"The West Surrey Cyclist" - July - September 1992
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Easter in the New Forest, an Exclusive, where did all the beer go ? Und ve hav zee plans, well not quite but there is a German connection to the planning of the Ladies Weekend. Letters well we have some, plus Ed tries a bit of logical reasoning, to a nice idea.
The London Docklands, tour was a realy enjoyable read. It sounded like Ken had realy done his homework, and Marguerite's acount was most enlightening. Ed.
THE LADIES WEEKEND RE-UNION see the boxes for details. Well this sounds like a grand idea, but will the Ed. get an inside exclusive on this meeting, to find out all the secrets, the gossip etc of the LADIES WEEKEND'S. For more details of the Ladies Weekend Re-Union phone Sue on 0483 728695.
We also have some 1932 articles, no I have not got the date wrong ! Coming soon on CHANNEL 4 TELEVISION IS THE TOUR DE FRANCE.
Read part 2 ' The Road to the Isles'. The IoW, is it all up hill ? FoE's 42 miles of fun !
The future of the magazine ? There may be rumours going around, and these are possibly as a result of some disscussion within the committee as to whether the magazine should continue, perhaps to be replaced by a news letter ? The underlying reasons are uncertain to Ed. As regard the cost, this is now being underwriten, and yes two of the previous five did make a loss partly due to low sales on one issue, and their printing costs. However one of the other three, even with printing costs made a small profit, and the other two issues were printed free ! The magazine is a means by which members, whichever group they ride with can communicate to many others about exciting, and enjoyable cycling times, and express their views ( freedom of speach ) through the letters to Ed.
If you have any adds for the classified section please let me know for the next issue. Articles should be submitted by 23rd August 1992.
Ed would like to thank all those people who have contributed to this issue.
|THURSDAY EVENING RIDES||Mr Chris Jeggo||Tel. 0932 565765|
|JUNIOR GROUP||Sally||Tel. 0483 503743|
"France for a pound" chortled a cast of 'Allo Allo' cartoon caricatures from the TV commercial, as they hustled cafe tables and chairs onto sunny spring pavements, anticipating the arrival of a P&O ferryfull of 'Sun' readers. "Why not" we thought, and on a frosty winter clubrun the plans were hatched for another in warmer climes, albeit only slightly further south but surely much closer to summer.
Copies of the appropriate rags were purchased, and once read (I believe this can take as much as seven minutes) tokens were clipped and forms filled in for the appropriate number, service and date. Clear favourite in the debate was the only service to offer a full day's ride on the 'Kongtinong' (from a selection clearly intended only as glorified shopping sprees), i.e. out on the Saturday night boat to Le Harve and back on Sunday night. Two short nights in a reclining seat with a clubrun sandwiched between them. De-lightful, but we are hardriders ... aren't we?
Our Saturday evening departure did not begin well (it was raining already) and soon became worse.
The main group was to rendezvous at Guildford for the Portsmouth train. I caught the agreed service at Farncombe, to find (of our party) only a rather worried Ian, who, running late, had actually boarded at Woking. That made two of us - equally worried - as I learnt that we were heading into the night for a "might perhaps if we're lucky take our bikes" shuttle bus between Haslemere and Petersfield, that might perhaps get us in time to a ferry for which we didn't in any case have the tickets. Where was Colin!
I cut my losses at Milford - before the guard got around to selling me a ticket I didn't want. Ian came too, and suggested we phoned Colin's home. By some miracle that had as much, I'm sure, to do with telepathy as telephony, Colin, Jeff, Ian and myself found ourselves later that evening, hurtling hopefully towards Portsmouth with six eyes on the clock and two on the road.
A camper van pulled up by some flats in a side street. Four frenzied forms and as many bikes materialised briefly on the pavement before disappearing seawards. There was an awkward moment as Ian's pannier tried to drag him into the path of rain-blind, just-off-the-motorway, roundabout traffic, but with ten minutes to spare we gratefully entered the stomach of what looked like the correct ship.
A canny cyclist rides out into the wind and hopes it'll blow him home. This otherwise sound policy would have got rather a lot of salty water all over our bikes, so we headed east at a rate of knots that had nothing to do with the state of our legs - which were still hoping we might go to bed soon. By common consent I picked out a lanes route from Harfleur to Caudebec (mainly on D34, 29, 30 & 40) through a series of small valleys parallel with the Seine.
These valleys were slightly reminiscent of Hampshire, well at least they had watercress beds, and with gale-force wind assistance we hardly noticed the gradual climb to St-Romain, or the drizzle which flew at our backs. At a bar in this village amid the flint-strewn fields of the chalk plateau, we took our breakfast, marvelled that so few inhabitants could support so many bread shops, gathered strength and watched the rain do likewise.
