Tour De Ricky – 01 June 2024

Chapeau to Liam

One of the highlights of the Willesden calendar is the excellent Tour de Ricky. This year it was held on 1st June and it was an amazing day, all impeccably organised and promoted by our remarkable club mate, Liam FitzPatrick. Central to this great day is a series of three Audax rides, depending on your appetite you could choose from a 200km, a 100km or a 50km ride. So something for every one. All spaces on the three rides were sold-out way in advance of the big day, with some 350 riders in total taking part.

The day kicked off just after 7:00am with the sign on for the 200km riders, all whom were keen to tackle the from Rickmansworth up to Silverstone before looping south to the Thames at Benson and returning home via Marlow. The 119 riders signed up for this ride were facing some 2,000m of climbing, so they were getting full value for their entry fee.

No sooner had the 200km riders departed, than we were straight into processing the 139 riders for the 100km route. This was a route for fans of the Chilterns. The route takes in Amersham, Tring, and Stewkley before tackling the iconic climb up Ivinghoe Beacon on the way home via Chesham and Latimer.

Finally it was the turn of the 50km riders. It featured a simple run out on quiet roads towards Prestwood and incorporated a magnificent cake-laden stop at Great Missenden. This was a lovely social ride and it was very popular with Willesden CC riders – we know a good cake stop when we see one! This control was manned by John Wheatley, who just two weeks earlier had been involved in a very serious road incident, where he was hospitalized with numerous injuries. John was amazing and it was good to see him on the road to recovery. John was joined by Lynn Wheatley and Ian Oliver to process the riders brevet cards.

The Willesden CC (Cake club??)

“Let them eat cake”

Early in the afternoon riders from all three events started to roll in to the finish. It made for a great atmosphere with a host of other cycling and wellness activities all well under way as the riders chilled out after their rides. Activities included yoga and Zumba sessions, Nordic walking and forest exploring, plus there was an impressive array of “trade stands”, some of which were giving away some very impressive cycling freebies. In the midst of all this Liam was doing a roaring trade selling the 2024 Tour de Ricky souvenir edition caps, which were designed by Peter Kelsey’. Profits from cap sales and entry fees helped raise significant funds for Woodoaks Farm, the Chiltern Air Ambulance, World Bicycle Relief, the Watford Cycle Hub, and for St Peters and St Pauls in Great Missenden who housed the control points

Gt Missenden Control point

Liam said “There were so many high points for me – the dad and two very small boys who finished the 50k ride, the tales of new friends made on the road, the reuniting of at least one pair of school friends”.
He added that “ If there was a prize for feeding, the Oscar would have to be shared by the crew at Stewkley and the incredible bakers at Great Missenden; it wasn’t just the volume and quality, it was the love and care that knocked it out of the park.”

Well done Liam for running this amazing day. Also a big “Chapeau” for all the chapeau you shifted – they were everywhere art the finish and a big hit with the riders.

Miles Back
10th June 2024

Brevet card processing. A major task with 350 riders signing on.

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Simon Doughty

As many will already know, this week we heard the very sad news that Simon Doughty had recently passed.

Simon was a lovely, funny person as well as a highly respected rider and talented author. Everyone liked Simon for his crazy sense of humour, his ability as a cyclist and his comprehensive knowledge of cycling technology and nutrition for cyclists. He was ahead of his time.

Simon wrote a couple of excellent books –

“The Cyclist’s Training Manual: Fitness and Skills for Every Rider”
“The Long Distance Cyclist’s Handbook”

Both books are still in print and available on Amazon. They are remarkable reads and cover every aspect of cycling.

Simon also ran a successful bike business, called NTi and was one of the first people to sell telescopic forks in the UK. When the business folded he became a senior level professional coach with BC, it was a dream job for him. But it was to be short lived as he was hit by a drunk driver as he was cycling to work one morning at the Manchester velodrome. Simon sustained catastrophic head injuries and needed 24 hour care after that and was also wheel chair bound.

I believe he must have been around 63 years old when he died.

