Saturday, 23 January 2021

Life in the third Lockdown

 Jennie Jackson invited the women in the group to offer their observations on life during Lockdown.

This is how Francoise and Carolyn responded...............

From Francoise Humphrey

So instead of a formal contribution, may I put a few remarks on the effect of our successive confinements.... I am fortunate that I was in France for first confinement and that I am in England for the November and the current confinement. I now look at the first lockdown as some shock to the system... as in France we were abruptly barred from the great rides we normally enjoy on the pretty Brittany roads. For 6 weeks we could go no further than a 1 km radius from home, and that was after completing a very administrative looking form asking at what time we had left the house, what our address was and why we were outside of the house. Failure to carry the said form would entail people to a substantial fine.... This was harsh but it put us in a good stead for English style lockdown in November and now as we have not felt so restricted here.

Over the year what I have noticed amongst my non-cycling ladies friends, is how short tempered or snappy some of them are becoming, very much out of character for them... It is true that it is tedious to stay in, not to be able to go browsing in the shops, not to meet the grand-children, etc... What I have further noticed, is that it is usually those without a hobby of some sorts who are suffering the most. Perhaps cyclists fare better even though long-distance cycling is not an option at the moment. Am I reading too much in the benefits of cycling? Perhaps .... do I miss our summer rides in Brittany or in the depth of Surrey, most certainly.... do I miss seeing Grand-son Lewis (3) who lives in border-locked Indonesia, most definitely... but I am compensating with all sorts of long overdue DIY jobs (overdue no doubt because of the number of hours spent on a saddle in the past 15 years!) not too brood too much about our current situation. These lockdowns are not good but it could be worse as 20th century history can teach us!

From Carolyn Beer

I'm staying home watching the "Night Manager" on TV again and reminiscing our Cycle Holidays in Mallorca.  I am so pleased to have cycled in Mallorca (and John in his youth used to go on the Spring Cycle Training Camps).   I remember and visualise that I'm climbing up to the Monastery of Santuari de Lluc, stopping for coffee and visiting the Geology Museum at the top.  Dropping down to Port de sa Calobra, then realising I need to cycle back up that 6 / 7/ 10 percent mountain. Meandering round the Serra De Tramuntana, along to the "Orient", my favourite cycle tour.    In the evening, sharing a Meal in a Restaurant with marvellous cycle mates, chatting about our cycle endeavours of the day and drinking Margarita's.  My hairdresser is a mate of Stuart Hall the last time he heard from him, his family had relocated to Palma for the Winter to return to Pollenca during summer. 

A Sad Anniversary

 Ken and I met in the Wallington frost pocket on another bright but bitterly cold January day. Not being too sure how far "staying local " allowed us to go but knowing we wanted to be home before it got colder we agreed on Oaks Park as our destination.  The roads up through Wallington were deserted and we found our way to the smallholdings.  Here there were plenty of pedestrians enjoying their daily exercise and we slowly cycled along Telegrah Track and turned right down Oaks track.  Crossing Woodmansterne Road we cycled into Oaks Park and here met congestion and confusion. Cars were everywhere including on the pedestrian/cycling track.  Carefully making our way up to the cafe Ken suddenly recognised some friends and greeted them.  Nearing the cafe the mayhem got worse and I was really pleased to get to the bicycle parking area.  Bikes secured I joined the coffee queue while Ken looked in the park for seating away from the crowd near the site of the original Oaks Mansion house. 

It was here that the 12th Earl of Derby and his friends established the two prestigious horse races, The Oaks and The Derby, which now take place at Epsom Racecourse.  The Oaks originally ran through the park and part of the off rode route still exists.

                                                       The Oaks Burgoyne and Derby board

After coffee we walked round the chalk markings of the original Oaks Mansion house before leaving the park turning left  to cycle along Woodmansterne Road before a right turn up Metcalfe Ave.  We decided to visit the  area of park land with the David Aylett Memorial Area in what remains of the original Queen Mary's hospital grounds. Rather sadly it is almost 3 years to the day since David died.

                                                   David Aylett Dog-free and Picnic Area 

Now getting cold we headed for home. We left the estate  to enter Stanley Road and made our way across the maze of roads to Boundary  Road where we parted. An interesting ride, brief but perfect in the cold.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Cycle Lane on Foresters Drive, Wallington, under threat

 A resident in Foresters Drive (on the west side of Croydon Airport, joining Wallington to Purley) has circulated a petition to have the cycle lanes removed.  This is a pleasant road to cycle, except for the propensity for drivers to speed, and the number of felled plastic "wands" on the new cycle lane suggests more than mere accidental damage.

