All posts by Andy Henderson

Havant Thicket Reservoir - planning applications

Portsmouth Water has submitted its planning applications to Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council. See here and here for the reservoir applications and here for the pipeline application.

Click here to see glossy overviews of the plan prepared by Portsmouth Water. It's clearly a major undertaking with the potential to deliver considerable benefits to the area.

I recently recce'd the area's 'circular' bike route for a possible U3A ride and found it an unpleasant experience, so I was looking forward to some good news.

Unfortunately, as this outline plan shows there's no circular bike route in the plan. I couldn't find the document that describes the cycle path and crest path surfaces (let me know if you spot it - there are a lot of documents) but I fear there will not be a suitable circular route for any wheeled users. That's at least one major missed opportunity.

You can submit comments via the links above. Please submit them directly - the more people that respond in their own words, the better. You have until 4th December for HBC, and 14th December for EHDC.

If you encounter COVID-19 symptoms after riding with us

There's general, Government guidance on the COVID-19/Coronavirus symptoms and what to do if you suffer them here.

Those guidelines also describe what to do if you think you might have been exposed to someone with possible or confirmed COVID-19 symptoms.

If you think you might have contracted COVID-19 and you recently rode with us, please:

  • If you think emergency action is unnecessary, please book a (free) test as soon as possible
  • Let Andy Henderson or the ride leader(s) or a committee member know the nature of your concern so we can let members who rode with you know
  • Let someone close to you know phone numbers for getting in touch with us in case you definitely contract the virus but are unable to advise us yourself

If you get a positive test result, please let Andy Henderson or the ride leader(s) or a committee member know immediately. Please phone, don't rely on email (although there's no problem using it as a back up or you can't find anyone in). Andy's phone number is 023 9246 0480. You can get other phone numbers from the member look-up service.

Bear in mind that most of your fellow riders - and people they live with - are more likely to suffer extreme reactions to the virus than the rest of the population. Please give them the best chance to avoid the worst effects of the infection by ensuring they know of a possible exposure.

If you have concerns about our COVID-19 precautions or suggestions for improving them, please let Phil Beed, our Welfare Officer, or a member of the committee know.

PO7-11 July 2020 edition

With the difficulty of maintaining a distribution channel in these times, Postcode Publications has decided to produce a generic version of its 'PO' papers electronically.

You can read the latest edition here. You can go direct to two articles by Mike Skiffins (a regular contributor and PCTC stalwart), here. And more about Postcode Publications (you might not realise it is a not-for-profit organisation) here.

Ride leader guidance for pop-up rides

This note describes how you and other ride leaders can set up and manage Pop-up rides, including how to use the new web services we have created.

We have tried to make the web services as straightforward as possible. If you get into difficulties using them, please get in touch with Andy Henderson and he will do what he can to help. Andy will also be interested to hear any improvement suggestions you have.

Please click any of the following for more information...

Yes. To be covered by Cycling UK guidance insurance, rides must be led by a leader registered with Cycling UK.

Yes, in that they have to follow Cycling UK and PCTC guidelines, as before.

No, in that they are limited to a maximum of six riders (including you) and must follow Government social distancing guidelines. Only riders you invite are allowed to join your ride.

You will need to take particular care at junctions and stops to ensure riders don't bunch up. It might be more difficult for everyone to get through a junction in one go, so be prepared to stop on the other side.

When passing pedestrians and horse riders, you might need to pull away from the kerb to observe distancing rules. Give plenty of notice using a clear 'arm outstretched' indication to your group and other vehicles that you are pulling out.

No. You decide how many people you want to ride with, it's up to you how big your rides are.

Not necessarily. We want our rides to be as open as possible, so if you get more requests than you can deal with, selecting people in the order they ask to join should be the default method. There are however, some good reasons why you might use a different approach:

  • Someone might be unsuitable for your ride, or you might find it difficult to invite someone you don't know on a demanding ride.
  • You might prioritise certain types of people (best stated explicitly in your ride description). For example, you might prioritise:
    • PCTC members
    • Non-members
    • New riders
    • People who regularly join your type of ride
  • Given the limited size of our rides, you might put someone who recently joined a previous ride to the back of the queue.
  • We've put people on notice that if they fail to turn up for a ride, they might find it difficult to join another one

If at all possible, however, we want to avoid creating exclusive cliques keeping the the inclusive spirit of Portsmouth CTC rides.

