"The West Surrey Cyclist" - January - March 1998

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Contents:

Front cover - very similar to Issue 1
Inner front cover - West Surrey District Association Officers  1997-98
Subscribe to the magazine
Contributions to the Magazine - next deadline, etc.
Members' Free Ads
Advertisement - Clockhouse Tea Rooms, Abinger Hammer
The President's Page - by Harold Coleman
- The Unmasking of 'Fingers Bolingbroke'
- An Admirer of Bridges
DA Events - Update
- Tricyclathon
- Awards for 1997
DA Events for 1997/98
DA Annual Report 1996/97
Introducing CTC Councillor Keith Chesterton
Minutes of Mid-week Wayfarers' AGM
Honeymoon in the Arctic Circle (continued) - by Peter Norris
Letters to the Editor
Advertisement - Arena Cafe, Ash Vale
CTC National Events 1998
Route - Woking to Goring - by David Nightingale
Notice - End to End Slide Show
Notice - Coach Tour to Ireland
Surfing Cyclists - by David Nightingale
The Jordan Experience - by Roger Woolfe
National news snippets about cycling
Reynolds Tubes
Sixty Years On - pages reproduced from the DA History - 1932 to 1935
Outer back cover - advertisement - Camberley Discount Cycles

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:


WEST SURREY DISTRICT ASSOCIATION OFFICERS  1996-97 (sic)

COMMITTEE
President Harold Coleman   01252 546635
Secretary Rory Fenner 01483 569705
Treasurer Chas Benzing 01483 810234
Runs Secretary Roger Philo 01483 233381
Other Members Ken Bolingbroke
Peter Callaghan
Peter Norris
Rico Signore
Trevor Strudwick

 

01483 822240

OTHER POSITIONS
Vice Presidents George Alesbury
Les Warner
Auditor Michael Soubry
Magazine Editor Peter Norris 01252 338504
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY Trevor Strudwick 01483 272387
ARCHIVIST Keith Chesterton 01483 566392
RIDE LEADERS
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
Junior Cyclists
Thursday Evenings (Godalming) Martin 01483 504926


THE PRESIDENT'S PAGE

At the recent and enjoyable DA Luncheon the various DA cups and medals were presented.  Also presented was the 'Wooden Crank' which is awarded to the West Surrey member who is judged to have provided the best laugh for his clubmates during the past year.  I thought that those of you who did not attend the luncheon might enjoy the story behind this year's presentation:

THE UNMASKING OF 'FINGERS BOLINGBROKE'

It is Sunday 13th April.  At the Coffee Shop, Waitrose, Godalming - the Intermediate riders are partaking of their morning refreshments in their usual quiet and well behaved manner.  There is a little polite conversation between dainty morsels of cake and silent sips of coffee:  even an occasional well mannered and restrained chuckle - no displays of vulgar hilarity, you understand.

Suddenly this scene of gentle tranquillity is completely changed by the loud utterance of a mere ten words by our worthy leader - Trevor:  'Why have you just put my wallet in your pocket?'  !!

All conversation in the Coffee Shop ceases on the instant, all heads turn, to whom is he speaking?  Trevor is looking fixedly at Ken.

There is a shocked silence and an even more shocked Ken:  he looks disbelievingly, as we all do, at Trevor.  Trevor, though, is standing firm, still looking at Ken.

Ken is obviously flustered - who wouldn't be - he is making flustered noises.

'What do you mean' says Ken.
'You have put my wallet in your pocket' says Trevor.
'Are you sure' says Ken.
'Yes' says Trevor.

Ken puts his hand into his jacket pocket and pulls out ........ Trevor's wallet!

Everyone, except Trevor, is shocked and, once again, poor Ken is the most shocked.  After some more flustered noise, Ken puts his hand in his jacket, pulls out another wallet, pointing out how similar they are and Trevor has to admit that he did leave his wallet on the table in front of Ken.

It is decided on the spot that there is no case to answer, besides everyone is laughing too much to conduct a trial.  Anyway there is no chance of a conviction because we all would defend to the hilt Ken's unblemished character, and just think how much we would miss him if he were incarcerated in some dank and distant dungeon.  Nevertheless, unfair though it may be, I fear that the name 'Fingers Bolingbroke' could well stay with him for life.

AN ADMIRER OF BRIDGES

I was very interested to read our Editor's notes on the bridge at Tilford.  They did not, unfortunately, prepare me for the shock of, shortly after, seeing it in an almost demolished state.  I understand that it is, in fact, being repaired but it looked as though it had been the victim of a particularly brutal attack.  My trouble is that since coming by chance upon the lovely 'White Mill Bridge' over the River Stour in Dorset, I have developed a love of old bridges.  It really hurt me to see the bridge at Tilford in such a state.

Bridges are so often beautiful structures and they provide viewing points from which we can enjoy our rivers and streams and the wildlife which inhabit them.  One cannot help but admire the quality of design and workmanship which have enabled a bridge, built several hundred years ago, to withstand the elements over those many years and more amazingly, the weight of modern traffic.

Unfortunately, the latter takes its toll;  hence the present sorry state of the bridge at Tilford.  There are of course 2 bridges at Tilford - the one under repair and the other near the famous 'Novel's Oak', reputed to have been one of the finest oak trees in the south of England.

The 2 bridges at Tilford were built as part of a series of medieval bridges crossing the River Wey between Tilford and Guildford, six of which were unfortunately identical in design.  An interesting common feature being the 'cut-waters', which were usually pointed on both sides of medieval bridges but on these bridges were pointed on the upstream side only and rounded on the downstream side.  Did a boat builder influence the design I wonder?

Further bridges in the series were built at Elstead, Lower Eashing (two) and near Unstead Farm, about a mile and a half North East of Godalming.

When my retirement really does provide me with some spare time, I must visit all of these and check whether they are still the ones built in medieval times and take photographs of them.

