All posts by gary


A classic line from a classic queen track. If we are to believe research then apparently the preferred musical choice of those doing domestic chores is Queens greatest hits. This has got me thinking of my favourite cycling inspired songs, so here today I bring you my top 5. It would have been ten but I don’t have all day to write this nonsense. I would also like to add that I have done no research on this subject.

So pop pickers get your fluff Freeman head on, heres the top five.

At number 5 its The Doors with Riders on The Storm. Who’d have thought that the Lizard Kings’ classic would have been inspired by cycling? After all young Jim had an appetite for drugs that is similar to an elephants need for vegetation. But as Dave Howe can testify, and as we’ve all witnessed, once you’ve done one high your in need of the next. Well when Jim was finished with his illegal highs he, like Dave, would slip his leather pants on and head out on the highway. But a simple ride was never enough, Jim was a tornado chaser, trying desperately to get caught in the twister.  The great thing about this track is that if you play it whilst its raining your tyres grip much better.

New in at number 4 is Layla by Derik and the Dominoes. Another monster hit, with a guitar solo that seems to cry in agony. You may have heard that this track, penned under a psuedonym, by uncle Eric, was inspired by a love he had for another mans wife. A lady he didn’t have, then did have, and then didn’t have. Piffle. No guitar slinging Eric liked nothing better than getting out on his Fixie and riding without the saddle. Way back in the seventies Eric liked a tipple or two, but as we all know riding without a seat and drunk is going to lead to a painful experience. So it was for Eric and this track perfectly captures this pain.

Still at number 3 this week is Bring me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wise. Neatly back to strange bedfellows indeed. Who said there’s no coherent thread through these posts? With duos the most asked question is who wrote the lyrics and who wrote the melody, or did you both do both? Well this is where the lack of research is starting to show, as I cannot answer either of these questions, nor can I even confirm if the pyjama two had anything to do with it. But I can confirm that I sing it every sunday morning as a little prayer. So tomorrow when your out peddling hum this tune and do the dance whilst cycling.

New in at number 2 its 99 Balloons Red Balloons by Nena. Way back in the eighties hormonal teenage boys weren’t looking to our European neighbours, the germans, for their kicks. But then came along Nena and we didn’t care about her armpits. No she was one fit hottie, and I can’t remember much of the song. But what I do know is that back in the eighties there was no such thing as google translator, and that the title of this song is in fact an error. Poor Nena’s english studies hadn’t gone well, and she believed that the english for bicycle was balloon. Silly Billy. What now for teenage boys? Angela “Bloody” Merkal, no thanks.

New in at number 1 Duffy with Warwick Avenue. For many a romantic ode that tells the hearbreaking breaking story of a love at the tube station. But lets not kid ourselves, no this chicks another Jim Morrison in a dress, looking for a highway high. You may not know it but Duffy is an olympic standard BMXer that likes nothing better than tearing up and down the escalators, busking the commuters with her displays of wheelies, stoppies and endoes. Too hot to rock.

So get out your bikes and lets rock veloists, heres the ride…………   

Long Route


A familiar cry across our land during the summer months as cricket and tennis matches wait until christmas to be concluded. If you’ve just come back from a fortnights holiday you’ll recall that just before you left someone announced a drought, and you’ll have now returned to flood warnings. So if you drive a canoe to work each day I think you’re gonna be ok.

Of course here at the Velos “rain stopped play” is an unfamiliar concept. It has been noted that generally speaking we have mananged to ensure that the weather remains dry for 3 hours every sunday morning, and that the heavens only open as we step in the doorway of the Rose and Crown. There have however been some occasions when it has not been possible to make arrangements with the met office for good weather. Fortunately our natural physique and pace allows allows us to cope better than those other mortals lower down the food chain.

As any avid formula 1 fan will know aerodynamics play a significant part in any teams’ success. The ability to move air efficiently around the vehicle and to harness its natural force for better grip is key. You will also have observed that there are no windscreen wipers or roofs on these cars, and you may be wondering how they manage to stay dry in a deluge? Well management of the airflow around the cockpit deflects the rain away from them. It is similarly so for the Fatlete. Our natural shape and pace causes significant turbulance such that any rain is deflected away. Should the rain fall a little too quick all we need to do is close up the pack and increase the turbulance.

