Active Travel Tales – Come Dine With Eric

With some lovely weather this week, our riders have been out putting Stockton’s cafés under pressure with bumper orders!

‘Easy Riders’ leader, Eric, shared his ‘Come Dine With Me’ style story following Thursday’s ride which took in the Newtown Community Resource Centre.

The tale begins with Eric entering the café – eager as a dog with a bone – to order his coffee. Fortunately, the walking group already sat in the café, opportunely finished their drinks and departed allowing the Easy Riders to converge on the counter on mass. A small snag in the café hit and run/cycle plan, was that the café’s boiler was out of action. This meant that a kettle was the sole source of all beverages but could only produce enough for 3 cups of coffee at a time. Orders came and went and Davey got in ahead of Eric’s order and so did everyone until poor Eric was last to be served! Is this how we treat our Ride Leaders! Eric had to resort to pouring cold water into his finally produced coffee so that he could finish it quickly and resume the ride!

I won’t share Eric’s rating for his coffee because we don’t want it to reflect on the community centre and because Davey is to blame! Let us know how you all rated the ride. Thank you to the Newtown Community Resource Centre for accommodating all the riders.

In other news, we had new riders across all of the rides and new members joining the bike parking at the Hub, so an all-round positive week for cycling! This Sunday sees the first weekend Hub ride of the year. The ride circles Teesside Airport covering 19.5 miles leaving the Hub at 10:30am. Please get in touch if you want to come along, we’d be glad to have you!

The Hub

 

Meet The Volunteers – Ian.

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This is the first of a number of interviews and conversations with our prized volunteers and participants from the Hub. The idea is to give people thinking about volunteering or joining our activities a feel of what it means to be: a member of the Hub, a cyclist, a walker, a volunteer.

As anybody who knows Ian would expect, this ‘interview’ consisted of a number of questions but in the course of the conversation that ensued, only three formal questions were asked! I have structured Ian’s thoughts and insights under headers as well as the questions we got round to answering.

 

Opening Question: Which one feature of cycling has had the biggest impact on your life?

Ian: “The most recent impact I’ve received from cycling was in my recovery from surgery. I had cancer of my kidney and had to have an operation to remove it. Because I was a cyclist I was fit and healthy and my anaesthetist guaranteed me I would be out in 3 days. Sure enough I was!”

Now the conversation followed the switchbacks in Ian’s train of thought:

“I don’t really like walking much but cycling is great and keeps you fit, although I don’t do it to keep fit. The solo side to cycling is my favourite part of it. Going out on your own is always an adventure and it clears your mind and is just great! To go through the countryside faster than walking but slower than a car is the right speed. You can see so much more. And I love the simplicity of it.”

His enjoyment for bike simplicity includes bike mechanics. Ian has cycled in on a beautiful old style racer – I wish I could remember the exact name of it – full of enthusiasm for the mechanics of it and the paraffin lamp attachments (really cool!). Alongside loving to ride bikes, he loves engineering and mechanics and recently built a bike for £18! That was the outcome of his personal ‘perfectly cheap project’ as he puts it. That and the bikes he’s owned for thirty years (with no sign of age) are the proof that cycling doesn’t have to be expensive and any investments that you do make can go a long way. His most expensive bike costs less than the exhaust system in his motorbike!

 

Question Two: The Hub couldn’t survive without volunteers. Why do you give up your time to it?

“Because I’m sad! Well me and Caz have been members of the Hub from the beginning and I started volunteering after I had my knee done and I was out of work. It’s just to put something back because I love Stockton.”

On the subject of inclusivity:

“I also love the inclusivity of cycling and volunteering for the Hub supports that. When you ride a bike nobody knows who you are or what you do and everyone becomes the same – apart from the bike snobs. It breaks barriers because you are no longer dressed in a suit or your workmans clothes and we have all sorts of people coming together and enjoying cycling together.”

“On that point I don’t understand why people worry about joining a cycle group and holding people up. People don’t worry about that on a park run so why worry about it cycling.”

