Geoff R

May 012018
ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester lancashire South Pennines TT racing Charlotte Boothman

Centreville’s Charlotte Boothman winning in style at the D10/1 Leigh Premier TT (photo credit Ellen Isherwood)

Centreville’s Charlotte Boothman has had a storming start to her spring TT campaign, with 5 wins out of 9 outings to date.

Charlotte  delivered Centreville’s first win of 2018 in her first race for the club, clocking a speedy 17.46 for first woman on a shortened 7.5 mile course at the NLTTA 10 on Saturday 10th of March.

On the 17th of March she clocked 35:13 for 4th female at the West Penine SPOCO on L142, which was won by pro Amy Gornall (Secret Training CC) .

At the Border City Wheelers SPOCO 20 mile TT on L202 on the 25th March Charlotte rode to second female with 56:57 to winner Claire Swoboda’s 55.58 .

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester Rochdale Heywood Littleborough TT women racer

Charlotte winning at the Kent Valley Wild Boar Fell SPOCO (photo: Raymond Bracewell)

Charlotte was again second woman on the 31st of March at the  North Lancashire Road Club 10 mile TT on L101, with 25:23 behind winner Rebecca Rimmington (Team Merlin)

She returned to winning on the 7th April at the Beacon Wheelers 15 miles SPOCO on L155, this time geting the better of Amy Gornall (Secret Training) by one second, in the course of which she came an impressive 13th overall with 40:53 to Gornall’s 40.54

On the 8th April Nelson Wheelers’ 50 mile SPOCO on L503 saw Charlotte ride to 2:32:02 and 2nd female. Winner was again Rebecca Rimmington (Team Merlin).

On the 14th April  a third win for Charlotte came at the Leigh Premier 10 mile TT on D10/1, with a 23:14 ride, while her fourth win came the next day on the 15th at the Kent Valley Road Club SPOCO on L307 (shortened to 22m) with 56:17 with Debbie (Moss Team Merlin) in second.

Charlotte’s astonishing fifth win of spring 2018 came at the  Wigan wheelers 10 on 28th April, with another 2nd the following day at the Wigan Wheelers 3o, just 12 seconds behind a very strong Steph Mottram.

Our congratulations to Charlotte on a fantastic start to racing in 2018, we look forward to seeing how the rest of the year unfolds.


Would you like to come and race with Charlotte or just enjoy riding at whatever level? We’d love to see you, why not get in touch?



 May 1, 2018  Posted by at 8:00 pm TT, Women cyclists No Responses »
Mar 272018

“No, they can’t have, surely not? Yes….yes, they’ve definitely left me behind.” That’s me in disbelief at the first checkpoint at the Pinfold café near Nantwich, 55km into the Chirk 200. They would be waiting at the first junction, surely? No, nor the next. Should I chase on, assuming they had gone ahead, or did I just miss them back there somehow?

Dan, Robert, Jon, Hayley, Norman, Andy and me at Pinfold café

The Chirk 200km audax is a popular early season run out, enabling you to get some miles in or tick off your first 200km without much climbing, described by Darryl Nolan, the helpful organiser as “Almost entirely flat across Cheshire Plain to Wales and back, via Nantwich, Chirk, Beeston.” It didn’t feel that flat when Dan Shackleton, not content with riding a good 10 the day before, and riding 19 miles to the start, still had itchy pedals. Within the first kilometer he was complaining “We can’t ride at this pace all day, shall we press on?” behind a couple of hapless audaxers; and once the first lumps arrived (the ‘almost’ before entirely flat should be kept firmly in mind) I was at my limit and Andy and Norman were past theirs and wondering what kind of a hellish pain-fest was ahead. I could see Dan in aero tuck speeding off the front on a long downhill, so I caught him up to review his well-meaning plan to ride as a bunch to Chirk. “I didn’t pedal you know” he claimed in impish mitigation. The road to hell is paved with good intentions however, and it was clearly going to be particularly Hades-like trying to hang on to Dan, best if he, Jon Dance and Hayley (a 2.40 marathon runner and strong on a bike), pressed on ahead.

Robert could probably have lived with them, but he was stuck with us as we were his lift, and we settled in to a nice medium pace as the sun gradually burned off the freezing mist, the silhouettes of farms turned into glows of crumbling orange, and the rolling fields and woodland emerged around us. Ah, Cheshire! At home riding from Littleborough we are hard pressed to find an easy ride, and it was lovely coasting along the complex lanes, with main roads only featuring as crossings on this well-planned route throught the best of Cheshire.

The route of the Chirk 200km audax Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and Soth Pennines

The route of the Chirk 200km audax

It would have been even more relaxing if my (insert preferred expletive here) new GPS unit was working. I’d invested in this for just such days after the comic navigational capers of the Centreville YHA weekend to Wilderhope, but I hadn’t got to grips with it fully….ok, at all, and it wasn’t tracking my position, just sitting on the start. Fortunately I had the turn by turns elastic banded to my arm (and the route on my smartphone, and a paper map), so along with the help of other audaxers we rode with, we got to the Pinfold Café. It was here, after catching up with Dan, Jon and Hayley who were just leaving after a frappa-cappa-chinos with organic wild almond faux-milk, that I was doing a bit of faffing, all innocent-like, with the GPS. After pressing a few buttons and talking to it nicely it leapt into life, and I looked up in triumph to find….no-one.

Just to be clear, I was the navigator: Robert, Andy and Norman did not have an instruction, a map, or a GPS between them, and they leaped off to follow Dan and co, with whom they couldn’t keep up anyway. Perhaps not the brightest move ever. Hmmm, better phone them. No answer. Grrrrr. I eventually got a sheepish call from Andy. “Where are you?” “Well where are you?” “What can you see, are there riders coming past you?” and so on, until we agreed to meet back at the caff. They’d gone off course. “Just remind me Andy, exactly what the ethos of the Sunday club rides you’ve come on for the entire last year is, again?” “Erm, no one left behind.” ” Exactly Andy.” “Sorry dad…” Kids, I don’t know, you have to wonder sometimes, and Norman a retired head teacher and all: “I’m not angry Norman, I’m just disappointed.”

Chirk 200km audax Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and South Pennines

Robert on steel, Norman on carbon, and Andy on aluminium eating by one of the pretty meres along the route. “Yeah dad, wot, you’re not the boss of me!”

Still, no harm, no foul, and they made ample amends when I stupidly bonked on the approach to Chirk and circled back for me while the gels were kicking in. The organiser Darryl appeared to have playfully moved the Chirk café without mentioning it, but the upgrade from greasy spoon to paninis was good. Still feeling bobbins I was severely tempted (to keep up the satanic metaphor) to make use of Robert’s fiendish information that there was a railway station near his dad’s nearby house with direct trains to Wilmslow. Get thee behind me Robert. As soon as we set off I was fine, and we loved the prettiest section of the route through Pont-Y-Blew with a stiff little wooded climb following Morlas Brook marking the England-Wales border. Now a rural backwater, Pont-y-Blew is the site of one of Wales’ first iron forges, which produced from 1630 to 1870. Fittingly Robert rode up this on his 531 bike, with a guy from Bury CTC riding his father’s 1970 Mercian, still going strong.

A crisp afternoon of blue skies and fluffy clouds unfolded, heavenly cycling weather, especially after we have paid our dues riding through sleet, snow and icy blasts over the winter. The GPS’s batteries were still pretty full and all was well with the world. The ice cream farm checkpoint was achieved, with it’s motorway service station ambience it at least has it’s route-side location to commend it. Beeston Castle perched on it’s crag is another high point of the route, aesthetically and literally. Built in the 1220s it was last used in the Civil War and is, as Marie LLoyd sang, “One of the ruins Cromwell knocked about a bit.”* It’s reputed to contain a secret hoard of Richard II’s treasure, but more to the point, do they sell flapjack there?

Beeston Castle Chirk 200km audax ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and south pennines

Beeston Castle

The 60km back to the finish felt more like 100 to our tired legs as we chased our shadows up the road and gradually put back on the layers we had peeled off, lane after lane unfolding and Andy and Norman looking like they were going to finish their first 200km rides in fine style. Planes roaring up from Manchester airport away to our left showed we were nearly there with our somewhat lower carbon footprint. The last 20km felt like 40 and I tried to remember to look at the GPS, even though Robert was chatting to me; we had noticed that riding with Robert has the effect of making you forget to look where you are going: he’s just too damn interesting and he caught a few riders  out that way over the course of the day – we should use him for black ops to send other clubs the wrong way!

A club from Sheffield whose kit broke several barriers of taste and decency (but who would definitely be noticed by drivers even though they might wish they hadn’t) came up to us, and I rode on the front with a woman who was rightly very chipper and enthused to be finishing her first 200km, and fellow first-timer Andy surged up to the front in the last kilometre having hidden all day like a seasoned pro. We turned into the darkened car park, and one of the Sheffield lads quipped “Where is everyone?” Like Dan, Jon and Hayley, they had all ridden faster than us and gone home mate, all gone home.

Thanks to Robert, Andy, Norman, Dan, Jon and Hayley for the company, kudos to Dan for his big ride, and many thanks to Darryl and team for organising a great audax: highly recommended.


*Spookily, Marie Lloyd was born in 1870 the year Pont-Y-Blew forge closed. Beeston Castle was put back into use in 1643, 13 years after Pont-Y-Blew forge opened: 13, no ordinary number. Coincidence? I don’t think so. What other DaVinci Code-like conspiracies are hidden in this accursed audax? Better ride it again to find out….

Why not come and ride with Centreville? Get in touch



 March 27, 2018  Posted by at 3:29 pm Audax 2 Responses »
Mar 262018
ABC Cenreville Cycling Club Manchester and South pennines

Jon digging in at the crest of Mow Cop (photo Velo 29 Primal Cycling Events)

A good day indeed for best bikes

Jon Taylor reports on his day out:

‘Remember Its not a race and abide by rules of the highways at all times’ the Tannoy announcer declared as at 8am on a sunny Sunday morning in excess of 2500 riders left Queens Park in Crewe for the start of the 110mile/1700m of climb annual Cheshire Cat Sportive.

Myself and cohort for the day Ed Munro began to ride through the groups like domestiques on bottle duty in a grand tour, often using cars to ‘get back in’ as we headed out to the first challenge of the day – the well named ‘killer mile climb’ one Mow Cop with a 25% gradient finish. We were held up at the rail crossing at the bottom, which helped us to assess the competition and their steeds for the climb ahead. Grimacing and gurning over the top………. don’t forget to smile for the waiting camera!

As the early morning mist burnt off and the roads dried, the decision not to go for full winter gear was rewarded and with gloves in the back pocket we pressed on through the first feed station after 37 miles and over Biddulph Moor, Rudyard and Gun Hill through feed station 2 for a quick comfort break, refueling and pressing on through the rolling Cheshire countryside with lead-out trains forming and with the Centrville colours pulling hard and on the rivet, fuelled by illusions of grandeur and Cherry Bakewell gels

Quickly refuelling at FS3 after 78miles, the run for home began through flatter sections and with tired legs smaller groups formed at a steady pace, with the occasional ‘lump’ sending riders backwards as the legs were beginning so say ‘enough is enough son;’ after 5hrs plus of riding…….

Rolling back into Crewe and retracing our steps into Queens Park the legs gave a little extra to finish with a kind of sprint for the awaiting and adoring crowds……….

Medal round neck and as the vision came back, I was thanked by 2 other unknown riders for my work on the front; indeed it was a good day for best bikes……… especially in the green of Centerville.


Route of the Cheshire Cat Sportive

Event website

 March 26, 2018  Posted by at 10:05 pm Sportives 1 Response »
Mar 122018

Charlotte Boothman in one of last year’s outings

Charlotte Boothman delivered Centreville’s first win of 2018 on her first race for the club, clocking a speedy 17.46 for first woman on a shortened 7.5 mile course at the NLTTA 10 on Saturday 10th of March 2018. Charlotte was 25th overall out of 89 finishers, with Rachel king of Lancashire RC second woman in 18.34. David Allonby won the men’s race for Springfield Financial RT.  Her 25.3mph average speed was on limited training following an accident. “I was a bit nervous, but you seem to switch off once they’ve pushed you over the start line.” A fantastic start to what looks set to be a strong season for Charlotte.

