The rising popularity of indoor training within the club

Indoor cycling is probably the only consistent workout a road cyclist will get during the winter months, given the unpredictability of weather conditions, shorter days and lack of time, indoor cycling will give you the same flexibility you generally get during the summer months with the added benefit of structuring your workout with a little more precision.

As a cycling club, we consistently organise club rides throughout the season but the number of riders who attend those club rides certainly fluctuates between the summer and winter months for obvious reasons. Club rides double during the summer with the addition of a mid-week ride and it’s fair to say that human nature governs the fair weather riders, that said, when you log in to Strava it’s obvious the amount of cycling by club members doesn’t ease up in the winter, this is down to indoor cycling!

So, out of interest, we thought we’d reach out to our members with some simple questions about indoor cycling and here is the response we got:

What’s your primary motivation to train indoors?

“Training for an event so need to cycle and weather isn’t always good enough.”

“Keep some level of cycling fitness through the winter. I looked at getting all of the kit for winter riding (in the dark, wet, ice, etc) but decided it was simply safer – and often more comfortable and convenient – to ride indoor.”

“To stay cycle fit during the winter AND I actually quite like it.”

“FUN & FITNESS together. Getting or keeping fit for club rides, Mallorca breaks and racing (time trials) and having fun while doing so. Zwift racing is super motivating and great fun. I confess I’ve not tried Trainer Road or Sufferfest but I’ve stopped at Zwift because, firstly, its a game and secondly, I like it.”

In your opinion, what are the benefits of indoor training?

“Easier to heart rate train as no hills unless you want them!”

“Keeping fit on the bike, at my convenience and safety.”

“You don’t have to worry about the weather, it takes less time than going out, e.g. if you only have half an hour spare, that is enough, you don’t have to clean your bike afterwards, easier to follow more structured training with apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad and Sufferfest. e.g. a 6 week plan to improve your FTP, or interval work to improve your general fitness
it’s still the cheapest way to reliability measure your power output if that’s something that interests you. If you do measure your power, you can use it to see what kind of rider you are (e.g. sprinter, climber, TT) and aim to improve those areas you are weak on. Zwift allows you to ride with others and take part in group rides and races”

“I’ve done my share of riding in the rain, the cold, numb feet in the winter on a 70 mile ride and frankly I get more from fun and fitness from a one to two hour session indoors than I do from four hours slogging it out in the cold and wet. Not mention the wear and tear on a bike on a winter ride with the muck and salt rubbed into the bearings and chain. During the winter, I look forward to the days of Mallorca club trips, time trials, or club rides where I won’t get dropped because I’ve watched too much and eaten too much.”

“When the days get longer and warmer, I don’t worry if I’m fit enough to go out with Smudger or Biff because they are a bit quick. I may not be the fastest but I’m certainly not the slowest either, because I’ve kept fit and had fun in the process. I have great fun climbing Col du ’Nam because I’ve kept my fitness ticking over.”

What advice, suggestions, tips would you give to a new member looking to cycle indoors?

“Make sure you have a tablet and films or a box set to watch. Time seems to slow down when training indoors!”

“There’s no way around it, riding indoors is spectacularly boring, so look at options to keep things interesting. A lot of people I see riding indoors use virtual reality tools, like Zwift, to make things more interesting by allowing you to ride particular routes, or get together and ride (virtually) with friends or in races. There’s a good review of what’s out there here: These apps/ tools work with most rollers and turbo trainers.”

