Issue 29 - September 2010



Issue 29 - September 2010
Special Features :
Dunwich Dynamo ·
Our Club’s 5th Anniversary
Cycling Fitness ·
Spanish Training Camp
Challenge Climb ·
Report by Garmin 705
Etape du Tour ·
Visit the website and members’ forum at:
for the latest news, photo galleries and details of up-coming club events.
Space is at a premium in this edition of Chain Line, so
just a brief report on August’s meeting of the
Committee – and then onto a new prize. No jumping to
the bottom of the page though – read the committee
stuff first!
September 2010
How time flies by. As we approach Autumn
we have lots of articles from members to
make this a bumper issue.
Night riding: read about what has now
become an annual night ride for the Club on
a trip to the Suffolk coast, with a record 15
members taking part in the Dunwich Dynamo
2010. And for those who are attracted to
night time rides, newish member, Greg
Collins, writes about a Friday night ride to the
coast from London to Whitstable.
Members Ali Bruce and Steve Atkinson swap
their cycling shoes for climbing boots on an
epic charity challenge climb of Mt
Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at around
19,000 feet!
We also have an informative piece from
fitness instructor Sabina on ways to improve
your cycling fitness which should be of
interest to all of us.
Teenage member George Hunter tells of his
experience at the Under 16 Youth National
Circuit Championship race at Hog Hill circuit
in July.
With the racing season at an end, we have a
time trial round up report as well as the usual
members’ reviews of cycling products.
The next issue of Chain Line is due out in
December, so please submit your articles by
early November.
In the meantime sit back and enjoy this issue.
The committee was a bit short of attendees for once as
holidays took their toll, but we went through the usual
business items of checking the accounts (healthy);
membership numbers (123 and counting); racing (TT
season drawing to a close, plans in hand for RTs and
Social Groups’ downhill); events (a quiz night on 15
October, Mouscron trip on course, spinning classes are
go etc); ride co-ordinators’ reports (yet another review
of the available speeds/distances); club kit (summer
order is now in); matters raised by members (South
Downs ride, family rides and non-Sunday rides all
considered). We also reviewed the General Meeting
format, roles for committee members, ride report
contributors, publicity methods and a prize for the best
Chain Line article.
There – I gave it away. Yes, your chance for glory at
the annual Club prize-giving ceremony need not be
limited by your inability to ride a 10 mile TT in under 20
minutes. From now on a trophy will also be awarded
for the best contribution to the Chain Line magazines
published during the year. Pulitzer, Man Booker, pah!
– they’ve had their day - make way for the HC Chain
Line award! So get scribbling now, there’s still one
more edition this year.
Club Secretary
Stewart Forbes, 21 Fenby Close, Horsham, RH13 6RP
Tel: (01403) 756271
Email: [email protected]
Club President
2 Chain Line
is affiliated to:
CTC, British Cycling, CTT, Southern Counties Cycling Union,
Sussex Cyclists’ Association & East Sussex Cycling Association
Invitation to Horsham Cycling's First QUIZ NIGHT!
Pit your wits against other Horsham Cycling members at this new event in a new venue!
Date-Friday 15 October
Time- 7.30 for 8.00pm start
Place-The Horsham Club
(near the bandstand and Natwest), Carfax, Horsham
Quizmaster Alan Dolan welcomes you all to a varied quiz, including music, film and books… with a cycling
element…(nothing too technical!)
There will be a bar and nibbles will be available. Prizes will be won!
Please register your team names with Morag ([email protected] or 01403 266502)
by Tuesday 12th October. Max 4 per team.
Charge of £1 per team member.
Open to members, friends and families. All welcome.
Welcome Aboard
New members joining since the last issue of Chain Line are: Miles Smith, Joanne Gasson, John Braddick,
Graham Kerr, Coralie Clarke, Jamie Gray, Suzanne Musgrove, Panayot Kantchev, Richard Lavery and Ben
Hall. A warm welcome to you all and also a welcome back to Andy Bristow.
We wish you an enjoyable year with Horsham Cycling
October Reliability Trial - Sunday 10 October
The first event of the autumn/winter season will be held on Sunday, 10
October 2010.
Club Pub Night Tuesday 21 September 2010
This time at the Black Jug, North
Street, Horsham from 8:30pm.
Following on from the success of last October ‘s events, there will be the
same format of three rides with distances of 60, 45 and 30 miles, all Chat to your club mates about
covering set routes with route sheets to help you navigate your way.
the season’s events, it’s also the
The HQ will be the Forest School Youth Wing, which will be open from 8.30am ideal time for the newer
members to get to know others
Rides will depart between 9am and 10am depending on distance.
from the club.
More details in and on the website nearer the time.
Scratch Competition Veteran’s Competition This year’s racing season seems to have gone by Hill Climb Competitionvery quickly. Our first event was back in April with our Points Competition –
Time Trial Round Up
season opener on the hilly, 14.8 mile, Faygate –
Newdigate loop, followed by an event in early May on
the Walliswood 10 mile course which was used by the
club for the first time. This also attracted social group
members who enjoyed the racing experience. Many
of the riders socialised at the Punch Bowl pub after
the event.
From mid May, our regular Tuesday evening events
commenced with members competing for the Scratch,
Veterans’, Handicap and Hill Climb trophies, as well
as the points competition.
At the time of writing there is still a 25 mile TT
championship to compete for on Sunday 5 September
in the SCCU open event.
The winners to date are as follows:-
Handicap Competition -
Peter Delve.
Keith Carter
John Randall.
Neil Clarke
Stephen Copeland
Full details of results can be viewed on the website
under racing/club events.
The final event of the season is the Social Groups’
Downhill event which is integrated into their rides on
Sunday 3 October.
Thanks to the following members who have given up
their time on Tuesday evenings to assist with the
events: Colin Ferry, Mike Cross, Peter Delve and
James Delve for their assistance with timing, the Jim
Evans “Signs R Us” team and to Robert Skeet, Steve
Gledhill and Jim Kerr for pushing off and signing on
The racing sub-committee is now planning the time
trial programme for next season.
Stewart Forbes , Racing Secretary
Chain Line
crowds at that point, so Steve
held the bikes while I ran with our
bottles to the tables where the
marshals were great, quickly
filling them with Isostar and water.
The Marie-Blanc was next, but the
congestion meant we had to slow
drastically on the lower slopes and
on the steep last 5 kms we had to
come almost to a standstill,
averaging just 5 mph and with no
opportunity to overtake or push on,
it was very frustrating. Over the top
of the Marie Blanc, the descent
found us in more space and we
then attached ourselves to a large
group. We worked our way to the
front of the group over the next few
kms and then, seeing the next
group in the distance up the road,
set off, dragging three or four other
riders with us to share the work
and bridge the gap. It worked a
treat and we repeated the trick
crossing gaps to many more
groups before we reached the
Soulor. By the Col du Soulor we
had enough space to ride at our
own pace, but Steve quickly found
my tempo too high and I pushed on
alone, averaging about 10mph
which, while not sounding fast,
kept me moving past a large
number of cyclists. It was on the
Soulor that I made most progress,
but also where I probably
expended too much energy.
L’Etape du Tour - Pau to the Col du Tourmalet
By Colin Johnson.
