I was not looking forward to compiling this edition of the York Section Newsletter. Many sad events have taken place since our last publication back in April, most poignant to the York Section, the loss Peter. Not only our main organiser and fund-raiser but also our motivator, inspiration, friend and last but not least our ‘humour link’! It will take many to fill PG’s cycling shoes. There are few club rides that go by without somebody mentioning his name and reminiscing. You’re never faraway Pete!
We also saw the passing of Ray Johnson and Eddie Clarke, both had long associations with the Section, Eddie as one of the founding members of the York Section and Ray a member of winning team in the CTC DA Competition back in the ‘80’s, to name just one of his achievements.
As a tribute to Peter the Section (well AK) is in the process of organising a PG Challenge Ride (220K from Tockwith to Tan Hill) and shorter rides (100K, 40K & 25K) to take place in July 2009 (as close to Peter’s Birthday as possible). Details to be confirmed.
With the recent sad passing of Eddie Clarke the story of the foundation of NERDA may get lost. Specific dates, and entries to the first standard rides, should be available from HQ but here are my memories of its beginnings.
John and I had been nurtured into cycling by HERDA (Hull and East Riding DA) and had spent many happy Sundays and hostelling/camping weekends with them. Through these experiences, and attending York Rally we had learned how to successfully adapt our bikes so that we could continue to enjoy the cycle scene as Elaine outgrew the child seat.
When John's work took him to Selby and with the promise of a later move to Ripon we decided to find a home in York - the home of cycling and reasonable cycling distance, between the two, for John.
The move completed in October 1975, but we were surprised to find there was no York section. By chance, on a lone ride to the Wolds that Christmas, John met Eddie. For those who knew Eddie this itself was a miracle but I guess it must have been a fine day (tee hee). Eddie told John how the club had folded when its members started their own families and/or 'progressed' to the motor car. He gave John a link person - Johnny Hessle - and together they got the club back on the road.
Other people involved in those early days were Ron and Glenys Healey, and Mike and Ann Haseltine. (Twas Ann who made the first club tops - a dreadful piece of work - mine only lasted 25 years!) We had good support through the schools through Keith Barker aka Wuffa (teacher at Scarcroft) and welcomed many young people including Phil (son of Mick) McCormick, Iain and Andrew Sellars, Gary Myers and of course Andrew Kirby.
Maybe club members can track down some of the other early riders or their families, for their memories, and enable a larger picture of the foundations to be recorded.
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Hostel at Patterdale
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View of Striding Edge from Helvellyn
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Dave & Lydia at Castlerigg Stone Circle
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View of Windermere from the Struggle
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Group having Tea and Cake by Ullswater
Arrival at the hostel on the Friday was met with glorious sunshine, blue skies and no wind. Visibility very good so onto Helvellyn! Sally and Linda keenly charged off ahead to get to grips with Striding Edge. Left at Patterdale church, up Grisedale using the hole in the wall route, to Striding Edge. The faint hearted used the new lower path whilst the rest clambered over the dragons back to meet a near 30ft sheer drop before the final ascent. We were met with near perfect conditions on the top easily picking out major landmarks before descending steeply down Swirral Edge, Red Tarn & into Glenridding.
Saturday Andy, Lydia and myself took off on the bikes to Aira Force and the scenic Sustrans railtrack into Keswick. Back to base via Castlerigg standing stones, the east bank of lovely Thirlmere before going over the Struggle. The rest had a damp attempt at High Street. The cool, damp day was immediately forgotten in the evening at the White Lion Inn.
Sunday was again perfect walking conditions with the route taking us past Brothers Water, ascending steep stone cuttings for quite some time steep (very similar to the ones Bilbo used to Shelob’s lair) to the lower flanks of Dove Crag and onto Fairfield. Elation was present in the air until I could hide the way down no longer, a precipitous scramble down and around the airy Cofa Pike and then up and over St Sunday Crag to Glenridding and a celebratory tea & cake by Ullswater.
Enjoyable long weekend had by everyone. Just hope Cofa Pike did not give anyone nightmares!
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Top of Col du Tourmalet
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View from hotel - Argeles Gazost
After years of watching the Tour de France climbing through the area, we decided this year to do a cycling tour of the Pyrenees.
The easiest way to get down there with bikes was using the European Bike Express bus - several DA members had recommended this service.
The trip was booked for the first two weeks of June and two Michelin maps and the Rough Guide to the Pyrenees guide book purchased. That was the extent of the planning.
We pick up the bus at Bramham village and got dropped off at Bayonne near Biarritz a mere 27 hours later – we had two weeks to get to Toulouse 185 miles away.
