Blackmore Vale Cycling Club


Ride Report – Sparkford to Westerhay

Saturday 7 September 2019

Something of the autumnal about this, 17 members and friends gathered for coffee in the sunshine. With about 1200 years of life’s experience between them, care was taken to stay out of the cooling breeze from the North.

13 set off on the ride, no room for tridecaphobia, Ron promised to go home before lunch. NCN 26 would take us to Glastonbury. Riding along Kennard road it was apparent that the camping and caravan fraternity were as enthusiastic about the outdoor life as ever. On through the gap in the hedge, passing the Abbey Tea Rooms on this occasion we turned left into the precinct. Pedestrian or not? That is the question! No matter cos this is not a bicycle but a walking aid with wheels set to a different plan.

Heading north around the Godney’s it did not require the assistance of a weather man, as the Minstrel put it, to know which way the wind blows, it’s just a feature of cycling on the levels. We cycled on past Double Gates to rendezvous with Ed’s brother at our lunch stop Sweets Tea Rooms. “Apple Pie and Custard”!! You can keep your energy gels this is real cycling fuel.

Having read of the joys of cycling in the Telegraph supplement Ed’s brother appeared to have designs on becoming a MAMIL!! Too late, we are now entering the GOMIL phase. You may transpose the O and G if desired. Four headed off for prior engagements. Agreeable lunch taken, no queue, medicament administered the remaining eight chose the Bittern Trail for the return journey. Suitable for road bikes exclaims the brochure, “Oh fortunate bicycle,” we know that it’s really the track bed immortalized by Betjeman ‘s Branch Line (see You Tube).

Declining the invitation to a Vintage rally we pressed on turning south to Street, Baltonsborough, and at last some hills to The Lydfords. A favorite place, West Lydford, where despite the recent pollution alerts on Somerset’s rivers, bright young things still leap from the bridge and swim in the river. To complete the day there’s the sound of leather on willow, the Lydford cricketers are home.

Having safely crossed the railway track under Richard’s guidance!! It was back to Haynes for afternoon tea. Notable were the sideways glances and half smiles, in envy or sympathy from the gathered glums on our arrival.

Without doubt the rising popularity of cycling whether Legtronic or Electrically assisted must be a good thing. Not so sure about the Porky Pies on Strava concerning the weight, watts and calories which seem to be in reverse proportion to the Pork Pies consumed resulting in some not so “fortunate bicycles”, apologies to Myfanwy.

Thank you all, for once again making it a grand day out.

The Cast:
Richard N, Lorraine, Roger, Charlie, Ed, Ben, Ron, Geoff, Martin, Jackie
Dave M, Phil, Arthur, Martin T and  John B.

Nicky Vaughan

Ride Report- Gillingham to Wilton

Saturday 31 August 2019

Two groups left Orchard Park; Richard led Lorraine and Roger on the shorter ride out along the Nadder Valley and returning along the Chalke valley; my ride took the group over into the Wylye Valley.
Joining me were Jill, Jackie, Martin, Paul, Charlie, Ron, Mike and Ed. Our route took us out to Lawn Crossroads, towards Motcombe and through Semley, then approaching Tisbury we spotted a group of three riders ahead -Richard and taken one of his cunning short cuts and got ahead of us!
A tailwind helped push us along the Nadder Valley and we turned sharp left into the very pretty village of Teffont Evias with it’s amazing hedge! Then the climbing started up and over Wylye Down, a road with 360 degree views. Through more pretty villages with a distinctive checkerboard style of building with stone and flints as the rain just about held off.
Lunch was at Café Blend where we were made very welcome. The food was fairly basic but served very quickly and with a smile so we were soon back on our bikes. 10 minuets later the rain started! Waterproofs were donned and we sheltered under the trees until the heaviest of the rain had passed and by the time we got over into the Chalke Valley our waterproofs were dry.
The ride along the valley was into a head wind but the uncut hedges helped shelter us and we made good progress by cycling in a tight group.
We arrived in Shaftesbury to find that Richard’s group had got there first (again) but at least they hadn’t eaten all the cake, my apple flapjack went down well then everyone was left to find there own way home -downhill all the way!

Mary Emerson-Reed

Ride Report – Sherborne to Glastonbury

Saturday 24 August 2019

Ten riders met at Oliver’s Coffee House in Sherborne: Mary, Richard Nicholl, Major Dave, Ed, Charlie, Jill and Roger, Ron, Geoff Cook and myself.  Geoff had set off at 7.30am and ridden 30 miles from Wells, putting the rest of us to shame.

Jill and Roger left to ride back to Henstridge for the ‘Wings and Wheels’ show – closet petrolheads!!  The rest headed north via Sandford Orcas and Corton Denham to South Cadbury, then on to Sparkford, Lovington and Baltonsborough.  We thought Richard had dropped behind but he had found a shortcut somewhere around South Cadbury and appeared in front of the group on the road to South Barrow, and took some catching….

Unfortunately then Geoff informed me that he’d already ridden my route in reverse to get to Sherborne that morning.  Sorry Geoff!

We made good time and arrived at Glastonbury at around 12.45 after 26 miles from Sherborne.  The Abbey Tea Rooms was the lunch venue and was so reasonably priced that even Richard couldn’t complain, especially since he wasn’t there!

Geoff headed home from Glasto and the return trip was shorter, via Butleigh, Keinton Mandeville (eventually, after a wrong turn back to Baltonsborough), South Barrow and Sparkford, with an afternoon tea stop at Rose’s café, from where I headed home.

A hot day, 27°C forecast and it felt like it.

