Leicestershire and Rutland
Cyclists' Touring Club

(founded 1897)


President's Page
Secretary's View
Letters to the editor
Charnwood Chatter
Loughborough Intermediate
General Knowledge
Leicester Easy Rides
South Leicestershire Section
Back to the Fuchsial Ride
A Day Awheel with Morgan Reynolds
"A Century of Cycling"
The Outernet
Challenge Rides
Easy Riders
A Summer in France (part 4)


Ivy Allen

This edition is as usual packed with interesting articles etc. Many thanks to all contributors and of course our advertisers. I hope you have all managed to get some sunshine on your holidays and cycle rides. I had a fantastic two weeks in Scotland with lots of sun (sorry) and very little rain, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. There are two photographs on the back cover this time. I thought perhaps it would make a change and I could have them in colour and not have to consider the extra cost of printing as the cover is in colour.

At a recent committee meeting I received a box of Cycle Chat magazines from Peter Hopkins including the first six from 1933. As you may know, Peter is very busy now 'de-cluttering' ready for his forthcoming marriage and move to Stoke. I am sure you will all join me in wishing him all the very best for October (I hope I've got that right Peter!), he will be missed by all his many friends in this area and on the committee.

Peter has been the guardian of the archives for many years and has now distributed them amongst a number of the committee. If you fancy reading some old minutes or would like to look at some old photograph albums please contact Ray Clay who will be able to help you. Lots to look forward to, including the President's ride in September and the photographic competition in October. It's always interesting to see what photographs and slides other people have taken. I look forward to seeing you all there.


Secretary's View

Ray Clay

Typical. It was lovely weather during mid May leading up to the Beaumanor camping weekend. But, would you believe it, the weather changed for the worse for our weekend camping. Nevertheless, it wasn?t as bad as last year when half the group went home halfway through the event. The numbers were down considerably this year perhaps because of the washout last year. We had some good rides though, thanks to Alan Hartshorne and Max Scott. Max took the opportunity of doing a recce of Brooksby College which was on his shortlist as a possible venue for the 2009 Birthday Rides. (In the event, it was found to be unsuitable in view of the limited accommodation). On the Saturday evening, we were invited to brush up our French by viewing a Jacques Tati film ?Jour de Fetes?, the story of a cycling postman who was shamed by the Americans into speeding up his deliveries. I must thank Andy Salkeld for setting up the film show for me.

I had an enjoyable few days tour recently. Riding and pushing my bike doing the C2C Sustrans route from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. The route is described as ?challenging? by Sustrans and I can identify with that. I went with three friends and we drove to Whitehaven and stayed overnight in a B&B. The next morning, we did the obligatory dipping of our wheels in the sea before the 150 mile trek to Tynemouth. We didn?t push ourselves too hard and only averaged 30-40 miles per day which was fine by me. It also helped with having decent weather and a tail wind. So four days later we reached Tynemouth and a mini bus took us and the four bikes back to our cars in Whitehaven. I suppose, if we had been really keen we could have cycled back via the Hadrian?s Wall route. But my friend had to be home within a week. That?s my excuse anyway!

We are represented on the CTC East Midlands Region committee. There isn't exactly a long queue of people wishing to organise the Birthday Rides. The committee has taken the view that it would be very sad for the Birthday Rides to fold. Max Scott, my counterpart at Northampton, in particular, is very anxious for the event to continue and has taken the lead in investigating the possibility of the Region organising the 2009 Birthday Rides. At the time of writing, nothing has been finalised. The current favourite venue is Oundle School although the price could be a sticking point. I know that this year some people are worried about the cost so Max is trying to pare the costs as much as possible. I've heard that Suffolk CTC have plans to hold the Birthday Rides at Framlingham College in 2010. If that is true, that would suit me. It's my home territory and not too many hills.

I should draw attention to events coming up. The Leicestershire and Rutland Cyclists' Touring Club Annual General Meeting is due to be held at Botcheston Village Hall on Sunday 2nd November starting at 10.30am. All members are encouraged to attend.

The annual slide show and photographic competition will be at the usual venue of St Andrew's Church Hall, Leicester Forest East on Saturday 8th November. It was hoped that Josie Dew would be able to give a slide presentation but, for family reasons, she has put the date back to November 2009.

Also, don't forget the CTC Carol Service on Sunday 7th December at St Mary's Church, Ashby Folville starting at 1.30pm.

We shall soon have to turn our minds to the 2009 events. Consequently, there is a date fixing meeting planned for September. If there is anyone out there who would like to be involved in organising an event, please let me know. We should particularly like to encourage younger members to have a go - the committee is not getting any younger!!


A Letter from your President

I'm still on my travels

My first port of call with Jean was helping Ray Clay with the Beaumanor Hall weekend. A very enjoyable time, peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings, a pity we did not get a few more riders.

On Saturday 7th June I was with my wife Jean at Walton, near Lutterworth for the 200k/100k/50k Audax rides. A lovely warm and sunny day greeted the riders, which included four riders from abroad. I suppose you could call these rides an international event. This was superbly organised by Tony Davis and his small team of helpers. Just three weeks later we were at Bagworth helping Peter Witting with the Challenge Rides. Whilst Jean was working in the kitchen I rode the 25 mile event.

Our six day family holiday was both enjoyable and surprising. Charnwood members had booked a camping an caravanning trip at Edingthorpe near North Walsham, and we met them twice. On our return by the coast road we stopped for elevenses at Burnham Deepdale, whilst there we met Eric and Anne Danvers and their friend Pauline.

