Barry Covington memorial ride – Sunday 6th October 2019

Morning rides at SE20 Cycles, Penge, from 7:45am to 10:00am.
Herne Hill Velodrome events from 1:30pm to 5pm

Each year in October, Penge CC holds a special set of Sunday rides dedicated to the memory of Barry Covington, a club member who died in 2017 whilst taking part in a bike race in France.

Barry was a phenomenal cyclist, who specialised in superhuman feats of endurance. He was also a special young man with a close group of family and friends who thought the world of him and miss him. So, each year at around the same time we did the first ‘Barry’ ride, we invite Barry’s friends and family so join us on the ride or at the end to eat, drink and toast Barry’s memory.

A bit about Barry

Barry was one of those people who was already a legend when he died; at the bike club his legend status came from the tales of the monstrous rides he undertook, notably in the year he died, two rides that would simply not be possible for most people. One involved cycling from London to Wales to take part in one of the hardest one-day sportives in the country, the Dragon Ride, followed by the return ride back to London. This a mere training run for the epic London-Edinburgh-London Audax ride, which he completed over 5 days with just snatches of sleep as he battled wind and rain over 1200km. Barry rode with the fast group at the club and did a lot of solo riding, but he was also great company and had many good friends in the club.

That race in France

Barry took part in the amateur version of the cycling world championships, an annual event that invites the best amateurs from all over the world who have qualified to represent their country. In 2017, the race took place in Albi in Southern France amidst a late summer heatwave. Barry’s family, including his partner, Paul, had travelled to France with Barry as had 3 members of the club, James Marshall, Emma Porter and Clare Parkinson. In the heat, Barry collapsed from heat exhaustion and was taken to hospital where, a couple of days later, he died.

The first Barry ride

Barry’s family made it clear they wanted as many of the club involved at Barry’s funeral and we didn’t disappoint them. At the service, Emma and James read a poem they had written about ‘Bionic Barry’ and Max, another friend in the club, read his incredibly moving poem. You can see a printed version of ‘Bionic Barry’ on the wall in SE20 Cycles alongside a picture of Barry taking part in the Dragon Ride, just to the right as you enter the shop. That same photo was reproduced on the side of Barry’s coffin, which we followed from the church to cemetery in a Penge peloton. Shortly after the funeral, we planned the first ‘Barry’ ride, with a number of groups leaving the shop and returning to Herne Hill Velodrome where we met up with all of Barry’s family and friends and toasted his all too short life – and where we made the plan to repeat the ride each year.

Wheels for Wellbeing

The charity nominated by Paul for donations following Barry’s funeral was local disabled cycling charity, Wheels for Wellbeing. The appeal, supported by the first Barry ride, raised money for the charity and shortly after this, we adopted “Wheels” as the club’s chosen charity. We now raise money as new members join or renew, at various club events and annually at the Barry ride. The charity is based in Brixton, operates out of Croydon, Ladywell and Herne Hill providing opportunities for disabled riders to enjoy cycling.

The Barry Ride 2019

This will take place on Sunday 6th October and this year we have changed the format to add some serious and some fun bike racing at the Velodrome after the morning rides. The plan, in outline, is to have a number of group rides setting off from the shop at staggered times. Riders should sign up to take part in these rides and there is a small £5 fee which we donate to Wheels. We then meet back at the Velodrome in Herne Hill, where we have catering all afternoon whilst we spectate or (preferably) take part in a series of fun and serious races, with the day finishing around 5.00pm with prizes.

Barry Ride Schedule – 2019

Morning group Rides

All rides will leave from outside SE20 Cycles in Penge (SE20 7HB) and will have a designated ride leader and back marker to keep the group together. Non-members, guests, visitors are very welcome, and we will find a ride for everyone wishing to take part. All club members are asked, if possible, to wear a club jersey to ride.

To sign up to ride, follow this link to Rider HQ

The ride groups are as follows:

