Tuesday, March 30, 2021

2020 Competitions - The Results

You may well have wondered what else didn't happen in this year's strange calendar. It was a sad thing to not have our Annual Lunch on 3rd March as we would have done in a normal year. But many will have realised that we didn't have an Awards Presentation Ceremony or an exhibition of photos either.

Though there were many weeks when we weren't able to run our weekly rides we did collect figures for attendance for all those weeks when we were able to ride in groups of six. And a surprising number of riders recorded a higher number of miles in 2020 than they did in 2019.

Attendance figures are recorded on a best-endavours basis by the bean counters in the Beginners groups and in each of the Wayfarers groups and in Cheam and Morden. Mileages are diligently collected by individuals and we rely on them to check the distances recorded for each ride in case of bad behaviour from their Garmins or Phones running Strava and other GPS apps. The humble Cat-Eye type recorders are possibly the most consistently reliable, provided they have been calibrated carefully for the wheel and tyre size on the bike. On the other hand they don't help so much when you're lost.

Thanks to the judges, Jeff, Paul (and self) for judging the photos and Simon for coordinating the complicated process of deliberating over all the written reports of tours (not many of them) and of the vast number of reports on one-day rides. It has been a great year for the flourishing of well-written, witty and informative articles about the rides people have undertaken within the strictures of Lockdown. So we now have a wealth of reference material for all the blue plaques, memorials, tiny streams, forgotten paths, pop-up fly-tipping sites, puddles and boggy bits, derelict vestiges of forgotten industry, not to mention news of cafés we didn't know about.

So, to cut to the chase, here are our esteemed winners of the 2020 competitions:

Click to enlarge

And here are the links to the photo albums for each of the categories:

6.1 Person (male) or people (Drake Cup)


6.2 Person (female) or people


6.3 Action (Albert Welvaert Memorial Trophy)


6.4 Scenery/Landscape (The President's Trophy)


6.5 Building/buildings (The Tom and Mrs Fish Cup)


6.6 Humorous or funny


6.7 Best Group photo (Pete Mitchell Memorial trophy)


6.8 Hors catégorie


6.9 Guest exhibition: Paul Carpenter


And you can read 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' on the Beginners blog, posted 18th September. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in the competitions.

~ Tim

Monday, March 29, 2021

Streets of Richmond - a bicycle tour during lockdown

(See below  for Wednesday's ride details, and the new group riding arrangements)

To the tune of "Streets of London" by Ralph McTell:
♫ Have you seen the old man cyclist on his red Claud Butler,
 Memories (of group riding) fading with the lycra that he wears.
♫ He doesn't find it boring, he just keeps right on touring,
♫ Carrying his home in two pannier bags*. 

Disgraceful!   Going on a multi-day cycling tour during a lockdown!    Ah, but in my defence, members of the jury, I stayed local, very local, within the boundaries of Richmond Borough.

In an attempt to find some variety within the 22 square miles that make up my home borough, I decided to try and ride along every street, over a number of days, rather than the four or five main routes that I usually use to get to and from home.

This is an interactive post: first you can sing along to the song above, and now you are invited to guess - how many miles of riding did that take?   Make a note of your answer before all is revealed below.    Bear in mind that some streets have to be ridden twice or more: if they're dead ends, or they lead to somewhere else, or because I missed a side road the first time.   And some are not streets but alleys that sometimes lead somewhere interesting, but usually not.  I didn't generally try to ride the cycle paths or towpaths.

Does that help you work out the distance ridden?  If not, how about this: there are 1,714 roads in Richmond - although some of them are very short, with just a few houses.  Population: just under 200,000.

Richmond likes to think of itself, quaintly, as a collection of villages, from Barnes in the east to Hampton in the west, via the hamlet of Petersham - blink and you miss it between Richmond and Ham.  There are a surprising number of cyclist- or cycling-related street names in these villages.  In the absence of photos of people's houses, here are some of the more interesting street names, each one proudly bearing its village name:

I think this is the set of "village" names. 

