"The West Surrey Cyclist" - April - June 1996

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Front cover - very similar to Issue 1
Inner front cover - West Surrey District Association Officers  1995-96 - same as in previous issue
Editorial - by David Nightingale
Snowdrops or Snow Drops? - by Marguerite Statham
Peter and Gillian's Journey Through Malaysia  1991 - by Peter Norris
Volunteers Required - by Roger Philo
Chromium - by David Nightingale
From "The C.T.C. Gazette" April 1936 - an account of a meeting of the Rights and Privileges Committee
Events April - June 1996 - the Runs List
News from Malcolm and Chrissy - in Uganda
We Are Survivors - an article for those born before 1940
From "The C.T.C. Gazette" April 1936 - "Looking Back Fifty Years" - Extracts from "The C.T.C. Gazette" of April 1886
The Mid-week Wayfarers Christmas Lunch 1995 - by Marguerite Statham
Marguerite's B&B List
Ten Years Ago - clippings from "Cycletouring" 1986
Teas in Capel Parish Church - 1996 dates
Notice - Hard Riders Weekend Away
Bicycles For Sale
Outer back cover - advertisement - Wykes Bikes

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


In this issue we discover a plot at world domination ....... the rest of the world watch out, there are CTC invasions about!
We have contact from the intrepid Chrissy & Malcolm who are on a grand tour of Africa.  Peter and Gillian's Journey through Malaysia.  Where have the rest of you been?  Do you have any advice from which others might benefit when visiting abroad?  Please let Ed know!  Thanks.

We have not had any brain teasers lately, or any technical tips, classified ads, news and notes etc!  Do we have any members who wish to become reporters for this magazine?

Where am I? ..... Clues
1.  A source of water
2.  Links with the Empire
3.  A village to the NE suggests you could get stung
4.  And on the same line to the south west what sounds like a park of writing paper, without a secret agent.
5.  A famous regatta takes place to the east
6.  This should make interesting reading!
No you can't have 175 clues .............

A cyclist wishes to know how much by weight of baked beans must be eaten to fuel the cyclist to ride the bicycle up a 2km long incline, which rises at a 15% gradient.  Assume minimal rolling resistance and a tail wind equal and opposite in force to the force needed by the rider to overcome wind resistance.
100g baked beans contain
The rider weighs
The bicycle weighs
355 kJoules
75 kg
15 kg
PS  if the rider measured the distance on the map ignoring the gradient markings how far (as the crow flies) would it seem?

Have Fun



The heading for the Guildford and Godalming Group's ride on Sunday January 28th was "The Snowdrop Wood".  Peter Fennemore, who had volunteered ?? to lead this ride had taken a lot of "stick" from numerous people about whether or not the Snowdrops would actually be around on this chosen day.

Snow had fallen on the Thursday and Friday and the Saturday was very cold and icy.  At 9.15am on Sunday 28th Jan. Peter was standing alone at CTC - the designated meeting place!!!  At 9.20am Clem and Sandra arrived on their Tandem followed by Jeremy.  The four set off for Darnleys at Haslemere for coffee .....

Meanwhile Marguerite, in one of her lazy moods, had caught a late train all the way to Haslemere and was enjoying her coffee at 10.30am having cycled a mammoth 3.4 miles ....

At approximately 10.55am Chris Juden arrived having ridden the 5 miles from his house .....

At 11.10am Chris and Marguerite decided that they would wait until 11.20am then they would ride to Northchapel on their own.

At 11.19am Peter, Clem, Sandra and Jeremy arrived with stories of "rough stuff" and a puncture.  After a quick coffee and a 'thaw out' we set off up the road, round the corner and then climbed a very steep hill.  Peter said something about "getting his own back"!!  The roads and surrounding countryside in the hills above Haslemere were very pretty as they were still covered in snow.  The roads were still icy so care had to be taken on the descents especially around the hair pin bends.  After several miles we stopped and pushed our bikes into the woods, leant them against some trees, and continued on foot with our eyes glued to the ground looking for a Snowdrop.  After all just one would do;  (the title was "The Snowdrop Wood") !!!

Suddenly someone shouted "you're OK Peter there are plenty here" and there they were, masses of the tiny flowers still in bud but definitely Snowdrops.  We walked upstream a little further and saw even more and Chris tried to describe to us how magnificent the wood looks when the flowers are in full bloom which we calculated would be in about another two weeks as the weather had been so cold.

