Blackmore Vale Cycling Club
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)
Sunday 27 October 2019
Following the MET office reports for Saturday of 60/80mph gusty conditions on the south coast and 50/70 mph predicted gusts inland the prospects for my ride looked bleak. This was backed up on the day following a miserable early morning walk with my dog ‘Harvey’ where we both struggled to keep our feet and were thoroughly soaked. Just before 9:00 am I informed Charlie that the conditions were a bit wild and it was unlikely my ride would go ahead today. However, we agreed to meet at Dikes Supermarket as usual, Charlie said he would talk to Mary to save a possible challenging ride from her home to Stalbridge. Our rendezvous at Dikes consisted of 6 keen club members, or should I say, 2 very keen members (Charlie & myself) and 4 not quite so keen (Jackie, Lorraine, Richard & Ron) as they came in their civvies. Following a good discussion over coffee, we decided to reschedule the ride to the following day and to contact Dave Matten to send an appropriate e-mail.
Well, another day, and certainly a change for the better on the weather front with a reasonable NW breeze and shower free, for the new start from Henstridge Golf Club. Over Coffee and cakes Roger, Charlie and the 3 Mikes (myself included) all wished Lorraine bon voyage on her New Zealand adventure. We certainly have some globe trotters in BVCC as we had also wished Richard all the best on his Madagascar forthcoming trip yesterday.
My planned route that I had checked out last Sunday was to be 56 mile to the Sun Inn on the outskirts of Dorchester via Puddletown, Warmwell, Broadmayne and Kingston Maurward. Disappointingly due to time constraints from my only 2 intrepid starters Charlie and Mike (A) our route consisted of a short ride to the Poachers Inn at Piddletrenthide.
However, not all hardship, the food at the Poachers was excellent and my two companions had me in stitches over some brilliant life experiences. We actually had blue skies for a short time on our return leg.
Saturday 26 October 2019
Despite the forecast of high winds and heavy rain 6 riders and 1 in civvies arrived at the Udder farm shop for coffee. Myself, Charlie, Mary and Jenny were going on the ride while Jackie and Lorraine we’re heading back home before the rain got too heavy and Richard N was in his nice dry car. Due to the inclement weather I decided to change the route and take a shorter one via Semley. So the 4 of us set off in the rain to Stour Row then back to the A30 and across to Motcombe via Lox Lane. Up through Motcombe and across the A350 to Semley then made our way to Tisbury. We arrived at the Boot Inn dripping wet but received a warm welcome and hot coffee and were able to dry off by the fire. I was expecting Ken to join us for the ride back but given the weather conditions wasn’t surprised he’d found more pressing things to do. After a hearty lunch of soup, chips and Baguettes we managed to drag ourselves back out into the rain. Down the High Street then up the lane to Tuckingmill which was like riding through a river. Past Pythouse and back to Semley then up the long drag to Donhead St Mary and out to the A350 and into Shaftsbury where Mary and Jenny went their separate ways and Charlie and I headed towards Stour Row again and then went our own ways. Although the rain never stopped the whole ride and the wind was strong at times it was warm and quite a pleasant ride. After a nice hot shower and watching a great rugby match all was well with the world. Thanks to those who joined me.
Saturday 19 October 2019
The sun was shining this morning, and the forecast suggested that it could be a dry day -a complete contrast to last Saturday!
There was world cup rugby on the TV so I couldn’t leave until half time which left me running late. Fortunately I met the Gillingham Wheelers club ride at Lawn cross roads and was able to hitch a lift in the peloton through Mere and on to Zeals arriving at Stourhead in plenty of time.
11 of us left Stourhead -still in sunshine, with Keith and Ron planning to peal off the group within the first few miles. Our route north through Kilmington, down Druley Hill then up again to Upton Noble soon brought complaints about the hills, just as well this was a mystery tour and no one knew how many more hills there would be!
What goes down into Batcombe must go up -this time to Cranmore, but we weren’t stopping at the train station. After crossing the A361, Slait Hill took us north of Torr Quarry on a road none of us had cycled before, up to the Old Wells Road -which was a bit busier than I had anticipated. A few more ups and downs through Chantry and Whatley then up Egford Hill before swooping all the way down to the river level in Frome for lunch.
