21st October

The Annual Club Social Trip took place on the weekend of 12/13 October. Eighteen members met in Porth for the start of the event which, once again, had been superbly organised by Eddie Blayney. Club Chairman, Jeff Matthews, started the riders on their way before providing support and photography duties with his ‘sidekick’ Chris Thomas. Additional support was once again carried out by ‘The Blayney Crew’ who always manage to cheer everyone up with comments on how difficult it is to drive up the hills!

After riding down to Ponty and up the Cynon Valley the group descended to Glynneath before negotiating the climb towards Onllwyn. The route went through the Swansea valley before climbing again through Brynamman and the foot of the Black Mountain. The group enjoyed a ‘longer than expected’ pub lunch in Ammanford before pushing on towards Gorseinon.

Due to the long lunch break it was decided to ‘CUT OFF THE CORNER’ of the intended route. At this point the riders found themselves at the mercy of a very dangerous entity – a club chairman with a map!!!

Jeff managed to find a little climb that our recently departed ‘Mr 20 per cent’ Ian Humphries would have loved. After a ‘gentle mile or so’ he received lots of quiet ‘gratitude and praise’ for his route selection. Gerald, in particular, really seemed to enjoy the diversion. Chris later reassured everyone that they had not laughed once while driving up this climb.

After seventy miles (from Porth) the day’s ride ended at ‘The Dragon Hotel’ in Swansea. The riders and support group enjoyed a fantastic three course meal before engaging in some ‘serious rehydration’ in the big city.

On Sunday morning the group enjoyed breakfast before heading for home on a shorter route. After negotiating the busy roads towards Port Talbot it was a left turn to the Afan valley and the constant and steady climb to the bottom of the Bwlch. By this time, the weather had closed in and the group splintered on the climb as riders found the pace which their legs (and hangovers) allowed them to ascend.

All the riders would like to thank Eddie for organising this trip. The route, accommodation and food were excellent. Many thanks also to Darren and crew who carried the luggage and provided welcome support and encouragement. Thanks to Chris and Jeff for the photographs – and for the little diversion ‘NOT’…………

The Photo Gallery has lots of photos of the event.

12th October

Long-standing club members were recently saddened to hear that Glyndwr Lewis is seriously ill. Glyndwr was a hard working committee member at one period and until recently a very keen and fast time-triallist. In the early 1960’s he was one of Acme’s “Lewis Brothers” a well known trio of fast, short distance riders who were able to win team awards for Acme in open time trials. You are in all our thoughts, Glyndwr.

Eleven members of the club took part in the Valleys Velo Sportive on Sunday 29th September. The event was organised by The Bicycle Doctor, Porth and promised to be a feast of climbing. (2,200 meters) Over 300 riders, including former welsh rugby internationals Colin Charvis and Huw Bennett , set off from Aberdare Country Park towards Hirwaun and on to the first climb – The Rhigos. The Acme group soon split up with Paul Harries, Anthony and Ethan Derrick, Phil Andrews and Steve Williams setting the pace at the head of the event.

Tavis Rees, Kevin Millard and Tony Rees maintained a steadier pace that allowed them to stay together throughout the day. The other Acme riders were Roddy Wood, Andrew Sheldon and Simon Kinsey. Simon has recently made a return to cycling after undergoing knee surgery. He certainly picked a tough event in which to make his comeback!

After the short ride through Treorchy the route took the riders up the Bwlch and into the Ogmore valley. The third climb came between Blackmill and Gilfach before ‘a surprise’ (to some people), climb of Barn Hill. A number of riders resorted to pushing their bikes up Penrhys where the feed station proved to be very popular.

After the descent into the Rhondda Fach came the only flat section of the event – down to Ponty -before the long and tortuous ascent of Graigwen took riders towards LLanwonno. It was great to take advantage of the ‘closed road’ descent into Blaenllechau – in fact it was just great to be descending anywhere.

Even the moderate climb up to Maerdy was now proving difficult for some, before final climb of Maerdy Mountain saw an end to the ‘enjoyment’.

With the exception of Ethan, who made some lame excuse about bearings in his ears!!!, all members completed the 58 mile route. Paul Harries set a fantastic time of 3 hrs 29 min to finish in sixth place with Anthony, Phil and Steve all coming in well under four hours. Simon, Tavis, Kevin and Tony all finished around the 4hrs 30 mark with Roddy and Andrew just over 5 hours.

Congratulations to Jamie and all at The Bicycle Doctor.

Everyone who participated agreed it was an awesome event with excellent organisation, marshalling and signing. While the route was a tough test, it certainly ‘showcased’ the area. Many ‘foreign’ riders commented on the scenery and great cycling roads – luckily the weather could not have been kinder, which certainly helped.

The ‘Acme Crew’ were once again cheered on at various points of the course by Roger, Margaret and Sharon (who also provided some of the photos). Hopefully, this ride will become an established event on the sportive calendar. It certainly has all the ingredients to be a success.

See the Photo Gallery for more pictures of the event.