Trekker’s Talk & Times



Great to see you here.  This is our first attempt at creating a forum where Trekkers and friends can comment on anything to do with the group. Please do feel free to post comments – you’ll simply need to provide your name and email address. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Fairburn – 16 Oct 21

“Let’s speed things up a bit” and “We need to make this superb ride longer”. Taken together, these two comments really sum up another delightful day, navigating the quiet country lanes around the flatlands of Yorkshire. Seven tandems, camaraderie by the bucket load and lots of laughter all conspired together to make this a fabulouastic ride.

Tim and Jules prepping their bike
Colin assuring Diana he knows how to count
Brittany looking miffed that she’s not allowed to pilot
Charles assuring Ali he doesn’t need stabilisers any more
Richard and Martin sized up and ready to start
Post ride banter
Stephen, Aisha and Elisa awaiting their food
Keith and Ali

Spen Valley Special – 09 Oct 21

Today’s Spen Valley ride was different. Very different. And that’s because the 13 tandems and solo were joined by Journalist Lisa and Cameraman Simon from ITV. Having seen the UK Cycling article that Judith recently wrote, they asked if they might come and film Trekkers. Well, we didn’t need asking twice. And having already seen some of the footage and witnessed Jules, Judith, Martin and Keith being interviewed, (not to mention Guide Dog Tessa), I’m confident the actual broadcast will be nothing short of mega-brilliant. So, providing nothing bumps our screening, please tune into ITV Calendar on Monday evening to see Trekkers on TV.

And now for something completely different. Judith doing her very own version of a pilot recruitment drive. Enjoy.
ITV Cameraman Simon filming John and Jules
Judith being interviewed by Lisa Adlam from ITV
Great Group shot
Getting ready to film another segment
David and Martin

Track and Spen Valley GW – 02 Oct 21

Trekker’s Track and Trail.

Today we welcomed two new stokers and one new pilot to Trekkers. Welcome Diana and Colin to Stoke and Louise to Captain. As part of our new policy adopted for this day forwards a track induction was followed by a ride down the Greenway. Both stokers more than happy to carry on, and new pilot Louise rode solo as we didn’t have a spare stoker but she’s raring to go now!

The ride to the Flowerpot and back went swimmingly with the rain at least waiting until we were there before starting so we only got wet on the return trip.

We even passed another tandem on the way back!

Reminder that next week we will be attended by a film crew so please come looking at your stunning best!!


Track picture 01 – Drew and new stoker Colin
Track Picture 02 – New pilot Louise and Judith
Track Picture 03 – Judith and new stoker Diana
Cafe Picture 01 – Everyone seated and smiling except photographer Drew who took the photo
Cafe Picture 02 – Charles, Colin, Barney, John T, Diana and Michelle

Boroughbridge – 25 Sep 21

It might have been the first time Trekkers had ridden this delightful 25 mile circular route, starting and finishing at the North Yorkshire market town of Boroughbridge. But if the day’s feedback is anything to go by, it most certainly won’t be the last.

The weather was tailor-made for the day. Warm (but not too warm) and virtually no wind. Perfect conditions.

The final tally was seven tandems and a solo. And would have been more, save for a shortage of pilots. Never heard that before, have you?

Nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a September Saturday.

Four of the seven bikes pausing for a break
Judith and Aisha. Winners by far of the most talkative tandem pair
Drew and Ahmed
Steve C who rode out from Leeds (clocking a total of 77 miles in the process) to join us for most of the ride

Penistone – 21 Aug 21

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.

Captain Drew, and newly inducted Anis, about to depart. Next stop = Dunford Bridge.
Kathryn and Collette about to remount after the pinch points.
Charles and Louise. With Louise as stoker, pedalling by the pilot is not required.
Puncture 01 being repaired. John T in action. Drew supplying the tools. Jules and Anis giving moral support.
Puncture 02 being repaired. Keith, on-hand to assist. Jules and Elisa explaining what needs to be done. Yes – it was the same bike, same tyre. And yes, a thorough check was made before reseating the rubber. Just plain coincidence.
James and Jade. A rare photo as James is actually looking at the camera.
Cafe shot 01. Jules, Jade, Charles, Chris and John T.
Cafe shot 02. Ahmed, Muz, Richard and Tim. All listening to Liverpool vs Burnley. Not the best of results as Liverpool won 2-0. Sorry Peter!

