CYCLISTS, whether it’s too many of them on the roads, or canal towpath, or riding in awkward, car unfriendly groups; or perhaps just because of what they wear, is a subject guaranteed to get people going. But it’s nothing new.

Almost 100 years ago, in 1929, in a ‘Craven Man’ s Diary’ under the headline ‘The Spartan Cyclist’, the Craven Herald welcomed the arrival of milder weather and how the cycling parties that came into Skipton on Sundays were coming in to their own.

Cyclists said the Herald were in fact all weather tourists, Spartans; in that they turned up in the most inclement of weather. Skipton’s High Street had often offered them bleak hospitality as they dismounted in droves near the library and parked their machines next to the Wilson monument.

Now, the reward for all their Spartan behaviour was theirs, as the warmer weather arrived. However, continued the writer of the Craven Man’s Diary, if only the cyclists did not take up so much of the road, and embarrass the swifter car driver.

“One wishes it were not their rule to ride two abreast on the open road. This is a minimum width in the formations laid down by Cyclists’ Union, and frequently they ride three, and sometimes four, abreast. With motor traffic at the pressure it is on Sundays, even the minimum width is too wide in certain circumstances and without one’s wishing to disturb their right to the full and free use of the highway, it happens over and over again that they might thin their column down to single-file with more safety to themselves and less embarrassment to the motorist. After all, they are now the least speedy users of the highway nowadays and might well, for this reason, give way more readily to the faster motor car without loss of prestige, or that feeling that they are being ‘edged off the road’.

INTERESTINGLY, the popularity of cycling - especially on Sundays - came to the notice of the church in the 1920s, with the Bishop of Ripon extending an invitation to cyclists to attend Sunday services.

In the same edition of the Craven Herald in May, 1929, the paper reported on how the Bishop had issued a pamphlet in which he issued a list of churches in the area where cyclists could attend, or arrange with the Vicar to attend.

He wrote: “May I renew, with all my heart, the last year’s invitation - in which I know the Bishop of Bradford would wish to join, for his territory- and say how much I hope you may be willing to arrange for those of your members who would wish to be able to attend a service somewhere to be able to do so, and thus remind themselves and others why Sunday is everyman’s day of rest and gladness and why it is important to keep it holy without making it any less healthy and glad.

Churches where cyclists were welcomed included Bolton Abbey, Long Preston, Settle and Marton - some, including Austwick and Bentham could arrange special services with a week’ s notice. Some churches, it was pointed out, did not have parking nearby.

ST WILFRID’S Church, Burnsall is fortunate enough to be one of the around 400 Churches in the UK, and roughly 40 worldwide, to have ‘Ellacombe’ chimes, pictured.

They are now almost in working order after not being used for many, many years - and it is hoped will be ready to take part in a special 200th anniversary at the end of the month.

Work on the chimes has been carried out by villager Jack Tinker, encouraged by organist and parochial church council member Ed Williams.

The chimes play simple call change sequences, hymn tunes and carols, but were not popular with traditionalists who thought the sound of a chime was a poor substitute for the rich sound of swinging bells, says John Clark, assistant treasurer, St Wilfrid’s.

“This resulted in the apparatus being removed from many towers, leaving holes in the ceiling and often frames without ropes. In this day and age, however, when there are fewer bell ringers around they are an admirable substitute.”

The system was devised in 1821 by the Rev Henry Thomas Ellacombe from Gloucestershire, who first had such a system installed in Bitton, near Bristol, the following year.

It requires only one person to operate it, unlike the traditional method where one person is needed for each bell.

“Each hammer is attached by a rope to a fixed frame in the bell-ringing room. When in use the ropes are taut, so pulling one of the ropes towards the player will strike the hammer against the bell,” says John.

“This mechanism obviously does not have the same sound as full circle ringing due to the absence of doppler effect. This is because the bells do not rotate and there is a lack of the damping effect of the clapper after each strike.”

The Rev Ellacombe was curate at the village church in Bitton from 1817 to 1835 and its vicar from 1835 to 1850. His son HN Ellacombe, vicar from 1850 to 1916, also distributed the early flowering snowdrop ‘Galanthus nuvalis’.

John says it is hoped that the St Wilfrid Ellacombe system will be fully operational for the 200th anniversary of the invention at the end of June.

“Five of the six bells are already working, but some greasing of pulleys is still required,” he says.

FOR those of us who live close to the Lancashire border, there are times when we wander across to enjoy the lovely countryside - perhaps to climb Pendle Hill, pictured.

Mental health charity, Lancashire Mind is relaunching its Love from Lancashire photography competition which celebrates the beauty and diversity of the county and the effect this can have on our wellbeing.

And with the further lifting of coronavirus restrictions, allowing people to get out and about, it is asking people to send in their photos taken from anywhere in the county via their social media channels with the hashtag #LoveFromLancsMind.

The competition will run throughout June and July and is open to all ages and all abilities. Twelve of the pictures submitted will be chosen at the end of the competition to go into the Lancashire Mind calendar for 2022.

Love from Lancashire was devised last year when the whole of the country was in the midst of the first lockdown. Its aim was to bring people together and showcase the diverse beauty of Lancashire at a time when people were only able to venture out locally and there were many places that people missed visiting.

Head of fundraising Emma Bateson said: “Love from Lancashire was such an uplifting, inclusive and inspiring competition in 2020 and we were overwhelmed with the response we got and the array of beautiful images from towns, cities, parks and country sides across the county.

The competition runs until the end of July. Photos can be taken in any month.

Hundreds of entries were received for last year’s calendar, raising more than £2,000 for the charity.

THERE is only a short time left for people in Craven to nominate folk - or pets - they believe to represent ‘The Best of British’.

Falklands War veteran Simon Weston has again joined forces with global-hearing specialist Amplifon to find truly remarkable men, women, children and pets who are an example to the nation.

Nominations for The Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2021ends on July 9. More details