Origami Phoenix Ride

13th July 2002

Sorry - no pictures yet - I hope to add some later - web space permitting!

Although the Origami Ride usually takes place at Meriden, we do occasionally have 'away' rides, and this year, as in the past three years, we have had a ride at Cheltenham Spa, organised by Dick Hanson. Last year my ride was abbreviated as, after a puncture, I swapped bikes, and after I had fixed the puncture, I failed to re-establish contact with the main group. Would things go better this year?

A good weather forecast turned out to be correct, and the weather was superb on the morning of 13th July. My Birdy Red was due to have its first outing on Schwalbe Stelvio tyres, and so I decided to ride 'all the way (only 10Km!) in to Birmingham New Street station, rather than catch a local train - a decision also influenced by the fact that there were engineering works scheduled further down the line, and I wanted to avoid any possible disruption that this might cause. The ride to New Street was uneventful, and there I joined Susan Barlow and Paul Evans for the train journey to Cheltenham.

Although the train was running about 10 minutes late, this was not a problem, as we had deliberately arranged to get there an hour early. On arrival we were able to make our way to a French café, which Susan recommended on the basis of a previous visit, and there we partook of refreshments, before returning to the station to meet the other riders. 

By 11:00am a good collection of riders were waiting for the off - 18 in all. Bikes were as varied as usual, mainly Bromptons, Birdys and Moultons, but also 2 Micros, an SP, and even a conventional tourer. We set off at the usual gentle pace along generally quiet minor roads, though we did do a short distance along an unsurfaced track, which my new narrow high pressure tyres found no problem at all.

Our lunch stop was to be near Greet, where a steam railway runs. The ride was generally pretty flat, but unfortunately about half way to the lunch stop Rosemary Hadland's 5-speed Sturmey-Archer hub gear started to slip, and an attempt to eliminate this culminated in the connector between the toggle chain and the cable shearing, leaving the bike with only top gear. After some discussion, a redistribution of bikes took place, Rosemary taking my Birdy, while I took over the injured Micro - bringing back memories for me of the problems last year! This did at least introduce a degree of symmetry to the ride, as leader Dick Hanson was on the other Micro at the front, and, as I was sweeping, we now had the second Micro at the other end of the group. Actually, with only top gear, I need a bit of a run at the slopes we encountered, so I did have to move up the order occasionally, and then wait at the top.

Our lunch stop was at the Harvest Home in Greet, which turned out to have a viewing space at the bottom of the garden overlooking the railway, so that those wishing to see the trains were able to do so from there, and did not need to make a trip back to the station.

After this very pleasant break for lunch, we made our leisurely way back into Cheltenham, where Dick and Hazel Hanson very kindly provided cream teas for us, before we made our way back to the station for our return journeys. Our train back to Birmingham was again 10 minutes late, but otherwise the rail trip was uneventful.

As in previous years the Cheltenham Origami Ride was a great success, enjoyed by everyone (though I don't think Rosemary was at all comfortable on the narrow Flite Titanium saddle of my Birdy!).

Many thanks to Dick and Hazel Hanson for arranging such an excellent ride.

Copyright (C)2002 Ferrets Anonymous
URL: http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/origami/200207.html
Last updated: 23 July 2002