Track – 07 Aug 21

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.

Drew explaining to Anis how he hates having his picture taken
Steve welcoming Richard to his first track session
June and Collette
Sean and Michelle about to start the tight turn event
James piloting Matthew
Steve and Sean powering around the track
Post session group shot minus Drew, James and June who were ferrying bikes back up to storage

Fairburn – 31 Jul 21

Make no mistake. A Trekker’s ride without a cafe stop is no ride at all. And the camaraderie and ambiance that under pinned our return to Birkin Fisheries bears testimony to just how much today’s 19 riders enjoyed another delightful day, cruising around the flatlands close to Fairburn. Long may such rides continue.

And whilst most of us arrived by car, clearly the challenge posed by the 20 mile circular route failed to match everyone’s aspirations. For reasons best known to themselves, Charles and Keith decided to add another 60 or more miles to their Strava totals by cycling out and back on their solos.

Finally, whilst one post-ride bacon buttie would satisfy most appetites, Judith confessed to having devoured three sandwiches. How come she is so perfectly petite?

All lined up and ready for the chequered flag to drop
Mustafa enjoying a post ride rest
Methinks Trekkers have taken over the cafe
Peter and James deep in conversation
Joanne and Michelle. I think Joanne was telling Michelle how Richard and Steve were beaten hands down on the race back by herself and Keith
“Shall I go for a fourth sarnie?” mulls Judith, as Muz and Ahmed enjoy their own refreshments

Spen Valley Greenway – 24 Jul 21

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.

Charles making sure Michelle’s saddle is at a suitable height
….. and that’s a ditto from Keith helping Elisa
Colin and Chris sized up and ready to roll
June and human dynamo Muz at storage
Barney anxiously awaits a coffee to go with his currant slice (…. or flea pie as he so appetisingly described it)

Around Clitheroe – 17 Jul 21

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.

Lunch at Chatburn – Take 01. Group shot with everyone taking refuge under the shade of a large tree
Lunch at Chatburn- Take 02. Judith and Aisha laughing
Lunch at Chatburn – Take 03. John T and Ahmed sitting and smiling- with James otherwise engrossed

Spen Valley Greenway – 10 Jul 21

Today’s ride started for me at 7.50 as I left home to ride to the lockup in fog. Forgot lockup keys but fortunately remembered before I got out of the drive. Arrived at lockup, opened door and there was a tremendous downpour as I got the tandems out. Luckily it stopped before anyone else had arrived. In due course all were present and correct and with newbie pilot Judith raring to go we made our usual way to the Flowerpot cafe where me and Collette and James and Martin opted to stop whilst the remaining teams rode to the top and back. This was a very sensible decision as there was another downpour whilst we sat dry in the shelter at the café. Eventually all returned from the top and in due course fed and watered we made our way back to lockup. Sorry no pictures today but it was a great ride with no issues and the newbie did well (chapeau Judith). Another splendid Trekkers day.

One more thing to note, I have just now created a Tandem Trekkers Club on Strava (no idea why we’ve never done it before) and already it is massively over-subscribed with a lengthy waiting list….😁. As I made it using my phone it’s a bit bare right now but I’ll tart it up later! Anyway, this is Drew signing off and hoping to see you all again next week. 

Leeds Road Track – 03 Jul 21

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 joined by 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.

Peter and Elisa
James and Barney
A yellow masked Brittany and Honey sporting her matching yellow raincoat
Stephen and Diarmuid
Diarmuid and Chris

Fairburn – 19 Jun 21

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.

Richard and Martin bump elbows
John T leads Jules around the obstacles
And Richard ensuring Tariq gets through safely
Post road closure group shot
Post ride bacon butties never tasted this good
Charles explaining to Keith he’s considering becoming a vegetarian. The conversation has an interesting ending which defies being committed to print

Spen Valley Greenway – 12 June 21

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.

A smiling Peter and Ahmed renewing acquaintances after Covid enforced curbs.
Keith and Mustafa complete with coffees.
Sean and Collette deep in a group discussion about cadence.
Colin, Drew and Chris V waiting patiently for their brews.
James and Aisha astride their Orbit.

