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Ashwell Chaingang - Tuesday 26th April 2022, 7.15pm

edited April 6 in Chain gangs

Hello everyone

Welcome to another season of Ashwell chaingangs... The joy/pain/summer vibes/fitness progress/bumpy road into Bassingbourn/friendliness/road race skills/hell. Delete as applicable.

Never done a chaingang before? Come on down and give it a go. You might get dropped - though we will try and be as inclusive as possible. Never mind: keep going solo, wait to see if others get dropped and team-up. Try again next week. They are a great way to maintaining and improving your cycling fitness, and a gateway drug into road racing.

This season, I thought we'd try starting a little later - departing 7.15pm from Ashwell Three Tuns. In part to help those who are no longer WFH, in part because the later we go - the quieter the roads.

We could start these chaingangs before 26th April. It's just I'm simply not around. Go for it if you like.

The section of road from South Farm to Shingay has been resurfaced with loose gravel topping. It's possible we will need to neutralise things a little there until it's all bedded in.

Most course potholes from previous years remain. Take great care with the road section coming into Bassingbourn. And there are deep ruts in the section towards Fleck Lane House. Let's treat these sections positively and use them to practice communication and steering skills.

This year, we could mix things up a little. Ideas include a few 'Breakaways' where we go long out north and back on the more chaingang-friendly lanes. I am also thinking of focusing things on an inaugural CCA circuit race Championship - at the Welwyn velodrome or Colchester cycle circuit.

We were getting great turnout last year. I hope we can continue to grow these sessions. Make them a part of your summer cycling fun.


Standard, regular chaingang info...

If you want in on the 2022 Ashwell Chaingang WhatsApp group for the very latest updates on the evening: text me. Martin 07977652247

7.15pm - Depart Ashwell, Three Tuns at easy pace.
7.20pm - Meet up with those waiting at Steeple Morden pub/church and begin the chaingang. Most people aim for two laps.

We will probably be two groups if turnout is high. 'Group 2' more inclusive at around 22mph average which might seem high - but is very reasonable once you account for all the time you're saving power off the front of the chaingang. I'd guess 22mph in a chaingang is like 18mph solo in power. Group 2 should let the other group go first by a minute or so - to avoid the chances of overlapping on the course.

Each Ashwell chainganger should carry their Ashwell Chaingang Brevet Card. I'll have new ones to give out for first-timers. You get your card stamped at the start or end of each chaingang. Collect 8 stamps and you are entitled to a free officially bad-ass CC Ashwell Racing Team t-shirt.

1. Unless there's a call otherwise, we rotate the chain anti-clockwise all the way.

2. If there's less than 4, it's probably better making it a TTT instead of a chain.

3. All welcome. CCA members or not.

4. Feeling the burn? Before you blow up, sit out your place in the chain and simply hang on at the back saying 'Last!' so the gang knows to miss you out. Enjoy the power-saving group draft effect for as long as you like, recover and rejoin the chain with clear shout.

5. Aim for smoothness: the pace line is only fractionally faster (1mph) than the resting line, don't spring out of corners, don't overlap wheels, be super alert at all times and call out every hazard and manoeuvre.

6. Get close to the wheel in front of you. Close enough to benefit from being shielded from the front. Just remember not to get too close, never ever overlap your wheel with the rider in front, and aim to be a little to one side of the wheel in front and not directly behind a wheel so, if they brake suddenly, you have nowhere to go.

7. "What if I get dropped?"… It can happen to anyone and that's fine: you are still officially bad-ass for turning up and doing it. Ease back or turn around and latch on the next lap, or solo TT to continue the effort . Come back next week and see if you can hold on for longer.

8. The 9-mile lap:


  • Thanks Marty.

  • Oh yes... One more thing... There's an extra incentive this season....


  • Nice one Martin. Love the Brevet card
    (Although chaining up Croydon Hill might turn the love into hate! haha!)
    Can't wait for this to get going
  • edited April 26

    Reminder... Chaingangs start Tues 26th April. Leaving Ashwell three tuns 7.15pm. Passing Steeple Morden church approx 7.20pm...

    Be there!
  • Resting still Martin, see you on the next one. Weather looks good for it !

  • 6 out tonight. Pretty fresh! Nice and steady as we got used to the course again. We had a good ride.

    Made sure no one got dropped. Nice to welcome Richard from Melbourn. And good to see Tim Duckett in the mix too.

    Brevet cards were dispensed and stamped. Some are already on their way to socks and a t-shirt. I am probably not there next week: so Matt Palmer has the brevet cards and stamps.

    Lap 1: 22.7mph. Lap 2: 22.4mph

    Warmer and more fun next week… Enjoy!
  • Nice one. Just need to swerve kids football training!
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