Leicestershire and Rutland
Cyclists' Touring Club

(founded 1897)


President's Page
Secretary's Report
Technical Topics
General Knowledge
South Leicestershire
Leicester Easy Riders
Short Scratchington Ride
About Dave Sulley
John Dickinson 1927 - 2011
Frank Mackey 1925 - 2011
Photographic Competition
Carol Service Report
Cycle Chat 2011 “Best Article”
Report on the annual Mince Pie Run
Councillor's Viewpoint
A Summer in France (part 18)

Cover picture by Dave Binks


You may notice a few things different about this edition of Cycle Chat.

Dave Binks

That’s because you have a new Editor. My name is Dave Binks and I have been a member of the CTC since 1964, becoming a Life Member about 15 years ago. Ivy Allen had carried out the task very successfully for a number of years and decided it was time for someone else to take over, so I have stepped up to the desk. I only hope I can meet her high standards.

One thing I am keen to do is to put more photos in our little publication. Due to the need to keep costs down, we must keep colour pictures limited to the outer covers, but if black and white photos are good enough for the national press, they’re good enough for us!

It’s people that make any club and whilst we know the names, and may know the faces, it’s often the case that we can’t join them up; at least that’s my experience. So I plan to put in named photos of our members to avoid those embarrassing moments when we meet each other at functions!

Now you know what I look like, say “Hello” when you see me out and about!

The photo on the front cover reminds us all that Spring is just around the corner, but as I write, there is snow and ice all around and the forecast is for more to come.

Perhaps now is the time get those maps out and start planning that summer cycling holiday?


President's Page

First of all a big thank you to Dave Binks for coming forward to take over as editor of our “Cycle Chat” which I am sure is greatly appreciated by us all.

John Allen

Dave is both a long serving member of the CTC and the Leicestershire Road Club and was a member of the team that organised the 1997 CTC Birthday Rides as part of our centenary year. His brief was to plan daily rides which he did with distinction. He is no stranger to our readers as we have all been with him reading his Summer in France adventures.

Thanks also to Ray Clay who co-ordinated the previous two editions and the member of Teamprint who was temporary compiler/editor.

Our slide show in November “Digital Kaleidoscope” presented by Derbyshire CTC’s Terry Williams was a wonderful evening if a trifle short on numbers and I thought it was one of the best ever. The members display of photographs was a joy to behold - my pictures were taken on my fairly compact Kodak Easyshare digital camera which is said to be idiot proof - well it worked for me!

Thanks of course to organisers Keith and Jean Lakin and to all who helped - the refreshments were just right.

At our 60th annual Carol Service Keith and Jean along with Ray Clay received well deserved Certificates of Merit.

Didn’t get to the Mince Pie run due to taking the grandchildren to the Theatre Royal at Nottingham for the pantomime but I understand it was back to normal after two previous years when severe winter weather understandably brought a drop in numbers.

Well I was out on my bike to enjoy the New Years Dinner at Sibbertoft, again a sell out and organised for the fourteenth consecutive year by Gill Lord. Thanks so much Gill. This event started out in 1996 as a “welcome Ride”, well it still is. It was great to meet up with so many people that I hadn’t seen for ages. At the end there was Gill asking if we should have the same next year - of course we will!

Yet another New Years Dinner was that of Charnwood CTC at the Bulls Head, Gracedieu, very well attended and very enjoyable. Organisers? - Keith and Jean of course.

At the end of January I chaired the annual meeting of CTC East Midlands Region in Nottingham when representatives of all the East Midlands county CTC groups attended. Newcomers to the committee for 2012 are Mark and Ruth Chambers of Ilkeston (Notts CTC) who are no strangers to our county CTC events. On Sunday September 9th they are organising the Sid Standard Memorial Ride at Shottlegate near to where Sid had his tragic accident. This will raise funds for the Air Ambulance and will be a mince pie run style of event.

Don’t forget the Dinner and Awards evening at Forest Hill Golf Club - can anyone remember when Ray Clay did not organise this event in its different forms? I am busy preparing all the many “Years Record” certificates and our heritage trophies for presentation - let’s have a real get together - enjoy.