This August the Birthday Rides were being held at Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire. Several members of my own club are there, no doubt joining other county members at this event.

My thanks go to all our organisers and helpers in arranging the abover events. If anyone has an idea worth perservering, why not contact the county committee.

Thank you.
Keith Lakin


Letter to the Editor

Dear Ivy, Letter in the May edition.

Replying to the point made by Peter Witting, if we go along with his findings in their entirety that everything can now be found on the websites then what's the purpose of having a DA Magazine, it's all stale news - further comments from members are welcome!

On another subject it was the occasion of the Meriden Annual Cyclists' Service and it was nice to take the enclosed photograph (see back cover) of some of the 'older' members associated with the Leicestershire and Rutland TC, all had smiling faces, the camera doesn't lie! A meeting of real friends!

Sorry about the Fish and Chips advert (I have edited this sign Eric, Ed).

Total ages present including the man behind the camera, just a few short of 600, a credit to the Club.

Best Wishes
Yours sincerely
Eric Neal


South Leicestershire Section

- with Tony Davis

As usual life has got in the way of regular attendance on club runs but I gather numbers turning out on Sundays have been consistent throughout the spring and early summer. There were a couple of new faces a few weeks ago who we hope will become regulars in the future.

Jayne and I had a change from bike riding to take part in the London 10k road race (running) at the end of May. This was billed a try out of the course for the London Olympics in 2012, for the organisers not us! We cycled from our friend's house in Vauxhall to the start in front of Buckingham Palace. It was wet pretty much from start to finish of the race but it made an interesting change being on closed roads with crowds cheering you on.

I have also been away taking part in audax rides around the country, with the highlights being the Brian Chapman Memorial 600 and the Offa's Dyke 600. Both these rides involved riding from one end of Wales to other ……and back. Both taking different but interesting routes. The Brian Chapman starts from Chepstow and follows predominantly main roads via Abergavenny, Builth Wells, Machynlleth and Dolgellau to Menai. Whereas the Offa's Dyke ride “does what is says on the tin” and follows minor roads as close to the path of Offa's Dyke as possible. On these longer rides it is often the climbs and the view that your efforts earn that stick in the mind. I only had occasional drizzle on both these rides which was lucky given the weather we have had this summer.

Our local highlight was running the Heart of the Shires audax on behalf of Leicestershire and Rutland Cyclists' Touring Club on 7 June. As usual we ran a 100k and a 200k ride. We had a healthy number of entries from all over the country, with 62 entries and 42 finishers for the 100k and 54 entries and 44 finishers for the 200k. The weather forecast for the day wasn't great which may have put off a few of the riders who had entered in advance but the weather improved as the day went on. The riders who had chosen to ride the 200k got the best of the day. The rides used a new start point at Walton near Lutterworth. This meant that both rides had completely new routes. The 100 went through Kibworth to Great Dalby to control at Asfordby. Then returned along the Wreake valley and round to the west of Leicester. The 200 went to the same control at Asfordby but via Sweethedges. From there the 200 followed the 100 along the Wreake valley before venturing over the Forest to Sutton Cheney then south east to Brixworth before returning to Walton. Most of the riders seemed to enjoy the routes and I hope that we get as many entries next year. I would like to thank Keith and Jean Lakin, Neil Dixon, Peter Witting, Bernard Bailey, Gill Lord and last but not least Jayne (and my apologies if I missed anyone). Without help from all of you the event would not have been as successful.

I finished off our last report with the comment that our minds were focussed on where to tour in the summer. Well the answer to that question for Jayne and I was to spend 10 days cycle camping in Ireland. We have visited Eire on several previous occasions but this time we caught the boat from Birkenhead to Belfast. We spent most of our time in Northern Ireland covering about 400 miles in the ten days. We cycled up the A2 from Belfast along the Antrim coast. Jayne particularly liked Ballycastle but I think that might just have been the best café of the holiday. Later the same day we visited the Giant's Causeway where we got soaked by a heavy shower blowing in off the sea. We spent a night at Bushmills and bought a special bottle of whisky for a friend that is only available at the distillery. This bottle spent the rest of the holiday at the bottom of my saddlebag. We avoided going through Londonderry by taking a ferry to county Donegall. Unfortunately the only campsite was right next door to a community hall which hosted a dance that didn't finish until about 3am. Fifty very hilly miles through Letterkenny and Lifford returned us to Northern Ireland to find that the campsite marked on our OS map at Newtown Stewart had closed years ago. We spent a luxurious night in a community run holiday apartment. Our return route to Belfast brought us round the south of Lough Neagh through Portadown and Lurgan, some of the heartlands of the sectarian troubles of the past. I'm not usually a great fan of dedicated cycle paths but nation cycle route 9 following the river Lagan from Lisburn was a pleasure. It was well surfaced and ran through lovely quiet countryside. Finally just to confirm a cliché. We now know why Ireland is so green - it rained every day of our trip. Not all day just every day.


Leicester Easy Riders
- Suffolk B & B Week End April 2008

Jim Gerrard

Five riders enjoyed a sunny weekend in April managing 3 good days cycling in warm sunshine.

Arriving midday Friday 25th we booked into our B & B at Badingham and after sorting out bikes etc we set off and arrived at Thorpeness via Saxmundham to see the local landmark 'The House in the Clouds' and the adjoining post windmill.

After close inspection we enjoyed tea and cake at the Mere Café with bikes being looked after by the local swans on the green outside.

