Tributes paid to cyclist who died following crash in Northampton

From the Chronicle & Echo website on Wednesday 27th February (following a short piece the day before):

Tributes have been paid to Tony Pickering, the cyclist who was killed in an accident in Northampton yesterday morning.

Tony Pickering

Mr Pickering, aged 52, of Gayhurst Close, Moulton, was killed after colliding with a people carrier. He was taken to Northampton General Hospital with serious injuries but later died.

A work colleague has described Mr Pickering as a “great character” who will be “sorely missed”.

Mr Pickering had worked on and off for Scot Bennett Engineering Ltd, in Horsley Road, Kingsthorpe for about 25 years.

He joined the company from school in 1977 and worked there until 1988, and returned to work for them in 1999, remaining there ever since.

Rob Bennett, director at Scot Bennett Engineering Ltd, said: “It was shocking yesterday. To lose some so suddenly affected everyone here.

“He will be sorely missed. He was a great character and we are all shocked and saddened by his tragic death.

“He was a very good engineer. But we considered him a friend as well as a colleague.

“We would like to pass on our deepest condolences and sympathies to his family.”

A 39-year-old Northampton man, arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Cyclists’ slide-show, Wednesday 27th February

This year’s CTC Northampton winter slideshow is happening on Wednesday 27th February and features three great topics:

  • Riding the Classic Cols of the Tour de France (Phil Letts)

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  • Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive (Philip Gray)

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  • The Elbe Cycle Path from Hamburg to Dresden (Ian Macsporran)

For a preview see www.slideshow.ctc-northampton.org.uk

Date & time: Wednesday 27 February, 8.00 p.m. Doors open 7.30 p.m. Refreshments available

Venue: Park Avenue Methodist Church, Park Avenue North (corner of Abington Avenue), Northampton NN3 2HT

Entry £3 (suggested donation).  Refreshments available

Further information: Publicity@ctc-northampton.org.uk Tel 07909 992468

Everyone is very welcome – hope to see you there!

CTC Northampton to visit ADFC Aachen (Germany)

One of the more exciting plans we have for this year is a short visit to a fellow organisation in Aachen, Germany – to meet with the local member group of the ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club or German Cyclists Federation) – to see how they do things over there.

We have a programme of rides to take us over there and back (with a little assistance from boats and trains), and a small selection of rides to participate in whilst over there.

We are also planning to spend some time seeing how German cycling infrastructure and rights stack up against ours.

There is a possibility of some homestay accommodation in Aachen, although this is rather limited.  There is plenty of other accommodation in the area, including a campsite.

Dates
Outbound riding dates: Wednesday 17th April & Thursday 18th April to reach Aachen in the late afternoon.  We are planning to muster at Dover docks at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 17th April for the noon crossing to Dunkirk.  We will pedal from Dunkirk to Ostend (45 miles) and stay overnight in Ostend.  On Thursday 18th April we will take the train from Ostend to Liège and then pedal from Liège to Aachen (40 miles).
In Aachen: Friday 19th April, Saturday 20th April, Sunday 21st April.
Return riding dates: Leave Aachen early on the morning of Monday 22nd April, either pedalling or taking a local train to Liège.  We will then take the train from Liège to Ostend and pedal to Dunkirk.  We will stay overnight in Dunkirk, catching the 10.00 a.m. ferry on Tuesday 23rd April from Dunkirk to Dover.

Programme in Aachen
Rides are planned in Aachen for both the Saturday (led by the local group) and the Sunday (led by former ADFC’er Philip Gray), with Friday being set aside for tourist sights, seeing how the ADFC operates, discussing German cycling policies and, perhaps, a visit to the famous Thermal Baths.

  • Thursday evening: meal with hosts
  • Friday: Free morning to visit the cathedral and city centre, a World Cultural Heritage Site.  Afternoon visit local ADFC office in the Welthaus to see their operation and to meet their full-time intern, Karin.
  • Saturday: In the morning, either tour the city’s key cycling infrastructure or join the ADFC “sporty” ride.  In the afternoon, join the ADFC “leisure” ride to Dreiländereck (“Three Country Corner” – the spot where Germany, Belgium and Holland meet.)  In the evening, we will host our ADFC friends at a local restaurant.
  • Sunday: Philip Gray will lead a day ride to Monschau in the Eiffel.

