Dear All

The weather stayed reasonable for once. Excellent turnout for David’s ride. Sikka and Tessa have taken on the next ride on 15th April but have had to change the route because of a late alteration in the train availability on the day. Wendy and Jim will take on 29 April, Any offers for May? I’ve tried to check train availability but on the national rail enquiry website it says that there is no confirmation of engineering works for the May dates. So if you’re planning a ride make sure to check nearer the time.

Losing People on Rides
I feel more than a bit of a fraud writing this. Since I started to have real leg problems in the middle of last year I haven’t been able to contemplate coming out on a ride – let alone leading one. And it’s got a lot worse in the last few weeks so that sometimes I have been hardly able to walk – let alone ride the bike. I’m having physio for the problem and hope that I’ll be able to think about becoming active again later in the year.

But chatting after the AGM the other week, several people mentioned that there had been quite a few incidents on recent rides where people got left behind or lost. So it seems appropriate to rehearse again how in earlier days we managed – usually – to avoid this. Basically, we had 3 rules.

Rule One. As ride leader try to adjust the pace to the speed of the slowest rider. This isn’t always that easy in practice, so therefore something else is needed.

Rule Two Stop at every junction where the route takes a turn and wait for everyone to catch up. When there were only a handful of people on the ride it was always easy to see that everyone was there – but it became difficult with greater numbers. Hence;

Rule Three. Get someone to act as ‘back marker’ who makes sure to ride at the rear of the group. That way the leader can quickly see that everyone is still there. But this only works if the back-stop is really careful to make sure they are the last rider.

If you’re a Cycling UK member you may have seen this from the current Cycleclips. Even though I’ve not been riding much recently I’ve certainly noticed plenty of potholes and rough bits of road around our area. But the following was new to me.
We’ve recently discovered that potholes have cost 156 local authorities £43.3 million in compensation claims alone in the last five years, with the average motorist receiving £841.26 per successful claim, and the average cyclist £10,963.15. But there’s a human cost too, particularly for cyclists, who are far more likely to be injured; time spent home from work, the emotional and physical toll of what happened, and the fear of getting back out on the road. What’s the answer? We say fix it first – before investing new roads.

Couldn’t agree more.


Message from Sean – David Eales Memorial Amsterdam Ride
The David Eales memorial annual ride is in support of a charity which was set up by his family and friends when he passed in 2015. This will be the third outing and I am seeking support from the comrades in my new hometown of Brighton&Hove. Please let me know if you intend to join me in this venture

I knew David Eales for a number of years before his untimely death in 2015 through a rare and mysterious condition. He was the heart and soul of the cycling community in West London who set up the Ealing! London Bike Hubs which promoted safe cycling and cycle maintenance classes for all. This included work with charities, deprived communities, young offenders and ex-service personnel. Which through his efforts skilled those people into new employment opportunities. This ride via London – Dover -Dunkirk – Amsterdam is a celebration in his memory and also to raise charitable funds in support of the dedicated charity set up by his wife and family, the SJS awareness foundation. Moreover the ride will be memorable and extremely enjoyable. Below are the dates and main route information from the organisers. For more details see

The core of the ride begins at Dover on the evening of Friday, 14 September 2018. We’ll all ride from the ferry terminal at Dunkerque to a large hostel complex near the port. Arrival in Amsterdam is scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, 18 September.

Those who have opted for the extended ride will leave London before dawn on Thursday, 13 September.

This means that, assuming you don’t currently work weekends, you should apply for 17-18 September off work, and also 13-14 September if you want to ride the UK segment.

Think about time off to pad for late arrival or a short stay to enjoy Amsterdam after you arrive!


And a Message from Jim

I have been looking at possible dates for our Bath/Bristol weekend. It will involve staying three nights (Fri/Sat/Sun) and there will be two rides – one from Bath to Bristol along the well-known Sustrans cycle path, and one along the “Two Tunnels” route that runs southwards from Bath, then back alongside the canal.

I will do a detailed practice ride in a few weeks, but for now the important thing is for you to book your accommodation. I’m assuming at least some of us will want to stay at Bath youth hostel, as before, and that requires booking pretty soon, as otherwise it might get booked up.

The best weekend to go for, on the basis of the availability of the youth hostel, is Friday 31st August to Monday 3rd September.
I am aware that some of you will not want to stay in the hostel, but you should be able to find a hotel in town, though I can’t guarantee that it will be cheap! For those who don’t mind hostels as such but don’t want to stay in a dormitory with strangers, there are private rooms available, with 2, 4 or 6 single beds. These private rooms are all in the main building, well away from the annexe, which, as you’ll know if you’ve stayed there before, can get noisy. So you might want to team up with someone and go for one of those. (The Google Group may be useful for making such arrangements if you are in it.) They have 3 private rooms of each size, but it’s not possible to work out from the website how many of these are already booked. You can book online at

Travelling by train to Bath is easy – there are two direct trains per day from Brighton and Hove, and an hourly service is available by changing at Portsmouth. By travelling on Friday and Monday, we should avoid any engineering works.

If you are planning to take part in this weekend ride, please let me know ( It will go ahead regardless of how many people sign up, but it would still be good to know how many will be going.



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