“Cycle Live” – Nottingham – 13th to 15th July

Phillip Gray, our Chair, was sent information about a very full weekend of cycle events in Nottingham and, although it clashes with our own ride on 15th July, here are some details.  Nottingham isn’t very far away.  Enjoy whichever you choose!

“Cycle Live” comprises

1. The Nottingham Cycling Schools Challenge, Friday afternoon 

A series of events and activities, including Go-Ride, cycle skills training, have-a-go-sessions, led rides and bike races on Nottingham’s Victoria Embankment and the surrounding roads and cycle paths. Schools will be invited to make the Friday afternoon event part of their plans for the 2012 summer term helping them to achieve educational health targets and provide pupils with something a little bit different.

2. The Nottingham Criterium, Friday evening

A late afternoon and early evening series of cycle races taking place on a closed circuit of approx 1mile in and around the Embankment.

3. The Nottingham Cycling Show, Saturday

A one-day event exhibition on the Embankment featuring a showcase of all that is cycling. Activities will include cycle skills training, have-a-go-sessions and led rides, combined with cycle stalls, information displays and product showcases. This event also builds on the work of Sustrans and The U-Cycle Project.

4. The Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride, Sunday

A series of three mass participation rides, all of which will start and finish on the Embankment and head onto country roads. There will be a 22-mile community ride, a 55-mile challenge ride and a more serious 100-mile sportive ride.

5. The Nottingham City Ride, Sunday

A ride over a 3 mile traffic-free route on and around the Embankment and Meadows area of the city.


July programme

Sunday 1st July – Guy Barber Memorial Ride

Details in last blog.

Saturday 7th July – Reservoir Audax

Three distances: 100, 150 & 200 kms.  Start at Oundle.  Details here.

Sunday 15th July – Ride to Napton-on-the-Hill

A ride of 50 miles, starting at 9.30 a.m. Led by Brian Tunbridge (01604 622073).

Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July – Camping weekend at Belton

Details from Max Scott (01536 712507).

Saturday 21st July – Summer of Cycling leisure ride to local parish churches

A ride of 15 miles, starting at 2.00 p.m. from the Canoe Centre.  Led by Philip Gray (01604 720522)

Tuesday 31st July – “Godiva Awakes” at Delapre Park

Details here.

The Guy Barber Memorial Ride – Sunday 1st July

Bill Simpson is the organiser of this event and he writes:

We start from the Holiday Inn Hotel opposite the canoe centre on Bedford Road.  There is a public car park available on the left of the hotel.  Register from 9.10 a.m.  Depart at 9.30 a.m.

The total distance for the circular route (via St Neots) is 68 miles.

Entry registration fee = £5. All money will be forwarded to the charity “Headway”.

Route sheet available, though there are two leaders to guide at hand.  Iain Dawson for a slower group and myself for a quicker group

Hopefully it will be warmer and less windy than has been the case in recent weeks..

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Photos from our Mountain Pass Junkie

Following on from his article, Phil Letts sent these photographs (on a weak wi-fi connection from a campsite in Italy!)

1 Cavvy on the Valparola – first pass of the day
2 Pink jersey, Rodriguez chases and wins stage from Basso on the descent from Passo di Giau
3  Phil himself at the top of the Passo di Gavia-2621m, 25km, av.5.5% grad.max 11%
4 Awaiting the peleton on the Passo di Stelvio
5 Belgium’s  De Gendt wins on the Stelvio
6 The rest of the peleton  struggle up the Stelvio

Riding High! Mountain Pass Junkie – that’s me!

A terrific article by Phil Letts, one of our most enthusiastic members:

So why would you put all that effort into cycling up some of Europe’s highest and best-known mountain passes? Because that’s what I like to do.  Come the springtime-end of May, it’s off to the Dolomites or the Alps or Pyrenees to ride the famous cols.  If I can combine that with watching one of the big races – the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France – even better.  Over the years I’ve become a bit of a ‘pass-junkie’ collecting, if you like, the major passes which feature in the famous Tours (a bit like Munro-bagging for the walker)

So what’s the attraction? Because believe me, it’s tough cycling.  Maybe that’s part of the allure.  Riding uphill is always going to be hard. To do it for 2 or 3 hours at a time up gradients which can average 10% and even go up to 23%, is seriously hard work and so to ride to the top is a real challenge.  To make a mountaineering comparison, the famous Alpe d’Huez and Col de Galibier are a cyclist’s Eiger or Matterhorn.  There’s a real feeling of achievement and elation to have at last stopped riding upwards, levelling off, reaching the pass having defied nature and gravity and pushed yourself to the limits.  And then there’s the exhilarating and sometimes terrifying swoop off and back down.

For me one of the pay-offs for all this endeavour, is you get to see majestic and awe-inspiring scenery (that’s if it’s not misty!).  I also like to combine my cycling with photography…so up high in the passes I’m surrounded by fabulous shots … every tour de France or Giro d’Italia is raced against a backdrop of stunning scenery.

