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Electric Bikes - surely not

posted 22 Oct 2017, 05:28 by Mark Burgin   [ updated 4 Nov 2017, 00:24 ]

I was stopped over at South Warnborough a month or so ago and a bunch of MTBers came in.  We got chatting as you do and it turns out that one of them was in his early eighties and able to keep up because he had an electric motor on his bike.

This weekend I asked Roger how electric bikes worked in his club in Perth Australia, this is what he said:

"Maybe ten or so riders in my club in Perth ride high quality road bikes with electric motors. They are all older guys, some even older than me, who are experienced bike riders. The motors have enabled them to enjoy the many social and physical benefits of cycling once again - the quality of their lives has been greatly enhanced.  In WA there is a legal power limit of 300 watts for electric bikes but this is more than enough to enable these guys to drop even strong riders, particularly in terms of acceleration and performance on climbs. I never thought this would be the case, but given my experience in Perth, I am now strongly in favour of electric bikes and would urge that their use should be allowed by VCGH."

When we came up with the club rules ten or so years ago we specifically excluded electric bikes and for that matter any power assisted bikes, I'm starting to think this is a subject we should re visit at the AGM.  Maybe there's a trial we could run for a year perhaps limiting the wattage etc, food for thought.

Do let me have your thoughts.


Mark Burgin
VCGH Chairman & Youth Officer

Marco Burgin +44 (0)7775 712718

Staple Lane Hillclimb

posted 14 Oct 2017, 08:45 by Lara Taylor   [ updated 14 Oct 2017, 08:47 ]

Great turn-out today at our final TT of the season, which (for the first time in this modern series) took in a hillclimb, namely the GH/44, ascending Staple Lane north of Shere for 1.4 miles (or 2.2km for all those metricists)!

Awesome to see a whole load of new faces on the start line, including a sprinkling of non-VCGHers who are always welcome. Some really fantastic times too, with Ben Hopwood (Just Pedal) in first place with an amazing 04:55, followed by Joshua Monk (The Cycle Room) in 05:20. First VCGHer home was Karl Chandler in 3rd position with 05:35. First lady home was Lucy Davies in an impressive 07:04.

A couple of apologies first: we intended to have tea and coffee at the finish line (the usual mobile café unfortunately choosing to be on holiday at the time), but due to a technical hitch with the tea urn, that wasn't possible (mental note not to take the rental company's word for it next time  😜 ). And we also made a couple of stupid errors with the finish times which have now been adjusted, but apologies to those affected.

Special thanks go out to Marco Burgin, Matt Hurst, Lara O'Keeffe and Sara Horner for helping out, and to the lovely few who volunteered their help over the past few days - it's always much appreciated. Also to James Evans whose merry cowbell could be heard across the whole of the North Downs this morning, along with the rest of the guys who came out to support.

So that's it for our little TT season for 2017. It's been a blast. Hope you've all enjoyed it (or thereabouts!) and look forward to seeing you in spring next year for the 2018 season.

Paris Trip 2018

posted 12 Oct 2017, 06:10 by Lara Taylor   [ updated 12 Oct 2017, 06:28 ]

Following the success of this years trip to Paris we’re looking for participants for 2018. The format is broadly similar, but we depart on the overnight ferry on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 meaning that you get a full day of riding on the Thursday (see below for the proposed itinerary). 

It’s a chance to experience cycling through the French countryside as we get closer to the capital. Clearly it’s a physical challenge, and you’ll need to make sure that you are properly prepared – but there’s a lot of support along the way. A typical day would be - breakfast at the hotel, 45 km ride to a coffee stop, 50 km ride to lunch (picnic style) and then 20-30 km to the next hotel.

So, if this sounds like the sort of thing you’d like to do-then the first step is to register your interest by email to matthew.e.hurst@btinternet.com as we need to get an indication of numbers (spaces are limited so please respond promptly). Entries close on 31st October

You’ll then be asked for a non-refundable deposit to secure the place. If you want to discuss please call me on 07732 368947.

I’ve set out a brief Q&A below-but please let me know if I've missed anything.

Q & A

  • How much does it cost? It’s likely to be c.£450 but that covers all your travel, food and accommodation.
  • Any other costs? You’ll be responsible for your own insurance and we’ll collect c.€90 beforehand to cover coffee stops, fuel etc..
  • I’ve completed the ride before, can I do it again? Absolutely
  • What level of fitness is required? Clearly you need to be able to comfortably ride 120 km in a day, but we’ll look to run a series of training rides to help support your training and make sure you’re on track
  • I have dietary requirements, can these be supported? We’ll do our best to make sure that hotels are aware of any special needs and we manage the lunch ourselves so will look to accommodate you!

