Veteran of seven p4p challenges, Peter Middleman provides his individual recollection of the 8th edition #Pollitt Brigade

Training was just one aspect of preparations for this year’s ride to be interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although cycling was identified as a suitable form of daily exercise, limitations of one-hour duration and other restrictions prevented me from getting meaningful miles in during the spring. Later, with a deterioration in the weather and the distractions associated with a reintroduction of top-flight football (which led to at least a couple of celebration induced hangovers) I was left to rely on a series of 20-30 mile local sojourns that, owing to local topography, were not really filling me with confidence for the scale of physical effort that was to come.p4p8 Maxine Peake

The Grand Depart on Day 1 led off by Maxine Peake from the statue of Friedrich Engels in central Manchester

Nevertheless, at 4.45am on Wednesday 29th July I set off for the drive to Droylsden where the 2020 challenge would start. With my luggage stowed in the support van and the front wheel reattached to the bike, I joined two other riders for the short hop into central Manchester and the ceremonial starting point at the Friedrich Engels statue.  There, we were joined by the other half of the ride team and a group of Morning Star Readers and Supporters, including actress Maxine Peake who, having brought her bike, led us out at 7am for the first few miles back to Droylsden and a breakfast stop before the formal depart from the Town Hall plaque dedicated to Harry Pollitt in whose name the brigade would have the honour to ride. That first day was expected to be the toughest with 4,611ft of climbing including three significant hills through the Peak District, either side of a Bakewell lunch-stop, on the 66-mile route to our digs on the western fringe of Derby. As it turns out, we did it in a shade under six hours moving time without any unforeseen drama.p4p 001

Our first pit-stop in Whalley Bridge following the first significant climb of the trip

Day 2 was the longest at 96 miles and although the hills were less steep overall, we still ascended 4,346ft in total.  By mid-morning the weather had “improved” in the East Midlands but that’s a mixed blessing for fatigued cyclists who were enjoying the clear views and topping up tans while emptying bidons of fluids quicker than they could be refilled at few and far-between rendezvous with the support van.  Lunch plans at North Kilworth had to be amended as, in what was to become a recurring feature, the pub we were intending to grab a bowl of soup from was corona-closed. Instead, some shared bread and cheese from a nearby supermarket had to suffice for fuelling us through the remaining 49 miles through Northamptonshire and to just south of Bedford town centre. By then, we had spent 7h38m in the saddle on the day but with the additional water breaks and the heat taking its toll on some members of the team the entire journey was closer to 11 hours.p4p 003

Day 3 riding instructions delivered by Ride Leader Les Doherty before the long shadows turned to energy-sapping heat

The final leg of the trip covered 58 miles and a relatively modest total elevation gain of 2,656ft to North London via Golders Green cemetery and Pollitt’s final resting place.  In theory, it should have been the easiest day but temperatures were already in the region of 25c plus by the time we set off and 4h49m of riding later – much of it on fast, busy roads either side of the M25 – the mercury hit a maximum of 39c. Because of the route and a shortage of safe stopping places, we were self-sufficient as the support van was grappling with the London traffic.  Nevertheless, with the team sharing the burden of pushing the wind at the front and ensuring nobody fell off-the-back we got through in one piece without any support.  By mid-afternoon we had reached our final weekend resting place in Cricklewood where the process of rehydration was approached with vigour – if not necessarily medical advice.

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On our last legs after 219 miles and more than 11,500ft of elevation gain at Communist Corner of Golders Green Cemetery and the plaque which marks the resting place of Harry Pollitt

Saturday brought no respite though. Weary legs and tender posteriors were dragged back on to wounded velocipedes for a ceremonial 21-mile tour around progressive sites in central London including the grave of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery.  This wasn’t part of the formal 2020 challenge, but it did provide for a fitting bookend to the 8th edition and for discussions with a wider circle of supporters over a beer in Exmouth Market about plans for the 9th renewal.  Details to be announced in due course.

