News Archive

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.

Easter Bunny Hunt
Description and Instructions for the Easter Bunny Hunt 2017
Easter Bunny Hunt 2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [111.9 KB]

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 (, the East Sussex Cycling Association ( and Cycling Time Trials (  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 


Elma McElligott Acupuncture

phone: 07584 434976 .

They are available at the cycle shop. Drop in, call 01892 653736 or email David on 


Cost £10.00 each, all money raised goes to the charities.

London to Paris 24 hour ride - part deux. Fred's blog.




It appears that while we licked our wounds after the first 24 hr London to Paris attempt in July, we had all come to the same conclusion independently - we had to go back and do it again!

We needed to finish the job and put the challenge to rest...


Fast forward two months and our intrepid team gather in front of the Eye for the re-start. 

(Photo: Martin, Scott, Abe, Alex, Lee, Fred, Simon and Johnny)

A few things had changed. We had Lee along to help with the support and he and Abe would also ride alternate sections. It was also Autumn, so quite unlikely we would have to deal with 41 degrees of heat this time, but very likely we would be riding in darkness for about 10 hours and it would be colder and wetter. 

The plan was to start at lunchtime and avoid the London rush-hour. This, sort of, worked, but we still only managed a measly 8 mph until we got to Blackheath - although spirits were high, smiles wide and ar$es dry (for now).

We hopped onto the cycle path for a mile or so to avoid the narrows along Blackheath Common but had our first slip up as the path crossed a feeder road. Martin stopped a bit quick and, in an attempt to avoid him, Simon hit the deck and was clipped by my pedal on the way past for good measure. No real damage done. Martin's fault (again).

I don't think any of us were too worried about the London to Dover section. It's pretty straightforward in terms of navigation and difficulty but it is a busy route. We just needed to get it out of the way and not miss the ferry or it would be game over.

We knew we were also likely to encounter the odd shower en route, but a little surprised with the amount of water on the road at times. At one stage, the continuous puddle along the side of the road was about 4' wide and the spray from each other and the traffic was horrendous. Lee found a lay-by and we stopped for a quick break. 

We ate. 

Johnny emptied his shoes. Scott emptied his bladder (picture available on Facebook).

We were a couple of hours in and no real dramas so far, but it was particularly uncomfortable. It was about now when all the things that could get damaged by the rain were jettisoned. So there is little pictorial evidence of the next four hours (except, of course, that dot on Strava). We arrived in Dover, bang on schedule, after six hours and we were absolutely soaked through. This was within minutes of the last attempt and represented five hours pedal time and an overall average of about 16 mph. Not bad considering the first hour was so slow, conditions were so poor and the traffic so heavy. 

Changing prior to getting on the ferry was a little more problematic as we were temporarily separated from the van. Then we suffered another nasty shower just as we had got the dry clothes on. We were wet again, already.

We ride to the front of lane 185 (spooky, or is it always 185 for bikes?) and we find out that the ferry being loaded isn't ours, but the one that should have left at 18:30. The very helpful chap suggested we take refuge in Costa rather than stand in the rain, and says we can jump to the front of the queue when we get the call. Delayed ferry ? Deja vu ? Here we go again ...

Luckily, the call comes shortly after the coffee and we are loaded up and away only half an hour behind schedule. In Calais, we tried to get a fast-track exit but the Load-master was having none of it, so we waited our turn and pedaled off last (again). We were all ready to rumble this time and, after a brief RV with the van, we set off in the drizzle towards the town centre. 

Johnny and I were at the front, chatting, as we went round the roundabout onto le Rue du Quai de la Loire and BOSH - we are both on the floor. A slow-mo synchronized crash as we both hit the very wet and slippery railway lines that cross the road at an alarmingly oblique angle. Luckily, our misadventure gave the rest of team enough time to stop (laughing) before they joined us on the floor. A few grazes, new holes in the clothing, a bruise or two, but nothing we couldn't pedal off over the next thirteen hours. We were (all) a bit more careful over the rest of the train lines I can tell you!

The night plan was to knuckle down and keep to the script. It was only eight hours or so but we need to keep up a decent riding speed to allow for stoppages and mis-haps.
And that picture just about sums up night riding. You can't see much apart from the guy in front, whose light is invariably too bright. You can't enjoy the surroundings. You have no conception of scale, speed or distance and navigation is trickier. The whole thing becomes an exercise in discipline. Break it down into mental milestones, Boulogne sur Mer at 25 miles, Military Cemetery at 40, onto the flat bit now and through the marshes. Feet freezing as the cold air rolls in and sits on the ground. Very few cars about, no-one awake except us, save the MP3 player for later when it gets tougher, aha - van has stopped and Abe is pouring coffee :-) Pause, eat, drink, repeat.

