"The West Surrey Cyclist" - July - September 1999
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Where possible the canal passed through commons and heaths to limit the expense of acquiring private land. Nevertheless some eighty landowners were listed along its route including the Earl of Dartmouth, the Duke of Ancaster, The Duke of Bolton, The Earl of Northington, Lord Tylney, Lady Hillborough, Sir Henry Pawlet St John, Lady St John, and Lady Beauclerk. Not surprisingly, many landowners objected to the passage of the canal through their land; especially Lord Tylney. The Act of Parliament, in fact, stipulated that the canal should avoid the estate of Tylney Hall by going round in a big loop or under Greywell Hill. The result was the 884yd Greywell Tunnel.
The usage of the canal rarely came up to expectations and there were plenty of costly problems during and after its construction, so not surprisingly it was far from a financial success. The story, though, is fascinating and the canal, built to provide means of transport for commerce, is now a very pleasant area for recreation and is cared for by a dedicated group of enthusiasts. I am looking forward to exploring its towpaths on my new mountain bike - and that's another story.
The 'Mid-week Wayfarers' are crossing the seas to the Isle of Wight in June for three days, including two nights at a three star hotel. I wonder if the hotelier knows that his guests will all be arriving on bicycles? Good weather cannot be guaranteed, but as the 'Island' enjoys more sunshine than anywhere else in the British Isles, I fear that we may well be mistaken for 'Illegal Immigrants' upon our return to the mainland - Ricco and Bill Wellings will be particularly at risk!
Finally a little bit of SCANDAL! - West Surrey's 'Howard and Marina' were recently seen glancing furtively over their shoulders as they disappeared on to the Ash Ranges !!!!!!
P.S. Is anyone looking for an old tandem which needs some work doing to it and available at reasonable price? If so, contact Jim Rossiter on 01883 - 346631.
P.P.S. 'FINGERS BOLINGBROKE STRIKES AGAIN'! A full report has yet to come in but it would seem that somebody has once again put their wallet down on the table in front of Ken. Poor old Ken once again thought that it was his and made to pocket it. Surely if this should happen for a third time it would be only fair that Ken should be entitled to keep the wallet for ever?
P.P.P.S. I have today ridden the 'The South Downs Sesquicentury' - I must congratulate Roger Philo on possibly the most scenic route I have ever been on and Trevor Strudwick for efficently running the event, which he took over at short notice.
TYRESAVERSCARLTON. The Carlton Tyresaver is an ingenious device which removes nails, glass, or flints. As the wheel turns, the nail or flint comes into contact with the Tyresaver and is pulled out within a few seconds of its entry into the tyre, before it is able to penetrate to the tube.
There is quite an open air run each end before the tunnel but from the start of rolling to the final stop at Calais it took 37 minutes. The train carriages are air-conditioned but with the engine of the coach switched off the air conditioning in the coach is non functionable so it can get a little stuffy inside. We stood around talking outside the coach and used the nearby "pit stop". Others on the train who cross frequently would not, now, use the ferries.
Our destination was St.Omer, on maybe the wettest day of the year. Not a day of visual excitement. Only enlivened by French motor garage mechanics in a wayside narrow street in one of the many nondescript villages. There were 3 cars on jacklifts (no doubt for the benefit of anglais tourists); 1 Ford, l Vauxhall and 1 Maestro. Lovely sense of humour on a wet day.
Jamie, our coach driver, gave us the option of the town square or a local supermarket. We chose the market just to keep dry. While M shopped I drank some fizzy french biere and watched the much slower, fewer people, pace of life parading by.
We returned to the town square where I limped about with my seatstick and finally chose a back street cafe for food. Only the young man in the old interior spoke our lingo. One of the local wildlife crawled up my trouser leg and bit me inside the left knee - "begone stranger". The food was good and my pidgin French was appreciated, I think!
M has since washed my trousers with these notes in the back pocket so I am a bit hazy from now on, relying on memory and faint impressions. We left St.Omer at about 3.30pm and caught the 5.21pm train back, uneventfully. On approaching the M20 it was obviously blocked on the London (west) side. We joined the queue and crawled and crawled and eventually we all noticed no traffic on the opposite carriageway. The traffic police were holding up all the traffic behind a smashed motorcycle in the middle lane; no sign of the rider. Official photographs were being taken. Two coppers could have easily pulled the bike onto the hardshoulder. Was it a police bike, I wondered.