So no excuses, we meet as usual at the Rose and Crown Velodrome 9.45 for a 10.00 kick off. Sorry pedal off.

Here’s the route



A strange expression and one that is seldom heard in the modern interweb age. But recently I heard this and unfortunately for you people out there waiting for a nice little piece on cycling, yet again I am going to disappoint you. Today I am going to consider this little ancient phrase, and add a little colour to both the literal and metaphorical understanding. At least this week’s title will have some significance to the content.

So first to the literal meaning and what better way to start than with those icons of comedy Morecambe and Wise, who for years on end entertained us weekly with a clever mix of wit and music. Eric a true genius, who delivered comic lines with the timing of an atomic clock and could cause fits of laughter with a mere raising of his spectacles. Of course genius is close to madness, and in this regard Eric was an avid Luton Town follower. The other bloke was called Ernie. Who can forget where they spent most of their time? Yes in the same bed wearing colourful pyjamas in front of an audience and several television cameras, and as far as we are aware neither of them were gay. Strange bedfellows indeed!

Of course it is not only on English shores where you will find such odd behaviour. A short hop across the channel will take you to our French friends and more specifically to the presidents’ wife. A lady that is beautiful, a talented songstress we are led to believe, and one who previously dated rock stars. But let us move to her current spouse, the vertically challenged, xenophobic, crystal making soon to be ousted French leader. Whilst I can see where the poor chap might rest his head its difficult to see how these two became one.

Enough of the literal meaning I shall now move on to the more lateral. Where better to start than a sport close to our hearts, cycling. As the Vinghoe Velo fatletes well understand this is probably the most physically demanding of all the modern sports, where stamina and physique combine to produce the ultimate in human achievement. Years of training and diet go into preparing these athletes and you would be hard pressed to find one in a public house. For the Vinghoe Velos our home is the Rose and Crown, where many of our 72 members will be seen regularly. Strange Bedfellows? I think not, for as much as the modern cyclist is a product of his/her environment, so too is the vinghoe velo fatlete, who will have spent many years developing their physique close to a bar.

This brings me neatly to the Rose and Crown, whose stewardship has recently passed from Alistair to a couple of local friends. So who are the new landlords? Well one is a witty articulate keen cyclist that lives merely a few doors from the establishment. He is a man renowned for his wisdom and foresight, his sound practical understanding of science, and his cultured appreciation of the classic arts. The other one is Kirk.

 Now I am sure that some may be wondering how I can take an active role in both the leadership of the Vinghoe Velos and our favourite village pub without any conflicts arising. Well I would like to reassure you all that I shall continue to dedicate my time to both tasks equally and impartially. So this week I have drafted a special route that I know you will enjoy. Apologies if there a few extra hills and miles, but a least you’ll come back thirsty.

Long Route

Yet Another Late Posting

Well if we were a public body then I would be forced to put out an inane and grovelling appologing for the lateness of this posting, and the quality of its content. But we’re not.

However I have spent much of this morning on the dog and bone to Angie, the German Chancellor, trying to arrange one of those loans where you only have to pay back a small proportion of what you owe. As a means of reducing my overdraft, and credit card bills I thought it would be a sound strategy to approach the exceptionally generous Germans for a few free euros.  Much to my horror the old bird started to babble on about collateral and credit ratings, ability to repay, and many other criteria that I thought would simply not apply.

I explained that I bank with a spanish bank, and that any bailout to me could simply be considered as an advance on the bail out that the rest of the nation would surely be begging for soon. Then there was more banging on about collateral, and I felt I was not going to get a word in, but eventually she choked on a piece of sausage and I jumped in. I explained that we are a long established cycling club, that our honoury president is Sir Jimmy Saville (RIP), and that our splendid shirt that resides in the Rose and Crown could be offered as security. When she asked “who is zis Jimmy Deville” I slammed the phone down in disgust. 

