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NRC puts the 'Fun' into Thatcham Fun Day

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

If the measure of ‘fun’ is defined by the amount of laughter heard, then NRC certainly delivered at Thatcham Fun Day on Sunday 26th June.

This annual community event, designed to showcase the best of Thatcham, featured a ‘cycle zone’ and Newbury Road Club were to highlight the best of club cycling in West Berkshire.

Coming just a week before the NRC Summer ’Come and Try It’ event on Sunday 3rd July, our stall enjoyed a steady stream of visitors all day, keen to find out more about the Club and the group riding and racing activities we offer.

Stars of the show were a pair of reverse steer bikes designed and made by NRC member Chris Matthews. These bikes are configured to turn the front wheel the opposite way to the handlebars, and are a real test of counter-intuition and riding skill. They are also a huge source of fun.

Trying to cycle 10 feet on the reverse steer bike

All day the crowds gathered to watch hopeful participants cycle a seemingly simple 10 feet course, without putting a foot down, only to find it is way more difficult than it looks. Even the most accomplished cyclists looked like they were setting off on their first ever bike riding attempt – hugely entertaining, almost impossible yet strangely hypnotic to watch people try. Thankfully Chris was on hand to show that it is possible with practice!

Congratulations to Ashley Robertson who finally cracked the challenge on his fifth attempt and won a bottle of champagne!

Ashley Robertson celebrates cracking the reverse steer bike challenge

The stall also featured a Slow Bicycle Challenge, a sort of reverse Time Trial and again much more difficult than it sounds. Junior rider Ben Woolhouse triumphed taking 2 minutes 28 seconds to cycle the 20 feet course, without putting a foot wrong (or down) – most of which was accomplished in a near-stationery ‘track stand’ position - well done Ben!

The event was hugely successful in promoting the health and fitness benefits of cycling and the work NRC does in the area to support this. NRC shared the cycle zone with AliBike mobile cycle repair, Velospeed ebikes and Newbury Velo who were showcasing their new tandem collection designed to make cycling more accessible to those who are partially sighted.

Allan stoking a Velo Tandem

Lorraine and Ian Greenstreet ready to push off

A big thank you to our hosts Thatcham Town Council and to the many NRC members who came along to support the Club at this event.

A special thank you to organisers Lorraine Murrell, John Murrell, Allan Bartlett and Chris Matthews for giving up their Sunday rides and supporting us throughout the whole day. To Chris Little and Shaun Ward for the loan and set-up of gazebos, and Ray Clark, Phil George, Kieran Fell, Cassie Friend, Alex Pickard, Lucy Hutchins and David Glenn for staffing the stall during the show.

And a final thank you to Chris and Jane Chamberlain, Steve Miller and the Newbury Community Furniture Project for the donation of ‘retired’ bikes that were given a new lease of life for the ‘reverse-steer’ project.


Behind the scenes: Read 'Cycling Back to Front', Chris Matthews account of bulding and riding a reverse steer bike.


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