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TA EAST NEWS – APRIL 14th 2009

To TA East Members and Friends

From Fergus Muir

This Saturday (18th April) we have an East Meet at DEBENHAM. This will be an early lunchtime meet – probably around noon – as we have three tricycles in the Stowmarket & District 20 mile time trial in the afternoon. Chasing the £10 Fastest Trike prize are Ian McKenzie, off at 1403, Paul Willsher at 1414 and Martin Badham at 1418.

The lunchtime meet is at the Angel in the High Street. There is a new landlord here – from the Scilly Isles! The atmosphere was very welcoming when I visited 10 days ago, with one of the customers remembering our visit last year.

Martin Badham will look after this meet, as I will be in Devon for a friend’s wedding.

I will put details how to find Debenham at the end of this newsletter

Next day (19th April) several East Region members are travelling to Kent for the BILL FINCH MEMORIAL 25, which has 31 trikes entered. The startsheet is an attachment to this email.

Then we have Peter Holland’s TA EAST 25 near Sleaford on Saturday 2nd May, to be exact at 2pm at Silk Willoughby.

This is the first day of the Mayday Bank Holiday Camping Weekend, hosted by the Hollands at Dunston. Dunston is 8 miles south-east of Lincoln.

This is usually a blossom-sprinkled occasion, though I am warned that we won’t be able sit right under the apple trees this year as they have had to be fenced off to protect them from bark-eating animals.

Usual ingredients of this most enjoyable weekend include a meal with the Holland’s on Saturday evening, and a (very informal) pace-judging competition on Sunday most often followed by a pub lunch.

On Bank Holiday Monday many time trialists will head over the Humber to the Mike Dixie 10 on the fast V718 course near Hull.

Others will be able to have a nice lie-in, as there is no trike criterium at Ixworth to rush off for this year. (This is because West Suffolk Wheelers have decided to provide more racing for young bike riders this year)

Dunston is very much a family social weekend – probably half those there do not race.

The Hollands provide free camping, and also food on Saturday evening, but they do need to know what is needed, so please phone Pete or Gwyneth on 01526 322633 to tell them if you would like to come. And bring your own drink.

(After writing the above, the organiser’s own details arrived – they are added at the end of this Newsletter)


Since writing about this in the last TA East News several members have contributed examples or updates:

Ralph Dadswell : My differentials for best ever times are 54:00 and 58:06 giving 7.6%

Roy Proctker : My 25s are 1:02:14 on bike and 1:08:49 on trike 10.6% longer

Dave Keene : My pb on 2 wheels is 50.56 which makes the differential 8.6%

Thanks for these – which tend to confirm that the differential applied by the VTTA – around 8.3 % – is not far out.


Those of you who go back a long way will remember Peter Schaay who is still in the CTT handbook as a member of the Diss & District team that held trike competition record for 100 miles from 1960 to 1963 – the other members were Geoff Banham and Paul Denny.

Pete stopped racing somewhere around 1970, but has apparently kept himself busy since then – he and his wife Rosie have fostered 135 children over the years. Now 70 Pete has won an Age Concern award as Anglia Grandparent of the Year. There is a photo and article about this on the Diss Express website at: 


There may soon be another trike to be seen around Diss. Following requests in TA East News earlier this year, I’m pleased to say we located a suitable machine – a Mission – for Joan Hunt.


Peter Church and his wife, tricyclists from Walsoken near Wisbech, have recently joined the TA EAST – (thanks, Peter, for the stamped addressed envelopes for newsletters). They have just had a trike built up by Mick Madgett with a Parker conversion. Talking to Mick I learn that the Parker is the current con-set of choice and readily available. Some of you may remember Mike Moody riding one until his beautiful Higgins was restored.


Recently I was lucky enough to be invited by Paul Willsher to take our two Higgins trikes to Bishops Castle, which is in south-west Shropshire, very close to the Welsh border.

Four years ago Paul purchased his Higgins from Ray and Tess Pearson, formerly of the South Bucks RC, and this return visit was because he was buying another machine from them, a classic fixed-wheel Mercian.

It was a privilege to meet this lively couple and to glimpse their busy life in “retirement” in the countryside. And wonderful to have access to their collection of local books and maps – I was in heaven.

Here are some of the tricycling ups and downs of the trip.

The approach to Ludlow

– from Bromfield, via Priors Halton, on a bright sunny morning. This is a bridleway, and I doubt if I would have tried it if Tess had not suggested it. It proved easy tricycling, almost all tarmac. This road leaves the A49 by the half-timbered gatehouse of the former Bromfield Priory, crosses the Teme above the remains of a mill – maybe two – and took us into Oakly Park. No traffic, just one gate. As we approached Ludlow the castle stood high on our left. There were no suburbs, we crossed the river and struggled steeply up by the castle, emerged directly into the Market Place, right by the hospitable Castle Buttery.

