Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Taking the road less travelled

 

Club coach David McGaw admits to a filthy habit...

When I was growing up in Edinburgh I had a mountain bike and I did loads of mountain biking, or at least that's what I thought I was doing. It seems that the definition of mountain biking has evolved somewhat since then. The fully rigid bike with 26 inch wheels that I used to ride would probably be classed as a hybrid now.

I was mostly trundling around the Pentland Hills on sheep herding trails, this was before proper off road courses. I suspect that these days if you are not bunny hopping off a house dressed in full body armour on your double boinger (dual suspension bike) then you're not really mountain biking. Maybe what I was doing would be classed as cross country or cyclocross.

When I first moved to England it seemed pretty difficult to find places to ride off road. I would frequently end up meeting "Get orf my land" types, with their shotguns. This actually happened, they weren't pointing the shotgun AT me, just waving it around in my general direction telling me to go away.

In my cycle club I was known as a "road man" and when my roadie friends found out that I liked off roading they would relentlessly mock me for my "filthy habit".

Eventually I found out about Ordnance Survey maps, they are awesome. They have all sorts of really interesting information, in particular marking out bridleways, greenways, unsurfaced roads and footpaths. I find it pretty amazing at the labyrinth of trails that are freely accessible around Cambridgeshire if you know where to look. Some of the trails can be very easy to miss so having a map is important.

OS maps are great but can be quite pricey. However it's possible to get them online for free. Simply go to bing maps (yes, it does have a purpose after all) and select the ordnance survey overlay. It won't show up if you are zoomed out too far.

Understanding the symbols is pretty tricky, here is a guide: -

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/documents/25k-raster-legend.pdf

"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path", and this is particularly true when traipsing around a freshly ploughed field looking for a bridleway. Some paths are not well marked so having a GPS track to follow is essential.

Normally I will pick an area that I want to cycle and try to find a route that combines a bunch of bridleways, byways and greenways. Then I will go onto somewhere like Garmin Connect or Strava to plot it out. Before finally transferring to my cycle computer and hitting the trails.

I still have my MTB but I prefer to have a light bike that can be easily flicked around. It's much more fun when you can easily hop, pump, jump or manual (that's the MTB word for wheelie) around obstacles. Which is why I went for a nice cyclocross bike that was super cheap because it's been pre-raced, pre-crashed and pre-repaired by a pro bike team (Sunweb). It so it wasn't just crashed, but "professionally crashed".

Mountain bikers love their fancy tech, and I'm known from time to time to indulge in the shiny stuff, which is why I went full Campagnolo Record obviously. MTBers go all gooey about campag. It's a very mtb thing to colour match all your bolts and it's quite a challenge to get anodized components all in the same shade of red. Bling it on!

I must admit I have a real weakness for Dugast Pipistrello tubs. Their cotton sidewalls and latex inner tubes simply glide across rocky and rutted paths at 20mph. They are lush... and expensive... and like to go pop.

My favourite ride goes through the backlanes and bridleways to Thetford. I let out almost all the air from my tyres then thrash around the red routes before pumping the tyres back up and heading home.

There was one thing I never adopted from my MTB friends; it seemed to be an unwritten rule that if you don't fall off at least once per ride then you are not trying hard enough. This is probably for the best though as when I crash I tend to shatter, not bounce.

Often bridleways were old paths or roads that have been around for hundreds of years, riding along them feels a bit like travelling back in time. I can't get over how spectacularly beautiful and tranquil some of these paths are. Often they are just minutes from normal roads, hidden away in plain sight.

So in the nicest possible way, why don't you go out on your bike and get lost.

Robert Frost - The Road Not Taken: -

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Sunday, August 1, 2021

Summer Social

 

Our first Summer Social was a great success and a huge thanks goes to Chris and Paula Dyason for hosting the event in their beautiful garden.

The cake was made by a local confectioner and the catering was courtesy of ‘Delicious’ who operate from Vision Park, Histon. There was a great selection of cakes and savouries to suit all tastes. The rain held off for most of the afternoon – which made it all the more worthwhile hiring a large gazebo! Great to see so many people in attendance!

 It would be nice if this was the first of many summer socials for the years ahead!

Sue Taylor
Social Secretary

Monday, June 28, 2021

Time Trialling Update 29/06/2021

 Our events this season will now be timed using "real" timekeepers, rather than Strava.

Entries are restricted to members of Cambridge CC, or Team Cambridge. We are unable to accept day members and guests for the foreseeable future. However riders can join Cambridge CC as a first or second claim member and this will cover entry to Club events.

The event schedule can be found on the Time Trials/Events webpage. Should you not be familiar with the local courses, there are maps on the Time Trials/Courses web-page.

If you wish to enter an event, send an email to our Time Trial Secretary with the following information: -

Name, Club (CCC or TC), House No. and Postcode, Emergency phone number, Time Trial or Road Bike.

The deadline for entering is 18:00 on the day before the event in order for a start-sheet to be created. Please do not enter events more than 6 days in advance.

You will be advised of your start time and race number, which you can pick up at the Start. You will need a pen for the Sign-On Sheet. Make sure to arrive at the start around 3 minutes before your start time. Please avoid arriving at the start more than 3 minutes prior to your start time to avoid mass gathering.

Competitors are reminded that a working rear light is mandatory to be able to ride these events. Competitors under the age of 18 are required to wear a hard-shell helmet.

We are not holding a points league this season, however we are running the 10 Mile, 25 Mile, and Hill Climb Championships.

1st claim members are reminded of their marshalling duties - more than 2 TTs requires you to have helped out at least once.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Club Time Trials 2021

Our events this season will be run using Strava as timekeeper.