We wiped our muddy shoes on the grass and continued on to the Half Moon at Northchapel where we had lunch within sight of a large log fire.  Duly rested, warmed and fed we continued on to Vann House where Peter's official ride continued on over Hydon Heath;  Chris opted for a direct route home and Marguerite headed for Wheelers Rest for tea with the Hard Riders.  However when she arrived at 4.20pm the cafe was closed!!!  Jeremy had left us at lunch to go to a children's party where he was to be the 'Entertainer'.  Peter, Clem and Sandra haven't been seen since .... !!!

If you have returned, Peter, and you read this, thank you for a lovely ride and congratulations on finding Snowdrops amongst the snow drops.

Here's to the same success with the "Bluebell" ride later in the year.

Marguerite Statham     30/1/96


Monday, 14th Oct.

The rain was dropping steadily as we pulled away from passport control on the Malaysian side of the border.  There were no problems in getting through and our passports were stamped for two months in Malaysia.

"You cycled all the way from Bangkok?  Why didn't you catch a train?" asks the border official.

"It is much more fun to cycle" I reply.

From the border post it is only 25 miles to the city of Koto Baharu.  This is the capital of the state of Kelantan.  Kelantan in English translates as "land of lightening".  Koto Baharu is situated on the banks of the Kelantan River.  Things that dominate in this state are fishing, farming, kite flying, hand weaving and bird singing competitions.  Our first priority was to get some money exchanged.  This was not to be as easy as we were expecting.  I do not wish to be seen as running a system down, but just for the sake of making comparisons;  in the west you can cash a travellers cheque in 2 minutes flat, in Asia it can take up to 30 minutes depending what country you are in.

The first bank we approached in Koto Baharu asked for 5 Malay dollars before they could exchange any money for us.  We did not have any Malay dollars, that is why we were in their bank to obtain Malay dollars.  We asked them to take that sum out with their commision fee during the course of the transaction.  We were told that they could not do that.  They had to have 5 Malay dollars before starting the transaction.  It sounded a bit fishy to me.  We left that bank in a confused state and after much searching did eventually find an establishment that happily accepted our travellers cheques.

We are staying at one of many budget hotels in the city centre.  The Berling Hotel is costing us M$22 (£5.25) for an air conditioned room, nothing flash but comfortable with bathroom and two beds.

On our food forage we found a supermarket that was stocked with far greater variety of foodstuffs than supermarkets in Thailand.  We bought peanut butter, cheese, wholemeal bread and granny smith apples and a few other things that we had not seen or eaten for so long.  Yummy yummy.

Tuesday 15th Oct.

Found it hard to get out of bed this morning.  I put it down to the fact that we are in a different time zone and we are now getting up an hour earlier than we were in Thailand.  Our plan today was to do a short leg to Pasir Puteh where we had hoped there was a hotel.  As it turned out Pasih Puteh did not have a hotel.  It was a small town with no hotels and 4 bike shops.  We carried on, thinking it may turn into a 100 mile day to reach the next city of Kuala Terengganu in the state of Terengganu.  However after 40 miles we came to a small town named Jerteh.  The Hoover Hotel in Jerteh is costing us £4.50 a night for a comfortable room with a ceiling fan and a washroom.  Although it is very hot outside, our room seems remarkably cool.  We are on the second floor of a concrete building, perhaps the concrete keeps the heat out.

On route today we stopped off at a roadside shack next to a Shell petrol station and bought iced fizzy drinks.  We sipped our drinks and watched people around us going about their lives.  It was so hot, sweat was just pouring out of us.  I think the high humidity is what makes the heat so uncomfortable.  We had to drink gallons of water so as not to dehydrate.

A little further on we came across rubber plantations.  We rode through a forest of rubber trees and stopped several times to observe workers cutting the tree trunks to make them bleed their white sap.  The sap ran down a channel cut into the bark which led to a small bowl fixed to the tree.  When the bowls were full they would be emptied and the sap taken away for processing.  The trees would then be left for a while for their wounds to heal.

We are travelling on Highway 3 and will be cycling on this road most of the time through Malaysia, except for the odd excursion.  This road is narrow but well surfaced and has a bit of hard shoulder in some sections.  It runs North to South from Kota Baharu to Singapore.  The majority of it runs adjacent to the coast and so there is plenty of opportunity to go swimming in the South China Sea.

Thursday 17th 0ct.

Our stomachs have not felt too good lately.  We have suspicions about the drinking water and have begun to add purifying tablets to the water that we drink.

Yesterday we left Jerteh just on sunrise.  The day grew to be very bright and hot and we felt the effect of the heat early.  Our route took us past a vast army of giant oil palm plantations.  At one point we saw a man walking in amongst them.  He was carrying a very long handled scythe.  He was using the scythe to harvest the pods that were nestled up top in the fronds of the palm trees.  The pods would eventually be taken away for processing to reap palm oil.  It was delightful to cycle by these giant palms, the air around them was cool and gave us a welcome relief from the sweltering sun.

