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Archive for the ‘Four star rides’ Category

Dunwich Dynamo 2015, that’s a wrap

Posted on Thursday 16 July 2015 by Martin Hayman

Two key factors dominate the clued-up rider’s approach to the Dunwich Dynamo: the weather forecast and the return trip.

The happy-go-lucky spirit that formerly characterized this summer-night jaunt—“just turn up and ride!”—has been tempered by experience. The apocalyptic conditions that ruled last year’s edition were especially instructive.

This year, the challenge was the return trip. The number of riders turning up at Ipswich station to take an early-morning fast train back to town has grown very large; this year train operator Abellio acted to forestall the chaotic scenes seen there as hundreds of cyclists attempted to board. This meant rationing tickets to the number it could realistically carry—a lot fewer than those who would be wanting them. more »

Luton–Ireland–Luton via the Greensand Ridge

Posted on Monday 10 March 2014 by Martin Hayman

Not much blogging has been done lately, I was reminded Sunday, and it is true, not even our recent successful participation in the Hell of the Ashdown has been reported here.

(In fact a report with fetching photos was posted on the CLCTC Facebook Page, which instantly renders it invisible.)

Some of the supposed hell-riders were up for it again last Sunday, for Damian’s ‘Luton Irish’ ride (so called because it traverses Ireland, a tiny hamlet). One advantage of this area is that it’s served by a quick train out of St Pancras that conveniently picks up north Londoners at West Hampstead and Hendon; though no longer so handy for leader Damian McNamara, who has de-camped from Willesden to Streatham. Another is the large number of quiet, well-surfaced lanes, in part along the Greensand Ridge.

The party assembled at Luton was a bit of re-mix, two riders never having met more »

Luton Loop

Posted on Monday 10 December 2012 by Martin Hayman

Damian has exploited the Thameslink St Pancras–Luton line to open up a cycling country comparatively little-known to us. Conveniently, riders are also able to join the train at Kentish Town, West Hampstead, and Cricklewood. Damian’s 4* squad comprising Bob, Jon, Martin, Mike, and Raphael was briefed to the effect that this was an 80-km morning bash with no coffee stop en route.

Luton – the most southerly Midland town, it has been called – more »

Four-star group takes on a life of its own

Posted on Monday 1 October 2012 by Martin Hayman

Far from being an etiolated sport of the original stock, the CLCTC 4* group has taken on a vigorous life of its own, attracting several lively young newcomers. For Damian’s ride out to Saffron Walden from Highgate, we were joined again by Seet, whose daily commute to Potter’s Bar gives him plenty of base mileage; Karine, a French triathlete; Sarah, who recently completed an end-to-end with a CTC group; and, in the full Liquigas strip, Peter (no not that one). We also welcomed back Raph from an enforced break caused by his painful fall in Regent’s Park.

Moments after our departure from Caffe Nero more »

Fear & Loathing on the Road to Tunbridge Wells

Posted on Monday 24 September 2012 by Martin Hayman

What did it was the moment an onrushing car, at the crest of the rise about 500 m distant, decided to storm past a slower vehicle down the dip slope towards us. In fine weather, it would have been a questionable manoeuvre. In the conditions, it was truly terrifying.

Rain was plummeting down, driven by a chill easterly blowing the leaves off the forest trees that crowd in over the narrow, switchback B2169, turning it into a dark tunnel; the road surface deeply rippled chip-and-seal, holes concealed by deep standing water, requiring me to pilot our 3-man squad, at absolutely maximum effort, some couple of metres out from the crumbling edge. Near-continuous traffic, lights blazing, blasted past us at 50 mph or more. My spectacles (and indeed eyes) were filled with rain; having dropped the chain once already, I dare not risk the change out of the big ring. Stopping was not an option. more »

Blazing Saddles: 125km at 25kph

Posted on Tuesday 13 March 2012 by Martin Hayman

This was the target set for the year’s first 4-star ride. Our destination, Saffron Walden (and some of the way back).

Conditions could scarcely be better when six of the usual suspects met in Highgate: scarcely a huff of wind, with sun and better than 15C forecast. Potter’s Bar was soon taken, with ride leader Damian leading from the front, as is proper. Even before turning off the main road into Kentish Lane for Hertford, we had hailed loads of club riders, and continued to see them all the way to Saffron Walden.

There was no stopping for coffee in Hertford; but for an enforced stop to repair a puncture somewhere near Berden, the boys just kept swinging along. This was OK for those who had done the last three Sundays, all of around 100 km, and one of them the so-called Hell of the Ashdown sportive, with its 1000m of climbing. But for the writer, who had done only one full-strength ride this year, back in January, the lunch stop at Saffron Walden, reached at 12.15 after 80km, came not a moment too soon. more »

Bob’s Herts **** ride August 28th

Posted on Monday 29 August 2011 by Bob Davis

Down for a hilly **** in the Chilterns, we were forced to change venue at short notice after eagle eyed Richard Philpott noticed on Friday night that our train was cancelled . Other lines were closed or limited in a display of engineering works dramatic even by Bank Holiday weekend standards, so I switched to Kings Cross for Welwyn North with numerous e-mails and phone messages sent out late on Friday night.

With all that I was gratified when Mike Evans and Julia Moye joined me at Kings Cross, to be sent off by Uncle Geoff, who had arrived to do so on his town bike, attired as a gentleman should be on a Sunday morning. more »

Where the road ends and the sea begins

Posted on Wednesday 29 June 2011 by Stephen Taylor

On Sunday we cycled so far we ran out of road. Half a dozen of us set out from London Fields before 9am. Our plan was to reach the coast. This was a reprise of the ride I had led a few months ago when we had ridden out to Maldon. On that occasion we had managed a hint of the sea coming up the Blackwater Estuary and from our plates of fish and chips. This time we were hoping to get a little further … more »

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