Tag Archives: Syston

I need more sponsors or I’ll be embarrassed. Please help

At the moment I am doing better at recruiting extra riders for our Epworth pilgrimage than I am at getting sponsors for me! We are up to 8 riders, 1 walker and 1 runner so far.

Now I want some more sponsors! We are raising money for two great causes:

Youth Cafe in Syston. We want to convert part of the Methodist Church Centre into a self contained, youth friendly venue. The first target is to get the work completed (new entrance created by reconfiguring the toilets) so that we can open as many evenings each week as possible. Later we want to be able to open during the day too as a Community Hub. Syston is really lacking places for young people to go.

The Development Work at Epworth Old Rectory. This great museum has been having lots of work done to make restore it and making it a better place to visit. The place where John and Charles Wesley grew up is an important piece of heritage, not just for Methodists but for us all as the Wesleys had a profound impact on the whole country, indeed the much of the world.

The total I raise will get split 50% to each of these causes.

You can sponsor me here.

Please do so because it is starting to get embarrassing as all the others leave me behind 😉

Beautiful Syston Syclers club ride

So today I was leading a small group (3 of us) on the “yellow” Syston Syclers Club Ride. We started at the same time as the “slow” 45 mile Red group (which included some new riders as well as some progressing to the longer distance).

We had an absolutely glorious ride to Newtown Lynford, and this time we all returned on the road rather than through Bradgate Park.

My Whyte Suffolk was fantastic and I was pretty pleased to discover that I had broken 9 personal records on the ride. Seems like it must be a pretty quick bike 🙂

Epworth Pilgrimage Route Maps

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

Main Ride: Saturday (repeated in reverse on Monday):
Syston Methodist Church to/from Church Laneham

Main outward ride on Saturday 24th May. The same route is used in reverse on Monday 26th May to return from Church Laneham.
Total 61.5 miles.
If this is too far then you can reduce it (on Saturday and/or on Monday) to 26 miles by using the train between Syston and Newark-on-Trent, this also cuts out the biggest climbs of the pilgrimage.

The southern section between Syston and Newark-on-Trent is mostly on minor roads (apart from the 5 miles to Newark North Gate Station which use an old railway line). The section between Newark-on-Trent and Church Laneham is mostly off road or on some very minor roads with poor surfaces.

Stops

There are not many places to stop. You might find a few pubs open, but the “official” stops are

  1. The only coffee shop/cafe we pass (fortunately an excellent one) which is at Long Clawson:
    Saturday 15 miles: Monday 47 miles.
  2. The support crew will wait for us at Elton near the crossing of the A52:
    Saturday 25 miles: Monday 37 miles.
  3. The support crew will wait for us outside Newark-on-Trent North Gate Station. NB our train connection uses Newark Castle less than a mile away, so train users will need to cycle between the stations.
    Saturday 36 miles: Monday 25 miles.
  4. There is a large convenience store just 1 mile north of Newark North Gate Station. The route uses Winthorpe Road, the shop is on Meering Ave (on left on Saturday, right on Monday):
    Saturday 37 miles: Monday 24 miles.
  5. The support crew will wait for us in the village of Eagle.
    Saturday 50 miles: Monday 12 miles

That means a maximum of 15 miles between stops. The support crew will have water, bananas and energy bars. Plus anything you want to give them to carry for you.

If you choose to stay at the B&B then the route is about 3 miles shorter (a little way south of the A57). Of course this means the ride on Sunday is about 3 miles further each way.

Main Ride: Sunday
Church Laneham to Epworth and then back

Sunday’s ride. The same route is used to get from the campsite to Epworth and then in reverse to return to the campsite. It is 21 miles each way and very flat. There are a couple of sections on fairly quiet A roads where we will ride in groups of at least 4.

If you are staying at the B&B then you need to add about 3 miles in each direction.