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The grave of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery where we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the foundation of a Communist Party of Britain

At the lunch stop on Day 2, we were greeted with the news that an individual donation of £10,000 had been made in recognition of our efforts.  Whilst obviously welcome, more modest sums from a greater number of people are more important.  More crucial still, is increasing the circulation of the paper daily.

Please pick up a copy when you see it or subscribe to the very accessible on-line edition for your daily dose of socialism in a field full of reaction and despair – “the paper is born and must never die”!

For those who have yet been unable to do so, please note the following accepted methods of payment:

Call: 0208 510 0815 to pay with a bank card

Cheque: Payable to “People’s Press Printing Society” and sent to: Morning Star, 90 Years Appeal, William Rust House, 52 Beachy Road, London, E3 2NS

Transfer: To People’s Press Printing Society – Co-operative Bank – Islington Branch – Sort Code: 089033 – Account No: 50505115

PLEASE QUOTE “P4P8” WHERE POSSIBLE

8th Edition – Pollitt Brigade

2020 is the centenary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Britain (originally the “Communist Party of Great Britain”) at a conference held in the Cannon Street Hotel in London between 31st July and 1st August 1920.

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Riding in the name of Droylsden born Harry Pollitt, who was the party’s General Secretary between 1929-1939 and 1941-1956, the 8th edition Pedal4Progress cycling challenge will traverse 350km from the recently installed Friedrich Engels statue in central Manchester to the tomb of Karl Marx in central London to raise funds for the daily paper of the Left, the Morning Star – which itself celebrates its 90th birthday this year.

Setting out at dawn on Wednesday 29th July and joined by a special guest for the first section (details revealed via @pedal4progress), six riders of mixed ability and supported by a logistics team will traverse roads linking Manchester, Derby and Bedford; ascend an equivalent height to three times up Ben Nevis, and arrive at Pollitt’s resting in place in Golders Green cemetery on the afternoon of Friday 31st July.  The following day they will remount for the short ride to Highgate cemetery to pay respects at the tomb of Karl Marx before completing a tour of central London’s progressive landmarks and finally “clipping-out” at the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell for the now traditional tot of end-of-ride Havana Club rum

The Morning Star is the only English language daily socialist newspaper in the world and is essential reading for all progressives.  Owned by its readers and rejecting capitalist advertising revenue its continued existence relies on a network of supporters and a fighting fund.

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In the 90th anniversary year, the paper has been impacted by a reduction of sales prompted by the Covid-19 lockdown and requires a special fundraising effort which the Pollitt Brigade are honoured to support.

To motivate the us further and donate to the appeal, please note the following methods of payment:

 

Call 0208 510 0815 with bank card details to hand

 

Make out a cheque to The People’s Press Printing Society and send it to: The Morning Star, 90 years appeal, William Rust House, 52 Beachy Road, London, E3 2NS

 

Make a bank transfer to Payee: The People’s Press Printing Society Account, Bank: The Co-operative Bank PLC Bank Branch: Islington Sort Code: 089033 Account Number: 50505115

 

PayPal via this link: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/page/support-us

PLEASE INCLUDE THE REFERENCE “P4P8” WHEN DONATING (add a note to reverse of cheques).

Details of the challenging ride route can be viewed here:

Stage One:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31603445

Stage Two: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31613039

Stage Three: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31827398

Twitter users can monitor updates from the ride via @pedal4Progress

No to NATO Yes to Peace

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Another stunning design by Hazel Roberts capturing the spirit of the Peace Race

Since completing the four challenges of the 4th edition you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve been taking a hard earned rest from fund raising for the Morning Star. Well, you’d be wrong, because since the Tolpuddle Time Trial back in July we’ve been planning our next challenge for the Peoples daily.

