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In print and online in full at


August 2012 SHROPSHIRE .....................................................................................................

Committee... Easter 2013 Aware that in recent years the Easter Weekend has become more expensive, due to the rising cost of travel as well as accommodation, the committee have agreed to try a novel approach for next year – based at home! The plan is to organise a full programme of rides and evening events over the Easter weekend, which will include a car- or bus-assisted day ride. Further details will be available later in the year.

President’s Ponders The Cowshed Buffet on July 14th was another successful social event which attracted over 45 members. It was a great occasion for the gathering of members from all sections and, judging by the buzz of conversations throughout the event, it was also a good opportunity to catch up with friends we don’t always ride with. A big ‘thank you’ to Jenny Milne for organising it.  Anita

Committee meetings, which take place six times a year, and helping to produce an annual report with input from several others. Familiarity with word processing and e-mail is important. Could you help the club Help Needed in this way? If you would Our secretary, Sue Cannell, like to know more, please originally agreed to take on the contact the Chairman, John role for a year and is stepping Nowell (01743 232345) or down at the AGM, as planned, present Secretary, Sue Cannell in order to return to full-time (01743 257723) or talk to any work. We therefore need committee member.  a new secretary to join the John Nowell committee and help in running the club. Like all those who organise CTC Shropshire activities, the secretary’s role is a Reviving Cycle News after this voluntary one and is opensmall hiatus, I was concerned ended. It mainly involves that contributor enthusiasm being the point of contact for might have waned. Thankfully, individuals and organisations, it hasn’t, but I picked an preparing paperwork for awkward time for a couple of

Busy People

our regulars. Bill Dorrell is up to his eyes in mud and pedals organising the camping for the Birthday Rides event, and Jenny Leese with husband John are busy pushing pedals, surveying routes and drawing up maps. Sadly, Ken Knight has ceased his KK column. We shall miss his astute and caustic observations of the cycling scene. I thank him warmly for having informed and entertained us so. But we do have a welcome addition in this issue. Jonathan Blowers has sent in a charming piece on family cycling. Enjoy!  Editor (With heartfelt thanks for concern over my welfare)


Mathew, (7) finally learnt to ride a bike at Easter, and Daddy had to come good on a long-standing promise to buy him a new bike. Mathew’s previous bikes had been ‘bought’ from Welshpool recycling centre – so a new one seemed a good incentive. A new bike was acquired, and subsequently modified with decent tyres, full mudguards, and a rear rack. Our house is surrounded by very quite lanes – most with amazing views. The pay-back for this is that we live at 800 ft on a Welsh hillside – and all routes home involve about 600 ft of climbing and at least one 1:7. All in all, an excellent training ground! We started off with the flatter lanes close to home then ventured off ‘our hill’ – soon completing a circular 12 mile ride to Llansillin. In the meantime, Mathew’s 4 year old sister, Carys, quickly took to his cast-off training bike with stabilisers – demanding that she came with us. The three of us have traditionally done long walks in the hills together, so it seemed unfair to leave Carys behind now we were cycling. Daddy’s next purchase, therefore, was an alloy trailer bike to attach to his newly built Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike – an apt name now it regularly has a trailer. This time Daddy was less keen on training on the local lanes – going up was fine, descending with an occupied trailer bike remains challenging. So


we packed our bikes on/in the car and headed to Grandma’s in north east Essex for a week’s ‘training’ in the school holiday. Our ‘great summer weather’ had already started so we only managed a couple of circa 12 mile rides – both involving part of National Route 51. Our first was a return ride along the Essex coast from Jaywick to Frinton-onSea. At the turning point we joined a Scout fundraising event on the greensward involving my nephews. For our next ride we set off from the Hythe in Colchester heading along the River Colne seawall to Wivenhoe, where I introduced the kids to the concept of cafe stops on cycle rides – something that has subsequently featured strongly! Returning to Colchester we explored the excellent cycle paths to the town centre and castle. It was on this ride that Carys first announced her now infamous words only a few hundred yards into the ride – “I am really, really hungry – I need some food”. We now regularly have to stop early on a ride for Carys to fuel up – after which she is usually good for a few miles. We have now done various rides – mixing home starts with car assisted. The photo shows Mathew and Carys in a now standard pose – eating in a gateway. Mathew picks up the story... Cycling is very fun. I can cycle around Lake Vyrnwy and am not tired after [we have done this twice now – second time we took Carys]. I can cycle to Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall from home and back – the next night I cycled to Cubs and back in Llanrhaeadr. I can cycle from Penybontfawr to Pennant Melangell – we had to hide under a tree from the rain. On the 8 July we cycled to an airfield and met some other cyclists [Shrewsbury Freewheelers]. We saw a train and lots of planes. I cycled 26 miles. I like cycling because the wind blows around me and it is a sport.  Carys, Mathew and Jonathan Blowers (July 2012) Mynydd-y-Briw, Powys.

