We have received guidance from British Cycling thatfrom the 29th Marchgrass roots sport activities can resume. This means that groups of no more than 15 riders will be allowed on the road.
Given that there will still be a restriction on the size of groups meeting socially we will not be able to stop at a takeaway cafe until further lifting of restrictions.
Therefore, please see the club’s roadmap below:
Sunday 4th April– meet at the Memorial Hallat 09:00– there is no planned destination but we will form groups to cater for individuals preferred time / distance. No cafe stop. Please bring drinks / snacks as appropriate.
Latest advice is to avoid cycling in groups, however individual riding is still possible.
By Rob Kingston
Friday, 17 April 2020
Coronavirus Q&A: is it safe to cycle?
How does the coronavirus outbreak affect cycling, and how can you minimise your risk as an individual?
*** This is a live document and was last updated Friday 17 April 2020 ***
At times like this, the advice of experts is needed more than ever.
To help the cycling community and our membership understand the impact of coronavirus on their personal riding, Cycling UK has consulted experts such as Public Health England; Cycling UK’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen; Head of Campaigns, Duncan Dollimore; and Cycle Magazine’s medical expert and practising GP, Dr Kate Hattersley, of South Devon Cycling UK group. With advice on how to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak changing all the time, we will be updating this article regularly.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on the evening of 23 March, announcing strict new curbs on life in the UK, Cycling UK has updated its advice on cycling.
Although people are now being told to stay at home during the pandemic, exercise outside is still permitted, subject to regulations (which are legal requirements), and Government guidance (which is advisory). The regulations are different in Wales from the rest of the UK: see How long and how often can I ride for?
This means it remains advisable for people to cycle for their health, fitness and well-being, but in line with our previous guidance, you should only do this alone or with members of your household (unless any of them have reason to self-isolate). Under no circumstance should you take part in any cycling activity in groups. We have also written a guide containing advice on how to maintain social distancing when cycling.
Here are our experts’ answers to some commonly asked questions about cycling during the coronavirus outbreak.
Q: I’m a healthy cyclist under the age of 70. Is it safe for me to continue cycling during the coronavirus outbreak?
Dr Kate Hattersley (KH): Yes. There is no reason for you to stop cycling, as long as you follow guidance on social distancing.
That means avoiding unnecessary social contact, as well as keeping a safe distance (at least two metres) from other people. Visits to public places, eg cafes, should also be avoided to limit exposure to infection.
You should carry tissues to use when cycling, disposing of them safely in a bin as soon as possible.
Upon returning home, you must wash your hands. It’s also advisable to wash your cycling gloves, too. Remember to avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean.
Q: I’m a healthy cyclist over the age of 70. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?
KH: Yes, but with particular caution. The latest advice is to remain at home for the next 12 weeks to protect yourself from infection.
Public Health England (PHE): If you’re from a vulnerable group but feel that you need to take a walk or go for a bike ride, choose a route where you are unlikely to meet any other people, or take your exercise at a quieter time. This will reduce the risk of exposure to other people.
Exercise at home or in your garden is encouraged where possible, for example on a turbo trainer or an exercise bike if you have access to one.
Tissue use and hand washing advice is as above.
Q: I’m a cyclist with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or COPD. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?
Roger Geffen (RG): The answer we received from PHE suggests that if your chronic condition is relatively mild, you can follow the same advice as that for the over 70s.
However the more serious your condition, the more strongly you are advised to stay at home to reduce your overall social contacts during the period in which the social distancing measures apply.
Q: I’m a cyclist who is currently unwell with a new continuous cough or fever. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?
KH: No. Do not go out, as you present a risk to others. Strenuous exercise is unwise while you are unwell. Consult the NHS 111 website for advice on self-management of your illness, but expect to be confined at home for at least seven days.
If you don’t live alone, members of your household must self-isolate for 14 days from the time you first showed symptoms.
If they also become symptomatic, their period of isolation extends for a further 7 days from day 1 (day 1 being the day they started to show symptoms) regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
Q: I have been in physical contact / close proximity recently with friends or relatives with symptoms who are self-isolating, but I don’t live in the same household as them. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?
PHE: Yes. Walking, cycling or running outside is fine, as long as you are well and have no symptoms – and is probably more beneficial than ever for your mental wellbeing if you are working from home all day.
Follow the advice on social distancing.
Q: I have been in physical contact / close proximity recently with friends or relatives with symptoms who are self-isolating, and I live in the same household as them. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?