The Black Swan Café, where we stopped for lunch is part of the Black Swan Arts Centre and served some suitably “arty” food like “Peanut butter and banana on toast with dried rose petals and maple syrup” (which was delicious). Everyone was very impressed with the quality, quantity and value of their lunch, though we did choose to sit outside as there wasn’t room indoors for us all in one group.
The inevitable climb after lunch brought us out on the B3092 and the mystery continued as were took a sharp left into a housing estate! Swerving round the bollards at the end of the road brought us onto cycle route 24 which we followed all the way to Longleat despite the closed barriers and no entry signs.
At Longleat preparations for the Christmas lights display were well under way, but luckily cyclists are not allowed to stop and gaze so we pedaled up the main drive, past the Bath Arms and up some more to Maiden Bradley, Kilmington and Stourhead.
Thanks to all who joined me including Rodney and Sarah (who usually ride with WW or GDW), that’s Charlie, Mike, Nicky, Peter, Roger and Jill.
And thanks to the weather for being dry all day!
Saturday 12 October 2019
In the Rain
I will emphasise the rain…….it was constant. From the leaving home, to Sturminster, persistent heavy shower. Sturminster to Fontmell Magna slightly heavier rain with blobs and drips from the trees. Up to Ashmore more drizzly but in your face downhill to Charlton. Heavy spitting on to the Rising Sun. After lunch slighter spitting till the Donheads. Then to Semley and Motcombe heavy, relentless rain – the proper wetting soaking kind. Turnpike to Marnhull, heavy grey wet soaking rain. So now you can imagine the cycling conditions, the stalwart, brave co-riders can be revealed. Clingons at the start – Mike P off to get in the miles on B roads hoping to avoid tyre deflation situations. Lorraine, sensibly home to relax.
Now the serious part, Charlie, Ron, Mary and her pal Lynne joined me on this rain sodden adventure. Inevitably Mary, Lynne and Ron escaped up the Fontmell Mountain, while Charlie, gentleman that he, is accompanied me struggling puffing and finally having to walk. At this point I grizzled to myself, what was I doing! Was this necessary? I vowed that at the top I would chicken out and miss the Ashmore loop. Well I didn’t, on account of Mary, encouraging me to persevere. The descent from Ashmore was exhilarating, channels of rain water finding the shortest way across the road, flooding, spray from fast cars, spiralling up and over us. After Charlton Lynne took us, near the pub, to see magnificent Suffolk Punches, 13 of them, a real treat! Arriving at Ludwell two unexpected visitors with broad smiles cheered us up! Jenny and Roger came to join in our lunch. The food was like the Curate’s egg: paninis, sandwiches and jackets were great and good value, but Mary’s soup was delicate and pretty, i.e. small. As we left, once again I was tempted to chicken out: I nearly went straight home, but Mary and Lynne were going to do my whole route and the rain was less heavy, so I went on. Within a few minutes it was the wrong decision, heavy – the heaviest all day, rain poured onto us. Lynne and Mary peeled off in Motcombe, Charlie and I continued splashing on to East Stour, Stour Row, Todber and Marnhull. Just over 40 miles in the worst conditions I have ridden in for ages. However as I missed all my cycling this week, and will next week too, I had to go….especially with the responsibility of leading. Now, home, dry, full of dinner, I will admit I am so pleased I went, perversely, in retrospect, I actually enjoyed my day out!
Saturday 5 October 2019
We’re having a competition this year – it’s called SWAP YOUR RIDE. The leader with the most swaps gets a prize – yet to be determined. Richard the cake is already in the lead as he was too weak to lead today’s outing!
Ron and I agreed to modify the route somewhat as we felt that Castle Cary to Wells would not attract a large following at this time of year, hence the aforementioned ride.
- 11 bikers arrived at Orchard Park
- 2 of these were ‘cling ons’ – Lorraine was set to visit Robin and Sally. Richard had taken 3 hours to cycle from home (must truly be ill) and would return to Wincanton before midnight!
- The 9 adventurers were Ron, Jill, Mary, Roger, Ed, Ken, Martin, Paul and TCP
- We set off after the standard official photo shoot – taken by an unsuspecting member of the public when Lorraine – bless her – shoved her mobile into his hands and told him to point it at us.
- Ron was now our ‘front man’ and so we all followed him unquestioningly with me bringing up the rear as Tail end Charlie
- A preponderance of long black leggings was in evidence this morning, indicative of cooler weather to come – it is October after all.
