"The West Surrey Cyclist" - April - June 1999
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I had the privilege of leading an Intermediate ride on March 7th. It was a grey and drizzly day, the only hardy soul to meet me at the start (Frimley Green) was Bill Mann.
Despite the weather we made the most of it. At The George Cafe in Odiham we were served by a waitress from Zimbabwe. She is in England on a working holiday. We tried to convince her that the weather would get better.
On the way to Liss Forest for lunch, we spotted our first bluebells for the year. They were nestled in a copse in between Blackmoor and Greatham.
At Liss Forest The Temple Inn provided us with good food whilst Bill entertained me with his motorcycling exploits on the continent. Some woman at the bar asked me if Bill was my dad. (I think she fancied him.) I replied that he was much too young to be my dad. I'm not sure if Bill felt complimented or insulted.
The final leg to the Little Chef Hogs Back was cycled at a brisk pace as the drizzle had turned to rain. We had ridden from start to finish at an average speed of just over 13 mph. Any slower than this and we would probably have felt the cold.
Thanks again for your company Bill.
I am becoming excited about the Millennium Cycling Rally which West Surrey DA is organising next year. The committee is already planning for this great event. I hope that DA members will come together and help out to make this a rally to remember. The count-down has begun.
Please keep items coming in for the mag. My address is on page 3.
P.S. I'm glad that the "Tyre Savers" worked for you Paul. They didn't for me last weekend, two front-wheel punctures within a mile. In fact the "Tyre Savers" didn't let me (or the tyre) down - nothing had come through the cover. In both cases it was just a matter of a pinhole appearing in the inner tube.
The Intermediate Run on the 3rd January, led by Bill Mann, encountered flooded roads and ferocious gusts of wind. Staying on the bike when passing a gap in a hedge meant a wrestling match with the handlebars so as to avoid being pushed to the opposite side of the road. The real danger though, proved to be later in the day when crossing the Swallowfield Bypass at a traffic island. A motorist, who shall be nameless (we have got his name, address and car number) drove straight out and collided with Roger Philo, who was the last in our line of riders. Roger was, of course, shaken and bruised but, fortunately, not seriously hurt. The motorist's excuse? 'The sun was so bright that I couldn't see a thing'. He 'couldn't see a thing' yet he came fast up to the roundabout and drove straight out!!
Roger was wearing a bright "Dayglo" yellow top, but I am informed that police recently put forward the suggestion that a motorist probably hit a cyclist because he did not see the cyclist's yellow top against the sky! I don't know what colour the sky was supposed to have been. Defence lawyers are always looking for a "Get out" for their clients such as the case in which it was stated that the cyclist had no lights even though it was 8p.m. They did not mention that it had been a bright June evening.
I see from my local paper that our local M.P. is going to campaign for flashing L.E.D. rear lights to be made legal. This follows local police stopping cyclists so equipped, and threatening to prosecute them. Crazy though this may seem, there is some logic in their attitude because the use of 'Illegal" flashing L.E.D. lights provides a motorist with an excuse for having hit you - "The cyclist was not displaying a legal light". The fact remains though, that flashing L.E.D. rear lights show up and command attention as no previous lights have ever done. Motorists praise them and know immediately what they are from a long way off. Fortunately the lamps are compact, light in weight and kind on batteries, so it is perfectly practical to have two - one flashing and one not flashing.
In a previous issue of our excellent magazine Rory Fenner thoughtfully provided us with an illuminating article on the forthcoming solar eclipse, so that we wouldn't be "In the dark" over the event. Of course we will be in the dark because of the very nature of the event. That is if it actually happens! Personally, I wouldn't be in the least surprised if it doesn't turn out to be just another of those "Scare Stories" which scientists and journalists delight in inflicting on us. It probably started in the "Sunday Sport"! Anyway if Rory's illustration of it is anything to go by, it's going to be so small that you would need a private viewing through the Hubbel (Hubble?) Telescope to see it!
P.S. Rory, I'm only joking! I am sure that it will be absolutely brilliant - well maybe not brilliant - if there is one thing that an eclipse can't be, its brilliant. Well, jolly good anyway.
Recently I had a third spoke break in a two (or was it three) year old back wheel which I had bought from Camberley Discount Cycles - not built by Peter Norris. In fact, I suspect that it was caused by a faulty batch of spokes, something which any wheel builder can be caught out by. I enquired about obtaining purchasing some spare spokes and was told by Peter that that was unnecessary as he would rebuild the wheel free of charge under guarantee as it should not have failed! That is what I call "Service". There are not many businesses nowadays which look after their customers like that - all credit to Camberley Discount Cycles and Peter Norris. A few days after, I had a rebuilt wheel which was absolutely true. Prior to that, in September, three days before I was due to race in the "Duo Normand", I discovered that the back wheel in my racing bike was in dire need of some expert attention, and I do mean expert. I flung myself and the wheel upon Peter's mercy. Two days later I had a re-built perfect wheel which has stayed sound and true. To cyclists a good wheel builder is more important than a good tailor - well a pair of baggy trousers won't result in you being stranded fifty miles from home!