Ray Ward lives a mile away and received the unsolicited petition through his letter box.  Maggie contacted Councillor Jane McCoy (the local Councillor) about the petition.  Jane's helpful response is copied below, and this includes a link to the London Borough of Sutton survey on the cycle lane.  The survey does not close until mid April.

The serious accident referred to in Councillor McCoy's response sadly typifies the worst of the driving on this road.

If you would like to, please click the link and complete the survey.

Today, Maggie and I took a detour to visit the cycle lanes in question and this is what we found.  Obviously, Maggie removed the obstructions, but the Council's suggestion that if the lane becomes permanent, the wands will be replaced with "armadillo humps", will be an improvement. You can also see from the photo that there are cars parked in the northbound cycle lane.  When we last used the lanes, this was not the case, and given the amount of parking space available in residents' drives, we wondered if this was also deliberate. 

Dear Maggie

Thanks for getting in touch and alerting me to this leaflet, and the fact that you and others are supportive of the cycle lanes.

It may be helpful to note this information I posted about recently in respect of this cycle lane:

The lightweight plastic wands have not been welcomed as they are ugly and easily vandalised. Our enquiries revealed that these are temporary and the intention is to replace them with much less intrusive ‘armadillo humps’ should the lane be made permanent. You can feedback your views on the cycle lane trial here.

It might also be helpful to know that the fact that cycle lanes narrow the road is seen by highways engineers as a deliberate way to slow traffic down. Wide roads encourage speeding. Of course those people who drive badly will continue to do so. 

I spoke to the local police about the recent accident and that was entirely poor driver behaviour - a known violater presumed to be under the influence and speeding. It was a unique situation which very sadly has resulted in probably life changing injuries for the poor runner who happened to be in the worst place for this to happen. 

There is a formal consultation on the scheme that you can submit your comments on here.

We are all well here and managing to avoid Covid so far, but the rates in London and Sutton are rising alarmingly so I would urge everyone to take extra care.

Kind regards
Jayne McCoy
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Wallington South
Deputy Leader and Chair of the Housing, Economy & Business Committee
London Borough of Sutton
Voicemail: 0208 770 5031

Friday, 15 January 2021

Cycle to Factory Lane?? That's Croydon dump!!

 Friday morning was dry, at last! Ken & I discussed on the phone our Saturday ride but more rain was forecast. 

 Ken was about to cycle to Factory Lane, Croydon, because his 'Click & Collect' was going to be there on Monday but he didn't know the back streets of Croydon or the one-way system.  So why not cycle together now and work out the car route with Ken?

It was colder than it looked and we met as before at the Demesne Road /Croydon Road junction.  We started off on the well cycled route from Beddington Park, along the Wandle to the now derelict  John Lewis building.  We crossed Purley Way and cycled up Waddon Road and across the railway bridge.  Turning left on Waddon New Road we nearly continued on the cyclist only stretch of road but that was no use to Ken when he would be in his car.

We therefore turned right up Rectory Close with the A236 ahead. This busy road thankfully had a cycle track on the pavement which took us to Factory Lane.  We cycled past Croydon dump  and found the 'Click and Collect'. Retracing our route we discovered that Ken would have to rejoin the A236 and travel in what appeared to be the wrong direction. Luckily I knew that if Ken were to drive or cycle in that direction he would eventually get to the Lombard roundabout where he could turn left on the Purley Way or go straight across for Mitcham.  We cycled on the pavement, the road was very busy with large vehicles all one hopes obeying the essential journeys only rule!

                                          Wandle Park welcomes considerate cyclists! 

Turning back on ourselves we decided to stop off at Wandle Park for coffee. Unfortunately this wasn't to be as the cafe was closed. We did a quick circuit of the park leaving it on Vicarage Road and rejoining Wandle Road before making our way back to Beddington Park. 

I hope Ken gets his shopping ok on Monday. It was good to be out in the dry weather.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Reports from our correspondent somewhere north of Hatfield

Cycling in a foreign land; Ian Prince is locked down in North Yorkshire and sent us these reports

More news from the North...

Motorway signs in Yorkshire declaring “long queues at border crossing”. Strange, hadn’t heard Yorkshire had declared UDI, even if it it should. Are they referring to Scotland or Dover? Both about 200 miles away? Maybe they mean Wales, only 100 miles distant. Pretty pointless messages nevertheless even for cars and lorries. 

Incidentally how many people know that part of Hastings in E Sussex did similar to that in the past, declaring themselves the 24th state of America. So it is possible to cycle all the way to America by land without crossing the sea! So much more eco friendly than flying. Zero emissions - David Attenborough would be pleased.😃

Well no ice in the North here today apart from the one I was riding (Inspired Cycle Engineering -ICE-  in case anyone asks about the Cornish company who produce these recumbent / laid back trikes). 

Just poorly maintained roads from councils who haven't got a clue about dangerous roads for cyclists. 

