Express & Echo - 14 June 2008
On 14 June 2008 Exeter's Express & Echo featured the following article about Exeter CTC.
FUN ON TWO WHEELS IS GOOD FOR ENVIRONMENT
Caroline Abbott - 11:40 - 14 June 2008
There are lots of cycling clubs in Devon, catering for both on and off-road cycling. Some are for people who want to race, whereas others are just about taking part. Exeter Cyclists' Touring Club is a recreational cycling group that organises easy-paced rides of 30 to 60 miles round places such as East Devon and Dartmoor.
To some people that might sound like hard work, but club secretary Kirby James said it was surprising how far people could cycle. "You think it's a long way but even people in their 70s can do it comfortably if they take their time," he said. "We go at a pace to suit the slowest person. We don't leave people behind." At the weekends there are two rides: a standard ride and an alternative one for older people or those who haven't done much cycling. Kirby, 58, said: "We start at 10am and have coffee at 11am. A lot of newcomers go home then as it can be a bit of a shock. If they've got stamina they will carry on and go through to lunch." Kirby, from Exmouth, has been involved with the club since he moved to the area five years ago. Now retired, he used to cycle to work and for pleasure at weekends. "Cycling takes you away from things," he said. "The appeal of the club is being out in the open air, visiting new places and meeting lots of new people."
John Rowland, 68, from Aylesbeare, has been a member for four years. He said: "I joined when I retired. I'd been cycling privately for 15 years before that, but thought I had time to join a club. I go out with the club twice a week. "Cycling combines several of my interests: the country, map reading, socialising and exercise. If the weather's nice we tend to go a bit further. "We go to places like Bickleigh, Dunkeswell and Powderham. Sometimes we get the train to somewhere like Barnstaple and cycle back." "The sooner the cycle link comes between Exeter and Exmouth the better. It will increase the number of people cycling to work."
Pippa Wheeler, 45, from Payhembury, has also been a member for four years. "I'd been cycling with my dogs and as they got older I cycled more without them," she said. "I wanted to ride with other people. I have made lots of friends through the club." The experienced members help the new ones by encouraging them and passing on tips. Pippa has been helping Debbie Ironside-Smith prepare for a challenge.
A year ago Debbie, from Kenton, signed up to cycle from London to Paris, despite never having cycled more than 10 miles at once before. "A flyer for the event came through my door on my 39th birthday," she explained. "I wanted a challenge for my 40th and signed up on a whim. I've raised about £4,000 so far, for the MS Society in Exeter. My sister-in-law has MS, as do friends of mine." The 300-mile event takes place over four days in July; Debbie joined CTC Exeter in November after getting up to 25 miles on her own. "I wanted to meet other people I could train with," she said. "I'm terrified of the distance I'll be doing. It's a mental hurdle, not just physical. But I wanted to get fit."
JOIN THE 'COFFEE POT' RUN
Caroline Abbott - 11:40 - 14 June 2008
CTC Exeter organises rides on Sundays throughout the year and a "coffee pot run" on Thursdays when cyclists, generally those who are retired, ride to a cafe and back. About once a month members also take part in long-distance events on pre-determined routes.People can go along five times without joining, to try it out. Membership then costs £35 per year, with concessionary and family rates available. There is no age restriction but most members tend to be 35 to 80. The club has about 50 members, and each Sunday ride has five to 15 participants.
The benefits of joining the organisation include third party insurance, legal aid, a magazine, touring and technical advice, organised tours and events at home and abroad.
The CTC aims to raise the profile of cycling and gets involved with campaigns, such as to have more space for bikes on trains.
For more information call Kirby on 01395 279659 or visit http://www.ctcdevon.co.uk .