Ten miles before reaching Kuala Terengganu we stopped at a Caltex petrol station for cold drinks and ice cream.  The station was attended to by muslim women who did not seem to be bothered by the heat at all even though they were completely covered from head to foot.

We reached a toll bridge which crosses the Terengganu River and then followed a cycle path into the city.  The city is fairly modern with a Mcdonalds-like fast food establishment.  Most of the street drainage is underground unlike in Koto Baharu.

Last night we ate at one of the many "Restorans".  We had rice, roast potatoes and boiled eggs in a sweet peanut sauce and curried beans.  It was absolutely yummy and very cheap.

Because we are vegetarian we have a Malaysian phrase written down which we show to the proprietor or waiter.  It reads:  "Saya tidak makan daging atan ayam atan ikan".  Translated it means:  "I don't eat meat or chicken or fish."  So far it has worked out just fine.

Today we slept in for a bit.  After breakfast in bed, of peanut butter, sandwiches and Snickers bars, we took the bikes out to find a beach.  The beach close to town is very nice with a grassy picnic area under tall trees just up from the sand.  Unfortunately it is not a swimming beach for the signs warned us - "Death awaits you.  Swimming in this vicinity is very risky".  We rode along the coast for 6 or 7 miles and turned down a side road at the end of which was a "Sukola" school and beyond that a long stretch of deserted (except for goats) beach.  We paddled our feet a bit then sat under sweeping palm trees whose trunks arched out toward the sea as if lusting for its freshness.  One should be wary about sitting under coconut palms.  You never know when a coconut may be about to let go.

After a while 2 van loads of school children arrived.  They all shouted hello repeatedly to us and gradually positioned themselves around us smiling and giggling.  Gill gets out the camera and as soon as they see it they scatter.  We go back to the town beach and have a tropical lunch of water melon and pineapple while relaxing in the partial shade of the tall trees, taking comfort from the cool breeze sweeping in off the South China Sea.

Friday 18th Oct

As I write this I am sitting on the front porch of a bungalow looking out upon the sea.  The gentle waves are lapping upon golden sand no more than 50 metres from my feet.  This small resort (if it can be called that) is 20 km north of Dungun.  This place is named Rantau Abang.  This particular stretch of coast is famous for its giant turtle nesting sites.  From May to September turtles measuring up to 2.5 metres in length and weighing half a tonne inch their way up the beach, dig a hole with their flippers, deposit their eggs, cover them with sand and then lumber back to the sea.

To ensure that the turtles continue to flourish, the government has adopted a policy of leasing out sections of these beaches to turtle egg collectors and then buying back from them a specified number of eggs which are taken to turtle hatcheries.  This saves the turtles from the threat of extinction from greedy egg collectors who used to gather up all the eggs that they could find to sell to the public.

At present it is very peaceful here.  A sea breeze keeps the heat at bay.  The water looks enticing from where I sit.  For a basic bungalow here with a shower and toilet it costs only £2.70 a night.  There is a good restaurant near us which serves simple but nice food at nice prices.  The British pound goes a long way in Malaysia.

Saturday 19th Oct

We had Kiwi neighbours last night.  A middle aged couple who are based in Kathmandu working in a forestry aid project.  We had dinner together and a good chat.  This morning we also had breakfast together then later visited the turtle hatchery and information centre just up the road.

The rest of today was spent relaxing in the shade, reading or just peering out at the sea.

Sunday 20th Oct

Constant drizzle most of today.  65 miles of Highway 3 took us down the east coast of Terengganu.  We passed in the south a large petroleum refinery.  It was a huge complex which extended for 3 miles or so.

After crossing the provincial boundary into Pahang with only 8 miles until we reached today's destination the sky opened up on us and we tried to shelter under a tree.  After a few minutes we had become about as wet as we could get and so decided to just carry on cycling.

A group of merry people welcomed us with pats on the back as we rode into Kg Cherating.  We stopped to talk to two Aussie girls.  They told us they were staying down the road in a beachside hut for only $M 10.00 a night.  It sounded good to us, we went to check it out.

