Bernard Bailey 1932 to 2010
Letter to the Editor
Whitwick Wheels to Wainwright's Walks
A Summer in France (part 13)
Tony Davis has sent a lovely article about Bernard Bailey who passed away recently. Gill Lord has supplied the photograph on the back cover. Many thanks to you both and to all those who have sent me their articles, letters etc most appreciated.
The AGM, Slide Show and Photographic Competition will most probably have been and gone when you receive your magazine, but the Carol Service and Mince Pie Run will just be around the corner. Always two great social occasions to look forward to.
Congratulations to all the Prize winners and runners up in the photograph and slide competition. I am sure there will be a fine display once again thanks to Jean and Keith Lakin.
A belated happy 80th birthday to Howard Naylor whose birthday was in October. Let me know if you hear of any special birthdays etc and I can mention them.
Christmas is soon here again, it doesn't seem long since the last one. I wonder if it will be a white one this year.
I hope that winter is not quite so harsh as last year but it is one thing we can't change. Whether you are cycling or walking' just enjoy yourselves whatever you are doing.
Here's hoping for a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year with lots to look forward to in 2011.Ivy Allen
President's PageRay Clay
I cannot believe that winter is approaching so quickly. I've had an enjoyable busy past few months. The highlight has been our visit to Ireland for our son's wedding. He has married a girl from Dublin, The ceremony was in Durrow in the centre of Ireland. This is where we stayed for a few days before we went to Galway on the west coast for a week. This part of Ireland is spectacular. I took a folding bike. The cottage we rented was at the end of a mile long track and the bike was useful to fetch basic provisions, milk, bread, eggs and the like. We made good use of our time to explore the Arran Islands and the Burren. Penny managed to pull in some painting. We were extremely lucky with the weather. Two weeks of hot sunshine which is unheard of.
We arrived back from Ireland two days before the national Ride and Stride event. Penny and I have supported this for many years. It is always held on the Second Saturday in September. In this area it is organised by the Leicestershire Historic Preservation Trust. The idea is to be sponsored and make up your own route between churches. It is a good opportunity to visit some of the lovely old churches in the area. The sponsor money raised is divided between your own church and the Trust. Usually, we take the tandem to start a good distance from home. However, the weather forecast was pretty bad so we chose to ride between local churches. But, surprise, surprise, it turned out to be a warm sunny day.
I really enjoyed the LCA over 60s reunion lunch organised by Eileen Johnson. It was held this year at Forest Hill Golf Club near Thornton, a beautiful setting. The lunch was preceded by a gentle walk around the reservoir. The lunch was very pleasant and the company convivial. Thank you again Eileen for organising it so efficiently (without the aid of a computer!)
I think the President's Ride was generally well received. There were nearly 40 riders starting at the Quorn car park. With that number it was split into two groups with John Catt helping with leading the second group. The pace was leisurely. I'm a particularly slow rider. The coffee stop was at Goscote Nurseries. I had already primed them and the staff, I thought, coped pretty well with the numbers. Then it was onward on a roundabout route to the Blue Lion at Thrussington for lunch. Again, the pub did us proud and was able to provide sandwiches and a variety of snacks. It was just as well that the weather was kind and we were able to use the garden. The bar is tiny. After lunch, the numbers dwindled and only about eight of us arrived for a cuppa at the Barrow Boatyard. I would like to thank everyone for coming to support me. I think it turned out all right in the end.
The County Council's Local Transport Plan (LTP3) is currently out for consultation . Sadly, we don't have a Rights Co-ordinator at present but Roger Hill has kindly agreed that, on this occasion, he will put together a response on our behalf. I've looked at the proposals but it seems to me a bit vague. I suppose it has to be that way. There is some emphasis on walking and cycling but who knows what local authorities will be able to afford?
I find November and December a very busy time. The AGM is coming up and the Cyclists' Carol Service is being hosted this year by St Leonard's Church, Swithland on 5th December. It is a lovely old church and it's the first time we've been there. Then there's the annual slide show and photographic competition on 20th November which Keith Lakin is again organising. He did a sterling job last year.Contents
Bernard Bailey 1932 to 2010
Bernard was born in Earl Shilton on 10 October 1932
Bernard attended the local school and whilst there he acquired his first bike. This was the beginning of his love affair with cycling. After leaving school Bernard studied engineering a Hinckley College. This is where he met his lifelong friend Clive Cox. Their paths diverged slightly when Bernard joined Hinckley Cycling Club and Clive joined Leicester Forest.
Bernard had a special reason for joining the Hinckley club because Bridget Wright was a member. Bridget had a really good bike which, when romance blossomed, Bernard was regularly seen to race on. Bernard was a proud member of the BLRC (the League), and pursued a very active racing career during the early fifties, which was only curtailed when he joined the RAF to do his National Service. When stationed near Blackpool he regularly rode home to Earl Shilton on his weekends off.
Bernard and Bridget married in 1957, when his National Service was completed. They both continued to race until their son Tom was born, followed a year later by daughter Jane. Having 2 small children made pursuing an active racing programme more difficult, so their wheels were 'hung up' for the time being.
The growing family moved to Swannington, where Bernard joined the Gun Club which met in the field behind their cottage. Always willing to help out, he became treasurer and a very active member, accompanied by Chris the pet labrador and part-time gun dog.
Bernard tired of commuting daily to Leicester so he decided to work from home and became the Kleeneze Man, but being canny, Bernard worked it so that his customers rang in their orders. This enterprise was very successful but in the early seventies British Coal were conducting an active recruiting campaign and his career took another turn as he became a miner. Looking for advancement, he took the necessary exams and became a deputy, a position he held until early retirement in the mid-eighties.