If you live in the UK, then you
generally have to enter the Etape
through an organised holiday
company. However I was lucky
enough to get an “entry only”
through for my
brother Steve (as a 40th birthday
present) and myself. That left us
flying into Bordeaux, but staying in
the heart of the Pyrenees in Luz
Saint Sauveur at the bottom of the
Tourmalet and with several days to
find our mountain legs and
acclimatise with rides up the
“beyond category” climbs of
Hautacam (excellent) and Aspin
We decided to register for the
Etape on the Saturday to give us a
rest day before the race. We had
an hour and a quarter drive to Pau
from Luz, where we found the
tented village and got our start
numbers of 6848 and 6849. We
also got a free rucksack and lots of
free bits and pieces (bottles, t-shirt,
caps etc.) before looking around
the manufacturers’ stands. If I had
the money, I could easily have
spent $20k that day on one bike
and some kit. The Trek stand was
the best with the TT bikes
unbelievable and another bike
weighing just 5.5kg which, while
too light to race on, at $8.5k was
ideal for a club run we were told!
We then queued to see the Mavic
mechanics as my gears had not
been running quite right since my
bike came off the flight, but after 30
minutes’ queuing, I decided to
4 Chain Line
have a go myself that evening. So
instead we headed into Pau to
check out our starting enclosure
ready for the next morning.
On race day we woke at 3.00am
for the drive to Pau. We parked up
in one of the official car parks on
the outskirts and unloaded the
bikes, before trundling in the dark
towards the centre along with
hundreds of other riders. We
arrived in our enclosure at 6.00am,
an hour before the start, but as the
gates had opened at 5.00am, we
were towards the back, with the
enclosure for numbers 7000 to
10000 close behind. I knew
that to get into the top 2000,
which was my target, I'd
have to do a lot of overtaking.
The start itself was a bit of an
anti-climax as, after the gun,
it was 10 minutes before we
started to move and another
four minutes before we
crossed the start line. Things
did however then heat-up
quickly , with a short descent
pushing the speed to 25mph
plus, before a bottle neck
brought the whole field to a
happened another three or four
times before we exited Pau onto
some wider roads and there was
some real space to push on. My
plan was to ride conservatively
until the Col du Soulor so I was
strong in the last 50kms, but my
brother had other ideas as he
dragged us through the pack. I
then stretched my legs on a short
fourth category climb and we flew
through the field only to lose much
of the gain 10kms later with a quick
toilet stop! Steve then put the
hammer down and we flew for the
next hour averaging 20mph to the
bottom of the Col du Marie Blanc,
which was some achievement
given the congestion in Pau. We
took water and energy drinks on
board prior to the climb at the
official stop. We were in the
At the top of the Soulor, the food
stop worked a dream. I'd made
enough progress to be able to ride
straight up to the tables, where the
marshals grabbed my drinks
bottles and I filled my pockets with
some gels. The organisation was
terrific and I was quickly on my
way. The descent was fast, very
fast, but having made good
progress I pushed hard to hold my
own and take a few places. I
passed several cyclists in ditches
and one who went straight on at a
hairpin and down a grassed cliff
(marshal close behind). I topped
47mph in places and a smell of
burning rubber came up from the
brake blocks when negotiating the
hairpins on the upper slopes.
I was now in much smaller groups,
mostly of four or five riders, but the
pace was fast as it was almost
entirely down hill to ArgelesGazost. I rode mostly with the
same group but we picked up and
dropped lots of riders on the way
as we all worked hard together. At
Argeles-Gazost I had a final stop
for food and drink in the town
square and then set off up the
valley road to Luz. This was a road
acclimatisation rides and, with the
slight uphill, I rode on my own
making the bridge to several
groups, before taking a short break
and pushing on again. I was
however going through water very
quickly as it was almost six hours
into the race and we were in the
heat of the day at 35°c. 100 miles
into the ride at Luz, the crowds
were out as we headed up the
main street turning left up the
Tourmalet. However as I reached
the corner I went for my small ring
at the front but managed to slip the
chain. I was quickly off the bike
and had the chain on again in no
time, a spectator gave me a good
push and there was a noticeable
cheer from the crowd as I restarted
(someone even shouted “come on
Horsham”). I responded with a
short sprint around the corner, but
that was very much the last time
my speed made double figures. I
ran out of water five kms up the
climb and then my feet really
started to hurt at the pressure point
where the cleat sits. I had however
lost all sense of feeling in my
backside many miles before, so at
least that wasn't a problem! A few
kms further on I was attracted by a
Union Jack flag on the other side of
the road. It was an unofficial,
desperately needed, UK water
stop manned by the family of
another competitor. I refilled one
bottle, refuelled and rode on, but
now it was just six or seven mph.
The km markers went very slowly
now until a plateau where the final
water stop was located. It was a
more basic set-up with just a row of
taps to fill your bottles. I swung off
and filled my second bottle which
in the end I didn't actually use.
I rejoined for the final seven or
eight kms to the summit and,
although I was still only riding at six
or seven mph, found I was still
passing lots of people. The camper
vans and crowds lined the whole
route now and there were lots of
offers for a drenching from a hose
pipe or other innovative shower
type devices! It was the last two
kms where I finally thought about
walking as the pressure points on
my feet were the main limiting
factor, but with such a short
distance to the finish I had to
persevere. The last km was a 10%
climb, but the crowds were three
deep and I have to admit to getting
a couple of good assists (pushes)
from those who clearly saw the
pain on my face. I tried to push the
pace and get out of the saddle in
the last 200m, but there was
nothing left. I crossed the line and
offered a small, tired punch into the
air. 113 miles and three major
mountains had taken their toll, but
I had finished 997th in 7h 50min
and that was better than I had ever
I crashed out by the medical tent
on top of the Tourmalet (just in
case) and waited for my brother.
He had had pneumonia in March
and had only been back training for
the ride for 12 weeks. He crossed
the line 48 minutes later at 2,333rd
which was a fantastic achievement
for someone who also prefers the
flat roads. We had to descend five
kms to La Mongie on the other side
refreshments and our medals,
before climbing the same five kms
back up the Tourmalet towards
Luz and our apartment! Back on
top we were stuck waiting for the
race to finish, so we sat ourselves
in the cafe overlooking the finish
line with a large cold beer and
watched for hours as people
crossed the line. Some sprinted,
some crawled, some wobbled their
way to the finish but all looked
elated to have completed a
monster of a ride. After 11h 29mins
the elimination car came through
(it should have been 11h 30mins),
which was harsh on the thirty or so
people that were hot on its heels.
The finish line came down within
minutes and the race had been lost
for those still on the mountain. We
were now able to descend to Luz,
but ran the whole way on our
brakes as hundreds were still
coming up the mountain. It was
devastation, with ambulances
treating people at the side of the
road and many trying to walk
anything up to five kms. Whether
part of the 6888 that finished or the
3000 that didn't, I think that all
deserved a medal for trying.
I can't recommend the Etape
highly enough. Not just for its
organisation or the massive
crowds of supporters, but for the
challenge and the sheer spectacle
of what is rightly the Queen stage
of the Tour de France.
If you'd like to see a Horsham
cycling jersey in the Etape then
check out this link:
01403 258391 Discount to Club Members
Chain Line 5
U16 Youth National Circuit Championships
By George Hunter
A month or two ago I got an email
inviting me to race at the U16
Championships at Hog Hill Circuit
on 24 July. As a first year 'racer'
(my only racing experience has
been a few modest victories racing
at Angmering and several feeble
Tuesday nights), I was a bit
nervous about applying. Anyway,
no guts no glory, and Dad paid the
entry fee.
more than I had ever raced, with
99 other riders (which was 80 more
riders than I had ever raced with),
so my main goal was just to finish
the race in one piece.
