On the Gentle Paced Social Ride last Sunday, the ladies outnumbered the men!
Our headline is a little bit tongue in cheek maybe, but it’s long been a key objective of the club to recruit more female riders and even up the gender balance a little, so this was truly gratifying to see. We’ve had quite a few new ladies trying out our rides and signing up recently, helping us get to this little milestone.
As a club we quite understand how cycling can seem to be male-dominated, especially with the vast majority of TV coverage being of men’s races, but of course there are a large number of keen female cyclists as well, and we’d like to encourage more of them to join us. We are a friendly, inclusive club and look forward to seeing even more ladies join us in the future, so if you’re thinking of giving us a try please do, you’ll be in good company.
I have lived most of my life in Farnborough, moving to the area as a young boy in 1969 having been born in Woking.
I grew up cycling to and from school, cycling in and around Hawley Woods and doing a paper round when I was 13, having to cycle through those woods in the darkest mornings of winter to deliver one paper to one house.
I was always aware of a small group of cyclists meeting at the Bridge around 9.30am on Sundays and thought I‘d check it out some day.
In the interim decades I cycled a lot here in the UK as well as trips in North America, France, Italy and Germany, but almost always on my own with only the odd trip with a friend or two. A mixture of on road and off road, depending upon my mood of the day.
Like many cyclists I became obsessed with data, throughout my rides checking how far I had ridden and how fast, what my heart rate was during the hill climbs and what my maximum speed was on the downhills. So much so, in fact, that on one British Heart Foundation London to Brighton ride I was pulled over by a police motorcyclist and almost charged for doing just under 55mph in a 30mph zone just off Ditchling Beacon.
When questioned by the officer, what did I think I was doing?, I didn‘t dare tell him “trying to get 55 mph on my Cateye odometer”. I was let off with a caution and my ride into Brighton was thereafter uneventful.
In 2016 I retired. I had reached 18 stone in weight through excessive corporate wining and dining and travelling the world with Time Warner. Following two prolapsed discs in 2005 I had neglected sport due to the associated pain and delayed recovery time, during which time I gained the weight.
I was ready for a change. I serviced an old Trek 300 MTB with a new Brooks saddle and new tyres and decided to ride the EuroVelo 15 from the source of the Rhine in Switzerland to its exit into the North Sea at the Hoek of Holland. 1500 km and 11 days later through Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland I finished the ride 12cm thinner around the waist and wanting more from my cycling.
So, some forty years after first looking at those cyclists at the bridge, my wife nudged me to go and give FCCC its first trial.
I spoke with Steve Hammatt and joined them in May 2018 for what was to be an incredible summer.
How far had I ridden was all I was asked and the rest, as they say, is history.
For the first few rides I was tested on the hills with the likes of Gavin Watson hanging back and motivating me at the rear of the group. He would kindly let me hang on to his rear wheel.
The thing I noticed the most was that I lost my obsession with data during the rides. We could chat as and when we wanted and I rarely looked down for confirmation of how far we had ridden, but would just make an odd check of the route if I had bothered to download the map (mainly to make sure I could reach the cafés for a bacon sarnie and cup of coffee mid-way round).
I have ventured out mainly with the gentle group, but also with the mid-paced group a few times, and thoroughly enjoyed it all so much that I have ridden for every available weekend in 2018 (assuming we were not in Germany where we have a second home) as well as during the winter and in the rain. Since joining I have put some serious mileage (for me at least) consistently into my bike week after week.
I am now several stones lighter (losing 14 kilos in 9 months) and have made a few new friends along the way too.
I can‘t believe that it took me over 40 years to join, but I am sure glad I did and I am sure so is my wife!
I realise that to make FCCC tick takes a lot of dedication behind the scenes from a rare breed of people who clearly put the club before themselves more often than I would care to count. The club nights, the web site, the meetings, the club kit secretary and the race meetings are, inter alia, all good examples of that dedication.
