Chairman’s Newsletter – July 2023

Posted on July 16th, 2023

Hello everyone

A quick note (as the rain lashes down) to highlight a few things coming up:

Club 30th Birthday celebrations – Sunday 23rd July

The plans are now in place for this big celebration of our 30th Anniversary (thanks to Steve Swanton for taking the lead on this). There will be four rides on the day, all scheduled to get to Uffington Village Hall at around 3pm. The Hall will be open from 2.30 and all are welcome to join us for refreshments catered by the wonderful Chris Higgs. Feel free to join a ride or arrive independently, but can we ask that you all complete a quick registration via this link, so that we have a reasonable feel for the numbers for catering? The headline ride is a 3* all-day tour of local White Horses, but there will also be 1, 2 and off-road rides, so hopefully something for everyone. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there – please wear club kit if you have it (of any generation!)

Ride leading

The success of the club is entirely dependent on having great ride leaders to plan and lead our rides and to keep everyone safe and happy. Fortunately, we have many such people and we are constantly grateful to them for their dedication and hard work. However, as the club activities get back to pre-Covid levels (if not beyond) we are starting to see a squeeze on the capability of our existing set of leaders. Therefore we are asking any of who who are not presently leaders to consider whether you would like to join this merry band. Training is provided (which will be one focussed evening meeting) as is mentoring with a buddy leader helping out on initial led rides. I know that a few of you have already expressed interest in this and so we have those names, but we could do with a few more to help with spreading the load. Please contact me if you are interested.

Consultation on 20mph speed limit in Wantage

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting on a proposal from Wantage Town Council to introduce a blanket 20mph speed limit throughout the town. We very much support this proposal. It is easy to be cynical about how such limits might be ignored and how much enforcement is likely to actually happen, but evidence from elsewhere is clear that such changes do make a difference to driver behaviour – the initial pilot schemes in Oxfordshire saw average traffic speeds drop by up to 4mph. The blunt fact is that a car travelling at 20mph is considerably less likely to kill or seriously injure someone than a car travelling at 30mph, and given the narrow streets and pavements that we all have to live with in the town, this is a big deal. The County Council is supporting such schemes across the County and more general details can be found here. There is a map showing the detailed proposal for Wantage here. You will note that there are some roads on the edge of town remaining at 30mph limit. The idea behind this is to allow a ‘buffer’ for speed transition, but we are uncomfortable with this, particular at places like the A417 outside King Alfred’s West Site. We would prefer a solid 20mph block across the town. We are making a submission on behalf of the club, but I very much encourage you all to make your own submission as well – we know that there are some very negative social media comments out there making some very ill-informed and wild suggestions about the scheme, so it is important that your voices are heard in the consultation. You can find the consultation survey page here. Please note that the deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 28th July.

Dr Bike stall in Wantage Market Place, Saturday 29th July

A joint venture between our friends at Sustainable Wantage and Wantage & Grove Active Travel, a slot has been booked for a Dr Bike repair station in the Market Place between 9 and 2 on Saturday 29th July. This is a great opportunity to invite friends, family and anyone you know to bring their bikes along to be inspected, adjusted and generally taken care of to hopefully get them back on the road in a safe condition. The station will be set up in the west corner of the Market Square near the taxi rank so please go along and say hello!

Pilates classes

Quite a few of us are finding that Pilates is a helpful way to keep flexible and to build core strength, which has benefits for cycling as for many other things. We have recently received an approach from a local instructor with the possibility to offer some cycling specific classes. We also have our very own Sally B as a member and instructor. So if any of you are interested in finding out more, please contact me.

A final query – we have offered family rides in previous school summer holidays but have had mixed success. This summer we are conscious of being quite short of leaders (see above) and so aren’t sure how best to approach this. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know.

Hopefully see you on a ride soon (once the rain and gales have stopped)

Best regards
John

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