News and Views
A Day Out in CheshireOur Sunday club run last week to Gawsworth Hall was a follow up to last year when a party of us arrived, albeit later in the year, to find that the tearoom was closed. We had come to view the village, admire the lovely surroundings and above all eat at lunchtime. This time I did take care to check beforehand that the tearoom would be open and therefore, my conscience was clear that there would be no surprises about where we could have lunch. Thankfully we all had a fine light lunch of bespoke sandwiches, salad and Pringles, washed down with lashings of tea with a finale of scones and butter. I had read about the tearoom in the Northern Wheel many moons ago and had never been, so now we have one more café stop to add to the list. A word of caution though as it does have a short summer season when they are open for meals. To all our surprise the tearoom is very cycling friendly as it has a three-man tandem in the height above the counter. It has double fork blades and a rear chain ring at least a foot in diameter, in other words a massive gear. Down at the back of the café area are a number of old photographs of cycling teams at an undisclosed velodrome venue. These pictured sturdy riders who are grouped in fives and are riding five man tandems. All the identities of clubs and venues etc, are a mystery at the moment. So when next we go I shall be taking a magnifying glass to decipher the wording on the rider's jerseys. With Beverley, Martin, Mike, Kathleen and Barry plus myself thankfully fed we set sail through the delightful Cheshire lanes and made our way through Mottram St Andrew and on towards Woodford. Here Martin requested we take the rough stuff route that leads to Woodford aerodrome in an effort to see the Vulcan bomber that Barry had been nattering about. Barry's interest in air shows is everlasting and his enthusiasm to see aircraft take off and land has seen us tracking the whereabouts of the Airbus 380 on many a recent club run out to Cheshire. What we never, never expected was that the Red Arrows, RAF display team, would honour the Beard Cup hill climb with a fly past over Saddleworth at the very moment the event was due to start. Excellent timing Squadron Leader whoever you are!
Club Runs - Where would you like to go?A successful club run is surly one where everyone aboard has thoroughly enjoyed his or herself at the end of the day. That fact is self-evident. The recipe is somewhat complicated though as usually there are many tastes, abilities and timeframes that have to be met to meet expectations. The traditional club run with its shorter runs in winter and further a field in the lighter longer days starting from three start venues has served us well. But is this a time for a new evaluation of how we are doing. When I first rode with the club in the late eighties most of the riders were teenagers or in their early twenties but now that is not the case as most riders are in there forties and a number have a pocket in their shorts marked pension book. So the obvious is, we have all got older and we now seem to be missing members of the younger generation. However, there is a promise that if we play our cards right the youngest generation might care to join us on our Sunday rides. To meet this possible demand I have amended the forthcoming club run list to incorporate "the family ride". It is intended to meet the needs of any family with young children. Parents can car assist if need be and then ride with their children accompanied by other club members. Quiet routes will be used and of course conducted at an appropriate pace. The object is not to run a child minding service, for all children will be accompanied by parents, but to tend green shoots that will grow into strong youths in a few years with a strong ethos of the worth of club cycling. Now let me tackle the issue of time and the amount we use on a club run. Over the years the demands of our busy, busy world seem to have put pressure on the hours riders spend riding. A leisurely daylong ride has given way to a hard bash and back by half past one for many. Is it Sunday shopping, cutting the lawn, washing the car or watching TV sport that has put demands on some of us. In this review this is the hardest to solve because if you reduce the nine to five timetable to something shorter you severely restrict the variety of each outing. How should we choose where the runs go? This task has traditionally been done by the Runs Secretary or in the last two years a computer program randomising the input data of destinations around an algorithm. I have asked many times for possible new destinations but no new radical ideas have emerged. This result is not surprising as all runs are restricted by time and mileage and not least by the location of cafes. The other parameter in the mix is the runs leader. Is it best to let one person lead throughout the year or would a rota be better, giving everyone a chance at being involved on the stakeholder principle. As a small club we can't afford the luxury of a fast section and a slower group who set out and probably meet up again for lunch or a brew. Our numbers will not stretch to make it possible. What we can do is make our runs match the expectations of our existing regular riding members by involving more people in decision-making on times, routes, destinations and runs leaders. The new club runs for the coming year will shortly appear, so any changes, new destinations or other suggestions are open for consideration. Please let me know your views. Remember, changes to the programme can be incorporated with just a few days notice.
Café open or Café shut?My paranoia about cafes being open in recent times comes from coaxing my grandchildren Chloe and Nathan to the tops of hills by telling them the café is but a short ride away. Some were possibly struggling to keep their pedals turning and dreaming of a hearty meal. The vision of arriving at a café is like a mirage of an oasis in the desert, you just never seem to get there. On finally arriving at the "Yellow Teapot" café at Common Barn above Rainow we found it was shut, so I had to eat some humble pie, apologise and guide my young charges down to Kerridge Edge and along to Bollington for lunch. It was a great surprise to find an excellent café like the "Yellow Teapot" shut on a Sunday in the middle of summer. I am sure everyone is worthy of a summer break, café staff included, but it would have been nice to have seen a closed sign at the farm gate before the long trek to the front door. A good piece of news came from Beverley in that she believes the Chadkirk Chapel is now open to serve drinks again. What a lot of nonsense this has been in that it is rumoured that some customer was planning to sue for damages because they had scolded themselves. As a real world customer I expect near boiling water in a teapot and hot water to come from the hot tap in the washroom. It now appears we have to be told what common sense has always dictated. Cafes come and cafes go as we know and Hebden Bridge is no exception. The greasy spoon café near the traffic lights and toilets shut up shop along with the canal side café some years ago, so we have managed in recent times with pie and peas inside the flea market located in the side street. However, last time we had a club run there we discovered a fish and chip restaurant that is well up to filling our needs. The fish was excellent. So, some doors open and some doors shut. David Collins