“It can be expensive. The up front cost has come down recently with good smart trainers becoming cheaper.
Would recommend spending enough to see if you enjoy it first. Maybe get a 2nd hand smart trainer. It’s worth getting a smart trainer with a power meter if you can. The very basic trainers are good but lack the power meter. The most costly expense that’s difficult to avoid is the monthly subscriptions to Zwift, Trainer Road etc..  Zwift is now £12.99 a month ! Recommend using the 1 month free trials to see if you enjoy each app. Cheapest half decent hardware to run Zwift is Apple TV. Otherwise an iPad runs it pretty well. If using a laptop, it needs to be a reasonable spec (e.g. a good graphics card). It is possible to train to power with no subscription app at all, since there will be free apps out there, just not as featured as the big ones.””Be careful using your good bike on the trainer because you’ll sweat more than outside and the sweat can easily get on the bike and cause corrosion. Best to use the winter bike or a even a dedicated cheap 2nd hand bike that only lives on the trainer.””If you using a wheel on a trainer, you don’t need a dedicated turbo trainer tyre. A hard wearing tyre is fine. I used a continental gatorskin tyre for at least a couple of years with not much wear.”

“Don’t try it half-heartedly and say I don’t like it. Get a [_BIG_] screen and some big sounds.  Don’t try and use an iPad mini or other similar small screens.  Get an old TV put it on the wall of the garage or on a stand.  Get some speakers.  If you don’t have the computer to do it, the cheapest way for Zwift (as I understand it) is an Apple TV and it doesn’t have to be a new one.  A smart trainer is nice to have, but you can quite happily use a dumb trainer to start with.”

Some of our favourite Do’s and Dont’s

“Do… commit to giving it a go for at least a week or two.”
“Do… start by taking an FTP test.”
“Do… spend some time training your FTP.”
“Do… take part in a zwift race preferably two or more.”
“Do… finish by taking an FTP test and consider what you have gained.”
“Don’t… use too small a screen”
“Don’t… overdo it in the first week”
“Don’t… spend a fortune on kit that you might not need”

And without a doubt the funniest contribution was…

“Personally, I believe riding a bike is an outdoor pursuit. The greatest gym in the world is amongst the hills and valleys in the countryside”

Thanks for that one Paul Day 🙂

Alternative Sunday Rides

With time often at a premium, finding appropriate time to get out on the bike can be difficult, especially for those who have young families and other weekend commitments.

Running alongside timing, comes the challenge to provide variation in club rides that suit the wishes of members when they are able to get out on their bike.

The club recognises that it’s not possible to run a one size fits all club ride which will address the challenges of time and ride variation. As the club evolves with its membership, so should the options it offers for club ride participation.

At the last AGM and in subsequent communications, we have encouraged members to use the Member Ride functionality provided on the website. This is a unique and excellent facility which enables members to set up rides to suit both time and ride styles to suit their needs, allowing other members to join them. The functionality is open for all to use.

This summer members will have noticed the Member Ride facility being used to arrange regular Chain Gang rides on Tuesday evenings and an alternative Sunday morning ride for those who are seeking a more challenging ride leaving at an earlier time to avoid conflict with other commitments. Dan, Johnny, Oli and Symon have all been active arranging these rides and they have proved to be popular both with regular and occasional attendance from members.

In the meantime, the regular Sunday and Wednesday club rides have continued to run and remain well attended given the alternatives on offer. This demonstrates an engaged and active membership which is able to evolve its activities to suit riders wishes.

As a club we would like to build upon the current rides on offer and are considering the introduction of alternative club ride structure on Sundays. The idea being to enable all members to identify a ride which suits their requirements on any particular week, whether you are seeking a challenging ride, a shorter / easier paced ride, or something in between which would be the traditional club ride. It is important to understand that this bears no reflection on members ability and is simply to offer club membership more value in flexibility.

For now, we will continue to post the traditional club ride as it always has been, whilst those wishing to run the alternative options will post as Member Rides. Depending on take up of the alternatives, we may look to format club ride options in the future.

Please continue to look out for Member Ride notifications for Sunday mornings alongside the usual club ride and make the most of this added flexibility. You can also see the Member Rides on the members page of the website. Note members must be logged in to view the page.

The club expects that any Member Ride also adopts the principles as outlined in the club charter just as it would for club rides.

