"The West Surrey Cyclist" - October - December 1998
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In the last issue I wrote of the 'Close Encounters' with women drivers which I had been experiencing. I can now report that normality has been restored - I have had my back wheel clipped by a young male driver on a roundabout, been forced to swerve and finish with the front wheels of my car against the kerb by another young male driver (both from Farnborough Technical College - obviously they don't teach driving!) and twice squeezed into the side of the road by mature gentlemen in large slow moving cars, when all the road was available to them. Is there a name for the latter, as there is for the former - the 'Boyracers'? If so I would like to hear of it. If not, maybe a D.A. member could come up with one?
P.S. I've just had a young lady driver do her best to remove the tape from my handlebars whilst I ascended Tunnel Hill - now what about a name for irresponsible immature female drivers? Other than the one which I called her at the time!
On a much happier note, I can report having my backside whipped on the Hogs Back! No, this was not performed by a young lady in leather - well I couldn't afford it anyway. I was pedalling at a steady 17mph along the A31, admiring the views from on high, when I became aware of a slapidy-slap-slap noise coming up from behind. Soon a Trotting Buggy came alongside and the driver indicated that he expected me to race against his horse. Having recently and joyfully attained my 'second childhood', I readily agreed. The horse went in to 'high stepping' mode; I upped a gear and pulled on the bars. We were side by side at some 23mph when I became aware of a series of pains on the surface of my posterior. The driver of the Trotting Buggy was using his whip to encourage me to greater efforts. Realising that a bicycle pump would prove to be totally out-classed in combat with a long whip attached to the end of a long cane, I tried harder. The horse was younger than me though (most animate objects are now) and after another 100yds, drew ahead. I dropped down to cruising speed to get my breath back. Having got some 50yds ahead the horse began to slow - he was tiring. I took a deep breath, increased my speed again and 'sailed' by with a nonchalant wave of my hand, which I was using to hide the look of agony on my face. The occurrence certainly added interest to my ride and was effective in reducing my journey time but it is not one which I am keen to repeat, as it brought back too many memories of my days at school!
I am a bit of stickler on the matter of the code of riding when in a group, particularly the pointing out of hazards to those behind you. Unfortunately, some members of the D.A. seem to view the practice as unnecessary, to the extent of mocking me when I have complained at it not being observed. Whilst in Dorset I had a painful reminder of what can happen when you fail to see a pothole until too late - as can happen when the rider in front of you does a last-second swerve round one and gives you no warning. In this case I didn't see the pothole because of the 'patchwork' quilt of light and dark caused by the bright sunlight coming through roadside foliage. I was lucky; though hitting the road heavily, I suffered only the breath being knocked out of me and the loss of a small amount of skin. I could so easily have had broken bones, and if there had been half a dozen riders just behind me ......
The West Surrey's TOUR OF THE HILLS on Sunday 19th August enjoyed fine weather and good support. There were 113 entries, 103 of whom started and 93 finished within the 7hrs 12mins allowed - 24 inside 5hrs, one in 4hrs 1min! Geoff Smith and 'Sandalman' Tom were only just behind and John Pugh had 3mins to spare for his gold medal. Also inside 5hrs was Stephen Pack, who used to ride with the D.A. when he was just a lad. Phil Hampton, Don Jones, Paul Holmes and new man John Mitchell took things a little easier. The outstanding D.A. ride, for me, was by Rico Signore - 65mls, over 6000ft of climbing in 5hrs 45mins after a hip replacement in November - FANTASTIC! My thanks to all those who were good enough to give of their spare time to help - without you the event cannot happen.
