Blackmore Vale Cycling Club
Saturday 11 January 2020
Wow – 18 riders (yes eighteen) out today. Quite a shock to the system being only the second ride of 2020 and the forecast promising strong winds and light drizzle. However, we almost managed to monopolise all the seating apparatus in the back room of Thyme after Time café – even the waitresses were struggling with this large influx of bodies, which accounts for us leaving 15 minutes late.
- Let’s look at the extensive start sheet: Ed, Martin, Major David, Doctor David, Jackie, Mary, Ben, Richard, Paul, Ron, Sarah and Rob from the Gillingham Wheelers and new girl Lucy who has started cycling with the Wincanton Club. She knows Steve Way – ah well, nobody’s perfect.
- 3 Clingons today -Keith, Jill who was taking it steady before her extended holiday in Portugal starting on Wednesday and Jenny – I forgot her excuse but she had just completed her customary Park Run and was probably playing 3 hours of tennis in the afternoon in order to help heal her damaged wrist!
- And so here we go, after the obligatory photo call taken in the only sunbeam of the day.
- I planned to set off into a headwind for the first section of the ride via Stourton and Bishops Caundle, Holwell, and Pulham then to Duntish.
- Taking a left, we now had a great tail wind up to Mappowder then left to the bottom of Bullbarrow.
- When some members realised what was next in store, there were moans a plenty – I even had 3 death threats. Ah well – you don’t get better on hills without practising on hills was my retort.
- The vicious climb of Stoke Wake with its final 1 in 4 section sorted out the men from the boys – a few members got in some walking experience. The girls however had no such problems.
- When the heavy breathing stopped 5 minutes after the summit, it was downhill all the way and the tricky short steep descent into Ibberton was luckily dry today – even so, we managed to wear out a few brake blocks in the process.
- Arriving at the Ibberton Inn, Roger and Alison – yes, Ed’s Alison – had ridden there separately plus Richard who had cheekily avoided the climb by taking a short cut. He’s just waiting for his new electric bike after he gets back from another exotic holiday at the end of this month – watch this space!
- There was a longish wait after the drinks were poured – it takes time to produce 15 meals. Chairman Paul didn’t mind however, supping his second pint!
- The food arrived all in one go so everyone was happy – and it was worth waiting for.
- To take advantage of the tailwind, the return journey had to be via Okeford Fitzpaine, Hammoon, Manston, Todber and East Stour with riders peeling off home as usual.
- I know it wasn’t the longest ride in history but I’m sure we all had a wonderful time with no problems or holdups, even though the bikes were blathered in mud from the mucky and partially flooded lanes that I so carefully included. Oops!
- Thanks to the visitors Sarah, Lucy and Rod for making up the numbers.Want to join OUR club as well? – it’s only a fiver. Mary is quite willing to collect your brass in May.
- 4 girls on the ride today – very welcome news.
My thanks to all of you, and a Healthy New Year………………….Charlie Porter
Saturday 4 January 2020
First ride of a new decade for all of us!
Good turn-out at Poet’s Corner, or is that Poets’ Corner (—- for exponents of the “apostrophe”)
Dilys Gartside (new visitor for the day)
— and me
Mary, Richard and Jim were not to join us, Mary because she was reeling with cold (this one that seems to be doing the rounds), Jim cos he’d slipped getting out of his bath and broken a couple of ribs and Richard because he thought the ride would be too long on top of his ride from Wincanton and back.
So, more or less on time, ten of us left for Cheselbourne: Ed took a bit of persuading because he’d got wind of my intention to travel via Bulbarrow. It wasn’t raining (how nice), although the weather was a bit gloomy: not conducive to sunbathing.