It depends a little on the type of ride and your policy for prioritising requests. If you think it will take a while to send out invites for your ride, consider acknowledging requests as you receive them so the sender knows they got through.

In any case, please let requesters know whether they are invited or not (maybe putting people you do not invite onto a waiting list) as soon as you can.

Check with the web site to see if there's a similar ride that might be undersubscribed that might be able to accept additional riders.

In any case, please let everyone who asks to join your ride know whether they are invited, or not.

Check with the web site to see if there's a similar ride that might be over-subscribed or a candidate for a merged ride.

Yes. In fact it's best if we spread rides around a bit to reduce the risk of meeting on the road. We do, however, require you to give riders at least one clear day's notice (preferably more) to give people time to see your ride and respond.

There's no harm in announcing you're flexible about the start date and time. You will be required to enter one for your ride but if there's a consensus for moving the ride to a different day or time, you can update it making sure everyone you invite knows.

Yes. Different start points reduce the risk of meeting on the road.

Before you add your ride to the web site, please check other rides happening around the same time to make sure you steer clear of them. We ask that you do not describe a specific start point in your description (to discourage people from just turning up). You can, of course, contact the leader of another ride to ensure you start from different places.

Planning for Pop-up rides differs a little from other rides:

  • Bear in mind that not all cafés, restaurants and pubs are open and some require advance booking for meal service.
  • We can use take-aways, but you will need to find a public, open space to consume your purchases.
  • Toilet stops might be an issue for your ride. Try to include a public convenience (or two) into your route. We've started a relief map here.

You have the right to say no.

If you are already riding with five people, an extra person will render the ride illegal, as well as giving cyclists a bad name. If a seventh person insists on joining the ride, simply stop and do not continue until the person leaves. Worst case, abandon the ride making sure everyone is capable of getting home OK.

Please let Andy Henderson know of any abuses of Pop-up rides.

This could be tricky since we could create a large, illegal group by accident. Consider:

  • Changing your route to avoid the other group
  • Slowing down to stay a good distance behind the other group
  • Stopping for bottle-stop or a refreshments stop to stay separate from the other group

If you have to pass, do it as quickly as possible with enough speed to pull significantly ahead in a short time. While passing, try to keep as much distance from the other group as possible. If it is safe to do so, try to pass as a distinct group to make it clear to observers that you are two, different groups

We keep statistics on our rides for reporting to the AGM and Cycling UK each year. Andy Henderson is maintaining statistics for pop-up rides. He will assume that the ride took place and that everyone booked on to the ride attended - unless you tell him otherwise. There's no harm giving him an update after every ride if that's easier for you to remember.

You will, in any case, need to let Andy know the name of any new rider that doesn't appear in our list when you add their booking. He will add the name to our list for use in future rides.

The PCTC committee has decided to create an additional competition specifically for pop-up rides - they will not contribute to the other competitions.

Log in to the web site and go to the Add/update a Pop-up ride page. You can find it under the 'Member services' menu when you are logged-in to the site. You will see a page like this:

You need to enter just six pieces of information:

  1. The date of your ride. Click the day in the calendar. You can use the month drop-down or the arrow button at the top right to choose a different month. When you select a date it appears in full next to 'Selected date'.
  2. The start time for your ride. The drop down allows you to select from 8am to 7:45pm in 15 minute intervals.
  3. Optionally, select a grade for your ride. We provide a link to more details about our grading scheme - the page opens in a separate tab or window, you won't lose your place in the form.
  4. The maximum number of riders (including you) that you will allow on the ride.
  5. A brief title for your ride.
  6. A description for your ride. We suggest content for this box in the form. There is no practical limit to the size of your description.

When you are happy with your ride, add it by clicking 'Add your ride'.

If there is a problem with your ride, you will see an error message. Otherwise you will see a list of your forthcoming rides that should include the ride you just added (see 'How do I change my ride later' below).

It will help riders if you can update your ride with bookings made so that:

  • People don't waste time asking to join a ride that is already full
  • Members can check they are booked onto your ride before they join

To record one or more bookings, log in to the site and go to the ride page (you will see an option to view it if you go to the Add/update a Pop-up ride page. As the ride leader, you will see a 'Bookings for this ride' section that looks like this:

To change the maximum number of riders, click the new number in the first box. The change is made immediately, there is no need to click a separate update button.

