Sunday, 31 January 2010

Club Socials

We meet up on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month. Come along and chat about the weekend's riding, swap dvds and books and plan your next big event.

First Monday of the month
8.30pm The Four Marys on Linlithgow Hight Street

Third Monday of the month
8.30pm the Black Bull, Mid Calder

See you there!

Weekend ride reports

Sat 29th Start
Sat 29th at Forth

Linlithgow Saturday rides

Although it was cold on Saturday morning, the bright winter sunshine, dry roads and clear views across West Lothian made it a great day for riding a bike. 14 riders were out on the Social and Active rides that left the Linlithgow Sports Centre at 9.00am.

Club Captain, Andy said "It was a fantastic turnout today, myself, Matt, Lesley, Jamie, Donald, Neil, Graham, Simon F, Steve and new riders, Ryan and dad Neil set off in one group up to Torphican. We met up with Bill, Stevie and Simon K. in the centre of the village and then split into the Active and Social groups."

"I took the social group, via Bathgate, Blackburn, Addiewell, Woolfords, Auchengray, Forth/Climpy, Fauldhouse, Blackburn and home. It must have been a fairly relaxed Active group, as the social group was on their tail and had them in sight to Woolfords. In the tortoise and hare scenario maybe they were just a rabbit today!"

"Thanks to everyone who supported the run today, who knows how many will be out on a hot summers day!"

The Active run rode along the same route as the Social ride. At Woolfords they realised the Social group was just behind, so the group picked up the pace. This didn't suit everyone and three riders were shelled out the back, with one or two picked up by the following group. Six riders continued and stayed together for the rest of the faster paced club run.

New member, Simon Kenny said "I really enjoyed the Active run, the pace was demanding but that's what I wanted, great fun and look forward to joining the gang for much more cycling shenanigans"

Linlithgow Sunday ride
Sunday run stalwart, Allan McCrimmon sends in this report "It was a cold morning but the roads were dry and the sun was shining with just a light breeze when Dave, Malcolm, Lewy, Eve, and myself set off. We opted for the two bridges route, out through Polmont Grangemouth and Skin Flats."

"The speed detector at Cairnyhill clocked the group at 22mph but overall I think the average for today was around 15mph, distance, about 40 miles. Well done to Eve, as I think this was her biggest run so far. Thanks to everyone for the company and I hope to see you all again next weekend."

All club run information can be found on the main website:

Quick AGM report

Thanks to everyone who came to the AGM last week. About a third of the club attended and a third sent apologies.

The minutes will be published shortly.

We now have over 70 members, which is more than the 2009 total. After the AGM last year we had 39 members so you can see how the club has grown over the last 12 months. Many thanks to all our new members and those who have rejoined for 1010.

The socials will be a great opportunity for people to get to know fellow members, the next one is on Monday 1st Feb at 8.30 in the Four Marys in Linlithgow

Click here for more details

I'd also like to thank the members for agreeing to the formation of the kids section.

Graham Foster stepped down as treasurer. The club wouldn't be as established as it is without Graham's decision making, accounting, planning, volunteering and major role in establishing good practice and writing the constitution. Graham also set up the club's 10 mile TT series last year. It won't be the last we see of him though, he is organising this year's RadTour with Tobias. Many thanks Graham.

Two new members were voted onto the committee.

Michelle Gregory is the new Treasurer. Michelle is a Kiwi, an Accountant and an experienced cyclist. Last year she won our women's open hill climb and this year she is planning on riding the infamous Marmot Sportive in France

Founding member, Bill Young, returns for more punishment as Race Secretary. Welcome back!

Tobias was voted in as President, Andy stays on as Club Captain, Bob stays on as Social Secretary and I (Matt Ball) stay on as Secretary.

The cosmopolitan committee is made up of a German, a New Zealander, an Englishman, a Northern Irishman and two Scots!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

AGM this Wednesday

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.

After the AGM there will be an opportunity to order club kit

Weekend club runs

Sun 25th Jan

Nine riders set off from Linlithgow on Saturday. Andy W, Steve, Tobias, Andy H, Neil, Jamie, Simon from Torphichen, Angus and Louis sorted themselves out into the Social and Active groups and headed towards the South of the county.

Andy H. was in the active group and says "Despite cold, drizzle and filthy roads, spirits were high, probably because we were all just glad to be actually back out cycling after a month off outdoor cycling with the snow."

"We went to Winchburgh, Broxburn, Almondell Country Park, East Calder, A70 for a bit, West Calder and Bathgate. The Strange Cycling Event of the Ride award goes to Angus’ cranky Crank. It snapped off (it was that cold!) at icy Almondell leaving the metal crank/pedal attached to his shoe but not to the bike! He had to phone for a taxi home. Simon punished us with Puir Wife’s Brae out off Bathgate and then Cairnpapple to finish off an energetic 40 miles."

