Chairman Tours Scotland

Dunnet Head

In early April the weather forecast was very favourable for Scotland and so Acme Wheelers Chairman, Jeff Matthews, decided to take the opportunity to travel the North Coast 500 with his wife in their camper van. The North Coast 500 is an old road, though three years ago the tourist board had the brilliant idea to market it as a tourist route comparing it to Route 66. The NC 500 starts in Inverness and travels along the east coast of Scotland, reaching John O’Groats. Then through Thurso along the north coast finally heading south along the magnificent west coast and highlands.

The first stop was just outside the centre of Inverness between the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal. The canal tow path leads to Loch Ness only about eight miles away so this was the first short ride of the trip. The evening was fine and sunny with little wind, extraordinarily good weather for the area. The footpath was well maintained and well used by walkers, runners and cyclist. Once I had Loch Ness2reached the locks which hold back Loch Ness from the Caledonian Canal it was not safe to cycle any further as the tow path gives way to the narrow and busy A82. So it was a tricky carry bike crossing of the lock gates and a return journey up the other side of the canal. The Caledonian Canal travels around the east of Inverness before reaching the lock gates which signify its end and the entrance to the Moray Firth.

The NC500 is not good cycling territory, unless you are Mark Beaumont, who did it in 37 hours. The roads are often narrow and, along the east coast, busy with traffic including articulated lorries. The camper van was the much safer option for travelling around. The next opportunity for cycling came while we stayed at Dunnet Bay, a beautiful setting right alongside the beach. Just outside the campsite was the road to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of mainland Britain. Yes a few hundred yards further north than John O’Groats, 58.6 Degrees North. It was only a ride of about 5 miles each way but there was always an incline on the way out and a head wind off the sea. Of course the opposite was the case on the way back. From the end of Dunnet Head there were views across the coast to Cape Wrath to the west and John O’Groats to the east. To the north we could see the Orkney Islands, a mere 8 miles away. For a short while I was the most northerly cyclist on the UK mainland.

The roads on the west coast are for the hardened cyclist, often single track, always up and down, always a wind blowing but affording magnificent views for those with the energy to try it. I’m afraid I found it easier to use the campervan to seek out the views and keep me out of the wind.

Dunnet's Bay CMC

We had a virtual rain free three weeks travelling around the north of Scotland which showed off the magnificent scenery in its best light. We travelled in April and avoided the midgies and were lucky with the weather. Maybe one day I’ll go back again with the bike and challenge Mark Beaumont’s record and then again I may just use the campervan.

National Record Broken at Acme Open 25

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The Acme Wheelers Open 25 was meticulously planned by Event Secretary Simon Kinsey, nothing was left to chance. The only variable which could not be controlled was the weather. Well the forecasters were on our side. The event took place on a warm almost windless day and there was an expectation that records might be broken. Newly crowned WCA 25 Mile TT Champion Marcin Bialoblocki (NOPINZ) had signed on and after his Competition Record on the same course a week or two early Club members were excited that it could go again. Keiron Davies (DRAG2ZERO) had also signed on to defend the title he had won the previous year with an Event Record. The scene was set for battle.

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In the end Bialoblocki posted an Event Record of 43:21, just 23 seconds off his Competition Record but setting an Event Record which is likely to stand for some time. Keiron Davies was second with a time of 45:48. He commented that he might need a motor bike to overhaul the new Event Record.

The 20 Lady starters had and equally tough battle with Alice Lethbridge (DRAG2ZERO) leading the field with a time of 51:22. She was closely followed by team mate Vicky Gill 52:08.Alex Lethbridge 1st Lady

Lethbridge’s time was a little way off her 50:10 set on a previous visit to the course but she didn’t feel in top condition on the day. “I wasn’t feeling very good today but considering that I took the win” she said “I was surprised to win with how I felt during the race, a win is a win. It was also a bit more blustery than I would have liked.”

The Junior entries were of a particularly high standard, Joshua Sandman (Team Backstedt-Bike Performance) posted a time of 41:29 a mere 2 seconds off the Junior Competition Record. Pride of place must go to Pfeiffer Georgi (Liv CC Halo Cycles) who posted a time of 52:54 to come 3rd in the Ladies Event while breaking her own National Competition Record.

More Event Pictures :-  Page 1     Page 2

Result:- Page 1     Page 2

Many thanks for all those members, spouses and friends who help out on the day to ensure that, once again, the event was very successful.

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WCA 25m Championships

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The WCA Championships were organised by Martin Heritage-Owens’ RealTeam organisation on the very fast R25/3H course. The event attracted high quality of entries with 171 finishes including two tandem teams. It would appear that the organiser has a good eye for the weather as the event took place in sunshine with alight breeze, an improvement upon conditions leading up to the weekend.

Two Acme riders made the start line with both of them looking for P.B.’s on the fast course. Last year’s Club DSCN2524Champion, Gary Flower, had to make changes to his regular training schedule to support his efforts to post a PB. Iron Man Triathlete, Gary, had to reduce his running in the week before the WCA Event in order to ensure that his legs would be a bit fresher on the day. Realising that the weather conditions would give an opportunity for fast times Gary wrote “sub 53” on the back of his hand as a reminder of what he thought was possible.

