Inertia is a dangerous thing and it is not enough to sit back and moan about it.

©Gavin Peacock

We do this thing, it’s nothing special, but it is a thing. Friends help, people engage and take part – actively take part. The Return of Selbstbestimmungsrecht ~ the literal translation of the German is ‘Self-Determination'; sort of a guiding principle to know your own mind and be actively involved in something, rather than be reduced to abjectly passive consumption.

With that in mind, then, the White Chalk Hills UCX returned for 2013. 19 lovely individuals sent me a postcard, as I had requested, with their intention to ride on the day – The Long Man Brewery agreed to provide us with beer for a prize and the ever generous, and endless stylish, Vélobici supported the thing with some vouchers and items from their accessories collection to offer to the VAINGLORIOUS and the FUTILE.

Long Man Best

We left the door open for others to join us and on the day another 5 or 6 others turned out to ride. Though the rain came down, the wind blew and even hail fell from the sky, spirits were high and everyone took it in their stride.

Some were keen and pushed on hard, others made life difficult for themselves riding single speed, everyone mounted the challenge with grit and determination. The 2012 route had been tinkered with a bit, and new hills introduced with old favourites remaining; 44 miles and 5000ft of climbing doesn’t seem hard on paper, but in reality it is a hard ride and the conditions made it harder.

Back at the café, awards were offered: ‘Most Futile’, ‘Biggest Tantrum’ and ‘Best Crash’, lovingly crafted trophies made by Lois.

By Lois May-Miller

By Lois May-Miller

No one had a tantrum as such, though there was the occasional exclamation “dear God, we’re not going up there..?!”…there were a few crashes, but no injuries, and the ‘Most Futile’ award was given to the man with the slashed tubular tyre, forced to walk to the nearest village to hail a cab (pictured above).

Simon's Control Card

Simon’s Control Card

Thank you to all who sent me a postcard and who turned up, especially those first timers and the ones who traveled so far to take part. Sam Winter for his help in drafting the original route and concept and for opening The Tri Store at 8am for us. As always, thank you Lois May-Miller for her design skills and enthusiasm, and Jo Burt, Simon Catmur, Gavin Peacock, Sabrina Greenberg and countless others for their support.

Final thanks to Chris Puttnam at Vélobici, Richard Phelps of the Long Man Brewery for their generosity, and The Tri Store and The Belgian Café (Eastbourne) for their hospitality.

Further Works