The huts were very nice looking thatched affairs situated right on the beach but they had no fan, no power, a shared outside loo and a kerosene lamp for lighting.  If it was not for the fact that I am a bit behind on sleep and want to make sure that I sleep well tonight then we would have settled for the above.  However we settled for a more luxurious bungalow located in one of the camps nearby.  For $M 20.00 we got a fan, bathroom and perhaps most importantly a mosquito net.  (It would have been wise to have carried a mossie net with us)

It is a lovely site here, a real get-a-way place.  There are three or four restaurants along the road.  Everything in this hideaway is very laid back.  People walk about in a slow easy way.  Even at the restaurant the waiter took our order while sitting at the table with us.  There is not a resort atmosphere here, it is more casual than that.

Monday 21st Oct

A short distance from Kg Cherating we scavenge oil from a discarded container by the road for our noisy chains.  Yesterday rain had washed the chains dry of lubrication.  Gill's chain is slipping rather badly now, we will have to live with it until Singapore.

Today's journey took us through the town of Kuantan, said to be the fastest growing town on the east coast.  About 35 miles south of Kuantan we crossed the peninsula's longest river, Sungei Pahang, and entered the town of Pekan.

Tuesday 22 Oct

A pleasant leg along a quiet stretch of highway through mainly uninhabited surroundings.  Very little traffic.  Dense jungle in some parts, tall trees in other parts.  Very hot today.  Our hotel tonight in Kuala Rompin has a ceiling fan with very little oomph!

Wednesday 23 Oct

Cycled 42 miles today from Kuala Rompin to Mersing.  Came across acres and acres of more rubber plantations.  This is not surprising considering rubber is Malaysia's chief source of foreign revenue and the largest employer in the country.  It contributes 22% of the country's total export earnings, occupies 65% of the cultivated land and employs more than 2 million people directly and indirectly.  The rubber tree is not native to Malaysia.  In 1877 seedlings were sent from London's Kew Gardens to the British Residency in Kuala Kangsa.  They were seedlings from the Brazilian Rubber tree and after a series of planting experiments Malaya's climate was found to be ideal.

The rubber boom really began in 1888 when J B Dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre.  Today Malaysia supplies almost half of the world's requirements.

Thursday 24 Oct

Yesterday we booked a ferry to the island of Tioman.  The travel agent told us to meet him this morning at 10-30 and he would take us to the ferry terminal.

Before our rendezvous I visited a local cycle shop to purchase a tyre for Pilgrim (my bike).  The two tyres we bought in Hong Kong only lasted about a thousand miles until the beading gave way.

The travel agent met us and we followed him to a wharf not far from his office.  He left us in the care of a bloke whom he called his manager.

We stood on the busy, cramped wharf awaiting our ferry.  Before us were fishermen unloading their boats which were tied three abreast to the wharf.  The ferry arrived at 11-30, half an hour late, and tied up to the fishing boats.  There was no other place for it to dock.

We watched holiday makers clamber off the ferry and make their way clumsily across the decks of the three fishing vessels.  They tripped over nets, stumbled over bags, slipped on greasy boards and yet they all made it on to land without any major accidents.

The thought of us having to manoeuvre our bikes through it all was a bit of a worry.  We unhooked our panniers and with the aid of a couple of helpful bods got them on to the ferry where they were lashed to the foredeck.  We found ourselves seats on the upper deck and sat in anticipation of a pleasant 3 hour cruise to Tioman.

................... To Be Continued Next Issue.

Peter Norris


Yes, this is your Runs Secretary's annual appeal for marshals and helpers for the DA's Benstead Cup events.  If you would like to help with any of the following please contact the event organisers.
50 mile Reliability Ride  Sunday 21st April
Organisers:  Keith Parfitt & Harold Coleman
Kings Head, Holmbury St Mary 11:30 - 12:30
150km Southdowns Sesquicentury.  Sunday 26th May
Organiser  Roger Philo
11:30 - 14:00
12:00 - 14:44
Stonehenge 200km and 25, 50, 75, 100 mile Clover leaf ride.  Sunday 16th June
Organiser  Roger Philo
Secret control
Elstead (finish)
Details on application
9:36 - 11:12
shifts between 07:30 and 22:00
60km Roughstuff event  Sunday 21st July
Organisers  Clive Richardson & Roger Philo
Secret Control
St. Martha's Hill
Details on application
10:00 - 10:45
11:00 - 13:10
100km Tour of the Hills event.  Sunday 18th August
Organisers:  Keith Parfitt & Harold Coleman
Secret control
Farley Green
Horseblock Hollow
Dunley Hill 1
Box Hill
Forest Green
Dunley Hill 2
Barn Cafe (Finish)
Details on application
10:36 - 11:12
10:43 - 11:46
11:24 - 12:49
11:46 - 13:33
12:32 - 15:05
13:10 - 16:21
13:31 - 17:02
100 or 75 mile reliability rides.  Sunday 8th September
Organiser  Roger Philo
Pirbright (start)
Pirbright (finish)
? (finish)
07:00 - 09:00
15:30 - 17:00
17:00 - 19:00
Tricyclathon (Hillclimb, freewheeling, pacejudging).  Sunday 9th October
Organiser  Ken Bolingbroke
Various marshals and timekeepers required.

