Members reports of club rides.

Sunday 4th Oct 09.
Knaresborough - via Thorp Arch and Boroughbridge
Organised by Janet and John.

Report by Barry

We'd been out on the family rides and heard how the adult group were a much faster bunch of riders and that they did much longer rides. So, with some trepidation, we phoned Steve the regional officer and he advised us to have a go as the groups notoriety was not called for. He would say that though, wouldn't he?

We arrived in Otley at 0930 and met Janet and John the day's leaders, and 4 other tandems who all advised us to have a go. We left Otley at a fast pace, in a convoy and in single file until Pool where we took a right turn on to quiet lanes. The pace dropped, we were at least 2 abreast and more detailed introductions started. We passed through some delightful villages; Castely, Weedon, Dunkeswick, then across the busy A61 and on via more picturesque villages to Wetherby where we joined a new cycleway to the Thorp Arch trading estate (one of the country's first retail parks, I believe, and now over 40 years old). The café was fully supportive of cyclists and, amazingly, we found the cost of a full and sizeable English breakfast to be cheaper than a buttered scone. We chose the breakfast.

After a relaxed halt our cafe legs took us slowly out on to the old A1 and then via roads and villages I have never heard of, to Boroughbridge and lunch. The pace had been quicker than we were used to but riding in a bunch was so much easier.

After lunch we tried a spell at the front but after 15 minutes, though it actually felt like an hour, we had to drop to the back. No one seemed to care, and we were advised to take it easy and to sit in. We rode rarely more than 6 inch from the tyre in front and hung on until about one mile from Otley where, as is a tradition amongst cyclists, the last mile turned into a race. We arrived last but only 100m down on the bunch and with silly grins on our faces which said how much we had enjoyed the day, the ride, meeting new Tandem Club members and the whole day's experience.

Yes the adult group does ride quicker, yes the routes are longer but I'd advise other tandems to, as we did, have a go. I believe you'll be pleased at the outcome.

Thanks to Janet and John, a smashing day and one to remember.

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Saturday 28th Jun 09.
Clapham – Kingsdale - Yordas Cave – Dent – return via Barbondale.
Organised by Mark and Juliet.

Report by Barry & Janet

Meet at Clapham 1000 said the internet page advertising the meet. 7 tandem teams met on time but it was to be 1100 before the chit-chat and social catch-ups were completed and off we all pedalled. Being a social / family ride the first 500m were easy, then appeared the first 100m climb of the day. Now 1:7 is not really steep but with only a 5 minute warm up it was a real struggle and brought about the days first breakdown. Quickly fixed we coasted down to Ingleton and then on via back roads to the single track road up to Kingsdale.

Kingsdale is a lovely valley, its the scene of many cave rescues and where we would find Yordas cave; around which Mark and Juliet were to guide us. But first the small matter of climbing 150m up to the valley, luckily the climb was beneath trees so reasonable cool. At the top, whilst waiting to re group, we took in the fantastic views across to Ingleborough, it was in full sun and looked superb.

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A steamy Yordas cave

At Yordas we hid 7 tandems behind a wall and walked up to the cave. Inside it was beautifully cool and where Mark could show off his Hope 2 LED bike light; really awesome, must have one. With little rain of late the waterfall was still surprisingly pretty. We took a few steamy photo's (anyone got a better one than this?) and headed back to the bikes, with no caving converts amongst us.

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Playing in the soft tar!

The ride along Kingsdale is very pretty, with the stream bed below and the limestone mass of Whernside above, oh yes, and the narrow road in the distance climbing up yet another hill. Occasionally 1:5, and rising 200m, it saw us well spaced out but we regrouped at the top beneath cloudier skies but with tarmac beneath our feet still near liquid. We'd had a few breakdowns amongst us but nothing which couldn't wait for a quick fettle in Dent.

The descent to Dent was amazing; hairpins needing speeds as low as 10 mph, sweeping corners at 40 mph, and 1:4 sections again at 10 mph. At the bottom of the hill our rear wheel rim was too hot to touch, and I thought I'd been mostly using the two disc brakes. Certainly educational. (for our further thoughts and tandem brakes see the tech page. Techy Page) Juliet & young Lucy made a cautious descent as did Stephen who had 2 children on board (Isla 6ish and Cerys 2ish). How Stephen had climbed those earlier hills still amazes me, he'd had no help from his co riders and he'd carried drinks for them and changes of clothing to suit all weather eventualities. Well done I say.

Dent is a beautiful village and the choice of lunch stop, both for timing and quality of food, was perfect, although, the sudden arrival of 15 people did faze the proprietor for a few moments. Following lunch gears were sorted and bikes fixed ready for the next ascent. With 450m of ascent on 3 hills during the morning surely the homeward journey would be easier.

Again the first 500m was on flat roads (thanks Mark), then, turning a corner, the hills began. The post lunch euphoria quickly gave way to aching legs and ragged breathing as we climbed 150m over the next 2 km. Two sections were steeper than 1:7 and one steeper than 1:5, but once at the top there before us was the long sheep lined descent down and along the Barbondale valley, splendid, and no more really-serious hills Juliet assured us. Before leaving the valley we stopped at the ice cream van, the children had a paddle in the river (planned) and then a swim (unplanned). But with temperatures in the high twenties wet bodies were not a problem and Steve's clothes store soon had his pair clean, dry and freshly clothed.

Travelling through the lanes back to Ingleton Janet and I stopped near a gardener who obligingly gave us a hose down and filled both water bottles. Which was just as well because the ride had a sting in its tail, a hot airless climb out of Ingleton but then a great descent to Clapham and the cars.

Thank you Mark “just one more hill” and Juliet “no more serious hills”, the day and the ride were superb.

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2009 Christmas Walk and Christmas Dinner

The Christmas dinner was a multi faceted affair; the morning choice was a 30 mile cycle ride or a walk on Ilkley Moor. Janet and I chose the walk but 3 tandems set off up Wharfedale in convoy, each group hoping the overcast weather would not worsen. The walking group, numbering 10 and one dog, whilst stopping mid morning to drink Mark’s coffee, looked down into the valley and saw torrential rain, right where we estimated our tandem colleagues to be. With no jokes on our lips or smiles on our faces (honest) we set off further up the moors. Less than 30 mins later, this time most certainly without smiles, we were donning cag’s and over-trousers as the same torrential rain found us. It was then but a short walk to the White Wells Bath House but with temperatures little above zero the pool saw no bathers.

We sauntered down to Ilkley and, after a quick clean up and with make-up duly applied, we had a pre-dinner drink in the Vaults.

The dinner was excellent and plentiful; we even had free starters provided. Robert’s camera captured the event, as you can see below.

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