Blackmore Vale Cycling Club
With the relaxation of some of the Covid 19 restrictions and Cycling UK now allowing groups of fifteen to ride together while maintaining social distancing, we have now restarted our weekly Saturday rides and amended programme of Tuesday Coffee Stops.
Saturday 7 March 2020
I spent some time hunched over a map trying to select a route to Horton over country that did not offer many alternatives. I eventually selected a route that would avoid some of the busier roads, but decided that a recce was called for, as the ride two weeks earlier in the same area had discovered flooded roads.
So off I went on my recce to find that the road through Gussage St Andrew and St Michael was under water and the ford was impassable to bikers. Also an alternative route via Tarrant Gunville was still a river so I was forced to select the single viable route to Horton and back with a few diversions to avoid as much of the busier roads as possible.
Saturday dawned as a bright day with light winds that were forecast to strengthen later with the possibility of the odd shower. These conditions were to have an impact on our ride, but more of that later.
Eleven riders turned up at Orchard Park but Jill, Roger, Richard and Mary offered various excuses as to why they were not going on the ride, which left Ben, Paul, Charlie, Martin, Jackie, Ron and I to set off on the ride. I had decided to take the direct route to Shaftesbury but soon had some dissent in the ranks as the improved weather appeared to have attracted every car in Dorset onto the roads. Anyway we all survived the harrowing ride up the hill and we took to a back route through Shaftesbury to avoid the blue badge abandoned car lot that is Shaftesbury High Street on a Saturday.
Then on to Cann Common and a left turn up Zig-Zag Hill followed by the long climb over Charlton Down all the time being followed a Phalanx of traffic which continued until we were able to turn on to the quieter road via Farnham. This respite did not last for long as the flooded roads forced us back onto the fast and busy road via Thickthorn Cross. After about a mile of being buffeted by fast traffic we turned off down the hill into the valley and picked our way through Gussage All Saints and back up the hill to re-join the main road for the short ride to the Horton Inn for lunch.
The Horton Inn lunch proved to be excellent and very good value with Charlie commenting that it was one of the best bowls of soup he had ever tasted.
After lunch we retraced our steps for a short distance before turning south west to Witchampton where after a short map check we continued on to Tarrant Hinton on roads with almost no traffic. Then on through Tarrant Keyneston to pick up Cycle Route 25 up the Stour valley to Blandford and on to the Trailway. Considering the weather we have had the trailway proved to be in a lot better condition than anticipated with only the odd muddy patch. Ron left us at Stourpaine as he said he did not want to ride the potentially muddier part of the trailway.
We managed to arrive at Shillingstone Station in time for a quick coffee and cake before the café closed, leaving Ben to find his route back home to Yeovil, while we pressed on via Child Okeford and Manston to Todber. Charlie left us there while Jackie, Martin and I pressed on towards Gillingham and home.
A day on which the weather was kind to us as the rain did not appear and the winds remained relatively light. Although the traffic was heavy at times with one or two exceptions most drivers showed a degree of patience when stuck behind the peloton.
A ride of 84km (52miles) with 846m (2775ft) climbed and no punctures.
Saturday 29 February 2020
Massive warnings!! Storm Jorge on the way, man the Ark, batten the hatches then tell Mary the ride is canceled. Wrong – Charlie calls to insist that he, Mike P, Ben & Ron were going to Stourhead so I donned my duck-shaped water wings and set off only to meet Ron en route. We tried Fifehead but the tide was well in so went via East Stour, through floods to Ecliffe and Milton to meet the Boys.
After a cuppa it was decided to ride back for an early lunch at The Udder Restaurant (proper posh now) . On turning under the Viaduct for Ecliffe the road was totally flooded so back we went via Gillingham and Hunger Hill.
Although the ride was listed for lunch at Tilshead I actually intended going to the closer Chitterne pub but found it to have closed so had reverted to Tilshead
About 22miles, too much climbing and 5.3452m of floods though as my solar powered, ergonometric, artificial intelligent GPS device was waterlogged. Better luck next time.