If ever you should find yourself near Sturminster Marshall in Dorset, visit 'White Mill Bridge' over the River Stour and the next one upstream, 'Crawford Bridge'.  They and their surroundings are delightful.  If you are disappointed, I will buy you a pint - I can't be fairer than that!


DA EVENTS - UPDATE

TRICYCLATHON  5th October 1997.  Organised by Roger Philo.  Time-keeper:  Harry Statham.

The event included a hillclimb, pacejudging and freewheeling.  Good conditions were provided by a mostly overcast but dry day.  The entry comprised Jack Eason of Hertfordshire DA, Robert Watson of North Hampshire DA and 11 West Surrey riders, including Ken Bolingbroke, taking a break from organising the event to compete.  Winner of the hillclimb was Paul Holmes (riding fixed of course), with Robert Watson 2nd and Clive Richardson 3rd.  For the pacejudging we reverted to the smallest time difference for both ways round a circuit.  The circuit was about 6 miles and the largest difference 1m 22s.  The joint winners were Ken Bolingbroke and Trevor Strudwick with 12s difference and Harold Coleman was 3rd with 16s.  The freewheeling was won by Clive Richardson, with Robert Watson 2nd and Keith Chesterton 3rd.  Overall winner for the day was Robert Watson, with Clive Richardson 2nd and Harold Coleman 3rd.  First junior was James Callaghan.

AWARDS FOR 1997

(This looks like an extract from the annual report - CRJ, Sep 2009)

BENSTEAD CUP  -  Clive Richardson.     Runner up  -  Harold Coleman.

LADIES BENSTEAD SHIELD  -  Jane Cook.

JUNIOR BENSTEAD CUP  -  James Callaghan.

BERNARD HOWELL TROPHY - HIGHEST PLACED VET  -  Harold Coleman.

BILL INDER TROPHY - SUNDAY ATTENDANCE COMPETITION  -  Clive Richardson.

JUNIOR ATTENDANCE CUP  -  James Callaghan.

ALESBURY TANKARD - MIDWEEK WAYFARERS ATTENDANCE COMPETITION  -  George Alesbury.

THE BERT BARTHOLOMEW 100 MILE MEMORIAL TROPHY  -  Harold Coleman.

DA BADGES -
GOLD James Callaghan, Peter Callaghan, Harold Coleman, Clive Richardson, Trevor Strudwick.
SILVER Cliff Boarer, Ken Bolingbroke, Keith Chesterton, Geoff Davies, John Pugh.
BRONZE Rory Fenner, Donald Jones, Roger Philo, Harry Statham.


WEST SURREY DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

EVENTS FOR 1997 / 98

BENSTEAD CUP EVENTS

50 Mile Reliability Ride.  Organised by Rory Fenner.
The 50 Mile Reliability Ride will take place on Sunday 19th April.

Sesquicentury 150km Audax Ride and the Selham Century 100km Audax Ride.  Organised by Roger Philo.
The Sesquicentury Ride and the Selham Century Ride will take place on Sunday 31st May.  A 50km ride for those not wishing to tackle the longer distances will also be available.

Stonehenge 200km Audax Ride and Danebury 150km Audax Ride.  Organised by Peter Callaghan.
The 200km 'Stonehenge' and 150km 'Danebury' Audax rides will be on Sunday 28th June.  On the same day there will be a series of 'Clover Leaf' rides offering distances from 25 miles to 100 miles.

Nightride.  Organised by Chris Juden.
We hope that it will be possible to run this event in 1998.

Roughstuff 60km Hard Audax Ride and 50km Easy Audax Ride.  Organised by Trevor Strudwick.
The Roughstuff rides will be on Sunday 19th July.

Tour of the Hills 100km Audax Ride.  Organised by Harold Coleman.
The Tour of the Hills will be run on Sunday 16th August.

100 mile and 75 mile Reliability Rides.  Organised by Ken Bolingbroke.
The 100 mile and 75 mile Reliability Rides will be on Sunday September 6th.

Tricyclathon.  Organised by Roger Philo.
The Tricyclathon will be held on Sunday 4th October and will include a Hillclimb, Freewheeling and Speed judging.


CYCLISTS' TOURING CLUB
WEST SURREY DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

ANNUAL REPORT 1996 / 97

(This looks incomplete - CRJ, Sep 2009 - see also 'Awards for 1997' above, but there are probably other bits missing.)

Another good year for the West Surrey D.A.  Besides the wide variety of runs which have been available for members, there has been a full programme of events.  In spite of an occasional lapse in the weather very few Sunday Rides suffered rain and only one event, the 'All Night Ride', was rained upon.

D.A. membership has increased over the year to 1032 and though, as in other D.A.s, we see only some 15% of this number, we have had new riders out.  Interestingly some of these have resulted from them having seen one of our posters and then ridden a D.A. 'Reliability' or 'Audax' ride.

West Surrey members have again distinguished themselves in the District Association Tourist Competition and at the end of October were in the lead for the Team Prize.

Sadly, during the course of the year we have lost five valued and respected members, John Clark, Dennis Gray, Keith Parfitt, Roy Richardson and Ron Sadler.  They will be long missed for their generous support of the D.A. and for the enjoyment we experienced in their company.  Keith had served on the D.A. Committee for over 20 years and was CTC Councillor for the local Division.

D.A. COMMITTEE:  The Committee met on eight occasions and consisted of Harold Coleman [Chairman] (8), Rory Fenner [Secretary] (8), Ken Bolingbroke (7), Peter Callaghan [Vice Chairman] (8), Peter Norris (6), Keith Parfitt (4), Roger Philo (6) and Harry Statham (4).  Following the resignation of Harry and the death of Keith, Chas. Benzing [Treasurer] (3), Ricco Signore (2), and Trevor Strudwick (3) were co-opted to the Committee. Attendances in ().