I would like to say thanks to FCCC and its variety of members who turn out early every Sunday and Wednesday under the railway bridge for making the small membership fee one of the best investments I have ever made.
We’re pleased to announce that the club has been awarded two team places (four riders in each team, so eight riders in total) in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 event on Sunday 4 August 2019, as part of the British Cycling Club Challenge.
This is the spectacular closed-road event that started following the 2012 London Olympics, taking in many of the capital’s sights before heading into Surrey to tackle Leith Hill and Box Hill, and then returning into London to finish.
We have been awarded one male team (four male riders) and one mixed team (two female riders and two male riders), for a total of eight riders. To be clear, although each team will be awarded a “team time” at the event, you can just ride the event as if you were an individual entrant if you like. So please don’t be put off if, for example, you think you might not keep up with someone else from the club who may be in the same team – you don’t have to stay together on the ride.
If you are a club member and would like to put your name forward for one of these places, then please email the membership secretary, Steve, by the end of the day on Friday 10 May. It doesn’t matter if you’re a long-standing member or if you joined yesterday – all members are welcome to enter.
If we have more entries than places available, then we will do our own ballot (picking names out of a hat at random) to determine who gets the places. If you lose out on the ballot, then you will be given priority for any team places that we might be awarded next year. As said above – it doesn’t matter if you’re a new member or one that’s been with us for many years, everyone has the same chance to get one of these places.
There are a few conditions to consider:
All entrants must be FCCC club members at the time of claiming a team place, and must maintain their membership through until at least 4 August 2019
All entrants must be British Cycling members
Each rider on the team must pay their own entry fee (£69) and complete their own online entry form by 17:00 Friday 31 May
Riders who hold an Elite or Cat 1 British Cycling Race Licence are not eligible to enter the Club Challenge
Riders who have already secured a place through the original ballot or a charity place are not eligible to enter the Club Challenge
Once a rider has paid for their entry, they are not able to transfer their entry to another rider (though will be able to defer their entry to the 2020 event)
For further details of the event itself, including details of what types of bikes are permitted, then see the event’s Rider Info page.
THURSDAY 11 April at 19.00
hrs – After last week’s washout we’re looking good for the Club’s midweek 8.5
miles TT on the HCC255a course. Open to
all-comers but free for club members, this is the link for the course https://www.plotaroute.com/route/198867
(We’ve received some concerns from local residents in previous years so please: Do not park in Mortimer Close, parking in Hartley Wintney and riding to the start is the best option. Keep the footpaths clear. If you need a comfort break please go in to the woods opposite Mortimer Close out of sight and away from the houses.)
SATURDAY 13 April at 10.00
hrs – the fast HCC175 is the course for Saturday morning’s 10 miler. Again
open to all-comers but free for club members, this is the link for the course https://www.plotaroute.com/route/265288
SATURDAY AFTERNOON at 14.00 hrs sees the club promoting, on behalf of the CTT, our 25 mile Open Event on the H25/8 course over at Bentley. Entries for this are closed but with over 140 competitors it will be a full-on afternoon for organiser Vernon Schutte and the club’s generous volunteers.
The next club off-road ride will be on Saturday 20 April. Although we’d planned to make the second Saturday of each month the regular slot for these rides, unfortunately this month real life has conspired against us and all our potential ride leaders have other commitments. So 20 April it is, and then hopefully from May onwards we’ll be able to do the second Saturday thing on a more regular basis.
Terry Holmes will be leading the 20 April ride, and full details will be available soon. As usual, we’ll be trying to accommodate both cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes, though we’ll know better on that once the route is finalised.
Also, look out for further news about a mid-week evening club off-road ride! Now that we’re getting lighter evenings, mid-week evening rides are easier to accommodate. More information coming soon, so stay tuned.
This Thursday 4th April sees the start of our 2019 series of Thursday night Club Time Trials that run every Thursday from now until 5th September.
