Tandem Club - South East London - 2012 Events

All tandem riders (and bike riders interested in tandem riding) are welcome on any of our rides.
Participation in any of these events is entirely at the rider's own risk. The Tandem Club, its officers
or representatives can accept no responsibility for any accident, loss, injury or death however caused.
We aim to start all rides promptly at the published times.

Note: Please contact ride organizer before attending a ride.
January May Suffolk Camping Weekend July October
February May August November
March June September December

Sunday, 22nd January 2012


start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 25 miles
organized by: John & Sue
telephone: 020 8855 1693

Come and visit the wonderful English Heritage Art Deco Eltham Palace with us. If there are enough of us then we can obtain a 15% discount - please bring cash to give to John so that he can pay for everyone. Prices (before discount) are Adult £9.30, Child £5.60, Concession £8.40, Family £24.20.

Ride will start promptly at 10am from Eltham (please contact John for exact location). There are toilets and shelter at the cafe which opens at 8.30am. There's a playground for kids.

It will be a very short ride to allow enough time to look around Eltham Palace and gardens. Lunch will be in the Eltham Palace café (though pubs can probably be found in Eltham High Street if you wish).

Please contact John & Sue to notify them of your intention of joining us.

Despite Tricia’s best efforts on the publicity front, only 4 tandems and 1 solo met at Eltham Park for a short ride to Eltham Palace. Mild weather and a fairly flat course with a coffee stop at Greenwich park, made for an enjoyable ride. The art deco styled house built in 1933 was really interesting, contrasting with the Great hall it adjoined, dating from 1470.

Congratulations to Christopher who did the ride on his own bike.

Report by Evie and John Butcher

click here for pictures

Sunday, 26th February 2012

The Thames Marathon

start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 26 miles
organized by: Tom & Clare
telephone: 020 8860 0330

We intend to lead a ride I call "The Thames Marathon".
Distance 26 miles 385 yds. High point 10m above mean sea level; low point 0.5m above mean sea level; highest climb 7m over the cycle bridge above the A13; longest descent 7m down the other side.

Starting at the Thames Barrier (SE18 5NJ, nearest Station Charlton) where there is ample parking (£1.50 for a full day), we will head downstream to Firepower Cafe and have a coffee and bacon buttie while waiting for the Woolwich Ferry to begin.

After crossing the river we will continue downstream to London City Airport, then through Beckton Parks to the Greenway. Our lunch stop will be at View Tube overlooking the Olympic Park on the Greenway.

After a short stint on the Lea Valley Navigation and the Hertford Union Canal we will enter Victoria Park. From there we will follow the Regent's Canal to the Limehouse Basin. A short section of the Cycle Superhighway 3 will take us to the Thames and King Edward Memorial Park. From there we go around Shadwell Basin and along the Ornamental Canals to St Katherine Dock. Over Tower Bridge and along The Thames Path through Russia Dock, Surrey Docks City Farm - tea stop - The Old Royal Naval College - the O2 arena and back to the Thames Barrier.

Google map route (not the actual route through Greenwich)

On a glorious springlike day, 7 tandems set out from the Thames Barrier, and a couple of solos, for the Thames Marathon. We were joined by Stephen and Katherine just before they set out on a long distance ride from New Zealand back to the UK!
Despite claiming to be open from 10.30am, the Firepower Café was closed at 10.45, so we decided to cross the Thames via the Woolwich Foot Tunnel which has recently undergone a £11.5 million refurbishment. There was little evidence of what Greenwich Council have spent taxpayers' money on, and the new 24 hour lifts were firmly closed so we had to carry our bikes down the steps.
After crossing the river we continued downstream to London City Airport, then through the Beckton Parks to the Greenway. Our lunch stop was at View Tube overlooking the Olympic Park.
After a short stint on the Lea Valley Navigation and the Hertford Union Canal we entered Victoria Park. From there we followed the Regent's Canal to the Limehouse Basin. A short section of the Cycle Superhighway 3 took us to the Thames and King Edward Memorial Park. From there we went around Shadwell Basin and along the Ornamental Canals to St Katherine Dock. Over Tower Bridge and along The Thames Path to Surrey Docks City Farm where we had an excellent tea stop. Refreshed we continued to The Old Royal Naval College - the O2 arena and back to the Thames Barrier.
My GPS made the distance 26 miles and 365 yards, 20 yards short of a marathon, so we cycled once around the car park to make up the missing distance.
STATS: Distance 26 miles 385 yds. High point 10m above mean sea level; low point 30m below mean sea level; longest descent 19m vertical descent carrying tandems down the spiral stairwell of the Woolwich Foot Tunnel; highest climb 19m vertical ascent up the other side!

