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UK Cyclist: Long-distance and leisure cycling in the South-west and elsewhere

Dave LewisDave died on the 16th January 2013 after a short illness. He was 57. Here is the History he prepared during his last weeks.

 

1955-1990 – life before Audax: I was born on 30 December 1955 have been riding bikes of various sorts and for various reasons since since about 1960 when I had my first toddler bike with stabilisers. Once I could ride on my own or with friends, probably aged about 8-9, we’d take off on great voyages of discovery around the extensive Poulter’s Park onto which backed our house in Morden, Surrey, then along the River Wandle even as far as Carshalton, perhaps as much 2-3 miles away. I then went to Sutton Grammar School for Boys aged 11, and after a couple of years my dad invested in buying me my first full-sized bike so I could ride the two or three miles to/from school (clearly this would soon pay for itself through the saving on bus fares).

I went to university in Cardiff and acquired a Peugeot bike to get around and once graduated stayed to live and work in Cardiff. In my early twenties I continued to ride a bike for utility purposes and to ride to and from work, but at that age had little idea of developing and maintaining any fitness – we all thought we were immortal at that age. In 1983 I started work for the Employment Service and would sometimes ride the 7-8 miles to and from my first office in Barry, then in 1984 started regularly riding 11 miles to and from my next office in Pontypridd.

Aged 28 now, I was becoming more aware of the need to keep fit, but it was running that I first turned to, especially after three of us at work dared ourselves into entering the Civil Service, Post & Telecoms half-marathon in Windsor Great Park in aid of the RNLI. I made the respectable time of 1h35m (would have been good to have got under 1h30m). It may not come as much surprise that I tended mostly to long-distance running, regularly training by running 10 miles or so with my dog Hannibal on paths though Cardiff’s ‘green lung’ of parkland, woods and other open space extending along the River Taff from the Castle in the city centre to Tongwynlais to the north-west.

In the mid-eighties I ran another half marathon in Cardiff, then the Cardiff Marathon in 3h44m. I then entered the 1988 London Marathon, aiming to go under 3h30m. I was certainly prepared for it and on the day was on course until after about 15-16 miles I started to develop some sort of injury. St. John’s ambulance strapped up my leg for me and I cautiously walked a mile or so, then started to pick up to a bit of a jog. After about 23 miles my injury was worsening, but by now I was in central London near the finish, so staggered and limped down the Mall and past Buckingham Palace, finally hopping across Westminster Bridge and collapsing immediately after the finish for a time of 4h07m.

I was diagnosed with a ‘shin-splints’ injury, a typical result of ‘pounding the pavements’. For a week I couldn’t walk without the aid of a stick. The great revelation however was that I had no problem getting on and riding a bike….

I didn’t ever run again for fitness, but started to cycle more. As well as utility riding and commuting, I would set off at weekend on trips of 40 miles or so around the Vale of Glamorgan. In 1989 a notice at work invited staff to join an End-to-End ride for charity, based on a fairly circuitous CTC route for a total of 1100 miles (including for myself an extra 50 miles or so extension to and from Cardiff to celebrate my then-girlfriend Diane’s birthday). This was very ably organised by Rob Wormald from Sheffield. Seven of us rode, with a support van, riding from 70 and up to 150 miles a day over 11 days. Along the way there was much talk of what was then to me the somewhat mysterious world of audax long-distance cycling.

In 1990 I was asked by Diane to join a group from BT (for whom she worked) on a London to Brussels ‘Bikeathon’ for the NSPCC. On this, one Timm Frenzell among others talked not only of Audax but also the 1200km ‘Paris-Brest-Paris’. I thought to myself that I could certainly ride that sort of distance having ridden the End-to-End, but had little idea of the time-limits involved and put it to the back of my mind. That year I also rode my first ‘Brevet Populaire’, the 100km Brecon Beacons Brevet, but had yet to join audax.