Broadly the alternative ride structure and timings are as follows:

  • Ride 1: Challenging ride with start time generally 7:45 – 8:00 (Member Ride)
  • Ride 2: Easier paced ride with start time generally 8:15 – 8:30 (Member Ride)
  • Ride 3: Traditional standard club ride with start time at 9:00 (Club Ride)

Note ride availability may vary according to time of year, weather and uptake.

Woodmancote Wheelers proud to promote the Tour of Britain

If you haven’t heard this year’s Tour of Britain is coming to the Cotswolds again and this time it’s right in our back yard with stage 7 finishing in Cheltenham! This is a fantastic opportunity to see world tour pro cyclists riding roads The Woodmancote Wheelers regularly ride.

The Woodmancote Wheelers were identified by Tewkesbury Borough Council as a local cycle club and invited along to recent briefings on the stage plans and to engage on plans for events along the route for the day of the stage.

The event will be open to anybody whether club members, family, friends or people from the local community. We hope to have TV screens showing the race live, a pay bar, barbecue and maybe even some live music following the end of the stage. Newlands will host these facilities and The Woodmancote Wheelers are proud to help promote the event and bring a cycling theme.

The date is Saturday 9th September and the pro riders are expected on Southam Lane between 14:30 – 15:25 depending on the pace of the stage. They will only have a few kilometres left off the stage by the time they pass Newlands, so the pace will be high with the peloton possibly chasing down a breakaway for the sprint finish in Cheltenham.

The Woodmancote Wheelers intend to run a club ride in the morning heading out towards Stow to pick up the route and ride it back to the stage finish. You can watch out for the ride on our club rides page, new comers are welcome but please inform us that you will be attending through the contact us page.

In the meantime why not sit back and enjoy the promotional video:

L’EROICA cycle event in the Peak District

On Sunday 19th June 2016, an intrepid Wheeler took part in this historic cycle event in the Peak District.
This is Paul’s account of this event.

What is “L’Eroica?” you may well ask. Well it started in 1997 in the Tuscan town of Gaiole and was founded by Giancarlo Brocci, designed to mimic the famous Strade Bianche held in Tuscany, a UCI tour event. For the uninitiated Strade Bianche means white streets and the route uses the gravel tracks around Tuscany which kick up huge plumes of white dust as the rider’s cycle along.

So, some bright spark decided to take this event farther afield and you can now find this event in California, Japan, South Africa, and closer to home in Europe.

So why did I take part? Well I love cycling, and I love the history of the sport, and I love good real Ale, and as one of my favourite breweries (Thornbridge) was sponsoring the event I thought it would be a good opportunity get involved.

So, the first task was to find a bike, which had to be pre 1987, with the gear levers on the down tubes, brake cables passing outside the handlebars, and toe clips. These were just three of the rules.

My first thought was to purchase an old Bianchi, and indeed there are lots of them around on auction web sites, but the refurbished ones come in at over £700 so I eventually managed to find a serviced “Motobecane” which is a French built bike using the classic Reynolds 531 frame.

I took this for a spin and was amazed by how good a ride it was, and once you get used to the more aggressive riding position, I found I could get up a good head of speed, unfortunately whilst it was great on the flat as soon as I hit an incline, my legs struggled to turn over the pedals quick enough to stay upright.
A quick check of the gearing, revealed the problem. Somebody had put a tiny cassette on the back wheel. Surely no one could be expected to cycle up a hill on that?

Anyway, I persevered in my training for the event, and even began to enjoy the challenge of cycling up Cleeve Hill with legs and arms burning, trying to turn over the huge gear.

So on Friday 17th June four of us set off for Bakewell. My mate Bob, and our two long suffering wives, who were looking forward to the event for different reasons. Unfortunately, drinking Prosecco is not an Olympic sport, but if it was these two would be gold medal winners.

