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Member since Jun 2008 • Last active Feb 2017

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  • in General
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    As promised, even though it's late:


    I had to think for some time where to post this. I had said I'd post here, but it's not really the right place, particularly because Ron actually spent many more years with the Hounslow, and his contribution as an official was greater with the HDW.

    Since the forum does, up to a point, resemble a newspaper, perhaps it should have an obituary thread. I did do a search and found a heading, but I did not feel that the posts there were a great start for this enterprise.

    When we lost two leading members (50 x 14 and Big Daddy Wayne) there were many posts expressing sadness at their departure. Would it, I wonder, be appropriate to gather those posts together as the basis of an obituary thread?

  • in General
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    I never answer questionaires like this because I don't like having my opinions distorted into statistics.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Kent 12

    I've just received an email from the organiser, Esther Carpenter, to inform me that the date has been changed and it will now be run on 25th June.

    I'm posting not just to tell you about the change, but also to say I'm shocked that no new organiser has been found.

    Esther has done a tremendous amount of excellent work for cycling over many decades but she told me, at least a couple of years ago, that she would like to retire from promoting this event.
    I'm sure she is still perfectly capable of running the Twelve, and I certainly would not say that anyone should be prevented from taking on work they want to do in the sport because of their age, but this seems to be typical of the state of time trialling at the moment.

    There is far too much reliance on people of my generation (and much older) to organise. If we carry on until we drop there will be an existential crisis. You may have noticed that the West London Cycling Association folded up at the end of 2016 - it had existed since 1907. The man who had probably done most to keep it going was Jim Burgin, another worthy stalwart of the TT game, but Jim is in his mid eighties! There has to be a limit for everyone somewhere, and it will be next to impossible to replace all the old people quickly, when they go, by new organisers with no experience.

    I'll end on a happier note - The Hounslow has new promoters for our two open time trials, both quite a bit under fifty.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Here's a link to the video of Rob Gilmour's successful new 65-69 UCI hour 'Best Performance'


    A report will follow soon.

  • in Rides & Races
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    When I responded earlier I had failed to notice that the question here is not so much about riding for 24 hours, but about riding from Plymouth to London.

    This is a different question because the wind direction would be critical. Since the prevailing wind is South West, you could well be lucky. However, if you had to commit to a particular day and hit a North Easterly, you would have a very hard time.

    A friend and former West Twickenham RC clubmate actually did this ride (well, to his parents' house in Hounslow) in 1978 - on fixed. He was not riding for charity - he just had no money for the fare.
    Being an experienced bloke, he waited for a howling SW wind and did the journey in under 13 hours. I should add that my friend was a natural athlete who had recently won an open 25, but even so he did admit to being 'a bit tired' by the time he knocked on the parental front door.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Dennis White (Swindon Wheelers) got comp. record for 24 hours with 484.75 miles in 1958. This was done on fixed, and I believe his gear was about 78". There is a report of his ride somewhere in Coureur (aka'Sporting Cyclist') which I've seen, but don't have it to hand at this moment.

    This record stood until 1964 when E. Matthews (Altringham RC) recorded 490.03, but I have a feeling this was done on gears.

    So I think White's record is probably the best ever (well, up to now) on fixed. Given modern kit, perhaps someone from the forum could improve this figure.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Thanks for your kind words.

    I'm sorry I didn't get to speak to everyone, let's hope we can put that right soon.

    I have two suggestion:

    There are still people around who I learnt from, and who may be better qualified than me to pass information on. The two I have in mind were a great deal more successful than me as competitors.

    Supposing I could set up a meeting where they could give a short talk and answer questions, how many would be interested? This would probably be on a Tuesday evening at the Hounslow clubroom at Staines. I suggest as a title Traditional Early Season Training Rides. Let me know - I think we'd need half a dozen or so to make it work.

    We might also have a "Quite easy day in February" so that I can actually get to the cafe stop. I do have somewhere in mind.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Saturday was certainly a glass half full day for me.

    It was disappointing that I did not feel able to do the whole distance, but it wasn’t a shock. Considering my age and the small amount of riding I managed last year, it’s surprising I got as far as I did.

    It seemed to me you had an excellent group – in fact just the sort I’d hoped for when I planned the first open Hard Day. My impression was that there was a high level of both fitness and competence: the group felt like an ‘olden days’ training run.

    Which brings me to an important point. In the past when I did this sort of riding with clubmates it was always seen as a preparation for racing. On that very first ‘hard day’ in 1959, our run leader was John Aldridge who went on to ride the Tour of Britain later that year. For us these early season training rides were not a one off annual event, they were every Sunday (sometimes Saturday as well) for at least a couple of months. To do only one ride like this is to have a sufferfest just for its own sake and with no view to progress.

    I don’t know how many of you are planning to compete in 2017, but I’m confident that if you do many rides like Saturday’s you would soon be able to put in some respectable performances. This raises the question – where would you find other rides like the Hard Day? Hippy’s excellent listing of reliability trials elsewhere in Rides & Races is one obvious source, but if you want to ride fixed you will really need other like minded people. Long ago, when I was younger and fitter, I tried to ride the Harp Hilly Hundred without gears – I got round, just about, but I don’t recommend the experience.

    Maybe this forum could provide more of these rides. As I proved on Saturday I’m limited in the riding I can do, so you would to find other run leaders. I could at least offer some routes and cafes, if you wish. Bear in mind these would only be suggestions and would not be ‘Risk Assessed’.

    And as for leaders, didn’t YAL do a brilliant job? I first met him on the 2012 Hard Day, and I thought then that he had potential as a rider, but needed a bit of development. There has clearly been a lot of development in the riding department, but he has shown great organising ability as well.

    At the moment club cycling in general is struggling with the fact that my generation is coming to the end of the road as organisers, and the younger (i.e. middle aged) people are showing a reluctance to come forward. That’s exactly what YAL has done – I just wish he lived far enough West to join the Hounslow.

  • in Rides & Races
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    We'll have to see on Saturday morning.

    It looks as though there may be snow lying about - this would be photogenic. Don't forget any report will look better with pictures. Some one should take on both these jobs.

  • in Rides & Races
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    I'm becoming less hopeful that I'm going to make it on Saturday because of heavy non cycling commitments. However it's still possible, and I really do want come because if I don't make it this year I think it's unlikely I will in the future (increasing age!).

    Assuming I'm not coming, there is a point I'd like to make now:

    Your route seems to go across the big roundabout near the M25 about half a mile West of Staines bridge. I have ridden round this many times without injury, but I've also waited by it for an injured clubmate to be taken off in an ambulance (she wasn't seriously hurt btw.) It is a danger spot since it's large and very close to the motorway so that some drivers think that slowing down to 60mph is reasonable.
    I'd like to suggest that you consider using the B376 (turn right immediately before crossing Staines bridge) going though Wraysbury and Datchet to Windsor. There is a back route from the centre of Windsor past the leisure centre and through Clewer Village (marked with green dots on OS map sheet 176) which will take you onto the A308.
    From there it's only about a mile to the B3024 which will take you to Twyford.
    I would certainly not want to lead a group of tired riders across that big rounabout, especially in failing light, so perhaps this route should be used both ways.

    A few other small points:

    Is there a mobile phone number everyone should have in case they get separated?

    Has anyone checked that the Big H Cafe at Berinsfield is going to be open?

    The OS Map Sheet 175 covers almost the entire route after Windsor.

    Still hoping to see you on Saturday.