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Audax UK

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Bear essentials… page

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Consultation meeting report


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Audax UK

Just a Sec

Let’s get this party started


The winner takes it all…


When cycling gets on your nerves


Riders on the swarm20


Front cover Rob McIver comes face-to-face with a growly North American black bear





An Oast of good reasons26 Dan Solo… far, far away in a galaxy of his own28 If you’re face-to-face with Yogi…


OCD cyclo climbing 2018


It’s something daring, the Transcontinental


Take two…


Away with the ferries




Kindness of strangers helps Mark reign in Spain48 Up the Alps in corduroy pants and three gears52


Fixed focus55 Calendar of events58

Welcome to the winter/spring 2019 issue of Arrivée Ordinary people don’t do what you do… Since taking up the reins at Arrivée, I’ve been genuinely impressed by the character and temperament of Audax riders. Obviously one admires the resolve, fortitude and sheer grit of the cycling contributors to these pages – these are admirable qualities, to be sure – but the one characteristic that stands out is their shared sense of humour. Nothing seems to faze you Audaxers! Faced with such strength-sapping challenges, it isn’t really surprising that wit and the ability to see the funny side of things appear to be essential assets for the committed Audaxer.



In this quarter’s magazine there are many examples of resilience, stamina and humour, bordering on the absurd. Take Kevin Speight, whose tale of an amazing trek across Europe last summer is on page XXX. In one village he stopped and, in his best schoolboy French, politely asked a monsieur pottering in his garden for a top up of tap water. The gruff “Non” he received might have had some of us looking around for a handy half house brick to hurl at the back of the blighter’s noggin. Not so Kevin. He simply smiled and shrugged, and went on his thirsty way. Then there’s the memories of Graham Jones (on page XX) who recounts a recklessly ill-prepared boyhood odyssey

through the same stretch of country in the 1950s. It’s true to say that he and his pal Kenny met with considerably kinder Gallic hospitality – even though they’d neglected to inform their French host that they were actually coming! And, of course, there’s our cover story of how Rob McIvor came face to face with a black bear, up a Wyoming mountain (page XXX), and proceeded to chat calmly to the creature, even though the growly thing was within swiping distance. It may be misguided, but I like to think that the ability to use humour, even in the bleakest of situations, is a peculiarly British attribute. To face adversity, albeit self-imposed hardship like biking around

the north of Scotland while swallowing your own weight in midges, with a smile, takes a particular breed of man or woman. The managing editor of this publication, Ged Lennox, is a good example. He happens to be my younger brother. He’s also a regular cyclist who has lived so long in Chipping Bonkers in the Cotswolds that he’s developed a hippy streak which seems to mainly involve vegetarianism, real ale and an aversion to 4x4 drivers. Apart from his bike, his favourite thing is to climb mountains. That’s how he came, a couple of weeks before deadline, to fall off one – an unpronounceable lump of precipitous rock in the Scottish Highlands – tumbling 100 feet and breaking six ribs in



AUK is highly dependent on its IT systems. All the membership, event management, validation and reporting are managed through web-based systems which are highly customised to support AUK. The continued operation of the system is dependent on a few dedicated individuals, and we are greatly indebted to them for their efforts, but as AUK grows, this arrangement is neither fair nor professional. AUK has made the decision to refresh the IT systems, using a commercial partner to do the development and provide maintenance. It is quite a complex programme of work, and it would be really useful to receive up-to-date technical guidance from AUK members with relevant IT skills, who want to put something back into the club.

How many of us? Membership numbers reached the dizzy heights of around 8300 by December 31st (a new high) only to plummet to less than 6300 on January 1st as memberships expired. I am pleased to say since then we have had lots more renewals and 270 new members and as of the beginning of February we are back to around 7400 current members.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR: ● Senior IT project professionals to sit on a project board. The role of the board is to challenge the IT manager and provide assurance to the AUK board that the project is being handled in accordance with good industry practice. ● Systems analysts and those with understanding of systems architecture. We need people who know what is involved in building and maintaining IT systems and can provide critical assessments of our plans. ● User researchers. People who will help us prepare specifications that are clear, unambiguous, yet not over-specified. ● People with workflow management experience. Some of the AUK processes can be quite involved. We want back-end processes that are robust, yet sufficiently flexible that we can modify our processes without significant additional IT expenditure. We would benefit from the advice of people who have experience of similar systems. ● Web designers to provide advice on such issues as layout, accessibility, search engine optimisation. Our commercial partner will do the work, but we are looking for help from our members to ensure we are an intelligent customer and get value for money. We do not expect to fill all these roles. Experience has shown that, while many of our members have knowledge in these areas, very few are able to commit a great deal of time. We understand that. We would all prefer to be out riding our bikes. But if you have skills in this area and can donate a small amount of your time to supporting the club, please let us know. Please write to it@audax.com and let us know how you can help.

the process. It didn’t stop him from joking with the mountain rescue team who stretchered him to safety, or clowning with the medical staff who patched him up in Fort William hospital. More importantly, neither did it stop him from working through the considerable pain in order to get this magazine to the printers. “It was my own stupid fault”, he said. The point is, this self-deprecation is all very well, but ordinary people don’t do what you do. And you need to tell us your stories, even if you think them a bit run-of-the-mill. I promise you, they’re not. Your cycling exploits are truly inspiring. So let us know what you’ve been up to – whether it was last week, or last century.

Send your stories to Ged at gedlennox@me.com. Try not to make him laugh… it still hurts! Tony Lennox Former editor, Birmingham Post, Former editor, Warwickshire Life, 45 years in regional newspapers

As part of our welcome to Audax UK we send new members the latest Arrivée, a letter about AUK and some stickers for their bike and car. The manual work of printing letters and labels, stuffing envelopes and taking them to the post office is done by our two enrolment delegates Peter and Howard – my thanks to them for their unstinting hard work. E-mail addresses I know I mentioned this last time but since then our renewals mail outs have identified many more invalid email addresses for our members. I have removed those that have been flagged “don’t exist” or which have bounced more than once to avoid emailing them again and filling up my inbox with delivery failure messages! So please do check your own record to make sure that if you have an email address we have it recorded correctly. Passwords Since November we have done some work to improve our password security and encryption. The “password reminder” facility has been changed to a “password reset” function – if you forget your password you can enter your number and email address on the website and be sent a new password. Unfortunately I know that several of you have experienced issues with the reset mail never arriving – our apologies for this, we are trying to work out why this happens for a small number of people. If you are caught out by this please contact the membership team on membership@audax.uk (after checking your spam/junk mail) and we will do our best to help you quickly. New membership system As part of the IT refresh we have drawn up our requirements for a new membership system and this is being analysed by our supplier but we have not committed to anything beyond that yet. We hope a new system will offer better “self serve” options such as adding/removing household members (which currently can only be done on line at the beginning of your membership, after that I have to do it manually). We also want to move to offering payment via direct debit to replace standing orders.

Caroline Fenton, Membership Secretary www.audax.uk


Graeme Provan, General secretary, Audax UK

Just a sec… The BRM qualifiers for PBP 2019 are now well underway so good luck to everyone who is riding and organising. At the time of writing it is unclear where the cut off will be for PBP entry but the advice that AUK passed on from Audax Club Parisien last year that a pre-qualifying ride of at least 400km during the 2017/18 season would be necessary looks like being good advice. The growth we have experienced in AUK since PBP 2015 seems to have been matched or even surpassed in some other parts of the world.


The AGM was held in Birmingham on the 9th of February. Whilst a relatively small number of

members attended the meeting itself, the proxy voting via the online site showed another year- on-year increase with over 900 members voting that way. Those attending were able to participate in the debate about the resolutions put to the meeting and question the Board on a number of points. The minutes of the meeting are available on the website. Having both been co-opted to the board during the year, Nigel Armstrong was confirmed as our Finance Director and Rob McIvor was confirmed as our Communications Director. Both of them have already made significant contributions to AUK. Meanwhile, John Sabine was re-elected as a Non-Executive Director. John himself noted his

disappointment that the election had been uncontested again with one post receiving no nominations at all. That leaves the board with a vacancy for a NonExecutive Director and with the ongoing vacancy for an IT Director. Next year’s AGM will be held in Birmingham on the 8th of February and a formal notice will be circulated to members later this year.


Our latest board meeting took place on the 9th of January. We were joined at the meeting by Richard Jennings and Kevin Lake. Richard has led Phase 1 of our IT Refresh Project and, with the other volunteer IT delegates,

IT PROJECT COSTS DOMINATE CONSULTATION MEETING Questions about AUK’s IT Refresh project dominated discussion at AUK’s recent Reunion Consultation Meeting. The full minutes of the meeting are as follows: The meeting was chaired by Chris Crossland who welcomed members attending. He noted that this meeting originated a few years ago in order to allow members to discuss AUK-related matters in a collaborative rather than the adversarial way, which had been common at Annual General Meetings. Dave Allison had volunteered to take notes of the meeting, and members were asked to state their names before speaking in order to facilitate a good record. The Chair noted that previous consultation meetings had: ● provided valuable feedback that informed the development of the Board’s draft strategy for 2016-2020, ● discussed AUK finances and the reasons for retaining the surplus in order to finance future development. ● given valuable feedback in the development of the AUK grievance procedure. ● considered information about the IT Refresh project and the revision of the Articles of Association. Matters on the Agenda would include, if time allowed: ● A review of the IT Refresh project ● A review of current AUK finances especially with respect to the costs of the IT Refresh project ● Questions to Directors. None had been submitted. ● Resolutions submitted for the AGM.



1 Review of the IT Refresh project so far – Phase 1 Richard Jennings, IT Refresh Manager Richard noted that the project had developed from the 2016 Strategy paper, which noted the need to redevelop IT systems to handle event management better, and to reduce reliance on unpaid and sometimes overworked individual members. A project charter was approved in 2016, which detailed the membership and activities of a project board and team. There would be a quarterly report to AUK Board meetings. It became clear from a very early date that a moderately sized team of volunteers that dwindled rapidly in a few weeks to a small team of volunteers would not be sufficient to complete the project on a voluntary basis. Initial advice and analysis of AUKweb indicated a need to start from scratch. A dwindling team of volunteer analysts and a part-time paid analyst completed the spec, and a tender was issued to 5 suppliers in 2017, noting a requirement for the use of a standard framework and retaining Intellectual Property on the coding. Selected Control F1 as supplier, using Umbraco, and .net The Phase1 scope included the Content Management System (CMS) and the various interfaces to AUKweb, as well as those parts visible on screen. Richard explained that the cost over-run had occurred mainly because of unforeseen complexities of constructing the interfaces to AUKweb. He was able to give members at the meeting a demo of the new system as viewed on mobile phones. Questions Aidan Hedley asked whether modern standards for accessibility were met – RJ to find out. Should the search bar at the top also search the rides list (currently just web content)? – RJ said that this was not currently covered but would be at a later stage.

Ashley Brown asked whether it was possible to view the desktop version on a mobile device – RJ to find out. Dave Minter said that although he had been a nonexecutive director of AUK at the time that a contract with Control F1had been signed, he had no knowledge of the contents of that contract, and would appreciate being able to see a copy. CC undertook to provide him with a copy of the contract with Control F1 (Note: Subsequently, Mr. Minter was supplied with a link to the Master Agreement with Control F1, and it was noted that the work to be done was described and quoted for in a series of “sprints” that were governed by that master agreement. The master agreement had been placed in the AUK Board drop box for the Board meeting of 11 October 2017, so had been accessible to Mr. Minter at the time he was a director of AUK.) Andy Uttley asked about the cost overruns and how further overruns would be avoided – RJ explained that the next phase is membership, and objectives are clear. Paul Stewart asked for details of budget and spend on website, and on relationship between old and new systems. He also asked what was included in “admin” e.g. new pages in CMS, and was informed that new pages are within the control of the AUK web content editors Some finance questions were deferred to Nigel Armstrong, who explained that this is phase 1 of the project, and dependencies on the old system will be removed when all phases are complete Ashley Brown asked about dependence on AUKweb and when this will be retired – RJ said this was recognised as a risk but we could not do all phases at once. Mike Wigley asked about a write-up in Arrivée – RJ said there would be something in the next issue. 2 Finance, Nigel Armstrong Nigel highlighted the cost of the IT system as major expenditure. He presented three financial forecasts

has put in a huge amount of work. Phase 1 has now been rolled out and Dave Allison and Jan Swanwick are working hard on improving and updating the content and functionality of the new site. Richard himself will step down from his current role in February. The Board approved Richard’s suggestion that Kevin Lake should lead Phase 2 of the Project. Kevin’s first task will be to finalise the analysis for Phase 2 which, in turn, will allow us to present a detailed scope for potential suppliers to quote for the work. Richard also reported that a series of meetings had been held with the supplier on Phase 1 in an effort to ensure that Phases 2 and 3 went ahead smoothly with

the benefit of everything that had been learnt during Phase1. 2019 marks the third anniversary of the publication of AUK Strategy Document in June 2016 which means that the Strategy Document is due for a review this year. This will be dealt during our strategy session at the April board meeting. Having approved his application to run LEL in 2021, we are also looking forward to welcoming organiser, Daniel Webb, to our April meeting where Daniel will update us on the huge efforts he and his team are already putting in to making the next edition a success. As ever, you can look at the board minutes and board reports in the Official section on the website.

– A total of 20 forecasts had been prepared to model different scenarios but the three presented are the most likely. Others are available for inspection by members if requested. 1 IT expenditure all in 2019, no membership subscription increase, 2 IT expenditure all in 2019 with increase to membership subscriptions and organiser charges, 3 IT expenditure spread over two years, with increase to membership subscriptions and organiser charges. The third option, which minimised the risks to AUK finances was the recommended one.

Dave Minter asked whether we need to continue with the same company for phases 2 and 3. He was advised that if we used a different company we would need to start again with educating the contractor, which increases risk. The possibility had been considered by the Project Board, which had concluded that it could result in higher costs. It may be the solution for phase 3 – we own the IPR (i.e. we own the rights to the code used) and so can switch if we decide it is advantageous. Dave Minter asked whether, after the cost over-run, the Board should reconsider the next stage of the project – he was advised that it was under constant review. Lengthening the implementation period, as mentioned in the third option, had advantages for affordability. Ashley Brown asked whether increased costs might deter ridership. – NA noted that the Board had factored into the preferred forecast potential 5% falls in membership renewals, new members joining, and event participation, but hoped that members would recognise the need to maximise income in order to renew the IT system, and recognise the increases as minor, as well as less than inflation.

Questions Dave Minter asked about creditors amounts falling due – NA explained that this was due to a delay in paying ControlF1 Why were only three forecasts presented to the meeting? NA explained that only 3 forecasts were presented because they showed the most likely outcomes at the time they were drawn up. The first in July, pre board meeting, the second in August post board meeting and the third (yellow) a week before the reunion. The other 17 were what ifs and in some cases alarming! Were ongoing costs included in the forecasts? Yes, they were included in the forecasts. Paul Stewart noted £20,000 for current costs and asked if this was included. – NA advised it was and that most of this is cost from Control F1 and AUK expenses. Paul Stewart wanted to know what was included in support costs – RJ noted Base support cost for office hours (9am to 5.30pm) excluding English public holidays and weekends, and Maintenance allowance (based on 3 days per quarter). Figures used in the accounts were estimates, with negotiations continuing as regards any out of working hours service requirement, costs, and payment periods.

3 Questions to Directors None had been submitted. 4 Resolutions submitted for the AGM Unfortunately, there was insufficient time to discuss this, so the Chair asked Paul Stewart if he could outline very briefly for the benefit of the meeting, his planned AGM resolution. Paul noted that he thought the Board had acted against the interests of the membership in raising member subscriptions and was proposing amendments to the Articles of Association that would prevent this in the future, and would further restrict the Board’s ability to spend money without referring to the membership. In response, the Chair noted that other opinions were available. www.audax.uk






Corsica’s Col de Salvi starts at sea level and has a potentially dispiriting downhill stretch between Corbara and Aregno on the way up. With the searing Mediterranean heat, you might expect a tale of exhaustion, pain and hardship, but Paul Harrison, a self-confessed cycling dawdler, took time to sample the scenery, the strange habits of the locals, and particularly, the juicy wild blackberries…

Blackberries but no jams… Having sold our house in Cumbria, my wife Janet and I are currently living in an apartment in Lama, in the northern part of the French island of Corsica. We’d normally avoid Corsica in the summer – it’s just too hot, and there are far too many tourists. But this year we’ve coped well cycling in hot weather, by setting off at about 6am and getting back home before the heat and the traffic build up. Our move to Corsica is part of a cunning plan to establish residency, and thus avoid the possible disadvantage of being only able to spend limited time in Europe after Brexit. But it also has to be said, Corsica is a cyclist’s dream. When Janet briefly went abroad to work this summer, I



must confess that the strict cycling regime of early starts, rather slipped. That’s how I found myself, in the intense mid-morning heat, wondering if I could finish my planned ride without frying. The Col de Salvi, between L’Île-Rousse and Calenzana, my planned destination, is quite easy despite starting at sea level. The whole route involves an ascent which is 12.09 km long. Over this distance, you climb 518 metres. The average percentage is 4.2%. The maximum slope is 13%. Almost the whole route offers coastal views, and once over the col, there’s a spectacular change of scenery as the bay of Calvi and its citadel come into view with a whole panorama of mountains arcing

The citadel at Calvi

around the Bartasca and Fiumi Secco valleys. I’m easily distracted, and my first distraction of the day is at the summit where there are millions of blackberries. Who can resist organic, free range, free of charge fruit? I know who – a keen Audax rider on a mission. But today, I’m in a pottering-about, touring mode (which is usual for me, to be quite honest). A passing cyclist spots me filling my face, grins

and calls out “des bonnes mûres”, which roughly translates as “good blackberries, eh mate?” I start descending and, as I’m sure many of you who love riding in the mountains will have noticed, the descents somehow always look bigger than the climbs. It must be something psychological due to the angle of dangle. Also, the heat is building so I judge it better not to go down too far to save myself from a scorching

The spectacular village commune of Aregno

climb back later. There’s a lovely little church (Église San Raineru de Lunghignano) on the way down to Montegrosso. It’s about half a mile up a nondescript nothrough road and I think it would be a good place to do some sunbathing as it is a quiet spot. I have the “bronzage d’un cycliste” – sunburn to halfway up the thighs and to just above the elbow – and decide to expose more flesh to get extra vitamin D and maybe look a bit prettier too. Out of respect, I sunbathe outside the walls enclosing the graveyard. Re-emerging on the col road I see Montegrosso, a wonderful, medieval-looking village perched on an impressive bluff with a spectacular mountainous backdrop. As it’s only a short

way down, I risk a bit more descending to find a shady spot for a snack there. Methinks if I eat my baguette now I’ll have a spare poly bag to get blackberries on the way back. A man appears under a tree opposite to where I’m sitting and proceeds to remove a folding table from his car boot and arrange about a dozen jam jars on it. They contain an anonymous brown substance which I guess might be delicious home-made confiture de figues. I am presuming they are put there for the purpose of being sold, but the bottles have no labels, there’s no sign advertising them for sale, in fact nothing at all to encourage the few passing tourists to buy. The bloke stands around looking bored for about ten minutes,

during which time he rearranges the jars a couple of times. None of the passers-by even notices him, let alone buys anything. He then shrugs, puts the whole lot back in the car and disappears. I turn back, and, as usual the climb back up the col does not seem as big as the descent suggested. I suppose it’s just possible that I might be getting a bit fit. Once back in the blackberry zone, I park my bike against a fence and walk about ten yards to the bushes. I’m dripping sweat, but persevere for a while before returning to the bike to stow my shirt and cap in the saddlebag. I then notice how cool and breezy it is near the bike compared with the heat of the bushes. This must be why the berries are so

ripe and warm and sweet. I’m very much aware of their qualities, because I frequently do some “degustation” – after all, I don’t want to end up with a bag full of sour fruit after all my labours, do I? By the way, “degustation” means tasting or sampling and is not as disgusting as it sounds. My fear of excessive traffic proved incorrect, in fact I’ve seen about 20 cyclists on the col, compared with only about four or five cars. Once back down in L’Île-Rousse, I discover where the cars are – you can hardly move for tourists returning from a day on the beach. How foolish, I think; lazing around by the sea when you could be working up a good sweat on your bike in the mountains. ■



Former DJ and promoter Dave Morrison has organised more than 1,000 music events in his time. Now he’s transferring those mixing and spinning skills to creating and managing new Audax events. Here he explains the pleasure and the pitfalls of being an organiser…

Let’s get this party started In my younger years as a music event promoter, before getting a proper job and discovering cycling, I’d greet the postman with a cheery “Good Morning” at 6am, but getting home from a club has now been replaced by departing for an Audax at that hour. My record collection has been replaced by Lycra, and new cycling gadgets trump hearing a cracking new tune. Spinning pedals have replaced spinning vinyl, and bikes, not turntables, are now the machines of choice. I divorced my musical mistress, only to be seduced into promoting again – in cycling. Whether it’s a crush, an obsession or a love affair, I may be an addicted “impresario”. Should I call Audaxers Anonymous? That entrepreneurial buzz, exhilaration, thrill, excitement and seat-of-the-pants/chamois uncertainty that it might not go smoothly makes promoting a joy if things go well. How many Audaxers reading this have organised an event? If not, beware – it isn’t all cycling cake and dancing on the pedals. You’ll be the one responsible for the event you create, and it isn’t easy. Not everyone will appreciate your efforts, though most will. Some will even thank you. So – are you organiser material? The qualifications for the job? The ability to work hard, be a thick-skinned, self-sacrificing, multi-skilled muggins with a bit of flair, and eye for detail and 10


spreadsheet credentials. A good sense of humour and patience are essential. You must also have an understanding family and reliable mates willing to volunteer. Interested? Then read on. We are all different, with different skills, personalities and attributes, maybe entrepreneurial, organisational, promotional, technical or, of course, critical. Expect some backseat critics as you can’t tailor events to suit every individual’s tastes. When I began, Liam Fitzpatrick, organiser of the incredible LWL, reassured me that critics have offered him loads of “free advice” over the years. Imagining those enticing Audax awards, I started chasing AAA points but why were there no Chiltern AAA calendar events, I wondered? I started cycling solo, devising my own AAA DIY rides in the Chilterns. There must be others thinking the same, I thought. I can’t be the only local with an AAA habit, so why no AAA Calendar events? Sadly, none of my Chiltern DIYs could get a date on the AUK Calendar. I needed zig-zag routes to build in climbs and, typically unlike DIYs based on GPX files, each turn would need a control to prevent cheaters finding a short cut if it were a calendar event. After months of searching, I still hadn’t achieved my goal. I decided to publish five of my Chiltern AAA DIY routes on the Westerley CC website, available to anyone

as a DIY route. Several people have had a good time going out with them although one person moaned that one hill could be replaced by a quieter lane instead… somewhat overlooking the point that AAA routes need hills! Infatuated with route planning I began flirting with route checks for organisers. I was slowly getting sucked in to the organising scene. “I wish our club ran an Audax event,” I said to club mate Frank Proud, who urged me to have a try. I didn’t need any more encouragement. I proposed my first 200k event, The Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang, and it was subsequently run in May 2017. The concept was rather ambitious and it took me months to identify suitable roads to bypass various towns, but eventually the day arrived. Admittedly it incorporated the odd short section of road with moderate traffic, but it also boasted some glorious views and lanes that more than made up for the necessary compromises. Most people loved it, some even recognised its ingenuity in avoiding any rides around the towns, but of course, one person decided to be miserable about

… The concept was rather ❝ ambitious and it took me months to identify suitable roads. ❞


My Guy… Dave uncovers a Motown legend in the bushes

Finely tuned Audax rides… My rides are always musically monikered, with new names each year for each new route. I generically call my baby The May Day Chiltern Audaxes, which does what it says on the tin. Each year the individual rides have their own pet names mixing a musical reference with characteristics of the route: ● 2017 Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang (200km)/Chiltern Roalds Take Me Home (100km). Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang covered locations from the film Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang and passed the National Rifle Ranges at Bisley (Bang Bang!), while a truncated version headed home over the Chilterns passing the Roald Dahl Museum. ● 2018 A Ride Called Quest (200km)/Spoke On The water (100km). A Ride Called Quest visited 10 British Cycle Quest checkpoints (I once DJ-ed on a show with A Tribe Called Quest) while Spoke on the Water involved several special Thames crossings. ● 2019 Herts So Good (200km)/Get Up Offta That Tring (100km). Herts so Good goes to, err… Hertfordshire (and even passes a road named Mary Wells) while Get Up Offta That Tring predictably goes to Tring. ● The 2019 CHILTERN MAY DAY AUDAXES run on Monday May 6 from Ruislip (West London) with 200km and 100km options.