Report by Tom

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Sunday, 25th March 2012

Kemsing, Kent
Note: British Summer Time begins today. Time Springs forward one hour.

start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 35 miles
organized by: Murray & Angela
telephone: 01322 294984

We will be starting in Kemsing, Kent, where there are toilets, and the ride will all be on roads on the north west corner of OS Map 188. The ride will be hilly and 35 to 40 miles. Contact the ride leaders for the exact start location.

It was a bit misty and cold to start with but it soon brightened up. The coffee stop at Bough Beech Reservoir was excellent – volunteers were catching and ringing / checking birds and showing them to people really close-up which was very interesting. The Papermakers Arms at Plaxtol was a good choice as the pub was very welcoming and served excellent food.
We did veer off Murray and Angela's planned route in the afternoon – we thought the ride might be a bit short so, as it was nice weather and the daylight hours were longer, we detoured through Offham and Trottiscliffe. We even persuaded Jake to go up Vigo Hill whilst we took the Pilgrims' Way route along the bottom to Wrotham and he still beat us all! With that extra bit added on it made 38 miles and we were back by about 4:00pm which was fine.
Unfortunately the ride leaders were unable to be with us due to illness, but 5 tandems and 2 solos had an excellent time.

Report by Caroline Hobbs and Liz Gates

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Saturday, 5th May to Monday, 7th May 2012

Suffolk Camping Weekend
Nayland, Suffolk
start time: probably 09:30 but will be agreed by attendees at the time
approx. ride distances: 30-50 miles
organized by: Alan & Wendy
telephone: home: 01621 818060

Back to basics camping weekend.
Please contact Alan and Wendy by email ASAP if you'd like to join us for this weekend.

Wendy & Alan inspected our booked campsite by the River Stour at Rushbanks Farm on Thursday 26th April and pronounced it fine for camping over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend. The unceasing rainfall and their own flooded garden not far away in Essex made them go and have another look on Sunday 29th April and they found a very changed picture: the River Stour had taken over the campsite which was under 3 inches of water; there would be no camping there that weekend. After many e-mails and phone calls trying to find alternative venues and actually deciding the tandem weekend would have to be called off, Liz & Ken came up trumps by finding a new campsite with dry ground at the top of a hill in Assington, Suffolk. The jovial farmer had 26 units in his rally field and we filled up his 5-van field, so he had good reason to be happy!

On Friday evening 4 vans were in position on a nice dry field and it wasn't raining! Leon (7) and Enay (4) enjoyed running around and checking out the small-holding animals - 2 Dexter cows, Twinkle and Starburst; 3 rheas, Rihanna and Sheryl were the girls; a goat; a brown turkey; 3 white geese. Liz & Mark rang to say that their car's alternator had failed but they'd got it into a garage and there was a chance it might be fixed tomorrow. After tea, chat and supper several of us walked to the village pub and on our return Cliff & Pauline had pitched their tent and were asleep.

Saturday was cloudy with a cool wind but stayed dry. At 9.15am Wendy & Alan arrived in our field on their tandem to rally everyone for a 9.30am start. It was a good turnout with 2 couples from Tiptree and 1 couple from Colchester arriving by car and Phil & Verna cycled up from their B&B in Nayland, making 8 tandems and 1 solo. Alan & Wendy led them off to the Dutch Nursery garden centre at Coggeshall for a coffee stop then on to Tom's Farm Shop near Tiptree for lunch, finishing with tea at Stanway Garden Centre. 54 miles ridden for the main group. Dave, Leon (on kiddicranks) & Enay (in childseat) and Lana on her solo rode 30 miles which was the furthest they'd done as a family.