As usual we’ll be posting weekly reminders of each week’s event on the Club’s Facebook page as well as including any last minute changes so make sure to follow us.
You’ll need to bring lights to ride home from the TT for the first few weeks or so – sunset for this Thursday is 19.40
Entry is free for club members, so if you’ve ever thought of
giving it a try now is the perfect time to come and try it alongside our more
regular club TTers. Start on your road
bike and see how you get on – it’s you against the clock and once you’ve set a
time that’s your goal for the next one.
In addition to the club championships trophies there are trophies
for both the most consistent member and the most improved member riding in the
club TTs so whatever your level you are in with a shout of winning one.
A full list of the Thursday TTs together with links to the courses are on the website here and if you have any questions about how to get started contact our Time Trial Captain, Vernon Schutte, at [email protected] who can give you all the help you need including adding you to our TT WhatsApp group where you can go for further advice and chat about anything to do with TTs.
The FCCC road race team have been in action over the past few weeks, with the number of available races increasing as we get into the race season proper.
Some notable results are as follows:
16 Feb Hillingdon Winter Series #15 Masters 40+ – Luke Stratford 6th
17 Feb Thruxton Behind the Bike Sheds Early Season 1 4th Cat – Adam Bassom, Joe Naylor and Noel Brooksbank all finished outside the top 10 but no doubt picked up valuable race experience
2 Mar MK Bowl March Circuit Series Round 1 3rd Cat – Mark Nuttall 7th
2 Mar Cyclopark LVRC – Warren Vye 10th (C), Tony Clack 9th (D)
The club will be hosting two Surrey League races just down the road at Seale on Sunday 7 April, with a 3rd Cat race starting at 9:30am and 2/3 Cat at 1:30pm. Thank you to all those members who have kindly offered their help in putting on this race (it takes a lot of people to help run a safe race), and if anyone wants to put in any last-minute offers of help then please contact the road race secretary, Warren Vye.
The club will also be hosting an LVRC race at the Dunsfold circuit on Sunday 12 May.
If you’d like to find out more about road racing with the club, and joining the friendly and supportive team, then please contact Warren Vye.
One of our club members is the transport and logistics director for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain, as well as other top bike races. He’s asked the club whether our members would like to help to crew the Women’s Tour this year.
However, this is not just a volunteer event. As a top-level UCI event there are daily allowances, food, accommodation and other benefits involved. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity to get very close to a UCI-level event and to see what goes on, and to be a part of making it happen. There will be world-class riders taking part!
The 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour is a 6-day event and starts on Monday 10 June and finishes Sunday 15 June, with a Race HQ day on Sunday 9 June. Race HQ day takes place at a hotel near the event start, where all the briefing meetings take place, and all event staff/crew receive their accreditation and clothing.
The delivery of these events is essentially split into 3 teams of crew – the starts, the route (including Queen of the Mountains & Sprints) and the finishes. Each team works independently of each other, so the start team will go from one start build to the next, and the same for the routes and finishes teams.
All crew work on the whole event, moving from stage to stage driving and/or as a passenger in a van, being paid a daily allowance, with all accommodation and food included. The working days are long but there is no better way to experience the Women’s Tour, a UCI World Tour level race, generally regarded by the riders as the best on their event calendar.
The above is just a brief outline of what’s required. If you are interested in working on this event, then please send an email to Paul Knight at [email protected] for further and more specific information regarding the current available roles.
Tickets to the event are normally £16 in advance or £20 on the door, but we’re giving these tickets away for free.
We only have a limited number, so if you’re interested then please email Steve at [email protected] , saying how many tickets you’d like (maximum two per member unless we’re undersubscribed). Please send your emails in by the end of Friday 22 March. This offer is only open to club members (but a club member can take anyone else to the show if they get more than one ticket).
If we are oversubscribed for members who want tickets, then we will put names into a hat and draw out the lucky winners.