As with most kids, I learned to ride a bike quite young, and for many years it was a plaything round the local streets. However, in 1969 I went away to boarding school at Allhallows School on the Devon/Dorset border. I took my bike with me. This was the beginning of my distance cycling. With a friend, “Oggy” Williams, we started by deciding to go further than the local town, Seaton, one Sunday. We went on to Beer. That seemed fairly easy and the distances grew. Exmouth, Exeter, Teignmouth, Chard, Weymouth. We explored all along the south Devon and Dorset coast and inland. On one occasion we cycled home at the end of term. Kids at day schools did so why shouldn’t we? The difference was it was just over 100 miles. We left at first light on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer, rested under the shade of New Forest trees in the heat of the afternoon, and finally parted at Cadnam, where our routes diverged. We both arrived safely and with a huge sense of achievement.
IN 1973-4 I spent a year at King Edward VI School in Southampton. The journey was by train every day and the bike lay little used. By now I was driving, and this had far more appeal.
I took the bike to University with me in the autumn of 1974. Not long after my arrival it was stolen and I did no cycling for many years.
It was more than 20 years later that we were holidaying on the Northumberland coast. David, aged 10 had his bike with him, but wanted to explore further afield. There was a bike in the local second hand shop and at very low cost I was able to accompany him. That bike got ridden intermittently until in 2002 I signed up to ride the Sustrans C2C from Whitehaven to Sunderland in support of AYME. It was clear that the old bike was not up to the job, so I purchased an ex hire Dawes Edge Team from Holiday Lakeland, the organisers of the sponsored ride.
Lots of training rides and then the trip itself was great fun. I met lots of great people and we raised lots of money for AYME, as well as good local press coverage, great for raising awareness of ME. I didn’t take a camera,so I don't have pictures. The finest achievement was getting up Hartside without a stop. It seemed a huge achievement at the time. At least there’s a café at the top. My own sponsorship amounted to more than £750, which wasn’t bad.
Since then the bike has been used intermittently until the autumn of 2005. My doctor suggested I needed more exercise, so I set myself the target of cycling 50 miles every week. I kept it up through the whole of November and into December, thoroughly enjoying the exercise and the countryside. It came to a temporary halt on 23rd December due to an accident that left me housebound for several months, but once I recovered I was back on the bike.
At this time I was working mainly from home in Ripon so I got in the habit of three short rides on working days. One before breakfast, one at lunch time and one after work All usually around 8 or 9 miles on local roads. I had developed a preference for road cycling. I recorded many of these rides in a cycling blog, but this was lost when my website was compromised in 2014. I also joined Ripon Cycling Club and started going out on thier rides.
In 2008 my garage suffered a break in and the Dawes was stolen. As I was now mainly road cycling I decided to look for a suitable bike for Audax and fast touring. Initial research left me with a toss up between a Dawes Audax and a Tifosi CK7, however a trip to my local Tifosi stockist, Cowley Cycles, produced another option, and the one I finally chose. They recommended a Ridley frame, and they had an Aeron frame to the same geometry built and in stock. Having got this on the turbo trainer it felt good, so we worked around the details, finally settling on the following:
Ridley Triton T Frame
Ridley 4ZA carbon forks and steerer
Mavic Askium wheels
Campagnolo Mirage groupset
3T seatpost, stem and bars
This led to the finished product.
This bike has been my main steed for the last 8 years, during which I have done several Audax's Sportives as well as regular Club Rides with Ripon Cycling Club. However since moving to Gosport my cycliing has been aminly solo or ad hoc with friends. I have not found the time to join a club.
The Ridley has now been supplemented by a Brompton, which I use for commuting, and old Raleigh steel road bike and an equally old Dunlop Velocity hybrid. Both of these get used around town for shopping etc as they are of no great vale and I am happy to leave them locked up in town.