Entries are restricted to members of Cambridge CC, Newmarket Tri and Team Cambridge. We are unable to accept day members and guests for the foreseeable future. However riders can join Cambridge CC as a first or second claim member and this will cover entry to Club events.

The event schedule can be found on the Time Trials/Events webpage. Should you not be familiar with the local courses, there are maps on the Time Trials/Courses web-page.

If you wish to enter an event, send an email to our Time Trial Secretary with the following information: -

Name, Strava Name, Club (CCC, NTC or TC), Race Number (if already allocated), House No. and Postcode, Emergency phone number, Time Trial or Road Bike.

The deadline for entering is 18:00 on the day before the event in order for a start-sheet to be created.

You will be advised of your start time and race number, which you can pick up (and retain for the season) at the Start. You will need a pen for the Sign-On Sheet. There will be no start official and no pusher, therefore it is not critical if you start a few seconds early (or late). Make sure your device is recording before arriving at the Start and after your ride upload your activity to Strava, checking that it is viewable by all, otherwise we will not be able to give you a time.

Competitors are reminded that a working rear light is mandatory to be able to ride these events. Competitors under the age of 18 are required to wear a hard-shell helmet.

Until further notice these events will not be eligible for any CCC competitions or championships.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Club Time Trial Wednesday 28 April 7:00pm

Our next event will be held on the Barton 10 course on Wednesday 28 April at 7pm.

First rider off at 7:01pm. The image shows the sign-on area, which is on the A603 1.9km (1.15m) south of the Wallis & Son garage at Barton. There is sufficient space to park on the grass verge. This event will again be run using Strava as timekeeper and entries will be restricted to members of Cambridge CC, Newmarket Tri and Team Cambridge. We are unable to accept day members and guests for the foreseeable future. However riders can join Cambridge CC as a first or second claim member and this will cover entry to Club events.

If you wish to enter this event, send an email to our Time Trial Secretary with the following information: -

Name, Strava Name, Club (CCC, NTC or TC), Race Number (if already allocated), House No. and Postcode, Emergency phone number, Time Trial or Road Bike.

The deadline for entering is 18:00 on Tuesday 27 April in order for a start-sheet to be created.

You will be advised of your start time and race number, which you can pick up (and retain for the season) at the Start. You will need a pen for the Sign-On Sheet. There will be no start official and no pusher, therefore it is not critical if you start a few seconds early (or late). Make sure your device is recording before arriving at the Start and after your ride upload your activity to Strava, checking that it is viewable by all, otherwise we will not be able to give you a time.

Competitors are reminded that a working rear light is mandatory to be able to ride these events. Competitors under the age of 18 are required to wear a hard-shell helmet.

Until further notice these events will not be eligible for any CCC competitions or championships.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Club Time Trial Wednesday 21 April 6:45pm

Our next event on Wednesday 21 April will be at Haslingfield using the F16/9 course.


First rider off at 6:45pm. The image shows the start and sign-on area. Competitors arriving by car will need to park in the village.This event will again be run using Strava as timekeeper and entries will be restricted to members of Cambridge CC, Newmarket Tri and Team Cambridge. We are unable to accept day members and guests for the foreseeable future. However riders can join Cambridge CC as a first or second claim member and this will cover entry to Club events.

If you wish to enter this event, send an email to our Time Trial Secretary with the following information: -

Name, Strava Name, Club (CCC, NTC or TC), Race Number (if already allocated), House No. and Postcode, Emergency phone number, Time Trial or Road Bike.

The deadline for entering is 18:00 on Tuesday 20 April in order for a start-sheet to be created.

You will be advised of your start time and race number, which you can pick up (and retain for the season) at the Start. You will need a pen to sign the Sign-On Sheet. There will be no start official and no pusher, therefore it is not critical if you start a few seconds early (or late). Make sure your device is recording before arriving at the Start and after your ride upload your activity to Strava, checking that it is viewable by all, otherwise we will not be able to give you a time.

Competitors are reminded that a working rear light is mandatory to be able to ride these events. Competitors under the age of 18 are required to wear a hard-shell helmet.

Until further notice these events will not be eligible for any CCC competitions or championships.

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Club Time Trial Wednesday 14 April 18:30hrs

Our second Club event will use the Bottisham 10 course. The image shows the sign-on/congregation area, although currently there will be no congregation activity due to Covid restrictions.

This event will again be run using Strava as timekeeper and entries will be restricted to members of Cambridge CC, Newmarket Tri and Team Cambridge. We are unable to allow day members and guests to ride for the foreseeable future. However riders can join Cambridge CC as a first or second claim member and this will cover entry to Club events.

If you wish to enter this event, send an email to our Time Trial Secretary with the following information: -

Name, Strava Name, Club (CCC, NTC or TC), Race Number (if already allocated), House No. and Postcode, Emergency phone number, Time Trial or Road Bike.

The deadline for entering is 18:00 on Tuesday 13 April in order for a startsheet to be created.

You will be advised of your start time and race number, which you can pick up (and retain for the season) at the Start. You will need a pen to sign the Sign-On Sheet. There will be no start official and no pusher, therefore it is not critical if you start a few seconds early (or late). Make sure your device is recording before arriving at the Start and after your ride upload your activity to Strava, checking that it is viewable by all, otherwise we will not be able to give you a time.

Competitors are reminded that a working rear light is mandatory to be able to ride these events. Competitors under the age of 18 are required to wear a hard-shell helmet.

Until further notice these events will not be eligible for any CCC competitions or championships.