Remember, to obtain maximum Benstead Cup points from the DA's standard rides you need to complete 5 of them AND marshal or organise at least one.  Also the rules for awarding DA medals have been changed so that marshalling in one event rather than riding it counts towards the DA medals

Please help the Tour of the Hills organisers avoid eyestrain

All Audax events claiming points in the Audax Altitude Award (AAA) competition will need to be re-registered with the AAA Secretary for 1997 events.  This will require either counting contour lines on a 1:50 000 OS map or submitting at least two independent cumulative climb readings from cycle computers with altimeter functions.  Contours have not been counted for the current Tour of the Hills route and the claim of 1930 metres of climb is based on one Avocet 50 reading for the current route and two for the previous, slightly different, route.  The organisers would prefer not to have to count contours so we need volunteers with Avocet 50s to ride the route or lend us Avocet 50s so we can.  The readings could be made during this year's event but in this case volunteers should let the organisers know beforehand.  As a consistency and barometric pressure check, the marshals at each control would ask volunteers for current height and cumulative climb readings.

Roger Philo

A date for your diary.
      DA Annual Dinner:  Saturday 23rd November 1996.  YMCA, Guildford

News From Malcolm & Chrissy

20/26 January 1996
Kibale National Park nr Fort Portal  Uganda

Dear David,

Apologies for not writing sooner but the pace of life here is very slow and we are adapting to it also.  Well it has been two weeks since we arrived.  Our flight was delayed from Heathrow by a couple of hours, which meant that we didn't go via Frankfurt and it was also delayed from Addis Ababa - Welcome to Africa!  We got the bikes back from the airline to find that my back wheel resembled a pretzel!  Good time for Malcolm to try out his wheel building techniques.  We spent a few days resting at Entebbe Resort beach, where we were able to camp in the garden.  It was really hot, about 30° - 35°C and every day we would experience amazing thunder and lightning storms.  Sometimes they would be in the early morning and we would wonder if the tent would hold out - it did which was good.  Mal managed to straighten my wheel and I was able to whizz around Entebbe.  We visited the Botanical Gardens and saw some vervet monkeys which was good.  There are a lot of vegetables for sale in the markets and on the side of the roads, so we were able to make meals up on the stove.

We left Entebbe on the Friday following and cycled the 26 miles to Kampala.  It was a bit tricky cycling as the road was quite narrow and every time a vehicle came up behind, it would sound its horn and you'd have to drive off onto the dirt.  A bit of a knack.  It also rained quite a bit so the roads were very slippery.  We stayed that night and a few following at backpackers hostel just out of Kampala run by an Australian involved in supporting a permagricultural project where he shows local people how to make themselves more self sufficient.  It was nice to meet up with some more travellers and chat about things.  We left here and spent two days cycling inland towards Fort Portal.  The terrain is hilly, undulating and we started each day at 07:00 so we could get the bulk of the miles done while it was reasonably cool.  The temps are about 28° - 30°C and by 12:00 it is too hot to do anything, except rest.  The first night we spent in a small town called Mityana.  It was a nice little place and we stayed in very nice lodgings run by a womans project.  The rooms were very clean and we had a bathroom too which was nice.  Dinner that night was chicken stew and rice.

Next day we acted like Woking Hard Riders and did some serious cycling.  I drafted Mal down the hills and got all the way up the hills before stopping at the top for a breather.  Reached Mubande about 13:00 which wasn't too bad as it is just too hot to cycle in the afternoon.  TOO HOT!!  We found good lodgings that day and a good meal.  We had been advised that the next stretch of road was a bit isolated and dirt, so we were advised to take the bus.  This was an experience!  We were out on the main road by 07:00 but the bus did not arrive until 10:30.  We had to be trusting and leave some bags on the road while I fought my way on with one lot of bags and Mal helped load the bikes.  These were hauled up by rope and tied on the roof rack.  I squeezed in down the back while Mal sat up the front surrounded by panniers.  It was very exciting as our bus hit the dirt about 1 km out of town and then started racing the express.  I was sure that we were going to tip over.  We got extremely dusty and dirty as the dust would fly through the windows.  Mal unfortunately was stuck next to a guy who thought he was Santa, which was a bit of a pain but who eventually left him alone.  When we reached Fort Portal we found that there was a water shortage so we scouted around town to find a reasonable lodging in which we could also keep the bikes.  Met up with Alan, a guy we'd met at Entebbe.  Spent a couple of nights here as we needed to extend our visas.  We had only been given two weeks so we had to go up to the local immigration office.  This was a real dump and reeked of sordid times past.  It was filthy and stunk, however the guy was quite pleasant and gave us 3 months which we will probably need after all that.