PEAKYGET LET’S BLINDER THIS PARTY STARTED some very minor issues that seemed to bother nobody else. That view was heavily outnumbered by many complimentary emails and lots of returning riders in 2018. My DJ years have taught me to ignore inappropriate behaviour. It didn’t matter how packed and rocking the dance floor, there was always somebody who’d come up and request something inappropriate! Longridge Activity Centre control Fixing a date for event was also an issue. The original venue being a football club, any date during the football season was out of the question. This left May, June and July. I had personal commitments and needed to avoid clashes with other events, so I wasn’t left with much. The May Day Bank Holiday virtually chose itself, but it was the same weekend as LWL and I emailed Liam to ask if he objected. He very kindly gave me his blessing. Out of respect I only start promoting each year after Liam. Fortunately, he sells out in a matter of hours! In fact, while writing this I’ve learned that Liam has, deservedly, become 2018 organiser of the year. Puzzlingly, nobody else (at the

Waiting to start



time) ran Bank Holiday Audaxes. Nobody could tell me why Bank Holidays appeared taboo. I subsequently discovered that some cafés habitually shut on Mondays without making Bank Holidays an exception. I also had to look for a start venue. Many halls were busy or expensive, and eventually I did a deal with a local football club, buying breakfast for each entrant and a cake at the end. There was a car park, it was accessible, toilets, a lounge bar at the end – it ticked a lot of boxes. While costlier than getting club mates to help provide catering it lessened the number of volunteers needed. All went well so we agreed the same deal for 2018. Unfortunately this plan fell through. Luckily I found a pub that would open at 7am, serve breakfasts and let me sit around all day waiting for finishers. I hurriedly emailed all entrants and also posted signs outside the football club; thankfully, we pulled through. Organising isn’t simple. Audax UK insists that new organisers initially work with a mentor as a rite of passage. Grimpeur de Sud maestro, Martin Malins agreed to do the job despite hardly knowing me. He’s experience of organising and his advice was invaluable. One is also required to help at other events and I

Anti-clockwise routes are ❝ preferable as I find left turns are easier ❞ continue to do so. I still enjoy doing my bit for “Biking and Country” even though I’ve completed my apprenticeship. Pat Hurt deserves thanks too. Pat assesses the suitability of my new routes… not always accepting them first time. Devising new routes each year keeps things fresh. Each new event involves lots of DIY route test rides enabling me to score over 100 Audax points in 2017 and 2018 – and one gets an AUK trophy for that! Unlike the medals and badges, my wife does allow trophies to be displayed. But new routes present challenges: minimising controls while having enough of them to ensure the required distance; avoiding major roads, steep climbs, dodgy descents, rough surfaces, fords, traffic lights and busy junctions. One is constantly back at the drawing board, or rather, “mapping software”. But mapping software isn’t like the real thing. Some tempting on screen roads turn out to be hideous bridle paths or, sometimes, private property. If you want a café control, you can bet there won’t be one where it’s needed. Check

dates of village fetes and other events too. Finally, anti-clockwise routes are preferable as I find left turns are easier. Aside from obvious attractions, such as unique locations, particular challenges and scenery, I wanted to attract a wider demographic to my events. I decided on both 100km and 200km options. I wanted the start accessible from both London and the M25. Ruislip has five Underground stations serviced by three tube lines, plus the London to Birmingham Chiltern Line. It is easy to reach by car using the M25 and M40 too. Meanwhile, nearby country lanes make Ruislip a great gateway to the Chilterns from the London suburbs. At the time nobody else did Bank Holiday events, which helped make the event stand out. But I wanted people to return, so there are new routes each year. Finally, I give every starter a free reflective mudguard sticker with a new design every year. They look great alongside AUK and LEL stickers and are collectable. Singularly, these factors won’t make a massive difference, but collectively I think they do. Having used commercial venues to reduce reliance on volunteers hitherto, I decided to change things – I’m hiring a hall for the 2019 rides and providing food to increase rider value. My wife and daughters have been

brilliant at helping every year at café controls. Another star is Andrew Broadbent who’s offered to help in 2019, plus club mates who will help at the start, so that the teas, coffees and calories will be flowing! It is also essential to check the routes before the event. My thanks go to those helpers who checked the routes beforehand, and others who gave me inspiration, publicity, and logistical information. Gratitude also extends to those who take part on the day – the hundreds of riders who make it a special occasion. I think it is most telling that one of the reasons my wife and daughters are so willing to run a control each year is that they always say that Audaxers are such a nice bunch of people. There are multiple risk factors beyond one’s control… and losing money isn’t good, so be sure to budget carefully. In my case, any profit goes to my cycling club, while I personally stomach any losses. Fortunately, annual entries are just shy of 200 with around 150 finishing – and, at the time of writing, it’s growing. Feeling inspired? Organising can give you a real buzz and it’s a worthwhile contribution to our wonderful community. Even if organising is not for you, why not offer to help out at other people’s events? It can be seriously gratifying. ■



The rugged borderlands between England and Scotland have always been a tough place to survive. But those hardy clans who endured life in this lawless outpost for centuries didn’t have the iphone. Listening to Abba’s greatest hits while hurtling through this stark landscape kept cyclist Kate Cullerton-Wright’s spirits up during a punishing 600km ride… until she realised that her musical accompaniment had run down the power on her GPS tracker. Here’s her account of an eventful ride, complete with stolen chips and noisy peacocks

The winner takes it all… if the batteries don’t run out

The Sycamore Gap Tree, or Robin Hood Tree stands next to Hadrian’s Wall near Crag Lough in Northumberland



THE BORDER RAID 2019 600km cycling event starting from Kirkley Cafe, Ponteland. Controls at Dumfries, Newton Stewart, Girvan, Darlrymple, Kirkconnel, Lockerbie Lorry Park, Melrose and Alnwick, plus 1 information control. Distance 600km Date Saturday 20th July 2019 Time 06:00 to finish by + 22:00 (40 hrs) Starting from Kirkley Cafe , Ponteland Total climb 5000m Category BRM Entry £22.00 – or £23.00 when paying with PayPal Closing date for entry 6 Jul 2019 Organiser Aidan Hedley, aidan@northern-audax.org.uk

Cyclists are always looking for new challenges. I’m no different. The longest ride I’d ever completed was a mere 300km, so the idea of taking on a Super Randonneur seemed like a real challenge. I mentioned the idea to my friend Caroline and before you knew it a group of Crewe Clarion cyclists were ensconced in my living room eagerly perusing the available 600k rides while being plied with coffee and home-made cakes by my wife Melanie. The smaller rides of 200, 300 and 400km would be tackled individually with the 600km grand finale being ridden as a group. After checking the options we decided to tackle the New Border Raid 600km. It’s set in a beautiful part of the country so even if the going got tough we’d be inspired to keep on peddling. The route starts in Ponteland, heads across the very north of England then into Scotland and around the Galloway Forest Park. At Girvan we’d be treated to a view of the Irish Sea before heading back to an overnight control at Kirkconnel where food and beds would be available. The route then heads north east to Melrose and onwards to Wooler before making its final turn west back to Ponteland. The route is organised by Aidan Hedley and his merry band of volunteers and what an amazing job they did on this. The route, communication and support over the two days was second-tonone.

Here we go again… from left, Kate, Jonny, Caroline, John and Brandon

With our route decided, John Gallagher took charge of the transport arrangements. John has a reputation in Crewe Clarion Wheelers for well organised trips and holidays and is famous for the accuracy of his spreadsheets and fuel calculations. His trips are so good they’re known affectionately as “Gallagher’s Tours – like the rest, but betterer!” We took up Aiden’s offer of accommodation at the agricultural college which was close to the start point of Kirkley Cycles, and Brandon Edgeley jumped in to arrange this. The accommodation was great, cheap, simple and clean. What more could you need? With much anticipation the weekend of the ride arrived. After packing and re-arranging the van a multitude of times, five cyclists, five bikes and numerous bags were meticulously packed in and we were off. On arrival at the college Brandon headed off to find Aiden to introduce ourselves. He proceeded to “borrow” Aiden’s chips and shared them around our group before handing the remainder back. This was our first indication that Aiden was

… He proceeded to “borrow” ❝ Aiden’s chips and shared them around the group ❞

Did you know that a peacock’s ❝ cry can be heard more than a mile away? ❞

a great guy – after all, how many people do you know that give away their chips? The plan was to have an early night in anticipation of the next day’s early start but the resident peacock at the Zoological Gardens had a different plan for us. Not only did it shout and scream into the night, it did the same again in the morning, starting at about 4am. Just what we didn’t need when we had such a big weekend ahead of us. Did you know that a peacock’s cry can be heard more than a mile away? No? We didn’t either, but we certainly do now! As someone who runs every day the first thing I needed to do was, well, run. So, off I went to run the short mile from the college to Kirkley Cycles. A number of people thought I was crazy running to the start point. This coming from a group of people who were about to cycle 385 miles in under 40 hours! After a cup of tea and several last-minute visits to the loo we were off. Our Crewe Clarion group comprised three men and two women, so we decided to split into girls and boys www.audax.uk


THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL… IF THE BATTERIES DON’T RUN OUT groups as this was more likely to allow us to cycle to our own ability with no extra pressure to keep up. The guys group were Brandon Edgeley, John Gallagher and Jonny Wheeler and the girls were myself and Caroline Wrench. For the initial 30 miles we had agreed to stay together so off we went on the first section of the route which took us past Hadrian’s Wall towards Gilsland. It was here that we passed the Sycamore Gap tree which stands in a dramatic dip in the surrounding land and is one of most photographed trees in the country. The guys then pushed on to collect a British Cycle Quest point and Caroline and I caught them up again at The House of Meg. We weren’t remotely jealous of the fact that they were eating cake already yet we girls had to push on to maintain a good time. At Longton we found a lovely little café, appropriately named The Sycamore Tree, where we had a lovely lunch. Nice as it was, we realised that café stops took up too much precious time. Caroline and I therefore decided that for the next two days food would be eaten on the hoof with priority given to keeping good time by always being on the move. Very early in the day we had picked up

a strong headwind and it stayed with us all the way to Girvan. We were hoping that as we turned North East towards Dalrymple the wind would leave us in peace, but alas, it stuck with us, although not quite as strong. At Girvan, Caroline pointed out the island of Ailsa Craig in the distance. The island is quarried for a rare type of micro-granite which is used to make 70 per cent of all curling stones. Despite the fact that it was now 1am we still had enough light to see the island quite clearly. By now of course we had our lights on as it was dark. We had planned for the longer period of night-time cycling by buying extra lights and powerpacks but cycling mid-July and in the north of the country meant that we had more daylight than usual. Over the whole of the ride I think we used the lights for no more than about four hours. This was handy as it meant I had plenty of power to keep my phone charged and on loud speaker playing cheesy 80s music and Abba on day two. Well into the night Caroline and I finally reached the overnight stop at Kirkconnel. On arrival our bikes were whisked away for safekeeping. Delicious food and mugs of tea then magically appeared in front of us which we proceeded to demolish as quickly as we could before heading off to sleep for a … I decided that for the next mere 40 minutes. Waking, I felt like I’d only two days food would be eaten on the been asleep for five minutes, so it was quite difficult to find the motivation to hoof with priority given to keeping move again. But, move we must, so with good time by always being on the another quick stop for food, drinks and a catch-up with our Clarion buddies we move were back on our bikes and heading out for the start of day two. Surprisingly, once we got going none of us were suffering particularly nasty aches or pains. Clearly the pre-ride training we had put in was now paying off. The guys stayed with us again for some time so we could have a chat and compare notes then we split up for the day. On day two the wind was Super Troupers… Brandon and Jonny arriving in Scotland considerably better, but it had been swapped for heat and hills… lots of hills.



Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t actually a hilly route per se, but it undulates, lots and lots and lots. The first hilly section was from Annadale up to the Grey Mares Tail nature reserve. This was the most beautiful part of the ride for me. Gently ascending hills surrounded by stunning scenery and then sweeping down long gradual descents heading west towards Melrose. Caroline beat me to the bottom so had a quick roadside nap while awaiting my arrival. From here on the hills were swapped for the undulations. The worst part of this type of terrain was that there wasn’t quite enough downhill to allow us to cycle as fast as possible up the other side. Momentum ran out and time and again we were standing on the pedals grinding our way to the top. The heat of course made things tougher too. One of my resounding memories of the day was always being on the lookout for water. No matter how much we carried or bought in shops I just could not quench my thirst. I was concerned that the hills and heat would make us much slower than the guys so at each of the control points we texted them with an update of our location. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were never really that far ahead of us. For me, the hills certainly had an impact on my legs and I could feel myself slowing down a little. At each stop we worked out our timings and, until Melrose, we were making pretty good time and were confident of completing in time. The hills went on and on and time began to slip away so we were worried we wouldn’t make the cut-offs. Caroline is a stronger rider than me so I encouraged her to head off on her own and I’d do my best to keep up. After all, there seemed no point to both failing if she could make it on her own. Being a good friend she refused to leave me on my own but she did demand that I get on her wheel… and stay with her. For the last hour or so I was glued to her wheel and we made great time, well, until I went the wrong way while Caroline went the right way. On a flat bit I was in front and bombing it down a road that was wide and on a gradual descent. I was literally thinking “Woo Hoo, we’re making up loads of time now”, until the Garmin told me I was going the wrong way and I realised Caroline was no longer with me. Back I went along the now ascending road to cover the three miles to the place I had

I was going the wrong way and ❝ Caroline was no longer with me ❞

gone wrong. On arrival there was no Caroline… panic. So I peddled for all I was worth along the proper route hoping that I’d catch her up and she wouldn’t go the wrong way as she didn’t have a map. Soon enough I found her asking a local for directions and we were off again. Despite going the wrong way we had made up enough time that we could see that we were going to complete this in good time. Spotting the final control at Ulgham was so exciting. We literally shouted to each other and carried on pedalling. With about eight miles to go, panic once again set in. My Garmin was about to die so the ride wasn’t being recorded. Normally this wouldn’t have been an issue as I’d charge it up from the powerpack. Remember the cheesy 80s and Abba? Yup, I’d killed the powerpack listening to music and didn’t have a drop of juice left. Luckily Caroline had a spare so

I’d killed the powerpack ❝ listening to music and didn’t have a drop of juice left ❞

Hasta Manana… Crewe Clarion looking surprisingly fresh at the finish

the day was saved once again. With just a mile or so to go Adrian drove past us in his van. Minutes later he passed us once again heading back to the finish line. I think he’d been concerned and had come out to look for us. Finally, with 25 minutes in hand we made it to the finish line and there were hugs, kisses and pats on the back all round. What an absolute relief. All that planning and all five Clarion cyclists had

made it in time, with no injuries and are all officially Super Randonneurs. So, what next? Well, Caroline and the guys are considering entering the 2019 Paris–Brest–Paris. For me, I think 600km is my limit so I won’t be going for that achievement, but I may return next year and ride the New Border Raid route again. One thing is for sure though, if I do, I’m going to fix that bloody peacock! ■

Aidan Hedley, organiser, says… The New Border Raid 2019 is ❝ on 20 July. Some will use it as a pre

I don’t want to talk… Caroline catching 40 winks

-PBP shakedown, others simply a nice 600km. It is generally an easy route with quiet A and B roads. Plenty of others as well as Kate and Caroline found the last 100 Km home from Kelso hard. My advice is if you can, take a rest and finish in the evening when winds and temperatures tend to drop. This year the same arrangements for overnight accommodation before, during and after the event are in place. We are looking forward to meeting those who have already entered together with others inspired by this write-up of 2018’s event




with Dr Alaina Beacall

Long-distance cyclists frequently put their bodies through agonising extremes in pursuit of personal goals and ambitions. Our resident medic, Dr Alaina Beacall is here to help. In this issue she examines two common problems which may touch a nerve with our readers, literally – handlebar palsy and numb bums

When cycling gets on your nerves, it can be a pain in the butt… DOCTOR, I’VE GOT CLAWS FOR HANDS! CYCLIST OR HANDLEBAR PALSY The posh term is ulnar neuropathy, or less commonly the cause could be carpal tunnel syndrome. You may find that you can’t pull zips or undo buttons. Your fingers and thumbs feel useless. You may also find that you can’t bend some of your fingers. This is likely to be the commonest nerve issue among Audaxers, and is due to damage to the ulnar nerve, or less commonly, the median nerve. HOW DOES IT HAPPEN? The ulnar nerve courses its way through our hand via a tunnel called Guyon’s canal, just below the wrist, on the inner bit of our palm. Yes, that part which squishes against our handlebars when using the drops, also known as the hypothenar eminence. The nerve splits off in different ways just after this point; one part gives life to some muscles of the thumb and sideways finger movements; the other feeds the fourth and fifth finger muscles; and another feeds our sensation to those two fingers and the hypothenar eminence. HOW DOES DAMAGE OCCUR? Not surprisingly, pressure over these areas causes nerve compression. This disrupts oxygen to the nerve and nerve signals. The other cause is traction, which is effectively stretching of the nerve. Over time this can cause a breakdown in the nerve, and stop it working. As this is transitory it is termed a ‘neuropraxia’ as opposed to neuropathy, as function will often return. Direct hand pressure has been evaluated in a recent study which, although using a small sample of 36 cyclists, and 18


using static bikes, showed significant differences in hand position. Comparing drops versus tops versus hoods, the most ulnar-nerve damaging position was the drops. This had the highest pressure and the highest traction. We tend to bend our wrists upwards (put into a radial deviation) in the drops which stretches the nerve. Riding on the tops or hoods reduces ulnar nerve pressure, but may increase pressure over a different nerve – the

median nerve. Some riders may also keep their wrists quite extended even when using the tops. THE MEDIAN NERVE: CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME At the base of your palm, the part which sits on the tops, lies your carpal tunnel. Through this courses the median nerve, along with many other bits and bobs. This is a rarer nerve to be bothersome to us, but can still

happen. This one will lead to numbness and tingling in the thumb, first and index fingers, and the inner part of your fourth finger (the part nearest your middle finger). It leads to a weak grip, and general clumsiness. HOW COMMON IS IT? As there are so many variables involved and a lack of largescale research, exact figures are hard to come by. A recent study, however, found 23 out of 25 cyclists reported some hand neuropraxic symptoms after a four day 600km ride. One third of these involved weakness only, with no sensation problems. A quarter were both sensation and movement related. Only one in 10 had sensation issues alone. In “The Great Trial of Strength” 540km ride in Norway, 46 per cent of riders reported sensation or weakness issues of the hands. WILL MY HANDS FALL OFF, OR BE FOREVER USELESS? WHAT CAN I DO? As resilient, sensible and experienced Audaxers, I’m sure you’re all aware of the basic advice. But the key messages for prevention and management of this common ailment are as follows: Gloves – Research has found 3mm padding reduces pressure by up to 28 per cent. No difference with 5mm, and compliant foam is better than gel. Alternate your hand position regularly – In order of highest compression/

pressure for ulnar nerve – drops, tops and hoods. Keep your wrists straight – Tilt your handlebars down slightly to maintain wrist alignment when on drops, and avoid wrist extension when on the tops. Keep your elbows gently bent, to allow soft shock absorption through the arms. Saddle height adjustment – Ensure saddles are not tilted downwards or shifted too far forwards. Handlebar adjustment – If your handlebars are too low, more bodyweight will be expended on to your poor paws. Try making them higher. Aero bars? – For multi-day distance riding, from a personal perspective, I can vouch for the lack of symptoms when using aero bars. They allow extra hand position options, and reduce pressure on the palmar surface. In the 4,200 miles of the TransAmerica I suffered numbness maybe on two occasions. This is compared to my Arctic-Med trip, where doing over 30 per cent less daily mileage, I was even unable to change gears or brake on some days! Early recognition – If the function of your hand feels weak or clumsy, or you’re getting pins-and-needles or numbness of the fingers, this is the time to act. The


Dr Beaca R ll on any c is happy to advis y cling-r e Send yo ur quest elated topic. io n s to the ed (gedlenn itor All cores ox@me.com) pondenc e wil in strict confiden l be ce

longer you ignore it, the worse and more permanent it could become. Rest – If your hand has become affected off-and-on the bike, despite trying out the suggestions above, you really need to let the nerve recover. This will be the best chance you have of not permanently damaging your hand. The majority of issues are temporary, but recovery can take from a few weeks to months depending on the duration of compression and traction. If cycling-related damage has gone on for months, options for recovery in extreme cases can involve steroid injections or even surgery. I would say, however, it is important to be aware that there are other causes of nerve symptoms, and to let your friendly local doctor check you out before you do too much self-diagnoses (despite

The Numb Bum Syndrome (and other sensitive complaints) This isn’t as funny as it sounds. Issues you may experience include: Pain or numbness below the waist; problems in the bedroom; infertility; and/or problems urinating. BUT WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? The pudendal nerve and artery are the important lifelines of your whole groin area – the perineum. The nerve courses through the pudendal canal, where it needs smooth movements. It then exposes itself below your pubis – yes, the location of the saddle nose. Again, pressure and friction here leads to compression, and a lack of gliding. Sitting further forwards can also cause traction. Issues with blood flow through the pudendal artery around the perineum, and lack of oxygen and trauma to the pudendal nerve have been assumed to be the main issues. In the worst case scenario, a study found cyclists’ penile blood flow to be reduced by up to 70 per cent. In terms of postulated male infertility, despite some studies finding the shape of sperm in distance cyclists to be slightly different, as of yet, I’m not aware of evidence that they work less well. Breathe a sigh of relief. AM I ALONE IN THIS? Out of 1,786 regular cyclists, up to 70 per cent of them suffered at least genital numbness. Erectile dysfunction was reported in four per cent (compared to two per cent in a comparable group of long distance swimmers).

HOW DO I RELIEVE THE ISSUE? WILL I DAMAGE MYSELF FOREVER? Despite all this doom and gloom, I have wonderful news. Other research has found that by generally increasing cardiovascular fitness, the rates of sexual dysfunction in cyclists is actually lower than in the average population. Hurrah! Either way, once the signs are there, we would be wise to act on them and prevent discomfort and any lasting damage. Here is some guidance: Posture alteration – Lower your saddle, and try to tilt the nose to reduce pressure (taking care to avoid the hand issues above). Saddle change – A wider saddle will equalise more of the pressure. You particularly want your sit bones to be covered. Padded has been shown to be better. Absent saddle nose and central cut out – This may be personal because we all have a slightly different anatomy. Some people have found this increases pressure around the cut out areas. However it should work for most. Get out the saddle! – Use every opportunity to return blood flow to your perineum, every 15 minutes or so if possible. Lose weight – A vicious cycle, I know. But however you do it, reducing your body mass will reduce the pressure on your perineum. Rest – As with the last bit of advice, if things are becoming a clear issue, and the above suggestions have not helped, please let your perineum recover! A good quality bike fit is designed to aid the reduction of issues like neuropathies, so please consider this if you’ve got some big Audaxes or other epic rides planned. And as above, please see your doctor if you are continuing to suffer any of the above ailments.




The beauty of the Highlands in high summer is spoiled by one thing only – the millions of ferocious, biting midges which devour any living creature daft enough to stand still for a moment… but they’re a great motivation for a cyclist to keep moving – and fast, as Colin Bezant discovered, when he tackled the West Highland 1000…

Riders on the 20


WEST HIGHLAND 1000 1000km cycling event starting from Haymarket Railway Station, Edinburgh. Controls at Comrie, Campbeltown, Oban, Kinlochleven, Oban, Perth and Dunblane, plus 8 information controls. Distance 1000km Date Thursday 31 May 2018 Time 20:00 to finish by + 23:00 (75hrs) Starting from Haymarket Railway Station , Edinburgh Total climb 10,900m (9350 for AAA) Category BRM Entry £17.50 ( £18.50 when paying via PayPal) Organiser Graeme Wyllie, graemewyllie05@gmail.com

In 2012, I entered an event called the Mille Alba, 1000km in three loops from Inverkeithing. Six years on, I was planning another 1000km event, the West Highland, and two things preyed on my mind. This ride would require more self-sufficiency – there was no certainty of a bed or a shower at the end of each day or Audax dedicated feeds. It would be a continuous push, finding food and accommodation on the way. The second was that I’d had a string of recent failures which had resulted in DNS, DNF, DNF. So I’d have to take it sensibly.



No one seemed keen to start, except me wanting to stretch my legs after a long train journey. That meant I found myself in the front group, strong riders, taking advantage of a light tailwind. We battled our way along the cycle paths, not as slick as the Dutch ones I’d spent all winter riding, but a good traffic-free exit from the city. It was all good until a lurking pothole dislodged my pannier. I stopped, adjusted it, and saw the others disappearing into the distance. So there I was 15km into 1000km and on my own. I carried on, trying to set a rhythm into the setting sun. But then things turned my way. As we headed into Linlithgow, I saw a group of cyclists straggling around a red traffic light. It took me the length of the

Visual impact… The National Nature Reserve of Loch Leven is thought to have been created by a meteorite




Loch Fyne… south of Ardrishaig, where they served milkshakes!

town to catch them up through the traffic but I was back in the front group. Taking turns to set the pace steamed like we were on a club run, although Chris, Steve and I dropped back on the climb out of Braco because the pace was too hot. It gave us a good appetite for the pasta supper in Comrie. Deep in the glen, even though we’d never lose the twilight, it was as good as dark. The three of us and one other dragged our way to the start of Loch Earn, heavy roads with eroded patches hidden in the dark. Now and again the one in front would swerve and point out a crater. This kept us awake and company kept us sane. Eventually we reached Lochearnhead and the start of the Glen Ogle climb. It

rises about 190m in 5km, so it’s not steep or special, just the sort of steady ascent that’s in my comfort zone, being too big and heavy for steep ascents. There were quite a few false summits and the descent wasn’t the fastest, but we were soon in Glen Dochart and another long, mostly flat route, featureless in the dark. There were more rough patches on the road and I started to doze – 1am is not a good time for me, I prefer to be asleep. We had a snack and topped up water bottles from the outside tap at the Green Welly Café in Tyndrum – 151km done. Most of the road to Dalmally was flat or a very slight descent. It wasn’t one of those fast-flowing descents but mostly pedalling with a few sections where we could roll.