Unfortunately the day ended on a sour note. In spite of us being most careful to conform to all that was asked of us by the proprietors of the Barn Cafe (all bikes on the left hand side of the cafe, no riders' cars left in the cafe car park), I was informed that we would not be welcome next year. As all riders left at 10a.m. and the first did not return until after 2p.m. (24 in ones and twos between 2 and 3p.m.) their lunch time trade was not disturbed. The riders really were the happiest and best behaved bunch of cyclists I've ever met. I did point out that I had brought them 100 customers but was told that they were of no use as they were not regulars. You have to go somewhere for the first time in order to become a regular and to describe some of our D.A. members as not being regulars - well I, like others, have been going there since the 1950's and the name 'Barn Cafe' appears regularly on our Runs Lists. I said that 'Maybe I should write to the cycling press to inform them that cyclists were no longer welcome there'. The reply was 'It might be as well if you did'!! No wonder 'Cycling Weekly' reported the Barn Cafe as having 'Gone funny'. It really is very sad.
This is my last President's Page as my three years as President of the West Surrey D.A. will finish in November at the A.G.M. The ruling of three years as a maximum term of office is not part of the current D.A. rules (when drawing up the present rules we were not aware of the decision taken at a previous A.G.M.) but I would not want to go against wishes of the members and, in saying that, I am certainly not presuming that I would be asked to. I thank you for the honour of being President, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I shall, of course, continue to be an active D.A. member.
2 Regent Close
Fleet Hants GU13 9NS
Tel: 01252 621164
West Surrey Cyclist Magazine.
Your President's experiences in my "patch" prove conclusively that I am an unsuccessful cycling campaigner. For in 1983 after returning from a 22 years stint with HM Forces to our lovely 3 Bedroomed Semi in Church Crookham I found carnage. There seemed to be a serious accident or a fatality to cyclists in the Hart district every week. I formed a pressure group to put things right and invited George Murray then the local CTC secy, with myself a BCF Life Member as chairman and Chris Hall FoE, our activities shamed Hampshire County Council into forming and funding the Hart & District Road Safety Council, but they refused to accept me as chairman!
The supremo at Winchester appoints a local County counsellor and also many other council members to serve with us volunteers. We have a working group which suggests activities in the field of education and publicity on Road Safety generally, the Main RSC then decides which to pursue. Our success is that since our formation in 1984 there has not been an increase in accidents, in fact a slight decrease, surprisingly as we now have more vehicles about. Otherwise my wife and I have achieved nothing for cyclists' safety except the installation of traffic lights instead of roundabouts at either end of Aldershot Road which takes two roads from the South into the centre of Fleet. Our Police representative explained that in preferring roundabouts his reason was that vehicles glanced each other at 35 degrees whereas when traffic lights were jumped they met at 90 degrees. I pointed out that roundabouts were distinctly cyclist-unfriendly and were impossible places for the infirm and the elderly and families with prams and shopping to get across the road safely. They were acceptable only outside towns if the need was to keep the traffic flowing. With traffic lights refuges may be installed and everyone gets a chance to cross safely.
Some four years ago and at great expense a firm of consultants was hired to provide an integrated cycle route feasibility study. It was not perfect but it was all we had and we were delighted when it was accepted. But then as a result of the "Digital" fire incident Winchester regretted they could only offer us £150,000 over 3 years and only £50,000 to make a token start that year. They then promptly replaced the chairman who had been in post since the beginning with another who knew nothing about any money. We suggested they apply for an EEC grant as we were obviously an impoverished area of Europe! But they couldn't locate the appropriate fund.
But my greatest grievance is that when they built traffic-calming pinch points at Crondall and North Warnborough they did so without leaving an escape path for cyclists. My CTC Life Member wife will no longer serve on the Road Safety Council as the Supremo will not dismiss the Counsellor, who will also not resign, despite his conviction for drunken driving. Such is the state of affairs in the area where your President's cycling career and his life have been threatened. I do sympathise because my son was knocked off his bike and had his right arm broken by a young lady driver at a junction in town and my wife had her knee broken by a young lady who was driving too fast on the black ice to make the 90 degree bend on the A323 at Laffans Bridge.
You must, I very much regret, beware of the young lady drivers in and around Church Crookham and another good tip is not to venture onto the road between Aldershot and Church Crookham over Tweseldown in poor visibility because that is where the young gentlemen motorists wrap themselves around trees and could well take you with them.
