Veronica Brown Memorial Ride

The First Veronica Brown Memorial Ride to Harrold Country Park will take place on Saturday 23rd September 2017.


Bedfordshire News Letter No 158 July 2017.

Editorial Pat Owen

I find it hard to believe that it is over half a year since I produced the last newsletter. I hope you’ve enjoyed your cycling so far this year and will be making the most of the longer days and sun (we hope!) before autumn is all too quickly is upon us.

A couple of our regular riders have had health problems this year, which have curtailed their cycling. Richard Marshall, whom many of you will know, was taken ill just after Easter and spent some time in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. Thankfully, he is now home and on the road to recovery and we hope to see him soon back on the bike – we missed him recently on the ‘Circuit of Bedford’ ride, which he has led for the past few years. Paul Hunter was also out of action for a while and we have sorely missed his valuable work on the developing website. We wish them both well and continuing good health.

Listed rides have been generally well attended lately and a couple of new rides have been added to our list (as well as the Veronica Brown memorial ride to Harrold Country Park in September). Brief notes on some recent rides, which I hope will encourage more of you to join the regulars, follow on page 2.

Also below – early details of the AGM in October. Please make a note in your diaries. 


For some time members have been asking about cycling jerseys with our member group name as well as the CTC (now Cycling UK) logo. Many’s the time we’ve been put to shame on a ride as a group of well turned out fellow cyclists pass us in their distinctive club colours – they haven’t a clue as to who we are in our variety of cycling gear. You’ll be pleased to know that myself and Chantal Lewis have been working on this and we hope that by the AGM in October we will have our jerseys for sale.

AGM 2017

The 2017 AGM will take place on Wednesday 18th October at 7.30pm. The venue will again be Friends’ Meeting House, 5 Lansdowne Road, Bedford MK40 2BY. There will be a speaker or film after the business part of the meeting and details of this will be available a little nearer the time.


As well as the usual destinations, the early summer rides list included an outing to Stoke Bruerne and a train assisted ride. Unfortunately, I was away for both of these, so requested comments from some of those who took part. This is a flavour of what I learned: on the train assisted ride the conductor complained that there were too many bikes, one member was lost along the canal path (apparently taking too long photographing poplar trees that reminded her of her native France) and another got lost after a comfort break in Asda, Leighton Buzzard, being unable to find bike or group! When reaching Stoke Bruerne, one member was disappointed when his request for a bacon butty was refused because it was too late – he was met by indifference, even when he cried, ‘But we’ve come all the way from Bedford!’

The Circuit of Bedford ride took place on Thursday 20th July. Six set out from Bedford Park at 9.30am – yours truly started a little earlier, being conscious that I would be one of the slowest. The rain and wind was very off putting at the beginning but thankfully the weather improved as the day progressed. My ride was not without incident – my back wheel developed a problem as I reached Cranfield, just ahead of the main group. Unfortunately, assistance was required from my ‘mechanic’ (husband Steve!) and I was transported with bike back to Bedford. However, I rejoined the group a little later on another bike and finished with the others, having completed 50 miles of the 60 mile ride. My fellow cyclists are convinced it was just a ploy on my part to avoid tackling the notorious ‘maggot’ hill, just outside Houghton Conquest!



Train Assisted Ride Saturday 13th May 2017.

This is a true Easy Ride of around 22miles and away from the usual routes. It’s a ride that starts and ends with a train journey and one to take time over.

Taking the train from Bedford, the ride starts from Bletchley Station via a quiet route (avoiding the town centre) to pick up the Grand Union Canal down to Leighton Buzzard. The towpath is surfaced, being part of the Sustrans Route 6. From Leighton Buzzard you ride through the back streets and parks and then head out past the Rugby Club to Stanbridge for refreshments at the Five Bells Pub. It has a good bar menu with a tranquil garden for when the sun shines.

Refreshed, you head on to the Sewell Greenway (former railway track) and up to Dunstable. Via back roads and paths you negotiate Dunstable and pick up the Dunstable to Luton Guided Bus way and cycle on to Luton for the train back to Bedford.

Start Time.

Start time will be 10.55 from Bedford Station to Bletchley. I have chosen a two car service so there will be dedicated space for bikes at the front or the back of the train and guards allow one or two bikes at each door way.

Please purchase tickets for outward and return journeys from Bedford Station.

Moving Bikes at Stations

Bikes will need to be moved across platforms at all stations.