Costs
Of course, you are free to join us for part or all of the week, but we have reckoned that the cost of the whole week, following our riding plan, to be approximately £350 – £400. That includes the costs of ferries, trains and hotels en route, plus meals and other incidentals, from Northampton to Aachen and back. It does not include the cost of accommodation in Aachen itself (see below for why). Of course, your own costs may vary.

Accommodation in Aachen
Philip Gray and his contacts in Aachen have kindly agreed a deadline for homestay requests of February 28th – the day after the Slideshow at Park Avenue Methodist Church. If you are interested in this option, and have not already emailed Phil, do so before the 28th or come and talk to him at the Slideshow.

Hotel accommodation is not difficult to find in Aachen, there is a camper-van site within the city and a pleasant-looking campsite about four miles away across the border in The Netherlands so you have options other than homestay if you so wish.

Whether you choose to ride with us there and back, or just meet us there for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let Philip Gray (01604 720522) know your interest as he’s collating this.  Philip lived for some years in Aachen, where he was a member of the ADFC.

Notes

  • This is not an organised or led tour.  Riders are responsible for making their own arrangements for accommodation, ferry crossings and train tickets.
  • Riders are responsible for their own passports, EHIC cards, and insurance.
  • Bring lights, spare batteries and/or a charger.  Don’t use flashing lights in Germany!
  • French law requires hi-viz clothing, e.g. a jacket or waistcoat, outside built-up areas at night or in conditions of low visibility.
  • Please do a “test run” – a fully-laden ride – with the gear that you are planning to take mounted to the bike in advance of the visit.

Leisure Ride – Saturday 23rd February

Iain Dawson. our Rides Secretary, will be leading this ride and writes:

This Saturday we will be meeting at Moulton Co-op at 2.00 p.m. for a short leisure ride  down the east side of Northampton.  We will go through Ecton to Beckworth Emporium for afternoon coffee, before returning to Moulton.  There may be a very short walking section.

As usual at this time of year, we will be keeping an eye on the weather.  Although we should be back comfortably before sunset, lights might be an idea if the sun isn’t too bright.

See you in Moulton!

(Iain is on 07909 992468.)

Report – Ride on Sunday 17th February

Ian Macsporran led this ride and writes:

On a beautifully sunny morning, nine riders gathered at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) crossing with the A5199 at 9.30 a.m. (and a tenth was waiting for the group at the Waterloo Farm Café).  Iain D, Brian, David, Eleanor, Phil L were joined by Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki – these three being guest riders out to see what we were like.  Bill was waiting at the café.  I had chosen, in retrospect a bit of a leg-stretching ride: only 45 miles but plenty of bumps.  I had no excuse, having recce’d it only two days earlier.

Before elevenses,the high spot (literally) was pausing at Naseby Church.  Every route in to Naseby seems to involve a considerable climb.  But the sunshine and the company made it pleasant work.  We reached the café – at 18 miles – at 11.15 a.m.  I’d booked a table for eight at the Foxton Locks Inn and, by phoning ahead at this stage, was able to increase it to ten.  Through East Farndon (downhill for once – as Iain noted) and Lubenham was delightful.  We reached the locks at 12.30 p.m.

The inn was fully booked for lunches, and there was a queue – so it was good to have a table set for ten waiting for us; and a helpful waitress bringing us drinks and meals.

Leaving Foxton at 1.30 p.m. we went on some lanes new to most of the group – to Theddingworth and Sibbertoft from the north. We climbed up to Naseby again and enjoyed the fast descent.  Then the last big climb of the day was up into Guilsborough.  One or two pimples brought seven of us back through Teeton and Holdenby to the BVW and the A5199 by 3.40 p.m.  (Iain, Eleanor and Bill had peeled off at appropriate points.)

Everyone claimed to have enjoyed the route but, as a distinguished music critic once said that an orchestra is nothing without listeners, so a planned route is nothing without riders.  My thanks are heartfully felt to my nine fellow pedallers.  I hope that Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki join us again.

 

Report on recce for Sunday 17th February ride

I’m glad I left my recce to the last minute.  Today was the nicest biking weather for quite a while.

Start from the Brampton Valley Way near The Windhover at 9.30 a.m.  Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café.  Lunch at Foxton Locks Inn.  Return to The Windhover.

Out via Holdenby, Spratton, Creaton, Cottesbrooke, Naseby and Clipston to Great Oxendon at the Waterloo Farm Café  .Don’t be alarmed by the A5199 between Spratton and Creaton; we’ll use the dual-use path on the eastern side.