After following the coast road to Aldeburgh we split up with the majority visiting the town and viewing the medieval town hall/museum on the sea front. David Smith and myself deciding to visit Woodbridge whilst in the area for the BCQ question at the town hall.

We rejoined the main group at the Badingham White Horse Inn for our evening meal, they having the advantage of showering and changing, our selves still in cycling kit but nobody objected. The pub staff being friendly and good food being available.

Saturday 26th April

After a 8-00am breakfast we set off from our B &B at Colston Hall Badingham on a bright warm sunshiny morning in shorts which now seem to be the norm for our recent April trips.

Taking the back lanes via Cranford we arrived at Framlingham Castle, our arranged meeting place with Andy Tokeley who had been making use of his recently acquired camper van. Due to a road closure we circumnavigated the town only to find we could have walked approx 50 yards to arrive at the same place.

Following a good look round and checking the B. C. Q (British Cycle Quest) answer we set off to Kettleburgh initially by the B1116 and then very quiet lanes passing through Brandeston, Cretingham and Framsden.

Joining the B1077 to Helmington we stopped for a photo shoot at the impressive ornate brick gate houses of Helmington Hall.

It was then minor roads again through Gosbeck to Coddenham and on to attempt a crossing of the A14. When we arrived we decided to follow a signed cycle route over the A14 to Needham Market cycle route over the A14 to Needham Market where we intended to seek a rest and refuelling stop. This quickly developed into a field track but following a short walk was easily passed and delivered us to a convenient garden centre tearoom at Creeting St Mary. This was enjoyed alfresco in the court yard.

Suitably refreshed we then passed through Needham Market via Main Street and the B1018 to Barking and then minor roads again to Battisford Tye via Combs after missing a turn which could still not be located after subsequent map perusal. After back tracking to B. T we joined the B1115 after passing through Charles Tye and Wattisham and Bildeston.

We then carried on to Lavenham via the A1141 and Monks and Brent Eleigh where we arrived about 4-30pm just in time to make use of the Guild Hall Café. After a well earned rest and recuperation we checked the B. C. Q. answer and then set about our return just after 5-00pm

Retracing the main road to Monks Eleigh and then on to Nedging Tye, Offten, Somersham, Little Blakenham and Clayton where we were able to recross the A14 to Barham and minor roads to Otley and back to Kettleburgh and into Framlingham where we arrived about 8-30pm and were finally made welcome for a meal at the White Horse Inn in the centre of town after 2 initial enquiries.

On leaving the pub we passed through the town centre where we received mainly good natured banter from the town's local café culture. We did however cause a stir with our high vis and bright lights in the dark.

Leaving Andy to return to his camp site we returned to our B & B via the outward route arriving about 10-30pm after another good day out in the warm and sunny weather with about 80 miles covered.


After packing and obtaining permission to leave our cars etc we set off for Dunwich again via local quiet lanes passing through Bruisyard, Rendham, Middleton etc, managing to lose David Holman en-route.

The strong smell of the gorse blossom on the heath as we approached Dunwich was very pleasant. On arrival we had a quick look round as there is not a lot of village left now, most of it disappearing into the North Sea many years ago.

David Holman finally rejoined us at we had our coffee stop at the beach café.

Suitably refreshed we set of on our return via the forest road and lanes arriving back at the cars approx mid afternoon.

We arrived back home slightly sunburnt but a good weekend enjoyed in fresh countryside and already talking about our next trip.


Loughborough Intermediate Section
- Summer Tour 2008-07-30

Dave Roche instigated another well thought-out tour - this year in North Wales. We assembled on Wednesday morning in the car park at Llandrillo (near Bala) and cycled up a long slowly deteriorating road to reach the high moors, followed by a long descent through a brief downpour to Llangynog, where we enjoyed a pub lunch - ordered in one pub but served in another across the road! After a rolling ride down the narrowest of B roads through Hirnant, we reached the small café at Lake Vyrny Visitor Centre - now much improved under French ownership. We cycled along the south side of the Lake, and then up the easier of the approaches to the legendary Bwlch y Groes before swooping down the steepest side of the Bwlch to the small village of Dinas Mawddwy - apparently a tourist draw in the Victorian age, when visitors arrived by train - where we stayed for two nights.

Thursday started (and ended) with heavy rain, which persisted over the 25% climb through Aberllefenni Forest and on to our elevenses stop at Corris Craft Centre. Conditions cleared as we cycled by Tal-y-llyn Lake and visited the ruins at Castell y Bere. After lunch there was a wet return round the coast and north up the valley to Dinas.

Inclement weather on Friday meant Dave tweaking the route to cut out some of the higher ground as the untoward viscosity of muddy tracks meant limiting off-roading to the better surfaces. We started with two huge climbs towards Corris using Sustrans Rt.7, before a long descent of over a thousand feet down to Dolgellau for coffee in a “preserved” hardware shop, complete with original counters, shelves and fittings. We continued along Route 7 on the old railway track besides the Mawddach Estuary - somewhat surprised to find the Rescue Services hunting for some people stranded in the Estuary - and then used the toll railway/foot bridge across to Barmouth, made difficult by high crosswinds. After lunch in Barmouth it was around the coast in poor visibility, through Harlech and across the Penrhyndeudrath causeway, en route to a luxurious B & B in Beddgelert for the next two nights.

Saturday had near-perfect cycling weather, clear visibility, slight winds (most of the time) and warm conditions - just right for exploring the neglected dead-end Pennant Valley (so quiet it was hard to believe you were in the heart of a National Park).