The message is clear, in our bid to raise wider circulation and funds for Britain’s only daily national newspaper of the left we are saying ‘NO to NATO – Yes to Peace’ In the centenary year of the Great October Revolution we have committed to deliver this message by bike from Prague to Berlin. Retracing the roads of the famous Peace Race

The ‘Tour de France of the East’ as it was widely known encouraged international peace and co-operation between the peoples of all nations and Pedal4Progress will honor those original riders and couriers of socialism in our biggest challenge yet. Riding the 220 mile course from the center of Prague to Berlin in Three stages, the team will complete this mammoth task with a show of respect at the Soviet War memorial in Treptow Park before celebrating the achievements of socialism in a cycling parade along the workers boulevard – Karl Marx alley.

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A fitting end to the 5th edition will finish at the memorial to the 80,000 red army soldiers who fell in the fight against fascist aggression in the battle of Berlin

 

As always with our challenges we continue to link the wider work of the trade union and labour movement with its pull towards cycling. Its not unusual for progressives to get on their bikes and ride; there is a deep rooted connection between the left and the cycling world. Walter Greaves, the Yorkshire communist won the world endurance record in 1936, Gino Barteli, (the great rival of Fausto Coppi), used his fame to carry messages and documents to the Italian Resistance during the Second World War. Jacques Anquetil, a Tour de France winner of note voted throughout his life for Roland LeRoy, a leading Communist and member of the PCF Central Committee throughout the 1960’s. And of course Gustav Adolf Schur (‘Tave’) DDR Peace Race Winner, politically active and voted ‘Greatest Ever German Athlete’ after the reunification of Germany ‘Tave’, has become the beacon for Pedal4Progress and one of the inspirations for the group’s latest challenge.

If you want to be part of our next challenge and join the team in Berlin at the Soviet War Memorial to cycle the final 6 miles of our epic adventure then follow us on twitter for regular updates and details of how to get involved.

More to follow in the new year………Keep pedalling for progress comrades

 

On the road with the Tolpuddle Time trial 7:53:47

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early start at the Morning Star offices

In the early hours of 15th July Pedal4Progress left the comfort of the overnight hotel and took the short drive to the Morning Star head quarters in East London to begin the last stage of the 4th edition. The solo effort by Les Doherty to ride over 230Km to the Tolpuddle Festival and personally deliver solidarity greetings from the Morning Star to all those attending the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom eve of festival fringe meeting.

With only the ride food in jersey pockets and Kevan Nelson in the support vehicle this represented the toughest fund raising challenge for the paper to date. Battling time, headwinds and a financial target the pressure was on and once the obligatory photo outside William Rust House was taken, the race against the clock began.

With losing 20 minutes or so to setting up and checking the bike including a last minute comfort break at the start, the first section out towards Staines was an absolute drag. Although pan flat and early enough, navigating past slow nervous commuter traffic was not built into the equation. By the time cycling superhighways were replaced by the straight, fast wider ‘A’ roads the initial nervous energy had already been sapped away and at the first feed station a total of 40 minutes was lost on the planned schedule.

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making up lost time

The early morning haze had been burnt and the temperature was rising so after a quick coffee we were ready to go again. A slight panic over a missing bike was put to one side and our paper boy set off on the second section of the route. One that now began to see the gentle flat turn to rolling roads and long shallow climbs. The short descents never gave enough momentum to take into the next climb so every hill had to be worked for. It was during this section that it became obvious that the legs were strong and the challenge to complete the course in less than 8 hours could be achieved. Text messages from veteran rider Mark David-Gray and constant support on twitter from Pete Middleman (himself a vet of all four editions) and the Halton Unison Local Government Branch was a welcome cure for the screaming lungs and legs.

Hazel Roberts had taken over ‘race radio’ for the day and made sure those following were kept up to date with progress. By the half way point 30 minutes was clawed back and when we reached the second feed station in Salisbury the pace had even caught out our support driver who was a good 10 minutes behind.

The weather had been kind all day, dry and sunny with just the occasional strong head wind to contend with. Salibury saw a change in all that as clouds started to darken and the start of several light showers was to follow. Subsequently the second feed stop was cut short in order to avoid riding the last and hardest section in poor riding conditions.

