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Saga's Day Ride

  • Date: 18 June 2023
  • By: Gary Durham

As you may be aware, Saga magazine are in the process of doing an article based loosely on the joys & benefits of cycling for the over 60’s, particularly focusing on the social aspects.


So, in the absence of any other available volunteers myself and Christina Cooper had recently gone through an intense interview with local journalist, Chris Sidwells & today was the day that the magazine wanted to do a photoshoot to accompany it.


Me & Christina were to meet the photographer at TCC at 0815 for pre ride photos & things had been arranged so that blue & red rides would meet up in Retford to allow the photographer to take whatever photos he needed. What could possibly go wrong?

Well the day began with the sad news that Christina had been struck down with COVID & wouldn’t be able to join us for the ride. Get well soon, Christina. Christina is one of the most photogenic members of the club & I’m certainly not, so it was going to be a tough day for the official photographer, Andy Jones. It was indeed a big negative but a decision had been made to carry on & see how things developed.

The suggestion that maybe Jon Brough could don a blonde wig together with lipstick he already had on & replace Christina for the photoshoot was not considered to be a good one (even though he has got nice legs).

By the time other riders began to arrive at TCC & after I had watched so many birdies & said cheese, please Louise a thousand times or more, Andy had just about finished the "glamour" shots of me & my (t)rusty bike. Our esteemed chairman did arrive just before the session was about to end & shouted some comment about a soft focus camera. Unfortunately, a lady was present nearby so I was unable to reply in the manner I would have liked.

As more & more riders arrived, all up smartly turned out in club kit, Andy got about taking some impromptu photos. Then after taking a group photo of everyone present. It was time to start the ride as it was by this time well after 9.

Quick as a flash, Martin Crapper led the blue riders off first, on a carefully planned route unbeknown to the red lot. The faster red riders then zoomed out of TCC on a route carefully planned by Pete Down, who is one of our few Saga underaged members. The comfort bubble red riders quickly followed.

The red route took us though mostly familiar territory, Harworth, Ranskill, Mattersey, Clayworth, Hayton & then just before Retford we turned off onto a quiet country lane for a few miles before zooming in to the 10 Green Bottles cafe in the Market Square for some snap & more snaps. The time was now 10 am, well ahead of schedule, after averaging well over 20 mph. En route Andy had taken several photos of the faster group, furiously pedalling away whilst pulling in our lycra clad tummies, trying to look good for the camera.

We were soon joined by the comfort bubble & the blue riders giving Andy plenty of subject matter for his cafe photoshoot. It was great to see so many TVC members all together at one cafe stop, with not one loose canon amongst us. With so many old timers, it was just like old times. After what seemed like thousands of photos, Andy very kindly agreed to take another group photo of us all at the cafe, the photo you can see in this ride report.

Each group then set off on their respective journeys back to TCC. Off we zoomed, taking in Ordsall, Barnby Moor, Blyth & Harworth. The only down side from the fast groups perspective was a puncture. Pete Down felt let down when his front tyre went down part way down the Green Mile. However Pete quickly got down to sort it, probably breaking a club record for a puncture repair in the process. We then continued on our way back to TCC whilst still averaging well over 20mph for the ride as a whole. Hopefully everyone else successfully completed their rides too.

In the end I think the day had turned out quite well. With no apparent indecent exposures, Andy seemed more than happy with his days work & I guess all of us enjoyed our rides & the cafe stop in particular. In addition, the staff at the cafe had been very accommodating & hopefully were rewarded with above average takings for a Sunday morning.

I do apologise for not naming everyone who attended today’s ride. I didn’t make a list & I haven’t got a photographic memory but you know who you are & hopefully you are all in the photo.

For info, the article is due to be published in the August edition of Saga, after which Andy will try to share as many photos as he’s allowed with the club. So watch this space.

Saga's Day Ride