Bernard's spare time and weekends were spent walking in the Peak District, Wales and Lake District, inspiring a great love of the outdoors in his children. The family joined the walkiing section of Charnwood CTC in the early 1970s and enjoyed many Sundays walking locally and in the peak District. It was through this group that they met Dennis and Betty Morton, with whom they enjoyed so many cycling and walking holidays in Scotland and France.
Together Bernard and Bridget undertook a Mountain Leadership Course, which involved spending nights in arctic conditions in the Peak District in a tent under inches of snow. I'm sure there are plenty reading this who remember how much Bernard disliked the cold. Completing the course led to them taking groups of schoolchildren on various walking and activity holidays, the most notable being a walk from Cardiff to Conway.
Bernard and family progressed from walking to cycling with Charnwood CTC. This was followed by a move to the Coalville Wheelers and riding time trials on a regular basis all around the country. Again, always willing to help out, Bernard became Treasurer, a job he did for over 15 years. Together Bernard and Bridget organised Club Dinners, and many social functions. He was honoured to be made a Life Member of the Wheelers in recognition of his dedication, along with being Club President for 2 years from 1999.
After Bridget's tragic death in 1990 Bernard threw himself into cycle racing, competing in the Isle of Man, Majorca, and many domestic events. the bike and his cycling friends were his salvation. Most notable was Captain Jack's Antiques Roadshow, the famous Wednesday run from Six Hills when the 'golden oldies' relived their past performances in the sprint for the line at Sedgebrook or Redmile.
It was around this time that Bernard developed a selective hearing problem, due no doubt to the fact that he had acquired a very vocal cycling companion in the form of Gill Lord. This alliance saw horizons widened and social links created with CC Giro and Solihull CC. This led to many trips to Europe to take in events such as the Dieppe Raid, Ronde Picarde, World Championships in France and Italy and cycle touring as a group in France, Spain, Tuscany and Scotland. The Semaine Federale (the French Cycle Tourist Federation's equivalent of the CTC Birthday rides) each August became one of the highlights of his year, in part because of the camaraderie of his cycling friends. The French cycling week was usually preceded by a trip to the Tour de France or a gentle meander around the French countryside. The freedom to roam was enhanced as tents had been exchanged for motor homes,and visits were made to the spectacular scenery of the Alps and Pyrenees.
Other permanent fixtures on the cycling calendar were the twice yearly trips to Majorca where Puerto Pollensa became almost a second home. Bernard elevated to the role of time keeper in Tolo's yearly time trial, which bore absolutely no relation to anything run by the CTT, with the Spanish making up their own rules as they went along.
All of these activities were underpinned by frequent trips to the New Forest. After being introduced to this part of the world he was smitten and would always be ready for yet 'another trip to the Forest'.
Bernard was a good clubman, always willing to wait for those off the back, which was perhaps as well, as when he got to the front he was a dreadful half-wheeler, to the point where on one occasion he actually apologised, but still continued to do it.
Bernard was an excellent map reader and derived hours of pleasure from his extensive map collection. Unfortunately Gilly had none of these skills and thought sat nav was the absolute 'must have'. This proved to be a very mixed blessing and most trips were spent with Bernard arguing with the sat-nav as his route did not concur with the constant spoken instructions. He never did find the off switch for either the sat-nav of Gilly.
Bernard was welcomed wherever he went with his quirky sense of humour. He was noted for his healthy appetite and when challenged would reply - 'I'm a growing lad', which was a constant source of amusement as he never grew above 5'2". He will be remembered for his Spoonerisms, when he resembled most remarks, and always looking at grotaphraps with imparlsment to quote just a few.
Bernard was well read but never opinionated; he was a great asset to any quiz team with his general knowledge, particularly with regard to classical music, and all things relating to the natural world. He could identify birds and wildflowers and had a particular passion for birds of prey. He would stand for hours waiting for the sight of a steam train. It was the simple things which made him happiest. Not particularly bothered about possessions, just the Raleigh, his walking boots, books, his favourite composers on CD and a good orchestral concert made his life complete. A quiet gentle man in every sense of the word, when asked if he was having a good day he would reply 'they are all good days, but some are better than others' . Let us hope that Bernard has found that better day.Contents
A cycling event that has held a fascination for me for a number of years is L'Eroica. L'Eroica is a celebration of the classic white roads (Stada Blanci) of the Chianti area of Tuscany and the cycle races that were held on them. The ride is held on the first Sunday in October. There are 4 different distances, the full course of 205km, and the shorter 135km, 70km and 35km courses. All courses are roughly a 50/50 mixture of tarmac and unsurfaced roads. They all start and finish in the village of Gaiole in Chainti. The village is given over to a celebration of cycling for the whole weekend and hosts an exhibition of historic bicycles and a large number of cycle jumble stalls and trade stands.
As the L'Eroica exists to celebrate the history of cycle racing, riders can only participate on bikes which date from before 1987. In practice this means downtube gear shifters, no aero brake levers, no cables routed through frames and pedals with clips and toe straps.
Sometime ago I was given a 1966 Claude Butler Classique, still with all its original components, which had languished for many years in a friend's shed. My friends in the South Leicestershire Section scoured their spare parts bins to help me get Claude roadworthy.
Richard, one of the friends with whom Jayne and I ride in Majorca every spring, was persuaded to ride the event to show me the ropes as he had ridden it a couple of years ago. We met at his flat in London on Thursday afternoon and took public transport to Gatwick dragging our bikes in cumbersome bike bags. We flew with British Airways from Gatwick to PIsa. You may be surprised to hear that it was cheaper to fly BA than one of the budget airlines because BA carry bikes free of charge.
