An eventful but successful return to the SAOBA Cycle Ride!

Showers were predicted, and after three apologies seven cyclists set out to meet at the Prep school car park, (without cars – just bikes) at 0945 on Sunday. The plan was to cycle from Hale Barns to Jodrell Bank, using the quietest possible roads, and after refreshments return home. Six made the
photocall outside the Brothers’ house, but no 7 (Pete Taylor) messaged that he had a mechanical problem and would meet us at Jodrell Bank. After some perusal of the various bikes (overall improved since last time!) we set off at 10 o’clock.

All went well down Wicker Lane, Bankhall Lane, Ashley, Mobberley, there was some spitting rain but we were just one group among the legions of Sunday morning cyclists criss-crossing the quieter Cheshire lanes. On the last hill up from Bate Mill Tony Dixon’s chain snapped. Did we have a chain
link extractor? Yes we did, we had at least three between us. Thank goodness. How many old boys does it take to repair a chain? The answer is just six, provided some have cycled LEJOG, and know what they are doing. Fortunately we had two Mikes, an Ian (and Pete on the way) who met that
description, no worries.
Safely arrived and queuing for food at Jodrell Bank café we pondered the age of the universe, and felt remarkably young. As we got the coffee orders in, Pete’s second WhatsApp came in:

“Even worse news. Knocked off by an elderly lady car driver”. This was alarming. We established that Pete was fortunately OK, despite being badly winded and bruised. Police and ambulance had attended the scene of the crash, but he had been allowed to go home, and was all in one piece.
We cycled the return leg rather more thoughtfully via Goostrey, Knutsford and had a second tea/coffee stop by Tatton Hall. Adrian Lewis, Simon Harrop and Mike O’Kell departed home from here, and the last three headed through Rostherne, via Ashley, back to Hale Barns.

The overall mileage varied, depending where people lived and had started from. Our route was just about 36 miles from St Ambrose Prep to Jodrell Bank and back. Northwich Mike managed to do 65 miles by visiting his Mum in Sale first. Despite the disaster of Pete’s crash it was otherwise a safe and successful day. Thank you to those who attended. We hope to ride again with Pete Taylor very soon.

The 3hr Timed Strava Ride followed on 23rd and 24th October. The official results are as follows:

Mike Collins retains the trophy with an impressive 51.6 miles within 3 hours. This narrowly pipped Adrian Lewis who receives the most improved rider trophy, and King of the Mountains goes to Ian Taylor!

SAOB Cycle Club is a group on Strava. It is free to join and open to all old boys and their families. We also have a SAOBA Cycle Club WhatsApp group.
If you’d like to join the SAOBA cycle group please email Tony Dixon

RIP Mark Ormiston

It is with great sadness that we advise that Mark Ormiston has died.  Mark was a popular character who trained as a chef in Geneva after leaving school and ran his own restaurant in Greece and then the UK for a number of years. He attended the school from 1969 to 1974 and was a talented rugby player and a great friend to many people. He will be sorely missed.

Tributes and messages have been left at the below website where you can also add your own contribution in memory of Mark:

3rd Annual SAOBA Cycle Ride

Last month, despite the ongoing restrictions, a determined group of Old Boys managed to complete the 3rd Annual SAOBA Cycle Ride. Whilst the group could not meet in person, and thanks to technology they were able to join virtually using the newly formed SAOBA Strava Group!

Congratulations to this years SAOBA champion cyclist, Mike Collins, (class of 1980) a clear and deserving winner. Mike cycled 54 miles in the timed 3hr at an average speed of 17.95mph. His elevation gain was a huge 1149m, so he was in the running for King of the Mountains as well. Well done Mike Collins! 
We were sorry to hear that Ian Taylor, our 2019 SAOBA champion and 2019 King of the Mountains had been struck down by Covid-19 a couple of weeks ago. But he made a great recovery – enough to ride again (despite medical advice!) and with his brother Peter Taylor he was in the running for KOTM again. The stats show that Ian climbed 1,244 metres but was just beaten by his brother Peter (class of 1981) who wins this years SAOBA KOTM with an elevation gain of 1245m. Congratulations to Peter Taylor, SAOBA King of the Mountains 2020. Sibling rivalry is strong, so next year will be interesting! 
Our other seven riders all performed well. Dominic Leach (1981), Adrian Lewis (1984), Tony Dixon (1980), Daniel Dixon (2009), Mike O’ Kell (1980) and Simon Harrop (1980). Thank you everyone for participating. 

If you would like to join this group and connect with your fellow SAOBA Cycle enthusiasts, it’s called the SAOB cycle club. You can find it on Strava by searching for SAOB in the clubs section. Click join and you’re in.

Leading by example

Our Hon Secretary, Tony Dixon, has been leading by example during lockdown, with an incredible new initiative that helps, mind, body, and the environment…Litter Picking!

On 20th September, Tony spearheaded a marathon 12 hr, 9 mile, litterpick across Warrington, organising a relay litterpick of 6 teams. It gathered 62 bags and broke a few local records. It was reported in “Warrington Worldwide”.  