 

Comments  (comments are now closed.  Thank-you for remembering Dave)

 
7 Brian Croft 2015-05-01 10:42
How strange to only find out about Dave all this time later and via a facebook post on the Audax page. My first ever 600 was Dave's Transporter Bridge to Transporter Bridge in 2007 and appreciated the help and advice from Dave in my first Audax year. One of main memories is of Dave and Cardiff Byways riding PBP in pink berets. RIP Dave.
 
 
6 Matthew Rawnsley 2014-10-23 06:59
A English ride recently rode the Perth Albany Perth 2014 and I got talking to him and asked how David Lewis was going. To my shock he said he passed away a few years ago. I am totally sadden by this news. I lived with David and Ann between mid 1995 and end of 1996 and 6 months in 1999 in their Cardiff home. I regret having lost contact with them. Can some one please pass on my condolences to Ann and family.
Matt
 
 
5 Ruth & Bob Allen 2013-02-24 13:57
Totally shocked to hear the sad news of Davie's passing. Both Bob and I spent 24 hours with Davie on Brittany Ferries to Santander 2 1/2 years ago. We were able to pass on our expereinces and route suggestions we took a few years previously. Sincere condolences to Anne from us and Brecon Wheelers
 
 
4 Ruth Allen 2013-02-24 13:49
I was very shocked to hear the sad news of Davie's passing. Bob and I spent a lovely 24 hours with Dave on Brittany Ferry 2 1/2 years ago to Santander. As we had done the tour of N Spain a few years earlier we were able to pass on our experiences and route to him. Our most sincere condolences to Anne.
 
 
3 tim stokes 2013-02-14 21:00
Only just found out about Dave from AUK Mag. What a shock!!!
Although I've not been active for many years, I have fond memories of Dave riding my Audax events and a holiday we had in Brittany. Sadly missed.
 
 
2 Ian Hennessey 2013-01-30 13:58
It was a good turnout for an old friend who died far too young.
 
 
1 Timm Frenzel 2013-01-28 09:04
There were over 120 people from all over the UK at Dave's funeral service, a very touching occasion. He was one of the most elegant pedallers ever to grace our roads, and one of life's gentlest of gentlemen. You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.

 

 

1991: Early this year there was more talk in our cycling group of the PBP due to take place that year. I investigated what was required to qualify for and ride this. In March I rode the 125 miles from Cardiff to Gloucester and back in just over eight hours including one ten minute stop for food (this was to become the basis of the Cardiff Byways ‘Dr Foster’s Winter Warmer’ 200km audax event).

Having found I could ride 200km within the time limit, I joined AUK and realised there was just one 200km event I could ride within the PBP qualifying period, the ‘14th Dorset Coast’ on 7 April, which I entered and completed, followed by ‘Tour of the Welsh Borders’ 300 on 20 April, Cheltenam 300 on 27 April, ‘Brevet Cymru’ 400 on 4 May, ‘Mid-Wales Desert’ 200 on 18 May, then ‘Bernie’s Long Flat One’ 600 on 15 June. In the space of just ten weeks I had gone straight from Audax virgin to ‘Super Randonneur’ (and ridden with several well-known AUK faces of the time). Can anyone beat this?

I’d qualified for and duly entered PBP. Did I have any idea what I was letting myself in for? If you’re interested in the full answer to that, the I refer you to my account of ‘Paris-Brest-Paris 1991’ in Issue 49 of Arrivée (Summer 1995). By far the most memorable point of the ride occurred a few kilometres after Tinteniac on the outward leg where on slight climb I was caught by and first met the female British cyclist who has been described by Jim Churton among others as one of the most elegant and stylish cyclists they have seen. This of course was Anne Learmonth, who was later to become not only a wonderful cycling companion, but most important, the love of my life, partner, and for the last 5½ years, my beautiful wife. It wasn’t long before I punctured and she rode on, but we later rode more together, at the finish exchanged addresses, and occasionally met at events over the next couple of years.