With 15 minutes till the race began,
we were allowed on the circuit for
a few practice laps, before lining
up on the start line where we were
lined up in 10 rows of 10, at
random. I was lucky to be near the
front in row two, in a 'RaphaCondor team sandwich'
and at this point my HR had
reached 145, before the
race had even begun.
Unlike the other eight races
that day, the U16 race ran
anti-clockwise around the
track, with a neutral lap
'rolling start'.
I arrived at Hog Hill two hours
before my race started, had my
gears checked and got signed in.
Then I took a look at the circuit and
watched a few of the earlier races.
The race was 20 laps (25miles) of
the circuit, which was 15 miles
After an extremely vague
lecture on rules etc, the
race began, and all hell
broke loose. The race
started with a steep down hill with
a tight left hand corner at the
bottom. Like me, everyone
sprinted down the hill (I reached
35mph) in the hope of being first
into the corner, but this led to a
giant bunch up and several bad
crashes. Plus, with everyone
slamming their brakes on, 10 or so
people had blow outs, causing
them to career all over the track.
The end of the circuit finished with
a long slog up a hill that steepened
towards the top. Not a very neutral
first lap.
On lap three I got caught behind
another crash which forced me off
the track into some wire fencing.
Once off the back of the pack,
there was no getting back on, so I
tried my best to catch up other
stragglers and we cycled around
as long as possible before being
pulled off the track after 13.5 miles
(this was a rule to avoid being
lapped and the confusion that
would cause the organisers).
In the end I'm not sure where I
finished, but I'm guessing around
85th! Despite the disappointing
result, it was a great experience
made better by lovely weather and
I was just grateful to be asked to
race! In fact the experience (and
the experience of some club time
trials) did some good; my very next
race, the following Tuesday
evening at Goodwood, I pushed to
the front and came first. (Shame it
wasn't the Nationals! I can always
dream, maybe next year!!)
Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tyres
By Adam Lea
With the severe conditions of last winter causing much disruption to my cycling I decided,
in the middle of January, to purchase some Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tyres, so
I could cycle to work in snow/ice conditons. Unfortunately by the time they arrived, the
snow and ice had disappeared and February was mostly wet and not quite cold enough
for snow. I did, however, get to use the tyres a few times on the mornings where there
had been a sharp frost and the puddles on the road were frozen.
The performance of the tyres on the ice was really impressive. I was able to ride straight
over sheets of ice that I would have got off and walked over had I been on slicks, but these
tyres just rolled straight on without even the slightest twitch. Even slogging up Holmbury
Hill wasn't a problem, no slippages or wheelspins. For anyone who wishes to continue
riding through the worst the winter can throw at us, I would highly recommend these tyres.
The tyres are available in sizes 26x1.75 and 700Cx35. The tyres cost around £31 each
and have 240 studs. Schwalbe advise running the tyres for about 30 miles on tarmac to
bed the studs in before using on ice.
6 Chain Line
Dunwich Dynamo 2010
Trying to keep a steady pace we
endeavoured to take regular
breaks with some being unofficial
stops, like a nature reserve known
to Stewart and another where
bacon buns, hot dogs and tea were
served. These stops gave us all a
chance to take photos and to refuel
on that all important energy food.
By 2:30am, the final 25 miles was
near, eventually being covered in
no time at all.
By Michael Belmonte
For a few of us, it would be our first
ever night ride; riding 114 miles
across London and Suffolk, to an
eagerly anticipated destination of a
sunrise at Dunwich. With high
expectations amongst the 15
cyclists from Horsham, it was soon
clear why the Dynamo has been
growing in popularity year after
year. The rush of adrenaline and
excitement surrounding the 1400
cyclists participating in the night
event was surely one that
displayed originality and variety....
from 2 man tandems to folders,
from road bikes to recumbents.
For our Horsham group we arrived
at the Pub on the Park, London
Fields, Hackney at 7:45pm. Given
that there is no official start time for
the Dunwich Dynamo, our plan
was to depart at around 8.15pm to
avoid most of the cyclists.
Wrestling through the London
traffic, darting in and out to
overtake numerous riders was our
first mission. However, the trail of
1400 cyclists moving steadily
towards the outskirts of London
must have looked like a
spectacular steam of colour to
By 9.00pm our pace started to
increase, no reason why; maybe to
escape the London traffic, but this
speed continued. At last silence;
the tranquillity of the country
side was upon us, passing
through beautiful villages and
the strong lovely smells of
barbecues. The light began to
fade fast and the illuminations
of bikes lit up the dark and
daunting countryside roads.
With darkness upon us, the
amongst the clouds in the sky,
it didn’t stop two moons making a
cheeky appearance as we passed
a small village pub. The light
banter from the Saturday night pub
atmosphere for us riders.
With 62 miles clocked up by
midnight, it was time for the
scheduled tea stop at the
appointed village hall (Sible
Hedingham). Unfortunately we
over shot this stop by 15 miles
and ended up at last year’s stop,
all locked up, not a soul around
Apparently quite a few
did the same but luckily
we had enough food
“borrowed” some water
from an outside tap. By
swiftly returning back to
the road, our speed
continued at a high rate
of 18.8 mph.
At 4.00 am we finally reached
Dunwich, where breakfast was
being served at the cafeteria by the
seaside. We each had a Full
English followed by lots of coffee
and tea. For some, the temptation
of a dip in the sea was just too
much to resist, but after riding for
114 miles a rest on the beach was
definitely well earned. You might
think this was the end after
covering 114 miles, but it wasn’t.
We added another 10 miles to
meet up with Jim and Brian, for our
mini bus ride back to Horsham.
This was the first night ride I have
done and without a doubt it was a
brilliant experience, one of the best
rides of my life. Thank you to all the
other cyclists from our group who
took part, you made what could
have been a daunting and
fatiguing experience into a truly
memorable one.
Next year’s Dunwich Dynamo XIX,
is on 16th to the 17th July 2011;
Horsham cyclists, I would definitely
recommend the ride!
Chain Line
Having been hors de combat for a
while and unable to fulfil my role as
a Ride Leader, I have been
pondering the joys and otherwise
of this vital element in group riding.
What do we need to think about
before and during ‘our‘ ride?
I suppose the first thing is the
route. In the early days of the Club,
this meant first of all studying an
OS map, then going out in the car,
driving around, noting distance,
terrain and traffic density (this is
the Social ride I’m talking about
here, you understand). We even
went to the trouble of laminating
ride descriptions for communal
use. We don’t often have to resort
to all this these days. I’m glad to
say that after five years of weekly
rides, there are plenty of tried and
trusted routes to follow, albeit often
with slight variations due to
inventiveness or forgetfulness on
the part of the Ride Leader.
A mobile phone or scrap of paper
is useful in case you want to note
details of guest riders at the
Carfax. It’s a good idea to give
fellow riders a rough description of
the route to be taken before setting
off. For some it will be unfamiliar,
but for others it helps allay any
fears about getting lost en route.
(Of course this never happens on
a Social ride!) We count. If it’s a big
group we will ask an experienced
rider to ride as a back marker,
perhaps just for the first half of the
ride, replacing them with a different
person for the home stretch. If we
have guests we may ask a fellow
member to keep a discreet eye on
them to make sure they are not
finding the pace or distance too
We set off matching our pace to
the needs of the group. This is the
tricky part for new Ride Leaders
as, when riding at the front, it’s very
easy to get some way ahead
without realising. However, there
are always experienced Club
riders able to keep an eye out for
this. It is so much more satisfying
for everyone if the pace can be set
so that there isn’t the need for lots
of stopping and waiting, far better
to have a smooth ride at a slightly
slower pace than one where
speeds are constantly being
adjusted by unwelcome stops.