A lorry overtakes us at one point and I smile as the courteous Frenchman drives right over the other side of the road to keep out of our way. I do love French drivers (when I am not driving). We are on a ribbon straight section of road through the trees and the lorry tail-lights take forever to disappear into the gloom. The smile has barely faded when Monsieur Angry appears behind us - lights flashing and giving us le horn. Caught like rabbits in the headlights, we are all too surprised to gesticulate. The car passes; it has an English number-plate. The next obvious word begins with a capital W.

About 03:45, and a few minutes after the barn owl took off from the fence post next to Martin, I noticed the road was now dry. Excellent, another milestone.

If you really want my opinion, I am not convinced you can ride in single file and swap the front man every four minutes for eight hours in the dark, we are not Team Sky. Most people have a low point, some have a few and they are never at the same time. So with seven riders you have between 15-30 chances of a serious accident if someone loses it just for a second. Night riding in a group is best done in your own groove. So find someone with a groove similar to yours and ride in two's and three's, keep together, but not too together if you see what I mean. The night went well for me as I do a lot at night and a lot on my own. Actually, the night went well for everyone because we had no real problems. The music in my starboard ear was good quality too.

And so it was we survived, and around 08:15 we rode out of the gloom and into the dawn to be greeted by a clear sky and the promise of a dry, cool and crisp autumn day. 
We stopped at Oisemeont for a well-earned 20 minutes breather and manage a hot coffee, food and a quick change of clothes. Johnny put a picture of his bruised thigh on Facebook. Scott then leads the charge up the first of the longer climbs in his rather trendy hi-viz waistcoat, presumably bought by his mum for his cycling proficiency test in 1991.  
Beauvais next, and the scene of le Grand Debacle last time. We are too smart this time round and opt for the slightly unpleasant, but very direct Beauvais by-pass. Think A21, past Pembury and you won't be far wrong. Quickly past the worst of it, over the river and back onto the quieter roads to join the original route. Six miles in 24 minutes, a bit better than the last attempt to get through / round Beauvais !

Shortly after Beauvais we are back on the long grind of a climb that took so much out of us last time in the heat. We have a very quick stop at the van to grab drinks and snacks but Scott and I are having a peaky five-minutes and decide that we need a few more minutes to eat and catch breath. The next scheduled stop is Amblainville, about six / seven miles away, but we need to get there in good order, so we suggest the others crack on and we will catch them up. 
Five minutes later and Scott and I are back in the game and we start to chase the others down. The relevant stats so far are that we have been awake for 24 hours, pedaling for 14 and have well over 200 miles in the bag, so I am not sure where the average speed of 22.8mph came from, but I do know we were all together at the next stop. BOOM as the young folk may say at this point. Top job Scott - I just followed.
Scott feels so good now, he changes into a new outfit ready for the finish line photo. Tart.  

I think we all knew we should crack it by now. But we still had Pontoise and Paris itself to deal with. Pontoise sounds very French, but it looks very Croydon. The ribbon straight D392 towards Bezons is like Purley Way but with much more courteous drivers thankfully. 

So, here we are again, exactly 14 miles to go. Normally 14 miles is an easy 45-50 minutes for any of us, even riding solo, but in London we had only averaged 8 mph, so perhaps it may not be so straightforward after all ?

Traffic was thick, lights were frequent; correction - VERY frequent and we appear to get caught by every one. Progress was slow. We crossed the Seine for the first time but still couldn't see the Tower, presumably obscured by the high-rise of the business district. Not far now, but as we approach yet another set of lights we are caught out and Martin, Alex and Simon are off leaving Lee, Johnny, Scott and myself waiting for green. Two groups. 

As we set off, the lead group are approaching the next lights and, as they change to red, Martin slips through leaving Simon and Alex. Three groups. 

[Note - having checked on-line, I can now confirm that Martin must have identified the sneaky Strava segment along the Boulevard de Republique that, given a rolling start, may result in another KOM. Guess where the split occurred ? We are unsure whether he was successful as we refuse to ask. We also refuse to appear interested.] 