1993: Liz was probably confidently expecting to repeat her success of 1992, having also been the ‘runner-up opposite sex’ in 1990 & 1991, but some upstart appeared from nowhere to upset the apple cart. I can’t remember whether I decided myself to have a go, or was encouraged by audax ‘friends’, or both, but I amassed a total of 159 points, riding 37 200s, six 300s, six 400s, five 600s and the 1300 London-Edinburgh-London, to give me six more SRs and add AUK Champion to my ‘palmares’. Liz was again ‘runner-up opposite sex’ with 122 points. Although I was now AUK Champion, LEL was the real highlight of the year, mainly because I rode it all with Anne and after this we became life partners as well as cycling companions. On top of all this Anne was the year’s AAA runner-up opposite sex.

1994: I rode 29 200s, seven 300s, two 400s (including an Easter Arrow, in which Anne, Rod Hollands and myself were the winning team), one 600, the Great Eastern 1000 and 2900 Trafalgar to Trafalgar, to give me another two SRs and a total of 132 points, riding all the biggest rides with Anne, who had taken to riding fixed wheel and became runner-up opposite sex in the very first ‘Fixed Wheel Challenge’, as well as the AAA runner-up opposite sex for a second year. Anne also shared the Ladies Merit award with Suzie Gray. This left me as AUK Champion runner-up opposite sex as Liz reclaimed the Championship with 157 points. The cycling highlight was the ride from Trafalgar Square – 200km a day is a great way to ride. After completing at Cabo de Trafalgar, we spent another week touring wonderful Andalucia to visit Cadiz, Seville, Ronda, and fly home from Malaga. I thoroughly recommend such a wind-down after such a big ride – life is so much more than just Audax!

<p><strong>1995:</strong> I rode 26 200s, six 300s, four 400s, two 600s, the Great Eastern 1000 and PBP ‘deuxieme fois’ to give me 120 points and another 4 SRs. This again made me Audax Champion runner-up opposite sex as Liz reclaimed the Chamionship with a record breaking 222 points! Anne &amp; I rode PBP together, to make this the PBP I most enjoyed – Anne rode on fixed wheel to become the first female British rider to do so (and elicit many admiring comments from French and Spanish riders). Anne also rode her qualifying series on fixed (including Brevet Cymru 400 and Bryan Chapman 600), was again FWC opposite sex, also AAA runner-up opposite sex for the third year running.</p>
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1996: I only just made the 50 point mark (now known as Randonneur 5,000) this year, riding 12 200s and two 300s, two 400s and two 600s to give me another two SRs. Together with Ian Hennessey, Matt Rawnsley and Andy Williams I was a member of the winning Easter Arrow team to give me a fourth consecutive year in the ‘AUK Hall of Fame’, whilst Anne again claimed her third opposite sex FWC.

1997: I topped 100 points again (now known as Randonneur 10,000), riding 31 200s, seven 300s, two 400s, one 600 and the LEL 1400 to give me another two SRs and 111 points. I rode LEL with Anne again, who rode on fixed wheel, the only female rider ever to do this (although in 2001 Fenella Brown rode the hillier northern 800 section of LEL on fixed), and Anne gained her fourth opposite sex FWC this year. A lot of my rides this year were very hilly – I fancied a go at the Audax Altitude Award.

I amassed 97½ AAA points, more than any previous AAA champion, but this was not enough to surpass Sandra Shaw who became AAA champion with a magnificent 98¾ points. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed trying. Riding LEL meant that I missed out on a couple of big AAA rides on at the same time, so I then spent three weeks in late August & early September on a meticulously planned logistical campaign to get the maximum available number of AAA points from Scottish permanents and ‘PRoFS’ in the Italian Dolomites, Swiss and French Alps. Although Audax is officially non-competitive, riders would often try to ‘keep their cards close to their chests’ when going for what were then known as the Championships. Sandra was living in Cardiff at the time, we would often share lifts to events and she and I were then (and are again now) good friends, but whilst she had made it no secret that she was going for the AAA, I had tried to keep an element of surprise on my side. There is nothing in the rules to say that riders must declare their intent in ‘going for it’, but I do recognise that as a friend I should perhaps have been as open as she was. After the week in Scotland, where Sandra rode the same permanents but not together, once I got to the Alps I did let her know what I was doing. Sandra was clearly not best pleased, but spiritedly rose to the challenge by then going to ride most of the same PRoFS herself to restore the balance in her favour. Even using my last three days leave at the very end of October to glean another few points in the Alpes Maritime was not enough – Ian Hennessey who accompanied me referred to this last attempt as ‘tilting at windmills’!