Down the hill and over the river. Right, to take the turning to Hazelbury Bryan, then fork left towards Okeford Fitzpaine and then right again before reaching it, to go though Belchalwell (wonder what language that was/is?). Which led us to the foot of what my map calls Bell Hill, but actually the NE end of Bulbarrow —– I think we were all pretty dismayed (except Rocket Ron), thinking about lack of recent exercise and Christmas excesses. I received one or two death-threats. BUT we all made it and plodded to the top, for a marvellous view, despite the mist —- and a great feeling of achievement: for some it was a PB, never having climbed the hill before without a breather. Shame poor ol’ Robin wasn’t there to flounder up the hill with us and to hum/sing his way along the flatter bits, as he used to.
I had planned and recced a right turn, back off the hill and down towards Ibberton and Stoke Wade, in a big loop. Then back up Bulbarrow and on to Ansty. Rocket Ron and Dave-the-Doc had gone on and the other members of the peloton (or is that “geroton” —- peloton of pensioners) mutinied, so we carried on to Ansty over the top of the hill. Then just a straight signposted run to Cheselbourne, through it actually, to the pub “The Rivers Arms” We’d booked and were made welcome, but were too early — ie there was zero heat and no infra-red rays (or any other welcome rays from that lovely big Jotul stove). Lunch was great but we were all pretty happy to get back on the road, mostly to get warm. A straight ride back through Hazelbury Bryan, where the group split up to take their various routes home.
For me, it was a good ride. We got the pace right for most of us, so we stayed in a group and nobody was abandoned to struggle alone, great sense achievement at climbing Bulbarrow (so early in the year) and a good time to finish at this time of year. Thanks all for coming and I do hope the new recruit, Dilys, will forgive my idea of humour and come again
—– Happy New Year to all
Saturday 28 December 2019
Although Ron refuses to be a ride leader, Charlie had persuaded him to let us follow him to Hamish’s for today’s ride! Unfortunately a last minuet change of home plans meant that Ron was unable to ride today and everyone ended up following me instead.
At coffee I was joined by Jenny (going home to play tennis) and Jill (still suffering miserably from a cold) as well as the followers -Charlie, Mike A, Ed, Roger and Keith (who only followed as far as Sturminster Newton).
My ETA for lunch was 1 o’clock, Charlie thought we would be there by midday, so he phoned to reserve a table for 12:30. My timing would have been spot on -but we had a few delays.
Firstly we were late setting off from Henstridge. They were busier than usual with cooked breakfasts and their kettle was struggling to keep up so Roger’s tea didn’t arrive until nearly 10:30, then ten minuets after setting out Roger had a puncture! The offending miniature flint arrowhead in his front tyre was soon found and the new tube installed so the ride could continue.
I led them up in to Marnhull, down through Hinton St Mary and on through Sturminster Newton where my front light decided to leap off my handlebars. Thanks to Keith for rescuing it from being crushed the following cars. It wasn’t going to clip easily back in place so I stuffed it in my pocket to be fixed later, rather than add to the delay. (The Sturminster traffic lights didn’t help -they were on red for ages!)
Onwards through Hazelbury Brian and Glanvilles Wooton -no floods and some nice smooth stretches of new tarmac, across the A352 at Holnest park and I was suddenly aware of some commotion behind me. On a perfectly straight, pothole- and car- free lane, Charlie had managed to fall of his bike! No serious damage, the bike was fine, his brand new leggings (only three years old and already mended once by Sheila) had developed a small hole in the knee. He had no idea how it happened so we all decided to blame Ed!
A mere mile further on the road was blocked by two Basset Hounds. They ambled out of the way as I approached but the rest of the group felt a need to stop and stroke the animals, yet more delays!
It was nearly 1:30 by the time we arrived at Hamish’s, but we needn’t have worried, they were very quiet and our reserved table was still waiting for us. They had run out of Chicken Noodle soup, so we had to try some of the other flavours. Service, as always, was very quick and the food very tasty and we were back on the road by 2:20.
A completely uneventful return journey saw Charlie and Mike turning off at Stalbridge, and Ed and Roger turning off at Marnhull as I continued on to Shaftesbury as the day ended getting darker and damper!