Would you like to join Charlotte on Centreville’s women’s team, or just ride with us? Get in touch

 March 12, 2018  Posted by at 11:48 pm TT, Women cyclists 1 Response »
Mar 122018
ABC Centreville time trialling in Yorkshire Dales

A great place to race if you can spare a moment to look up! Ingleborough brooding above the course

Centreville’s Dan Shackleton reports:

After last weekend’s time trial programme was written off thanks to the Beast from the East, Saturday’s Circuit of Ingleborough turned out to be only my second race outing of the year.

The Circuit of Ingelborough organised by Pendle Forest CC is a true SPOCO event, being hilly, exposed and a fairly technical course. It is also a counting event in the Lakes & Lancs SPOCO TT series, to which ABC Centreville are affiliated.

The circuit is basically a triangle around Ingleborough hill. With the start at Ingleton, riders head south-east through Clapham to Settle and then turn up the valley through Horton-In-Ribblesdale to Ribblehead viaduct, where they turn left to complete the triangle back to Ingleton for a (nearly) 27 mile circuit, with a total ascent of around 600 metres.

My start time of 11:31 was the second last of over 90 listed. Driving north through heavy rain seriously dampened my enthusiasm, so it was with some relief to arrive in Ingleton without the forecasted rainfall. Unfortunately, the roads were wet and there seemed to be a significant south-easterly wind.

After warming up on the rollers, I headed off to the start to find that my minute man (course record holder James Gullen) had DNS’d, not that there was any chance of me getting anywhere near him on the road!

The circuit starts uphill on Old Road and climbs for the first 1½ miles. With a climb at the start, it is very easy to start too hard, which is exactly what I did, even though my every intention was hold back a little for the first part of the race! I think it was exacerbated by the headwind encountered right from the off.

Descending towards Clapham through all the farmyard muck on the roads, I was glad to get onto the A65 and increase the pace whilst avoiding the detritus. Turning off the main road to Buck Haw Brow and my pace quickly dropped, I found the climb a struggle – I reckon I was over-geared having a bottom gear of 44 x 25.

I caught my two minute man just after the turn before Settle. Anticipating a favourable wind, I was hoping to make up some time over this next leg of the course. Unfortunately, the hoped-for tailwind failed to materialise.

The road to Ribblehead viaduct is a long slog with numerous false summits followed by short fast descents. It’s not conducive to maintaining a steady rhythm and I reckon I used nearly all my gears, which is unusual for a time trial.

As I approached Ribblehead, I could see riders in front of me, this spurred me on and broke me out of my trancelike state.

Turning left onto Hawes road, I knew I only had to get over the climb past the Station Inn and then I would have a mainly downhill run in to the finish.

I covered these last 5 miles in a shade under 10 minutes, to finish with a time of 1:12:30 for 16th place.

Initially, I was disappointed with my time as I clocked a quicker time for the event in 2017, riding a road bike with tri-bars. However, on reflection, I think the conditions weren’t as quick this year and I was slightly over-geared (and a note to self – don’t do an interval session the night before a TT, my powers of recovery aren’t what they once were!).

The promoting club’s Richard Bideau won the event, the former BBAR clocking an impressive 1:03:13. Fastest female rider was Karen Poole of Sportstest RT, with a 1:21:13.

A big thanks to Pendle Forest CC for putting on a well-marshalled and well supported event.


Full results here

ABC Centreville Cycling club Manchester South Pennines

Dan in slightly more relaxed mode the week before on the Sunday social ride, just before we headed home over Blackstonedge on snow-covered roads

Fancy riding or racing with Centreville? All ages, genders and abilities welcome, why not contact us?

 March 12, 2018  Posted by at 11:12 pm TT 1 Response »
Mar 092018

Mandy Bishop winning the 1982 UCI World Road Race Championship on the Goodwood Circuit

Cycling is a fantastic and enjoyable sport, and Centreville are keen to welcome and support new women members of any experience. So to celebrate International Women’s Day (8th March) Geoff Read had an unofficial chat to some of Centreville’s strong and experienced cyclists who happen to be female. Please note the views expressed are of course personal, about cycling in general and do not necessarily reflect the views of the club or it’s members.

While they usually let their legs do the talking, 1982 World Road Race Champion Mandy Bishop, strong time-trialling newbie Charlotte Boothman (previously Gorman), and long-time racer and club ride stalwart Pauline Cooper should have a thing or two to say on what they love about cycling, what hacks them off, and how can a club encourage, support and keep women cyclists? Their thoughts are reflections on some of the debates in cycling and society in general at the moment which inevitably touch on problematic issues, but they are keen to emphasise their love of cycling; and that the vast majority of cyclists inside and outside Centreville are supportive and welcoming.

Mandy setting another record in winning the national 3000 metre pursuit title riding for West Pennine.

Mandy Bishop

I asked Mandy what will help get women into a cycling club and what might put them off? “I joined because my family were in it, so I was dragged into it kicking and screaming whether I liked it or not: ‘You’re coming, because we’re not leaving you at home on your own.'” Mandy thinks that for some women it’s perhaps the initial step that’s hard, just getting  on a bike, and that just having a 10 mile easy ride for women with a social café stop would help to get  them into it. “The first time they go out they don’t want to turn up to find a bunch of blokes in Lycra, and there might not be a woman there, it can be off-putting. They might think ‘Oh I might not keep up with them.’ It’s like anything going into a new group, it’s very intimidating, no matter what sport it is.’

Time is also an issue, for example Mandy herself finds it hard to make time for cycling now. “Women have got families, they’ve got husbands, they’ve got things that they are used to doing on a Saturday and a Sunday, like housework, shopping and all that, that they have to fit cycling in somehow. An hour and a half, a couple of hours, they can probably manage. For women especially a café on the way home is good, so you can just sit and be sociable. Then you can say to women new to cycling, ‘Look, you are ready to ride a bike, you’re ready to go on a club run – I’ll be there, come out.'”

Mandy Bishop flying in GB strip. She was national champion at 25 and 50 miles and set a new world record on the track for 5000 metres

Mandy suggests that the issues are the same for new members of any gender. “The thing that puts you off, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or bloke, is, are they welcoming? If you turn up and someone actually says to you, ‘Oh good morning, have you come to join us?’ Not just looking at you, and you’re thinking ‘Oh god, what am I doing here?’ Not just one person, you need the whole group, if someone new turns up, they smile and say ‘Hiya,’ and it doesn’t matter if it’s cycling or anything else, it’s that initial meeting. You’re going to come back if you feel welcome.”

The vast majority of cyclists are friendly, but I’d have to admit as a man, you do come across the odd bloke out on the roads, even with our current awareness and the Me Too movement, who uses playground humour that can be very sexualised. “I find it abhorrant,” says Mandy, ” And because of the person I am, I tell them. If I was out in a group and someone said something, I would straight out say, ‘You are out of order, it is completely inappropriate.’…..But I’d have to say, thankfully the odd one is an anomaly in cycling as far as I’m concerned. Maybe because of what I’ve done, I get a different reception. But I’ve never felt with Andy and you lot [the Centreville social ride] that you haven’t wanted me to be there.” As if! Proud as punch more like.

ABC Centreville Cycling club women Manchester and the South Pennines

Mandy giving her all again the rainbow stripes

I for one don’t want to ride just with blokes all the time: boring with a capital yawn. But it’s partly up to us as men, so what can chaps do to make club cycling a better experience for women?  “Be friendly, be polite, treat women with respect. Treat them with respect for the fact that they are brave enough to go and say ‘I’d like to join your cycling club. Can I come out on the bike with you?’ You just want to be treated with respect.” In any club people can occasionally get carried away and leave riders behind, something that Mandy’s dad, the late Bary Jones who was instrumental in Centreville’s success thought was a definite no-no. If that happened Mandy said, “My dad will be turning in his grave – well in his saddlebag. My dad’s buried under Ernie’s bench – in his saddlebag. He’s got a bottle of wine, a puncture repair outfit, a pump and some photos. Under the bench. “Put me with Ernie he said.”

“I said show some respect!” Don’t mess with a world champion

Having seen cycling from all sides over many years as a racer and now as a recreational cyclist, would you recommend that women try cycling? “I’d say to any woman thinking of taking up cycling it’s really good for you health-wise, mentally too, it’s fantastic for your brain, being out in the fresh air, cycling. It’s not hard on your joints like running, it’s really sociable as you can ride next to someone and talk, it’s much easier on your body compared to pounding the pavements. My mum is 78 and she is still riding a bike, and she’s been riding a bike since she was 15 years old.”

Charlotte Boothman

Charlotte has joined Centreville recently after a very strong first season of time trialling and hill climbing last year, including a sub-hour 25 on the West Pennine/VTTA 25 on the A56 near Pendle, knocking an impressive 1 minute 43 off the record for the Eva Benson trophy, making her the first woman under the hour in that illustrious competition which has been a who’s who of  for 70 years. She also rode 22.13 for 10 at Hull on a road frame with clip-on bars and aims to go under 22 minutes this year. She has entered the Tour of Cambridge closed-road TT to try and qualify for the UCI Worlds.

Women cyclists ABC manchester Cycling Club

Charlotte Boothman getting down to business in her first full racing season in 2017

I asked Charlotte how she got into cycling. “I started off cycling to work and back, then around Middlesborough and the North Yorkshire Moors, then moved here. Someone said I should give racing a go, and I did a couple of hill climbs and a couple of tests, then last year was my first full season doing time trials and hill climbs. I enjoyed it.” I should think so too with results like that straight off the bat – an inspiration to anyone to find out what their hidden potential might be on the bike.

What Charlotte is looking for in a club is that they are “Friendly, approachable, to be able to ask for assistance if you need it, and to gain a lot of knowledge from a club,” and she joined Centreville because the male members she came across at time trials were very friendly, especially Steve, Jon and Paul. She isn’t personally too concerned about what people say. “I’ve heard stories of sexist comments and stuff, but they happen everywhere don’t they? That doesn’t really bother me, I was brought up in an environment that was like that, being army and RAF based, but a lot of women might find that a bit of a put-off. It’s one of those things that happens isn’t it? Women can be just as bad, but I’m pretty open-minded with that sort of stuff.”

Women cyclists ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and South Pennines

Charlotte road racing for Lusso in 2017

She emphasised the importance of helping new members, men or women, to learn the ropes in group riding  “What would put me off is people getting stressed out and shouting at new people who are trying to ride in a group, but don’t really know what to do – that might be annoying, instead of teaching the person how to ride in a group just getting irritated by them. In can be nerve-wracking when you are turning up to a new situation, you don’t really know how people are, and especially if you haven’t ridden with a group, there’s a lot of group etiquette isn’t there?” At Centreville we are happy to help people learn this fascinating skill – there is nothing like belting along the road in a group wearing the green, blue and white!

Charlotte’s experience of racing has been interesting and perhaps unexpected. “In time-trialling people can be quite stand-offish at first, until they get to know you, but once they get to know you they are quite chatty…. but, in road racing, women especially can be stand-offish, especially if you haven’t been brought up through the system and you just appear out of nowhere, they are trying to figure you out, whereas men’s road-racing is a bit more friendly than women’s. A few of the women are fine, but when you are a newbie, you are sort of put off.” However she does understand where this wariness comes from: “I suppose when you are in the moment it’s different isn’t it? That competitive side comes out. Time trialling I find a much more relaxed atmosphere, that’s why I enjoy it, and you are pushing yourself to your limit, whereas road racing, it’s quite a daunting environment.” Of course racing with Centreville, whether in tests or road races, you are not alone, that’s another advantage of clubs. Good crack is built in, along with pre-race excuses and post-race autopsies and refreshments. And most of all that satisfying roar when a Centreville rider is called up at the prize-giving!

Charlotte winning a 2017 hill climb on Blackstonedge

I wondered if she thought there were any barriers specific to women in cycling. “When I first started cycling I didn’t want to wear Lycra, I was a bit self-concious, I think women are a bit more self-conscious about what they are wearing, but once you get through that you are fine,” something MAMLs can definitley identify with – I try to avoid standing sideways on to any camera! Also as with most of us Charlotte has had issues with vehicles. “Sometimes you get abuse from drivers, I’ve had a lot of abuse from drivers – more from drivers pulling out, and because you’ve said “What are you doing?” they’ve literally stopped the car in front of me, got out, and went to hit me, once. Road rage can put you off quite a bit. It’s lack of education with driving I think.” Again, you are perhaps less vulnerable riding with a club.

