All posts by gary


Back in the day Bicylces were made from the finest grade Sheffield Steel and spare iron girders, that were found lying around in Staffordshire. They came in two colours, cheifly chosen to prevent them being seen by the Luftwaffe. Black for night use, and green so you could lie them down in a field during the day without them being seen.

To assist with night time camouflage, the lights did not use batteries, but a dynamo built into the hub your front wheel. The faster you went the brighter the light got. Well that was the theory. The reality was that the bike was so heavy, and the magnets in the hub so strong, speed was never an option and the light flickered barely brighter than a candle.

You might think that in those harsh times, with limited fuel supplies, the government would be encouraging cycling, but no the fella with the big cigar and the whisky tumbler, decreed that all wheels should be coated in a flaky chrome plate. The result? Dirt gripped the wheels and rust seeped through. To prevent the wheel from turning to dust you would spend hours cleaning the rim and spokes with a Brillo pad.

Modern times has seen the use of cables, and even hydraulics, for braking systems. For the classic bike, these systems would have been unreliable. So to ensure reliability, and to add some more weight, and keep the lights dim, steel tubing was used to link the levers to the calipers. Naturally they were chrome plated to keep you busy.


So whats brings me back? Shameful plugging.

On 7th April 2013, Bubbles Bembridge has organised a Cycling Jolly to raise money for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Stoke Mandeville. The ride will go from the Paddington Basin in London, and meander along the canal towpath for 50miles until you reach the Brownlow Bridge, before peddling a short distance back to the pub for some well earned refreshment. There are posters up in the pub that give more information, however you can sign up here by following the link below. The cost of entry is £15 and does not include your transport to London. If you’re really keen you could get up at 4.00 am and cycle there!

Now whilst I’m here I thought I’d save Hegs a bit of work this week and publish a ride so here it is:

Sunday 10 March 2012 ride.

Well that’s it from me for another 6 months, I’m off to polish my carbon fibre forks.

P.S. Don’t forget tickets go on sale for the Ivinghoe Festival Weekend this Saturday morning at all good outlets including the town hall.


Thanks to the acidic nature of polar bear urine, and a rather large bonfire in Ivinghoe every November, I understand that the polar ice caps are melting. As a consequence of this the river Bulbourne, and the Avon and Kennet canal, are now 7m above their normal levels. On the news we see people in a state of perpetual surprise as they try to protect their homes whilst some chap paddles by in his canoe offering to pick up their shopping.

For me this is as much of a surprise as snow in winter, and it seems rather odd that the poor soles seem to get caught out regularly when there’s a bit of excess water about. Just to be certain of my facts I’ve taken a look at Pathe News and I can confirm that whilst the Luftwaffe were busy knocking six bells out of old Londinium there people going past in their canoes. I’ve also taken a look at some of the cinema advertising from the 70’s, and what strikes me most, aside from the Pearl and Dean music, is the amount of canoes being sold.

So what can I deduce from this extensive research? Well flooding is not new. So to help out those affected by it, I’ve got a couple of tips to help you get by:

(1) It doesn’t matter how many sandbags you put outside your front door, the water is going to get in. You may feel heroic in your efforts, but they’ll be in vain. You’ve a couple of options, either move upstairs and leave the goldfish to it, or live on hill.

(2) If the water level is upto the car wheels, remember your vehicle is more like a submarine than a boat, so its time to stop and get out. The steering wheel and brakes don’t work underwater, unless you have a Lotus Esprit.

(3) Buy a canoe, at least then, when the news from nowhere near where you live, comes on you’ll get your 15 minutes of fame.

Now if your a Vinghoe Velo you’ll be made of hardy stuff, rivers and floods aren’t going to deter you. This is good news really because this weeks ride takes us through Andrew’s stream. Beware it be slippery on the bottom. Enjoy!

This weeks ride


It may not have escaped your attention that late on a Sunday evening ITV are showing a period drama. Indeed come Monday morning there’s barely a TV programme or radio show that isn’t discussing the previous nights episode.