Throwing caution to the wind, literally, we were whisked onwards, with only the head of the valley after Lillebonne to test our legs and an occasional crosswind stretch to give a taste of things to come. The latter phenomenon imposed a drunken lean upon our ragged little echelon and had us fighting for control of our front wheels. St Nicolas-de-la-Haie was a quaint spot, with timbered and thatched farmhouses around an equally traditional Norman church, and led to a delightful valley run down into the Parc Naturel Régional de Brotonne which brought us out onto the banks of the Seine, again, at Caudebec.
I clung to Jeff's rear wheel, despite the wet clay that was being whipped from it into my face, and struggled with a 40 inch gear along the flat. But rather than take it head-on all the way over the open fields of Normandy, we tacked northwards to Fécamp, gratefully dropping into the partial shelter of a wooded valley for the last 15km into this town. Also, thank goodness, after midday there was no more rain and the sun even tried to shine once or twice. We arrived in Fécamp about half three and entirely knackered, legs now painfully aware that they were on a day's ride and asking where all the blood sugar had gone. The famous abbey and its benedictine were therefore disdained in favour of a pleasant quayside café, into which we collapsed and reloaded while wire rigging rattled against a hundred metal masts outside.
With 115 down and at least 40km to go, and with the wind blowing the tops off the waves and making it difficult to stand up on the prom - never mind ride a bike - we decided against the scenic coast road to Etretat. D79 provided a slightly less exposed and more direct, but almost traffic-free route, via several villages and the fine moated Chateau du Bec, nearly all the way back to the port.
I don't think I have ever ridden so far in such fierce conditions (very nearly 100 miles) and with so little sleep beforehand, but I don't think I slept any more on the return trip, mainly due to the reclining seats being all pre-booked. At least the wind decided it had tried us enough and didn't give us a particularly rough crossing in either direction. And the van was still where we'd parked it and the sun even shone as we drove (and Ian rode!) home.
It cost a bit more than a pound, but I don't regret the experience. Next time the wind blows I can grit my teeth, say to myself it's not so bad as last time (I dearly hope it isn't) and know that I can push it for as many hours as I have to.
Reading an advertisement for this fashionable bit of cycle technology set me thinking about its pros and cons. Firstly, though, what is Microdrive?
The idea is very simple. One reduces the number of teeth on both
the freewheel sprockets and the chainwheel sprockets, keeping the overall
gear ratios roughly the same. The following two gear tables illustrate
the sort of thing.
The advantages are several, and are listed in the adverts. Weight savings accrue from the smaller sprockets themselves, the smaller derailleur mechanisms necessary, and the resulting shorter chain. Smaller gear mechanisms give better changes. Smaller components are further out of harm's way if you go off road.
The disadvantages, of course, are not mentioned in the adverts, and they follow from the increased tension in the chain. Suppose you press down on the pedal with a force W when the crank, of length L, is horizontal. This gives a torque of WL which must be balanced by the torque TR due to the chain tension T, where R is the radius of the chainwheel. WL is the same for both systems, so if Microdrive reduces R by, say, 10%, then T must increase by approximately 10% (actually 11.11%) to keep the torques balanced.
One result of the increased chain tension is increased transmission loss. Let us, for the sake of illustration, continue to assume a size reduction of 10%. If your chain is clean, well lubricated, and running in line, the losses might go up from 2 to 2.2%, and if the chain is running two or three sprockets out of line, from 5 to 5.5% maybe. Not a big deal. If your chain is dry and dirty, the increase will be greater, but then you should be worrying about poor maintenance rather than Microdrive.
If we make the reasonable assumption, all other things being equal, that the rate of wear is proportional to the rate of absorption of energy, then the life of the transmission components will be reduced by about 10%. However, all other things might not be equal. Maybe Suntour use better materials to counteract this: I do not know.
The chain tension is opposed by corresponding thrusts at the bottom bracket and rear hub bearings, so power losses and wear rates will be higher here too. Also, the bending force on the hub axle will be increased, tending to shorten its life. Once again, it may be that re-design and better materials negate these adverse tendencies.
When contemplating moving away from accepted engineering designs, I think it is important to be aware of the trade-offs involved. Trade-offs there always are: you never get something for nothing. Incidentally, for the same reasons, it is not a good idea to choose too small a pair of chainrings for the connecting drive on a tandem.
The first 'chapter' in the WSDA Good Pub Guide is as follows.
|'Four Horseshoes', Chobham (Courage):||a bit crowded, pop music a bit loud.|
|'Cricketers', Chobham (Morlands):||less crowded, quieter, friendly, try the 'Speckled Hen'.|
|'Barley Mow', West Horsley:||no music, not crowded, traditional atmosphere, a bit pricey.|
|'Sadlers Arms', Send Marsh:||quiet, comfortable, friendly.|
|'Fox', Fox Corner (Rickford):||staring locals, 'Directors" a bit below par.|
|'Cricketers', Pirbright:||busy but not crowded, comfortable, friendly.|
|'Queen's Head', East Clandon:||slightly up-market, pleasant and friendly, but there were wild women yelling and prancing about with big sticks in the car park - morris dancers - entertaining. Wadworth's 6X went down very nicely, and not too dear.|
You will have gathered that the pub visits are an important part of the Thursday evening rides, but so is the cycling. At this time of year our Surrey lanes are particularly delightful, and best enjoyed in the cool of the long light evenings, when the traffic is light.