She agreed with Mandy about busy lives being a problem. “It’s getting the time, when you’ve got kids and stuff it’s hard to get out with clubs I think, and some women tend to think they are not fast enough when it is a male environment, it can be quiet daunting. But once you’ve joined the club and gone to the first club session you don’t feel as bad. I know one club started a separate female group, but the problem with that is you are segregating yourself, really – instead of joining the men’s and maybe having a slower ride once a month with women in it if they want to go slightly slower.” Here at Centreville we have club rides at varying speeds, from the social ride to full on race training, so we can help riders find the right group and gradually get stronger – and women are welcome in any of them.

Charlotte is currently coming back  from a crash injury after an encounter with an elderly motorist. We wish her a speedy return to form and look forward to riding with her through the next season and beyond.

Pauline Cooper

Women cyclists ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and Lancashire

Pauline digging in in Diggle on a hill climb

Sadly Pauline was unable to talk in the end, so we will catch her later. Suffice it to say that she is a great example of a woman cyclist, being a stalwart of the club runs, a strong hill tester, and a qualified cycling trainer who has introduced lots of people to cycling and road safety. Get well soon Pauline!

And the future of women cyclists at Centreville Cycling Club?

Juniors ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and Lancashir

Hannah winning the Junior Girl prize at the Beard Cup Hill Climb

I’m glad I asked, I’ve learned a lot about how any cycling club can respond to a changing world and support and welcome women cyclists; what the barriers and rewards of riding and racing are for women riders; and most importantly what we all have in common – a love of riding our bikes in good company. Onwards and upwards brothers and sisters! I don’t know about you but I’m hoping to be like Mandy’s mum one day….


Women cyclists are very welcome to come and ride with Centreville, please get in touch

For more about Mandy:

Cycling Weekely 

 Legend’s of TT


Obviously all cycling websites are relevant to women, but here are are a few specific ones:

Legends of TT: women

100 important women in cycling, Cycling UK

Jeanie Welford, the CTC’s first member, 1880

Barriers to women in cycling:

Reasons women don’t cycle in The Telegraph

Reason’s women don’t cycle, BBC

Sites for women cyclists:

British Cycling

Total Women Cycling site


Bicycling site – US based

Feb 042018

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Winter ride with Centreville Cycling Club South Pennines

Pauline well wrapped up near Bridestones and looking forward to the caff

There’s no doubt that there are better seasons than winter for cycling: the optimistic emerald brilliance of spring (remember, there were at least three days like that last year I’m almost sure); the long summer days when you can reap the full benefit of your training (or plumb the depths of it’s absence); and the scented crepuscular richness of autumn’s golden days (which are best enjoyed chucking up your intestines on the finish line of a hill climb), to name but three.

Still, when your luck’s in there is a particular pleasure in dodging the bad days, and today’s Centreville social ride was one such lucky day, snuck in under the wire before a week of nasty temperatures and pricipitation. Apart from a flurry of snow on the way out through Cliviger we dodged the ice, sleet and snow that has made cycling over the last month a hit-and-miss affair. There was no ice on the major but scenic roads we chose, and only the first third had a headwind. Both the Long Causeway and Cragg Vale had a gentle tailwind, and how often does that happen? Panoramic views with snow against grey skies and shy shafts of sunlight ensued.

Winter social ride with Centreville Cycling club from Littleborough

Adam Nettleton, Gary Lake and Nigel Bishop enjoying winter’s special pleasures

It’s good to see Gary Lake out with us able to ride on the hills again as he gradually recuperates from back trouble, although perhaps there is a fixed amount of back pain apportioned to each UK cycling club, as it seemed to have transferred by osmosis to Pauline. Gary is Centreville’s secret scholar. Ask him one year and he is studying early renaissance art, whereas today in the café he was reluctantly admitting to photography and an evening course in film production.  His mum told him learning is for life, and he has taken her at her word. You can tell Gary is getting better, as when a lone cyclist overtook us on Cragg, he requested special dspensation to go after him. It didn’t take him long to catch and drop him. As Gary said, “It’s Centreville. Doesn’t he know who we are?” Not very social Gary, but fun and club dignity was upheld. Adam turned left on Blackstonedge to double the distance and climb by adding the lanes to Slaithwaite on his way home to Hyde.

Winter riding with Centreville cycling club Manchester and South Pennines

Dan’s ‘white’ sleeve after last week’s reliability ride, the result of sitting on Ben’s flapless wheel on a wet day lead to some humorous exchanges on Whatsapp

*Winter rant’s a comin’ in….

Delights of a different kind were experienced at Centreville’s reliability ride no.2 to Gisburn last week, enjoyed with rain and sleet all the way for the satisfaction of getting round a decent ride in testing conditions at a brisk pace. Another pleasure of winter cycling was also in evidence: getting sprayed with road gunk by….dare I say it? Ok I’m gonna: Numpty-Dumbties without mudguards, or even those who have mudguards but not a long enough flap at the back. What’s that about? Not naming any names, (except for Ben in the caption of course, sorry Ben) you know who you are! We even have bespoke club flaps, available from Dan, though I favour a cut down running shoe insole myself.

“But I want to ride my good bike,” I hear you say, “I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes”, “black doesn’t show the dirt, what’s the problem?” All well and good on your own, says I, but when riding in a club group it is only polite not to sneeze, spit, or spray on your mates. I mean, black road slime is bad enough, but when you go past farm-yards the product of cattle’s digestive tract is mixed in. Mmmm yummy, I can see the hit show now: “The Great British Crap Off”

Centreville Cycling Club South Pennines winter cycling

Jack favoured this product…others are available….

The club Whatsapp thread was funny, reading like an audition for the show, with blokes who had recently implied they had nothing to do with the housework or washing machines coming out in fine style, exchanging tips on stain removal. Excellent.

Let’s face it, grown up cyclists secure enough not to need to look like they are at the Tour at all times use mudguards in the winter. Mudguards and flaps have been good enough  for generations of seasoned pros. Train heavy, race light, or to paraphrase John Steinbeck: “What good is the uncluttered, rattle-free lightness of the stripped-down summer bike, without the mudguard faffing of the heavier group-friendly winter bike to give it sweetness?” from The Gripes of Wrath

*a personal view

Centreville cycling Club winter cycling South Pennines Manchester

Dan’s jersey looking shiny after treatment – no harm, no foul

Why not ride with Centreville? All levels and genders welcome, get in touch to find a ride that suits you

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 8:28 pm 'B' Group, Reliability rides No Responses »
Jan 092018

Centreville Reliability Ride 1: 7th January 2018

An excellent turnout of massed Centreville members racked up outside Rochdale Town Hall for an early blast, and as it turned out an icy one too, the first victim being Nick, our esteemed club secretary who was bruised and battered from the get-go, having fallen off  even before the start, at the end of his preliminary ride from Manchester, on the last corner into the Esplanade. Unlucky, but plucky: undeterred he welcomed all well-wrapped members of what would be a substantial peleton. It was good to see the various groups within the club coming together.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_peleton start

Centreville is thriving again, as this great turn-out for a lumpy ride on a cold day attests

Pauline and Mark on his tandem took the headwind on the first leg to Walsden, and with the group in pairs across 150m it looked at first as if Pauline was doing some weird tandem-based back-stretching with her arms to the skies. But no, she was taking these evocative shots as people chatted along. It’s hard on the back of a tandem though, the foot rests keep spinning round.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_welcome guest

Ex-international Neil Swithenbank with welcome guest from East Lancs RC Mathew Jackson. Behind them are son and father pairing Ben and Ken Whitehead

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_winter peleton

Tony Atkinson well wrapped up. The low sun would make seeing clearly quite tricky on the way back

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_peleton gap

Approaching Walsden behind a wall of Centreville jerseys

As soon as we hit the climb from Hebden Bridge over to Oxenhope the group naturally stretched and split, with the fittest at the front already in training for the racing season ahead pressing on, another group in the middle, and the social riders at the back with a few people with seasonal lurgies. Dan put his head in the wind from Pecket Well to the top of Cock Hill – and felt his effort on the following climbs – pulling away a group including Rick Clough, Paul Whatmough and his mate Mel, Ben Whitehead, Brad Ashworth, Matt Jackson, and Neil Swithenbank.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester and South Pennines_reliability ride

Andy Bolton at the top of Cock Hill, beautifully clear so far….

Owen cracked hub_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines

Owen trying to suss out his mechanical on Cock Hill

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_Owen mechanical

Owen looking remarkably chipper while he waits for a lift home, considering his Di2 had packed in the day before and his brand new Mavic wheels developed a cracked hub.

ABC Centreville_Owen cracked hub

Looks like a spoke pulled off a section of the hub – could have had nasty results, glad you kept safe Owen

Andy and I came across Owen walking back in the opposite direction. He seemed fine wheeling his S-works bike along, and I’m sure he appreciated my sensitively helpful tip that cheaper stuff like Sora gears work really well and tend not to break. All heart, eh? At Oxenhope Pauline and Mark were also turning round, as Mark was taking what turned out to be the very sensible decision not to risk his expensive tandem on the ice, with even fewer square millimetres of rubber per person touching the tarmac.

Through Stanbury and onto the climb the frost and ice were more in evidence, and after scar top the road was pretty icy. Nick, Tristan and Jack had waited for me and Andy, but Nick, after climbing nippily was rewarded with his second fall, and sensibly opted to walk anything at all frosty or icy. And quite a lot was.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_icy road

Lancashire Moor Road was we frosted, but if you could raise your eyes the views were fantastic

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018

Riders in the middle group gingerly feeling their way along – it was a memorable crossing

Several more people came down,  and many walked the twisty descent towards Laneshaw Bridge. The front group turned left towards Trawden, but after the first rise the road was so icy it was not safe to continue, and they regrouped back at the junction as other groups came up. The main roads through Colne, Nelson and Burnley were no substitute for the wild beauties of Widdop, but while they were a wasteland in the café department, they had the advantage of not rendering you too bashed up for work the next day, or ruining your season with a more serious crash.

Some peeled off over Dunnockshaw, while at the sharp end Rick Clough had some fun pressing on the gas on the drag up to the top of Cliviger, with Dan and Matt Jackson bridging back by the top. The Bear in Todmorden finally furnished much needed hot drinks, and kindly opened their top floor to accommodate the green, white and blue rabble.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_Kris

Kris keeping his hands warm outside the Bear (now The Old Co-op) in Todmorden

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_Dan and Jon cafe

Dan and Jon kit back up for the last kilometers via Rochdale to Heywood and Manchester respectively

The rear group had meanwhile made the same decision independently, with Nick peeling off to find Tristan who was ensconced in a café in Trawden, with me, Jack and Andy getting way too cold to hang around longer – Jack was recovering from a bug and was having difficulty feeling his gear changes and even his drinks bottle, and I was well into bonk territory by the time I got home for an emergency sandwich. At least we fulfilled the brief  of not having a café stop. Ah, the joys of cycling. It was a tad chilly though.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester South Pennines_reliability ride 2018_cold

Steve Whittington managed to get this candid snap of Jon enjoying his ride.

Abortive though the day proved to be, there was a lot to celebrate – a good ride with a couple of decent climbs, a sensible choice to change the route with no serious harm done; and most of all a great chance to ride with friends old and new in a satisfyingly big group. Allez Centreville 2018!


Many thanks to Capn’ Nick for putting the ride together, hope your bruises heal soon…your early bid for the coveted Crasher Trophy has been duly noted.

Hope or  to see you out with us soon, see here for what’s going on

contact us

 January 9, 2018  Posted by at 9:10 pm Club rides, Events, Other, Reliability rides No Responses »
Jan 012018

Centreville is cooking up a nice winter warmer of a cycling stew for 2018, with something for everyone, whatever your riding tastes. Here’s a flavour, why not come and join us – but please always contact us through the website to make sure a particular ride is on that day if it’s your first time out with us:

Reliability rides

In addition to our regular rides, we will be doing three reliability style club rides increasing in distance, starting next Sunday 7th Jan with 55 miles from Rochdale Town Hall at 9am round Widdop; with 60 mile and 90 mile rides to be arranged in January/February around the weather. There will be a target time, but hey ho, it’s a ride, it’s winter, let’s enjoy it and get round eh, no harm no foul. Maybe a steady group and a faster one?

