welcome

welcome to the new blog for the amos road club. we hope that all things bike and amos-related can find their home on the site.

all posts and other nonsense will also be shared on twitter and facebook:

there’s an email address too: amosroadclub@btinternet.com

if you click on about and gallery you can see that i’ve attempted a summary and any relevant pictures from the various amos rides over the years . there are gaps – please help me fill them!

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easter update

an update from chris and an encouragement to please sign up if you haven’t already. details below.

happy easter everyone

 
Now that the hugely successful Street Child World Cup in Rio has happened (a huge thanks to all those who were involved / supported this) and the Bethlehem Marathon (which was also great),  I am starting to get really excited Way of the Roses from Saturday 24th -Monday 26th May.    
 
Full details of the ride can be found at www.amosroadclub.org.  We have tried to bring the costs down as low as possible, £130 per person (including accommodation, food and transfer) and please do extend this invitation to new people and people of all ages as we are keen to welcome new people to take part.  
 
It would really help us if people are planning on riding if you could book up now so we can confirm the number of places and T shirt sizes at  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/way-of-the-roses-amos-road-club-2014-ride-tickets-10573175653
 
While we will have a support van,  we rely on all participants being responsible for themselves and to keep an eye out for others and as such it is an informal ride as opposed to the more formal advertised challenge rides. 
 
For many of us this year’s  ride will be in memory of a much missed friend Dan Rowland,  who lost his battle with depression late last year.  We will remember him in the ways he would have loved best,  laughing together, catching up on each other lives,  testing the local beers and by taking numerous unplanned detours.  
 
It is not a requirement of the ride to raise money,  as so many involved have done so much with Amos, but in memory of Dan we will  be encouraging people to either raise money or make a donation that  will be split between the Mental Heath Foundation ( many congratulations to Kate Braybrook on her marathon run for them) and our work with traumatised young people in Gaza.  If  however you wish to raise money for a particular partner project or area of our work then that is also fine. “
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way of the roses – may 2014

route

delighted to be able to blog the first lot of information about the amosroadclub ride for 2014 – the way of the roses. if you follow the link there is plenty of information about the route and the small bumps along the way.

dates:

saturday 24th may – monday 26th may 2014

we’ve booked:

  • accommodation – saturday night in malham youth hostel  & sunday night in york youth hostel 
  • meals – breakfast on sunday & monday, evening meals on saturday & sunday all at the hostels, sandwich lunches on saturday, sunday and monday
  • 57 seater coach from bridlington back to morecambe at 16:00 on monday 26th
  • removal truck to move bikes from bridlington to morecambe at 16:00 on monday 26th

costs:

the cost of the ride will be £130 per person including all of the above. we are also producing a cycling shirt for the ride which will cost £36.

n.b. the cost does not include accommodation in morecombe on either friday or monday night.

raising funds:

there is no expectation that riders will raise money for amos trust projects although we welcome this and would encourage any first-time riders to use this as a fundraising activity. late last year a key member of the amosroadclub, dan rowland, tragically took his own life. as a consequence any money raised as a result of this year’s ride will be divided between the mental health foundation and to provide psychological support for highly traumatised young people in the gaza strip. if you would like to make a donation please follow this link:

http://bit.ly/1jQDxkR

how to sign up:

we have set up an eventbrite page where you can register your interest in taking part in the ride and pay a £30 deposit and £36 for your amosroadclub cycling shirt if appropriate.

follow the link below and sign up. if you have any questions please email, leave a comment or send us a message via twitter @amosroadclub

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/way-of-the-roses-amos-road-club-2014-ride-tickets-10573175653

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dan

Daniel Rowland – a tribute from Amos Road Club.

Dan and I are the only two people who have completed all the Amos Road Club rides. In fact the Road Club itself wouldn’t have existed at all if it had not been for Dan’s enthusiasm to follow our first ride together the 2008 Coast to Coast (C2C for street kids) with a Welsh version the following year. Dan and Simon Braybrook organised this and then Dan went on to organise London to Paris ride in 2010 with Adrian Reith.

Dan, just like most of us, was a complete novice in 2008.  Whenever I think of Dan from that ride I immediately think of the Welsh four Dan, Simon, Karen and Sarah. They had such a good time that they even somehow managed to convince Jochen to go off roading with them – he hadn’t quite realised that you were meant to stay on your bike.