On the morning of the ride, Bob and I left our cottage in Birchover and headed into Bakewell, joining the 4,500 other riders. What a great sight to see so many immaculately presented old bikes, and immaculately presented riders. Historic woollen cycling jerseys were the order of the day, and a refreshing lack of lycra.
Waved off by Chris Boardman with a huge Union flag and safe in the knowledge that David Miller was participating in the event on a vintage Colnago, we set off from Bakewell on a 55 mile ride. Within 200 yards we hit the first hill, and my legs strained against the gradient, but soon enough we were up and flying. Zipping along at a healthy 18 mph it felt like a club ride, until we were directed off the road down a dirt track, which lead into a tunnel.

As we cycled along the Victorian tunnel with meagre lighting we could hear melodious sounds coming from the light at the end of the tunnel, and sure enough as we hit the light we were greeted by a choir, which confirmed this was no ordinary sportive.

A few miles up the road, at a Tea stop, two riders had decided to stop and whip out their Ukuleles, knocking out a rendition of the classic Beetles song “Here comes the sun” Not much of that in evidence, but we could be thankful for a dry day, continuing up hill and down dale until reaching Chatsworth manor, and the last tea stop of the day. Sat at bottom of a big finishing climb we were delighted to realise that instead of Tea, were offered a prosecco cocktail with scones and strawberries. Fortified by these delights we set off up the last hill and were within 1 mile of the finish when my mate Bob screamed out in agony and fell to the floor.

A small crowd had gathered around, and people were asking if he was with anyone. I trudged back down the path to say that he was my responsibility. So the crowd parted and I instantly recognised the problem. Bob hadn’t had a beer for 16 hours. He was suffering from cramp, so I decided the best thing was to enjoy his pain and take a couple of photographs. I think the crowd were a little disappointed with my 1st aid skills.

He eventually gained some fortitude and eased himself back onto his 1982 Viking bike and we set off for the showground. As we approached we could hear the sound of Spitfire’s buzzing the crowd and a general atmosphere of good hearted banter, no doubt fuelled by the most excellent Thornbridge Brewery’s “Handsome Ale”, brewed especially for the event.

The crowds greeting us made it feel very special, and we soon spotted out lovely ladies dressed as land girls cheering and clapping.

LEROICA-1With tired legs and happy hearts we were reunited with these gorgeous girls who had clearly enjoyed their day. After a few photographs we hydrated in the beer tent before cycling the 5 miles back to our cottage and a fine Sunday roast dinner, toasting our “heroic” day out.

WW Majorca Tour 2016


It is only fitting that we share our inaugural Woodmancote Wheelers 2016 Tour in Majorca with you all, albeit it does break the “What goes on tour, stays on tour” principle, so some stories will remain a club secret!

Prior to arrival at the airport, we received sad news that one of the group was unable to travel, Ryan England aka Ramon, due to a recent diagnosis of Bacterial Tonsillitis.  This meant one of the group would now be rooming on their own and was starting to take the news personally that no-one wanted to share with him!  Upon arrival at the airport in two separate vehicles, each of the groups were pleased to get through check in and security, except when we just sat down for a cheeky cooked breakfast, we heard a female voice on the tannoy “Would a Miguel Woods flying to Palma please contact the ground staff?”….would we now be reduced to 6 riders?

After a brief discussion behind closed doors, a pair of latex gloves and Shank’s pony, Miguel was escorted to collect his luggage and remove his offending item, the CO2 gas canister! When he returned to the gate to re-unite with the wheelers, he was welcomed with a cheer and then got told most of the group had them in their luggage too, how very unlucky.  We successfully boarded the flight like 7 excitable puppies that had never left home before.

When we departed the airplane, the weather was sunny with a slight breeze and the forecast for the week was dry but windy on the mountain climbs.  We were greeted at the airport by a cheery long haired spainard holding a home made Woodmancote Wheelers sign at the request of Chairman Miguel.  After a pleasant journey on the executive mini bus we arrived at our apartments where other cycling groups were hanging out, so we were not alone.