Oddly, those were the worst, as they provoked a return of the dozes. I longed for the daylight. I longed even more for a coffee. We passed the Dalmally signs and then the turn to Inveraray, climbing again, this time in less co-ordinated fashion. We could feel the midges against our faces. It was starting to get light, and we could see the landmarks properly as we descended into Inveraray. We’d done the 195km to the info control in under eight hours. We stopped to write down the info and the midges attacked. Within 30 seconds our position was untenable and we had to move. I’d never known them so ferocious. We carried on but the going was tough because of lack of sleep. If we’d had a magic wand we’d have conjured up a café, but there was nothing. A mist rose over a small lake and I wasn’t certain whether this was moisture or a cloud of little insects. Outside a shop in Ardrishaig, a couple of bikes were parked. We feasted on milkshakes, pastries – and midges. We arrived at a café in Tarbet (255km) at 7am, the same time as the owner and he made us coffee while he got our breakfasts cooking. All was right with the world again. But we had a bit of fun coming. The little road on the Loch Fyne side of Kintyre has hills, enough (10 in 30km) to make Wessex rides look tame. And they were steep. I was glad of the triple chain ring on every ascent. A bit of Garmin fiddling then some roadworks separated me from Chris and Steve. I rolled into Campbelltown, which feels like it’s at the end of the world. The Bluebell café

The route took a short detour ❝ around Loch Creran. I began to feel very weary, 24 hours after the start ❞



FEMMEFATALE offered my third breakfast of the day, at 11am. Although I was sad to be on my own, I was starting to watch the clock. It was 145km from Campbelltown to Oban. Ninety miles in five hours would be fine, if fresh, but was more likely take seven hours after riding through the night. At least that meant I should be in Oban about 6.30pm and but would have to keep pushing to make Glencoe before it closed. There was a blessed tailwind but it was 38 miles to Tarbert – distances in this part of the world are daunting. Although the road was mostly flat, each undulation was magnified by the miles in the legs and the lack of sleep. It was really hard to concentrate. Then I saw Chris and Steve at a petrol station and stopped, grabbing another coffee. It was good to ride with familiar people, but the elastic between us was weakening. On a big climb before Tarbert; the tension of wanting to reach Glencoe infected my mind and I carried on. I’d said whatever happened we should meet in the Tesco at Lochgilphead. The wind had dropped but once I got to Tarbert it picked up again and blew me along while I marvelled at the light on Loch Fyne’s broad waters, the brilliance of the sun, and the wonders of Scotland in rare warmth. Then I saw that the route didn’t go back past the Tesco. I was afraid that I would run out of town and there would be nowhere to stop. I knew it was still 60km, so at least two and a half hours to Oban and I needed another meal stop. Fortunately there was a petrol station with

a café, so I ordered a cheese-and-hamtoastie and a tea. Two of the faster riders were just leaving as I arrived. I saw no sign of Chris or Steve. After Kilmartin the road started to rise with endless false-summits. The descent gave welcome relief from the heat, but the road remained lumpy and rose again through Kimelford. I needed more sustenance to make Oban. A café was closed but the shop sold ice cream. Descending to Loch Linnhe gave the prospect of a cooling tailwind. Then the road turned inland and climbed again, a really tough blow. Every time I hoped for a descent, it rose. Only the fact that I knew Oban was close kept me going. I rolled wearily into the Tesco car park and collapsed into a chair outside the rental van. This had been one of the hardest day I’d had in the saddle. Chris and Steve arrived, just as I was leaving. It was 6.30pm, and I aimed to reach Glencoe, as planned, in good light at 9.30pm. The route took a short detour around Loch Creran. I began to feel very weary, 24 hours after the start. I stopped for a snack and propped the bike up against some bushes to take a photo. Glencoe looked dark and gloomy as always. My brain was in deep fade mode, until I saw the sign “Hostel, 30-minute walk”. It didn’t help that I found the wrong hostel to start with, but the welcome at the right one was great. My room mates,

Of the many biting insects in Scotland the midge (Culicoides impunctatus) is the most numerous, especially in the north west Highlands. Here are some facts about these little monsters… ● only the female needs your blood in order to make eggs – the male is vegetarian ● an estimated 21 billion midges are actively feeding at any one time ● they can deliver 3000 bites per hour ● an estimated £268 million is lost to tourism because of them ● they are most active in low light conditions, during the morning and evening ● eating Marmite and drinking apple cider vinegar allegedly discourages biting, and Avon’s Skin so Soft (as used by the SAS) is said to a very effective repellent.

At just 1mm the midge, on the left, in comparison to the mosquito, makes up for its diminutive size by sheer weight of numbers

Short detour… Loch Creran, a typical fjordic sea loch



RIDERS ON THE SWARM two guys about to start a two-day trail over 24 Munros, taped over a broken vent which would have let in a living hell of midges. I slept beautifully.

… That encouraged me to ❝ take the optional route along the


The road around Loch Leven didn’t follow the shore but rose as if it would reach the Aonach Eagach, the mountain ridge on the east side of Glencoe. By 6am it was already warming up and I took off my base layer, braving the midges. The morning scenery was outstanding. I wasn’t riding fast but I sailed past another rider, who, it turned out had slept in a bus shelter. The ferry was over the far side of Loch Linnhe, discharged a few cars and a solitary rider. The other rider caught me up and we took the ferry over. It was like being on holiday, listening to the chug of a diesel engine and getting the best angle for a photo. I set off at the same good pace, enjoying the traffic-free road, knowing that it would be 20 minutes before the ferry discharged its next load of cars. I’d never explored this part of Scotland before. It’s beautiful and I made a note to come back. Strontian was packed with expensive houses and a luxury hotel, despite being in the middle of nowhere. Then the road went down to single track with passing places, and climbed in ancient oak woodland, twisting and turning, with little ups and downs. This was difficult terrain. Acharacle had two pleasant surprises: a general store that doubled as a café and another rider, Dai, tucking into a breakfast. He was the rider who’d caught the first ferry, after spending the night in the shelter, a braver man than me. The scenery became more dramatic, with bigger climbs, and a steady cool wind off the sea building clouds on the great hills that rose up all around. I enjoyed the cooler air and picked up my effort to make

west of Loch Linnhe to go back over the Corran Ferry

way against the wind, the first real headwind of the trip. The next landmark was Loch Moidart, a sea loch with a complicated geography, full of islands and two separate exits. The road didn’t follow the loch for long but climbed up the hardest pass yet, almost 150m to the Bealach Carach. There was a fast and welcome descent of Glen Uig and a beautiful tour around the Sound of Arisaig. The road now followed the shore, along a lake that had many little stony islands, more variety for the beautiful palette that had been presented along this remote stretch of tarmac designated as the A861. I reached Lochailort, but I couldn’t work out the information control so simply took a picture of my yellow Roberts propped against the junction sign. This should be its last long Audax, after two PBPs, and a Mille Alba, as well as quite a few 600s. Its replacement was on order, an Enigma Etape titanium framed machine with disc brakes. So far the old soldier was doing very well. The road got busier, full of half-term holiday traffic heading home. The

As I wasn’t in a ❝ hurry, I parked the bike up against the railing and took its picture with the iconic Forth Rail Bridge in the background



Glenfinnan monument was the next landmark, crawling with tourists. There were hundreds of cars there. I thought about all the space, so many mountains that I’d passed by and thought worthy of stopping and investigating if I returned, and then about how everyone had crammed themselves into this one place. They say that humans are social animals and I can’t live without people, but when I’ve been in the wilds, I find crowds daunting. That encouraged me to take the optional route along the west of Loch Linnhe to go back over the Corran Ferry. Ahead Ben Nevis’s bulk got bigger and higher. With no cafés or any other kind of dwelling in sight, I sat down on a mossy bank and ate some of my bonk rations. I waited in the sunshine for the Corran Ferry. Around the corner in Oinich was a little husband-and-wife place which served up the best breakfast of the trip – long strips of black pudding that were rich and salty and great with the bacon and sausage, baked beans and egg. The cycle path helped me avoid the worst of the traffic, except the logjam in Oban. Big heavy clouds were forming over Ben Nevis but it looked brighter to the west so I hoped I would avoid the rain. Martin Foley stamped my card and checked the infos. It was 4.40pm and it turned out I was first back to Oban. Although I usually prefer company, this day had been so beautiful that I was happy to have had the experience to myself and not be distracted by someone else’s rear wheel. Not long out of Oban the rain got heavy but it was very mild and humid. It was a long drag over the hills, but it was worthwhile pushing on to the youth hostel in Crianlarich (800km), which sold me a pizza to cook and a bottle of beer to drink. It was the perfect end to a spectacular Audax day.


I slept well enough until 4am. I’d intended to get up for a 6am start, with the assumption that some riders would ride through so there was no point in rushing to be first back. But I didn’t get back to sleep and so decided I might as well be on the road rather than tossing and turning in a stuffy dormitory. I hoisted the bike out from the back of the hostel. It took me a few moments too long to load the pannier and the Garmin. The midges descended and started to bite. I was away in a hurry, no last-minute faffing to see if I had everything. It was gloomy, intermittent light rain, and the hills were shrouded in clouds. The only difference from the way out was that I could see the rough patches on the road surface. My rear contact points were troubling me, which made pedalling at a high cadence hard work, even though the road encouraged spinning a gear. It was 85km to Perth. The climb up to Glen Ogle was a nice relief, as was the descent the other side, but after that it was endless flat along the side of Loch Earn. I passed another rider in St Filians, tired after an early start from Oban. In Comrie the route turned off the main road, taking lanes to Crieff. I was riding relentlessly, counting down the kilometres to Perth, rationing the cereal bars in my back pocket. The rain stopped and the skies brightened. The route took me through lush farmland and woods, far removed from the highland moors and forest that had formed the scenery for most of the ride. It made a pleasant change. My rhythm remained good, despite the sore behind. I thought of conducting an orchestra made up of all the aches and pains: sore behind, sore knees, a headache, stiff legs that screamed when I tried to get out of the saddle, forearms that no longer wanted to bear my weight, eyes tired from midge impact and pothole focusing. I set all these discomforts aside and was in Perth earlier than I expected, watching a breeding horde of traffic cones looking to organise themselves for the Lionel Ritchie concert at the football ground. The next few miles to Dunning were on recently resurfaced road, but the Schwalbe Duranos coped well. I noted the information control. There was obviously a race coming through and a marshal was getting ready. But they didn’t catch me up. After one false turn I found my way up through Auchterader. There was a slight tailwind and I really got going through Gleneagles and towards Braco, where there was another section of freshly laid road full of loose stones. I passed two more riders at the side of the road. I had no idea how

…Proper ❝ recovery food – and a perfect end to a perfect ride at Harry’s Bar

many more riders were ahead of me but passing other riders gave me a positive feeling. I had about 65km to go, but it felt hard. The wind that had helped me over to Perth was now against me. The road to Alloa was really busy and the town itself was heaving because they’d held a half-marathon. The streets were full of exhausted looking runners with weary smiles. They were entitled to their sense of achievement. I made a weary navigation error in Clackmannan but the Garmin got me back on route, and there wasn’t far to go. Eventually the route climbed up to the Forth Road Bridge. As I wasn’t in a hurry, I parked the bike up against the railing and took its picture with the iconic Forth Rail Bridge in the background. It was a surprise to find that we were first back. But the more welcome surprise was that there was a free bar. Even better, it served craft beers. I ordered a pint of excellent porter. Cheese and charcuterie helped with the recovery. It was only a short ride to the hotel. They had nowhere for me to put the bike but were happy for me to take it up to my room. I decided that a shower and clean clothes was a priority over food, so had a welcome shower before heading down and ordering a kebab. Proper recovery food – and a perfect end to a perfect ride. ■

Colin Bezant… has been an AUK member since 2002, and is a veteran of 14 SR series including three PBP, an LEL, and a Mille Miglia. He also organises the fabled Cambrian Series perms and the UK’s first Super Randonee, the Cambrian 6C. By his own admission, he rides briskly until distracted by cafes, but is a useful ally in headwinds

Acharacle… a place of pleasant surprises www.audax.uk



For many people, the heel of England is just another stage in the drive to the Channel ports and the Eurotunnel – but Richard Chew believes Kent and Sussex have much to challenge the Audax cyclist, and urges us to take a look at the celebrated Oasts and Coasts 300k through some of the country’s most beautiful countryside

An Oast of good reasons to head for the Garden of England 26


300km cycling event starting from Meopham. Controls at Uckfield, Hythe and Herne Bay, plus 2 information controls. Distance 300km Date Saturday 27th July 2019 Time 06:00 to finish by + 02:00 (20 hrs) Starting from Meopham Total climb 3000m Category BRM (PBP) Entry £9.00 Organiser Tom Jackson, tom56jackson@gmail.com www.kentaudax.co.uk/

The Oasts and Coasts 300k is mixture of treasures, with its Martello towers, castles and shorelines – some bleak and isolated, others bustling with activity and ice cream vans, hilly inland sections with yellow fields on one side and bleating lambs on the other. Oast houses, bridge crossings and a few hills too. This April was the fourth year I’ve completed the ride and I would love it if more riders came down to try it and experience this lovely corner of the country for themselves. Like many riders perhaps, I’d lost my mojo a bit over the winter and was struggling to get back in the saddle after all last year’s exploits. However I was beginning to feel it would be disloyal not to do this ride again, given my history with it. Also a friend’s recent collision with a van left me with the feeling that I was fortunate, and at least I could choose to go out there and enjoy it.

Everything was favourable this year too. I had a lift to the start from my front door, so no B&B at the start or train home at the end, the forecast was fine, I knew the route by heart, and several friends were taking part. Dick and I found the familiar scout hut in Meopham more easily than in previous years, just before dawn, and went in for breakfast. I actually left the depart on schedule for a change, and watched a Garminled group whizz along the main road, and miss the first left turn after the start. We met up with Mark from Norfolk riding a lovely retro racer on his first 300. He soon began to feel the pain of the hills so we wondered how he’d get on with some of the later climbs from the coast. Toys Hill done, without resorting to the granny gear, we negotiated a struggling horse transporter and went over a few more lumpy bits in the Ashdown Forest before a much anticipated breakfast stop. Some places never seem to change, and thankfully Poppins café in Uckfield is like that. Once tried, it becomes your favourite. They just seem to cope with this large influx of cyclist in an efficient manner and you can get in and out the door, fully serviced, without the feeling that any faffing has occurred. It was while sitting there that I heard a familiar voice and turned to recognise Valdus Vitkauskas with whom I’d shared many a long mile on the Pendle 600 last year. What a wonderful small world the Audax community is at times. It was great to catch up with him at various points in the day under less strenuous conditions. It was a little early for lunch in Battle but a bun from the bakery, thanks to Dick, was just the ticket and we pushed on. There followed a quick circumnavigation of Rye’s one way system and then a good head-down push along the Military Canal to Appledore. My

will to live began to ebb at 130km when I realised there was still another 20km to go before lunch and I felt ready to pack it in before the halfway mark. A good plate of salty chips and sausage roll at the Railway Station café in Hythe soon pulled me out of the doldrums as I began to visualise the next milestones on the ride. Escaping Hythe, being buzzed by cars on the seafront provided a distraction, and the hordes of barbecue diners and kids in the Lower Leas Costal Park slowed us down a bit, but soon we were into Folkestone and for me, back on home territory. These felt like free miles that didn’t count. Just the short step until Sandwich, which is the 200km mark, and mentally that felt good. Great views across the Channel once we had made the alpine climb out of Dover where we met a group of 30 or so tourist riders going the other way. I hadn’t had much use out of my bell up till that point so I rang out a good peel of greetings. Dick’s chain was beginning to sound a bit dry so we stopped by his place in Deal for some lubrication, for both man

and machine, before stopping at the official control to grab a receipt. South coast to North coast of Kent takes a very short time and it was not long before we reached the bumpy coastal path en-route to the distant towers of Reculver. Not for the first time a rear light was jolted off, exploding into lens, batteries and other related parts. We had a couple of spares between us so, no great concerns. A cheerful crowd enjoyed ice cream in the rather warm conditions at Mackaris in Herne Bay, rather expensive too – but only a sticker is needed here so you can avoid that bill if you like. Lighting up time was not far away and we made good use of the straight, smooth road conditions between Seasalter and Graveney to raise the average speed. I’ve done quite a few rides round Hollingbourne over the last couple of years, so riding through the lanes in the dark was not quite as treacherous as it used to seem. The surface is pretty shocking in some places; the E5 Clapton rider with the splendid amber walled fat tyres would have been just fine. You can’t really see how rough it is

at night, but the lane can be quite green in the middle. There’s a lot compressed into the last stage of the ride, the poignant Jade’s crossing, the vast Medway estuary bridge and a fine control at the petrol station by the Kent Motorhome Centre. As one rider noted rather eloquently about Audaxes, we pass some beautiful country pubs on these rides, and here we are sitting at the back of a petrol station next to a motorway eating junk. But what junk! Greasy lamb pakoras from Deal (now at body temperature), coffee, and a bag of jelly babies. On to the final dark stage, the cosy sound of a train clattering along the nearby track in the night at Sole Street and one last little climb. I actually felt better at the finish than I did at the halfway stage. I knew there would be pizza, and to top it all, it had anchovies on too. There was chocolate cake as well, just to add to my rapture. I had to be dragged home. So there you have it, the perfect Audax. I expect it to sell out this year, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. ■

Some of the ACME crew take a break at the not inexpensive Mackaris in Herne Bay



If you find yourself riding alongside Dan Campbell, a recent convert to Audax events, don’t expect a long conversation. He’s a self-confessed cycling hermit who loves to ride alone… preferably at night. Here, the solitary cyclist describes his impressions of the Audax universe after his first full year in the community…

Lake Vyrnwy Dam




At the start of 2017 I was getting bored with the same old rides, so I searched around for new cycle routes and I came across blog after blog about Audax rides. This led me to the current Audax website and I completed a couple of John Hamilton’s 200km permanent routes around Shropshire and Wales over the summer. This was my first experience of Audaxing and I loved the peace and quiet of solo, overnight cycling. John was fantastic. He was always open to questions, and helped me to understand what I needed to provide to have my ride validated. At this stage I did not really understand the full implications of having my ride validated. I naively assumed it was someone checking to make sure I did the ride. To be honest I was more interested in riding the route than having the ride validated and for the few pounds it cost, it was excellent value for money. However, it made me realise how the ride organisers are ambassadors for the Audax community and John was excellent at fulfilling that role.


I decided that I wanted to achieve some tangible outcomes in 2018 so I signed up for some calendar events. Having learnt from my permanent route experience, any ride which I opted to undertake needed to have a GPS track on a website like RideWithGPS. I also wanted something close to home in Staffordshire as I didn’t really know what to expect. I opted for the Moneyash calendar event through Peak Audax. To be honest this was a bit of a last-minute decision as I was a little hesitant turning up to my first calendar event on my own. It was the thought that I would not be fast enough, rather than having to ride on my own. For those who have not met me, I am the very, very fat lad at the back or, in Audaxing terms, a full value rider. However, Chris Keeling-Roberts, the organiser, was excellent and the reward of a free sandwich at the finish line clinched the deal. Having caved, kayaked and mountaineered across Europe in my

younger days, I have experienced many epic and challenging situations and I can wholeheartedly say that this ride is up there in my top five rides. It was a mix of caving (dirty), mountaineering (hilly) and kayaking (rainy most of the day). I was in heaven and I wanted more. However, an error I made was missing the pre-ride briefing as I popped to the toilet. So far this year I have only managed to listen to one pre-ride briefing… to quote my school reports, I “must try harder”. I also quickly realised that it was in my own interests to take photos of the receipts and controls because water, wind and paper do not mix. I want to highlight some observations: I’m not a talker. I suspect that I am unique from the point of view that I try to ride most of my permanent routes overnight, due to work and family commitments. It also means that I do most of my riding alone, except for calendar events, but even then, I tend to cycle alone as I like the peace and quiet of the road. When I rode the Three Coasts www.audax.uk


PEAKY DAN SOLO… BLINDER FAR, FAR AWAY IN A GALAXY OF HIS OWN (organiser: Chris Crossland), Steve Swabey introduced himself after the first couple of miles and asked if we could cycle together as we were about the same speed. I said yes, by all means, but please be aware that I am not a talker as I like the peace and quiet of the road. It was great to share the road with Steve as we cycled 230 miles having mini chats along the way.


It is amazing the emotional difference a passing rider can have. A simple “Hello, how is it going?” can lift spirits and open the door for a quick conversation. When I rode the Moors and Wold (400km) this year, the night had drawn in and a rider from a passing group asked if I had overnight clothes. I thought it was strange that he would ask that question then I realised that I still had my short-sleeved summer top on and they were wearing windproof jackets and leggings. I realised a little later that I was sunburnt (no sun cream) which was giving me a false perception of the temperature. Also, chatting to other riders at the controls provides insight about the route which you may not know, such as sleep points or a shop/garage just off the route.


It is surprising how quickly you recognise the same faces, but I usually have no idea who they are! However, on three rides this year I have seen Katie Butler talking into her camera. In fact, I became so used to Katie talking into her camera that I was a little disappointed when I missed her camera routine on the Three Coasts. It is interesting how little things can make your ride.


St Christopher’s Church, Pott Shrigley

While I love solo riding, there are definite benefits of riding in a group. On the London-Wales-London this year, riding with a friend (Sarah Roberts), I failed to drink enough water and by the time I

reached the top of the Symonds Yat climb I was in a bad way. I spent the next 12 hours drinking litres of water and following a little red light. Unfortunately, this resulted in Sarah not finishing, but I am very grateful to her for setting a steady pace and keeping me going.


As a newcomer to the Audax community my first impression was that all Audax riders were targeting two outcomes – Super Randonneur and Paris–Brest–Paris, and nothing else seemed to matter. In fact, it was not until February 2018 that I realised that Audax UK offered many more awards/medals for members to target. However, when you look at these awards it states that your ride must be a BP, BR or a BRM. It took me some time to understand the difference between these terms and how they impact on the awards and thus the rides/events which you need to sign up for. I found the best place to visit when trying to understand AUK awards is Allan Taylor’s medal website http://audaxmedals.southportcc.co.uk/. What I discovered, for the most part, is to ignore the BP, BR and BRM rating and look at the ride distance value and allocated ride time. After completing my first permanent ride, in 2017, I visited the results page and to be honest I was not sure what I was looking at – it was very difficult to understand how the Audax system worked. The interface is aimed at consumers with some knowledge of the AUK award system. However, now that I understand the AUK awards I can visualise how the interface works. Because I have not been around for long, I do not know what the results interface will look like on the new website. However, to help newcomers to Audaxing, I would suggest that there is a page which very simply lists the awards and indicates what needs to be completed to achieve that award. ■

The top of Cowlow Lane climb



My personal top tips for riding Audaxes ● Drink more water than you think you need and eat little but often ● Don’t change your food routines on the day – your body will not like it ● Don’t procrastinate at controls, but do rest and stretch ● Not losing time is better than having to gain time ● Maintaining a light, comfortable pace is better than a heavy faster pace ● Lift your speed on the flats and conserve your energy on the hills. ● The distance between controls is better than the whole ● Don’t be afraid of cycling alone. ● Enjoyment and success are the best motivators ● Self-belief is the best indicator of success ● Take your lights as anything can happen ● Always assume that you will be alone, it will be dark, raining and isolated when you have a mechanical ● Consider your clothing – it gets cold at night ● Thirty minutes of sleep is as good as two hours ● Sunburn keeps you warm at night, even when it is freezing. www.audax.uk



The opportunity for wildlife encounters is one of the joys of cycling – but, as AUK member Rob McIvor found out on a mountain climb in the USA, some meetings are better avoided…

If you’re face-to-face with Yogi, don’t make a Boo-Boo The North American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is not always black, but always demands respect…



BEBEARAWARE It was a glorious August afternoon. The temperature was hovering somewhere in the mid-30s with no humidity and my legs felt supple and strong for the short climb ahead. Turning off the main road, past the signs warning that the winding lane ahead was unsuitable for vehicles longer than 25ft, I went from open space, with stunning mountain views, to a narrow road with dense, dark forest, banking up on each side. The only sounds I could hear were my own breathing and the slight whirr of the chain hauling me upwards. I was in that wonderful mental state in which the mind goes almost completely blank and simply exalts in the pleasure of being outside, on a bike. Then I met the bear. And things changed very quickly. You’ll have released by now that I wasn’t on an Audax UK ride. Our risk assessments tend not to encompass encounters with large carnivores. I was on a family holiday in the USA and had slipped away for a few hours to take a ride up Signal Mountain, a 2,350m peak in Wyoming. I wasn’t expecting a particularly challenging ride. The foot of the climb was already at almost 2,000m and it was only another five miles to the summit itself, at a fairly benign gradient. My main reason for trying it was to see how I coped with the altitude. I had suffered badly with asthma on my previous highest climbs, barely more than 2,000m, in the Pyrenees some years before. As I was planning to tackle the 4,260m ascent of Mount Evans in Colorado the following week, I was concerned that I might not be capable of riding in the thinner air above 2,500 metres. Hence my focus was my lungs as I pedalled comfortably through the first mile or so of gently undulating forest road, enjoying the peace and musing over what kind of view I would get from the top of the mountain. I rounded a bend, on a slight incline, and there he was, on all fours, slap bang in the middle of the road about 40 feet in front of me. A fully grown black bear.

I’m not embarrassed to say that I ❝ was very scared at this point ❞ I knew about bears, of course. Any visitor to Grand Teton or the adjoining Yellowstone National Park is bombarded with warnings about the danger, the need to stay at least 300 feet away from any bear, the inadvisability of hiking alone and the wisdom of carrying bear repelling spray*. I had heard all of that

*B  ear repellent is a truly foul-smelling substance, designed to be sprayed at an attacking bear once it gets within about 25 feet of its intended victim. Apparently, a bear who has experienced it once, will back off at just the sight of a canister.