Spen Valley Greenway – 05 June 21

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 .

With almost matching attire, winners once again of the tallest tandem pair, Messers Draycott and Sandiford
Ride Leader Barney with Chris V in Lower Hopton
A trio of Orbit tandems
Drew and Ahmed
The compulsory cafe stop
James about to discover the joys of riding an e-powered recumbent

Leeds Road Track – 29 May 21

Our first track session in over a year. Nice to be out in some warm sunshine – and great to welcome new pilots, Colin, Richard and Kath. Hope to see lots more of you throughout the season.

Keith working through induction procedures with Kath
David J on Barney’s recumbent trike
Charles K and Ahmed in deep conversation
Chilling at the track- Leanne, Collette, Barney and daughter Izzy. And, of course, not forgetting Dixie the guide dog

Spen Valley Greenway – 22 May 21

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.

Martin and Drew

Aisha and John T

Jennifer and Jade
David J, Jules and James
David T and Chris F
Michelle, Sophie and Stephen
…. and last, but certainly not least, Michelle

Penistone – 15 May 21

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.”

A sight for cycling eyes. Our two trailers, fully loaded with blue Orbits, on arrival at Penistone.
The dynamic duo. Keith and Steve coming back from the Wharncliffe end of the trail.
The two B’s. Barney and Brittany. The photo was taken in pre-quote times.
David J with Jules taking a breather before heading back to Penistone.
Looking ready to rob a bank, a modern day Bonnie and Clyde. A masked James supported by fellow felon, Aisha.
From left to right. Chris V, Damian, Joanne and Peter.
Back at Julie’s. Several Trekkers being reminded that small isn’t a word in Julie’s vocabulary.

Spen Valley Greenway – 01 May 21

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.

Six abreast. Why keep to riding in pairs when the road’s wide enough for more? Brittany is missing her pilot.
An unbelievable picture. A smiling Keith.
Double Trouble. Dave T and Martin.
Beauty and The Beast. Jules and John T.
Sorry Jennifer. It’s not quite “Wine o’clock”. You’ll have to make do with water a little while longer.
Robin !

Spen Valley Greenway – 24 Apr 21

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?

Pre-ride discussions between John T and Joanne. James and Muz in the background.
Jennifer, looking like she’s about to throw a punch, and Chris F.
A masked pre-ride Barney and Chris V.
Sam on her recumbent.
Drew and Catherine on part of the Calder Valley section.
Drew supping a brew.

Spen Valley Greenway – 17 Apr 21

Weather-wise, the nine tandems cruising the Greenway this morning couldn’t have had it any better. Cool and sunny, with virtually no breeze. Perfect conditions.

Andy W and Steve D on the Mirfield section of the ride.
Jennifer and Chris F ready to lead Group One.
Sean and Jade on Sean’s bike – the only non-Orbit tandem out today.
Jade, Brittany and Jennifer at our compulsory cafe stop. Apparently Jennifer’s sandwich was crab and avocado. Sounds scrumptious.
Blue and green should never be seen – unless, as shown here, worn by a Pilot and Stoker. Dave T and Martin at the cafe stop.
Guys if you’re planning on robbing a bank, the masks suit. But you might find a tandem getaway a bit on the slow side. Bandit James, and his partner-in-crime, Muzzled Muz.
And finally Cohort Two Leader Keith and Stoker Chris V astride the largest bike in our current fleet. Fittingly described as a “double large”.

Spen Valley Greenway – 10 Apr 21

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.

Charles and Aisha ready to ride one of our four new bikes.
Keith and Tariq with another of the latest additions to our fleet. Beverley on her solo looks on.
Damien and Joanne on yet another brand new Orbit tandem.
John T and Michelle about to ride to the top of the Greenway.
Andrew D and Martin sensing that their eagerly awaited Bacon Buttie can only now be a couple of minutes away.
James and Jules
Group 3 Ride Leader Stevie B.

Thank you – Thank you – Thank you – Thank you !!

1st April 2021

Four Orbit Velocity Tandems about to be collected from J D Tandems at Gargrave.
Left to Right: Jamie from JD, Trekkers Chair Brittany Stead and Trustee Paul Stark.
Completing the picture, Brittany’s Guide Dog, Honey.

