Leicestershire and Rutland
Cyclists' Touring Club

(founded 1897)


President's Page
Secretary's Report
Technical Topics
General Knowledge
South Leicestershire
Leicester Easy Riders
President's Ride to the Peaks
30 Mile & Km Rides & Freewheel
David John Bull 1937 - 2012
John Marshall
Don't mention the "P" word..........
I'll be with you in a Trice
A French Randonnéé
David Sulley Rides, 2012
Councillor's Viewpoint
A Summer in France (part 19)

Cover picture by Dave Binks


May I start by saying a big Thank You to the very kind people who made a point of telling me how much they enjoyed the Spring Edition which was of course, my debut in the job of Cycle Chat Editor? Although it was not necessarily true, it was good of them to say it.

Dave Binks

Well, after the dry and cold winter, we are now having the wet and cold spring! If we are to avoid standpipes, the weather pundits say we need months more of the rain that is currently tipping down outside as I type this in supposedly warm, sunny France, but I for one was enjoying the dry weather. The early brief warm spell we had in March was just that—brief!

Looking ahead to when the rain stops and it warms up (it will, one day) there is a full programme of events for you to enjoy with your local CTC group, and for those wishing to venture further afield, the choice of cycling events and holidays just seems to grow all the time.

The growing numbers of MAMILS (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) is certainly encouraging all sorts of people and businesses to increase the choices available to us all. I know many of us aren’t interested in seeing how fast they can do a “Mega Iron Man of Steel Head Bashers Challenge” ride, but there is bound to be a trickle down effect from those realising that cycling is just as (more!) enjoyable when you take your time to look over the hedgerow at the beautiful scenery around us. And that is before we even consider the social aspects of just getting out on our bikes.

Have a great summer.


President's Page

John Allen

On a very sad note Doreen Sulley passed away in March. In the previous issue of Cycle Chat I gave an insight into who her husband David was and the annual memorial ride in his name. David died in Doreen’s arms with heart failure during a county CTC event back in April 1989.

Doreen was secretary of Lutterworth Section and for some years was our Cycle Chat admin person when Harry Rigby also of Lutterworth was editor.

Their lovely daughter Heather died of brain cancer last August so it has been a testing time for the rest of the family who I met up with again after Doreen’s funeral service in the packed Market Harborough Church.

The family would be very touched if the annual rides now become the David and Doreen Sulley memorial rides.This was unanimously agreed at our following committee meeting.

Well, in the torrential rain and sleet I took part in this years memorial rides in the company of Morgan Reynolds.Thanks to Dave Grimshaw for organising and Keith and Jean for marshalling.

Guest of honour at the dinner and prize presentations was Clyde Williams OBE. The event was very enjoyable. Congratulations to all of the prize winners and thanks to Ray Clay for organising this yet again.

Not surprisingly Ray himself was awarded the Seager Trophy as Club Person of the Year for the sixth time in his seventeen years as county secretary.

It was a very proud moment for our family when it was announced that Ivy was voted Lady Club Person of the Year and received the Hames award.

Congratulations to Overall Best All Rounder Alan Hartshorne who is the CTC’s Volunteer of the Year for the East Midland Region, so thoroughly deserved.

Well back on the bike again I took part in the 30 mile meander in the company of the Jones family on a better day weather wise. Thanks to organiser Jim Gerrard and all who took part in the get together awheel and of course the freewheel contest afterwards organised by the Lakin family.

The weather was foul with incessant heavy rain for my first president’s social ride along the Monsal Trail, so much so that I thought it would have to be postponed-but no, nine of us turned up at Bakewell for the start and a good time was had by all.You have never seen the Peak District unless you have seen it in the rain and we virtually had the trail almost to ourselves (more elsewhere).


Back to roots now and the enjoyable Charnwood CTC’s 61st anniversary lunch organised by Martin Ayling. Alex Thomson (90) cycled to the event and cut the cake with my brother Phil (120 years combined service to the CTC those two) and president Lyn Dolphin.

Keith Lakin was voted Club Person of the year (22 years as secretary).It was a wonderful moment when Roland Smith arrived in his wheelchair accompanied by his wife Margaret-that made the day.

89 Years young Mary Margoschis at the time of writing is in Hinckley hospital suffering from a broken pelvis following a fall at home.Get well soon Mary, you are sadly missed.

Thanks to Dave Binks our editor for his first and subsequent editions of Cycle Chat, greatly appreciated by us all.

Attending funerals of cycling stalwarts seem to be getting more frequent lately.I started with one and will finish with two more, those of David Bull and John Marshal.Our thoughts are with their families and the contribution David and John made to our world of cycling.

John Allen


Secretary’s View

I’m very sorry to hear about John Marshall (see Obituary elsewhere) who has just died after a long illness. He was a gentle man who was always available for help and advice. I’m a relatively recent cyclist but I gather that he has been involved with the CTC for many years. He was a former schoolmaster at the Harry Martin School in East Leake and we first met when we ran an Easyrider group in Loughborough. He will be sadly missed.

Prize presentation

The annual dinner and prize giving in March was held again at the Forest Hill Golf Club at Botcheston. It was well received and after an enjoyable dinner, trophies and certificates were awarded by our guest of honour, Clyde Williams. Clyde is a leading authority on sports science and was Professor at Loughborough University. He is a CTC member and rides with the Loughborough Wednesday morning group. It was a convivial evening with the traditional cross toasting. The group included a few members who had cycled to the event.

At the time of writing, the weather has been abysmal for the last two weeks. As I look out of the window all I can see is dull grey cloud and persistent rain. Not the weather to encourage me to get my bike out. I did brave the rain a couple of weeks ago when I cycled the Monsal Trail with our president, John Allen.