RIDING GROUPS:

Hardriders  Reported by Clive Richardson.

I have enjoyed the last 9 months as Leader of the Hardriders taking over from a first class runs leader Pete Norris.  Pete has still been active with the Hardriders arranging destinations for the runs lists.  He has led the occasional ride and, together with his wife Gill, marshalled most of the West Surrey events.  We have enjoyed a good team spirit by which we have helped each other with any mechanical problems or map reading difficulties so I have been encouraged by the help and support of the Hardriders and inspired by the team spirit.  We are fortunate to have such beautiful countryside in our area with its network of relatively quiet lanes which have permitted us to cycle as far afield as Kent, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, the Sussex coast and the depths of Hampshire avoiding most of the main roads.  There are always suitable cafes, tearooms and public houses on route at which we can refuel and chat on a variety of topics and about the day's ride.  We have welcomed several new riders to the group this year and invite all members who would like to extend themselves a little to join us.

Intermediates  Reported by Ken Bolingbroke.

Many thanks to all those who have led and supported the Intermediate runs this year.  I think, like myself, once they have made the effort to get out, they have enjoyed the social side of the runs and the country pubs which we have visited for lunch.  The rides have been well varied - Trevor Strudwick has done a good job of leading runs south of Guildford, I and other leaders have led in other areas.  28 different riders have ridden with the 'Intermediates' during the year.  The 'Intermediates' has continued to fill its useful role between the 'Hardriders' and the 'Wayfarers'.

Midweek Wayfarers  Reported by Harry Statham.

This has been an excellent year in which we have moved to an amicable A ride/B ride split, with lots of movement between the two groups.  Splitting in this way has reduced the size of the riding groups and the pressure on cafes and pubs.  84 members have ridden with the Midweekers during the year;  the highest attendance being 27 on the 11th December, the lowest 7 on the 12 February, with an average of 16.  The 'troika' of Harry Statham, Les Houlton and John Ostrom are indebted to Rico Signore for his help with the production of the mid-week runs lists and to Rico and Ken Travis for their A team leadership.  The 'troika' is now considering additional rides on Fridays in order to reduce the numbers out on Wednesdays.  Train/car assisted rides are now well established and have proved popular.  There have been 10 train-assisted rides this year.  18 members went to Brockenhurst for an on/off road ride during which Carol Taylor watched an adder shed its skin at the reptiliary in the New Forest and as a result her group missed the train home!

The group were much saddened by the death of its most regular rider, Roy Richardson on 7th December.  Roy's sister kindly gave his bikes to the D.A. and Les Houlton was successful in selling Roy's new Roberts tourer for £425 and hopes to sell Roy's second bike shortly.  Ken Travis purchased Roy's maps and bike bits for £30.

Cranleigh and Villages Wayfarers  Reported by Trevor Strudwick.

Over the last year we have had one ride per month as our own group and supported the Intermediate group at least once a month with a joint ride.  Following the sad loss of Keith Parfitt I have taken over as Cranleigh Wayfarers leader and unfortunately I have to report, as Keith did last year, that the number of riders out on a Sunday has not increased over the previous year's.  I agree with the view expressed by Keith that if larger numbers are to be attracted to the group we will have to make our existence more widely known in the Cranleigh area.  Steps are now being taken to try and rectify this and hopefully numbers will increase next year.

Guildford and Godalming Wayfarers  Reported by David Bigmore.

The G & G Wayfarers have had a successful year with additional leaders coming forward and more variety incorporated in the programming.  Over the year there have been 20 rides with Marguerite Statham riding 15, Peter Fennemore 11 and Janelle Thomas and David Bigmore 10.  The total number of different riders was 51.  The most on any single ride was 24 and the lowest 2 with an annual average of 8.5.  26 attended the Group's Christmas lunch at the Leathern Bottle.

The February Snowdrop riders found a few buds and in June those who joined the D.A.s Overnight ride arrived at the coast at 3 am in the pouring rain.  They were denied tea in the chip shop so they sat on the sea front and watched people stagger out of the Night Clubs!  They then went on to Chichester to watch (?) the sun rise behind the clouds.  A Mystery Tour found the Best Ale in Surrey but Denbies Wine wasn't sampled as the rain dampened the spirits!  The Downs Link ride was popular;  the highlight being the ride over the Downs from Steyning to Brighton.

There have been a couple of Towpath rides and Matthew Juden led part of the ride 'Over the Edge of the Map'.  The Bosham ride was called "an adventure" with a sighting of Lesley Joseph in the Harbour.  The scenery on this ride was superb and the Cream Tea, while relaxing on chairs in the cottage garden, was the "icing on the cake".  The Treasure Hunt was a challenge and Janelle had to read a map for the first time in her life.  Tom won the sparkling red wine which everyone made him share.  The two top coffee places were Hole Cottage, near Thursley, and the Clockhouse Tea Rooms at Abinger Hammer.  The two top pubs were the Sun at Dunsfold and the Deers Hut at Griggs Green.

David and Claudia Whittle will be greatly missed as they put in an enormous amount of work but we wish them and Gerald all the best with their new lives in Germany.  David Bigmore has continued to "control" ?? the group and Peter Fennemore has moved in to help him.  Many thanks to everyone for contributing to the continued success of the GWs.

Woking Wayfarers  Reported by David Nightingale.

We have averaged just over 14 people per week.  Our All Day contingent were luckily able to drop into the Wheelers Rest on their last day of operation.  Thanks to all those who have helped and assisted on the rides.

Junior Group  Reported by Peter Callaghan.

The junior group met on average one Saturday a month at Newlands Corner for either a short morning ride or a longer all day ride until Keith Parfitt's untimely death riding home after leading a ride on the 7th June.  The number of young riders enjoying these rides varied from approximately 3 to 6.  Ironically, on the 7th June there were about 10 juniors on the ride, the largest turn out for about 2 years.  Sadly it has, as yet, not proved possible to find anybody to take over Keith's role to act as organiser and leader on a regular basis.  If a leader can be found there are a number of Dads who are willing to go on a rota to provide the second adult required for these rides.

