Our 13th outing on 20th February 2019
This saw Group Riders Mo Turney (e-Bike), Allan Burridge (e-Bike), Gabriel Leeming (e-Bike), Colin Rowe (e-Bike), Jeff Dunn, and John Thompson (on e-by-gum bikes) assemble at 09:30 in the car park of the Black Horse PH, Gt Linford, MK14 5AJ, for an interesting circular ride of 17 miles in good conditions and on level surfaces around the cycle tracks of Milton Keynes.
From the car park of the Black Horse, we joined the towpath of the Grand Union Canal for a couple of miles before breaking away to cycle around the Caldecotte Lake to the Caldecotte Pub & Grill, where we stopped for mid-morning coffee and cake. After a brief but enjoyable break, we cycled north via parkland cycle tracks, eventually re-joining the canal towpath to return to The Black Horse for a convivial lunch
2019 Brixworth U3A pedalling programme REV: 2018-01-16
Rides of between 10 and 30 miles are organised to take place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. The general plan is to rendezvous at a convenient location, ride some cycle paths, quiet lanes and/or tracks, and enjoy a sociable morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea in a convenient hostelry. See 2019 Pedalling Programme - on the right under LINKS
See also, the Route Map for the February outing
To enquire about membership, contact the Group Convener, John Thompson, on 07545 878 236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If a member wishes to join any of the programmed rides, they should notify the ride leader by e-mail or telephone so that the whole group can be advised and the riding programme updated. The decision whether a programmed ride goes ahead rests with the leader.
In addition to the programmed rides, members may suggest ‘extra-curricular’ rides, at home or away, inviting other Cycling Group members* to join them for ad hoc rides on alternative days, i.e. on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. Members should promulgate alternative ride proposals by email to all members using the addresses recorded on the Group’s membership list.
- Note: only current B&D U3A Cycling Group members may participate in Group rides
Annual Report 2018
Rides of between 10 and 30 miles are organised to take place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. The general plan is to rendezvous at a convenient location, ride some cycle paths, quiet lanes and/or tracks, and enjoy a sociable morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea in a convenient hostelry.
If a member wishes to join any of the programmed rides, they notify the ride leader by e-mail or telephone. The decision whether a programmed ride goes ahead rests with the leader. In addition to the programmed rides, members may suggest ‘extra-curricular’ rides, at home or away, inviting other members to join them.
Our first ride (of the group and of the season)
On a dull, but dry and chilly 21st February, Ann & Phil, Jeff and John assembled for the first ride of the season – and of the group – in the car park of the White Hart PH in Gt. Houghton, for a 5 mile ride to Salcey Forest, where we stopped for a coffee and comfort break in the Forest Café, after which we rode a 4 mile circuit of the forest on firm track, before returning 5 miles to Gt. Houghton for lunch in the White Hart.
What did we learn?
This ride proved to be very useful in terms of gauging the cycling fitness and ability of the riders, as well as the average speeds that can be expected on group rides at this early point in the season. This ride included a few short gradients which required the adoption of the GOAL (Get Off And Leg-it) approach but, even with these, we were able to average 8 mph moving velocity.
The length of the ride, at 15 miles, was probably at the limit of what can be expected at this stage, but cycling fitness will improve, as will average speeds, as we progress through the year. By the end of the summer we should be riding around 20 miles. In the meantime, the ride programme has been modified in the light of this experience.
Our second ride took place Wednesday 21st March – on cycle paths around Grafham Water
The weather was looking promising for our ride, and seven riders (John Thompson, Stuart Billington, Anne & Phil Morris, Gabriel Leeming, Clive Taylor & Jeff Dunn) gathered at the Marlow Bay Visitor Information Centre for a very relaxed circular ride of 10 miles around Grafham Water. The group stopped to enjoy a pleasant lunch at the Wheatsheaf PH in the Cambridgeshire village of Perry, before cycling the last 2 miles to our starting point at Marlow Bay. All agreed that this was an enjoyable outing, and were looking forward to the next ride in the B&D U3A Social Cycling programme.
Our third outing took place Wednesday 18th April – on the cycle ways around Milton Keynes.
This was a circular ride of 17 miles, undertaken at a relaxed pace by six riders (Clive Taylor, Gabriel Leeming, Anne & Phil Morris, Colin Rowe and John Thompson), starting and finishing at the Black Horse PH (MK14 5AJ). Our route took us south from Great Linford, following the Grand Union Canal as far as The Caldecotte, where we stopped for coffee before returning north via Willen Lake to The Black Horse for lunch. Our average riding speed was 7 mph and the weather and scenery were outstanding.