Back home at 7.40pm.
|Saturday Formal Dinner||Sunday Lunch-time|
|Resume: Saturday option marginally more votes (would Sunday Wayfarers attend more enthusiastically on a Sunday than on a Saturday??!!)|
|December set lunch||4|
|January a la carte||7|
|Either set lunch or a la carte in January||10|
|Resume: January option much preferred!!!|
When I arrived in Reading I was greeted by Captain Uttley hanging from an upstairs window and Chris Avery attaching enough luggage for a world tour to his bike in the drive. The bike sported a fine new rear mud flap apparently crafted from an economy-sized bottle of Tesco bubble bath (Chris says he has lots of these, which may throw an interesting sidelight on his private life). Indoors were the rest of the team, Roger Philo and James Roberson, and we were regaled with a fine macaroni cheese by Andy's wife in preparation for the exertions ahead. Meanwhile Captain Uttley had disappeared in the car (we were starting from his house as he said that this would make it one event he could be sure of arriving in time for).
However, he reappeared and at 11am we set off, all five bikes equipped with Schmidt dynamos. We collected our first stamp at a local garage and headed for the Chilterns. In less than two miles came a shout of dismay - the hook on Chris's almost new Carradice pannier had sheared off. He and Andy turned back to a bike shop that we had passed, and Jim and I suggested to Roger that he press on while we waited, sitting on the grass in the sunshine contemplating Chris's pannier. Suddenly I remembered the contents of my bar bag and by the time Andy and Chris returned hookless we had threaded a couple of cable ties behind the defunct hook and the tension strap. The pannier was duly secured to the rack and we continued over the Thames at Sonning and into the Chilterns on a beautiful spring day.
En route for Thame we caught up with Roger (already a suspiciously long way ahead). Opposite the garage control in Thame was another bike shop open on a bank holiday and Chris went in in search of a hook - no luck, but he emerged with a handful of complimentary cable ties to hold in reserve. We rode over roads familiar to me towards Brackley where on Roger's advice we stopped for further refreshment in Tesco's café. Then it was on across rolling Northamptonshire to Daventry, which was the only place where Noel had insisted we collect a stamp as it was the most westerly point on the route.
After Daventry came an example of Andy's meticulous route preparation. He led us into a narrow lane, no signpost, just the name of a farm on both sides of the entrance. We the unworthy doubters slowed to a man and chorused "Are you sure?" Andy the Resolute said "Yes!" - and he was. We were still in sunshine as we headed north-east towards an ominously dark sky framed by an almost perfect rainbow. We caught the edge of the rain and needed to cape up but it didn't last long.
Climbing a hill short of Market Harborough there came another cry from the rear. Jim was off his bike and walking - the pawls in his freehub had ceased to engage and the cranks spun uselessly. Once over the hill we stopped and pooled resources. I had the Hypercracker, Chris had the surgical rubber gloves and folding pliers. However the cones on the spindle refused to give way to two Cool Tools and Chris resolved to lash the sprockets to the spokes to make a kind of geared fixed wheel. It was time for more cable ties. James's captive freehub worked a treat but he had to remember that if he failed to keep the cranks turning as fast as the back wheel then disaster would strike as the rear derailleur wrapped itself up. This was fixed wheel riding with a booby trap.
It was getting pretty cool now so long-sleeved tops and tights were unearthed from baggage. James's panniers seemed well-stuffed but feather-light - very little came out of them and he claimed that they contained blow-up dolls, presumably for comfort should we have to spend any night hours in a bus shelter, or perhaps to reserve a compartment to himself on the train back to Bristol.
Andy led us out of Market Harborough via the bottle bank, a car park and a footpath - not bad for a man from Rochdale by way of Reading. Chris had managed to bum yet more cable ties from the filling station even though they didn't offer them for sale. We rode into the night, our combined Schmidt-power cleaving the darkness in a most impressive and, what is more, silent manner. It was possible to hear each other speak as Roger expounded on Early Church History and theological controversy and Chris covered everything else. The night was as good as many in June - such a contrast to last Easter.
