Chit Chat September 2016

Thu, 1 September, 2016

The start of September is a good time to reflect on a summer of cycling. Also, particularly given the weather, to hope that there will be a few more dry days good for riding before Autumn gets properly entrenched.

I’m going to stretch the definition summer a bit, and claim it started in May started, with the excellent Blowingstone Audax and our Annual Century ride as the first big rides in it. Five riders completed their first 100-miler.

In June I missed the Triennial Veterans Century Ride – or Tri-vets for short. We guided a total about 70 over-50 riders through 100 miles and 3 excellent refreshment stops. Only one didn’t make it all the way, running out of puff at about the 85th mile. The positive feedback from the event has been overwhelming and will inspire us to plan a similar ride the next time it comes round in 2019.

I missed the Tri-vets because I was at Mountain Mayhem – the only cycling I do that actually calls itself a race. However, you can judge the seriousness of the race from the fact that the small team of 4 of us turned up with well over 20 pints of beer between us! We finished somewhere in the middle of the rankings, but most importantly we had a cracking weekend of riding and cheering on other riders – particularly the ‘Solo’ riders who attempt to ride for as many of the 24 hours as they can.

In July, our family holiday was a week of gentle cycle touring in County Kerry, Ireland. I’m sure I came back heavier than when I left.

August was an exceptional month of cycling. It started with David Smith’s off-road ride from the White Horse at Uffington to Avebury and back. It ended with a somewhat crazy off-road weekend for four of us, including the whole Ridgeway one-way and most of it back the next.

In the middle I piloted Ken Reid on a tandem from Ross-on-Wye to Oxford. 80 miles for a first ride on a tandem was challenging enough, but an additional challenge was that Ken is blind. This was the 10th stage of Ken’s 750-mile trip between the 5 capitals of the British Isles to raise money for RNIB Talking Books. Other riders met us at Burford and Witney to escort us into town, where Ken gave an inspirational talk about overcoming the challenges of blindness, the joys of cycling, and the value of Talking Books. At last count Ken had raised a fantastic £9369 for this cause.

Those are the bigger rides. In-between there has been a chance to the wide variety that cycling offers. I have been on gentle social rides, enjoying the conversation. I’ve been cycling on either end of my train journeys to London – making the commute a bit more tolerable. And, I’ve been working with other members of the Oxfordshire Cycling Network to map out a possible future cycling network, if the Government ever listens to us and our Olympians, and provides proper funding for such things.

I hope you have also been able to enjoy plenty of good cycling over the year, and will manage to get a bit more in yet. To round off the summer, maybe you will be able to join us at our cycling picnic on Sunday 18th September. We’ve even organised a cycling Treasure Hunt for you and your families.

Soon, we’ll start planning for next year. If you have any idea for rides or other activities for next year, please let me know – or come to our AGM in November.

Happy cycling!

Regular Rides with CTC Oxfordshire’s local groups

  • CTC Bicester Social Cycle Rides. 1st Saturdays and 3rd Sundays, both at 10am from Bicester Leisure Centre. These are 20 to 30 mile leisurely rides with a coffee stop. If the group is large, we split into shorter/slower and longer/slightly-faster groups.
    Shorter ‘Confidence Building Rides’: 2nd Saturdays. These will include experience town cycling as well as country lanes on a short morning ride.
  • CTC Wallingford rides. 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, both from Wallingford Mart Place at 1:30pm. This 1st Sunday ride is a gentle 20-25 miles.   The 3rd Sunday is a bit longer and a bit faster, usually 30-35 miles.
    Shorter ’10 mile’ rides: will run from time-to-time – check the CTC Wallingford website.
  • CTC Witney rides. Most Sundays, starting at 9:30am at the Buttercross in Witney
  • Off-road rides. Twice a month – the 2nd Saturday afternoon and the 4th Sunday morning of each until September.       They will have different starting points, distances and terrain, so please keep an eye on the website.

Special rides and events

  • 18th September – Cycling Picnic and Treasure Hunt.       Our own main summer event will be a picnic at Standlake Village Hall. We will be organising rides to, from and around this event with other Cycling UK / CTC groups, and including a family cycling treasure hunt.
  • 12th November, 11am – CTC Oxfordshire AGM, at Hinton Waldrist Village Hall. We will review the year’s activities, elect the Committee, and make plans for next year. Any Motions should be submitted at least 7 days in advance.

For all these, you will find more information on our website . You will also find links to all the local Cycling UK / CTC groups in the county, also including Oxford City, Isis women’s’ cycling group, CTC Wantage and the Oxfordshire Midweek group.

If you are not sure whether there is a group offering rides that fit your own preferences drop me a line and I’ll try to point you in the right direction

Happy cycling,

Robin Tucker

CTC Oxfordshire is part of Cycling UK