Very occasionally it may be
necessary to advise a new,
inexperienced rider on group
cycling etiquette and safety.
The mid-ride banana break is a
given for the Social rides. It’s
where the really social bit comes
in, we may even have a discussion
about cycling – although more
likely it will be on the comparative
merits of bananas against energy
gels, Elgar versus The Pogues
(impressive eh? The last is a bit of
a cheat to impress our (slightly!)
younger members) or the latest
books/films. It’s also time for the
Ride Leader to check that
everyone is still fine and enjoying
the ride.
In the unlikely event of a puncture,
the Ride Leader will decide
whether it is sensible for everyone
to wait – usually the case – or
maybe in poor weather conditions
the bulk of the group will continue
the ride while one or two will wait
behind with the afflicted cyclist
aiding or contributing with merry
banter as s/he battles with the tyre
And that’s about all there is to it.
Your fellow cyclists will be
extremely grateful to you for
leading and will shower you with
compliments and all you need do
then is relax for a couple of hours
before penning a pithy report for
Ride Leading is an essential
element of Horsham Cycling and I
would urge you, if approached by
one of the Coordinators to become
one, to say ‘yes, of course, I’d
love to’.
Checked out recently?
8 Chain Line
Kilimanjaro 2009
By Steve Atkinson
Spaced out, exhausted but
euphoric, we’d done it! From the
summit of Kilimanjaro, the whole of
Africa was beneath us.
This enterprise had begun two
years earlier, as the brainchild of
my friend Mark Williams, who
wanted to see out his 50th birthday
in style. Not wanting to undergo
the adventure alone, he persuaded
others to go along with him. The
party of would-be trekkers was
eclectic to say the least. Ages
ranged from 17 to 60-something.
Ability and fitness levels varied
The assembled party of 15 others,
which included me, Mark’s family
and Ali Bruce, assembled at
Heathrow on 21 August 2009.
There was a tangible sense of
excitement and trepidation. Most
of the discussion centred on kit.
Had you packed enough? Was this
insect repellent better than that
Who had the lightest
rucksack? Discussions that most
cyclists can empathise with. Most
of this was immaterial at this point:
the aim was to complete the
journey. To reach the ceiling of
Africa; the highest free-standing
mountain in the world.
After an eight hour flight, the
airport in Nairobi was typically
African: hot, bustling and slightly
From here we were
heading across the border to
Tanzania. A smaller, light aircraft
was to fly us to the impressively
named Kilimanjaro International
The airline was aptly
named – Precision Air. The flight
was efficient and fairly routine but
what set it apart was the views.
The aircraft had a cruising altitude
of around 18,000 feet – over 1,000
feet LOWER than the summit of
Mount Kilimanjaro. As we flew in
the direction of the mountain, there
on the left was the crater summit
sticking up from oceans of
surrounding cloud. A truly majestic
sight which provided us with the
gut-tightening thought that we
would in just a few days, if all went
to plan, be standing up there.
previous party had included the
celebrities from the Comic Relief
trek – I wanted Fearne Cotton’s
sleeping bag and Ali Bruce fought
hard to get Cheryl Cole’s.
Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort,
Precision Air – a fine way to fly.
The transit from the airport to the
resort at which we would be
staying seemed ethereal. We had
spent much of the day travelling in
the clouds and we were now
seeing the real Africa from the
Hot, dry, dusty and
impoverished. The reality had not
yet sunk in. We were really there
and I for one could not wait to start
the climb.
Me with a
‘smooth’ Ali at the
The Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort
in Marangu was African luxury;
something we would appreciate far
more in seven days’ time when we
would return following the ascent.
After two days acclimatising, it was
time to begin. We were given our
camping essentials to try on for
size. These included thick down
jackets, walking poles and
sleeping bags. The latter were a
subject of some wrangling – the
1,900m, Ascent: 650m, Trekking
time: 4 hours.
It was time to start the climb. We
had heard plenty of advice and
information from people at the
Resort with two main nuggets
ringing in our ears: drink lots of
water and walk ‘pole pole’ (slowly
slowly). There are a number of
ways in which the Mountain can be
We were using the
Rongai route which offered quiet
paths, beautiful scenery and a
four-day mountain ascent that
incorporated more acclimatisation
We were driven to the starting gate
where we signed-in and waited for
our 52-strong guiding crew to
assemble. Apart from the main
guides who were there to assist
and stay with us throughout, we
had a cook (or ‘stomach engineer’)
and porters for all our gear, food,
water and camping equipment. A
large instruction board informed us
of the ‘rules’ for the mountain. If
any of us were in any doubt up until
now, they brought-home that
climbing ‘Kili’ is a serious
ing and
Mr Bruce flying the
Horsham Cycling flag.
Chain Line 9
The pace as we set off was
deliberately very slow - it felt like
we were on a Sunday stroll in the
Sussex Downs. We were not to
overtake the lead guide who was
setting this pace to enable us to
acclimatise to the altitude. Now,
those of you used to journeys on
two wheels might well be
wondering ‘this is all well-and-good
but what’s it got to do with cycling?’
Well with this in mind, Ali and I
went in search of a bike on the
lower slopes. The guides were
keen to talk to us throughout the
journey and so when we caught
sight of a bike we approached
them and asked if we could borrow
it for a minute. No doubt a strange
request given the circumstances
but for the price of $1 (US) we both
got to sit on and briefly ride a bike
on Mount Kilimanjaro. Not many
can say that!
For much of the time our heads
were literally in the clouds or above
complete, questions answered,
water and head torches in place,
we were off.
To pass the time we told stories
and exchanged banter, played
word games and listened to Tim,
an Anglo-American friend of
Mark’s who seemed to have
limitless conversation!
A few
people by this point had started to
struggle – minor issues with
blisters and headaches.
trekking was nearly always up a
consistent gentle gradient but it
was the accumulated time on our
feet that would be most fatiguing.
After fairly comfortable nights in
tents at Kikelewa Caves and the
picturesque Mawenzi Tarn, we at
last reached Base Camp. The air
felt thinner but our spirits were still
The leader set a slow, steady pace
– around one step per second at
the same steep gradient – for
seven hours. There were regular
stops to allow for catch up and the
stretching effect of being in a large
group. The loose, dusty shale
underfoot would, every now and
again, break off and roll down the
mountain, so that at times you
would take a step, slip back and
have to repeat the same step.
Walking poles now became
essential - both for walking and for
balancing. I, like the others,
followed the person in front of me,
my head torch illuminating their
feet, the darkness and the
monotony compounded by the
silence broken only by laboured
The darkness, instead of hiding the
unknown, provided a blanket,
within which we were sheltered
from the harsh environment and
the distance left to climb. The only
Mawenzi Peak viewed from Base Camp. indication of this was the head
torches of other groups; lines
ahead of us on the mountain that
It’s no Colnago but there was
seemed never to disappear,
room for two!
however much we willed them to,
At this point we were surrounded
for blackout would indicate that the
by vegetation – under the
summit had been achieved.
rainforest canopy, dry but damp
Eventually, dawn broke over the
and noisy with the calls of birds
mountain, heralding the last part of
and monkeys. Most of us had not
the ascent. This last section was
expected the flora to be quite like
this on the lower slopes, but it was Some of us at Kibo Hut, base camp. less of a walk and more of a
technical climb, over boulders; foot
about to change quite dramatically
after foot and hand over hand. In
as we continued to ascend.