The Beaumanor Hall Cycle Rally is fast approaching and the bookings are coming in. I’m hoping things will go to plan. I’ve got volunteer leaders for the runs. Clyde Williams is giving a presentation and there will be a film show. Jean and Keith Lakin can be relied upon to assist with the booking in and refreshments. We’re planning to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a ride on the Great Central steam railway.

I’ve booked for the Birthday Rides again this year. I really enjoyed the event last year at Framlingham College in Suffolk, my old stamping ground. I understand that the event is smaller this year and the accommodation was booked up months ago but they have agreed to let me pitch my small tent.

I’m sorry to have missed the David Sulley ride. It wasn’t the lousy weather, honest. I had another commitment. I enjoyed the ride last year. I understand that, despite the rain, it was well supported. David Grimshaw has already put in place the plans for next year but a different starting point.

Plenty of other events coming up to look forward to. For a start, I plan to ride John Allen’s “Back to the Fuchsia” and visit Meriden for the cyclists’ service. Let’s hope the weather is better this year - it has had a habit of raining. It’s good to see so many old friends at Mbbc iplayereriden.

This leads me to the churches “Ride and Stride” on Saturday September 8th. This is always a popular sponsored cycle ride. It’s a good excuse to see some of the lovely churches in the area and raise money for a good cause. It’s a good day out – ask Janet Neal!

Continuing on the church theme, I haven’t had a volunteer to organise our carol service for this year. I attended Doreen Sulley’s funeral in Market Harborough and afterwards visited the nearby Great Bowden church. It occurred to me that we haven’t had a service recently in the south of the county. I’ve been in touch with the vicar and he is happy to accommodate us. So the carol service this year will be at Great Bowden Church on Sunday 9th December at 1.15pm. Please note in your diary.

by Ray Clay


Technical Topics

by Peter Witting
Peter passes on some tips

NBT2 Roadside Cassette Tool

If you break a spoke on tour you need to get it fixed. Even if you can ride on after truing up the wheel, there is the risk of adjacent spokes also breaking under the increased strain. You can’t rely on finding a bike shop open to fix it with workshop tools. You certainly don’t want to carry a wrench, chain whip and cassette remover which you need as it’s usually the chain-side rear spokes that break! The answer is the Next Best Thing Mk2, or NBT2. It’s made in Holland by “M-Gineering” and sold by Spa Cycles for £17 + P&P.

Weighing under an ounce, it allows the lock-ring of a Shimano cassette to be unlocked using the force of the cranks as levers. Once unlocked, the sprockets can be removed, and then it’s possible to replace the broken spoke, providing you also packed a few spares plus a spoke key.

Recovery Drink

I normally recover from a ride with a cup of tea or a cold drink. But sometimes the ride has been more demanding than usual. An example was this year’s David Sulley Ride. When I’d dried out, I decided to try a sample sports recovery drink, received free with a cycling magazine. “For Goodness Shakes” lists 22 ingredients which claim to replenish Glycogen stores, Vitamins & minerals and repair muscles. The banana flavoured mix did seem very satisfying. Not a technical definition, but if your body responds positively it might be worth having a £1.99 sachet handy.

Altura Pocket Rocket Jacket

This is one of the modern generation of lightweight, waterproof and relatively breathable outer garments. Previously I had relied on a GoreTex jacket when it rained, and an old Gamex jacket when I only needed an extra outer layer. But I found the Altura Pocket Rocket replaced both, saving the bulk of the GoreTex jacket in my saddlebag. I’m sure other brands have a similar jacket in their range using the same thin breathable material. This one in bright yellow cost around £60 at sale price.

Waterproof Cycling Gloves

Do they exist? My BBB “Aqua Shield” gloves no longer stay dry inside, leaving hands wet and cold in winter. I’ve heard similar complaints about other brands such as Sealskinz after a period of use. The only reliable rain gloves seem to be of neoprene by Ozzo. They cost around £20, but are not suitable for winter riding – only late spring to early autumn. My theory is that most gloves have too much stitching through the semi-permeable membrane along the fingers to withstand for long the wear and tear on the handlebars. Until someone can recommend something that works, I’ll revert to a cape over the bars to keep my gloves dry and hands warm in winter.


President’s Ride to the Peaks

Ray Clay describes a wet day in the Peaks.

Stuart Jones risked getting his camera wet to record the day and is happy for you to share the lovely weather.

Nine intrepid cyclists assembled at the car park at Bakewell on a wet Wednesday in mid May to cycle the Monsal Trail. It was John Allen’s idea to have a car assisted mid week ride. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side and there was a persistent drizzle all day. The trail is well signposted and easy to find and, being an old railway line, not hard to cycle along being relatively flat. The trail is about 8 miles long.

After about a mile we came to Hassop Station which has a welcome tea shop. After refreshments, we meandered along the track enjoying the scenery and the tunnels. John is clued up on the history of the local railways and explained the many features including the impressive tunnel buttresses. At the end of the track we turned back and repeated our visit to Hassop Station. This time, I sampled a Bakewell pudding with cream while the others tucked into bacon cobs and custard tarts. Then it was back to the cars and home. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and our appetites are whetted for the next outing (Waterhouses perhaps?)


Leicester Easy Riders

Jim Gerrard

Although the drought gets daily coverage in the papers and on TV etc, it seems to me that of late it’s the wettest drought that I can remember.

Starting on the day of the David Sulley ride. Due to an oversight this clashed with our group’s luncheon in memory of David Holman. After making arrangements with Dave Grimshaw for an early start, the day did not go well with Norman’s wife being in hospital and a very wet morning. This caused a complete lack of get up and go on the morning by me and subsequently missed it this year.

Our usual rides have been achieved with shorts being de rigeur in March before reverting back to longs and extra layers of late.

I can recall a very windy ride in the Market Bosworth area when a couple of us ventured out to Appleby Magna where we were made welcome at the Crown Inn.