KH: No. You present a high risk to others as you may be infected, even if you are not showing symptoms. You should stay at home instead of going out, even if you feel well.
However, if you feel well enough you may want to undertake light exercise on a turbo trainer or exercise bike (if you have access to one) at home or in your garden (if you have one). As much as possible, keep a safe distance from other people at all times.
PHE: If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must also stay at home for 14 days.
For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for a further 7 days from when their symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period. See the ‘ending isolation’ section for more information.
Q: I’m in voluntary self-isolation because I have returned from a high-risk country, but I’m showing no symptoms. Is it OK to go for a bike ride by myself?
PHE: Yes. Walking, cycling or running outside is fine, as long as you are well and have no symptoms – and is probably more beneficial than ever for your mental wellbeing if you are working from home all day.
Follow the advice on social distancing and contact and ride solo or with someone you live with.
Q: My workplace is still open and requires me being there. Should I cycle to work?
RG: For those still needing to get to work, cycling is a healthy option (depending on the distance and your level of fitness) which avoids public transport, helping to reduce overcrowding for those who are more dependent on public transport services.
The latest government advice on social distancing for those continuing to work specifically recommends cycling as a suitable option for travelling to work while maintaining social distancing.
Q: I am a key worker. Should I cycle to work?
Cycling UK: Yes. During the coronavirus outbreak, key workers are encouraged to cycle to work and avoid public transport if you can. The roads should be quieter. Stay at least 2 metres away from other people, including cyclists, at all times. You should carry tissues to use when cycling, disposing of them safely in a bin as soon as possible. Upon arriving, you must wash your hands. It’s also advisable to wash your cycling gloves, too. Remember to avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean. For more information, see our commuting advice for key workers. Cycling UK is also offering three months’ free membership, including free third-party liability insurance, for health and social care workers.
Q: Can I cycle to the shops?
Cycling UK: Yes. Buying essential shopping is one of the “reasonable excuses” to leave your home under the current emergency legislation, and there is no reason not to make the journey by bike as long as you observe social distancing rules. Indeed, doing so is a healthy – and fun – option that also reduces unnecessary vehicle traffic and pressure on public transport.
Q: What number of people is classed as a group?
Cycling UK: Two or more people, unless they are living in the same household. Recreational cycling amounts to “unnecessary social contact”, which risks spreading infection. The longer the time you spend together, the greater the risk.
Q: Can I ride with a friend if we live in the same household?
PHE: Yes, as long as you are feeling well and neither of you are showing any symptoms. Follow the guidelines for social distancing.
You should carry tissues to use when cycling, disposing of them safely in a bin as soon as possible.
Upon returning home, you must wash your hands. It’s also advisable to wash your cycling gloves, too.
Remember to avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean.
Q: Can I ride with a friend if we don’t live in the same household?
Cycling UK: No, you should not ride with a friend if you don’t live in the same household, as either of you may be infected, without showing symptoms.
Q: Is it OK to go for a ride with my kids?
KH: Yes, assuming you live in the same household as them. If you are all well and not self-isolating (because of symptoms of a cough or fever), then you are not a risk to each other.
It’s therefore safe to go for a ride together with the usual social distancing and hygiene precautions outlined above.
Q: What advice should I give to my children if they are well and want to go for a ride?
KH: Provided they are old enough to go out alone, they must demonstrate that they understand social distancing and observe the sensible rules of keeping two metres away from others and observing hygiene rules.
Encourage them to wash their hands and gloves when they get home.
Q. Is it OK for me to go for a ride in the woods?
Duncan Dollimore (DD): The advice from governments across the UK, Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and similar bodies is clear, and reflects the advice given by National Parks, National Trust and other large land owners and land managers.
People should not be getting into their cars to travel to the nation’s forests, woods and other outdoor spaces. Cycling UK’s advice is therefore that it would be irresponsible to ignore that advice and travel unnecessarily to reach those destinations. (See also our response to the question Does my ride have to start from home?)
Of course, for those who live in or very close to such woods and forests, they may be a natural destination for their recommended and permitted daily exercise, which they can cycle or walk to and around from their front door.
Anyone doing so should observe recommended social distancing and hygiene advice and also take even more care than normal to make sure they don’t put further pressure on the emergency services, and respect any trail closures that have been implemented during this time.
It’s not a time for stunts or extreme downhill riding. However for those riders who might otherwise be driving to a trail centre, now is the perfect opportunity to open up an Ordnance Survey map and begin to explore the byway and bridleway network from your front door, taking the time to enjoy a different sort of riding.