We cycled out to a local crater lake which was quite pretty.  After a rest we made our way out to the Kibale National Park.  Unfortunately an hour out it started to rain and when it rains in Africa it rains!!  We had to seek shelter under a tree then under the veranda of a local house which we assumed was unoccupied until the door flung open but we didn't see anyone.  The rain continued for well over an hour and we eventually had to carry on.  It was extremely slippery so we made slow time over the 35kms.  It dried up a little in the afternoon so we were able to enjoy the views.  Just as we were entering the forest we were lucky enough to see a family of chimps crossing the road.  Firstly a big male, followed by a female and a young one.  The male waited watching us watching him until another young chimp scampered across the road.  The male moved into the bushes and sat watching us for about another 5 minutes.  It was great!  We stayed in the forest for three nights at a very good (if overpriced) campsite.  It was very private and really like being in the bush by yourself.  We entertained ourselves by going for forest walks in the hope of seeing some chimps but also learning a lot about the other primates, birds and insects.

For the last few nights we have been staying at the Safari Hotel just along from the Park where we have been having amazing hospitality by a very nice guy called Charles, who used to cook for the Belgium Ambassador in Rwanda.  He is a fabulous cook and to date we have had pineapple pie;  chicken in red wine;  vegetable pie and roast potatoes.  Delicious!  We have met up with a lot of nice people both Ugandans and European travellers.  We went for one last forest walk and were lucky to see a group of about 9 chimps which really made my day, as it had started out very wet and miserable.  I never realised how noisy chimps were as they called to each other to say how happy they were to find food.  It was a great experience.  We also did a swamp walk and saw many exotic birds such as turacos and parrots.  We were invited to see some dancing and music which was fun and ended up buying an African Instrument, the Endingidi or tube fiddle.  Will we ever be able to produce the same sort of sound, I wonder?  I think not!

Sorry about the delay in sending letter.  Everything is on African time here, we are trying to change some money at a local Amex bureau and so far we have been told that there is no money; no rate; no water and be patient.  Problem is it is a bank holiday so we might have to wait until the banks open Monday.  We are intending leaving here and heading south down to Kasse and the Queen Elizabeth National Park, before going further south hopefully Mguhinga Gorillas.  We have heard so many bad things about Kenya so we are enjoying Uganda before it goes the same way.  We have just washed the bikes as they were absolutely mud covered!! Take care,

Chrissy & Malcolm.

4 February 1996
Ishaka nr Mbarana  SW Uganda

Prologue:  Hi to the Woking Wayfarers, stamps are a bit of a problem here and I've yet to find a postcard that wasn't of Kenya or Chinese acrobats?

Dear David,

Greetings to you from lodgings where we are sheltering from the most amazing thunderstorm.  We meant to leave at 07:00 but it was so dark that we waited a while, then the storm started.  Thunder, lightning, hail, wind and this is meant to be the dry season.  I can't remember where I last wrote up to, so forgive me if we repeat ourselves.  We left Fort Portal on a Sunday and dropped fairly rapidly down into the Rift Valley.  Luckily we got there (Kasse) before it rained.  From here we made enquiries about cycling along the main road towards Bushenyi.  There were a variety of answers as it runs through Queen Elizabeth II National Park.  Decided to try along the main road anyway and get a lift along the road that goes to Katwe.  It was hot but flat.  We waited about an hour before a heavily laden pick-up came past and offered to take us.  The guys carefully stacked our bikes, fully laden, on top of the 25 Jerry cans and we squeezed on top of everything.  The drive was extremely dusty and by the time we got to the park gates we were literally covered with dust.  Still, saves being eaten by a lion.  At the park gates we paid our fees and were told that we would have to wait for a ride.  This we did for about an hour or so until the warden started making comments like 'I need to study in NZ, perhaps you could sponsor me' and 'perhaps a vehicle won't come and you could leave your bicycles with me', I think not.  Anyway when a bike local turned up and said he was going to the Mweya lodge, we asked if we could accompany him.  No problem and off we went.  Boy did we set a cracking pace.  At that rate I could go out with the hard riders, no worries.  The local kept a vigilant eye on the bush swinging his head from side to side.  I stuck closely to his back wheel, semi-reassured by his bumper sticker 'no condition is permanent' until I remembered that the complete version finishes with 'except death'!  At one stage he screeched to a halt and I nearly rear-ended him.  Looking up I saw a large bunch of forest hogs, (mean looking black things).  He waited until they were aware of our presence then we whizzed past riding our bikes frantically.  Mine of course more frantically than most!  It was 8km to the lodge and we averaged 18mph.  Mal is threatening to stick a cut-out of a lion behind me to make me cycle faster!  When we got to the lodge complex I was very pleased.  Mweya Lodge is one of a chain of Ugandan Hotels, and is very nicely situated on a bluff overlooking the Kazinga Channel.  However it was not worth $56 a night so we headed down to the student Hostel where we were able to have a room to ourselves for $10.  There was also running water to both the showers and hand basins so we were able to get rid of the dust of the journey.