Away Rides  Reported by Roger Philo.

The DA's riders have again been active in Audax and DATC rides all over the country.  This year's big ride was Edinburgh-London, at just over 1400km, the longest randonnée on the Audax calendar.  Of the 109 finishers there were three WSDA members, Chris Avery, Roger Philo and Richard Phipps.  At the time of writing, West Surrey were leading the DATC team event and Chris Avery had set a new record of 47 for the highest number of DATC events ridden in a season.


INTRODUCING YOUR WEST SURREY CTC COUNCILLOR.

KEITH CHESTERTON
CAN BE CONTACTED AT  "FIRLE", CHESTNUT AV, GUILDFORD,
SURREY, GU2 5HD.
PHONE  01483 566392.
FAX  01483 827162.

See next page. 


CTC Council

I have been "elected" (nobody else stood!) to represent CTC members in East Surrey, West Surrey and West Sussex Group areas on the CTC Council.  I am replacing Keith Parfitt, who I had known for many years and who died so suddenly and so sadly earlier this year.  The normal term is 3 years, but as I am finishing off Keith's period of office, my term is only 1 year until there is another election.  I was asked to stand by friends, but was a bit nervous about doing so, as so many members have so much more knowledge and experience than I have.  But nobody else seemed to want to or have the time, so I agreed - and got on.

I've been out a lot with the West Surrey Group, especially with its Mid-Week Wayfarers, now I've retired, but as most of you won't know me, I give below a little of my background.

Like many members, I was a regular cyclist in my youth and used to cycle to work till I got a car and a family.  I then stopped, my bike got cannibalised by my children and my favourite way of getting about was on foot, by walking.  I was very active, was national Chairman of the Long Distance Walkers Association, became a Centurion (a 100-Miles race walk in under 24 hours), ran 2 marathons and was a local footpath secretary for the Ramblers for 10 years, protecting footpaths and bridleways against farmers and uninterested local Councils.  I appeared at several public enquiries to defend paths (and only lost twice).

I later became a Councillor on Surrey County Council myself for 4 years, served on its Highways Committees and kept pushing the needs of walkers and cyclists against a pretty hostile group.  It was thought a joke, when I suggested a bicycle allowance for councillors and officers using their bike on Council business and got nowhere when I suggested a cycling officer.  Fortunately, attitudes have now changed a bit, there is a cycling officer, but Surrey is still many, many years behind even an average English Council - and that's not very good!

Since then, I've come back to cycling, enjoyed it immensely, use my bike whenever I can to get about - though I still find the amount of traffic and its speed stops me using the A3, and am fond of taking my bike on the train from Guildford to get further into the countryside.  I don't know much about the technical side of bikes and have found the advice of members of West Surrey who are whizz-kids very useful.  I now have 2 bikes, a Dawes Galaxy tourer and a Trek hybrid for going about town as well as for the bridleways.

I've had a variety of jobs, from teaching electronics in the Royal Navy and being in charge of a computer department for part of Unilever to running a small Trade Association - good practice for the CTC Council!  I've also written 2 books, one on walking round London and a second (with a friend) on business.  I'm writing a third, a short history, now.

I hope this experience will be useful on the CTC Council.

I have some ideas of my own on what the CTC should be doing - I think its Green Lanes project is excellent, and its lobbying of Government and the magazine very good, especially the letters page(s).  However, I think we should try much harder to build up the membership and publicise its work - a lot of cyclists I meet say "What's the CTC".  Local Groups have a vital role to play in this and we need to make sure they have the money to do their job.  I also think we should be more active in encouraging responsible cycling - mountain bikers riding down pedestrians on pavements or damaging fragile soils (eg St Marthas summit) damage all of our reputations.  Perhaps we could encourage more Working Parties to make blocked bridleways passable?

But I should be representing you, not just giving my views and I'd very much like to hear your opinions on what we should be doing -
what we are doing well, and should do more of,
what we are doing badly and should improve,
new things we should try.

Please let me know.  You can contact me at "Firle", Chestnut Av., Guildford, Surrey GU2 5HD.  Phone  01483 566392, Fax  01483 827162,  Sorry no E Mail yet.

Keith Chesterton.


MID - WEEK WAYFARERS

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING  19.11.97

The meeting was held at 11am at Savill Garden Coffee Shop.  Around a dozen or so members attended.

1.   The meeting welcomed the return to active duty of Colin Francksen following a course of hospital treatment.

2.   Harry Statham's resignation from the Troika was accepted with regret.  Harry has put in two years solid service to the three-legged institution and will be much missed.  Any input from Harry will always be welcome.

3.   Rico Signore was proposed as replacement for Harry and this was unanimously accepted.

4.   A proposal that we actively seek new members by various means was decisively rejected.  It was felt that:

  a.  we are not short of members at the moment and

  b.  we would be unlikely to recruit serious cyclists.

One or two members felt that this was being a bit elitist.  If so - so be it.  Finally it was stressed that we are part of the CTC and that we should try to recruit existing members to the Wednesday rides.

5.   Marguerite Statham outlined her ideas for extra activities for 1998 and this was well received, particularly her plan for a coach assisted tour of the Irish Republic.  Interested members should contact Marguerite or Harry.  Marguerite also offered to lead a B+ ride on Wednesdays, although not always.

6.   The suggestion that A and B riders should fission into two separate groups (as suggested in the last issue) has now finally been laid to rest.  We will all stick together come rain or shine.

7.   It was suggested that one member of the Troika should offer to resign at the end of each year in order to encourage new ideas.  This notion had the meeting agog with apathy, but was accepted in principle.

The meeting broke up around 11:30am and most members headed for the Hare and Hound at West End.