Andy W. rode in the social group and says "The two fatties, Tobias and I, decided to be the social group but we all set out together as far as Bridgend. We then meandered over through Faucheldean,Winchburgh, Broxburn and Almondell country park to East Calder."

"We met up with the faster group again as they had stopped due to a broken crank on Angus's bike, after making sure he got sorted out with a taxi we cycled on to the lang wang. We continued along here for aroung six miles and then went down through Harburn and West Calder and home."

"I had cycled about 42 miles including my run over to L'gow before the start. New member Simon certainly has some miles in his legs, he stuck in well with the active group and hopefully he'll be out on many more runs. As for Tobias and me, we need more miles, less beer and less lbs on the scales, but today wasn't a bad start."

Melwin, Allan, Mike, Graham (who had cycled over from Caldercruix) and Matt set off from Linlithgow at a steady, social, pace to Dunblane and up on to Sheriffmuir, before the weather closed in and it started to snow. The group decided to return back to lower ground and make their way back to Linlithgow following the same route.

Route: Linlithgow, Polmont, Grangemouth, SkinFlats, Airth, Stirling, Bridge of Allen, Dunblane. About 55-60 miles in total.

Matt said "A good social ride, the group kept together well. Despite the social pace, my legs were sore afterwards and Mike says his were too, I suspect Melwin will take a few days to recover..."

All the ride details can be found on the website

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

National Clarion Easter Meet 2010

Eastbourne Friday 2nd – Monday 5th April

The 115th Easter meet will be held in Eastbourne, possibly the finest large English seaside town, in a perfect position on the South Coast, sitting at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex.

The meet Headquarters will be at the Cumberland Hotel which has a wonderful position on the seafront, with many spacious sea view rooms. Organisers Bob and Colette Harber can assure you of the excellent cuisine and friendly, helpful, efficient staff.

The manager of the hotel is a road-racer with Crawley CC and is very keen to ensure the Easter Meet will be memorable. Entertainments and complimentary afternoon tea for residents are included.

Cycling and Social Activities include:
• Leisure Ride 25 miles on Sustrans trail
• Club ride over the famed Beachy Head (bus alternative!)
• Audax ride 110km (70 miles) or 70km (44 miles)
• 23 mile 2-up TT (East Sussex Cycling Association)
• Social Events
• Annual Dinner and Prize presentation
• and much more.

Book your accommodation at the Cumberland NOW.
The best rooms go to early bookers.

The Cumberland Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3YT
Tel: 01323 730342

Price per person per night £48.00 (includes breakfast and complimentary afternoon tea)
No single room supplement.
Children sharing family room: 0-3yrs free, over 3yrs £12 each per night.

If you are flying into Gatwick (direct train every 30 minutes to Eastbourne), or otherwise need a bike for the Meet, Bob can provide road racing bikes, for adults and young persons, from his local Go-Ride club.

Bob Harber on 01903 879598 or 07979 836259.

Grant joins up

Grant Craven
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Grant, 45, is married to Kim with 3 kids Ben (18), Elliot (15) and Lara (10). He has always enjoyed cycling but has come a long way since his early Chopper days.

Grant says "I've been cycling to work since 1998, always on a MTB and since giving up playing football with Spartans (as well as attending my elder sons rugby games at Currie) I have been looking at getting out more on the bike especially on the road as well as some hillwalking."

"It took until last spring to add a new road bike alongside my MTB in the form of a Specialised Tricross thinking it would serve all purposes of commuting, leisure and cycle events."

"I now have a third bike, a Boardman Comp road bike which I won in the ITV TDF competition! This was the impetus to get me to join the Kirknewton roadies section of WLC and have been enjoying every minute."

"Previous years I've done the Edinburgh to St Andrews trip (since 2005) and our own charity cycle along the canal from Anniesland to Ratho (, and last year did the Pedal for Scotland."

"This year, on top of those events I've also entered Bealach Beag and Etape Caledonia in May. I'll need to up my fitness and lose some weight, which, based on previous outings, will be made more enjoyable with the company and camaraderie of fellow WLC members."

New member!

John-Michael Howison
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Thirty one year old ex rugby player John-Michael (JM) Howison joined up last year

Originally a MTBer through his teens and twenties, he has made the transition to road cycling over the last few years following a number of knee surgeries due to a persistent rugby injury.

