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Christmas Lunch

This has now been confirmed as below and those of you who plan to attend should get your Menu choices to Patrick by Sun 10 Dec.
We're looking forward to seeing you all there!

It is once more proposed to hold our Christmas Lunch at the Fox and Hounds, Tilburstow Hill Road, South Godstone on Sun 17 Dec, but only if enough members express an interest.
If you'd like to go please contact Patrick by Sun 15 Oct.
Click for the Menu, but no need to make your choices yet.

Not the North Downs on the Horizon by Andy Bebington

Gentlemen; you know that, heading northwards for home at the end of day out, the North Downs loom on the horizon? Letting you know "Hah! You have to climb us to get home"?. They may be low on the horizon but you know, "low" they're not?

Liz and I have just had a week or so in Catalunya, a few miles north-east of Barcelona and on the coast. Temperatures (while Croydon had low/mid 90s) were mid-80s with a gentle sea breeze. Hell, but someone had to do it.


North Downs or Pyrenees?

The point is that the end of the Pyrenees loomed low on the horizon (alas, we never got there) and they reminded me of the North Downs looming at the end of a ride. Except that although the extent of their (vertical) appearance above the horizon looked like that of the North Downs, the distance away they were was considerably more.


Pyrenees or North Downs?

And when you did a swift mental calculation of apparent size and known distance, and the height of the North Downs you realised "ye gods, these Pyrenees are HUGE!" before recognising that this was only the end of the range and some foothills, and thus not the main - highest - part. How big would they look from the same distance?


North Downs or Pyrenees?

I thought I'd seen mountains - cycling up Cairngorm, for example - but these are another scale beyond. Fortunately, I didn't have a bike with me or the intention of riding up there - unlike Simon, our son-in-law, who has his mountain-bike there (in the Pyrenees proper) now with a like-minded group, descending gnarly and narrow boulder-strewn tracks at speed.

North Downs? Enough for me, thanks ...

Paul F reports on a recent train assisted ride.

I had had apologies for absence from most riders already and nobody phoned me on the day to say they were on their way. I waited at Marylebone till about 08:10 and then went to Baker St as there are more trains per hour on the Met line.

I got the train to Chesham rather than Amersham as that was the next train out and got there about 09:15.

I got to Dunstable about 11:15 but as I was alone didn't bother stopping. I got to Bedford about 13:00, sat on a bench for sandwiches and then spent about 90 minutes in the Wetherspoons for several pints.

I decided I didn't want to return by same route as I wanted to see the airship sheds at Cardington which is where they kept the ill fated R101. As seen below, they are massive, my bike is in 2 of the pictures for scale.

Cardington Sheds

Cardington Sheds - Paul's Bike Blown Up for Scale.

Cardington Sheds

Cardington Sheds

This distance shot is from about 4 miles away. To give some idea, a six story block of flats has been built in one of them.

Cardington Sheds

I rode back via outskirts of Luton to St Albans and decided, as it was getting late, to get a train from there rather than push on to Watford.

Overall distance Chesham to St Albans about 80 miles.

**** The Section AGM shall be held at the White Horse, Maplehurst at 12:30 on Sun 7 May. ****

Happy New Year to All!


Date for Your Diary

Our Christmas Lunch shall once more be held at the Fox and Hounds, Tilburstow Hill Road, South Godstone on Sun 4 Dec at Noon.
Reservations should be made with Patrick.

Dieppe Raid 2022 by Paul Coan

After a two year postponement due to Covid the Dieppe Raid cycling event took place the weekend 25/26 June.

I was to be the only Croydon section rider this year as the other regular participants had various reasons not to attend although Bob Yellen did make the crossing to Dieppe only to have to return home urgently before the ride and Horace enjoyed an extended stay without a bike.

After parking at my usual spot just outside Newhaven and checking in at the port with the necessary Covid documentation I joined a long queue of other cyclists many of which were involved in a charity ride London to Paris. In fact there was only one person in the queue that I recognised.

Following a smooth crossing I checked in to the La Plage hotel, now with new management and prices to match, breakfast extra at 10 euros making it the most expensive coffee and croissants ever.

The regular reception on the Saturday afternoon for all the British riders of which there were many new faces took place in Salle Paul Elouard where we were welcomed by the Dieppe club and a representative from the town responsible for sport added a few words of welcome and encouragement before enjoying a toast to the event.