Draft Itinerary

Wednesday 23rd May

Load bike and bags on the van and then meet at Portsmouth & Southsea station before boarding the overnight ferry to St Malo (cabin accommodation included)

Depart 20.15 arrive 08.15

Thursday 24th

Arrive at St Malo and then ride to Saint Lo - 127 km

Friday 25th

Saint Lo to Lisieux – 120 km

Saturday 26th

Lisieux to Rouen – 102 km

Sunday 27th

Rouen to Paris – 140 km

Monday 28th

Return to St Pancras on Eurostar

Collect bike and bag Monday evening

Talent - Can you help

posted 27 Sep 2017, 02:37 by Mark Burgin   [ updated 27 Sep 2017, 02:37 ]

I received this email today and hope we can find someone in the Club riding at Moderate level probably capable of riding at Moderate plus who could act as a mentor / guardian to this young person who has that rare combination of commitment and it appears some considerable talent:

"I have a 13 year old (birthday today) son who has taken up road cycling with a passion. We have invested in all of the 'kit' (bike, clothing, energy bars, Stava, in house training aid etc etc) and Andy is regularly taking on solo rides of 30/40/50/60/80+ miles and an average speed of 15-17mph. He has also joined several Sportif events which he loves as it allows interaction rather than just solo riding however we have struggled to get Andy into any clubs which he is desperate to join. This is for two reasons:
1: They have waiting lists of up to a year or
2: The clubs at that age range don't really cater for the speed and distance that Andy enjoys

Andy would love to join the VCGH ride outs but it requires an adult to ride with him. Unfortunately Dad is too old, unfit, fat to ride with Andy and therefore I am asking if there are any adults out there who would be happy for Andy to join on some rides. He is a very mature 13 year old boy both on and off the road and I am confident that he won't be a burden.

Thank you!

Mark Paling
07795 841986"

If you think you can help in any way please please get in touch with me.

Marco Burgin
07775 712718

September Club 10 TT

posted 16 Sep 2017, 10:25 by Lara Taylor   [ updated 17 Sep 2017, 09:20 ]

Thank you to the 15 riders who turned up to race September's 10-mile TT in chilly but clear conditions. This was the 6th and therefore the last of our 10-milers for this season, but don't hang up your masochism just yet, as we've got a hillclimb on Staple Lane on 14th October with a change to the published start time of 09:01 for the first rider.

Today's TT was won by Jez Ponting in 23:21, with David Walters and Dave Triska battling it out for 2nd position in 24:43 and 25:00 respectively. First lady home was Ali Walters in 31:02. Apologies to Neil Franks who was initially thought to have DQed, but has now been reinstated in 12th position.

Thanks also to the lovely volunteers who helped to make the TT happen this morning, sacrificing their early lie-ins to shiver on the Kirdford corners. Today these were:

Push-offer: Peter Davies
Marshals: James Evans, Frank Eisenhower, Ali Siddall, Helen Blakeley, Rob Wheeler
Finish Timekeeper: Brian Waters
Results: Marco Burgin
Prize-winning Flapjack: Sara Horner 
Teas & Clear-up: Ali Siddall, Helen Blakeley, Frank Eisenhower

Thanks also to Loxwood Sports who have provided us with a fantastic venue for the HQ for another year.

Full results are available here (use the tabs at the bottom to change the month), and please put 14th October in your diary for the hillclimb.

For those interested in comparative data for all of our TTs, you can view a spreadsheet on this page.

STRAVA Segment of the month

posted 6 Sep 2017, 02:39 by Chris Parker   [ updated 6 Sep 2017, 02:39 ]

GC and Monthly segment times have been updated.  Any corrections please email racing@vcgh.co.uk

This months segment is Highstreet Green  If you are on the GC then get out and get a time.  Ladies, come on, let's get someone chasing Lara. Also the time difference between 2nd and 9th is minimal.  The men's competition is led by Jon Huges, again, time gaps between 2nd and 10th place are fairly small with 5 segments left to go....  And yes, we have a double header segment challenge coming up so you all get 12 segments in the bag for 2017... Ps.  More bonus seconds available in October too.  Ride Hard.

VCGH Jets Places

posted 30 Aug 2017, 01:27 by Mark Burgin   [ updated 30 Aug 2017, 01:27 ]

VCGH Jets have places open for children aged 6-12 in our fun, safe,
traffic-free training sessions, held every Sunday afternoon at Milford
Infants School. The first session of the autumn term is on 10th
September. Please have a look here  for more details, and email to sign up.

