Despite the ride being punctuated by a couple of punctures, the forecasted rain failed to make an appearance meaning the eleven tandems and a solo were able to enjoy yet another superb ride on this very popular traffic free route.
Encouraging to see Tim and John stepping up to the plate and answering our plea for enough pilots to ensure we just managed to cater for every stoker.
Kudos to John and Chris who did the whole 22 miles and to Judith who decided to solo cycle back to base.
And thanks to our stalwart pilots and stokers who made the day so enjoyable.
Thankfully, the forecasted rain didn’t arrive until two hours later than scheduled. Which resulted in today’s ensemble of six pilots and eight stokers making the most of a rewarding track session.
Great to be joined by new stokers Anis, Kathryn and Richard; and nice to welcome back Matthew.
Following an hour of general warm up and inductions it was time for Trekker’s competitive spirit to emerge from a pandemic enforced period of hibernation. Following Olympic nomenclature, Gold in the slow race went to June and Joanne with a superb time of 33.11 seconds. Silver went to Sean and Anis with 32.68 seconds. Remember, the longer the time, the better the handling capability. But the truly amazing thing was the number of tandem pairs who were in the 28-33 second band. So, breaking with tradition, Bronze is duly awarded to everyone else who took part.
Next up, it was time for tightest turn skills to be tested. And this time, following his Silver in the slow race, Sean again excelled – more than ably assisted by Michelle – who ran off with Gold and Silver. And would have got away with a Bronze too if the track judge had allowed three attempts instead of capping the event at two turns per pair.
Finally, special thanks to Joanne who’s photographic and administrative skills haven’t gone unnoticed.
One of the advantages of our local Greenway is the distance flexibility it provides. Four tandems sped off to complete the whole route up to Low Moor. That left three tandems and two solos to indulge in a leisurely coffee and accompanying bacon or flapjack item of sustenance. Surprisingly, Drew was one of the pilots who elected to rest at the cafe – but then again he had already solo-cycled his tandem down from Bradford.
And it’s not often we’re thankful for cloudy skies, but after the nigh on 30 degree days of the last week, today’s overcast weather was more than welcome.
It was hot; and compared with other Trekker’s rides it was hilly. But it was also a superb day, cycling through some of the prettiest Ribble Valley villages Lancashire is blessed with. Numbers wise, 15 Trekkers, 20 miles, 1200 ft ascent and 28 degrees. And it would have been 21 Trekkers, but the vehicle gremlins paid an unauthorised visit to Drew’s car necessitating some late logistical changes. But if there’s one thing Brittany excels at it’s last minute logistical updates.
Most impressive was how everyone rode – especially mastering Grindleton bank. No mean feet in baking heat. And wow – our newer 2021 pilots June, Judith and Colin were all fantastic.
Lunch was more of a picnic than a cafe stop. Big shout out to Rumbletums of Clitheroe who came in specially on their normal day off to serve up some truly spectacular sandwiches. They were ace !!!!!!
And finally nice to have Simon ride with us again; and last but not least special thanks to Joolz for looking after Guide Dog, Tessa.
It rained. And it rained. We got wet. And we got very wet. And then we asked why are we getting so wet. And someone said it was possibly because it was raining. And then we decided that to stop getting even wetter, one of two things was going to have to happen. It would either have to stop raining or we would have to end the session early and go home and drink some hot tea. It didn’t stop raining. So we ended the session early. We went home and we drank hot tea. (Though I think Brittany said she was going to have some hot chocolate instead.)
Despite a rain-enforced shortened session, it was superb to be joinedby new pilot Judith and new stokers Celia and Lucy. It was also lovely to see Diarmuid and Elisa back with us. We’ve missed you.
Undeterred by the Tesco van driver’s assurances that even bikes wouldn’t be able to get through the “Road Ahead Closed” blockage, seven tandems rode on. Whether it was stubbornness, curiosity or simply rising to the challenge, Drew had rightly worked out that if the road was open to pedestrians it wouldn’t pose a hindrance to cyclists. The problem was, there was nothing to suggest foot traffic could get past the sink hole on one side and the rain filled gully on the other. But it wasn’t within Trekkers remit to give up and go back. And we didn’t.
It was yet another superb Saturday sauntering around Fairburn’s quiet lanes – all capped off with the customary cafe stop back at Birkin Fisheries.
And fantastic to be joined by Richard on his maiden away from base ride. L-plates decidedly not required, Richard.
Only a shortage of pilots restricted today’s trek to just seven bikes and a solo. So if you’re one of our regular front-riders – you were missed. But for those fortunate enough to be part of this morning’s meander, you won’t need reminding of what a great time was had by all. Rumour has it, next week’s outing will be a little different. Watch this space.
All the photos in today’s post were taken at the cafe stop.
