A history ofwhat's gone on at Wealden Cycle Club.
Easter Bunny Hunt
We will be holding our third annual bunny hunt on Easter Sunday (16th April), starting from the Wheatsheaf. This year's bunny will be Andy Fishenden, and it promises to be a fun, enjoyable and social ride, and there will be prizes too. For more details, download the PDF below.
WCC now affiliated to CTT, ESCA and KCA
Which basically means that club members can now take part in various competitions such as reliability rides, time trials and hill climbs. This includes events organised by the Kent Cycling Association (http://www.kentcyclingassociation.org.uk), the East Sussex Cycling Association (http://www.eastsussexca.org.uk) and Cycling Time Trials (http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk). WCC members can also participate in open competitions organised by other cycling associations.
Wealden Cycle Club Calendar
The 2016 WCC calendar is now available.
The sponsors for the calendar are as follows.
Hartfield Scaffolding 07443 499340
A.J. Electrical Contractors 07968 570017
Finesse Home Cleaning Services 01892 664529 or 07872 139801 firstname.lastname@example.org
Elma McElligott Acupuncture www.acupuncturespace.co.uk
phone: 07584 434976 .
They are available at the cycle shop. Drop in, call 01892 653736 or email David on email@example.com
Cost £10.00 each, all money raised goes to the charities.
London to Paris 24 hour ride - part deux. Fred's blog.
Sunday 6th September,was the annual Open Day, held at The Wheatsheaf, Crowborough.
There was lots of fun for all the family, even if you're not a cycling enthusiast!
A variety of competitions and games, a BBQ and cakes were enjoyed on the day, and prizes were awarded after some (very) competitive rounds of dumps, darts, great-crowborough-bake-off, static bike cycling and a quiz (involving balloons, who'd have guessed).
A huge thank you and well done to Dave Gurden and Sue Layne for all of their hardwork organising the event.
The London to Paris 24hour ride - Fred's Blog
The trip was planned, details fine-tuned, bikes ready and participants mentally prepared. Then the French went on
strike. The lorries backed up from Calais giving the residents of Sangatte a few more chances to masking tape themselves to the fuel tanks. Op Stack kicked in over here and the M20 was shut as the
backlog of traffic for the continent parked along the hard shoulder waiting for the Tunnel to open. Why this week of all weeks ?!!
So, at the eleventh hour, Martin re-booked us on the 00:50 crossing from Dover and the start time was delayed until 17:30 - the middle of rush hour. This was just the start of an eventful trip and as Alex, Simon and I wandered towards Alex's flat in W2 we found our way was blocked by a police cordon which, it turned out, completely encircled Alex's flat (and several others) after a nearby gas explosion. Two hours before we are due to set off and we have nowhere to meet and nowhere to change. The van duly arrived and we parked in a random residential parking space and changed behind a hedge. A good start.
The three of us set off for the London Eye to meet the others with the van in hot pursuit. We circumnavigated the cordon, arrived safe, met the van, had lunch, waited for the others and were ready with seven minutes to spare.
It was rush-hour but despite the traffic, red lights, being overtaken by a Brompton, being burnt off at the lights by a man running Sturmey Archer gears and wearing flip flops and a mile-long queue onto Blackheath common, we soon join the A20 running south-east and manage to get into some sort of rhythm before swinging south again to duck under the M25 and then east towards Brands Hatch.
We had decided that the A20 should be the back-bone of the route as we could keep up a good pace without killing ourselves and, apart from the last bit, would give us a direct run to Dover. Brands, West Malling, Maidstone and Ashford came and went, darkness loomed and the lights were on.
After a rather unnecessary slog up the Old Dover Road from Folkestone, we ran down into the port of Dover with plenty of spare time to book in, clean up with the wet wipes and change into lounge wear for the crossing.
80 miles in a shade over six hours, including red lights, traffic and scheduled re-fuelling stops. Average moving speed 16.0 mph. Good start.
Most of us have never crossed like this before, but we had our own lane and Martin led the charge onto the boat, up the ramp and ahead of all the vehicles. Another KOM gained and, perhaps, one he might keep for more than a few days?
(photo: Martin, Johnny, Simon, Alex, Scott and Simpson. Lane 185 and ready for the off).
