Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Time trail series starts on 7th May.

Some news from Graham Foster, the club TT co-ordinator.
"The club TT series starts next week, on Thursday 7th May. The 10 TT thread on the club Forum will be the main source of information throughout the series so keep up with it regularly. The way it will work will be that a separate thread will be set up for each week of the series, so if you look at Week 1 and Week 2 which are already up, you'll see an announcement of the TT and a call for volunteers - in time you'll see results and the resulting league positions coming through week by week.

In the meantime, get out and train, read the guidance here especially the risk assessment and look forward to seeing you there."

Mystery Location

Mystery place 004
Graham 'Foz' Foster sent me a mystery location, can you guess where he took the photo? Foz says "First correct answer gets an extra special big shove when they start the TT next Thursday..."

Monday, 27 April 2009

New local sportive

Club member Malcolm Wake has been working behind the scenes, helping out on Action Medical Research's Trossachs Ton Sportive which will begin in Stirling on 21st June. The 100-mile circular route will start and finish at Stirling Castle and raises vital funds to support the charity’s work in Scotland. It is hoped that more than 300 riders will take part in the inaugural event.
The route has been designed by cyclists and will take riders through the heather-clad peaks of the spectacular Trossachs. It contains everything you would expect from a cycling challenge in Scotland - castles, lochs, monuments, hills and glens.
The sportive is fully supported, with food and water stops and a team of marshals and mechanics on hand. 
Action Medical Research is currently funding doctors and scientists based in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. This work includes projects looking at how to prevent premature birth and improving the success of a treatment that could reverse blindness.
Malcolm says "I got involved with Action Medical Research when I rode London to Paris with them last year, I said I'd help out if they decided to organise an event in Scotland. There has already been alot of local help, Sadiq's family business have kindly donated the sweeper van and the local council's "jet-patcher" has now been despatched to fill in the holes along the B829 to Inversnaid."
"We're looking for participants and for people who could maybe offer up a half-day to marshall, make a comment if you'd like to volunteer"
To register for the event visit www.action.org.uk/get_involved/trossachs_ton or call 01505 864334

Weekend Riding

Saturday Run 25th April 2Malcolm WakeAndy Brown
Saturday's club run saw a group of 5 riding along some new roads at the Eastern end of the County. Malcolm lead Peter, Matt, Dave and Andy over his regular training routes at the foot of the Pentlands. 
The ride began with the ascent of the Knock and then a quick left at the top, along a road we don't often use, to Dechmont. We headed back towards the Alps and then to Kirkliston where Dave nabbed the 30 sign. New comer Dave looks built for sprinting and and has a good turn of speed... with a bit of conditioning we might have our very own 'Cav'!
We continued on into uncharted territory for most of the group, Malcolm has kept these glorious local roads close to his chest, he says he finds our regular routes to Slammanan more of a thrill!
These early starts mean you can build up the miles, by 9.30 we'd been on the road for an hour and a half and had bagged 20-odd miles. Nevertheless our tummies were rumbling and we jumped at Malcolm's offer of a refuel at his gaff. But first we took in one of his hilly local circuits which ended up in Balerno and then Cafe 'Wake' in Ratho. Malcolm's better half, Jackie, served us coffee, and what looked like, the top tier of their wedding cake. (Thanks for the hospitality!) The four remianing riders headed back to Linithgow, with a tiring Dave still managing to bag a couple more 30 signs before his legs finally gave up.

Three riders were out on the steadier Saturday ride which meets at the bottom of Boness Road in Linlithgow. Newbie Melwin rode out on his fabulous new Gios with Jim and Steve, along a flat route based along the Edinburgh road. Melwin is starting to get in the miles so it won't be long before his enthusiasm translates into 30-sign sprints!