It is perhaps no coincidence that not long after this that AUK members voted to abolish use of the term ‘Championships’ and instead call then ‘Individual Awards’, but this still couldn’t totally stop riders from trying to conceal their plans.

1998: I again topped 100 points – 33 200s, three 300s, five 400s, three 600s and the Crackpot 1000 gave me another four SRs and 123 points. Again a lot of these rides were very hilly and despite amassing ‘only’ 52 ¾ AAA points, this made me AAA champion, with Anne the runner-up opposite sex for a fourth and final time, also FWC runner-up opposite sex for the fifth and final time. Anne achieved both of these in what was only part of a season for her, as in August she went off to Sri Lanka for two years to undertake VSO as a Speech and Language Therapist for children there, working with teachers in local schools and clinics. I clearly threw myself into audax at this point, riding four 200s, a 300, 400 and 600 in August to complete an SR series in two weeks, then another six 200s in September and four 200s in October.

1999: I spent six weeks over Xmas/New Year 98/99 with Anne in Sri Lanka, started back to Audax riding a couple of populaires in January and February, then from March to October rode 22 200s, four 300s, four 400s, two 600s and PBP ‘troisieme fois’ to give me another three SRs and 96 points. I also rode two ‘Fleches de France’ (Cherbourg to Paris 400 and Paris to Le Havre 200) with Jim Churton and Matt Rawnsley – nowadays these count for AUK randonneur points, but didn’t then, so it’s a moot point as to whether I was Randonneur 10,000 again – I personally feel I was, but am only listed as Randonneur 5,000 in that year’s handbook. I was also a member of the winning Easter Arrow team with Rose Almond, Jim Churton, Bob Johnson and Ritchie Tout, so a seventh consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

2000: Over Xmas/New Year 99/00 I again went to Sri Lanka for five weeks to celebrate what was, depending on how you regard this, either the start of the new millennium of the start of the final year of the 20th Century – call me a pedant, but to me a century starts at one and ends at a hundred, whilst a millenium starts at one and ends at a thousand, so the new millennium started in 2001, but most people weren’t prepared to wait a year. Whatever, I had bought two Expedition Touring bikes from Thorn Cycles, took them to Sri Lanka with me and Anne & I undertook a three week bike tour of as much as the island as was accessible at that time.

My own 2000 audax randonneur season effectively ran from February to August during which I rode 14 200s, three 300s, two 400s, two 500s and one 600 to give me another SR and 65 points for Randonneur 5,000. (Several 500km events were run that year so many of us were able to qualify as ‘SR 2000’ as a one-off for that year.) This brought my tally over a decade of Audax riding to 913 points and 27 SRs. I was also a member of the winning Cardiff Byways Summer Arrow team to give me an eighth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

Anne had been planning to extend her two years VSO in Sri Lanka until the end of the year, after which we were planning to undertake a cycling tour in southern India with our Expedition bikes, but in August Anne was effectively evacuated from Sri Lanka as a medical emergency. This was the result of a form of breakdown and the start of a mental illness which left her in a state of considerable anxiety and among other things virtually prevented her from riding her bike at all for some time after this. After some years this was diagnosed a bi-polar disorder for which Anne now receives proper effective treatment and takes medication to control. In recent years Anne has returned to riding some Audax again and even successfully completed PBP for the third time with myself and five other Cardiff Byways members in 2007.

2001: I rode 15 200s, four 300s, two 400s, one 500 (Summer Arrow) one 600 and the 1300 LEL (my third) to give me another two SRs and 74 points for Randonneur 5,000. Again I was a member of the winning Cardiff Byways Summer Arrow team to give me a ninth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame. Anne was not able to ride LEL, but after finishing I caught a train to Cambridge where I met her and we spent the weekend at the Cambridge Folk Festival before catching another train to King’s Lynn and setting off on a week’s tour around the Norfolk coast.

