The road to Ellesmere wasn’t entirely trouble free – a motorist running into a bridge at Gobowen made sure of that – but for a Friday afternoon things turned out quite well.
Rolling into Shrewsbury station, a mere 10 minutes away from Gobowen, the guard announced the train was detouring direct to Crewe. That left us on the station platform watching the ensuing confusion while the iPhone Map and National Rail App came up with an alternate station and the next train there.
The back lanes from Wem were delightful and we rode into Ellesmere entirely relaxed. Nobby, Dave and Peter had ridden in from Whitchurch a little earlier and we checked out the route options for Saturday over a meal and a pint.
With Tim and Frank joining us on their trikes in the morning, the magnificent seven (Calamity Brigitte is behind the camera) set off for a ten mile loop of lanes, meers and canals.
Wheels for Wellbeing, a charity created to support people with disabilities to cycle in London, have secured a Big Lottery Fund grant of £330,620 😮
The WfW cycling sessions run twice weekly in Croydon Sports Arena, beside South Norwood Country Park, and weekly in Brockwell Park, Lambeth, giving people the chance to try cycling, have some fun and get some regular exercise.
The sessions take place in a safe environment providing people with the opportunity to try different types of cycles – two, three and four wheelers – to find which works for them. For some this builds a level of confidence which leads to purchasing a cycle and using it regularly. You’ll find just such an example along with more info here…
Derek and I went to watch the British Human Power Club racing at Shrewsbury Sports Village yesterday. There were many interesting machines on the track including this pedal and hand cranked trike. It’s a homemade design which presumably requires quite a lot of lung power if all limbs are functioning!
We also saw Tim who joined the google group recently. He’s currently looking into crank shortening options for his Trice QNT to better match the differences in his legs. My Brompton has a variation of this called a swinging crank which I bought from Highpath Engineering about 4 or 5 years ago and is still working well. They do a number of crank and pedal adaptations as well as machining chainrings.
We spotted a Mike Burrows’ Windcheetah with a Schlumph Speedrive fitted too. There are a number of Schlumpf drives available to increase gear range for different situations and I’ve often toyed with the idea of tidying up my triple chainring on the Brompton with one. However, the mechanism to change gear relies on tapping buttons with both ankles meaning I can only change up or down – not both. The owner of the Windcheetah said the designer, Florian Schlumph, is very helpful so I’m about to write to him and see if he has a solution for the uniped 😮
I’ve never been to a show quite like it before; the Spezi is as much about the people and the cycles they arrive on as it is about the trade stands. With a test track, a race track, three indoor halls and a large outside display area there was plenty to see and do. We stayed about 6 miles outside the show’s location Germersheim in a small town called Belheim, cycling in and out over the two days.
What a cracking day for a bike ride! Seven of us assembled at the front of the youth hostel on Saturday morning, five had arrived the day before, Mai Ling came out on the train to meet us, and Jim, ever the canny accountant, made the most of his travel card to get part way out of London by train, riding the rest of the way.
Only one trike out – Ruth’s new Mission Space Genie – Lee Valley Park proving to be a good traffic free area to get more familiar with it. Unfortunately, the ensuing logistics of an aborted camping trip the previous week left nobby and myself arriving by car with Brigitte and folders rather than by recumbent trike. Roger (not pictured – on another lap of the park!) also arrived on Friday afternoon having ridden all the way from central London.
Not something I’ve tried myself yet, but certainly an option I might find useful or necessary in the future. Victoria from Oxford has been in touch to warn us that the DfT are currently consulting on proposed changes to the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983 to harmonise the UK and European legislation.
Victoria writes “The current regulations do not distinguish between the two types of bikes, namely those where one pedals with battery assistance and the ‘twist and go’ variety where one doesn’t have to do any pedalling at all. They both have an upper speed limit of 15 mph and like normal bicycles don’t need to have tax, insurance or a helmet. There is the threat, however, that the ‘twist and go’ will be recategorised as mopeds. This means shelling out more money, particularly by elderly or disabled users on tax, helmets etc. (Interestingly motorcycles with 3 wheels which can go at over 70mph don’t have to wear helmets at all!)
To see how we managed taking our bikes through the London Underground take a look at the comments in the previous post. To see how we got on at the Youth Hostel and the Park read on…
We arrived by train at Cheshunt station, a long stone’s throw from the Youth Hostel. It took quite a bit longer than the flight of a stone to get there though, as nobby required fifteen minutes to reassemble his Dahon – much of it to do with mounting the Brompton bag on the rack – and we also had to wait at the level crossing for the Stantsted Express to pass.
The blurb on the YHA site describes the hostel thus… “Close to London, these six log cabins are situated on the shore of a lake in the 10,000 acres of Lee Valley Country Park. There are plenty of activities on offer nearby – take your pick from sailing, kayaking, caving, climbing and canoeing to name but a few.” And one of the activities not named – cycling.
Or does it? Nobby and I are going to Lee Valley Youth Hostel next week to check it and the surrounding area out in preparation for the Youth Hostel Weekend in April. We’re letting the train take the strain which will mean arriving at Paddington and departing from Liverpool Street. Usually I would ride across London to make the connection, however, I came across a new tube map yesterday which offers the possibility of a successful trip below the streets of the capital.