Mark Brooking and Simon were great friends and they were the youngest riders on the Brindisi Seven ride, which is one of the early prestigious rides in the AUK world. Between them they set some WCC club records and I think Simon was highly placed on the famous Mersey Roads 24 hour TT.

Miles Back

L to R: Mark Brooking, Ian Why, Derek Reynolds, Jill Reynolds, Simon Doughty, Jenny Wright, Brain Wright

Mike-the-Bike Ellison (right) and Simon Doughty (left)

Simon looking cool in his string back mitts. (Got to love the Citroën Dyane in the background with the bike on the roof!)

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Club kit orders?

If you would like to order the new club jersey and / or shorts. Let Gerry McManus know ASAP. We are likely to have an online shop open to members this week but advance info would be useful as the minimum order is 5 items mixed. We’d like to put the shop on the web over the weekend so that any members riding at the Semaine Federale would get their orders in time for the event.



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Jayne Paine races Le Tour Des Vallées Azuréennes

Jayne recently journeyed down to the South of France to race in the Tour Des Vallées Azuréennes, a multi stage event held just inland from Nice. The TdVA is a four stage race and also includes a contre-la-montre/Time Trial and was held over four days from 18th to 20th May.

Jayne raced impressively well and after the second stage she was holding on to third place and lookin’ good for a GC podium finish. However, on Monday’s final stage she dropped her chain twice during the 80km race. Despite being on her own, Jayne ferociously battled for a full 30 minutes before getting back on to the group.  By this time it was 13km to the finish, but the effort of the chase had emptied her reserves. In the final GC, Jayne just missed out on a podium finish.

In her post race interview with the WCC blog she said “It was a shame because at the time my chain dropped, I was in with a group with the girl who came 2nd on the GC and the other was way behind”.

Well done Jayne  a magnificent effort.

Miles Back

Jayne (L) on the Podium

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Jayne Paine and Gill Reynolds in the VTTA 10

Both Jayne Paine and Gill Reynolds both rode the VTTA 10 last Sunday morning at Tring.

Jayne was the fastest lady on a road bike with a time of 24.40.
Gill was the 2nd fasted lady on age standard with a time of 26.54.

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Brunel Uni exercise experiment wants volunteers.

An email from Brunel Uni, looking for Guinea Pigs. If you’re interested…. email addresses at the bottom.

I hope this email finds you well. I am reaching out on behalf of our research team at Brunel University London.

We are currently conducting a laboratory experiment aimed at investigating the effects of localised heating of the upper leg muscle on force production and fatiguability and we are currently recruiting participants for our study. We are specifically looking to recruit healthy older adults who maintain good physical activity levels.

Here’s a brief overview of our research project:

Objective: To assess the impact of thigh heating on upper leg muscle force production in healthy older adults (aged 55 – 80 years).
Methodology: Participants will undergo one experimental testing session lasting around 3 hours. During this time, the participant will sit on a machine called an isokinetic dynamometer. This machine accurately measures muscle force production during kicking actions. During the protocol one leg will be heated using a water-perfused garment, whilst the other remains cool. We will then measure muscle force production in both legs every 30 min to compare the effects of heating.
Location: The research session will take place within the Division of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at Brunel University London in Uxbridge (UB8 3PH)
Compensation: Following completion of the experimental protocol, participants will receive a £25.00 gift voucher

A web page associated with the project explaining why we are undertaking this work can be found here –

If you believe that members of your club may be interested in taking part or would like further information, could you please forward these details on to them. We can be contacted directly at and/or

Thank you very much for considering our request.

Best regards,


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“Westerley Wednesday” evening Time Trial Series.

Last Wednesday (24th April) saw our friends at the Westerly CC run the first of their popular series of  evening time trials at the Hillingdon circuit. Unsurprisingly, the series is  known as the “Westerley Wednesday”!

The time trial covers 11 laps of the Hillingdon circuit, totalling  10.35 miles (16.66 kms) and is run every two weeks until the end of August, first rider is off at 7pm, but this moves  back to 7:15pm when there is more light (see exact dates and times below).

