July 2015

L’Ancienne – Ulverston

by Adam on 25, July, 2015

The Swag


Ulverston is a town on the western side of the Lake District possibly most famous for having 30 public houses within it’s boundaries, this is a fact that despite intense probing of several locals we were unable to verify, all they would commit to was “a lot”.

L’Ancienne is now in it’s second year, a retro inspired cycle event two weeks after l’Eroica Britannia is bound to draw inevitable comparisons and beyond the theme to both events a little unfair. L’Eroica is the confident, flamboyant older sibling, L’Ancienne is the smaller quieter sister who sits a little in the background but once you get to know her has a charm and style all of her own.

Saturday was a pleasant afternoon with some some vintage stalls provided by Retro Rendezvous including a rather nice cycle stall vintage Bianchi cover-alls anybody? The media were present giving live coverage of the event, foolishly the producer from BBC Radio Cumbria saw fit to put a microphone in front of Mr Cycling Photographer and ask him a question, we’re fairly sure he would still be there now if it had not been for that mysterious technical fault.

Evening entertainment was taken care of courtesy of the cinema at the Laurel and Hardy museum showing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (a petition has already been lodged for “Sunday in Hell” next year), if Audrey Hepburn is not your thing then a an evening of music was put on for your delectation in the town’s Jubilee hall. A late night curry, the food of champions and off to bed in readiness for tomorrows fun.

The start time on the Sunday was “between 8:45 and 9:15”, and fortunately the rain that been promised the previous day had appeared to exhaust itself overnight. Contrary to popular belief the Lake District is actually fairly hilly, although a little surprise was had when the expected 82 miles turned out to be 82 of some foreign measurement of distance. A quick calculation and the penny dropped, shorter distance than L’Eroica yet more climbing, this maybe a fairly stiff excursion.

Oh and that rain we thought we had avoided began to remind us where the water for the lakes comes from, but as if had been pre-arranged the first feed stop appeared out of the mist the “Swallows and Amazons” tea rooms on the banks of the legendary Lake Coniston. The quality of the cakes, scones, a little more cake and one last scone detained us just long enough for the rain to pass over.

Next stop Lake Windermere, probably the most famous lake in the district bit from our geographical point of view, in a different valley as we climbed out from Coniston we quickly decided it was the wrong valley, still Jelly Babies at Wrey Castle and a stamp in our route card before dropping down to Windermere turning the corner and eventually heading back home.

It must be said the organsers have a wonderful sense of humour 1.5km to go or in imperial “not far” was a sign for the final stamp in your road book for the illusive gold medal, this leg was titled “the sting” with good reason up a gravel path to the Hoad Monument a lighthouse to the same design as the Eddystone Lighthouse, except it is not a light house, or even got a light. It is at the top of a big hill though.

Summit crested a few snaps and away to the finish with a few essentials to prop us up after the ride, a tasty meat pie and beer (help yourselves to the barrel we’ve got to get through it all), a solid gold medal, an enamelled  L’Ancienne mug and a rather natty bag to keep it all in.

All in all, we rather enjoyed the weekend with our new friends, there is however a little more.

A few of the Basket Brigade elected to ride Le Loafeur who enjoyed themselves so much they even added twelve miles onto the route, the organisers did noticed their absence but naturally assumed they had stopped off in another pub. Chapeau ladies.

Finally thank you to everyone who helped make the weekend happen, Alan and Alison for putting the event on, Rachel for the fair and the cinema and the mechanics for their tireless micky taking and apparently offering a rather good support service too.

See you next year chaps.

A few images from the hills


L’Eroica Britannia 2015

by Adam on 1, July, 2015

l'eroica 2015

Building on the success of last year L’Eroica Britannia was bigger with nearly twice the number of riders and a big increase in the number of exhibitors; in dark corridors whisperings of “too big? car manufacturers? cement lorries? I hope the toilets are better! ” could be heard. As ever the ladies and gentlemen of the GA are prepared to throw personal concerns aside and enter into the spirit of the weekend to find out what the real gen. was really about.

Obviously to enable us to carry out this research to the best of our ability we stood knocking on the festival gates as Bakewell’s town hall clock began to strike midday. Camp quickly erected we retired to the Thornbridge beer tent to ensure the Jaipur and Handsome had not gone off in the intervening year, a task the Mr Simmons approached with relish and could confirm that the last pint was every bit as good as the first. To be honest, as many of us had not seen each other for the previous six months a fair amount of catching up had to be done all ’round.

Saturday came upon us a little warmer than the Friday with Mrs Pip providing a breakfast from a two ring hob that would put the fellow with loaves and fishes to shame, today was a day for relaxing (and maybe a little ride for some) whilst others took in the stands and introduced themselves to virtual friends. Mid-afternoon the shrinking violets of the GA were approached en-masse by the “Paps” as our secret card was revealed, word was out.

One of the GA consists of a Swiss Chap introduced to the club by Miss AK as her farther. The week previously this fellow had decided to go for a bike ride setting off from Zurich on a 1000 mile odyssey over to Bakewell, unsupported without even a mobile telecommunications device as back up, he did actually lament the lack of payphone boxes available in France nowadays. Chapeau is a term frequently used amongst the cycling community, rarely is it so richly deserved.

An uncharacteristically early night for everyone, for tomorrow was the “big day” in the wonderful spirit of solidarity the GA show time and time again the 30 milers popped on their best PJ’s and came down to wave the 55s off. It may have been mentioned last year, but the Peak District offers some of the best riding in the country with the organisers putting a route together, on the 30 and the 55 just the right side of hard for a Guvnor or of course the little Princess’ who had stoically finished their loop, not forgetting an honourable mention in despatches for Herr Greenspeed who got up at an hour known only to the working classes and set off on the 100 riding his Five Speed (he also looked a lot fresher than the 55 milers at the end of it all).

And that, baring the torrential rain that saw us running for cover was that. The early concerns were unfounded, the event is much larger but the organisers have managed it well, keeping the main classic cycle interest centred on the grounds and the more commercial interests whilst present unobtrusive. The toilets I am pleased to say, whilst not perfect were improved.

Finally, A warm welcome to Mr Wickers and Capt. Poldark, jolly nice to ride out with you fellows

 A few snaps of riders and the ladies and gents of GA

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