DAY 7: THE SUMMIT, (Uhuru) our fatigued, hungry state this was
DAY 6: BASE CAMP, KIBO HUT. Altitude 5896m, Ascent: 1146m, an unwanted challenge. Finally we
Altitude 4,700m, Ascent: 520m, Trekking time: 14 hours!
reached the crater ridge, the
Trekking time: 5 hours.
lowest part of the summit,
For the next two days we We camped, ate and slept for three Gillman’s Point. After that the true
continued at the same slow pace, hours. Alarms were set for 11pm, summit was a further 161 metres
making persistent progress. The departure for the summit to start at ascent and two hours worth of
summit was nearly always in sight, midnight. Unfortunately for one of trekking, news of which was not
providing motivation if it were our party, the journey ended here met with much enthusiasm! The
needed. Gradually things started – altitude sickness affects some gradient was not the problem this
to change: from rainforest and more than others and in this case time, just the will to continue.
vegetation to moonscape – dry resulted in a fast stretcher down
and rocky, with few plants and no the mountain. After her departure By this stage, we were quite strung
animals; breathing from automatic and considerable worry and out as a group, but the guides were
to perceptible; eating from normal apprehension, the hard work never far away.
to slightly suppressed appetites. began in earnest. Kit checks
10 Chain Line
They were incredibly encouraging
and willed us all to make it to
Uhuru Peak – Kilimanjaro’s true
summit. By 11:30am most of us
had made it. The crater was
massive, much bigger than I
thought it was going to be. Blocks
of snow were scattered around us
and beyond was the undulating
land, the sprawl of Africa as far as
the eye could see. I don’t
remember it being hot, but it wasn’t
cold either.
The happy summiters!
After a round of
photographs we had
to retrace our steps,
mountain. This was
much faster and
after walking and
‘scree surfing’ we
reached base camp.
Morale was high but
appetites were not
and most of us just Well-earned celebratory beers at the finishing gate
sleep, but we
had to pack up and get back Looking back on it now, it doesn’t
down to the next camp, seem as difficult as it actually was
Horombo Huts. One more and the success of the climb is my
night of roughing it and we overriding memory of the trip.
were back to the resort – Thanks Mr Williams!
comparative five-star luxury.
That and the safari that Two questions I am often asked.
followed was the perfect Was it hard? Yes, summit day was.
antidote to the hard graft of Was it worth it? Totally.
the previous six days.
New Heights
Four years ago whilst wondering where my solo onand - off road cycling trips might take me I bumped
into Mike Crossett at a meeting of another passion I
have, namely the 2CV Monthly Car Club gathering !
Mike whizzed up on his bike and I got chatting to him:
“try Horsham Cycling” he says……….so I did and the
latest result of joining HC has been to complete the
Raid Pyreneen .
This remarkable journey was mapped out in the early
1950s by Cycling Club Bearnais and follows a route
taking in 28 Cols for 800 Kms traversing the Pyrenees
from either east to west or vice versa. Oh, and it
needs to be completed in 10 days.
The Raid Pyreneen is amazing. The rides each day
climbing along tree covered valleys, mountainside
meadows, over fast flowing rivers and up and round
numerous switchbacks. Not to mention the thrilling
descents with roads hugging the mountainside and
through picturesque villages.
Hopefully the following ‘snapshots’ will capture some
of the experience. If you haven’t cycled something like
this and are thinking of it…..then go for it:Ÿ Aiming for 3 metres worth of shade on a long hot
climb and the next day wearing almost all your
winter gear on a misty col!
Ÿ The whiff of burning rubber towards the end of a
long descent
Ÿ Climbing out of the mist on the Tourmalet into
bright sunshine, looking over the edge to see a
snaking road disappear some way below
Ÿ Cow bells clanking in the distance
Ÿ Hundreds of bikes on the top of the support cars at
the start of TdF Stage 16 in Luchon (surely they
could spare just one!)
Ÿ Hot tar grabbing the wheels while looking at snow
on the peaks
Ÿ Changing climate and vegetation from hot Med to
lush green Atlantic; and Catalan to Basque
Ÿ The excitement of the first glimpse of a very blue
Atlantic Ocean on our last day
Ÿ One more energy bar should do it !
Ÿ Wall to wall cyclists on Col du Tourmalet
Ÿ The thrill of whizzing down and through the
………and loads more !
( who provided support if
needed and took our camping gear etc on to each
site. There were 19 on the trip with a wide range of
ability; the only important thing was to get to the
campsite by nightfall which everyone did doing their
own thing. Then a couple of cold beers, food, rest and
doing it all again the next day. Fabulous.
Chain Line 11
Fit to Cycle
by Sabina Hickmet
Part of the attraction of joining a
cycling club is enjoying the weekly
rides in the group that most suits
your preferred ride intensity. So, if
you prefer a bit of chat and a
pleasant morning riding along the
beautiful Sussex and Surrey lanes,
then the Social groups are for you.
Another part of joining the club is
about challenging yourself to pedal
harder up those hills and improve
your physical fitness so that you
can try the next group above the
following week.
Most people usually find there is
quite a big difference in speed and
intensity when they move up, and
that there is not quite so much chit
chat or so much stopping and
waiting. The usual pattern is to go
back down the following Sunday to
the original group and share with
the other riders what the
experience was like, but at the
same time you feel a little
frustrated that the morning’s
rhythm doesn’t push you in the
same way.
So you dip in and out of the two
groups for a few weeks, usually
finding out from each group leader
where the ride is going and if it
feels a bit too challenging you stay
down or you ride out and up again.
Then, before you know it, you have
found your new niche, whatever
the route.
All well and good. As a qualified
gym and fitness instructor I thought
I would share some tips with you
on how to improve on your fitness
between rides to maximise your
enjoyment of your Sunday morning
rides. That way you can look at
your performance during the ride
as the result of the preparation you
have done since the previous
To be good at any sport, the first
thing is to enjoy what you are doing
and, if you condition your body to
suit the requirements of that sport,
then you will gain that much more
12 Chain Line
satisfaction as your performance
improves. Cycling during all your
free time will keep you specifically
fit for pedalling, but all top athletes
‘cross train’. That is, they do other
sports to develop their bodies,
making them stronger and more
complete overall.
I would suggest, very boldly, that
working on core strength is a huge
bonus for cyclists in view of the
position on the bike. Using your
core, your abdominal muscles, to
support your back will give you
more power through to your legs.
To feel this difference, as you
pedal along on a relatively slight
incline, pull your tummy in, as
though the top button on your
jeans is a bit tight to do up; you
effectively separate your upper
body from your lower body,
reducing shoulder ‘wobble’. That
power will transmit itself straight to
your thighs. And you will definitely
go faster and it will feel less of an
effort. Your upper body will also be
more relaxed relieving the tension
in the shoulders.
To do this consistently, you need
to work on your core, your abs. I
am a great fan of the press up – I
hear a collective groan. The great
news is you can do them
anywhere; you don’t have to go to
the gym and there are so
many variations. Apart from
strengthening your core you also
give your whole body a complete
workout (cyclists often omit to work
on upper body strength). You only
use your own body weight and
utilise the calves, the back of your
legs (ham strings), your backside
(gluteus maximus) your back, abs,
shoulders, biceps and triceps. Did
you know that you are only lifting
60% of your own body weight?
(unless you do a one-legged press
up…). If there is interest I will give
tips next time on good press-up
technique and present you with a
challenge that I recently completed
as well as other core-strength
apparatus. Good core = good
consistency in pedalling.