We stayed overnight in Pisa and spent Friday being proper tourists, wandering round the walls of Lucca. We had a pleasant hour or so before the rain started. It then poured down all the way back to the car and for most of the journey into the heart of the Chianti area of Tuscany.
Our holiday accommodation was an apartment in converted farm workers cottages at Castello di Sevole. It was at the end of a 1km long dirt track which turned off one of the Stada Bianci. We were about 5km from the nearest tarmac. The accommodation was basic, but the welcome was warm and the advice about local restaurants was excellent.
On the Saturday we put our bikes together and took them for a short ride to sort out any problems. We then drove over to Galole to register. This was a very relaxed affair compared with the bureaucracy at Paris-Brest-Paris and disorganisation and queuing at London-Edinburgh-London. We were advised that at the event start we had to sign on and sign out at the finish but the start time was anytime from 5am onwards. We were given a goody bag with lots of information and a spare tube. Was that an indication of what to expect on the Sunday?
After registration we wandered through the exhibition of historic bikes. Some of the early gear changing mechanisms were particularly odd/interesting. We also bought a woolly L'Eroica cycle jersey each.
We called for a drink at the cafe adjacent to the event start to ask what time they were going to be open for breakfast on the day. We certainly didn't need to worry as the answer was 4am.
Richard and I had opted for the 135km route which still necessitated starting just before first light, but we had decided 7am was early enough for us to get round without missing the time cut offs.
The next morning we set off by car in the dark to Gaiole. The local industrial estate was being used for car parking and was marshalled by a large number of voluntreers, making things run smoothly.
We got on our bikes and headed for the start about 1km away, stopping for breakfast at the cafe on the way. There was a short queue for scrutineering. This checked that the bike was in the right spirit for the event rather than ensuring that it was completely original.
We got under way a few minutes after 7am. It was still dark but there was a wide variety of lights from none at all, through lighting appropriate to the age of the machine, to modern led lighting. As we left Gaiole we were joined by riders who hadn't bothered going to the official start line. the first 4km were downhill and as the sky had been clear overnight it was cold. We were glad to get to the first turn where we warmed up on the steady 6km climb up to Brolio. On the climb I noticed that there were significant numbers of riders on modern bikes. I realised that these were the people who had joined us at the edge of the Gaiole.
The first section of strada bianci was through the grounds of Castello di Brolio, leaving the climb up the tarmac to an increasingly steep climb on a gradually deteriorating surface. This was made particularly atmospheric by the lighting provided by large candles on each side of the track. Over the top of this climb was a steep descent with gullies and potholes where rain had damaged the surface. In the half light this was a severe test of nerve because the riders were still close together so near to the start.
Back on the tarmac there was a long fast descent followed by short alternating sections of tarmac and strada bianci. after the first steep climb the terrain had settled down to simply undulating but still very attractive. Just 3km short of the first control Richard and I were caught in a short sharp shower. We arrived at the control at Radi plastered in a thin coat of white mud.
The control was a revelation. On rides in the UK you might get bananas or energy drinks but here it was panforte, palma ham and pecorino cheese washed down with chianti. I watched open-mouthed as one rider filled his period aluminium bidon with wine.
The underlying stone in the Chianti Hills is limestone so the rainwater disappears quickly from the surface. The roads were almost dry when we left Radi.
The section from Radi to Asciano had long stretches of relatively flat strada bianci. These flat sections of unsurfaced road were better than Northamptonshire country lanes but not up to the standard of Leicestershire tarmac. It was only where the road steepened and the rain had cut into the surface that you had to pick your way carefully.
At Asciano the volunteers were all dressed in traditional costume and the food was every bit as good and varied as Radi. The sun was shining when we reached Asciano, so we took the time to chat with other riders, many wearing period cycling clothes and admire some of the wonderful bikes. A few looked as if they belonged in a museum rather than out on the white roads, but I guess this was the sort of terrain for which the bikes were designed.
It was only 20km to the last control at Castelnuovo Berardenga but the first 15km was on the Crete Senesi. This is a rollercoaster ride of unsurfaced road starting with a long climb followed by a series of descents and climbs which average 15% with some sections being as steeep as 25%. The road followed a ridge which is some places was not much wider than the road, with steep drops on both sides and spectacular views.
On one of the steep climbs I had become separated from Richard and waited at the road side. I was passed by an American pushing a 70's Peugeot. I assumed he was just catching his breath. Richard and I regrouped but 100m further up the road we saw the American rider on the verge of throwing his bike over the hedge and down the hillside. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could help. Scott pointed out that the casting on his Sachs Huret derailieur had failed. He didn't have a chain tool so I got mine out. I put his chain on the inner chainring and estimated that it could be cut and rejoined on the 2nd gear on his cassette bypassing the derailieur. With this low gear he could pedal up most of the hills and freewheeel down. He said he owed me a beer, if he finished.
After about 10km we reached a place called Monte San Maria. I said to Richard that with a name like that if sounded like we were at the top - how wrong you can be! Another 5km of relentless up and down followed. The Crete Senesi was 15km of the hardest cycling I have ever done, but the scenery made it worth while.
A fast descent on tarmac and a short climb brought us to the last control at Castelnuoveo Berardenga.
The last 28km only had a short section of strada bianci but it was a sting in the tail as it was the climb past Castello di Brolio retracing part of the out bound route.
In the late afternoon sun we were cheered over the finish line by the crowds which lined the street and were presented with a goody bag containing a bottle of L'Eroica wine from Brollo and a local panforte.
Richard and I treated ourselves to a beer. Ten minutes later we were joined by Scott who honoured his offer to buy us a drink if he finished.