Phone calls and texts had been exchanged during the day about the Noble's car and they were left in no doubt that, as it had been fixed, they would be considered "lightweights" if they didn't get themselves up to Assington - so they arrived at 5.30pm, got their tent up and sorted out and had tea in Tricia's van. Unfortunately Jake had given up on the car being ready and taken himself off to his Nan's, leaving Tricia "captain-less". That evening 17 of us enjoyed a good meal at The Lion in Leavenheath.

click here for Saturday's pictures

Sunday was dull and drizzle turned to more persistent rain. 10 tandems and 2 solos reported for the 9am start: David, Caroline & Christopher drove up from Redhill for the day. Lana and the boys had done enough riding on Saturday so Dave M captained Tricia's Cannondale to lunch. Coffee stop was at Buckley's Tea Rooms in Hedingham Castle where we spotted 2 rotund medieval monks and found out there was a Re-enactment Day going on at Hedingham Castle Keep. Lana was informed and drove there with the boys. The main group of riders went on to Finchingfield where we split up for lunch. Dave & Tricia were collected by Lana and returned to Hedingham Castle in time to see the end of a battle and some owl and vulture flying. The main group went on to Specialities Tea Rooms at Stisted for tea and cake: they arrived back at the campsite in 2 groups as Cliff & Pauline had a puncture - it didn't help that Cliff missed the hole when he put the patch on the inner tube! 53 miles ridden. Liz & Mark packed up and drove back home so Liz could be at work on Monday.

click here for Sunday's pictures

Monday was sunny and warm to start with so it was a shame that only 5 tandems set out. They rode to Hall Farm Cafe at Stratford St Mary where gigantic cakes and scones were enjoyed, then on to Fillpots Nursery at Boxted for lunch where they were joined by Les & Gill trying out their tandem trike, then back for tea at our campsite cafe, having ridden 36 miles.

click here for Monday's pictures

Congratulations and thanks to Wendy & Alan for soldiering on despite the weather's and "other forces'" best efforts to spoil our planned weekend. Next year we're planning to go over to the other side of the country to Pewsey, Wiltshire.

Report by Tricia Anderson-Frost

Sunday, 27th May 2012

West Wickham, Kent
start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 35 miles
organized by: Tricia
telephone:020 8325 8445 / 07753613180

Drink and cake will be available before the ride.

The good weather held for us and was even too hot for some. Nine teams gathered for refreshments before the ride and apparently we caused a bit of a stir in my cul-de-sac when we all streamed off together at the start of the ride. We used mostly quiet shady lanes to get us up onto the top of the North Downs with not too many serious hills. A brief drink and chat stop (& also disrobing by Mark!) at the old Spinning Wheel Hawley's Corner) allowed people to catch their breaths and to kill a bit of time before an early lunch stop at Polhill Garden Centre at Badger's Mount. It was lovely to be able to sit outside eating our lunch in the sunshine. So much there to see and buy so it was just as well we didn't have much carrying capacity on the tandems! We whizzed down Polhill and had a lovely run west along Pilgrim's Way, getting in-between a sportive ride which was taking place, but then had to pay the price with the very long drag back up Clark's Lane to Botley Hill. A large portion of Limpsfield Road had been just re-tarmaced and it was a shame that all the cars didn't keep to the requested 20mph. Refreshments were taken at Knight's Chelsham Garden Centre sitting out under umbrellas in their patio area which we just about filled. From there it was more little lanes and mainly downhill back to my house for yet more refreshments and Caroline's yummy date, walnut & apricot teabread, with entertainment being provided by Christopher, Mark & Jake (& maybe others that I missed) racing on the Wattbike in the dining room - I think Jake won - well done my fit and able captain!

Report by Tricia Anderson-Frost

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Sunday, 24th June 2012

Wrotham, Kent
start time: 9:15 for 9:30
approx. ride distance: 40+ miles
organized by: Dave & Bev
telephone: 01375 672553

Morning tea will be at Shoreham Station tea rooms, lunch at Plaxtol, and afternoon tea at Manor Park country park. Dave and Bev need to give the pub numbers so please contact them by Thursday 21st.