Bletchley has lifts from all Platforms so that bikes can be easily moved to street level. Two or Three bikes and riders will easily fit in the lift.

Luton has a lift from street level the bridge across all platforms. We will need to carry bikes down to the platform, so lets help each other.


The Canal towpath is concrete/tarmaced but be aware that surfaces were laid and finished with a crinkly spreader!

Sewell Greenway is hardpack,

Dunstable to Luton Busway is primarily Tarmac with a mid-section of hardpack.



Newsletter No 157 December 2016 



The main purpose of this edition is to report on the AGM, which took place in October and to get you up to date with committee changes, the annual report and any issues that arose at the meeting.

Most readers, I’m sure, will now be aware of the death at the end of August of Veronica Brown, who was our president for 35 years and most recently our registration officer. As you will see, tributes were paid at the AGM and members present discussed how, as a group, we might commemorate her life.

This will be, of course, the last newsletter before Christmas, so I will end by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and much good cycling in 2017.

AGM 2016

The meeting, which took place on the 19th October at the Friends’ Meeting House in Lansdowne Road, Bedford, was attended by 20. The new committee is as follows:


Chairperson                                          Neville Hobday

Secretary                                                 Chantal Lewis

Secretary (Agendas/minutes)         Pat Owen 

Treasurer                                                 Chris Waters

Promotions                                              Chantal Lewis

Registrations                                           Alan Binney

Newsletter                                                 Pat Owen

Welfare Officer/Album Custodian  Vacant



Veronica Brown

Pat Owen said a few words to the meeting in tribute to Veronica, noting her determination in the face of her illness and all she had done for the club. She proposed that in recognition of Veronica’s contribution the club should commemorate her life by initiating a memorial ride. The meeting suggested that it should be to one of Veronica’s favourite destinations – the committee agreed to look into this.

Secretary and Treasurer reports were presented to the meeting by Chantal Lewis and Chris Waters. The Treasurer stated that our current assets stand at £2279.00. He told the meeting that we had received the HQ annual grant of £200 and HQ would be undertaking a full audit this year. The Secretary’s report is included in full, as this gives a good picture of the club’s activities during the past year.

Report to the AGM for the year ending 30th September 2016.

Our year ended on a sad note, when after a number of years fighting with cancer, Veronica Brown, our president for 35 years until 2013, died on the 31st August at the age of 84. Many CTC members attended her funeral on the 23rd September at Norse Road Crematorium, Bedford, some arriving by bike, which we believe Veronica would have appreciated. Veronica will be greatly missed and the committee is seeking ways to commemorate her time with CTC Bedfordshire – by organising a memorial ride for example.

The committee managed to organise regular rides throughout the year, arrange and attend a number of events and work with other cycling bodies. The details follow:

Regular Rides have continued throughout the year – Easyriders fortnightly on a Saturday, aiming to have participants back by lunchtime. The rides attract 5 to 10+ people (14 at the end of Sept) and we now have a couple of new regular riders.
Between 4 and 8 riders turn out for the monthly Classic ride – 4 hour ride of between 30 and 35 miles.

The annual Longest Day ride with CCNB attracted a number of members and the Circuit of Bedford (100k) organised by Richard Marshall for the second year running took place on the 23rd July. 9 riders took part – 2 riders started early and had a scrumptious breakfast at Emmaus, Carlton. Faster riders caught up by the lunch break at the Forest Centre and, and sufficiently re-fuelled and rested, the group set off to attack London Road hill, Houghton Conquest, before the gentler run into Moggerhanger and a welcome cup of tea at the Park. The ride finished at about 5.30 in Bedford. We would like to thank Richard Marshall not only for organising and leading this ride, but also for planning and coordinating the whole Rides programme.

In June Paul Hunter led a train assisted ride from Bletchley to Luton. Five people took the Marston Vale line to Bletchley, picked up the towpath of the Grand Union Canal and rode to Leighton Buzzard and then on to the Five Bells at Stanbridge for lunch in the beer garden. After lunch, a very pleasant ride along the tree lined Sewell Greenway took us to Dunstable where we joined the cycle way alongside the guided bus way to Luton and a Thameslink train back to Bedford.

On the 31 July we celebrated our Member Group’s 90th anniversary by cycling to St Neots for a picnic, despite the rather overcast sky. The event was noted in CycleClips the e-newsletter for Cycling UK, where we were ‘Group of the Month’ 10 riders took part in the ride and others arrived by car. Luckily the rain held off.

