It’s been a very long and very frustrating seven months. But finally, all the hard work Brittany has put into preparing our Covid-19 Risk Assessment and Policy, bore fruit today. Five tandems in two spaced apart bubbles ventured up our local Greenway – and, boy, was it so good to get back in the saddle. And not only was it brilliant to feel the wind in our faces again, the extra precautions put in place and approved by Kirklees Council, Sports England and British Cycling proved to be more than manageable.
Anyone who can think as far back as last year will remember that our first three planned Penistone rides had to be cancelled because of lousy weather. Not so in 2020.
15 Tandems and a solo (yes another record smashed) made the most of a lovely March morning on what must be one of our favourite rides. The fact that Paul can’t count, and loaded one too few bikes, was sorted with Britt’s superb suggestion of hiring a tandem from the bike rental place behind Julie’s Cafe. Cost us £20.00.
But guess what. On our return from Dunford Bridge we helped sort out a puncture saving a couple of cyclists a five mile walk. Such was their gratitude, they donated £20.00 to our funds. All’s well that ends well!
After three wet and windswept months, it was absolutely brilliant to be back in the saddle once again. And what a way to start the season. 12 Pilots and 12 Stokers, together with 3 Visitors , enjoyed a great session at our Leeds Road base.
A very special welcome to Pilot Michael and Stokers Silver, Sophie, Matthew and Michelle who joined us for the first time. You were all magnificent and we hope to see lots more of you as 2020 progresses.
And today’s icing on the cake was the maiden outing of the latest addition to our fleet: A Silver Viking kindly donated by the Dave Rayner Trust. It’s a brilliant bike as was demonstrated today by the numbers of Trekkers, itching to give it a go. So, Paul C., if you’re reading this, please do pass on our most grateful thanks to everyone at the Trust for their generosity.
Trekkers penultimate outing of the 2019 season must surely rank as one of the most memorable. A “code-share” ride with Open Country, 17 tandems plus 3 solos ventured up the Spen Valley Greenway. Despite one bike having to make a premature return to base, and another tandem taxing our puncture repair capabilities, it was a superb ride. Even the unforeseen drizzle failed to dampen everyone’s enthusiasm. And, once again, Cafe 53 in Mirfield excelled. Fantastic food and great service. Well done all.
After two rain-enforced ride cancellations, it was refreshing to be back in the saddle, cycling along one of our favourite routes from Penistone up to the Woodhead Tunnel at Dunford Bridge. Despite a chilly nip in the air, a complement of 20 Trekkers enjoyed working up an appetite, ready to be more than satisfied at Julie’s cafe on the return. Congratulations to Leanne on completing her first non-track outing. Hope you’re not feeling too sore!
Well, if you count the five solos as well as the eleven tandems on today’s spin up our local Greenway, it was another record breaking ride; 27 Trekkers making the most of some autumn sun. And, undeterred by the closure of the Coffee Counter Café, we descended en-masse and totally filled Café 53 in the centre of Mirfield to overflowing. As is now settled, a ride without a café stop isn’t a ride! And Café 53 – you did us proud.
A warm welcome to four new riders this morning: Rach,
Alison, Meg and Kayleigh. Girls – you were all superb and although Kayleigh’s
home in Cambridge may mean she’s not a regular rider with us, we certainly hope
to be seeing a lot more of the rest of you on future outings.
And finally, well done to Carla and Dave on their first non-track tour. Sorry your ride was cut short, Carla, but glad to have caught up with you at the café.
It’s just as well that we believed the weather forecast. Because if a decision to head off to the Brownlee Circuit had been based solely on the early morning downpours, and we had cancelled, we would have missed out riding around what is, arguably, the best purpose made cycling track in the UK.
As it happened two dozen Trekkers, including new pilots Colin M and John J, had a great time, whizzing around the mile long circuit under a blue sky, dotted only by a handful of fluffy white clouds.
Yet another brilliant session, underpinned by an excellent turnout.