Rejoining Route 7, we passed several supposedly open pubs before tracking down some lunch at the Slate Works near Penygroes - despite the feuding staff we enjoyed our food. The Sustrans route now followed an old railway line, so it was an easy ride through another Dinas into Caernarfon. Heading southwest along the sea edge of the Menai Straits we followed an intricate network of lanes through Llandwrog and Pen-y-groes, before climbing slowly up into the National Park at Rhyd-dhu, present terminus of the Welsh Highland Railway (though the recently rebuilt tracks now extend through a lengthy station in Beddgelert, the Aberglaslyn Gorge, and nearly to the eventual terminus in Porthmadog).

There was more heavy rain to start with on our final ride on Sunday morning - for complicated reasons we were now heading for Trefiw rather than where we'd started off in Llandrillo. The rain and mist made it difficult to see anything of Snowdon as we climbed the Gwynant Valley and then descended gradually to Capel Curig, which we reached wet and cold. Consequently we weren't amused when made to take our tea and cakes outside at Capel Curig's main café (apparently we didn't spend enough).

However, the rain stopped like a tap turning off as we left the main road and climbed into the Gwydyr Forest, making the sparkling waters of Llyn Geirionydd a trip highlight. All too quickly we were down a steep descent and into Trefiw, to end another interesting and enjoyable tour.



Compiled by Peter Witting

Sky's The Limit?

Good news, and bad news, for cyclists. That maybe the situation after British Cycling agreed a sponsorship deal with Sky TV. The multi-million dollar investment should help develop our road racing cyclists to the same level as our track cyclists. We've already seen Mark Cavendish make the transfer from track to road in this year's Tour de France. Imagine a British Team competing in the major Tours, with full TV coverage. Imagine what effect that might have in changing attitudes of drivers on the roads that we share! What we don't know is how Sky plan to get their money back. Will we be forced into paying for Sky's premium rate Sports Channels to watch cycling in the future; or will they be satisfied for the BBC to show cycle racing with the Sky TV logo on the riders' jerseys? Time will tell.

Caught on Camera

Helmet cameras are becoming increasingly popular as the price of technology falls. Originally aimed at getting spectacular shots of downhill mountain biking, snowboarding and other sports to post on YouTube, they are now being used by cycle commuters. Fiona Russell, writing in The Guardian “Ethical Living” section, reported a three-fold increase in sales to cycle commuters in the last year. They can provide evidence if you are knocked off your bike; but they apparently have an unexpected additional benefit. Motorists, or pedestrians, about to get aggressive with a cyclist suddenly realise they are “on camera” and rapidly back off! And as the percentage of such cameras increase, so the general behaviour of the motorists may improve. Fiona Russell quotes prices around £200, but I've spotted one for under £70.

Think “SPF”

I know it's the wrong time of the year for this advice as Autumn approaches, but worth remembering anyway: Do you suffer from chapped lips? I always carry some lip-salve when riding, just to prevent this painful problem. Cycling Weekly reported some surprising research results from Dallas, USA. It was found that the slick shiny gloss could actually be harmful. It concentrates the sun's rays onto the lip tissues, increasing the risk of cancers on the lips. To avoid this hazard, they recommend you choose a lip-salve with a suitable Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

Keep up the Pressure

One of our older members, who shall remain nameless, had a puncture that left him without a spare. On his way home he called in at the local bike shop to restock in case he had another puncture. Before he left, he asked if he could use their track pump to get his repaired tyre to the correct pressure. They obliged by inflating both front and rear tyres. He reports that he suddenly felt years younger - he'd been riding on soft tyres for years without realising. Now both were at the pressure recommended on the sidewall! If you know someone without a pressure gauge or a track pump, you know what to get them for Christmas - it could make them feel years younger!


A Day Awheel

with Morgan Reynolds

Following on from Eric and Janet's comments in our Cycle Chat early in the year, re, we need more touring articles in our magazine - then Peter Witting obliged with his enjoyable account of a day ride in which he took part, so I thought that perhaps my “two pennoth” would help fill a line or two in our quarterly mag.

To set the scene, this is an account of a typical Thursday ride put on by the 'Nuneaton CTC Cycling Club' - note the new name from the former 'Nuneaton Section CTC'! The idea is to meet at 10. 30 am at one of the eight elevenses spots around the Warwickshire and Leicestershire border, a different leader each ride on a three monthly rota sorts the route of some twenty miles between 11 am and 1 pm to an arranged pub lunch of the leaders choosing, from there homeward.

Anyway, one Thursday in May was my ride starting from the Morrison Superstore in Hinckley. So here we go - twelve stalwarts met mid - morning for the weekly Thursday ride of the Nuneation CTC Cycling Club. Taking full advantage of this wonderful spell in May weather, the riders suitably refreshed set off through the lanes taking in the villages of Wykin, Stoke Golding, Sutton Cheney through Market Bosworth Park to enter this historic village, impressing the locals with our quiet ambience!!

Downhill skirting Carlton and onto Barton-in-the-Beans crossroads where left to Congerstone having crossed the Ashby Canal three times. This area of Leicestershire is a real delight with masses of blossom and so many different 'greens' in the countryside, what a wonderful morning to be out and about.

At a steady pace the party took the chicane through Bilston and onto the 'Gibbit Post' where a stop was made to take in water together with a brief history lesson on the last man to be publicly hanged in Leicestershire in 1805. This is quite an historic little spot in the middle of nowhere.