Cross training means doing other
sports as well, so if you enjoy
cycling maybe include some offroad rides, running, tennis,
squash, badminton or do some
rowing or go for a brisk walk. Join
a gym perhaps and do some
classes such as circuit training or
body pump or take up dancing.
Other exercises that work well for
cyclists are lunges and squats –
weighted or not.
As some of you know I am a spin
instructor at K2 and I base most of
my classes on interval training
which can be adapted to any form
of CV (cardio vascular) exercise.
This is proven as the most
effective way to increase your
fitness rather than going out and
doing long hours at the same
intensity. Interval training is
relatively short bursts of intense
recovery’ (rest) which is then
repeated so many times. You can
increase the resistance (to make it
harder) after each rep (repetition)
or stay the same. An example
would be hard resistance 40
seconds with 20seconds’ recovery
and repeated seven times. On a
scale of one to ten your PRE
(Perceived Rate of Exertion)
should be at least 8 out of 10. 1 =
very easy to 10 = you can hardly
speak. So 8 out of 10 you should
have difficulty getting a whole
sentence out in one breath and
you would be at approximately
80% of your maximum heart rate
(MHR = approx 220 minus your
You can adapt this technique to
the rower, treadmill, x-trainer and
gym bikes, as well as running,
power walking or swimming – or
even cycle up and down a small
steep hill a few times! You can vary
the times and do, say, 20 seconds’
intense exercise and 10seconds’
recovery, or 30s + 30s recovery etc.
Next, ‘You are what you eat’!
Especially when it comes to
The night before a big ride, eat lots
of carbs – pasta or baked potato
without a heavy creamy sauce and
not too much meat or cheese.
Drink lots of water so that your
body cells’ reserves are topped up.
As for your daily diet, banish high
fat, high salt and high sugar
processed foods! If you have to eat
crisps or biscuits, try making them
yourself. Firstly, you will know what
the ingredients are and secondly
you won’t eat them so often. The
high levels of salt and sugar in
processed foods are poison to the
body! After training try and eat
something within 30 minutes to
help your muscles repair and grow.
A healthy option would be some
lean meat (organic turkey or
chicken) with some carbs (pasta,
wrap or rice) for example. A
banana is always a good option,
better than a wrapped ‘energy’ bar
– do you really know what the
ingredients are?
If you like a challenge, then try this
‘If it doesn’t fly, swim or run or if it’s
not a vegetable, don’t eat it!’ Or
you could try making whatever you
fancy yourself…
And now the touchy subject of
alcohol – alcohol has no nutritious
value whatsoever. The ‘empty’
calories are immediately converted
Track Sessions 2010/11
By Keith Carter
into fat. Alternate alcoholic drinks
with soft drinks or dilute them.
Water should always be at the top
of your list of liquids.
So, for your next ride, remember to
stock up on carbs and water the
night before. During the ride think
about pulling your tummy in and
notice the difference as you isolate
your legs from your upper body to
power up that hill. Eat balanced
and healthy meals. Try and get
some interval training in during the
week or come to one of my
Horsham Cycling spin classes this
Autumn! Most importantly, though,
have fun.
The sessions last for three hours and the cost is
around £10/£12 + bike hire at about £5. It's great to do
something a bit different over the winter - riding a fixed
gear bike with no brakes around a velodrome in a
good size group will do wonders for your bike handling
skills on the road.
One of the best things is you get to stay dry, with "no
rain or wet slippery road's to mess around with."
If you would like to know more, drop me an e-mail at
[email protected] or if you see me
on a ride, just ask and I will probably not stop talking
about the very excellent track sessions.
Once again winter is just around the corner, so
that must mean it's almost time for our training
sessions down on the velodrome at Calshot. Last
winter we had a good and varied group of Club
members travelling down to Southampton.
Date (Saturday)
Start Time
Finish Time
09 October 2010
10.40 am
1.40 pm
30 October 2010
1.10 pm
4.10 pm
6 November 2010
11.50 am
14.50 pm
11 December 2010 **
10.40 am
1.40 pm
08 January 2011
11.50 am
2.50 pm
29 January 2010
09.30 am
12.30 pm
** Note - Club Championship (Alton CC)
Chain Line 13
By Greg Collins
A few years ago, when I got my
first proper road-going bike since
the late 70's, a tourer known as
'the green 'un', I somehow or other
got the idea of some sort of century
ride into my head. Not being a
member of any club at that stage,
other than the CTC, and
mistakenly thinking that cycling
clubs were not for me, I ended up
joining a couple of online cycling
forums to find out a little more
about what might be involved.
In one of these, now defunct I'm
sad to say, I came across a thread
describing something called the
'Friday Night Ride to the Coast'
run under the umbrella of the
Cheam & Morden CTC by the
rather wonderful, and one time
CTC councillor, Simon Legg.
The premise seemed simple: an
informal, waymarked ride, at a
social pace, on near empty roads,
with a group of trained and
To take part all I had to do was
email my name, and mobile
number to [email protected] and
read something described as 'the
lavishly illustrated brochure', sent
in reply, and comply with a few
simple rules, all of which could be
summed up as: do-as-you-wouldbe-done-by-when-on-your-bike.
Discussing it with the lovely Helen,
aka SWMBO, a plan was hatched.
The next FNRttC destination was
somewhere she'd never been.
She loves the seaside and
Whitstable has an abundance of
B&Bs, so she would drive down to
Whitstable by car, I'd ride down,
we'd spend the weekend there and
then drive back on Sunday. Result.
'FNRttC Whitstable' was written on
the social calendar in the kitchen,
B&B was booked. Sorted.
At half nine that Friday night I left
to go to the station, all of 50 metres
14 Chain Line
from Chez Collins on Hurst Road.
I'd heeded the warnings about the
need for good lights and had fitted
the set of Ay-Ups (see review
elsewhere) bought for my winter
commutes as 'see-bys' along with
a pair of white LED 'be-seens' and
the usual Christmas Tree of red
LEDs was in-situ on the back
...along with two panniers, a rack
top bag and a Camelbak on my
back. I'm notoriously bad at
travelling light on a bike, and I'd
chosen to travel 'loaded' to see
how the tourer handled the job.
The 21:52 arrived more or less on
time and little over an hour later I
was on the concourse at Victoria
opposite Platform 12 as instructed.
Slowly others arrived. A very thin
man with a very expensive
Colnago and a white knee
bandage came over "Are you
Greg?" was answered in the
affirmative and I was duly
gentleman, for it was Simon, called
"I'm setting off" and lights were
switched on, optional helmets
placed on heads and bikes
wheeled out past M&S for the short
ride to the Wellington Arch at Hyde
Park Corner, the official ride
rendezvous and start point.
50 odd bikes gathered in the dark,
a darkness which intensified when
the lights illuminating the arch went
out just before midnight. Then
came the fabled "Embarrassing
Safety Talk"....
"What do we shout when we want
to go left?" "LEFT"
"What do we shout when we want
to go right?" "RIGHT"
"What do we shout when we are
slowing down?" "EA-SY!"
"What do we shout when we are
stopping?" "STOPP-ING!"
"What do we shout if we see a
hole?" "HOLE!"
"If a car wants to overtake, what do
you shout?" "Car Up!"
"If a car is coming the other way
what do you shout?" "Car down!"
"If you want to overtake what do
you say?” "On yer right!"
"What do we shout if we see
bollards because bollards break
knees?" "BOLLARDS!"
