The day started bright and sunny if a little cold after a good nights sleep only waking once probably to check I was still going to make it.
A big birthday at 65 I become a member of the Cycling Gov.uk team. I’ve been a domestique since the age of 16. I could have started later if I’d not fallen out with education. Or was it education falling out with me? The culmination of 49 years carrying bidons and sponsoring the then current team has arrived. Feeling lucky as I gave a thought to those I’ve known who didn’t make it this far. I still don’t know where the time has gone.
The location for the launch today was Sharrow Bay Hotel. Not somewhere I’ve been before but an excellent venue and thankfully offering large discounts for those born in March.
The view from my dining table today was ‘to die for’, the food was ‘ to die for’. Some of the prices on the wine bottles would have killed me but relax I don’t intend doing it anytime soon.
So that’s the first day over and the hard graft starts tomorrow. Tyres are hard and chains are oiled. To any of my sponsors reading this, rest assured I will give it my best effort.
It’s that time of year again when local communities raise funds at halls holding ‘cream teas’. I cycled directly, in the rain, to Lockerbie this morning to lead our club ride. Larry was waiting for me and neither of us daunted by rain we set off.
My route had to arrive at Middlebie Hall for two o’ clock when the doors open. Initially a meandering ride on traffic free roads back to my house to sample the coffee accompanied with my homemade courgette cake and calorie packed fridge cake.
Leaving around twelve it was still gentle rain and we began the scenic route to Middlebie. Yes scenic is the code word for hilly but once again it was traffic free. Encountering a flock movement just after Boreland completed the idyllic pastoral view. Miles and miles of narrow lanes and never a sign of life even the skeleton of a deer on the roadside was beyond recovery.
Only real life was a snake which bit through Larry’s rear tyre or maybe it was the loose rubble on the road which had escaped from potholes. Probably the wettest part of the day as we replaced the tube. Worthy of note though we did the full repair in the middle of road without any disturbance.
Arriving at the hall the car park was full and the inside was humming with life. We were quickly seated and served with drinks and food. A kind lady quickly learnt she could not walk past without refilling our cups and also at one point gave us another plate of cakes.
Leaving the hall the rain was easing and as we were both overloaded with sugar it was an easy direct ten miles back to Lockerbie after the thirty plus we took to get there. We parted at Lockerbie after agreeing it was an excellent practice for Tom’s ride next week to Durisdeer church hall for more tea and cakes.
I can now no longer remember how long I have been a member of my local cycling club. Over the years it has been a club in its own right, then for reasons I once again no longer recall we were an independent club affiliated to the CTC. We are now a CTC local members group. Whatever the name the purpose was to bring a cycling thread to members spread across the scarcely populated area known as S W Scotland.
I don’t claim to have attended every AGM over all these years but I reckon I’ll have been to quite a few and a lot more than some members. As well as dealing with “the agenda” they are a chance to catch up with others from further afield, drink coffee and eat biscuits. Apart from a few years when they were held nearer to Dumfries the venue has always centred on Castle Douglas loosely central for the region.
Yesterday saw me go along to this years event and I will inform you now dear reader I went in the car because I had one available. Along with many I have been very disappointed with the CTC support, this year, for the Nicewaycode. Wondering if those making decisions in the organisation actually ride bikes or are maybe affiliated to motoring organisations?
Well maybe the rot is starting at member level and working up? There was not a single person at the meeting yesterday who had arrived by bicycle. A state of affairs I have never witnessed before. Was there snow or ice? No, just a typical damp morning with sunshine later. Why then did no one cycle there?
I didn’t conduct a survey asking the reason why as I had to leave before the finish so I was home in time to be at work for six. There is, in my opinion, the clue. Even with a car at my disposal I had to leave before the end of the meeting. Holding a meeting commencing at two thirty on an October afternoon isn’t going to encourage people to arrive by bike is it? Especially given the distances involved for the membership area. So it must have been a bunch of motorists who set the date and time last year for this years meeting. CTC members, yes Cardrivers Talking Cycling.
3days of pleasure
Pros: Rack Eyes, Comfort, Iso Speed Flex, Stable, Mudguard Mounts, 105 Brakes, Fast
Cons: Not All Mudguards Will Fi, Have To Travel To Dealers
Best Uses: long rides, Lightweight Touring, Club Rides
Was this a gift?: No
Owned the 2.3 for 3 days during which I’ve had 2x40ml rides and a short hilly ride The first hour I kept heading at rough bits off road as I couldn’t believe how it takes away any sting from the bumps. Blasted it down a bridle way gives you plenty of confidence for speed.
Had no problem with the stock saddle so it looks as if it will be staying. This is someone who has ridden a brooks professional the last 16yrs.
My old rack won’t fit due to the 105 brake getting in the way of a stay. I’m sure there will be a rack out there that will fit, possibly a Bontrager if they do them?
Really looking forward to some longer days out on this bikes:)
Fiifty years ago I got my first “real” bike as a reward for passing my eleven plus exams. It came from a proper bike shop, Bill Tilstons, in Thornaby on Tees. A three speed Dawes Diploma was to be, although I didn’t realise at the time, a great influence on the rest of my life. Used to run errands, visit friends, go to work, follow beagles, and go into town. Nothing unusual in that you might say. I certainly didn’t think it an unusual thing to do.
Then consider i lived in a cottage on the side of the A66 a main East West trunk road. It was a six mile trip with our four pint bottle for milk, four mile to the village, fifteen to go to town, Barnard Castle or Richmond, and eight or ten to mates or work in the school holidays. Not to mention other trips and jaunts.
Imagine allowing an eleven year old to the cycle the A66 now. I doubt I would use the road now unless no other option. You wouldn’t would you?
I’ve witnessed billions being spent making provision for cars to go further and faster. We have allowed drivers to believe they own the road and nothing should be in their way. There were approximately 300 pupils at my school two of them had their names preceded with the word “fatty”. There are so many overweight children at school now it seems the norm.
So fifty years on I cycled, eight hours in the rain, to Edinburgh my purpose to Pedal on Parliament. My hope is those who can make a difference will make a difference. Give children the opportunity to have the independence and freedom to travel by bicycle just like I had fifty years ago. Provide a sustainable safe environment where everyone can enjoy a bicycle without fear of the threat, perceived or real, from so many drivers of motor vehicles.