support from the South East compared with other parts or the country. There's usually strong representation from Scotland, and Glasgow and Edinburgh are no nearer York than we are. Does this indicate a more vigorous club spirit in the north, or do southerners expect anything of any significance to occur on their own doorstep?
Dunley Hill will be closed on Saturday 1 July and Saturday 16 September. Pirbright Village Hall finishes doing teas on Sundays on 27 August.
Jerseys - order now for Christmas ! Phone Marguerite on Woking 63289. Long sleeves £14, short sleeves £13, track top £15, showerproof jacket £17. Embroidery of club name is £3.85 extra. Orders by 16 July please. Cloth club badges £2.25.
For Sale - track top, size 42" with West Surrey CTC on the back. Not worn: £18. Phone Marguerite.
Congratulations to Helen and Chris Juden who are awaiting the arrival of a brother or sister for Matthew in November.
Join us in the Woking Whirl procession on Saturday 8 July at approx. 12.30 pm. Les Bowerman has agreed to join us with some of his veteran machines so please let's have a good West Surrey turn out. You will be free after the procession has finished at about 2.30 pm so we could cycle to tea somewhere if you wish. Phone Marguerite NOW.
Marguerite is not available on numerous Sundays during the next three months so please look at the runs list and help if you can, otherwise the Woking Wayfarers could fall apart!
Harry, the new Wayfarer is progressing very well and has been out to coffee on two Tuesdays with the midweek wayfarers. He has also enjoyed an excellent weekend in the New Forest testing his new mountain bike on the tracks. His cooking is also improving .....
Several people took part in the Home Counties Rally at Brockham at the end of May. Gerry Hulbert camped with his two daughters, a cousin and a dog. About seven people joined the rides on the Saturday and the Sunday, and Chris Juden gave the slide show, with Colin Quemby, on the Saturday night.
SWIMMING - SWIMMING - SWIMMING - SWIMMING - SWIMMING - SWIMMING
Come to tea and have a swim in the heated outdoor pool at the Harlows on Sunday 9 July starting from 3 pm. Mike and Jenny Harlow, Foxhollow, Sutton Place, Hoe Lane, Peaslake/Abinger.
NEW FOREST - NEW FOREST - NEW FOREST - NEW FOREST - NEW FOREST
Easy ride on New Forest tracks with a picnic lunch on Sunday 30 July. Train assisted to Brockenhurst. Details from Marguerite.
We have been invited to spend a day in Kent with the South West London DA on Sunday 20 August. Meeting point Lullingstone Golf Club Car Park 10.30 am, ref. OS 188 508646. Phone Marguerite if you need a lift.
Many Thanks to Ian Parker for organising the Petal Power ride. A beautiful route and a sunny day combined to make a very pleasant excursion for those club members who rode, though they were again greatly outnumbered by Surrey Wildlife Trust supporters and friends. According to the local press this is an annual event - let's have a better turn out for the third-time-lucky next year!
Forthcoming events: remember the following special events arranged for your enjoyment, full details on the runs list.
|Tourist Trial||16 July|
|Tour of the Hills||13 August|
|100 mile Reliability Ride||17 September|
Many thanks to Marguerite for compiling these notes, snippets of news are always welcome, just write to or phone the Editor before the next copy date.
Hazel and I formed the advance guard and packed cycles into the car for the short trip to "Smith" country on Maundy Thursday. We arrived at the club base, Greenbank Farm Guest House near Falfield on the A38 at 11.00 hrs having left Camberley at 09.30 hrs. Our hosts were not at home and the day being windy but fine the cycles were made roadworthy and we headed North for lunch in Berkeley once the home of Dr Jenner the inventor of innoculation and now the location of museum to his memory. Berkeley also possesses a rather fine castle and lunch was taken in the quiet old world town centre.
No trip to this part of the world for those interested in ornitholigy is complete without a walk around Slimbridge, home of Sir Peter Scott and several thousand wild birds. It was our first visit but won't be our last. The wildfowl are anything but and almost peck the camera lens at picture time. Our trip back to Falfield was marred by the weather forecast coming true and it says much for our hosts that they were not startled by two extremely wet cyclists explaining they were part of the weekend group from under their Goretex hoods whilst dripping gently onto the 16th Century farmhouse stone floor.
