Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Early season sportive

14th March Woodford, Cheshire

Early season cyclosportive around the Cheshire lanes. Taking advantage of Cheshire's micro climates mild winter weather. The event features 3 distances 30 miles, 50 miles, and 80 miles catering for all levels. The picturesque route takes the riders past the famous Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope.

More details here:

A nice part of the world and home to the most recent Clarion section: North Cheshire Clarion:

Cyclists on ice

greers on ice

Neil Greer on an alternative Clarion club run in Kirknewton:

"Hi All, Just to let you all know this is why the bike has not been out! ...actually, we were just doing the weekly shop...
Cheers, Neil"

Wednesday, 23 December 2009



Season's Greetings to all our members and regular readers of our news blog!

Don't forget the Gut-Buster Classic on Boxing Day. Riders meet 10.30am at the Black Bitch in Linlithgow for an hour and a half social ride and then back for a drink at the pub afterwards.

click here for the post and a map of where the start is

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Committee meeting and AGM

The next committee meeting will be Wednesday 13th January, please send any items you wish to go on the agenda by Wednesday 6th January to me (Matt), by EMAIL ONLY, at secretary[AT]

I'd also like to remind members that all items for the AGM agenda need to be sent to me via email by January 15th. We are looking for nominations for the post of President, Treasurer, Secretary, Social Secretary, Rides Secretary and and Race Secretary. If you are interested in volunteering please send an email by the same date.

The committee is presently one person down, with the post of Race Secretary vacant.

Let me know if you would like clarification on what the roles entail.

Attendance at the AGM is open to all paid-up 2010 members. Membership renewals and new applications will be accepted up until half an hour before the start of the AGM but earlier renewal would be preferable.

All classes of club membership have full and equal voting rights.

Click here for all the details on club membership. This week Allan, Donald and Craig have joined up again for 2010.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Weekend ride reports

Unsurprisingly, due to the state to the roads, few riders made it out on the club runs at the weekend. Saturday's weather was so bad that Bill even opened up the Hangar of Anger for an indoor club run!

Allan brrrrravely made it to the Cross on Sunday, here is his report "I wasn't surprised that no one showed for the Sunday run given the conditions. The icy roads meant it took me a little longer to get out of Philpstoun, so I didn't get to the Cross till 9.05 am, there wasn't anyone there and the snow was just coming on so I didn't hang around"

"I headed out on the Edinburgh Road through Winchburgh and Kirkliston, and because it was still snowing, I turned and retraced the same route. The ride was uneventful and nothing of interest happened, the distance was only about 20 miles ridden at a reasonable pace, just fast enough to keep me warm and slightly out of breath and took about an hour. I should add it took me longer to clean and lube my bike than it did to get it dirty!"

This week's award for the hardest rider in the club has got to go to Allan!

Volunteer training

Six Clarionistas have signed up to the SCU's volunteer workshops on January 16th and 17th at the University of Stirling.

Assistant MTB XC Commissaires Course
Simon and Mark

Assistant Road Commissaires Course
Tobias and Matt

Timekeeping and Recording Training

Event organising workshop
Matt, Bill

Safeguarding and Protecting Children
In Safe Hands


Many thanks to those who volunteered, it will go a long way to developing the club's level of experience.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tips for riding on ice

Thanks to Giles at North Cheshire Clarion for this link:

Boxing Day Gut Buster Classic

This weekend's club runs

sunday run

Allan will be at the Cross in Linlithgow on Sunday for 9.00am, and says "Not a great forecast for the weekend but i'm planning a ride from the cross at Linlithgow 9am along to Cramond and back, aprox 25 miles, if anyone wants to join me, I'll see you Sunday."

The 'Social' and 'Active' Saturday rides will leave Linlithgow Leisure Centre at 9.00am but there won't be an East Calder Saturday ride this weekend.
Saturday's weather looks like it will be more inclement than Sunday's, if its raining, the Linlithgow group will be sheltering at the entrance of the Leisure Centre but if the roads are icy there may not be many people turning up.

All our ride details can be found at

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Welcome to the club Mike

Mike Batley

Mike balances family life and keeping fit by getting most of his miles in on his way to work.

Mike says "2009 will see me crack the 100 mpw barrier for the first time, mainly doing the 32 mile work round trip. But as I was once a competitive runner, I still get the urge to ride harder, so I've done the odd TLI race and sportive – Bealach Beag in 2007 (about 10% down the field) and the Northern Rock Cyclone (60 miler) in 2008 have been the highlights."