We left our accommodation the next day clutching another gift of a bottle of wine from Selvoie's own vineyard. I departed with the feeling that I would be back to ride the strada bianci and hills of Tuscany again.Contents
by Peter Witting
Be Careful What You Wish For
.....lest it comes true. That is the saying that came to mind when I needed to fit some new mudguards. Twelve months ago I wrote in Cycle Chat about mudguards failing when the alloy rivets fixing the guards to the stainless steel bridges corroded. My new guards seemed to have stainless steel rivets, which was an improvement; and they had matching stainless steel stays to keep them looking smart. The older guards with alloy stays soon looked dull; but they were easy to cut to the correct length. Not so with stainless steel! The problem is critical if your toe fouls the excess metal on the front mudguard stay - you could be killed if you fall off under a vehicle! I found that pliers and hacksaw blades no longer worked on the steel, so I had to buy some bolt croppers. Worth checking with friends or neighbours before you buy your next pair of mudguards to see if you can borrow some bolt croppers.
Wear The Colours
A new range of cycling jerseys has been created by HBB - that stands for Half Baked Brand. They include humorous designs, animal themes and flags. If you want to ride in the Union flag, the English cross of St. George, or a regional flag, this is where to go. I liked the Devon flag (being a Devonian by birth), to wear into Devon pubs when asking why they have no real Devon cider!
Mix & Match New
Twelve months ago in Cycle Chat I explained that you could mix & match your levers and gears to get up hills better. Don't leave it too long if you need lower gears for climbing. The Shimano STI levers are all moving from 9-speed to 10-speed format to match the 10-speed cassettes on racing bikes. But for reliability the offroad groupsets are sticking with 9-speed chains, cassettes and levers. If buying new kit now you can still buy the Tiagra 9-speed STI levers to match with ultra wide 9-speed rear cassettes and XT gears. But if you want to use the better quality groupset STI levers, such as Ultegra, ;the 9-speed option is discontinued so only available with difficulty. How much longer will the Tiagra be available as a 9-speed remains to be seen.
Soft cuff 3/4 Tights
Overknee tights, or 3/4s, are ideal for spring or autumn cycling. But I have found that the elasticated grips below the knee can be too tight for comfort. Even the expensive Assos brand has this fault. Corinne Dennis makes a range of clothing with 3/4s that have a softer cuff below the knee. The supplex material is midway between thin lycra and thicker "Roubaix" material, and works well without riding up over the knee. The seat padding may not be as sophisticated as Assos, but is comfortable enough. There is even a double-thickneess option for under £50 for those who need "armchair comfort".
I was forced to replace my 17-year old custom-built Mercian after a van stalled in front of me when pulling away from a junction. I was checking behind for traffic when it stopped - and so did I - very suddenly, with crumpled top-tube and down-tube! Titanium has become a favourite among the Audax riders so I checked the options as a replacement frame. I chose a Van Nicholas Yukon model, as it is ideal for Audax and day riding. There are clearances and fittings for guards and rear carrier, and for my 700x23 front and 700x25 rear tyres used for day rides. The Van Nicholas website allows you to check sizing etc. and their dealer at Hunstanton offers a frame, carbon forks and headset £890 deal, which is less than the frame only recommended price. The comfort on harsh road surfaces was noticeable, as was the stiffness of the frame when climbing out of the saddle. That was something the CTC's technical office, Chris Juden, commented on in Cycle recently when comparing his old Mercian with modern frames and using oversized tubes. First impressions are very favourable.Contents
Letters to the Editor
At this seasonable time of year we thought some of our older readers may like an update on our old pal, Dennis Heggs. It is three and a half years since Dennis had his stroke - yes, doesn't time fly! Although incapacitated he is as bright as a button and into all things, cycling, sport, music and reading.
He is still resident at Northampton, living with his daughter June and granddaughter Drew, they are looking after him well.
A few of us locals visit him whenever we can, and we thought an address reminder might we worthwhile so that old friends could send him a Christmas car or a brief note. It would be much appreciated.
The address is 50 Hammerstone Lane, Briar Hill, Northampton NN4 8US.
Joy and Morgan Reynolds.*************************************
I was so pleased I arrived safely at the Over 60s reunion at the lovely location of the Forest Hill Golf Club. I've only been once before, last year at Narborough. Why don't quite a few more people of these over 60's attend? I can think of a few names, trying to hide their age, eh! It was, of course well organised by Eileen Johnson, nice to see her and also have a chat with Janet Preston. Wally Farnham doesn't alter, he says his knees have. Peter Witting and I were the only ones who cycled.
The sponsored Church Ride this year was not so well attended in our area. No stick on badges or any advertising. Congerstone was not open, usually a sociable place. I only managed eight. I would have loved to have got to Twycross but wouldn't have managed the hill. I went along Gibbet Lane and sat on the seat to eat my bread cob I had from Stoke Golding church which I thought was cheese and tomato, instead it was ham so I threw the ham away. A series of long drags back to Hinckley followed. I used to think our countryside was flat! I managed 24 miles. I used to do 40 to 45 and around 16 or 17 churches. Ah well, we can dream.
Something for your readers to mull over in the running of the club at a local level.
The position of an effective secretary is to work with his committee and not to influence decisions by himself.
I speak from a recent experience.
CTC Life Member
Leicester Easy Riders
with Rose Holman
Nancy's ride was cancelled so that we could help and support Andy's Off Roaders ride at Illston-on-the-Hill. Norman and I helped Andy. Ian, June, Dave and Peter made the lunch stop Illston, they then carried on to Church Langton church for afternoon tea.
We had a good turnout for June's ride to Stonehurst Farm, the main group being June, Ian, John Barratt, Dave, Andy and Pete. Nancy and I were the first to arrive, Alan a few minutes later, then ten minutes later the main group. We parted company afterwards to make our separate way back.