We took a short walk to Puerto Pollenca to collect our hire bikes from Pro Cycles who were brilliant and couldn’t do enough to adjust our bikes to fit including the saddle swap for Mr Secretary who was embarrassed to admit he owned such an item! Digger was posing on his Italian stallion the “Cool Colnago” while the rest of us were very happy with our “Massi fergusons”. At this point the cafe con lecha and cake started in the adjoining cafe, to give us energy to cycle back 2km to our apartments and personal bike hanger.

In the evening, we all took a leisurely stroll to the beach harbour and chose a restaurant specifically with pizza & pasta ready to carb up for the next day.  We behaved with the alcohol intake on only a few beers and a bottle of Rioja…..rude not to really.

Day One
Mentally and physically this was the big day with the infamous Sa Calobra mountain climb ahead of us with 6 miles of climbing up an average 7% gradient and anything up to an hour was respectable.  The total route was 60 miles with 7000ft of climbing, joy!

Firstly, we had to tackle the 22 miles of category 2 & 3 climbs to get to the mountain top before the scary descent. Luckily, we found a cafe 15 miles in for a quick re-fuel of coffee and almond cake, which went down a treat and after being offered free water and newspapers to protect us from the wind, we decided to stop here on the way back too.

As we started the descent of Sa Calobra and the 27 hairpin bends, we were rudely interrupted a third of the way down by a queue of cars and collection of c40 cyclists halted at a stop sign.  Initially, we were concerned a cyclist had fallen off one of the sharp cliff faces, but thank goodness it was only a skateboarder being filmed by an aerial camera drone descending down the mountain!  After a short rest and getting cold we battled with the blustery winds which were scary in places on the open faces of the mountain and hampered the Chairman beating the mountain descent speed record!

We re-grouped at the base of the mountain in another cafe to warm up and take on some healthy soup & pasta for the journey back up the mountain.  After being rushed by Cookie most of us were suffering from indigestion, just what you need to climb a mountain with no gaviscon packed.  The rule of climbing the mountain at your own pace was adhered to and everyone enjoyed the scenery and the challenge since shown on the  team videos.  What a great personal achievement for everyone with the Chairman getting a hatful of PBs compared to his first attempt nearly a year ago (taken off 7 mins) of the climb itself.

After getting to the top, we re-grouped at the base of the next descent with lots of emotional hugs before we revisited the friendly cafe from earlier and decided the shortest descent back was the best answer.  We were glad to be back at base to download the ride to Strava, request a cheeky massage from our room mates and get ready for our evening ahead.

Day Two
The aim of day two was to loosen the legs on a flat ride which covered 73 miles and 3000ft of climbing, very similar to a longer club ride really.

The weather was bright and breezy and the loop of NW Majorca took in some lovely villages with more cafe stops.  Our first stop was in a village called Buger and a cafe recommended by the Chairman with its own bakery.  The cakes were superb while we reflected on our Sa Calobra achievement and new nicknames for Paul!

After some “follow the line” navigation by Digger we found ourselves 40 miles on, in the beautiful town square of Petra.  It was full of tables of cyclists having lunch and the sun was beating down, so much so, the burnt pale skin of Neil was in sharp contrast to the gleaming olive skin of Ant.  The last 5 miles seemed to go on forever as our tired legs and bodies were returned to the apartments, to download our ride to Strava and relax before our night out.

Day Three
Another day of climbing was planned to the lighthouse “Cap Formentor” the furthest NW tip of the island.  The start was delayed until mid morning due to the thunderstorms the night before and we planned to be climbing 3000ft over 30 miles.

Similar to previous days the weather was bright & breezy and the mountain climb was scary in places as we were blown around on the mountain cliffs.  Digger reminded us of the steep element through the mountain tunnel and as we passed through realised it was not fun cycling in the dark for 100 metres!

When we reached the lighthouse on the mountain edge, we were pleased to see a cafe and lots of cyclists onsite enjoying their lunch with amazing views out to sea.  The return journey was better with more downhill until the final climb back up to the start cafe where we took more photos of the amazing scenary.