Looking further ahead I am planning a President’s mid-week ride in the Peak District during April and the annual “President’s Ride” will start from Abbey Park, Leicester on Sunday September 16th. This date is very close to the very first ride of our county CTC some 115 year earlier.

Hope to meet up with you on our attractive programme of events.

John Allen


Secretary’s View

by Ray Clay

Keith Lakin must be applauded for his efforts in making the Diamond Jubilee Cyclist’s Carol Service such a success. It was a memorable event and the Parish Church of St John the Baptist at Hugglecote was an ideal setting. The windows are particularly spectacular. Keith must have spent hours and hours arranging for so many special guests to attend, too numerous to mention. The musical interlude was well received and the bicycle bell routine playing a carol was an innovation. Well done Keith. Your joint Certificate of Merit with Jean is well deserved.

On the question of the carol service, we are hoping that somebody will come forward to arrange the event on Sunday 9th December 2012. Of course, the service that Keith organised will be a hard act to follow. But it doesn’t have to be such a special event. A simple carol service will be appreciated.

The Loughborough CTC Mince Pie Run at Belton Village Hall was extremely well attended. There must have been in excess of three hundred cyclists this time. The previous year we suffered from very dangerous road conditions and the numbers were down. This time there was ice on the road first thing but it didn’t affect the attendance. Practically all the food was devoured along with a copious amount of tea. A small amount of food was left over which I took to the Carpenter’s Arms hostel. Again the raffle was drawn in aid of Rainbows Children’s Hospice and we sent them a cheque for £200.

I wasn’t able to join Gill Lord’s New Year Ride but people tell me it went very well. The weather was kind and the lunch was enjoyable.

I’ve made a booking again for the Cyclists’ Camping Rally at Beaumanor Hall for the Spring Bank Holiday period. I’ve included an extra day this time because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I haven’t sorted out the precise details yet but there will be led rides, a film show and a ramble to a local pub. I’ve had preliminary talks with the Great Central Railway and they seem to support the plan to incorporate a train ride with our bikes on board. This could be our contribution to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – after all she is our patron!

I’ve recently started a Wednesday cycling group in Loughborough for those who enjoy a very leisurely paced ride. We assemble at 9.30am at the roundabout in Outwood Drive, Loughborough. The plan is to cycle to a coffee stop and be home for lunch having travelled about 15 miles. There is no programme and we decide on the day where to go. Anyone is invited to join us and beginners are particularly welcome.

The annual dinner and prize giving is coming up. It will be held again this year at the Forest Hill Golf Club, Botcheston. Further details and choice of menu can be found elsewhere in Cycle Chat. I must conclude by thanking Dave Binks for taking on the job of Cycle Chat editor. I’m sure Dave would appreciate the cooperation of contributors in sticking to the deadline.


Charnwood Chatter

from Brenda Ottey

We have had up to now a very mild winter which has enabled us to enjoy both on Sundays and Wednesdays some very pleasant rides which we were able to extend rather than dash home after lunch before the light and the cold caught us out.

As 2011 was the Diamond Jubilee year of the Charnwood CTC one of the last events of this year was Keith and Jean’s organisation of the carol service. During the summer Soo came up with the idea of a ladies group (the bicycle belles) playing a short tune on bicycle bells. As the year went some of us thought she may have forgotten but we were summoned one Saturday afternoon for music lessons and lunch and also she had put together the idea of a quartet of musicians to play as well, Heather on the flute, Martin on guitar, Alan on concertina and Soo with her clarinet. Our group were aged from Sadie aged 8 years old to the oldest Mary who was 88years old. Hopefully it sounded all right as we all had a lot of fun putting it together with our musical director Soo.

The mince pie ride was on a very snowy Sunday and after the snow stopped it froze hard and the roads near us were very dangerous, although some places very near by had no snow at all.

The first rides of the new year have been well attended with only one ride being cut very short due to gale force winds. Pearl, Soo and I met at Heather and cycled back to Ibstock and had coffee at my house where we had a lovely morning planning our forthcoming trip to London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations are taking place. Thisanother of Soo’s ideas and she is being assisted in the planning by Lyn as she and some of the generals are going. Also discussed were the plans for the Easter tour to the Shrewsbury area which Lyn and Pete are organising.

