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The Bell Cycle Club

Sponsored Hundred Mile Bike Ride

At 9.30am on Saturday 23rd July 2001, the Bell Inn Bikers assembled for their annual 100 mile Charity cycle ride......."The Hundred Miler".

The cyclists prepare to set of from outside the Bell
The cyclists prepare to set off
from outside the Bell
(click picture to enlarge)

The group was supported by two vehicles carrying all the camping gear, emergency equipment and spare water supplies.

And they're off!  The first few yards of one hundred miles!
And they're off! The first few yards of
one hundred miles!

The destination for the ride was Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire. The group of 18 riders left at 10.00am on a beautiful day heading out of Helmdon towards Greatworth. The complete route can be viewed here. Cycling allows you to see the countryside in so much more detail than driving. This was emphasised only a short way into our journey. Between Farthinghoe and Charlton was a field of poppies which as you approached became more and more red. When viewed straight on the field was nearly totally red .... what a site!

To keep the group together a number of regrouping stops were planned. The first was at Charlton. Our route then took us on towards Somerton and "The Tews". Lunch was taken at the excellent Falkland Arms pub in Great Tew. We arrived ahead of schedule and had a well deserved break.

Refreshed we set out again towards Chipping Norton and then on through beautiful countryside. After another refreshment stop at Kingham, the group set out again. We knew from members that had made this ride previously that "Icomb Hill" was awaiting us. This is a steep hill out of the small village of Icomb. The hill is made worse because you cannot "take a run up". You simply turn at a junction and there it is. All that can be done is "head down, low gear and pedal". It was a great achievement to get to the top... but hard work.

After a required rest at the top, the route was more straight forward into Bourton on the Water. The last riders arrived at the camp site at 16.15pm. Tents were pitched and as the showers were not available until later there was no choice but to take a couple of beers in town.

Well you're holding the map.... let's ask someone.
Well you were holding the map.... we'll
have to ask someone.

After an enjoyable evening resting and having a few beers, the group retired to their tents or their Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

Next morning after finally getting together (the campers were up at 6.30am and ready to leave by 7.30am) the return leg started at 9.15am. It was already hot and threatened to be a very hot day. Water bottles were kept topped up by the support crew all through the home leg.

The return route was slightly different to the outbound leg. The Cotswold countryside was stunning. We cycled through villages which you would never really see in a car.

The group received a pleasant surprise after a very long climbing section. Right at the top the support vehicles waited for us to regroup and pulled out "Choc Ices for All". I have never enjoyed a Choc Ice so much. A perfectly timed treat by the support crew.

After this point the group split up with the faster, fitter riders going on ahead. The leisure and slower cyclists just kept on pedalling. We did regroup once more at Middle Barton where we had a beer break. Here we found one of our group had had a serious fall, hurting his arm, shoulder, leg and head. Later it was found he had broken his hand in two places. Safety reminder ..... he was wearing a crash helmet. It could have been worse.

Setting off once more with no more major regroups we headed for home. By this time it was very hot making the riding quite hard .......but still great fun..

The last riders arrived at the Bell, Helmdon at about 15.30pm.

Over 1000 was raised for the Macmillan Nurses charity.

Thanks must go to Graham Palmer for organising the event so well and Eddie and Simon the support drivers. They did a brilliant job of keeping us going. Thanks also to all those people who sponsored us.

It was a great Weekend!

Richard Finch
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