Club Colours

Club Colours
Does a proper shirt make us real cyclists?

Bikes, Beer & Banter from The Old Sun

Bikes, Beer & Banter is what what Ampthill Cyclists is all about. Now in our 18th year, we are an informal club who ride purely for the craic. Ages (17-60+), fitness & commitment vary, but we share one thing in common- we love cycling (as well as the odd beer & a bit of banter) . We meet at The Old Sun, Ampthill on Thursday evenings from spring to late summer. Setting off at around 6.15, we ride between 20- 30 miles, stopping for a beer or two on the way back to the Old Sun for a couple more.

We're pretty much an autonomous collective- though we do have an elected (press ganged?) chairman.

New members are always welcome.

If you are looking for time trials and training we are not for you but if you enjoy Bikes, Beer & Banter come along on Thursday.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Waterloo Sunset- Village People Revival Tour 2011?

Tour 2011- London-Essex- Hertford- Home- Coming Soon
For more photos click on

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

They'll Always Have Paris

Following the mass ride to Addenbrookes and back earlier in the summer, Ampthill Cyclists have been involved in another, even more impressive, charity ride with new recruits Pauls 1&2 completing a grueling 300 mile ride from London to Paris. The ride was in aid of the very worthy Alzheimer's Society and donations can be made by following the link in Paul  Heerey's email to the Chairman below
Both Pauls can be seen looking tres chic in their newly acquired Ampthill shirts in the photo opposite.
Great effort chaps!

Subject: London to Paris Sponsored Bike Ride

Paul Hoare and myself completed our cycle to Paris on Sunday after four days, 305 miles and too many hills to count! On the whole, weather was good with not too much rain although the wind on the last couple of days was pretty bad.

Thought you might like to share with the guys the photographic evidence of our achievements and confirmation that the 'Old Sun' shirts made it all the way to the Eiffel Tower!

The ride was organised to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society and so far between us we've raised over £3,000. If anyone wants to add to this sum then they can still do so via the following link:

See you soon.


Paul & Paul

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

X- Rated

The X-men Commeth
With the summer rain coming down all morning and well into the afternoon, the number of potential riders was falling like Indian test wickets. One after another the pessimists in the crew decided there was no chance of it clearing up and decided to opt out of the evening ride. Even our own Iron Man, Everton, decided it was going to be too wet (possibly fear of rust?) and elected to go to the gym along with several other of our more sensible colleagues.
Everton has recently qualified as an X-Biking instructor and runs several classes a week at the local leisure centre. X-Biking is a cross between spinning, cross training and sadomasochism, especially when Ev's calling the shots, Those who have been joining in have certainly seen increased fitness levels in a very short period of time. We' re hoping Everton will be able to arrange weekly sessions for the whole club when our Thursday night rides finish in a few weeks time.

Anyway, back to the real cycling. By 4 o'clock we were down to about four definites and a couple of "maybes". It was still raining but the Ampthill weather centre still insisted it would stop at 18.00, there'd be a brief but heavy shower at 19.00 and then it would clear up. After a brief debate about deferring until 19.00, the optimists amongst us decided to throw caution to the wind and seven of us set-off into the gloom at our usual time.

Our optimism was somewhat tempered by the black clouds on the horizon and we chose a prudent route that would keep us reasonably close to home should we need to bail out at any time. Heading out to Tingrith via Steppingly, we began the slow grind up Long Lane to Toddington. At a touch under two miles, Long Lane is aptly named; about two thirds of it is up-hill and it has always been one of our bigger challenges. At least tonight it was cool, the wind was behind us and there were none of the fast boys to make we mere mortals feel inadequate. Even so, David Doors was very glad to complete his inaugural assent and can now well and truly claim to be an Ampthill Cyclist.

As we entered Toddington on the dot of 19.00 the heavens opened right on cue. Pulling over to don water proofs, some how we managed to lose Kieth and Greavsie. Most of us were convinced Mick had done his usual disappearing-off-the-front trick and as Kieth is one of the fastest descenders amongst us we thought he'd led the charge down hill into Milton Bryan. It was only when phones started ringing at he bottom of the hill and we picked up some fairly abusive messages that we realised we'd left them both at the top of Long Lane.
Milton Bryan is a somewhat genteel village and the locals clearly don't think much of being invaded by Lycra clad louts from the other side of Woburn Park. I think they thought we were casing the joint as we waited for Mick & Kieth and we got some very strange looks from passing traffic.
Fortunately the rain had stopped and after regrouping we headed on to Woburn, climbing through the deer park to Eversholt, Steppingly and back to the Albion and the Old Sun for some excellent beer and some not too bad banter.

Not the longest of rides, but well worth the effort and the soaking. One up for optimism.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Perfect Day?

Scenes of Southill
It wasn't quite like the song, the day wasn't really perfect but the end certainly was.
Weather was excellent, company was stimulating and as for the route...

A variation on an old favourite, we headed out to Maulden, up Limbersley lane and across to Ickwell via Old Warden before turning for home via Southill and Ireland . Picking up the newly surfaced cycle track along the A507 we cut through to Clophill and the Stone Jug.

The rolling landscape around Southill and Old Warden must be some of the nicest in Bedfordshire and with the evening sun reflecting off the ripening corn it was easy to imagine we were in far more exotic climes.

Having remarked earlier in the season on the novelty of being a group of more than 10, it now seems to be the norm; this week there were 12 of us. With the majority wearing club colours and, for once, managing to stick in something resembling a peleton, we cut an impressive dash across the Bedfordshire countryside, cruising at a steady 20 mph for much of the ride. 

Where's my bike?