Under dark clouds and on wet roads 6 tandems gathered at the start in Wrotham. We welcomed a new tandem pair Timothy and young Oliver (6 nearly 7!) whilst we waited for the seventh tandem to arrive. Tish and Andy arrived all of a fluster whilst we were deciding on the appropriate attire for the ride.
Seven tandems set off at a brisk pace warming up in anticipation of the hills to come. After our first climb of the day Tish and Andy had a slight mechanical problem that was quickly solved to allow us to continue. After a few ups and downs we had a long descent to Shoreham Station Tea Rooms for elevenses.
After all cramming into the tea room we set off at a leisurely pace into the stiff breeze making our way through Otford towards Kemsing turning right before Kemsing to head for Seal. Once across the A25 we headed up towards One Tree Hill. Before the summit we took a left turn and headed for our lunch stop passing through Stone Street, Ivy Hatch to Plaxtol.
We were made most welcome in the Papermakers Arms for our lunch. After lunch was complete we decided on the shorter of the two planned routes on offer where upon Tish and Andy said farewell to make their own way back to Wrotham. Rain stopped play for about twenty minutes before we could all set off.
The leaders took a wrong turn that would have led us on the long route and we ended up in Dunks Green. After a quick look at the map a left turn was called for which led us up a very steep climb followed by another left turn climbing even higher. This was followed by a long downhill section into Offham where we were spectators to Country Dancing on the village green. Before they asked us to join in we made a quick dash to our afternoon tea stop in Manor Park Country Park.
Whilst enjoying our refreshments down came another shower. It was then decided to take the shorter but hillier route back to Wrotham. Once the rain had ceased we set off on our last leg of the journey it was fairly easy to Trottiscliffe but then came the long climb up Pilgrims Way. With aching lungs and tired legs we made our way back to the start. Under now blue sky and sunshine we bade farewell to each each other having completed 38 miles.
Report by Dave & Bev

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Sunday, 22nd July 2012

start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 40 miles
organized by: Dave and Caroline
telephone: 01737 766649 / 07788 915455

Starting from Oxted we plan to head East along the Pilgrim's way for a while before turning South through Brasted for the climb up Toy's Hill. Morning coffee at Four Elms if they decide to open.
An undulating route via Cowden will take us to lunch in Dormansland.
Fully fuelled we head to Godstone for some more refreshment before climbing up the North Downs just so we get a good descent back to Oxted to the finish after around 38 miles of riding and 3,234 ft of climbing.

Three tandems and three solos left the leisure centre in Oxted. At last we had some glorious summer weather!

After making our way round the backs of Oxted and Limpsfield we cycled along the bottom of the North Downs, past Titsey and down into Brasted. As we climbed the long ascent to Brasted Chart, we were joined by a fourth tandem – although Tim and Oliver had not gone to the correct start point, they had managed to deduce our route and met up with us! After stopping to recover at the top, we rapidly descended to Four Elms where we stopped for coffee at the nursery. We were glad to meet Cliff and Pauline, who had recovered well from last week’s incident.

We pushed on past Hever Castle, through the pretty villages of Markbeech and Cowden. After the delightful little lane by the old forge and its hammer ponds, we emerged in Dormansland. We had a very good lunch at The Old House At Home pub – shame about the long wait for anything to appear. We stopped at Crowhurst church to admire the ancient yew tree – although we were rather sceptical that it was as old as 4000 years old! After struggling up Tilburstow Hill we were rewarded by stopping at the Godstone Green Tea Rooms.

At this point the group split into two. The energetic (or foolish?) couples climbed the North Downs, had a great view from the top, before rapidly descending to Barrow Green. Although the others had a flatter and shorter route, they had to contend with an off-road section. However it was the sandy surface which prevented them riding all the way, rather than the effects of the many recent downpours.

