Central London CTC blog

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Archive for January 2017

Memories of Graham Watson

Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2017 by Richard Philpott

Graham Watson, a founder member of our club, recently passed away after an accident at his home in New Zealand.

John Aizlewood’s memories of Graham:

“Graham was a founder member of the Camden Section when it was formed through the Central London Clubroom in 1978, and was soon leading rides. He had come to London with the Royal Bank of Scotland, and his organising skills were valuable in the early days, taking the committee posts of Treasurer 1981-83 and then Secretary 1984-88. In the latter role he developed the section and managed the (then) controversial name change to Central London. He was always most welcoming to new riders, and patient with novices, and there was often “tea at leaders” in South Croydon.

A YHA volunteer warden, he was a keen supporter/organiser of weekends and tours as they developed in the early days. Folk evenings at Tanners Hatch YH were one of his particular favourites. He was also a keen supporter of the CND. On the DA committee as the editor of the Pedaller, he regularly contributed articles on the section activities, and photos to the section album, which now form a valuable record. A notable achievement was the first recipient (jointly with Dave Everitt) of the “Velocipede” award for leading a ride which only managed three miles before lunch.

He met his wife Fiona through the section, and left us in 1989 to marry her in New Zealand: we gave him a Campagnolo cork screw as a present for the cyclist who has everything. Mysteriously he appeared on the next rides list, but sensibly declined to fly back to lead it!

A quiet gentleman who was good company on rides, and remembered for his commitment to cycling, friends, and principles.”






Michael Belcher’s memories of Graham:

“I came to cycle touring rather late. I was nearer forty than thirty when I came out on a club ride in the early eighties. It was a whole new world to me and Graham appeared to be at the centre of it. He actively welcomed new comers and sought out new recruits. Helen Dutton who later succeeded Graham as club secretary told me she came out on her first club ride as a result of him striking up a conversation with her on public transport that ended with him giving her a rides programme.

Soon I was enjoying Sunday rides in south east England and going further afield on weekend YH tours organised by Graham. In retrospect (and confirmed by photographs) many of these rides involved us carrying our bikes down muddy tracks. Despite this Graham and his bike always seemed immaculate.

The enjoyment of this combination of fresh air, exercise and companionship together with visiting new places has stayed with me because I’m still doing it. I think it’s true to say that Graham helped develop a template that has been followed ever since. If it changed my life then I’m sure that there are many others who have the same reasons to be grateful to him.”


 Any longstanding members of the Club who remember Graham and wish to get in touch with Fiona may do so at fionahwatson@gmail.com.

Charlie’s and Emily’s

Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2017 by Charles Harvey

The plan for the ride was to “Learn that CTC stands for Café to Café or, alternatively, Coffee, Tea and Cakes. Your chance to visit two well-known cyclists’ refreshment stops, Charlie’s in Wheathampstead and Emily’s in Whitwell.” It seemed that it would be a straight forward ride to lead. But then I had not reckoned with the railways …

I wrote in an earlier blog that “I sometimes suspect that Network Rail has a specialist unit that monitors the CTC rides list and then plans engineering work to disrupt it.” These dark suspicions were strengthened by my experience with today’s ride. On Thursday night, I checked the National Rail Enquiries website for train times to St Albans and discovered that no train times on Sunday were listed. Having checked the Thameslink website well in advance re: planned engineering work, I was rather surprised so I checked it again. The only engineering work listed was at the other end of the line between Three Bridges and Brighton. I could relax.

Then on Friday I got an email from Anna more »

Blue plaque ride

Posted on Tuesday 17 January 2017 by Charles Harvey

This ride was listed as a “Tour of Hampstead, Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb to see where the great and the good lived”. The ride was created by combining a ride that Brian led last year for CLCTC and a ride that I had led for Barnet Cyclists in the past. I went on Brian’s ride last year and realised that the most northern part of his ride met up with the most southerly part of mine and suggested that we combine forces and lead a joint blue plaques ride in 2017.

About 15 riders met up by Finchley Road station at 11.00 and headed up a very steep slope that one had to push up. Our first stop was the plaque to Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who helped found both the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics. It would take pages to list every plaque, memorial or grave we looked at but those commemorated included Sigmund Freud, Edward Elgar, John Constable, Cecil Sharp, Hugh Gaitskell, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alistair Sim, Evelyn Waugh, Harold Wilson, Tony Hancock and Ralph Richardson. more »

Kumi Tashiro Memorial Rides

Posted on Monday 9 January 2017 by Richard Philpott

This week, on Sunday 15th January, we will be running special 1* and 2* rides, with a joint lunch, to remember Kumi Tashiro, who sadly died in November 2016 in Tierra del Fuego, just two weeks away from the end on a ten-month-long ride along the whole length of South America.




Kumi with Coralie and Clement in the south of Chile.


Kumi just before setting off on her trip in early 2016

Kumi just before setting off on her trip in early 2016


Kumi in Chile

Kumi in Chile


Wrld map

A map of some of Kumi’s travels, put together by her friends  (thanks to Rod Dalmaine for the photo).


At a gathering to remember Kumi at her flat.

At a gathering to remember Kumi at her flat.


Here are a few of the tributes to Kumi we have received since her death:

“Kumi was a longstanding and popular member of the club for many years. Her taste and spirit of adventure were second to none. Rest in peace Kumi, I will really miss your unassuming character mixed with such a sense of adventure, and bravery in cycling round places most of us would never dare to go”
(Lisa Percival, secretary of Central London CTC)

“Cycling hero. Kumi was such a strong lady, and much braver than I could ever be”
(Kelvin Dane)

“Kumi was one of those rare people who just seem to be completely nice and completely positive. She was also, for all her small stature and quiet manner, fabulously impressive in what she did. I was in awe of her bravery ”
(Mark Knox)

“We met Kumi at the end of October in the south of Chile, and spent ten days with her. We built a strong friendship very fast, as we were cycling in a very difficult area (unpaved roads, forests, strong winds). We were shocked by Kumi’s death, she was a wonderful woman, we are so sad. She was so kind , our hearts  are full of sadness to think she was alone in her last moments”
(Coralie(Coco) and Clement, a French couple who met Kumi during her South America trip)

“Kumi was an inspiring woman, tiny yet determined…she persevered through all kinds of difficulties and challenges. I am honoured  to have  met her and shared the journey with her. My life is enriched through knowing her, even for a short time. Travel well, my friend, in the hearts of those who knew you”
Sandra and Tim, an Australian couple who joined Coco, Clement and Kumi for  few days on the trip)

“Kumi was the only one in the group who really could understand me and all the travelling I have done in my life. She was made out of the same material I was made of”
(Mickey, a Dutch woman who, like Kumi, had cycled  all over the globe. She led the group Kumi rode with in Alaska and Canada in 2015)

“Kumi rates as possibly the most determined person I have ever known, and certainly one of the nicest, with great concern for others and not a trace of the egoism one often sees in high achievers.  I well remember her persevering with an almost-doomed Easter ride to the Scottish border, when the mileage target knocked most of us out of the running, including me. Only later did I learn that she had done the whole route almost solo and without a hint of protest. I will always remember her.”
(Pat Wheeler)

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