Thanks to the followers
Saturday 21 December 2019
HOORAY, the shortest day of the year and Boo, with more rain forecast, the wettest October, November and December I can remember. Thyme after Time was our start today – surprisingly all tables were taken when the 11 of us were seated. The boss told us they served 64 breakfasts yesterday, so business is booming. Great news for us!
- We – being Jackie, Mary, Mike A, David M, Keith, Richard, Ken, Martin, Roger (But sadly no Jill, as she has reverted to poor health – too soon back in the gym again with all that nasty bacteria lurking everywhere??), and Jenny still nursing her facial scars and sporting a wrist bandage following last Sunday’s crash.
- Richard had to ride straight home to pack his holiday gear – he is setting off for Yorkshire tomorrow morning for a weeks holiday – yet another disappearing act
- Out into the very slight precipitation at 10.30 – no photo shoot as too dark for a colourful bunch like us.
- Route was Cox Hill, Marnhull, Margaret Marsh, Hartgrove then to Bedchester where the group photo was taken in brilliant sunshine.
- Ken left us here to babysit a 2 year old Springer Spaniel with a poorly foot!
- The roads at the back of Guys Marsh were awash and slightly flooded in many places but not too deep – anyway Mike A would have helped – he used to be a deep sea diver in a previous life.
- As we approached the foothills of Shaftesbury, Keith parted company just as a heavy drizzle started to slowly soak us.
- The last obstruction was the famous Gold Hill which Mary and Jenny cleverly avoided as they live in a different part of the town.
- Due to the constant precipitation, the wet cobbles and the 1 in 4 incline, we all sensibly walked the last 100 yards to the Salt Cellar Café – I’m confident we would have all ridden up if the weather had been kind!
- Food was excellent as usual as we sat at the reserved table for 6. We tarried a little longer than usual hoping that the rain would ease – no chance.
- So under darkening skies – well it was 1.15 after all – the constant rain did not stop us walking down the treacherous surface. Thank goodness for the handrail along the wall.
- The descent of Foyle hill was also interesting as it was now chucking it down with a virtual river rushing down the steep slope and fogged up glasses making it challenging.
- We lost Martin and Jackie at Stour Row as they squelched off to EastStour
- Roger said goodbye at Gannets Quarry leaving Mike and myself to continue the soggy ride back to Stalbridge.
- Thanks to all who turned up today. Luckily there were no bike problems as usual.
The shortest mileage of the year so far – only 28 for me.
A very Happy Christmas to all our readers – perhaps next Saturday will be dry – we can only hope!
Saturday 14 December 2019
A change from our usual week before solstice Wincanton ride the Circuit seemed well received. An early lunch would give the group a chance to return home in daylight rather than dabbling with the ducks in the gathering gloom and mire of Milborne Wick.
The forecast, blustery winds from the south west, proved correct. The heavy showers did indeed clear after 10.30, although the rain on the Castle Garden’s conservatory roof during coffee did little to inspire confidence.
Present for coffee were Mary, Charlie and his Christmas hat, Mike P and Keith all having travelled from the East against the wind, Ben riding from the west benefiting from the breeze.
Six set off on the ride leaving Sherborne west on NCN 26. Electrically assisted Keith heading east may have regenerated enough power to arrive home with a fully charged battery. Those on the ride would not benefit from the south westerly until turning at the end of Coker Ridge, from where it was plain sailing. The views from the Ridge and Pen Hill were enjoyed the sunken lanes around the Coker’s intrigued.
On route to lunch at Hamish it was noted that the geese at Goose Slade Farm were very, very quiet. Friday 13th had come and gone. Had these geese voted for Christmas? No!! It was the turkeys!! Probably aided by the Milborne Wick ducks!! Floating Voters? Ah well!! That’s democracy.
Arriving on schedule it was good to see Roger guarding our reserved table. Hamish provided a very enjoyable lunch, up to their usual high standards.
Now all that remained was a ride down wind in the winter sunshine. A good day with no mechanicals or puncture just one or two hills and a few puddles. Thanks to those who joined us on our day out.