Once more a busy year ahead.


Technical Topics

by Peter Witting

Peter gives advice on saving money!

DIY Sports Drink

Some branded made-up drinks might cost over £1 for ½ Litre, but you could make your own for around 10p. The basis for the drinks are Sodium (i.e. salt) and Carbohydrate (e.g. Glucose or Fructose). You can buy a 450gm box of Glucose with Vit.C for around £1.75 from chemists. Half fill your bottle with water, then add the quantity of Glucose recommended on the box for the size of bottle and shake to dissolve. Nearly fill the bottle with low-calorie orange, or other flavour squash and water to suit your taste. Then add table salt to taste, and maybe a powdered sweetener. That’s it! If you still suffer from cramp when riding in hot weather, it might be worth also taking Magnesium pills; but check the instructions to ensure they are suitable for you. And always remember to sterilise your bottle after using it for sports drinks.

Bonk Bars

Another money-saver is based on a Tandem Club recipe many years back, so Imperial measures! Process the dry ingredients into a powder using a grinder or processor: 2 ozs. Porridge oats, 1 ozs. Hazlenuts (or almonds), 2 ozs. Cashews, 2 ozs. Sunflower seeds. Then process the sticky stuff separately: 1 ozs. Dried apricots, 2 ozs. Raisins, 3 ozs. Stoned dates, 2 ozs. Sultanas, 2 ozs. Figs. It’s ok to add some orange juice to ease the processing. Then use fingers to mix the dry ingredients with the sticky stuff, again using juice to bind. Line the base of a shallow cooking tin with rice-paper and spread out the mix to bite-sized thickness. Then cover with more rice-paper and place in fridge. When firmed-up cut into bars, wrap them in foil and seal in a plastic bag in fridge ‘til needed.

Thrifty Cycle Spectacles

Thanks to Keith Wileman of the Portsmouth CTC for the following, who spotted my item in the last Cycle Chat on the Tifosi Tyrant cycling specs. “Quite a number of Portsmouth CTC members are using bi-focal safety specs from www.straightlines.com. Follow ‘bi-focal safety specs’ then ‘wrap-around bi-focal safety specs’. You can get from +1 to +3 dioptre reading strength which allows you (if you need it) to look down and see your computer or a map and they come in clear, yellow or smoke. One pair (with VAT and shipping) costs £19.20 but with a bulk order of three or more they’re £11.40 each.” That looks like quite a find.

One-Piece Armwarmers!

I’m fed up with branded arm-warmers that slip down your arm after a few miles. I know cyclists have weedy arms, but one shouldn’t have to resort to safety pins. The answer is another DIY solution. You need an old black long-sleeved jumper. If you don’t have one, take a look in the local jumble sales or charity shops. The arms should be a close fit to work. You can then cut up the old garment, saving both arms plus a section across the back that links the two arms. It then needs a bit of “overlocking” to finish the job. Of course these one-piece armwarmers can only be removed when you are off the bike and you can take off your cycling jersey; but that’s hardly a problem for CTC (cafe-to-cafe) riders!


The Short Scratchington Ride
Just another South Leicesters’ clubrun

By Peter Witting

Neil Dixon, Gill Lord and Dave Gair had ridden from Broughton Astley to join me at the Cross in Hand on the A5. It’s an hour’s ride from Kibworth to the start, and the day would total well over 70 miles - a bit far for January! I had decided to take a short cut. The 20mph headwind didn’t help, but my calculations proved correct and I had arrived with 5 minutes to spare.

At the junction with Montilo Lane we were joined by Shane Blower and Gill Stocks who had ridden out from Pailton. That made 6 to share the lead into the headwind. After a shortcut through the grounds of the Mercure Hotel at Brandon we reached the Brandon Marsh Visitor Centre for coffee. Two machines were already in their bike rack; the Parfrey’s had ridden straight from home. So now we were 8. But then we were joined by Eric and Anne Danvers; they had driven over. So that’s how the South Leicesters can claim double figures for a January clubrun!