Good Friday proved rather better than Maundy Thursday but the wind strength had increased so our ride down through Oldbury-on-Severn to Chateau Smith at Alveston proved to be a hard slog in low gear into the teeth of a full gale. The rest of the DA Group arrived at Gillian and Hamish's house in dribs and drabs and by 15.00 hrs all were met and a short ride proposed. Hamish lead the group of 9 visitors down towards Pilning on the flat estuary side roads into the now slackening wind. A return crossing onto the Eastern side of the A38 revealed the pleasant but rather more hilly nature of this part of the country. The main revelation to our party was the miles of country lane almost bereft of motor cars, a more extreme contrast to our Surrey lanes would be difficult to imagine.
Saturday morning saw the group staying at Greenbanks joined by Gillian and Hamish, Joy, Marguerite and George at 10.30 hrs and then ensued a pleasant but occasionally muddy ride up towards Wooton-under-Edge. Those of us who did'nt peel off with Gillian i.e. all of us, were soon to discover the merit of her alternative route as Hamish lead us up the edge bit of Wooton. We were told that the view down onto Wooton was spectacular but most of us could'nt appreciate it fully as eyeballs were still misted on the inside after the climb. An excellent and cheap lunch at the Black Horse in North Nibley soon restored spirits and leg muscles and a downhill swoop to the estuary followed giving us all the chance for a look at Berkeley and its back lanes. Saturday was the only day on which Chris Jeggo was able to join the rides due to family commitments but he proved on the climbs that he's still getting plenty of miles in.
Saturday night saw us enjoy an excellent dinner in the Anchor Inn at Oldbury-on-Severn and the cost of £5 per head excluding wine gives the lie to prices now charged in Surrey: highway robbery has always been a local tradition hereabouts!. Those of us stopping at Greenbanks enjoyed an excellent glass or three of Port courtesy of Gerry as we night capped in front of the inge nooked fireplace. This tour was beginning to take on all the grander style of a Chris Greening gourmet trip.
Sunday morning saw the second puncture of the tour in Gerry's back wheel on our trip from Greenbanks to the Aust Service area over looking the Severn Bridge. Fortunately the weather had now changed for the best and sun had got its hat on whilst I wished I'd brought one. The first puncture, incidentally happened to Hamish in Gillians back wheel!
After the group crossed the excellent cycleway on the Severn Bridge George proved he still has an eye for the ladies by turning back to Alveston with Hazel and Gillian who had recognised a Grimpeur's gleam in Hamish's eye as we headed into Wales. In brilliant sun shine the remainder of the group set off through the back lanes to Hamish's selected lunch stop at Llantisant. We never reached it since at 12.30 the lunch mutinied at Shirenewton some 7 hilly miles away from Llantrisant and sat down in the sunshine for an excellent lunch at the pub made slightly more interesting by the sight of two workers for charity engaged in a sponsored 63 hr roof top sit-in. This gave a whole new meaning to the phrase 'a night on the tiles!.
More climbing followed lunch for a circuit of Wentwood but the group were able to relax in the sunshine amidst a bank of wild daffodils whilst my puncture proof Nutrak rear tyre had its puncture repaired!. The rest was sufficiently enjoyed by all and even the victim restarted riding in a happy frame of mind.
A terrific downhill run from Cadira beeches saw us cross the Severn Bridge once more and one last knee bending hill allowed us to reach Alveston and the welcome sight of Gillians teapot and biscuit barrel. During our trip into Wales it became clear over tea that George, Gillian and Hazel had engaged in a major pub crawl around Alveston (George recommends the Ship Hotel and his friendly waitress Melanie!) but the official story was that gardening at Gillians was thirsty work and one had to be suitably refreshed before starting to weed the front lawn beds!.
Sunday night saw the whole group monopolise the beautiful dining room at Greenbanks for an excellent candlelit meal. Wine flowed in abundance and after dinner in the lounge we all had difficulty keeping awake during my slide show of a recent walk in the Himalayas. Eventually the faint hearted retired to bed but at this stage Gerry sweet talked our hostess into producing a large jug of the local Gully Farm cider (a mixture of pear and apple, smooth and dry). Eventually even the hardened night owls retired upstairs with minds full of the beautiful sights during the day's ride, the good food enjoyed, the excellent wines tasted, visions of Gully Farm cider presses and most of all the good company enjoyed during the holiday.
I'm pleased to report that all our riders reached home safely on Monday. Hazel and I stayed slightly longer to enjoy another excellent ride in brilliant sun with Gillian and Hamish to sample the delights of Wickwar and Iron Acton, both villages with sights and stories to delight the cycletourst.