On Sunday Neil, Jim and David met up at the Cross and headed around the two bridges route Jim said "We used the new Clackmannanshire bridge and the connecting cycle paths, before finishing, Etape du Tour style, with a haul up Kingscavil (which I hit did at a steady 3.9 mph - any slower and I would have fallen off!). All in it was 45 miles, but at 17mph average, not 15. Sorry! No sprints though, although these guys can motor up hills like nobody's business! Great run and I was suitably sleepy on Sunday afternoon"

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Quiz: where am I No. 9?

where am i 9?
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

This lovely road is going to test your knowledge. Clue: It's not in Scotland. The first person to tell me where the photo was taken gets a free Walnut Whip.

New time for Tuesday Chain Gang

From Tuesday April 28th the ride will meet in Blackness at 7.00pm outside the Blackness Inn
The ride will start promptly, If you have time, get a warm up beforehand or better still ride out to the start.
Start point map

Easter Meet Awards

Most Meritorious section
This week we got together at Blackness Castle to get a quick photo of the club with our two trophies (Tom Groom and milage) that we won at the Easter Meet in Ramsbottom.

On Easter Sunday the dining hall of the hotel, (Easter Meet HQ) was the venue for celebrating the past year's achievements and it was packed! After the delicious meal came the cross toasting where anyone can stand up and propose a toast to anything they wish. Seven year old Alex even stood up on a chair and was cheered when he proposed a Toast to "people who support the cyclists"
Andy Horner from Bury Clarion was up and down like a yo-yo, accepting numerous competitive trophies for himself and his son.
The main Awards of the evening were:
Clubgirl: Emmy Hoyes, Stockport (central to all activities in Stockport and helping novices and young riders)
Clubman: Derek Hodgins, Stockport (the clubman's clubman...say no more)
Most meritorious Junior: Simon Jacklin, Fenland (attendance in many National & Fenland Clarion events in 2008)
Tom Groom Trophy for Most meritorious section: West Lothian Clarion  (grown from zero to 49 members in just over 1 year).

I'll publish the Clarion championship events in a few weeks, its worth entering them, just to be part of history, if you can make the journey. Some of our riders are good enough to get their name on a trophy.
Next Year's easter Meet will be Held on the South Coast at Eastbourne - so I guess we've got a good chance of winning the milage trophy again!

Many thanks to Peter Roscoe for organising such a great weekend that was thoroughly enjoyed by both the Hastings and Ball families who made the trip down from Scotland.

Witches' Challenge sportive

Clarion house sign Outside Clarion House
The 65km 'half' sportive set off at 10.00 and the route went straight up the notorious 'Rake' - an incredibly steep hill with adverse camber that is regularly used in the National Hill climb champs.After 3 days riding and still using my fixed I opted out of this challenge and took a more relaxed route to the top of the hill where I joined onto the fast group. 
It took about 15 miles to get out to the true country side and we swept up the early starters as we went. The first major climb of the day was Waddington Fell, which came before the feed zone in Slaidburn. After some flapjack that was almost as tasty as our own Mrs Paul's special recipe we carried on with the final leg of the ride which showed off how beautiful Lancashire can be. There were great views, very steep hills and long drags along quiet roads. 
We passed through Grindleton, Chatburn, Pendle, Barley and Roughlee to the finish at the Clarion House where we were served tea in enormous pint mugs and ate local cheese and home-made soup. 
The Clarion House was funded by the Nelson Weavers Association and built by the Independent labour Party in 1912 to be run as a non-profit co-operative. Walking into the cafe is like stepping back in time, it still has its original features and is decorated with photos of Clarion cyclists and memorabilia from the labour movement. The cafe is only open on a Sunday but attracts ramblers and cyclist from across the region. If you are in the area pop in to one of the original cyclists' cafes.
Jez took the day off from riding to give his knee a rest and helped his wife Tink time keep (thanks Tink!). I managed the 65km in 2hrs 54mins.

Friday & Saturday Easter Meet Events

West Lothian's performance of our new club song "Ye Cranks and Stays" brought the house down on the Friday Night. Kirsty was on Ukulele, and Jez's lead vocal was backed by Tink, Megan, Wena, Michael and Alex, we even managed to get the audience to join in with the chorus!

