The Bicycle..
16 May 2022

The club was delighted to welcome friends and partners to the meeting on 16th May. After all the restrictions of covid it was good to feel that another step was being taken towards ‘normality’ and there was an atmosphere of optimism as plans were discussed for programmes with local schools and for the Coastal Path Charity Walk in September. 

Following business and a meal, club member Eric Dewhirst gave an illustrated talk on the topic of ‘The Bicycle’. This covered many aspects including the history, the inventions and technical development, the emergence of sport and racing, the risky pursuit of land speed records and, in particular, the role of the bicycle in social change and the emancipation of women including the suffragette movement. The bicycle has even entered our culture in the form of popular song!

Eric went on to discuss today’s uses for the bicycle in every country and culture in the World. It is an efficient and low cost form of transport that can significantly reduce dependency on hydrocarbon fuels. For many people a bike is in fact the only form of personal transport that is available and affordable.

We saw many examples of the way in which a bicycle can transform the lives of children, students and indeed whole families in many parts of Africa. It was interesting to learn of the work of Rotary in Ireland, who have for some years been running a programme to service, repair and provide bikes to Africa. It is also a programme that has been run in partnership with an open prison there - not only helping with the work, but also providing an opportunity to learn skills.

Following questions a vote of thanks was proposed by Derek Mathie.

02 May 2022

It was our great pleasure to welcome Rotary District Governor Heather Stuart to our meeting of 2nd May. Following a meal and business Heather briefly spoke about what was going on around the District and then opened an informal question and answer discussion, which was much appreciated. 

Business included the Primary Schools Quiz, interviewing a RYLA candidate from Waid academy and the ‘Gavel’ competition.

We then enjoyed an excellent talk by club member Allan Wood, who spoke about Gibraltar. Allan is a retired RN officer and he brought great insight to a comprehensive, illustrated talk which covered the geology, geography, political history and military importance of this limestone feature of southern Spain. The strategic importance of Gibraltar was made very clear when we learned it had been besieged no fewer that 14 times over a 500 year period. 

The rock has many natural caves, the largest being St Michael’s cave, with evidence of Neanderthal people going back 30,000 years, as well as, much more recently, a long period of Moorish occupation.

With very much a Royal Naval perspective, we heard that the natural caves have, over time, been extended by some 30 miles of man-made tunnels and both defensive and offensive strongpoints. It was interesting to learn that much of the rock from more recent excavations now forms a runway for the airport. Of critical importance during WW2, Gibraltar continued to play a significant role during the cold war years. 

Altogether a most interesting talk and, following many questions, an appreciative vote of thanks was proposed by Eric Dewhirst.

Bike Packing..
18 April 2022

Business at the meeting of 18th April included confirmation that a candidate for RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) was to be interviewed and that preliminary planning is in hand for a Coastal Path charity walk later in the year. Sadly we also heard that the Inner Wheel Club of Anstruther is to close after 55 years. following discussion it was agreed that an invitation should be offered to any member with an interest in Rotary. 

The talk following business was entitled ‘Bike Packing’. This proved to be an entertaining tutorial on how to efficiently pack a motorcycle for a trek by club member Findlay McLaren, who is a motorcycling enthusiast noted for his regular long distance safaris to distant places.

We saw that every inch was efficiently utilised with panniers, tank bag, roll bag, carry bag, document holder - and no doubt others too. 

We learned that the variety of kit needed for these journeys is quite remarkable. Tent, sleeping bag, tarpaulin, tools, self amalgamating tape, jack, puncture kit, first aid kit, cooking stove, food, folding umbrella, maps - and a kilt! Findlay explained that this latter is particularly useful when changing on the beach.

What was also clear was the sophistication of the modern motorcycle. Findlay rides a 500cc Honda CB500X - and for those of us who rode motorbikes in the 1950’s or 60's the modern machine is sophistication indeed. Electric starter, powerful fuel injected engine (with no oil leaks!) hydraulic disk brakes, antilock braking system, GPS navigation, USB ports and 12 volt electrics with auxiliary outputs.

But heavy - 200Kg plus luggage - hence the need for a jack in case the bike falls over! It was a fascinating talk and Allan Wood expressed warm thanks on behalf of the club.


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