"The West Surrey Cyclist" - October - December 1997

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Front cover - very similar to Issue 1
Inner front cover - West Surrey District Association Officers  1996-97
Advertisement - Wykes Bikes
The President's Page - by Harold Coleman
Notice - AGM Followed by DA Luncheon & Prize Giving
Cycling Along the Danube - by Marion Thompson
National Cycle Exhibition - by Peter Norris
Letters to the Editor
Advertisement - Arena Cafe, Ash Vale
Contributions to our Magazine
DA Events - Update
Bears & Bikes Tour 97 - by Chrissy & Malcolm Clarke
New Website for the West Surrey DA
Advertisement - Clockhouse Tea Rooms, Abinger Hammer
Peugeot's 'Team ZX1' - photograph and specification
Events  October - December 1997 - the Runs List
Just Another Sunday ... 10th August 1997 - by Harold Coleman
Subscribe to the magazine
Slime - review by Peter Norris
Tearooms that have closed down
Did You Know - Tilford
Routes - Woking to Wantage and Wantage to Temple Guiting - by David Nightingale
Honeymoon in the Arctic Circle - by Peter Norris
Steve Saines
Shimano - voluntary product recall - cranks
Sixty Years On - pages reproduced from the DA History - 1930 to 1932
Inner back cover - Members' Free Ads
Outer back cover - advertisement - Camberley Discount Cycles

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


President Harold Coleman   01252 546635
Secretary Rory Fenner 01483 569705
Treasurer Chas Benzing
Runs Secretary Roger Philo 01483 233381
Other Members Ken Bolingbroke
Peter Callaghan
Peter Norris
Rico Signore
Trevor Strudwick
Vice Presidents George Alesbury
Les Warner
Auditor Michael Soubry
Magazine Editor Peter Norris 01252 338504
Hardriders Clive Richardson 01428 724390
Intermediates Ken Bolingbroke 01483 728247
Cranleigh & Villages Wayfarers Trevor Strudwick 01483 272387
Farnham CRN Ken 01252 724433
Guildford & Godalming Group Chris & Helen 01428 683302
Woking Wayfarers David Nightingale 01483 725674
Audax & DATC Rides Roger Philo 01483 233381
Mountain Bike Rides Nigel Matthias 01483 892545
Mid Week Wayfarers Harry Statham
Les Houlton
John Ostrom
01483 763289
01483 763816
Thursday Evenings (Godalming) Martin 01483 504926


Fortunately the last few years have helped to contradict the reputation that the 'Tour of the Hills' had obtained of always being wet, and this year's once again enjoyed fine weather.  The bare statistics were:
Entries 88,  Starters 81,  Finishers inside 5 hrs - 18,  Finishers inside 7 hrs - 39.

First round was M Stoaling of East Surrey DA in 4hrs 4 mins (34 minutes ahead of the next 2 finishers) on a genuine touring bike complete with mudguards.  Another notable ride was 4hrs 48 mins by Paddy Shea's son Paul - why isn't he a member of the CTC, Paddy?  Ian Callaghan, at 16 years, must have been one of the youngest ever to have got round in 5 hours.  Ken Bolingbroke finally made his mind up, entered on the line and finished in 5 hrs 44 mins - well done Ian and Ken.

Also worth mentioning was the tandem ridden by 2 fit but scatter-brain members of the Charlotteville, Steve Leonard and Derek Dowden.  They completed in 6 hrs 8 mins in spite of a split front rim which necessitated a partially deflated front tyre, which must have made downhill cornering decidedly tricky.  Other successful West Surrey members were:  C McMillian, T Hargreaves, Don Jones, Colin Shales, Kevin Blackburn (a past West Surrey regular), M Wood, C Wood and R Andrews.

Though having been, with Chris Jeggo, an initiator of the 'Tour of the Hills', this was the first time I had taken on the task of sole organiser.  Thanks to the help from West Surrey members at the start and finish and around the course.  The event ran smoothly apart from one unfortunate rider who 'lost it' on a corner and broke his collar bone, and:-

Sunday 11.10 pm  My phone rings.  A concerned wife is enquiring about her husband who has not yet returned home.  Can I tell her if he completed the event?  After going through the Brevet cards I ring her back to say that I have no record of him having finished within the maximum time allowed, though this does not mean that he has not subsequently returned to Newlands Corner.  During discussion we realise that if he has had an accident it could be anywhere round the 60 mile course or anywhere between Newlands Corner and his home in Havant.

By now it is nearly midnight and I agree to my name and telephone number being given to the police, in case I can be of assistance.

It is 12.30 am by the time I get to bed.  I can't sleep.  I keep going round the course in my mind and visualising the possibility of him going off the road on a steep down-hill corner, ending up injured and invisible in the bushes.  In desperation I turn to a book.  Some time after 1 am I fall asleep.