Why don't more of you join us? Perhaps you can't make Chertsey by 7.30. You could always give me a ring (0932-565765) to find out where we're going. I like to retain the flexibility of choosing a destination appropriate for the weather and those attending, but perhaps I will put some destinations on the July-September runs list. If you have a favourite pub, let me know and we'll meet you there one Thursday.
Charlbury is a pleasant hostel surrounded by good cycling country, and I have enjoyed several stays there. Its loss would be a significant one. I have supported the appeal and urge you to do so too.
After the accident at the end of 1990, it was realised that the house currently occupied by Jo Wright and Mark Silver would have to be adapted for disabled living, in anticipation of Jo Wright being discharged from hospital. The house and garden were assessed and proposals made to adapt the current situation to the future one.
It was suggested that a bungalow be purchased but the state of the housing market and the general unsuitability of properties viewed, confirmed the opinion that adapting the current property was the best option. With the help of the community occupational therapists and council personnel, adaptions were planned but it was accepted after awhile that more drastic alterations would be necessary.
The original staircase was too narrow and steep for a functional stair lift and the rooms too small for a 'through floor' lift. To achieve what was deemed sensible it was decided that the central flight of stairs and load bearing walls should be eliminated to open up the ground floor. A new side staircase was the ideal solution allowing a stair lift to be fitted to it. The removal of the load bearing walls and a new staircase inevitably led to major structural alterations including RSJs in the roof, a four foot square concrete cube and a steel column to hold the house up.
With all these building works, it meant a complete upheaval of the house which was empty for three months while the builders worked on it. A new kitchen and bathroom were installed, new wiring (for lower light switches and higher sockets), central heating and a complete re-decoration of the inside of the house were just some of the adaptions carried out. Outside the paths and patio were levelled for easy access to the garden and front of the house.
After being means tested the council gave a grant for approximately three quarters of the cost of the building works, which meant an excess sum had to be found by Jo Wright and Mark Silver. With such extensive works taking place, the amount being spent was in the region of £30,000. The 'Jo Wright Appeal' was instrumental in supplying most of the sum the applicant and her partner were asked to pay. The bulk of the appeal was used for this purpose in September 1991, about £8,000 in total. In having the use of this money much stress was avoided by eliminating the neccessity of applying to a bank for a loan.
The money that remains in the fund will be split between a £1,000 donation to the National Spinal Injuries Centre based at Stoke Mandeville General Hospital and the purchase of specialised wheelchairs for Jo Wright's recreational use. In particular a racing trike wheelchair for track and marathon races (aprox cost £1,300) and a sports wheelchair for basketball (aprox cost £1,200).
Jo Wright and her partner Mark Silver would like to thank all those who contributed most generously to the 'Jo Wright Appeal' and for all the support that the cycling fraternity have offered over the past year.
This is an appeal to YHA members in Oxfordshire for help in raising £200,000 to establish a Trust Fund for the purpose of buying Charlbury Youth Hostel (CYH) at a price of £140,000, and upgrading it (£60,000). CYH is one of only three youth hostels in Oxfordshire, the other two being in Oxford City and Wantage/Ridgeway.
As I expect you know, the YHA decided in November, 1990, to sell CYH and 18 other hostels to provide funds for its national re-development programme. We know that many people in Charlbury, and far beyond, are very keen to see the hostel saved for the YHA movement. This Oxfordshire-wide appeal has therefore been launched, with the knowledge of the YHA, and with a message of encouragement and good wishes from its President, Dr. David Bellamy, to establish the Trust Fund and thus to enable CYH to continue in the YHA network under the joint management of the YHA and representatives of the Trust.
We shall of course aim to raise a good proportion of the total from the parish of Charlbury (pop. approx. 3000). As with most appeals, we shall hope for a number of big contributions from some organisations and individuals, and a larger number of smaller contributions from others. There are about 7000 YHA members in Oxfordshire. If, on average, each of those contributed the equivalent of one senior member's annual subscription (£8.90 in 1992) that would raise over £60,000...
Subject to Charity Commission approval, whatever total is subscribed by Oxfordshire YHA members will be considered as a shareholding in the Trust Fund. If, sometime in the future, the hostel should be sold again, then the investment by Oxfordshire YHA members would be repaid, to a body representative of those members, as a percentage of the final selling price proportionate to their original investment, and could be used for other youth activities in Oxfordshire.
PLEASE HELP SAVE THE HOSTEL by completing and returning the lower of the two slips below. Then I hope you might pass on this appeal to someone else (other than an Oxfordshire YHA member) who you think might be willing to contribute.
