The Shropshire Cycling Clubs Association has been celebrating its 50th Anniversary during 2023, with a much anticipated Challenge Ride attracting around 85 riders on a cool but dry September morning. Shropshire Cycling Clubs Association was set up in 1973 by members of Mid Shropshire Wheelers, North Shropshire Wheelers and Wrekinsport CC, and has expanded to 17 clubs, with the objectives of promoting a range of County Championships and to create greater liaison between clubs in Shropshire: both things the current committee always try to keep in mind and the latter  addressed by this event as riders representing many of the member clubs took the opportunity for a celebratory group ride – at least four of those clubs riding out to the event en masse.

Organised superbly by Dave York, with HQ and marshalling assistance by members of Mid Shropshire Wheelers and Hafren CC, a choice of two routes both used Westbury Village Hall as headquarters, with riders tackling a choice of a 57 mile ride featuring 3,700 feet of climbing; or a 45 mile ride with 2,300 miles of vertical effort. Both routes headed south to Montgomery, Abermule and Glanmule on extremely quiet roads before splitting, with the ‘Vale of Kerry’ route turning left to Churchstoke then on to Hyssington before joining the main route for a beautiful climb through the Hope Valley. The long ‘Anchor’ route meanwhile turned right up that revered climb and across the top, enjoying superb scenery via Newcastle to Clun, then north via Bishop’s Castle for the climb and steep descent of the Hope Valley; with both routes taking in Minsterley and the lanes around Asterley to return to HQ and restorative tea, cake and social.

There was keen interest in riders showing off the SCCA 50th Anniversary kit on the HQ car park pre-ride, the first kit the Association has ever had commissioned; with the facility to order being re-opened soon for a final time. Post-race comments were universally positive, with many expressing satisfaction of a great day out; with sample comments including: “A great ride, very well organised, and a great way to close out the season and celebrate the SCCA 50th Anniversary”; “A fantastic ride! Thank you everyone involved! All was great from booking to finishing and everything in between”; and “I rode the Kerry route and it was all well organised. A good route and I enjoyed it very much”. SCCA Secretary Dave Fletcher stated: “A brilliant way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, giving the chance for clubs to ride rather than race together with two well-received routes taking in some of the best of the west of the County and spectacular Welsh border country. Organisation by Dave York and the many helpers was right on the button, making the experience a memorable one”.