We returned to the apartments to relax ahead of our final night out where we visited the infamous Tolos restaurant full of cycling memorabilia, as well as seeing the Madison Genesis pro team who were dining in the same place.  It was a great location to finish our 2016 cycling tour and we dined at a table with Bradley Wiggins hour record & Tour de France bikes above our heads!

Our return trip to the airport the next day was sad leaving such a lovely part of the island with warmish weather, but we had a great time together with no injuries, lots of memories and friendly banter.

Finally, all of the above was made even more worthwhile with many friends & family back home sponsoring our mountain climb on day one having raised just over £2500 to date, towards our annual charity goal of £5000.  This is all for the great cause of Heartburn Cancer UK who are delighted with our charitable achievements from this trip.

You will notice there is still some banter around the group since arriving back and you may have already heard phrases like “Car back Doris!”, “Keep talking to me” and “Anyone got any eggs?”.  You are more than welcome to join in, as it reminds us all what a great cycling club we are part of and may this continue for many years, including a 2017 Club Tour…….watch this space!

Prudential Ride London – Surrey 100

We thought you might like to read about our exploits at this years event.

The club entered a 4 man team earlier in the year – Cookie, Elliott, Digger and Ryan.
The posse travelled down in one car, loaded to the gunnels with bikes and kit, on Saturday 1st August.
We needed to book into our hotel and then high tail it across the capital to Excel in the Docklands to register for the event and collect ride numbers, timing chips and info.

As seems normal the exit to the registration was via the expo and merchant stands so a little retail therapy was hard to avoid, what with all those Castelli reductions.

Our return to the hotel and relaxed evening meal/early to bed was somewhat disrupted when we stumbled across a beach rugby competition on Finsbury Square, 5 mins from our front door.

IMG_4409Needless to say this had to be investigated what with the Doom Bar signs, loud music and kicking atmosphere. One pint lead to another and before we knew it we were well into the evening, side tracked by the rugger buggers and their attractive cheer leaders who were sozzled after the heady antics of the day. Par for the course, drinking games, rugby songs, dancing, nudity and general misbehaviour ensued. We were supposed to have been carb loaded by now, tucked-up in bed. Fortunately there was an indian restaurant on our way back to the hotel which allowed 4 more pickled diners before closing for the night. Suffice to say it was after midnight before we got back to our rooms, reveille was 0430 with a planned departure an hour later.

Not a great deal of sleep was had, thick heads, and general confusion seemed to prevail as we tried to organise ourselves and our bikes, stowaway our remaining belongings for the hotels baggage room and get out the hotel door for 0530. The fresh air and adrenaline was more of a help than the instant porridge we’d consumed in haste. Fortunately we were not the only cyclists heading east that morning so we didn’t have to trust my pre-loaded route to the start. Warm weather and light cloud cover was very welcome as we made the turn into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and our blue wave holding area. With the Millennium Dome on one side of us and the Copper Box, Orbital structure and Olympic stadium on the other we soon forgot about our tardy preparation.

IMG_4413The rivers of cyclists snaking towards the start line from 5 different directions were an incredible sight. I’d never seen so many cyclists, whacky club jerseys, or expensive bikes in one place.
Unfortunately the nights revelry and I suspect the chicken jalfrezi he’d consumed had an adverse affect on Elliott who couldn’t pass the portaloos lining the holding pens without an impromptu visit.
He wasn’t the only one suffering event anxiety which sadly meant the team missed it’s allotted start time, albeit we were swept up into the next wave without much consideration.

As we edged forward to prepare for our own departure we were asked by the resident DJ what music we would like to ride off to, there were some murmurings after an initial voice had suggested Take That – Rule the World, when a second suggestion Dire Straits – Money for Nothing was proposed. Needless to say with several hundred MAMILs physicked-up for the off, Mr Barlow didn’t stand a hope in hells chance.