“I used to enjoy organising rides fortnightly for people at my workplace going out to Ripley. A lot of people there didn’t have much interest in things but we did the rides for a good while and it was great. That’s what I like doing too – getting people into cycling.”

Some swear words have been removed from the dialogue.

Many thanks to Ian for complying with my questions. If anybody fancies taking the hot seat over the next two weeks please get in touch.

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Away Day Walk – Helmsley.

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Friday 17th March 2017

The popular Away Day Walks continue with this months offering, a walk around the beautiful village of Helmsley.

The route is a circular walk of 2.9 miles that leaves Helmsley for a walk through the woods, before returning over the fields and beside a stream.

Helmsley has some wonderful places to eat and have a coffee and you will have a full two hours to wander around after the walk to experience these.

The coaches for this trip will leave Ragworth Neighbourhood Centre at 9.30am and arrive back at approx. 3.30pm.

Tickets for this trip are £6 for members and £8 for non-members. Non-members can book from Thursday 2nd of March.

Book your place for this wonderful trip to Helmsley call on 07528 326 094, and we’ll see you there!

The Show Must Go On

The arrival of Storm Doris caused a stir in the Hub on Thursday morning. Paul sat slumped in his chair analysing the weather report, face sullen at the thought of having to cancel the popular ride. Captain Colin was popping outside every 10 minutes with his windometer for a spot check because, “it just couldn’t be that bad”. Or at least, that’s how I imagined it. I was working the later shift that day so arrived to the news that, apart from an early finish time to avoid the forecasted downpours, the show would go on. An enjoyable and importantly, DRY ride, was had by all. It goes to show that prior planning prevents pee wet through cycling.

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The Easy Riders ride on Tuesday the 21st had a bumper attendance (23 riders) as demonstrated by the photo. So many riders turned up that we had to use the rear exit to start the ride. Thanks to all the volunteers and riders who were as steadfastly committed and diligent as ever this week, even in the face of Storm Doris’ angry gusts.

On a side note, if you read this blog regularly and think you have something interesting to share on it, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The Hub

 

Travel Tales – Green shoots

The sun showed her/his/its face this week and the rides were brimming with cyclists keen to absorb a few rays and see the green shoots of spring. The weather also brought some new faces down to The Hub in search of information about our activities schedule. A few followed through and joined our ride on Tuesday and here I quote one rider’s appraisal of it. “That was just what I needed. I’m a bit sore in a few places that I won’t care to mention but [the ride] was just what I was after”, from a rider who hadn’t been on his bike for roughly 40 years!


The phone lines were also showing signs of life (3 times on Friday) with members asking about our free bike MOT’s, courtesy of our maintenance volunteers. I thought it would be worth putting up this reminder that MOT’s are now on a Thursday (for bikes dropped off before 11:00am and picked up after 15:30pm).


All this activity coincided with a meeting of our cycle volunteers which was a chance to put our heads together and generate some new ideas for getting people involved with The Hub. Our mission is to help people feel safe and confident, walking or cycling and we aim to make this a reality for all levels of cyclists and walkers. With this in mind we wondered how many people had ever wanted to take on an active challenge such as The Butterwick Charity Ride or the Stockton Sportive but not known where to start with the training. If this sounds like you then come along to The Hub and we’ll find the right training schedule for you.
Other rides to aim for:
• Just starting out with The Hub’s very own Easy Riders or the level up, Pedal On – Tuesdays and Thursdays
• Stockton Duathlon – 3 grades for beginners to experienced – 23.04.17
• Stokesley Charity Ride – 14.05.17
• Stockton Sportive – 36 miles isn’t as hard as you might think! – 15.07.17

The Weekly Blog – Active Travel Tales

Hello to all of you who have taken the time to read this first Sustrans’ Hub Blog!

 

The idea of this blog is to share as much of the fun and exciting news and stories from the past week – from member’s first outings to rides with a historical twist! If someone’s shorts rip, you’ll find out here.