At 3.44 I am woken by the phone by my bed.
'Mr Coleman, Surrey Police here.  Now about your cycling event.'
'Hasn't he turned up yet?'
'No, we have searched the car park at Newlands Corner but his car isn't there.'
'Have you looked in the cafe car park?'
'No but we will.  Can you, if necessary, supply us with a description of the route and a map?'
'Yes, certainly.  I will help in any way I can.'
'We will let you know later if we are coming to you to collect the details.'

I was half asleep when the call started but I am wide awake now and more worried than ever.  My imagination is working overtime.  I cannot sleep.  In desperation I turn to my book again.  About 6.30 am I am woken by my alarm.  Today, I drive to Dorset on the first day of my holiday, after less than 4 hours sleep and I was really in need of a good night's sleep.  I have a headache, I feel lousy and I am very worried.

At 8 am I phone Peter Callaghan.
'Do you, by any chance, remember this particular rider going through any check point?'
'No, I don't, but I would be hard pressed to remember the name of any particular rider at a check point.'

We discuss the matter for some 10 minutes.  I put the phone down, it immediately rings.
'Hello ......... here.'  (I won't give his name)
'Are you at home?'
'Have you told the police?'
'Yes.  I was one of a group of riders who fell behind time and reached the finish after it had closed'.

That was it, no explanation as to why he failed to reach his home until - well, I don't know what time - or why he hadn't phoned his wife.  And no hint of an apology for the worry and loss of sleep which he had caused.  I can only hope that the police ticked him off good and proper.  Should he attempt to enter next year, I fear that his entry will be lost in the post.

Apparently only one person spotted last issue's deliberate mistake - well you can't screw a bottom bracket fixed cup into the back of a freewheel block.  One has a left hand thread and the other a right hand thread.  I thought that this would bring out all the bicycle mechanics in the DA.  Surely Chris Avery can not have been the only one to spot it, or was he the only one who bothered to read my article?  Now that's a sobering thought!



*     AGM     *



Sunday 9th November

This year the West Surrey DA Annual Dinner
will be replaced by a luncheon and combined
with the AGM

The Manor Hotel
*     Newlands Corner     *

Meet at 10am for FREE Coffee & Biscuits
AGM held at 10.45am
Buffet lunch approx 1pm 


*   Vegetable Lasagne,
*   Traditional Lasagne or
*   Chicken Chasseur with Rice
*   Selection of Salads
*   Apple Pie & Cream
*   £11.75 per person
Harold Coleman
David Nightingale
01252 546635
01483 725674
Harry Statham
Peter Norris
01483 763289
01252 338504


It was an unforgettable ride.  The goal was Budapest, Hungary;  the kick-off was Passau on the German-Austrian border.  The dribbling in between was 450 miles along the Danube cycle track.

Cycling alongside any river is a peaceful and beautiful experience, and the Danube is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.  It is a tour to be recommended.  It is amazing how many cyclists of all nationalities take advantage of the Donau Radweg, although my CTC enthusiast husband and myself appeared to be the only English people around.  It is big business indeed leading to Radfahrfreundlich (cycle friendly) signs everywhere.

The track itself is mostly in superb condition.  Wide with a smooth surface, it is not a purpose built track for its several hundred kilometre length, but takes advantage of the old towpath (Treppelweg) most of the time.  The on-off road tyres of our hired hybrid Winora bicycles were barely necessary.  Neither were the 21 gears as the middle chain wheel was very comfortable along the flat route.  There were mutterings that the fixed chain wheel left at home would have been ideal.  Occasionally there are Radfahrstations well equipped with drinking water and picnic tables for a break in the journey.

There is certainly no monotony in spite of the level terrain.  Sometimes the track is along the top of an 8 metre high flood embankment, sometimes through rich woodland, sometimes through cultivated countryside and occasionally along the road.  It is well waymarked with green signposts and there is a clear comprehensive map provided by Donau Touristik.  Apart from these journey aids, there are lots of cheerful Dutch and German cyclists around, all keen to practice their English.  They enjoy a discussion about the best possible route.  Some of them are on the very popular escorted tours.  Anyway, as any full blooded cyclist knows, part of the fun is occasionally getting lost.

Eco-champions will be familiar with the natural world in Austria in summer.  It is fascinating.  The wild flowers everywhere are breathtaking.  Apparently, when on outings by rail Austrian schoolgirls are given packets of wild flower seeds to sprinkle from the window to enrich the verges.  It certainly seemed as if cyclists had done this along the cycle track.  Why are we so slow at implementing ideas like this in our country?  I have heard of a charity, Landlife, which advises on the establishment of native wildflowers, but it seems to fight a very lonely cause.  Birds galore, the birdsong is deafening in June.  Also, on the approach to Vienna, we nearly rode over a large snake in the process of swallowing a baby mole for lunch in the middle of the track.

An interesting feature of the Danube is that, in the event of inclement weather, or simply just to have a change from the saddle, you can take the ferry downstream for a stretch.  Then you pick up the cycle track later.  We chose to do this through the Wachau gorge where the steep slopes are covered in vineyards.  The ferry calls at Durnstein, famous for its castle ruins where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192 by the Emperor of Austria.