Q: Does my ride have to start from home?
DD: Boris Johnson’s announcement on travel restrictions was not specific about this, and there have been some conflicting messages from the Government. Several police forces around the country initially clamped down on what they deemed to be unnecessary travel, telling people that their exercise should start from home. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has also said that people should take their daily exercise “as near home as possible”.
In addition, land-owning and land-managing organisations, including the Forestry Commission, National Trust, the National Parks and many local authorities, have closed their car parks and are urging people not to travel to visit them.
The strict legal position is that there is no requirement that your permitted exercise must start from your front door; however, please remember that taking exercise alone or with other members of your household is one of the defined “reasonable excuses” for leaving your home. Accordingly, anyone thinking of jumping in a car to travel somewhere to take exercise might need to justify that this was reasonable in the circumstances.
In England, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing have issued a guidance document sharing advice from the Crown Prosecution Service on what is and is not likely to be considered reasonable. It states that “driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving)” is likely to be reasonable, and clarifies that “it is lawful to drive for exercise”, so it could be argued that driving a short distance to the countryside to cycle would also be reasonable.
However, we all need to resist the temptation to drive to ‘honeypot’ locations – particularly over long distances – in order to get our daily dose of physical activity. Unfortunately, these are the places where we’re most likely to encounter crowds, and possibly place pressure on the emergency services too.
Instead, we should take the opportunity to seek out quiet and uncrowded places to cycle close to home, preferably places we can cycle to from our own doorstep (our guide to planning local rides will help you do just that). That won’t be possible for everyone, particularly for those in inner-city areas or on fast and busy main roads, or even those in towns surrounded with a bypass that lacks a safe crossing point into the countryside, and potentially for people with – or caring for others with – a disability. That’s where the question of what’s reasonable becomes important. In these cases, do the best you can, and comply with instructions from local police or other authorities.
Q: How long and how often can I ride for?
DD: The Prime Minister’s announcement did not include a fixed time limit.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the regulations provide that taking exercise, either on your own or with members of your household, is a reasonable excuse for leaving your home.
The guidance from Governments in England and Northern Ireland initially suggested that this should only be once per day, but that is not a legal requirement. The guidance in England has however now been changed to recognise that people with certain physical or mental health conditions may need to go out more often.
In Scotland, the guidance does not mention exercise being limited to once per day, but it does say that people should be minimising their time outside their home when undertaking permitted activities such as daily exercise.
In Wales the regulations are different, and there is a legal restriction limiting exercise outside your home to once per day.
Working out how long we can exercise for is also something of a balancing act, and we all need to strike that balance depending on the context. We should ask ourselves what is reasonable, based on where we live, where we’re seeking to exercise, how many people are likely to be there, and what time of day we are venturing outside.
On the one hand, we are all being encouraged to go out once a day for some exercise, for the good of our physical and mental health and well-being. On the other, we are being urged to avoid unnecessary proximity to or contact with other people. We all need to use good judgement in how to get exercise in ways that minimise unnecessary travel, crowds and possible pressures on the emergency services. Think about what’s reasonable.
Cycling UK advice is to go out for long enough to keep yourself in good shape physically and emotionally but avoid doing more than this. Use common sense when planning your route. If you have a mechanical mishap that you can’t fix yourself and you’re miles from home, you may struggle to get back without asking someone else to undertake an additional journey that could have been avoided if you’d planned a circular route close to home.
People cycling from their homes in Northern Ireland also need to be aware that the regulations in Ireland are more restrictive, and daily exercise is restricted to within two kilometres of people’s homes. Accordingly, cycling across the border into Ireland for daily exercise is likely to breach those regulations, unless you remain within 2km of your home.
To make it easier to maintain social distancing of at least two metres from other people, try to avoid areas you know are likely to be busy, and narrow paths with limited passing places. Ride within your limits to reduce the risk of requiring rescue or medical assistance. Now is not the time to tackle remote, technical trails, go for a PR on that descent or try a new jump line!
Q: Should I ride on canal towpaths?
DD: If you chose to ride along a narrow towpath that’s popular with walkers, at busy times of the day, it’s likely that you will find it difficult to pass those on foot while leaving the recommended two metres of space. You’ll end up either riding at walking pace behind people or breaching the social distancing guidelines.
Cycling UK’s advice is therefore to think about the paths you plan to ride on, avoid the narrowest sections when they are likely to have large numbers of walkers using them, and think about the time of day you pick for your ride. See our guide to social distancing for more advice on how to keep yourself and others safe when you ride.