Clarion Hill Climb
I tied with Bury Clarion's Andy Horner to win the short time trail on Saturday morning and Jez won the Handicap event. All the kids rode the route too, with 9 year old Michael beating his older sisters Wena and Megan (As a 12 year old, Megan set the official junior record for the course). 7 year old Alex took part in his first race and was cheered across the line by a crowd of 30.

Saturday Evening ceilidh and buffet.
The Scottish contingent showed the sassenachs how to dance, If there was a trophy we would have won it! The evening was a chance to get to know new people and reacquaint ourselves with friends from other sections. The kids helped organise the raffle, and there was a special awards ceremony for the four youngsters who rode the hill climb.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Ride to the Easter Meet or Raid Clarion 2009

Shap Summitlost 1Border Crossing 2
More Pictures here
On Wednesday 8th of April, Jez and I set off on our three day trek to the Clarion's Easter Meet in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. Our plan was to bring home the Clarion's milage trophy, awarded to the section with the highest aggregate miles cycled.

We split the journey into three stages, Linlithgow to Lockerbie on the first day, Lockerbie to Kendal on the second and Kendal to Ramsbottom on the third. The trip was a little more challenging than usual because we rode the whole way on 67" fixed wheels, which meant only one gear and no freewheeling for 240-odd miles!

On the eve of the ride, fuelled by strong coffee and dram or three, Jez furiously penned a West Lothian Clarion club song, called Ye Cranks and Stays which was put to a Scottish folk tune by Kirsty. This paean to our club is so catchy that it stayed with me throughout the ride and kept me going when my legs were tired.

Linlithgow - Lockerbie
The ride got going once we passed through West Calder and set off for Carnwath. The rain eased and the sun started to shine, as we jinxed around the south Lanarkshire potholes. We stopped for lunch in Biggar at The Olive Tree Deli and Cafe which serves good strong coffee and descent cake.
From Biggar, the B7016 to Broughton and A701 are two of the most perfect cycling roads. Our spirits rose as the countryside opened up to reveal rolling lanes and green pastures.
We passed by the CTC hut, now run by the Bothy Association, it looked a comfy place to bunk for the night but it came too early in the day for us.
As we began the ascent of the The Devil's Beef Tub the cloud closed in and visibility deteriorated. The climb isn't steep and we rode side by side all the way up, keeping a steady rhythm up to the 407m summit, the highest point of our tour.
The descent to Moffat was long and straight, we were spinning out on the fixed wheels and it felt tougher than climbing up the other side. Jez, 'the patron of the road', blasted passed me to win the 30-sprint with a text book example of high cadence riding.
We met up with the Hastings family for a quick cuppa before the final leg to Lockerbie. When we set off again, a slight tail wind swept us along tree lined roads through lush green Meadows to our destination: The Manor Country House Hotel in Torthorwald. The hotel is about 10 miles west of Lockerbie and was a perfect rest stop, wwner Ken Hutchinson couldn't have been more hospitable, both families made plans to visit again.

Lockerbie to Kendal
I managed to reduce Jez's lead in the the sprints by beating him to the Gretna 30-sign. I'd taken advantage of the patron's caffeine withdrawl. In Gretna he desperately seeked out a hit of the black juice in the town's seedy back streets.
The only cafe we could find was a throw back to the 1950s, the atmosphere was thick with tobacco smoke, a couple looked keen to leave, a portrait of George V hung on the wall above a bric-a-brac stall and easy listening hits floated from a tape player in the corner. We were served chicory coffee by an old lady with a voice that sounded like she had a 40-a-day Capstan habit. We quickly got back on the road and headed south.
Progress was slow and our knees started to creak as we pushed gears that were a little on the large side for the increasingly robust head wind. At Carlisle the traffic was at a standstill, the town blighted by too many cars. We pushed on, not wanting to stay around and took the A6 to Penrith for our rendezvous with the Hastings Family in the No. 15 Cafe, where they serve a great coffee with free fill ups and delicious cakes and sandwiches.
After a hearty refuelling we began the ascent of Shap. The wind started gusting dramatically so we decided to take shelter in a sheep pen while the storm blew over. Shap summit isn't high at 309m, but on fixed wheels and in strong winds it was heavy going.
The last challenge of the day was the ride up the side of Whinfell Beacon. The climb along the A685 can be seen from the M6 by Tebay. The road gradually gets steeper as it reaches the 301m summit, after 150 miles riding 67" gears it was a struggle to make it over the top. The final 10 miles to Kendal were a mix of ups and downs and Jez had obviously been saving himself on the climbs because he steamed past to reach the home of the mint cake first.