Sometimes where the river narrows through a gorge, the route on the map takes you to the opposite bank by ferry for just a few schillings.  The skill of the ferryman is admirable, crossing against the current of such a swiftly flowing, swirling river.  We were tempted to do several crossings.

The hotels all the way were magnificent.  They were pre-booked by Donau Touristik and it was super to always find our luggage had arrived ahead of us without a hitch.  At 2 stops, Schlögen and Grein, a very efficient system operated.  The bookings were at delightful pensions in the mountains.  Not so delightful to climb after a 45 mile ride.  So we were met with minibus and cycle trailer and transported on high.  The descent by bicycle next morning was exhilarating.

It was pleasant to be treated everywhere as valued clients and clear directions for the parking and locking up of bikes were given at all receptions, as if you had arrived in a Porsche ...  The hotel Albatross in Vienna welcomed us with a free prosecco (sparkling white wine) ...

The CTC has information on the camp sites and youth hostels, which looked good and are scattered everywhere.  Otherwise there are ample bed & breakfast signs along the way.  A popular holiday is to cycle from Passau to Vienna and to return on the ferry, viewing at leisure the country you have cycled through.

Towards the Hungarian border the heavy military presence made us wonder if we were doing the right thing.  Cycling in Hungary is different.  Map reading skills are tested to the limit.  Apart from the language difficulty, as virtually no English is spoken, the signs are barely readable.  We found short stretches of cycle track along the river and here was solitude indeed.  A contrast to the busy Radweg in Austria.  It was a relief to be away from the roads.  Contrary to general belief they were busy.  There seems to be very little vehicle emission control and it was not unusual to see my husband disappear into clouds of black fumes ahead of me.  However, the simplicity of the countryside is incredibly beautiful.  Also the delicious Hungarian dishes at cheap prices made up for these difficulties.

It was suggested by the tour guide from Rad and Reisen that we took the ferry into Budapest from Szentendre.  This would avoid the industrial outskirts and poor road surfaces.  It was a brilliant suggestion and this approach to Budapest is striking, with bridges, basilicas and the Parliament dominating the sky line.

The holiday can be rounded off with a visit to the magnificent Opera House.  We saw the Hungarian State ballet.  Tickets can be booked here through a number issued by the Hungarian Tourist Office.  Indeed an unforgettable holiday.
Essentials: mosquito repellent
tool kit
German dictionary
luminous belt for roads in Hungary.
Provided: clear maps
helpline with mechanics on route
Tour Operators: Anglo Dutch Sports Ltd
Cycling and Activity Holidays
30a Foxgrove Road
Kent  BR3 5BD

Marion Thompson
August 1997


A highly imaginative exhibition creatively installed in the historic landmark Automobile Palace building at Llandrindod Wells.

Over 120 cycles on display.
Exciting and historic shop displays:
  The Victorian cycle shop.
  The lamp collection.
  The Edwardian cycle shop.

The Tom Norton collection of historic bicycles.

The David Higman collection of cycles and memorabilia.

Tribute display to Tom Simpson, professional road race World Champion in 1965.

Barry Hoban display - winner of eight stages of the Tour De France.

If you are ever up north near the area it is certainly well worth going out of your way to visit.

I visited the exhibition in July this year.  It cost £2.50 admission and I spent an enjoyable hour looking at the displays.



23 July 1997

The Editor
West Surrey Cyclist

Dear Peter,

Courtesy Pays

As I was cycling with another entrant on the Downslink on the Roughstuff event, we were hailed at from behind by "I'm coming through".  We made way and a cyclist soon went past, followed soon after by a second.  Neither, however, had the courtesy to say "thank you".  Soon after, I rang my bell to warn a family group of cyclists that we were behind, and, unusually were greeted by scowls.

We'd had friendly greetings from all the other groups - walkers or cyclists - we'd passed and presumed our cycling "friends" had been as discourteous to them as to us!

It's a reminder that bad behaviour by one cyclist brings bad reactions to all of us.

In a similar way, I've met a few cyclists who, like I do, use the underpass in Guildford, going past the Old Peoples Welfare Centre to reach North Street, but who go quickly round the blind corners and bring justified annoyance from the pedestrians using this way.  Unless everybody is careful, we'll find action taken against us!

Can I ask that we all ride courteously - as I'm sure we all do - but that we also ask these offending cyclists to try and think of the effects of their behaviour on all of us - you may be fast enough to catch them!

Keith Chesterton

Thanks for your letter Keith,

I too have been scowled at by walkers as I try to pass them with courtesy on bridle ways or canal towpaths.

It is indeed frustrating when inconsiderate cyclists are reckless and cause distress to other members of the public.  I often actually dismount from my bike when encountering walkers on a narrow path or track - that way they are less likely to feel intimidated.  But sometimes even then I still get scowled at.

Anyhow Keith have a free, inner tube.  Let me know what size you would like.



Dear Members,

Our Wednesday outing has grown from an informal group or four to a potential of around sixty people.  That is a huge success, but it has brought problems.

