February 2002

Tandem Club National News

Many thanks to those of you who assisted with responding to the Touring Secretary’s questionnaire regarding events organisers. For those of you who took part and didn’t get a copy of our group response, but would like one, please let us know.

Myself and Martin Gray (North West section), realised that the committee or any of its members had never before bothered to enquire of regional organisers opinions. So, we have now sent our own set of questions to all R.O.’s in an attempt to deduce just what’s happening nation-wide. We had one response within twenty four hours, (E not Snail mail) and there has been a steady flow !! They make very interesting reading and some of the ideas other R.O.’s have are very useful. Hopefully we will be able to get a précis published in the Journal once we’ve got all the responses collated.

If you’d like to see the letter we have sent out then, again, get in touch. There are even rumblings about going to the AGM ! If anyone is interested, the details of the AGM will be in the next TC Journal, out in February, talking of the journal, it will be one of the last before John Barton retires. John has given up many MANY hours of his time to produce the Journal but he feels it is someone else’s job now. Is there anyone OUT THERE who wants to take on this onerous task?

A commercial editor did offer his services but the committee decided that they would prefer a volunteer to do it. At present the journal costs £20,000 a year to produce so this is quite a responsibility.

Matters Local

The first turn of the pedals this year saw a large gathering of eager tandemists at Rhos on Sea. A warm welcome to 4 new members (2 tandems)

whom we hope we didn’t put off by our sheer numbers. A hardy group tackled the Great Orme

for the annual blow by the sea and there huddling out of the wind, were Alan & Jean.

We regrouped at West Shore and made a bee line for the Pub - en masse, 25 plus Doreen, Hannah and Helen joining us for lunch.

After much satisfying of appetites those even hardier souls were issued with a map and told to enjoy a scenic route back. Ann, not yet recovered from the winter cold was informed by her pilot that the route was their normal way home! Ann, not convinced this was the case, had no choice but laboured on UP and UP. Gareth and Debbie were on their maiden voyage and managed very well except Gareth looked as though he had just undergone 2 rounds with Mike Tyson as he was also suffering from a cold and had his, now customary, nose bleed.

The views over the sea were fantastic and the discovery of the footbridge over the A55 was worth knowing, where by chance we bumped into Roy Spilsbury a keen cyclist and friend of many.

A splendid tea was laid on at the Coleman’s but the hardy or was it foolhardy souls who took the hilly route back missed the rest who had first sittings. We admired the new fireplace and the furniture purchased on a TC trip. Going on a TC trip can be an expensive business, some people return home with more than what they took - ask the Coleman’s and also now the Lewis’.

Meerbrook Hostel Outing

This was planned as the get away from the winter blues weekend but just happened to co-coincide with a number of Birthday’s, Pat, Sue and Graeme and Burns Night.

We took sole occupancy of the hostel and filled it. Just as well we were on our own as Luke decided to pay tribute to old Robby by laying on a haggis supper and lead the poetry reading and by the time I arrived, it was obvious he had led the whisky drinking too. Chris revealed himself as something of a haggis connoisseur whilst Luke willingly joined in the tasting. It has to be mentioned that a certain rowdy element nearly missed all of this. Not only did they manage to go to the wrong hostel but excelled themselves by going to the WRONG COUNTY!!!

Saturday reminded one of the Grand old Duke of York who led his men up the hill and back down again. The weather was not inviting but we sallied forth across streams and up into the moors. I thought Graeme was shouting there was a car but no, back tyre flat. We huddled together behind the shelter of a wall and watched Graeme change the inner tube twice.

Job completed but weather obviously not getting any better we suggested a pub lunch would be the best option and so most people set off back down the hill to the hostel but Mark & Clare decided that wet already then wet we might as well stay and continue on. Ann was all set to head for the comfort of the pub but Hugh had other ideas. This placed your leader in something of a quandary, whether to look after his flock in the pub, not a wholly dishonourable excuse, or continue valiantly on. ‘Erindoors swung the vote by ordering me back into the saddle. The mist came down along with the rain and to say it was bleak would be doing it an injustice this was grim in the Victorian sense. We pressed on to the little hamlet of Longnor, our oasis. The cafe did us proud as we dripped over their beautiful hand-crafted furniture.

The rest of the journey was much drier, in fact the rain stopped and we were dried off by the strong winds which made the hill out of Longnor seem at least twice as far and twice as steep. At the high point of the day the weather sufficiently cleared for us to be able to pick out Fiddlers Ferry and Beeston Castle across the Cheshire plain.

You could see the relief on Ann’s face as we returned to the hostel but this was short lived as the others had just decided to cycle to Leek for a late afternoon outing. That cup of tea was another three and a half miles off !

Luke had a surprise in Leek, along came another cyclist who turned out to be someone he had not seen for 15 years! Graeme also had a surprise in Leek, Debbie brought a dressing table which needed transporting back to the hostel.

Some took themselves off to the Lazy Trout for a pre dinner tipple as we awaited the Birthday Girl and her chauffeur. Yet again we had overdone the catering and there was more than enough delicious nosh. Even I found myself struggling with the choice on offer.

There was the, by now, expected "Who wants to be a millionaire?" challenge and the stokers were well satisfied with their deserved victory. The steerers couldn’t agree on an answer to save their lives.