We retraced the road to Brandon, this time with the wind on our backs. We could have set off into the wind towards Baginton, but Gill Stocks said it would be like her regular commuting route! The lanes through Stretton-on-Dunsmore and Frankton were delightfully quiet; certainly by comparison with the previous Sunday when I had been riding in Hertfordshire with the Stevenage & Hitchin CTC.

We arrived at The Green Man in Long Itchington shortly before 1pm. Yes, this was the “Short Scratchington” that Sharon Clifford had referred to after spotting our clubrun on Facebook. Before Sharon had moved up north, the Little Chef (long gone) had been a regular pit-stop for local bikies, including me. But it did show that the Facebook Group set up by Neil for the South Leicesters was a potential publicity aid for our clubruns.

Neil had contacted The Green Man ahead of our visit, and the landlady duly delivered two dishes of sandwiches to our table, asking only £1.60 per head. We felt £2 was a fair contribution! This 300 year old Camra listed pub had a choice of 4 real ales plus a real cider (Weston’s Traditional Scrumpy), so is one of our favourite venues.

Our reluctant departure was further delayed when Gill Lord found a front wheel puncture. But many hands made light work, and soon we had the wind on our backs. The others planned to return home retracing roads to the west of Rugby, but I needed a more direct route that would include a tea stop. I wasn’t sure if I’d be in time for tea at Manor Farm, Catthorpe, so continued to Kilworth Springs Golf Club for a large coffee and a free chunk of left-over pizza. Quite an economical day! I arrived home shortly before 6pm with just over 70 miles on my computer.


Leicester Easy Riders

Jim Gerrard

Not withstanding that personally I have not managed most of our rides over the last few months, the group have enjoyed fairly good numbers for the short runs programmed.

An enjoyable Christmas lunch was followed by a very enjoyable Carol Service only marred by a wet ride home and a slow puncture.

For the second year running the Mince Pie run was affected by an icy morning and slight snow fall. This rendered the local lanes very dangerous and discretion being the better part of valour for our age group we chickened out again.

We are however looking forward to the New Year and have already sorted our first trip for April and hope for reasonable weather for our Sunday rides. It doesn’t have to be perfect but at the time of writing we still have our winter rides to complete.


Charnwood Generals

Martin Bulmer

As I write in late (almost too late for the deadline) January, the winter has been kind to us so far. I think only one ride has had to be amended due to bad weather, and we've not really seen icy roads as yet. The ride to Sutton Wharf & Carlton in January was very windy, but being on a bright day I found it very stimulating. The Gate at Carlton has changed hands, but we are still welcome, and can eat our sandwiches in the conservatory as before. More importantly, the beer is still excellent! Our previous visit to Carlton was just after the new management took over, and it was great to see Roland & Margaret who joined us for lunch.

I led a ride to the Seven Oaks Inn at New Stanton, a new one for us, where we had a room to ourselves and beer from Blue Monkey brewery at nearby Kimberley. The pub is located on an old industrial estate, with some of the buildings dating back to the early 20th century. One, dated 1914, appears to be the UK headquarters of Saint-Gobain, a company founded in Paris in 1665 to manufacture mirrors (what would we do without Wikipedia?), and here apparently making drainage systems. The OS map shows "Iron Works" on this site, and there are a number of fascinating but apparently unused buildings probably from the 40's or 50's in a style which reminds me of my primary school in Sunderland. There is a Training Centre, an Exhibition Hall and a Fire Station close to the pub. There are also a number of more modern industrial units thriving here, but it's the older buildings that give it an eerie atmosphere.

In December the well attended Carol Service at Hugglescote was very enjoyable, and the proceedings were recorded for local radio! I was involved in the musical interlude overseen by Soo of the Easy Riders, and I have to say it was great fun rehearsing and playing. The ladies treated us to their version of Jingle Bells played on bicycle bells, a concept which was later adopted by one of the TV companies for their Christmas trailers. Sue Soo?

After Christmas we visited Aston on Trent on New Year's Day, the George & Dragon at Stoke Golding, now owned by the Church End (Ridge Lane) brewery, and the Royal Oak at Barton Green, also seemingly under new management. Joe took us to the Game Cock Inn at Birchmoor which was very welcoming, and worth another visit.