Firstly there are sometimes too many of us to ride safely and conveniently.

Secondly there tend to be too many of us to be accommodated in some of the coffee places.

Finally the spectrum of rider strength, which could be blended (albeit with difficulty) in a small group, is now just too wide.  We are in fact hares and tortoises with every grade in between.

The ideal solution would be for those at the top end - let us call them the yellow jersey tendency - to split off and form their own runs group with their own runs list and administration.  This would leave the rest of us to form two loosely defined sections going to the same coffee venue, but splitting thereafter.  If we continue to grow even this may have to be modified.

If accepted this regime should be in place by the time the present "Troika" reaches the end of its tenure in December.

Failing this (and supposing that the troika is asked to continue in office in 1998) we propose from then on simply to publish runs lists quoting merely a start point leaving members to sort themselves out each time on an ad hoc basis.  This would be far from being an ideal solution.

We hope to get comments from you between now and our "AGM" in November.


Anyone interested in riding on a Friday please contact THE TROIKA.


Thank you to all who have contributed to the mag this issue.  The aim is to make this mag as informative and entertaining as possible.

If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

All articles are gratefully received.  You can write about your last cycle touring holiday or even an outing you had with friends on a club run.  You do not have to have novelistic skills like Stephen King or Jane Austin.  You do not have to present your story in type, just hand written will do fine.

A story, a joke, a sketch or even a letter to the poor old editor will be gratefully received.

Send contributions to:  The Editor, West Surrey Cyclist, 13 Heathcote Rd, Ash, Hants,  GU12 5BH



This year's ride took place on Sunday 20th July with a 10.00 am start at the Barn Cafe, Newlands Corner.  There were 15 entrants with 7 West Surrey riders and the rest from London, Kent and Bucks.  New in addition to the well established 60km ride, we had a much easier 50km route which gave you time to have a more leisurely ride and lunch stop if desired.  We were fortunate in having a nice sunny day and despite entries being down somewhat this year, presumably because it was not an Audax event, it nevertheless went well, with all of the riders finishing on time.  9 riders took to the 60km route, 2 of these from West Surrey, and the remaining 6 except 1 were West Surrey riders on the 50km route.  The new 50km ride was liked by all, with nothing too difficult to negotiate and in fact could be ridden by almost anyone and not necessarily on a mountain bike.  So where were the rest of you West Surrey D A riders?  Come and give it a try next year.

Trevor Strudwick.

TOUR OF THE HILLS.  August 17th.

Read President's Page.  (pg 4)


A detailed report has not been received.  From what I have been told a small group of riders endured the rain that was encountered and had a good fun ride.

100 and 75 mile rides.  September 7th.

Ken Bolingbroke and Rory Fenner saw off 14 entrants from the Pirbright Village Hall.  7 entered the 100 miler and 7 the 75 miler.  All riders finished.
Phil Hampton completed the 100 in 6hrs 49 minutes.
James Callaghan the youngest rider finished the 75 in 7hrs 49 minutes.
Entries were slightly down on last year.
Harold Coleman the oldest rider on the 100 finished in 7hrs 45min.


Bears & Bikes Tour 1997

By Chrissy & Malcolm Clarke 

30/05/97  Oahu Island

Aloha from Oahu Island.  After leaving NZ midday Tuesday and a great 8 hour flight we arrived 10.15pm Monday night, don't you just love it when the dateline works out that way.  So our Holiday started once again on Tuesday morning when we cycled in to Honolulu to obtain a camping permit to allow us to camp on the island.  We then headed towards Kibloa Beach which Chinamans Hat.  Motorists here are so courteous.  Give you warning of their approach.  Right of way and lots of passing room.  We think for two reasons, the road rules are enforced and the lawsuit aspect of a motor accident.  Haven't done much mileage, 1st day 34 miles then next day 20 but it's been very hot, stayed put for 2 nights at a private camp as 2 nights a week you can't camp at a State Park/Reserve but as they are free you can't complain.  The place we stayed at felt like a deserted island and it was great swimming in the clear blue waters but you have to watch the current and underflow from the surf.  Well back to the beach.

15/06/97  Lightning Lake  Manning Park  B.C.

We are now approaching our 2nd week in Canada after our short stint in Hawaii.  We were delayed 25 hours leaving there due to tech engine problems with the plane, however we put the time to good use.