At this rate, there won’t be many more records for Trekkers to smash. Fourteen tandems, on this morning’s sunny and warm run up to Dunford Bridge, is the largest turnout for a Saturday ride in our history. And, what’s more, we ended up having to stand down five stokers due to a shortage of pilots.
That said, it was amazing at the number of front riders who stepped up to the plate. Thanks all – you really did save the day.
Lovely to see Hilary on her maiden Penistone trip – and first non-track ride in a long time. And also, a very special welcome to returning pilots, Josh and Claire, as well as stoker Karen. You all rode superbly- and we really hope to see you riding with us again very soon.
Finally, two mega-acknowledgements.
Firstly to Brittany who made today happen and then offered up her place. Coordinating such a large group, matching pilots to stokers, working out who would be meeting where – not too mention her relentless pursuit of pilots so that we could accommodate as many VI’s as possible, literally takes hours and hours of behind the scenes efforts.
And secondly to Damian. Though he lives at the far side of Leeds, he offered to drive over to storage, simply to tow our large trailer to Penistone and back as well as pilot for us.
Thanks both. It’s people like you that make Trekkers the superb group it is.
Officially, Tandem Trekkers are an organisation; a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, or CIO, in legal parlance.
But we’re much more than that. And if you were privileged enough to be on our Scamblesby Residential then I’m sure you’d agree that “community”, “fellowship” and even “family” are words that better capture the warmth and camaraderie that comprise our DNA.
To merely describe Saturday’s 20 or 40 mile rides and Sunday Morning’s 20 mile trip to Lincoln along the Water Rail Way would be to remain safely within cycling narratives. But it would totally miss the friendships and repartee that were foundational to our weekend away.
Detailing the lovely weather, and flat traffic-free pedalling, wouldn’t tell you how Andy W explained to Ali (a recently arrived PhD student from Saudi Arabia) what the previous evening’s sung with beer-fuelled gusto “On Ilkley Moor baht’at” rendition was all about. Nor would it chronicle the episode when VI’s, Jules and Aisha, discovered how you can simultaneously both open a door a walk straight into it at the same time. Stable doors are not for anyone with sight loss.
And crucially, just writing about 30 Trekkers on 14 Tandems and 2 solos, in exclusive occupation of a very comfortable barn and holiday cottage in the heart of beautiful Lincolnshire, wouldn’t let you know how the Pilots finely secured quiz victory over their Stoker opponents in a nail biting fiercely fought final round of questions, designed and hosted by Trekker’s Chair, Brittany.
But the final cameo of two most memorable days must go to our resident comedian, Andrew D.
Andrew D: “Where’s ‘e’ gone on my keyboard?”
Charles: “It’s on the top row, next to ‘r’.
Andrew D: “Got it.”
Of the various benefits our track sessions offer, the opportunity
of welcoming new people to the Trekker’s community must rank as one of the
best. And today was no exception. It was great to be joined by Nick as a pilot
and Ali as a stoker. Guys, you both cycled like real professionals and we
sincerely hope to see more of you on future rides.
And making up our numbers, we were also joined by Dave, Julie,
Richard, Jennifer and Hermi who had come along as part of the South Pennine
Explore 2019 initiative which we integrated into our normal monthly meeting.
And last, but certainly not least, it was wonderful to see Hilary back with us this morning. We’ve missed you!
Yes, you’re right. The ride was initially billed as “Glasson Dock”. But circumstances changed it to a lovely trip along the M62. “Never had as much fun since the cat got run over” quipped Andrew. And just in case you’re curious – no we actually didn’t cycle along the motorway.
I suppose that after so many successful rides this season, something was going to go wrong sometime. And the gremlins chose today to strike. And strike they certainly did. To be precise they struck Barney’s car.