QEII Nat Park is slowly coming right after the ravages of Idi Amin's rule as well as outbreaks of rinderpest (cattle disease) and small pox in the 1890's and Tsetse at the beginning of this century.  Still there is a lot of wildlife still to be viewed.  We went out for a game drive sharing a vehicle with 4 English students who are teaching over here.  We went out at 06:30 and were fortunate to see a pride of lions, frisking around the road, 6 lionesses and one small male who didn't have a large mane so I guess he may have been young.  It was very exciting.  We also saw many Ugandan Kob; Buffalo; Wart Hogs and Impala.  In the afternoon we took a launch trip up the Kazinga Channel which joins Lakes Edward and George.  This was very good value as we saw very many hippos, 4 elephants and many many buffalo.  The variety of bird life was amazing and we were so pleased we'd invested in a set of binoculars each.  We saw fish eagles; storks; pelicans; cattle egrets; goliath herons and many more.  We also saw a monitor lizard hoping to share some dinner with a fish eagle but he missed out.  Back at the camp we had to be careful at dusk of hippos that climb up a huge hill to graze.  There were also wart-hogs wandering around casually, although they could be aggressive if annoyed.  We ate at the local canteen which also shared the fabulous view as the lodge but at a fraction of the cost.  We were rewarded one night by the sight of two hyena loping across the lawn, one of whom stole our companion's dinner.  Very cheeky.  We were also lucky to share a vehicle the next day with a Frenchman who really knew his birds and greatly enhanced our appreciation of the bird population.  It was great having someone so knowledgeable to share with us.  The guide was also pleased as most people just want to see lions, and other mammals.

We left here on the 2nd and waited about 2 hours until a truck came past which could take us.  It was a huge dump truck and with some willing hands we lifted the bikes onto the back, fully laden, which was a bit of a feat.  This was a hard day's cycling as we traversed the Rift Valley and climbed 2000 metres up into the hills.  We started out much later than normal and by 12:00 the heat was unbearable.  We rested for two hours in a small trading post and pressed on about 15:00.  The sun had lost none of its heat and we were still climbing.  It was extremely strenuous stuff, and I was very pleased to reach the town of Ishaka where we stopped for the night.  We found a very good lodge, and good restaurant attached.  Good rebuild!

Now heading to Mbarara and island to Kaboje, maybe see some gorillas.

Hope all's well.



For two or three days before the event the weather had been damp, wet and cold so we were a little bit fearful of what the conditions would be like on December 20th.  However we needn't have worried as the day started cloudy but dry as we assembled at Mimbridge Nursery at 9.45am.  18 of us rode at a sedate pace past Gracious Pond, up the Steep into Sparrow Row and so on to Sunningdale where we did a little "rough stuff" before reaching the Little Chef at Sunninghill where 7 people were already enjoying their coffee.  We had previously phoned the L.C. to let them know that there might be about 20 of us so when we all arrived everyone was very friendly.  We all had drinks but not much to eat!!

The early arrivals at the L.C. set off first, led by John Widley, to be followed about ten minutes later by most of the others, just leaving Marguerite and Harold to wait for any possible late comers.  We all met up at the "Hare and Hounds" at West End, Chobham where we were warmly welcomed by the Staff who had decorated the Pub very nicely and lit a large coal fire.  2 more people arrived and joined us with a drink before going into the Function Room which again was attractively decorated and the tables were laid for us with Christmas Crackers so we were all able to wear paper hats!!  We must have been sitting down for about five minutes when Ken Bolingbroke arrived to much clapping and cheering!

Most of us had pre-ordered Turkey while a few others had Roast Beef.  Both meals were excellent value at £6 a head.  Most people, being true cyclists, then followed this with two mince pies and cream and a cup of coffee, or tea, for an additional £3.  Harry and I had as much food as we wanted for a total of £15.  Harry also had a couple of pints plus a Brandy (or two!).