Anyway, New Day, New Year. 

Traditionally up north, Audax used to run what was the first event of the year...... “Goodbye Christmas Pud” 100k ride from Yorkshire to Nottinghamshire and over into Lincolnshire on the first weekend or so of the new year. Well Audax have been more disappointing than CTC during 2020 as far as rides are concerned. At least CTC stuck with guidelines but kept going. But one of the joys of cycling is it can be both a solo as well as a group activity. So like the rest of the country, NYE was a quiet one at home, but the opportunity to go out on New Years Day whilst the roads were quiet and get a few exercise miles in for 2021 was too tempting. 

No snow, no rain, no wind, not too cold but why would any of those bother seasoned cyclists anyway, who plan ahead?

Headed out not sure how far to go today, just let the road unfurl in front and see how it felt. Not tiring, well wrapped up and just the odd cheery wave from people walking for exercise too. As usual the trike performed faultlessly. Not many cyclists out though - where are all those bikes bought in lockdown one? No Christmas presents? Probably the thought that virtual cycling on a computer is good for health and well being!

As the light started to fade with my lights blazing and 19.73 miles later,  it was a good first day. 

Who knows if I may do the Goodbye Christmas Pud route I know so well, in the next week or two......we shall see. 

More tales from the North in due course. 

Best for 2021,
Warm Regards

So we are all equally locked down together nationally and the weather has been cold and icy. Ironically work levels are good, so less time out on the bike/trike in the week than in lockdown “one” in 2020, but cant complain. 

Forced myself therefore to get out on the ICE Trike today.....well we all need the exercise and I want to build back to longer days and tours out as we go through the year. 

Blacko Hill Farm in the distance.

For those still unfamiliar with what an ICE Trike actually is (sorry if I am teaching folk to suck eggs), here is a quick capture today out in the late afternoon. (No selfies of me, though - I dont take a good picture). 

ICE Trike taking a rest

A very leisurely ride and it was  not until I had been out for two hours did I recognise my feet in overshoes were somewhat frozen. (The snow and icy has dissipated and apart from first thing in the morning, it is relatively pleasant but with temperatures around zero degrees C). 

So a twenty one mile round trip into parts of Yorkshire and back home. The ICE, with its four front and two rear lights, performing as any cycle should without any grief or problems. (Even installed a cheap rear facing video camera received at Christmas to see how other road users treat the trike. (Very good today)). Notched up 600 miles now on the ICE! 

No tea, cafe or pub stops today although I was tempted to investigate a ‘take away’ pizza ‘cafe’ operating from a mobile trailer near a hotel. Enterprising indeed.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Where do you meet when Covid cases are surging?

 Having lost a friend to Covid on Christmas Eve and with Covid infection rates between 1in 20 and 1in 40 in London Boroughs I wanted to choose a meeting place away from any gathering of people. Until today Ken and I had met at the cafe in Beddington Park but that is next to the children's playground,  the car park and the queue for coffee. So we chose the unlikely spot of the corner opposite the entrance to the park,  double red lines preventing any cars stopping and pedestrians hopefully moving quickly to the park.

It was a beautiful sunny day but bitterly cold. Double gloves just keeping fingers from frostbite! We didn't hang about, very brief pleasantries and we cycled through Wallington to cross Stafford Road and make our way to Farthing Down. En route we were flagged down by Ray, well wrapped up in his Christmas scarf and waving some paperwork frantically at us. A petition to remove the cycle lane on Foresters Drive had been put through his door with instructions to sign it!!!!! Well that won't be happening and more about that in another  blog.

A surprising number of cars were on the road, given they had to be on essential journeys!! 

I'd told Ken I was going to stop at the top of Farthing Down to take  photos of the city as it was such a beautiful day. But no, the city was shrouded in freezing fog and not to be seen. So we cycled on to Chaldon church and witnessed the odd phenomenon of rain apparently pouring off a yew tree. We stood in the sunshine and dry a few feet away - the snow must have been melting.

                                                       Ken and the raining tree!

Then back  to DD's in Coulsdon for tea where we happened to meet Paul who had cycled over Netherne and was chaining his bike to the fence.  A quick hot drink in the cold  and Ken and I left Paul to his own route while we cycled back uneventfully but getting colder all the time to Wallington. 

Thanks Ken for coming out today and stopping me turning for home when I realised how cold it was!

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Sue finds time to share her thoughts


Happy New Year everyone. Well, let’s hope this lock down works. I’m having my Covid vaccine on Sunday.

I know I’m very lucky to still have a job during these crazy times, but do feel very resentful when I hear people complaining they are bored at home. Most earn a lot more than I do, but still aren’t happy. I have to go to work every day and don’t have enough time to do everything I should be doing at home- why you ask, because I go out walking and cycling on my day’s off!

