“Cycle Revolution” at the Design Museum

Phil L writes:

Last week whilst in London I visited a cycle exhibition – called “Cycle Revolution” – at the Design Museum and have to say it’s a great exhibition, well worth going to see if you are down that way.  If you aren’t familiar with its location, it’s not far from Tower Hill or London Bridge tube stations.  Check it out on the Design Museum’s website or read this article in the Guardian.  It’s on until 30 June 2016.  If you travel in by train, the exhibition features in the 2-for-1 ticket concession.  If you go on your own, there are plenty of discounts on the admission price on the usual cycling websites.

Here’s a synopsis of the show which aims to celebrate the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain from every-day commuting to Olympic-level competition and to look at where design and innovation may take the riders of the future.

The bikes on display include:

  • Bradley Wiggins’s 2015 Hour-Record bike and 2014 World Championship Time Trial bike
  • Bikes and other kit and equipment from Chris Froome’s 2015 Tour de France victory
  • Chris Hoy’s 2012 Olympic Track bike
  • The Mike Burrows bike ridden by Chris Boardman at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games
  • Eddy Merckx’s 1972 Hour-Record bike
  • Francesco Moser’s 1984 Hour-Record bike
  • The earliest existing prototype Brompton
  • A 1978 Breezer Series 1
  • A 1969 Raleigh Chopper.

There’s a builder’s workshop – showing the tools and materials that create a bespoke machine.  Six independent British bike builders are profiled – Donhou Bicycles, Toad Custom Cycles, Hartley Cycles, Robin Mather Cycles, Mercian Cycles and Shand Cycles.

High profile cyclists including Norman Foster and Paul Smith discuss their passion for cycling and hopes for its future in a film.


Report – Ride to Cyclists Carol Service – Sunday 9th December

A first for everything: a card-carrying atheist enjoying riding and taking part in the (61st) Annual Carol Service of Leicestershire & Rutland CTC!

Brian, David and I met at “The Windhover” at 10.00 a.m. on a bright morning.  We’d planned a simple ride along the Brampton Valley Way.  A mountain bike along this track is slower than a road or touring bike along the lanes.  Enjoyable though, once in a while – and you can chat as you ride.

IMG_0007Brampton Valley Way – at the Kelmarsh Tunnel

By 11.20 a.m. we were at the Waterloo Farm Café and met up with Max and Pete from CTC Kettering and our very own John Cutler.  Refuelled, we took the road route through Market Harborough to Great Bowden and SS Peter & Paul’s.

IMG_0014Great Bowden church – SS Peter & Paul’s

Chicken stew for lunch in the church hall and then into church!  A welcome from the vicar (Rev James Shakespeare), seven carols, six readings (one by Max), a brilliant prayer (May God bless Sustrans!) and a nice address from the vicar.  He quoted from “Little Gidding” – so Shakespeare quotes T S Eliot (boom! boom!).  Tea and mince pies in the church hall.  Fellowship renewed, new friends made.

IMG_0025The Carol Service

A fairly slow cycle home.  John was on his Brommie – for the Brompton Valley Way (groan! groan!).  And we arrived back at The Windhover in the dark.  Great stuff!

Thanks to Peter Witting and CTC South Leicestershire who organised the service; Robert Sulley and CTC South Leicestershire bell-ringers; Rev James Shakespeare; the members who provided the refreshments; and David for his photos!

Report – Origami Ride – Saturday 8th December

Tony Care went on this month’s Origami ride – organised by The Folding Society – and writes:

I arrived at Meriden in bright sunshine after a trouble free drive and was
thoroughly looking forward to the ride, the conditions were perfect, a cold
crisp sunny winter morning. The only draw back was I had only just recovered a
few days earlier from a nasty virus, which had left me with the residue of a
chest infection, but I had established beforehand I could cut the ride short, at
any point should I need to, so all eventualities covered.

The ride started from the Meriden Tea Rooms, well known to most cyclists, being
only a few yards from the famous Cyclist’s Memorial on the green.

settingOffSetting off from Meriden Tea Rooms

I should point out that at the Christmas “Origami Ride” it is regarded
obligatory to decorate your bike as well as yourself on a festive theme and I
was attracting quite some interest from passers by as well as the riders –
resplendently dressed as “Santa” with my red Brompton ablaze with red tinsel and
flashing lights. I am glad to say there were plenty of other Christmas hats,
coats, ear muffs, bells and flashing bikes in evidence too, but, judging by the
enthusiastic comments, I was the bookies favorite for the best adorned bike and
rider prize.