 It seems to me that we live in strange times when a gipsi gets free handouts and the worlds grafters get nothing. Well take back your wheezing VW beetle that we’ve been burdoned with for over half a century, the velos can do without you.

Here’s this weeks ride, you’ll be glad it bypasses Germany.

Long Route

Non Existant short Route.

Are they Taking the P**s?

Here at Velo central I like to think we provide a valuable service to our members and the local community as a whole. However we do on occasions get some strange emails and requests for assistance. Many seem to originate in Thailand and appear to compliment us on our insightful posts and knowledge, although they are invariably poorly disguised attempts to sell Viagra. I am not aware of any link between saddle fatigue and the need for such drugs, however you may have noticed my absence from recent rides.

More significantly, I have recently received a request from a local organisation to plug their up and coming summer festival. Yes those friendly bearded chaps from the Ivinghoe Entertainments Committee have requested some assistance from me. They have failed to offer me any inducement whatsoever, and so I have naturally declined their request.

 Alas they are a persistent bunch. If like me you thought that the big white tent on the lawn in June, was an over engineered scout project, then you are wrong. No, I am told this is an entertainments facility. On the Friday evening a bar is provided by our splendid friends at the Rose and Crown, and a fine multi course meal is delivered to your table. Immediately after the food, the men in the tent perform the ancient ritual of the chicken dance to an excellent live band, The Choice. The ladies wisely remain at their tables, dressed in their finest clothes, clothes that say to their menfolk  “if you could dance you wouldn’t just be looking at me.

 This event for some reason is known as the ball, though how quite how Beckham and his ilk could kick it I do not know.

 On a Saturday evening a bar is provided by our splendid friends at the Rose and Crown. I told them to stop repeating themselves, but they went to explain that a comedy evening was to follow, and be hosted by non other than Arthur Smith. Not that one down the road from you either, the actual one.

 Now I listened patiently to all of this, but again re-affirmed that I would not allow the Vinghoe Veloes website to be used in this shameless manner. But would they stop, no they continued on like a Jehovah’s witness in your living room.

Having failed to have ignited my interest they then tried to pull on my heart strings. Fools! They explained that the committee provides entertainment for the benefit of the villages and makes no profit. Now surely it’s bad enough to be a bad manager, but madness to admit it. Now I don’t do sympathy too well, but I did suggested that they look at some of our earlier posts where they would find some sound financial advice. Did this deter them? No they then went on to say that when they make a surplus they give it away to local charities that make a contribution to the village!

 Anyway, to cut to the chase, they tell me that tickets go on sale 3rd March 2012, 9.30-12.30, at Ivinghoe town hall, and other venues through out the village thereafter. If you buy tickets for both nights then you get a discount on the second night. You start to see how they don’t make a profit.

I told them that I couldn’t possibly advise members of the Vinghoe Velos, and their friends, that tickets for these fantastic events would be on sale from 3rd MARCH 2012, in the town hall. We are after all a cycling club, and in that vein I shall now continue.

Long Route

Short Route


Here’s this weeks rides.

Vinghoe Velo Calibration System.

Some of you may have noticed how over the last week or so the weather has changed. If you have not ventured out then your newspaper will have informed you of little else. Those of a Daily Mail persuasion will have welcomed the break from abusing immigrants and the campaign to hang our fellow Europeans over the colour of bananas or some other obscure regulations. The rest of us will have trudged our way through snow and ice to work and schools.


This cold weather is enjoyable for many, but we should not forget our older colleagues who will be struggling to attach their three bar electric fire to their handlebars and wondering where their going to find a long enough extension lead to plug into. Of course as the temperature drops below a predetermined level those friendly chaps at the treasury dip into their pockets and authorise a little bit more cash to help those hard pressed with their heating bills.


So what do the Vinghoe Velos do? Well unusually the title to this week’s news gives a clue. As the government introduces the additional payments we switch to the Vinghoe Velos calibration system. As temperature seems to be the hot topic of the moment allow me to demonstrate how the system will be applied.