The first day was an easy roll down the Atlantic coast to Saint Jean de Luz then turning inland on the second day making for Saint Jean Pied de Port, crossing the boarder into Spain several times, our first col being the mighty Col d’Ibardin at 90m.
The scenery was beautiful, very green and picture postcard perfect, and after cycling in Britain, the absolute lack of rubbish strewn roadside was very noticeable.
We wended our way to Pau where we stopped two nights giving us chance to have a day off the bikes and a good look round.
The more we travelled, the more we relied on our guide book, it proved quite accurate and entertaining. Our daily quest to find accommodation was straight forward getting into the first Hotel listed for each location. The proprietors obviously dazzled by my command of their language.
We had been forewarned about Lourdes, described by the guide as Catholic Disneyland. I would certainly recommend a visit, it really does have to be seen to be believed.
Halfway through our holiday, we landed at Argeles-Gazost, at the foot of the Col d’Aubisque and the road to Hautacam where we struck gold with the accommodation, the Hotel Beau Site. The view from the room was spectacular, the food superb and ridiculously cheap. The couple running the Hotel looked after us well and made sure we made the most of the area. We stayed three nights here, allowing us to take a trip up the Col de Tourmalet without luggage, and visit the Cirque de Gavarnie. I certainly hope to return here in the near future.
At Bagneres de Bigorre, we spent two nights allowing ourselves a day to sample one of the many thermal spas in the area.
We now started heading away from the high Pyrenees towards Toulouse roughly following the Garonne river. The scenery changed and the roads made for quicker progress.
We arrived in Toulouse via the Canal du Midi two days before pickup where we had our first problem booking a hotel on spec. A rather tense tour of the airport area and a ride up a motorway ensued before we found a place for the night.
The final full day, we just headed into the city centre and by good fortune got a room in an Etap Hotel, cheap, convenient and smack in the middle of the red light district.
The whole trip passed without incident, no mechanicals and certainly no problems out on the roads. June seemed to be the ideal time to go before the area gets busy with the Tour and the start of the French holiday season in July and August.
Brett & Elaine.
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Lydia on the Afluisdijk causeway
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Nick with refreshment
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Candlelit dinner Sneek
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Cyclists cafe NS route
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North sea cycle route
If you prefer flat (ish) terrain, a staple diet of ham, cheese and Heineken then the Netherlands must be your first choice. Forewarned of this 8 individuals still headed off across the North Sea in this direction in July.
Cashpoint Pete & drinking partner Nick, Sally, Big John, Little John & Sue, myself and stoker Lydia met up at home in Riccall for T and cake before heading off for my “special” route to North Sea Ferries at Hull. Over the Wolds, down Elloughton dale and then following the walkers Trans Pennine Trail route. We trekked from the Humber Bridge to just after Hessle foreshore arriving dishevelled. After application of dressings and elastoplasts to some individuals we continued over lock gates, down tracks and over /through shipping warehousing to finally arrive at our vessel “The Pride of Rotterdam”.
After a shower, pint, evening meal with someone playing dodgily on a piano, all the ups and downs and brambles of our route there were forgotten (by me) as we cruised on towards the flatlands.
After the terrible summer we have had, our spirits were up when we awoke just before arriving at Rotterdam to glorious weather. Big breakfast, customs and off immediately from the port on an A1 cycleway or fietspad to Rotterdam down a 6 mile sliver of wooded land in the middle of a large river. I must confess to being a bit fazed when in the planning stages, at the thought of navigating with 8 cyclists through 35 miles of Europe’s largest port. In reality the continuous excellent signed cycleways, interesting route, bikers everywhere and a pigeons sense of direction saw us easily through and into the country. A whistle-stop and Macdonald’s (everywhere closed on Sunday) in Gouda & then on through lanes with lakes butt up to the edge of the road before arriving at the 17th century Bunick hostel, complete with bar.
Good weather next day through wooded heathland cycle tracks in the Appledorm region with the tandem reaching 41mph down a hill in the “flatlands” before arriving at our hotel in the pretty moated medieval town of Elburg. The hotel was comfortable, lovely Italian meal and well fermented beers (Nick and Pete had it literally by the jug full again) so a nice end to the ride.
The following days were spent trekking through the marshy Weeribben National Park to Sneek hostel, then on over the 18 mile sea causeway, the Afsluiddijk, complete with strong headwind from Friesland to North Holland. Then ferry onto the island of Texel.
The final couple of days took us on the Dutch section of the North Sea long distance cycle route. The route weaved its way through impressive sand dunes and wooded areas, protecting us for some time against headwind, to Nordwijk hostel. The final day’s weather was in contrary to the bad forecast and was a sunny pleasant ride along the North Sea cycle route to the Hook of Holland with a final appletart and coffee before our return on the ferry.