"My first target for 2010 is to keep off the operating table. I’ve already had one major hip operation (called a resurfacing) and arthritis is gradually getting the better of my left hip too; but that’s what great about cycling – the modest stress on the joints means you can still push yourself. So I’m aiming for the Lakeland Loop in April then as I’m 50 in 2010, I want to get in a few >50 events, such as the TLI Cumbrae RR. One thing I’ll probably never do though is beat my work colleague, Mike “the cannibal” Ewart to a 30 mph road sign! (I know the feeling - Matt!)

"I do most of my miles on a B’twin – basic frame built up mainly with 105 kit. I also have a Planet X – again an aliminium frame – which I’m re-building with Sram Rival/Force and a new wheelset this spring. Somewhere lurking in the shed is a vintage Specialized Rockhopper that does as a hybrid when I need it; of course, it’s donned with slicks."

"Every year I say I want to do more cycling so hopefully joining the Clarion will help and I won’t be too much of a stranger. It’s great to see more people out on bikes and I’m sure the Clarion has made a big difference locally. So keep up the good work!"

Monday, 14 December 2009

Kids cycle club update


Five dads involved with the proposed youth section put on bike session for their own kids at the weekend.

Seven youngsters took part in a variety of activities like slaloms, relay races and a 'devil' race. The morning kicked off with a bike check, a warm up and then a few easy activities to boost the riders' confidence.

The programme was set up to allow the dads (Andy, Simon, Mark, Matt and Denis) to get a better idea of what a coaching session involves and to see if the kids would enjoy attending every week. This first informal event got a big thumbs up from the kids and dads a like, with Ryan and Sam saying the "relay race" was the best bit.

The next step for the youth section is to elect the officials and apply for funding so that four coaches can get trained up next March. The club plans to begin coaching next summer if WLC members agree to having a kids section at the AGM.

If you would like to get involved with the kids section come along to the next meeting:

When: 8.30 pm Wednesday 16th December
email Matt at secretary[AT]westlothianclarion if you want to attend

For more pictures click here


Veteran TT Association

Jim Harris, our honorary member and and go-to-man for the Scottish section of the Veteran Time Trial Association (VTTA) has sent me their 2009 report which documents all the events and winners from this past year.

If you are 40 or over (and lets face it many of us are), you might be interested in joining up with the association, they run a comprehensive calendar of races throughout the year including 10, 25, 50, 100 TTs, a veterans Best All Rounder competition and numerous trophy races.

The VTTA was established in 1943 with the aim of providing realistic competition in time trials for older racing cyclists, so they would be encouraged to continue in the sport. Races are won not by your actual time but by times calculated using a set of 'standards' according to age.

The standards, which are either times for set distances, or distances for set times begin at the age of 40 and become more generous with each passing year. Standards for women are similar to those for men but there is a phased shift to reflect physiological differences.

If you are interested in finding out more go to

Or visit the Scottish VTTA website to find out more about the racing north of the border here

Easter meet 2010

Border Crossing 3

Last year Jez and I had a great time riding to the Easter Meet in Ramsbottom, Manchester and won the milage trophy, for the section that cycled the furthest to the meet, in the process. This year's 115th meet is a little further away - Eastbourne, about as far away from West Lothian as you can get while staying in the UK.

Nevertheless there are plans afoot for a West Lothian contingent to make their way to the annual gathering of all the Clarion sections.

A group of riders are planning to ride to Eastbourne, but get this, the most direct route is via the Netherlands. We plan to ride or train it to the ferry at Newcastle, take a berth to the Netherlands and then ride down to Dieppe where we will catch the ferry to Newhaven and ride the remainder to Eastbourne, arriving Good Friday.

For the less adventurous, a few members planning to take the train or drive down to the meet as well.

If you are interested in attending the Easter Meet (whichever way you will be travelling) come along to the Four Marys in Linlithgow this Thursday 17th December at 8.30pm

The Easter Meet starts Friday April 2nd with people setting off home Monday morning April 5th

Over the Easter weekend there will be a sportive, a time trail, kids events, a Friday get-to-gether, a Saturday night party and the annual prize giving knees up on the Sunday night. Plus local tours, historical visits and the annual Clarion conference.