Litterpicking is a way of taking purposeful outdoor exercise while exploring a locality – and at the same time, picking up litter with a grabber! 

Simple but effective, it can be done solo, in pairs or as part of a larger co-ordinated team. Litterpickers are people who volunteers to serve the local community by improving their local environment. 

Anyone who can manage moderate intensity exercise can do this, similar to gardening. The setting can be rural, urban, trail or parkland. It can be incredibly mindful. Volunteers feel empowered and positive after a session, particularly as part of a team. How many activities have you done where passers by have stopped to say “thank you”?

It is usually done walking but for longer trails there has been some success with cycle litterpicking using a trailer. Various levels of equipment are used including duo trolleys to pick and separate litter from recyclables. 

Safety (traffic, water etc) is a major concern and public group picks have to be Risk Assessed. Tony’s group follows Keep Britain Tidy guidance, and as a KBT #Litterheroes Ambassador also uses their free PL insurance and educational updates. KBT supports a national network of groups. 

The groups are easy to find, on Facebook :
Clean Up My Community – Warrington 
Latchford Litter Network
And similar Facebook Community pages for newer local Litter networks 
Lymm Litter NetworkOrford Litter Network and others are in the pipeline; Fairfield and Howley, Whitecross, Bewsey.  

There are a number of local litterpicking groups which have started up across Warrington this year. This autumn we have distributed free low cost grabbers to the public – the first event was in Westy. This has tied in with launching the Facebook local “litter network” pages in key areas of town. 
Tony’s Tuesday team started in 2019 and has continued most weeks since, now approaching their 1000th litter bag of 2020, despite all the restrictions and time lost in lockdown. 

Once we are out of lockdown, any of you will be welcome to join for a trial session! 

SAOBA Annual Cycle Ride

Despite the new UK second lockdown we plan to safely and legally hold our third annual SAOBA cycle ride later this month. 

This is all about participation. Because of the current Covid-19 lockdown we are restricted to using a “virtual” SAOBA ride this year. This will be completely legal, as we will not gather in any group. Everyone who participates will ride either solo or paired. 

Most participants will be doing geographically separate distanced rides. We will be miles apart and will not physically see each other. But we will all be connected to the event using the Strava phone app. 

Please do participate if you can safely do so, wherever you happen to be. The safest way is riding solo (paired cycling is legal and acceptable too). 
Unfortunately we cannot all meet and socialise this year, but it is important to remember that we are still “all in this together” and we intend to continue our annual bike ride legally and safely. 

This will be a simple 3 hour timed bike ride, where you use Strava to record your route and stats. 
You can choose your own local route, wherever you happen to be, anywhere in the  world. 
When is it?  Saturday November 21st, we suggest starting at around 10am for best UK daylight.  
Please note that with this format your start time is flexible. You can adjust your own start time or even use Sunday 22nd instead if you prefer, depending on personal factors, local weather etc. 
Route. You choose! You will need to plan your self chosen route for an enjoyable 3 hour timed ride. Suggested start time is 10am (as above). Hi-vis clothing and lights are recommended. Be safe and be seen. 
All riders must return to their original start point towards the end of their ride to complete their “circular“ route. (to minimise altitude/wind effects).

StravaPlease download the free Strava app (if you have not already done so) and familiarise yourself with recording your rides. 
Please plan your route so that your Strava “moving time” will be a little over 3 hours. 
Your route must return you to your start point towards the end. 

Please will you also take a couple of selfies during the ride and attach these to your Strava ride. Some of the selfies might be used on our SAOBA website later on.
Stops for food or mechanical issues are not a problem. Strava will distinguish your moving time from your total elapsed time. So it is OK to stop to refuel or take your 2 photos. Please check Strava is still running as you embark. 

All riders must do a 3hr “moving time” ride to complete their ride   (excluding breaks, and verified by the Strava moving time). 

DataAll riders are to email their Strava data for this ride to my email as below by 9am on Monday 23rd of November
a-m-dixon@msn. com

The Strava ride data format will include a route map, your two ride photos, start and finish time, elapsed time, moving time, distance, average speed and elevation gain.
We will rank riders by comparing distance, average speed, and elevation gain data. 

We will award our new SAOBA 2020-2021 Cycling Champion with a trophy after lockdown.
Conditions of entry
Open to former pupils of St Ambrose College. Must be aged over 21 years at entry. No ebikes or artificial propulsive power please! Each rider is individually responsible for their own safety, and all participants enter at their own risk. The Hon Secretary’s decision is final. 
To enter, please email to Hon Secretary Tony Dixon at
stating your name, address, DOB, mobile no and the year you left St Ambrose College. The closing date for entries is 18/11/2020
If there are any questions please email me back, as above. 

Thank you for your attention and I hope that you can take part this year. 

Stay safe and happy cycling! 

Tony Dixon

SAOBA Hon Secretary 
***Feel free to forward this to other past pupils of St Ambrose. 

Roll of Honour – Former SAOBA Cycling Champions

2018 – 2019 – Mike O’Kell
2019 – 2020 – Ian Taylor