Despite last Wednesday being a cold and windy evening,  38 riders were present. This included two of our club mates in the Road Bike category. Both riders were decked out in Willesden kit and they were Rob Courtney and Jayne Paine. Rob went on to post an impressive 24:29.2 and Jayne was the fastest woman with a 28:15.6. Well done The Willesden!

Rob said “I’d recommend the event series”. “It is chip timed and suitable for all abilities. It’s also a good 20-40 minute effort to track improvement through the season. Most people are racing against their previous times rather than for the win!”

The entry fee is £10.00 (£5.00 for Juniors) and this covers the cost of all timing equipment and circuit hire. There are two types of categories

  1. Time Trial Bike category. You are allowed to ride time trial or triathlon bikes, wear a full aero helmet and use deep section wheels inc. disc wheels etc.
  2. Road Bike category. You can use a mountain bike or road bike but we don’t allow any aero clip on bars / time trial / triathlon bars. No pointy aero helmets, no disc wheels. Wheels should be no deeper than 60mm.

Both categories are non-drafting. This being important for safety reasons as well as fairness!

To enter future events – go to the website below and search for “Westerley” in the “Event name/ Description” box :

For more information about the event, have a look at the Westerley’s web page

Results are published here:

Dates and start times for the Westerley Wednesday

8th May, 2024 – 7pm start

22th May, 2024 – 7:15pm start

5th June, 2024 – 7:15pm start

19th June, 2024 – 7:15pm start

3rd July, 2024 – 7:15pm start

17rd July, 2024 – 7:15pm start

31rd July, 2024 – 7:15pm start

14th August, 2024 – 7:15pm start

28th August, 2024 – 7:15pm start

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Obituary for Jim Love

Dear clubmates,

As many of you already know our much loved President, Jim Love, recently passed away at the age of 95.  Jim’s daughter, Carol, has written the following obituary for Jim and very kindly sent it to the club along with some wonderful pictures of Jim.

John Davies


Jim Love 15th January, 1929 to 1st March, 2024

Jim Love was modest, principled, strong but a gentle man. Jim started cycling as a teenager and as a Londoner he joined the Willesden Cycling Club when he was about 16. He quickly became a good rider taking part in time trials, track racing and of course the Sunday club runs with often over 100 Willesden CC riders mobbing the club’s favourite cafes!

Paddington track was Jim’s main track, followed by Herne Hill. By 1948 he had earned his place in the Olympic Team Pursuit. Unfortunately a bad crash a few weeks before the Olympics and an off-day at the penultimate training day meant he was made a reserve for the 4 man pursuit team. Some thought this may have been a result of team politics, but Jim was too modest to be drawn on the subject

Jim going at full power in 1948!

One of Jim’s many friends and also his track rival was Charlie Mariner. In 1949 Charlie invited Jim to present prizes at the Southern Paragon annual dinner dance and it was there that he met Eileen, who was also a keen cyclist with the Southern Paragon. They married in 1952.

As many cycling clubs began to fade in 1960s Jim and Eileen became founder members of the Sotonia Cycling Club in 1967. Jim sketched the orange and white club jersey’s early designs at their kitchen table. Jim was club coach and President and remained a Vice President.

Jim was also a member of the Pedal Club and the Scrumpy Wheelers, which showed the breadth of his love of cycling. In the build up to the 2012 Olympics in London, he was honoured to be included in many meetings with athletes, politicians and Princess Anne. He was given tickets to the 2012 track cycling and triathlon events and was astounded and delighted to see so many people understood and cheered the track cycling events.

Last summer Jim was again honoured to unveil a plaque at Herne Hill Velodrome to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1948 Olympic track events were held there. Thought to be the last man standing from that track squad, he was accompanied by his proud family and also the daughters of team members Reg Harris and Alan Geldard. This proved to be a fantastic family day out. Dad delighted in seeing all the youngsters racing at the same meeting as the internationals, “taking part in the best sport in the world”. This day buoyed him for the last few months of his long life.
Cycling was always the hub of Jim and Eileen’s lives with all the spokes representing the friends, social events, competition, holidays, adventures, photography, books and fitness. Finally the rim joined all these aspects for their lives together.