Peter and Nicky Vaughan
Saturday 7 December 2020
Yesterday (Friday), Chairman Paul rang me. He was suffering from some dreadful lurgy so would not be able to shepherd us to Sturminster Marshall as planned. He did however think that we should pick a somewhat shorter ride as we are very close to 21/22 Dec.
- 10 full time riders turned up at Poets Corner Café – David M, David WM, Jackie, Martin, Mary, Mike A, Ben, Ed, Ron and yours truly.
- Mike Pain had deserted us again, preferring to ride a 200Km Audax from Bristol – if interested, see STRAVA
- 3 clingons also turned up but they had valid excuses.
- Jill (who had borrowed Joseph’s coat of many colours) was still suffering badly from another type of lurgy so returned home – get well soon Jill, we miss your cheerful banter.
- Richard wanted to get home in the daylight, so planned his shorter ride, returning back to PC Café for lunch!
- Roger decided to go with Roger to keep him company
- Someone suggested that Café 65 at Blandford would be a suitable lunch spot due to ample seating arrangements, rapid service and sensible prices. This was carried unanimously.
- Off we went after the photo session – the Café proprietor gladly agreed to hold the camera!
- Our route was via Manston, Hammoon then across the main road to Okeford Fitzpaine.
- The next obstacle was Okeford Hill – Chairman Paul was adamant that it must be climbed, said he would be thinking of us as we struggled upwards – thank you Paul!
- Blimey – nobody walked up this monster today! First time I’ve seen this display of hill climbing ability since I joined the club in 2012!!
- Full marks to Jackie who never gives up – she deserves a CDM
- At the bottom of the descent, Ron shot off back home ( the route for the 2020 Tour de France is due to be announced this very day! )
- Another gentle climb up out of Winterborne Stickland then the welcome 3 mile drop into Blandford.
- We arrived early at 12.05 outside Café 65 – bikes all safely locked up outside the church opposite.
- Great food and service and prices as usual.
- Back homewards via the traffic free trailway to Shillingstone then Child Okeford where we were sorely tempted to knock on Paul’s door – civility prevailed!
- On to Manston, with the group finally splitting near Marnhull
No idea of the mileage today as I forgot to wear my Garmin timepiece. Never mind cos I’m sure we all enjoyed the ride in the dry weather conditions, with much friendly chatter and no enforced holdups.
Thank you all……………….Charlie Porter
Saturday 30 November 2019
Despite warnings of a wet day Saturday proved to be a perfect one for cycling so Nicky, Peter, Lynn Broom, Richard, Ron, Charlie. Mike A, Ben, Keith and Mary arrived for the ride whilst The Fab Fortises were there for the coffee.
Through poor organisation I led the 11 riders on last week’s route past Kilmington but then steered away down Gare Hill turning left for Witham Friary. Ron melted away as only he can to have a loose spoke replaced – better than loose talk I s’pose. Keith also disappeared and Richard decided to take a short route. Upton Noble and down into Batcombe for a 12.15 lunch at the Three Horseshoes. Although I had booked us in for Sunday (poor old devil!) food was prompt and tasty. Like most of us I had had quite enough of the near-vertical hill out of Batcombe so we went via Westcombe and Stoney Stratton.
Now Young Richard never ceases to amaze me as, whilst declaring being cursed by every illness under the sun his ‘slow routes’ always beat our ‘quicker’ ones. Witness his being at lunch way afore us, then as we headed down to Stoney Stratton he appeared ahead of us from an entrance which I thought was a private road – must be those +4’s.
So up to the top of Lamyatt, down through it to Wyke Champflower, Pitcombe, Redlynch before a cuppa at Ottery Xmas store then home with some 35 miles on the ride plus getting to and from it.
Great company, lots of downhills so thanks all.
Saturday 23 November 2019
I arrived at Orchard Park on a wet and misty morning not expecting many takers for the ride to Warminster. Shortly after, Richard N arrived in his car in non-biking gear but there was no sign of anyone else in Lycra. After getting a coffee and listening to Richards account of his recent trip to the Indian Ocean there was no sign of other riders so I thought I was going the have a quiet Saturday in front of the TV. Then Jill arrived with Paul followed by Ron, Doc David, Ed, Charlie, Mike P and finally Mary.