On my own travels recently I spent some time talking to the new landlord at the Heathcote Arms in Croft, who used to cycle. He would be pleased to see more cyclists at the pub, although he asks that sandwiches could be eaten outside.

In conclusion, we have had some great rides, some interesting & welcoming new stops, and some good chats on the way. We look forward to our Easter weekend near Shrewsbury organised by Lyn, a Jubilee visit to London organised by Soo, and the Birthday Rides. It's a good job that Lyn has finally found a comfortable saddle!


60th Jubilee Carol Service
Certificates of Merit cap a wonderful event

with John Allen

The 60th annual Leicestershire cyclists Carol Service was held in the parish church of St John the Baptist, Hugglescote near to Coalville on Sunday December 11th, superbly organised by Keith and Jean Lakin.

It was a “Double Diamond” Jubilee event as it took place during the 60th year of Charnwood CTC, based in North West Leicester.

Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive of CTC along with his wife Cheryl and Chair of the CTC national council David Cox O.B.E. came to join the congregation and the social gathering afterwards.

The Reverend Olwyn Woolcock conducted the service in this magnificent church. Lessons were read by Councillor Nigel Smith, Chairman of N. W. Leics District Council, Roy Johnson of Cambridge a founder member of Charnwood CTC, John Allen County CTC President, Kerri Chambers a young blind tandem rider of Notts CTC, Sophie Churchill O.B.E. Chief Executive of the National Forest Company and David CoxO.B.E. CTC Chair.

There was a wonderful musical interlude during the service given by cycling musicians of Charnwood CTC led by Soo Underwood (Clarinet), Heather Jones (Flute), Martin Bulmer (Guitar) and Alan Witty (Concertina) and playing “Jingle Bells” on specially tuned bicycle bells were Mary Margoschis, Pearl Thompson, Betty Naylor, Brenda Ottey and Teresa Jones.

The Collection went to the restoration fund for the churches magnificent stained glass windows.

After the service, refreshments were served in the nearby community centre where CTC Certificates of Merit were presented to Ray Clay and Keith and Jean Lakin by David Cox and Kevin Mayne. Congratulations and so thoroughly deserved.

87 year old Ken Pepper cycled over the Charnwood Forest to be present to join founder members of Charnwood CTC Phil Allen and Roy Johnson cutting the 60th Birthday cake made by Jean Lakin.

Kevin Mayne praised both Leicester and Rutland CTC and Charnwood CTC for their club service over many years as did Nigel Smith Chair of NW Leics District Council.

Thanks to everyone for their support and all those that helped Jean with the refreshments.

A DVD of the service that records the memories of a great 60th celebration are for sale from Keith Lakin priced at £4.00. Keith is on 01530 451573

Thank You

Keith and Jean Lakin wish to thank all the readers and guests and those who helped in any way at the 60th Jubilee Carol Service in CTC Charnwood’s 60th year, and also to North West Leicestershire District Council for the presence of their Chairman and his consort, Kevin Mayne and David Cox from CTC. head office, and to The Reverend Olwen Woolcock for taking the service in the beautiful Parish Church at Hugglescote.


South Leicestershire Report

from Tony Davis

This quarter I had conscientiously made notes in preparation for this write up. Unfortunately in the interim I have moved office and subsequently taken early retirement. In the process I lost my notes so this is going to be the usual dredge through the memory to pick out the highlights of recent South Leicestershire group rides.

The Welland Valley Reliability rides from Lubenham last weekend were a great opportunity to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while but they also mark the end of the social season.

Some members of the South Leicestershire group got their passports out to cross the border into Warwickshire for the Christmas dinner at the Denbigh Arms in Monks Kirby. This venue reflects the fact that a significant portion of our group live in Warwickshire or only just in Leicestershire. Most members were able to make it and we had a very enjoyable night.

Gill Lord’s New Year Lunch at Sibbertoft was a sell out again this year with cyclists (and car drivers) arriving from all over Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

Back to Lubenham and Dave Gair, Peter Witting and Neil Dixon rode different selections of the four routes offered at the Welland Valley rides while Shane Blower, Jayne and I rode over to help eat cake. The chocolate biscuit cake is sensational! Gill Lord was busy in the kitchen helping to keep the riders refreshed and the pots washed.