Jim always maintained his links with the Willesden serving as club president. He still holds two Willesden Club records, maybe it is time to revive those events and try to beat him? He held the Club 25 record in 1949 at 1hr 1m 16s.

As a teenager Dad also became a keen photographer and over time took and inherited many photos. Jim, always meticulous, has passed this archive to the National Cycling Archive held at Warwick University free for anyone to visit.

A printer by profession he loved books. Most of these are being sold for charity at a Bike Jumble on 21st April in Brockenhurst

Jim is survived by his wife and sister, both Eileen, children Brian and Carol, grand-daughters Imogen and Lucy.

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Jim Love

Willesden CC’s former president, Jim Love, passed away recently.

Jim, who lived in Kingsbury, northwest London, was a member of the Willesden Cycling Club. He joined the club at the age of 16, around the time the war was ending.

In his first time-trial – a ‘25’ – he recorded a time of 1h 19min 54sec. Within three years he had taken almost 20 minutes off that and started the 1948 season as an Olympic ‘possible’.

On 15th July, Jim received official notification of his inclusion in the six-rider squad. When training or competing at Herne Hill he would ride across town, ‘carrying my racing bike on my shoulder with the saddle just behind my ear, and the frame over my shoulders. We had to watch out for trams.’

Final selection for the pursuit team did not occur until days before the competition, after Love had received his race number (152) and embroidered badge. Ultimately, he didn’t make the foursome that took Bronze at the Olympics, a decision that came down simply to performance. On 4th August, three days before the event, the team was told to go all-out in training at Herne Hill. Love was dropped midway through the session, later noting that he was ‘slightly off form’ that day.

Jim moved to Southampton where he was a founder member of the Sotonia Cycling Club.

He kept his link to the Willesden, serving as our club president. Longer serving members remember his modesty and generosity. He was a superb ambassador for the club and noted as a true gentleman.

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Hillingdon Time Trials

I got this email the other day. For those who didn’t:

Hillingdon Time Trials

The 2024 Westerley Hillingdon time trials will start after Easter, so I wanted to let you, as a past rider of our events, know the details in case you fancy riding this year.

This year’s series starts on 24 April. The rest of the dates and other info are on our website. Entry is only via RiderHQ, there is no entry on the day.

If you plan to ride in most or all of the events, you can now book entry to the entire series at a discounted rate. This guarantees you entry to midsummer events which often sell out (see here for details).

As in the past, there are TT and road bike categories, for both men and women / adults and juniors, with an electronic timing system.  It’s a great way to do your first time trial, on your normal bike, with no cars – but its also an excellent mid-week outing for experienced time triallists.

Best regards,

Frank Proud,

Westerley CC

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Serendipitous Cycling

It was our first bike ride in over two months and it was not just our chains that were starting to rust!  So our aims would be modest – a short flatish ride around some of our favourite lanes in Bedfordshire. A planned route that barely nudged 50km and with only a few hundred metres of climbing looked just the ticket.

Following an hour’s drive to the start of the ride, a cafe and toilet was the first priority. Plus it would also replace the need for a mid ride stop. We climbed off at one of our usual cafes, with a whole 5km on the clock! After a relaxed break, we embarked on the ride proper, enjoying the sensations of being back aboard our wheels.

With only 10km of the ride left to do, I began to feel “the bonk” make an appearance. We had passed a cafe a few miles back, but I thought I could push on to the finish. Whilst pausing at a quiet junction in the middle of the countryside, I began to rue my decision and wished we had doubled-back to the cafe.
But hang on? What’s that sign over there say??
It said CAFE!
It said Cyclists welcome!!
It said OPEN!!!

It felt like an hallucination but Mrs Back confirmed she had seen it too. The cafe was just yards away and it was called the Cowshed Cafe.