Good company, hostels & hotel and high quality cycletracks through a varied countryside. Unfortunately everyone is now ham and cheesed out for some time to come!
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Brett in Ludborough Wolds Railway
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Elaine outside De Aston School
Whilst still reeling from the cost of this year’s CTC rally in the Cotswolds, the Tandem Club magazine dropped through the door with details of this year’s main tandem event at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire. A whole week half board in Lincolnshire for only £129 each on a week which fitted rather nicely with my work’s roster. After several seconds deliberation, we booked.
Elaine & myself have been in the Tandem Club for three years but had yet to attend any event, so this was an ideal opportunity. Lincolnshire may not have been our first choice for a week away being so close but it certainly was convenient.
The event was held August Bank Holiday week at the De Aston School, a State run school with boarding facilities. We opted to stay in the dormitories rather than camp on the playing field. Meals were provided in the school’s canteen by the schools own catering staff.
Not really knowing what to expect, we loaded up the car and set off late on the Saturday afternoon. Yes we could have ridden down, but we had to take bedding and creature comforts and a whole host of other items for a week away.
Ninety minutes later, we were at the school settled in a dormitory room for two.
For the first evening, a cheese & wine party had been organised in a marquee on the playing field where we bumped into Tom & Joan Beevers, making a grand total of four NYDA members at the event.
Each day, a choice of three rides, short, medium & long were available, with eating stops arranged, and taking in points of interest. We had only printed out the medium routes.
The first ride on Sunday was a trip to Lincoln. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a grand roll out together on the first day, I’d been looking forward to the sight of about eighty tandems going down the High Street. I suspect common sense had prevailed and we rolled out in ones and twos (twos and fours?) so as not to hold up the traffic.
There was a good selection of people on the rides, from families with their kiddie cranks & tag along bikes, to the more seasoned tandem teams on their high end machines. It was fascinating just to see how many variations of tandem frame designs there could be.
On the way back from Lincoln, we did a detour out to Bardney & took afternoon tea at a newly opened heritage centre in an old railway goods shed. On departing, we came across the local fete so had to pop in there and were rewarded with a fly past by a Lancaster Bomber.
The second day was a trip out to Louth. On the road, we met up with two couples, Steve and Anna from Silsden (WY Tandem Club Section), and a couple from Carlisle. At Louth, we all decided to take a detour and went to Mablethorpe for lunch. We picked the route back up at Ludborough where we just made the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway Station café before closing time.
Day three and we headed west to Mount Pleasant Windmill at Kirton Lindsey for the morning stop. This was the day we should have taken some pictures as the sight of about twenty five tandems propped up against the mill was something to behold. Once again we met up with Steve and Anna and did a detour to the River Trent before heading south to pick up the long route at Gainsborough.
On the rest day, we cycled back to the Wolds Railway at Ludborough and had a ride on the steam train, a high speed line connecting Ludborough and North Thoresby some one an a half miles away.
Day five saw us heading south east to Horncastle on picturesque roads through the Wolds. On speaking to a couple at the café, we decided to detour further south to Coningsby and Tattershall. Unfortunately, we missed the Battle of Britain memorial flight based at Coningsby as it had taken off about two hours before we arrived, and Tattershall Castle was closed Thursdays and Fridays.
Friday was our last day as I was back to work Friday night. We had a quick ride up to Caistor before packing up and heading home.
Overall, we had an excellent week’s riding. The weather held, all be it rather windy, and the organisation was superb. We met plenty of people with varying levels of interest in tandeming. We certainly intend to go to more tandem events in the future.
Thanks must go to the organisers Ian & Jo Postlethwaite and the catering staff at the De Aston School.
Brett & Elaine.
Further info on the event – see http://www.tandem-club.org.uk/nf2002/rallies.htm
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Hostel at Kirkby Stephen
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'Low Carlingill' towards 'Langdale Fell'
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Outside the Cafe in Buckden
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Nick crossing ford near Crosby Garrett
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Linda with Birthday Cake
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Bedraggled Sally and Tan Inn's Pet Sheep
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Peter with National Cycle Network sign pointing across moor land
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Group at top of climb after Greenholme
Whilst Brett & Elaine were Lincolnshire bound the rest of the Section headed for the slightly more challenging terrain of the Yorkshire Dales. We’d booked into the ex YHA Kirkby Stephen hostel. So with an early start and excellent cycling weather, we set out on the road to Otley, where Nick & Andy Gibson would meet us in the Riverside Café (Linda to meet us in KS). After a cheap and cheerful elevenses we headed up Wharfedale. We made excellent progress via Burnsall and Kettlewell to Buckden where we stopped for a late lunch at the West Winds Tearoom. This is a real gem, hidden away behind the Buck Inn. Suitably refuelled we pressed on up Fleet Moss. The sight to two bare chested, mud splattered mountain bikers just up the road certainly spurred me on!! No stopping now, straight on to the Moorcock Inn, a quiet ride down Mallerstang to arrive in KS with plenty of time to spare before our evening meal at the Black Bull Inn.