Stops

There is a very nice Garden Centre Cafe just before Beckingham at about the 1/2 way point for morning coffee (sadly may not be open on the way back, in which case the support crew will provide the usual fare).
We will get to Epworth in time to use one of the many cafes for lunch before the (optional) activities (tour of the Epworth Old Rectory, visit to the Parish Church, worship then tea in Wesley Memorial Church)

A very Methodist Pilgrimage progress update

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

There is lots of progress to share about our very Methodist Pilgrimage in May this year. So some reminders:

A Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage

from Leicester to the Epworth Old Rectory

165 miles over a three day May Bank Holiday weekend

24th, 25th and 26th May 2014

Includes:

  • A beautiful bike ride over three days, with lovely people, through stunning Leicestershire countryside and flat as a pancake Lincolnshire.
  • Two nights camping (option to upgrade to a B&B). Both nights at the same site so you only pitch your tent once. Site has good shower and toilet facilities and electricity for all your gadgets.
  • A support team to carry all your luggage, rescue you if needed and cook breakfast 🙂
  • Guided tour of Epworth Old Rectory home of the Wesleys, founders of Methodism.
  • A chance to visit Epworth Parish Church where John Wesley preached standing on his Father’s grave.
  • Special celebration worship at Wesley Memorial Church, Epworth

Everyone is welcome to cycle with us and we have a variety of flexible route options to suit varying preferences.

The “Main” Ride is as follows:

Grand Total 165 miles

Route maps are already available and are on both Garmin Connect and Strava. Printed route cue sheets will also be available.

Options:

If 165 miles over three days seems a little too far for you, then there are plenty of options for you to reduce it to what suits you:

Option A: On either or both Saturday and Monday use the train between Syston and Newark-on-Trent. This saves 36 miles cycling each time you take the train. That reduces the ride to only 26 very flat miles (23 if staying at the B&B). You don’t need to decide this ahead of time as the route passes very close to the station at Newark-on-Trent, the trains are hourly and you don’t have to book to take your bike on the train.

Option B: On the Sunday the support team will be driving from the campsite to Epworth. That means you can choose to not cycle or cycle only one way (you choose). You could ride to Epworth in the morning (21 miles or 24 if staying at the B&B) and decide later if you are going to cycle back or get a lift. Or have a lazy morning with the option of cycling back if you feel like it.

Option C: We can provide a small number of people with transport all the way to or from the campsite on Saturday/Monday giving you the chance to simply join the Sunday ride to/from Epworth (21 miles each way or 24 miles if staying at the B&B).

Option D: the Our support team will be able to pick up a number of cyclists and their bikes at nearly any point if you find the distance is too great or have a mechanical problem that we can’t fix.

Getting to Syston for the start.

Option A: Drive to Syston with your bike and park your car for the weekend in the driveway of one of our Church Members (optionally arrive Friday night and we will find someone to put you up).

Option B: Arrive at Syston by train. Hourly service from Leicester or from stations up to Nottingham. No bike booking needed on this local line. Again if it is easier to arrive on Friday night we can find somewhere for you to stay.

Option C: Arrive at Leicester by train either on Friday evening or Saturday morning. We will arrange a guide to cycle with you from Leicester to Syston (7.3 miles). The guide will have a cargobike to help with your luggage. If you arrive on Friday then we will find accommodation for you.

Essentially all the same options (in reverse) are available for getting home from Syston at the end.

Money!

We will provide, at no cost to you:

  • Accommodation with a Church member on Friday evening.
  • Parking in a Church members driveway for the weekend, if needed
  • Coffee/Tea and Cake before we start on Saturday
  • Breakfast on Sunday and Monday for the campers
  • Coffee/Tea and Cake at the end on Monday
  • Support vehicle to rescue you if needed
  • Refuelling points on each ride, maximum 15 miles apart

You will need to pay for:

  • Getting to/from Syston
  • All train fares
  • Campsite or B&B costs
  • Evening meals Saturday and Sunday (two local pubs or cook for yourself at the campsite)
  • Cafe stops while cycling (very limited options on Saturday and Monday)

Sponsorship

All riders need to be sponsored. 50% of the money raised is to go to the Epworth Old Rectory. The other 50% to go to a charity chosen by the rider (although we encourage all to consider giving to the Syston Methodist Church Community Hub project which will allow us to open a Youth Cafe).

We will provide sponsor forms and will sign off completion of the ride. We expect all riders to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship. We have an account on VirginGiving to allow you to raise your sponsorship through the Internet.