To add a booking select a rider's name in the 'Add a booking' box. The list includes all current PCTC members plus non-members that have ridden with us recently. If the rider doesn't appear in the list select 'A new rider not in list below'. Then click 'Add this person'. Again, the change is made immediately.

If you select a person marked as non-PCTC or the 'New rider' option bear in mind you should ask them to complete a ride entry form if they are not a Cycling UK member.

As you update the bookings, the 'Current bookings section' changes to show the current list. You will see a 'Delete' button next to each entry. Click it to remove that entry from the list.

Note that rider names will appear only to members who log in to the site.

Having entered at least one ride, you will see a list like the one below when you go to the Add/update a Pop-up ride page.

Click 'View' next to any ride to see how your ride appears on the site and add/update any bookings you have. Click 'Update' to see the WordPress page that allows you to change any aspect of your ride.

There's more detail on how to use the WordPress page here.

Use the 'change a ride' procedure described above to display the WordPress page. It's a little intimidating with lots of options but you just need to scroll down to the 'Event Details' box which looks something like this:

Just change the start and end dates to your new date. When you click on either of the date boxes a calendar appears to help you pick your date.

If the start time has changed too, change both times to the new time. Don't try to enter a duration because that gives a false impression of accuracy to new riders. Again, when you click on a time box a window appears to help you select your new time.

Having updated your start time, find the 'Publish' box which looks like this:

and click the 'Update' button. Your ride will be updated everywhere it appears on the site.

If you haven't already done so, you'll need to contact the riders that have signed up for your ride and let them know of the change.

Use the 'change a ride' procedure described above to display the WordPress page. It's a little intimidating with lots of options but you just need to find the 'Categories' box that looks like this:

Simply uncheck 'Pop-up rides' and check 'Cancelled' instead. Then find the 'Publish' box which looks like this:

and click the 'Update' button. Your ride will be removed from everywhere it appears on the site.

If you haven't already done so, you'll need to contact the riders that have signed up for your ride and let them know of the change. You should also let Andy know of the cancellation so he doesn't add your ride to the stats.

PO7-11 April 2020 edition

With the difficulty of maintaining a distribution channel in these times, Postcode Publications has decided to produce a generic version of its 'PO' papers electronically.

You can read the latest edition, which includes two articles by Mike Skiffins (a regular contributor and PCTC stalwart), here. And more about Postcode Publications (you might not realise it is a not-for-profit organisation) here.

Rides and events cancelled for the time being

Given the recommendations and actions taken to address the covid-19 pandemic I believe we now have no choice but to suspend rides and group meetings until further notice.

Cycling is still an excellent activity that is good for you. You could try one of the many routes on our website here, search for them here, or you could discover new routes of your own.

If you wish to contact other members remember that you can do this though the website. We would like to offer more advice on small informal rides but are unsure whether/how to do this. If anyone has any ideas/thoughts please let me know.

You can find informed Government advice here:

Please keep safe and hope to see you all back on the bike soon.

Joy Forrow
President, Portsmouth CTC

Update: Since publishing the above, we have received this advice from Cycling UK which is consistent with our position.

2019/20 Photo competition results

The competition was, once again, to a very high standard.

After voting by the members who attended, the winners were:

  • First place: Anthony Beggs who also wins the photographic competition trophy
  • Second place: Also Anthony Beggs
  • Third place: A tie between Robert Sebley and Martine Hebblethwaite

You can see the winning entries below. Click any image to see a larger version.

Anthony Beggs' entry

Anthony Beggs' second place entry

Robert Sebley's entry

Martine Hebblethwaite's entry

Cathedral Challenge

Chichester CathedralWe're running a series of rides in 2020 aimed at people new to group riding or who haven't cycled for a while. They start with a short, 'get to know you' ride that includes a free bike check and progress through longer distances, tackling a series of challenges on the way:

  • Bronze: Havant to Portsmouth cathedral and back
  • Silver: Chichester cathedral and back
  • Gold: Winchester cathedral and back

That might seem impossible to you now, but here's a sample of the stories recent joiners to our rides have to tell:

Continue reading

CCP's Portsmouth News articles

Around 2002, Chris Davies - known by many as CCP - was an active club member who wrote a series of articles for the Portsmouth News. Each one described a cycle route for readers to follow.