Foggy Forth

Forth Fog

Sunday's temperature inversion along the Forth Valley.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Saturday ride report

It looks like the fog persuaded most people to stay at home today, nevertheless two riders made up the group at Linlithgow Sports Centre. Here is Andy's report:

Just two people out on todays run myself and Mike. We waited to around 9:10 am and then set off. Our route took us along to Bridgend, Faucheldean, Winchburgh, Broxburn through Almondell country park to East Calder then the sustrans route to Kirknewton this involved about half a mile of what could only be described as a cyclo cross track.

From Kirknewton we went up Leyden road to the LangWang, this is were the fun began, the visibility went down to about 50 yrds and was baltic, patchs of black ice and puddles frozen, it was like a frozen waste land. We then turned of the LangWang and down through Harburn to West Calder, Blackburn, Bathgate and then we went our seperate ways.

Although it was cold and a very moist fog as we were soaked it was good to be out if not a bit exciting. Had about 41 miles when I got home including my ride over to Linlithgow, so Mike would have had around the same by the time he got back. Hope to be out agin soon.

All our ride information can be found at:

Friday, 11 December 2009

SCU volunteer weekend

The Scottish Cycling Union are organising a number of courses and work shops for people wanting to get involved with the volunteering side of the sport:

Workshops for Event Organisers = Saturday, three sessions in a day

Assistant MTB XC Commissaires Course = Saturday full day

Assistant Road Commissaires Course = Sunday full day

Coaching Development Session = full day (for BC qualified coaches)

Timekeeping and Recording Training = Saturday afternoon 2pm – 5pm

The courses will take place at the Stirling Management Centre, University of Stirling, on the 16th and 17th of January.

It would be great if a few people from the club attend, especially the timekeeping and event organising courses bacuse those skills could be used next year in our TT series

If anyone wants to attend (any of) these workshops which are free of charge, please confirm by 16th December 2009, email me at: secretary[AT]

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Welcome to Simon

Simon Fagan
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Simon Fagan joined up last week after coming out on a Saturday 'Active' ride. Simon says "I'm married with two daughters of 11 and 6. I’m a keen cyclist though haven’t always been. I ride for fitness, fun and not least to reduce the carbon emissions I’m responsible for. That’s why I’m involved in the Cycle Action Group and the Kids Club developing."

"I’ve been into mountain biking for about 10 years. The things I enjoy most about it is the escape from cars and the concentration required on technical bits. Often I end up at trail centres which are great but it’s the big outback rides that I find the most rewarding. Just for the scenery and the sense of adventure. I recently did a loop round Ben Alder which was absolutely stunning; well recommended."

"All that said I recently bought a road bike and am really enjoying it. I guess I’m doing about 50:50 on and off road now (so hopefully the components will last twice as long!) and will enter some sportives in the coming year."

"I’ve got two MTB’s (Santa Cruz Superlight and an Orange P7) and the road bike of course is a Focus Cayo with a compact chainset (we’ll see if I make it up the Bealach na Ba before I pass judgement)."

The quiz questions from last month's social

Matt Muir's excellent quiz at last month's prize giving was very successful, so by popular demand, here are the questions asked by the quizmaster. If you didn't manage to make it to the social, test your knowledge now and I'll upload the answers next week.

A big thank you to Matt

West Lothian Clarion Christmas Cycling Quiz 2009

1. Where will next year’s Tour De France start?
2. Which famous cyclist was given the nickname ‘the professor’?
3. Which icon of British cycling died earlier on this month?
4. What distance is the men’s individual pursuit held over on the track?
5. The 2010 Clarion Easter meet at Eastbourne will be which edition of the annual celebration?
6. Who is the current president of the Union Cycliste International?
7. What place did Bradley Wiggins finish in this year’s Tour De France?
8. Which of the world cup ‘classics’ cycle races is known and ‘la primavera’?
9. Who was the winner in 2009?
10. What team will Lance Armstrong ride for next year?
11. Which ex Teeside Clarion rider is the reigning Brittish points race champion and Bronze medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics
12. Chris Hoy won the 2008 BBC sports personality of the year. Who is the only other British cyclist to have been given this award?
13. Who holds the world record for the fastest unpaced speed achieved on a bicycle (set in 2000 on snow at Les Arcs, France)
14. What speed did he reach?
a. 138mph, b. 72mph, c. 96mph
15. What are the colours of the leaders jerseys in the 3 grand tours?
16/17. Name the winners of 2 of these in 2009
18. Who is the main sponsor of Britain’s latest professional cycling team?
19. How much did the Tom Groom Trophy cost in 1949?
a. £120, b.£140, b: £160
20. Who won this year’s men’s UCI downhill mountainbike world championships
21. Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka currently holds the althete’s hour record on the track. Who holds the best/ultimate hour record?
22. Who is this year’s men’s world road race champion?
23. What climb, used in the 2008 tour de france is the highest road in europe
24. Which Scottish town holds an annual round of the mountainbike world cup?
25. According to the highway code what is the (seldom used) hand signal to indicate you are about stop or brake?
26. Which company was the first to introduce clipless pedals to the cycling world?
27. Who was the first rider to win the tour de france on clipless pedals?
28 How many points did Ross, Julie and Blair get to win their respective 10 mile TT series championships"