Any questions?

Bike for Life plus one

I’ll start with the confession. My Bike for Life is now Bike for Life plus one. Yes I have bought another bike 🙂

However, this should not be understood as a failure of my Bike for Life either as a project or the specifics of my Shand Cycles Stoater Plus. In fact quite the opposite!

My Shand is so delightful to ride (while being the most incredibly reliable, low maintenance and practical form of transport ever) that it has kindled more love and enjoyment of just riding my bike. Hence, for the first time in my life, I have joined a cycling club. The Syston Syclers are new this year and have their “Sygnature” rides on Saturdays which suits me very well.

What I have, unsurprisingly, found is that a fully equipped Bike for Life is fine for the slower groups. So I have been one of the ride leaders for the steady paced 30 mile rides where we average around 12mph. The next group up which is now moving to 45 miles and around a 14mph average is rather harder work. On those rides many of the practical, comfortable, low maintenance features of my Bike for Life make it more difficult to keep up with everyone else on road bikes.

If I could be bothered to adapt my Bike for Life it is perfectly suitable for keeping up with these rides. But I would need to save weight and windage by removing

  • steel mudguards (with leather mudflaps),
  • front low rider racks,
  • front handlebar bag rack,
  • rear rack,
  • huge bell

I’d also move to faster tyres than 40mm Marathon Plus and possibly drop handlebars instead of my comfy Jones Loop H-Bar.

Of course that is not practical on a regular basis. So with a big 50th birthday this year, with permission, I started looking.

If money were no object then I’d have gone with a custom Shand Skinnymalinky (custom in order to have hydraulic disc brakes) with the electronic Shimano DI2 gears. That would have given me another beautiful British steel frame but aimed at fast day rides.

I looked at a number of bikes. The Genesis Equilibrium Disc is very nice. I also looked at the Charge Plug (4 and 5) and lots more.

In the end, thanks to a very knowledgeable and helpful lady at Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative in Manchester I looked at and fell in love with a Whyte Suffolk.

SuffolkIt is a British brand even if not manufactured here. It is an aluminium frame which was not my preferred choice (mainly due to higher environmental cost). But it looks great, has unique cable operated hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano 105 gear/brake levers and rear derailleur. It also comes with 28mm tyres with room for bigger and they also have a matching mudguard set.

So I now have three bikes for use each week:

  • Bike for Life: Everyday transport, Leisure, Family rides, Touring
  • Whyte Suffolk: Club rides, fast unladen day rides, exercise
  • Bullitt Cargobike: Shopping, Transporting stuff for work

Surplus to requirements (open to good offers) Giant Full Suspension mountain bike.

 

January 100 mile ride route. Syston to Launde Abbey

Unsurprising I have had to change some of the details of my Cycling Goals for 2014. So my 100 mile ride for January won’t be on Friday 24th (I have a funeral to take), instead I am going to take a roundabout route to Launde Abbey on Monday 27th.

I need to be there by 4pm ready for a retreat that I organise for Ministers in the Northampton Methodist District.

So an early start for a loaded (stuff for 3 nights away) ride.

I have updated the route from previous years to include plenty of coffee shop locations. For anyone interested the route is available on Strava.

A winter, loaded ride of 101.9 miles with 5,421 feet of climbing sounds like the sort of thing my Bike for Life was created for 🙂 A route that passes independent coffee shops in Melton, Long Clawson, Bottesford, Oakham and Stamford sounds like it was created for  me 🙂

Personal Syston 10 mile time trial

I have a 10 mile loop that I use like a little time trial.

I rode almost exactly the same route as yesterday only today I was 2.1mph faster which is nearly a 7 minute saving (same bike and quite similar weather conditions).

Still very windy but I was pushing myself quite hard although usefully fueled up by both Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake 🙂

Not sure how often I’ll do this on my Stoater, Bike for Life, which is rather over equipped for a 10 mile time trial 😉 In the past I have done almost the same ride at 17.7mph on my fixie. Still in terms of trying to improve my fitness riding a heavier bike makes it more intentional and intensive (see my post Approaching the year end and considering future goals).