While most Americans are aware of the dangers of bear encounters, many of the growing number of Brits visiting the USA’s wild places may be caught unawares. Here’s the survivalist’s guide of what to do if you come across one of the several species of native bear in North America: ● Don’t run! The bear will assume you are prey. ● Be alert to sounds and movement around you… and don’t wear your earphones! ● Be aware of blind corners, or loud streams where a bear might not hear you coming. ● Where possible, cycle in a group. ● Do not try to take a photograph. ● Speak in a calm manner and back away… very, very slowly. ● Always take bear spray… easily accessible on your belt, not in your saddle bags. ● Do not use the spray until the bear is within 25 feet… and aim the nozzle just above the bear’s head, giving a sustained blast. ● Bear spray is by far your most useful weapon. US statistics show that, of those who used a gun to tackle a bear attack, 50 per cent suffered injury. advice and, foolishly, assumed that a bear was unlikely to be hanging around on a popular road, with cars buzzing up and down, in the middle of the afternoon. Now, as I looked at the bear and the bear looked at me, I found myself wondering if I would live long enough to realise what a fool I had been? I am pleased to recall that I didn’t panic. Had I succumbed to my immediate instinct, to turn around and get back down the hill as quickly as possible, you might not be reading this. Thanks to the Lonely Planet guide, I knew that the worst thing you can do when faced with a bear is to run away. Apparently, they enjoy the chase as much as the subsequent meal. So I stopped, dismounted, and backed away, painfully slowly, with the bike held in front of me (as everyone knows, a bicycle is a highly effective defence against a charging bear). All the time I was avoiding eye contact and talking loudly to make it clear that I was a human being. I can’t remember what I was saying but I suspect it was gibberish. I seem to recall that at one point I said something like: “Hello Mr Bear. What a surprise to see you here. I hope you are having a nice day.” Fear does that sort of thing to you. All seemed to be going well. I wasn’t too far from the bend and I hoped that once I was out of sight I would be forgotten. But then a car came down the hill, behind the bear. And rather than stop immediately, the driver helpfully chose to get as close as he could to the animal so that his kids could lean out of the windows and take photos. Not surprisingly, the bear took exception to this encroachment on to his bit of road and decided to move away. Towards me. Luckily, he didn’t move very fast, but I’m not embarrassed to say that I was very scared at this point. He came a bit closer, now about 30ft away, then stopped again. Suddenly, there was a new factor to consider – another car had just come around the bend and stopped immediately behind me. This was my saviour, or so I thought. There was a www.audax.uk


IF YOU’RE FACE-TO-FACE WITH YOGI, DON’T MAKE A BOO-BOO certain logic in placing another, large and metal, object between me and the bear. Very slowly, I edged alongside and then around the back of the car. Caught in a vehicle sandwich, the bear began to pace restlessly from one side of the road to the other, still coming closer towards where I was lurking. Then, without warning, he leapt up the bank at the side of the road and started to amble among the trees. I think at that point, all involved assumed that our little encounter was about to be over. Another car had now come down the hill and was spilling its camerawielding occupants all over the road. As some of them were small kids, I reasoned that this was helpful as, given the choice, any bear would be bound to go for an easy, bite-sized meal rather than take on an adult. On the other hand, he had now re-emerged from the trees and was almost parallel to the car behind which I was cowering. Not wanting to take any chances, I edged back alongside the car, so that it was still between us. This turned out to be a smart move as the bear jumped back down on to the road and approached the very spot at which I had been standing. There were a couple of mountain bikes strapped to the back of the car and, perhaps because they would have the smells of previously-ridden trails on them, these became the focus of his attention. However, so far as I was concerned, I was still fewer than six feet from a large black bear, so continued to take baby steps back towards the front of the car. I could hear him snuffling, as though he had a bad cold, and, as I thought in my fear, growling a little. A bear’s growling is not a welcome sound when you are that close. Thank goodness for those bikes. Whatever it was about them was enough to occupy him completely. He began clambering over them, pawing at the tyres and making the rear end of the car rock up and down. That was enough distraction for me to gently back away, this time up the hill, towards the gawping onlookers. I

Rob poses on the summit of Mt Evans at 14,130ft

wonder how many holiday photos I appear in. As soon as I was out of direct sight, I was back on the bike and continued the climb, albeit a little more nervously than before. The car with bikes came past about 15 minutes later. The driver slowed to tell me that the bear had ended up on the roof and he had resorted to beeping the horn and jerking the vehicle to drive him away. I expressed my hope that he really had gone away and wouldn’t be waiting on his (or my) return! A couple of cyclists who reached the top about 10 minutes after me reported that they had spotted him among the trees but that he had shown no interest in them. As for the climb – it was lovely and the view from the summit worth the effort. But I made sure that I took the descent in company, tailgating (with permission) a large SUV all the way down. And I’m pleased to report that I suffered no ill-effects from the altitude and reached the summit of Mount Evans comfortably the following week. But if I were to cycle in that region again, I think I’d do it with company – and a can of bear spray in one of the bottle cages. ■

As some of ❝ them were small kids, I reasoned that this was helpful as, given the choice, any bear would be bound to go for an easy, bite-sized meal rather than take on an adult

ANIMALINSTINCT With increasing numbers of British cyclists heading off to exotic places across the globe, it might be worth reviewing the animal-related risks faced by those on two wheels out in the wild. Bear attacks, while relatively uncommon, are most likely to occur in Canada and the north western states of the USA. Fatalities are rare, though a mountain biker was killed by a grizzly bear in Montana as recently as 2016. Bear attacks are not unknown in the remoter parts of eastern Europe where bear populations are on the increase. Summer months, when bears are not hibernating, are the most dangerous, especially late summer when the availability of berries and fruit tempts bears to roam. Cougars and mountain lions, which can be found from Texas to British Columbia, are also a potential danger. In May last year a cyclist was attacked and killed by a cougar in Washington state in 34


north-western USA. More recently in early February this year, a runner in Colorado was attacked by a cougar, but, after being bitten in the face and arms, killed the animal by strangulation! Such attacks are rare, say experts, and most big cats will avoid humans. In the USA, the most common animal threat faced by the biking fraternity is dangerous snakes, particularly at dusk when they become more active – and when a weary cyclist out on a lonely highway may be less alert. A common danger for cyclists almost anywhere in the world, including Britain, is the chance of colliding with deer bounding on to the road. In Australia the same warning applies to kangaroos. These incidents have been known to cause serious injury, even death. And while keeping a weather eye on your surroundings, don’t forget to look up occasionally – attacks from the air, by

aggressive buzzards, crows and magpies, have been experienced by runners and cyclists in the UK. Thanks to the ubiquitous helmet camera, YouTube is packed with footage of scary attacks on cyclists – including an astonishing ostrich confrontation, where the giant bird chased two cyclists down an African road for almost a mile, at speeds in excess of 40mph. Elsewhere on the video-sharing site, you will find footage of attacks by magpies, giraffes, hippos and even angry sheep. If this is putting you off biking in wild places – don’t worry. Attacks on cyclists by wild animals are remarkably unusual. You’re more likely to have an encounter with a snarly dog while pedalling down to the shops for a pint of milk. And on most roads on the planet, let’s be honest, the most dangerous creature a cyclist is likely to encounter is another human being… in a car.

Report from OCD for 2018, from Rod Dalitz, the OCD Man

OCD cyclo climbing 2018 In 2018, 38 riders claimed over a million metres of cols. Several people with enviable past records did not submit claims this year. If you missed the deadline – you are supposed to submit by the end of the year – don’t worry, you can claim next year. OCD rules allow you to submit claims dated back to when the club was founded in 1960. Fraser Anderson continues as youngest col rider, now aged 11. Claims came in from UK and Europe, several from Corsica, one each from Majorca, Cyprus, and Tenerife. Most exotic was a tour in Tajikistan. Mont Ventoux continues to be a favourite, with six riders reaching the summit – OCD allows true summits to be counted, as long as the cycle reaches the top. Normally you are allowed only one ascent per day, but the Cingles of Mont Ventoux, three ascents by the three different roads, is a special case. One of the two riders achieving the Cingles award went on to a fourth ascent in 24 hours via a forest track. Not all OCD claims are so grand, but every col is an achievement, and the higher cols in the Alps and Pyrenees are wonderful places to reach under your own power. Many riders who have started with one or two cols in a year have recognised the challenge, and gone on to do so much more.

A few words from letters accompanying claims: ● A bit less than the last 2 years due to the upheaval of selling our house in Cumbria and coming to live in Corsica permanently. ● Since converting one of my bikes to electric – I have been up in the hills on that and so cannot count cols on an e-bike any more! ● Celebrated retiring for the second time by riding to Italy from London… Not many big climbs on the way, in fact took 4 days before I got above 300 metres.

OCD Claims for 2018 AUK No RANK, date Lifetime 2017 total 2016 2016 total 2015 ABBATT Fred 6086 Honourable 19 524994 105102 419892 86488 333404 ACLAND Ken 5752 Officer 14 164581 31442 133139 ALDRED Mark 14956 Officer 05 225007 35967 189040 25304 163736 ALLAN Douglas 11101 Honorable 16 568573 21520 547053 32430 514623 ANDERSON Alan 6938 49209 1216 47993 3844 44149 ANDERSON Fraser 16690 4618 1216 3406 3406 BARNES James 17260 37244 37244 36075 1179 BATE Ben 11108 Honourable 19 545179 44463 500716 34866 465850 BRABBIN Thomas 12364 Member 19 83983 37735 46248 16301 29947 CARSON Russell 5296 Officer 17 158706 47595 111111 32981 78130 CLARKE Sue 11137 Venerable 05 1508402 32682 1474720 24355 1450365 CLARKE Tony 11138 Venerable 05 1603680 44050 1559630 28028 1531602 COX Andy 6766 11595 11595 11595 DAMPER Bob 14064 Commander 15 280381 15379 265002 18843 246159 EICHMEIER Harald 11156 Venerable 11 1706558 98544 1608014 75110 1532904 ENTWHISTLE Mike 15913 5140 5140 FOX Tom 1066 Officer 16 120423 11209 109214 6709 102505 GRACE Steve 13959 Officer 19 124833 62541 62292 9988 52304 HARRISON Paul 11181 Venerable 09 1506146 64052 1442094 72347 1369747 HAYTON James 20728 31997 31997 HIBBARD Gary 1341 Member 18 68231 9060 59171 8884 50287 HILBERS Martin 4820 Honourable 15 631118 17334 613784 16066 597718 HODGES Chris 18478 10222 10222 JOYNSON Dave 11203 Venerable 03 1289373 10605 1278768 8549 1270219 LISTER Terry 2526 Commander 15 283808 22238 261570 28929 232641 MORRISON Dave 12405 Officer 16 136118 5775 130343 20368 109975 MUSGRAVE Edward 15166 1909 1909 NEILSON David 15714 933 933 NELSON Martin 16781 23306 23306 PARIS Jean-Francois 18352 5963 5963 1202 1202 PEACOCK Gavin 13235 46812 30645 46167 18928 27239 PINTO Mark 5743 Member 16 98056 9389 88667 17803 70864 PRESLAND Kevin 740 Commander 13 517895 80155 437740 74265 363475 PRINGLE Laura 2451 25468 11714 13754 6630 SMITH Andy 6190 Honourable 19 525065 44605 480460 60724 419736 THOM Finlay 15159 24946 24946 THOMPSON Mike 7278 Member 19 73853 36795 WADDINGTON Ivan 46 Commander 05 351582 22148 329434 1023 328411 WATERTON Robert 11283 Honorable 07 787699 33696 754003 36833 717170 WATERTON Helen 11282 Honorable 08 803687 33696 769991 36833 733158 WATTS Bob 1870 Honourable 16 655579 55271 600308 65680 534628 601901 55271 596630 65680 530950 WEBB Alan 11285 Honourable 17 677242 59827 617415 46537 570878



It’s something daring, the Trans Continental

Kevin Speight’s desire to tackle the famed Transcontinental race across Europe in 2019, steered him on a shadow adventure in the heat of the summer of 2018 – tracing a solo route which led to encounters with rude French gardeners, drunken Germans in lederhosen, dodgy hotels, heat, storms, punctures and legendary scenery. Here’s his tale of a European epic…

As an aspiring entrant in the Transcontinental Race, I realised that my best hope of a place next year would be to assist as a volunteer this year. Due to huge over subscription, previous entrants, volunteers and those with proven pedigree are given preference – which is how I embarked on an adventure to work as a checkpoint

volunteer at the sixth edition in the summer of 2018. I reasoned that if I was serious about a tilt at the race, I ought to ride to Checkpoint One in Gaschurn, Austria, then follow the riders east to Slovenia – in effect riding my own mini version of the event. My plan was to take the Eurostar to

My route began with a little detour ❝ towards the Champs Elysee to get the obligatory Eiffel Tower shot ❞



Paris then ride a 400km DIY Audax through to Vesoul, then another 200km to Baden, Switzerland, followed by another 200 to Gaschurn, ready to begin checkpoint duties. After that I planned a 200km to Sterzing, Italy, followed by another two 200km rides to take me to Ljubljana in Slovenia. The best laid plans often don’t survive first contact with the enemy!

FRIDAY 27 JULY My train arrived in Paris at 6pm. The temperature was in the low 30s and the atmosphere was positively leaden. A storm was on its way and my bike was taking ages to appear at the baggage office. After another 30 minutes of stewing, arrive it did and I wasted no time in heading into the melee of Parisian traffic. My route began with a little detour towards the Champs Elysee to get the obligatory Eiffel Tower shot, before arrowing south-east for the city limits and freedom. As this was my first time riding on the continent, I was very much learning on the job, observing other cyclist’s behaviour and trying to keep eyes in the back of my head. I needn’t have worried. I had found my three mile ride between Paddington and St Pancras earlier that day far more stressful and intimidating. The ride had barely begun when, around 10km in, a front wheel spoke broke at the hub end. Normally, this isn’t an issue, but my bike was loaded with kit. With no chance of finding an open bike shop and not carrying a spare, I had little choice but to secure the broken spoke and press on, remaining mindful of

the situation. The storm arrived with a vengeance. Within seconds I was saturated. The intensity of the rainfall was such that there were inches of fast flowing water all over the roads. I opted to shelter in a shop doorway until it eased off, to try and avoid dropping into unseen potholes or debris and wrecking my already ailing front wheel. Thankfully, the rain abated and I was able to continue. When the rain hit again I opted to push on, and was rewarded with my first puncture. On the rear. I was carrying two spare tubes, so was quickly on my way, but the temperature had begun to drop and, being soaked, my body had followed suit. I popped into a McDonalds to dry off a little and took the opportunity to get some calories on board. Suitably bloated, I set out once again. The route took me along the path of a disused railway line. Ordinarily it would’ve been great to ride on, the surface being of well compacted gravel, but after the rain I was getting pretty filthy. I also suffered punctures number two and three, necessitating patching tubes, again on the rear, both caused by thorns. I was barely 40km into my ride! As I settled into a rhythm and gathered some momentum, the landscape opened out into rolling, open farmland and I was entertained by a dazzling light show as numerous storms rumbled around me on all sides. My luck seemed to have changed as I threaded my way between the storms without further drenching to Troyes, where I snatched a short nap on the concrete floor of a bus stop.

WORDS AND PICTURES KEVIN SPEIGHT SATURDAY 28 JULY I’d planned my route to pass through the Foret d’Orient and its two lakes, Lac d’Orient and Lac d’Auzon-Temple. The approach to the lakes was on a gloriously surfaced canal side cycle path, which then continued on an elevated bank hugging the lake’s shore. After the lakes, I knew I was in for a steady climb for a few miles, so took the chance to stop for a Mcbrekkie in Bar-sur-Aube, enjoying another 30 minute snooze as I waited for them to open. As it turned out, my climb summited at the distinctive Charles de Gaulle “double cross” memorial close to his retirement home in Colombey-les-DeuxEglises. It was also on this leg that I became aware that I was slap bang in the middle of the Champagne region. I’d honestly not considered where my route was taking me when planning it, so these points of local interest were nice little surprises to be savoured. The miles were flying by but as I approached Condes, things were about to change. Firstly, I descended into La Marne river valley and faffed for ages

… my climb ❝ summited at the distinctive Charles de Gaulle “double cross” memorial

trying to follow my route on to the cycle path which followed the Canal Entre Champagne et Bourgogne. I eventually ended up shouldering the bike for a walk across a rutted field before joining a gravel track which led to a towpath. I had a scorching hot headwind for the whole time. I was ecstatic when I finally joined the road network, but I’d completely run out of water. I opted to take a detour to the village of Chaudenay, thinking I’d find somewhere open. The detour took me down a sharp descent and I was dismayed to find the place to be a ghost town. While toiling back up the hill, I spotted a chap working in his front garden and deployed my best schoolboy French to ask for a refill. Under the impression that France is a country passionate about cycling, I was stunned when he responded with a clipped “Non” and turned back to his weeding! Who the hell refuses someone water when the mercury’s north of the 30°? My indignation meant I temporarily forgot my thirst and fortunately I found a brilliant little Boulangerie a bit further on in Fayl-Billot. Several ice creams and cokes were enjoyed in a pleasantly shaded spot, in contemplation of the final 30 mile push to my destination, Vesoul. This final section contained a bit of a sting in the tail in the form of a couple of deviations off the N19 on to minor lanes and gravel tracks. Normally they wouldn’t faze me, but with 200 miles in the legs and the blazing heat, my sense of humour was beginning to fail. Fortunately the torment didn’t last too long and the final 10 miles took me through the pretty Scay-sur-Saone-etSaint Albin, crossing the picturesque Saone river a few times. Sadly, my hotel on the outskirts of Vesoul was in an uninspiring industrial estate, but it was right next door to a McDonalds. Despite this accommodation being firmly at the cheap end of the cheap-and-cheerful spectrum, I can’t recall ever sleeping better! SUNDAY 29 JULY I woke feeling surprisingly fresh and unashamedly destroyed a huge quantity of the modest breakfast buffet before heading out around 7.30am. Spotting an open Boulangerie, I briefly stopped to procure pastries to stash on the bike, chiefly out of concern at being able to re-supply easily on a Sunday in France

and Switzerland. My route took me on to a disused railway path which steadily climbed out of Vesoul, before depositing me on the underwhelming D9 road which I followed to the small town of Saulnot, where I took the opportunity to raid a small grocery store and hide in the shade of a bus stop to demolish the first of many ice creams. The temperature was already well into the high twenties, but felt very manageable compared with the previous day. The next 20km were fast and flat, made faster by my drafting of an older chap who was shifting nicely on a very careworn, but obviously loved, steel framed mount. I did attempt to exchange pleasantries with my rudimentary French, but conversation was understandably limited. He seemed happy enough to let me wheel-suck, though, and I was soon approaching Montbeliard. My route avoided the town, tracking picturesque cycle paths along the river and the Canal du Rhone au Rhin. The temperature was now into the low thirties, but this was clearly no deterrent to the locals who were out in force on bikes of all shapes and sizes. I eventually joined a series of very agreeable D roads. At the town of Vieux-Ferrette, I made a navigational boo-boo, following a hideous forestry track before opting to reverse and find an alternative. At bang on the 137km mark, I undertook my first border crossing of the trip and entered Switzerland, treating myself to a beer on the outskirts of Biel-Benken, plus some, by now, badly wilted pastries. The first proper climb began shortly after crossing the River Birs in the town of Reinach. I noticed with dismay that my off-bike footwear (flip flops), which I’d tucked under the elastic straps of my seat pack, had deposited themselves somewhere behind me. The road was unrelentingly steep, but thankfully partially shaded. An equally steep descent took me down to Liestal and then through the Jurapark Aargau. During planning, I’d deliberately routed this way to add interest, but quickly came to curse the decision. The terrain was of relentless short, sharp climbs and descents, with a “saw tooth” gradient profile. To make matters worse, I seemed to have crossed some kind of climate border and the temperature was now an unbearable 40 degrees. I quickly ran out of

fluids and began to get seriously worried about how dreadful I was feeling. As is often the way, salvation presented itself out of nowhere in the form of an open restaurant. I was in dire need of salt, and the dish I ordered (strips of salted beef with chips) was laden with it. Despite refuelling and rehydrating, I recognised that I was going to have to drastically ration my efforts in order to get this hilly leg dealt with, so I slowed to an absolute crawl while hauling myself over the remaining saw teeth before finally dropping into Frick, where I laid waste to an indecent quantity of ice cream and a large fruit smoothie. The final 20km stretch of the day consisted of a steady climb on a busy road and frankly, I was totally done in. I was extremely happy that I had a decent hotel to look forward to in Baden, but it seemed an age in coming. When it finally did, I inhaled two pizzas, showered and collapsed into a sumptuous bed. MONDAY 30 JULY I needed to be at Checkpoint One of the race by the evening to meet the CP manager and other volunteers to discuss our duties in the coming days. With that in mind I thoroughly disgraced myself at the breakfast buffet, making sure that pockets were bulging with loot for the day ahead. Even at 7.30am it was obvious that the day was set to be another scorcher, so I got my head down to try to make some fast miles while the mercury remained at semi-sensible levels. My route would take me through Zurich and I was clearly on a primary commuter artery as I approached along the Limmat valley. The cycle paths were mostly great, but interspersed with frustratingly regular junctions, so I alternated between them and the road, which earned me one or two horn blasts, but nothing too aggressive. Once into the city proper, I found the cycling some of the most stressful of the trip, really struggling to make sense of the complex junctions which incorporated tram lines from all directions. Things improved as I got closer to the shores of Lake Zurich and I found myself wishing I had the luxury of more time to enjoy a bit of loafing at one of the alluring cafes. I was also passing museums, galleries and other points of interest that would have to wait for another time. Despite being mostly through built www.audax.uk


PEAKY IT’S SOMETHING BLINDER DARING, THE TRANSCONTINENTAL up areas, my route along the Northern shore of the lake offered swift progress and frequent glimpses of the stunning views on offer. The water was absolutely gin clear and people were swimming, causing pangs of envy as the sweat rolled off me. I pushed on east and joined a hateful gravel track alongside a fast flowing river, the Linth. A stiff, hot wind was blowing into my face making progress ponderous despite the terrain being pancake flat. Some relief was provided by the impressive mountain scenery. My next landmark was the smaller Lake Wallensee. The path hugged the shoreline, occasionally passing through tunnels of solid rock which provided brief respite from the heat. After leaving Wallensee, my legs decided they’d had enough. I managed to crawl to the town of Flums, where the railway station had a well-stocked shop. I devoured a tuna salad roll, gallons of chocolate milk and some Red Bull and settled on a shaded bench for a ten minute snooze. The power-nap, calories and caffeine roused me sufficiently to press on into the Rhine Valley and on into Liechtenstein. This relatively short stretch seemed to drag out for an eternity. Eventually I crossed the river and therefore also the

Border into Vaduz, the capital Liechtenstein. I’d really been looking forward to the novelty of nipping through the microstate, but to be honest I was feeling pretty ropey from the heat and struggled to take in much beyond looking out for opportunities to re-hydrate. My crossing of the country lasted maybe an hour and I was soon in the Austrian town of Feldkirch. The TCR organisers co-ordinate the race volunteers via a messaging app. While enjoying a petrol station picnic in Feldkirch, I read a group message from Chris Jobmann, a fellow volunteer from Munich. He was due to be in Bludenz, 25 km up the road, and wondered if anyone wanted to meet up and tackle the climb to Gaschurn. This message spurred me into action and I was soon on a mission to get to Bludenz to meet my new friend. Such was my motivation, I positively time-trialled it and was soon getting acquainted over ice cream and milkshakes in a pleasant square. During our steady ride up the valley to Gaschurn, Chris explained how he’d entered the previous year’s edition, but scratched shortly after the tragic death of Frank Simmons, early in the race. This sombre topic brought home just what a serious undertaking these events are, and the importance of maintaining a sense of perspective.

… during our ❝ steady ride up the valley to Gaschurn, Chris explained how he’d entered the previous year’s edition, but scratched shortly after the tragic death of Frank Simmons, early in the race



Chris’ company made the climb easy and we soon arrived at the Explorer Hotel in Gaschurn, checkpoint one of TCR No. 6 and our home and workplace for the next few days. Inside was our boss and checkpoint manager, Adrian Phillipson, from Sheffield. More introductions were made over beer, but I was anxious because my DIY 200 for the day was supposed to finish at the summit of the Bielerhohe Pass, some 1,000m above. I’d made the assumption that the checkpoint would be at the summit. I still had a bit over an hour in hand for my DIY, so I decided to see if I could bag the summit for validation. It became clear that I’d burnt all my candles for the day and I wasn’t going to make it in time. I resolved to call it a day. Despite not completing my ride, I’d still racked up 215km for the day. Back at the hotel, Adrian explained that the race leaders were projected to arrive hours earlier than anticipated and that we’d have to have the checkpoint up and running in the wee small hours, so I was glad I hadn’t crucified myself attempting to summit. Over the course of the evening, the official TCR cars arrived at the hotel and a sense of excitement and anticipation began to build. TUESDAY 31 JULY TO THURSDAY 2 AUGUST The lead rider, Bernd Paul, rolled in shortly before 7am. Hot on his heels were Stephane Ouaja and Bjorn Lenhard. These guys had pretty much ridden straight through from the start in Geraardsbergen. The winner of the previous year’s edition, James Hayden, rolled through next. He positively bounced the control, stopping for under ten minutes to collect his stamp, chat to the race media crew and refill bottles. Over this period, I was privileged to chat with and stamp the Brevet cards of dozens of riders, all of whom had their stories to tell. I also managed to get my broken spoke repaired and rode to the summit with Claire, a fellow volunteer. We were beset by a spectacular thunderstorm close to the top and arrived back in Gaschurn with borderline hypothermia after a very cautious descent! I made loads of friends during my time at CP1 and was humbled and inspired by every rider, including those who had to take the agonising decision to scratch for reasons outside their control.