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Club AGM and 2010 membership

When: 7.30pm, Wednesday 27th January
Where: Linlithgow Rose Social Club, Linlithgow
Location map: click here

Attendance at the AGM is open to all paid-up 2010 members. Membership renewals and new applications will be accepted up until half an hour before the start of the AGM but earlier renewal would be preferable. All classes of club membership have full and equal voting rights

Senior membership is £15.00.
Household membership is just £10.50 (for partners or those aged 15-17).

If you are renewing your membership there is no need to re-submit a membership form unless your personal details have changed.

New members can download a membership form form the website here:

Cheques for should be made payable to "West Lothian Clarion"

email: secretary[AT] for details of where to send you membership form and/or cheque

Kids club meeting

This week we will visit Wallace Warriors on a fact finding mission to find out more about organising a kids club from Scotland's best youth cycling club. At the weekend there is going to be a preliminary cycling session with the kids to give those involved a better idea of what to expect when the club is up and running.

If you want to get involved in any way come to our next meeting:

When: 8.30pm Wednesday 16th December
Where: Matt's house, email secretary[AT]westlothianclarion for more details

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Group riding

Our re-launched Saturday club runs have been a great success with more people participating than ever before. In October we started categorising our rides into three types: 'Social', 'Active' and 'Training' so riders could choose a group that suits their level of fitness.

Before you come on a ride, read the ride guidelines and descriptions for each type of club run so you know what to expect. While on the ride, keep to the ride descriptions appropriate for your group, so the club runs remain consistent from week to week.

Riding in a group is very different to cycling on your own, you have to alter your riding style to accommodate other riders and think of how your actions will affect the group as a whole.

• Keep your pace steady, don't accelerate uphill or sprint - a group can easily lose its cohesiveness.
• Communicate your intentions to your fellow riders and other road users
• Warn of any hazards like pot holes or debris
• It is important to be consistent, if the group is riding single file, ride single file, if the group is riding two-up then ride two up.
• Fit mudguards
• Never ride more than two abreast

Our second Group Skills Workshop is at 3pm this Sunday at the Mill Road Industrial Estate, Linlithgow Bridge. All the details here
Come along and improve your confidence and acquire valuable skills for Sportives and road races.

1. 'Social' rides
This ride is ideal for people coming out with the club for the first time. The pace is steady and the average speed is about 13-15mph over mixed terrain. No one will get abandoned but riders can get dropped on climbs, if this happens the group will wait and regroup. If you find the pace too high please SPEAK UP so the speed can be slowed or the route altered to get you home safely. Riders are assumed to be self supporting and, while the group might have a café stop, this is not guaranteed, and riders should carry adequate food and drink. If you don't feel up to this level of riding we can put you in contact with the local Cyclists Touring Club.

2. 'Active' rides

This ride is aimed at people who want to improve their fitness. The pace is steady with an average speed of about 16-19mph so you need to be fit to participate. The pace is kept up over climbs and there is sometimes a sprint at the end. Rides tend to be between 30-40 miles and don't wander too far from the start. The group will aim to accommodate a reasonable range of abilities but those significantly slower than the general pace of the group should be prepared to navigate their own way home. The Social ride will roughly follow the same route so you can drop back and ride home at a more leisurely pace.

3. 'Training' rides
These rides are for people preparing for road racing, sportives and time trials. They normally follow a circuit and ride as a chaingang at an average speed of 20+mph and begin when the clocks change for British Summer Time. The group will not wait if you get dropped off the back.

All the club run details on the website:

East Calder Saturday ride report

East Calder crew

Neil sends in his report on about the weekend's East Calder Saturday 'Social' ride.

Four riders met up at East Calder on Saturday. New club member Debbie Pollard joined Keir B. Grant C. and myself for an easy paced run in the drizzle. Due to time constraints (and virus recoverees) we opted for a shortish run taking us out through Pumpherston to Uphall and Broxburn then headed up the Ecclesmachan road where we headed west at the crest of the hill to Ochiltree.