Sunday. Linda’s birthday, so I had a cake to collect from the Appleby Bakery on Main Street. It was huge! The bright & sunny day was perfect for a steady birthday ride. We headed out across the heather clad moors to Orton and our first stop of the day. Then on down the picturesque (despite the M6 & railway) Lune Gorge and into Sedburgh for a second stop before heading back to KS for tea & birthday cake.
Monday. Oh dear, what a contrast to yesterday. We were all envious of Linda with her return rail ticket! Wind and rain greeted us as we stepped out of the hostel. The forecast was for it to brighten up later, but that wasn’t before we had battled against horizontal wind and rain trying to blow us off the road up to Tan Hill. Walking was the safest option in places. Thankfully the skies began to clear and the rain eased as we descended to Reeth. From there it was more or less just a matter of putting the sails up and allowing the wind to push us homeward!
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Group short break at North Kelsey
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Café stop at Waters Edge RSPB
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Dave and Lydia at the top of Walsbey Hill
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Brett tries out John's sun glasses
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Group having a break near Reedness
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Road works near Scotter
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View across the river Humber
Arriving on the Friday at Beverley Friary like wet bedraggled moths was not a good start to the weekend. A shower, curry (including large screen Bollywood) and a pint at gas lit Nellys put things into a better light.
Not daring to look out of the window next morning the warden passed on a print out for the weather, confirmed outside by sunshine and fluffy white things! A fry up, bagged up and the merry group were off. Lincolnshire bound across the Humber Bridge. Tea alfresco at the new RSPB visitor centre in Barton. Down quiet lanes, across the Lincolnshire Wolds to Burnham and a break at North Kelsey. After over half an hour the mystery wrapped up in an enigma Boswell had not materialised. We carried on & up the drag of Walesby Hill (everyone in dripping mode) and along High Street to the café at Tealby crossroads. The owner then gave us an imitation of Charlie Chaplin walking and said: “ Your little friend has gone on to Woody’s”! No surprise there then.
Through the beautiful Donnington on Bain valley, sleepy Scamblesby and along Blue Stone Heath road to Woody’s Top hostel – now reprieved from rent a hostel. A nice descent in the evening brought us to the Stag Inn Thai restaurant at Burwell (I had gammon and chips!) for a nice meal with the group and a good selection of beers. Then everyone very slowly turned the cranks the couple of sleepy miles climb back to the land of nod.
Another sunny day on Sunday as we left the Bain area by the huge Belmont radio mast and across to Sixhills. Then nearly a three mile gradual drop down from the Wolds to a bacon baguette at Market Rasen.The warm rear wind wafted us through the quiet lanes of Lincolnshire and Trent, picking up John and Sue at Blacktoft and back to the vale of York.
Sadly the last summer’s weekend of the year. And, as they say, never listen to the forecast ….ever!
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Tunnel on 'Cromford Canal'
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Nigel at Heage Windmill
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Balloon over Ambergate
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Group at tower Stanton Moor
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Group outside 'Hardwick Inn'
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Ostrich at 'Upper Town'
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Lunch stop along Manifold Valley
Due to PG’s unfortunate demise, Wendy stepped into the breach and took over organisation of Pete’s Mountain Bike? Week. So there was some trepidation as to what it was going to be like. These thoughts were dismissed with good food, accommodation, weather and most of all good company.
I rode across from Chesterfield to Ambergate with Elaine, while Brett would arrive late Monday after finishing work. This was a steady paced 22-mile ride, with 2 café stops taking 5 hours. This was a sign of things to come, low mileages with plenty of sight seeing. The longest ride being on Saturday to Manifold valley and High Peak Trail of 55 miles. We looked around Kedleston Hall on Sunday and Hardwick Hall on the Thursday. Tuesday was the only non-cycling day with a walk of 8 miles from Winster to Nine Ladies stone circle with a pub lunch at Birchover. Four of us had a short ride along Cromford Canal on Friday before returning home.
A few actually did mountain biking with the only serious injury befalling Dave who came a cropper while descending ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, hitting a rock and fracturing his shoulder, this required him going to A&E resulting in his week of mountain biking coming to an end.
The week was enjoyed by all (apart from Dave’s injury) and a big thank you goes to Wendy for all the hard work required in organising the week. It was a shame that Wendy could not have been with us to enjoy it.