P.S. Thank you for an excellent magazine and also some superb runs with the Wednesday Wayfarers.
|74, Claydon Road,
29th June 1998
I felt that I just had to reply to the President's Page in the July/Aug/Sept West Surrey DA Magazine.
My answers to Harold's questions are:-
However I find that some of the worst offenders as far as I am concerned are the middle-aged men driving their juggernauts on narrow roads as they take a "rat run" between Motorways. Also elderly people peering over the top, or through, the steering wheel. I get squashed by these people; Harold should think himself lucky that he almost got squashed by a "dear young lady" on the "roundabout in Church Crookham"!!
My solution for Harold is to ....... sell all the bikes etc that he advertised and buy himself a mountain bike and come "off road" with me ........ and my friends!
Marguerite A. Statham
P.S. I have sent a copy of the above to the President so that he has at least one reply before his time runs out!
11th July 1998
The DA has now sent a cheque for £4.50 to cover the deficit on the slide show in April. Thank you.
|Trans-Am Trail, Colorado
Wed 24th June 1998.
Do you like cycling down steep descents at up to 40 mph for 10 miles at a time; like cycling two abreast along wide, almost car-free roads bounded by woods, fields, rivers, wild flowers, the air laden with the scent of honeysuckle, with cycle-friendly restaurants for pancakes and coffee, free portions of pie, free camping with showers in city parks, fire stations, school gymnasiums, churches and even private gardens? (Yes - yes, it sounds like heaven. ED)
I have done all this and more since I started to cycle across America in May with The Adventure Cycling Association. I retired last year and began cycling with the Wednesday Wayfarers. On my first trip, in pouring rain, last September, I met Colin Nunnington who had done this journey single-handed while I was still dreaming about it.
We are now in Colorado about 2600 miles from Yorktown, Virginia and 10,000 ft above sea level. The seven of us were complete strangers when we started at Yorktown, chosen for the start of the 1976 Bike-centennial event since it was the scene of the battle where the USA won its independence from Britain. For the most part we are now good friends.
There is of course another side to the picture I have painted above. To get that descent we climbed in the Appalachians all morning at about 3-4 mph. There are some awful roads, no hard shoulder and crowded with enormous coal trucks. There are days when all you can taste is dust, when there is nothing for 50 miles except what you carry with you and that will have been boiled and grilled. Sometimes the shower is a cold hose pipe. On three occasions we have had to stay in motels because the weather was too bad to camp, ie "Severe weather Warning", it usually means very strong winds, hail, torrential rain or even tornadoes. Many hours have been spent sheltering from hail and thunder storms in barns or cafes. Mostly the weather has been kind, sunny and warm, a few days too warm - in the high 90's. Some horrible head and side winds.
The trip so far has been getting better and better. I hope to be able to send a further report from the finish at Astoria, Oregon on the Pacific in about 6 weeks time.
Have a free puncture repair kit, Bob. - ED
Having just come back from a week in Portugal, I thought fellow West Surrey riders might be interested in its potential for cycling.
We went on a family package holiday, staying at Cabanas on the east of the Algarve. My wife and children were happy by the pool, which left me to spend several hours each day cycling in the interior. Temperatures in late May are typically in the low 70s Fahrenheit, which I feel is ideal for most riding.
The terrain inland from the coast is hilly by Surrey standards, but not really mountainous. High points of about 500 metres are typical. Gradients also are usually reasonable, so very low gears are not necessary. The striking thing about the inland roads, however, is how quiet they are. Typically running from north to south, the roads through the hills are virtually empty. One car per hour is quite common! The roads are quite well surfaced, though I would recommend 32mm section tyres, probably not ideal terrain for your new go-faster Audax bike.
The countryside is dry and rocky, with the hills covered in heather - not unlike parts of Yorkshire. There are spectacular views once you have climbed high, either of the hills to the north or the sea to the south. There is plenty of bird life for those that are interested, little owls and hoopoes inland and storks nesting near the coast.
Taking a bicycle on our charter airline was no trouble, though I took the precaution of putting it in a large cardboard box, obtainable from some bike shops. This protected it perfectly, probably better than a normal canvas bike bag, and also enabled it to escape the £30 surcharge for bicycles.