For and on behalf of the Troika

John Ostrom


HONEYMOON IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE  (continued)

According to my guide book Finland is the most easterly of Scandinavian countries and one can travel further east here than in any other European country to a line of latitude running through Turkey.  However it is not particularly an easterly direction that we favour.  Gill and me would like to pedal as far north as the weather and time will allow us.

Wed 2nd June 1993.

We are at this moment sitting out a storm in a bus shelter opposite a supermarket in the town of Meltaus.  It is coming down in buckets with exploding thunder and spectacular lightning.  Hopefully we have only another 17km to reach our planned accommodation in Jaaska.  Just before lunch my front tyre blew out.  It had frayed at the beading.  It was not a problem, we always carry a spare when on tour.

We travelled a little further than intended today and are camping tonight at a beautiful spot in the village of Molkokongas.  From the tent we can see and hear rapids on the Ounasjoki River.  The continuous rolling water has a soothing effect as we lay tucked up nice and cosy in our sleeping bags.  The facilities at this campground are not 5 star but good enough for us.  Unfortunately the on site sauna has not been fired up yet as this campground has only just opened for the season.

At one point on today's route we were only 10 kilometres from Father Christmas.  His home is called Joulumaa, it lies right on the Arctic Circle 6 kilometres north of Rovaniemi.

Thursday 3rd June.

It rained most of last night and did not cease until we were halfway through today's leg.

We rode into an Arctic wind all of the 96km to Sirrka.  Our feet were like lumps of wood, I cannot remember my feet ever being so cold.  The wind chill factor took its toll on us and the fact that we were a little damp did not help matters.

Staying tonight in a chalet.  (We are on honeymoon after all.)  It has all the mod cons, kitchen, TV, bathroom and sauna.  As usual all our gear is unpacked and spread out to dry all over the place.  We have all 4 heaters on and it is pretty warm and steamy in here.

Sirkka sits between two hills, Katkatunturi on the west side and Levi on the east.  Levi the highest at 530 metres is used for skiing.

The landscape today has changed.  There is less forestry and the land is more barren between settlements.

We had not expected the temperatures to be as low as they are and have reservations about cycling as far north as originally planned.

Bought a new tyre on route today in the town of Kittila.  I do not like being on tour without a spare.

Friday 4th June.

Sleet and a cold north easterly wind cause us to change course today.  Instead of heading north we cycle north west to the town of Muonio near the border with Finland.

After shopping in the town we ride back the way we came for 4km to obtain a small cabin at a campsite at the base of a hill named Olostuntri (509 m).

It was very cold out but we were soon warm and snug in our cabin with the heater on.

Saturday 5th June.

Crossing the border back into Sweden this morning we found the border post deserted.

We visited a Lapp hut.  It was similar in shape to an Indian teepee.  Inside, a circle of stones in the middle of the dirt floor marked the fireplace.  Around the fire were log stumps used as stools and under them were nettle branches used as a floor covering.  A hole in the roof acted as the chimney although it seemed to me not a very efficient means of expelling the smoke from the fire.  Our clothes were well and truly smoked by the time we left the hut.

Amazing how in a matter of only 80km travelling south a distinct change in the nature of the trees takes place.  They are taller, greener and much healthier.  Obviously as we move south it becomes warmer.  We left the snow and sleet behind today with pleasure and had an enjoyable 140km ride to Pajala where tonight we camp on the banks of the Tornealven once again.  Pajala is home to one of the biggest wooden churches in Sweden.

Monday 7th June.

After an uncomfortable night in Tarendo (the campground was not officially open and so the ablution building was locked up) we had a hard ride to Gallivare.  It was a westerly course and into the wind for 114km.  Wind, rain and cold made it one of the most miserable rides that I can remember.  It was a relief to arrive at Gallivare.

Temperatures are well below normal for this time of year.  We were told that this time last year it was 22 degrees Celsius in this area.  I would guess that today it was no higher than 8 degrees.

We will stay here in a cabin for two nights.  I need to carry out a little maintenance on the cycles and it will be nice to have a rest day.  Hopefully the weather will improve and we can have a look around the town.

Tuesday 8th June.

Gallivare has some interesting attractions.  The homestead museum includes a specially built Lapp encampment.  There is also a small Lapp church, originally known as "The One Ore Church" because it was built from contributions of one ore from all over Sweden.  The "Tree Castle" is impressive, built by Englishman Lieutenant Colonel Bergman in 1889.  He sold his 211 mining concessions at Malmberget (a town just a few kilometres north of Gallivare) and used half of his proceeds to build this Gothic wooden castle which is now a meeting place for the tenant owner's association.

Mount Dundret (820m) is just to the south west of Gallivare.  From its summit on a clear day you can see one tenth of Sweden.  Later on this afternoon we went shopping and found that in general most items are more expensive here compared to England.

Wednesday 9th June.

We rode up Mount Dundret last night to watch the sun at midnight.  Due to clouds we only caught a glimpse, it was not a perfect night for midnight sun watching.  The scene was spectacular all the same as we held hands and looked out over Gallivare.  The lighting was mystical, everything was so still and quiet, like we were the only couple on earth.

A pleasant 50km ride along Highway 94 took us to Porjus for lunch above the dam.  While we were there the dam gates were opened for a short time and we watched a few thousand gallons of foaming water surge down the Lulealven.  From here our cycle ride became even more scenic and pleasant.  We followed the course of an impressive deep rocky gorge past another power station at Harspranget and on to cross the river over a dam bridge at Ligga.

We spend tonight at a very picturesque campground by the banks of Vaikijaur lake.  Vaikijaur is a small settlement situated 3km off Highway 94.  We are joined tonight by a group of Swedish Hells Angels.  I am sure they would not mind me calling them that.  A tribe of noisy drunken and stoned motorcycle riders who have made camp uncomfortably close to us.

The midgies here are very numerous and large.