2002: For the first time, I rode events or permanents of 200 or above in every month from November 2001 to October 2002 – 21 200s, two 300s, two 400s, two 500s (Easter & Summer Arrows) and one 600 to give me another two SRs and 72 points for Randonneur 5,000. This brought my tally over 12 years to 1059 points and 30 SRs. Liz Creese had been the first rider to pass the 1000 point barrier a couple of years before (unofficially recognised as Brevet 10,000). Now Steve Abraham and I had both made this mark.

A while after this Steve and I had a discussion as to who had the most AUK points ever – Steve reckons that he soon passed Liz’s overall total as she was riding so much less now, but that I also did shortly after and then went on to overtake him. This may make me the most prolific audax rider ever. By 2007 I’d topped 1,500 points and reckon I now have a total of 1805 points in 22 years. I’d be pleased to hear if anyone can challenge or exceed this.

February saw the completion of my first Randonneur Round the Year (I haven’t officially claimed these until now). I was a member of the winning Easter Arrow (with Ritchie Tout and Rob Milsom) and Summer Arrow (with Ritchie Tout and Neil Williams) teams – so my tenth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame. At this point most of my winter randonneur rides were permanents. A small group of us (Jim Roberson, John Hayes, Tony Pember, Andrew Dade, Peter Lee, Andrew Johnson, the improbably doubly- double- barrelled J-P Lamb-Horth and myself) were mostly members of both CTC and Cardiff Byways. Between us we completed many ‘Cambrian Connections’ rides as well as other events and permanents in 2002. In 2000 the rules had been changed for the CTC DA (now ‘CTC Riders’) so that it was the six highest-scoring members who now counted, ending the stranglehold of Bristol DA who’d won this every year 1986 to 1999 by virtue of being the biggest DA. So in 2002 Cardiff & South Wales became the third different DA to win this. In August Anne & I also found time to ride the ‘Raid Pyreneen’, permanent ride which crosses most of the big, famous passes on the French side of the Pyrenees. We wouldn’t normally choose to do this in the hottest month and peak holiday time, but were planning to ride with Jim Churton & Rose Almond (as she then was). I say planning because as it turned out Rose went down with food poisoning the night before we were due to set off, so we went on anyway to secure our pre-booked hotel rooms and put the reservations for Jim & Rose back a day. So Anne & I were able ride this spectacular ride together and at the end meet Jim & Rose a day later.

2003: I again rode events or permanents of 200 in every month – 31 200s, four 300s, one 400, two 600s and PBP ‘quatrieme fois’ to give me another two SRs and 102 points for Randonneur 10,000. John Hayes won the Individual Award with 212 points and five other members of Cardiff & South Wales DA and Cardiff Byways, including myself, stacked up the points and we won both the CTC Riders and Club Riders Awards, giving me an eleventh consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

2004: I rode 29 200s, three 300s, two 400s and two 600s to give me another two SRs and 87 points for Randonneur 5,000. I was again a member of the Cardiff & South Wales team which won the CTC Riders Award for a third and final time, to give me my twelfth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

2005: I rode 38 200s, four 300s, four 400s, two 500s, one 600, a fourth and final LEL 1400 and the 2,600 ‘Calais-Brindisi’ giving me another three SRs and 160 points for Randonneur 10,000. This also gave me my second ‘Individual Award’ as they are now known. I didn’t think anyone was anywhere near me, but as previously mentioned, the change in terminology couldn’t totally stop riders from trying to conceal their plans and in October a huge number of points were posted on the website for Peter Turnbull for permanents he’d ridden in the previous few months – it looked like he might just overhaul me. The boot was on the other foot this time. In a frantic last three days of October I rode 1,100km of permanents (recorded as two 400s and a 300) to just pip Peter (who went on to gain the Individual Award himself the following two years). Somehow I managed to take a couple of hours off in the course of this to attend a pre-booked music gig with Anne at Pontardawe Arts Centre, then get a few hours’ sleep at her house in Morrison before resuming the ride.