It is our responsibility to try to avoid spreading this virus to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
In the light of the latest guidance, Cycling UK groups should call a halt to organised group rides for the time being.
Stay in touch with your friends using phones and social media and support each other both practically and with moral support through this difficult time.
Maybe you can do some shopping by bike and deliver groceries to your friends, relatives or neighbours. This situation will not continue indefinitely, and we can expect to be back out riding our bikes together before too long.
Please get in touch with the team via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries about coronavirus.
Based on the Government’s latest advice and guidance on the developing situation around Coronavirus/COVID19, British Cycling has suspended all of its sanctioned cycling activities, initially until April 30.
They also advise that local clubs follow this guidance.
The committee has therefore made the following decisions:
The 10 mile TT on 4th April has been cancelled
The April club meeting at the Memorial Hall is cancelled
All organised rides are suspended until further notice.
The club road race will now not be organised. This may change with the current situation.
We appreciate that some of the club may not want to go out at all during this time or become unwell and need support with shopping etc.
We therefore are setting up a support network where, if you would like some assistance, please contact Patrick or me and we will link you with club members in your area who are able to help.
Those who are able to offer assistance please respond to this email offering your support so that we can co-ordinate activities.
OnSaturday 12thOctober six members of the WKRC flew byEasyJetto the Island of Mallorca to attend the last Autumn training camp run by Ciclosolhttps://www.ciclosol.coma company with over 25years experienceof running both training and cycling holidays in Mallorca.
From Palma airport we were collected with several other cyclists and after 45 minutes arrived at our HoteltheBahia Pollensawhich isinthe north of the island at Puerto De Pollensa.You can take your own bike or hire one on the island all shopshave competitive rates based on the model you want to use andtest out if you are thinking of buying one in the UK.We shareda largeapartmentwith one other so 2 perroom. Therooms werecomfortableand the accommodation well maintained andcleaned regularly.
Later that day we went to a briefing and for the benefit of riders who have not been before are given detailed information about the rides, the ride captains and how the camp works.Firstlyyou can ride with any group you wish on any day and because you meet at the same café on the routesyou canevenchangemid wayif you want to move to a slower group or a faster group. Most of the rides were about 60 miles like a club run but others of 85 were included with achallengingday on Thursday which will involve a major climb on the island. On Wednesday you get a restdaybut our group decided to take a short ride to the Cap Formentor a scenic lighthouse at the edge of the Island which is rated as one of the finest rides on the Island.
The two meals provided were a breakfastbuffetwhichhadall thefood you could want from muesli, fruit to a full English & plenty of coffee juice etc. In the evening you had dinner from 7pm onwards which again was a buffet style of fish, meat,saladorveggie with cheese & biscuits to follow and desserts. The price also includes a free pint of local beer or glass of wine each night. VFM without any doubt.
During the evenings you can get an early night if tired or mingle with the other cyclists and use the bar facilities untilmidnight(not recommended if you are riding next day)
If you wake up and do not fancy going out on your bike you have the option tohike, visitthe beach or town or laze by the two swimming poolsyour choice.
It was my first training camp and by Friday you know you have done a few miles but you have enjoyed the nice feeling of ridingon good roadsin warm weather with bib shorts & top in October we were fortunate to have no rain and temperatures in themid 20sall week.
We returned home on the following Saturday which was the last week of the training schedule and despite a delay in our flight we all arrived home in good spirits and very pleased we had taken the trip.
The trip was well organised byRoger ”TheDodger”Griffin who is looking to organise another trip in 2020 so please look at their website and speak to Roger if you are interested.
On Sunday3rdNovember 2019 Laurie Tombs organised our annual ride to visit the site of four WW2 Pilots who lost their lives in Kent during the Battle of Britain.The weather was cold but fine and sunny
Twelve members of the WKRC attended our usual meeting point and then went first to Hesketh ParkDartford a memorial to Sgt T.Oldfieldbefore moving onCourt Lodge Farm Darenth for Flying Officer N.Barry.Then to Spare Penny lane Farningham for Flt Lt J. Patterson and finally to Warren Road Chelsfield for Sgt J.Ellis. Details of all these memorials and the stories behind them can be found at theshoreham-aircraft-museum.co.uk website.
We laid a small cross & wreath at each locationand alsovisited the café at Shoreham Aircraft Museum before returning home or in some cases carrying on with a longer ride.
For once the group were silent as we rode thinking of the very young pilots who sacrificed all.