Having put the world to rights, the cyclists rode on and crossed the A444 just outside of Twycross to journey on through Sheepy Magna to the lunch stop at Ratcliffe Culey. Twenty miles in all today, in just a couple of hours, and a real treat.

Fed and watered at the local hostelry the riders departed their various ways, like the 'RED ARROWS' homeward bound, counting our blessings!

Here's to the next time.


Easy Riders

with Rose Holman

Seven of our section had a wet day for the ride to Beaumanor Hall, calling at the Post Office in Newtown Linford for elevenses. We then rode through Bradgate Park where June, Pete and I left the group for a lunch stop at Rothley Station. There is now a the room which was recently opened selling light lunches, ice creams etc. It is positioned next to the Railway Garden. You are still able to purchase drinks etc on the platform. Quite a few parents were there with the children watching Thomas The Tank Engine.

The remainder of our group carried on to Beaumanor Hall where Jean Lakin very kindly provided tea and cakes and Keith conducted a tour of the grounds. It was then on to Mountsorrel and home.

The weather changed for the better for Pete Steer's ride to Leire the following week, with the coffee stop at the Glebe Garden Centre, Countesthorpe where I joined the group. We then continued on to Foston, Peatling Magna and Gilmorton to the Talbot Inn which was unfortunately closed. We then cycled around the corner to the Red Lion for our liquid lunch.

The return journey took us through Bitteswell, Ullesthorpe, Claybrooke Magna, High Cross, Sharnford, Sapcote, Stoney Stanton and Thurlaston where we all parted company.

A new café has now opened at the nurseries in between Bitteswell and Ullesthorpe if anyone is in the area.

Four of our members Jim Gerrard, Norman Castle, Andy Tokeley and Dave Holman had an enjoyable car assisted ride around the Ashbourne area of Derbyshire.

Five of our section supported the DA at the Challenge Rides held at Bagworth Community Centre. Norman Castle, Nancy Henson, Jim Gerrard, Dave Holman and I all completed the 25 miles ride. As Nancy, Dave and I arrived at the hall, Norman and Jim were preparing to leave. After a rest and a cuppa the three of us set off from Bagworth with a leisurely ride to the Gate Hangs Well at Carlton for lunch. Some of the Charnwood Section were here having coffee. After having our usual liquid refreshment we arrived back in Bagworth around 2 pm to be met by Keith's comments of “Here come the Boozers!”

Eleven members turned out for Nancy's ride to Brinklow. As we were approaching one of the villages there was a sign which read 'D i e cafefully through our village'. Not quite sure how we could achieve said request!!

Finally, we all wish Rhona Brittain a speedy recovery following her fall at the York Rally.


General Knowledge

with Martin Bulmer

There was I lying on my back on the driveway, in a thunderstorm, in order to attach my cycle carrier's strap under the car. “I wonder if I should leave it behind this time?”, I thought, “and just go on holiday without it, after all, none of the rest of the family ride….”

Anyway, cycling around some Somerset lanes at 6. 30 the next morning, I was glad I persevered. Once again this summer has not always given us the best cycling weather, but Charnwood Generals try not to let it stop us completely. Certainly some of our published runs have been amended en route, but we've had good days too.

We made it to Meriden, (followed by green beer in the Griffin at Church End), and we took part in the “Back to the Fuchsia” ride, and also had a gret ride to Braunston in Rutland which is relatively unknown territory for us. More recently we returned to the Belvoir Brewery at Old Dalby, SK 686 244. They give us a great welcome, and are happy to let us eat our own sandwiches, but we can recommend the roast beef or roast pork cobs, served with gravy, a yorkshire pudding and a roast potato. That's why I've given the map reference. See you there.

On the subject of map references, three of us have now equipped ourselves with hand-held or bar-mounted GPS units, so we always know where we are. Unfortunately, we don't always know where we're going, do we Roland?

Anyway, another good lunch venue, with free roast potatoes, was found when the group went astray in Burntwood, The White Swan, I believe, somewhere round about SK 637 089 I think (I wasn't on that run, I was riding round the Somerset lanes, drying out, remember?).


Charnwood Chatter

with Betty Naylor

The June weather still remained more like Autumn than Summer, with very high winds and too cold for shorts resulting in curtailed rides.

However, the camping week in Norfolk was really the highlight of mid June for us Easyriders when seven of us travelled down to a really good campsite just outside North Walsham - about five miles from the coast. Saturday dawned clear and bright and we set out for Happisburgh to inspect the cliff erosion there which was the subject of a recent TV programme entitled 'Coast' and we were amazed at the amount of devastation. After refreshment at a nearby café, when luckily we managed to avoid a shower, we continued up the coast to visit the churches of Bacton and Paston, passing an old tithe barn which according to the notice is inhabited by long-eared bats, but unfortunately, only open to school parties.

The general object of this holiday seemed to be old churches, so the next ride was down to Worsted where Alex, Mary and Pearl were very impressed with the large church and its' connections with the woollen trade. They especially enjoyed a visit to a small chapel at Meeting Place which housed a museum associated with the spinning and weaving trades where the league of weavers used to meet. It housed various relics of these trades together with souvenirs of the wars. They also enjoyed the Flower Festival of North Walsham church.

Bob Gadsby and Jean from Burton Section were with us, so we enjoyed a walk around the grounds of Blickling House on a lovely sunny day, also another to Happisburgh on a very cold one, so much so that we caught a 'bus back which took us around the villages back to North Walsham.