YHA member and Secretary, CYH Support Group (Tel. 0608 810088)
THE C.T.C. GAZETTE
THE C.T.C. GAZETTE
A damp journey to Dale Farm Guest House at Dibden Purlieu, where we met up with Marguerite, Harry, George, Anne, Chris, Carol and Geoff, unloaded the cars, put our things in our rooms and set off, minus Roy, for Hythe Marina. Mummy, Daddy and I ate our picnic on the rocks and then explored the area, before departing, still minus Roy, for a "pit stop" at Lepe Bay and tea at Exbury Gardens, where Chris demonstrated his powers at puncture repair. Back at the farm, now with Roy, we cleared up before tucking into an excellent 3 course dinner.
Statistics: 22 ponies. 5 donkeys. 22 miles.
A late, but very good breakfast delayed our start and we missed the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth. Had coffee whilst we waited for next sailing and then enjoyed calm sunny crossing. ( Decided I'd better not be outdone by Marguerite so revealed legs ! ) Lunch at Sportsmans Rest, Porchfield ( Geoff in need of Beer ). Outward to Calbourne Mill for a short stop ( bother the late breakfast) then back to catch the 4pm ferry ( Coincidentally the Cenred - on which we made the morning trip ). Dinner was very welcome.
Statistics: 103 ponies, 45 miles.
Went to church before breakfast and then off to coffee in the woods near Minstead. ( More legs in evidence) Only 2 miles to lunch stop so Geoff took off on the rough stuff to arrive at the pub 10 minutes after us ( and gasping for beer ! ). No luck with seats so we all sat on the grass and enjoyed our lunch, before taking a longer route back to the morning stop for tea and cakes ( not to mention cream and scones ! ). Gentle ride back to change before loading 2 cars to enjoy yet more food at the "local". Some played Skittles before returning to Dale Farm for another peaceful night.
Statistics: 167 ponies, 42 miles.
Breakfast, pack and return home sadly but with wonderful memories of good company, good riding and good food. Thank you Marguerite for all your organisation and your back up, Pit stop Harry.
Unlikely as it may seem we boarded the 0710 from Woking heading for the Yeovil area but without any idea where we were actually going to cycle. 0800 saw us studying our borrowed maps and the "attractions" leaflets, attempting to marry them with stations and the long booked overnight stop.
Alighting at Sherbourne with an idea of a route we set off to prospect, making enquiries en-route to assist with tea, coffee and lunch stop possibilities. Lovely countryside ( undulating I think its called ) and a keen wind eventually drove us to find a coffee and then head off again by the lanes to our lunch stop. Back on the road we sought assistance of a couple who told us all about their cycling exploits - and that the Craft Centre was shut.
Outward, then, through the peaceful villages to try the Cream Tea stop, before we headed for our overnight in East Chinnock, where we met a family from Doncaster attending a Riley Rally. Theirs was a beautifully kept/restored 1920's convertible. We also had visited the church where all the glass has been donated, as thanks for his good treatment, by a German who was a POW in the area in 1944-45. Quite an extra ordinary story, and worth a visit.
Sunday saw us out in the lanes again. This time we met the Rally cars - quite a squeeze, doing their reliability/ map reading run. By lunch time we had completed the route planning and set off to just "amble" the villages.
On Monday we changed direction and headed for Crewkerne. Unfortunately we couldn't dally as BR were ready to whisk us back in style.
We had a good time and I hope the ladies enjoy their weekend in June.
Ladies Weekend Re-union
We are planning a get together, sometime soon, to
reminisce and look at photos ! Sue Heywood has offered us
the use of her house - probably on a Saturday afternoon.
Phone Sue on Woking 0483 728695 for more details.
Now the Letters.................
5th June 92
Marguerite A. Statham
In reply to a "very, very unhappy and confused club member" let me try
and answer some of his questions !
1) The Woking Wayfarers have now been given their attendance points back, backdated to the AGM. So watch out for some possible dramatic changes in the placings !
2) No you didn't waste your time at the AGM, because a new group structure was decided, that we can now build on.
3) Your time was not wasted writing your letter, because as you can see its prompted a reply, which will fill up more space in the magazine which I hear is under threat of closure if we the members don't "fight" to keep it going by writing more articles and demanding its continuation.
4) Don't desert the West Surrey D.A. for greener grass on the other side. We need your enthusiasm to encourage others to enjoy cycling as much as you do. Whether it be on local club runs or as part of the DA's D.A.T.C. team.
5) I don't know anything about possible life on Mars - maybe Rory can help you with an answer to that question.
We've all had some wonderful times together. We can have plenty more if we work together.
Marguerite A Statham
The "town" Wayfarers of which Woking is the only one at the moment - meet at the same time and place every week and go for a "morning only" only ride.
The Wayfarers and Woking Wayfarers ( and eventually other "town" groups ), should sometimes meet at coffee so that people can "transfer" to the all day ride.
The Wayfarers and Intermediates should also sometimes meet at coffee and/or lunch so that people can try the Intermediates for part of a day.
Similarly the Intermediates and Hardriders should occasionally meet for coffee and/or lunch, so that Intermediates can move up for part of the day.