Tucking himself into an aero position on the downhill section Gary attained a top speed of 50mph without pedalling and he advises would be racers to work on their aero position.

Gary’s plan was to build up to a greater heart rate on the last 5 miles than the previous 20 and to dig deep at the end.

DDave Singleton1 (2)ave Singleton was back on the R25/3H soon after his OVW event in April. He too planned to take advantage of the conditions to post a P.B. after his good start to the season. The change of weather conditions may have caught Dave out as he advises members to ensure they have plenty of liquid

The training plans and race strategy of both riders seem to have been well founded for the day as both riders achieved the target they set themselves. Dave Singleton achieved his P.B. with a time of 56:16, with this coming early in the season it suggests that there is more to come are the season progresses. Gary Flowers reminder on the back of his hand also seems to have worked as he posted a 52:19. Well done to both riders and especially to Gary Flower who retains the Ken Harrison Challenge Trophy as Club 25 Mile Champion for 2018.

Dave and Gary take very different paths in the coming weeks and months, Dave travelling back up to Hirwaun for another event organised by Sportzmad. Gary, on the other hand, has plans much further afield with an Ironman event in Austria in July and the Ironman Wales event in Tenby in September.

Dave Singleton Gets His Season off to a Good Start

 

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Second year member Dave Singleton used the Ogmore Valley Wheelers Open 25 to begin his racing season during the third weekend of April. Dave picked a windy weekend to get back into racing and finished the race having to think about a change of wheels in windy conditions. Despite his concerns over choice of equipment Dave posted a creditable 59:38 to start his season off.

Legends

In recent years a group of former Acme members of 1950’s vintage decided it would be nice to meet on an occasion other than a funeral. Consequently the “Old Codgers” began to meet for an informal lunch every month or so. The most recent, on 10th May, was at The Longbow, strategically placed close to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital .

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On this occasion the average age was greatly reduced by the presence of Tony and Dave Roberts and Chris Clements who are relatively “ Vin Nouveau” being only of 1961 vintage. Chris does however have the distinction of joining the Club much earlier in a non-riding mode his father, Joe, having signed him up when he was born ! Chris arrived complete with a copy of Ron Good’s book of cycle racing photos, “50 Years of Cycling”. Ron was well known throughout South Wales as a photographer who for many years supplied photos for Cycling magazine and his book contains a section about South Wales riders. Most of the riders are known to us but it was especially interesting to see images of Acme riders. 411Amongst them were several shots of our President, Gerald Clements as a very young man up to his chest in a river when participating in a cyclo-cross race. You would probably not be allowed to include such a dangerous obstacle in a course these days. Another brilliantly sharp photo showed the late Len Jenkins and Neville Yeo on a tandem, in the rain, breaking the Swansea- Cardiff road record.

The “Old Codgers” have renamed themselves with the tongue-in-cheek title of the “Acme Legends” but a real legend was there among us. Graeme Jenkins was a top time-triallist and road racer in the 50’s and 60’s, his name being well known across the English border and we hope to let you know more about his exploits in the near future. Not to be outdone, Wyndham Nelson ( joined 1953) claimed to be a legend having set the slowest ever time for 25 miles when he rode his first club event.

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Also present were Howard Williams, Graham Owen and organiser Bill Jones with Tony Gammon keeping a patriarchal eye on proceedings. Tony is a life member of Acme who acted for years as Secretary and also Treasurer. He admitted on a previous occasion that “I rode one race and found it so hard that I decided to use my organisational talents instead to help the Club !” Having bought his first bike he originally joined the Treorchy Clarion cycling club. The Clarion was a national organisation which encouraged working men and women to enjoy outdoor activities and established walking and cycling groups throughout Britain. My own father was a member of the Clydach Vale Clarion in the 30’s and 40’s and spoke of the huge numbers of members who regularly went on clubruns. Tony went to an event in Porthcawl organised by the South Wales Cycling Association in 1951 where the road between the lighthouse and the funfair was lined six deep with bikes. There he met some Acme riders, decided to join and the rest is history.

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During lunch the conversations ebbed and flowed with memories such as their cycling trip to the West Country. They cycled to Porthcawl, boarded a ship to Bristol then rode the rest of the way to Seaton on the South Devon coast. That was the occasion when the late, diminutive Dai Evas had such a heavily laden bike that when trying to push it up a very steep hill the bike remained stationary while he slid backwards. About ten years later, Gerald and Chris Clements together with Tony Roberts and Alan Coleman set off on a similar journey. Cycling to Severn Tunnel Junction they then

boarded a train to Bristol before setting off for the far end of Cornwall. They made it but a bout of food poisoning affecting the Clements brothers forced a return by rail. There must be lots of other interesting anecdotes still to be revealed especially as not all of the group were able to attend.

If there are any retirees out there who were Acme members at some time why not join in the fun by sending Acme your e-mail address or telephone number so we can inform you of the next get-together.

Previous Meeting Photos:- Click Here