It was dark when we got on and, even after more delays, it was still dark when we got off. We changed under another streetlight and attempted to get the legs moving. The climb out of Calais sorted that one out ..
(photo: Martin crests the hill with me and Scott in tow).
By the time we got into some sort of rhythm, dawn had broken and we continued down the coast towards Boulogne sur Mer and on-wards towards Abbeville.
We were still making reasonable time, despite a few comedy diversions when the Garmin tried to tell us that a faint track across some fields was a road ! We diverted, Abe couldn't follow, but he found us a few miles further on.
As lunchtime approached, the final morning mist disappeared to reveal a glorious clear sky and the temperature started to ramp up. We didn't know quite how hot it was at the time, but bottles started to be consumed every 10 miles instead of 15. As we get back on track after the next Garmin detour, we notice some melting tarmac as we re-join the newly surfaced 'main' road. Mmmm, might be getting even hotter then ?
The next navigational faux-pas came as we skirted Abbeville and had a couple of issues with a one-way, no way, the wrong way road. We ignored it (sort of) and left Abe to sort it out and catch us up. By now he was getting quite good at this.
We pedal, we drink, we eat, we drink more, we share the lead, we watch the clock and check the stats and we are still there or there-abouts on schedule as we approach the penultimate obstacle - Beauvais. Mmmm, this is where the first wheel comes off. The tarmac on the ground appears to bear no relation to the version we have on the Garmin and we meet a one way section (going the wrong way), followed by a closed road (gas works) and then a couple of wrong turns in quick succession that lead us into the cobbled shopping precinct - from which we have to pedal up a hill, back to the route and the wrong way up another one-way street. Bugger. We leave Abe and he has to find us. Bugger. We lose more time.
We exit Beauvais after wasting another twenty minutes or so and start a long, long, climb up a tree-lined, wind-less, furnace of a road that winds up the hillside, across the Autoroute and on towards Pontoise, our entry portal to Paris. At the top we take stock, mull over the options and realize that we are going to miss the deadline. We have used / lost / wasted all the 'slack' time.
In the balmy afternoon heat of July 3rd 2015 at approximately 16:00, four dead bikes and three terminally fatigued riders gasp for breath at the roadside. Carnage it was. The other terminally fatigued riders are out of shot.
We will miss it but we can't not do it, so we drag ourselves up and get back in the saddle. The rest is history, we reach Paris in worse shape than we hoped and we were late, 14 miles late, but we got there.
We book into the hotel, we shower, we look after our bikes, then we fit in one beer and one steak each and we go to bed - I woke up in the same position ten hours later. We squeeze in a visit to the tower to take a few photographs that we couldn't be bothered to do yesterday !
(photo: Scott, Martin, Simon, Alex, Abe, Johnny and Simpson.)
Did we really fail ?
Well, probably not, we just weren't quite good enough to overcome the problems that came our way, despite some pretty meticulous planning. One could argue that if we had all been 5% fitter we would have made it but it is never as simple as that. We had lost two hours before we set foot in France, partly because we could have set off from London half an hour later (as it happened) and partly due to the ferry delay and being last off ! Having said that, if we had left London later we may have had seven punctures and missed the ferry; then it would have been game over with 160 miles to go instead of 14.
The route needed some fine-tuning but is is hard to know how this can be done without a recce on the ground. Plus, you can never legislate for road works that spring up at a moment's notice. Garmin isn't necessarily up-to-date and neither is Googley maps, so you can check all you want but without someone on the ground to have a look, something will catch you out.
We couldn't legislate for the heat. We are English and proud of it. We operate best when it is damp and about 8 degrees. We are not built to pedal indefinitely when it is 41 degrees and despite consuming most of the 150 litres of water we carried, laced with various Hi Five or SIS tablets and powders, we ran out of steam essentially.
The Da-Vinci Code ?
So we were 14 miles short in 41 degrees of heat. That may be a coded message. Four plus one is five, so perhaps if we had a team of five and I had stayed at home and not slowed the others up .....
We shared a farewell beer with the others before Alex, Abe and myself set-off in the van to drive home. A speedy exit from Paris had us on the Autoroute within an hour and we are heading north to Calais.