Tea wherever possible should be a club get together but I really feel that 4pm is a better time for Wayfarers while 5pm probably suits the Hardriders, so how about 4.30pm. Then we wouldn't all arrive together but would hopefully see each other !
If there is a Hardriders Group, an Intermediate Group and a Wayfarers Group on paper then there should be three groups on the road ! At the moment the Intermediates and Wayfarers are riding together.
The Wayfarers ( once again ! ) are tired of trying to keep up with the Intermediates, and the Intermediates are getting very frustrated at constantly waiting - especially up the hills, for the Wayfarers. Consequently nobody is enjoying the Sunday rides.
The Wayfarers would on some afternoons - like to visit gardens or other "places of interest". The Intermediates would like to do some more miles.
As I visualise it the "town" Wayfarers are the vital groups in the building. The 'same time and place', not too far from home, brings in the most newcomers. The 'town' morning only riders then progress to the all day Wayfarers who progress to the Intermediates, who progress to the Hardriders.......
Geoff, Carol and I are about to have a get together with David to plan the Wayfarers and Intermediate rides for the next three months. This happened, and three lists were produced, which we thought satisfactory. These were presented for approval at a meeting. Unfortunately they were not approved by Keith Parfitt.
On Sunday May 10th seven of us met at Woking Station to go "train assisted" to Waterloo, where we met Helen and Chris, with Matthew and Amy, and Jeremy.
We were soon on footpaths and backstreets, that only Ken knew about, keeping to the south of the Thames for the mornings' ride. We stopped off at numerous places to take photos, including Hay's Galleria which is an impressive riverside arcade set between restored warehouses. Then we passed the London Dungeon and HMS Belfast before stopping for coffee in another new development with a fountain in the forecourt. Duly fortified we continued on the almost deserted footpaths alongside the Thames until we reached an open area with a superb view of Tower Bridge only a few yards above us. On we went past the Cutty Sark which made us think of the London Marathon runners - until we reached Greenwich pier where we stopped for a picnic Lunch with hot drinks from a nearby kiosk. I don't remember seeing Gypsy Moth IV - maybe I blinked at the wrong moment - but I did see the Royal Naval College that was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1695, because John Ostrom told me that he once stayed there !
The next main attraction was the Thames Barrier. It really is, even to my eyes, a very impressive piece of engineering. With Ken now leading at quite a pace we made for the Woolwich Ferry, which although only a short boat trip, was fascinating because when the "boat" had docked on the north side the ROAD was lowered to let the traffic off !!
We stopped after a while to have a quick look at the London City Airport. Then after cycling on the cycle path through the Island Gardens, past the Poplar, Blackwall and District Rowing Club and across the Isle of Dogs we stood in awe looking at the Canary Wharf development. I do hope it survives, its so huge, expensive and spectacular. Matthew enjoyed running around the fountains in the forecourt, while the rest of us gazed in admiration at the numerous buildings.
"Threesis" was in the Dickens Inn in St Katherine Docks which is a restored enclosed dock with shops, pubs, restaurants and a hotel set just behind, and almost under Tower Bridge and very close to the Tower of London. The 'old' and the 'new' at this point make an amazing sight.
We cycled over Tower Bridge and with time running out, we headed straight back to Waterloo for the train home.
The whole day realy was an eye opener. Those of us who went had a marvellous day and congratulate and thank Ken for escorting us around the London Docklands.
Marguerite Statham 5/6/92
The East Window in memory of churchwarden Albert Young, and given by his family, is the exception. He was warden from 1870 to 1898. Herr Gunther Anton, Master Glazier of Leonberg, Stuttgart, Federal Republic of Germany, gave all the others as gifts for all the kindness he received during his 1945 stay, working on a local farm during WWII, after becoming a POW in 1944. The 18 year old Luftwaffe rear gunner was shot down over Southampton, and was at first sent to a POW camp at Houndstone, Yeovil, later transfered to the farm. Anxious about his parents he prayed in the church, he had heard no news of them, at the time they lived in what later became East Germany. He thought of making a stained glass window when he viewed the church from the farm. Returning in 1948 he and his father built up a stained glass window business, this was in what became West Germany. His father reminded him about the windows before he died. Gunther made his first visit in 1962 and in June 1988 completed his work at the church. He had visited many times, in 1969 having sent the glass on ahead, it was impounded H.M. Customs and Excise who had not believed it could be a gift.
The source of this information was a leaflet available from East Chinnock Church.
I caught the 11.39 am train from Woking and arrived in Sherborne 1 hour and 10 minutes late. At Gillingham the speedometer on the train ceased to function so the loco was considered to drive so a reserve had to come from Salisbury. Nobody on the train could remember how late a train has to be before we are entitled to a refund under the Citizens Charter so I didn't claim ! We were offered a free cup of coffee..... Anyway I was quite happy because it was raining and I had no desire to cycle around Somerset in the rain !