A few points were made particular
to the ride's route: a warning
against undertaking other riders
was given, and a show of hands
made as to choice of sandwich
filling at the halfway stop and we
were ready to roll.
The first few miles passed in a blur
of red buses, black cabs, orange
street lights and flashing rear
LEDs. Along the embankment we
streamed, crossing the river via
London Bridge for a loo stop at
More Place. On we went through
Deptford to Greenwich and then
the first tinge of fear gripped me...
we turned onto Croom's Hill
alongside the park. Which goes
straight up, and I'm no climber so I
went straight to the back of the
peleton quietly cursing the luggage
I was carrying - like that was the
reason I'm rubbish at hills.
Atop this climb we turned left onto
the Shooters Hill Road, which as
the name implies leads to
Shooters Hill. I was third last
getting to the top and the only two
mechanicals, one abandoning on
rejoining the group. Fortunately the
FNRttC crew are very kind and
tolerant of noobs and this was the
last major hill of the night.
Off we went following in the
footsteps of Roman legions of
years gone by along Watling
Street. Not as romantic as it
sounds, basically it is a collection
of SE London High Streets laid end
to end. Clubbers and pubbers
were utterly bemused to see us
riding along, with the most often
asked question from passengers in
passing cars "but why Whitstable?"
In Dartford we paused to gather at
the foot of East Hill before setting
off for Greenhithe where the views
of the Dartford Crossing at night
were most spectacular. We
paused again in Gravesend, for in
the middle of that ghastly town's
ghastly one way system is one of
the finest and best preserved
Georgian streets in all the land.
But such is the magic of the
FNRttC that Gravesend's streets
are near deserted and the one way
system a pleasure to ride around.
This must be what cycling club
runs were like in the 50s, no need
for the group to be split to allow for
car drivers, and so little traffic that,
within our own little bubble, we rule
the roads before moving swiftly
and almost silently on.
On back roads and byways we
traverse north Kent to arrive at the
Rochester for a well earned bacon
butty and cup of coffee. Sharing a
table with total strangers makes for
new friends as real life names and
faces are added to people only
previously known on the internet. I
realise quickly I am sat with a
gaggle of "Mouseketeers" the kind
of crazy deranged cyclist who rides
a FNRttC, sinks a couple of pints
and then does a SMRbtL (work it
out!). One, Andy by name,
explains he is riding a recumbent
because of a degenerative spinal
condition and is planning to do LEL
on it at the next opportunity. Which
he did, and wrote an excellent, and
funny, book about it too.
Getting started again is hard, it's
cold outside as dawn breaks on an
October morning under a clear
sky. Brrrr! Small groups of two or
three set off together willing
warmth back into tired limbs and
as a result the ride gets strung out
over some distance. This places
quite a burden on our waymarkers.
They shoot off the front to mark the
next significant junctions and have
to remain in place until the TECs
arrive with a cry of "All up!" before
sprinting to the front of the ride,
which may, or may not, have
paused for a 'gather', some
distance ahead. (On later rides I've
done a spot of waymarking myself,
I can only string together two or
three such sprints to the front over
a 100km ride but one such will
stick in my mind for ever as two of
us went flat out down the A2 taking
turns at sucking each other’s
wheels until the final sprint when, I
admit it, I was beaten by a girl!)
We arrive in Faversham. I stare
lustfully at the brewery. Cake
magically appears at our stop by
the church. It's all over bar the
shouting here, across the flat
Seasalter every-one is allowed to
go at their own pace, there will be
no more gathers. Early morning in
this part of Kent is a delight, a
dream, an impressionist painting in
3D with smells. Stunningly
beautiful and a certain overtiredness seems to heighten the
We arrive in Whistable around
7:30 just as the town is waking up.
The cafe where breakfast will be
wolfed down is quickly located. We
sit on the terrace admiring the offshore wind farm on a gorgeous,
warm October morning. Again I sit
with strangers and new friendships
are born. Never has a full English
tasted so good. I feel hollow. My
mobile rings. It's the lovely Helen.
Am I joining her for breakfast at the
B&B? Well why not have second
one? I feel I've earned it! One or
two slip away for the Crab &
Winkle trail to Canterbury and
more frequent trains to London.
The Mouseketeers are plotting
their return ride and liquid
refreshment stops along the way.
A few make their way to Whistable
station and I prepare follow them
as H's billet is nearby.
"Oi Geoff" someone calls from the
balcony above. I look around, I'm
the only one down here so I guess
I'm not the only one who can't
remember names then? "Yeah?" I
reply, One of the guys I shared a
table with in Rochester is calling
me. "It's Brighton next month, you
coming along?" "Yeah why not?
See you next month"
I ride through the back streets of
Whitstable grinning from ear-toear. I've arrived.
FNRttC for the rest of 2010 are as
follows:17 September 2010
24 September 2010
22 October 2010
19 November 2010
to Harwich
to Southend
to Whitstable
to Brighton
More details can be found at
Let Simon Legg, the organiser,
have the last words
"The Friday Night Ride to the
Coast is now in its fifth year. We
leave Hyde Park Corner at
midnight under a full moon and
ride at a conversational pace,
arriving at the coast in time for
breakfast. We stick together
through the suburbs, and then
spread out as we leave the street
lights, collecting together every
few miles. Nobody gets left behind
- our fabulous Tail End Charlies
keep the slowest riders company
and are on hand for mechanicals
Wayfinders point out the way
The FNRttC is run by the Cheam
and Morden CTC. We're one of the
oldest clubs around and part of the
organisation in Britain.
The FNRttC is a lark, a spree, a
romance and an adventure. If
you're tempted send an e-mail to
[email protected], and we'll sign
you up for a night of moonlight and
Look forward to hearing from you."
"Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.
Only the bicycle remains pure in heart"
Iris Murdoch
Chain Line 15
Steve Gledhill
Toughest event you’ve competed in?
Tours of the (Surrey) Hills some years ago on wet slippery
roads when I didn’t know the route. Managed to finish
inside the time allowance and got a much
treasured medal.
And your best result?
A 1-5-23 for a 25 back in 1966 (age 15 – peaked
early!) on the A1 at Blyth. See photo of me riding
the ex-Albert Hitchen bike.
What’s your greatest ambition in cycling?
Clearly, winning the Tour has passed me by! To
keep riding at a reasonable level for many years to
Where were you born?
almost 60 years ago
Do you remember your first bike?
It was called Pegasus which was a misnomer for a 30lb
bike with rod brakes! My first ‘racer’ was bought second
hand from the professional racing cyclist Albert Hitchen
who was riding for Falcon cycles at the time.
What do you ride now?
I’ve three which I ride regularly: A BH carbon spirit for fast
touring, a Carrera hack bike, and a recently built Ambrosioframed road bike for posing!
What do you enjoy most about Horsham Cycling?
Several aspects; the camaraderie when meeting at events
such as reliability and time trials; having a super club on the
doorstep; and the flexibility to participate in a range of
activities such as socials.
Which group do you usually ride with?
None to be honest. Have ridden with Intermediates in the
past. Probably will join Social 2 in the winter. Tend to ride
later on Sunday mornings (sometimes go to early Church
service) and then meet Alan Dolan (of the club) for 2 to 3
hours of head to head training, finishing in the Frog &
Nightgown for après ride rehydration!
Any previous clubs?
Ravensthorpe Cycling Club (1964 to 1967) which is still
What’s your favourite ride?