FRIDAY 3 AUGUST While at CP1, I’d realised that my original plan for this day was over ambitious, consisting of approximately 4,500m of climbing over 230km, via the Timmelsjoch pass to take me to Vipiteno in Italy. I made the decision that I’d re-route via Innsbruck to halve the elevation figure. The best laid plans… It was something of a wrench to pack everything up and leave Gaschurn, having had such a great time. But I was looking forward to continuing my journey. Over breakfast, I logged into the tracking website (all TCR riders are satellite tracked so their progress can be followed online) and noticed that a rider, Roger Seaton, was on his way up the Bielerhohe Pass. I decided to set off in hot pursuit. Roger was a bit special, having opted to contest the race on a Brompton. I met him in the restaurant at the summit of the pass and checked he’d be happy for me to tag along for a few miles. Roger’s bike had been specially modified to accommodate an Alfine 9spd rear hub. Unfortunately this was giving him problems, with lots of graunchy noises developing and a steadily increasing amount of drag. Nonetheless, he was still trucking along at a fair old lick and we chatted for the next 30 or so miles. I thoroughly enjoyed Roger’s company and was sad to wave farewell as our routes parted. I should have realised something wasn’t quite right, as Roger had mentioned he was routing via Innsbruck and I was heading in a completely different direction, but unfortunately I blindly obeyed my Wahoo and pressed on up the Otztal valley, towards the ski resort of Solden. I honestly couldn’t tell you why I didn’t notice that I was following my original, over ambitious route until I got to Solden. I think I was just on auto-pilot. Once I did realise, I was in a bit of a quandary – should I tough it out or go back to the drawing board? I went for plan A and pressed on, but as I left Solden, the first rumbles of thunder rolled through the valley… I decided to turn back. The prospect of traversing two major alpine passes in a storm and getting benighted at altitude seemed pretty foolish, although I couldn’t help but feel like I was wimping out. Back in Solden, I ordered some food and began to think of a plan B. I managed to source a cheap room for the night and decided that I’d abandon my plans to ride to CP2 in Slovenia and

… I logged into the tracking ❝ website and noticed that a rider, Roger Seaton, was on his way up the Bielerhohe Pass – I decided to set off in hot pursuit

instead look to get a train from Innsbruck the following day. Again, it felt like a bit of a cop out, but on the other hand I’d already had a pretty good adventure and the thought of an extra day of being a tourist in Ljubljana was appealing. SATURDAY 4 AUGUST The station at Roppen provided a nicely shaded spot in which to eat a leisurely lunch of cheese sandwiches and ice cream. The train ride to Innsbruck took less than an hour and I was feeling more relaxed by the minute. Unfortunately, stress levels spiked when, in the ticket office in Innsbruck, I was told that conveying my bike by train to Ljubljana was just not going to be possible that day. I’d have to get a train to Villach, then wait overnight

for onward travel to Ljubljana the next day. I arrived at Villach in the late evening and it was clear that the whole town was in party mode. Pretty much everyone was in traditional Lederhosen and well oiled. Indeed, on the short ride to my hotel, I passed numerous parties going on in fields and gardens. As I slowed to gawk at one particularly well attended function, I was beckoned to join the revellers and was handed a massive stein of the local brew. I enjoyed a slightly bizarre hour or so of chatting in a mixture of my dreadful German and their drunken English, before peeling myself away to finally get to my hotel on the North Bank of the Ossiacher See. Despite arriving in the pitch dark, I had a hunch that I was somewhere very beautiful. Over a

Austrian Steve, left, is company going up the Loiblpass

beer on the terrace, I idly looked at the map and realised that I was very close to the Slovenian border. My easy day had refreshed me and I felt that I really ought to finish my journey under my own steam, rather than rely on the train. I quickly threw together a route which would take me into Slovenia over the Loiblpass. SUNDAY 5 AUGUST During breakfast, I was able to confirm my suspicions that I had found myself somewhere very pretty indeed. The Ossiacher See is a stunning place. I enjoyed a quick swim in the crystal clear and surprisingly cold lake. Energised, I set out on my final day of riding. The route I’d thrown together began on busier roads than I would have liked, but soon the traffic thinned out. The scenery was fantastic and I was looking forward to climbing the Loiblpass and crossing my final border into Slovenia. As I approached the climb I became aware that I’d picked up a wheel sucker. This turned out to be an Austrian guy who went by the decidedly un-Austrian name of Steve. Steve was a really tough looking, wiry bloke who told me he’d completed the previous year’s edition of Race Around Austria. We chatted amiably for most of the Loiblpass climb. I say we chatted, Steve chatted, while I grunted a response when I could spare the breath. The Loiblpass isn’t the highest pass, but what it lacks in height it makes up for with steep pitches, particularly towards

the top. We parted ways on the upper slopes, just prior to the tunnel which forms the border with Slovenia. The elevation profile of my route showed that I was now looking forward to a long, gradual descent pretty much all the way to Ljubljana. Unfortunately, there was also a stiff headwind which cancelled out much of gravity’s assistance. The final few miles skirted the north of Ljubljana to a hotel on the north-east fringes of the city. I spent the time reflecting on the journey and forced myself to think carefully about whether I’d enjoyed the experience enough to commit to an entry to TCR No. 7. As I pulled up at my hotel and pushed the button on my Wahoo to end my ride, I had my answer. I didn’t want it to end – I wanted to be pushing further east, meeting new people and discovering ever more breath-taking places. As I type this, my entry to 2019’s race is sitting in the inbox of the organisers. Wish me luck! ■

The 2018 winners… The winner of the TCR6 was James Hayden, successfully defending his title. Matthew Falconer and Bjorn Lenhard joined him on the podium. These riders covered a mind-blowing distance in an astonishingly short time. James won in eight days, 22 hours and 59 minutes. Hundreds more followed their wheel tracks, struggling over brutal terrain, overcoming vagaries of route, weather and managing mechanical issues of both body and bike. www.audax.uk


Two exceptional riders, with indisputable dedication to cycling, feature in the Take Two spotlight in this issue. Both women are at the top of their sport… but have taken very different routes to the summit. Helen Wyman, 37, is one Britain’s foremost cyclocross riders and is former winner of the European Cyclocross Championship, who now spends her time racing around Europe, as well as running the Cycling Centre in Rennes-Les-Bains, France. Jasmijn Muller, 39, is much more familiar with Audax events, has a formidable time trial and Audax history and was National Women’s 24 hour time trial champion in 2017. Peter Davis asks the questions.

Take two… Where do you live? Helen: I live between Rennes-Les-Bains in south west France, Trunch in North Norfolk and Oudenaarde in Belgium, and I’m never too sure where I’m going to wake up. Jasmijn: I now live in south west London and have been in the UK since 2007 but I was born in Bennekom in the Netherlands and have spent some time scuba diving in South East Asia too. What are your regular bikes? Helen: KindHuman Kampionne. I’ve gone 100 per cent disc across all of my bikes. It’s a lovely bike, a real racing machine. Jasmijn: Scott Contessa Foil (and soon a custom J.Laverack Ti).

Jasmijn Muller



And what’s your usual gearing (chain ring, cassette)? Helen: 44/34 x 11/28, Shimano, Di2. I’ve gone all electronic. Once you’ve had disc brakes and electronic gears, it’s hard to go back, especially when you are out training in all conditions. Jasmijn: Compact 50-34 with 11-32 cassette.

How many hours a week do you train? Helen: In big weeks, it’s 20 plus, but a minimum of 15. Core, gym and running also form a part of my training routine, plus a lot of hours of recovery. Jasmijn: Anything between 10 and 18 hours, whatever my rather full-time job as a management consultant permits me to squeeze in.

How do you maintain your motivation? Helen: Winning, progressing, numbers, the race community, opportunity and adrenaline. I think to be in the sport as long as I have, you need to be motivated by results in some way. In recent years I’ve also had a goal of bringing greater equality for the sport for young female riders. Jasmijn: Mixing things up, i.e. mixing cycling with strength training, yoga, Pilates and the occasional swim, and mixing races with Audax, group road rides and turbo sessions. I don’t like doing the same events year in, year out. I like new challenges (and end up on the slippery slope of ever longer events). What do you consider to be your best result? Helen: My Koppenberg Cross wins (four times) are a huge achievement for me. My second European Championship win in the Czech Republic was my best ever performance. My first National Champs the biggest relief. I’ve been lucky to have such a career and I’m just grateful for all the people that have made it possible. Jasmijn: In time trialling winning the National 24 hour TT championships in 2017 and coming third overall in pretty challenging conditions, or winning the World 24 hour TT championships in the same year, after having to pull out due to struggling with the heat the year before. As for Audax events – doing London-WalesLondon 400km and Porkers 400km back-to-back in 2016 and coming into Arrivee second overall for both (not that any Audaxer cares!). Porkers was especially challenging with horrendous rain overnight, but the route and scenery were among my favourite ever. I love the Wessex events. They are proper challenging. I just

Helen Wyman

need to do the Brimstone 600km one day now to complete the series. And what’s your longest ride? Helen: Maybe around 200km. I’m not sure really. When I finish racing I’ll enjoy the ride for different reasons. Right now it’s number, and of course the company and views. Jasmijn: London-Edinburgh-London 1400km (and LEJOG), but several longer rides/races are in the planning for 2019 and longer ones still for 2020. What speed would you average on an event? Helen: Cyclocross is so varied. Can be in 20s in terms of KPH which is fast for an off-road event, but conditions play a huge role. Some races we do an 11 minute lap, others a six minute lap. Jasmijn: It depends on the route profile and whether I am riding events back-toback, but I am normally one of the first people at the Arrivee, if not the first. I like doing long events, but I also like going fast. Where is your favourite place to ride? Helen: South West France where I live. Simply stunning. I’ve never found a nicer place to ride a bike. Jasmijn: The Netherlands (being Dutch I am obviously biased, but I love it for the superb infrastructure, and look forward to the Race Around the Netherlands in May 2019). For scenery on the other hand, the UK has a lot more to offer. Did you ever consider Audax/ Cyclocross? Helen: I’ve done lots of gravel events, and plenty of touring growing up as a kid with my family. When the racing stops, I’d never say never to an Audax.

Jasmijn: I have marshalled at two cyclocross events. The first one was held in dry, sunny conditions and I briefly entertained the thought of trying cyclocross. The second race was held in proper grim conditions and seeing people slip around in the mud, I suddenly wasn’t so keen anymore! My next bike will have disc brakes and plenty of clearance, so never say never. Are you interested in sports other than cycling? Helen: I don’t get to see too much else, but of course I’m like most people and get hooked by certain things at certain times like the Olympics etc. Jasmijn: I recently had two months off the bike due to an operation and tried running, but years of dancing buggered my ankles and running with buggered ankles has now buggered my big toe joints, so I can forget about ever becoming a runner. I like the simplicity of just putting on a pair of running shoes though.

Any other hobbies or interests? Helen: Exploring the world with my dog. It’s amazing how many new places I get to see now I have a four-legged friend. Jasmijn: Scuba diving, long distance walks, kayaking, yoga, camping – most things that mean spending quality time outdoors. What’s your favourite movie? Helen: I’m more of a Netflix person, and can easily get suckered into to a series and binge-watch. Hours of relaxation with my feet up. Jasmijn: The Big Blue (Luc Besson). And your favourite band? Helen: I have a dubious and eclectic taste in music. I tend to choose a year and get Amazon Alexa to play me random songs. Jasmijn: I am pretty boring when it comes to music. My husband is the music buff, so I listen to whatever he puts on. But I am banned from listening to Spotify on his phone as I tend to listen to Euro dance trash to motivate me through my turbo workouts. ■ www.audax.uk



Island-hopping on a bike in the Inner Hebrides calls for pinpoint planning accuracy. While David Neilson frequently arrived at a harbour as his ferry steamed out of sight, he consoled himself with the scenery – and the many welcoming distilleries. Here is his tale of putting his recumbent Cruzbike S40 through its paces on the islands, and on the arduous journey back to Cumbria.


ferries… with the

to the land of the single malt

The plan was to drive up to Cumbria where my parents live, leave my car and head to Ardrossan, a ferry port just outside Glasgow. From there I would island-hop to Islay, spend a couple of days on the island, taking in an annual group ride and a distillery tasting session (Islay has eight active distilleries and another being built right now). Then I’d island-hop back to the mainland, take three days to ride back down to my parents’ home and finally drive home.

… I arrived at Lochranza ❝ just as the ferry pulled out ❞


Up bright and early on Friday for the hop across the border to Scotland. Ardrossan is a long way from the main road, down small and quite frankly poorly maintained roads, through some towns that looked dismal in the drizzle. With a bathroom stop and sat-nav faffing thrown in for good measure, the arrival at Ardrossan was pushing it for time. Friday was a day of three ferries, the three return tickets, costing the princely sum of £27. As a cyclist you pay the foot passenger price and the bike goes free. Luggage was hastily thrown on to the bike as boarding was called – to be sorted out later, and that was it, I was off. Time to relax, calm down and get into the ferry mind-set. The timings for the ideal linkage of the three were pretty tight, but there were always contingency plans in reserve. So to Friday’s rides, and the crucial timings. Plan A required me to get out of 42


the ferry at Brodick, cycle 25km across Arran to Lochranza in under 1hr 15mins, and then from Clonaig 10km across the Mull of Kintyre to Kennacraig with comfort. Plan B meant a nice easy connection at Lochranza, but only 45 minutes from there to make the next leg. In the event the section on Arran defeated me. I was into the granny ring and spinning away, not by any means enjoying it, but making progress nonetheless, until I hit a lump that threw me off course. I lost traction and that was it. No chance of restarting uphill, so some walking while I got to a lower gradient and climbed back on. Even hitting 60km/h plus on the way down didn’t make up for that and I arrived at Lochranza just as the ferry pulled out. Another hour to wait! Hustle off the next ferry, the 10km

across the Mull of Kintyre hits 14 per cent in places. That hurt, and the hairpin in the middle on a damp track produced some unnerving front wheel slips, but disaster was averted and it was all ridden. What hurt even more was arriving at Kennacraig just as the ferry shut its doors – two hours to wait for the next one. Plan A was always quite ambitious, but at least I could eat and have a beer on the ferry with a two hour journey. Out of the ferry port at Port Askaig, only another 16km to go to Bowmore and the hotel, only I hadn’t realised there was a 9 per cent increasing to 14per cent ramp out of the port on to the main road. And this is only the first 50km of the holiday. Bowmore did appear eventually, just as the sun was setting. I cannot fault the hospitality at the Bowmore House B&B, or


Favorite malt… Whisky tasting at the Bunnahabhain distillery

the greeting of Andrew, a Cumbrian expat. Weather was pleasingly overcast and cool compared with the raging heatwave in the east of the UK where I live. I was reminded what green looks like again.


I had a whisky tasting at Bunnahabhain in the afternoon, my favourite malt, so that was always on the cards. There were several warnings from others at the B&B, also cyclists, about the quality of the final approach road to the distillery as it was very narrow, and winding with lots of tourists. Otherwise it was going to be just a case of wander around Bowmore in the morning and perhaps head over to the other side of the island to an RSPB reserve to see if there was anything interesting happening. After a cracking breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, I wandered down the hill into Bowmore and back up the hill to their famous little round church. The sparrows were making the graveyard their own, apart from one human visitor talking to his wife’s grave. Having been at my uncle’s funeral the previous Monday,

the scene was quite touching. A wander around the graveyard showed how hard island life must have been, with lots of very short lives, and a reminder of the part played by the islands in WWII with two sections of naval and air force war graves. Most of the naval graves had no names, simply “A Seaman of the Merchant Navy” and a date they were found. The church was a church, interesting for being round, but that’s about it. The rest of Bowmore didn’t take long to look around – it’s a one distillery town. Although the main town of the island, there are only 3,000 natives. But it does have a hospital and a leisure centre with a pool heated by the waste heat from the distillery. A cup of coffee while looking out at the drizzle and my mind was made up, the RSPB reserve it would be, with enough time to then head over to the other side of the island, and to Bunnahabhain for the tasting in the afternoon. One good thing about a small island is the roads are quiet. One not quite so good thing is there is a distinct lack of resurfacing going on, which is a bit teeth-rattling on a non-suspended recumbent. All quiet at the reserve too, with some interesting dragonflies, but not much in the way of birding activity going on, so off to the distillery earlier than I had planned. The road warnings were warranted – the last 5km off the main road to the distillery were probably the most difficult I encountered on the island, very twisty with short, sharp up-and-downs, single track with passing places, but full of

I was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic (T1D) five years ago, aged 39 after a dose of flu. My immune system essentially went rogue, and attacked the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and that was it. Welcome to a lifetime of finger pricking and injections. For the last four years, I’ve been using an insulin pump which continually doses via a cannula and is a great help as it allows me to vary my dose across a wide range. Before engaging in aerobic exercise, I reduce my insulin dose to 20 per cent of the normal rate, four hours ahead, and if I’m eating during this period I only give 25-50 per cent of the normal mealtime dose as well. This allows my blood glucose (BG) to rise ahead of the event, but I know it will fall back. I’m aiming for 8-12mmol/l at this stage, any higher tends to give me a fuzzy head and any lower risks a massive hypo (low) when I start riding. As I ride, I check BG every hour (25km-ish), or at a control if reasonably close. I’m aiming for 5-7 as a good range, using the reading as indication of what I need to eat. By experiment, I need around 25g carbs per hour at Audax speeds, but the mantra is always to check as there can be a few surprises here and there – on my last Audax after a slog into the wind I found it at 3.2, so a few extra carbs at that point.

tourists, necessitating some very rapid stops. The final descent down to the distillery was precipitous indeed with a tight hairpin. From the jetty at Bunnahabhain you have a great view of Jura, but the Paps were still maintaining their modesty, with the peaks still cloud-shrouded. To top it all, I got to watch seals in the harbour while I waited. The whisky-tasting was five whiskies from the higher end of the range. The ride back was interesting. Distance today, 63km. Total so far 113km. www.audax.uk



Falling Rain day… from Debbie’s cafe with a gentle day in prospect


Today was the annual 100 mile Ride of the Falling Rain day. I’d decided just to do the half distance, an easy conversational ride, as I had 50km back to the mainland plus 110km on the mainland to look forward to on Monday. A nice steady ride over with the organiser and a couple of others to the start at Debbie’s Café in Bruchladdaich. There were a lot of other riders who had made their way here just for this ride. I’d counted 100 plus cyclists starting out, with a wide range of ages from 10 to 80. Mine was the only recumbent, but there were a few more funnies, with a crew of four

… a forest for about ❝ 2 miles, mostly unrideable on road tyres due to the damp slippery nature of the surface



chaps on Brommies. So far, the Cruzbike was behaving very well in the bunch and not causing any difficulties in conversation either. It was certainly keeping up well on both flat and hills. The next section was the high road between Bowmore and Port Ellen, a single lane with passing places. This was a bit more heavily trafficked and at one point I ended up split off the front of the bunch simply due to being at a passing place at the right time, and as we were heading uphill wanted to maintain momentum so pressed on. I eased up and was caught up again in Port Ellen before the final drag along to the Ardbeg distillery, the lunch

stop and halfway point. The smoked haddock chowder was excellent, and went very well with the complimentary dram of Ardbeg whisky. On the way back I stopped at the Laphroaig distillery; I’m a registered Friend of Laphroaig, so I printed out my certificate with the location of my square foot of Islay, and picked up my annual ground rent in the form of a miniature bottle of 10 year old malt. I was back at Bowmore for mid-afternoon, took a nice walk on the beach, had a cup of coffee and repacked before my departure early on Monday. My thoughts started turning to next year, with my host at the B&B telling me that the Saturday would have the Islay Half Marathon followed by the ride on the Sunday, perhaps a double would be in order. Perhaps not as a cycling tour though, maybe use the car for a bit more island hopping and day rides, to allow more luxury in the luggage department and the ability to carry a few bottles of samples back home. Distance today, 78km. Total so far 191km.


Today would take me from Islay to the mainland, then Ardrossan and on to Newton Stewart. This was always going to be tough, starting with a 5am alarm. I picked up my wonderful packed breakfast (to be eaten as lunch and as snacks on the road) ready to ride back out the low road to Port Ellen and the 7am ferry. This time there were no dramas on the ferries, getting across Kintyre to Arran without any stops, allowing me to keep to schedule on the ferries, and getting back to Ardrossan for 1.30pm. The next leg was going to be the tough one, down the coast for about 45km and then up and over the Galloway Forest Park with a hopefully fast downhill last 30km or so into Newton Stewart – 115km for this leg. Let’s just say I wouldn’t follow that route again down the west coast, or over those hills after having the first 50km in my legs for that day and with 15kg of touring. The route between Ardrossan and Troon was a shambles. Who in their right mind would direct a bike path on the strand? Fair enough on the road next to the strand, but how monomaniac do you need to be in your mission to try to keep a cycle path off road? There’s me, a tourer trying to keep some semblance of progress amid various ice cream eaters, family outings and sand castle builders. And then in Ayr, the route turned left off the road, along the river, across the footbridge, over the other side to go back on yourself and cross the road, and into a pedestrian area. I went straight on and

… This time there were ❝ no dramas on the ferries, getting across Kintyre to Arran ❞ re-joined the route later. So first the frustration and then the brutality. It was almost as if it was a psychological softening followed by the physical breaking down. One section on this defeated me due to wheel slip and then a failure to get traction at restart. The downhill was a shambles as well. A great descent, but then a 90-degree right hander straight into the next climb, so no chance to carry any momentum. The third and fourth climbs were the big ones though, the first was on absolutely great tarmac, newly laid and smooth, on a forestry road at a nice steady angle of about five per cent followed by a great descent. The next climb however was much more brutal. The weather was now closing in and I simply lost both momentum and the will to live, ending up walking. The hills and the earlier messing about had thrown my discipline of hourly blood glucose testing and snacking out of the window, and during this walking period I tested to find a 3.2 which is far too low compared with my target 5-6mmol/l. It’s possible that contributed to both my physical performance and mental performance manifesting as a serious sense of humour failure. By this time, the weather was worsening as well, it should have been through earlier in the day while I was on the ferries, but seemed to have been running late, so as I got to the top of the final climb I was actually in the clouds, just me and the sheep. I didn’t even see the memorial marker to the old smugglers who used to use this route. Still, the descent was amazing, about

25km of downhill on good roads before getting into a rolling section into my final destination. I forgot to say that the only mechanical issue so far was the front derailleur failing to shift into the granny ring itself, so I had decided to use it, get off and push it across manually before restarting. Going the other way was OK, but on one occasion I managed to mangle my finger in the process. I thought I’d just caught my glove until I took it off, and found I’d sliced it in two places on the tip of the index finger. Painful, but not life threatening. Having managed to catch the earlier ferries, I was still way over time and ended up getting to my hotel for about 8.30pm, kitchen closed. Quick shower and then out to the only restaurant open on a Monday evening. Indian – no problems. On analysis, one of my issues today was lack of water. With two hours cycling on the islands and 120km due to the route faffing on the mainland in about eight hours of cycling time, I only drank 3.5 litres from my bottles and a couple of coffees and a beer on the ferries. Not enough for those conditions. Distance today 173km, 1800m elevation gain. Total so far 364km. And by the way, if I ever suggest following NCN 7 from Adrossan to Newton Stewart again, shoot me. I’m never doing that again.


Newton Stewart to Gretna. A much more sensible route today, but a couple of

Cruzbike… created a lot of interest

points to note. The very first innocuous looking blip is getting up on to an old military road (these were put in after a Scots Rebellion in the 17th Century, but backfired a bit as they simply allowed the next rebellion to come swarming out of the hills in a much more organised fashion). In this case I knew I was going to have to walk about 300 yards as the blip up was in fact about 20 per cent and then plateauing, but that was no problem, and then the next little blip was a right PITA, with another of these pointlessly routed off road sections on to a mixed use path through a forest with very steep access ramps through gates. The only problem was the other side, being in a forest and having had heavy rain the previous night, the mossy floor offered no traction at all to a road tyre. A Q45 perhaps with a knobbly, but not a 28mm Conti GP 4 Seasons. Only about 100 yards of pushing though. The rest of the route looked pretty benign and it was. The first substantial climb being a lovely quiet road through a forest section, another logging road with a steady incline and no major dramas, and with the added bonus of an eagle taking www.audax.uk


AWAY WITH THE FERRIES off from a telegraph pole right on the roadside. Not a single car for about 15km. The downhill was great, until the point where a young deer jumped out from the hedge next to me. It took half a dozen skittish strides along the road next to me and bounded back into the hedge. A great view, but could have been a very different outcome if it had headed across my path. The bit coming out of Kircudbright at about 50km was unexpected, but not too difficult with another steady drag of 4-5 per cent, with a nice steady descent into Castle Douglass, where I had a nice stop for an ice cream and packet of crisps, sitting on a park bench in the sunshine. Out of Castle Douglass was a different matter, with another military road which started out nicely, but rapidly changed to a series of sharply undulating up and downs – too short to get enough momentum downhill before the next sharp uphill takes it out of your legs again. The average route profile really does not show this. The Solway Firth section after Dumfries was indeed pancake flat as shown, but with one or two routing idiocies again, like turn off the minor road you are on, on to a farm track, through a campsite on to a beach road which is really not suitable for any kind of bike in comfort for about 500 yards and then route through a village back on to the road you just left. That section and the two mentioned above would get rerouted next time. The other bit to reroute, back in Gatehouse of Fleet was really stupid on the part of the route

It was all flat to Carlisle, with unusual wildlife!



designer, going through a large estate with a golf course, so far so good, but then turning off road into a forest for about two miles, mostly unrideable on road tyres due to the damp slippery nature of the surface. That could easily be given as an option with another on-road route bypassing that section. I think it can’t save more than a mile by cutting through the forest. Overall a much easier day, and much more sensible discipline around my blood testing and eating saw no problems there. A good dinner and couple of beers and an early night in Gretna, to be honest riding through the town on arrival didn’t make me want to hang around. The Devil’s Porridge Pot Museum on the run into town and the Old Forge may be worth a visit if I have more time on another trip. The former is an old WWI munitions factory, making explosives, the mix being referred to as the Devil’s Porridge. The Old Forge was where young couples could elope to be married. Gretna is a border town and the rules in Scotland were different, with no permission from parents required for younger victims. Total today, 144km, 1100m climbing. Total so far 508km.