On arrival at Sherborne - is this a distance ? I tumbled into the recommended "Buffet" and bought a sausage roll, a (large) Kitkat and a cup of coffee for 95p. I picked up a local free paper and on page 9 I noticed a 'coupon' for the World Wide Butterflies at Compton near Sherborne. Up to 4 people for half price ! Knowing that Sue is to take us there on Sunday I wondered how I could get at least one ( preferably two ) more tokens as there will be 9 of us. As usual I got chatting to someone and he had one of these papers so I asked him if I could have his coupon !! He even found some scissors to cut it out ! At that point he thought he'd better get going before anyone else wanted a piece of his paper !! On the way out of the station I found another paper so now I have enough 'coupons' to enable us all to get in at half price !!
I then cycled into Yeovil - just to have a look and a cup of tea before continuing on to the Barrows Country House in East Chinnock. Tonight I have the luxury, and space of a twin room which I shall quite happily share with Marion tomorrow. However I've taken the best bed; the best space in the wardrobe and dressing table; all my damp clothes fit beautifully on the radiator.... However, I have bought a pint of milk for all the tea I shall make for Marion and she can have the 'guest house' torch as I've brought my own !
I sampled the food at the pub we are using tomorrow which is an excellent choice. I shall look forward to going back for more !
Another reason for coming a day early was to give me time on my own to write something for the magazine. I started at 9.40pm and its now 12.30 am. I'm now looking forward to meeting the others later today and having a good, social and relaxing weekend. I only hope the rain stops as I still have "leaky" waterproofs !! Goodnight !
On Saturday I met everyone, including Gillian and Hazel who had arrived by car, at Sherborne Station, where after a few minor adjustments to the baggage we mounted our bikes and followed Sue through Thornford and Ryme Intrinseca to a beautiful picnic site overlooking the Sutton Bingham Reservoir. The weather warmed up and we had a lovely rest while munching our various goodies.
After lunch we meandered along country lanes with high banks of wild flowers on either side until we arrived at Montacute House and Garden. The house which now belongs to the National Trust, was begun by Sir Edward Phelips, Speaker in the House of Commons and Master of the Rolls, in the 1590's and completed in 1601. It is built of the local golden Ham Hill stone. We were free to wander around the house, gardens and tea shop for about 1 3/4 hours. Back on our bikes we cycled the last seven or so miles to East Chinnock, making a most enjoyable day, some of it in hot sunshine, with a total of 24.7 miles.
After washing and changing we walked to the local church to have a look at the stained glass windows which were made by Herr Gunther Anton who, after being shot down over Southampton during the second world war came, as a POW to live in East Chinnock.
We then proceeded to the Portman Arms for a superb meal of our choice which some helped down with several glasses of wine !
This morning, Sunday, Sue had us all up for an early breakfast at 8am. I have never seen so much food disappear so quickly. Unfortunately Marion wasn't feeling too well so she opted for a lift to Yeovil and an early train home.
The rest of us eventually mounted our bikes. Yes we did actually ride them a little, and wiggled around places like Hardington Mandeville and East Coker, which has several really pretty thatched cottages covered in roses, until we reached the World Wide Butterflies and Lullingstone Silk Farm at Over Compton. We spent a couple of hours here wandering around looking at guess what - butterflies ! buying gifts and eating.
After lunch we had an easy paced but hilly route back to Sherborne. As we rounded the corner to the Station the sound of Hymn singing came from the park opposite where an open air Pentecostal Service was being held. We all bought a cup of tea from the Station buffet and listened to the hymns. It was a superb finish to another most enjoyable, and relaxing Ladies weekend. We all thank Sue Hamilton very much for arranging almost everything and Phil for helping Sue. Why don't you come next year?
Met at Woking station for the 8.48 to Portsmouth Harbour. The long train had two guards vans, and initally we chose the unattended one which was shut. ( Perhaps with long trains a lookout at each end for visual sitings after non-cyclists are aboard ). Unable to book to Ryde from Woking. Need for Catamaran tickets cost us the first ferry and partaking of tea and buns at the station cafe got us a roasting for very nearly missing the next. The catamaran is efficient, but the regulation of not leaving ones seat during transit does rather give a feeling of eventlessness. After traversing the planking on Ryde Pier we met up with Jeremy and his father Ron and proceeded to the nearest cafe.
On the climb out of Ryde, Ken who had suffered a protracted cold ( since Christmas he said ), turned back, and if I had known then that the IoW was all up hill I'd have gone with him.
Lunch stop in the garden behind the Pointers Inn at Newchurch was a leisure affair in the warm sun. Les took some very good photo's of high quality colour. The happening after lunch was a mishap to Les's bike, first a puncture, then on replacing the rear wheel the quick release spindle thread sheared. Ron volunteered to go and find a replacement whilst we would walk in the direction of his return. He visited two cycle shops at Lake and Sandown ( both open Wed PM ) before completing a circle coming past the puncture spot to find us all sprawled on the grass. His quest had been successful and we continued, now late, ( John missed his swim ) to catch the ferry.