I got to know Dan in Wales in 2009 – we may even have shared a room a couple of times.  Of all our rides Wales was my favourite.  We had great weather and it was stunning scenery with great climbs and great descents.  Starting off in Anglesey we headed south on the Lon Las Cymru ride. The second morning crossing the Mawddach estuary was breathtaking and then heading down into the hills around Brecon and watching the Lions lose to South Africa in the final minute. Dan struggled with puncture after puncture and his cycle shirt ended up covered in oil.  We finished in Cardiff with a fantastic meal at Dan and Diane’s and an annual pattern was established.

The next year was London to Paris (well Cambridge /Cardiff- London – Paris). Dan’s organisation was immaculate, even if the map reading leaving London and cycling round and round in Dieppe at 4:00am left a great deal to the imagination. On Day 1, in perpetual and horrible rain Dan would be stopping at every junction to study his highly detailed A4 maps, which were almost 1:1 scale such was their detail.

One of the great joys of this and subsequent rides was that Dan’s father Richard joined us – from then on, they were simply described as Richard’s son or Dan’s dad. Their pride and delight in doing these rides together as well as their obvious affection was wonderful and became a feature of subsequent rides. We all felt so proud to have them both involved and also a little jealous as so many of us have lost fathers- and in some ways this makes Dan’s death even more heartbreaking for us all.

Dan and I were in the same middle speed group for this ride –cursing Sarah Fry’s frequent punctures and watching the Coq massive speed off into the distance, only for us to overtake them 10 miles later and then finish each days ride half an hour before them and having done 5 miles less riding.  We spent so much time talking about families and children. Dan’s love for Diane and joy, delight and pride in his son and then in subsequent rides his sons was always so evident.

The next year was Scotland and Dan’s enthusiasm for whiskey seemed to take hold. We battled the worst weather ever and then forgot all about as we celebrated at the foot of Ben Nevis and tried to sleep in the same room as 12 other cyclists and a cacophony of snores.

Dan’s journey to and from the Norfolk ride in 2012 was a demonstration on the how to inadvertently drag out a cross-country train journey to last several days.

Then finally Belgium 2013 where I saw very little of Dan – as he, Dean and Ben headed off on their own route from London to Bruges. The three lost deep in conversation and a shared love of exploring alternative routes.  We would only meet over some ludicrously strong beer each evening when we were both too tired and too …. to say anything other than complete nonsense.

Dan’s death has been a real shock to the entire Road Club.  I have had emails from nearly every member expressing their sadness and shock at this news. Very few of us had any idea of how ill Dan was and how he had struggled with depression. We saw very much the lighter and more playful side of his nature and it was really clear how much he loved coming on these rides. He will be greatly missed by all of us and we can only imagine the loss that all of the family are experiencing now.

Kip Gresham summed up some of our feelings: “The shared endeavour, the shared experiences, the shared challenges unite the Road Club. It’s mostly a non-verbal communication, a shared understanding of what it is to be human, part of a community, part of the world. So, for many people, Dan was and is one of us. Part of the shared experience and memory, a treasured part.”

Dan, may the wind always be on your back.   May your gear changes be as smooth as silk and may yours be an eternity without punctures.

Go in peace dear friend.

Chris Rose

Oct 2013

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amosroadclub may 2014

just back from greenbelt where it was good to see so many amosroadclubbers enjoying the festival.

details to follow but we are definitely on for the ‘way of the roses‘ coast to coast ride next may (24th – 26th). get the date in your diaries. we’ve booked the accommodation and are looking into all the logistics of the weekend. all suggestions welcome!

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flanders – 2 weeks later

chris’ reflections from a great three days:

“Two weeks later I have so many great memories from Belgium.