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message from John Haylett

So having loaded the jersey pockets all that was left was the final 56Km to Tolpuddle and deliver the all important letter. Full of confidence and a sense of belief the third section picked up where the second had ended. Despite the elevation and distance already covered Cuba’s finest 7 year old Rum was waiting and there was no let up in the pace. By now even the slightest rise in gradient was a challenge and anyone who has ever ridden in Dorchester will know its either ‘up’ or ‘down’ and no flat, every pedal stroke hurt every change of surface ricocheted through old bones.

As with any challenge like this it always feels like the end point moves further away from you and this was no different. Numbers on the bikes computer now move slower than they did earlier in the day and just when you think you have over committed and your body wants to give in, the first street signs show Tolpuddle on the map.

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the traditional toast to end the ride

It’s then you remember why we support the Morning Star. Why we needed to round off the 4th edition with this massive effort and why the papers rally call at the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom was imperative.

Four stages for the 4th edition was now completed fund raising targets set and achieved, participation widened and the tradition or progressive cycling challenges for progressive organisations continues

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rolling into the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom meeting at Tolpuddle

Big thanks to all those who have supported and sponsored us across all four challenges and to this years team of riders; Richard Aubery, Anna Burton, Paul Collins, Jason Cook, Les Doherty, Matt Jenkinson, Mike McKrell, Pete Middleman and Matthew Tollitt Logistics and support driver Kevan and our P4P graphic designer Hazel Roberts.

In the spirit of Tave we salute you all. Next up, a few of the photos from all this years stages.

See you in 2017 for the 5th edition.

 

 

 

3 down and one big effort to go

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Having agreed to organise four separate challenges to mark the 4th edition of our annual cycling fund raiser, we have now completed the first three and find ourselves in an ideal spot to report on the achievements to date.

We started out on Sunday 27th March with stage 1 marking the 100 anniversary of the Easter Uprising and our ‘Manchester Rising’ ride saw the P4P team take on the hills and lanes of the Manchester’s surrounding countryside in an effort to raise  funds for the work of the Connolly Association. Read more here -http://www.connollyassociation.org.uk/

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early spring sunshine soon turned to hail wind and rain

The team of six riders completed a steady 100Km route which included over 1916ft of elevation. For the time of year the weather forecast looked kind and stayed dry for the best part of the day. With only strong headwinds to contend with during the groups southerly outward journey, after a quick coffee stop we were all looking forward to the tailwind that would carry us back into Manchester for the final 40Km or so but it was not meant to be, instead we were met with a fierce barrage of hail stones and heavy rain that followed us all the way back to our finish point.

Soaked to the skin and a little beaten up by the weather the group were undeterred and completed stage 1 with the knowledge that between us we had raised £340 for the Connolly Association and had set a great standard for the up coming stages.

Big thank you to Richard Aubery, Anna Burton, Jason Cook, Les Doherty  Matt Jenkinson and Mike McKrell.

Next up was stage 2 on the 14th May. A tribute to those workers who stood tall during the TUC General strike of 1926 ‘Lancashire is Solid’ marked the 90th anniversary of the strike and served as a fund raiser for the Working Class Movement Library. Details here  – http://www.wcml.org.uk/

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The team outside the WCML before rolling out

Eight riders set off in glorious sunshine on a route which was revised for safety reasons on roads less traveled. And in doing so, by accident passing the former home of WCML founders Eddie and Ruth Frow. Quiet roads, warm sun, a mild breeze every now and again and good spirits in the pack was a rare treat for us. So used to battling with time, poor roads mechanical problems at no time did this feel like a ‘challenge’. It felt more like a group of comrades out on a social spin catching up on old times. However, when the 116Km was done and the first refreshing pint was poured the team had raised £370 for the WCML (since then a further £300 has been added to the total through donations by Halton Unison LG Branch and the Sefton LG Unison Branch.