When the engine cut out, the dashboard lit up like Blackpool illuminations on steroids and a plume of volcanic steam erupted from under the bonnet, Barney, very wisely, decided it was time to pull over to the hard shoulder – complete with the trailer and seven tandems. Optimism suggested the first strategy should be to simply top up the radiator with water and wait a while. Alas, reality, in the form of strange engine noises on an attempted restart, soon kicked optimism into the motorway verge and onto Saddleworth Moor. And the decision to abort the day was the only choice on the menu.
But still, everyone got home safe and sound and Glasson Dock isn’t going anywhere.
Excellent weather underpinned another fabulous track session. Great to welcome a new pilot, Essam, a friend of Mostafa. Hope to see you again real soon.
And congratulations to the winners of our various communication and handling exercises. Barney and Aisha on the standard straight line challenge, Barney and Tariq and Keith and Elisa tying for first place on the stoker only version of the same event and then Keith and Elisa again on the stoker only version of a traditional slow race. I think I can see a pattern emerging here…..
Despite a snapped chain (Barney our ride leader pack is down a 9-speed quick-link) and the ride leader setting off without his Stoker, today’s spin up Spen Valley was enjoyed by 7 tandems and 3 solos. What was particularly encouraging was seeing so many relatively new pilots making the most of one of our popular routes. Well done everyone 👍👍👍.
The only real similarity between today’s trek and our favourite ride to Dunford Bridge was the starting point at Julie’s Café at Penistone. Boasting a 300m tunnel, a 10% off-road incline and some great undulations, the forest track was there to be enjoyed. And thoroughly enjoy it, eight tandems and a solo most certainly did. Full credit to everyone who powered up the gravelled gradient at the start of the Woods. And equal credit to everyone for not careering into the bridge on the return. Drag brakes do have their uses.
And finally, a welcome return to the saddle to John Tayler and special thanks to Open Country Pilots, Dave and James for helping us make this ride the success it was.
Drizzle failed to dampen spirits at this morning’s tootle around the track. A special welcome to John, a new pilot introduced by Tariq. Great to have you with us – hope to see you again real soon.
Congratulations to Barney and Jules who narrowly beat Andrew and Aisha in our slow race and to David G and Elisa who were judged to have kept the straightest line in a separate challenge.
And finally, a special thank you to Barney who brought two toys for us to play with. His now famous (or infamous) double decker and his recumbent trike – allowing VI’s to cycle solo under close verbal guidance.
A thoroughly good time was had by all. Enjoy the pictures and video clip.
Granted. The gradients on the Fairburn Loop aren’t quite those of today’s Tour de France tortuous Col du Tourmalet ascent; the most challenging climbs being over a couple of canal bridges. And nine tandems (plus Elaine on a solo) mightn’t be considered a Peloton. But who needs to travel to the Pyrenees to experience the joys of cycling. A very enjoyable ride with a lovely mix of veteran Trekkers and newcomers to our family.
With pilots outnumbering stokers this morning, there wasn’t much waiting around for any VI wanting a ride. It’s always nice to welcome new faces and today we were joined by two new pilots, Kellie and Danny, and stokers Josh and Lynn.
Keith ran an excellent session; normal riding punctuated with a slow race and a taxing slalom. Congratulations to Andrew and Jean who smashed the slow race, with a winning time of 30.35 seconds – over 8 clear seconds slower than Stephen and Mostafa who claimed second place, just ahead of Peter and Elisa. Impressive performances all round.
Indeed watching the skills of some of our newer members, Paul said he was thinking of retiring from tandem riding altogether!
But without doubt, today’s leading accolade must go to Christine. Not satisfied with completing a full lap at our last track session, today, again piloted by Keith, she doubled her previous milestone and completed two laps. Talk about a spirit of courage and determination!!
Trekkers have now ridden the Tissington Trail a total of six times. And although it’s quite a drive down to Ashbourne, it really is worth it in order to enjoy the rather special 27 traffic free miles, through the rolling Derbyshire landscape, up to a very welcome refreshment stop at Parsley Hay.