This morning I thought I’d do a little research for you on this programme and see if I could give you a little more insight into this programme. So what can I tell you? Well its set in Highclere Castle, and has won lots of awards like Bafta’s and Emmy’s for everthing from the quality of the acting to the costume design. End of research.

You might therefore be thinking that pressing the right button on your remote control at 9.00pm would lead to an evening of sparkling entertainment. Indeed a few weeks ago the furore surrounding this programme finally caught up with the good lady in our house. Whilst I was blissfully happy watching the 5th repeat of Top Gear on Dave, or some other lesser channel, I have now had to watch two episodes of this programme.

So what can I report to you about it? Well it is without doubt the most pompous piffle currently shown on the television. I have been unable to deduce any of the story and I think this maybe because it moves so slowly thatI have been unable to add up any coherent parts to make sense of it. 

It seems to me that Downton Abbey is to actors what jazz music is to musicians. That is that it is very self indulgent, and only understood by them. In fact I’ve got a better metaphore for this overstylish, lavishly produced useless nonsense. It is the Brabantia bin of television.

Anyway that’s enough of me moaning, I’m off to watch a classic episode of the A team. It’s the one where they’re chasing Jimmy Saville, and despite shooting a thousand rounds of bullets, they fail to hit him. A shame really.    

Here’s this weeks ride, it doesn’t go past Brabantia Abbey.


I am told that as we grow older our noses and ears continue to grow. I have not taken a tape measure to either one of these features although I can confirm both seem sufficiently big for my head. Another thrity years or so growth will undoubtably give me an advantage in being selected for a starring role in a Disney movie.

I am also told also that memory loss is also a common trait. Naturally enough I am unable to recall the source of this information. For me losing my keys seems to be a common problem, only to find that I’ve usually left them in the door I last unlocked.

So what’s in store for the keen velo cyclist as age catches on. Leg cramp in the middle of the night. So whilst I might not be able to cut it on the dance floor I can certainly hop around the bedroom on one leg at 3 in the morning without falling over.

This brings me neatly onto to my last age related incident. Earlier this week I advised that our gathering would take place on Wednesday the 27th September. Well thanks to have a wife that was born in a later decade this mistake has been pointed out to me. Wednesday is in fact the 26th. So now that that’s done let me get tomorrows ride out before I forget.

A Sunday Stroll.  

As ever there’ll be leisurely paced group to make sure no ones left behind.


Its hard to believe but we have now been going for over two years, in fact our second anniversary passed back in July and we’ve not yet had an opportunity to celebrate its passing.

Of course over the two years lots of people have joined us, and there is now the regular Saturday tea ride in addition to the original Sunday ride. You will have seen from some of our earlier posts that we feel its time to look at how we run the club  and to make sure it continues to meet everyones expetations. So as well as having a drink or two it would be really good to talk through your ideas, and critisms, so that we can continue to provide a cycling club that one way or another offers something for everyone.

As for this weekends rides…………….You don’t really expect us to publis these on a Thursday do you?

So please join us at the Rose and Crown at 8.00pm on Wedneday 27 September, for an isotonic drink or two. The other one has kindly agreed to provide the velos with a free meal as a thank you. If you prefer vegetarian please let us know beforehand.


Way back, almost a millenium ago, the tuetonic plates that sit below our land and seas meant that our european neighbours were far closer than they are today. In fact France, Belgium and Spain were London suburbs. The wet divide we know call the English Channel was little wider than the Thames is today. 

This particulary grated a little known french man by the name of Norman who promptly turned his 2CV upside down and rowed it across the salty river. After a few bottles of red wine and a quick walk down to the sussex coast he promptly stuck one in the eye of king Harold. He was so pleased with himself that he drank some more wine and threw up on the carpet. Thus the Bayern tapestry was created.

For several years Normans’ chums drank wine, built churches and created the foundations of modern law. That is until saxoviking had had enough and pushed them back across the wet divide. Thankfully the tuetonic plates moved France further away and the 2cv’s sank long before getting back.

Several squirmishes followed, as the English forged ahead with boat building technology. Most notably Argincourt and Crecy fell to the longbow, ensuring that the french remained at home eating pastries.