Arrived in Vancouver to a wet day but after setting up at a campground we spent most of it catching up on lost sleep.  Next day awoke to beautiful but cool weather (they have had an extremely harsh and long winter) and explored Vancouver and its very well equipped camp and bike shops.  Vancouver is extremely user friendly for cyclists and we were also there for 'Bike to Work Week'.  Traffic is courteous and dedicated streets for cycle use have been obviously designed by cyclists i.e. you pull up to an intersection and a strategically mounted pole and button lets you stop the traffic at the intersection to allow you to cycle on across.  After 5 days in Vancouver where we restocked some of our camping equipment with new (it's about half the price of the UK) set out for our first stop, Port Moody on Highway 7, from there on to Harrison Mills through terrain which was mainly flat and cultivated for farming and the flower industry.  It was at Harrison Mills where we had our first Bear alert as a bear and cub had been spotted in the campground.  You cannot eat in your tent or too near and we hang our food in panniers high up between the trees.  From there we headed to Hope taking a detour to Harrison Hot Springs which was a beautiful Lake area and well worth the 10 mile pedal.  At Hope we stopped for a night at an Indian Camp (they call themselves First Nations here).  It was here we were given the information that has led us to stay 4 days in the beautiful area of Manning Park called Lightning Lakes, of course it came at the price of a 35 mile uphill grind but that's the joys of cycle touring.

28/06/97  Yard Creek

We are now staying 50km west of Revelstoke in a wilderness camp at Yard Creek Provincial Park.  As I think I last wrote from Hope we headed up into Lightning Lake in Manning Park a 10 mile uphill slog where we spent 4 days trampling, cycling, horse riding before returning to Highway 3 to Princeton then Keremeas where we decided to venture along Highway 97 to Okanagan, First stop the Falls there.  Through meeting a local triathlete and training we discovered the vehicle free and scenic route of the Kettle Valley Railway now disused and tracks removed to Penticton, then a 3000 foot climb up to Chute Lake made easy by the 2-4% gradient the trains required.  After a days R&R we set off along the KVR over the most visited section which has 18 trestles (huge wooden viaducts) plus 2 tunnels, met some other cyclists.  Then left the KVR down into Kelowna a 12 km downhill, no fun in 4°C + raining and a mud logging track.  After a night in Kelowna and a visit to Laundromat (so cheap and well equipped) purchased a new sleeping mat as my one had delaminated then across Okrunagas Lake on the floating bridge and follow the old traffic free road alongside the lake, stopped at two picturesque campsites and a swim in the freezing Lake.  From there to Salmon Arm via Silver Creek and our longest day in distance 61 miles of cycling.  From Salmon Arm we are on the Trans Canadian Highway but locals have been great showing us alternative routes where possible.


29/07/97  Calgary

Dear David,

Ya-hoo from Calgary, this is what your trusty steed does to you when you mention going back up them hills into the Rockies!  Well my Diary shows it's some time since I last wrote.  My memory tells me that was from Yard Creek.  We left there and cycled to Revelstoke on the Trans Canadian Highway which is the only road.  Although busy, quite scenic and lots of points of interest.  At Revelstoke we set up a camp and restocked on cyclists fuel - food.  Visited the very interesting dam built there with an excellent interpretative display on the construction, workings and impact from the dam.  Leaving this late in the afternoon we set out for Canyon Hot Springs half way up the famous Rogers Pass, luckily for us this section was relatively easy, and spent the evening relaxing in the Hot Pools.  Next day we set off very late on purpose as we knew it was only 20 miles to the camp 2 miles from the top of the Pass.  Spent 2 hours in the Hot Pools again, which was a bit of a bad move as our relaxed muscles didn't want to work and it was all up up up.  Oh well, that's cycle touring.  Scenery was again superb and we chuckled to ourselves as we viewed scenic spots that motorists couldn't stop at.  We did start to notice lots of Dandelions and bear skat, that's bear pooh, as the two go hand in hand so we had to be extremely vigilant and alert.  Spent a lovely evening in a wilderness camp with a backdrop of white Glaciers.  Next morning we reached the top of Rogers Pass which was strange as this pass is extremely famous with statues at the top and a big tourist centre yet we've cycled higher passes in Canada with little more than a sign stating its name and height.  Jumping way ahead now decided to detour to Calgary for the stampede and advanced booked tickets for the rodeo and chuckwagon + evening grandstand which was well worth the detour.  Spent 7 nights in Calgary, a city which had put cyclists ahead of motorists.  Yes, that's hard to believe, your own paths, bridges etc etc.  At the Columbia Icefields now, halfway between Lake Louise and Jasper, e.t.a. England October, will keep you posted, Regards Malcolm & Chrissy.

P.S.  Sorry folks for not getting some of this typed for the previous issue of the mag.  David



JUST ANOTHER SUNDAY  ...  10th August 1997

Bill, in his house across the road from me, has risen slowly from his bed, washed slowly, dressed slowly, gone down stairs slowly and entered his kitchen.  He is not yet fully in touch with the world.  He puts a tea bag into a tea cup.  He pours milk into a teacup and adds hot water.  The resultant liquid is white:  it stays white.  Bill is perplexed, this is not doing his brain any good.  After looking at the tea cup for some minutes and unsuccessfully willing the contents to change colour, Bill discovers the tea bag in another cup - the one which he uses to measure out his porridge (1-nil to me!).