Congratulations, and a very special “well done” to Elisa, Ahmed, Hajra and Colin on their longest ever Trekker’s outing. And, as ever, grateful thanks to each and every one of our nine pilots for so selflessly giving up yet another Saturday, so that we could all share in a such great day out. Thanks guys.
Matching our previous Spen Valley record, 11 tandems and a solo (not forgetting the cat at Lower Hopton, who appeared so desperate to join us) enjoyed another great escape up our local Greenway. Special applause to Open Country pilots Dave and James and Trekker Steve on their first non-track session as well as stoker Hajra who saw first hand that riding off-track can be real fun. And finally, thanks to stalwart wives Anne and Beverley for minding guide dog Lola and shepherding the rest of us, respectively.
Yes folks, we finally managed it. After three previous cancelled attempts, seven magnificent tandems (sorry, Clint!) dodged the odd shower and rode a total of 12 trail miles up to Dunford Bridge and back.
Great to be joined again by pilots Dave (and Elaine), Peter and John (and daughters Ophelia and Summer) along with a traditional cast of Trekker regulars.
Boosted by 5 new volunteer pilots, stokers found themselves narrowly in the minority at this morning’s track session. Indeed, a very special welcome to David, John, Peter, Simon and Steve. Guys, you were all absolutely brilliant and we sincerely hope to see more of you on future rides. Thanks ever so much for joining us today.
Also making a debut on this blustery morning, two new pieces of kit. A brand new Orbit Tandem which several Trekkers collected yesterday (and managed to combine the pick up with a Dales ride – it would have been very rude not too!) And a new Walkie Talkie system which will enable front and back riders to keep in touch on future non-track rides. Both purchases made possible thanks to the generosity of the People’s Health Trust using money raised through The Health Lottery in Yorkshire and Humber.
Trekkers made the most of this morning’s wonderful weather, honing their cycling skills. Tightest turn, slow race and slalom competitions, overlooked by Keith and Jamal, punctuated some very relaxing riding.
Great to see Pilot Neil back with us and a very special “Well Done!” to Christine whose determination shone through on her second tandem ride.
A pilot mix up over numbers could so easily have dented today’s ride, until Martin so gallantly offered to step down as a stoker so that 17 Trekkers could complete the 17 mile round trip up our local greenway. Thanks Martin. We love you !!
Firstly we witnessed the biggest turnout to any session in our five year history. 34 Pilots and Stokers (not forgetting, of course, Guide Dog, Honey). Amazing.
Secondly, of the 34 riders, I counted 19 Pilots. Yes folks, that’s right. 19 sighted front riders. Awesome.
And the third record we broke was the largest attendance of brand new volunteers and first time stokers; one of whom had never ever ridden a bike! (No guesses as to whether this was a pilot or stoker!!) So a very special welcome to James B., David T, Mark G., Zubayr B., Daniel O., Jade B, Christine T., Neil B, Michelle T., Stephen B., and Marina P. It was fantastic to see your enthusiasm and watch you all getting stuck in.
We hope you really enjoyed your morning with us and we sincerely hope to see you again real soon.
And finally. If you were a first time volunteer pilot and you are keen to ride with us again, we still have 5 places for sighted pilots on our residential weekend away in September. You can read all about it here.
As the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma, put it, “Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day…. ” And indeed it was. Trekkers and Beech Holme’s combined tally of 12 Tandems and 4 Solos really did enjoy a beautiful 21 mile ride leisurely meandering around the quiet country lanes to the east of Fairburn on a superb Spring Saturday. Special thanks to Martin C and girlfriend Tracey for helping us out and also to Robin at Beech Holme for loaning us one of their pilots. And apologies once again to the 6 Trekker’s stokers who put their names down for this ride but were unable to come due to our perennial pilot shortage problem. So if you’re reading this and would like to help us out in future – do please get in touch. We need you; we really do!