Regular rides

Most Wednesday evenings before the club night at Heywood Bowling Club there is a brisk 40k training ride (unless the weather is really bobbins – ask Steve and Ben about their memorable blizzard in December!), meeting at the Winston Churchill, Bury Rd. at 6.45, mainly valley roads. Contact Ben Whitehead first, usually arranged through Whatsapp group – other nights by arrangement.

Centreville Cycling club Manchester club night rides

It’ll all be worth it come the spring. Note the nifty club mudflaps – you’ll be needing one of those from Dan

Ad-hoc brisk long rides at weekends, 100 miles, often without a stop, base miles for the 2018 racing season, often from Heywood. Contact Steve Whittington, Ben Whitehead, or Dan Shackleton, usually arranged through Whatsapp group.

Steve Whittington

Steve Whittington making good use of his base miles riding in GB strip at the World Gran Fondo championship


2 regular options:

8.30 start from Rochdale Town Hall or Todmorden depending on route, around 60 miles with a café stop, 15-25mph, all welcome, no-one left behind: contact Owen Malkin

Centreville Cycling Club Manchester on pendle

We have some fantastic roads at our disposal, like this one from Downham up Pendle – come and ride them with us

10am start from the Wheatsheaf, Littleborough, a long-standing club ride, 30-40 miles with a café stop, brisk pace on hilly rides, no prisoners taken: contact Dave Grogan or Rick Clough

Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Saturday training ride

Saturday 10am group: fit vet 60 Dave Grogan 3rd from Left, and multiple race-winner Rick Clough, far right, run this ride.


2 regular options:

9am Sundays from the Wheatsheaf Littleborough: Club social ride, no-one left behind, steady pace, good crack, but testing beautiful routes on hilly minor roads, start, 3 hours plus a café, usually back by 1-ish. Wheel-shaped enjoyment like wot it is meant to be! Contact Geoff Read

Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Calderdale

Another great route on the Sunday social rides, this time heading for Cross Stones above Todmorden

9.30am Sundays: Brisk training ride, around three hours with a café stop, the main criterior being Dave must, I repeat must be able to get a bacon buttie: contact Dave Grogan

Wednesdays 10am from the Wheatsheaf, Littleborough Brisk training ride, as above, contact Dave Grogan

Audaxes and sportives

Any self-respecting cyclist will of course be looking to ride Centreville’s beautifully hard Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2018 date tbc. In the mean time we will be entering some of the early Cheshire Audaxes into the spring to get the miles in without breaking the spirit. Come and join us:

  • 25th February Mere Century 160km undulating but not hilly down through west Cheshire;
  • Sunday 25th March Chirk from Poynton 200km – pretty flat, good for a mixed ability group,
  • Saturday 7th April, you can join Nigel on the hilly 300km Yr Elenydd, a fantastic route but only for the very hardy! So alternatively there is:
  • Sunday 8th April from Mytholmroyd a hilly but manageable 115km: Spring into The Dales (entry on the day ok, but bring a completed form)
  • Sunday 20th May the classic and tough Etape du Dales sportive, organised by Centreville’s own Nigel Bishop for the Dave Raynor Fund, which supports young racing cyclists. Enter and ride, and if not please volunteer to help (a good day out for a good cause) – get in touch through the event website.
Centreville Cycling Club Manchester busy Audaxing

Centreville at an information control on the Cheshire Safari 100 mile Audax in November 2017. Still none the wiser…

Trips away

Majorca training. Several groups from Centreville are heading to Porta Plença in Majorca for the classic pre-season mile-fest and jollities, mainly around the 2nd and 3rd weeks of April. If you are interested you can either arrange your own accommodation and meet to ride, or you can join a group going for 5 days 12th-17th April for £550 including breakfast, evening meal and bike transfer; they will ride at the speed of whoever comes, all welcome: contact Owen Malkin.

Majorca road

Now if that was in the South Pennines, it woud just go straight up the hill….

YHA trips. To be confirmed, but there will be several two-day trips staying at youth hostels this year. To express an interest, contact us.

Centreville Cycling Club Manchester YHA weekend

Centreville ruining a perfectly good view of Ironbridge in Shrophire on the Wilderhope YHA weekend 2017. No Nick, we are not doing one of those calendars, you can stop draping….

Looking ahead to the 2018 season

You can come and test your metal on the full range of events  with Centreville this year. Dan will be building on his very strong TT season last year, and will be joined by Ben in the Spoco TT series, with Paul Basson another strong TT rider who also road races.

Centreville Cycling Club tt races Dan Shackleton

Dan flying, and he is in danger of going faster this year

Kris Jon and Ben will be doing the Eddie Soens road race in March, with more to follow, and Steve will be tearing it up on the road and pushing for age group selection.  Our road racers have some some very big boots to fill historically, but most recently with Louis Szymanski who really stepped up last year, winning several road races in front of elite riders and gaining first cat status. We wish him well for 2018 as he moves onwards and upwards.

Centreville cycling club welcomes women riders

Pauline Cooper attacking a hill climb in style

Members will also be training and racing at the velodrome, and the end of the year will be topped off with the hill climb season, and there are whispers of mountain bike rides. Centreville welcomes riders of all ages and genders and we welcomed a pleasing number of new members in 2017. New women members are especially welcome to carry on the racing tradition of Mandy, our World Road Race Champion, or just to enjoy riding. Should be a great year, hope to see you!


PS, don’t forget your lights:


Contact us

Nov 262017

ABC Centreville celebrated an excellent year of competition and just plain enjoyable riding in 2017 at our presentation night, with members active in road racing, time trialling, track, audax, sportives and touring as well as some memorable trips and training. Centreville also organised one of the nation’s hardest sportives, The Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive, with 12,000ft of climbing in a beautiful 200km.

We currently boast a Sunday social ride, training rides on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, and a training ride/chain gang on Wednesday nights before the weekly club night at Heywood Bowling Club, providing a good step-ladder from beginner to international level, with a wealth of experience to draw on from champions and experienced recreational cyclists.

Presented by our esteemed secretary Nick Homes, here are the awards:

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Louis Szymanski, seen here winning alone at the Hadrian’s Wall road race, was awarded the Centreville Road Race trophy and also the senior Hill Climb Trophy. Louis has had a tremendous season, with several wins at road races and hill climbs, moving up to first cat and beating elite riders.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Dan Shackleton has had a fantastic TT season, and received the well-deserved Centreville BAR (Best All Rounder) trophy, The BAR was last awarded to Bob Porter in 1997, so it is fitting that Dan was awarded this trophy for his monumental achievement of riding time trials at 50 miles, 100 miles and over 12 hours at an impressive average speed of 25.10 mph in 2017

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Ben Whitehead receiving the Veterans Road Race award after a very active and committed season


Carry on cycling – it’s all kicking off: with Arfur Mullins and Keneth Williams.  Steve Whittington accepted the Senior Road Race Trophy on behalf of Louis Szymanski. Steve raced well on the road this year including for GB in the World Gran Fondo.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Jon Taylor making off with the rather bling Track award. Worth a fortune that one. Jon also was in charge of a start gate at the recent World Cup event at the velodrome and saw the pain behind the greasepaint

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Steve Whittington receiving the prestigious gurning prize from club sec Nick. He calls this face his “Charles Bronson.” It says something about TT trophy on the tray there somewhere.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Ben Whitehead also received the hard-earned Veteran’s Hill Climb Award

ABC Centreville Cycling Club_Beard Cup Hill Climb 2017_first girl

Hannah Clough won the Junior Rider Award. She is seen here riding to First Junior Girl at the Beard Cup hill climb,  coming in 32 seconds faster than her East Lancs rival Nicole Dechamps. Go on Cloughie!

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Pauline Cooper accepting the Junior Rider prize on behalf of Hannah Clough. Pauline is a strong hill climber in her own right, and was a contender for this year’s crasher prize!

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Dan Shackleton also received the Meritous award, not Only did Dan win the Club BAR, he came 39th in the UK BBAR (Best British All rounder) & 7th in the Manchester District Time Trial Points Competition. Dan also re-founded Club night and has been supportive of group riding and of all the Clubs’ members regardless of level, all of which is truly “Mertious” in the eyes of his club mates.


Geoff Read receiving the Hamster Cheek trophy for being able to store the most energy bars in his mouth at one time. Wait, despite appearances, this was the Clubman of the Year award. Good job it wasn’t for actual cycling – he’d have no chance! Ex fell runner Geoff has been piviotal in running the website (no pun intended) and the Sunday run and despite his humility is quite handy on a bike too.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Andy Bolton received the Most Improved Rider award this year, having gone from nothing, via the Sunday social rides, to being able to do back to back 80+ miles on the YHA weekend, to his first 100 mile Audax. Well done Andy! It shows what you can do even from one ride a week and cutting out a few bacon butties – he says it is all down to waxing his chain and 28mm Panracers though….

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Ken Whitehead with the rather beautiful and refurbished (how apt!) Crasher Trophy. To earn this, Ken failed to acknowledge the 4,000 (pot) holes in Lancashire mentioned in Beatles classic, A Day In The Life, hit one and totalled his bike and his kit, thankfully he was OK.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Ext international and stagiaire Nigel Bishop was awarded the Tourist Trophy for his long day out riding a tough but beautiful 300km hilly Audax into Wales, with a name that he claims to be able to pronounce: “Yr Elenydd”. Nigel also organises the Etape du Dales, the Otley Road Races, and Goose Eye Grimpeur, and is active in the Dave Raynor Fund

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Not to be outdone, Nick was awarded – in a substantial membership vote – the Half Wheeler Trophy by World Road Race Champion Mandy Bishop. Nick has taken half-wheeling to a whole new level this year, graduating from simple half-wheeling, to half-biking, then full-biking, to the holy grail of splitting a group of 11 into 2, so that they took different routes to Wilderhope. Chapeau sir!

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Ex international Neil Swithenbank won the Big Gear award, apparently for the gear he went up The Rake in. Ouch!

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Ben Whitehead and a svelte looking Paul Basson, who had a good season returning to racing this year and is looking forward to putting in a good winter for next season.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

Jon Taylor makes a cheap play for the caption competition photo, describing something perfectly innocent to club president John Drake, with Ken Whitehead looking on.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_presentation 2017

World Champion Mandy Bishop with Jocelin Ryan from West Pennine Road Club and Pete & Joyce Deary. Pete is a coach, commissaire and Olympic Derny rider

A good night was had by all,with some welcome guests from West Pennine and East Lancs clubs also enjoying the warm welcome and good spread from the Bowling Club. By next year we plan to have new trophies specifically for women riders, and we hope to welcome new women members in the coming year to join us in the journey, as Centreville continues to build. What will the next year bring? If members keep riding and contributing as much as they have this year, it’s going to be great finding out!

Geoff and Nick

ABC Centreville welcomes new members of all ages, genders and experience levels to race, ride for fun or just to join in the social and support side of the club. Why not get in touch?

 November 26, 2017  Posted by at 4:51 pm Awards, Club history, Other, socials No Responses »
Nov 222017
Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017

Nadia Kerr and Karen Radband of Team Glow cresting the highest point of the Goose Eye

“Retire me.”

“No,” replied Jon on the final feed station.

“Oh go on, retire me, throw me out. I’m making the club look bad.”

“No, you’ll have to finish, get on with it.”

“Now that’s just mean,” I  said – and thought – as I cracked on, even though I was only half serious. As it turned out I was at the end of an extended bad patch that lasted all the way round the Bowland loop of the Goose Eye Grimpeur, and I was, as anticipated, goosed. Not quite the lantern rouge yet, I would however turn out to be the last person to finish, but there would be no need for rouge-faced embarrassment, because to finish the Goose Eye is an achievement in itself, and I had decided I would be doing that whatever. The Goose Eye Grimpeur is one of the hardest sportives in the country at 200 km and 3612 m of ascent (124 miles/11,850’) – that’s 17.99 m of climb per kilometer!

That morning, early doors on the 20th of August, saw a select group of optimists toe the line in Heywood for the Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive, filled with various levels of trepidation depending on their degree of fitness and how well they understood the enormity of the undertaking before them. Make no mistake, the Goose Eye is one of the toughest sportives in the country, given British Cycling’s maximum level 5 for difficulty. We were blessed with a cool but bright start through lovely Rochdale, whose unusually deserted streets had probably not seen many extended track stands such as the one we were treated to by Jonothan Stott, at least not this early.

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017

Jonothan Stott displaying some top-notch balancing skills

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017

Smile while you can – not many flat bits like this today…..