A good ride out to Hallaton for elevenses managed to get to Loddington where a new café was found. A new café was also found in Great Bowdon on Dave Smith’s ride to Waterloo Farm on the Brampton Valley Way. Ian’s ride to Eye Kettleby Lakes enjoyed good weather with shorts and shedding layers for a few of us.

Berkshire ride

Our more recent trip to Berkshire saw 5 of us using a B & B in Hungerford where we had a good couple of day’s cycling.

Friday’s ride was more Wiltshire than Berkshire where we managed to catch a white horse in the Vale of Pewsey.

Saturday’s ride proved more of a challenge with a wet day and fresh breeze. After getting misplaced (not lost)!!! on a bridle track that did not go where intended and shown on the map. After crossing a field we ended up a couple of miles from where we joined it but 2 hours later. No doubt this will be another story which will run and run.

A friend had commented that Berkshire was fairly flat which it probably is if you keep to the National Cycle Route 4 but we managed to find some good rolling country and some of the lanes requiring granny gear or walking. It has also been mentioned that the Kennet Cycle route is very picturesque which it probably is on a sunny day but riding back from Newbury to Hungerford on a wet late evening detracted from its merits.

Sunday’s intended ride to Inkpen and Warbury Hill was cancelled due to the gales and torrential which greeted us on the morning of the 29th April. We did however drive up there on our way back home. This confirmed we had made the right decision as there were several flooded sections of road encountered.

We shall have to save that one for another trip to the area.

Our regular runs have been fairly well attended with a couple of new riders, Adam and Paul both from the East side of city.

Norman’s wife Judy is now out of hospital and sends her thanks for the flowers and messages of goodwill received.


General Knowledge

Lyn Dolphin

The mixed weather of the last quarter has led to a varying number of riders out each Sunday, however all of the rides have gone ahead, some visiting new destinations, the rest going to our regular haunts.

On the 1st January Nick took us out to Willington for 11’s, however as we were there too early and it was too cold to stand about, we carried on to try the cafe at Stenson Bubble for the first time, and very nice it was too. We then went on to one of our regular winter pubs at Aston upon Trent for lunch.

The following week was another first, as Martin led us out to try the pub at Stoke Golding, now selling the beers from Ridge Lane. They made us welcome, and as one that doesn’t drink the beer, I had an excellent pot of coffee.

Another week on, and another two firsts. It was Joe’s lead, however with icy roads Joe met Pete and I at Twycross Zoo. We have never used the cafe here before and it was interesting to eat a bacon sandwich whilst looking for the snow leopards (looking being the operative word, we didn’t actually see them!). From here we carried on to Birchmoor, just outside of Tamworth. Another new destination, and with its coal fire, friendly atmosphere and good beer (so I am told) I am sure it will be on the winter list in the future.

The only other new destination during the quarter was a visit to the Horse and Jockey at Congerstone, which has just reopened after quite a long period of closure. Whilst they made us feel welcome, and we shared a lovely basket of whitebait thanks to Keith’s curiosity, it is perhaps a pub that is a little too smart for a Sunday visit by smelly cyclists!

We have just come back from our Easter Break. Martin, Jeanette, Pete and I shared a self catering cottage in Little Ryton, near Shrewsbury, with Pearl, Brenda and Dave in their motor homes at nearby Frodesley. Of course, the Wednesday before Easter the good weather we had been experiencing decided to break, Martin and Jeanette therefore turned up at the cottage in the snow, the first ones to use it after the winter, and had to spend the first evening with the heating on full just to take away the chill factor.

On the Friday we did our first ride. Martin led us out on rolling roads round north of Pontesbury then through the valley to Montgomery for our 11’s. Whilst riding down the valley you could see to our left the snow line on the hills. We left the cafe and having crossed over the valley to Churchstoke we started to climb, then we descended, then we climbed, then we descended then we climbed .... Eventually we got to the turn near Callow, and it was 2pm. The right turn to the pub was up a 1:4 hill and when I asked Martin if the pub would still be open, his answer of “I’m not sure” did not, at that point in time, particularly please me! However it was and I decided I was not locking my bike, if someone wanted it they were welcome to it. But after a lovely bowl of soup we continued up another 1:7 hill and went through a 4ft high snow drift to reach the top, and then had a wonderful descent back down to Minsterley and our ride home.

The Saturday saw us meet up with the Easy Riders at their campsite, and a meander across the lanes to the National Trust property of Attingham to use their cafe. We then continued on into Shrewsbury, using the cycle path alongside the river. After failing to find a suitable pub (mainly because it was actually very busy) we settled on a cafe in the river gardens, with the Easy Riders consuming their sandwiches in the rose garden. After leaving Shrewsbury on the cycle route, we turned and started the climb to Lyth Hill Country Park. Boy was I lucky that the view from here was stunning, otherwise I think Brenda and Pearl would have lynched me. But the view was amazing, and we were able to use the view finder to determine the distant hills and nearby villages.

That evening, in our usual fashion, we all went to the local pub for a meal. As the Easy Riders were in motor homes Pete went and fetched them in the car, to prevent them from having to hook back up when they arrived back, or was it in case Dave had to do another depth check if it had rained?

Sunday dawned. It was quite cloudy and only Martin and I ventured out on our run. I had warned Martin that from the start we would be climbing, virtually all the way to the 11’s at the Bog near Stiperstones, and we had agreed between us to try the bridle path ... but it was hard and it was mucky. After Pete had met us at the cafe in the car, and then left us, we continued to the pub along some beautiful little wooded roads. Here both Pete and Jeanette met us, and the temptation to be car assisted on the return journey was one both Martin and I managed to resist, but only because we were each waiting for the other to give in! The journey back was lovely, though quite a climb, as we went up past Bridges Youth Hostel to the top of the Long Mynd (and I did hear a few choice words from Martin as we turned a corner and there was another incline!). The view from Robin Hood’s Butts was stunning, though very windy. A long downhill and a slight diversion into a pub saw us return home.

