Always A Chance Ride – national publicity

There’s been some media coverage for the opening leg of the Always A Chance 92-Club-Relay ride which look place nine days ago from Sixfields Stadium (Northampton Town FC) to the Ricoh Arena (Coventry City FC).

Phil Letts points to an article in The Sun which mentions that,

“Many people have rallied round and taken part in activities, from baking cup cakes to skydiving, to raise money for the cause. The Duston School in Northampton, where Peter (Peter Kouzaris, father of James) teaches history, has raised more than £5,000 and a team recently started a 12-week relay event, which kicked off last week at Northampton Town football ground.

The 92 Club Relay event will see friends, family, organisations and charities run, cycle or rollerblade in a relay to all 92 football league grounds across the county. Peter hopes to run the penultimate leg from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground, as both he and James were avid United fans.

The event will finish just after the first anniversary of the boys’ death at the end of April, back at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium.

Peter explained: ‘James would have been running or cycling every leg just like his friends will be doing. He was full of energy and life. We even engraved ‘loved life’ on a bench dedicated to him at Pitsford Reservoir, close to where we live.'”

Congratulations to our friends at CTC Stevenage & North Herts

Congratulations to CTC Member Group Stevenage and North Hertfordshire which is not only CTC Voluntary Group of the Year, but has just been named as the Sport Stevenage Community Club of the Year. Stevenage organised 153 local rides last year for riders of all levels.

We joined them for a Sunday ride back in July.  Iain Dawson wrote:

An interesting change to the calendar – a ride with another CTC Group. Strange roads, cycleways, smooth tarmac, an urban lunchstop – all new experiences for us.

Brian arranged for us to join up with, or more accurately tag along with, the Stevenage CTC group, whom we met by the War Memorial in the middle of Stevenage’s Old Town. Yes, it does have one.

Two minutes after leaving, we seemed to be out in the country and the roads were, in general, very very quiet. Certainly a lot quieter than you get around Northampton on a Sunday! The leaders obviously know their stuff and know which roads are used as rat runs and which are generally avoided by motorists. They also know which bridleways can be ridden on road bikes and which can’t.

The first stop was at a café/stables/second-hand-bike-bits shop/farm in Whitwell, very popular with cyclists, approached alongside the River Mimram and its well-established watercress beds.

The lanes then got a bit lumpy but unlike Northamptonshire the hills seemed quite short so a bit of climbing and then relax before you run out of breath. Paul and Clare provided a running commentary on all the good (and bad) watering holes used by the group as we passed them, and there was the continual presence of jets overhead as we passed within a few hundred metres of Luton airport’s runway. Another thing we’re not used to.

The second stop was in the centre of Harpenden, where there seemed to be a change from our usual practice of all bundling into one café, causing a rush for the staff. After scoping out two cafés and a pub, we all ended-up in the same café anyway. Some things don’t change.

We had a few light showers during the day, the only heavy one during lunch, so – well-timed Alan!

The route back to Stevenage contained more surprises and I’d just been talking to one of the locals about their puncture rates, given the amount of gravel and flint on the roads, when we turned off the tarmac and down a bridleway.

At the other end, there was a hissing sound.

Oh well, it’d been a while since I’d had that tyre off anyway. I was overdue or something.

The final few miles brought us back into Stevenage past Knebworth Park and its deer herd and onto the Stevenage cycleway system. Think “Milton Keynes Redway” but without having to give way so often for local roads, although navigation would have been a challenge without someone who knew where they were going.

I’d like to thank Brian for organising the day out, and AlanB and the rest of the Stevenage group for making us feel so welcome and providing such an enjoyable and entertaining run (and lending me a decent pump after the incident with the flint).

Next time, let’s see if we can gather a larger group as there were only five of us who made the trip (Dave, Rowan, John Cutler, Brian and I).

Wednesday 29th February – A slideshow and social evening

Ian Macsporran presents “From Caen to Cannes: France North to South”, an account of three weeks cycling the length of France in 2011; Phillip Gray and Rowan Ellis present “The Semaine Federale 2011”, an account of a week at a French cycling festival in also in 2011.  It all takes place at Park Avenue Methodist Church Rooms, on the corner of Park Avenue and Abington Avenue, Northampton, starting at 8.00 p.m. (Doors open at 7.30 p.m.; refreshments)  Entry is £2.00 in aid of Always A Chance.

Report – Always A Chance Charity Ride – Saturday 4th February

Phil Letts led this ride and writes:

Despite the bitter cold and prospects of snow, eleven riders turned out for the first
stage of the “Always A Chance 92Club Run” charity ride from Sixfields Stadium (home of Northampton Town) to the Ricoh Arena (home of Coventry City).  It was 38 miles each way.  Some were intending to do just the one way; others both out-and-back.  All were riding to raise money for the charity set up in memory of a Northampton lad, James Kouzaris and a Coventry lad, James Cooper  Both young men were tragically shot last April whilst on holiday in Florida.

By my reckoning, we raised between us somewhere in the region of £300+ which is
a superb effort. My thanks to all who rode and especially to Iain Dawson who
volunteered to lead the one-way riders.

It was somewhat novel to have a “back-up” van driven by daughter Anna who
– together with friend Kenny – met us with hot drinks and flapjacks at the fifteen-mile point and then provided lunch at the Ricoh Arena.  Thanks to them!

There was some discussion as to whether this could be a regular feature! I’ll speak to them, show them the programme for the next six months of rides and see if they’re busy!

Great stuff everyone, thanks for your support!

Events in February

Saturday 11th February – Cols du Northamptonshire

Phil Letts leads a ride at 9.30 a.m. from the start of the Brampton Valley Way beside “The Windhover” pub.  The “hilly” route goes via Teeton, Creaton, Spratton, East Haddon and Great Brington (with elevenses at Brixworth).  About 35 miles at a brisk pace.

Sunday 12th February – A ride to Towcester

Bill Simpson leads a ride at 9.30 a.m. from Hunsbury Hill Library to the A5 Rangers Cycle Clubhouse in Towcester where there’s a sale of all sorts of cycle bits and pieces.  You don’t have to buy anything; it’s just a nice ride!  About 25 miles and leisurely.

Sunday 19th February – Pilgrim’s Progress

Philip Gray leads a ride at 9.30 a.m. from the Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, to Harrold (elevenses) and Bedford (lunch).  45+ miles at 12 m.p.h.

Saturday 25th February – An afternoon ride to Flore

Iain Dawson leads a ride at 2.00 p.m. from Hunsbury Hill Library to Flore with afternoon tea at a small garden centre café in the village.  About 20 miles and leisurely.


The start of a blog – just an idea!

There’s a bit of discussion going on in the “member group” that is CTC Northampton.  Should we have newsletters (written, designed, printed, posted through the mail) or should we add the “new media”?

We have a website and a Yahoo discussion group.  I’ve started to ask whether we should have a Facebook group, a Blog and maybe a Twitter account.

It seemed to me easiest to put together a Blog than to put together a Facebook group so I’ve made a start with the intention of finding out what  my fellow members think!