Ride nameDescriptionRoute
Long 486miles @ 17mph average
7:45am departure
Leaders: Emma Porter & James Marshall
Long 4 route
Long 3.560 miles @ 16mph average
9:15am departure
Leader: Kate Vergette
Long route
Long 353 miles @ 15mph average
9:30am departure
Leader: TBC
Long route
Long 253 miles @ 13mph average
9:15am departure
Leader: Michael Mulville
Long route
Long 153 miles @ 11mph average
9am departure
Leader: Lucy Stylianou
Long route
Short 437 miles @ 16mph average
10am departure
Leader: Chris Minns
Short route
Short 337 miles @ 13mph average
9:45am departure
Leader: TBC
Short route
Short 237 miles @ 12mph average
9:30am departure
Leader: TBC
Short route
Short 137 miles @ 11mph average
9:15am departure
Leader: TBC
Short route
Steady29 miles @ 10mph average
10am departure
Leader: TBC
Steady route
Long 47:45am86mi17mphEmma Porter & James MarshallLong 4 route
Long 3.59:15am60mi16mphKate VergetteLong 3.5 route
Long 39:30am53mi15mphTBCLong route
Long 29:15am53mi13mphMichael MulvilleLong route
Long 19am53mi11mphLucy StylianouLong route
Short 410am37mi16mphChris MinnsShort route
Short 39:45am37mi13mphTBCShort route
Short 29:30am37mi 12mphTBCShort route
Short 19:15am37mi11mphTBCShort route
Steady10am29mi10mphTBCSteady route

At the Velodrome

This is a fully catered event, with a range of food and cakes provided by members and a classic Murray Brothers BBQ. Drinks will be on sale, including the local Herne Hill brewery Canopy Ale, other snacks and soft drinks at the Velodrome bar. Those taking part in the racing will be able to refresh themselves properly once they have finished their racing. Barry’s family and friends will join us at the Velodrome along with some who will ride with us in the morning. They don’t expect us to act all solemn because the ride is in Barry’s memory. They want us to enjoy doing the things they know Barry loved to do. That doesn’t mean we have to go tee-total and vegetarian by the way, but we ride bikes and we enjoy the company of others.

Racing and not racing

We have hired the velodrome for the whole afternoon to try out an innovation where the track and surrounding area is converted into a ‘Criterium’ race circuit. It uses the main banked velodrome track but adds some twists and turns, using the inner track and connecting paths in the marked-out circuit. We have devised a mixture of events so that everyone can have a go. (And I mean literally anyone – you really don’t even have to be competitive so if you’re just curious to ride around the last remaining venue from the 1948 Olympics, this is your chance)

You can sign up to take part in one of these events by following this link to RiderHQ

The times for HH events are as follows:

TimesWhat we’ll be doing
13.30Course becomes available to us
13.30 – 13.50
Course is open for all to ride
13.50 – 14.20
Timed laps – riders can ride against the clock to set a 2-lap time.  Repeat efforts allowed
14.30 – 14.45
Small ring race – 10 minutes
15.00 – 15.30
“B” race.  20 minutes plus 2 laps
15.40 – 16.30
“A” race.  30 minutes plus 3 laps
16.30Course closes

There will be a small entry fee for each event, small prizes for the fun events and a proper award for the A and B races.

Please make it if you can, bring family and friends and be sure to sign up for the rides. If the rides fill up, we’ll set up more.

Look forward to seeing you on 6th October.

Please take a moment to read the poems written by club members for Barry

Bionic Barry

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
He rode up and down the land
Pushing himself to the limit of his mortal frame
He rode for freedom
His energy knew no bounds
Passing rivers, trees and mountains
Like his wheels didn’t touch the ground
The rhythm of a perfect circle

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
He was part of the SE20 crew,
For those who do not know,
It’s not for the faint hearted,
But for those who love the thrill of the chase,
Riding through the night,
Pushing each other without fright.

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
Nobody knew how many miles he’d travelled
He was an independent form that would never be, unravelled
The colour of his bike was black and orange
Unfettered and matching perfectly
Like a diesel engine he just kept going
His mind free of woes and his adrenaline flowing

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
In the early days he was slow and clumsy,
As the crew evolved and our friendships cemented,
Barry began at the rear pushing himself to lead the crew,
Where gauntlets were laid and challenges made,
Like a bird in flight you could only hope to stay in his slipstream.

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
He was organised and planned his routes on Strava with perfection
Giving others energy as if it were an injection
He was immortal, freedom from the fear of death
Each revolution producing a pure singleminded effort
His bike moved with the whisper of his chain and gears
His muscles moved pulsating as if they’d been doing this for years

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
We knew he was special,
He was no ordinary guy,
His feats of endurance,
His steely determination,
His memory will be an inspiration to us all.

Have you heard about our friend Barry?
He was kind, caring and funny
There is no other Bionic Barry

There will be no rides today 

There will be no rides today
There will be no groups
There will be no hills
Just the silence
In the Kentish breeze
One of his sons is gone
Suddenly, quickly
A golden light that came and went
Too quick for everything and everyone
Sadness, stunned silence, deep sighs are filling the day
There will be no rides today