The Cowshed is not only a proper cycling cafe, but by a further amazing coincidence it is also run by an old friend of the Willesden CC, Mr Rob Mortlock and his wife!! What a moment of wonderful cycling serendipity!

Rob’s cafe is superb and I urge you to try it out if you are anywhere near the area. I will also organise a weekday WoW ride to try their excellent coffee and great snacks.

An Oasis

The Cowshed is at Oak Farm, Bedford Road, Northill, SG18 9AW . It is open Wednesday to Sundays, but check their website for opening times before you go –

Rob and his wife’s attention to every detail in the cafe is highly impressive. From the velodrome themed table top to the CowShed jerseys and capes for sale. A TV projector streams the latest cycling races and there is a good stock of beers too!

Mrs Back and myself certainly wish the Mortlocks every success in this great new addition to the cafe scene.

Miles Back

Rob at the controls

Mystery box

Plenty of high quality Cowshed merch available

The rather wonderful Tracked themed table top

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Free tickets to the National Cycling Show in June

Julie Anderson passed this on… The National Cycling Show is presently offering some free tickets.

If you want some the link to their booking page is

Track down the page to a button that says “Use code LAUNCH for free tickets” and take it from there.

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85th FFCT Semaine Fédérale registrations are opening

For the past 15 years it has become traditional for a group of Willesden CC club members to make the very enjoyable excursion to the annual “Semaine Fédérale” in France. This remarkable event is a week long celebration of cycling that attracts large numbers of cyclists. This year they are planning on around 8,000 participants to attend, the majority of which are from French cycling clubs, though each year the numbers making the trip from the UK has been gradually increasing

The “Semaine Fédérale” is impeccably organised by the FFCT (Fédération Française De Cyclotourisme) and this year will be the 85th year they have run this marvellous event. Each year it is staged in a different part of France and in 2024 it will be based in Roanne, a small town located on the banks of the Loire, just to the north west of Lyon. The event runs from 20th July through to 27th July 2024.

Over the course of the week there are seven days of riding. Each day’s ride takes you to a different part of the region. All the rides are marked with simple arrows pasted on to the kerbs or on the tarmac. Hard copy maps and GPX files are supplied, so you will never have an excuse for getting lost! Each day you have a choice of rides ranging in distance from 50-60km through to over 150kms. The rides are most definitely NOT races and there is no element of timing. You ride when you want and if you want!

Costs of the week long event are –
Semaine Fédéral Registration fee  = €40
Repatriation insurance = €24 (refundable on proof of your own travel insurance)

Camping Pitch Costs (per week)
€37.00 for cars and camper vans under 8m in length
€74.00 for camper vans over 8m

Cost per person camping
€35.00 (aged over 18)
€17.00 (aged under 18)

Evening meals are available at the event’s HQ.  These are simple, massed catered meals, this means the menu is fixed with no option for vegetarians or those with allergies/intolerances
Fri 19 July €15 per person
Sat 20 to Fri 26 July €22 per person
Gala meal Sat 27 July €40 per person

Though most of us enjoy the simplicity and conviviality of camping, you can arrange your own accommodation in a hotel, Gîte, AirB&B etc, however availability may be very limited

With regards to Route planning, Roanne offers a few different options for the ferry crossing to France. With some ports, the shortest route to Roanne will be via Paris, whilst other options avoid it. So here are the main options, with distance, time and routes calculated by Google –

Calais  700kms.  7.75hrs. Shortest route is via Paris.

Le Harve 600kms. 6.3 hrs Shortest route is via Paris.

Dieppe (option 1.) 590kms 6.5hrs Shortest route is via Paris.

Dieppe (Option 2.) 630kms 6.5 hrs but avoiding Paris

Caen 640kms 6.5 hrs Avoids Paris

Cherbourg 750 kms 7.5hrs Avoids Paris

St. Malo 680kms 7.0hrs Avoids Paris

We organise the week and keep in touch via a Whatsapp. If you would like to join this group then email at

Miles Back

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Riccione Cycling Trip 2024

The proposed dates for the WCC trip to Riccione are 6th to 13th April. We are currently waiting for confirmation of prices / package from the hotel and are looking at flights. WCC members can contact me if they are interested in going this year and I’ll add you to the WhatsApp group.