Clive Dakin scanned in some clippings of Chris's articles that he made at the time, and scanned them. I've loaded them to the routes library having attempted to transcribe them into GPX files. I'll admit I struggled to follow some routes so there's an excellent chance I've misrepresented CCP's intention in several cases. Each route includes the original article and (highly) schematic map, so you can judge for yourself.

These are the routes:

  1. Winchester
  2. Petersfield
  3. Bishop's Waltham & Alresford
  4. Liss & Liphook
  5. Langstone Harbour
  6. Fishbourne & Goodwood
  7. Meon Valley
  8. Denmead & Hambledon
  9. Chichester Canal
  10. Chichester Harbour
  11. Bishop's Waltham & Botley
  12. Finchdean & QECP
  13. Westbourne & Stansted Forest
  14. Isle of Wight
  15. Isle of Wight 2

Logging your distance

This article explains how you can use this web site to record your distance travelled by bike. You can record individual rides, or monthly summaries, either way, you can analyse your mileage (or kilometreage) online or via a spreadsheet download. You also get to add up to three other pieces of information (such as which bike you used) to include in your analysis.

Click any heading below to see more information. Click any image to see a larger version...

To log your mileage you first have to log in to the site. This tells the site who you are and ensures your entries are recorded in the right place.

Then use the menus to click/tap 'Member services' and 'Ride logging' (see right).

That will take you to the logging screen for the current year.

Before you start logging for the first time, you can decide what you want to record in your log besides distance and destinations.

Click/tap the ‘Define log categories’ button to see the form on the left.

You don’t have to do this, but it might make your log more useful to you. I record two extra pieces of information:

1. Which bike I used for the ride

2. What type of ride it was

For example, I might record it was a Saturday ride on my Bish Bash Bosh.

Enter up to three categories of additional information and click/tap ‘Update category names’ to complete setting up your log.

You can change your mind later about which categories you want in your log.

Click/tap ‘Add a new entry to your log’ on the main logging screen (see above) to record an entry, you will see something like the screen on the right.

At the top of the form, select the date for your entry. By default, the system assumes ‘today’. To make the best use of graphs, you should choose the last date of the month when recording a monthly summary.

Then enter your distance travelled. You can use either miles or kilometres (but not both).

You can see I have opted to record two additional categories of data: ‘Bike’ and ‘Ride type’. Your categories (if you asked for any - see above) appear here. Enter anything you like in your category fields (up to 12 characters).

Record details about your ride in the description box. You should at least record the destination if you are logging an individual ride. I also record key events such as “New chain” so I can look back at the log and find out how long items have lasted.

Finally click/tap ‘Add new entry’ to complete your entry.

Hopefully you agree that’s pretty easy. If you decide to record just monthly summaries, I can record them for you if you struggle with the system.

Once you have recorded some rides, you can start seeing the benefit.

From the main logging page click/tap ‘Show graphs’. We show three sets of graphs. Here are mine as at mid-August 2019

My actual distance per month, in miles:

My cumulative distance per month, in miles:

Definite incentives for me to keep my riding up!

This graph shows which distance certificates you are targeting...

You can't tell from the images, but each graph allows you to hover over a data point to reveal more information.

Maybe you want to analyse your data a different way. For example, I might want to review the distance cycled on each of my bikes. Click/tap ‘Download your log’ to download a file containing all your data that you can open in a spreadsheet – like Excel – to analyse it any way you like.

Click/tap ‘Show table’ on the main logging screen to see how you compare with other riders:

Hmm. Could do better! You will, of course see all the entries I have blanked out here. Note we show you only totals for other riders, not their log details.

We use this to award the CCP cup (for the furthest distance cycled in the year). I have no aspirations to win that cup, however, but I still find it interesting to see how I'm doing compared to other riders.

If you make a mistake, or you want to see the detail of your log online, click/tap ‘Review and change your log’ to see a list like this:

Click/tap one of the triangles next to a month’s summary to see all the detail for the month like this:

Again, this shows the categories I’m using – you will see your own. You can click/tap any of the edit buttons to see a simple form that allows you to change the entry you selected.

No harm starting now. The system works best if you log entire PCTC years: October 1st to September 30th but you can start logging at any time. The system allows you to enter your log one month in arrears - so you get all of November, for example, to log rides for October.

Let me know on a ride or via email at: if you have any difficulties or suggestions for improvement.