On my side of the road everything is under control.  I have sprung from my bed, had an invigorating wash, donned my immaculate cycling gear and bounded down stairs.  I am wide awake.  I know what I am doing.  I put milk in my cup, pause, deciding whether to have tea or coffee.  At this stage I recall the fruit flavoured tea bags which I found in the kitchen the previous day.  The thought of a refreshing cup of fruit flavoured tea is irresistible.  I take the cup in my right hand and carefully pour the milk back into the carton.  I do not spill a drop.  I am rather pleased with myself until I notice that I have poured the milk into a carton of orange juice (1 all!).

Not doing badly are we and we haven't even stepped through our front doors yet!

The ride to Tongham is uneventful and pleasant, though Bill subsequently complains that it was too fast.  Life has evidently returned to normal.  Climbing out of Tongham up to the Hogs Back I excitedly point out a hot air balloon which is about to land a short way ahead of us.  Bill grunts.  We reach the top of the 'zig-zag' path and there is the balloon, just landed in the field to our right.  I insist upon us stopping to watch.  Suddenly there is a muffled cry from behind me, followed by a crash.  Bill has been leaning on his bike and it has gone from under him - as bikes will.  He has ended up sitting on the back wheel (2-1 to me!).

As things usually come in threes, we feel that there can be nothing more to worry about for the rest of the day.  Bill's rear mudguard stays are straightened and we are on our way again.  That is after Bill has said that it is all my fault for stopping to watch the balloon.  The Seale valley is beautiful in the morning sunlight.  I draw Bill's attention to it.  Bill grunts (has the man no soul?).  The sound of a branch breaking makes me glance over my left shoulder but I cannot see what has caused it.  I look ahead again in time to see Bill's back wheel - we are locked together for a couple of seconds before Bill manages to break free.  Whereupon I go over the handle bars and do a somersault down the road (2 all!).

I am missing some skin here and there but it's a warm day so I probably won't notice it and the bike's alright.  We straighten Bill's rear mudguard stays for a second time and resume our ride.  We are becoming concerned about the fact that we have lost rather a lot of time one way and another, so I up the pace a bit.  Bill is not pleased.  He does not complain, he just refuses to speak to me.  Which is marginally better than a grunt.  When Bill is in front of me I notice that his rear derailleur is leaning in towards his back wheel (a result of him sitting on the wheel whilst we watched the hot air balloon).  I inform Bill.  Bill grunts.

We arrive at the Little Chef at Five Oaks.  Bill is displeased because of the extra half mile we have done, so as to avoid having to turn right onto the main road and right again off it to enter the Little Chef car park.  He really does try my patience at times.  Bill is even less pleased as we discover that our hurrying was not necessary, as we are the first of the Intermediates to arrive.  I go in, keen to order my maple syrup pancake and ice cream.  Bill stands outside under the shade of a tree for 15 minutes so as to allow his body temperature to return to normal (actually, 'normal' is a word I hesitate to use when referring to Bill).

As Bill enters I am still waiting to place my order.  A waitress appears.  I place my order - Bill says he will have the same.  Somehow I feel that he has put one over me.  I have sat there like a dummy for quarter of an hour and eventually had to raise my voice, so that everyone turned to look, in order to obtain recognition of my existence as a potential customer.  Bill has walked in at the moment of his choosing and straight away a waitress is at our table.  I don't know how he does it!  We are on our second jug of coffee when the rest of the Intermediates arrive - Trevor!

After giving Trevor a resume of the morning's activities so far, we leave the Little Chef and head for the lanes, Trevor in the lead.  A full mile and a half has been cycled when, as we climb a short incline, there is a muffled cry from behind us, followed by noises which can only be made by metals in extreme pain.

Bill has come to a sudden stop, caused by his gear mech going into his back wheel when moved across for bottom gear.  This has also caused the chain to be jammed between the largest sprocket and the spokes, the rear wheel spindle to pull out of the right hand drop-out, the lower arm of the right hand drop-out to be pointing almost straight down and the gear hanger to be inclined towards the wheel at an angle of some 45 degrees from the vertical (3-2 to me).

Trevor and I are impressed.  Expert examination reveals that there are no broken spokes!  What's the old saying about 'the devil takes care of his own'?  Knowing that Bill always has enough black glutinous oil on his chain to give him influence on any decision made by OPEC, I am not keen to become physically involved in the attempt to repair the extensive damage.

Fortunately, Trevor is willing to get his hands dirty - very dirty.  I offer advice and tools (it's amazing what you can straighten with a small adjustable spanner) which include a baulk of timber, borrowed from a collapsed farm notice board, to deliver the final blows needed to re-align the lower arm of the right rear drop-out.  To our mutual surprise, after less than 20 minutes the repairs are complete.  Bill tightens the rear wheel skewer and we are on our way once more, heading for lunch.

Less than 2 miles on, we reach a tee junction.  Trevor and I emerge from the side road and turn right.  There is a muffled cry from behind us, followed by a crash.  Bill is sitting in the middle of the side road alongside his bike.  His rear wheel has pulled over and jammed (4-2 to me).

After this we had an uneventful ride to lunch and a much needed drink, then on to tea at Trevor's (where his wife declined to give attention to my cuts, bumps and grazes - I had been banking on her for a little female sympathy) and finally to home.