Report by Caroline

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Saturday, 28th to Sunday 29th July 2012

Olympic Road Race Camping Weekend Joint with Surrey and Sussex and Kent regions
start time: TBA
approx. ride distance: TBA
organized by: Liz & Ken
telephone: 01323 735620

We will camp at Horsley Camping and Caravan Club site which is inside the circuit and therefore access on the Event Day will be restricted. Early booking essential.

click here for report and pictures of Olympic Road Race Weekend
click here for report and pictures of Olympic Time Trial


No ride due to clash with National Rally in Kettering

Sunday, 23rd September 2012

Bough Beech Reservoir
start time: 09:15 for 9:30
approx. ride distance: 40 miles
organized by: Tim and Oliver
telephone: 020 8856 8738/07774 759382

coffee in Edenbridge, and lunch at High Rocks (20 miles) and back via tea at Penshurst. A bit hilly in parts.

11 of us met at Bough Beech under drizzly grey skies. Pauline & Cliff arrived just after the group photo, having cycled to the start down from Ide Hill. Adam and David joining the group for the first time on their first inaugural outing on their 'vintage' tandem. Caroline on solo with David and Christopher on their trusty Thorn. We took a quiet route to Edenbridge via Hever Road, How Green Lane and Five Fields Lane. Coffee stop was at Costa coffee (little other choice at this time on a Sunday morning) in the High Street, where we had an opportunity to dry out a little. Nick and Daphne said goodbye at this point, having joined us on their Pino Hase for the run to Edenbridge; Nick recovering from a wrist operation and the bike being given a trial. Both proved more than up to the task!
Fuelled by coffee and cake we set out towards Hever and on the long climb up Uckfield Lane to Markbeech. We got our breath back by the Kentish Horse (closed so no temptation) before heading south under the railway bridge at Cowden then along narrow and scenic Moat Lane and climbing up again up to the Fordcombe crossroads. Then, with the rain increasing, we pressed on to Langton Green and down the hill through the woods to run parallel to the railway to arrive at the High Rocks Inn almost exactly at 12.30. The rain began to increase as some of us sought a dry spot for our bike and somewhat bedraggled entered the inn and went downstairs to the pub. Here we meet Tricia and her friend Anne who had joined us for lunch. The helpful staff arranged the tables together for our group and we enjoyed a leisurely Sunday lunch. Whilst we could see the rain streaking down in the garden outside, we hadn’t expected it to follow us inside – but a large trickle, which developed into a flow of water, appeared down the wall right behind Anne. Christopher, accompanied by Oliver and David, sought to find the water’s source. The boys made many trips up and down the stairs and photographs were taken of the occasion.
We said goodbye to Tricia and Anne and set forth in heavy rain up through the private estate of Nevill Park and, as the rain eased off, we continued on a lumpy ride though gravelly and, on occasion, flooded roads towards Speldhurst and Bidborough. Then taking the B road towards Leigh only to divert off to the cycle path to Penshurst.
As the rain increased again we pulled up at the Fir Tree Tea Rooms in Penshurst where we parked up in the garage and were welcomed inside by the tandem owning owner. After a little musical chairs the whole group settled down on one table and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and service.
All done and with the sky noticeably darker than before, we splashed and bumped our way over the bridleway towards Weller's Town and then via Chiddingstone back to the start.
All in all about 36 miles and 3,200ft of ups and the same number of downs. Many thanks to all who joined us on what was our first attempt at leading a ride.

Report by Tim Deal

click here for pictures

Sunday, 28th October 2012

Dartford, Kent
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 38 miles
organized by: Murray &Angela
telephone: 01322 294984 or 07889031310

Starting in Dartford, with coffee at Speedgate Stables and lunch at The Papermaker's Arms, Plaxtol, we will return to the leaders' house for tea and cakes. The route is testing and undulating, but many of the roads deliver spectacular views across Kent. Anyone wishing to arrive early is welcome to come in for tea and coffee. Please contact the leaders' for exact details of the start.

The BBC Weather Forecast for today was not a good one. Today was one of those days when you are glad that they are not always right!

We decided to run the club ride straight from our house, 12 members were down to ride, then a club mate from CC Bexley arrived on his time trial bike and joined in with the fun. Dave, of Bev and Dave, was riding over from Essex, taking full advantage of free passage across the Thames at the QEII Bridge. Unfortunately a troubled soul chose this morning to consider ending it all with a leap from the top of the bridge, Dave was therefore trapped in Essex as the bridge was closed and the ride was about to start. (Just as well actually because I don't think a thirteenth person would have fitted in our kitchen!). Thankfully the jumper was talked down so Dave, once across the river, rode to our house then followed the Garmin route I had previously sent him, we therefore were all united at Speedgate Stables Cafe.