All in all then, I feel that Portugal is to be recommended, provided that you choose the right time of year. The only problem was the lack of decent beer and no mugs of tea!
In 1995 Chris Avery rode Paris Brest Paris with a teddy bear on his bar bag. He complained at the finish that people remembered the bear and not him. Since that time the bear has been known as Paris Brest Paris Bear or "PB" for short.
PB has ridden many Audax events on Chris's bar bag since, but things took an interesting turn last August. We were in Hailsham for the start of Andy Seviour's 300km Adventure To Venta. It had been raining steadily for some hours and the forecast was for several more hours of rain. Andy just happened to have some spare Brevet cards and decided to give one to PB. This was taken round the route, stamped at all controls and sent in as PB Bear with Q1004b as the membership number (Chris is Q1004 and if PB was a family member of AUK his number would be Q1004b).
AUK's validation secretary, Bernard Mawson, spent half an hour looking for this non-existent member in the membership records before calling the membership secretary who said, "You know who that is. It's Chris Avery's teddy bear." Bernard did see the joke eventually but refused to validate the card on the grounds that PB was not an AUK or CTC member and had not paid the 50p extra for one-day AUK membership.
When subscriptions came up for renewal a few months later PB joined as a family member.
PB has since had Brevet cards for 3 of Peter Coulson's permanents validated by the Permanents Validation Secretary. He has also completed the Wessex SR series (he has a Wessex SR jersey knitted by Jan Shaw to prove it), Dorset Coast 200, Hard Boiled 300, Porkers 400 and a 600km event. The cards for these events have not been returned. A source on the AUK committee says that the next committee meeting will decide if AUK can validate brevet cards for teddy bears.
We hear that should the committee decide against PB, Audax Ursi Mundi (Audax Bears Of The World) will offer to validate the cards. A spokesbear reportedly said that AUK's high standards of route integrity and control checking were well known and AUM would have no hesitation in validating cards for bears completing AUK rides providing all the relevant control stops had been obtained.
PB has since had membership rescinded. A decision by the committee that he was not a person.
Left Eucla 7am into a headwind.
Met an Aussie bloke on a bicycle coming the other way. We stopped and had a chin wag. He was from Melbourne. His bike was rather flash compared to Pilgrim. It was nice to talk to a fellow cyclist.
This morning as I parked off the road for a minute to apply some Lip Sed to my burning lips there was this huge truck coming in the opposite direction and for some reason he crossed onto my side of the road and sped past within 2 feet of where I was standing! This really put the wind up me, I can tell you. For a second there I thought I was going to end up like one of those squashed kangaroo carcasses that are a common sight on Aussie highways. I do not know if the driver was half asleep or whether he was just bored and felt like a bit of entertainment. The Australian truckies rule the highways, that is for sure.
I only covered 68 km today. It was hard yakker into the westerly wind. I am at Mundrabilla Roadhouse. A small basic cabin here for the night is costing $10.00. I'm off for a cold beer now .........
Oh dear, you will not believe this. After going to the bar and having a couple of tinnies I went back to my cabin to get some more money for dinner. I then realised I had left my money belt sitting on a brick wall outside the roadhouse. It was over an hour since I had left it there. Sure enough, on checking, it was no longer there. Not surprising since it contained $300.00 and my flexicard.
Panic stations. Here I am in the middle of the Nullarbor with no money. All I could do was ask the roadhouse management for assistance. They are terrific.
I telephoned Eucla police to report my missing wallet. They could not do much but took note and advised me to lodge a report with the Norseman police. I then phoned my bank in Midland near Perth advising them of my missing Flexicard so at least the rest of my money is safe. The bank cannot send me any money until they have received authorisation from me in writing. It could be a week or more before I am able to obtain any money.
The management of the roadhouse have agreed to give me work with free food and accommodation for as long as I want it. Everyone here has been very sympathetic and I am very grateful. It seems Mundrabilla will become my home for a while, and I did not have to pay for it. The roadhouse is run by a husband and wife. The lady's name is Shirley, she seems like a fair enough woman. I do not know the husband's name yet but am told that he is a Kiwi like myself.