Gretna to Kirkby Stephen – the shortest distance so far at only 101km planned distance, so no time pressure whatsoesver other than getting back to my parents house where I’d left my car and where I was staying overnight before heading

back home on Thursday. This one was back-loaded with the hills, but nothing too steep or prolonged this time, the major hills of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales being to the east and west of the route, but it’s almost impossible to avoid anything at all in that region. The nice flat start was great, and well signposted out of town. The minor road carrying NCN 7 runs next to the M6, so I was riding with just the concrete barrier separating me from heavy traffic at 70mph plus. Lots of twisty lanes doing the last bit around the Solway Firth, with a car on its side in a ditch being a good reminder of why these country lanes can be so dangerous. It was all flat to Carlisle, where the rolling hills started immediately with the route out of town on the drag up past the castle. This is where I started departing from the planned route. The next town was Dalston, and the Garmin simply lost its mind on the exit, directing me about two miles up a gradient to a small village with a green triangle where it asked me to do a 180 and head back the way I came. At this point I decided to ignore it, and, as I was familiar with the area just follow the road signs for Penrith which I knew was my next major routing point. This next section should have been a fairly easy run back into my destination through some small villages I knew the names of but not the detailed routing. The sat nav failed me again however and I ended up in the village of Great Strickland, riding past the pub and thinking I saw an “open all day” sign, I thought I’d pop in for a little isotonic refreshment and a packet of crisps for the salt. I’d misread the sign however, open all day was Saturday and Sunday only, but the landlord was a very nice guy, let me buy a beer and packet of crisps anyway and sat chatting with me in the pub garden. He’s recently diversified into providing accommodation for cyclists on the coast-to-coast ride, with some very well-appointed log cabins in the garden. He told me that they used to be open all day until the local water company decided that a new sewer was needed, took 14 months to install it and the road closures just killed his business. My favourite road of the day was the road out of Shap across the fells, just me and the sheep, the occasional cattle grid being interesting on the S40. A nice rolling road, passing back under the M6 and into the lovely town of Orton. Beyond Orton, I should have followed the little bike symbol, but perhaps my Scottish experience was clouding my

The view down Ash Fell, my trusty Landrover in the foreground

thoughts. In any case after an amazing descent down a narrow lane with stone walls either side, I ended up on the dreaded A685. At this point I knew what was coming – Ash Fell. The road here has a crawler lane to allow cars to pass the slower traffic on the way up. The downhill though, was spectacular, and cue how to almost wipe out on an S40 at high speed. Start with three days hilly riding, of about 420km in total, so you are well and truly tired. Take one wrong turn five miles from the final destination, putting you on to a road you know you don’t want to be

on. Get to the 12 per cent hill that you know you don’t want to ride up. Get off and push for about 1km. Remount the bike for the other side – which gets to something like a 15 per cent downslope. Hit something like 63km/h approaching a bend. Cue a massive swoop to the left towards a stone wall, catch that with a massive correction to the right and finally get back to the middle of the road. That was damned close to my first ever Cruzbike accident and it could have been bad. I cruised the rest of the way into town. Back to my parents place a hot shower and

a good evening meal in the pub. Total for the day 104km. Total 612km in six days, with about 420km in the last three days. That was it. Done. Part of the intention of this trip was to decide whether I think the Cruzbike is really the way forwards in terms of recumbents. Having now ridden the best part of 2,800km on it I’d say that’s a resounding yes. So next year, am I going back? I think so, with a plan developing already involving the use of my car, ferries, day rides, more islands and more distillery visits, and this time, with souvenirs. ■

If I did it again I would… ● follow my own route, rather than depending on the national routes as they seem to have something of a different agenda to me. ● plan no more than 110km per day on consecutive days. I didn’t have any time to stop and look around, which was a shame. ● really think hard about the luggage. I wasn’t excessively loaded, but did have a few items I could have left behind. ● quite enjoy the hills again… in a masochistic way.

What about gearing? I had 12-32 and 52/39/30, so a lowest 30/32 was available. I could have gone down to a 34 perhaps with the current rear mech. ● eat more carefully. As a type 1 diabetic, carrying snacks is not an indulgence, it’s potentially life-saving as a low blood glucose can be serious. I could have cut down on what I carried and used local facilities more. ● definitely compete in the Ride of the Falling Rain again. The S40 is very capable of group riding and holds its own well among the uprights. www.audax.uk


The Madrid-Gijón-Madrid is Spain’s biggest cycling event – a gruelling 1,220km ride in oppressive August heat, from the country’s teeming capital city to the shores of the Bay of Biscay and back. It’s a daunting challenge for any cyclist, but Mark Walsh had to overcome a fistful of other obstacles before completing his odyssey. His partner, and roadside assistant, Sarah Walsh, takes up the story…

Mark at the start of the MGM

Kindness of strangers helps Mark reign in Spain Cogolludo at 65km



Mark was one of only two Brits to register for this event. During the course of this epic adventure he often found himself lamenting the wasted hours spent at school learning Ancient Greek and Latin instead of conversational Spanish. But despite the language barriers, he encountered the kindness of strangers which helped him overcome some of the many impediments he faced. We heard about the MGM when Paul Renshaw,one of Mark’s cycling companions, mentioned it during the final 20km of Pistyll Packing Momma in 2017. As is often the case, a throwaway comment led to a lightbulb moment. The challenge he had been looking for to fill the cycling void before the 2019 Paris Brest Paris suddenly appeared.

WORDS AND PICTURES SARAH AND MARK WALSH The MGM, another quadrennial event, was a must for badge collectors like Mark. A 1220km journey through Northern Spain at the end of August. After the race he came home and booked it. Training for the ride included some of the 1,000kms on the Audax calendar: the West Highlands, the Mille Pennines and Mille Cymru. Hours in the saddle contemplating the prospect of cycling through dusty Iberia in 40-degree heat. A challenge. What could possibly go wrong? It would seem plenty. Mark, our son and I set off for Madrid, but I collapsed on the flight into the city. Not my finest hour. I was whisked off by ambulance, leaving Mark to take a shuttle journey to the terminal building where he found our son forlornly waiting, flanked by security guards. To compound Mark’s problems, when he reached the deserted carousel he found a bike box, housing his Roubaix, but no kit bag. No bag. No clothes. No lights. No camera. Was it to be no action? He decided to at least register for the ride. I was discharged from hospital and we went to Torrelaguna, a small town to the north of Madrid to collect his Brevet card and soak up the atmosphere. The sense of excitement and anticipation was palpable in the small sports hall crammed with carbon fibre and Lycra. This just made him more despondent. He walked away with his MGM event jersey and water bottles, but lacking all the necessary paraphernalia. Two important things remained in his possession – his bike, newly serviced and cleaned for the occasion and his GPS, already loaded with the twelve GPX files that detailed the route. But how could he commit to the ride with nothing but the clothes he stood up in? It was clear his bag would not be found. He would need to replace essential kit, which meant a last-minute rush to the shops. It was impossible to replace all that was lost but he hoped to at least source the basics. Google Translate came to his aid in the shops, but things looked desperate when he found there was only one light available in the whole store – a mountain bike light with a burn time of four hours and non-adjustable brightness. The ride began at 8pm. With no light his chances of even starting were not good. He paid for the light and left. Arriving at the start with minutes to spare, and completely unprepared mentally, he decided to aim to ride the first 160km to Ayllón and pack. We waved him off, but hopes weren’t high.


“A small crowd waved us off and I formed part of a procession of international cyclists leading out of the town. I followed a group of Italian cyclists over pan-flat roads into the dusk. I had cleared the first hurdle, but 50km into the ride some doubt set in. “My new light was even less efficient

than I’d hoped. When it was on, it lit the entire mountainside but there was no mechanism to conserve the power for it to last long enough to get me through the ten hours to daybreak… and my rear light had failed as well. Would I even make it to the first control? “It was a cloudless night with a full moon. I tried turning off the front light to conserve the battery and followed a group

I had made the ❝ decision to ride 530km before my first stop and had booked a room in a hotel in Cagnas de Onís

Half-way… Mark looks fresh after 530km




Mark and Fernando

of riders to Atienza. They turned a sharp right to take a rest in the town and, too close, I jammed on hard to avoid colliding with them. The force through my feet dislodged a screw in one of my new cleats and the net effect was I was unable to unclip. It seemed my run of bad luck had not come to an end. I limped on. “Cycling through the darkness, I met three Brazilian riders – Eduardo, Fernando and Caesar. They were cycling together, chatting excitedly at the prospect of completing the Granbrevetto Randonnée Europe Challenge. Four long distance races in four consecutive years. They had the 2015 Paris Brest Paris, the 2016 1001 Miglia Italia and the 2017 London Edinburgh London ‘in the pannier’, and completing this event would give them the quadrilogy. “Under different circumstances, I would have been inspired by the idea. But my concern over my lights was still at the forefront of my mind. I found myself telling them about my woes and to my utter surprise and disbelief Caesar gave me his spare light. This act of kindness signalled a reversal of fortunes. I was moved but more, I was galvanized. It gave me a spring in my step. I no longer had the first control in my sights. I had Gijón. “I cycled through the night, beginning the ascent of the Sierra d’Ayllón to a height of 1400m. Wind turbines stood like soldiers on the summit. The route turned right and I began my descent towards the first

… to my utter surprise and ❝ disbelief Caesar gave me his spare light. This act of kindness signalled a reversal of fortunes



control. The road surface was rough. Potholes loomed. Without a light on the descent, I would have had no chance of successful navigation but with the cat-eye light I reached Ayllón at 4am – a small triumph. A bowl of ubiquitous pasta and I carried on to the first dawn and the second control at Tórtoles de Esgueva. “As I left the small town best known for its monastery, I saw a small commotion on the road in front. A car and a bicycle had collided. I could see the rear wheel of the bicycle was bent out of shape but the rider had survived unscathed. As I cycled closer I could see it was Fernando. He had set off ahead of me. I suggested he asked the driver of the car to take him and his bike back to the control. I was later to find out this is what happened and once back in Tortoles people had rallied, the wheel was replaced and Fernando’s Audax journey was to continue. “I watched the sun rise over Aranda and cycled through fields of sunflowers towards the third control at Fromista. The heat began to rise as I notched up the first 300km of the route but it was the journey from Frómista to Cistierna which was the hardest. This was the part of the challenge I had not been able to prepare for – the heat. By now my GPS was registering 37ºC and I was stopping at every café and petrol station for a cold drink and an opportunity to get out of the saddle. Still unable to unclip I must have been quite a sight. One shoe on. One shoe off. This was the only way I could detach myself, the man, from the machine. “By the time I reached Cistierna, I was 24 hours into my ride. For many this was the first rest stop – but I had other plans. Back in the UK, in the excited planning

stages when the adversities I had faced hadn’t even reached my contemplation, I had made the decision to ride 530km before my first stop and had booked a room in a hotel in Cagnas de Onís, the fifth of the six controls on the journey out. The destination at the end of the next GPS file, I changed the batteries on the cat eye light Caesar had given me and set off into the night. “By all accounts, the journey across the foothills of the Picos de Europa is one of stunning beauty. Not in darkness. After a blistering hot day, I felt cold. The night was eerie. Owls hunted for prey. I dug deep and began the ascent to El Ponton at 1280km. Mist rose from the large reservoir. I allowed myself the luxury of using my own mountain biking light as well as Caesar’s. It illuminated the darkness with such power I could see every detail like floodlights on a sports’ pitch. Finally, I reached the summit and began my descent. In front of me and below was my bed for the night. “The long sweeping switch backs I would usually consider the highlight of any long day in the saddle had a soporific effect. Cycling through a series of tunnels in the hillside felt surreal. My energy levels reached an all-time low. I counted road markers to stay awake. I found my remaining emergency rations – a can of energy drink and some biscuits – and buoyed by sugar, I reached the control in Cagnas de Onís and snatched a couple of welcome hours sleep. “The journey to Gijón was some of the most pleasurable riding on the whole

First sight of Gijón

… A Spanish motorist shouted to me to follow him and he drove to a point where I was able to rejoin the route

journey. The benefit of crossing the Picos mountain range was a change in climate and I was able to enjoy a light wind which made the temperature towards the halfway point more bearable. The descent into the town was long, and the views breathtaking. I reached the control a little after 1pm – 41 hours after setting off from Torrelaguna. “After a quick snack and a short moment to contemplate what I had achieved, I began the return. La vuelta. Clearly distracted by my thoughts, I took a wrong turn. A Spanish motorist came to my rescue. Recognising the MGM cycling top I was wearing, he shouted to me to follow him and he drove his car to a point where I was able to rejoin the route. “Back in Cagnas de Onís I took another short break from the saddle. I had intended to sleep. My body was exhausted

but my mind would not rest so I set off for Cistierna, another four hour ascent of the Picos by night. Once I had reached the summit I freewheeled down into the town. It was here I met Fernando for the second time but our time together was short as he had planned a sleep at Cistierna, 800km into the ride, while I had made the decision to push on and had booked accommodation in Sahagún another 50km along the route. I reached the purpose-built hotel at 4am and, able to leave my bike in the room, slept for another four hours. “The journey from here to Frómista was probably the worst of all the sections. Without my usual kit, I had my GPS inside a plastic bike bag in a pocket designed for a mobile phone. The temperature was reading 49ºC. While this may not have been 100 per cent accurate it was fair to say the temperature was excessive. Again, I stopped at every taberna for a cold drink and a rest. I reached the control and powered through to Tórtoles. I watched the sun set over Aranda and rode on to the small swimming pool which housed the control at Ayllón.

“I arrived to a festival atmosphere. There was a large welcome party meeting the cyclists and many riders were having a quick sleep before their final push to the finish. It was just past 11pm. There were another 15 hours before the cut off time for finishing and I had decided to take a sleep break in Atienza. I set off into the night, bracing my body for the long ride up over what was the worst road surface on the entire route. “I had reserved a room in a hotel in Atienza which was a converted convent – Santa Ana. I could not argue with the description – comfortable and tranquil. I slept deeply. As the sun rose the next morning, I set off on the final 100km to Torrelaguna. It was cold setting off but I was confident in my ability to complete the challenge. Eighty nine hours and 15 minutes after I set off, I returned to the final control. I was reminded of the adage ‘to finish is to win’. It never felt so true. And as I walked away from the finish line, relieved and ecstatic in equal measure, I met my Brazilian counterparts. Eternally grateful, I returned the light. ‘Thanks,’ I said simply, ‘See you next year in Paris’. ■

“… to finish is to win,” Mark and his son at the end




Graham Jones with his Paul Hewitt Cheviot. Picture, Gillian Jones


the Alps

in corduroy pants and three gears The profit we made went into ❝ ‘the bike jar’ – a fund to allow me to buy my own bike ❞



Retired headmaster and keen rider, Graham Jones, recalls cycling in another age – no helmets, few cars and passenger aeroplanes which would wait on the runway for two cyclists running late! Here’s his account of a teenage adventure, cycling through 1950s France with his best pal, Kenny… Bicycles played a large part in my life, growing up in Birkenhead during the war. Indeed, some of my earliest memories of cycling include avoiding bomb craters rather than pot holes. My Dad taught me to ride before he went into the army. My mum would scour the small ads in the Liverpool Echo, buying bikes which we would clean up and sell on to make a little money. I became an expert in greasing chains – and the profit we made went into “the bike jar”, a fund to allow me to buy my own bike. I guess you could say we were proper “wheeler dealers”. My first long ride took place just after the war when my Dad came home. He suggested we go to visit relatives in Leicester – on our bikes! It was more than 100 miles, and I was only ten years old. Like many youngsters, I lived on my bike in those days. There was no television, and food rationing meant that we were quite fit. My special food for cycling was condensed milk butties washed down with dandelion and burdock. On my twelfth birthday in 1949 the “bike jar” was finally opened. It contained £13 – enough for me to catch the bus to Clifton Cycles in Birkenhead, and buy my first proper bike. It was a blue 531 Clifton frame cycle with a Brooks saddle, Cinelli bars, Simplex 3-speed gears and lightweight wheels, hubs and tyres. It also had a free saddle bag and carrier. Together with my pals, I explored the whole of north Wales on that bike, staying in youth hostels, getting to know the many cafes in the Welsh towns and villages. My school friend, Kenny Kay, and I decided to plan “the big one” – a cycle ride to Arbois on the

Early days for the Wednesday Wheelers. Picture, Sue Eagle

France-Switzerland border. He said he had “an open invitation” to visit his old French teacher, Monsieur Joel Baggage. Before we could get to France we needed passports, which involved a bike ride to Liverpool, through the Mersey Tunnel. We came out the other side covered in smuts. With our YHA cards in our pockets, bikes checked, and saddlebags containing tyre levers, puncture kits and spare inner tubes, we set off from Birkenhead, heading for an airstrip in Lympne, Kent, to catch a Bristol freighter, operated by Silver City Airways, to Le Touquet in northern France. It could carry two cars, two bikes and ten passengers. It took us all day and all night to get to our first stop in St Albans. We were fortified by fish and chips along the way. We had no lights, but a full moon helped us reach St Albans where we slept on the floor at a friend’s house and left at six o’clock the next morning. Heading towards the Kent coast we realised that we had not made allowances for heavier traffic and that no matter how hard we pedalled we would not reach the airport by 4pm. So we phoned ahead. They gave us an extra hour to get there! Cycling flat out, we covered the distance and got to the airfield, dripping with sweat and exhausted. The plane was still there waiting, so we had our passports checked and our bikes were wheeled aboard. We were off to France. The take-off was very noisy. Through the

Cycling flat out, we covered the ❝ distance and got to the airfield, dripping with sweat and exhausted ❞


gaps in the floor of the Bristol freighter, we could see the runway… then the sea! Finally in Le Touquet, we bought some eggs from the hostel shop. We were ravenous. We hadn’t eaten since St Albans. My attempts to cook the eggs in a pan without oil or fat meant they stuck to the bottom and burnt. Kenny assumed cooking duties after that. I had only ever used a tin opener at home. We set off next morning only to be stopped by a gendarme. We were not allowed to ride two abreast, only in single file. We had learnt a valuable lesson before breakfast. We bought some French stick loaves at the boulangerie and put them in our saddlebags as meals on wheels. Traffic was a mixture of pedal cyclists and bikes with motors like crude e-bikes. Our route to Arbois was Amiens, Troyes, Dijon, and Pontarlier. The roads, built by the Romans, were straight, going up and down hills. We raced downhill so that it carried us uphill to the top. We were not sightseeing but determined to reach Arbois as soon as possible. Sweat dripped from our noses on to our crossbars. All went well until it rained and we had a strong wind to contend with. We stopped in a bus shelter and prepared a meal of potatoes picked from a field, and we

Cycling took a back seat for Graham when he did his national service in the 1950s, followed by university, marriage and three children – and his teaching career. Graham was a head teacher for 23 years, and in that time had few chances to cycle. He took up running and was a member of Stone Master Marathoners in Staffordshire from 1979 to 2012, taking part in a total of 18 marathons for the club. He returned to cycling later in life and helped set up the Wednesday Wheelers in Stone, Staffordshire in 1993 with a group of like-minded riders. He has also completed many long-distance rides with his son, Martin. “The Wednesday Wheelers still ride today but advancing years has seen the appearance of e-bikes for some,” says Graham. “They swap and share batteries along the route if necessary. Above all, they still have a wonderful friendship and lots of fun.”




On Mow Cop with Dave and Dave. Picture, Pat Wilson

They had sheltered two airmen ❝ from Leicester in the last war until they could be moved on by the Resistance

fried chips and finished off the bread. A French farmer offered us his barn to sleep in. We ate a delicious meal with him and his wife sitting in a French kitchen. Kenny’s French was so useful. They offered us a bath and they washed and dried our clothes for next morning when we had a good breakfast also and food to put in our saddlebags. What generosity! Kenny learnt that they had sheltered two airmen from Leicester in the last war until they could be moved on by the Resistance. Two days later we arrived in Arbois and Joel, the French teacher, was rather surprised to see us, as he didn’t know we were coming. But he gave us accommodation for a short while, and four days later we moved across the border into Switzerland. They even arranged a bed for the night for us with a friend of Joel’s father.

The French teacher was rather ❝ surprised to see us, as he didn’t know we were coming ❞ 54


In Switzerland, cycling over the Jura, the Simplex gears earned their keep. These were the first mountains that we’d ever encountered on bikes. They went up, up and up and in bottom gear I found a rhythm and stayed on the saddle. We even passed a few French cyclists. We climbed higher and higher into the clouds and dropped down into Switzerland. I noticed that my front tyre didn’t look good. The nearest bike shop was in Neuchatel but I was in for a shock. My tyre was 27 inches and continental tyres were 700s. I would need a new front wheel and had little money. The shop owner, however, had good news. He could vulcanise the tyre free of charge! So we were able to continue our journey and found our B&B at the side of a lake, had a bath, a filling meal and shared a double bed. Next day we cycled on to Basle and then began the return journey. We stayed two nights in Arbois again before continuing to Troyes. I had another problem when my carrier disintegrated. Kenny rescued me again with his French and got a local blacksmith to make me another one. The prototype was later to be copied in England by my cycling friends. When we got home, I began thinking about the scale of what we’d done. We were too inexperienced to realise the problems and dangers we faced. We wore no cycle helmets, and I cycled in a pair of corduroy

shorts, not worrying about saddle sores. We used no sun cream, our water proof capes were basic, and we used saddlebags instead of panniers to hold our luggage. We took very little with us, just essentials. We used one water bottle on the handlebars which we filled up when the chance arose. We ate very little while cycling. Riding through the night was risky as we had no lights. We took few tools. We trusted that our bikes would last. We miscalculated timings and distances. For instance, on our way to Kent we should have stayed another night at a hostel so that we had time to get to the airfield. We were so lucky to find a working telephone to ring the air carrier. Fancy a plane waiting for us to arrive late! We had luck on our sides and we were very fit. The roads were in good condition and not overcrowded as nowadays. Our only big regret was that we didn’t take the details of the French farmer and his wife who had been so kind and welcoming. We were fortunate to be accommodated by Joel, especially as he was not expecting us. The most important thing that I remember was the friendship between Kenny and me. If he reads this, or if anyone knows of a Kenny Kay who left Rock Ferry High School in 1953, please let me know. ■


Fixed Focus It was another good season for fixers, with plenty to celebrate in terms of interest in the field. As far as the numbers go, 30 new FWC Brevet cards were issued and 14 members had their cards validated. For the SFW challenge, 25 new Brevet cards were issued and 17 validated (often, but not exclusively, the same members). The number of claims was down on last season’s record-breaking total, with 17 men advising their totals for the season. This decline in numbers is counterbalanced by some of the points totals achieved. Shaun Hargreaves is again the champion with a massive total of 442 points, some of which were earned over terrain not normally considered fixed-friendly. This figure is impressive, not only for its size, but also because it sets a new record, annihilating the previous figure of 394 set in 2007 by Steve Abraham. The “Opposite Sex” award (for the member with the highest number of points who is of the opposite sex to the

overall winner, to give it its full, cumbersome title) traditionally attracts a smaller number of claims and this year, again, just one lone woman, Yvonne King, submitted a claim. Although Yvonne set a new category record last year, she did not emulate Shaun this year, achieving just 51 points. Congratulations to all those appearing in the lists below and particularly both champions. More competition for Yvonne in her category will be welcome, even if not by her! The fixed points table in descending number order and list of SFW achievers in alphabetical order are on the right. One note of explanation: a SFW is essentially a SR Series (200, 300, 400 and 600km rides within a season) on fixed, but may be gained by achieving a number of AAA points on fixed within a season. A Hyper-Randonneur is 4 x 600km [minimum] events (though not officially recognised).


Total 2018 442.00

James Ludlow Jon Banks Justin Jones Lee Killestein Tim Pickersgill Mike Thompson Ivan Cornell Tom Deakins Nick Wilkinson Tim Rusbridge Neil Veitch Richard Phipps Paul Stewart Jocelyn Ridley Nick Gardiner Mick Bates

178.75 103.00 83.25 75.50 57.75 50.75 40.50 37.00 34.00 32.00 29.00 26.00 26.00 23.00 15.00 12.00

FEMALE (Opp Sex) Name Yvonne King

Total 2018 51.00

Part of the smaller number of claims may be attributed to being a year between the flagship events of LEL and PBP, but this latter event is being organised in 2019 and I would very much like to learn of any members intending to ride it on fixed and even more so their experiences and successes for the next seasonal review. A fixed gear is often not the deprivation that might be

SUPER FIXED WHEELERS Jon Banks Ivan Cornell Tom Deakins Nick Gardiner Shaun Hargreaves Justin Jones Lee Killestein James Ludlow Tim Pickersgill Jocelyn Ridley


Mike Thompson Neil Veitch Nick Wilkinson

imagined – just a different approach – and several riders have commented to me recently how much they have been enjoying this different discipline, some abstaining from freewheels and gears completely, as a more fulfilling challenge. Details of both challenges are on the AUK website for anyone interested, with some FAQs. If there are some rarely asked questions, do ask me directly, and I shall do my best to help. Hopefully, the statistical details will be of interest and spur Auks on during the current season and beyond. Best wishes to all refusing to freewheel and hopes for a succesful and, above all, safe 2018/9 season. ■

Audax Club Parisian presentation of awards for 2018, and Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur 2019 The presentation on Saturday, 12 January 2019, was attended by AUK Chairman, Chris Crossland , LRM President, Keith Benton and Helen Pearce, an AUK control volunteer for PBP. Chris was presented with Randonneur 5000 certificates for Robert Hanwell, AUK, Oliver Isles, Audax Club Bristol, Steve Ralphs, Leicestershire and Rutland CTC and Bob Johnson, VC 167. He also accepted Le Randonneur 10000 certificates on behalf of Martin Croxford, Steve Ralphs and David Smethurst. The meeting concluded with a presentation of PBP 2019, accompanied by the Introduction booklet, copies of which were distributed to members present. ■ Report and photos by Ann Benton www.audax.uk


Charnwood in the Spring Audax This can be a nice warm-up for a new season for those who don’t have a lot of miles in their legs early April. It covers lots of nice countryside and it’s not especially hilly. The start at St Helen’s Church Hall, Trowell, is conveniently close to the M1 and there is always plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits as you ‘Sign on’. The route is almost entirely on quiet county roads apart from short sections at the start and finish and a uses a ‘Rolling’ start anytime time between 08:30 and 09:15. This ensures there are no large groups as you head south towards Sawley and across the River Trent. After crossing the Trent the route turns left by Sawley Marina and takes some little used lanes into Kegworth. From here you may briefly have the company of Ryanair or Jet 2 as the lane to

FORSALE FOR SALE £399. Claude Butler tandem, short wheel base (21x21in) resprayed white/pink fade with correct decals. Two bottle cages, chain set TA. Pedals, aluminium toe clips with straps. Group set – Shimano Dura-ace with down tube shifters. Shimano wheels with Mavic Ma2, 700C continental tyres and wide flange hubs (rear track, front qr) Cow horn bars front and rear. Clean and wellmaintained. Reply to: johnmanville42@gmail.com

Long Whatton passes under the flight path of the East Midlands Airport. Following a short steepish climb to the outskirts of Shepshed we turn right and head into Charnwood, one of the most attractive areas of the East Midlands. The good news is that whilst Charnwood has some vicious hills our route climbs steadily up past the beautifully preserved Fenny Spring Mill to its high point close to Beacon Hill. The work of the climb is soon rewarded by a long descent past Lindale Golf Club and through the attractive village of Swithland, where as you cross the reservoir you might well catch a sight of a steam train plying its trade on UK’s only Mainline Heritage Railway. A short climb away from Rothley and a step descent brings riders to the first control at Stonehurst Farm, where you can get a quick ‘cuppa’ and a biscuit at the kiosk, or head for the warmth of the café where an extensive menu is available. From the control the route goes east crossing the River Soar in Sileby and climbing steadily up onto the Leicestershire Wolds to its most easterly point. Then heading north across the Wolds it’s relatively flat through Willoughby and Wysall before turning in a westerly direction to the second control at East Leake. Here the Chef’s Café always provides a warm welcome and a wide range of snacks and meals, all at very reasonable prices. The last leg is quite short. From East Leake it’s not far to Kegworth, where the outward route is rejoined for most of the way back to Trowell, but this time going

OBITUARY MICK LATIMER 1935-2019 It is with sadness that I report that Mick Latimer, Audax UK’s first elected Chairman, died in Hobart, Tasmania on January 26th after a short illness. He was 83. He had been making good progress after a serious stroke in 2017 which had put paid to cycling. He was regaining the use of his legs and his left hand and getting out to the cinema. He was in the excellent hands of his wife Jan. He was even in the process of putting his AUK memoirs together and was in correspondence with Chris Crossland about the design of AUK jerseys, a topic which he always had views on from the early days of AUK. He had probably not got far with this task so we can rest easy! 56


It is anticipated that there will be a full article on Mick’s cycling career in the next Arrivée. If anyone has any anecdotes about Mick or photographs which they want to contribute then do please contact me: brindisijones@tiscali. co.uk or via the editor for my home address. Simon Jones

via Stanton by Dale, a little longer but a pleasant alternative. Back at St Helen’s Church Hall there are always plenty of drinks, sandwiches and cakes. Finally it’s worth noting that if you know anyone contemplating entering their first audax then this is an ideal event for an Audax ‘Virgin’; little traffic,

scenic, clear accurate route sheet (or GPX) and excellent cafes/refreshments. Whatsmore if you do ride you will be helping a good cause. The profit from the 2019 event on Saturday April 13 will be donated to Notts and Lincs Air Ambulance. ■ Colin Gray December 2018

OBITUARY JIM GRESTY It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Jim Gresty. Many will remember him as controller, with his wife, Helen, at the Raven Café at Prees Heath on the Mere 200. Jim and Helen epitomised our passion for Audax and the friendships we build from shared adversity and respect for our achievements.