Both Jill and Paul stated it was drizzling and damp and they were going home but the remainder were reasonably keen to ride, so no lazy day in front of the TV for me. So seven of us set off past a very busy new ALDI shop and on through the middle of Gillingham and on towards Stourhead. As we climbed the weather really clagged in requiring constant cleaning glasses to maintain some semblance of vision ahead, which I put down as the reason for taking a wrong turn and ending up in the middle of Kilmington. At this point there was a cry from the rear of the peloton “pee stop” so we waited for over 5 minutes while Charlie found a bush (why it takes him over 5 minutes to have a pee god only knows). Then on towards Maiden Bradley, only to encounter a very large puddle across the road which even Ron managed to negotiated without falling off or shorting out his electrics.
Then to Crockerton and up the steep climb into the Longleat Forest, before turning right for the decent into Warminster. At this point Ron decided he was going home saying that he had no lights and he had to get home before dark. On Richard N’s advice we decided to head on to Weatherspoon’s for lunch rather than Morrison’s and managed to grab the last two free tables. Lunch was very good value (burger and chip together with a pint for £6.25) and served in record time. We then had to force ourselves out of the pub and back on our bikes for the run home which I planned to be as short as possible as the light would be fading quickly.
As we left the pub the weather improved a little and I selected an off road route via the park and intended to then follow the national cycle route to Sutton Veny. Unfortunately after having taken a different from planned route through the park I turned the wrong way on the cycle route and we ended up on the A350. As the weather was again deteriorating we continued on a busy A350 to Longbridge Deverill and turned right through the Deverill’s and up the long climb over Mere Down.
From Mere we retraced our steps via Milton, with the light starting to fade quickly we spilt up at Wyke for our final runs home. A round Trip of about 60km (38miles).
Saturday 15 November 2019
Finally……a sunny Saturday! Obviously organised by Mary who had celebrated her enormous birthday this week!! We met at Fontmell Magna’s tea room which was chosen by way of support for our struggling village shop. Popular with cyclists however as the cake portions were generous and we had to depart to make room for the next cycle group. 13 riders arrived but Keith went straight home, Ed came a short distance then left for choir practice and Ron, disappointed that I couldn’t provide any fords to cross, left us exiting the grounds of Bryanston school.
Hitting the Trailway at Shillingstone, the colours of the trees, particularly the oaks, nearly took my mind off the prospect of punctures, but the autumn leaves softened the rougher surfaces and we stopped to enjoy the rush of the Stour through the sluices just before Durweston. And no punctures! The beech trees of Bryanston were glorious and a pleasant ride through Langton Long and up the Tarrant valley had some riders actually removing layers in the continuing autumn sunshine.
The Langton Arms at Tarrant Monkton were ready for us as Ken had alerted them to our arrival. The food choice was a bit limited – baguettes which are a bit pricey but people shared, they were tasty, and the staff made us welcome. Everyone was happy, especially Roger who, according to Jill, had an “enormous one”…..Ooh err, Mrs!!
And that was my task complete – I could hand over to Ken for the return ride! It was all set up for him on my Garmin ( which whined at us all the way through lunch) – what could go wrong?! Thank you to all who came along: Over to you Ken …….
For some totally undeserved reason, I seem to have acquired a reputation as an unreliable navigator, so you can imagine the reservations I felt about “leading” the return from Caroline’s ride to Tarrant Monkton. I need not have worried. I was accompanied by eight other riders, all of whom ( with the possible exception of Jackie!) knew the way home blindfold. And anyway, I had been given Caroline’s Garmin with the route clearly displayed.
We set off, cunningly avoiding Ron’s favourite ford, and the picture on the Garmin resolutely remained at the pub, never to move again! No sweat, even I could follow the road up through Tarrant Gunville and then Mary escorted me around Child Okeford as the team gradually speared off to go their separate ways home. A thank you to all for letting me ” lead” the return.