Weather conditions did not improve but the chat was good and we soon found ourselves descending into Linlithgow after an hour or so. It was difficult to resist the call from the the Cafe Neuk so hot chocolate and freshly baked scones were the order of the day!

We then headed East along the TT route where we took the opportunity to introduce Debbie - gently - to the delights of chain-gang riding for a mile or two - no problem - a natural! At Wynchburgh we turned South on the back roads to Broxburn before retracing our tracks back down the Pumpherston Road to East Calder. All in all a very pleasant run - about 26 miles at 13 mph. Also, many thanks to Debbie for officially being the first lady to come on one of the East Calder spins!

All the club run information can be found at:

Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas gut-buster classic

Ride off the Christmas indulgence with a gentle 'Social' ride around the lanes of West Lothian and to keep warm, dress as Santa!

When: Boxing day, 10.30am
Where: Black Bitch Pub, Linlithgow
What: Social ride for about an hour and a half then head back to the black Bitch for a few drinks afterwards

Weekend run reports

Eight riders met up at the Linlithgow Sport Centre, Bill, Stevie M, Jamie, Andy H, Ewan, Matt, Stevie B and Jonathon all decided to participate in the 'Active' ride. Ewan complained of a hangover but it didn't appear to put off his riding too much, Bill and Stevie were out on their new winter bikes, very stylish even with mudguards. Bill's ride was tricked up with a power meter, which hit 888 watts at one point, serious stuff!

The group headed off through Linlithgow to the Boness ridge via Bonnytoun Farm, skirted Boness and jumped on to the Sustrans route to Inchyra Grange for views accross the Forth onward to Polmont and then kept climbing up the two-lump hill to California.

By this point the rain was starting to fall more heavily and I had to get home early, so headed to Linlithgow at Avonbridge while the rest of the group rode on up to Torphichen and then home. About 25-30 miles, pace wasn't as steady as previous weeks but a good ride even in the poor weather.

Allan sends in this report for the Sunday club run:

Sunday was an excellent day for a cycle. There were five of us out, myself, Stevie, Dennis, Steve and Eve.

We headed out to the west through Whitecross then cut back over to the north along the top of the boness flints, down to Blackness, up through Philpstoun, along the Winchburgh road to 12 Mile Lodge and cut down through Hopeton Estate. We then headed through Queensferry, up into Dalmeny, down into Kirkliston and straight back along the 10TT course through Winchburgh and home to Linlithgow, giving us a run of about 35 miles.

We cycled at a comfortable pace but took slightly longer than antisapated as Stevie punctured in Hopeton Estate and Eve punctured at Kirkliston, 2 punctures in 1 day - a little unlucky. Thanks to everyone for sticking together as one group.

All the club run details can be found at:

Friday, 4 December 2009

The Sunday run is back!

Allan McCrimmon

Clarionista, Allan McCrimmon, will be at the Cross in Linlithgow this Sunday for a 'Social' club run. If you fancy a ride around the lanes, meet up at 9.00am.

Everything you need to know about our club runs, including the Sunday run, can be found on the rides section of our website:

The Saturday club run will meet as usual at the Linlithgow Sports Centre where an 'Active' group and a 'Social' group will leave at 9.00am.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

2010 membership

Membership is now open for 2010. Senior membership is £15.00. And household membership is just £10.50 (for partners or those aged 15-17). If you are renewing your membership there is no need to re-submit a membership form unless your personal details have changed.

New members can download a membership form form the website here:

Cheques should be made payable to "West Lothian Clarion"

Last week Jim Bird, Neil Fraser, Andy Richards, Neil Heys, Bob Simpson and Angus Gallie rejoined for another year.

National Clarion Kit

Clarion Jersey

Young Alex here, is resplendent in his new National Clarion jersey made by Endura. There is stock available so email Ian Clarke, the National Secretary, if you want to get hold of a jersey: clarion[AT]

Stock available:
Road Jersey, short sleeve with full length zip £36.00 XS, S, M, L, XL ref: 4005
Road Jersey, long sleeve full zip £38.00 XS, S, M, L, XL ref: 4006
Pro Road Jersey, short sleeve, with full zip £59.00 S, M, L ref: 4065
Pro Gillet with full zip (snug fit for the size) £35.00 S,M (tight) ref: 4032P

You can download the custom catalogue to find out the specification for each garment here:

Orders will be taken in January for West Lothian Clarion club kit.