Brilliant sunshine saw 8 tandems, a recumbent and a solo sauntering up the Greenway this morning. Lovely to see Colin and Collette on their maiden “away from track” outing and great to welcome back Mostafa .
I spoke too soon! Last week’s ride benefited from more Pilots than Stokers. Alas, today’s outing saw a return to the more normal state of affairs. We were, sadly, unable to offer places to every Stoker. Hopefully, a situation we’ll remedy as we aim to welcome new front-riders in the next month or two.
All that said, for the Magnificent Seven tandems that ventured out – ably shepherded across the junctions by solo rider David J, it was, apart from the odd spot of rain, a very enjoyable morning.
It doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, it’s a bonus. And today was one of those rare occasions when pilots outnumbered stokers. That meant a solo ride for Paul and a lie in for Drew.
So 12 tandems and a solo on our most popular away from base ride. Penistone. And thankfully the rain held off until we were all back at Julie’s cafe tucking into our bacon butties and the like.
Great to see Pilots Charles K and Peter, and Stoker Colin, back in the saddle.
And finally, today’s quote of the day award goes to Barney. Speaking to Brittany in encouraging tones “Shut your gob or I’ll throw you into that muddy pool, pull you out backwards and feed you to those pigs.”
It was a cold and windy start this morning but once the pedals started turning we all soon warmed up. 10 Tandems and our super soloist, David conquered the Greenway in true Trekkers style. Some Trekkers even made a little friend, we called him Robin! And… thank you to our dog sitters, Ann and Robert who will certainly get a good nights sleep after chasing 3 dogs all morning.
Another “superb-for-cycling” weather day; lots of sun and virtually no wind. Eight tandems and an e-recumbent, no mechanicals, great socialising at an outdoor coffee stop and all mostly on our local traffic-free Greenway. What’s not to like?
Our second ride of the season and the maiden outing for three of our four brand new Orbit Velocities, acquired thanks to the generosity of British Cycling and West Yorkshire Freemasons.
And moreover, another superb turnout. 11 tandems and 2 solos convoying up Spen Valley in 3 spaced apart cohorts. Although careering up the Greenway in a concerted effort to break the sound barrier would more aptly describe the speed Drew and Lou flew through the cafe stop.
Four, ever so richly deserved Thank You’s, to two extremely generous sponsors are most certainly in order today.
A fantastic award from British Cycling combined with a superb gift from West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd, has enabled us to add four brand new Orbit Tandems to our fleet.
Collected earlier today from J D Tandems in Gargrave, the timing couldn’t have been better. Our first post Lockdown 2 ride has just taken place, and with restrictions now set to ease further, there can be little doubt that these bikes will be made very good use of.
So, on behalf of everyone at Tandem Trekkers, if you are reading this and are connected in anyway with either of the two above-mentioned organisations, please accept our heartfelt gratitude for your donations. Such generosity goes a long way in enriching the lives of many members of our community who battle daily with visual impairment.
If ever a season merited the Beatles’ lyrics … “it’s been a long cold lonely winter …” then for many, the last few months would be prime candidates.
Of course, in normal times, our 2021 Ride Calendar would have started 3 weeks ago. But, you’ll need no reminding, these times are anything but normal.
Nevertheless, taking advantage of COVID concessions, available to outdoor disability sports, we got back on our bikes today, and in true Trekkers style 11 tandems and a solo breezed up our local Greenway. Breezed being more than appropriate terminology, given wind speeds in the mid to high teens.
Yes – we had to comply with our pandemic policy. Face masks at base, hands and bikes suitably gelled and disinfected and riders split into three spaced apart cohorts.
But despite the logistical adversities, including several late adjustments, it really was great to be back in the saddle.
Special recognition to Brittany for putting it all together. Never tell this girl something can’t be done. To Barney, for prepping all the bikes after their winter hibernation and sorting out a last minute mechanical. To Pilots Dave and James from Open Country who ensured no Stoker was turned away. To recently promoted John T who so capably led Cohort one…. “Best led ride ever!” quipped Jennifer, whilst looking at Paul.
And finally to everyone who rode and who made sure our return was such a brilliant success. Enjoy the pictures….
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.
We always love doing this ride with our fellow club Beach Holme from Hull.
The weather forecast was not great for the day, but we are always sure of a warm welcome, with a great fish and chip stop at Whiteheads in Hornsea.
And it was a record ride too, with thirteen tandems and three solo riders.
Sorry for no pictures of the day
The weather was very kind and was lovely and sunny riding into Hornsea, but the weatherman got it right, as it started to rain when we arrived in Hornsea, and it never stopped, so we all got soaked on the way back, but it was a good laugh.
Charles, Muz, Barney, Carley, Jennifer, Elisa, Martin, Andy W, Saj, Dean, Ahmed and Tariq,
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.