Central London CTC blog

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Archive for August 2010

The Phoenix Way

Posted on Monday 30 August 2010 by Charles Harvey

The embarrassment! For the first time ever I had to drop out of a ride that I was leading. On the Wednesday before the ride I pulled my back when, of all things, I was bending down to check the tyre pressures on my car. An appeal by email to other CTC 1* ride leaders and the CTC committee failed to find another ride leader. So as the anti- inflammatory tablets my doctor had prescribed seemed to be working I decided to go ahead.

I nearly got away with it. I was fine for the seven miles along the Phoenix Way, a Sunstrans route that was once the railway from Princes Risborough to Thame. We had coffee at Thame and looked at the memorial plaque to John Hampden and looked at the town’s fine parish church and the old grammar school where John Hampden was educated. more »

Scarecrow Festival

Posted on Friday 27 August 2010 by Charles Harvey

The ride promised “a surreal experience” and “low mileage but there are hills”. It delivered on both counts. Every August the village of Flamstead has a scarecrow festival to raise funds for local charities. There are scarecrows sitting in front gardens, scarecrows on ladders and scarecrows looking out of windows. To support the charities you buy a programme and voting form and then go round the village to see and vote for the best scarecrows. See some of the entries here.

The ride set off from Harpenden station. It’s only an hour’s ride to Flamstead but there’s a killer hill up to it from the A5 so we were happy to stop there for coffee and cakes.  Most of the riders decided to spend the day looking round the village, giving marks to the best scarecrows and enjoying the festivities (morris dancing, a brass band etc.). Those who wanted a bit more exercise rode to Studham for lunch at the Red Lion. After visiting the village church there they were back at Flamstead for the return ride which set off, via another killer hill, back to Harpenden at 16.30.

Tour of the Hills

Posted on Monday 16 August 2010 by Charlie Keep

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned to Nick B that I’d registered for this. I asked him if he’d ever done it. “No”, he said with a tone of finality which strongly suggested to me that he had no intention of changing this state of affairs.

This conversation instilled in me a gnawing sense that I had let myself in for a ride which might be filed under the heading “Brutal and unnecessary self-punishment”. This suspicion only intensified when I arrived at the start.  “Done this one before?” Said the lady giving out tea at Shere village hall. I acknowledged my status as a débutante. “Hmm” she said, giving me a dubious look, “Why don’t you have a biscuit?” more »

Down to the woods

Posted on Thursday 12 August 2010 by Thomas James

25 July saw my first attempt as a three star ride leader. The venue was north Sussex and the hills of the High Weald. There was a slight overlap with my two star ride of the previous week and two of the group (seven in total) were there to compare.

We started at Gatwick and left the airport using  a typical part of the National Cycle Network (ie a dirty goods lift leading to narrow path with sharp blind corners). The advantage of a Gatwick start however is that very quickly you can be away from all this and into the countryside, and we were soon in the small but steep hills around Ardingly. A long descent then took us east on quiet roads towards Fletching for a long climb northwards to the top of the Ashdown Forest and down towards the north-east, before swinging back to Hartfield. more »

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