The only trouble was that we were no longer able to relax, expecting some other disaster to strike at any moment.  Maybe the next time we go out .......




Some of you may have already seen this product in the shops and may even - like me - have been tempted to buy it.  But does it really live up to its claims?

There was only one way to find out - try it.  My wife and I became guinea pigs so to speak - Read on.

First, What is SLIME?  Slime is a biodegradable, fibre-based formula which works to bind damaged rubber and create a clot in the puncture area.  Its claims are as follows:

The manufacturers do admit it does have some limitations: Installation of Slime is quite simple.  However, Slime can only be installed in tubes that have removable valves.

I used my mountain bike for the first test which has tyres with schrader valves - so no problems there.

Installation Procedure

  • Remove valve core & deflate tyre.

  • Cut tip of bottle and attach plastic filler tube (provided) to the bottle & valve stem.  Keep valve stem & bottle at an angle of about 45 degrees to assist flow of Slime into tube & slowly squeeze 4oz of sealant into tube (volume marked on bottle)

  • If blockage occurs do not force, use a thin wire to clear fibre blockage.

  • Clear any sealant from valve stem.  Replace and tighten valve core and reinflate to recommended air pressure.

After Slime was installed and my tyre pumped up to 60 psi I stuck a drawing pin in through the tyre and tube.  On withdrawal there was the expected hiss of escaping air.  I spun the wheel and after 3 seconds the leak stopped.  On inspecting the hole the drawing pin had made there was a little green dot.  The Slime had done its job - but for how long?  After 2 weeks of using the bike I carried out another drawing pin test and the Slime still worked.

I carried out the same test on my wife's work bike.  She has road tyres pumped up to 90 psi.

Slime is said to withstand temperatures as low as -35°F.  A major ingredient in the formula is a food grade propylene glycol (environmentally safe anti-freeze).  It remains stable in extreme heat.

Slime is not chemically reactive and contains rust and corrosion inhibitors.  It does not react with the tyre's rubber and is not harmful if it contacts with your skin.

If a large puncture occurs that Slime cannot seal a vulcanized patch can still be used.

So there you go.  The only immediate drawback I am able to see to having it in my tubes is that each wheel is now 4 ounces heavier - but I can't say that worries me too much.

If anyone out there has been using Slime please write in to the mag and tell us of your satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Apparently for those who do not wish to fill their own tubes with Slime there are slime-filled inner tubes available off the shelf.




ALFOLD FARM SHOP TEA ROOM has been closed since August 21st.
RUSSETTS TEA ROOM, Kirdford is now closed.


TILFORD (OS Landranger 186-873434) stands at the confluence of the two branches of the River Wey.

The monks of Waverley are believed to have been responsible for rebuilding Tilford's two mediaeval bridges following the devastating floods of 1233 during which the abbey itself had to be evacuated.

A 900 year old oak tree with a 25 foot girth which is known as the " Kings" or "Novels Oak" stands on the triangular green.

The inn nearby is early 18th century.


Thank you for your entries to last quarter's competition.

The question was:  on 18th May how many people entered the South Downs Sesquicentury 150 km bike ride?

The answer was on page 25 of the mag - 41 entrants.

All correct entries went into the prize draw.

The winner is K Chesterton.  He wins an Ancor Mini Tool Kit.

OCT - DEC COMPETITION:  win an 8oz Bottle of SLIME (see page 26) worth £6.95

Answer the question below and send or telephone your entry to the Ed  (you only get one chance though)


If posting your entry send to: 
The Editor
West Surrey Cyclist
13 Heathcote Rd
GU12 5BH
If entering by telephone call: 
01252 338504


I remember when my father in law made his speech at our wedding reception, he said he could not understand why newly weds would want to spend their honeymoon in the arctic circle at the time of year when there is only day and no night.  I wonder what he meant by that.

Gill and me were excited at the prospect of spending three weeks on our bicycles cycling in and around the arctic circle.  Excerpts from my diary follow below.

Sat  May 29th.

Two hour flight from Heathrow to Stockholm on a Mcdonald Douglas.  Transfer at Stockholm to a domestic flight to Lulea.

On domestic flights in Sweden carriage must be paid on bicycles.  It cost us £13.65 for each bike one way to Lulea.  It was a one hour flight.

Lulea is approximately 80 miles south (as the crow flies) of the arctic circle boundary.  It is one of the municipalities in Sweden which has most boats in relation to population.  One in eight of the city's inhabitants owns a pleasure boat.  Not surprising with the beautiful archipelago they have access to.

Our first destination on leaving the airport was to the nearest camping ground.  We stopped at a petrol station for directions.  The young cashier spoke good English and sent us in more or less the right direction.

Arcus Camping is situated by the Lulea River at a place named Karlsvik which is an old industrial community.  A view of Lulea's skyline can be seen on the other side of the bay.  Arcus bathing centre is close by and has two heated outdoor pools, one of which has a wave machine.  Karlsvik also boasts of having one of the biggest halls in Europe for indoor sporting activities.