We split into groups in the usual fashion, spinning and chatting on the empty roads for 10km helping to get the system going ready for the first climb of Blackstonedge. I’d decided two things for the day: 1. I was definitely going to finish, so I needed to make sure I got to the second feed station before the cut-off; and 2. I was going to ride at my own pace. The two weren’t necessarily compatible. Ok then, I’d get through the cut-off, and then ride at my own pace. Whatever. Bring it on. Things were about to get very lumpy, lumpier than workhouse soup.

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017

Warley Moor Reservoir from Cold Edge Rd above the notorious Stocks Lane climb

Blackstonedge, Mill Bank, and even Stocks Lane up to Wainstalls felt easier than usual: that was the knowledge of so many more climbs to come doing its work. At the top I stopped for a quick chat and to exchange pics with Nadia and Karen who were climbing well and loving the incredible vista and glorious purple heather. They would go on to do it all except for missing the Bowland loop due to an evening commitment, vowing to come back with friends next year for more of this fantastic route.

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Nadia in cycling heaven

On through Howarth, the ‘vicious dip’ of Tim Lane and the Goose Eye climb, the hills kept coming, we were surfing static waves, down into the green troughs and up over the purple crests of beautiful countryside and moors.

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive

The long drag out of Lothersdale – sloggy as a sloggy thing

Due to gravity and eating all the pies I was descending a bit quicker but climbing more slowly than others, so we were to-ing and fro-ing through Lothersdale and over to the first feed station at Broughton, where I caught up, had a sneaky quick stop and bobbed off again. There was no point in hanging around as Mandy flatly refused to give me a refreshing massage despite my throwing myself down in the muck and doing puppy eyes. She may have had a something to do with the delicious home-made goodies on offer, but I made do with a banana and legged it sharpish.


The first feed station at Broughton. It’s not every sportive you get served by a World Road Race Champion (Mandy in the centre) with Peter, Stephen and Michael

On the easiest section of the rolling lanes through to Gargrave and across to Paythorne Michael, Stephen and Peter caught up and sat on for the short section of the A682. At this point I was pretending I’d done enough training and was pressing on nicely, and on the section through to Bolton By Bowland and Grindleton had a nice conversation with architect Michael about the ins and outs of architectural practice and the social housing issue, which I’d take over gear ratios and tire choice any day of the week. By this time the faster riders were a considerable distance ahead, enjoying the cool fresh conditions, ideal for cycling.

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017

Mathew Jackson of East Lancs Road Club at the second feed station. He would go on to be first back with Jonathan Stott in 8hrs 31

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive - ABC Centreville Cycling Club 2017

Jonathon topping up his bottle at Grindleton, riding to a fast time with Mathew

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017_ Cenreville Cycling Club

Hayley Kuter, first woman back in 9.25, in the zone at the second feed station in Grindleton

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive 2017_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Fell runner turned cyclist Gary Fleet, riding strongly for the organising club ABC Centreville finished in 9.55

Immediately on setting off, and especially once onto the long drag up onto Easington Fell, I was into a bad patch, which for all I knew would last until the end. Michael was clearly fresher, but he was too much of a gentleman to take up my suggestion that he pressed on ahead, so I had the pleasure of struggling and failing to keep up with him for a few more hilly miles. I knew in principle that the Bowland loop was beautiful from many happier rides here, but somehow that wasn’t foremost in my mind, if the grey bonky jelly which seemed to be sloshing around my befuddled cranium could still be considered a mind.

Goose Eye Sportive at Grindleton_ABC Cycling Club Manchester

The salt-encrusted author pretending not to be absolutely s*****d out, second time at the Grindleton feed station. “Why sirra, ’tis but the merest trifle. Piffle I say, piffle. I go on sir.”

Through Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn we plodded, until on the gradual steps up Smalden Lane over the Eastern flank of Easinton Fell, even Michael could see there was a limit to courtesy – and at least as he disappeared I could just worry about my own pace, if you could call it a pace. Once Jon had dismissed my pleas to drop out back at the Grindleton checkpoint I felt better and knew that I’d make it.

The last three climbs were familiar territory, over the Big End of Pendle to Barley, up over Widdop from Colne, and up Cragg Vale to Blackstonedge.

Gooseye Grimpeur Sportive 2017_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

What it feels like to crest the last climb on the Goose Eye  – pretty damn good in case you are wondering

The strange thing about tiredness is that you get to feel bad, and you think you’ll feel worse as you go on – and sometimes you do. But often you have reached a plateau and as long as you manage to eat and drink a bit the wonder that is the bicycle will get you there in the end. I gave a great shout of “YES!” to Dan and Jon, who were kindly on sweeper duty but making it feel like support, as I rolled over the top of Blackstonedge, with only the sweeping descent and a few flat urban kilometres to do to the finish at Heywood Bowling Club. Euphoria kicked in, and I made brisk time on the last section, glad that it was still light, finishing in 11.39. Michael had got round in a well designed and stress-tested 11.08.

Goose Eye Grimpeur 2017 ABC Centreville Cycling Club

John Dance who finished with Hayley in 9.25

What a memorable day it was, and it was nice to get this one tucked away in nice weather.  The route is stunningly beautiful, and it is a real test to do at least once in your life – if you make spot for it in your calendar, you won’t be sorry. Ok you might be sorry round about the fifteenth climb, or if you have a mechanical or an injury, or you run out of time…but you’ll be back, for as they say, it is better to regret the things you have done than the things you haven’t. Live large, get over here and get Goosed, we’d love to see you!

Thanks to everyone who made the event happen and helped out on the day

Geoff, ABC Centreville

Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester

Members of the Centreville support team: Dan, Jon, John, Norman, Nick, Andy and main organiser Nigel

Full photographic route description of the Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive, which takes place in August, is here

 November 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:11 pm Events, Sportives 1 Response »
Nov 222017
Dan Shackleton time trialling 2017 ABC Centreville Cycling club

Dan Shackleton storming to another strong TT ride on board the death star

Centreville’s ace (it’s the club logo – see what I did there?) time triallist Dan Shackleton rode well all season, and won the club BAR trophy. He finished 7th overall in the Manchester and District Time Trial Association league, despite being a V40 and only doing nine events out of the possible ten to count. Dan also finished 5th overall in the SpoCo time trial series, with best five of 12 events counting. During the season he rode a 19.59 for 10, a 52.54 for 25; and a 1hr 48m 12 sec for 50. You can read about these, and Dan’s 251.92 mile 12 hour TT in more detail here.

Well done Dan, and good luck for 2018!

Full M&DTTA 2017 Results

Full 2017 SpoCo NW Results here

Fancy joining Dan and Centreville for the 2018 TT season? Get in touch

 November 22, 2017  Posted by at 8:31 pm Events, TT No Responses »
Oct 162017
ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend

A helpfully blank signpost on a bridleway somewhere in Cheshire, young Tristram Shandy to the fore

A ride through Cheshire and Shropshire to Wilderhope Manor on Wenlock Edge and back

“…so long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King’s highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him,–pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Navigating the fiendishly complex lanes through the oceans of Cheshire and Shropshire would try the patience of a saint, and we sadly couldn’t interest any of them in coming on the Centreville trip from Knutsford to Wilderhope YHA. Like iron filings drawn to a magnet the scabrous crew of eleven under Captain Holmes gathered; some, like Dan, John and Joe had got some extra miles in, arriving by bike with nerry a bead of sweat in sight. The usual faffing ensued, stowing kit, checking lashings and holding a wet finger up to assess the wind: tacking into a head wind for a day out of port, then a tail wind back, all in warm air being blown north from off Africa by Hurricane Ophelia. Anchors aweigh! Oh, wait a minute, Dan has gone off to get a coffee, now we can go. Except someone else has gone to the loo…then there is the tricky business of finding your way out of the car park.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend

Andy, Geoff, Pauline, Nigel, John, Nick, Dan, Joe, Tristram and Ken at the Knustsford start (photo by Mark Horrocks)

Nick had worked hard on a great route, kindly taking on the responsibility even though this was his first time in planning and navigating for a group, no easy task in unknown territory. The devil was in the detail, and unlike relatively simpler hilly areas, flatlands are a mesh of lanes not necessarily going where you want to go for long, like an unruly ball of string. Command is a lonely position, and after a few miles the unruly rabble of a crew were already chipping in with ‘helpful’ suggestions to fill in the gaps in Nick’s turn by turn list. We had local knowledge from Nigel, who had trained with Paul Sherwen and other pros here for three years in his youth, Mark offering to “Put it in his Garmin,” and I favoured my 40 year-old map which helpfully says “Here be dragons” anywhere an estate or new road has been built in the modern era. Ken, a usurper from Bury Clarion reckoned keeping the sun on our left was best, and I also pointed out that with the Pennines on our left and the Welsh hills on our right the lie of the land was a safety net. So in all we had six methods competing for credibility -what could possibly go wrong? Suffice it to say that if our wee boat with white blue and green sails had been adrift in the Pacific, cannibalism would eventually have ensued. Tristram would have been first to go, being young and tender.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend

What John? It’s rideable innit. John chuckling at where he finds himself

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend_Weaver Way

On the Weaver way

At least our confusion was happening on great roads, so all was well, as that was what we were there for. Off-road sections of bridleway led to the gravel Weaver way which meanders higgledy piggley  along the river with vast piles of rock salt beneath the winding gear of a still-working mine. Old salts on both side of the river then, with Mark and Pauline’s tandem proving tricky to sail over the numerous kissing gates. By hook, crook and assorted nav techniques, we finally got down to Audlem for lunch, Tristram breathing a sigh of relief – he’d seen people considering cooking methods. Human flesh tastes like chicken, apparently. Three bells and all was well, with half the group opting for the pub and the others for a local café, built in 1564, the year of Shakespeare’s birth, where the veggie breakfasts were enhanced with a local delicacy, the Staffordshire Oatcake, in this case filled with melted cheese –  a first for me and beating wormy ship’s biscuits any time.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend

Veggie breakfast with Staffordshire Oatcake – fantastic cycling food!


Major Ken, Geoff and Cap’n Nick with Mark and Pauline in the Priest’s House cafe, Audlem, built in 1564 – fortunately not the price of the food

Heading south, and in the words of the great Del Shannon we were “Searching, searching, follow the sun,” through hamlets whose names were forgotten seconds after passing them, with the exception of Great Bolas. Clearly, survivors of the Spanish Armada had made their way here, and after visiting goucho relatives in Aregntina their descendants had introduced the bolas method of capturing running cattle to Shropshire. Their rock and roll single of 1964 was unfortunately overshadowed by Gerry Lee Lewis’s song, otherwise we would now be singing “Great Bolas of Fire” instead. It would be late into the second day’s ride before our members would suffer the same condition, but that is jumping ahead.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend

Ken following the sun with Dan and John

The afternoon wore on, and tempers wore out, with full-blown mutiny brewing below decks as we imagined our hammocks swinging empty,  our evening rations uneaten and our grog unswilled. No navigation method was proving fault-free, and the Garmin was not taking us on roads as quite and narrow as planned. A seventh method then emerged, the smartphone with Poodle maps, and the record was ours! Each method had it’s faction of devotees, and a split was becoming inevitable.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Cheshire and Shropshire YHA trip

Fortunately it’s a physical impossibility for a tandem’s riders to loose eachother, short of a hacksaw or a very badly welded frame. Mark and Pauline with the Garmin

The elastic snapped as Nick flew off with half the group Saturday run style, following the Garmin, leaving others of us following the map shouting, cast adrift behind. Chaos stalked the decks of HMS Centreville. With 12 miles to go each group pressed on their different path. Tristram, like the poor cabin boy, was metaphorically if not literally eaten, as after turning back to find the others he missed them and was left chasing back on, unbeknownst to us, until he appeared bobbing on the waves behind, not waving but drowning. By the time he reached us he was on a right royal bonk. At the tender age of 24 it was his first ride of this length and he hadn’t eaten enough. I stopped with him  for 10 minutes and walked him up the next climb so the blood sugar could come through while he found an impressive number of adjectives to describe his state.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend- Wilderhope manor

A welcome sight for weary mariners – Wilderhope Manor YHA  (photo Pauline Cooper)

Wilderhope YHA, buit in the 1580’s, was finally gained after around 136km (84 miles )of riding since Knutsford, the last hilly section of which was the most beautiful. As the light bled out of the sky and veils of purple night drifted in, somehow Tristram didn’t seem to appreciate the poetry and grandeur of the fading day. The antiquated building made me want to enquire “Tristram, shandy?” at the bar, but he was looking a bit Sterne, so I left it, fitting though the setting was. All rifts were healed and all ranks made up over solid and liquid refreshment in the baronial setting of the dining hall, which sported what appeared to be a giant iron wheel hung from the ceiling. The rack on the wall must therefore have been for large leather bicycle pumps from the time of the Civil War, when the royalist owner had reputedly fled his roundhead captors on a solid wheeled Rudge and escaped by riding over a cliff on Wenlock Edge known to this day as Major’s leap. Was Ken, with his period beard and booming voice perchance the reincarnation of that very Major?