Big thanks to Richard Aubery, Anna Burton, Paul Collins, Jason Cook, Les Doherty, Mike McKrell. Pete Middleman and Matthew Tollitt and a special thanks to the Halton and Sefton Unison branches who have supported our fund raising efforts since the beginning.

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Les Doherty and the team hand over their donation to Stuart Walsh from the Working Class Movement Library

Stage 3 took place on Saturday 4th June and ‘The Big Red Picnic Ride’ saw the sheltered lanes turn in to demanding hills as we stepped up our efforts on the bike in an effort to raise funds for Clarion House.

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A welcoming sign

 

The select team of 4 riders set out from the National Cycling Centre on a 126Km round trip which included 1,5020 metres of elevation. This was the groups second visit to Clarion House following the training ride last year and it was during this visit the group agreed to return again, we did and brought with us a small donation of £100 to help towards on going restoration work. Details here http://clarionhouse.org.uk/index.htm

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P4P rider Mike McKrell presents the £100 donation to Sue Nike and Carol Hopkins of Nelson ILP Land Society to help with the restoration work at Clarion House

 

The Big Red Picnic provided the perfect backdrop to a glorious day in the saddle and helped in the build up to the final stage of the 4th edition on 15th July and our traditional Morning Star fund raiser. Big Thanks to Anna Burton, Jason Cook, Les Doherty and Mike McKrell

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Pedal4Progress youth academy contemplating the Tolpuddle Time Trial

 

Details of the final stage of the 4th edition our own ‘Tolpuddle Time Trial’ will be announced shortly……..

 

 

 

Pedal 4 Progress and the four challenges of the 4th edition

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don’t shoot the workers!

Sunday March 27th see’s the return of the Pedal4Progress team and a series of fund raising challenges that is set to mark the 4th edition of our annual cycling challenge. So wash and prep your bike and get ready for our most ambitious challenge so far.

This year the 4th Edition will take on four separate challenges. Each challenge will require a varying degree of fitness, stamina and experience. Each challenge will be paying tribute to different aspects of working class history and achievement. Each challenge will help raise money for and promote the work of progressive organisations and causes.

Committed to using the bicycling as a revolutionary tool for socialism? Then join us on the road, help celebrate our achievements and help raise money along the way.

4th Edition Schedule

Stage 1 Sunday 27th March (Easter Sunday)

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100 years on from the Easter Rising we will pay tribute to those volunteers from Manchester and other British cities that travelled to Ireland to support the republicans and the fight for Irish independence.

‘Manchester Rising’ is a 90Km ride through the Cheshire lanes in support of the work of the Connolly Association. The pace will be social and we will stop for coffee around midpoint at Jodrell Bank. The challenge is limited to 10 riders with a minimum sponsorship / registration fee of £40. All proceeds going to the Connolly Association

The story of these volunteers is the subject of a forthcoming event at the Working Class Movement Library on 13th April http://www.wcml.org.uk/whats-on/events/manchester-volunteers-in-the-easter-rising/

For more information and route details see below

Stage 2 Saturday 14th May

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pickets at the gate

90 years on from the general strike we celebrate the role of rank and file workers and the work of the strike committees during this most significant of disputes during the last century.  Mobilised to support the miners, who were striking against pay cuts solidarity. The TUC call for solidarity was met with formidable strength.

‘Lancashire is Solid’ is a 110Km point to point tribute ride. In support of the work of the Working Class Movement Library (WCML) Starting out in Preston we will traverse all the major locations of historical interest during the strike culminating in a reception at the WCML in Salford and social in the nearby Kings Arms.

This ride will be more challenging, at times using main and busy roads with a fair amount of elevation included. The option for a coffee break will be subject to agreement on the day. The challenge is limited to 10 riders with a minimum sponsorship / registration fee of £40. All proceeds going to the Working Class Movement Library

For more information and route details see below

Stage 3 Date TBC

dispatch riders at the ready

dispatch riders at the ready

80 years on from setting a new world endurance record Walter Greaves will be honored as part of our contribution to the wider celebrations of our favorite cycling communist. We are currently in discussion with his family to work out how we can best contribute and of course we will be there with our bike to do so.