Please note that if you intend to ride in KCA or ECCA events (this includes reliability trials) then you are expected to make yourself available where possible to assist in fulfilling the clubs marshalling responsibilities.
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On Saturday 16th June 2018 over 50 people attended the lunchtime meeting for the WKRC 80TH Anniversary. This group consisted of several senior men and women members of the club, widows of former members and current members with partners & siblings.
The meeting was held at The Chequers PH in Crockenhill. Kent and several members had brought along old photographs and written club mememoribilla and some of the original WKRC trophies were on display.
We were also fortunate to have the use of the TV to show a continus display of recent photographs taken by our club photographer Andy Floyd. The occasion was not a formal one as the club will be recognising this achievement at the WKRC Xmas ball on 23 November.
A buffet was served at 1300 and this was provided by the club together with tea and coffee for all guests, a superb hand crafted cake in the shape of the club shirt and colours was later cut by the President and distributed to all present as a token of the clubs appreciation for the solid foundation laid by the founders which has allowed this iconic club to continue to this date.
A local press photographer attended and an article will appear in the Dartford Messenger on Thursday 21st June 2018.
A big thank you to all those who attended especially those who travelled from far and wide and to the Committee who have organised this event for the club.
I look forward to celebrating the 90th anniversary in 2028.
On Friday 23rd March 2018 a small band of WKRC members met in the Furze Wren Broadway Bexleyheath for a social gathering.
This select band who had made the rescheduled date were pleased to find that it was festival time.!
Yes readers it was a real ale event with some locally brewed real ales for only £2.19 a pint! Result. Their was plenty to talk about and many interesting sights to see in the Furze Wren before the group left to walk the short distance to the Mixteca Mexican restaurant.
The restaurant was not too busy but we were made to feel welcome and before long we have started on our first bucket of beers before we ordered our authentic Mexican food.
We started off with a big plate of Tacos before we all decided that our main course would be the Fajitas, this was later served up in a good sized portion and sizzling hot which went down well with another bucket of Mexican beer. It was a very pleasant evening and the hours passed by with discussion on a wide range of issues and plenty of humour.
After the meal we all decided to return to the Furze Wren to try one more pint of real ale before catching our transport home. Strange to hear our youngest member ask for details of any cab ranks? had never heard of uber?
If you fancy a change of cuisine I would suggest you try the Mixteca see www.Mixteca.co.uk for details.
Next social event will be a curry night later this year watch this space.
As you may be aware the West Kent Road Club will celebrate its eightieth birthday this year having been inaugurated in 1938.
To mark this special occasion, we wish invite all current and former members of the WKRC to a lunch time meeting at the Chequers Public House Cray Road Crockenhill BR8 8LP on SATURDAY 16TH June 2018
The meeting/celebration will start at noon and guests can purchase drinks from the bar and tea and coffee and some finger food will be available.
Guests will be invited to make a small voluntary donation on arrival to the club funds if they are able in order to cover the cost of the food and room hire.
A selection of photographs and written club memorabilia from the club archives will be on show. We are extending this invite to widows of former members.
In order that we can gauge the numbers who may attend please email the current social secretary Trevor Benton at email@example.com and can I ask that if you have any personal contact with ex members you could mention this event to them on my behalf.
On Wednesday 8th November 2017 ten members of the WKRC went to the world famous Lea Valley Velodrome on the site of the 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford E15.
Some members used the excellent transport facilities whilst others took advantage of the free four hour parking included in the entry ticket. We were going to take part in a track tester event which had been planned for some time. We had decided to book the last evening slot between 8pm -10pm as it meant traffic was lighter and those working could make the event in good time. At the Velodrome we had a chance to look around the famous track and at the gallery of photographs and memorabilia of many riding stars who had won trophies on the track.
Then we all changed into our WKRC kit and under the instruction of a British Cycling coach our instruction began.
I can only speak from my experience as a complete novice to track riding and riding a fixie with no brakes it was a steep learning curve in more ways than one! But our coach was very friendly and professional and soon we were equipped with bikes and took off onto the track unfortunately without the roar of a large crowd. Although Mack did turn up later and gave us some verbal encouragement. The next two hours were very enjoyable and I think I can speak for all of us to say we had a very informative session and the rides were challenging.
No incidents or crashes and plenty of good humour and soon the two hours had gone by. The cost was Â£22.50 per person plus Â£12 bike hire and in my opinion good value for money too. Perhaps next year if we have enough support we can book another session.