With due apologies to comedian, Peter Kay, Trekkers broke two records today. (Keith thought this one up!) Firstly, we had the best turnout ever for a non-track session. 10 Pilots and 11 Stokers – the answer’s in Drew’s Triplet in case you’re wondering.
The second record we broke was the most people attending a ride that didn’t ride. The weather was always going to be marginal, but the forecast held sufficient optimism to give it a go. And in true Trekker’s spirit, all 21 riders turned out.
Whether it was the warmth and alluring aroma of coffee and breakfast in Julie’s Café, whilst we waited for all to turn up that finally crystallised the decision not to proceed, or the stubborn blustery squalls that failed to abate, caution was not thrown to the wind, and we decided to stay warm and dry (and more importantly safe!)
A record breaking 26 Trekkers, (12 Pilots and 14 Stokers) enjoyed a superb session with several new faces. Indeed, a very special welcome to Ahmed, Akbar, Hajra, Ian, Jean, Kaukub and Nicola on your maiden Tandem Trip. Lovely to meet you all and we hope to see you again real soon.
And attendance wasn’t the only record broken! Under the very close supervision of Barney, several Stokers had a go at cycling solo! It can be done. But you really need a trike (and a recumbent one helps too!)
Posted pictures show the everyone posing for a group shot and a few images of folk engaged in off-track communication. Enjoy!
Customers of the Cleckheaton branch of Tesco recently voted Tandem Trekkers, winners of their Autumn Bags of Help promotion. Using the mandatory 5p carrier bag charge to help local community groups, the £3,434.00 cheque will enable the Huddersfield based group, which caters for blind and visually impaired riders, to purchase two brand new tandems.
Commenting on the awards, Trekker’s Founder Member, Martin Eatherley, said “We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated for, and to have received, this fantastic grant. As a relatively small charity, it is so easy for small groups like our own to slip below the national radar of deserving causes. Tesco’s initiative helps redress that imbalance and enables smaller community based organisations to receive much needed funding. The ability to buy two new tandems provides us with a real boost, as we seek to introduce more and more blind and visually impaired riders, such as myself, to the joys of riding a bike! And if there are any sighted pilots out there, interested in helping us in practical ways, we really would welcome them getting in touch.
A few shots showing members of the Trekkers Maintenance Crew hard at it earlier today. Thanks to John, Richard, Keith and David for all your help. And special thanks to Barney for organising everyone and to Martin for keeping us all supplied with the very welcome brews.
Drew’s triplet, piloted by Drew and capably powered by Carlie and Aisha, attracted several comments on our Greenway trek, earlier today. “I’ve never seen one of those” observed one passer-by. At least, I think they were referring to the bike. Martin managed to make up for the absence of mechanicals, by successfully leaving his rucksack at the café.
Pictures show the six tandems and triplet on the iconic viaduct, and Trekkers tucking into their fare at the Milestone café.
And finally, our 2019 ride calendar is now available on our website. See above. An accessible version can be downloaded here.
This Saturday’s six tandem safari up the Longendale Trail encountered its own mini-jungle; a freshly felled tree necessitated a detour through the undergrowth. Barney was all set to go back to his car to return with his axe but wisdom, thankfully, prevailed. Otherwise, a great ride all topped off with a well-deserved coffee and cake in Hadfield.
Yes – it was Trekkers first visit to the Brownlee Circuit – and no, I’m sure it won’t be our last. Undeterred by a marginal weather forecast, 15 of us braved the blustery Leeds track which we’d hired for our exclusive use. Great to see Aisha back for a second cycling session.
Trekkers were live at a rain-free Leeds Road Sports Complex today where we welcomed Stuart and Janet Brown from The Kirkby Foundation. Through their generosity, we were able to purchase three brand new Orbit Velocity tandems earlier this year.
Also visiting Trekkers for the first time, new pilot Charles and new Stoker, Aisha. Great to see you both and hope to see the two of you again real soon; next week in fact. And also riding with us, a recent convert to the Trekkers cause, Richard Cooley.