On the Monday Pete and I had to return home, so that was another Easter break finished for this year. Now we are looking forward to the Queen’s Jubilee as the club will be going to London to join in the celebrations under Soo’s careful guardianship, with Keith, Nick, Martin A, Pete and I then continuing on for a small tour of Belgium – can’t wait!


I’ll be with you in a Trice

Max Scott tells of his latest acquisition


Last September I decided to add some excitement to my humdrum life and to enjoy the thrill of an entirely new experience. Having come unexpectedly into a financial windfall I decided to blow some of it on projects that otherwise might never have happened. One of these was a recumbent tricycle. No one should be surprised that a cycle of some sort would come into the picture and most people of my age would suggest that what I refer to as “an old man’s bicycle” could be the ideal. I refer, of course, to one of those carbon fibre beauties with all the new lightweight group set stuff that one may confidently ride everywhere, carrying only a spare tube, a couple of tyre levers and a mobile phone. Not that I’m a contrary sort of person but I decided that something heavier than what I had already would be far more suitable. So I bought a Trice recumbent.

I have always admired them as a piece of cycle engineering but also considered adding one to my collection as being an unnecessary extravagance. I also like to look over hedges rather than being down at roadside verge level, or so I thought. What I suppose should be referred to as normal tricycles or, in TA parlance, barrows have been regular machines for me over very many years and I’m familiar with most of their idiosyncrasies. The notion that they are easy to ride and one never falls off them is a bit of fantasy of course. Anyway I had a look at the latest Trice machines at Mildenhall last August and, had the dealer been a bit more sales savvy, might have ordered one then. There are times when fate decrees a variation and it so happened that another tricycling friend, also at Mildenhall, offered me one of his older machines at a snatch it quickly price. The deal even involved delivery which would otherwise have been quite a problem.

Sophie, for that’s her new name, arrived a couple of days before I was due to have an operation which would make sitting on a cycle saddle rather uncomfortable for about six weeks. Here, perfectly timed, was a machine with a reclining seat that would largely overcome that problem. This raises the question, does one sit on a recumbent trike or in it? Within two weeks of the operation I was pedalling the Trice around, slowly, but with a range of gears provided by three chain rings, a nine cog cassette and three hub gear ratios, not much strain was involved. This was an entirely new style of cycling and probably equates to the pleasure experienced when I first graduated to trike riding many years ago.

I have become a truly laid back cyclist. No problem seeing over hedges, the entire panorama rolls out ahead as I ride. Descending our long Northamptonshire slopes reveals a widescreen view extending for what seems like miles, with trees visible in full shape and large expanses of sky and cloud formations set out as in a landscape painting. In the more usual bent over position this view would be severely restricted, sometimes hardly beyond the rider in front. The ability to spot oil leaking from an approaching car sump and to make easy eye contact with oncoming drivers is a fresh experience but being passed by towering lorries is rather disconcerting. The two rear view mirrors are essential but riding in company is a little awkward. Cyclists riding behind are often in a blind area and there is a fear that a slow gear change might have a fellow rider suddenly tumbling over the top. Climbing a steep hill is also a strange experience, with only the treetops and sky in view but one can always pick out the birds flying above. Quite how to deal with dogs whose heads are usually at the same level as mine is something to consider and horses really are a problem. In the interests of greater visibility for others I supplemented the small Trice pennant with a large Union flag but soon removed it when approaching horses went berserk. I was visible to them all right.

The Trice is comfortable to ride with road shocks being absorbed by one’s back through the seat rather than through the legs and crutch. I did however discover another cause of discomfort on a club ride recently when we approached a length of country lane which was flooded for some distance. The water people were there already so it was presumably a burst main and, being in the middle of a village, there were also other spectators who cheered as I rode through the unexpected ford. The result: dry feet and legs but a wet bottom.

There’s no need to dismount when stopped, which is just as well since climbing out is not easy. It is extremely manoeuvrable and very quick to respond and the low centre of gravity makes for great stability. Heavy it is of course and requires a lot of effort when climbing but when descending or following a flat road with a back wind it really takes off. Unless restrained plummeting down some hills can be quite frightening but I shall no doubt become more confident with experience. The disc brakes are pretty effective although applying one more than the other can cause a disconcerting swerve but even this may be used to advantage when cornering. I’ve not yet ridden the machine on ice but its inherent stability should cope with anything other than sliding or jack-knifing. Whether I purchase a trailer to extend its use to full scale touring is a serious thought for the future.

Welcome Sophie you are a real pleasure giving addition to my cycling stable. Fortunately she just fits snugly into the garage whilst my other trikes look enviously down their handlebars at her.


South Leicestershire Report

from Tony Davis

The South Leicestershire group continues to get a good turnout on most Sundays. I suspect that yesterday was probably an exception. The last weekend in April is the date for the Melton Classic, a local race which includes sections off road in the style of Paris Roubaix. The group usually have coffee at Hallaton so that the race fans can then ride on a few miles to catch some of the action. Fortunately for me I suffered one of my very rare migraine attacks which meant I didn’t feel duty bound to ride on a day of persistent rain and low temperatures.

Despite the wet weather of the last couple of weeks we can look back on a dry winter and early spring that meant we have been able to get in early season miles.

One Sunday in February we woke to a frost but with a good weather forecast on the radio. Gill Lord phoned while we were eating breakfast worried about ice but we reassured her that the frost had already started to lift.

A few minutes later the doorbell rang. Shane Blower called in for a coffee to warm him up before we rode to Broughton Astley.

At Broughton Neil Dixon and Dave Gair were waiting and we were joined by Jill Stocks and Gill Lord. We left Broughton by Station Road to Dunton Bassett as Cottage Lane is shaded by trees and was likely to hold ice longer. From Dunton we carried on via Gilmorton, Shearsby, John Bull Hill, Mowsley and Lubenham to the Sugar Loaf at Market Harborough. Already in the warm were Peter Witting, Mick Arnold and John Cox.