Kendal - Ramsbottom
Weary legs and stiff knees meant we took the first 18 miles to Lancaster at a steady pace. We popped into see Tim Norton, our most southerly member, for a quadruple espresso each and thick slices of cake. Next stop, the Priory cafe in Scorton, where the local cyclists sit amongst paintings of Merckx, Anquetil and Hinault.
From Scorton we made our way along b-roads through longridge, Ribchester, Salsbury, Wilpshire and Rishton. By now we were knackered and our minds were wandering - we wanted to get to the Easter Meet as soon as possible but first we had to bypass Blackburn.
While the patron relieved himself I studied the OS map and announced my genius in finding a short cut that would avoid the heavy traffic. We were in high spirits as we began the new route, on more than one occasion Jez proclaimed my brilliance. Things were going well and we were nearing our destination, until the road suddenly transformed into a farm track and our wheels sunk deeper and deeper into black oozing gloop. We ended up carrying our bikes across fields and over barbed wire fences, it felt like a scene from the film Withnail and I.
The final miles are a blur, we cracked on through the rain and over the steep Lancashire hills. The patron again outwitted me in the final sprint of the three days. We rode down the infamous Rake and into the weekend HQ to claim the milage trophy for the West Lothian Section with 244 miles each!

Weekend Ride Reports

Sat run 18th April
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

The new, earlier, summer start time of 8.00am for the Saturday run has thinned out the pack a little but the dedicated are managing to get in a good ride and still get home for elevenses!
Last Saturday Mike, Neil, Peter, Calum Matt and newbie Melwin set off for an easy first hour to Kirkliston and back to Linlithgow so Melwin, on his clunker, could get used to riding in a group for the first time. Melwin is pretty keen and has already invested in a fine retro Gios racer since the ride. Rather worryingly for the rest of us, he is a student and says his course finishes in May so he can dedicate himself to training for the next three months!
After we dropped Melwin off in Linlithgow the rest of the group rode along the Boness ridge to Polmont then up to California, Avon Bridge and Back to Linlithgow along the River Avon. Mike was the sneakiest on the day, managing to win most of the 30-sprints.

Five riders were out for the Sunday run, Jim, Neil, Jim, Newbie Dave and Johnny.
Jim says "With Neil setting a cracking pace, we went out to Winchburgh, Avondell, Newbridge, some roads I'd never seen in my life, Kirkliston, up onto the top of the hill, past Hopetoun Fishery and then back onto the old A9 at Threemiletown. 28 miles and average speed of between 17 mph, despite the hills. It was a beautiful day, and for once, hardly any wind. 
Modesty prevents me from saying who claimed the 30 sprint at Winchburgh but I paid dearly for it as I was knackered when these guys were powering up the hills at 15mph plus at times. 
I went out again in the afternoon for a spin around the Bathgate Alps, via Preston Road, Cairnpapple, the Knock, Bangour, back up from Dechmont to Ochiltree, and back to Lithgae. Just a great day to be out, so I made the most of it!"

LEPRA Challenge

Club member Craig Sinclair has ridden the LEPRA Edinburgh to St Andrews cycle ride a few times and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Craig says "This years event is on Saturday 20th June and is always well attended, so if you've not entered why not give it a go"

Details here
Our forum thread here

First new member of the week

Paul Dourley
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

We are becoming a proper West Lothian club with more members like Paul Dourley joining who live to the south of the Bathgate Alps.