In fact I am not really sure how often I will do the same time trial ride, I like variety rather more than simply trying to do the same thing faster each time. Although it would be interesting to see how much quicker a full road bike or even a proper time trial bike would go.

Given that 10 mile time trials appear to be so important in British Cycling I guess I vaguely wonder approximately what sort of performance level just under 41 minutes for a 10 mile time trial is (especially when the type of bike and weather is taken into account).

Hoping to see a result when I step on the scales in the morning, but for the moment having to learn and play “Munchkin” with the family!

Wondering about potential while gliding past stationary traffic

This morning I had a 9:30am appointment at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (another wisdom tooth to be removed).

So at about 8:45am I gently cycled into Leicester along the Melton Road passing about a mile of stationary traffic queuing due to the roadworks at the Troon Way junction.

I tried counting the cars with only one person in them but gave up after 19 of the first 20 were single occupancy.

After passing all these cars and going straight through the traffic free City Centre I got to the LRI where I was of course able to park for free right at the entrance.

Obviously huge numbers of people travel shortish distances along the Melton/Belgrave Road everyday and it is only about 5 miles from Syston to the City Centre, it is almost flat and it is a wide road (especially if you measure the full width of the space).

As always I can’t help wondering how much we could save and benefit from installing wide segregated cycle tracks along the full length from East Goscote to the Clock Tower with priority at all the junctions.

There would be huge savings for individuals (fuel, parking, time, gym, illness) as well as transformational savings for the community through cutting congestion and pollution while generating significant health and increased productivity benefits.

So many studies show how the businesses for example along the Golden Mile would benefit if it were a more pleasant place to sit, walk and cycle.

Along the route you also pass several schools, wouldn’t it be fantastic if the children could get to and from school without being at risk from busys roads. For that matter how much better would society be if the air they breathe all day in school were not full of particulates coming from diesel engines going past their windows.

I struggle to understand why people sitting for half an hour in a queue are not clamoring for cycle tracks to reduce the traffic and make the places they go nicer.

I completely fail to understand why residents on these busy and wide roads are not up in arms demanding cycle tracks to reduce the noise, pollution, congestion and danger outside their homes.

Have our brains been destroyed by cars?

More conclusive proof on speed.

Tonight, Jane and I left Birstall Methodist Church at the same time to come home in Syston.

We had gone separately as she was their for the whole of STYG (our Methodist Circuit Youth Group) which started at 7pm, I cycled over after my evening service at Syston and got there for about 8pm.

As I pulled out of the Church car park Jane was just reversing out of her parking space. On the road to Wanlip she overtook me, but then had to navigate the odd junction to get onto the A46 while I used the (very poorly implemented) cycle track running contraflow alongside the A46.

Despite being held up by some drivers (1 didn’t know how wide their car was, another didn’t know they had priority at a roundabout) I was home with my bike parked before they drew up into the drive.

If you want to be slow over short journeys (this is just over 3 miles) then use a car.

Oh and yes I was in normal work clothes (trousers, clerical shirt, hoodie) and didn’t need to change when I got home.

 

Dreaming of a major sabbatical tour

It is a really bit early for dreaming about my sabbatical as it is not due until the Methodist year that starts September 2014 and I most likely won’t be taking it until the spring or summer of 2015.

Still I can’t help having a bit of dream.

There are three places I would particularly like to spend time at during my sabbatical.

1. Iona Abbey

2. St Beunos Ignation Spirituality Centre

3. Holy Island/Lindisfarne

So I have had a quick glance at Google Maps and it looks like it might make a fantastic cycle tour on my bike for life. For example:

  • Syston to Lindisfarne is about 270 miles, say 4 or 5 days.
  • Lindisfarne to Iona is about 250 miles, say 4 days
  • Iona to St Beunos is about 420 miles, 6 or 7 days
  • St Beunos to Syston is about 130 miles, say 2 days.

Allow a few rest days and we might be talking nearly 3 weeks cycling plus a few days at Lindisfarne, maybe a week at Iona and maybe an 8 day retreat in St Beunos,

I would probably look at making it about 6 weeks in total.

Sounds great, looking forward to it already 🙂

 

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