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Velocipede Rally Events:

See latest Newsletter or email Roger at: events@railvelocipedes.org


email Roger at: events@railvelocipedes.org

  More details of our rallies can be found in the Newsletters.

email info@railvelocipedes.org


Previous Rallies:
held at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway
on Sunday 20th October 2013
Event Organiser: David Henshaw - Miniature Railway Magazine
Click here to see Robin Weaver's photos from the 2014 National Rally
  Yorkshire Rally Follow up...
M&P Mercury
  The North Yorkshire Moors Railway was transported back to a bygone era when the annual velocipede rally returned last week.

Enthusiasts from all over the United Kingdom traveled to the heritage railway to ride along sections of the track in their lightweight three or four wheeled vehicles – all of which rely on pedal power to get them from A to B.

The custom-built machines, invented in 1879 and resembling bicycles but on railway lines, have historically been used for track maintenance and inspection.

But Thursday and Friday’s visit was purely a social affair with members of National Railway Velocipedes enjoying leisurely round trips from Pickering Trout Farm to Levisham and from Goathland Station to the summit and back – hitting speeds of up to 20mph.

“We have had a really good reception on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway,” said Roger Fuller, the national coordinator of www.railvelocipedes.org, who made the trip from Staffordshire. “They are fantastic people and just to be in the area is lovely.”

The railway’s involvement began by chance when a velocipede was spotted in an engine shed by an enthusiast who then contacted the organisation.

A phone call followed and a visit was organised by representatives from Pickering to see the national rally at first hand at the Churnet Valley Railway, near Stoke-on-Trent.

“We then had the seed of an idea to see if they could introduce it here and they did,” said Tammy Naylor, the event’s local coordinator, on Friday. “Technically, this is the second rally we have held but in reality it is the first proper rally.”

A dozen velocipedes – some powered by arms, others by legs – made the journey to North Yorkshire and certainly turned heads in Goathland with motorists passing along the railway line stopping at the station to find out more about the eye-catching and curious machines.

Building a velocipede is easier than many would think, says Jacqui Thomas, editor of www.railvelocipedes.org, an engineer whose interest began when she would watch her father, a shed master on a sugar cane plantation in South Africa.

“I thought they were so interesting,” she said. “I’ve had an interest in them since childhood and was collecting photos but then when I found the rally, I built one of them from photos.”

Her first attempt, with which she guessed the dimensions from a photo proved to be not so successful, but then she collected a velocipede and has been “knocking them up ever since.”

Now Jacqui and husband Kevin are the proud owners of eight in total and believe it is an easy and cheap hobby to pursue.

“If someone is interested in DIY or engineering, it is as easy as pie – they are not very sophisticated,” she said.

The altruistic nature of the velocipede owners means help is always on hand, especially through Jacqui’s website which features design specifications for all manner of machines, ranging from the Drasine and Track Bike, through to the Velorail and Walking Car.

Helpfully, it also includes AutoCad codes so you can get the wheels for the tracks laser cut by firms in their locality.

She estimates some of the machines cost as little as £200 to build.

“It is going to be more and more popular because more of these are being built,” Jacqui, of Stone, in Staffordshire, believes.

Improving its popularity is something Roger is pushing for, having approached other railways like the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to join forces with their group.

“We are trying to encourage private railways to develop the use of velocipedes on their lines because it is a fun activity,” he said. “There are plenty of sites out there where we can hold a rally but we need them to get on board. Interest in velocipedes is growing and it is just a case of getting the message out there to people so they can develop it as a hobby.

He added: “It is a fun hobby. It’s about travelling new lines, meeting new people, finding you share an interest with people from different parts of the country. It is absolutely fantastic – the more the merrier.”

The two-day visit ended with an informal competition to pick the best machine and also to share tips on improving their machines.

And to a man and woman, all of last week’s participants are united on why a velocipede is such a fun way to travel.

“It’s a view of the railway that you would never see otherwise. You are close to the track, the wildlife just ignores you completely. It is just completely different – it helps keep you fit and it is a green way to travel,” said Jacqui.

Tammy agrees: “When you ride them on the railway, it is just lovely. You are in touch with the railway more, you see much more than sat in a train. The people are eccentric and very lovely. This is just a part of their interest in the railway and they are always bouncing ideas off of each other.”

“I think the railway are really pleased with it.”

The Annual Rally started by Steve Kay on the Severn Valley Railway in 2000.
The Churnet Valley Railway has given us a Provisional date for the 13th National Railway Velocipede Rally :- Sunday 7th July 2013

Sorry we do not invite engine powered machines
The Wickham and powered machine owners had their own rally on the14/15 July 2012 their first since 1999 at Foxfield Railway in Staffordshire. www.foxfieldrailway.co.uk Tel 01782 396210 Hopefully a regular event.

Sorry we do not invite Pump Cars
John Jolly of Mangapps Railway Museum in Essex is starting a regular event for standard gauge Pump Cars in 2013. A UK first. www.mangapps.co.uk Tel 01621 784898 Again hopefully a regular event. His plans sound great fun, 6 of our regular Velocipede Rally attenders also have Pump Cars so contact John.

There are more than 50 machines of many types in England. Photos follow of machines that appear at the Annual Rally

This is a "Row Boat" it dates from about 1868, we think ex London Chatham & Dover.

This is a "Poling Car" ex Great Eastern from Mangapps Railway Museum in Essex.

Velocipedes and Trackbikes are invited to attend the Rally and operate exclusively on 1 ¾ miles of track from Froghall to Oakamoor.

This is a day out for machine owners and carers to meet other like-minded friends and play with machines. You come at your own risk and look at the track and the arrangements and if you don’t like either you don’t have to play. You are responsible for your own safety at all times.

If you wish you can join in the very popular photo run throughs the platform at Froghall between service trains.

This event is for hand and foot powered machines ONLY (no engine powered machines) and is unique in Britain.

It’s the best day of the year to find help and advice with restoration or new build projects.

The “MUST DO” Rule to obey is – have the token before you go down to Oakamoor. No token NO GO.

Photo © Dave Gibson

If you are bringing a machine please let us know as soon as you can so I can organise free Churnet Valley Railway train tickets and tea vouchers.
Jackie Thomas

email info@railvelocipedes.org
or phone 01785 816810 or post at: 48 Redwood Avenue, Stone, Staffs. ST15 0DB.