Thursday 10th June.

Still here at Vaikijaur.  The Hells Angels left this mornine.  We spent the first part of the day in Jokkmokk, 12km south of our campsite.

to be continued ......

Peter Norris.


LETTERS

MID - WEEK TROIKA  MEA CULPA

Oh Sir!

Please lend your columns to a cry of extreme penitence de profundis;  a rending of clothes, of sackcloth and ashes.

In your last edition there appeared a letter from the Troika, though it was I, miserable malefactor, who was its sole begetter.  Far was it from my intention to propose the expulsion from the Wayfarers of that notable band, whom I must no longer label la Tendance maillot jaune.

Nothing could have been further from my wishes, but upon me - loathsome wretch - has descended, like thunderbolts from mighty Jove, the implacable wrath of Rico Furiosio.  Oy Wey!  Alas the letter was not intended for publication;  it was not a white paper, nay not even a green paper - perhaps just a delicate shade of lime yellow, but no more.

No Sir, my true aim was to release these sons (and daughters) of Nimshi to ride as the mood takes them, stretching the power of their 531 limbs far and fast, even unto the uttermost limits of Surrey in the West and beyond.

Meanwhile, we of the Elderly Tendency, with modesty becoming our declining status and conscious of our swelling girth (with full fat capon lined!) and failing wind, would be content to go our quiet ways, secure in the knowledge that we have passed on the torch to the young.

It is touching and gratifying to know that these young folk do not wish to abandon us and we will try to be worthy of this regard.  But please, let us all remember "time's winged chariot hurrying near".

One day we three must quit the scene, unable, if you will excuse the expression, to get our legs over.  Right now we have no heir apparent, indeed not even an heir presumptive groomed to wield the baton.  Let therefore a young Turk stand forth and claim his due.  Floreat Mid - Week Wayfarers!

John Ostrom

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:   THE EDITOR, WEST SURREY CYCLIST, c/o 13 HEATHCOTE ROAD, ASH, ALDERSHOT, HANTS  GU12 5BH.

ALL LETTERS ARE ENTERED IN A DRAW TO WIN AN INNER TUBE.

Dear John,

We forgive you.

Let me know what size and valve type you want on your free tube and I will send it off to you.

Ed.



 

End to End Slide Show

ridden by Alan and Marguerite and 17 others in 1993

presented by Alan Craske

Saturday, 25th April 1998, 4 p.m.

Trinity Methodist Church Hall
Brewery Road
Woking  (Parking opposite)

Tea and Coffee available from 2.30 p.m.

Entry by ticket only available from Marguerite and Harry

£ 2.00 per person

afterwards join us for a meal in the Wheatsheaf opposite


 
Marguerite & Harry Statham
74 Claydon Road
WOKING
GU21 4XE
Tel:  01483-763289



 

COACH TOUR TO IRELAND     MAY 16TH - 23rd 1998

16th May Home to ATHLONE via Holyhead and the High-Speed Sea Cat to Dun Laoghaire
17th May to BUNDORAN on West Coast
18/19/20/21 May BUNDORAN - cycling and/or walking
22nd May to BRAY on the East Coast
23rd May home via High-Speed Sea Cat and Holyhead
Price £ 369.00 per person
Insurance £ 13.00 per person
Single Supplement £ 85.00 per person
- 7 nights accommodation in twin/double rooms with private facilities, including dinner and breakfast
Deposit £ 35.00 plus insurance if required to me by Wednesday, January 28th 1998
Balance due to me by Wednesday, March 18th 1998
All cheques payable to:  TRUEMANS TRAVEL
Space for 20 bikes and 30 people
Booking forms available from me
Let me know if you are interested
Marguerite Statham
74 Claydon Road
WOKING
GU21 4XE
Tel:  01483-763289


Surfing Cyclists

One of the main problems suffered by surfing cyclists is that the salt water corrodes the spokes ....... seriously folks there is a lot of information useful to cyclists on the Web.  If you are going rail assisted then you can easily plan your journey on RailTrack's site.  Here you can enter the details of where you want to go and when and get departure time details including connections.

There are websites such as http://www.herefordshire.com/tourist-information/cycling.htm that contain details of Bed'n'Breakfast, Hotels and tourist information.

Cycle route details can be found at www.DLNonline.co.uk/cycletours/

You can follow the global tours of some intrepid cyclists - try http://www.redfish.com/yak

You can look up the runs list at http://www.DLNonline.co.uk/westsurrey/

If you are not already on the internet and are wondering how to go about it.  Apart from the obvious fact that you will need a computer, you will also need a modem - US Robotics and Hayes are both good makes, don't be tempted to save a few pounds on a cheaper modem.  External modems are generally easier to fit.  If you are not using BT check that the modem you want to buy will work OK on their lines - an example is that Cable Tel recommend Multi-tech modems for connecting your computer to their lines.

You need either an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or an IAP (Internet Access Provider).  So what's the difference, an ISP generally gives you information services as well as access to the internet.  Whereas with an IAP you get the basic e-mail address, webspace (for your own website), and the ability to send and receive email, access the world wide web, and news groups.

The IAP I strongly recommend is Force9 - they are very good on price, features and easy to setup.  Their lowest rate is £7 +VAT per month for unlimited access.  You can contact them on 01909 531 923.  If you need any further help or information re: the internet please ask me or if you already have email then you can send mail to david@DLNonline.force9.co.uk.  Before signing up make sure you have thought about an email name and password for yourself.  Some providers are more generous than others when it comes to the length and number of aliases.

General Touring information

Description Site
Cycling in Herefordshire http://www.herefordshire.com/tourist-information/cycling.htm
Cyclists Touring Club http://www.ctc.org.uk
Cycle route details http://www.DLNonline.co.uk/cycletours/
Railtrack http://www.railtrack.co.uk/travel/index.html
Worcestershire http://www.worcs.com/accher.htm

For those concerned with the environment in which we cycle...

