Oldham and Tameside CTC is a small group of enthusiastic cyclists, who every Sunday, rain or shine enjoy a full day's cycling in the varied countryside that surrounds them. Complementary to the Sunday club run is the occasional summer bank holiday weekend, either spent Youth Hostelling or under canvas. Every year at Easter the club goes on tour for a cycling holiday which usually lasts for up to six days. Past tours have been in all parts of the UK. One year's Easter tour took us abroad to Belgium to see the Tour of Flanders. Although based in Oldham, currently we draw most of our active members from the Tameside area.
Many members of Oldham and Tameside CTC are also members of Oldham Century Road Club which caters for the time trial and road racing disciplines of cycling. Ad-hoc mountain bike runs are also organised to suit members needs. Oldham Century RC co-exists alongside Oldham and Tameside CTC to offer members every outlet for their cycling activities. A mountain time-trial event and a road race are organised each year by Oldham Century RC with the assistance of Oldham and Tameside CTC members.
It is no surprise to state that the home patch on the eastern side of Manchester is somewhat hilly. After all we are really perched on the western Pennines looking out over the Cheshire plain. To the south is the Peak District, the east the Pennine Hills and Yorkshire. The Cheshire lanes are to our south-west and to the north we have the Lancashire Pennine country and the Yorkshire Dales. In a nutshell we have some of the best cycling country all within a days ride. Every advantage is taken to see all that surrounds us by covering all points of the compass. We thrive on a diverse menu as we ring the changes. You will therefore find us anywhere within a 40 mile radius of our start point, on any Sunday of the year. We usually spend a full day out which means a rough average of 6 hours are spent cycling. It is no secret that our group often use "rough stuff" routes, off road, for part of the way to travelling to our destinations. A walk along a footpath or route via a bridleway or canal towpath often makes a welcome change away from traffic. Most of our routes follow quiet "B" roads anywhere from the Derbyshire Dales to the wild moors of West Yorkshire or the leafy lanes of Cheshire.
Most regular cyclists tend to be somewhat slimmer than average and there is good reason for this characteristic. Cycling is excellent exercise and uses up a lot of energy when maintained for a full days riding. Calories fly out of the window at an alarming rate, consequently it is not surprising that cyclists tend to be somewhat hungry when they stop for meals. Cafe stops at mid-morning for a drink as well as lunchtime stops for a full meal are the norm. A mid-afternoon stop is also routine practice. Most riders will carry emergency food just in case they run out of energy on the road. A banana or a Mars bar is good insurance. A water bottle carried on your bike filled with plain tap water is essential to top you up and stop you becoming de-hydrated.
A reliable bike of a size that fits you comfortably is all that is required for you to complete any cycling day out with us. Mastery of basic cycle mechanics is a great asset to ensure your peace of mind. Testing and adjusting brakes is top of the list and mending a puncture is not far behind. Every rider is expected to be self sufficient but your fellow riders would never see you stuck and will always help you out. It is essential that if you join us on a winter ride that your bike is provided with a good set of lights. Modern LED lights are cheap and easily fitted so there is no excuse for not having them. The best of maintained bikes can come to a halt with a puncture or other mechanical failure so it is esential that you carry a spare inner tube, a puncture repair outfit and a few well chosen tools to fix the problem and get you home. A tiny bottle of light cycle oil and a tiny pot of hand cleaner could make the world of difference to your bike and then to you! Spare brake and gear cables are well worth carrying.
Warm summer weather will see everyone in shorts and lightweight clothing but clothing to meet the vagaries of winter storms in the high Pennines has to be somewhat more substantial. Warm clothing, waterproofs and windproof garments along with gloves, should all be carried and fit for purpose. A small saddlebag to store your clothes, waterproofs, food and tools is a good investment. Never carry anything on yourself, let the bike take the strain. It is much better to have a number of thin layers that can be put on or taken off as the weather demands rather than one thick garment, as an all or nothing measure. If it is likely to rain then a spare pair of gloves and socks can make all the difference to your comfort. Surprisingly a woollen scarf which is light and very easy to carry gives a high return for investment when the temperature drops. Cycling along even at club pace will keep your body warm and you will require to lose some heat, so choose your "waterproof" clothing with care. Ventilation and breathability of fabrics are the qualities to look for.
Almost every Friday from 8pm till 10 pm we meet for a natter and get-together at Copley Sports Centre, Stalybridge (click here for a map), either in the Training Room or in the public/bar area. If you are a new rider wishing to join us on the Sunday club run this is the best way to initially meet everyone. If you are a new member but experienced rider then you can swap "touring tales" and tell of all the Cols you have conquered on your trips abroad. If you are new to cycling then many will willingly offer their advice, give your bike the "once over" and tell you about the many activities of the club. Over a mug of tea you will be able to enquire where we are going on Sunday and ask about gears or whether your saddle is the right height for you. Perhaps you might join the card school or tell us of an inexpensive cafe that serves cracking meals.