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.

Thank you – Thank you – Thank you -Thank you !!

Spen Valley Greenway – 27 Mar 21

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….

Group One – Masked and Distanced at Storage
Group One – Enroute
Jennifer enjoying a Tuna Sandwich as Chris eagerly anticipates the return leg
Simon and Aisha from Cohort Two
Keith and Steve – also cycling with Group Two
David J and a masked Louise
Open Country’s Dave T and Richard
James and Jules
Group 3 Ride Leader Stephen riding with daughter Sophie on their brand new Orbit. It’s a brilliant bit of kit
And last, but definitely not least, Sean and Martin. Two of our longest serving stalwarts

Spen Valley Greenway – 10 Oct 20

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.

Tandem Trekkers are back!

Diarmuid using a thermometer to check if Jennifer has a brain. The search continues….
Keith and Jade. One of the benefits of our new policy is Keith is banned from singing.
Jennifer and Diarmuid power through Lower Hopton.
Masked and Distanced at storage.
Paul disinfecting the bikes post ride
Cohort from Bubble 2

Penistone – 14 Mar 20

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!

Mike and Ali on the tandem we hired
And Mike’s muddied face shows what happens when you hire bikes without mudguards
Julie’s Cafe – Scene 01
Julie’s Cafe – Scene 02
Danny and Joanne at Dunford Bridge
Josh and Diarmuid – also at Dunford Bridge
Chris and Andy ready to ride Chris’s superb tandem back to Penistone
Steve and Jade in the foreground with Simon and Saj behind
And finally, Simon and Saj in the foreground

Leeds Road Track – 07 Mar 20

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.

Andrew C. and Michelle astride the latest addition to our fleet.

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.

New Pilot Michael C. and son Stan
David J and Catherine also giving the recently donated Silver Viking a run for its money.
New Stoker Silver and Old Pilot Keith with one of our Orbits.
“I’ve missed you!” Haj and Diane catching up with each other.
Peter and Ahmed resting between laps.
Ali deep in conversation.
Apparently, Joanne, Matthew and Michelle have known each other since school days.
And last, but not least, Dez, Charles and David G, aka the 3 Monkeys, pose for the camera.

Spen Valley Greenway – 16 Nov 19

Never before has the old railway viaduct, over the River Colne, been graced with so many tandems.

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.

Cafe 53 – Scene 1
Cafe 53 – Scene 2
Cafe 53 – Scene 3
Cafe 53 – Scene 4
Cafe 53 – Scene 5

Penistone – 13 Nov 19

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!

Jennifer and Leanne en-route to Dunford Bridge.
David T and Steve D majestically posing
Elisa looks on at Dez, Ahmed and Danny doing a superb impersonation of the Three Monkeys.
Joanne and Simon about to embark on the return leg.
Hilary and Stephen enjoying the day.
Julie’s Cafe – Scene 01
Julie’s Cafe – Scene 02
Julie’s Cafe – Scene 03

Spen Valley – 12 Oct 19

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.

Rach and Alison at our Lower Hopton re-group point.
Danny and Hilary aboard our newly fixed Silver Dawes workhorse.
Tim and Martin astride our recently donated Silver Orbit. A fantastic and welcome addition to our fleet.
Café 53 – Scene 1 Take 1
Café 53 – Scene 2 Take 1
Viaduct shot of this morning’s group clustered around our newly donated Silver Orbit

Leeds Road Track – 05 Oct 19

“Right Jean. We need to pedal slower than a snail with lumbago!” I don’t know who writes Andrew D’s lines, but his instructions in this morning’s slow race were legendary.

But despite a sterling effort, Team Snail were beaten into third place. Gold went to David G and new stoker David W and Silver to David T and Richard D, visiting us from Open Country.

Indeed, full credit must go to everyone who took part in the two Slow Race Challenges. Probably the best performance ever.

And despite being a stoker depleted session, it was still marvellous to welcome Joe, Sylvia, Carla, Dave and Richard as newcomers

Slow race Gold Medallists, David G and Dave W. Superb performance, especially as it was Dave W’s first session and they were up against some stiff competition.
Dave T and Richard from Open Country. Despite some very skilful riding, they were pipped into second place.