Starters on the line were back into double figures this year with more family, friends and fans (ahem) watching from the side lines. Talk prior to the race of favourites included Michael Ashcroft (good T.T. times, very good pace on Sunday club runs), Matthew Reuter (runner up on two occasions) and last year’s winner, Lol Toombs (perennial all-rounder). During warm up laps the high cross winds were noted by all but were only slightly deemed to be a head wind on the way down the course and a good tail wing back up the rise to the start line.
The full course was being used and after the briefing by the ever (over?) officious Commissar Trever Benton we were away dead on 10:30. The first few neutralised laps were all ridden tightly together but once the race was under way the conditions lead to a good pace from the start.
Lol, Colin, Mark, Gary and Matthew amongst others all did some turns on the front testing their legs for later on. At the mid race point the speed was beginning to tell especially up the long drag up and past the start/ finish line. The front of the race now only contained Gary, Lol, Michael, Mick, Matthew, Colin and Mark. Mark had done a long stretch up the hill and found himself in the position on the next lap, Gary took up that position when Michael Ashcroft rounded the pair and made a bid for lone glory. Matthew Reuter chased in vain but before the top of the hill had given up the chase and by the time he had reached the top of the run down to the bottom was sat firmly at the back of the chasing group of Lol, Gary and Colin. The next couple of laps were fast with Lol/ Gary doing much of the work but once it was realised that there was no way of catching Michael nor being able to split the group of four, the final few laps were run at a more sedate pace (even though, with fatigue it felt twice as hard as previous!)
On the final lap Colin finally fell away from the chasing group with Michael crossing the line ahead for a fine solo win with almost a minute on those trying to catch him. The race behind was for 2nd and 3rd.
Lol lead them out (as he had for most of the lap) with Gary following on the left when Matthew found a way through the middle (close but no contact) but couldn’t catch Lol for a thoroughly deserved second place and first over 50 Vet, with Matthew third. The excitement of the race had some comparing with the final stage of the Criterion du Dauphine although the most important aspect was that all racers finished safe and sound and enjoyed the experience.
Let us hope this event grows and gives appetite for those competitors to race elsewhere.
There was a photographer on the circuit and we are tracking down his details so that we can gain access to the images.
On Sunday 14th May 2017 three members of WKRC took part in the Classique Sportive organised by Cycle events which was a 86 mile ride from Calais via Cassel & back to the ferry port.
Unfortunately this meant that at 0345 Little Gary & Paul Townley met at my house and we loaded up and drove to Dover Cliffs to get to the car park & registration for 0530 and then we zipped down Castle Hill road into Dover.
The weather was grey and rain was forecast until our arrival in France so we were suitably dressed but had the opportunity to leave any excess clothing and non-essential items at Calais at the bag drop.
We made the ferry in good time and after passport checks were directed to wait in a lane full of cyclists and cycle on board and leave our bikes in the hold. This was rather a strange experience as I had never cycled onto a ferry beforehand.
So far so good but unfortunately a delay occurred in our departure which meant we arrived approximately one hour later. This meant we had enough time to have the croissant’s and coffee provided and soon we arrived and departed in groups.
The route was well signposted and thankfully the weather improved and we all settled down into a cracking pace assisted by a strong tailwind. The route was very quiet and with very light traffic passing through some lovely villages and epic scenery. The food stops were well stocked with High 5 gels, bars, fruit, & our favourite baguettes & jam.
We had been warned that unless we reached the last food stop before 1300 we would be held back because of the Dunkirk to Dunkirk 4 day race crossing our route so we cracked on and we were the last three riders to be allowed past the checkpoint. As a result we went up a climb and were pleased to see the locals camped out waiting for the race and instead saw three WKRC pushing up the climb. It was a surreal moment and they gave us loads of encouragement which we needed. Onto the cobbles of Cassel and then into the dreaded headwind as we neared Calais and the port.
We did not make the 5.30 Gold cut off but easily made the Silver at 05.50 and then onto the ferry home no rain and no mechanicals or crashes a good ride. But the cherry on the cake was the ride back up the hill to the carpark! I had asked Gary to ride up and bring the car down but he said we needed the training.! We have saved the route so I am proposing that we do a WKRC ride to France next year following the same format if we can get some interest.
My thanks go to my club mates Paul Townley, Patrick Donohue, Eddie Routledge, Ian Routledge, Lee Enever, Colin Record, Matt Reuter, Trevor Benton, Andrew Floyd and Mark Morrison for their help in putting on this event.
The start was delayed by 30 minutes due to the fog but once we got going the sun came out and with little wind some good times were posted.