Janet Kelly Memorial Open 10 Time Trial


Beacon RCC has promoted an open 10-mile time trial nearly every year since 1978. The event is organised as a memorial to Janet Kelly, sadly killed whilst participating in the sport she loved so much. A trophy in Janet’s name is awarded to the fastest woman. Previous winners have included the legendary Beryl Burton, the Beacon’s own multiple national champion, Ruth Eyles, and UCI Gran Fondo TT World Champion, Jessica Rhodes-Jones.

Unfortunately it has been necessary to cancel the 2022 event. 

May 2022 intro ride


Outdoor cafe stop

Newcomers are warmly invited to join us on our next Introductory Ride.

Date

Sunday 1 May 2022

Where and when does it start?

The car park of the Black Horse, Bristol Rd South, Northfield, B31 2QT. We’ll set off at 09:15, and we’ll meet ten or fifteen minutes before that to say hello and chat about the ride.

Where’s it going?

This month’s Intro Ride is going to the Espresso Farm café at Umberslade Farm Park. Here’s a map of the route we plan to follow, which you can download to a GPS device:

We’ll cover roughly 56 kilometres (35 miles), mostly on quiet lanes. We’ll stop for refreshments at the Espresso Farm Café, approximately two-third of the way through the route.

Will it be hard?

You should be fine if you can already ride for an hour or two at an average of roughly 16-20kph (10-12mph). We’ll stick together and go at the pace of the slowest rider. We’ll ride for a total of about three hours, with a break at the café and maybe a breather at the top of one or two hills.

Who can join in?

Our Intro Rides are mainly for people new to club cycling and not yet confident about doing one of the main club runs. They’re ideal if you already cycle and fancy getting a bit more involved, or if you’re returning after a break. They provide a chance to get to know the club and decide whether it’s for you. If you’re very new to cycling, it’s probably best to do a few independent rides first, and join an Intro Ride once you’re comfortable riding for 90 minutes or so. Under-16s need an adult with them.

How do I join the ride?

At the moment, because of COVID precautions, Intro Rides are limited to eight people, including the leader(s). Everyone needs to be signed up in advance. To put your name down, either mail clubruns@beaconrcc.org.uk or answer the post on our message board.

Do I need a fancy bike?

No. For an Intro Ride, the main thing is that your bike is comfortable and reliable. Of course, it must also be legal, which basically means having two working brakes. For safety reasons, we don’t allow use of tri-bars on group rides.

Do I need special cycling gear?

No. Proper cycling clothing is generally more comfortable, especially for people riding far and/or fast. But that’s not us on an Intro Ride. It’s good to avoid things that flap about and you certainly don’t want anything that chafes. But things like sweatshirts, close-fitting jogging trousers and trainers are fine. Multiple thin layers are usually a good idea, especially in spring and autumn, when it’s often chilly early and warm later. When you start to sweat, you can take off the top layer and stuff it in a jersey pocket or bag.

What should I bring?

Bring a bottle of water and maybe something like an energy bar. You’ll also need a little money for refreshments. If there’s a chance of rain, have a lightweight waterproof in your pocket or bag. Most club cyclists carry a mobile phone and a credit/debit card in case of emergency.

Anything else I need to know?

Yes, you need to read our Club Run Guidelines. Also, while we’ll always do our best to help, it’s important to recognise a rescue service isn’t part of the deal. So have a think about how you’d manage if you were miles from home with a bike that won’t go. Could you phone home for a lift, for example?

April 2022 intro ride


Newcomers are warmly invited to join us on our next Introductory Ride.

Date

Sunday 3 April 2022

Where and when does it start?

The car park of the Black Horse, Bristol Rd South, Northfield, B31 2QT. We’ll set off at 09:00, and we’ll meet ten or fifteen minutes before that to say hello and chat about the ride.

Where’s it going?

This month’s Intro Ride is going to The View café in Wootton Wawen. Here’s a map of the route we plan to follow, which you can download to a GPS device:

We’ll cover roughly 52 kilometres (32 miles), mostly on quiet lanes. We’ll stop for refreshments at The View, approximately half the way through the route.

Will it be hard?

You should be fine if you can already ride for an hour or two at an average of roughly 16-20kph (10-12mph). We’ll stick together and go at the pace of the slowest rider. We’ll ride for a total of about three hours, with a break at the café and maybe a breather at the top of one or two hills.

Who can join in?