Oh yeah. I almost forgot to mention that about 10km before reaching Mundrabilla a spoke broke in Pilgrim's rear wheel. I transferred as much of my luggage as possible to the front rack and limped to Mundrabilla where I borrowed a screwdriver and a pair of vice grips to remove the freewheel so that the spoke could be replaced. Poor old Pilgrim must have been in pain for the last 10km but he is a hardy beast.
Start work tomorrow at 9am.
What a neat job, such easy going people they are here. After a free breakfast I got stuck into cleaning the restaurant and pub windows. Later I met Rob, the Kiwi roadhouse manager. He is a bit weak at the moment because of an operation on his bladder to remove gallstones but he still puts his heart into his work. We cleaned out an old workshop out back and loaded junk onto an old Hillman ute that runs on about three cylinders and only has one gear. This ute has real character. I then drove the ute across the highway to the tip. The tip is actually a large pit filled with junk. I assume that when it becomes full that it will then be covered over with earth. As I unloaded the ute I was careful to take heed of Rob's advice to watch out for snakes in and around the pit. I hate snakes. Some of the deadliest in the world live right here in Western Australia.
After that it was to the pub for free beers and a good lunch, then another load to the tip, then back to the pub for more free beers. As I was becoming drunk I asked Rob for some more work to do.
"No, knock off, that will do for today." he said.
I wish I could work here for ever I tell you.
The only attraction to travellers at Mundrabilla is the Mini Zoo. I was introduced to the animals today at feed time. (It was later to become one of my chores to feed the animals and clean their compounds.)
Wild horses often visit the roadhouse. Rob has semi-tamed a couple as in his younger days he was a rodeo star. A water trough had to be topped up each day for their benefit. I was anxious at first when entering Carmel the camel's compound as she has a reputation for making sudden advances towards people. She did in fact come at me but only to give a huge slimy kiss. Rob reckons she fancies me. I am flattered but do not take much to kissing camels. Have you seen the size of their tongues!
The Wedged Tailed eagle was given to Mundrabilla when it was found on the side of the highway by some travellers. It had been hit by a vehicle and had a broken wing. The wing never healed properly and when the eagle was released back to the wild, it could not fly so it has now become a permanent resident at Mundrabilla. It is fed on mice and kangaroo meat.
The Emu couple like to try to kick your shins and so when entering their compound one has to take a big stick for protection. Two kangaroos also vacate the Emu compound, the youngest one is named Skippy, she was found inside her mum's pouch on the highway. Her mum was dead.
The Aviary is full of many colourful birds. It was also home to a carpet snake who helped keep the bird population down by feeding on eggs and chicks. (I was always worried when entering the aviary. This snake was always lurking in some unexpected place and gave me the willies. Although it was not venomous and supposedly harmless to humans it gave me nightmares.)
The mouse enclosure was there purely for the Wedge Tailed Eagle's benefit. On entering to feed the mice they would suddenly appear from out of the ground in their hundreds converging on the seed laid down for them. The earth became a vibrant carpet of mice. It was then that a frying pan would be lunged on top of them just the once, enough to stun a group of them so that they could be put into a bucket and carried over to the eagle's enclosure for feed. This daily ritual kept the mice population under control, only just.
Rob showed me the generator shed today. All the electricity for the Mundrabilla complex comes from one of two huge diesel engines generators. Rob says that one of them has been running almost non-stop for eleven years!
Shirley gave me $50.00 today.
This afternoon I rode Pilgrim out to the west and back. 22km.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Having done a few tours in England and Wales, it was time to consider cycling abroad, and browsing through the December-January CTC magazine on the '98 Tours section, I espied the following ...
Spain - Las Alpujarras, Andalucia 6-13 June
"An easy paced tour to a beautiful part of Andalusia. 30 - 40 mpd in mountainous area. Superb scenery. Hospitable small hotels. Rest day with opportunity to visit the city of Granada. Coach transfer between airport and destination area"
Well, sounds good. I like Spain having holidayed in the coastal resorts but never ventured far inland .. here's the opportunity? Hmm not too strenuous, and comfortable overnight stops - plus the bonus of the Granada trip.