After coffee the real hills started as we followed the rollercoaster route through East Farndon, Clipston, Naseby, to the Ward Arms at Guilsborough. The Ward Arms is home to Nobby’s brewery and offers a good selection of beers as wells as excellent snacks.

After lunch we climbed Honey Hill from the easy side. At Stanford on Avon Peter, Gill and Neil peeled off to make the most of the pleasant weather and get a few more miles in. Jill Stocks, Shane, Jayne and I took the short way home through Lutterworth. We were all flagging by the end due the combination of low temperature (despite pleasant sunshine), wind and hills and last but not least distance. Jayne and I had probably covered the least at just over 50 miles, Jill and Shane well over 60.

Earlier this year Neil set up a Facebook page for our group which is a very useful way of sharing news such as newly discovered cafes and letting each other know who is likely to be out riding on a Sunday.

The season for longer Audax rides is now under way. I have 400k and 600k rides planned this month. However in between these two rides I am looking forward to the Roy Damon Memorial ride to Skegness on 12th May. This is the annual ride from the clock tower in Leicester to the clock tower in Skegness, which has now been named in memory of the sorely missed Roy Damon. Some people ride there and back in the day others out on Saturday and back on Sunday. We will be having a leisurely ride calling at the Kettleby Cross, Melton, the Colsterworth Diner and finally the Moon Under Water at Boston before our search for a B&B at Skegness.


Don’t mention the “P” word.........

by Peter Witting

........unless you want a visit from the Puncture Fairy! We all know that; but there’s a new “P” word in cycling – The Pringle! That’s the nickname of London’s Olympic Velodrome. You only have to see the double-curving roof to recognise the similarity. But for the BBC TV commentators at the pre-Olympic World Cup in February, they had to avoid using this “P” word for fear of giving free advertising to the $2.7 billion business. Pringle are not official Olympic sponsors, so must not be mentioned during the Olympics!

I had planned to visit the 2012 World Cup track series in London, just as I had done in 2011 at Manchester. But I had reckoned without the “Olympics” influence. Instead of getting a ticket for every session, I could only get tickets for 2 of the 6 sessions in London. It seems that this year Joe Public wanted tickets for “our” Cycling World Cup.

The Velodrome is part of the Olympic Park which in February was still a building site. At the security check we were treated to the traditional British queue, for the benefit of any foreigners unfamiliar with our customs. The airport style scanning of bags and bodies luckily did not involve inspection of my orange juice for banned substances – vodka! After a prior lunch at the local Wetherspoons, I knew I wouldn’t have to miss any racing while queuing at the Velodrome’s refreshment bars. Very important since the tickets cost £30, and that’s to watch qualification rides only – no medal rides.

The outside of the Velodrome is clad in timber strips, which mirror the Siberian pine boards of the track inside, their colour and texture adding to the Pringle effect. Entry is via an airlock; only one door can be open during any event to prevent winds from outside upsetting the times. Once inside, the heat is apparent – like a hot summer day - another feature to thin the air and optimise track times. Yes, we were warned to dress accordingly.

The venue seems huge by comparison with the Manchester velodrome. The track looks wider, the bends more open and seating is split into two tiers to accommodate 6000 spectators. Despite my only getting seats in the upper tier, the viewing was very good; I hardly needed my binoculars to pick out riders in the bunches. The toilet facilities were better than at Manchester, though the queues for snacks and drinks were every bit as bad. Very glad I’d brought my own.

Once the racing started, the influence of Ron Webb’s track design became apparent. There was noticeably less diving down from the bends that we see at Manchester. The extra 5 yards from the final bend to the finish line also favours different riders than at the Manchester track. Once the British team got going you noticed another big difference from Manchester – the noise from 6000 spectators! Initially it spooked the ladies team who went off too fast in their pursuit qualifying ride, fading towards the end.

Those seated around me were not club riders who understood all the nuances of the events, but folk simply enjoying our Olympic experience. One architect had tickets to attend an event at every Olympic venue, but couldn’t get a cycling ticket; so the pre-Olympics were his only chance. There were of course a hard core of cycling fans - I even managed to get Sir Paul Smith CBE to autograph my programme.

The architects have created a magnificent cycling facility for our Olympics. They also drafted the plans for the Derby velodrome at Pride Park, now approved for completion in 2014. That’s something for us Midlands cyclists to look forward to. Hopefully they will incorporate a riders’ toilet facility in the track centre. My binoculars spotted the bucket being surreptitiously used by the British blokes at the Pringle - perhaps the only shortcoming!


30 Mile & Km Rides & Freewheel

Jim Gerrard

Unlike the David Sulley rides the meander rides and freewheel again enjoyed sunshine although cooler than the previous 2 years. Perhaps this was just as well as our coffee stop at the Sheepy Shack is by force of numbers always taken ‘Alfresco’

We enjoyed good numbers with 22 riding the 30 mile route and 3 on the shorter km ride. Several newer riders gave it a try this year and I hope they enjoyed the day and will be inspired onto future club participation.

The Jones family from Charnwood Section initially set of for the shorter ride but overruled by dad Stuart at the end of Thornton Main Street and completed the 30 mile. Well done to Heather and Sadie, younger members with Sadie riding stoker on her dad’s tandem.

Although we had no riders from further a field this year collecting points for this double DATC event day we were joined by John Allen our area President.

With the Charnwood Section well represented again they also stormed back to victory in the Freewheel event taking 1st and 2nd places. Martin Bulmer first and Stuart Jones second on a borrowed bike. Stuart and Sadie also finished well up in the batting order on the tandem. 15 riders competed in the Freewheel.