Caroline Street, the organiser since 2004 also made a speech on behalf of the visitors recognising the 50th anniversary of the event and a minute's silence was made for all the former regulars who are no longer with us, especially Neville Chanin who started the event in 1972 with a handful of British riders.

Bob, Horace and I had an unusually unremarkable meal that evening together in the same restaurant as last year.

Sunday's weather was warm and breezy, ideal for the 100km event for which I had signed on.

The signing on process was the most straightforward ever, having experienced queuing delays on previous years. The routes through much agricultural landscape all shared the usual well surfaced and virtually empty roads although the climbs seemed to have got steeper with much grovelling in the lower gears. The Avenue Verte was utilised for the approach to the lunchtime stop exactly halfway at a newly built facility just a few meters from the usual halt.

After a chat with some Sou'westers the ride continued, once again on familiar roads with more climbing and the legs seeming to finally get used to the terrain. I ended up riding on my own passing just a few Brits but being passed several times by small groups of local riders attempting to break some kind of local land speed record.

This was the longest ride for some years and after arriving back at event hq and resting with a baguette and drink it was back to the hotel to get changed and ready for the prize presentation later that afternoon.

At the prize presentation once again attended by a representative from the town council, prizes, mainly cups, were awarded for various categories including the most Entries for a British club which went to the Sou'westers with 36 entries out of the total of 280 British participants.

Caroline also received a cup for all the hard work in organising the event for nearly twenty years unaided.

During the drinks that followed the former owner of the La Plage hotel, Isabelle, who was now living in the Ardeche not far from Mont Ventoux and whose husband had ridden the event saw me for a chat asking where our regular group was and after an explanation passed her regards to Monsieur Bebington and Horace.

As the Hotel Windsor was no longer able to offer a venue for the usual large Sunday evening meal, all those who had booked took their places at the Casino restaurant. The service was rather slow and the French did not realise that a fish was not a vegetable when serving the vegetarians.

The Monday ferry return passed without incident and for the first time in fifty years the cyclists were allowed to disembark first as a group on arrival at Newhaven avoiding the usual fraught confrontation between the cars and cyclists when queuing for the passport control.

As the Dieppe club is suffering from dwindling membership the future of this event with regard to its ability to deal with a large number of visitors together with no, as yet, replacement for Caroline as organiser, although one or two people have intimated an offer to take on this role, is uncertain.

The website expires next spring although the facebook page will remain and check also the same for Cyclotouristes Dieppois.

Meanwhile thanks again to Caroline for nearly twenty years of problem free organisation.

Andy's recent article from Cycle magazine in which recalls a stormy CTC tour of the Scottish Borders in 2011 has been added to the News Archive with additional pictures.

Scottish Borders

Bonchester Bridge.

Brussels Bar

This bar which Willie stumbled across (or stumbled out of?) in Brussels
epitomises the Belgian's discerning priorities of bikes and beer!

**** The Section AGM shall be held at the White Horse, Maplehurst at 12:30 on Sun 1 May. ****

Rachels Greg

Rachel Forwarded this Snap of Her New Boyfriend, Greg.

Phil Griffin

Rachel Snapped Phil Preparing for a Mid-Ride Snack at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne.

The new year starts with the omicron variant of Covid running rampant throughout the land and a number of us have fallen victim, though thankfully all with only minor symptoms. Now in mid January the infection rates are falling rapidly and restrictions are once more being eased, so we can continue with our rides as planned for now.


Date for Your Diary

Our Christmas Lunch shall once more be held at the Fox and Hounds, Tilburstow Hill Road, South Godstone on Sun 19 Dec at Noon - Note change of date!
Reservations should be made with Patrick, who will also need your Menu choices prior to the event.

Dunks Green

Bob, Greg, Peter and Zhan at Dunk's Green.

Tulleys Farm

Peter refueling at Tulleys Farm.

As things are happily getting back to normal, here are a few picture from Rachel of a ride to the Woolpack Inn, Benover.

Woolpack Inn Woolpack Inn

Woolpack Inn Woolpack Inn

We are pleased to say that we can restart rides on a limited basis from April - see the Runs List page for details.

Due to continuing COVID lockdown restrictions as we move into 2021, all Club Runs remain cancelled for the time being!

News Archive