‘King of the Mountains’ will be a family ride open to riders of all abilities and will be at an steady pace. Limited to 10 riders a minimum sponsorship / registration fee of £20 In conjunction with Walters family all proceeds will go towards a permanent reminder of his world record set in 1936.

For more information and route details see below

Stage 4 Friday 15th July

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1979 peace race poster

Every year pedal4progress has helped raise money for the Morning Star – the only national daily newspaper of the working class. And this year we close the 4th Edition with the most challenging ride to date.

‘The Tolpuddle Time Trail’ will be an attempt to ride 240Km nonstop from the Morning Star offices in East London to the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and Rally. Places will be limited to a maximum of 4 riders with a total fund raising target of £2,000 for the Morning Star. This will be an extremely challenging ride, run at a high tempo and in tight formation. Riders will be expected to hold speeds of an average of 30Km p/h and to ride continually for 8 hours or more.

For registration forms and route details of all the stages of the 4th edition please contact Les Doherty

via twitter@Pedal4progress or Lesdoc44@hotmail.com

Out from the shadow of giants.

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It’s been a while now since the pedal4progress team completed their 3rd successful edition of the Morning Star cycle challenges and in doing so have once again raised a huge amount for the daily miracle. Over £4,000 was raised in a tremendous co-ordinated effort between the Manchester and Merseyside Morning Star Supporters Groups. The team of cyclists and logistics core covered over 200 miles on routes which paid tribute to some giants of the trade union and labour movement. This year we will be on the road again in what will prove to be our most adventurous edition of our progressive cycling challenges yet.

Below is a selection of photos which documents the group’s progress throughout the 3 days of riding during the 3rd Edition and captures the bond generated by the group as they endured those long hard miles.

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The north west TUC Chair Steve Farley and Regional Secretary Lynn Collins gave words on encouragement shortly before the group set out on the Liverpool – Carnforth Stage

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The team try to line up for the obligatory group photo

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After paying tribute to the late Sam Watts in a parade through Liverpool city center the team were able to pick up the pace and make fast time on the road to their first feed station

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On the road there are usually 2 or 3 different pace groups but  we always regroup for coffee and cake

 

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eyeball out on the flat run to Preston

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No one goes hungry on tour with pedal4progress

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Riders and logistics core give the workers salute before stage two heading out from Carnforth to Durham and the ‘Big Meet’

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I’m sure we are missing someone!

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The logistics core are kept busy during each stage, when not providing vital support to the riders they are usually trying to find missing books!

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A key task for the logistics core is to keep the team up to date with current affairs and the Merseyside Morning Star Organiser is just the person for the job.

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The thousand yard stare

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Made it! the team arrive in Durham on the eve of the Miner Gala and ready to enjoy some time off the bike

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The team received a warm welcome from trade unionists at the Institute of Employment Rights fringe meeting on the Friday night

 

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Getting in the swing

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With new friends

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And old ones

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In the Shadow of Giants!

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Cheers

But the journey didn’t end there. The following weekend the team took on the Calder Valley and stage 3 of the challenge.

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the more relaxed route allowed for an extended coffee break at Hebden Bridge before some of the team took on the notorious Cragg Vale

 

There's much love between riders and logistics when we are on the road.

There’s much love between riders and logistics when we are on the road.

Ahead of the main field some of the team wait at the Harry Pollitt plaque in Droylsden

Ahead of the main field some of the team waiting at the Harry Pollitt plaque in Droylsden

In a fitting end to the 3rd edition staff and volunteers at the Working Class Movement Library gave the team a warm welcome with helping to celebrate the 'Giants' whose name they rode in.

In a fitting end to the 3rd edition staff and volunteers at the Working Class Movement Library gave the team a warm welcome and helped to celebrate the ‘Giants’ whose name they rode in.