Our fourth outing took place on Wednesday 16th May
Four riders (John Thompson, Jeff Dunn and Ann & Phil Morris) departed from The George public house in Brixworth at 9:30 in cool and overcast conditions to cycle 12 miles on the Brampton Valley Way to Market Harborough for lunch in Pizza Express, where we were joined by Colin Rowe who, due to an oversight by the ride leader, had ridden independently to Market Harborough.
Fortified with pizza and pasta, the (now five) intrepid cyclists returned on a 14 mile rather hilly ride (really only a few cheeky little inclines) to Brixworth via Braybrook, Harrington, Lamport and Scaldwell.
Despite the fact that the distance and inclines were quite challenging, we averaged 9.5mph and covered between 25 and 30 miles – depending on each individual’s start point.
Our fifth outing took place on Wednesday 20th June
Cyclists Anne & Phil Morris, Clive Taylor and John Thompson rode a circular route around the Oundle Rural Ring in (mostly) dry and warm weather conditions. We started in Oundle and passed through Glapthorne, Southwick and Bulwick, where we enjoyed our lunch in the Bulwick village stores, recommencing the ride through King’s Cliffe, Apethorne, Woodnewton, Fotheringhay, Tansor and Cotterstock to the finish in Oundle. Once again we managed a riding average speed of 9.5 mph on this circuit of 20.5 miles.
Our sixth outing was on 18th July 2018
Today we, the magnificent seven (1), enjoyed a 15 mile cycle ride in comfortable weather, starting from The George and taking in Scaldwell, Old, Walgrave, Hannington, and Holcot, from where we rode the Western reservoir path to the dam, returning to Brixworth for lunch and refreshments in The George (3). Anne Morris (2) would have been awarded the ‘most improved’ cyclist – if such an award existed.
Our seventh outing was on 15th August (Report submitted by Colin Rowe, ride leader)
Group members Colin Rowe (ride leader), Gabriel Leeming and Peter Martin completed a 17 mile circuit of Rutland Water, in fair weather, with a lunch stop at The Horse & Jockey (LE15 8SU). The riders battled with a strong headwind in exposed places. The ride was enjoyed by all, in spite of the considerable number of hire bike riders on some parts of the route.
Our eighth ride took place on Wednesday 19th September 2018.
This ride was billed in the programme as a mystery tour. In the event it covered 22 miles, from The George (Brixworth) and took in Cottesbrooke, Naseby, Kelmarsh, Harrington, Foxhall, Old and Scaldwell before returning to The George for a sociable lunch. Participating riders were: John, Colin (pictured with his new electric bicycle) and Jeff, who joined for only the first 1/3rd of the ride.
The majority of the route was on single/farm track or (very) minor roads. There were some hills, and the total ascent was 960 feet. The weather was dry and sunny, but with 40 mph headwinds for the final 1/3rd, we were dodging falling branched and passing warily beneath furiously waving trees! In short, it was a little less than perfect for cycling.
Our ninth ride, on October 17th
This ride started in dry and warm weather, from the bridge over the river Nene at Irthlingborough, and followed a linear return ride of around 14 miles in total, stopping for lunch at the Water Mill Tea Rooms, Ringstead, before returning on the second leg of this level ride on the Nene Way, a disused railway track having a riding surface of compacted hard core, similar to that on the Brampton Valley Way.
Our tenth outing was cancelled.
Our 11th outing was on December 12th
This was a short (14 mile) ride in clement conditions, departing Brixworth at 10:30 and taking in Scaldwell, Old, Walgrave, Hannington and Holcot, returning to Brixworh via the Reservoir track. This was followed by the Group AGM, held in The George Inn, Brixworth, and at which the first year’s activities were reviewed, and the principles for our 2019 activities were established.
Reports compiled by John Thompson
B&D U3A Cycling Group Convener
Mobile whilst riding: 07936 881 563
GROUP CYCLING GUIDE
B&D U3A Cyclists is a group that participate in rides organised to take place on every second Wednesday of each month (weather permitting), and at other times for ad hoc and away-day rides. Membership of the Cycling Group is open to any B&D U3A member accepting the conditions of membership detailed in this document. Only members of the B&D U3A are covered by U3A liability insurance, and only B&D U3A members shall be permitted to join B&D U3A Cycle rides. (see also current member list and rides programme).
Terms and definitions
Ride Leader: An individual responsible for leading a ride and observing, where appropriate, the guidance detailed in the present document.
