SHORT and dark winter days limit the ambition of most cyclists, but there was enjoyment and optimism at Alton CC/Owens Cycles’ annual dinner and awards evening, at Alton Rugby Club.

Mike Hayward, club chairman, hosted the presentations and Shaun Blow emerged as Alton’s most prolific rider in 2016, taking both the 10 and 25-Mile Time Trial Championship titles, the Ron Stent Memorial Shield, the Club Events Championship and the Short Distance BAR.

Steve Newton also featured strongly, winning the George May Memorial Trophy and the Eureka Trophy.

Absent for most of the year, Rick Froud nevertheless claimed the Vets 10-Mile TT Trophy and 50-Mile TT Trophy. Charlie Williams claimed the Hill Climb Trophy for the first time, as well as the 10-Mile League Cup and his wife, Sarah Williams, won the popular vote by being awarded Club Member of the Year.

Mike was more than ably assisted during the presentations by special guest Tim Moore, the writer, humourist and intrepid bike adventurist.

Tim delighted the 50 diners by sharing insights into his recent big bike expedition – a three-month, 10,000-kilometre ride on an East German 20-inch shopper bike, starting in northernmost Norway during the winter at 400 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, and progressing south along the Eurovelo13 Iron Curtain Bike Trail to Tsarevo on the Black Sea.

As if he could never be parted with it, Tim brought his bike along so that everyone could inspect a somewhat less than hi-tech machine, conceived and produced in the former Soviet Bloc, and which sold unchanged in design in its millions over almost 14 years, that can carry passenger and luggage successfully over huge distances in extremes of temperature and weather.

At the end of the night, Tim Moore was besieged by club members requesting their signed copies of his books, including the latest one ‘The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold’.

Alan Jacob and Sebastian O’Kelly were chief organisers of the event and a superb four-course meal was served by caterer Rita Legg and her team.