Description Site
Friends of the Earth http://www.foe.co.uk/
Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry http://www.science.yorku.ca/cac/intro.html
Environment Agency Home Page http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/
4. Indirect Climate Effects and Aerosol - CC. http://earth.agu.org/revgeophys/kreide01/node7.html

When searching for information the following are just some of the search sites available

Search Engines Site
Search http://www.search.com/
go2net MetaCrawler search http://www.metacrawler.com/
AltaVista Search http://www.altavista.com/
Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com/

Problem accessing www.DLNonline.uk.com  change of address to www.DLNonline.co.uk

The name server that holds .uk.com appeared according to the Webserver people to be the cause of why at times the website appeared not to be found.  The dlnonline.co.uk which was in use by someone else origional is not now so I have now changed to this.

David Nightingale © 1997

WEBSITE FOR THE WEST SURREY DA

http://www.DLNonline.co.uk/westsurrey/


The Jordan Experience

A sponsored bike ride on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, October 1997

'Stay at the back of the group and there's a risk you'll be stoned', Gideon had said earlier as we stood by the water vehicle waiting for the others to catch up.  Good advice, it seemed to me.  Cycle upfront with the leaders, and the roadside bystanders in the occasional township simply gawped as you swept by.  The middle of the group, a few hundred metres back, was also safe enough:  by then the kids at the roadside would merely be shouting 'hello' and 'what's your name?'  But be at the back and the bystanders would be getting bored, so you risked satisfying someone's curiosity about the noise made by a stone zinging through spokes.

Still, this was a group ride, not a race, and it soon seemed to me that it wasn't right to stay upfront just because you were amongst the faster of the hundred-or-so riders.  Besides, it was nice to talk to different people as you went along, and at the back you might even help to deter the more exuberant of the local Arab boys.  We were all in this together, on the Jordan experience, a sponsored bike ride from Pella to the Red Sea arranged by the British Heart Foundation as a fund-raising event.

There was another reason, too, for hanging back in the group.  Hiam was usually somewhere there, slowed by the leg which was still giving him a bit of trouble after breaking it a year ago.  There was always the chance of getting him to talk.

Hiam was part philosopher, part historian.  Now and again, when the group stopped, he'd dig out his Bible from the tatty green bag slung over his back wheel and turn straight to the Old Testament.  Gazing into the distance he'd point, shade his eyes as he frowned with concentration, and begin:  'That's where the Children of Israel came across the valley into....'  Then he'd read a passage from Joshua, or perhaps from Numbers, his halting phrases still managing wonderfully to bring alive the struggle of thousands of years ago in this land that surrounded us, the cauldron of history through which we were pedalling.

The group had arrived at Amman from Heathrow on the first Saturday in October, then bussed across to Pella, near the Jordan river, the following day.  We'd stopped en route at Jerash, an amazingly well preserved Roman town still only partly excavated, and had arrived at Pella in the mid afternoon.  Well, not quite Pella but a campsite on a plateau in the desert above the village.

There we collected our bikes, all new 21 speeder mountain bikes which had been trucked in from Israel.  Later, as it got dark, we fed from a row of cooking pots set out on trestle tables by our Arab helpers.  The campsite consisted of little more than a large Bedouin tent of rough goats' hair cloth stretched on poles.  It was set out in the form of an open square with one side missing where the tables stood.  Soon we collected thin mattresses from a stack near the campfire in the middle of the square and spread them in rows on the ground beneath the tent.  'The desert nights can get cold,' the blurb from the Heart Foundation had said, 'so bring good sleeping bags.'  Actually it really wasn't necessary:  the night was balmy.  By 5.30 am on Monday it was already getting light.  Most of us were up by then, and preparing to set off.

That day's cycling was very straightforward - due south on a tarmac road following the Jordan valley.  We stopped for a pre-prepared lunch from pots on the same trestle tables now set up under the trees that lined the roadside, and arranged by our Arab helpers who'd gone ahead by truck.  We stopped frequently at other times too, to refill our water bottles from the back of one of the support vehicles.  By about 5.00 pm we'd covered 97 kms, and dusk was falling as we arrived at our next night stop, a group of holiday chalets at the northern tip of the Dead Sea.  There was just time for a quick float - the water was even saltier and deader than we'd been led to believe - before it got dark.

It wasn't until the following day, Tuesday, that things began to go wrong.  The morning was easy enough:  about 80 kms, mostly pretty flat, down the length of the eastern coast of the Dead Sea.  But then we turned off to start a long climb up to Al Karak, a castle town in the mountains.  Lunch was at the roadside just a few kms after the turn-off, and I was chatting with Guy, a doctor, when one of the group who'd been standing in the shade keeled over with heat exhaustion.  Guy helped to cool the victim's head, then get him away in one of the support vehicles.  That fellow wasn't the first to suffer in this way, but seeing him supine and grey at our roadside lunch stop was a bit unnerving.

It was about then that others began to complain of sickness and upset tummies.  Most of us continued the climb though, despite it being pretty demanding:  3,500 vertical feet in the glare of the sun, the afternoon temperature approaching 40 degrees centigrade.  We slogged up the endless hairpins in our lowest gear, standing on the pedals for leverage, sweating hands tugging at the steering bars, lungs gasping for air.

The mountains crouched in ever closer the higher we went.  Then at last the castle was in sight and slowly it got closer.  The small town of Karak was spread beneath the castle, narrow streets rising steeply up to its brooding walls.  Only about a dozen of us made it to the top on bikes.  The rest got as far as they could, then were picked up by a sweeper bus to be deposited at the top in time to welcome the few who made it by bike, with whoops and cheers.

After a brief rest we climbed aboard a couple of buses to continue the journey to Petra, our next night stop.  During the bus ride in the dark and the subsequent night in Petra, the malaise spread rapidly through the group.  Sickness and diarrhoea were rampant.  By Wednesday, ten of the group were in the local clinic, a couple with dysentery.  Virtually everyone in the group was affected one way or another.