Now by the 1800’s they’d got a bit tired of Johnny English popping across for some cheap beers. So angered were they, that a little known man, who was named after some multi coloured ice cream decided to bring an end to it. There followed ferocious battles both on land and sea. Little Napolean had conquered much of the former English suburbs by the time of Trafalger, and was feeling so confident that he gave Lord Admiral Nelson Mandella a poke in the eye. This upset some Brits a bit so they promptly gave the infidels a bloody nose and sent them packing.

After this relations progressed, and the French returned to wine and getting rid of their nobilty. In fact things become so good that in 1914 we sent a few boys across to help them out with their German enemy. In 1918 some of our boys even came back.

This was only a temporary measure, as the Austrian with the dodgy moustache, and a fondness for four seater convertables decided to pop back into France for an expresso and some paintings. This time the germans were a bit better prepared and hung around for 6 years. It took the plucky brits a few goes to get them out and needed some help from those who favour a big mac.

So where are we now? Well Wiggo and his side burns have shown them how to ride a bicycle, and just in case they forget, a few of our friends are popping across next week to remind them. This raises several questions.

Will the hills be steep enough for Jim?

What tune will the tandem be dancing to?

Has Dod got his spoke spanner?

Will be Pete be sending back a postcard with some kind words?

Will Graham be far enough ahead to get in a couple of “grand wife beaters”?

These questions probably wont be answered, but you can give them a good send off by joining them on Sunday morning for their final ride before they depart. Here’s the route.


Now before I go here’s some news about a little social gathering so that we can get together and discuss what we’d like from the club and just have a general jolly. It will be on Wednesday 26th September at the Rose and Crown, and as a thankyou to all the Velos a complimentary buffet will be provided. Please email back if you can make it, so we can have an idea of numbers. There won’t be any cidre though.


I am sure that like me you will not have missed the Lance Armstrong story that has or is going to lead to his disqualification from cycling. Here we have a man who has overcome cancer, won the Tour de France 7 times, and has protested his innonence consistently in the face of doping allegations. It seems strange that a man with such determination no longer has the motivation to defend himself in the face of such allegations.

Now I’m not going to spend too much dwelling in these events, like me you can find significant commentary on the matter in your regular daily read. But it has got me thinking. As ever what follows is based on no research whatsoever, and whilst it may purport to be fact, it may not be.

War is a tragic event, history is littered with it, and despite the modern age continues in lots of places around the globe. I don’t wish to diminish in anyway the horrors, but it could be argued that the side effects have advanced human development at a rate that would not have happened otherwise.

The second world war and the subsequent cold war has created an era of flight that has shrunk the planet and ensures that you get to your holiday destination in a matter of hours and not days. The development of rockets made the space shuttle possible, and has put vehicles on Mars.

Not far from us, up at Bletchley, world war 2 boffins cracked thousands of codes, and created the early computers that have in turn enabled me to comminicate with you via the wibbly wobbly web this morning.

So what’s this got to do with Lance? This is where the lack of research may start to show.

As I understand, young Lance liked to train at altitude, where the body has to work on a reduced oxygen level. Once the body has become acclimatised to this, it is able to perform at normal levels. A prompt return to normal altitude and the subsequent increase in oxygen gives a significant improvement in physical performance.

Of course the modern cyclist cannot spend enough time at altitude, and so the allegations are that after such training, blood is removed and then stored in readiness to be re-introduced at key sporting events.

So how might this benefit the aspiring Fatlete? Well many of us like to enjoy an evening sampling some isotonic beers or wines, but sometimes we don’t get the opportunity, or we simply need to save a few pounds towards our new shiny machine. But now all you need to do is to simply drain of a few pints of the red stuff after your night out and stick it in the fridge. The next time your short of pounds or hours just reinject for that instant slightly intoxicated feeling.

More sound consumer advise from the Vinghoe Velos. Now to the more important stuff, tomorrows ride;

29 miles

Andy Beezer has agreed again to lead a steady paced group to ensure that anyone, as long as you’ve got a bicycle, gets to enjoy the ride whatever your fitness or speed. So no excuses.