John says "My rugby CV includes playing for the Edinburgh Academicals 1st XV, Edinburgh U19s and U21s at Centre or Wing. I have fully embraced road cycling and my only regret is not making the move from MTBing earlier. My current bike is a Trek Madone 5.2. My weekly training consists of 2 weights sessions, and either 1 turbo session and 2 road cycles, or 2 turbo sessions and 1 road cycle."

"My wife and I have recently moved from Edinburgh to West Lothian and are expecting our first child in April. The challenges of a new baby, work and training could conspire against me, although the current plan for 2010 is to compete in the full 10mile TT series, along with a few sportives (starting with the Caledonian Etape) and longer TTs, when I get the chance."

Welcome to the Clarion JM

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Club runs and Socials

Theakstons XB

The slippery roads and inclement weather meant more people made it to the first social on Monday in Mid Calder than managed to get out on a club run at the weekend.

Twelve people braved the freezing night to have a great time in the Black Bull. There was a lot of discussion about events in 2010, with many planning ways to hook up. The upcoming RadTour was a popular topic of conversation, as was the latest kit order and the benefits of Borax for cleaning jerseys was hotly debated!

Tobias's illegal front light both amazed and blinded onlookers and the Theakstons XB on tap went down well after being highly recommended by Andy Weaving who was already at the bar when everyone arrived, having ridden out after finishing work. Great to see everyone and have a chin-wag after our enforced hibernation.

See the Calendar for the next Social in Linlithgow on 1st February.

Next Social in Linlithgow
8.30pm The Four Marys on Linlithgow Hight Street
Starting Monday 1st February and repeated the first Monday of the month

Just two hardy riders were out on the Saturday run in Linlithgow, Lesley said "Myself and Melwin were the only ones out in the unpleasant weather. We stuck to the B roads to avoid the ice which remained on the more minor roads. We headed out to Slammannan then on to Limerigg then back via Westfield. It was good to see some tarmac again after the extended snowy period over Christmas and New Year".

On Sunday only Allan managed to make it to the Cross for 9.00am. Allan has consistently been getting out on a Sunday, but has had to set off from Linlithgow on his own on more than one occasion. He wonders whether a later start time might encourage people to come out on their bikes, and says "Changing the time we meet to to 9.30 or 10.00am might be more popular" If you have any views please email Andy Weaving on: macclarkson[AT]

There would have been one more at the cross but Neil Hayes came off on black ice as he rode to the start, he limped home with a scuffed bike but intact body.

All our rides details can be found on the website

Sunday, 17 January 2010

2010 Rad Tour: The Seven Castles of West Lothian

Start of RadTour 2

Organiser Graham Foster has announced the The club's season opener, our spring reliability trial or Rad Tour, will be on Sunday 14th March.

Meet up for 8.45am wearing our club kit for the 2010 group photo and then set off at 9.00am

Ever noticed how many castles you pass on the County's best back roads? Well, starting from Linlithgow, the Tour will join the dots, passing seven of them. Although the route is still to be finalised it's looking like being an anti-clockwise round of just over 60 miles.

Heading south first via Bathgate, taking in Cairns Castle, on (we think...) the highest stretch of road in West Lothian, the route will then swing north featuring such Forth Valley favourites as Duntarvie & Ochiltree with a final swooping descent back to the start point.

The Rad Tour is open to all club members and entries will be accepted on the day. Further details will follow but for now, get the date in your diary and some miles in those legs.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Clarion Bike Jumble

The club will hold a bike jumble on Sunday 28 February, from 10am to 2pm at Chalmers Hall, Linlithgow Bridge, Linlithgow.

Whether you'd like to sell those rusty old pedals that have been sitting in your garage for ages or your brand-new carbon TT bike. Just bring it along and see whether you can find a buyer for it.

Because it is the first ever bike jumble, we don't charge for entry or stalls this time. All we ask for is a donation toward the cost of the hall hire and a few pennies for the club kitty. Refreshments will be available.

Open to all except commercial sellers. It is recommended you book a space beforehand, for more details email the organiser Tobias Bauer on bauert[AT]

Hello West Lothian Clarion

Simon Kenny

As requested by Matt, here's a brief intro from your newest member:

I've been cycling for a few years now, but started putting in a few more miles after signing up for my first sportive in 2008 (Southern Uplands Sportive, or Radar Ride as it is now). I did three sportives in 2008 and five in 2009 (I've now done the Radar Ride and Ullapool Mor a couple of times each, plus a few others).

The nearest thing I’ve done to group riding in the past is when I’ve hooked up with a few people during sportives, so when I first join you on club runs, you’ll need to bear with me on this side of things.