The start was a steady roll across the line and onto the first few miles of the course which was a neutralised zone, un-timed to let the ride numbers spread out and let different speed settle.

Past Canary Wharf and through a couple of underpasses we approached father Thames and familiar sights, The Tower of London, Mansion House, St Paul’s Cathedral. A surreal feeling riding through central London at that time of the morning. No traffic, and straight across traffic and pedestrian lights regardless of their sequence. Very few people around save a few quizzical looking soles heading to work and wondering how they were going to cross the roads. On we rode passing the Ritz, Harrods, Trafalgar Square and then down Pall Mall out towards Chiswick its bridge namesake and out of the city and into Richmond Park.

The pace was quick and we were cruising at an average 20-23 mph on flattish road, over the M25 motorway and onwards until the first slight rise up to the second designated hub stop at Newlands Corner – 46 miles in.
Time for a mini break, refill water bottles, take on some yellow fruit and a fig roll or two. Digger tried photo-bombing the BBC sports reporter Ore Oduba who was desperately seeking quirky riders to interview, we clearly didn’t fit the bill, if only he knew!

It was still morning as we left the hub we were eager to get back on the route and tackle the two main climbs of the day. All the pre race and hub talk with riders who had ridden previous years was that Leith Hill was far worse than the more famous Box Hill, being shorter, more steep and quite narrow, which made passing difficult when coming across slower riders and those pushing their bikes, would you believe!

Leith Hill was as expected, the tortoises were asked to stay left whilst the buck teethed riders took the right hand gutter to hare past. There were a few close calls with riders wanting to unclip or to stop and push, not a good idea when literally thousands of cyclist are climbing the hill behind you. We survived unscathed and after a brief pause to reform the team we clipped-in for the fast descent which naturally follows the prior effort. For those less cautious the speeds were quite impressive and the duration of the descent was a welcome respite before the more famous of the two climbs just around the corner.

By comparison Box Hill was a breeze, although longer, the road was wider, less steep and windy with a silky smooth surface without a single imperfection. After a brief respite were surged on, almost 70 miles in by now. The route flattened out and we picked up the pace, our previously good average speed had come down to around 18mph. The low elevation and increasing desire to up our overall time pushed us to race along. Soon we saw our average climb and with the crossing of the M25 for the second time our arrival to the outskirts of London was imminent. Digger pushed the pace on and the rest of us clung-on the best we could. Knowing Wimbledon High Street and its’ last niggling climb were just around the corner we were keen to keep something in reserve. We needn’t have bothered the arrival of Wimbledon Village signalled 10 miles to go and in that we had adrenalin enough to negate its sting.

The growing crowd numbers as we passed each high street was a welcome distraction and the sound of whooping, whistles and cow bells was entertaining.

The final push, Digger extended his gains and we were split up in our individual efforts to keep up to his pace. I finally managed to bridge the gap, I suspect more down to him relaxing his pace than my efforts to reach him. I suggested we should perhaps wait for the boys when it was convenient to stop. We pulled over and were both surprised to see Elliott and Ryan were right there sailing past us. The push for London renewed we all raced across Putney Bridge and recognised the embankment and all of its familiar sights.

The pace quickened and previous thoughts of tiredness and aching legs were forgotten. We sped past the Houses of Parliament and onto Whitehall, the Cenotaph, Downing Street and Horse guards. I can’t tell you how good the feeling is to hear so many people lining the streets, all cheering you on with the prospect of briefly revisiting Nelson before sailing under Admiralty Arch and seeing the red roads of the Mall ahead of you. It was everyone for themselves at this point cocooned in the hysteria of the occasion and the realisation that the road ahead is effectively a sprint finish, so that’s what we did. Caution to the wind we wound it up and raced down the Mall, little did I know I was leading Digger out, he pipped me at the post, but the feeling of speeding towards the Victoria Memorial framed by Buckingham Palace will live with me for the rest of my days.