Paul says "I am 50 years old and have just retired after 30 years as a Fireman in the LBFRS, stationed in Livingston. I am at College at the moment doing an HNC in Countryside Management. I used to do triathlons but started to find I was enjoying the bike leg more than the rest.
I have cycled on and off for the last few years and have just bought the Boardman Road Comp, I did have a Barracuda Tifosi which worked well for the triathlons.
I want to get myself fit this year and maybe do a sportive or two, take part in a couple of TT’s and maybe a criterium at Ingliston once I get my fitness and speed up. I am doing the Etape Caledonia in May.
I was out with the club last Saturday and enjoyed it thoroughly, good company and good weather.
I won’t be around next week as I am going to Rum on a study tour but normally I am free from Thursday afternoons if anyone wants a ride"

Monday, 20 April 2009

Do you know Ernest Mitchell?

Ernest Mitchell

Diane Walker is planning a surprise (shhhh!) 80th birthday for her dad, Ernest Mitchell. She sent in this really cool photo of her dad and is asking for any memories/photos you may have of Earnest during his cycling career. you can contact Diane at: dianewalker7@btinternet.com.

Diane Says "My dad Ernest Mitchell celebrates his 80th birthday this year in june and unknown to him, my family are planning some surprise celebrations for him.
We are trying to collate as much information as possible and in particular about his cycling days.
We'd like to hear from anyone who knew him then and could perhaps share with us, some of their memories.
If any of your members have any photographs, newspaper clippings or stories to share, it would be of great interest to us and would certainly help to recapture the excitement of those days that were so special to him.
Dad was known as E.V.Mitchell, his cycling days spanned from around 1948 to 1959 and he was a member of the Glasgow United C.C. and Glasgow Suburban C.C."

Club photo

On Tuesday 21st we are having a club photo taken with the trophies we won at the Easter Meet. Please come along and get in the photograph. We won The Tom Groom Trophy for most meritorious Clarion section because we've managed to get the club up and running in such a short space of time. We couldn't have done that without our membership - Every member made a contribution to winning the trophy, so come along and get some recognition.

Location: Blackness
Time: 6.25pm
Date: Tuesday 21st April

Saturday, 18 April 2009

New Member!

John Scholes
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Many club members will be used to seeing John dancing on the pedals up the Bathgate Alps - Welcome to the club John. His photo was taken on a particularly mucky Saturday run last December.

John Says "I ride a Flying Scott and Bob Jackson both with 531 frames so the bikes are probably older than some of our younger members. I have done plenty of touring in my younger days including Lands End to John O Groats, trips around the UK and a couple of tours in the Alps and Pyrenees.
Twenty years ago I did a sponsored ride from Iona to Lindisfarne in one long day with some friends. I have cycled with the CTC down in Buckinghamshire and also Oldham Century CC. More recently I have done a number of triathlons and fell races around Scotland. Most of my working life I have commuted to work by bike though sadly I have to use the car now so use a set of rollers in the garage each morning to make me think I still ride to work! It's great to get into another cycling club."

Friday, 17 April 2009

Today's new Member!

Calum MacArthur
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

A big welcome to Calum MacArthur, 39, from Livingston, who joined up after enjoying last week's Saturday ride.

Calum says "I used to cycle quite a lot – but have not cycled much over the last 7 years - my only notable cycling event was doing an end to end in 1999 – I covered 1032 miles in 9 days, on a steel tourer with loaded panniers…I’ve now got a wife, family & beer gut - going from carbo loading to pick&mix loading… these days I’m knackered after cycling (slowly) for 40 miles …

The last few years I’ve mainly been kitesurfing – but want to try and get cycle fit again. I have never been an member of a cycling club before but went out on your Saturday club run last week and loved it."

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Peotry in Motion

Jez gets all poetic about our epic, 240mile ride to the Easter Meet, go to his blog

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Sadly it's true

Crap Bike 2
Tink Hastings takes time out from time keeping the Witches' Challenge Sportive at the Clarion Easter Meet.

