Resumption of WSCC Group Rides – out of hibernation!

I hope you are all keeping safe and well (and vaccinated!)  I’m happy to report that everything seems to be on track to allow us to resume WSCC group rides as from Monday (29 March).

Ride numbers will be limited to groups of 6 and of course we will all need to continue to take care, carry masks and to observe social distancing rules.  I know that the Wednesday G3 and G4 groups (at least) will be going back to using the Spond app to advertise rides and to keep a track on numbers.  If other groups would like a reminder about how to use Spond, or help in setting this up, please let me or Phil know and we will be happy to assist.  A big thanks is due to all the ride leaders who have volunteered to make the group of 6 rides work.

For the first couple of weeks (up to 12 April) we will be reliant on takeaway food and drink options only, but a large number of cafés and pubs are offering this service.  I’d encourage you all to view and amend the google spreadsheet on food and drink options that club members have created here

Save the date – WSCC Annual General Meeting, Saturday 8 May

I’d also like to draw your attention to one other important WSCC matter.  The committee has fixed a date for the club’s AGM, to take place at 5pm on Saturday 8 May.  Due to the continued restrictions on meeting together, we will be doing the AGM remotely, on Zoom.  At least we have all had plenty of time to gain familiarity with this platform over the past year.

More details will be circulated closer to the time (after our next committee meeting on 15 April), but it would be good to see as many of you as possible at the AGM, so please put a note in your diaries for this date and time.  If there are any questions on this, please feel free to ask.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible out on a club ride over the next few weeks.

Derek

24 March 2021

RGT – an alternative to Zwift

During the winter lockdown, a number of club members have been relying on indoor turbo trainers to keep cycle-fit and (relatively) sane.  Using the Zwift app (which involves a £12.99 monthly subscription) we have been organising regular virtual rides with other club members, and we have found a way to enable chatting whilst riding.  If anyone would like to learn more about this, or to join the WSCC Zwift WhatsApp group, let me know.

There are several alternatives to the Zwift app, one of which is RGT.  As a newer service, RGT has made a special promotional offer to cycle clubs and groups during the lockdown whereby they offer one or two free subscription services per club, and I am the holder of this subscription (normal price currently £6.99 per month) on behalf of WSCC.  (I must thank Debbie Richards for drawing this to our attention a few weeks back).

To participate on a Zwift ride, everyone has to be a current paid-up subscriber, but with RGT it is different.  It’s possible to sign up to RGT as a non-premium member free of charge – you have to download one app for your phone and another for your iPad/computer/TV screen, and RGT works only on a turbo trainer that has a power sensor (e.g. so-called “smart” trainers such as the Wahoo Core or Kickr).  Non-premium members can access only a limited range of routes and features, but importantly they can participate in any group ride or event that is initiated by a premium subscriber.  So it takes just one RGT premium subscriber to unlock benefits for all.

This means I can use the club RGT subscription to create group ride events and invite anyone with a free non-premium RGT subscription to join. We have recently done group RGT virtual rides to Formentor, the Stelvio pass (!) and Piensa, and I plan to continue to create and advertise these to those on the WhatsApp group. (They also do a complete simulation of the Ventoux climb, if you’re interested!)  It all works fairly well, and there are some aspects (notably the graphics and some of the on-screen info) that are superior to Zwift, though we have not yet found a way to replicate the ride-together feature that works so well on Zwift. (RGT does however allow us to include robots on the ride who can be set to ride at preset power output, so everyone can have an imaginary friend or two to ride with). 

I’ve just discovered that I can set up a group ride without having to participate myself.  This means that I can easily set up an RGT ride for any club member who has installed the free apps – I just need a day or so notice to do this. Details of routes etc can be found on RGT’s web site

This option has already been communicated to all the regular Zwifters on the WSCC WhatsApp group, but if anyone else is curious and would like to give it a try, feel free to ask.  As usual, there are many helpful club members who can lend a hand to get you started if you have any questions or concerns on getting the tech to work.  Whilst many of us are looking forward to packing the turbo trainer away when the weather improves, this really is a good, and sociable, option in the late winter/early spring period, and perhaps beyond.

Derek

G-BUG: Walnut Tree Close trial

Walnut Tree Close Trial: Use it or lose it! Your chance to comment to Surrey County Council

You may be aware that Surrey County Council (SCC) is conducting a trial on Walnut Tree Close which is intended to improve traffic flow and provide a safe(r) corridor to/from the station and town centre for cyclists. A section has been converted to one-way flow outbound for motor vehicles, but still allowing two-way flow for cyclists. The trial runs until February 17th.

Obviously, this is a very unusual time in many ways, not least the changes to people’s local travel patterns, but we hope you will try and cycle this route and feedback your opinions to SCC using a special email . It would be helpful if you could copy your response to , so that we may gauge views.

If the arrangement is to be made permanent, SCC needs evidence that cyclists support and use the route.  We hope you will be supportive and constructive. Inevitably, any such scheme is controversial; we can expect opposition from a vocal minority, and we think it important that views of cyclists are heard.

Further details can be found on our website http://www.g-bug.org/walnut-tree-close-trial/.

Safe Cycling

The G-Bug Team

WSCC Rides – Covid Update December 2020

With the increasing rate of Covid infections in our region, and concerns about the risk of further infections over the year-end period, the committee has decided to suspend all formal WSCC rides with immediate effect, until further notice.

We are still permitted to cycle outdoors for leisure purposes, with no limits on duration or frequency.  However, almost all movement between the various Tier areas is prohibited.  Since the Government has now declared that from December 26, all of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire fall into the Tier 4 category, the rules for residents in this area prohibit any mixing outdoors with more than one person from another household.  We do hope to be able to revise this stance soon in 2021, but clearly that must await better news on the control of the virus and/or the roll out of the vaccination programme.

In the meantime, all the members of the committee wish you a very Happy Christmas.

Derek

An Italian Awakening…Libertà, Lycra e Linguine – Nick Flew

After taking early retirement some five years ago, I set myself the three main goals of: becoming a reasonable cyclist; discovering Italy; and learning Italian. Importantly, these overlapped for the five cycling tours I organised with some friends around Italy. I enjoyed the whole experience so much that I decided to write a book about it – An Italian Awakening…Libertà, Lycra e Linguine. Being an engineer, I wanted the book to be useful and practical, so packed it with lots of information and lessons learnt, as well as the usual blood, sweat and tears (mainly of laughter!).  More information can be found at the website (www.italianawakening.com), which also includes a section on Rides where turnsheets/gpx files can be downloaded for 16 of my favourite rides in Italy (these are available whether people buy the book or not).
I wrote the book for fun and the challenge, rather than any financial gain, so decided to sell copies and donate all profits to the local charity TALK Surrey, which supports stroke recovers and where my wife Nicky volunteers.
Thanks and best wishes
Nick. (G4 Ride Leader)