IMG_4419As always the jubilation of finishing gives rise to sadness at the journeys end. We were handed our medals and goodie bags and collected our possessions which were kindly transported from start to finish, no mean feat considering 25,000 riders!
Diggers family were there to share our glory and supply us with a beer and a few eats, in the leafy shade of Green Park just off Constitution Hill and overlooking the Palace gates – bliss!

Reflective analysis of our stats showed we’d completed the route in just under 6 hours (5hrs 29mins ride time), at an average of 18.4mph, which was a pleasant surprise to all!

The ballot for 2016 opens on the 10th August so get in quick should you wish to experience this amazing event – highly recommended.

Woodmancote Wheelers Prepare Four RideLondon

Four Woodmancote Wheelers

100 miles… hotel booked and bike rack installed ….so the only thing left to do is discuss the travel plans.With registration the day before Ryan, Digger, Cookie and Elliott will be heading off with bags packed and bikes securely mounted (no comments please) sometime on Saturday!

The RideLondon 100 Event

Having entered the public ballot entry system four lucky Wheelers have secured their place in the RideLondon, a two day cycling festival held in London. It’s a closed road event that starts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside finishing on The Mall in central London.

Spot one of the four Woodmancote Wheelers

If you happen to be attending the event be sure to look out for the four Wheelers, why not stop us and take a picture that you can tweet with the hashtag #spotawheeler. Don’t worry if you can’t attend though, I believe the action is broadcast live on TV in the UK and internationally!


Five Ride The Isle of Wight!

On 4th July 2015, five intrepid Woodmancote Wheelers; Mick, Tim U, Cookie, Dan & Rach, embarked upon a raid of the Isle of Wight. We were riding in the Wiggle Wight Ferry Sportive, which combined two legs in the New Forest, two ferry crossings and a rolling route around the Island, totalling 90 challenging miles.

Our day started early with a drive to the start in the New Forest. The Wheelers all arrived at 6am in time to register, collect our rider numbers and get changed. Soon we were ready and heading towards the start line in our resplendent Wheelers kit.

We started in one of the first waves and we were soon carried away in the excitement as we covered the 10 miles to the ferry in a little over 30 minutes!


After a short wait and a sneaky trip to the Costa in the terminal for some much needed caffeine, our ferry departed for the Island! Despite the early start, the day was starting to feel warm and the Wheelers headed to the sun deck to make a start on our tan lines!

We departed the ferry at Yarmouth and started the ride east across the Island, taking in some great roads. The pace was high and we were soon heading up the spine of the Island to the high point of the ride. After a long descent to Bembridge, we arrived at the food stop for a welcome snack and to top-up water bottles.

The next part of the route took in amazing views across Sandown and Shanklin, before heading up some fearsome climbs en-route to Ventnor. Each climb was rewarded with sweeping descents and stunning scenery. We were soon at the next food stop where bottles were topped up once again before heading inland.


The final leg of the Island route saw the Wheelers setting a great pace along the Military Road, a 7 mile stretch leading to Freshwater Bay. Here we worked together in our own little peloton, tackling the last climb before boarding the ferry in Yarmouth.

The final leg from Lymington across the New Forest was a rapid 15 mile sprint which again, saw the Wheelers in close formation, securing Silver times for the men and Gold for Rach!

rachael-frost-and-mik-woods-woodmancote-wheelersThe Wiggle Wight Ferry Sportive was a great event and gave us a chance to explore the wonderful Isle of Wight. Highlights of the day included the amazing weather, dodging the stampeding horses in the Forest, awesome route, stunning scenery and great cycling representing our Club!

Who’s in for next year?

Woodmancote Wheelers informal meet & greet

Fed up with cycling and training alone?
Considering joining a cycle club to push you further?
Interested in sportives, cycling events, and trips?
Why not come along to the Woodmancote Wheelers informal ‘meet & greet’ evening at the Apple Tree Pub, Woodmancote – Friday 20th February from 7:30pm