Wheelers in the News
The Rye & District Wheelers have been in the news quite a lot recently. Their Marathon Charity Roller Ride for ARRCC got publicity in the Rye Observer and an even more recent Charity ride organised by Tenterden Rotary Club saw five of the boys entering the forty mile ‘hilly’ ride. All completed the course and the Kentish Express photographer was on hand and their pictures appeared in the Tenterden Edition of that paper. On the same day Jon Beasley was slogging it out on the windy Romney Marshes in the KCA “50” he recorded 2-15-41 only two minutes outside the Wheeler’s record. His effort has been rewarded with a front cover picture on this month’s “Rye’s Own.”
The Harbour Road Cycle and Foot Path
The Rye Wheelers have also been working, with others, to ‘persuade’ the County Council to construct a cycle and foot path from Rye to Rye Harbour. This much promised cycle road has been put off and put off again over the last 40 years during which time there have been several deaths and many accidents on the one and a half mile stretch of road culminating last autumn with the death of cyclist Graham Matthews.
The County have found £20,000 for a ‘feasibility study’ which is going ahead at this very time. It is hoped that there will be no more excuses and that the construction of the route will begin in September. The County Council will have the wrath of Rye Harbour Residents, the Rye Wheelers, Graham’s father Brian Matthews and many more to contend with if they break their promise this time.
Members of the Rye & District Wheelers are fiercely proud of their past. They even carry the prewar ‘sprocket’ emblem on the shoulders of their smart new racing jerseys. But if the great Rye riders of the past, Jim Gasson, ‘Curly’ Price, Jim Sargent, Les Hatter, Fred Higgins, Bernard Dean and Dave Ashdown look down from that place where the wind is always on their backs and the road runs downhill all the way, they would surely be proud of the new crop of Wheelers and some of the resurrected ancient ones, who are making the club buzz today.
On three occasions this year the club have fielded no less than ten riders in time trial events and in almost every open event Wheelers have won prizes.
The club is active in other spheres too. Members have been part of a pressure group who are trying to persuade the County Council to honour a promise made over forty years ago, namely to construct a cycle / footpath from Rye to Rye Harbour. They have had some success, extracting more promises and a £20,000 ‘feasibility study’ which is under way at the present time. More excuses are expected but in the light of the terrible accident that cost Graham Matthews his life last autumn the Rye Wheelers will be monitoring the progress on a day to day basis. Politicians must learn to keep their promises.
Fun Day Marathon
The club put on a fantastic show at their recent Fun Day Marathon event. They covered the distance between Rye & Lands End on rollers. Two riders in relays made the distance in less than nine hours! All money raised at the event will go to ARRCC to help continue to provide special needs at the Rye Respite and Care Centre. Club runs on both Sundays and Tuesdays have been well supported. Anyone wishing to join the club for either serious racing or just enjoyable country runs are more than welcome. Gentle runs on Tuesdays from the Riverhaven Car Park at 1pm. or faster rides from the same start point on Sundays at 9am. Phone 222420 for more details. As many as ten riders are representing the club every Friday evening at Tenterden. The points competition is well under way with Barry Goodsell leading at the present time. Gary Booth has wintered well and is riding fast. He has already beaten his own 25 mile time by three minutes and seems on the verge of doing his best ever ten mile time, he has been going a bit too fast it seems for his bike has developed a ‘speed wobble’, he is now known as the ‘wobbly wheeler.’
From “Rye’s Own” July 2005