Events – We shared a stand with CCNB for the Harpur Trust event in Priory Park in May and as in previous years, at the Ageing Well Exhibition in June: organised by the Borough, it is aimed at people aged over 50. The well-positioned stand again attracted many people.

We acquired new promotional material with the new Cycling UK logo, such as a banner, and cards on which we can add our local details, which we take to events and leave at pit stops and other venues, such as cycle shops.

Working with other groups – we continue to work with CCNB and Sustrans, helping at events. We attended the meetings of the Borough Cycle Strategy Group. During the summer we organised volunteers for the follow-up to Sustrans’ Adult Cycle Courses but, unfortunately, there was no take up.

Newsletter – We continue to publish this on line at least twice a year, with hard copies for those who require them. The editor repeats her plea for more contributions from members. Without these, she warns, her editorials may ramble more than before!

Website —

A big thank you to Paul Hunter for the time and thought he has put in since he volunteered at last year’s AGM. A number of changes were discussed and proposed to the Committee for agreement. Many of them (general presentation of pages, updating the History of our Group, content of several pages) were implemented. Updates of rides and other events are done regularly. But adding new photos or the Newsletter is still a problem and being unable to update the WordPress template is becoming a serious issue. Despite numerous attempts to meet with our webmaster to discuss all these matters, we have been unsuccessful up to the time of writing this Report. The overall management of the website, including the Webmaster’s role, needs to be reviewed. Assistance may therefore be sought from Cycling UK.

We continue to get a number of enquiries (phone and online) about rides or other issues.

Membership — the membership stands at 530 with 18 new members joining in July, August and September.

Last word — A group like ours depends on volunteers, and you can guess what’s coming next…. volunteers are still needed as Ride Leaders, Committee members and will always be welcomed with tea/coffee and lots of biscuits!

Issues, queries and comments:

The Report:

  • Paul Hunter asked the committee to look at committee structure at their next meeting – should the group have a ‘Right to Ride’ representative, for example?
  • A member asked the Treasurer about the terms and conditions of our loan to HQ and he agreed to look into these at the audit.
  • Following discussion about the Circuit of Bedford ride, it was agreed that it should remain as a club ride, rather than advertise it more widely, as a bigger event would entail too much organisation for a small committee. Slower, shorter options would be discussed with Richard Marshall, the current organiser and leader before the next event.
  • Following discussion on the club’s participation in the Ageing Well exhibition, a member suggested that a short, beginner’s ride could be offered, either at the exhibition or shortly afterwards. This suggestion will be considered before the next exhibition.
  • There were a number of questions concerning communication and the current position of the website. These issues will be considered by the committee in the New Year.

CTC Re-branding

It was agreed that we should change our name to Cycling UK Bedfordshire, whilst acknowledging that our focus should remain social cycling. (The new logo will be on the next edition of the newsletter).

Club T Shirts

The committee is to investigate the cost of club T shirts with the new Cycling UK logo.

At the close of formal business, Ben Maylor from the University of Bedfordshire gave a short presentation entitled: Staying on Track: Cycling and Health, during which refreshments were served. Judging from the questions and comments following Ben’s talk, members found the presentation both informative and stimulating



Veronica Brown
Former President CTC Bedfordshire
Veronica passed away at the age of 84 following a long illness.  She was President for 35 years from 1978 to 2013 having joined Cycling UK, then CTC, in 1957.
Veronica moved to Bedford with her family in 1973 and was soon involved in forming a family cycling section.  In 1975 she was instrumental together with Friends of the Earth in setting up the Association of Bedford Cyclists to influence the County Council’s plans and proposals for cycle ways in Bedford.  A petition with four hundred signatures and a number of public meetings established cycling firmly on the Council’s agenda.
A regular and enthusiastic cyclist herself she was involved in all aspects and activities of the CTC in Bedfordshire.  These included recruitment, campaigning, educational and social events, organising rides and Newsletter production.  Veronica was foremost in the publication of a series of eight local rides – “Two Wheels to Leisure” – printed in the Bedfordshire Times to commemorate the CTC’s centenary.  These were so successful that she was asked to produce another series for the following year.  In 1992 she was a founder member of the local campaign group – Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire – and served as a committee member until her death.  Veronica was presented with the CTC Certificate of Merit in 1996.  For many years in the nineties and the early part of this century she was secretary and organiser of the Bedfordshire section of the 40 Plus Cycling Club and served as President of the National body for three years.
Cycling in Bedford and Veronica were synonymous.  She will be missed.