Where am I? - 8

Where am I? - 8
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

A day off work next Monday for the person who can tell me where this photo was taken.

New Member!

Claire Howe
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

23 year old student, Claire Howe, joined up this week. Claire is studying Diagnostic Radiography at Glasgow Caledonian University and working in Stirling Royal part time, so she's got a keen interest in health and physiology.
Claire says "Until recently I hadn't been on a bike since I was a teenager but having spent too much time around John McComisky, his enthusiasm eventually rubbed off on me and now I have to admit to (occasionally) wearing lycra and reading Cycling Weekly!
My grandpa passed away in September because of a respiratory disease and I decided that I wanted to do something to raise money for the British Lung Foundation and improve my own fitness at the same time.
I decided a sponsored cycle would be a good challenge for me and a great way to raise money for the charity. I'm planning to start in Edinburgh and cycle along the Union Canal and finish at the Falkirk Wheel. I think its about 34.5 miles which would be a good achievement for me and an easy enough cycle for a beginner. Anyone who would like to do it with me would be more than welcome!
My goal this year is to complete the BLF cycle and maybe even a 10 TT this summer! Being a total novice I'm looking forward to being taken under the wing of people who know better, I think its great that a club like this exists that is so welcoming - I would have been much too intimidated to join other clubs that aren't as friendly. Looking forward to meeting everyone!"

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

West Lothian Clarion song!

A few too many drinks last night had Kirsty and Jez writing the first club song (Ye Cranks and Stays)

We are the West Lothian boys
Och Aye
Riding our bikes
From lochan to Skye

A good drum up
And a wee dram too
Boots and Spurs
And a mile or three

Riding out on the chain gang bus
The Bathgate Alps are calling us

We are the West Lothian boys
Och Aye
Riding our bikes
From lochan to sky

Our bairns are brawn
And our kilts are torn
But fellowship
Is ne'er forlorn

Our hens are strong,
braw and wise
Washing our kit
And rubbing our thighs

Riding out on the chain gang bus
The Bathgate Alps are calling us

We are the West Lothian boys
Och Aye
Riding our bikes
From lochan to Skye

Monday, 6 April 2009

Clarion Easter Meet

I'm off to the Clarion's 114th Easter Meet in Ramsbottom on Wednesday with Jez Hastings from Islay. We are riding 270 miles over three days to the event, hosted by Bury Clarion, on our fixed wheel bikes. Up until the 1950s most Clarion members would ride to the Easter Meet with their race wheels attached to their front forks and some sections managed to get 50-odd cyclists riding to the venue together. Jez and I are hoping to continue the tradition (minus the race wheels) while getting some preparation in for our Duo Normande TT in September. We are riding down to the Meet in the hope that we can clock up enough miles to wrestle the milage trophy away from Manchester Clarion (they've won it for the last few years). At the annual Clarion awards night on Sunday we will be picking up the Tom Groom Trophy, which the club won for most meritorious Clarion section. I'm also going to submit a few West Lothian Clarion photos to the photo competition, enter the hill climb on Saturday, then ride the short sportive on Sunday. There will also be a fair bit of eating, drinking, singing and toasting over the weekend too!

Wednesday 8th: Linlithgow to Lockerbie (85 miles)
Thursday 9th: Lockerbie to Kendal (95 miles)
Friday 10th: Kendal to Ramsbottom (80 miles)