In Newark Jim stopped to ask a late-night pedestrian whether there was a 24-hour garage. When he started to reply we all thought he began "Taxi-cab...". "No, no" said Jim "24-hour garage". "I'm trying to tell you," he said with a withering look reserved for idiot southerners. When we got there the penny dropped - it was a Texaco station.
Leaving the garage Jim finally forgot to pedal and the cable ties all snapped. When the wheel was removed the freehub proved to have been miraculously restored to working order. Obviously it had just needed a rest, as it gave no further trouble. Chris however took the opportunity to cadge some useful-looking wire from a taxi driver just in case.
From Newark to Blyth Andy had been thinking of using the A1 but Roger undertook to navigate us on lesser roads using his experience in the "Bernie" series. In Retford a set of lights was reluctant to change. "Go on Roger" said Chris "unless the car behind is a police car, ho, ho!". Three rode through but as Jim and I approached the line the world was bathed in blue light so we coasted innocently to a stop. A police Volvo purred quietly by but didn't pull the criminals over. When we were having breakfast in the Blyth services a grinning traffic cop with a cup of coffee in his hand enquired sweetly which of us would like to be booked for running a red light in Retford?
Before we could reach our second breakfast at the Redbeck Café Roger was again suffering from hunger pangs. Having seen how fast he went after eating them we were of the opinion that the UCI should be invited to test his sandwiches. He said it was cress but we suspected a stronger weed. At Redbeck we came upon the Fishlake trikies, Noel Simpson and Pete Gifford, Alastair Worsley and Pat Kenny plus Bob from Newark on two wheels. They were on a schedule to finish at 10am, an hour before us.
Our 22-hour control was supposed to be the police station at Howden but this was shut. The Coop found a stamp but no inkpad so Roy the butcher obliged and we bowled on to York. Andy remembered where he had put Noel's map with the route to the youth hostel - it was in Reading, so we made our way across the centre of town on foot, those of us with Look pedals teetering on the cobbles, then back into the saddle for the last dash to the hostel. There we again met the Fishlake crew and some more of the usual suspects and Andy handed our cards over to Noel.
Within half an hour it was all over. Chris was going north to join the West London DA Easter tour, the others going south by train. Alastair Worsley lives in Abingdon and offered me a lift home in his Land Rover so I joined the group cycling back to Fishlake.
On Sunday morning I was still on a high and flew over the Downs to Reading to collect the motorbike. Then finally things were back to normal - I had to push the MZ down the road.
Hetchins, Curly Stay, model Experto Crede built in Tottenham. Frame built by Jack Denny with elaborate lugwork and the Hetchins patented fork crown. The Vibrant (curly) stays were first patented in 1935 and the original "Curly" from the same year is ridden at most rallies in its fully restored condition.
The equipment on my bike is essentially in keeping with the year of construction. Brooks saddle, Mafac centre pull "racer" brakes, Campag wide flange hubs, G-B stem, Suntour Cyclone, five speed touring ratio block with Campag Gran Sport front changer.
The bike is ridden mainly in fine weather on good roads! I bought the frame some twenty years ago and I believe that it had never been built up before then. It is number 363 on the Hetchins register which lists over 500 machines. The latest example will soon be on the road, owned by Bob of the Midweek Wayfarers. Yes, they are still built to the same high standards as the original models produced by MR Hyman Hetchin, a Russian refugee who came to Britain in the 1920s after the revolution and set up a flourishing lightweight cycle business in Seven Sisters Rd, Tottenham.
There is another Hetchins Experto Crede in the DA owned by no other than our President and yet another fully restored straight stay Hetchins which often appears on the Wednesday runs.
Bill Thompson 26-3-99
18th JULY: 50 & 60 km Roughstuff Audax Rides. Benstead Cup Events. Start at car park, Newlands Corner. Contact Trevor Strudwick. PH 01483 272387.