The lounge in Wilderhope YHA with a wall of massive oak beams, built to stay built (photo Pauline Cooper)

ABC Centreville Cycling Club manchester

Dan refreshed and ready for day 2. He’d like it to be known that is not his bike, his is titanium, out of shot. No offence John but it’s a whole different level of machine. (photo Pauline Cooper)

We were blessed with Mandy and Craig’s company, they’d been unable to ride but had turned up anyway. Craig surprisingly managed not to affront any families with small children, and thankfully his threat of snoring all night proved empty, and after a good night’s sleep under the massive oak roof beams at the top of a spiral staircase Sunday looked set fair for a tailwind all the way home. Hoorah! Raise the mainsail! A.E. Houseman’s poem seemed written for us:

On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble;
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

Unfortunately for him the average cyclist’s idea of poetry is a tire spec sheet. A fast road along Wenlock Edge did indeed lead us over the Severn to the Wrekin. Nick’s excellent choice was to go via pretty Ironbridge, over the first cast iron bridge in the world. Iniated by “Iron-mad” John Wilkinson who designed the first accurate cylinder boring machine (that’s nothing, I’ve invented the first reader-boring machine) and was buried in an iron coffin; and built by Abraham Darby III in 1781, the bridge now points at a prominent pie shop which acted like catnip for Andy, he was in there like a shot. Andy was also doing his longest ever rides, and back to back at that, and was going well.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester - Cheshire and Shropshire YHA weekend

Me arriving at the Iron Bridge muttering about Iron-mad Wilkinson and iron coffins. The one-man map faction (photo Nick Holmes)

ABC Centreville Manchester Cycling Club_ Shropshire and Cheshire YHA weekend

The river Severn at Ironbridge

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Mancheste_ YHA weekend Shropshire and Cheshire

Dan, John, Nigel, Tristram, Geoff, Joe, Nick, Andy, Pauline and Mark at Ironbridge (photo by Ken)

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Cheshire and Shropshire YHA trip

Bonny spot…and pies! They’ve got pies! (photo Pauline Cooper)

We all scoffed something, before another split was averted after Nick again sprinted off taking a few with him the wrong way – but then all the roads are the right way if they as nice as the ones around the Wrekin. We had turned tragedy into comedy, with John riding into a ploughed field shouting “It’s definiteley this way!” My how the moles laughed, just before he squashed their heads. I personally led the group on what might have seemed to the uninitiated a pointless loop through a village and back to where we started, but they wouldn’t have forgiven me for missing out on the fascinating vernacular architecture.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Cheshire and Shropshire YHA trip

John and Dan heading for the Wrekin

It all seemed to flow more smoothly on the way back, we had accepted the shape and rythmn of the ride and the quaintness of our flaws (to err is human, to forgive divine), and it was a happy ship that flowed along the pan-flat land between hedgerows beneath an English sun, the wind at our backs. Nigel found us an unmade road marked Private, No Entry, which gave Joe a Roubaix-like puncture. Only the absentee landlord seemed concerned about privacy, the guys on the passing tractors gave us merry waves. Through Howle and Child’s Ercall we skirted the gouchos and decided on Market Drayton for lunch. We sadly ended up in a Witherspoons after two different locals told us there were no local cafés open – only to see a proper caff immediately on setting off (in the wrong direction of course, my bad.) A compass, by god, of course that is what I needed, that would have put the record out of sight at eight simultaneous navigation methods!


Puncture in Roubaix territory. The peasants fail to KEEP OUT!

Joe and John gave each other the eye, got on the front and upped the pace until we were flying like a tea clipper along the long quiet lane north from Audlem at a tasty 40kmph. The hammer was down but everybody stayed on fine – that’s the beauty of flat roads which enable a wider span of abilities to ride together, and we were looking after each other now, no more separate boats. By now we were riffing on eachother’s catchphrases for the weekend: Nick’s was “It’s just down here, then it’s dead straightforward.” Mine was “Past the river, then turn left,” which on the map it uncannily often was. Mark’s was “The Garmin says it’s this way.” Once we got back into Nigel’s old stamping ground in north Cheshire he added a cracker: “Let’s get on the main road and get it done.” Before promptly choosing the wrong main road and reverting to nice lanes, which were, to be fair, a real pleasure, taking us past a millionaires’ row “Probably all massively in debt,” onto a woodland path on the opposite side of the river Weaver to that we’d ridden the day before.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Cheshire and Shropshire YHA trip

Nigel remembering some great lines through Vale Royal and back to Knutsford – this one is on the west bank of the River Weaver

HMS Centreville sailed proudly back into dock after a 142km (88 miles) day only slightly the worse for wear, a few cannon holes in the side, a bit low on rations but with the tattered green, white and blue pennants still fluttering in the last rays of sunlight. Home is the sailor, home from the sea – except for Dan, Joe, John and Ken, who had a few miles yet to their respective homes, the poor buggers. Ken fixed a puncture, John finished off my biscuits, and Dan, despite a strong 12 hour TT under his belt this year narrowly averted the weekend’s second bonk. Hands were shaken, food was exchanged, and our record-breaking trip was over. Our hobby-horses had been well ridden and no-one was compelled to get up behind us. No-one got eaten.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_Cheshire and Shropshire YHA trip

Dan (pre-bonking), Joe (fine) and John (very peckish). Just another 40km home boys!

Many thanks for organising it all, Captain Nick much appreciated!


Why not join Centreville and race or just ride with us – especially if you have a photographic memory of every junction of every lane in Cheshire, Shropshire and Mid-Wales….anyone…please, anyone?

Contact us




 October 16, 2017  Posted by at 11:19 pm Trips away 1 Response »
Oct 092017
Neil Swithenbank ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Neil Swithenbank demonstrating how to look classy while on the limit – take note Mr Aru! (photo Nick Holmes)

Ben and Neil at the Rake Hill Climb 2017

Pain-fest fanciers Neil Swithenbank and Ben Whitehead lined up for ABC Centreville at the famous/infamous Rake Hill climb in Ramsbottom on Sunday. This 875m course ramps up to 22% and gives you a fair kicking if you attack it properly. Judging by the race-face contortions on show it could easily be doubled up with the Lancashire gurning championships. Despite having been used several times for the national hill climb championships and the Tour of Britain, (according to this nice post on the race ) it has longstanding record of 2.16.9 ridden by Jeff Wright in 1993.


Ben Whitehead in the hurt locker: “Shut up legs!” (photo nick Holmes)

Neil rode 3.15 this year, and Ben rode 3.17, beating his time from last year by 1 second. I’ll amend this post when the results are out to include the winners. Several Centreville members took the more sensible but less praiseworthy option of watching. Don’t tell Neil but the social group missed his ride despite arriving early, as our breakfasts were late due to a rush in the cafe – well what can you do? We were thinking of you Neil, honest. When you think about it, we were probably eating our breakfast just at the time you felt like up-chucking yours; funny that. We met Centreville legends Gordon and Margaret Perry, whose house was the unofficial club hut for years and who looked after and nurtured some very strong riders indeed as they headed for the chain gang on the East Lancs Road in the 80’s and 90’s. Then we had to leave before Ben rode, so as cheerleaders we were pretty damn duff, good job the green barmy army were at the top all afternoon!

Gordon and Margaret Perry_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Gordon Perry in the middle and Margaret on the right watched the Rake from outside the pub, with son Craig in the sunglasses


Neil Swithenbank_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Neil with the finish and Holcombe Tower in sight on the crowd-lined finale (photo Nick Holmes)

Ben Whitehead_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Ben prepping his proper climber’s legs before his start, with a nice thousand yard stare going on. Ah, the smell of liniment!

Ben Whitehead 3_ABC Centreville Cycling Club_The Rake Hill Climb 2017

It just looks like a track stand – Ben was still moving, I’m almost sure… (photo John Drake)

Results to follow when available.


Other Centreville Hill climb reports here

Why not come and suffer….I mean ride with Centreville. You are very welcome to race with us or just ride for fun – get in touch

 October 9, 2017  Posted by at 7:59 pm Events, Hill climbs 3 Responses »
Oct 012017
Louis Szymanski winning on Blackstondedge_ABC Centreville

Louis Szymanski adding to his fine series of wins this year

West pennine Hill climb on Blackstonedge, 1st October 2017

ABC Centreville had a good day at the office on Blackstonedge today at the West Pennine hill climb, with Louis Szymanski taking the win with a storming 7.41 and leading the club to the first team prize, backed up by new member Andy McLaughlin with 9.05 (including a 20 second penalty for a late start!) and Ben Whitehead with 9.12 which also gave him the first V40 prize. Also present in green blue and white were Neil Swithenbank (9.47), Gary Fleet (9.57), and Dave Grogan (10.28) all digging in well in the windy conditions which made the middle straight section harder, then helped on the main upper climb to the White House.

First woman was Charlotte Gorman riding for Team Lusso in 10.28, with local rider Cat Jessop riding for East Lancs only 10 seconds off the win with 10.38 . First Junior was a fast James Noonan in 8.16, and first juvenile was Francis Woodcock with an impressive 8.25 which put him 5th overall!

Neil and Ben will be representing the club on the Rake Hill Climb at Ramsbottom next week, a shorter, steeper effort which should suit them well.

Andy MacLaughlin 1_ABC Centreville cycling club_Weste Pennine Hill Climb

Andy McLaughlin climbing strongly in his first race for Centreville

Ben Whitehead_ABC Centreville cycling club_Weste Pennine Hill Climb

Ben Whitehead 3/4 in on his way to first V40

Neil Swithenbank_ABC Centreville_Weste Pennine Hill Climb

Ex-international and current busy dad Neil Swithenbank digging in

ABC Centreville Manchester Cycling Club hill climbing

Gary Fleet looks ahead to the windy straight section above the Moorcock

Dave Grogan_ABC Centreville_Weste Pennine Hill Climb

Dave Grogan has ridden this hill a few times both in and out of competition

Charlotte Garmon 1st woman_West Pennine Hill Climb

Charlotte Gorman, Team Lusso, pushing on for first place

Andy McLaughlin_ABC Centreville cycling club_West Pennine Hill Climb

Andy McLaughlin obviously didn’t try hard enough if he was this happy straight afterwards! He had the foresight to buy a bike in club colours even before joining

ABC Centreville cycling club_after Weste Pennine Hill Climb

Down the Red Lion afterwards. Too bad the sandwiches arrived as everyone was leaving…

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_first v40 Ben Whitehead

Ben turns pro with his V40 prize – don’t spend it all at once

Thanks to John, Nick and Geoff for photos

Why not come and race or ride for fitness and pleasure with Centreville? Contact us here

 October 1, 2017  Posted by at 9:26 pm Events, Hill climbs 1 Response »
Sep 242017
ABC Cenrtreville Cycling Club Manchester- soila ride cafe

A plague of cyclists at the bakery cafe in Slaithwaite, or Slawitt as we should pronounce it

Trust Centreville to find the one cafe in all the world with the one teenager in all the world who has always been terrified of cyclists – and then crowd onto the same table as her en-masse. It’s that kind of nuanced sensitivity that makes us the fine club we are today. To be fair there was nowhere else to sit and her mum said it was OK. She didn’t look too sure herself, even when I did my best disarming Gruffalo “Grrrr” to break the ice, along with a few choice dad jokes. Apparently when the family was out for, say a nice day in the Dales, as a toddler she would suddenly begin shrieking for no apparent reason, until they finally realised it was the cyclists in their sunglasses and helmets “Looking like insect stormtroopers.” John thought that was cool. Personally, I think we aren’t just any old insects, locusts are closer to the mark, plague or otherwise. If you liken the contents of a café to a field of crops we can munch the lot in thirty minutes flat.