It was good to catch up with Dave Binks, who always seems to be just getting back or about to leave for France. I had a long chat with Feargal Ryan, a member of the Leicestershire Road Club. I was excited to hear that club members had been able to secure 8 places on the iconic Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District in May this year. It is a sportive of 112 miles which starts and finishes in Coniston and includes the climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes. I hope the weather is good for them and that they enjoy the challenge.

Our group continues to search out new coffee and lunch venues. In January they tried out Badgers Tea Room at Brandon Marsh Visitor Centre. This got a general thumbs up.

We continue to get good turnouts on a Sunday. I’m sure this has been helped by the mild winter. We also get visits from friends like Norman Castle and Jim Gerrard which boosts numbers.

Yesterday I rode from home through Cosby and then up the Great Central and Riverside way to Thurmaston. The temperature was below freezing with a nasty edge to the north easterly wind but the sky was blue and the sun shining. By the time I was ready to return the sun had warmed the air and I had a tail wind home. As the sun dropped in the sky so did the temperature but that was the sort of winter weather I can enjoy.


Photographic competition

Class: 1. 1. John Allen 2. John Allen 3. John Hartshorne
Class: 2. 1. Ron Johnson 2. John Allen 3. Jim Gerrard
Class: 3. 1. John Allen 2. John Allen 3. John Allen
Class: 6. 1. Ray Clay 2. Barbara Elliston 3. Ron Johnson
From Leicestershire and Rutland Cyclists' Touring Club Cycle Chats
Ray Clay's winning entry in class 6

No entries in the slides section this time.

To all who entered please accept my thanks.

The number of photographs was around 125 entries, the judge was Mr Keith Pare of Whitwick who was very impressed with the quality of entries.

I am looking forward to organising this years event on Saturday 17th November.

Keith Lakin
From Leicestershire and Rutland Cyclists' Touring Club Cycle Chats

The David Sulley Memorial Rides

a brief history by John Allen

David Sulley was a long serving member of both the CTC and the Welland Valley Wheelers. With his wife Doreen they founded the very successful Lutterworth CTC section and quickly attracted family groups and solo cyclists, including youngsters coming along on their own.

He encouraged them to join in the Leics and Rutland D.A. county events so much so that they usually outnumbered members of other sections.

They enjoyed the Birthday Rides, The Vale of the White Horse and other annual get togethers as a section.

David was a great ambassador for the world of cycling despite having a long battle with heart problems - he organised several events to raise funds for the Groby Road Heart Unit.

Sadly David died whilst taking part in a D.A. event on the 2nd of April 1989 at the age of 55 and was greatly missed by all who knew him.

It was decided to stage a David Sulley Memorial Ride in March 1990 starting and finishing in Lutterworth with a route through the countryside that David loved so much.

Dennis Heggs organised the popular event for many years followed by Morgan Reynolds and in recent years Dave Grimshaw has been the organiser.

John Allen


Frank Mackey 1925 – 2011

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Frank, a stalwart member of the CTC and the Loughborough & District Cycle Users' Campaign (see his piece on "The Human Right to Drive") from its early days, although his death came about in a manner that he would have wished for, collapsing while on a cycle ride with In Tandem.

Frank had a very full and active life, being a founder member of the British Sub Aqua Club (he was still diving in Cuba when in his 80s), a keen motorcyclist (as well as car driver) and in particular cyclist during that latter half of his life. He had picked up a copy of the CTC Magazine, noted the great ages of the cyclists appearing in the obituary column, and decided this was a good way of travelling and staying fit (his father had died of a heart attack at the age of 51).

The bicycle was Frank's main form of transport and he would be seen out and about on various machines, including his recumbent tricycle. As well as In Tandem he was a regular rider with the Loughborough Social Cyclists and the CTC, having been out on Ray Clay's President's ride this year. Frank completed three 1,500 mile tours to Santiago de Compostela between 1985 and 2005 and also rode from Inverness to Dover as part of a Sustrans national ride in 1994, camping all the way.

