Winter is now upon us, and with it comes a certain type of article in cycling magazines.
In road bike magazines, there is a suggestion that you try off-road riding over the winter. You’ll be away from the traffic and the risks of dark, damp roads. Dealing with slippery surfaces will improve your bike handling skills. You are going to have to clean and lube your bike anyway, so it isn’t much harder to wash the mud off first.
In mountain bike magazines, they recommend getting out on the road. You won’t have to slog through thick mud. It will give you more consistent exercise so you can be fitter at the start of spring. You’ll suffer less damage from mud and grit grinding into your transmission and forks.
To some extent you might be cynical. Is this just the cycling press supporting the manufacturers and shops that advertise in their pages, by trying to sell you an additional bike? But I think there is truth in both sides. For myself, I prefer to be off-road when it is dark and wet (best enjoyed with friends), and on-road on bright, crisp days when the roads have dried but the trails are still wet. With snow or ice, off-road is the clear winner – the falling off is more forgiving.
All in all, I encourage you to keep riding in some way over the winter, picking your rides and clothing appropriately.
We held our Annual General Meeting on 8th November, and enjoyed a review of cycling and other group activities over 2014. Over the year, the Group organised 95 rides with a total over 500 riders. We also had two major social events in the Pot Luck Supper and the 90th Anniversary celebrations.
I’m glad to announce three new members to the Committee. Martin Casey takes over from Peter Hallowell as representative from the Midweek Group – Peter continues as Treasurer. Andy Ellis joins the committee as Registrar. He will take over the task of maintaining the membership and email distribution list, and sending out letters to welcome new members in the county. Ian Murray was elected as committee member ‘without portfolio’ but with a clear interest in the quality and consistency of ride leadership.
The meeting passed two motions, which will guide our actions over the coming year. The first reflects several people contacting us about rides in the Bicester area. The motion passed is that CTC Oxfordshire coordinates a series of rides in the Bicester area and gauges interest in the formation of a local group. Before getting started on this we will coordinate with the Bicester Millennium Cycling Club to make sure anything we do is additive rather than competitive. If you are in the Bicester area, I am very keen to hear your thoughts, any support you could provide, and look forward to meeting you on rides in 2015.
The second motion is based on the importance of ride leaders to any cycling group. Ride leaders have different approaches, and while we don't want to be too prescriptive, there was a general view that it would be valuable to share experiences and practices between ride leaders across the Oxfordshire groups. In addition, this should encourage and enable new ride leaders by providing knowledge and support.
Finally, I echo the meeting’s thanks to the Committee, to our Webmaster Jo Munt, and to all who attended.
Events and rides
There is one specific event to remind you of, if this magazine reaches you in time. That is the Mince Pie Ride on 7th December, organised by CTC Wantage. All cyclists are invited to join the large group that will assemble in Wantage Market Place at 9:45am for a series of rides at various levels of strenuousness, including an off-road one. The rides converge at the Uffington White Horse car park where mince pies and mulled wine will be served and donations to Whizz Kidz collected. Full details at www.ctcwantage.org.uk.
All of the local CTC groups in the county continue regular rides through the winter. You can find their details in this magazine, or on www.cyclingukoxfordshire.org.
We will soon be planning the 2015 riding season, so if you have ideas for rides, or would like to lead one, please let me know.