What did I learn?  Well, mainly that there are more interesting places to cycle if you don't stay quite so close to home.  But there were some lovely houses: some in places you'd expect, others hidden away in cul-de-sacs that looked like nothing, or where you might not expect such grand houses.  If I knew more about architecture then I would have more to say, so you're getting off lightly.  There are also a lot of hidden tennis clubs, pocket parks, and village greens in addition to the Royal Parks.  And maybe a dozen cemeteries, which in themselves are interesting to ride around.

Garages - what a waste!

The biggest surprise was the amount of space used for car parking.   Every block of flats or maisonettes, and every new development, has generous off-road parking provision, much of which is unused, unmaintained and unlovely.  It's often hidden down a little alleyway.   Acres of concrete, and hundreds of badly-maintained or unusable garages.  Nowadays anything more than a few yards from the house is considered too far to walk, so people park their 4x4s on the road outside their house, creating another eyesore and safety hazard.   Modern cars are simply too big to fit in most garages.   A few garages were in use as workshops, bike stores, or for restoring a vintage car, but many more had wrecked doors, or were blocked by garden or builders' waste.   I bet half of them haven't been used in years.  If all this unusable space was reclaimed, it would contribute hugely to the green space around these flats and residential areas.

Total miles ridden: 619.  Total ascent, 3474 metres, or 0.4 Everests (excludes the Richmond Hilly 50 ride) over 22 days.  * On this particular tour I didn't need panniers as I was Staying At Home.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Easy Riders Ride 31st March 2021

 Hi all, I am down to lead the Easy Riders this coming Wednesday, 31st Mach, from Walton Upon Thames (Cowey Sale). The route we are taking is from Walton, Cowey Sale car park where we can have a coffee, tea etc and use the toilets. We go from Walton though Shepperton, Charlton, Feltham and then follow the route of the River Crane to Kneller Gardens Park, Twickenham, where we stop for lunch. Once again we can use the toilets.  After lunch, we will be going to Bushey Park via Twickenham, Teddington and then into the park at the gate located behind the National Physics Laboratory for tea at the lake side kiosk and toilets at the play ground.

Helen has kindly volunteered to sub lead a group, but ideally we could do with another volunteer otherwise we can only have 10 riders join us. 

The route we are using is shown on https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35474310. Cue sheets are available via email, from me.

We do need to know who will be coming with us as soon as possible, so could you please contact Helen Tovey 07429 398 023, Email helentovey@gmx.co.uk or Ray Youlden 07480922214, Email ryoulden@virginmedia.com

Ray Youlden

B Group ride - 31st March

Welcome back and here is news of the first B ride of 2021!!

This will be on Wednesday 31st March and you are invited to put your name down by sending an email by Monday 29th March to: johnaustin04@yahoo.co.uk

Our meeting point is on the grass verge next to the A246 Guildford Road toilets in Bookham (opposite the High Street that joins the main road at this point).

There are a couple of shops in the High Street that may offer coffees and cakes but nothing at our actual meeting point.

Start times will be around 10.30 to 11.00, depending on how many sub groups we need to form. I will let each rider know by email what your start time will be.

Please check on our website to remind yourself of the covid regulations that we need to follow.

We shall head out across the North Downs and into the Surrey Hills, quite undulating but nothing too steep for our first ride together.

There will be a short snack stop at the Heartwork café near Holmbury. This offers tea, coffee and light snacks. Unfortunately, it does not have toilets and there is nowhere on that site to eat one’s own picnic. Anyone preferring to bring their own snack can be directed to a nearby alternative.

It is 22 miles from Bookham back to Ashtead, but riders are of course welcome to branch off to suit their own preferred journey home.

John A.

Downtown Bookham

Our meeting point, complete with toilets

Friday, March 26, 2021

The A-Ride from Weybridge on 31st March

Here we go again!

For the first group ride of the year I have ordered sunshine and a constant tailwind. 

Janice, Ged, Dave V and I will be leading groups of six, leaving Weybridge from 10.30am.

We will meet in the park behind the day centre. Coffees are available from various outlets in the town and the toilets in the park are open.

The route to lunch is 23 miles on familiar roads with just one Steep Hill.

Lunch will be a take-away from the Cinnamon Cafe in Windsor, or bring your own. The cafe is under the station canopy, so useful in the unlikely event of rain.

Afternoon tea will be taken al-fresco at Shepperton Lock or Walton Bridge after a further 15 miles. 