A four carriage ( stopper ) at Portsmouth Harbour, one small guards van my bike laid across the others terminated at Guildford, where Roy and Allan left us. Maurice got off at Woking to cycle home to get some miles in.
Next morning I got up early , and as I had a cuppa and my breakfast I planned my itinerary for the next few days. I decided I would stay at the hostel at Lochmaddy on North Uist for the next two nights and go out during the day exploring . I decided I would visit the RSPB reserve at Balrannad on the other side of the island today and then cycle back around to the hostel , completing a circle right around the island . Then on day two I would get up early again and cycle down and visit the next two islands down the chain, Benbecula and South Uist . Then on day three I would get the early morning ferry and depart for Skye.
After seeing the warden and doing a quick chore - not obligatory at a lot of hostel's nowadays - and paying for the next two nights , I went and got my bike and departed for Balrannad . After popping into the local store for a few provision's i.e. choc bars , cakes etc I headed out of town and was soon into the countryside. After half a mile I came to a fork in the road and stopped to look at my map to make sure I was going in the right direction , stupid really , as I was to discover later, as there is only one road that circles the island , with a sprinkling of roads off it . These roads being the two roads too the islands ferries , the road that take you down onto Benbecula and a few roads to the small townships that hug the coastline . Anyway I took the most direct route , down what passed for an A road but what was no wider than a lot of unclassified roads here in Surrey . The landscape around me was quite alien too what I was used to . A treeless landscape, with what seemed more water than land , reminiscent of places like Dartmoor and Exmoor but without the trees. The water was contained in a myriad of lochs (in sassenach = lakes ) of various sizes . In a lot of the lakes was the evidence of the cause of a lot of contraversy , namely the fish farm cages that a lot of people say are polluting the lochs with the excretment from the caged fish and from the aesthetic point . But from my brief visit to the Highlands I can't really condemn the people of the area from trying to make there lifes a little bit better and easier . I'm sure I wouldn't want to live there permanent . I was happily bowling along when as I crested a slight hill I spied people working on the land at the side off the road. As I got nearer it became apparent that they were cutting peat . Now they don't use peat like we do down here in the south i.e on the garden, but they dry the peat and use it as a fuel for there stoves , to cook on and to provide warmth in winter. There was about eight people working at various points , they were working in pairs one actually cutting the peat and the other throwing the peat up onto the bank behind the person doing the cutting. In the five minutes that I was watching the nearest couple to me had cut and thrown up about ten clods, so I doubt if it would take them very long too get there winter's supply. In the area where these people were working ( I guess the area was about 15-20 acres) there were other scars where other people got or had aquired there stocks from and stacks of peat drying in the early summer sunshine . I found the whole scene fascinating , a thing from a bygone age. I continued on my journey and after about an hour I found myself at the top of the road down to the RSPB reserve. I cycled down and found somewhere to lock my bike and went for a wander . After about an hour wandering about I came to a beach and what a beach it was. It was about a mile long, in a crescent shape composed of white sand. Behind the beach were sand dunes and on the seaward side the beach disappeared into a beautiful azure blue sea , which was so clear that you could see to the bottom . Unfortunately access was restricted because of the breeding birds, so I had to content myself with a photograph. I turned in the other direction and made my way back towards the car park. As I got back to the car park another cyclist turned up and we had a little chat . Then we said cheerio and I walked over to my bike to load it ready too depart. As I gathered myself ready for the off I was amazed to watch the other cyclist pull 1st a camera out of one of the four panniers on his bike and then from another pannier a video camera of all things !
I set off and on reaching the main road turned in the opposite direction to the way I had come in by , determined to complete a full circle of the island . After about an hour I came across another beach where there was no restrictions and so I took the oppurtunity to have a paddle . After a quick paddle because although the temperature was up around 70 degrees and the sun was shining the water wasn't particularly warm I continued on my tour around the island. After another 45 minutes I was amazed to come across a Co Op in the middle of nowhere with only a few small house's for company , and this Co Op wasn't that small and wouldn't have been out of place in a town the size of Woking. I took the opportunity the buy a few provisions. All to soon and I found myself coasting downhill into Lochmaddy and thinking it wasn't late and that I would find the hostel still closed I glanced at my watch to see that it was nearly 6.30 so I cycled back around to the hostel .