But apart from the attraction of simply ‘bagging’ the pass, there’s another reason for making the effort to ‘ride high’.  To the avid cycle-race fan, many of these passes and climbs which feature regularly in the Tours, have almost become places of pilgrimage.  They’re legendary, almost sacred, in the tradition and history of professional cycling.  Mont Ventoux, Galibier, Stelvio – this is where our cycling heroes have created the legends, displayed superhuman qualities, demonstrated heroic deeds.  These are the scenes of sporting heroism.  Very often the mountain climbs define a particular year’s Tours.  The races forge heroes and colourful characters.  The mountains are the Tours’ theatre where successes and failures, dramas and tragedies have been played out.

And it’s this cycling tradition that makes a cycling fan like me want to visit and conquer these same places which have become part of cycling’s legends.  Few of us will ever be able to play at Twickenham or Wembley or Wimbledon, but we can all ride the famous passes and relive the exploits of our heroes.

I always research the passes I’m riding so that on the way up, amidst all the pain, I can distract myself by remembering/revisiting some of the exploits of the cycling legends – Merckx, Coppi, Anquetil, Armstrong and the like – which took place on that very pass-very often there are plaques and memorials to take note of explaining some of the history of that climb.

This year I hooked into the Giro d’Italia when it got to the eastern Dolomites. I saw Spanish rider Izaguirre win at Falzes, then watched Cavendish struggle up the first pass of the next day – the Passo Valparola – along with thousands of other passionate cycling fans.  After the peloton had gone past, we all rode down the adjoining Passo Falzarego to watch Joaqim Rodriguez beat them all into Cortina as they all came through from the famous Passo Giau after a really tough day in the mountains.  Cavvy was hanging on in there with the Gruppetto.  Then it was a drive west to Bormio and the Passo Stelvio.  But first on the way I rode the Mortirolo which the peloton was due to do in a few days time as a prelude to the final climb of this year’s Giro, the mighty Stelvio.  Along with thousands of fans who’d cycled up, I watched Belgium rider De Gendt win the stage but Canadian Rhyder Hesjadel win the overall race.  Exciting stuff in fabulous cycling country – that’s why I’m a Mountain Pass junkie!

Saturday 16th June – Gentle two-hour ride

Brian Tunbridge, our Secretary, writes:

The first event of the Summer of Cycling is on Saturday 16th June 2012. We will start at Midsummer Meadow Car Park (next to Becket’s Park) at 2.00 p.m.

The ride is along the Connect 2 route to Upton Park mainly on tarmac cycle ways plus the odd section of hard gravel. The ride is 2 hours.

Last year we had very healthy numbers for this ride.  You’re sure to enjoy it!

CTC Northampton’s Summer of Cycling

Philip Gray, our Chairman, writes:

In this Olympic year, your local CTC and other organizations have been working to launch Northamptonshire’s Summer of Cycling.

Our own programme has something for everyone ranging from 5 and 10 mile leisure rides to all-day rides into other counties. Across Northamptonshire there’s “The Big Bike Fix”, “Cycle Fest” Saturdays in Daventry, Corby and Northampton, and the amazing “Godiva Awakes” cycle-powered artwork at Delapre Abbey on 31 July.

For more details please see:

  • our special Summer of Cycling web page
  • the county’s Summer of Cycling web page
  • and don’t forget the Bike Week website

I hope to see you, your family and friends during the summer.

Happy cycling!

Brussels cycle lanes – taking the rough with the smooth

Kevin Mayne, until recently Chief Executive of the CTC and now Director of Development for the European Cyclists Federation, now follows this blog.

What attracted his attention was David’s report on the Beaumanor Hall Rally.  Thank you, David!

If you want to return the favour, you can follow Kevin’s blog at http://idonotdespair.com/ (“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”  H.G.Wells)

Or, get a flavour of what Kevin is up to at the moment by reading

Brussels cycle lanes – taking the rough with the smooth.

Beaumanor Hall Rally

David attended the annual East Midlands CTC Rally at Beaumanor Hall over the Bank Holiday weekend and writes:

This year the weekend was extended to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.  The number of campers was up with cyclists from around the East Midlands: Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton and Milton Keynes.

Saturday’s ride took us to Langar Airfield used during WW2 for bombers and now a skydiving centre.

Sunday was very wet and cold but I did some of the shorter ride as far as East Midlands Parkway Station, stopping to dry out a bit. Coach loads of passengers came and caused a large queue to the refreshment shop.

I then decided to cut the route short and join Peter back to Loughborough to have lunch at Weatherspoons.

Max was there and I joined him after the meal to visit the Museum in the park.

On Monday the weather was dry and sunny.  The 50-mile ride led by Jeff from Nottingham took us to Melton Mowbray for our first stop at a Park Cafe. The fun fair was on with busy roads.  From here we cycled to Oakham via Wissendine and a track full of holes.

A group cycled back to Northampton on Tuesday.