ON the first and third Sunday of every month there will be a Beginners' Ride starting at 2pm from outside the café in the Joseph Hood Memorial  Playing Fields, Marina Avenue, Motspur Park map here  Get there 10 minutes earlier if you want a bike checked. The intention is to use cycle tracks initially, and be back no later than 4 or 5pm. We often decide together where we are going to go, and have been to Kingston, to Hampton Court  and Abbey Mills. We'll stop for a snack at some point.

 Contact the organiser for further information, or just turn up. charles@barraball.com 020 8949 0708 or 07590 077445

 A note from the organiser…

 The  Wheels Turn

 I learned to ride on a  Matchless lady-frame cycle in Richmond, and with my little brother  would ride to Church at St Andrew's, Ham – or that was what Mum and Dad thought we were doing! Aged 11, I bought a Hercules 3-speed, from Harrods! Rather than catch the bus to school, I'd cycle, and pocket the bus fares. Once or twice I rode off without telling anyone, to the seaside, or distant relatives. At 18, I used to cycle up to Kingsway, in central London.

 In the 80s I rode an Orbit tourer from West Barnes Lane  to and from County Hall; more recently I used a folding Brompton, made in Kew, which meant not only freedom to pedal or go by train, but gave considerable time advantages. (From a vicarage in Shirley to my desk in London Bridge in 55 minutes is my best example.)

 It became a retirement “plan” to get more involved in cycling, and I joined the London Cycling Campaign and the Cyclists Touring Club in 2007.  When I could, I would go on the Beginners' Saturday afternoon rides that Sutton CTC run from the café in Nonsuch Park. The Merton Local Group of the  London Cycling Campaign gave me Cycle Training to level 3 of the National Standards. Oh, how I wish I'd had it 55 years ago!

 The Brompton proved itself time and time again, visiting Pam while she was at The Princess Alice Hospice at Esher for nine weeks in 2008. The CTC also run all-day Wednesday rides, and my girls, Kate and Emma, would look after Mum so I could go occasionally – the Brompton's back wheel had to be re-built after one lengthy tow-path adventure. (Thanks to Doris Jensen for putting me on to AW Cycles at Merton Parade.)

 Granting permission to order a yellow hand-built bike from Chas. Roberts of Croydon, sadly Pam  never saw it. Indeed, it took a while to arrive, and I had to buy a Carrera Subway 8 from Halfords  for the Stroke Associations' famous 14 bridges and 33 miles along the Thames cycle ride last May, in which I was joined by grandson Jack's step-father. When the Roberts came, I took it on a tour from Plymouth to Penzance, and helped marshal the ride from Wimbledon to Freewheel and back. This May it goes to France, then along Hadrian's Wall, then to Dieppe in June, with Jack.

 The pleasure I get from cycling has meant that I grew to dislike being shut in a tin box, even when feet were frozen. The extravagant Lexus had to go, and I can enjoy being able to speak to people on our roads and paths – and the feeling of the breeze.

 So having been given so much enrichment  through cycling I thought it would be good to get some going, locally. To better prepare, I've trained, and am on the National Register as an Accredited Cycling Instructor.   Part of the prompting came via a local church, Holy Cross, Douglas Avenue, and they obtained  a CRB check for me, as did pedal4health,  a cycle training provider .

 Charles Barraball, May 2009, revised June 2010

Charles Barraball
Accredited Cycling Instructor
The Cyclists' Touring Club http://www.ctc.org.uk/ http://midweekwayfarers.blogspot.com/
The London Cycling Campaign http://www.lcc.org.uk/
287 West Barnes Lane, New Malden Surrey KT3 6JE
020 8949 0708 land / 075 9 00 77 44 5 mobile