But perhaps today’s award for star appearance goes to Andrew’s triplet. Fantastic fun for three. See pictures below.
Finally, a gauntlet has been thrown down. A 400 metre tandem lap in 37.65 seconds.
Today’s joint ride with Hull based Beech Holme Tandem Club was a winner. 9 Tandems and 7 Solos, lovely sunshine and an extremely cycle friendly cafe at Birkin all made for a most enjoyable day. Yes, there was a bit of a headwind on the way back. That’s probably why many people had double helpings at the cafe. But for most riders, the flat 21 miles near Fairburn were a delight. And why do I say for most riders? Because not content with the 21, Keith and Mike cycled out and back from Huddersfield. I guess that will push their total tally towards the 100. Well done to everyone!!!!
Another brilliant ride with Ten Tandems trundling up the local Greenway. Absolutely fantastic to see new pilots Mark, John and Richard joining in the fun. Thanks guys – we really do appreciate you coming along and hopefully we’ll see more of you on future rides. Also great to have Sally and Josh, who are relatively new, coping so well. You were both awesome.
And apologies to Elisa who had to put up with Keith’s various renditions of Simon and Garfunkel and to Tariq who laughed so heartily at Paul’s jokes. You were very convincing, Tariq.
Today’s pictures show the bikes and riders on the viaduct as we head home, a pensive Barney, a smiling Josh and Brittany and a couple of group shots at the Coffee Counter Cafe.
Wow – what an absolutely brilliant weekend away. 20 trekkers in attendance for all, or part, of our stay in Coalport.
Yes, there was a bit of rain on the Saturday, but nothing like enough to dampen spirits on our 20-30 miler (there was a choice of return route) along some delightful country lanes.
And Sunday’s sun made the 20-25 mile trip along disused railway lines more than memorable.
Of course, cafe stops are an integral part of any ride, and Keith did us proud on both rides, finding us two excellent refuelling stations.
But to only tell you about the tandeming would be to tell you less than half the tale.
Saturday night’s nail-biter of a quiz went right down to the wire. It was an epic Pilots vs Stokers billing. Only did the final round see the Pilots narrowly clinch victory by two points.
And then the real talent emerged. First up, Mr Weatherly on the Ukulele. His rendition of his self-composed “Tandem Trekkers are here” brought the house down; almost literally. Next up, Drew Mann, confirmed what everyone long suspected. Should Shakespeare be alive today, a star-performer would he have seen. And finally Paul told a joke; at least I think that was what it was meant to be.
In short, it was nothing short of superb to see some of Trekkers more seasoned participants mixing it up so well with a number of newbie pilots and stokers both on and off the bikes.
It’s not often we get more pilots than stokers but today we did. In fact we had over twice as many pilots (9) as stokers (4). Fantastic to see new pilots Sally and Chris – both experienced cyclists in their own right – take to tandeming so seamlessly. And I think we had our youngest ever stoker. Well done Robin ! Also, special thanks to Michael for taking some more footage for us.
6 Pilots + 6 Stokers + 2 Guide Dogs taking a breather during this morning’s session. Congratulations to Catherine and Carlie who won the slow race by a narrow 4 second margin – and to all the pairs who excelled at the 3 bikes vs 3 bikes synchronisation exercise. Impressive performance. Special welcome to new pilot Josh. And special thanks to Barney who, whilst everyone else was out enjoying themselves, beavered away back at storage giving some of our older bikes plenty of TLC.
As one pilot put it, “I never realised Lancashire was as beautiful!” Four tandems and a recumbent trike made the most of yet another brilliant day. 21 miles and 1200 feet of ascent. And, in case you’re wondering, everyone made it up the pull out of Grindleton which maxes out at 16%. Go Trekkers!
It’s always been a popular ride, and today was no exception. Seven tandems and a solo averaged the 26 miles at 13.6 mph; considering the gravel surface and other trail users, a very respectable average – north of 16mph on the return.