The next day I got up early and got away from the hostel just after 8am . Today I was going to go down through Benbecula and onto South Uist . After about an hour I came to the T-junction where I had turned right to go to the RSPB reserve the day before , so knowing I didn't want that direction I turned left . After a further forty five minutes I found myself at the causeway that linked North Uist to Benbecula and proceeded across it onto Benbecula . Now Benbecula is remarkable for one thing and that is the combined airport and missile firing range belonging to H.M. forces , but the airport also doubles as one of the two civilian airports for the Hebrides , so you can actually get flights in and out of there connecting to Heathrow bound flights ex Glasgow . Quite good for an island that measures about eight by eight miles. Also because of the military presance in the area there is a Naafi store that the civilians can use . Anyway with not much else to see on Benbecula I quickly carried on and soon came to the other causeway at the other end of the island that connects Benbecula to South Uist . As I cycled along the causeway I noticed some Terns milling around at the other end of the causeway evidently feeding on something so I stopped and watched there antics for a while . Off all the seabirds to be seen around our islands I find the Terns one of the most fascinating. There flying skills are second to none and I find there flying displays something to watch and wonder over. After a short while I continued onto South Uist and it soon became apparent the difference between this island and its two northern neighbours . I had read about the difference in religons between the islands but hadn't expected to see much or if any signs about this fact but it was soon apparent, when after about five hundred yards when I came across a roadside cross dedicated to the Virgin Mary . The guide books had said that South Uist ( along with the small island of Barra to the south) were Catholic and that Benbecula , North Uist , Harris and Lewis were Protestant but as I mentioned I didn't expect it to be this apparent quite strange really . Anyway I carried on and continued on my tour around South Uist . I continued heading south following the main road and after about twelve miles came to a bend in the road where the main road turned left to Lochboisdale , the main town and ferry port for South Uist but I had decided earlier that I would continued south on the B-road that would take me to southern most point of the island. A further five miles on and I did reach this point and as it was midday I decided I would find somewhere where I could sit and have a brew and a bite to eat. After a few hundred yards I found a grassy bank looking out over the sea so stood my bike up against a convenient post and went and sat down and got the kettle going . I sat eating my sarnies and drinking a cuppa looking out over the sea to the distant shape of the Isle of Barra with the Isle of Eriksay of to my left about a mile away , the nearest I got to these two isles. After about an hour I packed up and turned and made my way back the way I had come. I again arrived back at the hostel about six , again finding a Co Op on route for further provisions. As I sat eating my meal that night the sound of Pipes drifted across the landscape from a house about 300 yards from the hostel , rounding off a thoroughly splendid couple of days .
The following morning found me bidding a fond farewell to the warden, who had made my stay at the hostel so welcome and friendly and I departed for the short trip down to the ferry terminal for the early morning ferry and the trip back across the Minch to Skye and the continuance of my tour of the Highlands and Islands .
Ian ( to be continued ...)
Geoff started his cycling career with the Charlotteville CC, where he spent many years of active club riding and racing, with much success, before retiring to spend more time with his family. It was the early 1960s before he was introduced to the CTC and the 'Thursday Nighters' group by Ted Pritchard and Bernard (Bunny) Howell. He soon became a keen and regular attender, winning the Attendance Trophy several times.
Somewhat younger than most of the regular members of the group, his cheerful personality and ready wit endeared him to all. With a stock of jokes and a fund of anecdotes from his cycling experiences, particularly those relating to tours in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, his recollections improved with time and telling. Laughter was never far away.
A good strong rider, he encouraged and assisted with the organising of occasional week-end outings with an enthusiasm which overcame all difficulties with booking and transport, such that a 'Thursday Nighters' outing was something remembered with great pleasure.
All who knew him will miss the joy he brought with him until the end. Above all else he believed that cycling should be fun with friends and not taken too seriously. We mourn the loss of a dear friend and fellow cyclist. Our world will be a little less happy without him.
Getting there to register early, I headed for the crowd around the registration stand at the start point, only to find that this would occur as we left. While waiting I looked to see if anyone from last year was around, but with so many people it was not an easy task and in the end I got talking to a couple of tandem riders who had borrowed a map of the route, interestingly it seemed to be a fairly flat area, but I guess Hills are all relative to each rider. The start was ten minutes early at 9.20 as by that time all the marshalls were in place. I was in the first batch to set off. We left down a gravel track, then on down the road to West Humble, crossing under the dual carriage way, we came out of the subway and onto the cycle path, leaving it at Pixham, we crossed the A25 near the LC at Dorking. The rest of the route was very nice and went roughly as follows, Busbury, Brockham, Leigh, Norwood Hill, not quite to Parkgate for those doing the 42 mile ride as opposed to those on the shorter 21 mile ride. Then south to Lambs Green ( with a few wiggles in the route getting there ), west at Carylls Lea, almost to Langhurst, then north to Rusper, Newdigate, Stonebridge, North Holmwood, Dorking and back along the cycle track on the other side of the dual carriageway to West Humble and back up to Polesden Lacey, a very good ride.
There was lots of atmosphere, the tandem with In Bike Stereo propelled by two cool dudes. The "It's a Wayfarer !", fellow CTC member who's name memory fails me ( My apologies if your reading this) , who came alongside for a chat, then had to shoot off in hot pursuit of his son who had disappeared into the distance. There were plenty of Refreshment stops, for those who needed such things ! Upon returning there was plenty of entertainment with an enclosed cycle parking area. So all in all a very good day, in which Ed covered some 70.64 miles. Thank you to all my sponsors, and best of luck to all Friends of the Earth.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 21 March 2006.