santaTony as Santa

The ride was to the north of Meriden in picturesque lanes near
Packington Deer Park in the countryside between Shustoke and Fillongley and
there were variations of approximately five, ten or fifteen miles dependent on
which short cut on the map you took (“Heath Robinson” folders are sometimes
specially created just for the Christmas ride, hence the “Get-out-of-jail free”
routes back to The Bull at Meriden. None were in evidence this year though!)
Although the ride is an important part of the day, a big focus is the social
“Christmas” lunch that follows and everyone was looking forward to both.
If anyone tells you Warwickshire is gentle rolling hills, they are wrong! There
are some stiff climbs and with my residual chest problem I was soon feeling them
and it, wheezing my way up the steeper inclines. Despite being a clear bright
day the lanes were running with water and at one point, at the bottom of a
descent, we were confronted by a completely flooded road from one side to the
other, so it just goes to show how wet it is everywhere at the moment (a very
considerate driver waited patiently as we all made our way through, I thanked
him for waiting and he said it had been like it for weeks, he had slowed as he
knew it would be there).

peletonThe Origami Peleton in the Warwickshire lanes

Shorty after the next hill I started to feel a bit tight across the chest and
advised the “Sweeper-up” that I was taking one of the short-cuts back to
Meriden, as it turned out, a very challenging short-cut, as I shortly came
across a three way divide and as the lanes were single track and well out in the
“Sticks”, the signs were not just sparse, but non existent. so I asked a local
farmer who was in his yard washing his four wheel drive, which way to go, he
sent me the quickest route, rather than the cyclists route, which unfortunately
for me took me over the highest point in Warwickshire (the forest of aerials on
top should have told me something), apparently the local cyclists call it the
“Ansty Alps” (I was informed later). Anyway, a three speed Brompton was not the
bike to be climbing it on, I can tell you, I was puffing and wheezing like a
train when I reached the top! The short ride into Meriden was not surprisingly
all downhill and on a main road, so I got plenty of hoots and waves dressed as I
was, of course, as “Santa” I did my duty and returned all the waves, (it would
have been unforgivable to disappoint any children in the cars), I had an aching
arm and was feeling very festive by the time I reached The Bull. The main group
arrived not too long after and we had a splendid pint of Timothy Taylor’s, a
good lunch and good company and yes I did win the best decorated bike and rider
prize, which was presented at the lunch along with plenty of good-natured
banter. Chest problem aside, a most pleasurable and enjoyable day out.
An invitation was/is extended to anyone from Northampton CTC who wishes to join
us on any of the “Origami Rides” to come along as a guest. (you don’t have to be
riding a folder to join the rides as a guest) I have attached the the 2013 list
below, you will note the nearest one to us is Milton Keynes in May, but you will
be made most welcome at any other venue, we are a friendly bunch and the bikes
are interesting too!

I will provide start information before each ride, when it is e-mailed to me,
for those interested.

A Very Merry Christmas to everyone, have a splendid festive season,

These are the Origami rides we have planned for next year :

January 12th       Cosford, West Midlands
February 9th       Coventry
March 9th            West London
April 13th             Long Eaton
May 11th              Milton Keynes
June 8th              Shrewsbury
July 13th              Leominster/Shobdon
August 10th         Didcot
September 21st  Swindon
October 12th       Duffield
November 9th     Melton Mowbray
December 14th   West Midlands

Andrew Ritchie, inventor of Brompton Bicycle, in Oundle on Wednesday

On Wednesday 14th November, at 7.45 p.m. in the Stahl Theatre, Oundle, Andrew Ritchie, inventor of the Brompton folding bike, will talk about getting his cycles on the road.

I’ve heard Andrew Ritchie talk before – at Nottingham University (on the iconic former Raleigh site) back in February – and he is really good value.

Andrew Ritchie at Nottingham University (February 2012)

This will be followed by Dom Gill’s film, “Take a Seat”, about his intrepid tandem trek from Alaska to Cape Horn.

Tickets £5 each, available in advance or on the door on the night. For more info: http://www.oundlecinema.org.uk/documentary-programme


Nearly Golden Beeches Sunday Ride – 14th October- a report

I had signed up for one of the Sunday rides on offer yesterday at CTC South Bucks’ “Nearly Golden Beeches Weekend” based at St Leonards near Tring.  And an adventurous day it was!

I’d thought that travel from Northampton to Tring would be straightforward on London Midland and had studied the printed timetable.  Going south would be on one train; coming north at the end would be two trains with a change at Milton Keynes.  Then I checked London Midland’s website on Saturday.  No trains out of Northampton on Sunday; a replacement coach service instead.  I decided to swap Galaxy for Brompton to make the coach journeys hassle free.

Ought I to change my choice of ride?  I’d signed up for the longest of the three rides at 47 miles.  I contemplated the medium ride – 36 miles but advertised as “hilly”.  Forty-seven miles on the Brompton it would be!  To get to the coach at Northampton Station meant leaving in the dark and so lights and a hi-viz waistcoat it was.

