18th March

The racing season is now underway and Steve and Paul, having recently ridden his first circuit race switched his attention to his first open time trial in the Port Talbot 2-up 25 mile event on Sunday. Partnered by Steve he recorded a very creditable performance of 1-04-09 on a surprisingly windy day. Steve, on his new TT machine felt quite at home in the new aero position and the group riding practice experienced in the winter training rides meant they worked smoothly together.

Following them were Hywel and Dean on an interesting course which used the dual carriageway and the old road through the Vale of Neath, including the Rock and Fountain climb. Sticking to a traditional road position with no aerobars they recorded 1-08-14 and as can be seen in the Photo Gallery, certainly made an effort. Both teams were resplendent in their new-design kit which brought some approved comment.

The final team of Kevin and Carl rode in the old-design vests on this occasion but showed them off with distinction. Showing they still have a turn of speed they recorded 1-01-47 for 11th fastest in the field of 40 teams. Unfortunately, the poor surface on parts of the old road claimed a victim when Carl hit a pothole with about a mile to go, puncturing both tyres simultaneously, leaving Kevin to cross the line on his own.

Another rider benefitting from the winter training rides was Dai Long. Having only got into the oversubscribed Betty Pharoah road race as reserve, he stayed with the fast pace of the bunch until the last corner when he was tailed off in the surge for the line. Very pleased with his performance he commented that it was very different to his first attempt last year when, unused to the speed, he was dropped after eight miles. Well done everyone for a strong showing of our colours; you can all look forward to a promising year.

Meanwhile, the Sunday and Wednesday rides are available for anyone not racing, the mid-week ride being at a slower pace. This ride attempts to use country roads and lanes as much as possible. Numbers are growing and the group was joined recently by Wayne Howlett, making a “comeback”. Jeff Matthews has also started riding again following his operation but Dave Nelson is unfortunately having to recover from a dislocated shoulder. We look forward to your company again soon, Dave. All riders are welcome join in. Both rides leave the Welcome Inn at 9.30 am.

4th March

The Wednesday social run enjoyed a dry day last week and headed for Llantwit Major to inspect the damage caused by the recent storms. As can be seen here, the footpath in front of the wall is buried beneath tons of pebbles, rocks and broken tree trunks. There should be a bench under there somewhere ! Following tea and toast in the cafe, we rode over the railway bridge to St Athan where Chris stopped to complain about the slow pace. He said he preferred travelling at high speed and it took an effort to prevent him clambering over the fence into RAF St Athan and applying for a job flying jets. he said he could show his heavy goods vehicle licence and claims he is very computer literate so the controls would be no problem.

24th February

50 mile Reliability Ride

At 10.00am Sunday 2nd of February 2014 with a break in the terrible weather, Phil Andrews, Steve Williams and Dean Cummings set off from the Welcome Inn, Tonypandy, picking up Steve Bennett and Hywel Morgan a few miles down the Valley . A good tempo was set from the outset and all the riders were working together as they tackled Nantgarw Hill and headed in the Newport direction , Steve Williams had a slight issue with his rear mudguard as the group approached Newport but this issue was quickly resolved ( mudguard nil, bin 1 ). Quickly the riders set off hoping to beat the black clouds building in the distance. Sadly, as the group entered the Newport Flats, it rained, and rained and rained for the whole 12 miles . As they arrived at Newport Road, Cardiff, the sun appeared to lift the riders spirits and they negotiated the Cardiff traffic without any problems .

The tempo pace continued as the riders tackled the LLantrisant Road climbs. In-form Hywel Morgan turned the screw on the last drag past Dynevor Arms and gained about a 6 second lead on the chasing group of 4 . The Castell Mynach lights were thankfully green so moments later the bunch was together again for the run in to the Black Prince. All riders finished together in 2 hours 45 minutes, well under their target time of 3 hours . Everyone was pleased with their efforts, a true test of form at this time of the year.

17th February

At the recent Annual General Meeting, the outgoing officers all agreed to continue in their positions during 2014. The following members were then elected to the Committee : Carl Banwell, Jason Dodd, Gwyn Humphreys, Dai Long, Tony Rees and Chris Thomas.

We welcome another two additional members to the Acme Wheelers this month. Dave Nelson is a final year student at the University of Glamorgan. He hails from the Wrexham area where the seriously tough climb of the Horseshoe Pass figured in his rides. He was a keen member of the Sunday training ride during the winter but a college-related spell in Africa early this year means he is now trying to recapture his lost form. Having started with the faster riders last Sunday, he later stopped at Cowbridge cafe on Stalling Down [now bereft of motorcyclists, making room for us again] where he was able to meet up with a more relaxed club group for a chat and pleasant ride home.