Jets Captain
BC Level 1 Coach

VCGH club 10 #5

posted 12 Aug 2017, 03:33 by Lara Taylor   [ updated 20 Aug 2017, 23:14 ]

Congratulations to Jez Ponting for winning our club TT again this morning in 22:38, knocking 12 seconds off his course best (and our club's record) in the process. And also to Matt Hill who stormed into 2nd place on his road bike in 25:02. Our 2 juniors both did a fantastic job on their first ever TT, with Luke van Oudtshoom achieving 26:15, and Percy Walker Smith 27:08.

It was a good turnout of 22 riders on a mild dull morning, over a slightly damp course. Only 3 ladies this time, sadly, with fastest lady being Wyndy Milla's Debbie Morgan in 29:05.

Thanks very much to all our dedicated volunteers who made the TT possible:

Push-offer (and HQ teas): Matt Hurst
Marshals: Mark Beeston, Nick Davison, Helen Blakeley, Chris Eaton, Luke Edwards
Finish timekeeper: Brian Waters
Results: Marco Burgin

Next month runs on 16th September, and will be our final club 10 of the season, with only the hillclimb after that (in mid-October).

Full results (use the tabs at the bottom to select the date).

I've accumulated various sundry items left behind at the HQ this season, so please email road@vcgh.co.uk if any of the following belong to you:

White bontrager water bottle
1 tupperware-style clip-lid clear box, plus an orphan lid of the same style
High 5 water bottle
Black Specialized glove
Bikehut pedal spanner
Medium VCGH armwarmers

VCGH Youth Mentors

posted 27 Jul 2017, 21:41 by Mark Burgin   [ updated 27 Jul 2017, 21:41 ]

VCGH Youth is for young adults aged between 12 and 17.  It offers young people a chance to experience all that the club has to offer in a safe and hopefully friendly environment.

VCGH Youth members have a VCGH Youth Membership card which has a photo ID and their emergency contact details on it, if a young person turns up for a ride and when asked by the ride leader they don't have a card, then the ride leader needs to let me know.

VCGH Youth members of 12 and 13 years old can only ride with the club if they are accompanied by their parent or guardian.  VCGH Youth members from 14 to 18 will be assessed by myself in my capacity as the Youth Officer (or a deputy) for maturity, bike safety and road skills prior to joining the VCGH Youth programme.  If successful they will become a Youth Member and will have a Club Mentor appointed.

A club mentor is there to help, guide and provide the level of support that the individual needs to become safer, more skilled, more confident youth member and to help the individual see how they can fit into and benefit from being a VCGH Youth member.  

As Club Members you are our eyes and ears in helping the Club to provide a safe and friendly environment.  Welfare concerns should be reported to the Club Welfare Officer (Lara) and safety, skills and confidence issues should be reported first to their mentor and he / she will discuss and report back to the Youth Officer (me).

Currently we have four mentor volunteers, if this is something you are interested in please let me know, the role is as big or little as you want to make it, you may choose to mentor only one person and control the amount of mentoring to suite your lifestyle or you may choose to do more, it’s up to you.


VCGH Chairman & Youth Officer

P.S. Note on DBS check
British Cycling are quite clear about when they require individuals to be DBS checked. They say it’s definitely not necessary within the context of youths joining club rides unless contact with youths exceeds once per week or four times in any month. I am happy to go ahead with normal people as mentors and just keep an eye on anyone who might be exceeding that base level of contact, at which point we can ask whether they’re happy to have a DBS check. I guess we should probably be up-front by saying that mentors won’t be required to have a DBS check unless their contact exceeds a certain amount, after which we can make an application through BC who will foot the bill. That way, if anyone’s uncomfortable about having a DBS check they can opt out from the start.

VCGH club 10 number 4

posted 15 Jul 2017, 09:16 by Lara Taylor

Great to see such a good turnout this morning for our 4th monthly club 10 TT this year (I like to think it's not just because it's Strava segment of the month!), and especially to see a record 8 women riding the event.

Conditions were dry and temperate, with a light wind on the southward leg.

First home was Jon Hughes in 23:12, followed by loggerheaders David Walters and Chris Mott - just 10 seconds between them in 24:43 and 24:53 respectively (that's a difference of just 0.2mph).

Great job to all the first-timers, PBers and those who've become instantly addicted (it happens!), and especially to the following volunteers who make the event possible:

Push-offer: Matt Hurst
Start timekeeper: Adrian Waddy
Marshals: James Evans, Chris Parker, Sara Horner, Ali Siddall, Chris Eaton
Signage & finish timekeeper: Brian Waters
Results: Marco Burgin
Keeper of The Ultimate Flapjack Recipe: Sara Horner
Teas and HQ clear-up: Sara Horner, Ali Siddall, Matt Hurst

Full results are here.
Next event is Saturday 12th August. See you there!

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