Friday, 21 December 2018

Cycling Highlights of 2018

The blogs this year have been few and far between for a variety of reasons, but I’m hoping to be a little more active in 2019, so watch this space.

As 2018 draws to a close I decided to have a look back at the cycling year and put together my top ten rides of the year. Old favorites; new challenges; bikes old and new, all with one thing in common. The main ingredient being the simple pleasure derived from riding perhaps man’s finest ever invention, the humble bicycle.

10 – Revolve24 – One team, eight men, and 24hrs spent riding round one of the world’s most famous motor racing circuits, Brands Hatch.  We never threatened the leaderboard, but it was a great experience all round.

9 – RAW2018 – No year would be complete without a Real Ale Wobble. This year’s edition was another eventful ride, just don’t mention the crash within sight of the finishing line……

8 – Welsh Lakes Loop – A warm up for a ride later in the year, but such an Epic route it’s made the cut. The Horseshoe Pass, Lakes Bala and Vyrnwy, climbs a plenty, all wrapped up in a 250km loop.

7 – Telford Toothpaste – Another old favourite, but so special it’s guaranteed to be a highlight of any cycling year. It’s a permanent fixture in the SCS calendar.

6 – South Downs Way – The size of our underestimation of this challenge, was matched only by the amount of improvisation required to bring this one off. This is one that we may need to re-visit…..

5 – The Drum&Monkey – A legendary climb nestled deep in the Shropshire Hills; this one’s a brute. It starts steep, and just gets worse, a real leg breaker. I’m glad I’ve done it, but I’m not sure I’ll be rushing back anytime soon.

4 – Birmingham Canal Loop – A fabulous loop round Birmingham’s extensive network including the truly terrifying Netherton tunnel. A wonderful way of experiencing the 2nd cities industrial heritage, and we even managed to drop into The Vine to sample the Bathams.

3 – TdF Tour 2018 – Our own mini tour to watch the Grand Boucle. Seeing the peloton thundering across the cobbles was a real standout point of the year. And to top the trip off we even managed to haul ourselves up the fearsome Koppenberg.

2 – Shifnal Scouting Cycle Challenge – Our first charity fundraiser for the local scout group. 91 riders on the day, two great routes, and we managed to raise over £1500 as well. So successful, that we’re doing it all again on Sunday 12th May 2019. Entries are open now!

1 – Ed’s Epic – An unorthodox coast to coast route across 2 countries to mark a significant milestone for Ed. Starting at 5am on the welsh coast, this ride had the lot, plenty of highs and lows along the way, but all was forgotten as we rolled into Boston as the light faded. 345kms done, I think the beer was the hardest earned of the year!

Another fantastic year on the bike, and 2019 is already looking good.

Merry Christmas all,

Vive la Velo



Saturday, 19 May 2018

Shifnal Scouting Cycle Challenge - Ride Report

At the start...
The last time I blogged it was to introduce an exciting project which we’d teamed up with our local Scouting group to organise. After many weeks of preparation, and lots of hard work by the whole team, on Sunday 13th May it was the day for the inaugural #ShifnalScoutingCycleChallenge.

The routes had been planned; a feed station organised en route, and the catering arrangements made. All we needed now was some good weather, and some cyclists wanting to take on the Challenge.

Registration for the event opened at 0800, and with the sun shining and temperature rising, a steady stream of cyclists started to arrive. In no time at all, bikes were seemingly everywhere, and the atmosphere was great as the riders enjoyed a pre ride coffee, and bacon sandwich. Complimenting the online entrants, were a number of people entering on the day. Taking a moment to look around the Scout hut, it was amazing to see the level of support we’d received.

After a quick rider briefing, the start was opened just after 0900, and the riders began to roll away from the start. The start area emptied quickly, and it was soon just Gary and I left to leave. We were to act as the joint ‘Lantern Rouge’ for the event, sweeping up any problems along the way. Fortunately, our services weren’t required.

We arrived at the feed station in Gnosall (a massive thanks to Gnosall Scouting for letting us use their hut on the day) to the sight of cyclists enjoying hard earned coffee and cake, most of which had been handmade by the various groups which form the Shifnal Scouting family. Even at this relatively early point in the day, the feedback was positive, and without exception, every rider was enjoying the challenge.

Gary and I were joined by Len at the feed station, and we spent the next hour and half of so riding round the outer loop of the event. Conditions were just about perfect; a lovely early summer day. A quick 2nd stop at the feed station, more positive feedback received, and we’d already had reports of the many of the 50km riders returning to the event HQ.

The glorious weather continued and in seemingly no time at all, we were rolling back into Shifnal. On arrival it was great to see so many riders still enjoying the post ride refreshments in the sun. The mood was upbeat to say the least, and people were exchanging experiences and stories from the day’s ride. Over a burger and coffee it was great to be able to catch up with so many of the riders who’d all played their own part in making the event such a resounding success.

Perhaps the most encouraging comments of the whole day were from people talking about next years event, and that they were looking forward to it already. No pressure there then……

I’d like to sign off by thanking everyone involved in the challenge for playing their part in making it such a fantastic day. We raised over £1600 on the day, and you can all rest assured that every penny of money raised will go towards the building of the new bushcraft shelter for the group, which we’re hoping to start work on in the coming months.

Until next year……

Vive la Velo

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Introducing the Shifnal Scouting Cycle Challenge

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since the last blog, but as the saying goes life just seems to get in the way.
But, we’ve been given the opportunity to get involved in a really exciting project which seems more than worthy of putting together a few words. We’ve teamed up with our local Scouting group to help organise an event in support of their fundraising efforts for a new outdoor activity shelter. Over a beer or two (no surprises there then), the Shifnal Scouting Cycle Challenge was born.

Designed to appeal to all cyclists, this event will hopefully appeal to experienced cyclists and novices alike. Two routes will be available on the day, a 50km challenge for those newer to the sport, and a more challenging 100km route for those looking for more of a challenge.
If you read this blog, enjoy riding your bike, and are free for a few hours on Sunday 13th May, why not enter here - - you’re support would be greatly appreciated.

Vive la Velo