He achieved some impressive rides in the Mersey Roads 24 hour TT including one where he claimed 7 AUK points in 2008 His other achievements include: 1 x UltraRandonneur 2 x Randonneur 5000: 2003, 2005 2 x RRTY: April 2003 – March 2004, August 2011 – July 2012 2 x PBP: 2003, 2011 2 x LEL: 2013, 2004 1 x LeJog: 2010 3 x 1000km Perms: 2004 (Gormet 1000), 2006 (Manche-Med), 2008 (Lowestoff-Ardnamurchan) Trafalgar-Trafalgar 3100km Perm At least 465 Points At least 98¾ AAA Points

Entry Form for events held under Audax UK regulations Date

From: Fee: £



Name of event:


for Audax UK or Cycling UK (CTC) members – otherwise add £3 for Audax UK temporary membership.

AUK Membership no:

Cycling UK (CTC) Membership No:

Date of birth if under 18 years:





Phone: Mobile: Email:

Club/Cycling UK (CTC) group:

INSURANCE: Audax UK provides its members (inc.temporary) "normally resident in the UK" with 3rd party insurance cover throughout the event for claims in excess of £500. 3rd party insurance cover is limited to events taking place in Great Britain, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man. Membership of a Cycling UK (CTC) affiliated club or group does not provide insurance cover you must have an individual or family Cycling UK (CTC) membership Overseas residents must arrange their own 3rd party insurance. By signing this entry form you declare that you are insured as required. The event is run under Audax UK regulations. You should familiarise yourself with Audax UK regulations, guidance, and advice (available in AUK publications, at www.aukweb.net or on request from the organiser). The event is not a race or trial of speed. You are expected to follow the rules of the road and show consideration to other road users. The route is on open public roads. The route is not waymarked /marshalled. Some routes/conditions may be arduous.

You should prepare by studying the route. You are responsible for your safety/conduct. The organiser provides no rescue service.

PARENTAL CONSENT (required for entrants under 18 years of age) Parents should note the information on this form and be aware that this is an individual ride without leaders. I am the Parent/Guardian of the Entrant and give my consent to this Entry: Signed (Parent/Guardian):


Name (Parent/Guardian, please print):

I understand that during the event I am on a private excursion on the public highway and that I am responsible for my own conduct. I agree to abide by Audax UK Regulations for this ride. Entry fees are not refundable or transferable. I have relevant insurance cover as above. Signed(Entrant):


Emergency contact person (Name & Tel.):

Send: 1. completed form.

To: organiser

2. cheque payable to organiser. 3. two C5 stamped addressed envelopes.

Revised Jan 2017





1826m Total elevation AAA Audax Altitude Award points A(1) Free/cheap accommodation (1 night) B Very basic – no halls/beds, et c BD Bag drop R  Refreshments at start and/or finish S Showers Z Sleeping facilities on route YH Youth hostel at/near start C Camping at or near the start F Some free food and/or drink on ride L Left luggage facilities at start P Free or cheap motor parking at start T Toilets at start M/NM Mudguards required/not required X  Some very basic controls (eg service stations) G GPS files provided by the organiser 175 Entries close at 175 riders 14/4 Entries close 14th April 15-30kph Minimum-maximum speeds 300

08 Mar Morton Park, Darlington North Riding 21:00 Fri BR 2275m £5.00 X 14.3-30kph VC 167 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER 100 09 Mar Alfreton Three Fields 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1100m £5.00 L P R T 100 12-30kph Alfreton CTC Ian Hobbs, 26 Naseby Road, Openwoodgate, Belper DE56 0ER 200 09 Mar Churchend,Dunmow, Essex The Horsepower 200 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 1450m £10.00 X A[1] C L P R T G M 15-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA 100 09 Mar Churchend,Dunmow, Essex The Horsepower 100km 09:00 Sat BP 102km 900m £10.00 X A[1] C L P R T G M 12.5-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA 200 09 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley Run 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 207km 1700m £8.75 F G L P R T 15-30kph Updated Reading CTC Titus Halliwell, 9 Epping Close, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7YD 100 09 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley 100 09:00 Sat BP 900m £8.75 L P R T 12-30kph Updated Reading CTC Titus Halliwell, 9 Epping Close, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7YD 200 09 Mar Whitchuch, Bristol Wells, Mells & Broader! 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 203km 2800m AAA2.75 [2750m] £7.50 YH G NM P R T (3/3) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 19 Berwick Road, Bristol BS5 6NG 100 09 Mar Whitchuch, Bristol Wells, Mells & Old Rail Trail 09:00 Sat BP 103km 1600m AAA1.5 £6.50 YH G NM P R T (100) (6/3) 12.5-25kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 19 Berwick Road, Bristol BS5 6NG 200 10 Mar Exeter Mad March, A river too far 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 2800m AAA2.75 £7.00 YH F P R T X 14.3-30kph Exeter Whs shbritton@outlook.com Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane, Cranbrook EX5 7AP 100 10 Mar Exeter Mad March Exeter Excursion 09:00 Sun BP 1150m £6.00 YH F P R T 12-25kph Exeter Whs 07443 471140 shbritton@outlook.com Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane, Cranbrook, Devon EX5 7AP




10 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Grimpeur 100 09:30 Sun BP 1800m AAA1.75 £8.00 F L P R T 12-25kph West Kent CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk Patrick Mcmaster, 207 Colyer Road, Northfleet Kent DA11 8AT 50 10 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Hilly 50 10:00 Sun BP 945m AAA1 £7.00 F L P R T NM 12-25kph West Kent CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk Patrick Mcmaster, 207 Colyer Road, Northfleet, Kent DA11 8AT 200 10 Mar Winsford, Cheshire Scouting Mam Tor 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 207km 2570m AAA2.25 [2150m] £8.00 P R T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC pjbscott@sky.com Phil Scott, 59 Hawkshead Way, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2SY 160 10 Mar Winsford, Cheshire Edale Run 08:30 Sun BP 167km 2370m AAA2.25 [2150m] £8.00 P R T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC pjbscott@sky.com Phil Scott, 59 Hawkshead Way, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2SY 200 16 Mar Andoversford, Nr Cheltenham Cheltenham New Flyer 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] £6.00 GLPRT 15-30kph Cheltenham CTC stephen.poulton@btinternet.com ROA 10000 Stephen Poulton, Leckhampton Lodge, 23 Moorend Park Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 0LA 150 16 Mar Andoversford, Nr Cheltenham Cider with Rosie 150 08:30 Sat BP 151km £5.00 GPRT 12.5-30kph Cheltenham CTC stephen.poulton@btinternet.com ROA 10000 Stephen Poulton, Leckhampton Lodge, 23 Moorend Park Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 0LA 100 16 Mar Andoversford, Nr Cheltenham Character Coln 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 GPRT 15-30kph Cheltenham CTC stephen.poulton@btinternet.com ROA 10000 Stephen Poulton, Leckhampton Lodge, 23 Moorend Park Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 0LA 300 16 Mar Bushley, Nr Tewkesbury A Rough Diamond 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 301km 2500m [3450m] £8.00 C F G L NM P R T Z 250 15-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 200 16 Mar Duffus Hall, Duffus Elgin Monster Munch 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1700m £10.00 CXGLPRTS 15-30kph Elgin CC Mark Houliston, Invererne, 3 Gordonstoun Road, Duffus, Moray IV30 5WE 100 16 Mar Duffus Hall, Duffus Moray Moray Meanderings 10:00 Sat BP 834m £7.00 CXGLPRTS 15-30kph Elgin CC Mark Houliston, Invererne, 3 Gordonstoun Road, Duffus, Moray IV30 5WE 200 16 Mar Girton, Cambridge The Cambridge Pork Pie 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 214km 1700m £10.00 YH A C G L P R T S 15-30kph Cambridge Audax nick@camaudax.uk Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE 110 16 Mar Girton, Cambridge The Cambridge Spring Dash 09:00 Sat BP 111km 850m £10.00 YH A C G L P R T S 12.5-30kph Cambridge Audax nick@camaudax.uk Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE 300 16 Mar Oxford, Peartree Services The Dean 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 3450m AAA2.25 [2200m] £6.50 X G P 15-30kph Audax Club Hackney 07932 672 561 justinjones1969@gmail.com Justin Jones, 39 Harringay Road, Harringay, London N15 3JB


16 Mar Selkirk Scottish Borders Randonnee 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 2168m £10.00 F G P R T 15-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur 01750 20838 Russell Carson, 21 Ladylands Terrace, Selkirk TD7 4BB 140 16 Mar Selkirk Scottish Borders Populaire 08:00 Sat BP 145km £10.00 F G P R T 12-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur 01750 20838 Russell Carson, 21 Ladylands Terrace, Selkirk TD7 4BB 100 17 Mar Bynea, Llanelli Carmarthenshire Stopper 08:30 Sun BP 102km 1500m AAA1.5 £5.50 C L F P R T 50 12-25kph Swansea DA Guto Evans, Maes Yr Helyg Heol Nant Y Ci Saron Ammanford, Carmarthenshire SA18 3TP 200 17 Mar Surbiton Gently Bentley 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 1650m £9.50 G L P R T (100) (1/3) 15-30kph Updated Kingston Wheelers sdrpkwac@gmail.com Daniel Smith, 95 Regents Court, Sopwith Way, Kingston Upon Thames KT2 5AQ 200 23 Mar Aldbrough St John, nr Darlington Yorkshire Gallop 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1450m £5.00 X P R T 14.3-30kph VC 167 01325 374 112 nigel.hall@finklecroft.me.uk Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft, Aldbrough St John, Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD 100 23 Mar Aldbrough St John, nr Darlington Ripon Canter 10:00 Sat BP 850m £5.00 X L P R T 12-25kph VC 167 01325 374 112 nigel.hall@finklecroft.me.uk Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft, Aldbrough St John, Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD 100 23 Mar Bamford, Derbyshire Occasionally Hilly 09:00 Sat BP 109km 2100m AAA2 £8.00 P, R, T, G, F 12.5-30kph Common Lane Occasionals 07805100988 owright@mac.com ROA 2000 Oliver Wright, Townhead Farm, 345 Baslow Road, Sheffield South Yorkshire S17 4AD 100 23 Mar Copdock, Nr. Ipswich The Copdock Circuit – Spring in South Suffolk 09:00 Sat BP 750m £6.50 L P R T M 12-30kph Suffolk CTC the.kells@talk21.com Dennis Kell, 9 Pheasant Rise, Copdock, Ipswich, Suffolk IP8 3LF 100 23 Mar Forfar, DD8 3TG Scone 100 10:00 Sat BP 750m £3.00 GPTS 15-30kph Angus CC 01307 466123 dchusband@icloud.com ROA 5000 David Husband , 78 Old Halkerton Road, Forfar DD8 1JP 200 23 Mar Village Hotel, Coryton, NW Cardiff Making Hay 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 206km 2000m [2500m] £9.00 YH FG L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways 02920 341768 evansrichardd@gmail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road, Cardiff CF11 9NW 200 24 Mar Golden Green,Tonbridge Man of Kent– 10th Anniversary Audax 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 203km 1505m [1425m] £8.00 F L P R T (120) 15-30kph David Winslade manofkentaudax@gmail.com David Winslade, 3 Albany Close, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 2EY 100 24 Mar North Petherton, S of Bridgwater Dunkery Dash 09:00 Sun BP 102km 1700m AAA1.75 £8.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Bridgwater CC Keith Bridges, 19 Westfield Road, Burnham On Sea, Somerset TA8 2AW 300 30 Mar Aberystwyth Meirionydd & More 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 318km 4200m AAA4.25 £4.50 G L P T S X 15-30kph Ystwyth CC 07771 812900 andy.andsl@gmail.com Andy Cox, Aberdauddwr, Aberffrwd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3ND 200 30 Mar Carlton le Moorland or, Norton Disney Bomber County 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 208km 950m £7.00 C,G, T 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire lincsaudax@gmail.com Richard Parker, 28 High Street, Carlton Le Moorland, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN5 9HT


30 Mar Galashiels Moffat Toffee 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 2500m [2300m] £10.00 LPRTSG 15-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 30 Mar Galashiels Springtime Ride of the Valkyries 10:00 Sat BP 106km 1500m £9.00 LPRTSG 12-30kph Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 31 Mar Clitheroe, Lancashire Delightful Dales 200 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 205km 3150m AAA3.25 [3600m] £6.60 L P R T X 15-30kph Burnley CC burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive, Ightenhill, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8AT 200 31 Mar Cranbrook, Devon Up and down like a yo-yo 8:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 3100m AAA3 £7.00 G T 15-30kph Exeter Whs shbritton@outlook.com Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane Cranbrook Devon EX5 7AP 100 31 Mar Earlswood, nr Solihull Midlander 100 09:00 Sun BP 105km £6.00 GPRT 15-30kph Midland C & AC Jim Lee-Pevenhull, 107 Shustoke Road Solihull West Midlands B91 2QR 200 31 Mar Halifax The Red Rose Ride 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 2550m AAA1.5 [1500m] £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Calderdale CTC dmdodwell@gmail.com Dave Dodwell, 32 Parkside Avenue, Queensbury, Bradford BD13 2HQ 50 31 Mar Hampers Green Community C, Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth Start of Summer Time 50 09:30 Sun BP 730m £5.00 F P T (40) 10-30kph ABAUDAX abaudax@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 100 31 Mar Minehead Exmoor Spring 09:30 Sun BP 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 L P R T 100 12.5-25kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AX 57 31 Mar Minehead Exmoor Spring 50 10:00 Sun BP 1150m AAA1.25 £5.00 YH L P R T 10-20kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AX 200 31 Mar Ponteland Up on the Roof Extension 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 202km 2380m AAA1.75 [1800m] £8.50 FGPRT (80) 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com – Please enter online 160 31 Mar Ponteland Up on the Roof 08:00 Sun BP 161km 2040m AAA1.75 [1800m] £8.50 FGPRT 14.3-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com – Please enter online 100 31 Mar Ponteland Winter’s Gibbet 08:30 Sun BP 1050m £8.50 GPRT 12.5-25kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com – Please enter online 200 31 Mar Pound Street Car Park, Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth Start of Summer Time 200 07:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 202km 2006m £10.00 F P T R 15-30kph Updated Anton Brown abaudax@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT


31 Mar Pound Street Car Park, Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth Start of Summer Time 100 08:00 Sun BP 103km 1350m £10.00 F P T R (100) 15-30kph Anton Brown abaudax@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 200 31 Mar Waters Edge (Rear),Ruislip, HA4 7YP Steam Ride:London-Oxford-London (LOL) The Ghan 08:15 Sun BRM [PBP] 1550m £9.50 L P R T YH 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Club Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd, Ealing, London W5 1JG 110 31 Mar Waters Edge (Rear),Ruislip, HA4 7YP Steam Ride: Quainton Express 08:30 Sun BP 117km 1050m £7.50 L P R T YH 12.5-25kph Change of Date AC Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd, Ealing, London W5 1JG 300 06 Apr Bushley, Nr Tewkesbury Helfa Cymraeg Benjamin Allen ar. 05:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 308km 3500m £8.00 100, C,F,L,P,R,T,S,NM. 15-25kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 300 06 Apr Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, SL9 9QX 3Down London – New Forest 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 309km 2653m [3100m] £21.00 YHGLPRT(140) 15-30kph Updated Willesden CC ianaudax@gmail.com Ian Oliver, 68 St Dunstans Avenue, London W3 6QJ 300 06 Apr Duffus, Elgin The Turra Coo 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 308km 2750m £10.00 CXGLPRTS 15-30kph Elgin CC Mark Houliston, Invererne, 3 Gordonstoun Road, Duffus, Moray IV30 5WE 300 06 Apr Easton, Bristol Bill’s Easton Connection 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 305km 4950m AAA5 £12.00 YH G L P R T (24/3) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 19 Berwick Road, Bristol BS5 6NG 160 06 Apr Village Hall, Long Melford CO10 9JQ Classic Tour de Stour 08:30 Sat BP 168km 867m [1350m] £7.00 CGLMRT(60)(2/04) 15-30kph CC Sudbury ian.lovelock@btinternet.com Ian Lovelock, The Old School House, Crown Street, Dedham, Colchester, Essex CO7 6A 100 06 Apr Village Hall, Long Melford CO10 9JQ Tour de Stour 09:00 Sat BP 106km 700m £6.00 CGLNMPRT(60)(14/05) 15-30kph CC Sudbury ian.lovelock@btinternet.com Ian Lovelock, The Old School House, Crown Street, Dedham, Colchester, Essex CO7 6A 50 06 Apr Village Hall, Long Melford Mini Upper Stour 09:30 Sat BP 339m £5.00 G L P R T 4/4 12-30kph CC Sudbury napthanjane@hotmail.com Jane Watson, 8 Combs Lane, Stowmarket IP14 2DA 100 06 Apr Wigginton Wiggy Spring 100 10:00 Sat BP £4.00 A(1) Y H L P R T 14-28kph CTC North Yorks 01904 769 378 keith@dkbenton.uk Keith Benton, 127 Greenshaw Drive, Wigginton, York YO32 2DB 200 06 Apr Wigston Rd,Oadby, Leicester Another Slice of Rutland 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 2100m £6.00 L P R T G 70 15-30kph Updated Leicester Forest CC Steve Orchard, 28 Hidcote Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5PE 200 07 Apr Greenwich The Shark 07:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 202km 3200m AAA3.25 £8.00 F G R (05/04) 15-30kph Audax Club Hackney ivan.cornell@gmail.com Ivan Cornell, 13 Maidenstone Hill, London SE10 8SY


07 Apr Hallbankgate, nr Brampton Eden Valley 200 08:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 204km 1943m £8.50 GPRT 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com – Please enter online 160 07 Apr Hallbankgate, nr Brampton Eden Valley 160 09:00 Sun BP 162km 1492m £8.00 GPRT 14.3-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com – Please enter online 100 07 Apr Hallbankgate, nr Brampton Eden Valley 100 10:00 Sun BP 102km 905m £8.00 GPRT 12.5-25kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com – Please enter online 200 07 Apr Long Ashton, Bristol Barry’s Bristol Ball Buster 07:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 215km 2300m £7.00 F L P R T G NM (200) 15-30kph Las Vegas Inst of Sport audax@lvis.org.uk Marcus Mumford, Upper Haselor Farm, Haselor Lane, Hinton-on-the-green, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2QZ 160 07 Apr Long Ashton, Bristol Barry’s Bristol Blast 08:30 Sun BP 1640m [1250m] £7.00 F L P R T G NM (200) 12.5-30kph Las Vegas Inst of Sport audax@lvis.org.uk Marcus Mumford, Upper Haselor Farm, Haselor Lane, Hinton-on-the-green, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2QZ 110 07 Apr Long Ashton, Bristol Barry’s Bristol Bash 09:30 Sun BP 116km 1300m £7.00 F L P R T G NM (275) 12.5-30kph Las Vegas Inst of Sport audax@lvis.org.uk Marcus Mumford, Upper Haselor Farm, Haselor Lane, Hinton-on-the-green, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2QZ 100 07 Apr Polegate, E Sussex Hell of the Sussex Coastal Hills 09:00 Sun BP 105km 1700m AAA1.75 £7.00 P F T (50) 13-25kph Christopher Tracey Christrauk@yahoo.co.uk Christopher Tracey, 20 Salisbury Road, Seaford East, Sussex BN25 2DD 100 07 Apr Polegate, E Sussex For those who dont do hills 100 09:00 Sun BP 101km 650m £7.00 F P T (50) 15-30kph Christopher Tracey Christrauk@yahoo.co.uk Christopher Tracey, 20 Salisbury Road, Seaford East, Sussex BN25 2DD 200 07 Apr Poynton, S of Stockport Chirk 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] £6.00 F P 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC darrylnolan12@gmail.com Darryl Nolan, 5 Grasmere Road, Royton, Oldham OL2 6SR 400 13 Apr Aberystwyth It’s A Kind of Teifi Traveller 09:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 414km 6650m AAA6.75 £8.00 G L P T S X 15-30kph Ystwyth CC andy.andsl@gmail.com Andy Cox, Aberdauddwr, Aberffrwd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3ND 300 13 Apr Alfreton Everybody Rides to Skeggy! 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 302km 1600m £7.00 L R P T X 100 15-30kph Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 7FP 100 13 Apr Churchend, Dunmow, Essex The Woodman 10:00 Sat BP 850m £9.00 C G L M P R T 12.5-25kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA 50 13 Apr Churchend, Dunmow, Essex The Woodman’s Daughter 09:00 Sat BP 300m £9.00 C G L M P R T 8.3-20kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA




13 Apr Galashiels Alston and Back 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 2700m £15.00 PRTSG(100) 15-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St., Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 160 13 Apr Galashiels Dick McTs Century Classic 09:00 Sat BP 1576m [1600m] £10.00 LPRTSG 12-30kph Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St., Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 50 13 Apr Huntly, Aberdeenshire Room to Ride 50km 09:30 Sat BP 400m £8.00 G P R T 10-30kph Huntly Development Trust donald.boyd@huntly.net Donald Boyd, 2 Albert Terrace, Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 8BL 160 13 Apr Huntly, Aberdeenshire Room to Ride 160km 08:30 Sat BP 1700m £10.00 G P R T 15-30kph Huntly Development Trust donald.boyd@huntly.net Donald Boyd, 2 Albert Terrace, Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 8BL 100 13 Apr Huntly, Aberdeenshire Room to Ride 100km 09:00 Sat BP 1150m £10.00 G P R T 12-30kph Huntly Development Trust donald.boyd@huntly.net Donald Boyd, 2 Albert Terrace, Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 8BL 300 13 Apr Poole Hard boiled 300 02:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 4350m AAA4.25 [4400m] £10.00 L M (50) (30/3) 15-30kph Wessex CTC Shawn Shaw, 22 Shaftesbury Road, Denmark Gardens, Poole Dorset BH15 2LT 300 13 Apr Poynton, S of Stockport Plains 23:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 310km 1600m £5.00 P X 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC hamhort84@talktalk.net Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Avenue, Heald Green, Cheadle, Stockport, Cheshire SK8 3NZ 300 13 Apr Raynes Park Amesbury Amble 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 312km 2200m £10.00 A(2) G L P R T S 15-30kph Kingston Wheelers laidbackaroundtheworld@gmail.com Richard Evans, 29 Somerset Avenue, Raynes Park, London SW20 0BJ 100 13 Apr Trowell, Nottingham Charnwood in the Spring 08:30 Sat BP 103km 750m £6.00 L P R T 150 11.5-30kph Nottinghamshire CTC colinrosy@googlemail.com Colin Gray, 48 Willow Road, West Bridgeford NG2 7AY 100 13 Apr Usk, Monmouthshire Gwent Gambol 08:00 Sat BP 101km 1200m £6.00 C F G L P R T 13-30kph Cardiff Byways evansrichardd@gmail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road, Cardiff CF11 9NW 110 14 Apr Bishops Lydeard, Nr Taunton Dustman Dave’s Demon Hilly 08:30 Sun BP 116km 2550m AAA2.5 £6.00 L R P T 15-30kph Wellington Whs p_leavey@yahoo.co.uk Philip Leavey, The Spinney, Chitterwell, Wellington, Somerset TA21 0HF 110 14 Apr Bishops Lydeard, NW of Taunton Dustman Dave’s Doddle 09:00 Sun BP 950m £6.00 L P R T 10-30kph Wellington Whs p_leavey@yahoo.co.uk Philip Leavey, The Spinney, Chitterwell, Wellington, Somerset TA21 0HF 70 14 Apr Bishops Lydeard, NW of Taunton Dustman Dave’s Diddy Doddle 09:30 Sun BP £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Wellington Whs p_leavey@yahoo.co.uk Philip Leavey, The Spinney, Chitterwell, Wellington, Somerset TA21 0HF