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Isle of Wight Randonnee – 5th May 2024

As we look forward to riding one of the Willesden CC’s biggest events of the year, namely Liam’s Tour de Ricky in June, what better way of preparing than riding the Isle of Wight Randonnée on the May bank Holiday.

The randonnée used to be a regular annual expedition for the Willesden CC, personally I have ridden this event over a dozen times and have always enjoyed it…. and not because it is totally free to enter!

The Randonnée is not a race, you can start whenever you what and finish whenever you want. The ride goes all the way around the island and is fully signposted. You can also start from any point on the  round-the-island route. It’s an absolute gem of an event and is suitable for all types of riders.

For various reasons the club has not ridden this event for a number of years, but Marianne Harding has stepped forward to get all our wheels rolling for this year’s event. So over to Marianne to explain more about what she is proposing….

Miles Back


Happy New Year everyone,

I am going to ride the Isles of Wight Randonnée this year and wondered if anyone else from the Willesden or Minet Ladies would be interested and would like to join in the adventure?

The Isle of Wight Randonnée 2024, will be on the May Bank Holiday, Sunday 5th May.

It would be great if we could make this a social weekend, but we would need to book hotel and restaurant as soon as possible as hotel price goes up the nearer the date and will book up quickly.

Registration for the Randonnée opens in February sometimes and here is a link giving details.

As some hotels can only accommodate a couple of bikes, or outside rack to lock bike up. I am enquiring about bike storage at some hotels and awaiting replies, Travelodge in Ryde. They offer double, twin and family rooms, sharing would cut costs. I enquired about keeping bikes in the bedrooms which they were happy with, even said if we let them know, we could request a ground floor room. They also have a lift. The downer with Travelodge is, they only do a cold packed breakfast.

It would be wise to book an evening meal for the Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th as it could be hard to find somewhere on the day, especially if you are tired from the ride.

I will be sailing early-ish from Lymington to Yarmouth on the 2nd or 3rd May, and cycle to Ryde, but taking in the Needles and maybe another attraction, 😷like the National Poo Museum in Sandown on the way🤭.

If you are not keen on riding far to the hotel one can sail to Ryde directly from Portsmouth, I think, which is a very short cycle ride to the accommodation.

For those who may want to join in the social, but not want to ride the Randonnée, but ride your own distance, there is a steam train. Or a small public transport train ‘Island Line’ that goes from Ryde to Shanklin that could take you to other parts of the northeast of the island to walk/ride a coastal path or something.

Would anybody be interested in a Willesden/ Minet Weekend Adventure?

Marianne Harding

Marianne can be contacted on


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Bike buddies scheme

We got the following email from Lucinda at the Bike Project recently. A cycling worthwhile cause.


My name is Lucinda and I work at The Bike Project. I am reaching out to you in the hope that you can help me with some outreach for a cycling programme that I’m running! We are a small charity dedicated to getting refugees cycling by collecting unwanted bikes, fixing them up and donating them to refugees and asylum seekers. We are based in South East London with a workshop in Deptford and in the West Midlands, with a second workshop in Birmingham. Here is our website: The Bike Project | We refurbish and donate bikes to refugees .Alongside our donations, we run a programme called Pedal Power where we take groups of Refugee Woman and teach them how to cycle. We then also have a second programme called Bike Buddies –which I am hoping to recruit more volunteers for in West London!

To give you a bit more background, the Bike Buddies programme pairs our refugee and asylum-seeking bike recipients with volunteer cyclists in their area to go on rides together. It aims to build confidence and knowledge of cycling, reduce isolation, improve well-being and encourage social integration and greater independence. It’s relatively low time commitment but garners huge rewards for those taking part. Here’s a video explaining more, with our incredible supporter Clare Balding when she volunteered for this program and was matched with Ahmed,   and full information and details of how to apply can be found .