Sundays planned 9.30 departure came and went as Graeme frantically wrestled with another puncture!!! However, I can’t talk as the unthinkable happened and we had a mechanical failure. We were overtaken by all and sundry whilst we put our chain back together and then carried on up and over to the start of the Manifold Valley Way...... where we repaired Doreen and Hannah’s puncture, fortunately in the front wheel.

We were pleasantly surprised by this "cycle route" as it was completely metalled and had proper gates as opposed to anti tandem traps.

The rain returned just as we arrived at the lunch stop in Water(everywhere)houses.

Freshly fed and watered we set off into the mist and rain, the atmosphere distinctly reminiscent of a gothic horror novel or Conan-Doyle’s Grimpen Mire.

Everyone arrived safely back at the hostel to find that the fairy cleaners had been in. So all we needed to do was have more tea and cake and do a bit of mopping before locking up and leaving.

I hope everyone got home safely and enjoyed themselves.

Forthcoming Attractions

As mentioned previously, I have been asking other R.O.’s what they get up to and one of idea that has come to the fore is social evenings. With this in mind and realising that we haven’t had a slide show for some time perhaps we should try this. Nothing too regimented, how about once every two months on a Wednesday evening ? I thought the Foelas Arms in Pentrefoelas would be a fairly central venue and have already approached them. But as with all the best laid plans..... The present incumbents at the Foelas Arms are moving and there is a new manager starting on the first of March so I shall have to wait before giving you a date.

Clare's Birthday Run

February 24th is the next significant date in your diary. Those wishing to do the 40 mile route should present themselves for inspection at Ty Broga by 10am. From there the ride will make its way to Mold to pick up the 20 mile participants who should be in Somerfields car park (GR117/237637) by 11.15am.

Lunch will be at Loggerheads country park, and I am reliably informed that this run will be using roads that we have previously not explored. More info? Contact Mark and Clare by phone or Luke and Becky.

The Alternative AGM

The following is from the latest edition of Arrivee and is retold here just to make the Taylors feel not so alone !!


It was getting to the end of my first year of club membership. I had joined back in December of 2000, and had enticed my friend Richard into joining too.

The magazine has been a great source of amusement and inspiration and we even got round to riding some events, so we thought it would be good idea to attend the AGM in Wales to show our support.

So the date was set, the plan of action simple, ride to work spend the day teaching, and then cycle to Richard’s house for tea and then on to Wales.

After much ‘carbo-loading’ and a quick nap it was time for off, so at 10 o’clock we left Huddersfield and began the climb up to Nant Sarah. Riding in the cloud was both wet and cold and visibility was very poor. Thankfully there were no errant sheep and soon we were bypassing Rochdale having successfully crossed the Pennines.

One of Richard’s more interesting ‘detours’ saw us dodging clubbers as we cycled through Manchester city centre searching for a road out towards Chester. About every hour or so we would take the opportunity to pull into a 24 hour garage to eat / drink / change batteries. At every single stop we witnessed the most popular early morning purchase. Not petrol, not milk, but king sized Rizlas.

6.30am saw us on the outskirts of Chester, again on a garage forecourt, refuelling on coffee and eccles cakes, and then charging through the city centre into the dawn. By now the weather was good, bright and warm but with an unfortunate westerly that was to dog us for the rest of the trip.

Through Connahs Quay to Prestatyn the roads were nice if a little busy, so at another refuelling stop at a corner shop a local advised us to get onto the cycle track that would go through Rhyl and lead to Colwyn Bay. Lovely views, but it was a shame about the chicane like nature of the route .

By now we were both looking forward to our arrival at the AGM, to see some familiar faces and drink a few pints, the only problem was both myself and Richard had forgotten the name of the hotel where the meeting was to be held. Upon arrival, at around 1 o’clock I decided to phone Susan (my better half) who told me she would search through the copies of Arrivee by the bed and phone us back. Five minutes later the phone rang and Sue explained we needed to be searching for the Metropole Hotel. We quickly found a tourist info office but alas it was closed, so Richard went to ask for help in the local estate agents whilst I phoned directory enquiries. "Sorry there is no such number listed with us". Not all that helpful, but maybe Richard has had better luck, I thought . He emerged seconds later shaking his head .

By now we were beginning to get a little concerned, so once again I phoned Sue, just to check I had heard her right the first time.

"Yes it’s the Metropole hotel Llandudno Wells".

"That’s what I thought you said, we are in Llandudno Wells."

"No you don’t understand, Llandrindod Wells".

Then it dawned on me what was happening. We were not going to be attending the AGM in Llandudno, as it was actually happening in Llandrindod Wells, some one hundred miles South of our location.

The day trippers of Llandudno looked bemused as hysteria followed, as both myself and Richard realised what a cock-up we had made.

Our immediate need was for food, so after fish and chips we sheepishly phoned Richard’s partner who, according to our plans would have been collecting us later on that evening . After an edited version of the story made us out to be more unfortunate than plain stupid, she agreed to set off ASAP and come and rescue us .

We never did get to the AGM, and Richard is sure that if word of our antics ever get out we may as well get our ‘subs’ back and be asked to leave. This is based on a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.



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