 

As the new Project Officer at the Hub, and new to the area, I imagine I had a similar experience to any other new member to The Hub. I was sent out on rides, on unfamiliar roads, with the ‘Easy Riders’ group overseen by captain commitment Colin, an experienced Sustrans Volunteer. I was also put through my paces by another Volunteer stalwart, Brian, to certify myself as Bikeability trained. In reality it was never anything to be nervous about, however, the friendly atmosphere provided by the ride members and volunteers put me at ease instantly. I even got offered half a Rock cake in the café! What a nice bunch! Although like any group of people, I’m sure they would show their dark side if their beloved coffee stop was bypassed. The stop at Costa (other coffee and café’s are available) in Ingleby Barwick was a chance for everyone in the group to chat (through a mouth full of chocolate) with those they’d not been riding beside on the cycle paths.

 

The route took in the edges of Preston Park and also an unlikely stop at a small green square in the middle of a housing estate. Time team style leader Eric (he’s a local history enthusiast!) had a trick up his sleeve. A wee history talk about the Roman villa that we were standing on! A nice showcase of how cycling can broaden your horizons and knowledge of things above and beyond your 2 wheels. If history is your thing, then look out for more rides from The Hub later this year which will take in the history of the area during WWII. We wound back to the Hub to complete a gently paced and enjoyable ride, upon which, the group socialites headed off for another coffee on foot!

I put my bike to rest for the week but enjoyed meeting the steady stream of cyclists from the various Hub rides throughout the week. If you want more information about joining our rides and becoming a member of one our great groups then please follow the Facebook and Twitter links or contact us on the given phone numbers.

Until next week,
Jacob

Welcome to Jacob, The Hub’s new Active Travel Project Officer.

2017-02-08-17-17-54Hello Hub members new and old,

I’m Jacob and I’ll be based at the Hub as your Project Officer, so please come and see me with your suggestions for the Hub, or if you have any problems that we can help you to resolve. I would describe myself as a hobby cyclist. I’ve not been known to race seriously but I can grit my teeth and race to the top of a hill if my cycle companions become competitive! On the other hand I equally enjoy a gentle spin around the country lanes with no goals in mind.

Aside from cycling I am a keen surfer. I’ve only been using that description for the past 6 months having finally decided I’ve reached a consistent enough standard, whereby I’m not an embarrassment surfing in a crowd. If anybody wants to introduce me to some lovely brown coloured waves locally then please get in touch.

More professionally I’m a keen advocate for sustainable and environmental solutions to 21st Century Society’s imbalances. I think all users of the great outdoors will agree that we need to do more to protect our natural spaces, in and out of urban areas, on land and off, and the best way to do that is to show and share with more people, the real value and enjoyment of these spaces.

So please come down and get involved!

 

Away Day Walk – Knaresborough.

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Friday 17th February.

This months Away Day is to the beautiful Yorkshire market town of Knaresborough. The walk will wend its way around a 2.75 mile route including a section beside the scenic River Nidd. We will then take a look at the remains of the medieval castle to finish with.

You will then have approx. 2 hours to yourself to wander around  the town and explore the sights and the shops.

The coaches for this trip will leave Ragworth Neighbourhood Centre at 9.30am and arrive back at approx. 3.30pm.

Tickets for this walk can be booked from Tuesday 31st January for The Friends of Stockton Health Walks, and Thursday 2nd February for all non-members.

So take a walk with us in Gods own county and enjoy the scenery!

Away Day Walk – Durham City.

Away Day Walk – Durham City.

 

 

Friday  20th January 2017.

Come with us for a walk by the River Wear and the majestic beauty of Durham City. It will be a 2.7 mile walk beside the river, generally on good paths (some sections may be a little muddy after wet weather).

After the walk you will have approx. 2 hours free time to explore the medieval splendour of Durham City, and the shops if that’s your style!

The coaches will leave Ragworth Neighbourhood Centre at 9:30am and will arrive back at approx. 3:30pm.

You can book your place, for non-members starting 5th January, by telephoning 0752 832 6094. Its that easy!

We look forward to seeing you!