Then, leaving Tring Station in plenty of time to get to St Leonards, I had a puncture just one mile in.  Now changing Brompton tyres and tubes is not straightforward.  Even for the front wheel, I need to carry the manual with me as everything has to be undone in a particular order and replaced in exactly the reverse way.  Thanks goodness it wasn’t the rear wheel!  And, of course, the smaller the wheel, the more difficult to lever off a tyre.

Anyway, one of the advantages of sticking to the 47-mile route was that I’d planned to ride to St Leonard’s pretty much along the way the ride would leave (South Bucks send route cards out in advance) so that I would, if necessary, be able to meet the riders on the way.  I have to tell you that the climb west from Tring Station is an early morning wake up call!  However, when I saw the group approach, I did an about-turn and joined them. We went at quite a pace and I thought it was really hilly, especially for a Brommie.  God knows how “hilly” the 36-mile route would have been.

After a little while, the eighteen riders broke into two groups: a fast and a not-so-fast.  Six of us made up the “not-so-fast” group and, to be honest, the hill-climbing was a treat because of the vistas we viewed.  Many people will know the Chilterns escarpment at Whipsnade which gave us our best view north.  Indeed, I was convinced the route was just going up and down the escarpment all the time.  We had late elevenses at Stockgrove Country Park and I felt refreshed.  Refreshment grew to pleasure when we turned off the road to pedal for several flat miles along the Grand Union Canal towpath.  Our leader promised us a steep climb away from the canal, a descent into Tring and a steep climb to the finish.

I was dreaming of the descent into Tring and saying my farewells there.  Why should I want to put my body through a second ascent of my early morning climb?  Then the dream improved.  Just before the promised steep climb away from the canal, a sign on the towpath indicated Leighton Buzzard Station!  Why go on to Tring?  I made my farewells then and there.  Indeed, less that five minutes later I was on the platform at Leighton Buzzard!

The route is here. I did take a camera but had not the time nor energy to use it.

Resolutions: (1) to sign up for the whole of the Golden Beeches weekend next year, and (2) to take my Galaxy!

Ride Report – Sunday 20th May

Ian Macsporran went on this ride, led by Iain Dawson, and writes:

Five members assembled outside Moulton Co-op at 9.30 a.m. – Iain D (our leader for the day), Brian, Dave, Mike and Ian M – for a loop to the north, around Market Harborough.  Elevenses were planned for the Waterloo Café at Great Oxendon and lunch for the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh.  It was also agreed that we’d use roads, rather than the Brampton Valley Way, to get to the first café. We started promptly.


The route can be found here.  (Speed and ascent details are missing but Brian gives the total ascent as 2,700’.) It was a splendid route, taking us into parts of south Leicestershire we don’t often visit and such delights as a very smoothly surfaced descent from Harrington to Newbottle Bridge and a memorable lane north out of Market Harborough over the A6.


We were in good spirits at the Waterloo Café and a bacon sandwich was consumed prior to the expected vegan cuisine of the Buddhists’ café.  Market Harborough and Great Bowden were quiet.  The lane from Great Bowden to Welham is accessible really for non-motorised travellers only and was full of cycles, horses, dogs and ponies.  The descent on the B6047 south of the Langtons was enjoyable then we were up into Foxton and Lubenham and Iain D’s favourite climb through East Farndon.  Quiet lanes took us to the Buddhist Centre at Kelmarsh where disaster almost struck – the café was closed because the Buddhists had all gone to a Spring Celebration.


A short detour took us to Kelmarsh Hall and its tea-room.  Added bonus – although it’s probably not official CTC policy to admire motor cars – was to find the Mercedes-Benz Club’s W123 Rally taking place with a host of classic Mercs parked on the drive in front of the Hall.

After lunch, it was a straightforward pedal back though Haselbech, Cottesbrooke and Brixworth to cross the dam at Pitsford Water and return to Moulton.  Brian was a Good Samaritan outside Brixworth, helping a lady cyclist who was trying to get to Hinckley without a map!


It was a cool day.  Everyone arrived at the start with plenty of layers on – and none were shed during the entire ride!  We all agreed at the finish, however, that it had been an excellent day’s cycling and that big thanks were due to Iain D.

P.S. Tales of Bromptons, Manchester and Rain!

Further to my stories at the Waterloo Café of the Brompton World Championship Launch last month – riding my Brommie around the Manchester Velodrome, the rain in Manchester, and the Bromptonaut from Sunderland pedalling into the Bridgewater Canal – here is some further amusement/evidence:

The official Brompton Bicycles video of the event with good footage of the velodrome is here – it’s short (1’31”) and even if you don’t blink at 1’07” you’ll miss me.

The best video of the Bromptonaut in the canal is from my friend Mick Blackman here.

My own photos are here.