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26th March 2006
The traditional meeting point of Carters green Clock Tower was adhered to and folks began to arrive from about 0905.
First there was current clubman Jason, then Roger and Adam turned up having ridden from Quinton. Next to arrive were "The Two Phils", Woodhall & Duggan, not changed much despite advancing years (less hair, more flesh). Then more appeared, Andy, Trevor & Mel, George, Chris & Justin after many ears absence, Steve, Rob, Bruce, Harry. The rain was setting in but it soon stopped, not to be seen again during the ride. (Check out Phil Woodhalls' personal experience of the Iraq War: www.iraqandback.co.uk)
Carters Green Clock Tower
In typical style we left Carters Green 5 minutes late, rode towards West Bromwich to turn off just before the ring road and found half the group missing after a mere 4 minutes riding! Eventually we regrouped and joined the canal at Bromford Lane where we met Gill, George, Graham and Harry. (Below)
This towpath is part of the National Cycleway.
We plodded on towards Birmingham, one puncture (loads of brambles along the towpath). As we reached the city centre, around the ICC, the condition of the towpath and surroundings completely changed, it was like entering another country, a marina on the right, well kept buildings all around, the whole area had an aura of tidiness about it. We crossed and headed towards The Mailbox where we turned right to head away from the city alongside the railway line.
Chris & Justin
The sun was out, the path was drying, the temperature was improving, all looked good. More improvements: a smell of chocolate as we rode through Bournville. Then we left the canal and joined the River Rea Cycle Route which took us to our destination, Cannon Hill Arts Centre where we had a room and a buffet laid on and some more ex-members waiting to meet us. Two Martins were waiting, some exclamations regarding stomach sizes (well we haven't met for over 20 years) and some laid-on food.
We left the Arts Centre and rode towards Birmingham University where we rejoined the towpath for the return to West Bromwich. Phil punctured on the way back and he had to relearn the art of changing a tube. (He did very well). We were told he had been duped by the shop by being sold "puncture-proof" tyres, ha ha.
The ride split up at Bromford lane, some farewells, maybe again in a few years time.
Conclusion? Fantastic day out, some memories rekindled, some old acquaintances rediscovered, old friendships reforged and some e-mail addresses swopped. Long Live West Brom!
West Bromwich CTC was wound up late 2009 due to dwindling numbers on clubruns.