Over the Seine (again), and through the city as we rattle across the pave towards the Arc de Triomphe. We lose Johnny for a few seconds but stop and re-group before we roll up to the free-for-all that is the world's favourite no-holds-barred, come-on-if-you're-hard-enough 'roundabout'. Lights are red (surprise surprise) and Johnny shouts 'fourth' exit as the lights change and I set off with arm out and menacing look on my face across the cobbles. All traffic gives way for us as we ride four abreast but we take the third exit by mistake. Double mistake because it should have been the fifth! Bugger. We still can't see the Tower and it is within a mile now.

Down the Rue du Lauriston for a hundred yards, left at the lights, straight over the next two sets of lights, right onto Avenue d'lena and we are on track again with Scott in front - who proceeds to jump the next lights as we lose Johnny behind again. Lee and I stop to wait for Johnny. Scott disappears down the road. Five groups, temporarily.  

Not even I could make this up. 

Luckily 'Stato' (who can't visit the lavatory without plotting a route with way points and rest stops) has downloaded proof of the group's misadventure. This is not to prove how we fell apart with a mile to go, more to prove that he arrived first. Again. 
As you can see from the Strava image, I do not exist. Actually, I simply followed the others all day because I do not have a posh Garmin and, even if I did, I would not be able to see it without my glasses. I am at the back (as usual) with Johnny and Lee, honest.

So with 19 minutes to spare Martin arrived. As is the case with the last day of any major French Tour, providing the peloton is together when you reach Paris, you are all awarded the same time. So despite losing the sprint to Martin and being last in with only 10 minutes to spare, Johnny, Lee and myself have exercised the right to be awarded the same time.  
After the victory picture under the Eiffel Tower with the thousands of people who had come along to the finish, we then had another two miles to the hotel! That was nearly a step too far I can tell you. First on the Agenda was (manly hugs, followed by) a quick beer. Thinking back, we had two beers, maybe three.
Then, being good lads, we checked into the hotel, put the bikes in our rooms and sorted the gear out. 
Celebrations lasted well into the night (21:15) and involved a hearty meal and, I think, three more beers! We left the restaurant as the All Blacks scored the second try against France in the seventh minute. We went to bed and forgot the champagne. 
Sunday morning we take the tube to the Trocadero for the 'calendar' shoot ...
... followed by coffee and, by 11:00, Alex, Abe and myself are in the van on the way home. 

We pull over onto the hard shoulder near Amiens and put the bonnet up. Abe stands by the van holding his head in despair and we post the picture on Facebook with the caption 'not again!' We chuckle, like the fools we are. 

We drive on and wait for the response. Simon ignores it, Johnny posts a capture from Strava (yes, Stato and Saddo have it switched on whilst in the train) to say they are doing 171.9 mph whilst eating a silver-service lunch. Finally, Scott gets in touch to say they will be in the Wheaty in 45 minutes. Rasp. We get to Calais, they are in the Wheaty on pint #2. Rasp. We get back to Crowborough and they are all at home in bed. Light-weights.
Stats :
We also have available some detailed analysis of performance v target, comparisons of July to October, split-time analysis, altitude gain, humidity / temperature by time and latitude and finally a detailed breakdown of reduced performance against increasing temperature (taken from the July ride). If you would like to share any of this yummy data either get in touch with Martin or, alternatively, try to get out more. 

Would I do it again ?  No.
Could I do it again  ? Yes, pretty straight-forward if the public transport is on schedule. It's just long, but I can do long.
Should you do it ?     Yes, while you still can. 

Massive thanks to the support team of Abe and Lee for all the encouragement, navigation, re-fueling, hot brews and comedy moments. 

Alex, Johnny, Martin, Scott and Simon for your company, tolerance and support. 

The 'girls' we left at home and who have supported us all year while we take part in another set of slightly bonkers events in preparation for this. You know who you are ladies, without you none of this is possible and we (men) would all be fatter and much less interesting :-) xx

All the members of Wealden Cycle Club with whom we have ridden this year. The more we all ride (together) the more we are all able to ride. 

Alex for the idea and inviting us all along and, finally, everyone who supported and sponsored us and made the effort worthwhile. 

Total so far £6729.87.

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.


(photo: Martin, Simon, Johnny, Scott, Alex and Simpson, ready to pedal. 17:29)

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
One puncture
No accidents


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.



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.


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  


Best of luck guys.

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