Thanks to everyone who contributed towards the success of the 3rd Edition Morning Star Cycling Challenge. If you are interested in joining the team for the 4th Edition you can contact us via twitter @Pedal4Progress our blog pedal4progress.wordpress.com or e-mail us at Pedal4progress@outlook.com

Coming soon will be details of where our next adventure will take us so keep putting in those base miles. YOU WILL NEED THEM!!!

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It may be grim now but you know its worth it!

 

 

 

The etiquette of cycling with Pedal4Progress

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On the eve of the 3rd edition we thought we should give ourselves a gentle reminder of the rules of the road to help make this an enjoyable and safe challenge for everyone.

Good luck to the Brigadistas of the Sam Watts and Harry Pollitt Brigades ….’It may become the step that will lead us to better things’

COMMUNICATION

Communicate with the group if you are experiencing issues with your bike, the pace, or the terrain. Make sure you let someone know.

SIGNALLING AND ROAD HAZARDS

Make the group aware of upcoming traffic and road hazards such as potholes and debris by pointing them out. If it isn’t safe for you to take your hands off your handlebars, call out. It is important to hold your line, making no sudden movements. Always check there’s room before moving out, and don’t forget to signal.

MORNING STAR RIDES NOT RACES

Riding with Pedal4Progress is about enjoying the road and the ride with your comrades and friends. Do not surge or pass the lead rider at any time.

HALF WHEELING

Under no circumstances should you cross wheels with the rider in front of you or, when doubling up on the road, the rider beside you. This is bad etiquette, very dangerous and can cause accidents.

LEADING / Pacing

All riders should try leading at least once. Don’t wait to be asked, offer to take a turn on the front and lead the ride. If you encounter a comrade in difficulty or think you could help out with an issue, use your knowledge to offer assistance or advice.

BIKE MAINTENANCE AND SAFETY

We’re spoke about this on plenty of occasions. All riders are responsible for their own well-being, and should be prepared for situations such as adverse weather conditions, mechanical problems and flat tyres. Do not rely on others to do the work you should be prepared for

SELF SUFFICIENCY

You need to be self-sufficient for the entirety of the ride. Make sure you have enough food and water for the duration. There are plenty provisions stored with the logistics core

Hazel Roberts & the Art of Pedal4Progress

Quietly sat behind the wheels of predal4progress  are the creative talents of Hazel Roberts. Photographer, artist and graphic designer, Hazel brings much that needed colour to the annual cycling challenges in aid of the Morning Star and has been as busy as ever with her sketch pads and colouring in books.

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‘Star Riders’

Inspired by the young Soviet pioneers of modern typography, Bauhaus and Constructivism Hazels work captures our socialist heritage and embraces the spirit of cycling’s hey day.

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Heroes of Pain

Having created all 4 striking posters for the team and designed the exclusive ‘Ken Gill musette’for the 2nd Edition Hazel has been busy working on two new designs to accompany this years fund raiser.

After hearing a reading of the ‘100 years of killing’ a poem by the late Sam Watts, Hazel was moved to create something special. ‘I’m unable to be with the team this year so wanted to do something which would be a permanent tribute to Sam and would also help raise money for the paper’

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Stage 1 Sam Watts Brigade

Hazel had to discover the skills of her fathers trade to produce the  limited hand printed, two colour interpretation  of Sam’s poem. Hours of feverish study, trialing and inking went in to achieve this unique print. Hazel said ‘Printing gave me more scope and possibility than painting, I wanted to do him justice’

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Stage 2 Harry Pollitt Brigade

We are delighted with the results and are offering people an opportunity to purchase a signed and numbered original piece of art, born from the words of a committed communist and peace activist and with all the proceeds going to the Morning Star. Where else can you do this?

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P4P Crankset

When we ask Hazel how she felt about her new work she smiled typically and said ‘this is just for the first stage of the cycling challenge. Wait till you see what I’m working on for the Harry Pollitt Brigade!’ We can expect Hazel will be doing plenty of ‘Hot Printing’ at Hot Bed Press in Salford to keep our art as progressive as our cycling.