This felt pretty good until we we joined the route of Bedford CC's weekly time trial on the edge of Old Warden- and realised  we couldn't keep up with the "real" cyclists.  Mick & Gary had a very good go- trying to catch an attractive female rider as she sped past the main group. I'm sure it wasn't the first time these two have been left as broken, breathless wrecks by a woman and it probably won't be the last.

The previous week the Stone Jug had been swamped by Morris Men and their groupies so we'd decided to ride on to the White Hart at Maulden. This felt very alien but it was quite nice to ride up Badger Hill without a pint of beer in each leg for once.
Don't Try This at Home!
I'm not sure what attracts grown men to dress up in brightly coloured silly clothes and travel around the pubs of England making lots of noise but the Morris Men probablyy think pretty much the same about us.
It was nice to see the Chairman in the pub, chauffeured by Madame Chair. He's recovering from a pretty nasty mountain bike accident that involved a face plant and and resulted in two broken fingers (See opposite). Although unable to ride for a month or so, he can at least still hold a beer glass and he's been able to type enough to send off the latest order for club kit. It's incredible how excited middle aged men can get about the buying of new clothes and we must have looked like a bunch of women at a Tupperware Party as we compared orders. It will be interesting to see how Mick copes with his new bib tights when he gets caught short on the way home from the pub.
Not for the first time, we decided the beer and the atmosphere in the Stone Jug was too good to leave so we had another pint before tackling the dreaded Badger Hill.
A very pleasant 24 miles in great countryside and great company.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Who Are You?

While it may be an exaggeration to say that Ampthill Cyclists have "gone viral", it's almost impossible to keep up with the rate the club's growing. Having seen hardly any new members for several years, it seems new faces are turning up on a weekly basis. And they seem to come back week after week.
At the last count 23 different riders had been out this season and the Chairman's considering introducing name tags. I'm not sure if this is so he remebers our names or his own!

The past month or so has seen routes taking in variously Salford via Cranfield & Marston, Pulloxhill via Campton, Clophill via Tingrith & Gravenhurst and Ridgmont via Eversholt, Woburn & Aspley Guise.

One epic ride went via Wilstead, Cotton End and Ickwell totalling some 32 miles. Some reports have this as a masterly piece of route planning while others suggest that nobody really knew where they were going and they just followed their noses. Any way, it was a bit of a shock for new recruit John Paul (JP). At 22 miles, the previous week's ride had been the furthest he'd ever ridden, nevertheless he managed the additonal 10 miles and keeps coming back for more.
By all accounts some serious re-hydration took place at the Stone Jug & Old Sun  that night and one or two members had to face some difficult conversations when they finally got home.

Like the rest of the group, the new riders are of mixed age and fitness, Paul 1 & Paul 2 are training for a charity ride to Paris, Keith ( not to be confused with our resident typo, Kieth) bought a bike, rode 70 miles for the British Heart Foundation and then decided he'd like to carry on;  Young Andy looks like he was born on a bike.
The overall pace has undoubtedly increased. One member commented on the distinct smell of testosterone at the front of the pack the other week as Everton and the newbies tested each other out. Somebody else remarked that the smell's always there but it's usually masked by the stench of bullshit!
Anyway, it's all making for an interesting and fun packed summer and bodes well for the end of season tour.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Our Finest Hour? 10th-12th June

Starting with our very own Ironman- Everton, completing a 100 mile trek around Ampthill in just over 24 hrs ("Why?" you may well ask) and finishing with a small but select team (Chedge,Blunty, Everton & Mick) winning the Amphtill Festival boules trophy, this must have been one of our most noteworthy weekends. Sandwiched between these two events 11 members plus two wives completed a gruelling charity ride to Addenbrookes Hospital and back to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation and The Sick Children's Trust (See Bethan's Bike Ride below).

In total, some 40 riders took part in this 80+ mile trip which took in a photo opportunity at Bedford hospital and finished the with a knees-up at Ampthill Rugby Club. Latest reports indicate that the total amount raised was approaching a magnificent £20,000. The club members involved were: -

Mr & Mrs Chairman, Mr & Mrs CP, (both couples riding in tandem), Loren, Mick, John, Gary, Burts Jnr & Snr, Clive, Mick & Mark, with back-up provided by Joe K-J.

This was a superb effort, thanks in no small part to Loren's organisation and cajoling.

We really aren't sure why Everton undertook his challenge and I'm not absolutely certain that he is either, but it's certainly provided a good conversation point. There's apparently no truth in the rumour that was locked out and spent the night wandering between Ampthill & Maulden looking for his key.

Equally silly but much less demanding was Le Bicyclette's retention of the Ampthill boules trophy in torrential rain. This was the third time in succession that a team from the club has won the competition. Unfortunately this year's turnout was hampered by the weather but at least it stayed dry for the two big challenges of the weekend.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Do You Come From a Land Down Under?

Having recently discovered a new tool that analyses traffic flow to this blog, it was intriguing to see that there have been nearly 3000 hits from Australia in the past year.

Now, I'm aware of at least three cyclists from the Ampthill area who have emigrated in the past few years but I can't imagine any of them is homesick enough to spend their time looking at posts about cycling in Bedfordshire when they could be out riding in the sun (or watching England whip their hosts on the cricket pitch.)

I don't know much about T'internet, but am advised by a mate who works in web advertising that search engines pick up on certain words in the text.

At the risk of being accused of applying racial stereotypes, I suppose Beer and Banter may stand out to the average Australian and there was mention of the Southern Cross hotel in one post but other than that, it's hard to see the attraction. If you do happen to be reading this on the other side of the world, drop us a line to say what attracted you in the first place. (Assuming this post has not alienated you forever!)

At least one can see some connection to Australia but as to last month's hits from Kazakhstan.... I did read Vinokourov was looking for anew team but I don't think he'd like playing domestic the Everton!