What had happened?  Lots of suggestions were floated.  We'd drunk too much water (700 litres were drunk on the first day alone) without first adding soluble salt - electrolyte - into our bottles, depleting our bodies of vital minerals.  Taking sips every few minutes from a warm water bottle allowed bacteria quickly to incubate and multiply.  The food was contaminated.  The flies, which descended in clouds at our lunch stops, were to blame.  It was all due to heatstroke in a foreign country.

Charles, who was accompanying the group and in charge of organisation, was perplexed.  He'd never experienced anything like this, he said, in 35 similar fund-raising excursions.  So on Wednesday we took it easy.  Those who were well enough explored Petra, the amazing city in the desert built by the Nabataeans around the first century and hidden to Western eyes until Borschadt, a Swiss, found his way there as recently as 1812.  The following day saw some of the group recovering, others getting worse.  The number of confirmed dysentery cases was up to three, with a further couple of suspects.

Rather than continue riding south, we decided to take a second day to recuperate, with the stronger ones - about half the group - making a detour to visit mini Petra some 15 kms away.  Far less frequented by tourists than Petra itself, it's much less extensive though similar in style.  On each side of a natural cleft that winds through the rocks, the Nabataeans have carved dwellings, store houses and temples that still astonish, nearly two thousand years later.

By Friday about two thirds of the group, some 70 cyclists, were well enough to tackle the next stage of the journey, a fantastic ride heading southwards to Aqaba, largely along rough tracks across barren desert.  This was much the most spectacular day's riding of the excursion.  For mile after mile we were surrounded by endless sand, broken only by the occasional patch of thin grass and scrubby bush.  Low mountains in every shade of yellow, cream and brown stretched to the horizon.

The track itself was sometimes hard and fast to traverse;  at other times a mass of ruts, rocks, deep sand and loose gravel that was almost impossible to ride through.  We stopped for a light lunch in the shade of a twisted tree standing alone in its desolate surroundings at the foot of a long and treacherous drop.  The tree is a haven that's been mentioned by travellers for two centuries at least - including Borschadt himself when he came this way.  The bikes took heavy punishment.  We had blowouts, loose pedals and saddles, even a broken wheel or two.  The riders were punished too.  We stopped less on that day's ride, drank less, ate less, talked less.  Legs were stiff with the effort, arms ached from the vibration, and hands were sore from the brakes and from merely hanging on to the steering bar.  It was a long, hot, dusty, tiring day.

Then finally we emerged from the desert, a long, thin line of grimy riders, just as dusk was falling, to rejoin the not-so-healthy in buses waiting on the road, ready to take us the last few miles into Aqaba.

That was it.  A final day at Aqaba, then our goodbyes, first to the organisers of course:  Charles, who'd made the rearrangements when the group fell sick;  Gideon and Hiam, the Israelis who'd ridden along with us;  Ishmael and Abishai, the two Arab guides whose enthusiasm had been so infectious;  and then each other, both in the little bands that had bonded during the few days together, each member of similar age and outlook, and with the group as a whole.

Flying back to London and looking back on it, how did I feel about the experience?  It was different, certainly.  Memorable - I had a great set of pictures in my camera to illustrate any talks I might be invited to give back in the UK.  Grateful to my sponsors who'd helped to back the effort (across the group as a whole we'd raised quarter of a million pounds for the British Heart Foundation).  But disappointed too, for my not-so-fortunate colleagues.  I'd managed to cycle every inch the group had gone, but I was lucky:  I'd been less affected by the sickness than most.

Would I do it again?  Cycling is fun, and I had no trouble staying the course.  Being amongst the oldest, I hadn't felt the need to drink and eat as much as others, which was a big advantage.  And I positively relish a bit of deprivation from time to time.  So yes, I'd do it again with one of the growing number of bike rides being organised by charities as fund raisers in exotic locations from India to Brazil.  But I could do without the flies.

RW     Nov 1997


NEWS

The Rt Hon John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister is to fully endorse the National Cycling Strategy.  Mr Prescott stated that "Cycling is an essential ingredient in the development of the Government's integrated transport policy.  We firmly support the NCS and the targets it sets for increasing the number of cycling journeys".  Mr Prescott was speaking at an "All Party Cycling Group (APCG)" Parliamentary reception.


Minister of Transport, Gavin Strang has admitted that road conditions for cyclists were not being improved fast enough.  He said he hoped a Government white paper, called "Developing an Integrated Transport Policy" - to be published in May - would allay cyclists' fears about deteriorating road conditions and the growing congestion and pollution from motor traffic.


According to Department of Transport statistics - motorbikes are more than twice as likely to kill cyclists than cars.


Dawes Cycles in Birmingham may be eventually under the ownership of present employees of the company.  The present Dutch owners - ATAG - have a strategy that sees smaller companies in the group being sold and efforts are well advanced to put together a management buy-out.  As the closing date for offers nears, there are also other companies interested in the Dawes name and operation.


REYNOLDS TUBES

Reynolds are re-focusing their range of tubesets for the 1998 model year.  The higher the number, the higher the tensile strength of their seamless steel materials.

Reynolds 853 is the flagship air hardening, heat treated steel alloy particularly suited for TIG welding or high temperature brazing.

Reynolds 753 is the legendary heat-treated Manganese Moly steel, only available to certified builders who normally build lugged frames.

Reynolds 725 is their industry equivalent of 4130 heat-treated Chrome Moly steel, suitable for TIG welding.

Reynolds 531 the famous manganese Moly steel continues for lugged framesets.

Reynolds 525 Chrome Moly seamless steels are available for both lugged and TIG welded applications, again equivalent to 4130 steel alloy.


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Web page by Chris Jeggo.  Last revised:  25 September 2009.