We cruise past a Renault estate, who then undertakes us a little further up the hill as we inexplicably slow down. Houston we have a problem. Power is lost, engine response is nil and we freewheel to a stop on the hard shoulder exactly 82 miles from Dover (41 x 2, it's getting scary now). Bollocks.
The RAC cannot recover on the Autoroute so they (eventually) dispatch Le Chuckle Brothers to load us up and take us to their lockup. We push the dead Transit into a space, midway between a 78 Orange Dodge pickup used to store straw and an old horse box propped up on breeze blocks that the geese sleep in. Yes, this is all true.
Alex is busy remonstrating with the RAC on the mobile as junior Chuckle brother beckons him into the office to tell us that they shut in five minutes and we need to leave. Er, van ? bikes ? kit ? home ? Bugger. Open tomorrow ? Non. Lundi ? Oui. Bon (great).
Three English refugees alone in a small French town with five pieces of luggage stagger towards the local Tabac. We sit down, order beer and wait for the call. Simon sends us a picture of the rest of them enjoying lunch in Paris. Nice touch guys.
Two beers later, the taxi arrives and we are off to the station in Amiens. We have a two hour wait, a train ride to Calais, another half an hour wait, a taxi to the ferry port and some stern negotiations with the ticket-office man before we are in the waiting room. Five minutes turn to ten and ten becomes 45 before ticket-office man appears and asks why we are still there because the ferry has gone. You couldn't make this up.
It transpires that the waiting room was checked and 'they' didn't see the three of us, so assumed there were no foot passengers and didn't send a bus. Not to worry, there was another one in half an hour. Bon.
Back in Dover and the cab that was arranged had gone and not returned. Alex shouted at the RAC again. We waited for another cab and eventually arrived at Europcar to find a most splendid fellow who had decided not to travel home and wait for our call, but had waited for us instead. All's well that ends well then ?
We arrive home at 02:00 on Sunday morning.
The RAC generally take up to three weeks to get broken vehicles back to the UK because they wait until they have enough to fill a transporter before they pick up. We learn that the Van is an exception to this and it is worth so little, they will not pick it up at all ! So fast-forward to Monday morning and Simon and Abe set off in Alex's Range Rover with a hired trailer to recover the vehicle. We RV at the shop at 23:15 and, an hour later, we are finally reunited with the broken van, bikes, kit, a mountain of rubbish and three rather smelly leftover chilli-chicken wraps. Scott has lost a glove.
Most importantly we collected for the Meningitis Research Foundation - about £5500 we think.
Thank you to everyone that contributed.
Awake for 40 hours.
Total Event Time : 24h 59m with moving average of 15.1mph
Total Distance (miles) :
248.7 for Alex, Simon & Fred who rode from the RV to the start. Hardcore
247.7 for Johnny and Scott who rode from the station to the start. Average.
245.7 for Martin as he took the tube to the start. Lightweight.
Climbed almost 10,000 feet
I can categorically tell you that it is faster to ride from Calais to Paris on a bike, than try to get from Paris to Calais by van, recovery truck, taxi and train. It is also a lot more fun.
Thanks for taking me along guys, it was a blast and wouldn't have missed it for the world !
Top job Abe. We hope we can return the favour one day and look after you while you enjoy yourself.
POSTED BY FRED SIMPSON
Hospice in the Weald ride, April 2015
Many Wealden Cycle Club riders took part in this annual ride which starts at the hospice in Pembury and loops through the Kent countryside. The club had entrants in the 15, 40 and 80 mile routes, all raising money via entry fees and sponsorship for the Hospice in the Weald charity.
ou can view the video footage from the day here... Wheels Around the Weald 2015 video footage
Please use the links below to get your results.
London to Paris ride, July 2015
Six of our intrepid club riders are going to attempt to cycle 260 miles from London to Paris within just 24 hours in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation.
The ride will be in memory of Alex Harbour's father who sadly contracted bacterial meningitis on holiday last year and passed away a few days later.
Riders are: Alex Harbour, Simon Relf, Martin East, Nathan Adams, Fred Simpson and Scott Sargeant.
All donations are very welcome at https://www.justgiving.com/london2parisin24hours
Best of luck guys.