On Dave's ride the members rode up the old road to Great Glen, then on to Kibworth and Hallaton where they met the South Leicester section. Lunch was at Waterloo Farm where they were made very welcome, then along the Brampton Valley Way - Weston-by-Welland, partaking of refreshments in Market Harborough, then Slawston Cranoe, Thorpe Langton with afternoon tea at Church Langton, 45 miles in all. Two new cyclists met us at the start in Oadby. After a chat from Dave they all left heading for Hallaton where the two new ones left the group.
I have been requested to ask members if in the future they would send all their reports in to the librarian on A4 paper please, nothing smaller!
There is a café in Blaby which is open on Sundays, the prices are very reasonable. It is opposite the Bath Store. Cream teas for £1. 50, coffee £1. 20, and a tea cake 75p. It is called Annies.
There is also a café open in Narborough on Sundays and will be doing Sunday roast for £5, coffee is £1. 30.
A reminder for the leaders, please wait for people who are not such strong riders at different points during their rides. Thank you.
Sixteen members attended the lunch at the Steam Trumpet at Thornton where £100 was raised for Loros. Joseph my son and Issy also joined us for lunch. Nancy, Dave, June, Alan, Averill, Karen, Pete, Norman D and I met at the Fuchsia Centre for morning coffee. Only Norman ventured out on his bike as the weather was so awful - I hope that you all enjoyed your meal.Contents
I've heard people (mostly non-cyclists) moaning about this summer's weather, but all in all, I think it beats last year! The long summer days allow us to range further, but due to holidays we rarely have everyone out on the rides; on a number of occasions there were only two riders. The car assisted rides have continued to allow us to cover new ground, but have also been hit by the lack of participants during the holiday season.
Despite our numerical fluctuations, we have continued a full programme, and managed to find a few new stops, with Joe taking the prize for two new venues on one ride - Middleton Hall for elevenses, and the Royal Oak at Stonnall for lunch. Another Royal Oak new to us was the one at Wirksworth where we found a good welcome. It is on North End (DE4 4FG), use Google maps Street View to find the strange and wonderful levitating child!
Joe also took us to a pleasant new stop at Church Lawford. Incidentally, has anyone cycled through the ford over the Avon at nearby Little Lawford? I've stood on the bank on a couple of occasions, but the track turns a corner on its way across the river, and you cannot see the other end of the ford, so I've never tried it. After watching the videos on http://tinyurl.com/389mhvb I don't think I ever will.
Other new stops were the Red Lion at Sibbertoft, and the White Swan at Kingsbury where again we were made welcome, although as there is no cask ale at the latter I would not advise CAMRA purists to use it.
Looking back over the runs list, it seems that most of the last quarter's lunch stops were new to us, with one or two old favourites thrown in. Let's face it, the ride is the main thing, and these new stops merely serve to bring home to us the variety of new ground that is still within our range so that even the seasoned riders can occasionally find themselves on an unfamiliar road, (chin first in my case, on one occasion)!Contents
Charnwood Chatterwith Brenda Ottey
Now we are into Autumn and the leaves are the most glorious colours. We are experiencing the first frosts and we are all looking into our wardrobes for warmer clothing and of course our lights as the nights draw in and the early mornings are gloomy. We look back on holidays and start to plan for the first trip of next year which will be the Easter tour in the Delamare Forest. Lyn has already started to sort this out and no doubt it will be well organised as usual. In August Soo, Pearl and Betty went to Wolvey for the weekend and enjoyed rides on the other side of the county. They had glorious weather and were able to picnic near Saddington Reservoir.
At the beginning of September, Pearl, Soo, Dave and I went to Hampstall Ridware for a long weekend to watch the horn dancers of Abbots Bromley. On Saturday we cycled into Lichfield and enjoyed walking round the market sampling the tea shops. We ate our sandwiches in the park watching weddings at the church. And bowling on the green. We were able to sit out in the evening sunshine on our return to camp and plan the Sunday ride.
We went to Rugely on Sunday for coffee and tea cakes to give us the energy needed to climb up Penkridge Bank and on to see the German war cemetery which is in the middle of Cannock Chase. We had lunch near Shugborough Park before heading back to the campsite through Great Hayward and Little Hayward. A nice day but a bit chilly.
Soo had gone in the tent for the last time in the season and after a very wet night, Monday dawned very cold and windy.
The horns for the horn dance were collected early in the morning as the dancers had lots of villages to visit so we cycled to the village of Admaston to see them dance in someone's garden. When they had finished and moved off around the village we cycled on ahead to Blithfield Hall which only opens its grounds for the horn dancers once a year. We felt very lucky to be able to go down to the hall to watch the dancers. After this we decided to cycle on to Abbots Bromley as there were stalls etc in the village. The wind had got a lot stronger and we were unable to cycle on the causeway over Blithfield Reservoir as we were being blown into the oncoming traffic. We sat and had lunch in Abbots Bromley and listening to the locals and followers of the dancers, no-one seemed to know the reason for the dancing. Was it to do with fertility, or the end of the farming year? No-one knew but we had an enjoyable day. The weather turned to rain so we cycled back to the campsite and the rest of the dancing had to be done in the local pubs in the evening. We all had an interesting weekend and will be using the campsite again next year as it is handy for a short break.
Howard and Betty have been on a coach trip to celebrate Howard's 80th birthday. We had cake on the Sunday ride to help him finish off the celebrating.
At the beginning of October, Mary, Alex, Howard, Betty and Pearl went to Beccles and had a week cycling and using public transport for trips out.
Mary is waiting to have surgery on her knee so she has been out in the car to join us for coffee, bringing Alex with her as he has been having trouble with his shoulder and not been able to cycle. We wish them both well and hope to see them out cycling on our Wednesday rides soon.