Frank was also a great believer in exercising the mind, as well as as the body, and was a regular participant in meetings of the University of the Third Age (U3A). He had kept up to date with technology, was a keen web user (keeping in touch with his family abroad) and I had been helping him sort out his new computer the day before he died, when he was in his usual good spirits.

The story of Frank's life is certainly one deserving of celebration, but he will still be sorely missed by his family and friends.

John Catt

John Dickinson
December 1927 - September 2011

I first met John in 1970 when I started in the engineering department at Coalville Mining and Technical College (latterly Stephenson College), he was Head of the Mining Department and Vice Principal.


He became the first Principal of the then new Wigston College of Further Education and we didn’t meet for some years until his retirement.

With his devoted wife Ann, he took up cycling, joined the CTC and became very active in the Charnwood section and Leicestershire and Rutland DA. Every year the couple enjoyed the CTC Birthday Rides with their tent on the campsite.

John’s passion for fair play for cyclists saw him joining the CTC Right to Ride network and campaigning was his forte, as officers at both N.W. Leics District Council and County Hall would testify.

With Ann he rode the Santiago De Compostella pilgrims route in Spain, later giving many slide shows of their adventures as he did on volcanoes of the world and his love of the Cornish tin mines, one of which he was a trustee.

He was a very distinguished President of Charnwood CTC and President of the South Midlands Mining and Minerals Institute.

When we offered to host the 1997 CTC Birthday Rides as part of our centenary year, John immediately volunteered to organise the campsite at Scraptoft with Ann of course. They did a fantastic job with the support of other members.

John died during the 60th anniversary year of Charnwood CTC and earlier in the year with Ann had been guest of honour at the 60th anniversary luncheon presenting all the awards - including mine, a memory I will treasure forever.

He died in September following a long battle with heart problems and after the funeral service in Coalville the get together afterwards was very fittingly at Snibston Discovery Park with Snibston Colliery headstocks as a backdrop.

John was highly respected by all who knew him, he had time for everyone and our world is all the poorer for his passing. Our thoughts are with Ann and their devoted family.

John Allen

Mick Ayling Wins Cycle Chat 2011 “Best Article”

Judged by Derrick Orton (Editor of “Awheel” the Derby CTC magazine)

In the end, this has been the most difficult to judge for me in the three years that I have been doing it. It finally boiled down to three articles.

It has to go to Martin Ayling though for the description of his ‘LEhomeJOG-An unusual End to End’ in the spring edition. He doesn’t put his name at the start of the article so it only appears as an email address at the end, which is a shame.

The close runners were Dave Binks with his ‘Summer in France’ diaries, with Peter Witting’s ‘Technical Topics’ which were particularly good throughout the year.


Annual Mince Pie Run

Loughborough’s Contribution to the Festive Season 2011

As has happened many times before, the CTC in and around Loughborough played host to a gathering of hundreds of local, and not so local, cyclists in the Village hall at Belton, near Loughborough on 19 December; the traditional last Sunday before Christmas.

Whist not quite as cold and icy as in the previous two years, the day was still a challenge to the thermally deficient and the numbers attending were down a bit on normal, but still enough to make a great occasion.

Our thanks must go to Brian Hinners and his band of “Helper Elves” for giving up their Sunday so that others could have a good day.

The proceeds from the Raffle went to the Rainbows Childrens Hospice.



- By Dave Binks Continuing the story.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17

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 settled into his accommodation and is now involved with both his job and the local cycling scene. The story continues…..

Wednesday August 22

After another dreadfully wet afternoon today, I looked in the local paper and read that in addition to the rain, the temperatures at present were what are normal for October! This reflects the extra clothes I had been wearing for the last few days including the extra blanket on the bed. The farmers were also moaning, but that’s nothing new really. Their complaint was that it was too wet, and also the swings between hot and cold were not good. In fact, as I typed this, the TV weather forecast for the next day was more rain, with severe weather warnings in the western areas of the Pyrenees. However, the wine growers were saying if September is good, the alcohol levels in the fruits will be high, so it could be a good year for the local wines.

I spent a few hours in the workshop in the morning, when it was not raining and almost, but not quite, got warm enough to bare my legs – in August, in France! At about 11am I saw my latest family groups set off for a day ride and wished them well, but wondered how far they would get before they got wet.