Thanks again to Keith, Jean and Leila for the well organised Freewheel.

We also received a note of thanks from Anji at the Sheepy Shack for cyclist support in the past and also to advise that she is passing the Shack on to Carina and hopes that we will continue to support her.


John Marshall

by Brian Hinners

John Marshall

With sad regret we announce that John Marshall died on Sunday 22nd April at home with his family present. He had been suffering for some time with stomach cancer.

John was a keen cyclist in his youth and was reintroduced to cycling 26 years ago by his son Andrew. He started his lifelong CTC membership way back then and, together with his other son, David, cycled around Derbyshire and beyond. He took part in 100mile events and when he retired completed the ‘End to End’ Lands End to John O’Groats ride.

As a teacher at Harry Carlton school in his home village of East Leake, John was keen to pass on his enthusiasm to his pupils, organising and leading many cycling activities and youth hostel trips. He was also very much involved in the Scout movement in his younger days and kept up contact with the St Augustins troop in Derby for the rest of his life.

A few years ago John started the Loughborough based ‘Social Cyclists’ group, leading regular 40-50 mile rides on Sundays. The group has been highly successful ever since with continued good turnouts, often including young families. And as ever highly organised, John published an annual runs list so newcomers, as well as regular riders, knew what to expect.

Our sympathies are extended to his wife Maureen and their two sons.


David John Bull 1937 - 2012

By Lyn Dolphin who also took the photo

David & Gillian Bull with their great grand-daughter

If you were cycling with Leicestershire CTC during the 70’s and 80’s it is very likely that you came into contact with my dad, and the brown and gold jerseys of the Taurus Cycling Club members that he always led. He was very active in the DA during this time, expressing his opinions (whether they were right or wrong!), and contributing to events and activities in any way he could. The Bull Family Trophy, which he donated, is one of the awards the DA still presents now.

Since I was 11 dad had led my family and I out cycling through the lanes of Leicestershire and beyond, to him family and young people cycling were of great importance. After I had started the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme it became apparent to him that our local area needed a cycling club for the “youngsters”, and with mum, he started Taurus. The club was very successful during its time, with over 30 teenagers going out on club runs, all under the guidance of dad and mum. Dad was very proud that members of the club continued to be his friend until the day he died.

Dad continued to cycle, though the mileage fell considerably during his later years, Mum of course was the reason he gave for this. However they regularly went out each Sunday, usually it was the 5 miles up the road to the Bulls Head at Leicester Forest West to watch the rugby, cricket or F1 on the television he never wanted.

Dad died after being ill for 3 weeks, and knowing he had terminal cancer for 3 days, on the 2nd March. He would have been disappointed that he died 10 days too early to qualify for his free television licence (still didn’t want one but wanted the free licence!), but he would have been thrilled to see everyone that attended his funeral from the cycling world. So on his behalf I would like to say thank you to all that came and to those that contacted mum to offer their condolences and to all his friends that were not able to attend.


A French Randonnéé

by Dave Binks

I recently spent some time in France and recount a little episode from my time there.

One Sunday in May I went out early (7am start!) with the local club in Chinon to ride over to the nearby town of Loudon. After getting a bit lost trying to actually find the HQ which was a massive sports hall, we signed on, paid our money (€5 for me, €3 for them as they held some sort of licence) and joined in on a Randonnéé, the French equivalent of a Reliability Trial or Sportive without the competitive element.

There was a choice of distances, from 30-80kms (18-50mls) on the road, and various shorter rides for the VTT (all terrain bikes). We signed on for the 80kms road ride and just had time for a free coffee and bit of cake before we started. I didn’t expect to see so many riders, nor such organisation for what was just a small, local event.

There must have been about 300 riders, plus lots of helpers, and financial support had come from Credit Mutuel, a French bank, who gave a free baseball cap to every entrant and also funded some of the costs. A route sheet was provided, but was in very small print, and as every junction requiring a turn or change of direction had a small brightly coloured arrow stuck to the road or on the kerb, wasn’t that critical. Some of the busier junctions or where we crossed a major road or railway level crossing had marshals, all with flags and hi-viz jackets. Such is the respect for the cyclist in France, the motorists stop without hesitation or hassle when the marshal tells them to do so – a lot different to the UK!

The area was pretty flat, but despite the wall to wall sunshine all day, the rather strong wind kept the temperature down and made riding into it very tough. I just followed the guys in my group, who had ridden the event before, so had some idea where to go, which was just as well, because within a few minutes of starting I was completely lost, the only clues to my location being the sun and wind direction. I eventually worked out we were basically doing a circumference right around the town, such that we were never that far from the HQ. Riders doing the other events were criss-crossing us and the VTT guys could sometimes be seen across the fields as they made they way round. The inner man was catered for by a big “Ravitaillement” (refreshment) tent set up in a field in the middle of nowhere, and all routes converged on it at some time in their ride. Ours was 2/3rds through before we got there, and I was quite glad to see it, having by then ridden about 40miles in quite hard conditions. All the food and drinks were free, but were fairly basic, being bread rolls, some with a simple filling, slices of cake and cold drinks. There were so many bikes, the organisers had arranged for some metal railing barriers to be stood up to enable the bikes to be propped against them, thus creating more bike parking space. This must all have taken many hours to set up and many people to man it.

Our ride was not without incident and included a puncture, and a fright for me when the guy in front touched a wheel and in his endeavours to stay upright, came across at me and left me scraping my front wheel down the side of his rear wheel. Fortunately neither of us came down, but it was a reminder to us all to take care. On our return to the HQ, preceded of course, by the obligatory “burn up” over the last hill, there was more free food and drink, including wine this time! Also a large table laid out with prizes, behind which stood a man with a microphone speaking far too fast and in an echoing hall for me to understand. However, it soon became apparent that there were prizes for every combination of rider/s you can think of; oldest and youngest rider on each ride, both male and female, best turned out husband and wife pair, club with the most riders and others I couldn’t work out, and even one for the furthest travelled, which was me and so I was given 3 bottles of wine! Fortunately one of our clubmen had gone in a car, so he carried the wine and other prizes won by the Chinon club, back to Chinon for us. By the time I had got back I had clocked up 84 miles and it was only just gone 1.45 in the afternoon.