Today is a public holiday in Sweden so it was no surprise to find the campground reception closed.  Fortunately all the facilities were open so we found ourselves a pitch and settled in.

There was still plenty of day left so we rode the bikes into the city.  The air was fresh and clean and there was forestry all over the place.  Temperature a stiff 10 degrees Celsius with a very blue sky above.

Once back at the campground a Finnish bloke tried to sell us a Swiss watch and there were a band of gypsies gathered outside the ablutions block.  The gypsies finally went away only after repeated requests to do so by the campground warden.

At 22.35 it is still light.  Not full daylight but light enough to read by.  We settle down for the night wondering if it will become any darker.

Sun  30th May.

It did not get dark last night.  It was weird waking up at 02.00 and finding it still light.

There are a few mossies around but they have not bitten us yet.  Temperature today is comfortable enough.

It turns out that not only was yesterday a national holiday but in fact it is a holiday weekend.  Many villages have the Swedish flag flying.

We had planned to spend tonight in Neder Kalis, however the campground in that town was still in the process of construction so we cycled another 20km on to Sangis.  The scenery was dominated by commercial forest as was to be expected.  Much of northern Sweden and Finland is clad in forest.

We noticed while cycling through many of the villages that there were very few fences or boundaries between houses.  This gave the settlements an atmosphere of openness and friendliness.  The residences also lacked gardens, this is probably due to the climate.

Most people that we have spoken to so far have a knowledge of the English language.

Spotted our first reindeer this afternoon.  They were grazing close to the E4 highway.  The cars did not seem to bother them but as we drew near on our bikes they scattered.

Our route today was a mix of the E4 highway and some minor roads.  The E4 is well surfaced and nice and wide allowing for fairly relaxed cycling.  Minor roads in country areas are often not surfaced, being of hard packed mud or gravelled.

From Karlsvik we rode through Gammelstaden, Rutvik, Person, Sundom, Tore, Soren, Palang and Kalix to Sangis.

We rode through a curious "restricted zone" today.  We ignored the signs declaring that aliens were prohibited and kept on cycling through.  We did not encounter or see anything out of the ordinary which would explain the restriction.  Perhaps this was a little naughty of us.

Tonight's campsite in Sangis is situated on the bank of the Sangislaven close to where it flows into the sea.  The site is not as well facilitated as last night's but very good all the same.

Today's distance 116km.  Average speed 13km.  Max speed 46km.

Mon  31st May.

Shops and businesses are still closed for the public holiday.  We are getting low on wholesome food.

On route we visited a historic site off Road 398.  The Espiara Mound, a pile of gravel and stones one metre high by seven metres in diameter, is considered to be a grave of some sort which at some time was breached by grave robbers.  One hundred metres north of the mound is a small circle of stones which marks another grave.  Nearby in the town of Sangis a similar mound was dug up by researchers and they found a sword and the boss of a shield which dated back to the iron age.

Tonight we stay at a site in Overtornea close to a river named Tornealven.  This river divides Sweden from Finland along some of its length.

Dist 78km.  AVS 17km.  MXS 34km.

Tues  1st June.

Crossed Tornealven into Finland this morning.  We did not have to stop at the customs post, they just waved us straight through.  It has been overcast with rain threatening all day.

We have noticed more cultivation this side of the border but still forestry is dominant.  The highway is mostly enclosed by pine and silver birch trees.

This part of Finland is littered with lakes.  The water is peatish brown.  Many of the lakes have signposts indicating snowmobile routes across them.  It is hard to imagine that some of these lakes that are quite large and deep actually become solid enough in the winter to support snowmobile transportation.

Our planned site for tonight in Palojarvi is closed and deserted.  We are camping rough a few miles out of town in the forest about 150 metres from the highway.  We are close to a stream but the water is not good for much except washing in.  The ground here is layered with moss so at least we will have a comfortable bed.

Bread, cheese, jam, crisps and crackers for tea tonight, washed down with a nice hot cuppa.  What more could a man want?  The mossies outside are enormous so we are careful to keep the net door zipped up.  Our anxieties about camping in the forest are lessened by the fact that we know it will not become dark.

We crossed the Arctic Circle this afternoon.  It was marked by a very small sign on the roadside.

The trees here do not seem to be as healthy as those we have seen in Sweden.  They are covered with lichen.

Lying in our tent, all is quiet except for the odd car passing by and the cuckoo bird calling in the distance.

Dist 93km.  AVS 17km.  MXS 34km.

to be continued .......

STEVE SAINES (seen above at a Hardriders start at Pirbright)

Steve is over from Toronto, Canada.  He says that he has enjoyed cycling with various groups of the West Surrey DA.

When asked what he thought about cycling in England, he replied, "You do not know England until you have cycled here.  You think drivers are bad here - try cycling in Toronto."

It is nice to have you riding with us Steve.





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Web page by Chris Jeggo.  Last revised:  20 October 2006.