Yes. I'll do it. Additional info. sent by the experienced tour leader taking a group of about 20 confirms that the tour is on, and my booking is made.
Four months later, I'm on my way - from Gatwick with new touring bike stowed in the hold of a holiday charter aircraft, having spent many hours thinking about what touring equipment to buy and what to take. Fortunately the tour leader's detailed instructions are really useful ... and we're OFF.
Here is the diary I kept during the tour - with additional notes of where we went - and longer term impressions ...
Spent previous week worrying about packing bike. Peter Norris (Ed) kindly provided pipe lagging for the bike frame and set up gears on bike - bought from Camberley Cycles - plug! Jim Cheatham came over to help. Bike finally mummified, cocooned in tape, and plastic sheeting - looking like a medieval charger as it was wheeled through the airport concourse.
Met up with first few cycling companions queuing with bikes and luggage (panniers/bar bags/rucksacks). One of our party was a larger than life 'fair dinkum' Australian on a whistle-stop European tour, including the Spain cycle tour, plus sightseeing holidaying in Finland and Russia. He'd brought his bike over too!
Slight panic when travel documents "lost" in airport lounge while chatting over coffee, but found in usual muddle of brochures, books and paraphernalia in bar bag.
Arrived in dusty Spanish airport, meeting up with rest of the Gatwick party - 15 of us, and also the contingent from Manchester - saying adios to the ordinary Brits on their Costa resort holidays.
Our bikes were quickly loaded on to a large van, and we all piled into a coach with our cycle luggage, and settled down to an uneventful and tedious 3 hour trip to Calhorra - our stop for the first and last night of the tour.
Calhorra is about 70 kms due east of Granada, a small village just to the north of the Sierra Nevada mountain range - over which we were to travel into the Alpujarras the next day.
Our bikes were quickly decanted from the van, and left in a large pile at the back of the hotel - waiting to be prepared for the road next day. Rooms assigned to groups of 2 or 3 on a seemingly random order - I ended up with a chest surgeon and solicitor. Waiting downstairs was a welcome substantial meal and local wine to round off the day, with introductions being made over una cerveza to find out "who was who". More later.
The West Surrey DA ANNUAL DINNER will be held on Saturday 28th November at the YMCA in Guildford.
At time of going to press the menu had not been decided. For details of menu and tickets please contact a committee member. PHONE NUMBERS ON PAGE 2.
The West Surrey DA will hold its Annual General Meeting at PIRBRIGHT VILLAGE HALL on 1ST NOVEMBER at 10.00 AM. This is a good chance for you to meet other members of the DA and for you to have your say if you wish about matters concerning the West Surrey. Please take the time to fill in a nomination form if you wish to nominate a person for the committee. But ask whoever it is that you're nominating if they would like to serve first. There is a nomination form in this magazine.
OCTOBER 4TH: Tricyclathon (Benstead Cup Event) Contact Roger Philo 01483 233381
NOVEMBER 1ST: West Surrey DA AGM. Pirbright Village Hall Starts 10.00 AM.
NOVEMBER 28th: Annual Dinner and Prize Giving. Contact a committee member. Phone numbers on page 2.
Sunday July 19th we were blessed with a pleasant, warm sunny day for this year's roughstuff ride. What a pity the same could not be said for the attitude of the proprietor of the Barn Cafe, who refused to allow us to use the cafe facilities for our ride this year, and in future years, as most of you must be aware by now that cyclists are no longer welcome at this establishment.
We therefore had to move the start and finish across the road to the main car park at Newlands Corner, as by the time we had been informed the Cafe was out of use there was no time to arrange an alternative start. Luckily this did not seem to cause any problems, but may well have done so if it had been a wet day!