Good turn out at Gordon Arms TT

Six Clarion riders started and finished the tough Gordon Arms TT in the borders on Sunday. Sadiq, Bill, Matt, Stevie, Grant and John raced the technical, hilly circuit in windy conditions, which caused us to suffer at the start and finish but blast along at 35mph+ in the middle section. Sadiq says "The race begins with a 3 mile drag upwards, followed by a fast, undulating, wind assisted, 9 miles, then a pretty meaty climb, followed by a steep technical descent and a 3 mile slog into a headwind to the finish, that had us all pulling some amazing faces!"
John said "The last climb just about finished me off but very pleased that I managed it. I would like to thank you all for comradeship and team spirit, I am very proud to wear the club colours"
Grant said "The final 3 miles back along undulating roads to the finish was pretty torturous. Sadiq came past me about 1.5 miles out and by this time I knew I was going to stuggle to beat my target time. At some points on the homeward stretch I was down to 11-12 mph and had nothing left."
Matt said "I thought I was going well until Andy Torrance (4th at finish) who started 2 minutes behind me came flying past after 20 minutes. I redoubled my effort but couldn't stay with him. I felt like my tyres were sticking to the road going up the long climb up from Kirkhope and after the descent I struggled to get my pace up and reckon I lost time on the last 3 miles into the headwind. A well organised event, many thanks to the organisers and marshals from Gala CC. I missed the tea and cakes you get at other TTs though!"

Thanks to All the partners and kids and to Mark for coming out and supporting the club, much appreciated.
More comments on the forum

16 Matthew Ball 1:00:10
21 Sadiq Mir 1:01:57
29 Stephen McDowall 1:04:31
35 Bill Young 1:06:06
42 Grant Thomson 1:14:43
43 John McComisky 1:17:18

Neil Fraser joins the Clarion

Neil Fraser
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Our third new member this week is Neil Fraser from Boness. Neil says
"I got into cycling 4 years ago - I was motorbiking through Norway when I came across a load of people cycling through the middle of nowhere late in the evening. Found out that they were doing the Strykeproven, a 540km ride from Trondheim to Oslo. I thought they were mad, but the idea of doing it kind of lodged in my brain. A few months after I got home from that trip, I bought a road bike and started riding audaxes to train for Norway. Did the Strykeproven the following year (20 hours of really enjoyable cycling) and found that I was addicted to long distance cycling. Since then I've mostly been riding audaxes, including the 2007 edition of the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris. I'm joining the club to work on my fitness and speed - audaxing makes you good at going a long way quite slowly. Keen to try a wee time trial too. Next month I'm planning a 1600km audax around Scotland - Dalmeny - Cape Wrath - John O'Groats - Glencoe - Stranraer - Berwick on Tweed - Dalmeny. I'm hoping for a tailwind all the way!"

Current bikes -
Airborne Valkyrie - main audax bike, with rack and mudguards
Look 565 - the bling bike, for short rides on sunnydays
Condor Tempo - the fixed gear bike, to help build up my spindly legs
Spesh Hardrock - for winter nights at Beecraigs

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sunday Club Run 5th April

Andy Brown sent in the ride report for this weekend's ride:
Two riders turned up, newbie Doug Allan from Lithgae Brig and myself. After a bit of discussion about a route we headed out to Kirkliston and on to South Queensferry then through Hopeton House estate and on to the Abercorn church junction from here we crossed the road and headed on to some of Doug's favourite roads and some cracking hills. This took us on to the road coming back down from Beecraigs back into Linlithgow we managed about 30 miles and 450 m ascent (Doug had an altimeter on his cycle computer).
Doug was good company and we parted our ways at Linlithgow Bidge and I had a gentle cycle back to Laurieston.

Where am I? - 6

Where am I? - 6
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Another lovely West Lothian Road. A quarter of pear drops to the first person who guesses the right location

New member!

Naill Thomson
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Niall Thomson, 48, from Linlithgow joined up last week, he runs an office interiors business and is married with three teenage boys.

Naill says "I participate in a number of sports including sailing and skiing but I’ve cycled as long as I can remember and I did a fair amount of road cycling in my teens. I then got hooked on motorbikes and cars so pedal power took a bit of a back seat until the mountain bike boom in the eighties when I got into the sport in a big way. I’ve ridden into and over most corners of the Scottish Highlands and I’m particularly fond of remote wilderness / marathon type routes often involving Munros and a “wee bit of carrying here and there.” My riding buddies have learned to be wary of statements like this… ;-) I’ve also ridden extensively in the French and Swiss Alps and competed in a number of events but alas, never on road!