On via East Farndon and Lubeham to Foxton Locks.

Return via Theddingworth, Sibbertoft, Naseby, Guilsborough, Teeton and Holdenby to The Windhover.  There’s a short stretch of A road (the A4304) just before Theddingworth; it’s about ½-a-mile and the only A road on the whole day.

That makes it a very narrow figure-of-eight centered on Naseby.  As I was a history teacher for forty years, I can’t get enough of Naseby.  One of the three most important battles in English history!  (The other two being the Battle of Hastings and the Battle of Britain.)  Riding the area on a bike is a close to seeing the view from 17th-century horseback as you’ll ever get.  You appreciate why, at dawn on the day of the battle, both sides raced to control Naseby church with the view from its spire.  Fairfax’s own view on the ground is magnificent enough!

Some may want to join us at Waterloo Farm.  Some may want to say goodbye at Foxton Locks.  Timings:  if we leave The Windhover at, or shortly after, 9.30 a.m., we’ll reach Waterloo Farm at approximately 11.00 a.m.  A table is booked at Foxton Locks Inn at 12.30 p.m.  If we leave Foxton Locks at, say, 1.30 p.m. then we’ll be back at The Windhover at 3.20 p.m.

If anyone needs afternoon tea, then Seatons at Guilborough will be open and serving hot drinks, although I was given the impression that hot drinks would be from a machine.  Certainly the café space there is much reduced since I last visited.  I got the impression it was under new owners.  We’ll be in Guilsborough at about 2.40 p.m.

Distance: just over 45 miles.  Route on Endomondo here.

Here’s the Foxton Locks Inn’s menu for Sunday.  There’s a range of roasts and Sunday dinners at one end, with filled warm baguettes at the other end.  Today, I had a pint (of very good real ale) and a filled baguette.

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IMAG0209I hope to see lots of you on Sunday morning!

Ride into Leicestershire – just! (Sunday 17th February)

Ian Macsporran will be leading this ride and writes:

This Sunday’s ride is to the north, just into Leicestershire.

Start from the Brampton Valley Way, near The Windhover, at 9.30 a.m.

Originally, I had intended (and it’s advertised in the rides list as such) to get to Saddington for lunch.  The Queen’s Head, unfortunately, has just been taken over by new management.  Well, that’s not unfortunate; it’s just that they closed their kitchen and are re-opening to serve food next Sunday (24th).  So I’m proposing to make Foxton Locks our lunch stop.

Out via Holdenby, Spratton, Creaton, Cottesbrooke, Naseby and Clipston to elevenses at Waterloo Farm.  (My original plan was for elevenses at Farndon Fields Farm Shop but that was close to Saddington and is just too close to Foxton.)

Return via Sibbertoft, Naseby, Guilsborough, Teeton and Holdenby to our starting point.

About 45 miles.

I should tell you that I’ve still to ride a recce!  Apologies!  I had planned to do it in January – but found the weather and a hectic social life put the kybosh on that.  I had planned again for this Monday or yesterday but I chickened out again for weather-related reasons.  Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I’m a romantic and so I’m now planning my recce for Friday!  It should be milder!!

[I’m off to London on Saturday to ride my Brompton around London with some like-minded Bromptonauts.]

The BBC website is predicting cloud and sunny intervals for Sunday itself, with temperatures up to 7° which is a little more normal.

Why not join us?

CTC Northampton in the 1940s

I know it should be “Northampton CTC DA” (I think!) but I am grateful to David Upton for finding this article by Alan Burman, first published in 1997.

Day trip to Derbyshire on two wheels!

It was a sparkling summer morning in the late forties, the air rushing on our faces was full of the scent of hedgerow flowers and the verges were waist-high with keck.

The only sounds were the thrill of songbirds…and the swish of 60 narrow tyres!

1940s Image1

I was out with the Northampton branch of the Cyclists Touring Club in the post war heyday of the bicycle boom.

The Northampton group, officially known as the District Association, had existed on and off since the turn of the century and had been at its most thriving back in the 1920’s during the enthusiasm for the great outdoors that spawned numerous hiking and biking clubs.

After the Second World War, with petrol in short supply and new cars only obtainable under priority purchase schemes, the bicycle again came into its own and the pastime blossomed once again.  The CTC nationally had over 53,000 members at this time.