Eddie Morse from Penygraig will be remembered by many of us, having previously ridden in Acme colours in 2012 when he won the Longmarker’s Trophy in our open 25 mile time trial. Unfortunately, work committments caused his disappearance from the scene soon afterwards although he has continued to ride his bike. This year he has an opportunity to challenge for the trophy once again when the Bryn Griffiths Memorial 25 mile Time Trial is held on 13th April. This event is well known in South Wales for the quality of its organisation and a well-marshalled course and we want that to continue. With the heightened interest in racing this year, some of those who acted as marshalls last year wish to compete in the event this time around so we need replacements. To allow Tony Rees to concentrate on the main organisation, hard-working Kerry Lewis has again taken on the role of Chief Marshal and is keen to receive promises of help as soon as possible. To help ensure the successful continuation of our “25”, which has been held annually since the formation of the Club, with the exception of 2012, please contact either Kerry Lewis or Dave Roberts to pledge your support.

One member unable to ride last weekend was Chairman, Jeff Matthews, who is recovering from an operation to remove his gall bladder. It means at least a week off the bike before some easy riding but he is itching to get out with other members as soon as possible. We look forward to seeing you soon, Jeff. When the weather is suitable, a number of members now meet mid-week for a leisurely ride. This is intended to become a fixture on Wednesday mornings, leaving the Welcome Inn at 9.30 and as the forecast is for a dry day this week we look forward to seeing anyone who is interested.

The stock of Club garments is diminishing rapidly. If you intend riding circuit, road or other races held under British Cycling jurisdiction, remember you will have to wear the new kit design. You may ride time trials wearing any design which does not carry advertising. However, if you have not yet paid your Club subscription for 2014, remember it must be in the hands of the Treasurer before your first race of any kind.

John Pritchard would like to remind riders about the Five Valleys Sportive, details of which can be found at www.thefivevalleys.co.uk

17th January

With the Annual General Meeting fast approaching it is an opportune moment to remind members that their 2014 subscriptions are due. Among those already received are four new applications. The first was from Anne Marie Cross of Swansea. She has joined in memory of her late father Cyril Cross who was a member in the 1950’s and often spoke of the good times he enjoyed. He is clearly remembered by Gwyn Humphreys and others who also rode during those years. The other three are all from the upper Rhondda and are Rory Jenkins of Treorchy, Tom Stoddart of Cwmparc and Thomas Stoddart of Treherbert. Having to already cope with the likes of Tony Rees and Kevin Stoddart, maybe we should keep a close eye on all these members from the upper reaches of the valley because the Club minutes for 7th May 1935 state :

Rowdyism at Ynysmaerdy.

“ Complaints regarding rowdyism at Ynysmaerdy have been reported to the Hon Secretary who was informed that the offenders were members of the Upper Rhondda Sections of the National Clarion Cycling Club. It was resolved that the secretaries of the sections be informed of complaints made to us by the residents of Ynysmaerdy regarding rowdyism and bad language in the locality on Sunday morning the 5th May”

[ This appears to be the day of our open 25 mile time trial which finished at Ynysmaerdy, alongside what is now the site of the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. ]


Seriously, we offer a warm welcome to our new members and look forward to meeting up with them at the clubroom and on the road.

Present among the group at the clubroom last Friday was Ross Morgan, complete with crutches. Recovering from a bone graft to his knee he was keen to be amongst his riding partners again and was kindly chauffered by Chris Thomas. He did, however, refuse to use the chair lift, saying that ” I’m not an old man yet. ” If only some of us could say the same !

Omitted from the report of the Awards at the Christmas Dinner was the name of Steve Bennett. He was unable to attend the dinner and collect his trophies as 10 mile Time Trial Champion and Road Race Champion. Steve has always been a very good short distance time triallist and in recent years has enjoyed mixing -in some road and circuit racing. As reported previously, he gained enough points last season to become a 2nd Category rider, the only one we have currently. Steve has taken part in a number of the Sunday group training rides, allowing our younger riders to get to know him and gain from his knowledge. He will, no doubt, continue to show his ability again in the coming season’s races where it is expected he will be accompanied by a larger Acme group than for many years.

With the first of the 2014 Reliability Rides nearly upon us, Dan Taylor has asked how they came into being. They became popular with all clubs before the advent of bicycle computers and were intended to test the ability of riders to judge their pacing and complete the distance within their allocated time. There was a small window to aim for so you could not arrive too long before the correct finishing time either or you would fail to get a certificate. For a long period, the distances were 50 miles and 100 miles in our club with a 75 mile version added later. The clubrun distances built up gradually to these distances and were an important part of building a good aerobic base before the racing season.

The earliest record of such a ride in the Minute Book is in 1933 when a request was made for a 100 miles in 8 hours Tourist Trial and 24 hour Tourist Trial be held for Club members. The 24 hour event never took place but the 100 in 8 was run on 24th June 1934. The entrance fee was 2/6d [ 2 shillings and 6 pence ] which included two “ light snacks” . The event started at 10 am and no double gents tandems were allowed, only mixed couples, with certificates to be given to successful participants.

The course was : Porth Square / Merthyr/ Brecon ( 1st snack and check)/ Bwlch/ Abergavenny/ Usk ( 2nd snack and check)/ Newport/ Cardiff ( Kingsway check)/ Treforest/ to finish at Merlin Bridge, Pontypridd.

18 certificates for the event were subsequently ordered from a printer.

It would still be a tough ride today and when you consider the equipment and roads in those days …!