The ride this year was an Audax event, which helped to increase the number of entries. A total 23 riders entered the 60km ride of which 5 did not start, and 4 did not finish the route but made their way back to the finish having enjoyed the part which they had completed. First rider to complete the 60km ride was Stephen Brown from Maidenhead, Berks, in 4 hours 22 minutes, and the first West Surrey riders back were Phil Hampton and Geoff Smith in joint 3rd position taking 5 hours and 17 minutes to finish. I think credit must be given to 13 year old James Callaghan for completing the 60km ride in a very respectable time of 5 hours 20 minutes after having suffered a chain break nearing the top of Hackhurst Downs and then running the remaining 5.5km to the finish!
The 50km ride saw 18 entries all of whom enjoyed and finished the route. Joint first position went to Katherine and Andrew Leigh from Whitchurch, Hants, completing the ride in 3 hours 44 minutes, and first West Surrey riders back were Jane and Bentley Cook and William Thompson all joint third taking 3 hours 52 minutes to finish.
Given the amount of rain we had preceding the event I was amazed how clean man/woman and machine was finishing the ride, however there was the exception with one or two looking as though they had fallen in every bit of mud they could have found! Thanks must given to all the marshalls who helped on the day, Bill, Clive, Ken and Rory.
All in all a good day was had by all.
Report by Trevor Strudwick 31-8-98
There will be a total eclipse of the sun on the morning of August 11th 1999. It will be total in Cornwall and Alderney in the Channel Islands as well as France. From Surrey you will see a 97 percent partial eclipse like this.
For further details contact RORY FENNER. PH 01483 569705
The initial publicity in the local paper was in the Woking Informer which came out on Saturday 16th May. The first person who rang to sponsor me was Janet Curtis, the midwife who delivered my son David 33 years ago.
6am got up. Sponsor money at £642
8am post arrived; another £20 (£662)
9am met Truemans Travel coach for my lift to North Wales.
Spent the morning in Llandudno. Went up the Great Orme in the cable car then walked down. At 1.30pm Truemans took us to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Just before we set off I told everyone what I was about to do and asked if anyone would like to make a small donation. I collected £42.13. I left everyone at Llanfair .......... and cycled the 24 miles to Holyhead. On the way I sheltered under some trees while it rained. When I emerged my hat and jacket top were covered in white!!!!! Lucky??? (£704.13)
The route was hard to follow at times so I took several wrong roads. I couldn't find my way out of Caernarfon ... it's a lovely place and I wish I'd had more time to look around. It rained all day and with a head wind as well the going had been tough. However the Marquis of Anglesey had his Tea Rooms open and I enjoyed crossing the Menai Suspension Bridge. The only excitement was when a vole tried to cross the road. He got half way across and then decided to go back. Fortunately I was walking uphill at the time so neither of us came to any harm. The lady in Lleuar Fawr was wonderful. She dried all my clothes overnight.
This morning my £93-worth of bike repairs were all rusty so had to go in search of a garage to buy some oil. I was then going "great guns". I was in Harlech for lunch with only 14 miles left. I tucked into a large bacon bap; blackberry pie and cream and 3 cups of tea! I had a head wind most of the day but when it did get behind me it was wonderful. The occasional gust blew me sideways across the road and I was glad I had the panniers for extra stability. I got caught in a gale and sideways rain while crossing the Barmouth Bridge, otherwise I kept dry! Today a baby rabbit dived out of the hedgerow, took one look at my spokes and fortunately dived back in. The publican in the Ponderosa Ranch near Dolgellau donated £5. (£709.13)
A lovely sunny day! I visited the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth for lunch. In the afternoon I had a superb ride. I spent an hour cycling up a valley and after I'd turned the corner at the top I sat half way along the valley head looking back. It was wonderful. So quiet and peaceful. I arrived at the George Borrow Hotel at 6.15pm. The next morning the owners donated £8. (£717.13)
Straight after breakfast the first 5 miles were uphill. Later I turned south and had a tail wind which was fantastic. I made good time and was in Builth Wells at 3.40pm. The owner of Bron Wye GH donated £7. (£724.13)
A superb warm sunny day. I climbed over the Gospel Pass in the Brecon Beacons National Park and stopped for an ice cream at the top, 2,220ft above sea level. There were magnificent views all around and a superb ride down to Abergavenny. Two small birds flew out of a hedge and almost hit my nose and once again I discovered that sheep always run the opposite way to the way you expect them to go! The Park GH donated £1 (£725.13)
Golly, what a wet morning! I arrived in a coffee shop in Usk and asked for some plastic bags to sit on! I crossed the Severn Bridge feeling really elated and there was a sign that said "Welcome to England". I was so excited I phoned the Truemans Coach driver; my husband; my son and my friends in Alveston who said "come and have some lunch with us". I sat on a towel while I enjoyed hot soup and bread, fruit cake, a banana and 2 mugs of tea plus a £5 donation! (£730.13) I arrived in Chipping Sodbury at about 3.30pm and spent the evening watching football with my son.