"Sir" Harold, our DA President, was introduced to the Mid-Weekers and made a short speech about how nice it was to be with us on this occasion.  He then introduced our Secretary, Rory Fenner, who took a bow!  George Alesbury, who this year has been with the DA for 60 years, was caught unawares when asked to give us some idea of the DA as it was when he had first joined as a teenager.  George also mentioned that George Porter has been with the DA almost as long.  Congratulations to both Georges from us all.  Marguerite was presented with a large present and card signed by everyone as a "thank you" for organising the Group, and its rides, over the last year!  M. was also caught totally unawares and rapidly had to think of something to say!  Rory thanked Marguerite (who was beginning to feel a bit embarassed) for organising the Lunch and suggested that it became an annual event.  All these short speeches took place at different stages of the meal.  Not as one long session at the end which made them more enjoyable to listen to.

The party started to disperse after about two and a half hours.  When we came out of the Pub the sun was shining and it was a beautiful afternoon.  A few of us "wobbled" back to a friend's house for a cup of tea and some more mince pies to round off an excellent day.

On Christmas Day I discovered that my parcel contained my favourite chocolates.  A box of 64 Chocolate Brazil Nuts, yummy!  A big "THANK YOU" to everyone.  What a finish to a great year.

Marguerite Statham     December 1995

Ten Years Ago

The following items are from the June/July 1986 issue of "Cycletouring".

Firstly, from "DA news":


Ten intrepid riders rode on the Easter tour of Kent to be assaulted by hailstones the size of golf balls and notch up a record 17 punctures.  Definitely a tour that will be remembered.

A change in the weather ensured the success of the tandem ride in April with 30 riders, including some welcome new faces, who descended on a coffee shop that ran out of cups and later on kept the bar staff busy at a Billingshurst pub.  Another is planned for the autumn.  36 riders took part in the Benstead Cup 50 mile reliability ride.  Look out for our Tour of the Hills event on August 3rd.

A new junior section will be starting in June - easy rides supervised by an adult.  Telephone Les Moss, Woking 63262 for details.

Clubnights are always popular at the Guildford Rowing Club.  Pat and Mike Strauss recently gave an absorbing slide-show of cycle touring in China.  The next club night is at 8pm on July 2 with an exciting treasure hunt along the banks of the River Wey.  Just turn up.

June 14 is barn dance night and July 13 is the breakfast ride.  Further details and copies of our new runs list from our Secretary Helen Juden, Godalming 25794.

Secondly, from "We Remember . . .":

Hubert Rawlinson, aged 55, collapsed and died with a heart attack on March 9th, whilst riding with the West Surrey DA.  Hugh had recently been elected to the committee of the DA and was enthusiastically promoting cycling in a quest to increase membership.  His particular interest was for veteran cycles.  Our thoughts are with his widow Jean, and their three sons. - M.H.

Derek Constable has died, in his early forties, from leukaemia.  Derek was another West Surrey DA rider with a particular enthusiasm for the rough-stuff and he always rode a fixed wheel.  Derek's life might have been saved had a suitable bone marrow transplant donor been available. - M.H.

Thirdly, from "Gearchange":

F. W. Evans - another branch

Gary Smith, the Managing Director of F.W. Evans Cycles, has announced the opening of another branch, this time in the centre of Woking.

The new shop opened on March 29th and is being managed by John Dean, who has a team of co-workers.  The address is 1 Guildford Road (near Woking Station).  Tel 048-62 23876.

Finally, from "On Your Bike" (Rights news):

Virginia and Peter Bottomley arrive by tandem at Cotterell House.  Also in the picture is Alan Leng, our National Secretary.  Photo by Chris Meeks.

Safe seats for MPs?

Recent visitors to CTC Headquarters in Godalming were local MP for South-west Surrey Mrs. Virginia Bottomley and her husband Peter, MP for Eltham and newly appointed Under-Secretary of State for Transport, who has now taken over Lynda Chalker's mantle as Minister with responsibility for roads and traffic.

The Minister and his wife did the only decent thing, arriving at Cotterell House on a tandem, and they then spent a couple of hours meeting staff and discussing transport issues.



SAT 27 & SUN 28 JULY

To Cerne Abbas near Dorchester
Bed & Breakfast on Saturday night
Approx 100 miles each day
Usual Stops for Coffee, Lunch & Tea

Please contact Peter Norris for details
01252 338504 after 6.30pm

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Web page by Chris Jeggo.  Last revised:  18 September 2006.