WSCC May 2021 Update

With summer now upon us (we hope), this seems like a good time to provide an update on developments in the club, and to highlight a few upcoming dates and events.  Those of you who were on line for the virtual AGM on 8 May (and thanks to the more than 40 of you who were) will have heard some of this already.

Tour of the Hills, Sunday 8 August 2021

The 2021 Tour of the Hills has now been registered with Audax, and the usual venue of Shere Village Hall has been booked.  The first few entries have started to come in over the last week, so it is all systems go.  The details on the Audax calendar can be accessed at:

https://audax.uk/event-details?eventId=8721

This year will be the 39th time our club has staged the event.  Anyone who has been involved in it before will know that it is a most enjoyable day that creates tremendous goodwill for our club.  It also provides a vital source of income that we use to fund club activities such as first aid courses, equipment, ride leader workshops and the like.  

However, our ability to run the Tour of the Hills depends on your help!  We will need club members to assist in marshalling the checkpoints around the course, registering riders and finishers, and to help out with the catering at Shere Village Hall on the day.  Jill has bravely volunteered to manage the catering, and thanks also to Don Gray for volunteering to organise the marshals – they will both need assistance from club members, so please make a note of Sunday 8 August in your diaries and stand by for requests to contribute.  I can assure you that volunteering is much less painful than riding the event!

Weekend Awayday Riders

This summer the club plans to run a series of monthly Saturday all day rides outside our normal areas.  Jerry Sender is taking the lead in organising this relatively new group, and details of the rides will be posted on the club website.  The Weekend Awayday Riders are intended to fill a gap in the club’s schedule for weekend rides at the G3 level, but there is plenty of scope for members who normally ride at other levels to come along and enjoy these events.  Last year, for example, the Salisbury ride also attracted several G2 and G4 regulars, and Jerry organised us into a number of groups with a choice of coffee shops, all converging on the same pub lunch stop.  Everyone is welcome.

This year the Weekend Awayday Riders rides will kick off with the Salisbury Wheel ride (59 miles/3300 ft climbing) on Saturday 10 July, and then a ride from Sevenoaks on Saturday 21 August.  Then on Saturday 18 September the plan is for the group to ride the Phil Hampton Memorial ride from Medstead Village Hall (see https://www.cyclinguk-northhampshire.org.uk/index.php/2021/01/03/phil-hampton-memorial-ride-2021/).  This event is open to all, with 30 and 50 mile route options (more details to be available closer to the time).

New Members

At the AGM we mentioned our aspiration to attract new members to the club, and we’re delighted that Neil McIntyre has taken on a new post on the committee to coordinate the vital function of making new members feel welcome and ensuring that we have suitable rides and mentoring available to them.  In the first weeks after the easing of the Covid lockdown we have already welcomed several new riders to our groups across the club.  As our ride schedules get back towards normality, we’re very hopeful that we can build on this encouraging start.

With help from Alison Warren and others on the committee, we have started to advertise the club and its rides in local media, and we plan to distribute WSCC “business cards” in local cafés and bike shops throughout our area.  If you have suggestions on how we could best promote the club to new riders, we’d be happy to hear your ideas.

Club Centenary Event and Annual Dinner

Finally, please note a couple of other dates for your diaries later in the year:

  • On Sunday 5 September, we plan to organise a day of club rides and refreshments to celebrate the 100th anniversary of CTC/CUK ride group activities in our area.  Alison Warren and Mark Waters have kindly volunteered to lead the planning for this event, so watch out for further details.
  • On the evening of Saturday 23 October, we hope to organise our annual WSCC dinner at the Princess Royal in Farnham, and Angela Byrne has once again volunteered to take charge of this (further details to follow).  Let’s hope that we all have a good, safe and sociable summer of cycling to look back on once this date comes around.

Derek

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