Wakefield District Cycle Forum - promoting and campaigning for cyclists
Wakefield District Cycle Forum
Wakefield District Cycle Forum
Promoting and Campaigning for Cyclists

WDCF Newsletter December 2020

Edition No.51

In This Edition

Lockdown 2 Plus

Christmas past

Rides Review

25 Miles for 70 years

Working Party and other efforts

John Harvey memorial plea


Lockdown 2 Plus

The positive introduction to the last newsletter may have been somewhat premature.  We have come out of Lockdown 2 into Tier 3 restrictions, high winds, rain and now a smattering of snow.  The Forum’s rides to the end of the year, including our two Christmas rides, have been cancelled. Our Guided Rides and Events 2020 leaflets have been shredded but you can still get out on your bike for exercise and essential shopping.  Two loaves of bread or a packet of cereal will fit in a pannier but it will take more than one trip to stock up your wine cellar.

We have agreed with Wakefield MDC to lead a minimum of 50 guided rides in 2021 and four bike doctor sessions.

Details of all rides and bike doctor sessions will appear on our Facebook page. In all cases, booking is essential on info@cycling-wakefield.org.uk.  If a ride looks particularly popular, we may be able to call on additional ride leaders to enable a second ride to set off from the same point at an appropriately socially distanced interval if that is what next year’s rides require. 

Christmas Past

As this year’s Christmas rides have had to be cancelled, why not enter into the Christmas spirit nevertheless, by dressing up in a festive manner, decorating you bike and just going out for a ride.  To inspire you, here is a photo from last year’s outing at Nostell, with the Christmas tree decorated by WDCF in the middle.

You could even choose to go out when the weather is good.  Not like this intrepid bunch in 2019, who braved rain, sleet and high winds just to bring some Christmas cheer to Castleford.  By the end of the ride, it was red noses all round, not just on Rudolph.

Rides Review

We did manage to fit in some rides before the shutters came down again. The government restrictions meant that the easy ride to Fairburn on the 10th October was split into two groups.  This one on the right doesn’t have a tandem in it!  It was a lovely crisp morning with beautiful autumn colours and the rain didn’t start until after we got back to Castleford.

The second team diverted on their return journey for a brief fungus foray.  Only photos were taken so all, including the toadstools, survived intact.  Award yourself five points if you can identify the mycologist. Their name will be revealed in the next edition if enough people ask for it!

25 Miles for 70 Years

Barbara Phipps posted a request for sponsorship on WDCF’s Facebook page.  To celebrate her 70th birthday, she was proposing to undertake a 25 mile cycle ride in aid of Children in Need, aiming to raise £500. 

The route was based on the Wonders of Wakefield circuit, with some additions/ diversions to suit the proposed mileage and to meet her support party/gang /family.

Our offer of company was accepted and the tandeming twosome duly turned up to meet Barbara at the New Inn in Walton on the 30th October in good time for a 9 am start.

It was showery at times, with sunny intervals and small autumn gales.  Barbara’s Children in Need t-shirt mean we got smiles and cheerful waves along the route.  We encountered a cycle group from outside the area in the woods.  We explained our motivation for what was by then a muddy ride and, duly impressed, they kindly donated £20 from what was probably their beer money towards the cause.

After a photo stop at Nostell, we got back to the New Inn marginally later than planned, to learn that Barbara had reached her target.  It was a satisfying day all round.

Working Party and other efforts

Correspondence continues with WMDC concerning the Haw Park Wood access barriers, or rather the barriers to access. The council seems more concerned about the need to keep out troublesome, if rarely seen, motorcyclists than permitting easy access for cyclists on recumbent cycles, tandems, those with children on tagalongs, on tricycles or wheelchair users.  Writing only from a personal point of view, I would suspect that the more users of this type there are on cycle paths, the less attractive they become to budding scrambles riders.

WDCF had joined with Agbrigg and Bellevue Community Association to press for the provision of a shared use footway/cycleway from Oakenshaw Lane Walton to Montague Street Agbrigg along a section of the disused Barnsley canal.   The route is in a very strategically important area for Agbrigg in the development of cycling, with the flood alleviation scheme at the top of Montague Street offering a great beginners circuit.  The Community Centre nearby is a good spot to store bikes and host training sessions.  The proposed route is an area that needs safer cycling as the Neil Fox Way development has turned it into even more of a traffic cut-through.

A safety audit carried out by Leeds City Council Development Department raised some concerns which we believe we have been able to answer.  If some of the objections made were accepted, many of the cycle routes in the centre of Leeds and York would be threatened.

The pictures illustrate the before and after effects of some pruning and clearance by a WDCF working party, socially distanced at all times. If you would like to be involved in future working parties, which usually happen on Tuesday mornings, do email your details to info@cycling-wakefield.org.uk .  A man with a van or a woman with a trailer would be very useful, but we welcome all volunteers.

John Harvey

WDCF would like to provide a bench as a memorial to John Harvey, a very popular and likeable man and a keen and enthusiastic member of the forum, who died too soon on the 23rd October 2017.

John was a gentleman: polite, honest, reliable, hard-working and always willing to help. He joined the forum in April 2012 and over the next five and a half years completed nearly 350 rides with us.  He didn’t just ride, however. John’s enthusiasm, willingness, persistence and hard work were unprecedented and his dedication to Wakefield District Cycle Forum was without equal. Ride leader, workday manager, logistics manager for our village events and odd-job-man, he never refused to help with any task the forum asked of him. And all done with a smile and often a wee bit of mischief.

Organisations like the Wakefield District Cycle Forum are built on individuals who give of their time and talents freely and unconditionally and we are lucky to have so many in our midst. John was a shining example: assisting or leading rides, bicycle repair man, encouraging new members, organising and leading workdays, transport manager- there weren’t many areas where he wasn’t involved. He loved helping people and all was done with a smile in that quietly calm and endearing manner.

There is not a corner of WDCF activity that John did not influence, but his contribution to our workgroup activities has proved to be irreplaceable.  When he died, cycling around our area, every filled-in pothole, every signpost, every newly surfaced stretch of cycle path and every reinforced canal towpath had his name written on it.  We try to carry on the work of improving and repairing the cycle infrastructure through our workgroup but, without John’s storage, transport, technical expertise, direction and organisation, it has proved a struggle.

The proposed bench would be more comfortable than that shown alongside, supporting John, our present chairman David Leigh, who met John on his first ride with us and spoke movingly at his funeral, and member Warren Miller.  We are hoping to site it next to the river Calder, in a spot easily accessible by bike, where riders can enjoy a flask of coffee or a swig from their water bottle and a few moments of quiet contemplation, or swap stories of past adventures. 

If you would like to make a contribution towards the cost of the memorial bench- perhaps you weren’t able to send flowers to the funeral-then we are proposing to open a Go Fund Me page for the purpose.  The address will appear on our Facebook page and will be emailed to members.

Stop Press

The first ride of 2021 will be a Steady Plus road ride from Darrington, starting at the Darrington Hotel car park at 10 am on Saturday 2nd January.  Alastair Wilson will be leading the ride, with David Leigh backmarking. 

This is not a ride for novices and places will be very limited in light of Covid19 restrictions.  For those who do book via info@cycling-wakefield.org.uk, it will be an ideal opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and work off some of the Christmas calories

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