Our Intro Rides are mainly for people new to club cycling and not yet confident about doing one of the main club runs. They’re ideal if you already cycle and fancy getting a bit more involved, or if you’re returning after a break. They provide a chance to get to know the club and decide whether it’s for you. If you’re very new to cycling, it’s probably best to do a few independent rides first, and join an Intro Ride once you’re comfortable riding for 90 minutes or so. Under-16s need an adult with them.

How do I join the ride?

At the moment, because of COVID precautions, Intro Rides are limited to eight people, including the leader(s). Everyone needs to be signed up in advance. To put your name down, either mail clubruns@beaconrcc.org.uk or answer the post on our message board.

Do I need a fancy bike?

No. For an Intro Ride, the main thing is that your bike is comfortable and reliable. Of course, it must also be legal, which basically means having two working brakes. For safety reasons, we don’t allow use of tri-bars on group rides.

Do I need special cycling gear?

No. Proper cycling clothing is generally more comfortable, especially for people riding far and/or fast. But that’s not us on an Intro Ride. It’s good to avoid things that flap about and you certainly don’t want anything that chafes. But things like sweatshirts, close-fitting jogging trousers and trainers are fine. Multiple thin layers are usually a good idea, especially in spring and autumn, when it’s often chilly early and warm later. When you start to sweat, you can take off the top layer and stuff it in a jersey pocket or bag.

What should I bring?

Bring a bottle of water and maybe something like an energy bar. You’ll also need a little money for refreshments. If there’s a chance of rain, have a lightweight waterproof in your pocket or bag. Most club cyclists carry a mobile phone and a credit/debit card in case of emergency.

Anything else I need to know?

Yes, you need to read our Club Run Guidelines. Also, while we’ll always do our best to help, it’s important to recognise a rescue service isn’t part of the deal. So have a think about how you’d manage if you were miles from home with a bike that won’t go. Could you phone home for a lift, for example?

2022 Birmingham Business Park races


On Sunday 10 April, we’re going to be helping to organise a round of Behind Bars Sports’ 2022 Birmingham Business Park circuit race series. The day will feature 3rd cat, E/1/2/3 women, 3/4 and E/1/2 races. Entries are now open via the British Cycling website here. Half-price entry is available for Beacon members; details available here.

Update: Results are now available here. Thanks for everyone who raced or helped out!

March 2022 intro ride


Newcomers are warmly invited to join us on our next Introductory Ride.

Date

Sunday 6 March 2022

Where and when does it start?

The car park of the Black Horse, Bristol Rd South, Northfield, B31 2QT. We’ll set off at 09:15, and we’ll meet ten or fifteen minutes before that to say hello and chat about the ride.

Where’s it going?

This month’s Intro Ride is going to the café at Rowberry’s Garden Centre, Chaddesley Corbett. Here’s a map of the route we plan to follow, which you can download to a GPS device:

We’ll cover roughly 48 kilometres (30 miles), mostly on quiet lanes. We’ll stop for refreshments at Rowberry’s Garden Centre, approximately half the way through the route.

Will it be hard?

You should be fine if you can already ride for an hour or two at an average of roughly 16-20kph (10-12mph). We’ll stick together and go at the pace of the slowest rider. We’ll ride for a total of about three hours, with a break at the café and maybe a breather at the top of one or two hills.

Who can join in?

Our Intro Rides are mainly for people new to club cycling and not yet confident about doing one of the main club runs. They’re ideal if you already cycle and fancy getting a bit more involved, or if you’re returning after a break. They provide a chance to get to know the club and decide whether it’s for you. If you’re very new to cycling, it’s probably best to do a few independent rides first, and join an Intro Ride once you’re comfortable riding for 90 minutes or so. Under-16s need an adult with them.

How do I join the ride?

At the moment, because of COVID restrictions, Intro Rides are limited to eight people, including the leader(s). Everyone needs to be signed up in advance. To put your name down, either mail clubruns@beaconrcc.org.uk or answer the post on our message board.

Do I need a fancy bike?

No. For an Intro Ride, the main thing is that your bike is comfortable and reliable. Of course, it must also be legal, which basically means having two working brakes. For safety reasons, we don’t allow use of tri-bars on group rides.

Do I need special cycling gear?