And finally, though I didn’t get a picture, a special award to James B from Open Country. I watched James balance and remain stationary as a solo rider on a tandem. Now, that’s what I call skill !!!!!

Brownlee Circuit – 28 Sep 19

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.

Martin and Diane looking forward to a ride. An hour before the sky had been lead grey.
David and Ahmed astride an Orbit.
David G and Keith keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.
Andrew D and Aisha just back from a lap.
First time pilot John J with stoker Haj in matching red cycling jerseys.
A post ride debrief over a cup of coffee.

Penistone – 21 Sep 19

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.

A smiling Keith and a puzzled Colin on their return to Penistone
A colourful yellow and green clad Stephen B and Chris V in a harmonising blue near Dunford Bridge.
Jules and Mark on our orange Dawes Edge. A recent and popular addition to our fleet.
Mark R, John A and Jean soaking up the sun.
David J astride a medium Orbit and Martin about to embark.
Returning Pilot Claire with Aisha
Meanwhile, back at Julie’s café …..
Keith flexing his muscles stands next to Claire back at Penistone.
… and another café shot, this time featuring Jean, John A and Haj. Always nice when people smile …
Salesman Stephen B doing a brisk trade selling jars of home produced honey.

Scamblesby Residential – 13-15 Sep

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.”

Three trailer towing cars, laden with tandems, lined up ready to depart for Southrey

Jennifer, Ahmed, Charles, Aisha, Elisa and Carlie soaking up some evening sun

Keith, red wine in hand, and Andrew D await supper

Ahmed, Ali and David J, seated and sharing a smile worthy moment in the lounge

Queuing for lunch at the Riverside Cafe at Chapel Hill.

Andy W and David Q enroute to Lincoln

John T and Jules – also making towards historic Lincoln

Trail’s end just outside Lincoln. Seven bikes ready for the return ride to Bardney

Andrew D was really impressed with the skills used to forge this metal cow. He literally fell for it!

Sunday Lunch Trekker’s style

An inside view of the cafe at Bardney

Chris F and Elisa seated at our final cafe stop

Drew enjoying his second breakfast

Leeds Road Track – 7 Sep 19

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!

All lined up and ready to roll. A group shot of today’s attendees.

M62 Special – 31 Aug 19

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.

Trekkers will be back.

Leeds Road Track – 24 Aug 19

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…..

Keith and Elisa riding to victory on the stoker power only slow race
… on-lookers marvelling at Keith and Elisa’s bike handling skills. Andrew and Jean beginning to realise that their hereto lead is about to be snatched from them.
Charles and Mostafa attempting to break the sound barrier. They almost succeeded!
Barney and Drew discussing elliptical off-sets on timing chains (or something of equal importance!)
Keith and Tariq doing what Keith and Tariq do best. Having a laugh!

Spen Valley – 17 Aug 19

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 👍👍👍.

John, Martin, Tariq, Aisha and Muz eagerly awaiting food at our obligatory stop at the Milestone cafe.

Elaine, Diarmuid, Carlie, David and Danny also anticipating sustenance.

David, Tim, Chris, John, Andrew and Beverley queuing to order their grub.

Wharncliffe Woods – 03 Aug 19

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.

First up the incline, David J with plenty of torque coming through from Tariq.
Danny and specialist hill-climber Louise showing our Silver Dawes Tandem who’s boss.
Dave and Colin making it all look so easy.
John and Jules – cool and confident as they summit the crest.
Charles and Mostafa – looking like word class champions.
James and Ahmed – even professionals don’t look this good.
Keith and Muz – not a drop of sweat to be seen.
Jennifer (now to be known as “The Queen” ) and Haj rolling along the trail.
David and Tariq arrive at our turn-around point.
David and Colin – still smiling.
John and Jules about to pull up as we get ready to head back.
James and Ahmed – wishing they could go further.
Danny and Louise – also looking like they want to continue to Sheffield.
Keith and Muz planning on being first back to the café. They were.

Leeds Road Track – 27 Jul 19

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.