As I said above, I went racing in France in the Duo Normand - for the second year. It is a two-up time trial which attracts nearly 300 teams including many from Britain; the Charlotteville had eight teams. It is a wonderful event, organised by the small town of Marigny a few miles from St Lo. On the day of the race there are barriers along the High Street, flags and bunting, and a public-address system. Your details are announced to the public, then it's off down a ramp and away through the countryside along closed roads with every junction manned by a gendarme, who holds back any traffic and waves you through. It really is a big day for the local people who crowd the High Street, or stand at their doorways, or, outside town, sit at their garden gates, clapping and cheering you as you go by (no matter how slow you may be!). The course is 34 miles long, of which the first 20 miles are fairly flat and the last 14 miles very hilly with some fast descents and nerve testing bends. There are various categories ranging from veterans to professionals from the Tour de France. The latter are clad in skin-tight skin-suits of flamboyant colours and ride on ultra ultra expensive carbon fibre and titanium bikes. They are also ultra ultra fast. In 1997 I rode with Peter Callaghan - it was his first ever race. Last year I rode with Roly Masset - our combined ages were 134yrs! I thoroughly enjoyed it, Roly did not; he was, poor fellow, still recovering from an illness with which he had returned from a holiday in Spain. We made a long weekend of it, that is the sixteen of us from the Charlotteville, and we had a lot of fun. We even took our own cooks! Two wonderful chaps who wanted to come over and be part of it all - they will be our guests at the Charlotteville Dinner, when we can feed them. I am already looking forward to this year's event. It is sad that some people, from both sides, think that tourists and racers are complete opposites and have nothing in common; for this is just not so. Racing is just another facet of cycling. Like touring you can suffer (you can definitely suffer), you can have your good days and your bad days. You can have a lot of fun and exhilaration and there is something about riding a bike which is as light as you can get it (or afford to get it) and with skinny tyres pumped up to 110p.s.i. - get them going fast enough and they sing to you! I came into the CTC through bumping into the "Thursday Nighters" one summer's evening; as I have assembled the history of the Charlotteville I have found that every one of them raced with the Charlotteville in the past - including George Alesbury, Bill Stickley, Charlie Pilbeam, Don Field, Ron Sadler, Geoff Hone etc etc etc.
The maximum available points in the 1999 Benstead Cup Competition will be 450.
Points will be awarded as follows:-
Non-competitive events: 50 mile reliability ride on 18 April; 200,150 & 100 km Audax rides and Frensham 50 km ride on 16 May; Stonehenge 200 km and Danebury 150 km Audax rides and Cloverleaf rides on 27 June; Roughstuff 60 & 50 km Audax rides on 18 July; Tour of the Hills 100 km Audax ride on 15 August and 100 & 75 mile reliability rides on 5 September.
|50 points/event completed||Maximum obtainable 200 points|
Maximum obtainable 50 points
Competitive events: Scorathon (navigation event) on 6 June and Tricyclathon (Hill climb, free wheeling and pace judging) on 3 October.
|Up to 100 points/event [only one event will count & your highest score will be taken]||Maximum obtainable 100 points|
[The overall winner of the scorathon will get 100 points. Others riders will be awarded points based on their finishing position and the number of entrants, i.e. if 20 start the event: 1st will get 100 x 20/20 = 100 points; 10th will get 100 x 11/20 = 55points; 17th will get 100 x 4/20 = 20 points and so on.
Each component of the tricyclathon will be scored out of 100 with points being calculated as above. The final points score for each rider being the average of his/her three component scores.]
Midweek and Sunday Attendance
|The winner of either competition; 100 points||Maximum obtainable 100 points|
[Points will be awarded on the same basis as for the competitive events, i.e. your finishing position in the attendance list and the number of qualifying riders will determine the points out of 100 that you are awarded.]
A full copy of the competition rules may be obtained from the Runs Secretary.
Riders can set off at a time of their own choosing between 9am and 11am from the King George V Sports Pavilion at Dunsfold (GR 006370).
There will be lots of clues to find (with penalties for guesses!) and people will choose their own routes to get to as many as they can in the 4 hours allowed - the time starts from when the clues are given out and so includes the time spent looking at the map to work out the best route.
Entrants should bring the Guildford and Farnham 1:50000 OS Map No. 186, a pen/pencil, compass (except for those doing a very short route), and, of course, their bicycle!
