Central London CTC blog

Ride reports, maps, pictures, announcements and other news …

Group Training Rides

Posted on Saturday 18 February 2017 by Richard Philpott

Riding with Central London CTC is a friendly and sociable activity. As you cycle along you can get to chat with old and  new friends. However, there are some things you can do to help make your cycling safer as well as fun, especially on today’s busier roads.

We are planning to run two group training sessions in March. The sessions will include practical advice on how to ride next to your fellow cyclists safely, looking out for and dealing with hazards on the road, and interacting with other road users. Experienced riders are urged to attend, as they can help in passing their knowledge on the less experienced riders.

There will be two sessions; for the one and two star riders on 5th March, and for the three and four star riders on the 19th March. Both sessions will start at 09.00, meeting at the Garden Cafe on the Inner Circle of Regents Park. Each session will last approximately an hour.

The trainer is Stephen Taylor, who for many years helped to organise and lead the Little Green Rides and who has also ridden with the 3/4* riders.

Places will be limited to approximately ten per session – if you would like to attend, please email Stephen in advance at sltaylor001@yahoo.co.uk.

Central London CTC Committee

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)

Kumi Tashiro

Posted on Monday 21 November 2016 by Richard Philpott

Some of you will have been following Kumi Tashiro’s blog, chronicling her extraordinary journey the length of South America, which she started in February this year.

Last week we received the terrible news that she had an accident while cycling in Tierra del Fuego on 13th November and passed away shortly afterwards. She was just two weeks away from reaching the end of her journey and returning to the UK.

Sue Dorey has been helping Kumi throughout the trip by proof-reading her blog entries for her. Her final entries, up to 7th November, were not posted to her blog before her accident, so we are posting them here.

We will be commemorating Kumi’s amazing life and achievements with a memorial ride in the New Year and other events which we will announce once we have organised the details.

Kumi Tashiro

Kumi Tashiro


Day 252-273 — 17th October – 7th November

17th October

I wanted to see “Capillas de Marmol”, the tourist attraction at Puerto  Rio Tranquil, in the morning. However, as there was only one other customer, apart from myself, and a minimum of five were needed for the boat, the tour company staff told me to return at 2pm, which I did. I then had to wait another hour, but eventually we had a group of eight, so I managed to see it. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy, if it had been sunny, as it had been in the morning, we could have seen the marble reflected in the water, it would have been a beautiful sight. However, although I didn’t have that pleasure, at least I saw some stunning caves.

18th October

I left Puerto Rio Tranquil, heading for Puerto Bertrand, 72km away. It was a gorgeous hot day, with strong sunshine. The views were beautiful, and the water a cooler, greenish-blue colour. I stopped many times to take photos. Also, I frequently had to walk, as the mixture of sand and brown earth made the gravel road  very slippery. It was up and down, with many hills. Whenever cars passed, I was covered in dirt. Again, I was very tired , I started wondering , where is Puerto Bertrand? The road went through a very quiet forest, it seemed unlikely there was a town, but just as I was about to go down another hill, I saw a sign for Puerto Bertrand. Yes! I reached the town at 6.30pm. more »

Epping Forest in Autumn

Posted on Tuesday 15 November 2016 by Charles Harvey

Considering its proximity to London, I was surprised to find that there hadn’t been a CLCTC ride in Epping Forest for over two years. The main roads through it are very busy though this doesn’t seem to put off the many road riders you see on them. But for me the appeal is the off-road routes on the forest paths.

Five riders met up at Chingford Station on a sunny but cold morning. We started with a visit to The View, the City of London’s visitor centre to learn about the history, flora and fauna of the forest. We also looked at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge which is next door. We then headed along the forest paths to High Beech. A map reading error lead to an unplanned visit to look at the blue plaque to the poet John Clare who was in an asylum on the edge of the forest.

The planned coffee stop at High Beech was not a success as it involved queueing in the cold for some time while the kiosk tried to cope with another larger cycling group who had got there before us. We were glad to warm up again riding to the lunch stop at The Forest Gate, a pub at Bell Common at the north end of the forest. We arrived there at 12.30 just before it got very crowded. We were well looked after there and I’ll use it again on another ride.

Given the queues in the morning at High Beech, we decided not to stop there in the afternoon and rode on to Butlers Retreat for tea. As it is only 5 minutes’ ride from Chingford Station, two of our number headed straight for the station while the rest of us stopped for hot drinks. By the time we were finished it was beginning to rain so we cycled quickly to the station.

This is the first time I’ve led a ride in Epping Forest. If I was doing it again I use the same route but leave the visit to the visitor centre and the hunting lodge to the end of the ride so we can get to pub for lunch early before it gets busy. I’d probably do it in December or January when the days are shortest as the ride finished in mid-afternoon.

Hungary Tour 2017

Posted on Monday 3 October 2016 by Jo Wright

Jo and Jan are offering a tour in Hungary during the late Spring bank holiday week. It will start and end in Budapest starting Saturday 27th May to 3rd June 2017. We will be cycling along some of the 2000km of cycle routes and paths. More information coming soon. Contact Jan at janunderwood22@yahoo.co.uk or Jo at jolmwright@clara.net to register your interest.

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