Got several around Horsham. A fast, flattish one is a
circular route taking in Sedgwick Lane, Copsale,
Maplehurst, Partridge Green to Ashurst and Spithandle
Lane, (Wiston tea shop), Ashington, Hooklands Lane,
Shipley, Dragon’s Green, Christ’s Hospital and a final
flourish up Tower Hill. Heading North another one takes in
Warnham, Weare Street, Capel, Newdigate, Brockham,
Leigh, Parkgate, Charlwood, Ifield Wood, Rusper, Green
Lane, Langhurst, Pondtail Road.
How many miles do you ride each week?
Varies according to the season. During the winter from 30
to 50 miles, and in summer 100+ with cycling tours pushing
that to several hundred.
What has been your most exciting time on a bike?
Climbing Mount Ventoux (paying homage to the Tommy
Simpson memorial) back in 2005.
What other interest do you have? Working part-time in
A.D. Cycles!
Visiting National Trust properties, art
galleries, and historical places. Building upon my extensive
collection of 1960s and 70s soul music. Brushing up on my
school-boy French as my daughter lives there and my wife
taught French for 30 years.
What are your favourite book / film / piece of music?
Book – I’m not a book reader, so any cycling publication
with lots of pictures.
Film – Paint your Wagon
Music – Masterpiece by the Temptations (13 minutes 37
second production by Norman Whitfield of ‘Papa was a
Rolling Stone’ fame)
What quality do you most admire in others?
Openness / friendliness
And what do you most dislike?
A sense of humour bypass
What is your most treasured possession?
What would be your dream holiday?
A Nile cruise
Any suggestions to improve the club?
Firstly, I’ve seen the club grow and develop in recent years
– so well done to all. One suggestion (may have been
raised previously) is to hold club runs on days other than a
Sunday – I know that the club has some riders who make
their own arrangements (Thursday am?). I guess that the
club has many pensioners, shift workers, etc., who may
want to band together for a ride.
Southwater Cycles
9 Lintot Square, Fairbank Road, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex. RH13 9LA
Tel: 01403 732561 Fax: 01403 730141
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Lights Review
9/10 Nothing in life is perfect!
By Greg Collins
Ay-Up, They're bright!
Next time ; rear lights, how much is too much?
Elsewhere in this issue you'll read my write up of my first FNRttC from a few years ago. I'm a three-seasons
sort of commuter and this, added to my night ride fetish, means the question of what lights to use is one I put
a lot of effort into answering.
Front Lights
Up front, legal questions aside, in my opinion safety takes precedence over the law every time, so there are
basically two kinds of lights. First the "be seen" lights that are intended to make you visible to other road users,
often in circumstances where there is a lot of light interference from other light sources like during an urban
evening winter rush hour. Often people exhibit a preference for some sort of bright flashing white LED lamp for
this purpose. But for the true night time afficianado, a different sort of lamp is required, a "see by". Imagine
cycling along the Hammerpond Road between Horsham and Plummers Plain in the dark and the need for "see
by" lights in addition to "be seen" lamps hopefully becomes obvious. This road has some steep climbs and
equally steep descents, a sometimes awful road surface, and no street lights whatsoever. So, given it is part
of my commute route to and from Haywards Heath, it became obvious that good "see by" lights are essential.
I spent many an hour in various bike shops and back in the 90's I'd done a lot of MTB racing and orienteering
events, including a fair few night time competitions. This had given me a pretty in-depth knowledge of what
does and doesn't work "see by" light wise. Bright incandescent halogen bulbs run hot, especially when run
'over-volts' as they are on most MTB lights and hot bulbs burn you sooner or later. They are also fairly fragile
and give rise to a steep discharge curve, meaning when the batteries are low they go from flat out to plain “out”
in a short space of time. And the batteries, well let's say for a decent run time you'd be lugging around a fair
old weight.
Fast forward to 2007 and I knew I wanted something light, small, with a good run time, that doesn't get too hot
in use, and that can take the UK climate without dissolving in a hot mess. I was chatting to an MTB'ing mate
who was raving about these lights he had just got from Australia, where there is a huge night time racing scene
it seems, called Ay-Ups. I went home and had a look on their website. Back then the Aus$ was weaker than it
is now relative to GB£ so, whilst Ay-Ups were expensive, they compared well on a £/performance basis with
most other "see by" lamps on the market.
The lamps themselves are tiny. They fit easily in the palm of my hand. Each lamp unit consists of two
independently rotating CREE LEDs in an anodised 6061 casing weighing 58 grams. But, whilst lightweight,
these puppies are no lightweights; they put out 400 lumen/7000 lux from behind their optical acrylic lenses.
Very VERY bright indeed. The lights are available in each of three beam patterns to suit a variety of
applications and can be mounted on handlebars and helmets. The mounts are semi permanent, being held in
place with zip ties, but the lamps can be removed in seconds flat. For those, like me, with a 'thing' about colours,
each lamp case is available in 12 colours including my faves of British Racing Green and good old plain black.
They are fully sealed, so can handle all a British winter can throw at them, and the approved cleaning method
is to put them in the washing up! I can confirm, from direct experience the manufacturer's claim that they work
underwater. How I know this is a story for another day. They also bounce off the road and pavement with
impunity and come with a 5 year warranty. Ay-Up have a lot of faith in their products it seems - and you can
even have them on in your pocket with no risk of spontaneous combustion.
Chain Line 17
The batteries follow a similar, punching above their weight, theme. Ay-Up have just introduced some new
batteries which will run at half power and in flashing mode. My batteries are plain old on/off ones. The six hour
battery runs on full power for somewhat longer than six hours which is stunning for something only slightly
larger than my mobile phone. It weights 158 grams in its pouch and from dead flat takes about 5 hours to
charge on a clever little charger that can charge two batteries at once. They make one that also does six at a
time, and all the chargers can run from a fag lighter socket in your car so you can charge your lights on the way
to a ride if you're the driving kind. I also got two three-hour batteries (90 grams) which are brilliant for mounting
on a helmet, though they can go in a jersey pocket via an extension lead so you hardly notice the package is
there. They also work well as spares. All the batteries come with neoprene pouches and an assortment of
Velcro straps to fit them to stems, top tubes, helmets, seat posts, etc., etc. The batteries can take any amount
of punishment and have a twelve month warranty.
So what are they like in use? Round about 3:00 am on a Saturday in June I topped 56 mph coming down the
A24 on the hill between the start of the Dorking Road at Michelham Bends and the Leatherhead bypass. In the
pitch dark. Which was completely pierced by one pair of Ay-Ups on my bars, which had been running since
midnight, and another pair on my helmet which I'd turned on especially for this bit of road. For commuting in
the Autumn, the main battery needs two charges a week. I do get the odd comment form other road users about
them being too bright, and I do cover them up if I encounter equestrians - yes people even ride horses in the
wee small hours!
I've got no connection with them other than as an astoundingly satisfied customer.
One twin LIGHTSET, one Half EPIC Battery (Approx burn time - 3hrs on high, 6 hours on low and 12+ hours
on flashing)
One HEADBAND Kit, complete set of MOUNTS including the GECKO system, SINGLE Channel charger, 12V
car adaptor, 110 /240V AC adaptor, one 1.2 metre extension lead, neoprene battery pouch with neoprene
battery lock down strap, cable ties and a pair of SAXONs, all this packed inside the new AY POD = £184 inc
"To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant,
some champagne and a woman"
Jacques Anquetil [5 times winner of the Tour de France]
Helps treat and prevent sports injuries
Can also be effective for back, neck, shoulder pain and repetitive strain injury
[email protected] 251360 or 09741898372
£25 per hour to Horsham Cycling Club Members