Another day, five of us rode the “Quiet Lanes” all the way to Cromer, resorting only to the main road for the last half mile. After enjoying refreshments in the park, we took a look around the town and seafront where we bumped into Jean and Keith Lakin who were enjoying a few days holiday there. On the whole, it was a very pleasant week!

Six of us took part in the Challenge Rides organised by Peter Witting. Our congratulations go to Keith for completing the 25 mile ride after not having ridden for eighteen months, also our oldest veteran Alex, who not only rode the event, but had ridden an extra ten miles each way to compete.

The other camping weekend was to Calwich near Mayfield when Soo brought along her recently purchased VW camper for its' initial trip - registration number commencing with the letters NUT which of course caused some amusement. The Saturday morning was rather cold but fine and the four of us set to ride to Tissington, then continue along the Trail to Parsley Hay where lunch was eaten alfresco at the old Signal Box. Soo and Pearl then continued to Buxton along the High Peak Trail, but Howard and I took to the valleys where it was much warmer.

Sunday was a lovely day when we all rode the Churnet and Dimmingsdale Valleys, finishing at Denstone Church Flower Festival and enjoying the lovely cream tea on offer. We did hear that next day that Soo had bought a concertina in Ashbourne, to match the roof of her van!

Our two best local rides were in July, the first being when Brenda took us out East Leicestershire, finding some “quiet” lanes from Sutton Bonington and East Leake, then Howard's ride on the very hot Sunday when he took our grandson Paul, Brenda, Alex, Mary and myself to visit the Hermit's Cave along the banks of the River Trent at Ingleby, and then up to Melbourne for a picnic lunch by the pool.

Seven Easyriders are hoping to attend the Birthday Rides at Moreton-in-the-Marsh during the first week in August, and Soo and Pearl have already embarked on their Hebridean adventure, so hopefully there will be more interesting news for you in the next issue.


2008 Challenge Rides

Peter Witting

1,600 miles were pedalled on June 29th by those taking part in this year's Challenge Rides. The 32 riders were a big increase over 2007, when the wettest June on record kept the numbers down to only 18, and no-one attempted the 100 miles.

The Challenge Rides form part of the national DATC competition, which gives points at distances from 25 miles, 50 Miles and 100 Miles. That helps to attract riders from outside our area, with visitors this year travelling from Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, as well as local riders.

14 were successful in the 25 mile ride, including 2 juniors - Stephen and Timothy Staples. By contrast, 86 year old Alex Thompson also rode the 25; but taking account of the distance ridden to and from the start, he was awarded the 50 mile standard! 11 riders achieved the 50 miles standard, including 13 year old Robert Watson.

7 riders set off after lunch for the 2nd loop of the 100 miles ride, hoping for a dry afternoon. Alas the weather deteriorated into heavy showers causing them to several times regret their decision to continue.

Thanks once again to Jean and Keith Lakin for looking after the food and drink at Bagworth. Keith, our President, even found time to pedal the 25 mile loop; so congratulations to all those who accepted the challenge and were successful.


Back to the Fuchsia” Rides - 11th May

This was the six annual running of the event started in 2003 as part of the “CTC 125” celebrations.

Glorious weather attracted a good turnout of 46 riders and there were distances and routes for all tastes, abilities and ages from 11 year old Stephen Staples to 86 year old Alex Thomson. Most of the riders had ridden to and from the event. The total mileages are to be recorded on the certificates.

As in previous years Leicestershire Road Club included it on their club run with CTC members Dave Binks and Graham Green at the helm.

Thanks again to proprietor John Smith and his family at Thornton Nurseries (The Fuchsia Centre) for the wonderful hospitality and to Keith Lakin for planning the routes.

Thanks also to everyone who took part in the event.

John Allen


“A Century of Cycling”

In 1997 it was our Centenary and a book was written and compiled by Eileen Johnson and Janet Cook celebrating this event. A few copies of this very enjoyable book, which is packed with wonderful illustrations, have been unearthed. If you would like to purchase a copy please contact Ray Clay our Secretary who will be able to help or the Cycle Chat office.

Priced at £1 (plus p & p) the book is well worth a read.



- By Dave Binks Continuing the story.
Part 1

Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

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 undergone a week's training and is trying to settle in, but the accommodation is not very good.

Monday May 21

Last night the power in my accommodation tripped and I had to go to the Hotel owner to get it reset. It seemed to have gone when I plugged in one of the electric rings I had taken outside to clean. These, together with the electric oven were absolutely coated in burnt on fat and other crud and I had spent an hour or so scraping and cleaning them. I thought at first I had got water into it, so left it all night sitting on top of the heater before trying again after breakfast. No - it went again and I had a good look at it this time. The flex was not in good condition and I had to take it over with me when asking for the power to be set again. Philippe agreed it was the problem and returned it later with a new lead, which sorted the problem once and for all. Whilst in the Hotel, Christine passed a package over to me containing half a dozen of those horrible, cheap and nasty “dumbbell” box spanners the holidaymakers are supposed to use to remove the wheel nuts when repairing punctures (nothing as exotic as quick release wheels on these bikes). I couldn't get them to go on any of the wheels I tried, so looks like they will end in the scrap bin, which is all they're god for anyway. Being made only of cast aluminium they are not strong and are easily bent and deformed - I really don't know why people still buy them. I got a fresh booking for two separate groups of holidaymakers, both arriving within an hour of each other in mud June, so can now set about building the correct bikes for them.