Didn't want to leave John! Got away at about 9.15am and cycled along the Bristol to Bath Cycleway before joining the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath. I had lunch at a "towpath" tea shop at Avoncliffe. Another rabbit came out of the hedgerow and just as I was beginning to think that I was about to "go swimming" he returned from whence he came! I saw three herons ... one didn't move as I cycled past only a few yards from where he was standing. I also saw lots of ducklings, baby moorhens and some cygnets. I had a fast, flat ride and arrived in Poulshot around 2.15pm so I was able to have a relaxing afternoon drinking lots of tea while I watched TV. Mrs. Hues donated £7.50. (£737.63)
I stayed on the Kennet and Avon canal towpath until I got black splodges all over my legs so decided that it was time to "hit the road". I had coffee in the church's coffee shop in Pewsey and then got totally lost! Fortunately a lady with a dog came along and she told me that I was 7 miles off the edge of the map!! I popped into the Watership Down Pub to watch the end of the England v. Tunisia game and arrived in Dummer at 4.20pm. Mrs. Button donated £16. (£753.63)
The last day! 40 miles to do before 2.30pm so I was up early and away by 8.35am. Just before coffee at Lasham a third rabbit dashed out of the hedgerow and by sprinting a zigzag route, he actually managed to cross the road with us both staying unharmed! I phoned Harry, my husband, and we met in Chobham for lunch before I completed my journey to St. Peter's Hospital. Several photographs were taken and then Carol Haskell made me a cup of tea.
In spite of some of the atrocious weather I enjoyed the challenge and all the B&Bs ranged from good to very good. They had all been pre-booked. The two-mile walk to one of the pubs was a bit much so I had a taxi back. All the other "evening meals" were within reach. I'd estimated 405 miles from Holyhead and actually rode 425.2. I collected £104.63 en route and at the moment hope to raise £850.
MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO MY CRITICAL CARE CHALLENGE
(There then follow photocopies of two receipts from St. Peter's Hospital Critical Care Challenge for amounts totalling £914.)
So called "reckless" cyclists have been warned recently to get off the pavements.
North West Surrey Police are cracking down on those who disregard the safety of pedestrians after a run of incidents in Woking Town Centre.
Police have received a number of complaints about young cyclists using pavements recklessly. Action will be taken to deal with offenders.
The message from the police is, "Do not be selfish. Think of others. If the roads are too busy to cycle on, get off and push your cycle on the pavement".
One happy cyclist who took part in West Surrey DA's Tour Of The Hills event wrote in to a Woking newspaper to express his enjoyment of the ride.
He was very grateful for the help given by two fellow cyclists when he received a second puncture. One nice bloke named as Keith, a Kingfield-based Merseysider, handed over his own spare inner tube. Our own David Nightingale also got a mention for his help. (A knight in shining armour perhaps)
This happy cyclist described his ride as "Exquisite Torture".
PIRBRIGHT VILLAGE HALL 9.30 AM FOR 10 AM.
Please come and participate. A great chance to meet other cyclists in your DA.
THERE IS A NOMINATION FORM IN THIS MAG SO YOU CAN HAVE A SAY IN WHO YOU WANT TO REPRESENT YOU ON THE COMMITTEE. PLEASE TAKE PART.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 15 November 2006.