We have found more recently that a lot of our Bike recipients are increasingly based around Ealing, Southall, Wembley and Kilburn. At the minute, we don’t have a lot of volunteers in this area and so I was hoping you could share it with your members/audience in the hope of attracting some applications!

If you want to find out more please email Lucinda Humphreys on She will call you back if you prefer a phone discussion.


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Westerley Winter Warmer, 14th January

Our friends the Westerley Club are running their Winter Warmer event on Sunday 14th January.

There are three versions, at 110km (1200m of climbing),  61km and a the shorter version is around 44km.  The long route is a challenging winter ride which tackles several of the bigger climbs on the Chiltern ridge while the medium route has Hatches Lane as its main climb.  The short version is a very pretty route that misses out all the big hills and most of the (short) main road sections which the others have.

Entry prices are the same as last year: £10/£9/£8 for adults and free for Juniors (who must be accompanied by an adult).

Ride HQ is Chalfont St Giles Scout Hut, GPX tracks, computerised timing system and plenty of food before and after (including home-made cake).

Enter the Westerley Winter Warmer. The event sells out every time, so don’t leave entering too long.

Originally slated for this date was our Audax taster, the Watership Down event in Hampshire.  Since the Westerley event is much closer to home, it supercedes the Watership Down.

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Cormac Nisbet becomes a Pro Cyclist

John Wheatley has an update on Comac Nisbet’s pro cycling career.
John says “Some members may remember Cormac Nisbet, who was in the Slipstreamers then the Willesden CC, before getting serious as a racing cyclist.
In a very exciting development John adds that Cormac  “ now part of the Wolfpack in the Soudal Quickstep development team. An outstanding achievement.”
Click here for a previous WCC blog posting when Cormac was racing as a junior
Well done Cormac!  We are all mighty proud of you and we look forward to following your career in the coming season. Chapeau!
Click on the following link for more information on Cormac’s journey to become a Soudal Quickstep pro.
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Race Report!

One of the Willesden CC’s finest riders is getting good results in a British stage race! Yes, the Willesden CC’s teleprinter has sprung into life with incoming reports of the 1953 Tour of Britain road race!  The Willesden CC’s Ken Daniels* gets a special mention in the attached film, which is available free to view on the British Film Institute’s BFI PLayer web page. Click here

*For more info on Ken Daniels, I urge you to also have a quick look at at a previous WCC blog post by clicking here



Ken Daniels

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Big Audax Sunday!

Last Sunday (29th October), WCC riders were out on a couple of traditional and popular fixtures on the Audax UK calendar, namely the “Dartmoor Devil” and the “Emitremmus”. Both rides are 100+km long but are quite different in profile.

The Dartmoor Devil

The Dartmoor Devil Brevet Card

Marianne has focused her recent training on the rigours that the Dartmoor Devil will deliver. This ride is a famous Audax fixture and it demands a lot of respect. It is rated as a “AAA” event, which stands for  “Audax Altitude Award”. In simple words it is a flippin’ ‘ard day out on a bike!

The Devil starts from Bovey Tracey, climbing up onto the high moors via pretty villages, narrow lanes and steep hills. It finishes back at in Bovey Tracey after tackling the infamous Widecombe Hill.

Marianne has had her eye on the Devil for sometime and this year was going to be her year. On Sunday morning she was ready and waiting on the start line, facing a 111km ride with 2,500 metres of climbing! Taking place in autumn makes it even more of a challenge, with less hours of daylight and plenty of late season weather to add further spices.

Marianne described the Dartmoor Devil as  “a great ride, the hills were great in gradient too, but if you love hills, you’d be in your element!”

In Audax circles, such rides with lots of climbing are described as scenic! As Marianne says “The vistas were fantastic, well worth the effort”.  She added that “…. some hills were very challenging for me and I had to stop for a breather”. As well as the hills being steep, there there was the legendary quality of our roads to add further  excitment. Marianne said  “… at times, I was going so slowly, putting so much effort in, I couldn’t guide the bike around all the potholes, so had to get off and walk until the road improved.”