Saturday 22 February 2020
As I walked the short distance to the Gold Hill Café through steady rain I wondered whether I would find anybody there. I was greeted by 8 intrepid but soaked cyclists and Ken and Caroline in civilian clothes, who had sensibly come by car. Another bedraggled group arrived from Bruton just as we were preparing to leave. Jackie decided not to risk the weather and Mary had an afternoon pantomime performance so also left for home. Okeford Hill sorted the men from the boys or rather the e-bikes from the rest as Ron and Alan powered their way to the top. The chairman decided to conserve some energy by walking the last section but commendably everyone else rode the distance.
A fast ride down the Winterborne valley brought us to our first floods in Winterborne Whitechurch followed by more serious flooding in Kingston and Anderson. Looping round by Morden we turned north and reached The Red Lion 10 minutes early. The pub had a large round table where the seven of could comfortably sit to enjoy our meal, several of us enjoying the something and chips in a basket option. Fortified we continued back following the Stour before turning up the Tarrant valley. Ron left at this point because he was worried about possible flooding – justified as it turned out. All went well until we reached Stubhampton where we were greeted by a road closed sign and water completely covering the road. Bravely we sent Ed ahead to test the depth and decided to risk it. Cycling up a river is an unusual experience which resulted in several wet feet but we reached dry land as we started the climb up to the top road. The wind picked up again as we descended to Iwerne Minster and the sunshine we had enjoyed disappeared. Martin, Dave and Ed pealed off towards the Orchards leaving Charlie and Alan to accompany me back to Child Okeford. I arrived home before any serious rain and hope the others did too.
44.5 miles with 750 metres of climbing.
Saturday 15 February 2020
Well, Storm Dennis lived up to expectations. As probably expected my planned ride to Podimore was cancelled after reviewing the conditions from Dikes Café at 10:30am on Saturday morning. Mary made a valiant ride from Shaftesbury to the start looking very windswept. Charlie and I had the easy short ride to the start with an excellent tail wind, he said he was getting a bit concerned for Ron as he had set off some time ago and should now have arrived. In the event it turned out that Ron had come unstuck against strong cross winds and decided to call it a day. It was good to see Richard in fine spirits following his overseas adventures, although our current weather has come as a contrast after being used to 30 deg C temperatures. I plan to have another attempt at my Podimore ride on 9 May 20.
Saturday 8 February 2020
Was this a club run? At Haynes I was joined by Arthur, but only for coffee as he headed home afterwards. Keith and his wife arrived just after 10.35 but were there to look around the museum. Charlie and Ron had had mechanical problems and called to say they wouldn’t be riding. No-one else turned up! I rode alone to Westhay via North Barrow, West Pennard and Godney. Fine sunny weather with a tailwind. Arriving at Sweets tea room at 12.30 Nicky and Peter had already arrived and we had lunch with another couple who had arrived on an electric tandem. Food was good value and filling. Peter and Nicky left about half an hour before I did, eventually I headed back into an increasingly strong headwind via Shapwick, Pedwell and High Ham, eventually catching them near Muchelney. After riding together for a while I headed home via Martock and Stoke-sub-Hambdon. A nice day for a ride considering the gales on Sunday, pity no-one else agreed!!
Saturday 1 February 2020
Only three bikes at Stourhead when I arrived -I must have been early. Sure enough, by the time we were ready to leave there were 15 of us and only two (Jackie and Keith) were not coming on the ride.
With the wind behind us and frequent patches of sunshine we sailed along through Maiden Bradley and on to the junction to Crockerton, where I waited to make sure everyone knew we were turning left. We’d been riding in a fairly close bunch but two were missing, Ken, the back marker and Mike A. I waited with Nicky for ages (the rest of the group ploughed on!) before they arrived -no explanations for their absence, though I expect it was a Mike A “comfort break” !!