The Northampton section commonly met about 6.00 a.m. on a Sunday morning outside the cycle shop opposite the Town Hall. Riding two abreast in a long column we would set out heading for, perhaps, the Thames Valley, Bath or the Derbyshire Dales, distances on a day’s ride that now fill me with awe.

Many other clubs would be awheel before the countryside was awake and it was common to meet and greet other clubs, some from large towns like Coventry and Birmingham, in groups of 100 or more swishing past in the opposite direction.  We might see half a dozen such clubs before an early stop for breakfast.

1940s Image2

Cyclists, at that time, had many well-known and favourite cafés or teashops that catered especially for them.  Indeed, the CTC was the first organisation to run an approval scheme for eating houses, well before the RAC ,the AA or Egon Ronay!

Now and again a “tramps outing” would be run.  These events had a long history in the bicycling fraternity dating back to the old penny-farthing days. Dressed in old garb, we would cook up sausages and bacon over our little folding Primus stoves in the corner of some farmer’s field.

Once a year,we together with thousands of other cyclists, would converge on the Warwickshire village of Meriden, where a cyclists war memorial had been erected in 1921. Here, an open air service would be conducted by the Bishop of Coventry.

Well before the days when ancient bicycles were valued, an old gentleman from Coventry, a Mr Golby as I recall, had assembled a collection of historic machines and unselfishly loaned them out to be ridden to the service. The village was crammed with cycles, prewar tandems and sidecar machines, you name it and it was there.

Our local group included riders of some odd machines. One family rode out on a tandem with their son on a trailing attachment rather like a fork-less bicycle attached to a pivot under the saddle. A younger child rode in a miniature sidecar alongside.  Tricycles had had great popularity in the pioneer days of cycling, but by the fifties were uncommon.

Nevertheless, the Tremaine family, father and two sons, were great exponents on  three wheels. The sight of the boys on a tandem trike descending the hill into Aldbury  at speed, leaning below the level of the wheels to keep balance, the tyres screaming, and with the wheels flexing under the strain as the machine rounded the hairpin bend is indelibly imprinted on my memory.

The local CTC was one of the first groups to run a cycling proficiency scheme anywhere.  The idea had first been mooted in 1947, a joint conception by the club and RoSPA, and shortly afterwards the Northampton section joined the Brixworth Rural District Council in initiating a training programme for young riders.

The Northampton group still survives and must be approaching its centenary.  I wonder if today’s riders have as much fun as we did. I hope so!

[Editor’s note: CTC Northampton still cycles down the hill into Aldbury, most recently on the Nearly Golden Beeches Weekend last October.]

Report – Ride on Sunday 10th February

Ian Macsporran went on this ride, led by Bill Simpson, and writes:

Just like the last time we cycled to the A5 Rangers Club-House in Towcester (for the CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes AGM), four wet riders met in the pouring rain at Hunsbury.  This time we were Ian, David, Phil L and our leader Bill.  This time the venue was hosting the annual Cyclists’ Jumble Sale!

Again, we didn’t hang about after 9.30 a.m. and Bill set a good pace to get us to Towcester and dry shelter!  It was the first time I’d been to this annual event and it was fascinating – not just for the items for sale but for the coffee and cake and, of course, the conversations with old friends.

IMGP5682The plan was always that we would make our ways home independently.  Phil pretty much turned round for the return leg straightaway; David must have followed him shortly afterwards; and Bill was to head for a cycle shop in Milton Keynes.

I had two lots of coffee and cake and felt fortified enough not just to skip lunch at Greens Norton (my original plan) but to add to that part of the loop by going through Abthorpe, Slapton and Bradden as well.  Route here.

From Hunsbury back to Hunsbury, this was 26 miles.  Add to and from home, and I enjoyed a damp but worthwhile 37 miles.

Footnote: returning to the town centre down Towcester Road, I stopped to photograph two houses which a friend who grew up in the area told me were the only houses built in a proposed Northampton Garden Suburb.  Photos and more details in my personal blog here.

 

Ride to Towcester – Sunday 10th February

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, writes:

On Sunday morning, at 9.30 a.m., we will be gathering in East Hunsbury for a ride over to Towcester and the annual cycle jumble at the A5 Rangers Clubroom.

Bill will be leading the group there but it may be a case of making your own way back, especially if you divert to Greens Norton for lunch.

Bring some pennies and stock up on brake blocks and p*nct*re repair kits (or bring some pounds and see what bigger stuff takes your fancy).