I was also a member of the winning Easter Arrow (with George Hanna, Judith Swallow Ritchie Tout and J-P Lamb-Horth) and Summer Arrow (with George Hanna, Judith Swallow Ritchie Tout) teams – the AUK Hall of Fame shows that I was only in the Easter team and that J-P was in the Summer team, but in fact J-P was in the Easter team and I was in both – could the record please be set straight on this? Whilst gaining my highest Audax total ever in 2005 I still managed to take a Sunday off in September to ride the Welsh 12-hour time trial. During the ‘Noughties’ I was time trialling a fair bit as well as audaxing, including several 12-hour and Mersey Roads 24-hour events. These are I believe are natural sister events to Audax and a motion proposed by Jim Roberson and myself to make 24-hour time trials count for AUK points for the distance covered does seem to have encouraged increased participation in those events from Audax riders which has helped support these events in recent years.

Anne was back to riding in a big way now and rode most of the rides I did to gain 116 points and the Individual Award – opposite sex for the second time. Late in the season she did a couple of rides without me to maximise her points total and seal this; the Sunday after riding the Chiltern-Cotswold event Anne rode a DIY permanent from Ealing to Cheltenham, intending to catch a train from there back to Swansea to be ready for work the next morning. It turned out to be a bus replacement service and she was only able to get as far as Cardiff where she stayed at my place and had to go straight on to her work meeting next morning wearing a pair of my knickers! Easily the highlight of the year though was riding the Calais-Brindisi together in 12 days, a fantastic ride, after which we spent another 11 days touring around the Salentino Peninsula (the heel of Italy) and then across to Rome for a final romantic couple of days before flying home.

2006: I rode 21 200s, two 300s, two 400s, two 500s and two 600s to give me another two SRs and 78 points for Randonneur 5,000. I was a member of an Easter Arrow which rode 560km, but we were just pipped by the VC167 boys who notched up 564km! George Hanna, Judith Swallow, Ritchie Tout and myself did however win the Summer Arrow award – a fourteenth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame. One of my 600s this year was the Mersey Roads 24, in which I rode 411 miles to make third counter after Paul Robinson (462 miles) and Mike Pain (440 miles) in the Cardiff Byways team that won the team prize to became RTTC national 24 hour team champions and so give us each a National Champion’s medal.

Cardiff Byways were also given the AUK Organising Club award. I had started organising events for the club in 1993, first the 100km ‘Trefil Travail’ grimpeur, then the even more demanding and infamous ‘British’ 200, also a mega hilly event. Fearing I was getting a reputation for hard rides, I then devised the Transporter 200, which traced on the map appears to cover similar ground to the British, but actually has only two big climbs; the first takes riders over from the first pancake-flat (yes in Wales!) 50km through the coastal Wentloog and Caldicot Levels over to the Usk Valley, then the second watershed climb, the ‘Devils Elbow’ (which features on the British) connects the upper Usk to the head of the Cynon Valley – riders follow this to its confluence with the Taff Vale and on down to the finish. Soon I had devised several more events from Cardiff: Dr Foster’s Summer Saunter and Winter Warmer, the Malmesbury Mash, Ferryside Fish Foray, Gower Getter and Monmouthshire Meander 200s, the Peacocks & Kites 300, Teifi Traveller 400 and Marches & Mersey Roads 600. Several of the 200s were based on routes which John Hayes and Jim Roberson had planned on the Cambrian Connections permanent grid when they were both points chasing and were looking for ‘lines of least resistance’.

One Sunday in the summer of 2006 I rode a morning time trial and Anne was marshalling on the Swansea Wheelers’ Road Race. We met later at the ‘Ancient Briton’ one of the finest ale houses in Wales (only 14 hand-pumps). Real Ale and cycling are two of my great loves (often the two seem to go together), but on this occasion I turned my attention to my greatest love of all – after being together but living apart for 13 years, in the garden of that fine establishment, I proposed to Anne that we should marry and live together. I’m sure you know that Anne accepted, and so 2007 was to be not only one of our biggest years in Audax, but certainly the biggest year of our lives together ….