Hmmmm...insect stromtroopers, you can kind of see what she means

Hmmmm…insect stromtroopers, with John, Jo and Dan you can kind of see what she means. Scary stuff.

I think technically seven riders is too small a number to constitute a plague though we had a good try. Surprisingly the mum had been defending cyclists to her rabidly anti-cyclist friend, channeling media memes, who would like us banned or retrained, or worse. She pointed out to her that cars were much more dangerous than bikes, and most cyclists also drive, so they are already trained in the rules of the road. As Dan threw in, 2 pedestrians are killed by cyclists a year, whereas 5 people are killed by bees and far more by cars. If you want to get into it, have a look at this graphic on all causes of death, which shows that in 2010 as an example 808 car drivers or passengers died, and 153 pedestrians were killed by cars. Not to belittle any individual death, each one of which is an appalling tragedy, but a little perspective is in order. On the whole we are the good guys, reducing death and expense caused by medical decrepitude and doing considerable less harm to the environment while on our bikes than when driving our cars.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester_soical ride

Nice turn out nicely turned out. A Centreville Sunday social ride gathers in Littleborough ready to lay waste to the land.


Why not come and infest the South Pennines with Centreville? We are always happy to have new insect stormtroopers along and we’ll look after you – all abilities and genders very welcome. Get in touch

 September 24, 2017  Posted by at 8:01 pm 'B' Group, Club rides 2 Responses »
Sep 172017
ABC Centreville's Louis Szymanski wins alone at the Hadrian's Wall road race

Louis Szymanski wins alone at the Hadrian’s Wall Rock to Roll E/1/2 road race (photo Ellen Isherwood)

ABC Centreville’s Louis Szymanski won the Hadrian’s Wall Road Race from Bampton near Carlisle in a classy win over several elite riders, including second placed Dylan Byrne of VCUK  Velochampion Racing Team who Louis was able to ride away from on the last climb to the line to finish alone. This tops of a great season for Louis which has included wins in similarly good company and saw him turn first category. Louis is progressing well and is looking set to go far in the strong racing tradition of ABC Centreville, who have produced internationals and professionals. Go Louis, Go!

ABC Centreville's Louis Szymanski Hadrian's Wall Road Race

Louis and Dylan away together (photo Ellen Isherwood)

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Results here:

Photos by Ellen Isherwood

Why not come and race or just ride for fitness and company with Centreville? Contact us here

 September 17, 2017  Posted by at 9:06 pm Events, Road racing 1 Response »
Aug 032017

Goose Eye logo text in hills

One of the hardest sportives in the UK

The Goose Eye Grimpeur Sportive will give you a day to live long in the memory. With a saw-tooth profile of 3612m of climb over 200km, wild high spaces and lush river valleys, it is Beauty and the Beast in one dose of tough love. This why we get into cycling – to test ourselves, to do it all, see it all and share it all in good company. Fail, fail better, finish, come back and do a better time – that’s the Goose Eye.

The Goose Eye can be broken down into three chunks:

  1. From the start over the South Pennines to Gargrave, which has as much climb per mile as any event in the UK and virtually no flat roads at all
  2. From Gargrave over the Bowland fells to Chatburn, with rolling lanes and steady climbs
  3. From Chatburn to the finish with another series of steep, long, testing climbs over Pendle and the South Pennines

Section 1. From the start to Gargrave over the South Pennines

You’ll have a welcome 10k to warm up and wake up rolling through post-industrial, post-Saturday night Rochdale before getting to the first climb up Blackstonedge. Dan Evans has the record for the hill climb here at 7.10, but it might be an idea not to chase this today. Just enjoy the millstone grit Edge in the morning light, easy does it.

1 Goose Eye Sportive Blackstonedge ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Blackstondege in the early morning peace

3 Goose Eye Sportive Blackstonedge 4 ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Looking back over the Lancashire plain. When you see this again on the way back you will be in an altered state

4 Goose Eye Sportive Blackstonedge 3 ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The first hill top objective at 390m, where Anne lister of Shibden Hall turned back her girlfriend for fear of the scandal – no turning back for you

From Blackstonedge the fast descent of the A58 on the other side was used by the Tour de France. Lars Boom reached 82km an hour on the here, or you can freewheel it at 60 km/hr plus; either way Great House Lane will wake the legs up again. It’s a stiff little cobbled climb.

5 Goose Eye Sportive_Great House Lane_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

After some nice lanes in a classic South Pennines patchwork, Mill Bank is reached by a steep, twisty descent of Foxen Lane. This climb (the clue is in the name ‘bank’) will help you realise if you have made the right gear choice for the day – if you are already in your lowest gear, boy/girl will you have fun later! It’s a two part climb with Lower Mill Bank Road leading via a sharp left-then-right of junctions onto Birks lane. Take it steady, this is one of many, with the notorious Stocks Lane next….

6 Goose Eye Sportive_Mill Bank_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Mill Bank

After Sowerby village you’ll be heading down the steep, technical descent of Sykes Lane to Luddenden Foot. Watch out for locals driving up, and especially the sharp downhill left at the bottom immediately into a steep bank which will have you merrily crunching gears if aren’t ready for it. In this photo you can see Wainstalls on the horizon, the highest point on the Goose Eye:

9 Goose Eye Sportive_Sykes Lane_ABC Centreville Cyclin Club

Down Sykes Lane, with the day’s highest point on the horizon

After crossing the river Calder and turning into Luddenden Dean comes the notorious Stocks Lane to Wainstalls. Stocks lane is a tough climb in itself, which has been used for the national hill climb championships, but the climb continues past Wainstalls in a testing series of draggy steps up to the highest point on the route on Cold Edge Lane and the huge spaces of the Pennine moors.

10 Goose Eye Sportive_Stocks Lane 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Oh goody….

11a Goose Eye Sportive_Stocks Lane 2_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Nigel Bishop, GB international and 1989 Milk Race yellow jersey holder on the Stocks Lane hairpins

12 Goose Eye Sportive_Luddenden Dean_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Looking left near the top of Stocks lane across gorgeous Luddenden Dean

13 Goose Eye Sportive_Withens Rd 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Withens Rd above Wainstalls continues the climb up the moor

14 Goose Eye Sportive_Withens Rd 2_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Onto Cold Edge Lane. The name and the wind turbines tell you how high and exposed it is up here

15 Goose Eye Sportive_Cold edge Rd_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Cold Edge Lane takes you over the top with a huge sense of space. Now you know you are on a ride.

By now you will be starting to get that Goose Eye feeling. On any ordinary day what you have ridden so far would be a respectable route in itself: this is not going to be an ordinary day. An exhilarating descent down Nab Water Lane and Hill House Edge Lane follows, with a great view across Bronte country and the series of steep-sided valleys you’ll be crossing towards Skipton.

After a small climb up Moorhouse Lane, the second cobbled climb on the Goose Eye Grimpeur soon rears up. As you climb Howarth Main Street You will again be following in the wheels of the Tour de France as you rattle up this stiff and unique hill, dodging tourists and fending off Bronte memorabilia sales people. Give it the full Emily, not the half Branwell.

16 Goose Eye Sportive_Howarth main St_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Several humans with slightly different agendas for the day on Howarth Main St

With no respite it is straight down and up what JP and Chrispy, cyclist friends who live at the bottom call “Vicious Dip” Tim Lane is an unsung but a tough little climb up to Oakworth. This is going to keep happening, so get used to it. Going at a sustainable pace is key to your day: overcook this first section to Gargrave and things will get ugly later and that’s not nice….

17 Goose Eye Sportive_Tim Lane_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Tim Lane – not well known but a hard dig

After Oakworth comes the climb after which this sportive is named, Game scar Lane, known to cyclists as Goose Eye, home to a a brewery taking its name form Goose Eye Brow at the top. It is pretty steep, with a blind corner – drivers meeting here in opposite directions can get a bit testy with eachother at is not a good spot to reverse or do a handbrake start. It isn’t a good spot for a cold start on a bike, come to think of it: there are three parts to this climb, all steep. Nice though, you’ll like it.

18 Goose Eye Sportive_Goose Eye-Game Scar Lane 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The first section of the Goose Eye climb whose real name is Game Scar Lane

20 Goose Eye Sportive_Goose Eye-Game Scar Lane 4_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Approaching the blind bend on the Goose Eye climb

21 Goose Eye Sportive_Goose Eye-Game Scar Lane 5_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

See look – Dan’s smiling, nothing to it…

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Nigel at the top

The climb continues (quelle surprise) on Greensykes Rd then flattens out briefly, bringing you to a brow with a lovely view north across Lothersdale, with the Dales in the background before a very fast 16% descent to Cross Hills. As the small print says, the value of your investment can go down as well as up – in this case, hooray!

25 Goose Eye Sportive_Ellers Rd to Crosshills_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

England looking fantastic on the descent down Ellers Lane to Cross Hills

The village of Cross Hills feels like a city after the empty countryside you’ve been through, you’ll need to watch out for the correct turning left which takes you onto a long draggy climb back onto the moor on Lothersdale Rd and Babyhouse lane. Babyhouse; you might be liking that idea by now, someone to tuck you up nice and cozy and rock you to sleep. It ain’t happening, up you go!

26 Goose Eye Sportive_LothersdaleRd 4_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Nick on Lothersdale Rd, a long drag

29 Goose Eye Sportive_Lothersdale Rd 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Lothersdale Rd just keeps on going….and going

30 Goose Eye Sportive_Babyhouse Lane 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The top is reached on the wonderfully named Babyhouse Lane

31 Goose Eye Sportive_Babyhouse Lane 2_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The descent of Babyhouse Lane and Moor Lane to the A59 crossing at Broughton is an extended treat

There will be a feed station at Broughton, just before the A59, after which a dog-leg right then left takes you on rolling Lanes to Gargrave, which has a pub and a café. The café used to be a famous cyclist’s meeting point, always piled up with bikes outside, until it changed hands. Now there are so many flowers outside there are fewer places to leave you’re bike, but they still sell the usual…

32 Goose Eye Sportive_Garstang pub stop_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Well if you think you have the time…..

Section 2. From Gargrave through Bowland to Chatburn

Turning left by the pub before the main road in Gargrave the easiest section of the Goose Eye Grimpeur takes you via Bank Newton. It lovely riding this, except for a couple of kilometers to Newsholme on the A689 which has some fast traffic to beware of. Then it’s back onto classic Lancashire lanes to Bolton By Bowland, then onto Grindleton (which has another feed station you will pass through again after a loop into the Bowland area). The climb up Easington Fell from Waddington on the B4678, Slaidburn Rd, is a long gentle gradient which kicks up a little at the end, leading to a fantastic descent with views north to the Bowland fells. Oh yes!

32 Goose Eye Sportive_Easington Fell climb_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Looking back down towards Waddington from the climb up Easington fell

33 Goose Eye Sportive_Slaidburn Rd descent_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Now that is what I call a nice road

You’ll love this descent towards the Hodder Valley, but make sure you keep an eye out for the left turn for Cow Ark near the bottom. This takes you onto a narrow lane which contours lumpily along and then over the western flank of Easington Fell. Even Google don’t know the name of this hidden gem of a road.

34 Goose Eye Sportive_Lanes to Cow Ark 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Buried deep in the heart of Lancashire…

35 Goose Eye Sportive_Lanes to Cow Ark 2_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

….a hidden gem of a road….

36 Goose Eye Sportive_Land to Cow Ark 3_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

……..which as well as being gorgeous……

37 Goose Eye Sportive_Descent to Whitewell_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

…..leads you to this ride down to Whitewells. Lush

A nice descent of Hall Hill to Whitewells on the river Hodder and a right turn takes you to the valley road, which rolls through succulent countryside to Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn, both of which have cafés – often containing cyclists as this is one of the best cycling areas in the UK, and you might bump into messers Wiggins or Yates.

38 Goose Eye Sportive_Slaidburn church1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Slaidburn church keeping an eye on how knackered you are yet. There is a café through the village by the river

39 Goose Eye Sportive_River Hodder Slaidburn_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The river Hodder looking mighty fine – is that coffee?