We regrouped at the now closed Bath Arms, then rode a short distance on the rather busy A350 before turning right onto a quiet road through the woods to Sutton Veny. A wind assisted ride along the beautiful Wylye Valley soon got us to the Ginger Piggery, luckily they were very quiet (before we arrived) as I had been unable to get a phone signal to warn them that our numbers were 13 and not the 8 that I had guessed when I called them in the week.
It took a while for all the food to be served but we didn’t mind waiting in pleasant surroundings with the sun streaming in, we had plenty of time and weren’t in a hurry to face the headwind home.
The wind had not abated for our return journey, so we put the two E bikes on the front and sheltered on their back wheels -well that was the plan! In fact we had plenty of volunteers to take a turn at the front so all arrived more or less together at the start of the climb up Mere Down.
In Mere the group started to split up into there various routes home, the wind was still strong but the skies were clear, a great end to the best ride of the year so far!
Thanks to all who came with me: Nicky, Peter, Ben, eRon, eAlan, Martins F and T, Charlie, Ken (all day!!) Paul, Dave M, Mike A.
Saturday 25 January 2020
Jackie and I arrived at Orchard Park along with Dave M at 09.50. By 10.15 I was starting to get worried as no-one else had turned up! The weather wasn’t an excuse as it was dry and not too cold perhaps it was me? Anyway by the time we were ready to set off the numbers were up to 11:- Myself, Jackie, Dave M, Paul N, Charlie, Mike A, Electric Alan, Electric Ron, Ben, Mary and Doctor Dave.
After the group photo we set off down Cole Street Lane and past my old house to Eccliffe Mill under the Viaduct and up the first of many climbs. Along the ridge down Fifehead hill to factory farm where we seemed to have got strung out so we waited and waited then turned back to check if anyone had a problem. It turned out to be just a comfort break so we carried on to Stalbridge (more climbs) then down the hill and left towards Stourton Caundle. At the crossroads we turned right and after a short while should have turned left but unfortunately I missed the turning and we ended up in Purse Caundle so we turned left to get back to the road we should have been on. This turned out to be quite exciting as the road was covered in thick mud and there was a pheasant shoot going on either side of us. We all came through it safely without being peppered with lead and made it to Alweston where Ron left us to go back home. We then had to brave the main road into Sherborne to get to our lunch stop the White Hart pub. Nicky and Peter were already there so there were 12 of us for lunch. We had a long table in the shoe room (some extremely high heeled ladies shoes all around the walls) and the staff were very welcoming. We had a bit of a wait but all the food came out together and was very nice. Suitably replete we ventured out into the cold, Ben, Nicky and Peter set off in the opposite direction while the rest of us headed to the A30 and our route back via Oborne, Milborne Wick, Henstridge Bowden where Charlie, Mike and Paul left us, Templecombe, Buckhorn Weston, and Gillingham where we all went our separate ways. In all about 40 miles no problems and good weather what’s not to like. Thanks to all who came with me.
Saturday 18 January 2020
The temperature must be more than 5C for me to leave home on the bike. So it was the car for me to Cafe Central, the freewheel competition and lunch. Some arrived late at Cafe Central because of ice and a flat car battery delayed Nicky and Peter. Also on the ride was Chairman Paul, fast Ben, rides organiser Charlie, electric Ron and a newcomer electric Alan. Wincanton in the fog was just 2C but on the hill down into Bourton for the freewheel it was 3C in the sun.
A freewheel competition is not to be taken seriously, particularly when the booby prize (for the last person) is worth more than the first prize. Ben was the winner but the brake blocks prize did not fit his bike, so they were shared by Charlie and Peter who were second equal. The other prize, a can of oil, was won by Paul.
It was decided to have lunch at Hillbrush rather than Stourhead. The waitress spilt a little of Paul’s bottle of beer so she brought an additional full bottle. Paul was lubricated by two beers for the price of one. He now has oil to lubricate his bike.
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
There are no upcoming events at this time.