Congratulations to Lyn on being elected as president.
The Carol Service and Mince Pie Run will soon be upon us and we are all looking forward to meeting friends old and new at these events.
Roland, we hear, is making good progress and has been given a discharge date from the hospital. Best wishes to both Roland and Margaret.Contents
South Leicestershire Report
Yesterday's club run continued a theme of an increasing number of regular visitors. The usual suspects, Neil, Shane, Gill Lord, Jayne and I were joined at Broughton by Dave Gair and Alan Hartshorn. Alan has joined our section for a Sunday ride three of four times since the summer. Dave Gair hasn't managed to get out as often recently due to his role with the local climbing club (and holidays)
Others who couldn't make it yesterday included Dave from Rugby and his blue Bianci who has ridden with us on the occasions which fit with family commitments. Fergal Ryan has hardly missed a Sunday in recent weeks on his beautiful 1982 Raleigh, which I'm sure is older than he is. Gill Stocks had had a late night and was busy washing up! Saturday was her birthday and she'd had a party at home to celebrate.
Two weeks ago Larry Cross joined us on the road. Though due to some confusion about which stop was intended as coffee and which lunch he literally joined us on the road half way between the two. Neil had reversed the usual arrangement of two stops for a bit of variety. However he was in Spain, so when Roy contacted me, to ask if it was Hallaton for coffee and Kelmarsh for lunch, I said it didn't sound right - meet us a Kelmarsh for elevenses. This wasn't what Neil intended but as it happened, it was lucky we did, because the Buddist centre ws running a conference that weekend and wouldn't have been able to accommodate us for lunch.
Yesterday we rode through Ashby Magna, Gilmorton, Walcote and Shawell to reach our coffee stop at Catthorpe. There we were met by Ivan Waddington, Peter Witting, Wendy Hoxley, Claire Parfrey and Elspeth Brimley. Ivan, Peter and Wendy were all out on new bikes.
It was a weekend for birthdays - Jayne and I had to head home after coffee as it was her father's birthday. We rode back as far as Claybrooke with Claire and Elspeth.
Only a handful went on to the scheduled lunch at the White Horse at Welton near Daventry. This is a pub which had looked after us well in the past but has recently changed ownership. Our group got the Sunday lunch or nothing response. So they moved on to the Arnold Arms a Barby which was happy to oblige with soup or sandwiches.Contents
Whitwick Wheels to Wainrights Walks Part Fiveby John Allen
In parts one, two, three, four and five, John Allen recalled memories, inspired by his brother Phil's article in the December 2008 edition of "Cycle Chat", of a Charnwood CTC holiday tour back in 1957 to the Lake District - and Wainwright's Walks.
The last couple of days of the holiday for part of the group anyway were spent in Blackpool (thanks mainly to John's influence in twisting big brothers arm).
On the Thursday morning of the second week, the gales had abated somewhat and the Irish Sea, although still rough, was no longer crashing over the Blackpool promenade but the weather was still grey and overcast with frequent showers. Never the less, Blackpool did not disappoint. I had already met by boyhood footballing hero Stan Mortenson of Blackpool and England, and we were on our way through the crowds to Bloomfield Road, Blackpool's ground, then with a capacity of 35,000 but much of it terracing with the crowds mainly standing under giant arched corrugated iron roofs.
These days, after several disasters that style of accommodation is now illegal but 53 years ago it was hallowed ground where the great Stanley Matthews was still mesmerising defences and visiting players such as Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse brought about capacity crowds every home game. As it was close season, the ground was quiet but I still gazed in awe at this theatre of football.
Also on Bloomfield Road, adjacent to the football ground, was "Yelloways" coach station where express coach services from all over the UK terminated. "Yelloways" headquarters were actually in Rochdale but their attractive livery of orange and yellow could be seen on their convoys of coaches heading along the A6 through Leicester on their daily services to and from Lancashire.
Another of my objectives had been ticked off and it was now time to visit the famous tower - a beacon for millions of working class holiday makers, not only from the industrial north but from everywhere else.
The bikes, by the way, were stowed back at the "digs" with the trusty primus stove still clipped to Phil's frame - almost surely with some paraffin in it. (The methylated spirits used to vaporise the paraffin for the cooking would still be in a small can in Phil's saddlebag in the bedroom - what risk assessments?)
Anyway, we visited the tower, here everyday the late great Reginald Dixon played the mighty Wurlitzer organ in the packed magnificent ballroom for dancing or just to marvel at.
During part of the war he had served in Leicestershire in the armed forces and had cycled on the Charnwood Forest - but that is another story - oh alright then, but briefly as I must press on.
Later on in the 1960's Charnwood CTC enjoyed annual weekend trips to Blackpool Illuminations each Autumn - enabling members to bring along their families and friends. The coach was always full and the weekend always coincided with a Blackpool home game!
On the Sunday morning, the party always went to the tower ballroom for the concert by Reginald Dixon (always packed) and one year Charnwood CTC requested he play the intermezzo from "Cavalerus Rusticana". At request time he spun round on the Wurlitzer seat with microphone in hand and under the spotlight to mention those requesting a piece of music.
When mentioning Charnwood CTC we all cheered of course, and he went on to tell us of his war service and when time allowed borrowing a heavy service bike to cycle on Charnwood Forest. He could of course, have been stationed at Woodhouse Eaves - the Enigma Code and all that. He certainly knew all about the CTC. His rendition of this famous piece of music brought the house down - oh such memories!
Anyway, must get back to the "summer" of 1957 and my first visit to the tower. Charlie Cairolli, that fine musician, comedian and clown was still packing them in at the tower circus. We visited the fantastic aquarium but I declined to go up the tower as did Barry but Phil was keen, so democracy prevailed (there was a very long queue - my excuse).