From Slaidburn you are heading back for a third time over Easington fell, this time over it’s eastern flank south towards Pendle. This is another lovely section over a high empty moorland plateau, starting with a short pull up from the Hodder on the B6478 then right onto Smalden Lane at the top. A series of shallow steps take you up onto the moor: take time to look around this huge space to the Yorkshire Three peaks on your left, and across the moors to Pendle in front and to the right. It is the land of curlews and lapwings up here, a delight on a good day and a slog on a bad one; but again it takes you on the Goose Eye to a cracking descent back down to Grindleton, where the feeding station can be re-vsited.

40 Goose Eye Sportive_Slaidburn climb B6478_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The climb up from Slaidburn on the B6478 – not too long this bit

41 Goose Eye Sportive_Easington fell to Pendle_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

God’s own country, looking across Harrop Fold to Easington fell and your objective, Pendle, in the distance

42 Goose Eye Sportive_view to 3 Peaks_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Looking back north to the Three Peaks

43 Goose Eye Sportive_Smallden Lane to Grindleton_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

One of a series of rises on Smalden lane

44 Goose Eye Sportive_Pendle from the Ribble_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The river Ribble near Grindleton with the big end of Pendle waiting

3. From Chatburn over Pendle, Widdop and Cragg to the finish

It has all been very civilised and maneageable on the loop round Bowland back to Grindleton, but things are about to get a wee bit testing again, and the various distractions and cop-out routes home are going to get more tempting, especially if you overcooked it on the first section – I told you not to! There is a shop and an ice-cream parlour at Chatburn – how much nicer than the hard slog through Downham (another nice pub!) and up to the big end of Pendle on Pendle Road and Barley Lane, which by this stage of the game is going to look bigger than it normally does to your tired eyes. You can make it to the finish if you pace it, keep well fed and hydrated and treat the route with respect – there are three big land masses to get over, including multiple incidental climbs.

45 Goose Eye Sportive_Hudsons Ices Chatburn_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Get thee behind me Satan! Oh ok, just a triple chocolate toffee cone with extra sauce then.

46 Goose Eye Sportive_Assheton Arms Downham_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The Assheton Arms at Downham full of people doing something sensible with their day

47 Goose Eye Sportive_Pendle Rd Climb_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The climb up Pendle Road which goes….up Pendle. Great views to your left here

48 Goose Eye Sportive_Barley Lane Climb_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Up Barley lane by Pendle big end looking suitably portentous and witchy.

49 Goose Eye Sportive_Barley_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

A touching memorial in Barley to riders in the Goose Eye Grimpeur whose legs were ripped off by this point, leaving only their bloodied torsos to struggle on.

After a fast twisting descent to Barley, which has a toilet by the car park on the left, you turn left and follow the river to Roughlee, where the steep bank of Pasture Lane takes you over to Barrowford and a dog-leg left then right onto the B6247 to the town of Colne. Signposted for Coldwell Activity Centre, Bridge Street leads you onto the steep climb of Knotts St, which then keeps climbing onto the moor towards the splendidly testing Widdop and on towards Hebden Bridge. There are no shops or facilities in this 20km section which takes you up high into the weather (if there is any) so again you need to make sure you have enough to eat, drink and keep warm with you – it’s not a good section to bonk on.

54 Goose Eye Sportive_Knotts Lane climb Colne_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Steep Knotts Lane lifts you quickly out of the small industrial town of Colne

55 Goose Eye Sportive_Approaching Widdop 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The approach to the steep climb up Widdop. On a day when you hadn’t already done a lot of climbs already you might be relishing it

56 Goose Eye Sportive_approaching Widdop 2_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

A steep twisty descent to the base of the Widdop climb will text your brakes – nice though, innit?

57 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop first ramp_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The first and steepest section of the Widdop climb which goes up in steps. Are you enjoying yourself yet?

58 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop climb 1_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Jago on the middle of the climb – it’s his local loop, so he’s used to it.

59 Goose Eye Sportive_Boulsworth Hill from Widdop_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Boulsworth Hill on your left as you climb. There’s a small chance you won’t have the energy left to enjoy it.

60 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop top_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

That ‘top of Widdop’ feeling

61 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop descent_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Get ready to enjoy one of the UK’s finest roads – 9 miles of stunning Pennine Landscape

62 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop reservoirABC Centreville manchester

Widdop reservoir

63 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop reservoire_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The grit-stone outcrops here were scene to some ground-breaking climbing exploits in the 1960s. What do you mean “I don’t give a s**t, just tell me how far is it to the finish”?

64 Goose Eye Sportive_Ridehalgh lane Blake Dean climb_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The dip down and climb up at Blake dean – not too bad

65 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop rd warning_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Nice spot of dialect spelling. No duck-related crashes please.

66 Goose Eye Sportive_Widdop Rd_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Skirting the lovely Hardcastle Crags

At the end of this fantastic road a fast wooded descent bi-passing Heptonstall takes you down to some traffic lights, where a left via the turning circle takes you through Hebden Bridge, which is full of café and shops, and Mytholmroyd, which has a Co-op on the left. You are going to make it now, there is just one climb left to get over: it just happens to be Cragg Vale, which is reputed to be the longest continuous climb in the country, with 958ft in 5.5 miles. Now, there is a possibility that your ickle pickle legs will be a ickle pickle bit tired now, but be re-asssured, it is not steep, just long. We won’t talk about the typical cross-headwind here, I’m sure it will be a tail wind when you do it. Winners in the various hill climb events up here might do around 14 minutes, which is quicker than the Tour de France, which used the bottom as a feed station. During the Tour bunting stretched alll the way to the top, and you can still see rider’s names sprayed on the road. Not that I’m saying your head will be down or anything….but by all that’s holy, what twisted sadist decided to put this nightmare at the end of….come on, hold it together, you can do this.

Goose Eaye Grimpeur Sportive_Cragg Vale_Centreville Cycling Club

World Road Race Champion Mandy Bishop and Taeko from Japan ‘enjoying’ Cragg vale

67 Goose Eye Sportive_Cragg-last climb on Blackstonedge Rd_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Jago on the way up – look, he’s smiling. Note the Tour de France graffiti on the road behind him


68 Goose Eye Sportive_Blackstonedge reservoir_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

Blackstonedge Reservoir marks the top of the Cragg road – sunsets look amazing reflected in it, if you are out that long

69 Goose Eye Sportive_A58 Whitehouse_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

The White House on the A58 again on top of what was the first climb of the day

Unbelievably there are no more climbs left, you’ve just got to keep your concentration down the fast descent of Blackstonedge, the whole Lancashire plain laid out before you with views to the Welsh hills if it is clear. Yes, it’s true, a few weary kilometers back to the HQ and finally a day to remember will be over. Well you’ve done it you’ve got to the end of one of the toughest web-posts….I mean one of the toughest sportives in the UK. What do you think? See you on the day?

70 Goose Eye Sportive_Down Blackstonedge_ABC Centreville Cycling Club

We will soon be landing in Littleborough, please keep clipped in until your bicycle comes to a stop, we’d like to thank you for flying with Goose Eye Airways.

Geoff Read


Route on Ride with GPS where you can also download cue-sheets and GPX files

Facebook event page with discussion

Goose Eye Grimpeur main website

 August 3, 2017  Posted by at 11:08 am Events, Sportives 9 Responses »
Jul 272017
Afrika kit Appeal 1

Will these boys be on the UCI racing circuit in a few years time when they have grown into their kit?

Centrville’s John Taylor has kindly organised a club donation of cycling clothing to the Africa Kit Appeal which collects kit for young racing cyclists in Africa:

“Our mission is to provide the kids of our supported African countries with the cycling apparel they need, not only will this enable the current cyclists to fulfil their full potential, dreams & ambitions but we hope we can also introduce some new faces into the world of cycling, a world that we love.”

Matt Brammeier, four time Irish national road race and once Irish trial champion, is a professional cyclist currently riding for Aqua Blue Sport, who has ridden for also ridden fro HTC, Pharma Quick-step and MTN-Qhubeka. According to the website, “For years the amount of spare and leftover kit Matt has accumulated by the end of the season has bugged him. Not because of the space it takes in his wardrobe, but because of the thousands of up and coming cyclists that need it so much more than he does. As soon as he learned of the Adrien Niyonshuti cycling academy in Rwanda, the idea smacked him right in the face. So now here he is, trying to empty your clogged up wardrobes, draws and garages and give a little inspiration to these young kids that ironically inspire him so much.”

Matt Brammieir

Matt Brammieir riding for Omega Phrma-Quick Step in his Irish champion’s jersey

Centreville are pleased to have supported this in a small way. It will be interesting to see what will develop if the obstacles to participation can be overcome, in what is an expensive sport relative to running. African nations have come to dominate distance running – will the Tour one day be raced by far more nations that are currently represented? It will make for an even more competitive and compelling race to watch.

Africa Kit Appeal

The rainbow jersey will be more truly a World Championship when more nations can participate fully

If you have some spare cycling kit of any kind (NB not bigger than medium size) the next collection is in October 2017. “We accept all good quality cycling kit in sizes Medium, Small and Extra Small; cycling shoes; sunglasses, helmets, and leg warmers, arm warmers etc.” Centreville will be using the Liverpool collection point at Quinns Cycles in Liverpool, but other collection points are around this and other countries.


Another way of supporting cycling in Africa is of course the Qhubeka charity, which aims to enable individuals and communities to access bicycles for transport to facilitate education, health and trade in poor communities. The name will be familiar from the MTN-Qhubeka (now Dimension Data) professional cycling team, which famously has Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings as members.

Qhubeka bike in use

In poor and remote communities bicycles are essential workhorses, making a big difference to life. Photo: Qhubeka website

Stage win

Edvald Bosen-Hagen gives the Qhubeka five-fingered salute as he wins a stage in the 2017 Tour de France

The bicycle is an amazing machine which we are lucky enough to ride for fun, but it can also make a huge practical difference, as well as being one of the cleanest, most efficient and cheapest modes of transport. The Dimension Data Team’s website explains how a bicycle changes lives in Africa:

  • Riding a bicycle increases a person’s carrying capacity by 5x
  • Over the same period of time, a person riding a bicycle can travel 4x the distance as someone walking
  • For every 16km travelled, a bicycle saves 3 hours of valuable time

For more information or to make a donation visit the Dimension Data Team’s website

Geoff Read

 July 27, 2017  Posted by at 9:18 am community and ideas, Events, Other No Responses »
Jun 272017
ABC Centreville Manchester Cycling Club

Paul Basson riding at 25mph plus

Going Under the Hour

“I decided to have another crack at time trialling this year (my last time trial was in 1992!) and so entered a few early season time trials on my road bike with clip on bars.

I soon remembered how painful time trials are but i did enjoy the pure, simple effort of riding to your limit over a set distance and decided to jump in full bore again.

From April I built up the training and acquired the necessary time trial bike and kit in stages. Entering a series of 10 mile TTs on Rainford and a few open events got me down from my first time of 25 mins 10 seconds for 10 miles in April, to 22 mins 39 seconds by mid June, which surprised me! Both were on the same Rainford course.

The main goal for me was to go under the hour for a 25 mile TT, so I looked through the Cycling time trial website and entered the East Lancs Road Club 25 on the J2/9 course through Chelford. The ride took on a poignant significance for me when a family friend called Gracie, 6 years old, died on the Monday after a 3 year battle with cancer. I didn’t feel like doing the ride but then decided to dedicate ride to her, to honour her passing in my own small way.

I had to go under the hour and felt under pressure to do so.

Clubmate Danny Shackelton was also racing and we met briefly at the entrance to the race HQ as I set off to the start to warm up. Danny mentioned he had had too much beer the night before, but he still always rides like a demon.

Lining up next to Jodrell Bank,  starting off as number 38 I made sure not to set of too quickly and settled into a good but hard pace around 25 to 26 mph average, and sought to ride to a planned target of 25.5 mph average, if I could sustain that pace!

On the second lap the pain began to grow as I upped the effort and fought with the wind and a tractor that blocked me for a good half mile, costing some time.

With 3 miles to go I went full bore and as I came to the finish I knew I was going to do it, crossing the line with cramping legs and a bursting chest in 58:55. Job done… and a great feeling.

Danny was 14th overall with 57:27 making him 9th vet, and I was 25th overall with 58:55 making me 17th vet, out of 107 starters. A good day in the centreville colours and more to come!!

My under the hour ride is dedicated to the memory of Gracie…xxx”

Paul Basson

Why not race or ride for pleasure with Centreville? Get in touch

 June 27, 2017  Posted by at 9:07 pm Events, TT No Responses »