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‘100 yrs of Killing’ in the final stages of production

On behalf of Pedal4Progress we send out a big thank you to Hazel for all her support and encouragement and for this impressive collection of progressive artwork

To reserve your limited edition print contact us @pedal4progress and pledge your donation to the Morning Star. Hurry when they are gone, they’re gone.

 

KEEP CALM

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Pedal4Progress

Once again we ride. Pedal4Progress the Morning Star cycling team are taking to the road in the 3rd Edition of the annual cycling challenge that has already seen us raise over £15,000 for the paper by pedalling from ‘Coast To Coast’ and last year’s London to Paris epic.

Organiser and rider Les Doherty explained. ‘I’m really excited about this year’s challenge. There is more to it than in previous years. The format has been developed, we have a theme which runs through each stage, we’ve widened the participation and unlike previous editions we have mapped our own routes’.

The core group of riders have already completed some valuable team training by cycling the 150K round trip to the Big Red Picnic at the Clarion Café earlier this month and all putting in some tough hill climbing in preparation for the challenge.

This year’s format is a two part sportive over consecutive weekends in July and includes a two day ride from Liverpool to Durham a one day ride down from Bradford to Manchester. A third stage in London is still under discussion and the team hope our efforts will inspire London based riders and Morning Star supporters to organise something similar.

Each stage pays tribute to some of the labour movement’s key battles and honours some of our outstanding class fighters. Liverpool to Durham will conclude at the Durham Miners Gala 30 years on from the NUM’s historic battle against pit closures and pay tribute to Merseyside ‘Giant’ Sam Watts, one of the papers most respected organisers. Les went on to say ‘we’ve designed a 240K route which will be a real challenge for the team, even seasoned riders may struggle, especially the second day with the cruel terrain of the Yorkshire Dales to negotiate’

The Bradford to Manchester stage rides in the name of the ‘Harry Pollitt Brigade’ in recognising his outstanding contribution to the class struggle as leader of the Communist Party. The route will pick up on the roads around Oldham which were used by workers who march into Manchester on the way to their slaughter at Peterloo. This route is less demanding, it is only around 80K in total and has a 25K section along a canal tow path. ‘We have had lots of interest from people wanting to join us this year and the Sam Watts Brigade was oversubscribed. It was right to broaden participation for this stage and design a route that would encourage riders of all abilities and fitness levels to join us for the day.

The two rides have been organised in co-operation between Merseyside, Manchester and Bradford Morning Star Supporters groups and have once again captured the themes through the progressive artworks of Hazel Roberts

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Sam Watts Brigade will roll out from the Unite headquarters in Liverpool on Thursday 9th July and follow a short tribute ride around some of Sam’s only Morning Star route before riding on to Carnforth for an overnight stop. The following day will see the team arrive in Durham in time for pre-gala reception host by the Institute of Employment Rights at the NUM office.

On 18th July the Harry Pollitt Brigade will assemble at the steps of Bradford Town Hall. This was where the cycling communist Walter Greaves completed his world endurance record in 1936. The group will then follow the Calder Valley through to Manchester. Completing the 3rd Edition with a rally at the Working Class Movement Library and a social at the Kings Arms Salford.

We are all ready to go and looking forward to riding in support of the Morning Star again. This year we set a modest target of £3,000 to raise for the paper and look like we are well on the way to meet this. However if more riders can join us for all or part of the Bradford – Manchester and if we can finalise a Third stage in London then we can surpass this target and help keep our paper going for another 85 years. We recognise the valuable role the paper plays and want to give something back. These cycle challenges are our way of doing that.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the group can contact us through twitter @pedal4progress or pedal4progress@wordpress.com for further details. If you are interested in joining us on the Harry Pollitt Brigade or our London ride contact Les Doherty on 07733 266 307 by 6th July to secure a place on the ride.