Ride Member: individual(s) agreeing to abide by the guidance in the present document.
Cycling is not, of itself, dangerous, but we all owe a duty of care to ourselves and others. Individuals participating in a ride are responsible for their own safety and ride with the group at their own risk.
Before taking part in a ride:
• ensure that you have a safe, roadworthy machine
• wear suitable clothing (helmets are not obligatory, they are a personal choice)
• carry a card or other document for reference giving contacts In Case of Emergency.
• carry a spare inner tube and/or a puncture outfit and a pump
• ensure that you have whatever refreshment (liquids especially) you might need on a ride.
It is recommended that lights are carried – in case delays mean that you run out of daylight.
Arranging a ride
Group Members are encouraged to plan and lead rides – but remember that it’s all about enjoyment..
Ride Leaders should encourage feedback from group riders during the ride; use the stops to see how people are feeling. Don’t wait to follow up after the ride as the results won’t be nearly as honest or meaningful.
For each planned ride circulate by email to Group Members a notification of:
• Date and start time,
• Whose ride it is (i.e. the Ride Leader and a contact phone number)
• Meeting place (RV)
• Length of ride (miles) and broad outline of route/itinerary (give coffee/tea/lunch arrangements).
• Estimated finish time
The decision whether a ride goes ahead should rest with the Ride Leader.
Safe Cycling Guidance
When riding in a group, please follow the instructions of the Ride Leader at all times
• Ride safely, following the Highway Code at all times.
• Do not pass the Ride Leader unless he/she agrees.
• If you become separated from the group, do not take risks to catch up - the group will wait for you.
• Riders should ride not more than two abreast. Sometimes, riding single file is safer.
• If there are a lot of riders (say 6 or more) in the line, then cycle in small groups (3 or 4) and leave gaps between groups to let overtaking traffic come in if necessary.
• Riders should not ride too close to others who may not be used to riding with you.
• Shout warnings (e.g. “car behind!”, “horses ahead!”, “passing on your right”) and signal riders if there is a danger in the road.
• We don’t have brake lights, so let other riders know well in advance if you intend to stop – shout “Stopping” loudly.
• Take especial care on all roads and lanes with restricted vision, looking and listening for other users including walkers, horse riders and cars.
• Take extra care at junctions and when crossing main roads, stopping to ensure that it is safe; make your own decision to proceed.
When leading a group ride:
Remember that riders are out for pleasure, neither racing nor taking intensive exercise, and the leader should set a pace that is within the capabilities of the group as a whole. So wait at the top of hills, or for those who are slow - and give them a chance to catch their breath before carrying on.
If the group becomes spread out, take care not to “drop” people when you turn left or right. Make certain that those behind know which way the ride has gone. Leave someone at the junction if necessary.
If the group exceeds, say, 6 riders, always have a back marker. The back marker’s function is to ensure that no one gets left behind. Ideally, the back marker should be one of the more confident and competent riders.
Mobile phones are very useful so that the back marker can contact the Ride Leader in case of need.
Cyclists Rights – what you need to know
Bridleways and Towpaths
Cycling on a pavement or a public footpath is forbidden in the UK, but it’s legal on a towpath or bridleway. Cyclists are advised to give way to pedestrians and horse riders, though, as a matter of safety and courtesy. Incidentally, there is no exemption in law that allows children to cycle on the pavement, although they may be immune from prosecution due to their age.
To ring, or not to ring
There is no legal requirement for a bicycle to be fitted with a bell or horn; giving a warning by calling out is sufficient.
Speed limits on public roads apply only to motor vehicles, not bicycles. Of course, cyclists who r ide recklessly or dangerously can be charged with an offence, but speeding in itself is not a crime.
Cyclists have the same rights on the road as everyone else. This means that motorists must give way to them when turning left or right. The same goes for cyclists on a roundabout; motorists should wait for them to move on from the right in exactly the same way as for another vehicle.
It's perfectly legal for a cyclist to undertake and overtake cars – otherwise known as lane splitting - faster progress through traffic. Overtaking on the right wherever possible is, of course, generally the safer option.
Middle of the Road
Cyclists are entitled to use the full width of their side of the carriageway in the same way as all road users. In towns and cities some drivers have the dangerous habit of opening car doors in a cyclist's path - a very good way of ruining a cyclist's day, or even life. Riding in the centre of the road avoids this, and may also be necessary to avoid potholes and drains, or to force drivers to overtake them properly, rather than trying to squeeze past where there isn't really enough space to do so.
Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.