In 2003 I co-founded the Carron Valley Development Group, a charity we set up to develop a Mountain Bike Trail Centre for Central Scotland. I chaired CVDG for 3 years during which time we designed new trails and raised nearly £200k funding necessary to construct the popular 10km Phase 1 circuit. Some of that cash was for Phase 2 but this was ultimately axed by the landowner, Forestry Commission Scotland, and the group resigned in protest from the Carron Valley Partnership late 2008. A wasted opportunity and a long story basically… Now I plan to get back to riding bikes more often and regaining some of my former fitness. I also fancied a bit of a change in direction to augment the mtb riding so when I was introduced to the Clarion by Peter Buchan (who “persuaded” me to join him on a snowy January ride after a few beers.) I enjoyed the run, the company and the ethos of the club. My ancient Raleigh has already been (too kindly) mentioned in dispatches but I also have a Van Nicholas of more recent vintage which has been gathering dust for two years. So, enough to get me going and with the bling club kit order I’ve just placed with Bill I look forward to getting out on some club rides and meeting everyone!"

Friday, 3 April 2009

New Member

Andy Brown
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Andy Brown from Laurieston is the latest cyclist to join the club. He got into cycling a few years ago while watching the Tour de France.
Andy says "I bought my first bike, a Giant Peleton 7000 and some knocked down Festina clothing just after their big scandal."
"My favourite hill is the far end of Boness up past the church to Muirhouses and on up to the golf course"
"My aims this year are to increase my average speed, decrease my beer belly and meet more of the members soon!"

Tuesday 7th chain gang

The group will meet in Blackness, outside the Blackness Inn on Tuesday 7th and every Tuesday thereafter. Plenty of parking if you need to drive.
The ride will start promptly at 7.00pm. If you have time get a warm up beforehand.
If there are enough people then there is the possibility of using an APR format where groups of riders of similar ability set off at intervals, with the stronger riders setting off last.

This is a training session and is the the only club run where the group will not wait if riders get dropped. There is a cut through on the circuit you can use as a short cut to get back into the paceline

Start point map

TT series starts Thursday 7th May

Graham Foster
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Message from Graham 'Foz' Foster explaining the TT series and calling for volunteer marshals and time keepers

First of all I'm glad to see so much excitement building up about the club TT which starts on Thursday 7th May and continues through to the end of August. If you've not read it yet, please have a look at the general briefing here especially the attached Risk Assessment.

Each TT will need a minimum of two volunteers. A timekeeper and push-off/timekeepers assistant. No volunteers, no TT. In terms of timekeeping my plan is to start off with a core (I'm thinking 7 or 8) who have had some timekeeping training and can rotate this role. Others can help out in other ways and learn from timekeepers as they go, so we have more and more that can do this job themselves.

So I would like to be able to keep a list of people who would be prepared to volunteer at some point. If you plan to ride the TT you should aim to volunteer at least a couple of times – bear in mind you will get League points just for helping out and munching crispie-cake while others are bowfing their lungs up!
If you want to be on this list please email me treasurer@westlothianclarion.co.uk with your email address and phone number (pref mobile) withing the next couple of weeks or so. I will of course only hold and issue these details for the purposes of running the TT.

Once I have a circulation list I can then start circulating emails and asking for volunteers for each week on a rolling basis, probably about a fortnight in advance. I'm hoping to be able to help cover the first one as I'm riding the Bealach Beag two days later.

Secondly. Jimmy Harris has very kindly volunteered to train some of us in the art of timekeeping, round my house (Reddingmuirhead) at 7:30 on Thursday 16th April. Me, Grant and Matt are planning to be there and we can probably fit another 4 or 5 into my front room. If you want to take part in this training could you please mention this in your email. I'll email you back if I can fit you in – first come first served. Thanks.

As a closing thought – I was out in summer shorts and short sleeves today on my new carbon Cannondale. In the first week of April. And I really, really reckon we're due a proper summer this time.....

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Where am I? - 5

Where am I 5
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Easy one this! Free packet of Refreshers to the first person who can tell me where this photo was taken.