The Peace Centre was fantastic. The picnic lunch that emerged from nowhere on day two was a highlight (Mike did you apologise to the Morris dancers?) and then later that night being thrown the fridge keys and told to lock up when we finished was like an evening in Paradise
The hill up to Cassell – not everyone’s choice.  Cycling along the canals, stopping at a great café in Ypres (5.50 Euros for a milk shake!!!) and lunch at the German cemetery. Tyne Cot. The Last Post then losing half the group. The great meal in Bruge and finally sitting on the steps in the square – a very special moment.
But most of all it was great to cycle with you all and have such a good laugh and I need to say thanks to loads of people and well done to everyone.
First up to Nive, without whom Amos will quickly fall to pieces Jake –  it was great to have you back.
Then to Mike for all the organisation and work – absolutely fantastic job.
Then Sarah – driving is so thankless – but thank you so much – best looking van driver I know.
Next up must be all the new riders
John we normally try not to lose too many of our new riders
Jane what a superstar – we all speak of Kip in muted tones as Mr Bike – now there is Mr and Mrs Bike
Jill, great sister in law who claimed she started to enjoy it a bit by day three
Liz, wonderful sister, van and accommodation finder extraordinaire
Sam – who charged off on the first day much to his parents pleasure
Zak –  one of my favourite moments was when he heard the DJ names of Kip and Jane’s 3 sons. It would have meant nothing to the rest of us, but as they are stars of the drum and bass scene and he is really into it, it was great.  It also upped my standing as an uncle.
Neil – brother in law extraordinaire and drinking companion.
Jonny and Richard’s (and Mike’s) obsessional quest for Belgian beers – which led us to a fantastic meal on the monday night – thanks Richard
Ben – gets the best road rash award, for his dramatic crash on a wide open road
Sue – I hope we get to finish off the conversation we kept on starting and never completed.
Millie – obviously I’m biased but what a star, as she bombed along on the last day.
Now for the regular riff raff.
Richie – unbelievable – Suzi and Lucas kept on blaming him for why they were late, when the truth was they could barely keep up with him.
Nat – had been really ill just before he came and did brilliantly – great nephew
Jack – ‘we saw kangaroos, really cool, never thought we’d see them in Belgium’ obviously I’m biased again but great cycling.
Peter and Iain Mc– Who needs to book ferries on the bank holiday weekend? The 5:15 am ferry departure will do fine.
Jenny – responsible for us doing the Palestine marathon, then burns up the miles, please don’t suggest a swimming challenge.
Iain C + Lucas – the whippets.  Iain had little use of his burst of speed – Lucas decided he’d start late and having caught up with people extend that yet further to every possible departure time.
Nick’s amazing grace- he waited for a couple of hours for Lucas, who then ditched him 40 miles later.
Ian – the only person I didn’t cycle with once all weekend, I wondered if it was personal.
Dean – best shorts (and Olympic stories) by a country mile.
Richard – once again unbelievable performance, only got back from Palestine on the Wednesday. I’m sure you get younger every year.
Ellie – great to see you in Ypres and your absolute delight to see Millie on your old Puch
Jochen – fast becoming the wild man of the ride, battling with Iain to see who’s hair will fly most freely in the wind, slightly alarmed to hear that a tractor driver tried to take you out.
Sarah for her incredible first aid kit – a cure for everything including late night drinking sessions
Dan for keeping the Welsh (well people living in Wales) flag flying, we need more of you next year
And last but definitely not least Brian’s customised bike – wing mirrors galore –I half expected to see a troop of Mods on scooters burning up beside us.
We always say lets met up and nothing happens – but this year there is chance to on Tuesday 9th July we have a special reception for a group of former street child surfers on HMS President on the Thames and you are all very welcome to attend – invite attached.
2014 – I think my ego may have run rampant but we are starting to explore the possibility of the ‘Way of the Roses C2C ride’.  You can find out about it  here. It is a little lumpy on day 1 and the start of day 2  but then pretty flat for the rest of the time.  We’d really welcome any thoughts you’ve got about this as a possibility.
Take care
Chris”
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amos flanders day 3

route

monday morning saw elie’s translation skills establishing that we could make ourselves packed lunches without depriving any morris dancers of much-needed (if not deserved) sustenance.

we set off almost on schedule. the first part of the day was beautiful; quiet country lanes followed by canalside paths. the sun was shining and life was good. mike was nearly taken out by a low-flying pheasant! we made good time until stopping to see the yser tower in diksmuide. we had lunch in the german war cemetery at vladso which is a touching memorial against the madness of war. every flat tile bears the name of 20 soldiers. 25,644 soldiers are buried here. ‘the grieving parents’ by käthe kollwitz is a tribute to her youngest son who was killed in this region.

