After 2011’s torrential rain and 2010’s scorcher, the weather conditions were just about perfect for this year’s Wrong Way Round Bike Ride on Sunday 10 June. Not too hot, not too cold, plus a bit of help from the gentle easterly wind. And with no breakdowns, no delays, and some impressive performances from over 100 riders taking part, the 2012 edition of the Wrong Way Round was definitely the year it All Went Right.
For most riders, the day began at 5am at Hyde Park Corner. Groups of cyclists from Yatton Keynell and other nearby villages set off down the A4 pedalling the 97-mile ‘Classic’ route towards home. These included Callum and Jools Parsons, Sheni Jiwa, Jonathan Phillpot, Nick Leeder and the gang from Church Farm. They were joined by other riders from Chippenham including Ben Blackwood and Hannah Ryan, with friends of the event from further afield including Dave Caughley from Sussex and Phil and Wanda Hall’s clan from Bedfordshire.
With the favourable conditions, the front runners – including Tim Williams and Darren Hewer – made good time and were soon clear of the London suburbs. Other riders also going well included Jonathan Crookall, Andrew Moseley and Mark Tedds.
By around 9am, riders from Hyde Park Corner were passing the Halfway Inn near Hungerford, and were very grateful for the hot drinks and bacon rolls served by the affable landlord. Riders on the 38-mile ‘Halfway’ route – including Colin Hope, Fiona Brunger, Sue Foreman, Nick Parsons, Jackie Ball and Eddie Shaw – were also starting here and heading towards home.
Meanwhile, in Yatton Keynell, more riders on the 44-mile ‘Avebury’ route, including Roger and Alex Wickham, Andy Titcomb and Ian Chapple, were setting off between 10 and 11am.
At the same time, the first riders from London were arriving back in Yatton Keynell, having completed the route in less than six hours. Between 11am and 12 noon another dozen or so arrived, but the big rush came in the early afternoon as most of the remaining riders on all three routes crossed the finish line at Yatton Keynell’s iconic Hyde Park Corner milestone between about 12.30 and 2.30pm.
Several local Yatton Keynell residents had ridden the event before but upgraded this year to new bikes (and a new determination), which definitely produced results, completing the Classic route around two hours faster than previously and arriving home in much better condition. Compared to 2011’s weary and mud-splattered faces, it was great to see the cheery smiles this year as many local riders – including Richard Phillips, Pam Rawlings, Mike Cook, Jacquita Mead and Fiona Norman – completed the challenge in style.
While some of this year’s participants were regular cyclists, many were not, and these riders especially deserved the applause from the big crowd of friends and supporters at the finish. A special mention must also go to the team supporting Shine Together who all completed the Halfway route.
With riders returning thick and fast, the ground-crew at the finish were kept busy, recording names and updating the Progress Board with texts from riders still out on the road. Our favourite messages include:
10.05 Richard Phillips – first cake stop reported already
10.40 Mike Cook & team – at Halfway Inn. Thirteen pints of 6X requested
11.32 Colin Hope – stopping for fuel!
12.01 Richard Phillips, Hannah Ryan, Pam Rawlings – enjoying tea and cake in Marlborough
12.06 Kim Stukey – in Chippenham, but lost Paul Ronson!
12.23 Andy Titcomb – at Avebury, fixing a puncture
12.41 Jonathan Philpot – in Chippenham!
With the ride over and the rain holding off, most riders and supporters spent the rest of the afternoon on the sun terrace of the Bell Inn, enjoying a celebratory drink and replacing burnt calories by consuming burgers cooked up by the pub and cakes provided by Yatton Keynell Under-5s. For many, that was the perfect end to a perfect day.
From us, the organisers, big congratulations go to all the participants. We’d also like to thank the many helpers that made the event possible: Mark and his team at the Bell Inn for providing the facilities at the finish, Stephen Slade and all the stewards for wearing hi-vis jackets to make sure the car traffic behaved; the team from FOBBVS for the stewarding assistance; Will Lawton for the sound equipment; Chris Dash for managing the timing board, ably assisted by Cate Dash and Rosemary Penny; Kevin Warlock for driving and providing the crowd-control barriers; Mike Penny for driving and setting riders off at Halfway; James Skinner for the website updates and all-round logistical support; Yatton Keynell Under-5s for providing the crèche facilities; Andy Cook Cycling for the warning signs; Campack for the packaging material that protected the bikes in the vans; and the ladies at Yatton Keynell Village Shop for handling the high-tech laser-controlled entry form delivery management system.
Also, big thanks to our commercial sponsors and supporters: Norman Webb Van Hire and Hatts Coaches for the transport; Phillips Car Bodywork and Prangle & Carey for safety bollards and other logistical assistance; Ripe Digital for printing the leaflets and flyers.
The Wrong Way Round Bike Ride was initially conceived as an idea to bring the community together, and for everyone to just have a good time. Thanks to some great weather this year, and to everyone that took part entering into the spirit of the event, we seem to have achieved both aims.
All riders and supporters are warmly invited to the traditional post-event reunion, certificate presentation and awards ceremony in September. We’ll send a reminder nearer the date and hope to see you then.
BOB PENNY, STEVE BEAVAN, DAVID ELSE
ORGANISERS, WRONG WAY ROUND BIKE RIDE