Meet our groups: Burnley and Pendle CTC

Back row L-R: Harry Taylor, webmaster Mark Clegg, rights and planning rep Chris Marshall, secretary John Ramsden. Front row L-R: president Jim Duerden, vice president Ian Lowcock with his classic Hetchins bike and treasurer David Tinker
Members of Cycling UK Member Group Burnley and Pendle CTC’s committee were recently awarded Going the Extra Mile lifetime achievement certificates for their joint voluntary service of over 120 years. We find out more about them and the cycling they enjoy from group secretary John Ramsden

Our amazing volunteers

Burnley and Pendle CTC has a number of long-term volunteer committee members, with Ian Lowcock serving for more than 50 years in various roles including president, and David Tinker for more than 20 years. Together with the other members shown above, they have over a century of voluntary service.

Cycling UK recently recognised this sterling service with Going the Extra Mile awards. The committee also contains another two members not shown on the photo: Jim Cooper, who joined the committee in 2017, and Fred Higson, a previous secretary who has just re-joined after some time away.

As well as the work they have done in their various roles on the committee, all of the above have also been regular ride leaders over the years.

It came as a complete surprise to receive this certificate, as all the work any of us do, is because we love the freedom of open road, and not for any sort of recognition. It was very much appreciated

Mark Clegg, webmaster, Burnley and Pendle CTC

Webmaster Mark Clegg commented: “Having been a Cycling UK member for over 20 years, I thought it about time I started riding with my local group. ’Ooh – you work in IT’, they said, ‘can you have a look at our website?’.

“At that point there was no way out, I was conscripted onto the committee and seven years later, I’m now webmaster, membership secretary and, with more than 250 club runs in my pedals, a regular ride leader.

“Keeping in touch with the members over coronavirus lockdown was as much a challenge for us as for any other group, so we started a WhatsApp group, sharing photos from our many solo rides, and kept the group up to date with the ever-changing regulations as provided by Cycling UK.

“It came as a complete surprise to receive this certificate, as all the work any of us do, is because we love the freedom of open road, and not for any sort of recognition. It was very much appreciated.”

When and why was the group formed?

The club was formed in Nelson in 1927 as CTC East Lancashire District Association. This section later spit into Burnley and Pendle CTC and Blackburn and District CTC.

What challenges have you overcome to maintain the group’s success?

The biggest challenge is always attracting new blood. We have several racing clubs in our area which attract the younger riders. Most of our riders are 50 plus. What makes us different to the other local cycling clubs is that we offer a friendly social ride where no one will get left behind.

We have tried all sorts of publicity over the years to try to attract new riders, but have found most people come to us via word of mouth from friends, seeing us out on the road, or from the Cycling UK website.

When and where do most of your rides take place?

We aim to lead two rides each Sunday, with an additional weekly evening ride and monthly midweek rides. We have a few different meeting places, with most of our rides heading either north-west through Lancashire around the Trough of Bowland or towards the coast, or north and east and into the Yorkshire Dales.

What type of rides and/or events do you offer?

We offer beginners’ rides from 15 miles right up to rides of 100 miles. We have also hosted slide/photo talk evenings, quiz nights, social nights, treasure hunts and so on.

Does the group take part in social activities or rides in other areas?

We used to send a contingent of riders to the CTC Birthday Rides, and put on a few club weekends each year, even including several trips to Belgium and the Netherlands. We have just returned from our first club weekend for almost two years due to coronavirus issues.

We have also attended slide/photo talk evenings and quiz nights hosted by our neighbours Blackburn and District CTC (pictured below is a joint ride to Morecombe with Blackburn and District CTC).

How many regular riders do you have?

We currently have around 15 regular riders, with others joining us less frequently. We also have a number of older members who no longer ride but still attend social gatherings (or did until the coronavirus lockdown). We used to get around 50 at our Christmas meal, but our last one was back in 2019.

How many volunteers do you have?

We currently have nine volunteers on the committee who do most of the running of the club and leading rides, with other volunteers also acting as ride leaders.

Do you have club kit?

Yes, we have a Burnley and Pendle CTC club kit we get from Impsport, a variation of the previous CTC colour scheme. The kit helps to get us noticed, and prompts the start of numerous conversations.

What is the group most proud of?

Passing on our local knowledge of good cycling routes and encouraging people to get out on their bikes and try new routes. Just before lockdown one of our regular female riders completed her first ever 100-mile ride to mark her 70th birthday.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened on a group ride?

We were once stopped by a film crew, who asked us to go back down the road so that they could film us approaching and coming past them. Unfortunately, the rider at the front then set off so fast, presumably wanting to look more impressive, that he didn’t feature in the TV programme as they just showed the rest of the group that had stuck together!

On another occasion, we came across a Big Bike Revival event on Whalley Old Road, with a few of our group ending up having a go on a penny farthing.

Do you have a favourite tea/coffee/pub stop?

Unfortunately, a number of our regular cafés have closed down or not re-opened since lockdown. Most of our regular riders now bring their own sandwiches and hot drink, and have been stopping in places such as Dingly Dell Woodland, Malham. With winter fast approaching, though, I expect we will be making more café stops again, at places such as Little Town Dairy near Longridge and Roots near Catforth.

Do you have a favourite route?

Our club does numerous rides in the lanes around Chipping and Gargrave, but my personal favourites are some of the longer rides such as the Grassington, Kettlewell, Halton Gill, Stainforth route or the Chapel-le-Dale, Ribblehead, Dent, Barbondale route.

What do you do to attract new members to the group?

We have tried all sorts of publicity over the years to try to attract new riders, including weekly notifications in local newspapers, circulating leaflets and rides lists around local cycling and sport shops, supermarkets, sports centres and even doctors’ surgeries. We have also sent out email newsletters to Cycling UK members in our area using the groups toolkit supplied by Cycling UK.

How can people make contact with you?

Via our website and newsletters.

If you had just three words to describe the group, what would they be?

Friendly, social, inclusive.

Get involved

Does your group want to feature in Meet our groups? If so, please get in touch.

And if you know an outstanding Cycling UK volunteer who deserves recognition for their efforts enabling more people to cycle, consider nominating them for a Going the Extra Mile award. We will be featuring all our recent award winners at our forthcoming virtual Volunteer Celebration on Saturday 9 October.

All photos ©Burnley and Pendle CTC.