I don’t do all the interesting rides like a lot of you do; but have really enjoyed following the swan families in Bushey, Home and Richmond Parks. I certainly know more about them than I did before lock-down.

Some people have tried to say I have spent too much time out on my bike, but that still didn’t stop me. My Strava figures have come through and they say I have done a total of 4,300 miles and I think 3,785 miles was cycling the rest walking, so very pleased with that.

The photos are a mixture from the past few walks and rides.


     Stay safe and well.


2020 Photo Competition - an invitation to take part

Though we have had a very strange year we know that it hasn't been at all bad for all the photographers in the club so we'd love to see your best photos.

Please submit your photos before the end of January using this method:

Visit this website: "2020 Competition Dropbox" and follow the instructions to choose and deliver your photos.

N.B. When using this website to post photos to the Dropbox it is not necessary to sign up to, or log into Dropbox even if you are invited to do so.
Once you have selected one or several photos fill in your name and email address then click 'Upload'.

Send an email to me, Tim, to provide this important information about each photo:

  •       the photo filename (e.g. P1040276.jpg)
  •       a caption which we will inscribe on your photo
  •       the competition category (see below)

The rules and categories are simple. The full 'Competition Rules' document is available under the 'Information Hub' heading on our website.

Competition Period: Photos taken during the 2020 calendar year.

Your photos must all illustrate a connection to cycling by depicting a bicycle or cyclist for example, or some obvious cycling association.

You may submit two photos in each category:

        6.1. Male      one or more male cyclists
        6.2. Female    one or more female cyclists
        6.3. Action    cyclist(s) in action
        6.4. Scenery   scenery or landscape
        6.5. Building  buildings, architecture
        6.6. Humorous  funny or amusing
        6.7. Group     any mix of male and female cyclists

Note that the award for a winning photograph in each category will be given to the photographer who took the picture, not to the model(s).

This method for submitting photos should work with any device (PC, Apple, iPad, iPhone, Tablet or Android phone) but if it doesn't work for you, please let me know so that we can address the problem. It does depend on you being able to locate the folder where you store your photos. It does not require you to install the DropBox app.

This is the best way of sending photos. Please note that some methods of transmitting photos, such as WhatsApp, shrink the photo before sending, diminishing the quality of the original photo as it is in your camera or phone.

Now I can sit back and await the cheerful tinkling sound your photos make when they land in my DropBox.

~ Tim



How far did you ride in 2020?

Annual Mileages 2020

This is a request to submit your mileage totals for the last twelve months (1st Jan. 2020 to 31st Dec. 2020) for consideration towards the annual awards for the greatest distances cycled. Jeff Tollerman has very kindly handed over the keys to the Big Spreadsheet where for the last twenty years the precious records of your accomplishments in the club have been maturing, at approximately the same rate as ourselves.

There are two shiny trophies, one for the woman who has cycled more miles than any other woman and one for the man for the highest mileage amongst the men. At this point in our social evolution having two separate prizes for persons of each gender might be starting to sound a little quaint. But that is our tradition and while the prize money attached to these two awards remains identical for both winners nothing is likely to change.

To summarise the rules, your miles must have been clocked up whilst riding your bicycle, tricycle, tandem or eBike on or off road. Mileages achieved on turbo trainers, Watt bikes or any other static contraption don't count. We know that this is something of a blow to members who have been keeping indoors, out of harm's way during the pandemic, riding through virtual alpine landscapes with Zwift or Rouvy but for now we are only considering miles actually, rather than virtually, travelled.

For the competition, contenders for the prizes must be regular riders in the club though we are happy to collect mileage data for everyone who is a paid up member of CTC South West London. And we wish to continue recording mileages for our several members who ride eBikes.

One of the joys of club life during 2020 has been the number of new people joining our rides. If you are curious at all about how many miles you ride in the course of a year please start recording your distances for 2021 in a diary or spreadsheet.

Just one word or warning; several riders who use smartphones running apps like Strava or RideWithGPS have experienced rides when their phones stop communicating with the satellites, sometimes for quite a while, and this can lead to totally unreliable data. So please verify the accuracy of your data. The evidence of this known problem is a long straight bee-line between two points on your ride where you know the road really had many twists and turns. (In my opinion this is not a problem which is specific to Strava or other phone app but is to do with the phone and its own software, memory resources perhaps.)

Please write to me with your total mileage:

Tim Court (Apprentice bean counter)

We sincerely hope that we might be able to present these prizes in our traditional awards ceremony at our Annual Lunch which happens in early March. But it is far from clear that this will be possible. In the meantime keep clocking up the miles.

A very Happy New Year to you all


Secretary, CTC South West London