Formula 1 is for many the pinnacle of motor sport, where an elite group battle to become world champion. In cycling a slightly larger, but no less significant group of indivivuals, is battling it out across the water in a land where Sarkozy was once president, to become the winner of the Tour de France. As I draft this post Team Grey Skies Wradley Biggins looks set to become the first man from Blighty to achieve victory in this historic challenge.

However, much like Formula 1, the man with a bit of talent depends on the support of a great team of engineers, physios, strategists, and the like to achieve success. In this respect I can advise that Wradley’s success could very possibly be down to the efforts of the Vinghoe Velos.

I’d like in this weeks post to mention those of us that have assisted in this monumental effort. So first up we have Have Dowe and Hohn Jeggerty. Some months back Hohn was asked by Team Grey Sky to complete an advance ride of the Alpe d’Huez climb, high up in the Alps, to ensure that the Pesky French weren’t littering the roads with tacks. With little time and little fitness Hohn needed to act fast to ensure his readiness. Luckily for him Have had a collection of “Classic Hill Climbs in the Chilterns” to hand which he readily handed over saying “ride those boyo”. I cannot confirm if Have is a Geordie or Welsh. As you will have seen from last weeks post Hohn crested the climb well ahead of the rest of the competitors and thus ensured a safe route for all.

Next up, Andrew and Jose, who on Wednesday headed of from London to Paris. (I’m struggling with a spoonerism for Andrew, but Joses’ isn’t too bad) A review of their current tweets suggests that they will reach Paris in time for the finish where Jose will be providing Wradley with a motivational speach prior him setting of on his final few laps. Those eagle eyed veiwers amongst you will have seen Jose on National television this week giving the very same assistance to Pictoria Vendleton.

But this is not all, for in mid September, Him and Jete, will popping across the water with a crew of velos for their Normandy invasion. You may be of the opinion that this is just a jolly, but I can assure you that our intrepid bunch will be on a reconnaissance mission to ensure this success is repeated next year. They might also try a little local wine and beer on route, to ensure they meet their Isotonic requirements.

Now onto more important matters, this weeks ride. You can find it here. 


Welcome to this weeks news and details of Sunday mornings ride. You may have noticed over the last few weeks that I have been absent in both words and action, however I can assure you that behind the scenes there is almost some work being done to ensure that the Isotonic range of Ales and wines is kept in top condition for the fine velos fatletes.

It seems that much has happened since I last hammered away on the keyboard of my ZX80. Indeed her Maj Dizzie Lizzie Babe has popped across the water to Ireland for a McGuiness. It’s amazing what you can get over there, I popped into Leighton Buzzard the other day and the best I managed was a McFlurry.

Moving closer to home, the Olympics are rapidly approaching, and I’ve been in constant contact with Seb regarding the Dave “hill” Howe Krong Pursuit challenge. Well Seb may be a world champion, an outstanding olympian, and a great amabassador for sport in this country, but his administration skills are pants. I’ve had no reply to any of my requests, none the less I feel confident that there is still time to include this important event. Watch this space.

Back at Velos central, we were graced last week with the presence of the comedy maestro Arthur Smith. Now apparently on his way to us he popped into a tent on the lawn and managed to raise a few laughs, but I have it on good authority that he was keen to get his hands on a vinghoe velos cycling top. Well looking at his attire you can see why he’d want a piece of the latest fashion attire. Unfortunately I didn’t get to speak to Arthur about the cycling club as his legendary drinking and smoking would make him a prime candidate for membership. An open invitation is extended via this posting.


Unusually I am now actually going to put some information out on cycling.

Firstly this week peddleathons:

Long Route

Intermediate Route

Now a couple of reminders:

Andrew and Josie’s London to Paris is approaching rapidly so if you’d like to add your support by way of a little sponsorship then you can do so here:

Please help Jose and Andrew on their way to Paris

In early September our special envoys are on a recruitment ride in northern France. Jim Kendick is heading up organisation for the trip, and if you’d like to join them, or your outstanding any information then please send it in to the mail address and I’ll make sure Jim gets the details.

That’s all folks!