Riding through the Pandemic – Resuming Group Rides


As you are doubtless aware the partial lifting of Government restrictions means that we can now ride in groups of up to six from 29 March 2021. Our first Wednesday ride will therefore be on 31 March, please see the blog for further details.

For the present the committee has decided that the Rule of Six will apply as last year at least until we have considered advice from CUK regarding larger groups. In addition, please read and observe the following rules.

It's easy to forget to do social distancing, and it's worrying to see people sometimes in groups bigger than six, and mingling between their groups of six at stops.

There will be people who remain cautious about re-joining group rides, and worried about people getting too close to them. Many of our riders are at increased risk from Covid due to age or medical conditions, and we all need to look after each other. Vaccinations have helped but do not make us fully immune.

So remember and practice the following golden rules:

· Don’t come on a ride if you feel unwell or have a positive or pending test

· If you do feel unwell follow the Government guidelines here.

· Keep your hands clean: wash or sanitize them if you touch something that others have touched

· As far as possible only meet outdoors.

· Maintain 2 metres distance between people: social distancing at less than 2m is allowed if you take other precautions but 2 metres is still desirable and safer.

· Please remind people if they are closer to you than the safe distance.

· It is safer to leave a longer distance than 2 metres when riding behind another cyclist, because of possible contamination through coughing or sneezing; we recommend enough space between riders to allow a car to overtake safely.

· The law continues to restrict us to groups of six off the bike. Stay in groups of six, and don’t mingle between groups – this increases the risk to everyone.

· Ride leaders should minimise contact at refreshment stops by 20 min spacing between departures as far as practicable.

· We are obliged to wear face coverings when in shops, takeaway cafes, and when using public transport; bring a covering and be prepared to wear it.

· If you are on an all-day ride, bring a picnic unless you are confident that you will be able to buy food on the ride, and you are comfortable with the distancing and hygiene in the pubs and cafes we visit.

· If you become unwell on a ride and Covid is suspected inform the Ride leader promptly, who should assess the situation with you. You should return home as soon as possible with the least risk of infection spreading. This may involve calling for help from home, or the leader asking for a volunteer to accompany you as a suitable distance. All members of the ride should assess their level of contact with the person and take appropriate action including self-isolation if appropriate. If necessary, the ride should be abandoned, and riders return home. If this occurs in a sub-group the overall leader should be informed, who should assess the overall risk. A committee member should also be informed and a CUK incident report filed if necessary.

· If you are helping another rider with a puncture or mechanical use hand sanitiser before and after, and consider using a face covering.

If you have concerns about these rules and their observance by members, please contact a committee member.

The risk from Covid is not going to go away in the foreseeable future, despite the vaccination programme, so it continues to be vital to look out for the safety of others as much as ourselves. The virus spreads by touch and in the air, so help us all to stay safe.

Rule of Six

Following relaxation in Government restrictions on 29 March, the committee has decided that we continue to stay clearly within the law and apply the Rule of Six to rides at least until we have considered advice from CUK regarding larger groups.

We are familiar with riding in groups of six from last year, but off the bike, at elevenses, lunch and even tea, we should avoid giving the impression of being a larger group, even unintentionally. Complaints from the public to the police are possible, as well as reputational damage to our club.

The committee believes the new regulations require continued self-discipline from members to stay on the right side of the law, and to be seen to be doing so. Therefore:

·         At elevenses, lunch and tea only congregate with your own riding group. Do not go to other groups for even brief conversations.

·         Make sure that your group is visibly separate (by several metres) from other groups.

·         Be aware of how we appear to a non-cycling observer.

·         Do not arrive too early for the start; aim for 30 minutes maximum before departure which should be sufficient for refreshments and any other preparations.

·         Similar separation should be practiced at lunch and tea; refreshment venues may already insist on this as a condition of entry. If we ignore this, we may not be permitted to return.

·         Departure times should be staggered by 20mins to reduce the chance of groups meeting later during the ride.

·         Where possible leaders should consider separate meeting places for their groups (including Wayfarers A and B rides).

Responsibility for this rests with each one of us, but ride leaders are requested to remind their riders if required.

All other instructions on group riding should continue to be observed, see here.