All in all it had been a lovely day out and it was so interesting to see how the French do these things.


David Sulley Rides, 2012


Report by the organiser David Grimshaw

The 23rd year of these rides took place again on the first Sunday in March - this year on the 4th, and most will have read the recent article in Cycle Chat written by John Allen, about David and the history of the DS rides. The week before and the week afterwards the weather was `spring like` - on the day of the ride it was atrocious. It rained all day, the wind blew stronger in the afternoon and riders on the 100kms reported snow. But other than that it was a good day!

26 enthusiastic riders turned up, including our president, John Allen, who rode the 32Kms with Morgan Reynolds. There were a lot of takers for the 100 Kms, which given the conditions was remarkable! Most riders finished and disappeared into Morrisons café for a warm-up afterwards.

Fortunately this year it had been arranged to use the covered porch at the town council offices as the start/finish, which is opposite Morrisons, in case of inclement weather. Without it the event would have been cancelled. Whilst the temporary arrangement of being under cover worked this year, it is not an ideal solution and for next year I have confirmed a new free venue. It is close to Morrisons and therefore no alteration to routes is needed and more importantly it is undercover. More later.

The proposed date for 2013 is: SUNDAY 03 MARCH 2013

My thanks to Jean and Keith Lakin - as ever, `bookers-in` and marshals; Morrisons; Mrs and Mrs Bray at Sweethedges; Lutterworth Town Council; John Catt; and especially to all of the riders who turned out on the 23rd year of this event.



- 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
Part 18

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. He has just had a day when his “get up and go” had got up and gone without him!

The story continues…..

Saturday August 25

What a difference a day makes; yesterday was almost a waste of time, today was great. I set the alarm a bit earlier than normal and awoke to a slightly misty day, but with a hint of it brightening soon.

By the time I left at 9.30am, the sun was out and I had decided to go to Champagnac-de-Belair, near Brantome. This being one of Susi’s hotels meant I should be able to claim back the cost of my meal at lunchtime. My route was out through Villebois Lavallette, where the 13thC market hall was in use for its proper purpose as a market and I took some photos of the traders selling their wares, mostly local food produce, before moving on.

Riding through one small village on a quiet road I saw a young but quite large dog sitting at the side of the road engrossed in something in the grass and I was concerned I didn’t startle it when I rode by, so I just spoke to it to let it know I was there. It looked up and everything was fine. I left the village only to find the dog running alongside me, not barking, just running beside me on the traffic side. I was a bit amused and asked it where it was going (as if it would understand me!), whereupon it just looked at me and kept running. I ignored it for a while, but it kept running. I soon decided I didn’t like this, so put on a spurt and left it behind, assuming it would give up and turn back. After about a half a mile I eased off and looked back. It was still running after me! I stopped and when it caught me up I shouted at it to tell it to go back, and even grabbed it by the scruff of the neck, it had no collar, and turned it round and pushed it back towards the village but without success. I could do no more and set off again, dog still in pursuit, but this time the lie of the land was in my favour and I left it behind. I have no idea if it was just having fun, was running to its home, which may have been in the direction I was going, or if it was lost. It was in too good a condition to be a stray, but being only a young dog, could well have been lost.

The traffic was almost non existent, so it was in little danger of being hit by a car, so that was in its favour. By the time I stopped some kilometres later in la Tour Blanche for a Coke in a café, it was no longer to be seen. I just hope it got home OK.

My route was all in the lanes and I made it to my destination in good time, but couldn’t find the Hotel, or even a sign to it. I did however, see another restaurant which at a pinch, would do, so made a mental note of its location. After a circuit of the village I found the hotel I was seeking, locked the bike, went in and asked for a table for one. It was then that I heard the words that strike fear into the heart of a hungry cyclist. “Je suis désolé Monsieur, mais nous sommes complet” which means “I am sorry Sir, but we are full”. Not what you want to hear when your ability to get home depends on your being able to eat.

It may have been my sweaty appearance in cycling clothes, but the car park did have a lot of cars in it and I could hear a lot of chatter from within. So, it was back up the hill to the other restaurant where I had a nice lunch at a lot less cost. If I explained my predicament, I hoped Susi would still pay for the meal anyway (she did).

I was only about 6 miles from the lovely little town of Brantome that I had visited a while ago, and had time to spare, so with a full stomach took a slow ride along the river valley and spent an hour or so wandering around taking more photos of this delightful spot. I returned back via the lanes, unlike the last time when I followed the main road to Angouleme for quite a way.

By accident rather than design (I had missed a turning) I never went back through the village where my canine friend had earlier joined me, so don’t know if it ever found its way home again. I didn’t stop on the way back, getting home for 6.45pm having had a great day out in lovely weather.

91 miles

Sunday August 26

Clubrun day and the forecast was for it to be another good day. However, after a long day yesterday I wasn’t sure how my legs would be, so ate my breakfast with a little trepidation. As I set off, the sun wasn’t out and in fact was hidden by high clouds, but the humidity was making it sweaty already.

As usual, everyone set off together at an easy pace, and my legs felt OK, but that was no real test until the pace went up. When the split happened I decided to chance it and went with the fast group, thinking I could always stop and let the slower group catch me up provided I didn’t leave it too late as they often cut out chunks of the route.