Finally, on behalf of us all, a Big Thank You to the Smiths for making such a wonderful weekend for us all. Don't move back we want to visit again soon!.
Briton Racing Bikes, owned by Dave Edwards, a member of Farnborough and Camberley CC, has been at 77 Victoria Road (tel. 544035) for nearly eighteen months. Do not be put off by the shop's name: Dave caters for touring, all-terrain, and family cyclists too. He does not build frames, but can arrange frame repairs and re-enamelling. The stock includes Gazelle, Holdsworth and Italian frames, Falcon and Claud Butler bikes, clothing, Karrimor, Cinelli, and Shimano.
Actually I feel quite excited at the prospect of an excellent days ride ahead in spite of the fact that British Rail is doing its best to stop me from getting home by having engineering works and therefore a bus service on part of my original route home. So I am now approaching the day with an open mind on where to have lunch and threeses. Mike should have breakfast planned and Roger has arranged coffee. I have a choice of train journeys home with various distances of cycling, and failing all else I shall phone Harry! So here goes ..... I am ready to rise to the challenge - albeit slowly - as first thing in the morning is not my best time.
4.25 am I am now fully dressed and on the toast and marmalade course. My saddlebag is laden with Trackers and Ribenas and I am almost ready for the off. The birds are in full song outside and the sound is magnificent. It will be a pleasure to join them. Do I, or don't I, wake Harry with a cup of tea?
4.48 am and I'm off. Glad I've brought my gloves. It's a lovely morning - a slightly red sky - could mean rain later - but in the meantime I shall enjoy myself. Yes, I did take Harry a cup of tea.
5.00 am Here I am at Woking Market just like the runs list said. I've met about six cars and eight pigeons. Good heavens, some more cyclists - it's David and Helen. What a lovely surprise.
5.55 am Newlands Corner in the sunshine with hardly a cloud in the sky. The ground mist in places on the way here was really picturesque. Not many wild animals around although David said he'd seen a fox outside Waitrose! Enough waiting, Mike, Roger, Phil and Geoff are ready to go.
7.24 am 26.8 miles and we think that the Broadbridge Heath Happy Eater is closed. Had a lovely ride over Farley Heath and Smithwood Common. Did see another fox but that was about all.
7.30 am They've opened specially for us. What a rush!
8.40 am On the move again. Mike goes home. We met a South West London DA section in the Happy Eater, also on a breakfast ride.
10.20 am 45.3 miles and Fulking has no coffee shop!
10.45 am 47.4 miles, the Tottington Manor Hotel does have coffee!
11.15 am off again towards Steyning (which also has a coffee shop but we didn't stop).
12.50 pm 61.6 miles and we arrive at Storrington and decide to stop for lunch.
2.05 pm David and Helen decide to head for home. (They later told me they arrived home at about 7.30 pm and did 109 miles).
2.55 pm 68.8 miles and on top of the South Downs. The rough stuff was bone dry and rideable and the views were superb.
3.45 pm 77.8 miles and we arrive at Littlehampton for threeses.
4.30 pm We leave Littlehampton and ride to Barnham together where Roger and Geoff peel off to cycle home. Phil and I continue to Rowlands Castle, stopping after 95 miles to buy an ice lolly!
6.50 pm 101.7 miles and we arrive at the station. Phil says cheerio and cycles back to Farnborough. I fall into the 6.57 pm train to Woking.
8.20 pm wow - 103.8 miles - home! What a fantastic day!
Roger reached the Little Chef at Milford at 7.30 pm - munched his way through a few goodies and continued his journey home to clock 120 miles. Geoff left Roger at Milford to cycle home to Elstead. This was Geoff's first day out with us!
What happened to Phil? - did he get home - how far did he ride? Will there be a conclusion in the next magazine - watch this space!
During the Easter tour the topic of hills climbed/to be climbed, was never far from people's thoughts. The question of altitude was raised again during the slide show of Nepal.
I would be very interested in seeing a list of club members' best attained altitudes in the next magazine, covering both UK and overseas. In my experience this sort of seed often germinates into plans for intersting cycle tours. For the record my own best altitudes on a bicycle are:
I was concerned to learn, from letters in your Spring issue, that Ian Parker believes that Marguerite Statham rides backwards up hills after dark.