JULY 24th - AUGUST 1st: CTC New Forest Week, Brockenhurst. Contact John and Stella Macgregor. PH 0181 868 0718
JULY 31st - AUGUST 7th: CTC Birthday Rides, Nantwich, Cheshire. For information and booking forms send a stamped addressed envelope (large with two 2nd class stamps) to Liz Tier, Birthday Rides, CTC HQ, 69 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 3HS.
11th AUGUST: Total Solar Eclipse. You don't have to ride your bike to take part in this event, just watch. If you do watch take care with your eyes!
15th AUGUST: Tour Of The Hills 100km Audax Ride. Benstead Cup Event. New start location, Shere Village hall 10.00. Contact Harold Coleman. PH 01252 546635.
5th SEPTEMBER: 100 & 75 Mile Reliability Rides. Benstead Cup Events. Start at Frimley Green 7.00, 8.00, or 9.00 for 12 & 10, 9, 8 & 7 hour target times. Contact Ken Bolingbroke. PH 01483 728247.
3rd OCTOBER: Tricyclathon (Hillclimb, freewheeling and pace judging) Contact Roger Philo. PH 01483 233381.
Regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level to that of a person ten years younger. (source: National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation.)
Cycling at least 20 miles a week reduces the risk of heart disease to less than half that for non-cyclists who take no other exercise. (source; British Heart Foundation.)
NEW TEA STOPS? ... Rico Signore has all the current known tea stops on file. If you know of any new ones that have opened up or of any old ones that have closed down please let him know so that he can update the list. His phone number is on page 2 of mag.
GRID REFERENCES FOR LUNCH STOPS .... Many of the lunch stops listed on West Surrey DA's runs list do have map grid references mentioned. There has been comment by members regarding those that do not and it is considered very useful to have the grid reference listed so that those members that do not know of the location can navigate there of their own accord.
RUNS LIST TOO COMPLICATED? ... Some DA members feel that our runs list is too cluttered in its format or too complicated to read. The committee has given this some thought and feel that because of the vast amount of information that it contains there is no simpler way of setting out the runs list. It may seem daunting at first glance but on second glance it is rather straightforward.
MAIL SHOT .... West Surrey DA has recently carried out a mail shot to all registered CTC members in our area. The DA received several replies acknowledging our presence and thanking us for the information sent. New West Surrey members will be sent information about the DA as they become known as CTC registered.
This wonderful machine is owned by Ted Sedman. Ted really looks the part when riding his "Ordinary" dressed in Victorian cyclists' clothing and complete with handlebar moustache.
Of course when he asked me if I wished to have a ride on his fabulous Penny Farthing - I simply could not refuse, in fact I jumped at the chance.
Ted held the cycle firmly while I gingerly climbed aboard. It was scarey at first sitting above a 52 inch wheel, but secure in the knowledge that Ted had his hands on the frame should I begin to topple we wobbled out onto Buckhurst Road and round the corner. What a feeling, sitting on high gives you a totally different dimension to cycling. An oncoming car slowed to a crawl, both occupants wide-eyed. A pedestrian stopped in his tracks to stare in wonder.
This classic bike was originally manufactured by Ellis & Co.
The Farringdon Model - built between 1886 - 1890.
The front wheel is 52 inch radial spoke.
The rear wheel is about 20 inches.
There is a spoon brake on the front wheel.
The saddle is what's known as a sprung long distance saddle. It looks like a Brooks.
The original spine had been repaired several times for cracks until it finally snapped completely just above the rear wheel. Ted was riding when it happened and ended up sitting in the middle of the road holding the handlebars while the back wheel rolled onto someone's garden. The spine has since been replaced.
It was around 1870 that the "Ordinary" bicycle became popular. It was known as the Ordinary to distinguish it from the many attempts at manufacturing a decent Safety bicycle. It was not until 1885 that the safety bicycle became established and the ordinary started to fade out. After a few more years it was rare to see an ordinary on the road and it was then that the name "Penny Farthing" became attached. The manufacture of ordinaries more or less ceased in 1892.
Ted has ridden his Penny Farthing on many events. He has completed two Century Rides as well as London to Amsterdam (250 miles in 5 days). He plans to ride it in some charity events this year.
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