Immediately the Met Office confirm a sub zero temperature, we swap the minus indicator to a positive. Thus a met office reading of minus five is in fact plus five, which makes the riding environment far more attractive. As the met office reading climes above zero, on Sundays only we will add in the wind warm factor by adding a one before the actual met office reading. This will only apply up to a met reading of nine degrees, as anymore would result in us literally boiling.


Anyone who lives in our area will know that the standard grading of hills shown on cycle maps from category 1-5 is insufficient, we will therefore implement a 1-10 scale with 1 being downhill, 5 walking out the house, and 10 being any route devised by Dave Howe. This calibration will have no impact on our rides but will enable you to boast to your friends, who are not in our club, that your route consisted of 90% category 5 hills.


Recalibrating time is proving to be more difficult than expected. Initially I intended to use a reverse clock. This would mean that having left the Rose and Crown at 10.00 am we would cycle for around two and half hours, and then return for a finish time of 7.30 am. This is a great advantage if you have a day packed with lots of jobs as the extra time will be invaluable. Of course if your expecting refreshment at the pub that’s going to be a problem.


Now to an entirely different matter, rules. “What rules?” I hear you ask, “I’ve never seen those written down anywhere”. Well writing them down would mean that everybody knows what they are, and frankly we can’t have such a straightforward system. No we shall continue to make them up, and only advise when they are broken. Over the last week we have seen our overtaking rule broken on at least two occasions, when members of our club were seen to pass non members on a road just outside Chesham. This is totally unacceptable, and whilst on this occasion it will allow pass unpunished, any future digressions will mean that the individuals will banned from riding from Monday to Friday. We must at all costs not allow anyone to think we are a racing club, or to give the impression that we are hell bent on achieving the fastest possible time. You know who you are and you have been warned.


Now to this weeks rides.


Long Route


Short Route


If the weather is particularly severe, bring your hybrid and off-roaders for an alternative route to be made up as we go along.


So Santa has now returned to Lapdancing Land and is looking forward to some North Pole dancing. At least he can put his mince pies to good use.  The new year has commenced, and many have now returned to their daily work routines.

Although the calender has rollod on, much of news appears familiar. Thanks to Meryl, Maggie’s back, some South Americans fancy a couple of small Islands, and there’s talk of a double dip recession. However, here at the Velos were not sky news, so look elsewhere if that’s what you want.

So what are we? Well obviously we are a consumer help group here to give assistance in these difficult times. For the slightest of cost, namely your braodband connection and the delivery of free electrons along a conductor, we bring you the best in health planning, fitness and personel finance. So what do I bring you this week? None of these!

Like many we  like to look back over last years’ achievements, and look too what we can do for the future. So what of last year?

Well our numbers increased to well over 60, such that we’ve managed to create rides for all abilities. This remains at the heart of what we do.

For those looking for more challenging rides, summer evenings saw the introduction of road rides with a focus on a quicker pace.

Saturday morning has seen the introduction of Sally’s tea rides which are going from strength to strength, thanks to her hip flask and some cakes imported by her dutch friends. Sally promises some homegrown delights from her alotment later in the season.

Of course to move forward we need also to be critical of ourselves. In this respect we recognise that the writing on this website is rubbish and that our post times are very infrequent. Please accept our assurances that this will not change.

Over the last few weeks the level of anticipation has increased considerably with many asking us “what are the vinghoe velos plans for the future?” My response…… Who do you think we are, bloody HSBC?

Well we have a least got a couple of rides for Sunday.

Long ride

Short ride

Finally if you have the new year blues, dig out your old ELO albums and play Mr Blue Sky. You’ll feel much better.

PS sorry about the funny font size, and I still haven’t got a title.


This title is of course a lie, however I am pleased to report that what follows is entirely based on mythology, ideology, theology, conjecture and subjective analysis. 

Today brought the first snow fall of the season, giving a light and bright covering. It must be said though, for the typical crusty big nosed vinghoe velo this won’t have been the first white powder they have seen. But let us not simply judge our club by the drug taking, excessive alcohhol consumption, tea drinking and gratuitous sex, we also like a good ride. 