Leaving Ludlow I stopped to take a photo of the famous Feathers, half-timbered inn, rather hoping that Paul would suggest a quick half. He didn’t, and he was quite right – for although we made splendid progress north-eastwards ALONG Corvedale, when we turned left at Bouldon (GR 545852) to CROSS Wenlock Edge, the going became much slower. We were late for the tea, which Paul had arranged with a relative of his at a house under Caer Caradoc Hill. The entrance drive was visually attractive but tricky for trikes as it had grass down the middle. This mean it was a case of having one back wheel on a decent surface and the other on the grass. There was a temptation to keep changing sides to find the best surface, but each cross-over entailed a tippy moment.

Our host watched from a window to see us depart on these strange machines. We had fortunately just got round a bend and out of sight when Paul fell off. My sophisticated camera was immediately called into action to record the moment for all, but Paul was on his feet before it had decided what settings to settle on – a Box Brownie would have done better.

The Castle Hotel

Bishops Castle is famous for its pubs – two doing their own beer – the Six Bells and the Three Tuns, with its tower brewery, but we went to the third GBG entry, the wonderful Castle. There since 1713 – quite grand – very big steps up to the door – truly excellent beer – good food – and a globe-like ornament on a mantelpiece that one of the barmen said was a hat stand. I wondered if it might actually have started life in an 18th century gentleman’s dressing room as the place where he put his wig at night.

The open country to the west

On what should have been our last morning Ray Pearson took us into Wales.

We climbed straight out of Bishops Castle up onto the Kerry Ridgeway. Then across the valley of the strangely named River Unk to pause where we crossed Offa’s Dyke (263883). Next a beautiful unfenced road over the sheepwalk of Edenhope Hill to Two Crosses (240868). A safe descent of Skelton’s Bank brought us to Three Gates (270851). From here we went north through Mainstone (274878), following the River Unk trough a narrow valley which is the result of a geological fault. From here we returned to Bishops Castle, this time descending the Kerry Ridgeway into the town. It’s drop of about 600 feet – with a little bend in the middle that is only apparent on maps of 1:25,000 and larger. Here we had the big “down” of the trip.

Paul swept down ahead of me and I came round the bend to find him and Higgins in a heap in the road. The trike had gone up the bank on the outside and rebounded back into the carriageway. This was a worrying moment! We actually got going again quite quickly – it was no place to linger in the road and there was nowhere to get off it. Following Paul down into the town I realised that his nearside rear tyre was soft. I don’t think we’ll ever know if this was the cause or a consequence of the crash.

Those of you who saw Paul at our Debenham meet a few days later will remember the red marks on his forehead where his helmet had been bashed up against his forehead, so won’t be surprised to hear that this entailed a visit to Shrewsbury Hospital. Fortunately the doctor’s verdict was a cautious OK, and we returned to our flatter natural habitats in East Anglia next day.

Anyway a wonderful few days and many thanks to Paul, Tess and Ray for making it possible.

I hope to tell you about the fords another time…..

DEBENHAM Details – The Angel is towards the north end of the High Street, on the East side – Grid Ref. TM 174635.

Even if not racing, parking is available at the event HQ – The Leisure Centre, Gracechurch Street IP14 6BL , Grid Ref TM 16763, on the west side of the village


All are welcome to join us for our camping weekend on the Mayday Bank Holiday 2008 starting on Friday 1st May.

As usual, there will be free camping on the field at ‘Stepping Stones’ on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but space is limited, so do please let us know if you want us to reserve a space for your tent or caravan.

You don’t have to enter the time trial to come along and enjoy the Company and social rides – all are welcome, including wives and families.

Let us know if you want information about B&B and / or hotel accommodation in the area

25 mile time trial Saturday May 2nd

This will be held on the C25/22 – Silk Willoughby nr Sleaford to Donington – same course as last year. As before, the event will include trikes, tandem trikes and tandems. Start will be at 2.00pm. Headquarters will be Silk Willoughby Village Hall, same as last year. Entries to:

Pete Holland, Stepping Stones, Main Road, Dunston, Lincoln LN4 2EZ

See CTT handbook for full details

or Telephone Pete on 01526 322633

Saturday evening party

Everyone is welcome to join us on Saturday evening from about 7.00pm. There will be plenty of food provided so don’t bother to eat before you come. There will be no formal charge for food but you will need to bring your own drink.

Pace Judging Competition

Sunday we shall be doing a pace judging competition as usual, more information about lunch venue will be available later.


On Monday, as usual, some people will be travelling North for the Mike Dixie ‘10’. Others might like to go out for a club run and then, when the time triallers return about lunch time, we might have a barbecue or pub lunch.

If you are interested in joining in all or any of the activities please feel very welcome to join us. You only need to book if you want food on either Saturday night or Sunday lunchtime (or both) or if you want to enter the time trial, of course.

Please ring Peter or Gwyneth on 01526 322633 to book your food or for more information.

Now I must finish

Best wishes to you all

Ferg Muir

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