No. Proper cycling clothing is generally more comfortable, especially for people riding far and/or fast. But Intro Rides aren’t like that. It’s good to avoid things that flap about and you certainly don’t want anything that chafes. In winter, you obviously don’t want to be under-dressed. But be careful not to over-dress either: if you’re sweating heavily on the hills, your wet clothes will make you cold the rest of the time. Layering is good and, if it’s likely to be wet, windy or very cold, your outer layer should be a lightweight waterproof or wind-stopper. Make sure all your extremities are well protected, but be aware that keeping your hands and feet warm depends as much on keeping your core warm as on gloves and footwear.

What should I bring?

Bring a bottle of water and maybe something like an energy bar. You’ll also need a little money for refreshments. If there’s a chance of rain, have a lightweight waterproof in your pocket or bag. Most club cyclists carry a mobile phone and a credit/debit card in case of emergency.

Anything else I need to know?

Yes, you need to read our Club Run Guidelines. Also, while we’ll always do our best to help, it’s important to recognise a rescue service isn’t part of the deal. So have a think about how you’d manage if you were miles from home with a bike that won’t go. Could you phone home for a lift, for example?

February 2022 intro ride


Newcomers are warmly invited to join us on our next Introductory Ride.

Date

Sunday 6 February 2022

Where and when does it start?

The car park of the Black Horse, Bristol Rd South, Northfield, B31 2QT. We’ll set off at 09:15, and we’ll meet ten or fifteen minutes before that to say hello and chat about the ride.

Where’s it going?

This month’s Intro Ride is going to the café at Earlswood Craft Centre. Here’s a map of the route we plan to follow, which you can download to a GPS device:

We’ll cover roughly 49 kilometres (30 miles), mostly on quiet lanes. We’ll stop for refreshments at Earlswood Craft Centre, approximately two-thirds of the way through the route.

Will it be hard?

You should be fine if you can already ride for an hour or two at an average of roughly 16-20kph (10-12mph). We’ll stick together and go at the pace of the slowest rider. We’ll ride for a total of about three hours, with a break at the café and maybe a breather at the top of one or two hills.

Who can join in?

Our Intro Rides are mainly for people new to club cycling and not yet confident about doing one of the main club runs. They’re ideal if you already cycle and fancy getting a bit more involved, or if you’re returning after a break. They provide a chance to get to know the club and decide whether it’s for you. If you’re very new to cycling, it’s probably best to do a few independent rides first, and join an Intro Ride once you’re comfortable riding for 90 minutes or so. Under-16s need an adult with them.

How do I join the ride?

At the moment, because of COVID restrictions, Intro Rides are limited to eight people, including the leader(s). Everyone needs to be signed up in advance. To put your name down, either mail clubruns@beaconrcc.org.uk or answer the post on our message board.

Do I need a fancy bike?

No. For an Intro Ride, the main thing is that your bike is comfortable and reliable. Of course, it must also be legal, which basically means having two working brakes. For safety reasons, we don’t allow use of tri-bars on group rides.

Do I need special cycling gear?

No. Proper cycling clothing is generally more comfortable, especially for people riding far and/or fast. But Intro Rides aren’t like that. It’s good to avoid things that flap about and you certainly don’t want anything that chafes. In winter, you obviously don’t want to be under-dressed. But be careful not to over-dress either: if you’re sweating heavily on the hills, your wet clothes will make you cold the rest of the time. Layering is good and, if it’s likely to be wet, windy or very cold, your outer layer should be a lightweight waterproof or wind-stopper. Make sure all your extremities are well protected, but be aware that keeping your hands and feet warm depends as much on keeping your core warm as on gloves and footwear.

What should I bring?

Bring a bottle of water and maybe something like an energy bar. You’ll also need a little money for refreshments. If there’s a chance of rain, have a lightweight waterproof in your pocket or bag. Most club cyclists carry a mobile phone and a credit/debit card in case of emergency.

Anything else I need to know?

Yes, you need to read our Club Run Guidelines. Also, while we’ll always do our best to help, it’s important to recognise a rescue service isn’t part of the deal. So have a think about how you’d manage if you were miles from home with a bike that won’t go. Could you phone home for a lift, for example?

2022 Little Mountain Time Trial


The 2022 edition of the Beacon RCC’s flagship time trial event, the Little Mountain Time Trial, which forms part of the CTT Merlin Cycles Classic Series, took place on 24 April on the K22/39 course, with the event headquarters at Great Witley Village Hall.