Tea/squash will be provided free, and sandwiches/rice and fruit will be on sale.
I hope you will support this as it is the 1st time I have organised a cycle event.
PH 01483 563392
PS The event will count for the Benstead Cup as an alternative to the tricyclathon, a bonus if, like me, you can't climb hills!
PUNCTURE REPAIR KIT - you might get a puncture in your new tube!
SPANNER - to fit the nuts that release the wheels.
SMALL SCREWDRIVER - for minor adjustments to gear mechanisms and for "digging" flints out of tyres.
PUMP - to inflate the tyre after all your tube changing.
FRONT AND REAR BRAKE CABLES - in case one snaps.
LIGHTS - essential during the winter if staying out all day.
MUDGUARDS - appreciated by the people behind you when it rains!
PADLOCK - to lock your bike whilst indulging in cafes and pubs.
FOOD AND DRINK - always carry a drink and a snack eg Mars or Muesli bar.
MONEY - You may need to catch an "emergency" train home so bring enough money in case ... or 20p to phone someone to pick you up. Also sufficent if you wish to buy coffee, cakes, lunch etc
WATERPROOFS - you can get wet and cold if you wish but I prefer to try and keep warm and dry.
IDENTIFICATION - could be useful if you have an accident. Your name, address, phone number and next of kin. Please also give this information, on a piece of paper, to your group leader.
MAPS - (not essential) - Ordnance Survey maps, Landranger series (with pink covers) numbers 186, 187 and 175 cover most of the territory.
If you are riding in a group and someone shouts "car up" it indicates that a vehicle is coming up from behind so SINGLE OUT. "Car down" is a vehicle coming down from the front of the group - in the opposite direction. Watch out for any possible danger and always warn others.
If someone points a finger, or hand, towards the ground they are trying to show you that there is a pothole or obstacle in the road ahead so please pass the "message" back so that everyone can have a smooth ride.
DON'T LET ANY OF THE ABOVE PUT YOU OFF - WE DO HAVE A LOT OF FUN AND THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE AROUND TO HELP YOU WITH REPAIRS.
HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON ................. MARGUERITE 01483 763289.
Are you and your bike ready for the start of the season
50 mile ride through the country lanes of Surrey and
West Sussex to a lunchtime finish at a pub in
Holmbury St. Mary?
Start either from the Pyrford Common Car Park, Woking
(186 028592) or the CTC HQ, Godalming (186 979446)
FURTHER DETAILS FROM RORY FENNER, FLAT 34,
THE FRIARY, GUILDFORD (01483 569705)
The crocodile of a Sunday club run, usually all day, was in the main fixed wheel, which made for easier speed checking by back pedalling pressure when the group slowed.
Part and parcel of the equipment which always included a large saddlebag and exterior cape, were Flint Catchers. These came in two sizes. The large ones connected to the mudguard stays, curled round the mudguard to the tyre. The shorter version, used for racing, was fixed to the brake nut and rested direct onto the tyre.
I dispensed with the front catcher, as in wet weather it threw up a fine spray which always seemed to avoid the mudguard. Instead I relied on occasional use of the palm of the hand.
On my return to cycling in the eighties, I hunted everywhere for replacement catchers and found them advertised in the Freewheel Catalogue. The wire part eventually wore through. Bending a piece of suitable wire to roughly the correct shape as replacement provides protection at least for my rear tyre. Incidentally, prior to using the flint catcher I punctured a Hutchinson Kevlar tyre within days of purchase.
About 20 percent of peak hour car journeys are school runs and many trips are less than a mile - easy for the average child to walk or cycle. Sustrans research has shown that 30-40 percent of children would like to cycle to school yet fewer than 10 percent actually do so. (source - Sustrans)
I must be honest, out of 229 km travelled today only about 100 km was actually cycled. Some nice chap in a rusty old ute pulled up just out of Bulla Bulling and gave me a lift to a turn off about 18km before Southern Cross and from there I cycled the rest of the way. I now feel almost guilty about not cycling the whole distance but I was going through a bad patch and was suffering a bit and so took the easy option. It is just as well really that this guy stopped for me, today's stretch of road was real long and he said that I looked as if I was going to fall off my bike. I have the comfort of a motel room tonight in Southern Cross.
Another motel tonight but this time I have an "economy unit". No jug, no loo paper, there is a television but it does not work. However I do have a nice soft bed, perhaps the most important object. Strange set up at this place. On checking in I did not have to give a name or any particulars. All the units have no numbers like motels always have. The atmosphere here reminds me of the song by The Eagles, "Hotel California". Remember the words, "You can check out any time you like but you will never leave."