2007: I rode 17 200s, two 300s, three 400s, two 500s, three 600s and PBP ‘cinqieme fois’ to give me another three SRs and 86 points for Randonneur 5,000. I was also a member of the winning Easter (with Jim Churton and Judith Swallow) and Summer Arrow (with Andrew Dade, Andy McKay and Tony Pember) teams, giving me a fifteenth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

But now for the really big stuff. Anne and I set our wedding day for 30 July at Llandudno Town Hall (her parents had lived near there in Penmachno and now in Llanrwst in the Conwy Valley). Earlier that year at the end of a walk above the Swansea Valley we noticed a house for sale with a commanding view of the valley. What’s more we ended our walk a few hundred yards down the road at another fine ale house, the Butchers Arms in Alltwen. The house was perhaps slightly above our price range, but we had fallen in love with it, eventually had an offer accepted and in May were able to sell both our houses in Morriston and Cardiff and move in. The house had been named ‘Rorke’s Drift’ after a Zulu War engagement involving as South Wales regiment. We didn’t want that for ourselves and renamed the house ‘Roc Trévezel’ after the highest point in Brittany and of course not so far from the point where we had first met on PBP 1991.

Our wedding day 30 July turned out to be one of the few really fine days of a very average summer. The following day we set off on our honeymoon which was to consist of several components. We started with a cycling camping tour (of course), the first day to Newborough Warren which is close to Llanddwyn Island (Ynys Llanddwyn), the home of Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. The next day we continued to Holyhead, caught a ferry to Dublin and train to Galway from where we spent two weeks touring the NW coast of Ireland from Connemara, and then onwards and into Northern Ireland, finishing wih a couple of days in Belfast, then train to Dublin, ferry back to Holyhead and train home. After three days we set off for France, where we spent the next part of our honeymoon with five other blokes – Andrew Dade, Jim Roberson, Tony Pember, Mike Pain and Peter Lee, all of Cardiff Byways – to ride PBP together (except the last 150km from Mortagne where the others went on and Anne & I were able to complete the event ‘alone together’). You can’t say I don’t know how to show a girl a good time! Anne & I then set off to spend a few days recuperating at Nik Peregrine and Jennifer Goslin’s gite in Brittany.

2008: I rode 15 200s, three 300s, a 500 (Summer Arrow) and a 600 to give me another SR and 50 points for Randonneur 5,000. I was a member of the winning Summer Arrow team with Andy McKay, Tony Pember, Judith Swallow and David Young – giving me my sixteenth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

2009: I rode 16 200s, one 300, one 400, two 500s (Summer Arrow & Mersey Roads 24 hour) and a 600 to give me another SR and 55 points for Randonneur 5,000. I was also (you guessed it) a member of the winning Summer Arrow team with Tony Pember and Judith Swallow – so now had my seventeenth consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

2010: I rode 18 200s, two 300s, two 400s, and a 600 to give me another SR and 56 points for Randonneur 5,000. I was yet again a member of the winning Summer Arrow team (with Judith Swallow and Dave Minter) for my eighteenth (and last) consecutive year in the AUK Hall of Fame.

Then in October I joined Peter Marshall, George Hanna, John Barkman and Martin Lucas on Peter’s series of six 200km permanents from Cherbourg to Perpignan – this is a superb route which I’d highly recommend anyone to ride, the only downside being that Anne wasn’t able to ride with us!

2011: I rode 12 200s, two 300s, three 400s, a 600 and PBP ‘sixieme fois’ to give me my last two SRs and 60 points for Randonneur 5,000. For the first time in nearly 20 years I didn’t make the AUK Hall of Fame.

2012: I have ridden just nine 200s this year and certainly won’t be riding any more Audax in the foreseeable future, if ever. My audax years may be going out with a whimper not a bang, but in 22 years I have amassed 1805 points, 47 SR series, 11 years of Randonneur Round the Year, six PBPs, four LELs and 18 consecutive years in the AUK Hall of Fame. Can anyone beat this? If not now, then I’m sure someone will one day. Go for it! Much more important than any of these statistics, I have thoroughly enjoyed my years of cycling, making many good friends along the way, and then of course intertwined with all this is an absolutely unquantifiable amount of romance….

 

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