14 Apr Falmouth A Cornish 100 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1400m £6.50 F G L P R T 12-25kph Falmouth Whs. philconroy@talktalk.net Philip Conroy, 5 Fairfield Road, Falmouth TR11 2DN 50 14 Apr Falmouth A Bunny Hop 10:00 Sun BP 750m £6.50 F G L P R T 10-25kph Falmouth Whs philconroy@talktalk.net Philip Conroy, 5 Fairfield Road, Falmouth TR11 2DN 110 14 Apr Mountnessing CM15 0TJ I-M-O-L-D 09:00 Sun BP 115km £9.00 F G L P R T 15-30kph Essex CTC s.eichenseher@googlemail.com Stefan Eichenseher, 42a Whitegate Road, Southend-on-sea, Essex SS1 2LQ 110 14 Apr Mytholmroyd Spring into the Dales 09:00 Sun BP 115km 2350m AAA2.25 £5.00 L P R T YH 12-24kph Calderdale CTC chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF 57 14 Apr Mytholmroyd Leap into the Aire 10:00 Sun BP 1250m AAA1.25 £4.50 L P R T YH 8-20kph Calderdale CTC chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF 110 14 Apr Uffington The Harlequin Hack 09:30 Sun BP 750m £6.00 C F G L P R T 15-30kph Corallian CC 07752 957363 audax@talbot.gb.net John Talbot, 33 Barretts Way, Sutton Courtenay, Abingdon OX14 4DD 200 14 Apr Wareham Dorset Coast 07:45 Sun BRM [PBP] 207km 2850m AAA2.75 £12.00 G C L F R P T S M 15-30kph CC Weymouth dorsetcoast200@gmail.com Andrew Preston, 24 Monmouth Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2DG 100 14 Apr Wareham Coastlet 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1200m £7.00 C L F R P T M 12-25kph CC Weymouth dorsetcoast200@gmail.com Andrew Preston, 24 Monmouth Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2DG 400 19 Apr Anywhere, to York Easter Fleches to York Fri BRM £15.00 X 15-30kph Audax UK martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6TU 200 19 Apr Anywhere, to York Easter Trail Fri BP 201km £12.00 per team 15-30kph Audax UK martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6TU 300 20 Apr Cirencester Heart of England 300 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 307km 2900m £7.00 A(2) L P R T 100 15-30kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 peter@quernsgate.co.uk ROA 5000 Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane, Cirencester, Glos GL7 1RL 200 20 Apr Huntingdon Double Dutch 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] £3.50 X 15-30kph CTC West Surrey malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk Martin Malins, Room 2L22, Lab Block, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W12 8RF 200 20 Apr Leominster The Cambrian 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 210km 3500m AAA3.5 £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Hereford & Dist. Whs cambrianaudax@gmail.com Daryl Hayter, Weir View, Breinton Common, Breinton, Hereford, Herefordshire HR4 7PR


20 Apr Leominster The Cambrian – Minor 08:00 Sat BP 148km 2035m AAA2 [2250m] £6.00 L P R T 12.5-30kph Hereford & Dist. Whs cambrianaudax@gmail.com Daryl Hayter, Weir View, Breinton Common, Breinton, Hereford, Herefordshire HR4 7PR 84 20 Apr Leominster The Cambrian – Welsh Marches 09:00 Sat BP 950m £6.00 L P R T 10-22.5kph Hereford & Dist. Whs cambrianaudax@gmail.com Daryl Hayter, Weir View, Breinton Common Breinton, Hereford, Herefordshire HR4 7PR 300 20 Apr Newark Northgate Station Do Not Forget Your Dividend Card 06:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 1650m £6.00 X,G,P 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire lincsaudax@gmail.com Richard Parker, 28 High Street, Carlton Le Moorland, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN5 9HT 100 20 Apr Seething Village Hall, South of Norwich, Norfolk Seething Inside 100 09:00 Sat BP 109km 606m £6.50 GL P R T 14.4 15-30kph VC Norwich 07850427934 jagreenway30@googlemail.com Jonathan Greenway, 12 Hardley Street, Hardley, Norwich NR14 6BY 160 21 Apr Honiton Combwich Century Event CANCELLED 300 21 Apr Penzance Many Rivers to Cross 06:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 306km 4940m AAA5 £3.00 BXYHC 14.3-30kph Change of Date Audax Kernow martyn.aldis@syntagma.co.uk Martyn Aldis, Sundown, 25a Kersey Road, Flushing, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 5TR 200 21 Apr Penzance Four Hundreds 200 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 207km 3760m AAA3.75 £3.00 BXYHC 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Kernow martyn.aldis@syntagma.co.uk Martyn Aldis, Sundown, 25a Kersey Road, Flushing, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 5TR 100 21 Apr Winnington Park Rugby Club, CW8 3AA Ron Sant Memorial Ride 9:00 Sun BP 106km 650m £5.00 P R T S 15-30kph Weaver Valley Derek Heine, 10 Whitehall Drive, Hartford, Northwich, Cheshire CW8 1SJ 100 24 Apr Marple, near Stockport An Icecream Wensdae 10:00 Wed BP 109km 800m £6.50 P R T 30 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC chris.keelingroberts@ntlworld.com Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road, Marple, Cheshire SK6 7DL 100 24 Apr Marple, near Stockport Monyash Peak 10:00 Wed BP 105km 2150m AAA2.25 £6.50 P R T 30 12.5-30kph Peak Audax CTC chris.keelingroberts@ntlworld.com Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road, Marple, Cheshire SK6 7DL 400 26 Apr Haymarket Station, Edinburgh Auld Alliance 21:00 Fri BRM [PBP] 401km £15.00 TBC 15-25kph Audax Ecosse graemewyllie05@gmail.com Graeme Wyllie, 16 Corstorphine House Avenue, Edinburgh EH12 7AD 400 27 Apr Alfreton Moors and Wolds 400 10:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 406km 2996m [2425m] £8.00 P R T X 15-30kph Alfreton CTC oggy.dude@gmail.com Stephen Ogden, The Firs, 170 Nuncargate Road, Kirkby In Ashfield NG17 9EA 400 27 Apr Coryton, NW Cardiff Buckingham Blinder 06:00 Sat B RM [PBP] £10.00 X 15-30kph Cardiff Ajax Robyn Thomas, 44 Cosmeston Street, Cardiff CF24 4LR


27 Apr Debenham, Suffolk Heart of Anglia 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 212km £6.50 G L P R 15-30kph Suffolk CTC coupeaudax@gmail.com David Coupe, 30 Wells Way, Debenham Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 6SL 200 27 Apr Eureka Cafe, Wirral Eureka Excursion 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 215km 1300m £7.50 R L P T 70 15-30kph Chester & North Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG 130 27 Apr Eureka Cafe, Wirral Tea in Prospect 08:30 Sat BP 135km 1050m £7.50 L P R T 70 12.5-25kph Chester & North Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG 68 27 Apr Eureka Cafe, Wirral Two Mills Twirl 09:00 Sat BP 300m £7.50 R L P T 50 10-25kph Chester & North Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG 300 27 Apr Girton, Cambridge The Capitals of East Anglia 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 319km 2200m £12.00 YH G L P R T S 15-30kph Cambridge Audax nick@camaudax.uk Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE 200 27 Apr Honiton Valley of the Rocks 200 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 205km 3800m AAA3.75 £9.00 GL P R T 40 15-30kph Exeter Whs ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 25000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street, Honiton EX14 1PU 300 27 Apr Meopham Oasts and Coasts 300Km 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 3000m £9.00 L P T R 15-30kph Tom Jackson 07703 431827 tom56jackson@gmail.com ROA 5000 Tom Jackson, 19 Denesway, Meopham, Kent DA13 0EA 300 27 Apr Newby Wiske, nr Thirsk Beyond the Dales We Know 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 3700m AAA3.75 [3450m] £10.00 C G L NM R T S 15-30kph VC 167 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER 150 27 Apr Newby Wiske, nr Thirsk Moor Gravel Forever 07:00 Sat BP 3800m AAA3.75 £10.00 C F G L NM R T S P 12-25kph Updated VC 167 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER 100 27 Apr Newby Wiske, nr Thirsk Don’t Keep to the Road 09:00 Sat BP 1850m AAA1.75 [1875m] £5.00 C F G L NM R T S 10-25kph VC 167 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER 50 27 Apr Newby Wiske, nr Thirsk Overground Underground 10:30 Sat BP 220m £3.00 C G L NM R T S P 8.3-20kph VC 167 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER 110 27 Apr Reepham, nr Lincoln Lincoln Imp 09:30 Sat BP 112km 800m £5.00 G L P R T 15-30kph Updated Cycling UK Lincolnshire andy.town@ntlworld.com Andrew Townhill, 10 Larkin Avenue, Cherry Willingham, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN3 4AY 400 27 Apr Rowlands castle, Nr portsmouth Tour of the southern shires 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] £10.00 G l p r t (60) 20/4 15-30kph Hampshire RC mrpaulwhitehead@yahoo.co.uk Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road, Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7XR


27 Apr Wadsley, North Sheffield Paris and Moscow in the Spring 08:15 Sat BP 2600m AAA2.5 [3050m] £5.00 L P R T (27/04) 14.3-30kph Sheffield District CTC bigT.ridinghigh@gmail.com Tony Gore, 8 Ladysmith Avenue, Nether Edge, Sheffield S7 1SF 110 27 Apr Wadsley, North Sheffield Paris in the Spring 09:00 Sat BP 1800m AAA1.75 £5.00 L P R T (70) (26/04) 12.5-25kph Sheffield District CTC bigT.ridinghigh@gmail.com Tony Gore, 8 Ladysmith Avenue, Nether Edge, Sheffield S7 1SF 100 28 Apr Birdwell Community Centre Birdwell-Snaith-Birdwell 09:00 Sun BP 109km 800m £6.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Birdwell Whs 01226 726 754 stevemyatt1@yahoo.co.uk Steve Myatt, 11 Spring Lane, Carlton, Barnsley S71 3EX 300 28 Apr Burnley, Lancashire Knock Ventoux 300 06:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 302km 5547m AAA5.5 [4600m] £8.50 L P R T X 15-30kph Burnley CC burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive, Ightenhill, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 28 Apr High Ham, SW of Street The Merry Monk @ 9.30am 09:30 Sun BP 105km 1150m £9.00 F L P R T 12.5-25kph Mark Lilly 01823 690038 lillymark@btinternet.com Mark Lilly, Applehayes, Main Road, Middlezoy, Bridgwater TA7 0PB 100 28 Apr High Ham, SW of Street The Merry Monk @ 8.30am 08:30 Sun BP 105km 1150m £9.00 F L P R T 12.5-25kph Mark Lilly 01823 690038 lillymark@btinternet.com Mark Lilly, Applehayes, Main Road, Middlezoy, Bridgwater TA7 0PB 100 28 Apr Wray, NE of Lancaster Bowland Forest Populaire 09:00 Sun BP 1800m AAA1.75 £5.00 P R T 75 12.5-20kph CTC Lancaster & South Lakes 01524 36061 mikehutchinson@fastmail.fm ROA 5000 Mike Hutchinson, Heatherdene, 9 Whinfell Drive, Lancaster LA1 4NY 400 04 May Chalfont St Peter, Bucks London Wales London 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 407km 3750m £25.00 F G L NM P R T 150 15-30kph Willesden CC 07881 841 355 lfitzpatrick01@gmail.com Liam FitzPatrick – Paypal entries only please 400 04 May Chepstow Brevet Cymru 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 401km 5050m AAA2.75 [2750m] £10.00 C F L P R T NM Z 100 15-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 110 04 May Ellon, Aberdeenshire The Lumpy Python 09:30 Sat BP 112km 1100m £6.00 G NM P R T (50) 14-25kph Ythan CC Paul Gordon, 4 Edmondside, Pitmedden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41 7GP 63 04 May Ellon, Aberdeenshire The Wee Python 09:45 Sat BP 513m £5.00 G NM P R T (50) 14-25kph Ythan CC Paul Gordon, 4 Edmondside, Pitmedden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41 7GP 200 04 May Kirkley Cafe, Ponteland Chevy Chase 08:00 Sat BRM 201km 2800m AAA2.75 [2750m] £12.00 C F G L P R T (120) 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds aidan@northern-audax.org.uk Aidan Hedley, 16 The Close, Lanchester, Durham DH7 0PX 300 04 May Manningtree Green & Yellow Fields 00:01 Sat BRM [PBP] 301km 1800m £5.00 X P G 15-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex grant@huggys.co.uk Grant Huggins, 76 Bryony Close, Witham, Essex CM8 2XF


04 May Newark Northgate Station, Nottinghamshire Lincolnshire Poacher 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1800m £6.00 X A1, L, P, R, 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire lincsaudax@gmail.com Richard Parker, 28 High Street, Carlton Le Moorland, Lincoln Lincolnshire LN5 9HT 400 04 May Poynton, S of Stockport Llanfairpwllgwyngyll gogerychwyrndrobwll llantysiliogogogoch 400 09:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 2600m £10.00 GPRT 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC 01457 870 421 PeakAudax@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Fm, Millcroft Lane, Delph, Saddleworth OL3 5UX 400 05 May Poole Porkers 400 14:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 5900m AAA6 £10.00 L M (50)(22/4) 15-30kph Wessex CTC Shawn Shaw, 22 Shaftesbury Road, Denmark Gardens, Poole Dorset BH15 2LT 200 06 May High Easter, nr Chelmsford ECCA Festival 200k 08:00 Mon BR £7.00 L P R T 15-30kph ECCA Chris Regan, 18 Walnut Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2ST 100 06 May High Easter, Nr Chelmsford The Counties Festival 100 10:00 Mon BP 104km 650m £5.00 L P R T (70) 15-30kph ECCA Chris Regan, 18 Walnut Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2ST 53 06 May High Easter, Nr Chelmsford The Counties Festival 50 11:00 Mon BP 350m £5.00 L P R T (70) 12-25kph ECCA Chris Regan, 18 Walnut Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2ST 200 06 May Ruislip, London Herts So Good 08:00 Mon BR 1700m £9.00 G P R T 15-30kph Westerley CC – PAYPAL ONLY 100 06 May Ruislip, London Get Up Offta That Tring 8.:30 Mon BP 106km 1000m £9.00 G P R T 15-30kph Westerley CC Dave Morrison, 145 Cornwall Road, Ruislip, Middx HA4 6AH 100 08 May Hurst, East of Reading Dinton 100 10:00 Wed BP 103km 850m £3.00 P R T G 65 15-30kph Cycling UK Reading emaich7@gmail.com Mike Hardiman, 7 Somerset Close, Woosehill, Wokingham RG41 3AJ 100 11 May Alveston, N Bristol South Glos 100 09:30 Sat BP 106km £6.00 PRT 150 12.5-25kph Bristol CTC alex.rendu@live.co.uk Alex Rendu, Whitethorn Cock Road, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 9SJ 300 11 May Coryton, NW Cardiff Peacocks and Kites 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 301km 3900m AAA3 [3000m] £10.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Ajax Robyn Thomas, 44 Cosmeston Street, Cardiff CF24 4LR 400 11 May Dingwall Hellfire Corner 05:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 406km 4700m AAA4.25 [4150m] £15.00 A(1) C F G NM P Z 7/5 15-25kph CTC Highland uttley@uttley596.plus.com Andy Uttley, Suil Na Mara, Wester Cullicudden, Balblair, Dingwall, Ross-shire IV7 8LL 200 11 May Dore, Nr Sheffield Beyond the Roaches 08:00 Sat BR 205km 3100m AAA3 £5.00 L P R T 14.3-30kph Sheffield District CTC 0114 258 8932 cripps@uwclub.net John Cripps, 8 Brincliffe Crescent, Sheffield S11 9AW 100 11 May Dore, Sheffield To the Roaches 09:00 Sat BP 103km 2050m AAA2 £5.00 F L P T 12-30kph Sheffield District CTC 0114 258 8932 cripps@uwclub.net John Cripps, 8 Brincliffe Crescent, Sheffield S11 9AW 62 11 May Dore, Sheffield Not as far as the Roaches 09:30 Sat BP 1150m AAA1.25 £5.00 F L P T 10-22kph Sheffield District CTC 0114 258 8932 cripps@uwclub.net John Cripps, 8 Brincliffe Crescent, Sheffield S11 9AW www.audax.uk


Call for volunteers from AudaxUK cyclists A JOINT RESEARCH PROGRAMME BETWEEN NOTTINGHAM UNIVERSITY AND KING’S COLLEGE LONDON This research is ground-breaking. For the first time cyclists will actually cycle in an MRI machine. Measurements of physiological function affecting the whole body will be taking place in real time. More information see below. On behalf of both research teams I thank you. Norman Lazarus, Professor at Guy’s INCLUSION ● Male ● Non-obese (BMI <30) ● 70 years or over ● Routinely complete a minimum 100km cycle rides per week and two in the two weeks prior to recruitment into the study. EXCLUSION ● No comorbidities: no heart or respiratory conditions/ stroke/high blood pressure ● No metal in the body ● None over 6’3” height (190.5 cm) WHAT WILL BE MEASURED? Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC) on University Park Campus. Upon arrival for the first visit, we will talk you through the study procedures and give you chance to ask any questions. The first visit is the medical screening and should last about 1-hour. After giving consent to take part in the study you will have your heart rate, blood pressure, height and weight measured and a blood sample taken. These are routine procedures in our laboratory and allow us to assess that you are in good health. You will also be required to complete health and physical activity questionnaires. If the medical screening is satisfactory, you will be allowed to participate in the trial. The study will involve experimental visits over two days. On day one you will attend the physiology unit at the QMC for an experimental day (approx. duration 5-hours). This visit will involve performing two exercise sessions, filling in questionnaires, muscle strength tests, and an assessment of muscle and nerve function involving the insertion of a very small needle into muscle. The second day will be conducted at the SPMIC and will involve two MRI scans, one for anatomical measures,

as well as a carbon dioxide challenge, and one involving exercising on the stepper within the scanner. In between scans you will complete cognitive tasks. The structure of the days is summarised below. SEDENTARY LIFE LONG EXERCISERS Day 1 – Phone screening Day 0 – Medical screening: ECG, blood pressure, blood sample N/A Day 1 – Motor unit size and number, isometric strength measures, simple motor skill measures, VO2 max on stepper, questionnaires, VO2 max confirmation Medical screening: ECG, blood pressure, blood sample, motor unit size and number, isometric strength measures, simple motor skill measures, VO2 max on stepper, questionnaires, VO2 max confirmation Day 2 – MRI scan #1, cognitive measures, MRI scan #2 MRI scan #1, cognitive measures, MRI scan #2 The scanner is quite noisy and so you will wear either ear plugs and ear defenders or a specially constructed auditory presentation system during the scan. Because the scanner is built around a large magnet, you will have to remove all metal from your body, including jewellery. You may prefer to wear loose non-metallic clothing and/or you may be asked to change into clothing provided. The screening should take approximately 1-hour, and each experimental day should take approximately 5-hours If you wish to take part connect Rosemary at this email address; rosemary.nicholas@nottingham.ac.uk or ppzstf@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk Professor Norman Lazarus email: caroline.jolley@kcl.ac.uk

National Cycle Museum There is now a display of Audax trophies within the Museum and they wished us to know as an organisation. They are actively looking for Audax members to support the charity www.cyclemuseum.org.uk/ Support-Us.aspx where you can donate directly and are also looking for riders to nominate them as a charity if they are riding an organised ride. Anyone who can help please email Freda – curator@cyclemuseum.org.uk



An invitation to Paris! Come and ride our 2019 BRM[PBP] series Gently Bentley 200, Sunday 17th March Tally-ho and chocks away! An early season pootle on gently rolling Surrey and Hampshire lanes to Lasham and Bentley. Breakfast and dinner provided, ale optional. Amesbury Amble 300, Saturday 13th April An easy-going, moderately undulating course, mostly on quiet lanes. Enjoy a second brekky at Lasham Garden Centre, a cafe or bakery lunch in Amesbury, tea and cakes in Whitchurch, and supper on a garage forecourt in Ascot! Dauntsey Dawdle 400, Saturday 18th May A ride of two halves: lumpy and flat, in that order...apart from a final Chilternesque tilt of the road at 330km. You should be sheltered from prevailing winds on the way out through the Surrey Hills, South Downs and North Wessex Downs...then fly home across the plains with the wind on your back following slap-up pub dinner in Cirencester! Wander Wye 600, Saturday 15th June Visit 11 counties of England and Wales in one ride! Moderately hilly throughout, with some modifications to the spiky prototype 2018 edition. Bag drop service to our overnight control at Chepstow, so pack your sleeping bag, mat, toothbrush and a teddy! Travelodge option for those seeking greater comfort. kingstonwheelers.co.uk/ride/audax audax@kingstonwheelers.co.uk


Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom, the long distance cyclists’ association which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in the UK. AUK membership is open to any person, regardless of club or other affiliation, who is imbued with the spirit of longdistance cycling. Details in the Handbook. MEMBERSHIP Enquiries: Caroline Fenton (AUK Membership Secretary), 56 Lockesfield Place, London E14 3AJ membership@audax.uk One and five year membership available – for full details and fees see http://www.aukweb.net/ enroll/

ARRIVÉE Extra Arrivée copies, if available, £3(UK), £4(EEC), £5(non-EEC) from Caroline Fenton (address above) TO ADVERTISE Rates per issue: ¼ page £75, pro rata to £300 per page. Payment in advance. We rely on good faith and Arrivée cannot be held responsible for advertisers’ misrepresentations or failure to supply goods or services. Members’ Private Sales, Wants, Event Adverts: free.


Please send directly to the managing editor by 15 April 2019 gedlennox@me.com NOTES TO CONTRIBUTORS ● Send your text in a word-processed format and your pictures as separate files (i.e. not embedded in the word document). ● Pictures must be as big as possible, anything below 1Mb jpeg is not useable ● It is essential that your photographs are captioned, preferably in a separate document, cross referenced to your images. ● INCLUDE YOUR FULL CONTACT DETAILS – including your AUK number – we cannot publish your story otherwise ● Package your entire content into a single compressed .zip file. ● If it is too large (i.e. more than 10Mb) please use WeTransfer or MailBigFile.

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Our web site: www.audax.uk

Designed and produced for AUK by: gedesign, Bagpath, Gloucestershire. Printed by: Gemini, Bristol Distribution data from: Caroline Fenton and the AUK Membership Team.

AUDAX UK LONG-DISTANCE CYCLISTS’ ASSOCIATION Company No. 05920055 (England & Wales) Reg Office: Whitelands, Terling Road, Hatfield Peverel, Essex CM3 2AG © Arrivée 2018

To subscribe to an AUK email discussion list, send an email to: audax-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Note: this group is not monitored by the AUK Board, who should be contacted directly with matters of concern.

Board and delegates Although individual links are included below, experience has shown that direct emails frequently get trapped in spam filters. Please therefore use the contact us form wherever possible to send questions and comments directly to Audax UK Board members. CHAIR AND LRM/ACP REPRESENTATIVE Chris Crossland 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 1EF 01422 832 853 SYSTEMS MANAGERS (www.aukweb.net): Website Delegate: Francis Cooke Systems administrator: Terry Kay IT Refresh Manager: (website development) Richard Jennings IT Refresh Project Board co-opted members: Otto Reinders Dan Smith Web Content Manager: Miranda Smith Web Content Editor Vacancy – see AUKWEB vacancies MILEATER SECRETARY Paul Worthington, 213 Greenhill Road, Liverpool L18 9ST FWC (FIXED WHEEL CHALLENGE) AND SUPER FIXED WHEEL Richard Phipps, 77 West Farm Avenue, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 2JZ.

GENERAL SECRETARY Graeme Provan Whitelands, Terling Road, Hatfield Peverel, Essex CM3 2AG Graeme has the following assistants: Registrar: Les Hereward, 20 Webster Close, Oxshott, Surrey, KT22 0SF Annual Reunion Organiser Paul Rainbow, 49 Quarrington Road, Horfield, Bristol, Avon BS7 9PJ ANNUAL AWARDS SECRETARY Situation Vacant – Please contact Graeme Provan for information FINANCE DIRECTOR Nigel Armstrong Falling Leaves, 13 Upper Bank End Road, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 1ES DIRECTOR AND MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY Caroline Fenton 56 Lockesfield Place, London, E14 3AJ Caroline has the following Assistants: Mike Wigley (Admin) Peter Davis (Enrolments) Peter Gawthorne (Renewals) Howard Knight (Enrolments) Allan Taylor (Renewals) Findlay Watt (Renewals)

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Rob McIvor 64 Belmont Road, London SE13 5BN Arrivée Managing Editor: Ged Lennox Badge and Medal Shop Secretary: Allan Taylor DIRECTOR AND CALENDAR EVENTS SECRETARY Martin Foley 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU Regional Events Delegates: Andy Uttley (Scotland & Northern England) Lucy McTaggart (Midlands & Eastern England) Pat Hurt (South East England) Ian Hennessey (South West England & Wales) UAF DELEGATE Dave Minter DIRECTOR AND PERMANENTS SECRETARY John Ward 34 Avenue Road, Lymington, SO41 9GJ 01590 671205 DIY REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES Joe Applegarth (North-East) Andy Clarkson (Yorkshire & East) Julian Dyson (North-West) Martin Foley (Scotland) Tony Hull (South-West England and South Wales) Chris Smith (Midlands, North and Mid-Wales) Paul Stewart (South-East)

OCD DELEGATE Rod Dalitz 136 Muir Wood Road, Edinburgh EH14 5HF EVENT SERVICES DIRECTOR & RECORDER Peter Lewis 82 Pine Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 1JT 07592 018947 BREVET CARD PRODUCTION SECRETARY Oliver Iles 49 Upper Belmont Rd, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 9DG Production of Permanent cards is handled by: John Ward 34 Avenue Road, Lymington, SO41 9GJ VALIDATION SECRETARY Cathy Brown 76 Victoria St, Kirkwall KW15 1DQ RRTY AWARD SECRETARY Grant Huggins 76 Bryony Close, Witham, Essex, CM8 2XF AAA SECRETARY Post currently vacant. Enquiries to Events Services Director Peter Lewis AUK FORUM ADMINISTRATOR Martin Foley Assistants: Peter Lewis, Les Hereward (Moderators) DIRECTORS WITHOUT PORTFOLIO John Sabine 107 Victoria Way, London SE7 7NU





Profile for Audax UK

Arrivée 143 Winter 2018-19  

64 page members' magazine of Audax UK. long distance cycling association

Arrivée 143 Winter 2018-19  

64 page members' magazine of Audax UK. long distance cycling association

Profile for audax-uk