I ate my lunch well aware of the afternoon rain that had been forecast and double checked I had my waterproof top with me, and was wearing my short black socks which are not liable to permanent staining in a wet ride.

I joined the local lads and could feel a few spots on my arms before we even set off. After about 20 minutes, the spots had turned sufficiently heavy to have me wearing the waterproof top although I was the only one to do so. For a while I wondered if I was being overcautious as no-one else put theirs on, and at one time I nearly took it off again when the rain eased off for a few minutes. However, not long later it came on even heavier, but still no-one else bothered. I just did my zip up a bit more.

Our route took us north of Angouleme, and as we headed away from the City, some members peeled off to go home early. I was tempted, but wasn’t cold and the thought of just sitting in my shack all afternoon was not appealing and in any case I had to show the “frogs” the Brits aren’t afraid of a drop of rain, so carried on. In a rather perverted way, it was almost enjoyable, a bit like being showered with luke warm water at the same time as someone is kicking your legs.

Our route home took us up the long hill from Marsac, where I usually get a chance to show off my climbing skills on a longer than average climb. The last time I had come up here another rider, not a regular, had come up at the same speed, but he was not there today. However, on a ride a week or two ago, a couple of the regulars had stayed with me up an easier hill, one where I hadn’t tried that hard, and they had obviously thought they now had my measure, so I think we were all curious to see what happened. I am not too modest to say I stuffed them all again, being about 25 seconds ahead by the time I got to the top – reputation restored!

Just before I put my bike away I noticed it was covered in grit and debris flung up by the water, so quickly washed it off. It must have looked a bit strange, someone in soaking wet clothes washing a bike in the pouring rain, but it would save a job later and it’s easier to wash grit off when it’s still wet.

On the final run in through the outskirts of Angouleme we had passed my family group on their way home from their day out. Despite the pouring rain they all had a big smile on their faces when I spoke to them briefly as my group passed. I later found out they had been to the chocolate factory, but had stopped for a boat ride and a snack before getting there. They were fortunate in that they hadn’t really got wet before arriving at the factory, so didn’t have to stand around in wet clothes.

Realising they were moving on tomorrow and would have a problem with wet clothes, I asked Christine in the hotel if she could help and she immediately offered to dry their clothes in the tumble dryer next morning before they set off, which was kind of her.

56 miles

Thursday August 23

It wasn’t quite raining at first, but it wasn’t long before it started again… I helped my family group get away, by giving them some plastic bags to put their clothes in and also changing their wet panniers for dry ones from my stock. In fact Christine the hotel owner said she would let me drive them over to their next stay using her hotel van, but I doubted they would take the offer. Nevertheless, out of earshot of the kids so that the decision was his without “kid pressure”, I asked dad if he wanted to take up the offer, but as I expected, both he and the kids were quite happy to ride. It was only 10 miles by the most direct route, which I marked on his map, and in any case, it wasn’t cold.

I however, had no desire to get wet again, so went into the workshop for a few hours.

After lunch it seemed to have stopped and I nearly got to the local hypermarket without getting wet, but it still managed to get me in the last 5 minutes! I spent the next few hours wandering around but bought nothing other than food shopping. I did however, buy a UK paper at the usual extortionate price for a UK paper abroad, and sat in one of the patisserie (pastry) cafes for a while reading it whilst enjoying a coffee and a cake.

9 miles

Friday August 24

Today didn’t really happen for me. I was struggling to get motivated all day.

The early morning damp and overcast skies rather set the tone for the day, both metaphorically speaking and weather-wise, although it did dry up later, but by that time I was in a “I can’t be bothered” mood. I lay in until quite late, and then didn’t rush breakfast before wandering over to the workshop for a while.

I had a late lunch then just sat at the computer sorting out photos into their respective folders and deleting boring ones. I finally got the machine to play one of the DVDs I had brought with me from home, so sat and watched that before going to bed a bit earlier than normal. However, I had seen that Saturday and Sunday’s weather was forecast to be good, so determined I would have a good ride tomorrow, but left it open as to the destination.

0 miles

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


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