we decided that there would be two routes into bruges, one slightly longer than the other. we parted company in torhout after waiting for a party of about 100 pensioners cycle past. the ride into bruges was beautiful. wind in our faces for the first hour but the last 20km were along the canal with a following wind. we had agreed to meet up in bruges at 6pm so we had time for coffee, beer, ice cream, waffles and pancakes along the canalside before our triumphant entrance into the city. sadly jack got a puncture approximately 1 minute after our restart so it wasn’t quite the champagne-sipping moment we had hoped for.

finally we arrived and met up with the second group who had thoroughly enjoyed their ride into the city. we were reunited with bags and everyone went off to find accommodation before the celebration meal that evening. thanks to richard we were booked into cambrinus where we enjoyed great food and drink. the beer menu was astonishing and many a new variety was sampled. after a great meal, a few speeches and many backslaps we all headed to the main square where we spent some time together sitting on the church steps full of food, beer, good times and the satisfaction of knowing we’d had a great few days together. everyone seemed reluctant to get up and go (although this might have been due to the ale) as if the magic would be broken. however, the bonds that hold the amosroadclub together are strong and although we parted sad that we wouldn’t see each other for a while we were all optimistic that we would ride together again in the future.

check out the gallery for links to photos from the ride.

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amos flanders 2013 – day 2

day 2 included 3 rides to choose from. the ride involving a lot of cobbles only had one taker so the 35 of us split into two parties:

the beer route

the cultural route

the idea was that whichever group you joined we would meet up to eat in ypres in the evening and experience the last post ceremony at the menin gate.

after a hearty breakfast we were invited by our hosts to make up packed lunches for the day. mike and nive were a little surprised because we hadn’t ordered them* but we put it down to linguistic barriers and pressed on. debutant amosroadclubber zak introduced us to a new method of transporting hard boiled eggs by removing the inside of a baguette and replacing the bread with the aforementioned eggs in a hot-dog style. as a trend it didn’t really catch on but his loving family came to regret zak’s love of hard boiled eggs in the day to come!

i can only really comment about the beer route which took us to watou via poperinge. we made our pilgrimage to st bernadus which was shut but we took some pictures anyway. onward to the real purpose of our ride, the legendary st. sixtus’ abbey, westvleteren where the rarest and, some say, the best beer in the world is brewed. the brewery was shut but, oh happy day, the visitors centre was open and selling beer in the restaurant. there are three varieties of westvleteren, the 5, the 8 and the 12. needless to say we tried them all between us with mike and neil braving the 12.

the next hour or so passed in blissful monk-induced ignorance, when we came upon the ‘cultural’ group coming the other way. the ‘cultural’ peleton was a disgrace to witness with a good 15 minutes separating the lead group to the ‘lanterne rouge’. they had had a great ride via passendale and tyne cot where we were heading next.

visiting tyne cot was a very moving experience. there are 11,956 commonwealth servicemen of the first world war buried or commemorated in tyne cot cemetery, 8,369 of these are unidentified. the inscription on so many of the graves reads ” A Soldier of the Great War. Known unto God“. despite the fact that their bodies could not be identified the soldiers had an identity – they were known by god. I felt a strong resonance between what was written there and the work of the amos trust with forgotten and ignored communities the world over and especially their work with street children.

after tyne cot we raced to ypres and met up with the cultural group to enjoy local delicacies such as spaghetti, macaroni cheese and omelettes. sarah asked the waiter what was in the beef stew – the answer (of course) ‘pork’!

suitably fed and watered we made our way to the menin gate for the last post ceremony which has retained both dignity and solemnity despite the many tourists that snap away each day.

time to head back to the peace village. chris ‘tom tom’ rose decided to lead one group with assurances that he knew the way and raced off in a vaguely southerly direction. it became apparent to those of us further back in the field that we had lost contact with chris and his team of crack sprinters so a few of us took the seemingly-sensible option of cycling along the road that linked ypres to messines. we didn’t hurry but somehow got back to the hostel approx. 30 minutes before chris and some very disgruntled teenagers finally appeared. as is so often the case with the amosroadclub, the fable of the tortoise and the hare, or in our case the tortoise and ‘les coqs massives’ is found to be firmly based on reality.

to make matters worse, the bar was full of a group of marauding morris dancers from the uk. we could have spoken to them and shared stories of amos and it’s fine work, but instead we took beer to the dining room and sulked. much as i am in favour of all forms of folk dancing being exiled from england and sent abroad, it was regrettable that they had to end up in messines! fortunately the revelry came to an end before too long and several of us took up residence in the bar, together with the fridge key, for longer than was really sensible!