I ached a bit up some little climbs at first when everyone was fresh, but as the ride went on I seemed to come into my own, but still stayed away from the front, where you have to work harder due to the lack of slipstream effect when there aren’t many people in front. Our route took us north-west of Angouleme, and at one point we actually rode right past the entrance to the Chateau at Rochefoucauld that I had recently visited. The only stop was when one guy’s chain snapped and I was able to give him a spare “quick link” which got him going again. Experience of the very narrow chains on modern bikes failing has taught me to carry one of these as normal chain tools often won’t work on them.

At about the 50 miles point I realised many riders were tiring, whereas I was still OK and in fact I started to find myself on the front, so my fitness level was obviously higher than I thought. I was tempted to have a swim when I got back, but decided food was a higher priority after a shower.

It had been a very humid ride and my legs and skin were sticky with the sweat, so the shower was even more enjoyable than normal. It became very warm even though the sun was always a bit watery and all I did from then on was to sit and read a book under the trees, falling asleep from time to time.

My family of three (dad, son and daughter) returned having had a good time but according to dad the kids were pretty tired. I passed on the good news gleaned from the weather forecast that the weather would be good for the rest of the week, with tomorrow being even hotter and with a full sun all day, so they could just sit around all day or in the pool if they wished.

69 miles

Monday August 27

Today was another very hot day, almost from the start. For the first time this year, I had been too hot in the night and threw everything off the bed but the sheet. This should have been happening for weeks if not months, but it just goes to show how poor a summer it had been. Even when it had occasionally been very hot during the day, the night time temperatures had always dropped right down. This time the year before when I was camping in France, it got so hot in the tent at night I would often not even get into the sleeping bag, and that was in a flimsy tent where the ability to hold temperature is virtually nil.

Having had two hard days on the bike I thought I ought to take it a bit easy and caught up with some housework and paperwork before lunch. It was very hot indeed when I rode gently into La Couronne to buy some bits and pieces. Emerging from one air conditioned shop, having been inside for a while, was like walking into a furnace, it was so hot. For only the second time this summer, I took a swim in the hotel pool, but was not particularly surprised to see the water temperature, at 22C was 2C colder than in June when it had been consistently warmer (the pool is just warmed by the sun).

I didn’t stay in long, but sat in the shade for a while reading. The evening remained very warm – just like we should have been enjoying for months.

10 miles

Tuesday August 28

As it was due to be another hot day I thought I would go out on the bike in the morning then do whatever later, so set off about 10 am intending to go and see a massive limestone hole in the ground north east of Angouleme. I had ridden past it on Sunday with the club, but they of course don’t stop to look at things like that, having no doubt already seen it, or just not being interested. It is, after all, a strange trait we all have which says that what is local to us is “everyday” and therefore not worth the bother, whereas that which is further away is always better. Thus we ignore local things and travel long distance to see other things. I remember taking a foreign pen friend to London to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and realised that, despite my living only about 15 miles away at that time, I also had never seen it!

Anyway, I set off feeling very sluggish indeed but thought I would soon pick up but that wasn’t to be the case. The humidity was very high and although the forecast was good the clouds were thick and spots of rain fell but never amounted to much. By the time I had done just over 10 miles I realised today was not my day and revised my plans accordingly.

On a previous ride I had got lost trying to find a way through from La Couronne to Puymoyen on the north east side of the City, so decided I would try it from the other direction and thus head back early. I had no more luck this time, eventually realising that what I thought were tarmac roads were in fact just tracks and I didn’t want to ride on them. What I did find though, were limestone cliffs in abundance, complete with rock climbers practising their skills.

By the time I got back it was very hot indeed and riding was not pleasant. I had to make a few phone calls and they, together with a snooze after lunch took up quite a while. I did some bike maintenance and a bit of internet browsing before my evening meal during another very warm evening.

35 miles

Wednesday August 29

The morning was a bit dull and threatening, but actually stayed dry enough for me to go to the post office. I had to send 10 new tyres, out of a batch of 40 that had been delivered to me, to one of the guys in another area and I was expecting the post office to refuse them. They were simply all taped together in a hoop and the address taped onto that. They also weighed over 5kg, but the clerk never batted an eyelid when he took the 15.60€ off me. I doubt they would have taken them in the UK, but that’s just a guess.

Wednesday afternoon is the day for the clubrun and despite the very ominous sky and poor weather forecast I nevertheless went to the meeting place. I wasn’t surprised there was no-one there, but was still a bit disappointed, as I enjoy the company even though there’s little conversation.

I waited 5 mins past the time and was just moving off when one guy did turn up, so we went anyway. After probably no more than 10 mins, the rain started, but it wasn’t too bad. A few minutes later I thought it bad enough to put my waterproof jacket on, my colleague hadn’t brought one as it wasn’t cold, but old habits die hard with me. When we got to Mouthiers there was an absolute downpour – torrential is the correct word, and we stood in somebody’s open car garage for about 10-15mins watching the road become a river. It eventually eased off and we continued.

We decided we wouldn’t go far, and he led the way but then got us lost up a dead end! I think he wasn’t exactly sure where we were, but I was, so we went through Blanzac and back on a circular route. The rain wasn’t actually that bad at that point, but the wind was very strong and in our faces when coming back. As we neared home we could see lightning in the sky towards the middle distance. I had only done about 40kms, but it felt like longer.

Not long after I got back, the storm proper started; thunder, lightning, very heavy rain and strong winds for about 4hrs. The trees overhanging my shed were dropping their smaller branches like crazy and two of the biggest trees, one very near the hotel, dropped some very large branches. Had anyone been under them at the time, they would have been quite badly hurt, but fortunately no-one was anywhere near at the time.

I had been invited to join the staff in the kitchen for my tea and was careful to stay away from the trees when I dared to run across. Yet by the time I came out again, it had nearly all blown away. When I wrote this, the wind had died, it had stopped raining and the sky was quite a bit brighter. I didn’t see the national TV news but fully expect some people to have been killed as the south east of France was due to get the really bad stuff – we had only been on the edge of it.

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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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