Barney and Jennifer travelling at speed on the infamous lean-green double decker machine
Charles and Jean about to set off
Reminiscent of the “Three Monkeys” Andrew, Martin and David laughing away whilst sheltering under a brolly
Click on the image to watch Barney and Jules rolling away on the double-decker

Fairburn – 20 Jul 19

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.

A smiling Steve C and Steve D giving a hearty thumbs up ….
Who needs a motor ? Chris V pedalling hard and Andy, feet off the pedals and in the air, enjoying the ride.
Danny and Mostafa powering away on our Silver Dawes workhorse.
David and Dean tandeming in sync and in style.
Jean waving to the camera with David G in control
Barney and Jules starting their take-off roll ….
Andrew and Carlie laughing as they ride ….
Simon and Aisha riding like true professionals.
Meanwhile, back at the café …..
… brews and food ….

Penistone – 13 July 19

Six tandems and three solos enjoyed a great ride up the Trans Pennine Trail to Dunford Bridge this morning. Enjoy the captioned pictures:

Danny on his first non-track session powering up to Dunford Bridge with Tariq in close tow.

Haj and Beverley smiling. Yes I always carry tissues as well!

A pensive David looks on as Danny, with arms outstretched, explains how big the one that got away was. Andrew looks on in absolute disbelief.

Well whatever it was to smile about, it wasn’t the midges. They were out in force at Dunford Bridge.

Stephen and Colin in thoughtful discussion. Guys- next time, first pair back to Julie’s Cafe buys the brews!

No Trekker’s ride is complete without a cafe stop. Post ride debrief in full flow.

Leeds Road Track – 6 July 19

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!!

Christine being helped onto one of our Emmerdale Tandems

Keith and Christine completing their second lap.

Winners of our slow race, Andrew and Jean, enjoying a breather.

Neil and Lynn with a bicycle made for two.

Spen Valley Greenway – 29 June 19

Seven magnificent Tandems, and a solitary solo, made the most of what might well turn out to be the hottest day of the year.

Besides our normal regulars, it was tremendously encouraging to be joined by Pilot Andrew D. and Stoker Gazza making the most of their maiden trek away from the track.

Might summer have finally arrived?

The “Double A” team. Andrew and Ahmed waiting for others to catch up.

A smiling Elisa queuing quietly for a coffee.

Steve and Keith sharing a joke.

Hull to Hornsea, Sat 8th June.

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,

Tissington Trail – 25 May 19

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.

Queuing for fuel at Parsley Hay

Brittany and Sean

Chris and Hajra

Charles and David

Spen Valley Greenway – 18 May 19

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.

Regrouping in Lower Hopton
Enjoying a buttie at the Coffee Counter !
Dave and Martin discussing matters of Trekker importance !
Peter enjoying a well earned brew, whilst Saj and Muz chat.

Penistone – 11 May 19

Fourth time lucky !

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.

Damian and Diane (aka The Dynamic Duo) aboard the Yellow Thorn and about to start the return trip to Penistone.
A smiling Jennifer (recently returned from her Pedal4Pounds trip to Holland) and a puzzled Colin at Dunford Bridge.
Peter and Muz astride one of our newer Orbits.
David and Jean, anxious to set off before the rain takes hold.
Six of today’s Trekkers at the end of the ride, with David Joyce enjoying some of Julie’s finest fare.

Leeds Road Track – 04 May 19

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.

Pilot John H. and Ahmed getting on a new Tandem
Pilot John H. about to take Ahmed out for a maiden spin on our brand new Orbit Tandem
Keith and Steve C. finding something to smile about
“That’s a funny looking tandem!” Charles, David and Drew pensively looking at Barney’s recumbent trike.
Diarmuid, Keith, Brittany and Paul collecting the latest addition to our growing fleet of new Orbit’s. Not pictured is the £3000 bike Keith and Brittany rode – the wet weather putting a dampener on borrowing the earmarked £9000 bike !! Next time?

Leeds Road Track – 20 April 19

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.

Picture shows Drew piloting Hajra
Drew and a smiling Hajra making the most of the wonderful weather
Mark, Christine and David. Christine’s just successfully completed her second tandem trek. Well done!
Today’s 13 Pilots and Stokers donning Health Bloom T-shirts and holding customised mugs, posing for a publicity picture.