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Another family takes to cycling

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Malcolm’s Mytherings We’re back !! First I must say a huge thank you to our editor Rob who has picked up the mantle again even though he has been seriously poorly and many of us thought that we’d soon be looking for a replacement editor. Welcome back Rob and all our very best wishes for a continuing recovery. The continuing lousy weather hasn’t helped our mood either over the past weeks, or is it now months? So much for staycations!! If you wanted good weather this summer so far, you would have had to go overseas. Although it’s not all been bad as we found when we took our annual tour this June in Mid Wales, based in Rhayader. Being old farts and wary of moving on tours when the weather is lousy, we’ve taken to renting a house and day-riding the local countryside. That gives us the option to bail out when it rains continuously, use the car to do other things and to ride when the rain ceases. We had a few days of really nice riding weather and we all agreed that although the country around Rhayader is very lumpy the hills were worth the views. Needless to say the tourers came out on hols rather than light weights as we needed the lower gear ranges as well as the mudguards and, of course, three of us had to take our Carradice saddle bags (you’ve got to be traditional when touring unless you’re Richard). However the rule that says if you’ve got space you must fill it came into play. Three of us carried tools, spares, tubes, tyres, and God knows what else in case it was needed. And of course 99% of it was not needed and just made the hills harder!! When will we learn? It must be a bit galling to those in the club who have bought mudguardless lightweights this year as they can’t have had many opportunities to use them on our normal day rides. I know that my Roubaix has only been out three times so far this year, mainly due to the weather, but also I suppose as I’ve ridden my new single fixed (which does have mudguards) whenever the terrain

made it feasible. Riding the fixed has changed my pedalling style quite a lot and I seem to be much stronger than before, or is it that the action of a fixed wheel aids pedalling force on flat and rolling terrain? The old racing boys always said that riding a fixed strengthened their legs and they rode them during the Winter to improve their cadence and leg strength. I’m not and have never been a racer but there seems to be some truth in the old saying. That’s all for now except to take the opportunity to wish Rob a continuing recovery. ď Ž Malcolm Adams

Cycle Shrewsbury


News from Cycle Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Ludlow The cycling campaigns in Oswestry and Ludlow are now well established. Highlights of the past six months include: The first Oswestry Bike Fest with new attractions – vintage bikes and live music! – as well as the popular activities from Shrewsbury Bike Fest. A good take-up of led rides including women’s rides, family rides, and a themed ride as part of the “Local to Ludlow� weekend. Our second Sustrans Bike It officer, Jo Morison, has started work in Oswestry schools. More information, and photos, can still be found at . This will soon become part of a new website, www. , with comprehensive travel information including cycle routes and events. Membership of Cycle Shrewsbury is still open and the discount card can now be used in cycle businesses across Shropshire. A one-day ride leader course held in March was very successful – participants had varied experience of cycling in groups and leading rides, and all found it useful. This course will be repeated on Saturday 22 September and is free. Contact Emma Bullard to book a place. >>

Mid-Shropshire Wheelers will hold the Go Ride Games on Saturday 18 August at Shrewsbury sports village – come and try new cycling disciplines.  Emma Bullard, Promotions Manager, Cycle Shrewsbury 01743 255435

Nature Notes I recently spent five weeks in Turkey where the temperature rose to 40°C. I was glad to return to our cooler temperature and rain. My wife is still out in Turkey and she tells me the temp. rose to 53°C. That’s hot!!! On my return I have, with my colleague, covered many Shropshire miles in all directions. It is very visible looking at the farmers’ fields the effect the weather has had on crops. First of all it was drought conditions, then cold and wet. Most crops in fields look very stunted especially maize. Where water has formed in low lying areas the crops have died. Despite all the rain, the River Severn only just rose several inches above the path, normally such an amount would have caused flooding and that means a swimming pool in my basement!! The Goosanders have bred again and I see small groups on the river, the largest being eight. The Swans were unlucky this year with the first flood. They had built their nest on debris that had accumulated against the English Bridge but the water rose and swamped the nest. They haven’t tried again as they usually do. The hedgerows around the country lanes are a blaze of colour. One rather special flower that has done well this year is the Pyramid Orchid; the road from the Edge into Wenlock was covered with them. In recent weeks I have noted well over 50 flower species just along the hedgerows, far too many to list here so I’ll just mention some of those that appear in large

drifts of colour. One of the most striking is the rose-purple coloured Rosebay Willowherb, often called ‘fireweed’ because it is always the first flower to colonise when a fire has occurred . Another is the majestic Foxglove with its bell shaped purple flowers that are white spotted purple inside. The Common Poppy makes a brilliant display of red flowers. Purple Bush Vetch and the Yellow Vetch make a big splash of colour as they scramble over other plants. A dominant hedgerow plant is the pinkishwhite Hogweed, together with dirty white Yarrow. In damp hedgerows the creamy-white Meadowsweet is dominant. On higher ground you find the lovely blue Harebell. In the hedges themselves climb the Hedge Bindweed with its large white trumpet flowers and, of course, the sweet smelling creamy-white Honeysuckle. Our recent visit to Marehay Farm was rewarding, as I observed five species of dragonfly around the two ponds there. It was a lovely warm day that brought them out, something that has been lacking this year.  Paul Hope

Birdy Bill Photos of signs spotted by Robin Halbert in Hawaii. Robin has cycled with our midweek group for the last two summers. At present she is back home in Hawaii but she hopes to join us again next year. Our wet weather doesn’t put Robin off; she has often turned out when the rain has deterred many of our regulars!  Bill Dorrell