- Jill was sporting her RAPHA leggings, a few pence less than the Empire State Building – she was disappointed however that this manufacturer had no plans to bring out the ¾ length option.
- Mary was competing with Jill with her flashy new resplendent pink jersey long sleeved top. What next – pink Hair??
- As we passed Shearwater, Ron decided to take a wrong (as it turned out) turn – 2 short steep hills bringing the sound of crunching low gears. He eventually shepherded us into the car park of Crockerton Garden Centre – bang on time.
- The food was excellent, affordable and served promptly. We had chose either soup, toasted sandwiches, or paninis. The soups were worth a special mention as they came with a mountainous chunk of brown bread!
- Time to go now, left on the main road for 1 mile then right to the Deverills.
- There were a few moans as we approached Mere DOWN, climbing the UP section of 2 miles then at last swooping down the run into Mere then left on the back road towards Motcombe.
- Somehow we lost Mary on the way, but She’s tough and knows her way around.
- Martin and Ken took a right turn towards Gillingham – Ken had parked his Jeep there – he was on his own today as Caroline was bell ringing for a wedding – bringing another £40 into the household coffers – enough for a 10 minute flight in their lovely super new ultralight aircraft.
- Ron took the remaining 6 of us back via Duncliffe Wood then right to Todber where Paul and Ron said their goodbyes, the rest of us heading for Marnhull and Stalbridge.
The first ride of the club’s new year and no rain like last weeks deluge in Yorkshire and the south. I managed 55 miles on a trouble free day, apart from Ed’s rear wheel keeping us all awake with its irritating squelch all day!
Thanks to Ron for his pathfinder role today and to the rest of you for the pleasant banter. As Jill says in her fine report, club rides keep us together.
Saturday 28 September 2019
Three Pubs and a Puncture
Six riders (Mary, Paul, Martin T, Charlie, Ron and I) and two non-riders (Lorraine and Richard) met at Dike’s Café for coffee prior to leaving on the ride to Tolpuddle.
The weather was bright but with a strong westerly breeze which Paul reminded us that had been in his face all the way on his ride in from home. That said the forecast was predicting rain and strong winds for later in the afternoon so I planned a direct route for our ride home from lunch to ensure we all arrived home dry.
We set off via Stourton and Bishops Caundle, King’s Stag to Hazel Bury Bryan before taking the easier route to Ansty Cross. From there we traversed along the top of the ridge line taking in some stunning views before the long downhill run into Milborne St Andrew. Then on to cross the A35 and turned into the strengthening wind towards Tolpuddle arriving at the Martyrs Inn on the dot at 12:30.
It was at this point my well laid plan started to go wrong. The pub had only one Chef available and a large party booked in although their web site states they don’t take bookings and were unable to accommodate us. So after some discussion we set for Athelhampton House café some two miles down the road when contrary to the forecast it started to rain quite heavily but it was just a passing shower and soon abated. On arrival at Athelhampton House we were met at the entrance by a large wedding party so that venue was out. Plan three; we would head on to the Blue Vinny pub again a couple of miles down the road in Puddletown. On arrival the omens were not good the car park was full and the place was packed. A quick enquiry at the bar confirmed that they were only serving booked customers. So plan four, a ride of three miles to our lunch venue of a couple of weeks previously, The Oak pub at Dewlish.
Shortly before arriving at Dewlish there was the familiar cry from the rear of the peloton “Puncture”. At this point Ron decided to carry on directly home having no confidence that he was ever going to get fed. While Charlie repaired his puncture I pressed on to recce the pub and finally I found a venue that was prepared to feed us.
After a very good lunch with quick service we set off for Ansty Cross once more where Charlie left us, taking the easy route home while us four remaining riders set of over Bulbarrow to Okeford Fitzpaine and Hammoon where Paul left us for his short ride home. That left Martin, Mary and I to ride on under darkening skies to Todber were we split to go our separate ways.
I am glad I decided to take the direct route after lunch as the skies opened shortly after I arrived home.
I did 96.4km (59.6miles) and climbed 1098m (3602ft)
8 December @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
10 December @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
11 December @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
14 December @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
15 December @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
17 December @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
18 December @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
21 December @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
22 December @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
24 December @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am