Paul Holmes


Helen Juden writes:
We are very sorry to report that Paul Holmes passed away on 8 December from the effects of a brain tumour.
Paul started cycling with Notts CTC in the 1970s and even as a schoolboy was known for his affection for a traditional style of riding, loving the simplicity of fixed wheel.
Later he studied economics at Durham University, where he was a contemporary of Kevin Mayne, former CTC Director.
Paul moved to Surrey and took up a teaching post at Godalming College. He rode with the Hardriders and was fond of exploring the UK by bike, staying in Youth Hostels.
Approaching retirement, Paul was looking forward to becoming a volunteer seasonal Youth Hostel warden. Sadly, his plans were thwarted by the incidental discovery of a brain tumour affecting his balance. After surgery he experienced some improvement and was able to meet up with one or two rides, before his final illness.
We send our condolences to his wife, Sue, and daughters Chloe and Lizzie.
The funeral is at 12 noon on Friday 23 December at the South Downs Natural Burial Ground at the Sustainability Centre, East Meon, and afterwards at the Devil’s Punchbowl Hotel, Hindhead.
Picture: Paul meeting the Sunday Riders at Kirdford in July 2016

Annual Dinner 4 March 2017

Please note that the Annual Dinner will take place at the Princess Royal, Runfold, on Saturday 4 March 2017.  Full details, including menu choices and how to book (as early as possible, please) are shown on the blog entry of 3 December.

Who, what, when and where

An email from our ride leader: lunch will not be the Departure Lounge as advertised as getting home in a reasonable time is next to impossible, it will be Farnham instead.   Sounds very reasonable to me as Alton to home is 35+ miles.

I have this mental block about Godalming starts. I know it only takes 50-55 minutes depending on the strength and direction of the wind but come 7:55 and I am fretting – must be on my way. Yet the last time I looked at the thermometer it read -1.8°C. Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey! (An old naval expression; the balls in question are cannonballs and there were stored on brass monkeys – large lumps of brass with holes in them smaller than the diameter of the cannonball so the cannonball rests in the hole. When it froze the holes in the brass monkeys contracted – O Level physics (they probably don’t do that in GCSE physics) – and the cannonball popped off; sometimes explosively.) I have to get out the door because it might take longer depending on the state of the roads.

I still arrive just before 9 and there is one spot in the sun which offers a modicum of warmth. 9:07 Chris B arrives and commends my choice of location. We debate who will turn up and which coffee stop which should head to if no-one else does, as even the new route feels beyond our frozen limbs’ capabilities. 9:14 Clive turns up and notes that today’s ride leader is frozen in at home – we were right! After further debate we decide that we will go to Selborne as the cakes are good, teapots can be refilled with hot water and we haven’t been there for a while. Lunch will be hot soup at Hector’s provided he does not run out as he did last visit. We agree that no-one else will turn up but Don might aim to meet us for coffee so we ought to let him know the change of plan. Now Clive has a new phone – way too complicated for any but a digital native of a few fewer years of age than us. Nevertheless we able to send a text.

And it was perishingly cold. Only one thing for it and that was to get some blood circulating – get those pedals turning. No major hills on the route – just some long drags – via Elstead, Thursley and Churt.   On to Arfold, Whitehill and Blackmoor. Some whitish looking places on the roads but we took it with care and I can’t say that my wheels slipped at all. Remarkably few other cyclists out today – can’t think why. Beautiful blue sky, you can see for miles and the occasional sight of bird of prey. The hot tea could not come fast enough!  Slightly thawed we felt that we ought to text and wish one of our number a Happy Birthday – quite a milestone one – but I will save him his blushes other than to note he can still out-climb and out-sprint us when he wants. But no phone signal or the new phone totally defeats us. We will claim the former and if the message did not get through then Happy Birthday and see you next week.

Saddling up is always the hard part, step outside the coffee shop and instant freeze. Ethylene glycol anyone? With the sun on our backs it was actually fine. At a good pace my fingers and toes warmed up and I felt an inner warmth. Then the new phone rang which was not answered in time – unrecognisable number and all way too complicated to sort out. Oh and you know who messaged saying that he had waited at Stedham for us until 11:30. If you had messaged us then you should have read the message from us saying that we weren’t going to Stedham – or are you as challenged as we are with this new-fangled technology? Give us two wheels and some pedals and we are happy; anything else – forget it.

Apart from these major distractions the ride back was glorious – it was an absolutely beautiful day to be out cycling the lanes – provided appropriately clothed. And Hector had some soup – piping hot.

Annual Dinner at the Princess Royal

The Club’s main social event of the year, the Dinner and Awards Presentation, will take place on Saturday 4th March 2017.  We will be returning to the Princess Royal at Runfold, who have always looked after us very well.  I very much hope that the event will again be well supported, and the committee have decided that it would be a good use of club funds to subsidize the event for the benefit of members, which means that we have been able to peg prices to those of 2016.

I have guaranteed that we will have at least 50 attendees (required for free room hire), so in order to help me relax over Christmas I would greatly welcome early bookings; in other words, why not do it now.

Full details are:-

Date:  Saturday 4th March 2017

Time:  7.00 for 7.30

Venue: The Princess Royal, Runfold, GU10 1NX

Menu:  see here

Cost:  £16.50 per head for 2 courses, £22.50 per head for 3 courses

Booking:  no later than 2 weeks before the event, but bookings already open, please contact John Murdoch ( with your menu choices and I will then advise you of the procedures for making an online payment direct to the Club’s account

Today’s Woking Midweek Ride (30 November)

In view of the bitterly cold conditions, the consequent risk of ice, and the patchy freezing fog, I have decided to delay the start of today’s ride until 10.45.  We will then head straight to lunch, with no coffee stop, and plan to be back well before dark when the temperatures are again set to plummet.  It should be sunny but still very cold through the middle of the day.
An e-mail has been sent to all those who have signed up for announcements regarding this group.