After a couple of hours in the workshop I decided I had done enough and stopped for lunch and then went out on my bike. This time I went due south thinking I might make it to one of the hotels on the clients' list but ran out of time as I kept stopping to take videos. The country to the south is quite hilly and made for hard riding. It doesn't climb high, but just keeps going up and down like a rollercoaster, which is hard on a bike. At Montmoreau-St-Cybard I stopped for a cold drink and decided I needed to get back. I had gone out via the very quiet roads that had taken me via Blanzac-Porcheresse, but thought I would go back up the busier D674, which is the main road to Angouleme. This was a much easier road and still not too busy despite it being “rush hour”, which is a bit of a joke in these country areas.

Having been a good day, my washing was nearly dry and I took it in whilst grilling my local sausages in my now clean oven. Just before turning in for the night I stuck my head out of the door and the noise from the frogs was so loud I taped it as a sound track for my video.

37 miles

Tuesday May 22

I need some shopping today and also to get taxis booked for the incoming clients, so after breakfast went to the workshop to write out the taxi booking forms ready to deliver later. In normal circumstance I would simply phone these through, but wanted to meet the lady who did the driving and speak to her face to face.

Whilst in the workshop I got two telephone calls, both quite lengthy. One from my friend Gil back home in England, and the other from one of the other assistants. Both were exchanging news and the calls were most welcome, but they had the effect of delaying my departure.

Anyone who knows anything about France knows that all but the most major stores close for about 2 hours at lunchtime, with the start of that period varying between 12 and 1pm. I was also keen to locate the good quality cycle shop as Decathlon doesn't sell some of the parts on my bike and I wanted some brake blocks. My plan of shopping was to go to the furthest point - the taxi, and work my way back, slowly loading the bike as I came back. On my way to the north of Angouleme I realised I was passing the end of the road where I had spotted in the Yellow Pages a bike shop was listed, so turned into it to have a quick look. After getting lost in the one-way system and being puzzled by the house numbering layout I eventually found it, but it wasn't really what I was looking for.

Many cycle shops in France deal in bicycles and lightweight motorcycles and this one was no exception. They did have a couple of good road bikes, and a mechanic in a well-equipped workshop, but their spares display was sadly lacking. One thing I did see that I wanted was a bike computer as mine was playing up, and at only about £15 each, they're not worth struggling with. However, after a 5 minutes wait to be served I gave up and left, knowing I could get one in Decathlon later.

By now it was getting pretty hot in the full sun and I was very hot, even in bare legs and just a tee shirt so when I then couldn't find the house in which the taxi company was located (more confusing street layouts) I got a bit grumpy. Taxi eventually located and business done I asked where the serious cycle shop was and she pointed to a spot on the map and said to try them. By the time I got there it was 12.25 and they were shut - until 2pm! I couldn't even look in the windows as they were shuttered off. Worryingly, it also mentioned “Motos” which is the French term for small motorbikes, so I still was no wiser. I couldn't hang around for an hour and a half, so carried on back into the centre of Angouleme to find the Tourist Information Office for brochures etc for my clients. Yes - shut for 2 hrs lunch. I gave up and stopped in a sandwich bar for a bite and a drink. I came back via the supermarkets that I knew stayed open, but it was well gone 5.30pm before I got back, all hot and sticky.

20 miles

Wednesday May 23.

Success! After yesterday's abortive attempt at finding a good bike shop, or at least one that was open, I got lucky. I had planned a full day out as the weather was forecast to be good, which it was, but I hadn't reckoned on the northerly wind, but fortunately that was the direction I wanted to go.

I got up a bit earlier than normal and washed some clothes before departing with the intention of getting to the bike shop, “Atout Cycles” well before they closed at noon. As I was approaching from a slightly different direction, but I thought it wouldn't make much difference, I just followed my nose, but this was not the thing to do. At least, it was, but I refused to believe it and got lost, having to ask a postman on his rounds to show me where I was on the street map. My nose had been correct, but it was further than I had reckoned and had turned short. I arrived and managed this time to get inside, and yes, they carried a good range of lightweight stock, but still with the small moped business running alongside.

I bought my brake blocks and asked about local cycling clubs. The boss was summoned from the back room and was very helpful, not only giving me the details of the club at La Couronne, just up the road from me, but also telling me if I called into the butcher's shop there, the owner would be even more helpful as he was a member. Pleased at my luck, I carried on northwards, but the next few miles were awful, as I seemed to be in one giant set of road works and out of town shopping mall. I had chosen to go this way as another cycle shop was in the phone book as being located there. However, I never found it and gave up. By this time it was getting hot again and my only route was up the N10 - the main Bordeaux to Paris road, but fortunately for this fragile cyclist, the motorway section was still bypassing the bit I was on so traffic was not as bad as it could have been. As soon as I possibly could, I left it and dived into the side lanes. My plan was to head to the northernmost hotel in my “patch” and see what it looked like, so that I could talk about with some knowledge when clients asked.

The trouble was that the accommodation was actually only, in effect, B&B, so I wouldn't get a midday meal. Part of my terms was that I got a free meal each week, provided it was taken at one of the hotels on the list in my area. I hoped to get there, have a quick look and then go to another hotel, not much further away where I would get the free meal. I had taken my video camera and kept stopping for shots, so this, together with the headwind and the rather surprisingly steep little hills, meant I achieved neither of these. In fact lunch was on a bench in a tiny village, eating some fruit and a cake I had bought before everything shut down for the 2-3hrs siesta.