So, on the occasion of the Woking Bikeathon, I asked Marguerite to introduce me to Ian. I have to report that he had not had to resort to the same tactic - although he had reached the stage of being stationary!
Merseyside/Chester & N.Wales DAs
You all know the Limerick! What else would you call a child-back tandem with wheels of different sizes? William is quite a good stoker when he remembers to push the pedals, while his big brother Michael on a solo is not allowed the luxury of forgetting, if he wants to keep up with us. Fortunately, the expression "It's not fair!" is banned in our family. As Michael followed us into Woking Station on 19th March it is possible that he muttered "It's inequitable!", but he was too breathless to be really audible.
Claudia, David and Gerald Whittle joined our train at Guildford. Having alighted at Havant, we pedalled through the town looking for a cafe. After a while we asked some passers-by, and eventually realised that the Station Buffet was the only one open on a Sunday morning, and we were jolly well not going back, so we made do with chocolate bars and fizzy drinks from a newsagent, much to the delight of some members of the party.
Warblington has, mercifully, not yet been engulfed by Havant.
The church occupies a peaceful spot overlooking Emsworth Channel and Hayling
Island. The bell was summoning worshippers to mattins as we arrived,
but what we had come to see was in the churchyard. The small brick
buildings which now contain gardening impedimenta originally sheltered
watchmen who used to guard the graves against body-snatchers creeping up
from the harbour under cover of darkness.
The old A27 into Emsworth was busier than we expected, because we could see plenty of traffic on the new A27, the bypass. Once off the main road, the predominantly 19th Century streets were pleasant enough, leading us to the harbour, where we had come to see a tidal mill. The mill itself is now a sailing club. Strictly Private, but we were able to admire the building's exterior, and see the retaining wall for the mill pond and some remains of the sluices etc. which were used to control the water.
Even the OS map currently on sale only shows the new A27 as under construction, while mine did not show it at all, so we found out the hard way that it has cut several of the north-south lanes. We were not much delayed, and soon rolled into Bosham for lunch. Then, after a quick look round the village and the church, we started our ride round Bosham Harbour by picking our way through the seaweed on the tidal road, where some unobservant visitors park their cars, only to find that they fare no better than Canute.
Our final sight-seeing was an interesting hour spent at the Fishbourne Roman Palace. The mosaics are the centre piece of the display, but since I was there last an audio-visual presentation has been added and a small museum opened. A run through the lanes back to Havant Station rounded off a good day out, all the more enjoyable for being beyond our normal orbit.
A fortnight later Devizes undertook a weekend tour to Jordans Youth Hostel, near Beaconsfield. This time Lynette came too. We met up with our friends the Badcoe family from Mytchett, and Geoff and Matthew Streeter from Sunningdale (who had learned of the trip from "DA News") at the "Fox and Hounds" near Windsor Great Park's Bishops Gate. As there were no children's favourites on the menu, we headed for Old Windsor where we found a pub serving, amongst other things, William's beloved tomato ketchup, chips and sausages.
Our route to Jordans was pretty direct, via Windsor, Eton, Dorney and Burnham Beeches, where we stopped for tea and ice creams. It is a good hostel, better equipped than the average simple grade. The wardens are friendly too: after a few words with them we added wine to the shopping list which the three dads took to the supermarket in Beaconsfield. After cooking and eating our supper, we lingered over our wine while the children tired themselves out in the hostel grounds. We were already well into tomorrow's bottle!
Later, the children having been sent to bed, Geoff innocently asked,
"Does anyone play bridge?". Before you could say "Four no hearts
undoubled" the cards were dealt. The children unwittingly enjoyed
the game too, because we could not be bothered to do anything about the
chatter and giggles coming from the dormitory.
Next morning we rode into Beaconsfield to visit the model village, which is delightful. The variety of models is tremendous, and the shop name puns are amusing. After lunch we split up, the ladies wanting a lazy afternoon, while the lads rode a loop to the north through Penn Street and Chalfont St. Giles. The second evening passed as pleasantly as the first. It was difficult to believe that it was already eleven o'clock when the warden came to close the common room.
Sunday morning was wet, which reinforced our plan to find out a bit about Quakers by joining them in the historic Meeting House next door to the hostel. There is no service, nor does anyone officiate. Everyone sits in silence for an hour, except that Friends may address the assembled company if they feel so moved. Three people spoke for a few minutes. The rest of the time I read a small book about Quakerism which I had bought on the way in. I am not religious, but I was surprised to find how close Quaker philosophy is to my own.