Weather conditions on the ride were mixed. She reported that “the first two to three  hours were typically sunny Autumnal weather, after that, it rained sporadically, but not for long.”

The Devil throws plenty of challenges your way and the Audax time limit for the 111km ride is an exacting 8 hours and 53 minutes. As Marianne finished she thought the worst. She said  “I really thought I was out of time and shocked I had 10 minutes to spare, so to celebrate I bought the badge the organiser was selling.”

Chapeau Marianne and it’s a very nice badge it is too!

The Dartmoor Devil’s Finisher’s badge







The Emitremmus

The “Emitremmus” is a companion ride to the “Summer Time Special”. The Emitremmus is traditionally held on the day the clocks go back in October, whilst the “Summer Time Special” is held at the other end of the summer, when the clocks spring forward.  So why is it called the Emitremmus? Well, it’s “Summertime” spelt backwards….. geddit??? This passes for funny in the Audax world :o)

It always starts with Brevet card admin.

This is the first of a few Audax rides that Ian Oliver has hand picked as being a good introduction for members wanting to try Audax, whilst still being interesting for old hands at this curiously addictive type of riding.  The ride start is in Stevenage, where the cycle path rules, and then heads over to Saffron Walden, before the return back to the finish.

L-R: Dan, John, Vyv and “Miles”.

Four of the Willesden CC made the start, Dan, John W, Vyvien and myself. We all met in a cafe at the start, which seemed to have a unique ordering system and a rather random approach to serving hot drinks.

Club Chairman John summed up the beginning of the day  – “The start cafe was slightly disappointing, as you needed to have ordered everything weeks ahead, but the sun was out and the roads were very quiet. Some lovely scenic villages on a great route.”  We can’t really report on the state of the potholes, as for a good part of the ride the road (and any holes!) were invisible under large expanses of muddy flood water.

On the ride out to Saffon Walden we serendipitously met up with the famous Hippy from the Willesden CC. He was at the side of the road with Mrs Hippy, who was putting the finishing touches to fixing her punctured rear wheel.

Mrs Hippy and Mr Hippy meet up wit the Willesden Massive

The ride passed through great handfuls of pretty villages and we gazed upon thatched cottage after thatched cottage.  As the ride passed through Manuden we stopped for photos of Vyv outside the house where she grew up.

Wot, no blue plaque!


We arrived at Saffron Walden after 65km of riding and we had to hunt down our own cafe, as there was no organised stop. At this point we had our second serendipitous moment, a perfect cafe appeared with next to zero faffing about. As soon as we were seated inside we were amazed by a beyond-epic downpour. We could scarcely believe we had dodged it! The cafe was bustling and its service was a blend of friendly and slow. But we were unperturbed as the rain  was proving stubborn to any suggestion of stopping and moving on to some where else.  John continued his patient vigil for his first coffee of the day – it turned up just before noon. When the food arrived it was high quality, delicious and more than ample.


The return leg was a good twenty km shorter than the outward route. Riding home we were treated to a number of halloween displays.

A friendly rider out on his bone shaker. Wouldn’t wanted to have met him on a night time Audax!


Unusually for a short distance Audax, the finish was in a different place to the start. It was not all bad news as John reports –

“The finish was 8k from the start BUT IT WAS IN A PUB! We duly honoured WCC tradition and ours were the only bikes outside, as darkness descended. The route back took us almost to the start, via a few identical looking dogging car parks but we made it back without incident. A Grand Day Out.”

After the unnecessary excursion we arrived back to our cars in total darkness. Everyone else had been and gone! It was a great ride and one we should do as a club ride in the summer of 2024.


Oh, and we got a badge as well!

If you have not done an Audax ride before or are fairly new to this enjoyable cycling discipline then contact us at  Audax UK’s web site gives a great explanation of this non-competetive alternative to the more expensive Sportive.



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