Out in the fresh air again, trams rattled past - many of which had been built at the "Brush" in Loughborough!
Near the tower was a coach parking lot with display boards in front of the Standerwick coaches (coaching subsidiary of "Ribble") advertising day trips to the Lake District - from whence we had cycled.
After a brief financial meeting (my financial meetings were always brief), it was decided to go to a show that evening and here again Phil's administration qualities kicked in. Following lightening visits to booking offices and the obligatory Tourist Information Bureau, all the theatres were fully booked that night - except the one on the North Pier - so we got tickets.
Singer/comedienne Joan Turner topped the bill, she was a regular on TV (then black and white folks), and two young comedians named Morcambe and Wise who had seemingly flopped on television (how things changed for them a few years later).
Phil, of course, had the tickets safely stowed along with all our other documents including the train tickets home (more of them later).
So after a few more hours enjoying the ozone, we made it back to the digs for a wash and brush up and the landlady provided a meal.
Phil's 8mm movie camera had again been working overtime during the day and producing today's "archive footage", my Kodak Brownie 127 oval plastic camera using Ilford HP3 film had also been busy. (Phil had unloaded a full movie film and loaded a new film under the blankets in the bedroom - mustn't let the light in you see.)
It was a fair old walk from our lodgings on the South Shore to the North Pier but we were in our seats in good time for 'curtain up'. The waves were rolling in under the pier but this noise was surprisingly suppressed in the Victorian building.
Morcambe and Wise were fantastic, live, uninhibited and involving the audience - laughter in abundance.
In the second half, Joan Turner that northern comedienne, also had the audience in raptures - more of that wonderful tonic, laughter. Then near the end of the show, she brought her wonderful operatic voice into play preparing us for the aria from Madame Butterfly. The lights dimmed and the orchestra played some subdued Japanese strains - she went on "Ladies and Gentlemen, imagine you are in the land of the rising sun" - and with perfect timing Phil shouted "It ain't Blackpool!" This got just about the biggest laugh of the night and Joan Turner herself, had to laugh before trying to settle the audience down again for her wonderful operatic piece.
In the next, and final episode our "Wheels return to Whitwick" with the help of a summer Saturday only train from Blackpool Central Station to Burton-on-Trent.
A SUMMER IN FRANCE- By Dave Binks Continuing the story.
The story so far:
Dave has taken a job in France, working as an assistant for a UK based holiday company (Susi Madron's "Cycling for Softies") in Angouleme, near Cognac. His duties are to act as local mechanic and representative to ensure the holidaymakers have a good time as they cycle between the top class hotels in the area. He has installed himself into his accommodation and is getting involved with both his job and the local cycling scene. He has been joined by friends Gil Lord and Bernard Bailey on holiday from England. His story continues..
Tuesday July 24
Having previously arranged it with them, I arrived at Gil and Bernard’s campsite at 10am and shortly after we went out for a ride despite the presence of some rather threatening dark clouds. The forecast was for the day to improve as it went on, and we thought we had seen the worst of it but unfortunately it soon rained heavily, so heavily and so suddenly in fact, that we barely had time to put capes on before it really threw it down. We were in the middle of a large vineyard and there was no shelter other than to squat down between the vines which were no more than 4 feet high. They were better than nothing, but didn’t really offer much protection, but at least our shorts didn’t get too wet. It soon eased enough to allow us to make a dash to a spinney a bit further on, and we stood under the trees there for what must have been 20-25 minutes watching the rain bouncing off the road.
We had more or less made up our minds to call it a day and just go back when I thought I saw a break in the dark clouds to the north west, so as soon as it had eased off enough to get going again, we headed that way, trying not to throw up too much water from the road as none of us had mudguards on our bikes. Very soon we were on dryer roads but then got a bit lost and at the same time it went black again but by the time we had sorted out where we were, the weather had picked up again, so we carried on for a gentle potter along the River Charente taking photos.
By the time we reached the small town of Chateauneuf it was quite a nice day and the sun was strong, so we stopped for a sandwich before returning to the campsite via the little bridge at Mosnac where we admired the view. The view is actually not that good, but in an area where they are few and far between, you enjoy the ones you do see. When we got back, the “patronne” (lady boss) of the site told us some more UK friends had arrived. Roger and Silvia had travelled down from Newcastle, and like Gil and Bernard, were en route for the Semaine Federale cycling rally at Perigueux. After exchanging pleasantries with them, I left them to get on with erecting their tent and made my way back to my accommodation.36 miles
Wednesday July 25
As forecast, the weather today was a great improvement on yesterday and we had planned a day out on the bikes, but a call from Bernard changed that. Gil wished to go and buy some more shorts and also some mudguards, so it ended up with them coming to inspect my shack in the morning whilst I did some bike washing, and then me going out with the local club in the afternoon. The clubrun passed the entrance to their campsite on its way back to La Couronne, so I called in to see both Gil and Bernard and also to watch the end of the Tour de France (TdF) stage on the TV in the bar. Unfortunately the enormous TV set in the bar failed to work, so that meant we had to ride up to my shack and watch the Tour on my little TV.60 miles
Thursday July 26
The Tour de France was by now descending into farce as more and more riders were being caught by the drugs testing, and the rules of the race say that their whole team is also thrown out, so the news that Michael Rasmussen, the overall leader, has been thrown out means there are now 4 teams and 40 less riders than there could be. Britain’s Bradley Wiggins also went as a result of being in the same team as a rider who had been caught. There was no suggestion that Wiggins was involved.
