Cycling with MSSC Dates!

Tandem Cycling with Merton Sports and Social Club for VI People

 Tandem Cycling with MSSC until end of March 2020

  • Sat 18-Jan-2020   –  Beddington Park cafe –  12m  –  easy  –  Richard H  & Neil

Option for a longer ride to tea room –  20m  –  moderate  –  Dave

  •  Sun 2-Feb-2020  – Brockham Village Hall Café  –   35m  – moderate –   Dominic,   Shaun
  • Sat 15-Feb-2020  – Flitons Nursery Tearoom  –  16m –  easy –    Richard J,  Phil M

Option for a longer ride to tea room  –   25m –    moderate-   Dave

  • Sun 1-Mar-2020   – Bockets Farm  –    35m   –  moderate – Dominic,    Richard H
  • Sat 21-Mar-2020  – Richmond Park  –   16m   –  easy –    -Shaun,   Richard J

Option for a longer ride to tea room   –  25m  –   moderate –  Dave

Email: if interested

Another successful year of cycling over and we are looking ahead with enthusiasm to an action-packed 2020, with an even more varied schedule of rides to suit a growing range of abilities and preferences.  We have been fortunate over the last year to have been able to spread the load of running the section and now have a wonderful team of ride leaders, deputies and bike maintenance volunteers.

If you have already read the Tandem Section article in the latest MSSC newsletter, the content of this email will be familiar to you.  However, in case you haven’t quite got round to it yet, we felt we should make you aware of what’s going on with MSSC cycling and to draw your attention to contributions in the newsletter from new member and pilot Helen, and the ever hard-working Richard H.  Do you know how to dress for a winter ride?  What do you need to sustain yourself on a long ride?  Why is your posterior suffering discomfort?  These articles from Helen and Richard will go some way to answering your questions, so please do make a point of checking them out.  Dressing and Fuelling for Winter Cycling  can be found on Page 14 of the newsletter, and The Saddle Dilemma is on Page 15.


We are hugely indebted to Richard H who takes the lead on checking and maintaining the club’s tandems.  He can regularly be found on a Wednesday morning in the Guardian Centre car park, along with Dave, Charles, Richard J and one or two other volunteers, cleaning bikes and carrying out minor repairs.  If you have any time to spare and can help, please let us know.

For more major work, Richard takes our tandems to Bon Velo, the bike shop in West Norwood where he works part-time.  His employers very generously provide free servicing on MSSC tandems and only charge the club for parts.  MSSC is massively grateful for this extremely kind, charitable gesture, which makes an enormous difference to the club.

Keeping our tandems fit for the road takes considerable time and money.  The estimated cost of servicing and maintaining our tandems for a year is around £100 per bike.  There is currently no charge to take part in a ride, on top of the annual membership fee.  However, to help towards the maintenance costs, it has been decided to give cyclists the opportunity to make a small donation following each ride, to show their appreciation in a tangible way.  Therefore, in future, a collection box will be made available on all ride days.


As in past years, our regular rides will continue right through the winter months, weather permitting.  We will not cycle in ice or snow.  All rides begin at 8.30am from the Guardian Centre and include a refreshment stop.  Unless you are advised otherwise, the Saturday rides should return by 1.00pm and the long Sunday rides by 3.00pm.

Please find attached the ride schedule for January to March.  The version in the newsletter has an error: Saturday 1st March should of course read Sunday 1st March.  The prize for spotting the deliberate mistake has already been awarded to an eagle-eyed reader!  Please note that short rides now include a concurrent longer (moderate instead of easy) option for those who want to improve fitness and extend their range.  Let us know which you prefer when you book a place on a Saturday ride.

Please follow the usual booking procedure, as below. The more notice you give, the more likely you are to secure a place.


– Email specifying the date of the ride you would like to attend.  A text or a verbal request will not suffice.

– Please email at least two weeks in advance, if possible.  We cannot guarantee you a place, but the sooner you book, the more likely we are to find you a pilot.  We will confirm your place as soon as we have sufficient pilots to make the ride viable.

– If you change your mind or find you are no longer able to attend, please let us know as soon as possible, as there may be a waiting list and we may be able to offer someone else your place.


– A confirmation email will be sent out to all participants in advance of the ride; if you have not received it by close of play on the Thursday before, please email to check you are on the list.

– Please make sure you have the mobile number of the ride leader in case you need to contact them on the day and make sure they have your number and your emergency contact details.

– Please contact the ride leader as soon as possible if, for any reason, you are unable to join the ride or are likely to be late.  Waiting for late comers or people who don’t show can cause delays and huge inconvenience.


It is usually quite challenging to secure enough pilots for our rides, so it is hugely helpful if you can look at the ride schedule and let us know your availability for rides well in advance.


Members of the Tandem sub group have been extremely busy behind the scenes, planning and grafting to make sure MSSC cycling activities can endure and flourish.  We are awaiting approval of two grant applications which, if successful, will mean a number of shiny new tandems for the club.  The sub group has been scrutinising the existing fleet of tandems, sorting them into categories – regularly used, versatile tandems, less regularly used, roadworthy  tandems, rarely used tandems we can try to sell and then, the last category, bikes we are unlikely to be able to sell which need to be disposed of or given away. Let us know if you might be interested in buying one of the tandems as MSSC members will have first refusal.



One of the cycling grants we have applied for is a sizable award from Groundwork London, which will allow us to buy three new tandems over the next three years and upgrade four old ones this year. As part of the award, we are required to increase our membership by twenty to thirty people each year.  We are therefore planning an extensive recruitment campaign and series of tandem training workshops.

The first “Have a Go” workshop of the year is scheduled for Saturday 25th January. Please forward the below details to anyone you think might be interested in the workshop, which is for anyone keen to learn how to ride a tandem and those who have already tried, but would like to develop their skills and confidence further. Light refreshments will be provided.

Where:     At the rear of the Guardian Centre, 67 Clarendon Road SW19 2DX

When:      Saturday,  25th January 2020

Time:      10.00 to 13.00

For further information or to book a place, please phone 07500 913 223 or email


In order to make the task of pairing pilots with stokers easier, and to monitor the diversity of participants in accordance with funding criteria, we have compiled a cyclist profile form which all stokers and pilots will be asked to complete in due course. We will be circulating it very soon and would be grateful if you could

complete and return it as quickly as possible.


As you know, MSSC prides itself on being an integrated, inclusive club with both sighted and vision impaired members, which is why we encourage our pilots, as well as our stokers, to become members of  MSSC.  We rely heavily on annual subscriptions to fund the club’s activities, especially tandem cycling  which, as mentioned previously, requires considerable time, effort and expense.  The membership fee is just £15 a year and provides access to all club activities, plus third party insurance cover.  We would be really grateful, if you haven’t done so already, if you could make a point of either joining the club or renewing your membership for 2020 at your earliest convenience.  Bank details are available on request.

We look forward to a fabulous year of cycling!

Terry and Richard

MSSC Tandem Section



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