Tandem 2004 - UK National Tandem Rally
Westonbirt School, Westonbirt, Gloucestershire, England

Saturday, 14th August 2004 - Saturday, 21st August 2004

Tandem 2004

The Tandem Club's Annual National Tandem Rally for 2004 was a great success and despite quite appalling weather in much of the UK, it was only slightly affected by rain. It was held at Westonbirt School, situated in the small village of Westonbirt, approximately 3 miles south-west of Tetbury and 4 miles north-west of Malmesbury.

Westonbirt School

Westonbirt School


Westonbirt School for Girls is a beautiful building set in 250 acres of beautiful Cotswold parkland and gardens. It was a truly memorable setting for the 390 members (including 96 children and 2 Guide Dogs).


By Saturday evening most of the rally goers had arrived and crowded into the marquee to hear the Mayor of Tetbury, ably assisted by the Town Crier, open the rally by welcoming us all to the area and wishing us a safe and enjoyable week in the Cotswolds. The evening continued with sampling the local cheese, Scrumpy, Perry (pear cider) and Apple Juice (all made within twenty miles of Westonbirt) and lots of chat.

Each day there was a choice of three rides, a short or family ride of about 30 miles with optional medium 50ish and long ride 70ish extension loops. The rides were carefully routed to take us through some of the prettiest villages to be found in the Cotswolds.


Sunday’s rides took us to Castle Combe and Biddestone. Sunday evening saw the grand Bring and Buy sale held in the Marquee.


Monday was the day of the Velocio Trophy ride: the Velocio route was 25 miles long with many clues to be found over rolling terrain both on and off the Cotswold edge and ended in the ancient market town of Wotton-under-Edge, though there was a further 10 miles to climb back to Westonbirt. Most of the clues were based on observation but a handful required a little lateral thought. 65 teams entered the competition and 53 teams handed in answer sheets. Given the difficulty of the course, it was pleasing that two families came in the first four. The top 10 are shown below:
Velocio 2004 ~ Results
Position Team Name Time Time


1 Speed-M (Jo Gay and Peet Morris) 4:18 -3 56
2 McNae 4:30 -3 54
2 The Andrew Family 5:10 -5 54
4 Jacob! 3:48 -1 52
5 Jeffreys / Butcher 4:08 -2 51
5 Tricia Anderson & Neville Frost 3:44 -1 51
7 Forbes 4:13 -3 50
7 The Failed Already 5:37 -7 50
7 Silurians 3:47 -1 50
7 The Mead Family (Strollers) 3:54 -2 50

Monday evening gave the opportunity to have a conducted tour of the School building and an evening meal prepared by the School Caterers.


Tandem picture




Tuesday was the day that legs got tested; the ride included the Hill Climb (our thanks to Bernard Lamb for organising it) for those that wanted to test themselves and their machine against the clock and for those that just liked hills. The ride climbed up to the Coaley Peak Picnic site and to the Nymphsfield Gliding Club.

The 2004 Hill climb Champions are:-
Mixed: Grahame & Lesley Brown
Men: Phil & Christian Braybrooke

To finish off the day and the legs, Tuesday night was Barn Dance night. The Marquee was bouncing to the music and dancing provided by Dave and Jan. Dozy Doe, Baskets and Reels, you name it and we did it.


Hyrangea in Westonbirt Arboretum

Hydrangea and a bee in Westonbirt Arboretum



Wednesday was a free day, a day of rest for those who wanted it, with further tours of the school and evening meal prepared for those who booked.


After Thursday’s ride to Keynes Country Park back at the rally site we were greeted by a vision of yesteryear in the shape of a collection of wonderful vintage cycles provided by Sydney and Audrey Marks of the Hambrook vintage cycle collection. The children loved having a go on the reproduction Penny Farthings. In contrast St. John Street Cycles, the Tandem specialists, brought some of their bikes along and gave us the opportunity to see and try out their latest models. Thursday ended with the Tandem Games - the usual selection of wacky races, kindly organised by Phil Harmer, and Bi-athlons for the children organised by Eugene. Congratulations go to the Braebrook boys, Alfie Higgins and the winners of the slow tandem race Eugine and Lonneke and a close second Colin and Alfie.


Friday was the last of the organised rides, to Badminton and Chipping Sodbury. Friday evening started with "thank-yous" being said to the organisers before moving on to the BBQ and it wasn’t long before the bangers were sizzling and the rain started! Following the BBQ, the folk group, Canon Fodder (Canons of the Church), entertained us with some lively music.


Saturday morning saw the breaking of camp and friends and fellow tandemists leaving to go on their separate ways.

Report by: Denis Bradbeer


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