Nevertheless our own little tour continued, and the weather was great all day. We set off to go to Villebois Lavallette for lunch, but quickly had to revise this to Blanzac for lunch as we were not moving very fast because not surprisingly, they wanted to stop and actually look at the things I had brought them to see, not just ride past them. I had forgotten that I had also stopped and looked when I first saw them.
The day was also getting hot and that is always draining. Mark’s restaurant at Blanzac suited us fine and we enjoyed a two course meal with bottled water for 11.50€ each (about £8). It was lucky we were not in a hurry as we were in there nearly 2 hours, but so what; we were on holiday. More quiet lanes took us past the enormous Chateau de Mercerie, supposedly owned by a politician in the national assembly, and on to Villebois Lavallette where a Pepsi was enjoyed in the 13th Century market hall. By the time we had looked at the view from the nearby ruined castle, we had all had enough, and I led them back by the shortest route possible without going on busy roads.47 miles
Friday July 27
Last night the Hotel was full of (mostly German) journalists and TV vans following the Tour de France as today was the day it came to Angouleme. After I had carried out some bike cleaning and checking duties, Bernard, Gil, Sylvia and Roger called for me on their way to see the Tour de France as it approached Angouleme for a stage finish. We had already decided we would go to a point 12 kms from the finish, as any closer would have us having to ride through city streets. It was a hot and sweaty wait for the arrival of the publicity “caravan” that precedes the tour, but this is actually much more of a show than the Tour itself. It takes about 45 minutes for the numerous garishly painted floats and specially modified vehicles to pass. The vehicles are made into the shape of bottles of water, beer crates, cows, horses (for gambling shops), tyres, car ferries, and all sorts of other things, all attempting to catch your eye and thus remember the trade name or service they provide. Many of them throw out free samples, including water bottles, hats, key rings, small satchels, large foam “hands” to use when waving to the riders, and other “essential” equipment. All, of course, carry large adverts for the sponsor’s product. Watching people scramble for these goodies is an entertainment in itself. Some get so carried away they hurl abuse at the people in the vehicles if they don’t throw anything out. Obviously, in order to stay ahead of the race itself, the parade goes through at about 25 miles per hour, so there is an element of danger if people start running into the road, so the Gendarmes have to blow their whistles to tell spectators to stand back.
After the publicity there is a considerable gap before the riders actually arrive, and the heat of the day got to me, so I sought some shade and had a little snooze. Eventually, the helicopters that are used to relay the live TV pictures from the motorcycle cameras could be heard approaching, and updates from the locals who were also watching the TV in their homes indicated the race was imminent. An increasing number of race vehicles, journalists and photographers on motorcycles swelled to a crescendo and hidden in amongst them was a break-away group of four riders. Blink or look at the wrong part of the road and you would miss them as they flashed through. The cheering from the very sizeable crowd, some 2 or 3 deep all the way along, was like being at a football match, it was amazing. Our locals had told us the peloton (the main group of riders) was some 8 minutes behind and obviously not bothered about trying to catch this little group, so we waited again.
Another build up of vehicles, but not so many this time, and the main group of cyclists arrived. This was going at the same speed of about 25 mph, but having 150 or so riders in it, took longer to pass us and you could actually see more of the riders as there were no motorcycles between you and them. A few more vehicles passed by and it then was all over. We had been there for about 3½ hrs and if you ignore the gap between the leading group and the main bunch, the riders themselves had taken probably less than two minutes in total to pass us! The police declared the road open again and suddenly it was filled with folks making their way home, so we went into a café to enjoy a cold drink and allow the crowd to clear. The four riders had stayed away and a Frenchman had won, to the delight of the whole French nation, as only one other stage of this 3 week race had been won by one of their own countrymen. His win was made all the better by the fact that he had earlier collided with a dog that chose to cross the road right in front of the small group, and he had fallen. In fact, later study of the video shots I took showed him with the backside out of his shorts and a big red graze on his right buttock - a tough man indeed.31 miles
Saturday July 28
After doing some paperwork, clothes washing, shopping and lunch, I rode over to the small town of Rouillac where I was to meet the others and watch the TdF individual Time Trial and the competitors racing through on their way from Cognac to Angouleme. The starting order of the riders as they start individually at one minute intervals was in reverse to their position within the race, thus the slowest went off first. The others had been there for some hours, but I wasn’t interested in watching the “also rans”, and with the forced withdrawal of Bradley Wiggins due to one of his team mates having failed a drugs test, much of the British interest had gone for me.
The course was virtually flat and at 55kms (approx. 34 miles), counted as an easy day for most riders who were not still in the running for a high placing. However, the leader Contador, a Spaniard, was not as good at time trialling as the second placed Australian and with only a gap of only 1 minute 50 seconds, an upset in the overall standings was very much on the cards. As the start order was in reverse to the placings, it was the Australian rider Cadel Evans who came through just in front of Contador. This allowed the amateur timekeepers on the course to see how they were getting on. Where we were, which was virtually halfway, Evans was about 40 seconds faster to that point than Contador so a quick calculation showed that unless one of them faded in the last half, Contador would retain his lead. In fact this is what happened, with Contador being beaten but still retaining a 23 seconds overall lead on Evans. With the next day being the last day, and by mutual consent of the riders, a “procession” into Paris and only a little race up and down the Champs Elysée, Contador would win unless something very dramatic like a serious crash, or a failed drugs test, happened. There was an Australian couple standing watching and they got really excited until I explained about the last stage being almost a “non race”. The crowds in Rouillac were almost as thick as the day before and there was a minor motor traffic jam which was of course, no problem to us on our bikes, as we made our way back to the campsite for a meal and chat about the day’s events before I headed home before it got dark.46 miles
Views expressed in letters, articles or editorial are not necessarily those of the CTC or the Leicestershire & Rutland DA.
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