On checking Pilgrim over today I found three problems. Sloppy front wheel bearings (adjusted up ok). Rear tyre has a bulge and the headset bearings are a bit rough. Hopefully the headset will hold up until I reach Perth which is only 261 km away.
The Northam Youth Hostel is set in amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees. At night the aroma of eucalyptus is very soothing. There are some 600 species of eucalyptus in Australia. There are only two people at the hostel tonight, me and the warden. The warden here is not much of a conversationalist. It does not matter. I have become good at talking to myself.
There is a kookaburra perched in a tree outside. It has been there since I arrived. The kookaburra or "laughing jackass" as some people call it, is a member of the kingfisher family and is known for its curious cries which sound like human laughter. It is a very handsome solid bird and although I would not call myself a bird watcher, I did get joy from watching and listening to this fellow.
MILLENNIUM CYCLING RALLY
4 Days of Cycling Activities
Organised by West Surrey DA - CTC
Administrative Duties, Information Desk, Site
Layout, Tent/Caravan Pitches, Sign Erecting, Car
Parking, Overnight Security, etc, etc ...
LET'S MAKE THIS AN EVENT TO
If you are willing to help, please contact a committee
Well known West Surrey cyclist, David Pinkess was spotted in Friday January 8th edition of THE NEWS. A lovely colour photograph of David in his traffic warden uniform graced a page of the newspaper. He has now hung up his uniform after issuing more than 6000 tickets during his three years on patrol. David says he has walked the equivalent of Land's End to John O'Groats ten times since starting the job. Now he is changing his occupation for a desk job in the Civil Service.
We wish you all the best David.
We then had to contend with a steep bit over the head of the valley, before cycling on more undulating stretches of well surfaced road, and then had the reward of descending quite rapidly into our half-way stop at Ugijar, a small town at the foot of the Sierras.
This part of the countryside was much greener than on our first day cycling out from Calahorra - Ohanes - Laujar de Andrax, with more evidence of cultivation along the sides of the valley.
On reaching the outskirts of Ugijar, Kevin and I dashed into a bar for our usual refreshment, deciding to check out the local cafe-bars in town for an extended lunch break. Unexpectedly, we eavesdropped on an English conversation between two erstwhile natives, an elderly English lady holding a donkey talking animatedly to a Dutchman - as it turned out - when we talked to them. They'd lived in this place for many years, and were bemoaning the fact that it was now beginning to become a bit touristy.
We asked for their advice about local eating places, and on their recommendation soon ended up with a party of 12-14 out of our group, taking refuge from the now very hot sun under the awnings of a very hospitable little bar, eating very memorable estaladas and quenching our thirsts.
All good things come to an end, and the party once more divided, with the faster ones soon disappearing into the distance.
Kevin and I were joined for this next part of our trip by Liz - nicknamed "Juliet Bravo" - she was a detective sergeant running a Bristol police station - and friend Karen also from Bristol. Both were very fit - doing aerobics as well as local cycle rides. We all paid for our lunchtime excesses however by a long hot struggle up a steep climb into a small village, where we stopped to regain our strength under some welcome shady trees opposite the local church. It must have been 80 degrees plus by now.
However there was still some more climbing to do, before we had an exhilarating short descent into our stop-over destination at Cadiar. We were cheered into the village by the rest of the group, having a well-earned drink at a roadside bar, and of course we joined them before making our way to the hostel for the night.
This hostel was the low point of the whole tour. Scruffy bar downstairs inhabited by swarthy locals, one of whom was drooped asleep over the bar - a scene reminiscent of Spanish/Mexican "westerns". Upstairs was no better - with small shabby rooms and no hot water. My complaint about the water in phrase-book pidgin Spanish brought no results, though the "Merry Widows" - see previous report/issue! - did get another room, when they saw cockroaches in their room!
Fortunately we all were able to escape back to the roadside bar, which also turned restaurant for our evening meal. Plenty of choice of appetizing food washed down with the local wine. The overnight stay at the hostel was memorable, if only because of the fitful sleep, due to the high pitched whine of motor bikes crawling along the street outside, and accompanied by the local barking dogs. We were glad to pack up and get out of the place next day - even the "breakfast" was poor.
More and better news in the next magazine issue! ........ Richard Ellis
CYCLING WEEKLY magazine has launched a campaign to REMOVE VAT ON BICYCLES.
It is hoped that the government will back their "NO VAT ON BIKES" stance and take the idea to the European Parliament. VAT changes can only be achieved through European Community Legislation.
It is estimated that removing VAT on cycles would cost the government around £43 million a year. But if a 20 per cent shift from car to bike usage could be achieved then the government would indirectly save around £1.3 billion due to reduced congestion, fewer accidents, less pollution etc.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 27 October 2006.