Congratulations to the overall winners, Richard Bussell (AeroCoach), Emma Bexson (Stratford CC), and the Beacon’s Celia Brown, who was fastest woman overall despite being in the road bike category!

Thanks to our competitors for taking part and organisers and volunteers for putting on another successful event. The links below take you to the results as they’re organised on the CTT website, with the final link giving our own full breakdown of the individual category results.

75th anniversary souvenir booklet


As a club, we marked our 75th anniversary in 2021. Club President George Barker compiled a 75th anniversary souvenir booklet to mark the occasion, featuring recollections from club members past and present and a selection of materials from the archives. Everyone who attended the Annual Dinner in November received a hard copy, but if you weren’t able to make the dinner, you can now download the booklet as a PDF. George also has some spare printed copies, so speak to him if you’d like one.

Ian Taylor’s Tour 21 reflections


On Saturday 19 July 2021, I rolled out of Brest as part of a team of 18 cyclists aiming to ride the entire route of the 2021 Tour de France one week ahead of the professional race and in the process raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia. Just getting to the start line felt like a triumph…

The original plan was to ride the Tour route in 2020, one day ahead of the professional peloton, but like so many plans over the last 18 months, it was derailed by the pandemic. No problem, we thought: postpone to 2021 when the world is back to normal. Of course, as the months rolled on it became increasingly clear that 2021 was a long way from normal. As winter eventually became spring and lockdown restrictions came, went and came back again, the emotions of the Tour 21 team were up and down on a daily basis. We did the only thing you can do when facing such uncertainty: plan for the worst, hope for the best and with that in mind the logistical planning carried on throughout the spring and into early summer.

COVID vaccines, PCR tests, amber countries, green countries, antigen tests, quarantine, COVID passports, lateral flow tests, essential travel, non-essential travel, exemptions –  it was new territory with seemingly endless and constantly changing rules and regulations to navigate to even get to France, let alone attempt to ride round it. 

A few of our team went to Brest on 9 July and self-isolated. A handful of our team weren’t double vaccinated in time to allow them to travel. I was double vaccinated but didn’t have two weeks on the clock since my second jab, so my place was in doubt until I found a line on the French Consulate website that said if I could prove I’d previously had COVID then I would be able to travel – I was 99% certain I’d had it months ago so off I scurried to get an antigen test. Sure enough, the antigen test came back positive and I was cleared to travel. It was almost a disappointment to only be asked for my passport as we boarded the ferry in Portsmouth and we didn’t even have to show anything when we arrived in Caen, but no matter, I was finally on French soil and ready to ride!

A short 25km on Friday afternoon around Brest to stretch the legs after 36 hours traveling was welcome, if a bit surreal, and then all of a sudden it was 7am on Saturday morning and we were off! Lots of talk in the little peloton about pacing ourselves, taking it easy, it’s a three-week endurance test, don’t go into the red in the first week etc., etc. On that first morning, it looked like we were taking our own advice, riding nice and steady and ticking of the miles in a disciplined group. Having moto outriders stopping traffic certainly helped it feel like we were making good progress. We’re a team, one for all, all for one. Stay in the wheels if you need a tow, let’s stick together…until an hour after the lunch stop, with around 60k still to go, when without warning it all kicked off and suddenly ‘it’s on’, full-gas riding, hang on to the wheel in front, 30 seconds on the front before peeling off and desperately trying to recover before what feels like less than 10 seconds later you’re somehow back on the front and dangerously over your threshold. What the hell happened to pace yourself and take it easy, it’s a three-week test?

And so the pattern was set for pretty much every stage. Ride in a group till just after lunch, then hang on to your bidons boys and girls, all hell is breaking loose again! You could of course drop off and join the ‘tortoise’ group if you wanted to, but frankly where’s the fun in that? Well, by day five it turned out I could see plenty of fun in that and I was very happy to trundle like a tortoise now and again.