I have one 'good' bike and two winter/bad weather bikes - the former being a Focus Izalco 2007 and the latter comprising an Edinburgh Bicycles/Revolution 'Country Explorer' (big heavy tourer - not fast, but comes in to it's own during windy weather) and a beaten up old Pinarello Prince I bought second hand a few years ago. For any of the club runs I come on in the next few weeks, it'll most likely be the Pinarello I use.

For the past couple of years, I've generally managed between five and eight hours a week on the bike, sometimes less, sometimes more. As with most folks, it just depends on all the other stuff going on in my life (e.g. - inconvenient things like work and family and important things like drinking beer).

I'm hoping to do a few more sportives this year (I've already signed up for the 'Cumbrian Killer' and 'Bealach Mor'). I'll just see what happens apart from that.

Look forward to putting some miles in with you all soon.



21st Tour of East Lothian Audax


The event organiser, Andy Laing, from Musselburgh RC emailed to let us know about their season opener Audax

"We have had difficulties updating our website with the latest entry form but further route details, etc are available at

Please note that, due to excess numbers previously turning up on the day, NO entries will be taken on the day.
I may consider late entries received by 10 February but no guarantees!
Thanking you in anticipation"

He has sent me an entry form as a word document, let me know if you need it and I'll send it on to anyone interested.

Click here to read Graham's report from last year's ride

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Club Socials

We're going to start meeting up for a drink on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month. come along and chat about the weekend's riding, swap dvds and books and plan your next big event. The first Social will be this Monday the 18th in the Black Bull, Mid Calder.

First Monday of the month
8.30pm The Four Marys on Linlithgow Hight Street
Starting Monday 1st February

Third Monday of the month
8.30pm the Black Bull, Mid Calder
Starting Monday 18th January

See you there!

Membership reminder

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.

Order club kit

Out to dry

To order club kit, visit the Endura website to download a pdf of their UK catalogue and the Excel order form.

Fill out the order form and email it or post it with cash or cheque for the relevant amount.
to Bill at Bill.Young[AT]

There will only be one kit order in 2010 - this will be your only chance to buy new club kit. Order will be sent in the first week of JANUARY.

Club cap recall

Bring your ill fitting caps to the AGM. Endura have agreed to refund the cost of those caps that are returned to them.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Watch out!

West Lothian Council is warning about the very high risk of black icy patches on all routes as melting snow washes grit from roads and refreezes.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Spin class club run

spin class

Desperate to go on a club run, Clarionistas from all over the county took part in spin classes at the weekend. Nine members descended on Linlithgow Leisure Centre on Saturday, Malcolm took part in the EICA Ratho spin class and a few members from the East Calder group attended the Craigswood Sports Centre in Livingston.

At Linlithgow, Bill, Stevie, Denis, Steve, Neil, Jamie, Craig, Ewan and Alan came out of the class with faces of varying shades of pink. They all seemed to benefit from the work out and there was a good bit of banter afterwards over a coffee in the cafe.

If you haven't been to a class before, some bikes can take spd shoes on one side of the pedals. It gets very warm in the class so wear your cycling gear, and take a towel and drink in with you. The Linlithgow class requires all participants to register on their system for free, before the start, so arrive with plenty of time to spare.

Click for more information
EICA Ratho
Craigswood Sports Centre
Linlithgow Leisure Centre

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Pass the salt

Looks like the spin class club runs are even more inviting: The amount of grit West Lothian Council has in stock has now reached critically low levels, says the council's web site.
Read more

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Next club run is a spin class!

West Lothian Clarionistas are going stir crazy, many having been snow bound for three weeks. To make sure we get a club run this Saturday Bill came up with the idea of attending a spin class at the Linlithgow leisure centre.

When? Saturday 9th
What time? 8.40am for a 9am start
Where: Linithgow leisure centre

• You don't need an induction to go spinning
• There are 36 newly refurbished bikes
• The classes do get quite busy but you cannot prebook - first come first served
• You DON'T have to be a member of the sports centre or Excite you WILL have to register on their system, so you'll need to go along 5 or 10 minutes earlier to have enough time to do that, or you could go along before Saturday to register.
• Wear your clarion summer kit, it'll be your only chance for a while.

Neil says "for those who'd like a later start the Craigswood Sports Centre in Livingston has a similar class starting at 10.15 - not sure how many spin bikes they have though... for more details click here

Malcolm also says "For those further to the East, there's one that starts at 10am at the EICA Ratho, I tried one last night and they've got a new fleet of bikes." For more information click here

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Glasgow Clarion circa 1912

Stumbled upon this historic photo of Glasgow Clarion in 1912. Jim Harris will correct me if I'm wrong but I think the Glasgow section eventually became the West of Scotland Clarion.