Quite frankly, the countryside itself I found boring. Very large fields without hedgerows or hedges and gently rolling hills do not make for my idea of scenery and I began to wonder why I was doing this. Before too long I dropped down into the valley through which the River Charente runs on its way south. Here the scenery picked up and some delightful lanes criss-crossed the river. Being up stream from Angouleme, it is no longer navigable and is allowed to split up into lots of smaller rivulets and streams before all coming back together into the major river it is at Angouleme. I needed some tourist brochures from the Tourist Office in Angouleme and knew they closed at 5pm, so pressed on, climbing up one of the any steep hills that take traffic into the City Centre.

By the time I arrived, I was dripping sweat and had to keep wiping my brow as I explained what I wanted and why so many, but the charming young lady just smiled demurely and handed over the brochures. I was tempted to stop at one of the pavement cafes for a drink, but kept moving anyway until I got to Couronne, where I went to find Monsieur Bussard's Charcuterie. It was just where it was supposed to be, but he was not there - he was out on his bike with the club! Nevertheless the lady, who I took to be Madame Bussard, was very helpful, but before we had finished he returned and assured me I would be most welcome to come out with them. “We meet at 8 am at the Salle des Fetes (Village Hall) on Sunday morning. Come along, there's a choice of runs, easy, medium, hard, but we won't just leave you even if you choose the wrong one.” Music to my ears that was. And they also have a Wednesday afternoon run, which is where they had just been. I ate my dinner a happy man that night, but decided I needed a day or two to take it easy as my legs were starting to ache, and the heat was still a struggle.

70 miles

Thursday May 24

Other than popping into the village of Roullet for a bit of food shopping later on, I spent nearly all day working in the workshop trying to get things better organised. I had already attempted to get a grip on the numbers and types of bikes, but still wasn't sure, so decided to do it methodically and start at one end and write them all down. It was no wonder I had got confused as some bikes had the same numbers, others had none and the colour coding system was not consistent! I had to resort to measuring every single frame - all 69 of them, and write them down with the colour and type; men's, women's, “sports” which is the same bike but with drop handlebars, and children's. There was also a “Tag-along”, a dreadful type of one wheel child trailer that allows the child to sit on and pedal, but leaves the child sitting at a drunken angle due to the inferior method of attaching it to the adult bike by means of a single point fixing at the seat post. This took some time to do, but it was getting very hot outside so perhaps it was as well I was in the shade.

I phoned my old workmates and brought them up to date with matters and also the fact that I was now starting to settle in. The hotel was busy with a wedding reception, and I stayed well away until the evening when I went across for the free dinner I had hoped to enjoy elsewhere yesterday. Being in the Cognac area I felt I should take an aperitif before dinner and had a Cognac. Big mistake! It hit my empty stomach and went straight to my head like a thorn to a new tyre. Bang - the room was spinning before I had even begun the meal. The lads in the hotel told me later I should have had it after the meal, not before. I know that now, they had no need to tell me.

2 miles

Friday May 25

The forecast said Saturday was going to be a wet day (in fact, whilst I write this on Friday evening, a full thunder and lightning storm is raging outside already) and I still needed to try to suggest some local easy rides for the clients, so thought today would be a good day.

During breakfast I had a look and decided to do a couple of the rides we had done whilst “in training”. The first was quite short, being only 7 or so miles, but entailed a lot of tracks, so I took one of the company's bikes as it had bigger tyres for the bumpy bits. There are still quite a few unmade roads in the area and some go through some lovely bits of land and thie ride was one such. My route, for which I wrote detailed instructions as I went round, went down to the River Boehme and followed it to Mouthiers, past the Chateau Rochandry. I took them down to the cave paintings and into Mouthier itself and commented that the Café de la Gare had been said to be good. My return route brought them back along the same valley, but via a different stream with lots of lakes leading off, before returning them to the hotel.

It took me a couple of hours because I was writing instructions as I went, but I wasn't seeing things for the first time, so thought it would be OK as an opener. After lunch I changed into my proper cycling clothing and went out on my own bike intending to describe, but not in such detail, a longer route. In the training week we had tried to find a Dolmen, but failed, so I thought I would find it and include it on my ride, so headed West South West, but still couldn't see it. The small-scale map indicated it being in the general area, but the larger scale one never showed it at all, so I never did find out. What the larger one did show was a cave beside the road, and I did find that, but it was a scramble up the bank, which was covered in nettles, so, with bare legs I contented myself with seeing it from the road. Perhaps if I'm that way again in long trousers I'll try again.

I also wanted to find a delightful spot we had stumbled upon, but wasn't sure where it was, so followed my nose a bit in trying to retrace our original route, although I had no real idea at the time where we were. Much to my surprise I found it (or is it down to that inner sense of direction many cyclists develop over the years?) and noted it as being at Vibrac. There was a family enjoying a picnic beside the river and also a trio of locals enjoying a swim, with the two lads jumping the 15 feet off the bridge into the centre of the river!

I retraced to Chateauneuf-sur-Charente where I stopped for a Coke in a café, sitting outside under the awning to stay out of the hot sun. Although I never actually wrote the route down, I now felt sufficiently competent to suggest a route to be followed from the map.

When I got back, sitting outside my door was a brand new pair of electric cooking rings. One of the two separate rings I was using had been playing up and kept tripping the power, so the hotel owners had obviously decided it was time for a new one, but did the job properly and bought a decent double one. After following the instructions to “burn it in” for 5 minutes, which caused an awful stink (the instructions did warn about that) they worked fine.

40 miles

Part 5


Views expressed in letters, articles or editorial are not necessarily those of the CTC or the Leicestershire & Rutland DA.


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