From Speedgate we rode past Brands Hatch, where helmeted, flameproof-clad gladiators, were locked in battle, and rode along part of the Paralympic road race course. A long ride up the peaceful Knatts Valley was followed by a stiff climb out of the valley at the Woodlands Manor Golf Club. A short run undulating along the Pilgrims Way was followed by a swoop down through Kemsing and on to Seal. A constant climb up past the Wilderness Golf Course eventally lead to our lunch stop at the Papermakers Arms in the beautiful village of Plaxtol.

Following a superb lunch we rode up over the Grey Ladies, a collection of six oast houses with grey conical roofs, at Crouch, then dropped down through Basted before climbing out of this pretty little hollow with a sharp and punishing climb. We passed through Ightham and on to the escarpment of the North Downs, once more on the Pilgrims Way. We turned up the hill at the estate's Gamekeeper's cottage, rising up the Downs on Old Terry's Lodge Hill - an unforgiving climb of varying gradients, mounting the hill in four or five steps.

A long run down the Fawkham Valley lead to Longfield where Dave bade a fond farewell and rode back to the Dartford River Crossing for a slightly less eventful return home. The rest of us had a few more undulations to come, with a pass over Rabbits Farm and a run along the Roman Villa Road. One final climb up through Hawley and we were back home for tea and cakes, baked for us by Fran, the owner of the sadly missed Station Tea Rooms at Shoreham.

Thank you all for coming, and also for making our friend Andrew so welcome.

Report by Murray and Angela

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Sunday, 25th November 2012

Winter Warmer from Reigate
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 30 miles
organized by: Mark & Maggs
telephone: 0208 643 5813 or 07789 908312

No big hills!

Late in the season, and the middle of a spell of poor weather, so a limited turn-out was to be expected. In the event those of us who rode - three tandems and Caroline on the half bike - enjoyed a sparkling morning and a short shower after lunch. Pretty good.

It was chilly at Dorking Halls as we set off, heading South, but the small hill on the Horsham Road, followed by Spook Hill warmed us up nicely for a sunny cruise through Leigh to Norwood Hill. All warm enough by the top - Cliff took his jacket off - then rolling through Charlwood to the Jail House Cafe, which is a converted bus.

Popular with youthful road-racers (it does a mean bacon sandwich), this was a novelty to the Tandem Club and we enjoyed pleasant elevenses watching the planes take off at Gatwick. The view from the bus is excellent, and they will loan you a pair of binoculars to make the best of it.

Southwest into the wind, heading for Rusper. The roads were wet here, with a small flood near Lambs Green. Passing the Star Inn we headed North East and, with the wind behind us we flew to the Dolphin, Betchworth for our lunch.

A nice pub with pleasant (but slow) service, and a shower as we left. The obvious solution would have been to stay in the pub a bit longer, but, there you are, hindsight is a wonderful thing. A short excursion to Wonham Hall to see the deer, which, obligingly, were sitting by the gate as we arrived. By the time Pauline got her camera out they were moving steadily away, but at least we all saw them.

Up Sandy Lane, through Brockham to Punchbowl Lane, where a last couple of little hills took us to the Dorking Road. Cyclepath back to the Dorking Halls and tea and Eccles cakes to round off the day.

30.85 miles at a rolling average of 11.9 mph.

Report by Mark Gladwyn

click here for pictures

Sunday, 16th December 2012

South East England Joint 3 Region Christmas Ride and Lunch
ride start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance:
organized by: Tricia Anderson-Frost
telephone: 020 8325 8445

Our Christmas lunch will be a joint affair with Kent and Surrey & Sussex Regions. Lunch will be at Birchwood Park Golf Centre, Birchwood Road, Wilmington, Dartford, Kent DA2 7HJ at 1:30pm. This event must be pre-booked by Saturday 10th November 2012.

The meal will be preceeded by a short ride, starting at 9:45 for 10:00. The ride will be led by Murray and Angela (01322 294984). Don't forget to decorate your tandem!

click here for pictures

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