Star rides in the ’80s

Member Peter Robinson gives us another account of past times;

Star Rides in the 80’s (Well from 1983 onwards!!!!)

I hope having read the rules in the mid-80s this will give a feel for what it was like to ride with the Star in these times – some of those epic rides and the favourite routes –

  • My first long ride 19th December 1982, my friend Andy who I had met at Banbury college had been cycling for a couple of years, 5’ 6’’ and 8 stone he flew up the hills and was good at all sport- he held the Burton hill climb record for some years – I was a little overweight and had legs like tree trunks gained from football and squash and parents making me wear short trousers in all seasons when I was young – they did come in handy later on though.
  • He met at my house in Swalcliffe at 9 he with his Raleigh Gran Sport me with my Raleigh Magnum, single chainring and 1 and ¼ inch tyres – no quick release and come to think of it not sure I took a spare inner tube. 6 hours later I was back in front of a roaring fire, having ridden out to Chipping Camden, Evesham, Broadway, Winchcombe, Stow, Burford, Chipping Norton and home, 86 miles – no stops and no water – I didn’t have proper cycling shoes but did have a pair of shoes which looked similar, a pair of Adidas tracksuit bottoms and a sweatshirt. It was a long way but I loved it. More long rides ensued with Andy until mid-January when having met Steve, Henry and Simon at the club AGM at the Mill, I arranged to meet them the next Saturday outside the Dog and Gun at 9.

I rocked up in my newly bought Tudor sport training bottoms (still a favourite with touring cyclists today and a beanbag training top. I had bought a pair of shorts from the cycle shop in the Fairway, Banbury (sheep skin padding!!!) Also a pair of shoes had been acquired from Bob Griffin cycles in Cheltenham – Duegi – made of leather with holes all over them – no overshoes – I didn’t have any.

  • I remember the ride well, up the Warwick road, down the Knowle, through Kineton onto the Fosse towards Ufton, then on to Southam, and back along the Welsh Lane to Charwelton, and Maidford, back to Banbury and home – it was in Moreton Pinkney that I experienced that loss of energy that Henry told me was the bonk – my previous bonks had been a lot more exciting, but in fairness both made my legs shake and this one lasted much longer!!!

I was told that there weren’t any shops and I would have to get on with it – I did.

  • It was good to know that I got an extra half hour in bed on a Sunday, meet at 9.30 at the Dog and Gun – again just the four of us – there was a guy from Merseyside that would join us some weeks – rode in from Rollright each Sunday but can’t remember his name – I was there ready and waiting – a trip to the South East, Bicester, the Claydons, Brill hill, Thame, Winslow were all regular locations, Henry planned the routes we followed, Henry liked the South East. I will never know if this was because the wind prevailed from this direction more frequently in those days, he knew the roads better or that it was just flatter – it could have been all three – I do recall though having to stop at the garage in Bicester on the way home from that second excursion as Henry had fallen to the imaginary hammer. I survived and would be back the next day
  • Over the following two months rides extended to Thame, Aylesbury, Faringdon, and then there was Christmas Common. On the way back into Banbury one Sunday in late February Henry announces that we needed to meet at 9 tomorrow as we would do a longer ride – Simon and Steve knew what this meant – for me it was blissful ignorance.
  • Off we set on a murky February day, down the Oxford road – imagine this road pre M40 – you were passed every minute by at least one Fuller lorry carry various good south. We eventually turned at Sturdy’s castle and headed for Bletchingdon and Islip before arriving in Wheatley – there is a long hill up through Wheatley – it was news to me – through Stadhampton and on to Chalgrove, scene of my first ever road win, and on to Wallingford. Over 40 miles done, and not a drink or gel bar in sight, through Wallingford and then bang – out of the mist appeared Christmas Common or rather the hill that led onto the Common – it was a brute – at least I had acquired a Holdsworth Elan, with its 531 tubing, dodgy Weinmann 500 brakes, and Stronglight chainset – 52 x 42 with a 13 x 21 block. Along the top of the escarpment over the top of the M40 at the top of the Stokenchurch cutting – left at the top and back through Thame, Long Crendon, Bicester and back into Banbury, before a ride home to Swalcliffe. 100 miles done. No food no drink……no sense!!!!
  • Henry told me the next week how important it was to get a 100 mile ride in before the end of February without any food or drink to make sure your endurance training was heading in the right direction. It was good to have 1,000 miles logged before the start of March.
  • The ride to Christmas Common was repeated on an annual basis for the next four years until Henry moved away. I must do it again one day.
  • Another ride was out to the A5 Rangers club house and then ride their reliability trial and then ride home – they had rides on a Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend in February.
  • The first Star time trial of the year and my first race was a club 13, starting in those days in the layby opposite the Barley Mow and finishing outside Drayton school on the Stratford road – it was snowing and there were tracks from the white stuff on all the roads. I finished in a time of 35.37, freezing cold, I climbed freezing with cold into a friend’s car where the news detailed the plight of the miners in Nottinghamshire.
  • Star time trials peppered the calendar from February onwards, the ten running from just outside Wroxton to the top of Sun rising, along Sugarswell lane a dead turn at the cross roads and re-trace – with a marshall stood in the middle of the road to ride around. The 25 was a similar affair with the same start point which was then followed by a return leg from the dead turn back through Edge Hill and down the Warwick road, around the now second roundabout, and retrace to start point.
  • But the thing I really wanted to do was road race….