The snow reminds us that Christmas is almost upon us. Now many will be looking forward to presents, excessive consumption, and a good feed. Others will remind us that there is more to christmas, and we should remember the true meaning. As I don’t what this is you’ll be getting no more of that stuff from me. 

Over the past year we have provided much in the way of a public service. Topics have included finance, safety and other items that I cannot remember. This week I am pleased to answer the following question heard many times recently………….

“Doctor Gary, purveyor of fine arts and part time chef, what should the average Vinghoe Velo Fatlete do to maintain their peak condition during the indulgent festivities?”

Clearly the obvious answer is to have lots of it, but there is more to it than that. As a man of science I believe it my civic duty to provide you with a more insightful understanding. So what follows is my advise on the most appropriate diet for this challenging time. All is offered in my professional capacity.

Firstly fluids. There are no real no no’s on this one as long as the minimum alcohol content is 3.5%. Anything lower and you mayfind that body temperature swings could result in a drastic lowering of your core body temperature.

At this time of year Slo gin is a very popular apperitif, and comes highly recommended. If ,however, you are looking to get ahead of the pack in the new year, then the velo alternative is anti-slo gin. Simply add full fat redbull and a few extra measures of gin.

Supplies running low? The good news here is that the Rose and Crown will provide a daily surgery and pharmacy service during this period.

Well that’s the drink sorted, but what about the food. Well this is a minefield so study closely.

Mince Pies. These are a deceptive little treat. Some will say that the fruity contents provide an essential part of your five a day. This just Nazi propaganda. So what should the finely honed fatlete that is used to getting high performance from a limited nutrition base to do? More good news, abstinance is not required. Simply scrape out and discard the fruity filling leaving you with the pastry and the sugary top. Eat as many as you want.

And too accompany your minceless pie? Cream of course and the full fat variety at that. In case you don’t know cream is generally made from cows milk. So what’s the benefit of this then? Well did you ever see a cow fall of a bicycle? No. So cream is obviously the best aid to enhancing balance.

If your looking to get a little more from your cream then I recommend the brandy version. This provides valuable protection from hyperthermia, and with the slight chill that might be around, could just provide you with necessary edge. Let me remind you that the difference between Scott and Amundson, if you ignore the training, clothes, skis and dogs, was a drop of brandy.

What about the turkey? This is a bit neutral for us, but the best versions are those that are indoor reared and forse fed. So if you’re gonna have some then have lots and make sure it’s accompanied by the supplements recommended here.

Cranberry sauce. Well if the popular press is to be believed, then these little devils are the next suoerfood. Best avoided then.

 Roast Potatoes, now we’re back on course. These must be cooked in goose fat. Having trouble getting goose fat? Avoid the canal, they stock it in Waitrose, and probably other supermarkets. The benefits? Similar to brandy in preventing hyperthermia. After all if a goose can stay on water all year round, then it has to be good for you.

Brussell sprouts. I am afraid that I am unable to profer a typical cheap joke for this delightful little cabbage.

Christmas Pudding. We’re getting a bit close to the mince pies with this, however the significant sugar included as part of the recipe combined with the various supplementary ingredients above will mean this can be part of your imbalanced diet.

This, hopefully, has given you some assurances that you can make it through this challenging period. So now to this weeks rides.

What about a festive cigar? Well if that’s your vice, well it did no harm to Sir Jimmy.

Long Ride

Short Ride  

So ride, ride like the wind (cheap sprout joke).

Disclaimer: If you believe any of the above and follow the recomendations your stupid and deserve any of the consequences that may result.

I’m now of to sort out the french economy. Good night.

Welcome children and friends of the Vinghoe Velos,

I hope that those that ate at the Christmas meal on friday feasted well,

I hope that those that enjoyed a pint or glass of wine quenched their thirsts,

And those of you that attended  this weeks cake and tea ride…………

I trust that your cakes were just sweet enough,

Your tea warming and refreshing,

For those that live to ride……………….

Or those that ride to live…………………

This weeks Sunday rides

Long Route

Short Route

Now for more Spitfire.