Having trained non stop for nearly 18 months I was in probably as good a shape as I could have hoped but nothing could have prepared me for the relentlessness of riding hundreds of kilometres day after day. It was physically and mentally draining, despite the brilliant logistics (police outriders in towns/cities, team coach, mechanics, decent hotels; there was even a laundry service every three days for your kit!). But despite the tiredness and the strain, the feeling that it was an absolute privilege to be part of this was always at the front of my mind. The daily routine was punishing but it was also crucial to follow it and minimise the faff. Oh god, the faff! If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at the level of faff when a club run gets ready to leave the café stop, trust me, that’s nothing compared to the frankly world-class level of faff from 18 tired middle-aged cyclists half-way round the route of a Grand Tour. The daily routine didn’t change much, irrespective of the stage. Up at 6am. Breakfast at 6.15am. Bags packed, kit on, bidons filled, helmet, glasses, gloves, gilet, arm warmers and rain cape at the ready. Main bag on the coach and in the luggage hold by 7.15am. Bike stowed in the bike trailer by 7.15am. Day bag on the coach by 7.15am. Coach transfer to start of the stage from 7.30am. Arrive at the start of the stage by 8.30am. More faffing. A good half hour of it. Has anyone seen the track pump? Where’s the SiS powder? Has anyone got today’s route on their Garmin? Will I need a gilet? Is it going to rain? How the four ride captains maintained their smiling and friendly demeanour, I’ll never know. 9am, start riding. 11am, water stop. 1pm, lunch stop. 3.30pm water stop. 6pm finish line. Wait for everyone to finish and get on the coach. Transfer to new hotel. Arrive hotel at 8.30pm. Dinner at 8.45pm. Shower at 10pm. Prep kit and bike for the morning. Phone home. Lights out 11pm. Repeat times 21 days.

I joined Strava a few days before we started, largely to give people at home the chance to see an update from the ride along with the odd photograph. It quickly became a daily highlight of the Tour, uploading the day’s ride during the coach transfer right after the stage, including a route profile and a few photographs from the day. The kudos and comments from home that appeared into the evening and the following morning helped lift my spirits and knowing that people were cheering us on meant a huge amount.

There were so many highlights that will stay long in the memory. Riding twice up the Mur de Bretagne on stage 2, the longest stage in 25 years on stage 7 (which included some km long ramps of 18% gradient I might add!), the thrill of reaching the Alps on stage 8 and 9. The dread of a 24km climb up to Tignes to finish that stage – I suffered that day. The high temperatures of week two, with Nimes, Carcassone and other iconic Tour destinations seeming like a heat-induced blur. The angst of climbing Ventoux twice after 80 miles of riding that day, in blistering heat. Climbing up into Andorra to the high point of the route above the clouds. Hitting the Pyrenees and the iconic Tour climbs: Col du Tourmalet, Peyrousourde, Luz Ardiden, Col de Portet.

We devoured highlights of the professional race whenever we could, largely on the coach transfer via phone or iPad, and the news that Cav had won one stage was greeted with huge cheers – as his wins stacked up, the cheers got louder and louder. Some enterprising soul managed to get live updates on the road as we headed towards the finish of stage 19 so when the news came through that Cav had picked up his 4th win, our little group rolling through rural France was cheering, high-fiving and crying tears of joy all at the same time.

With every passing day, Paris was getting just that little bit closer. The last few days seemed to fly by and what had seemed like a very distant dream three weeks ago was coming into focus – we were in Paris and ready to ride the final stage. It was a shock to the system to ride 75km in a city after the landscape we’d been revelling in for the previous three weeks. Once the Arc de Triomphe was in sight, we knew we’d done it. 

So, what were the cycling highlights? The stats tell one story – 21 stages, 3490km of riding, 44,000m of climbing and 143 hours in the saddle – to say nothing of the hundreds of croissants, thousands of gels and energy bars, 7 to 8 litres of water for each rider every day, most it consumed, some of it poured over heads as the temperature went up.

But there’s really only one stat that matters. As we arrived at the Arc de Triomphe, the news came through that we’d just hit our £1m fundraising target for Cure Leukaemia. Whoever was writing this script knew how to come up with a Hollywood ending!

After the photographs, hugs, handshakes, tears and outpouring of relief in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, it was a race for the Eurostar and the dash home in time for kick off. And what better way to get back to reality than to see England lose on penalties in the Euro 2020 final?

Annual General Meeting 2021


This year’s Beacon AGM will take place at 18:30 on Thursday 9 December 2021, in Seminar Room 2, Hillscourt Hotel and Conference Centre on Rose Hill. We’ve moved the AGM here from its previous venue to ensure that there is step-free access to the meeting.

For members who would prefer to join the meeting online, we will also be using Zoom to facilitate this. Please see the AGM notice sent out to all members by e-mail on 18 November for the Zoom link.

Please do join us to help set the direction of the club for the coming year.