* the unexpected packed lunches it seems had in fact belonged to the morris dancers so there is some justice in the world (for both parties)!

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amos flanders 2013 – day 1

prologue

it was friday afternoon and from all corners of the uk amosroadclubbers headed to dover. four and a half hour queues on the m25, massive tailbacks on the m11 – bank holiday traffic! desperate measures lead to experienced amosroadclubber chris navigating from cambridge to dover via the shard. finally we arrived and 18 of us found ourselves in an italian restaurant with a reservation for 11. they coped, we packed in the pasta and off to bed full of anticipation about the days ahead.

 day 1 – route

saturday morning. we cycled to the ferry (follow the red line) at top speed only to be told there was a delay. half our party set off on the more punctual p&o while the rest of us waited eagerly. a smooth crossing, a frustrating wait for every car and lorry to exit before they would let us leave, and we were in france. the rendezvous with the van and the p&oers was perfect and the amosroadclub was ready for the grand depart, straining at the leash like donkeys on blackpool beach. the first group set off; the second group set off; mike stayed behind for those on the later ferry. the phone calls started within 5 minutes as our foolproof instructions proved to be not foolproof. eventually the first kilometre was successfully navigated and we were off on route to messines. apart from various disobedient teenagers cycling off at tour de france pace and leaving their ailing parents miles behind, the first 30km or so were flat, beautiful and uneventful. mike, dean and ben reeled in the peleton and we cycled as a group to watten where chris introduced us to the pleasure of cheese and grated carrot baguettes.

suitably refreshed we set off with renewed vigour. we knew that the one big climb of the day was still to come at cassel. soon enough the climb arrived and heads down we set off up the hill. it was a sharp climb but mercifully short and the obligatory nuts, raisins and jelly babies soon got us back in one piece at the top. amosroadclubbers lucas and nick arrived having left calais much later than everyone else and after a couple of laughable mishaps with clipless pedals later we trundled into town for coffee and mars bars. we had received word that the advance party had taken beer but we opted to play the long game.

onward to belgium but before the border debutant amosroadclubber ben had too close an encounter with a lamppost. as the only member of the party who had opted to ride without a helmet it was just as well that we had taken the precaution of including two doctors in our group. the group split since it was clear that first aid was likely to take some time. the first splinter group was led by mike who made the childish error of not taking any notice of who was in the group before setting off. unfortunately this resulted in another first-time amosroadclubber john falling off the back of the group and eventually being picked up by sarah the van driver.

the miles passed and so did the hours. the seven-thirty dinner at the hostel was looking increasingly unlikely but the prospect of that ‘ice cold in alex’ moment with a belgian ale at our journey’s end kept us going. finally we arrived in messines. sadly it took us a further 15 minutes to find the hostel but we got there in the end, found our room and then the bar (in that order amazingly!) suitable refreshment occurred and at about 9.30 we all assembled for dinner, our amazingly hospitable hosts at the peace village having delayed the food for a couple of hours (a theme appearing here?) the first awards of the year generally involved mocking all of us who had had clipless pedal mishaps, the fact that amosroadclubbers pete and iain had seemed surprised on the friday evening that the saturday morning ferry was full (and they hadn’t bought tickets) and others too numerous to mention.

everyone retired to the bar to plot day 2.

(text and pictures will also reside in the ‘about’ and ‘gallery’ tabs)

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here we go!

god’s speed amosroadclubbers. see you all in calais.

#amosflanders

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we have a van!!

thanks to many of you for suggestions for van hire. my wonderful sister liz have found us a van from a local company at a very good price. they gave us a healthy discount due to the charitable nature of our group which was very good of them.

despite this good news, we will all have to travel light so please pack with austerity. you will need bike lights and lock as well as a spare inner or two. the forecast is not altogether promising so probably a baselayer and waterproof would also be advisable.

more soon

 

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