The rain had stopped by the time we reached "The Jolly Woodman" at Littleworth Common for lunch, and we had a fine ride back via Dorney, Boveney, the Thames towpath, Eton and Windsor Great Park.
Although this is the first article I have written about Devizes, it may be the last. Matthew, aged seven, did the Jordans trip on his solo, which William, aged eight, found an affront to his dignity. After I have finished writing this, my next job is to fit a carrier to William's solo in readiness for our next weekend tour, to Winchester YH, arranged by Geoff.
The well known scenic railway journey, albeit behind a diesel locomotive, was much enjoyed by all. British Rail excelled itself by providing us with a large genial guard, who collected fares and stoically wrote a ticket (in duplicate) for all, then stuffed notes and coins into coat and trouser pockets! There must be a better way.
The weather was fine and remained so for the duration of our stay.
On arrival at Carlisle, George A. (who had already provided us with a route map) led us to the Information Centre where he collected leaflets and a local map. By quiet ways we left the town and within a few miles were sampling excellent mild ale and food at Low Crosby before cycling on to see Hadrian's Wall and riding on it in places, until we found a welcome cuppa at Birdoswald Roman Fort and farm.
Then to Brampton where some of us again enjoyed a country house atmosphere in rooms graced with magnificent decorative coves and ceilings. All gathered in the town for the evening meal. Next day George led a group on the direct route over quiet roads through beautiful scenery to Dufton whilst Roger led a longer and tougher ride over higher ground.
Dufton was just off the Pennine Way, as witnessed by signposts, and our stay at Dufton Hall Farm was marked by a meal that I thought was fantastic. Perish the thought that the roast lamb had been gambolling on the hillside that morning! Leeks in a white sauce, topped by grilled cheese, led the writer to gluttony.
The next day's ride to Hawes followed the same pattern, with the party split into two groups. A lunchtime stop by our party at Aysgill Craft Centre proved how travelled are we cyclists, when I spotted that Ron Powney, Kingston Phoenix and South West London Wayfarers, had signed the visitors' book two days before.
Incidentally, much of our ride followed the Cumbria Cycleway.
Hawes was a pleasant unspoiled town, as were most of the smaller towns we passed through.
Next morning at the start of the ride from the town, my chain decided to double up on itself which necessitated the removal of a link pin to unravel it, but with the ever present friendliness of the group three members appeared to help, and one provided very welcome hand-cleaning facilities.
All admired the Ribblehead Viaduct during the morning and after lunch groups went off in various directions for the return to Stainforth. This day also provided views of Ingleborough and thoughts of those hardy riders who brave the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross.
Bill Stickley had occasion to return early to his car at Stainforth, by train from Appleby, accompanied by George P., but they needed the keys from Porcher Rees to move his car to enable them to get theirs out. They returned with the news that all the electrics on his much treasured Mitsubishi were inoperative. So Porcher and I took the short route back to Stainforth. All the theories of all the pundits in the party proved to be unfounded and the fault was traced to an incorrectly fitted fusible link by the AA scout, so peace at last!
We were joined at dinner on the last evening by our YHA friends, Ken Bolingbroke and Paddy Shea, the others being George Alesbury, George Porter, Bill Stickley, Gerry Hulbert, Roger Philo, Porcher Rees, Ron Beams, Marguerite Statham and Sheila and Ewart Arnold. We toasted absent friend John Ostrom, who was unable to be with us on medical grounds and had generously donated his deposit to provide wine. The rest of us used the refund from our own deposit to provide wine, thanks to the careful handling of the cash by our organisers.
Gerry proposed a toast to Marguerite and George, and Ron spoke of the highlights of the tour and thanked on behalf of all for the excellence of the organisation we had enjoyed. Both of the organisers were presented with a momento in the shape of a framed picture of the Ribblehead Viaduct.
I have since received appreciative letters from them and they asked that I should say hoe pleased they are at the thought and suitability of the memento.
We covered 120 miles in 3½ days (some did alot more) and despite the strain of the hills on some aged legs we all agreed it had been a memorable holiday and infinitely better to ride a bike than to travel on a motorway.
Thank you very much for the lovely gifts of the framed pictures of the Settle to Carlisle train chugging over the Ribblehead Viaduct. They will always bring back special memories.
Marguerite Statham and George Alesbury
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