P.S. Is he hired?
Sunday 10 November 2019
A day of SUNSHINE
———- but cold! Definitely a day for coffee and whiskey as you get in the front door. And, as it was a short ride, I got home before the central heating had switched on. Ooooff!
Saturday’s ride, as you probably all know, was a washout (cars floating down the road!). I drove my van through a steady downpour to Haynes Motor Museum hoping that nobody would turn up, but was dismayed to see Arthur Civil turning into the carpark in front of me. Then Ben turned up, plus Rocket Ron and Charlie — I couldn’t believe that they’d even set out, let alone wanted a 50/60 mile round trip to Fivehead to add to their already 25 miles-ish to and from Stalbridge. Anyway common sense (I think) prevailed and we postponed — I offered to drive all of them home in the van, but all refused: manly stuff!
So, to today —- Grey, gloomy, soggy start. Headlights on as I drove to the golf club. Ben was there, then Charlie, Jill and Roger and finally Mary. All partook of courage-building fluids and carbo-hydrates and then steeled ourselves for a cobbled-together local ride — Golf Club > Wincanton > Gillingham > Golf Club (or Home). We’d barely started, about 20ft, when Jill sang out “puncture”. Roger started repair, Jill and I hung about to look “useful!” Charlie and Mary slunk back into the warmth of the clubroom —- and then sat watching us, with sardonic expressions on their faces.
As if on queue though, the minute we mounted up and set off the temperature dropped to about 8 degrees Kelvin, but the sun came bursting out. Beautiful and in a china blue sky, with not a cloud!
Set off, right, out of the Golf Club road and through the little industrial estate, down to the Shaftesbury road and more or less straight across to the muddy lane that cuts off the corner to Templecombe. Out onto the Wincanton road for a short distance and then right again and through the lanes to Wincanton. No issues, no events, except Charlie needed a comfort stop and, when it came to it, so did I. Jill and Roger left the assembly before we reached Wincanton, whilst we pressed on to that great metropolis (City of dreaming spires and kebad houses). Out onto the Wincanton/Mere road, turning right, and up through Bourton, past the old airfield, away to the left: and that derelict house and Pub, wasn’t it, that stands on the junction of that road. It’s so pleasing to see it being repaired instead of bulldozed.
And on and on til we got to the Brush Factory where Mary left us. Said she “had a chicken bad” and needed to get home to nurse it!
Brush Factory was bursting and we were told “no room”, but Ben spotted a table in the window, with armchairs (I expect the staff thought they’d be softer, for old men’s troubles, etc); in the sun too.
Lunch – Charlie opted for a plate of assorted dead sea-creatures, Ben became rash and adventurous and had ham, egg and chips and I chose the soup — which was sweet and had the consistency and colour of what the bikes tend to be covered in when passing a farmyard on days like these. Ben and I got stuck into MPs, Government and integrity and Charlie became catatonic, cos of the sunshine, he claimed. Anyway it was all fun and quite animated.
Afterwards Charlie led Ben and I back through the lanes, south of Gillingham, to Stalbridge —- Ben peeled of to ride back to Yeovil (why?) Charlie off to his home and me back to the van.
It was a treat of a ride, especially considering the Saturday-weather we’ve had for weeks now. And I did, I believe, a masterly job of leading, with my knowledge of the area and wise remarks — As in “ where are we now?”
Thankyou all for company and, more particularly, for bringing that weather with you
Micky Drippin (Mike Anyan)
1 February @ 10:00 - 17:00
2 February @ 10:00 - 14:00
4 February @ 10:30 - 11:30
8 February @ 10:00 - 17:00
9 February @ 10:00 - 14:00
11 February @ 11:00 - 11:30
12 February @ 11:00 - 12:00
15 February @ 10:00 - 17:00
16 February @ 10:00 - 14:00
18 February @ 10:30 - 11:30