Ben Garside

Weekend Ride – Mystery Tour from Sparkford

Saturday 17 August 2019

Mike Anyan was struck down with a mystery bug and in consequence was unable to lead the mystery ride. I had offered to lead an easier paced mystery ride, Somerton being my mystery destination. It was a mystery to me why everyone considered this to be a bad idea and a greater mystery why members suggested lunch at Hamish’s, Ryme Intrinseca. It was even more of a mystery how I became ride leader to Hamish’s when I did not have O.S. map 194 with me and so the route was yet another mystery. Perhaps this explains the mystery of why I took a wrong route between Mudford and Over Compton.
Nicky telephoned the café so they could prepare for arrival of mystery customers. My pudding was no mystery, Spotted Dick and Custard.
After lunch we retraced to Yetminster and then went to our homes via mystery routes.

Richard Nicholl


For those of you not familiar with this proposed ride – Mike should have been the leader today for his Mystery Tour. Let me explain……………….

  • On Thursday, Mike rang to say that he wouldn’t be out on Saturday due to a  ‘stinking cold’ on returning from his solo 1500 mile French Connection cycling trip.
  • He asked me to sort it out – so here goes.
  • At such short notice, I (in my limited wisdom), decided to do absolutely nothing, preferring to ride to Sparkford, see who turns up, then do some decision making.
  • Now –  Richard Nichol had previously volunteered to lead a second, possibly shorter ride – once again depending on who turns up!
  • 13 bikes arrived at the Motor Museum
  • David, Jackie, Martin and Arthur Civil planned to return home after coffee and cake, due to some more important commitments than cycling – cheek!
  • Richard wanted to lead his ride to Somerton
  • Ron, Nicky, Pete, Jill, Mary, Roger, Ken, Ben and myself all preferred Hamish’s at Ryme Intrinseca.
  • Richard was over ruled – so with his arm twisted up his back, he agreed to our option – and was also reluctantly forced to lead the ride – problem solved!
  • Ben set off on his own to Hamish’s as he needed the extra miles before his Spanish hols.
  • The 8 of us finally left in sunshine with Richard, despite muttering that he had been kidnapped, played a blinder, finding some new roads and eventually depositing us at the lunch spot at 12.15
  • Excellent quisine from the huge menu was demolished in high spirits
  • Ron, Ben, Pete and Nicky disappeared homewards.
  • Richard and Ken turned north at Yetminster as Richard was escorting Ken back to Sparkford cos he had parked his 4 wheeled transport there – we won’t comment anymore about Ken’s homing instincts will we!!
  • That left the survivors – Jill, Mary, Roger and myself en route for Stalbridge, stopping at Dikes as Jill had generously offered to buy us all Smoothies  –  see photo.

So, all in all a very enjoyable days Mystery Tour – must do this sort of thing again – and thanks to you Richard the Cake for being such a good sport under pressure!!

Charlie  Porter


Ride Report – Child Okeford to Moreton-issh

Saturday 10 August 2019

In view of the weather forecast for high winds and rain I was surprised to  find anyone at the Gold Hill Tea Room in Child Okeford. However Roger, Jill,  Martin and Jackie were waiting patiently outside for the it to open. Soon after  Charlie arrived, shortly followed by Ken and Caroline in civvies (grounded due  to high winds) and then Mary. As we were preparing to leave a large group of  cyclists turned up from Bruton. Martin and Jackie had to return home and in view  of the weather the remaining five decided to do a short loop to Hazelbury Bryan  and back via Sturminster. After fighting the strong headwind to HB it was a  relief to enjoy it on our backs as we headed north. As we passed through  Sturminster Roger announced that he would stand everyone a drink at the White  Horse in Hinton St Mary. Hastily amending my plan to go straight home, we all  sat in the pub garden hungrily watching Charlie demolish his meal . (He did  share his chips). The wind seemed to pick up again on the way home, and shortly  after I arrived the heavens opened.

The highlight of the ride for me (and for those who have had to endure it  on recent rides) was that the creak in my bike seems to have disappeared. One  day I will lead a ride that actually reaches its planned destination!
Paul Nicholson


Ride Report – Fontmell Magna to Buckland Newton

Saturday 3 August 2019

Technology is great when it works….Grrrr!  But let’s concentrate on the positives of the ride!  12 people  arrived at the tea room in Fontmell Magna and all agreed that it made for a welcoming venue.  Cake choice was a bit thin but the carrot cake was reportedly very fine indeed and the drinks were bladder-testingly large!  Paul left to try to sort his squeaking  bike….expect to see a new shiny one soon?!  Jill and Roger returned for guests.  So we set off to meet Jenny at Shillingstone and continued on along some cunningly chosen lanes and keep everyone guessing as to which way I was going to turn next.  I was a  happy bunny ‘cos my Garmin was working really well!  Biggest disappointment was that not one but both fords were dry…..Bah!  I had to put my camera away before Soggy Ron got to them!  21 miles to The Gaggle of Geese pub at Buckland Newton where the ‘Gagglefest’  had got underway and we enjoyed pizzas and barbecue fare outside whilst listening to some good folk music. It was fun! As an added bonus we met up with Peter, Nicky and Mike. So having lost 3 at the start we were back up to numbers.  But then it started falling  apart and several folk decided to make their own shorter routes home – Well done, good decision!  Could I get my trusty Garmin to load up the afternoon ride?  You guess!  7 of us continued north on a bit of a wing and a prayer (on my behalf!) and Peter, Nicky  and Mike peeled off at Boys Hill which until I got home didn’t realise was the route which I had planned.  Never mind – I had Mary and Charlie who made helpful suggestions and Ed who was ever the optimist!  We arrived at the Sweet Pea for a cup of tea in Stur  and in fact had only done about 13 miles.  Sorry Jenny and Lorraine, you could have stayed with us!  We disbanded after tea and I lost most of my fillings along the Trailway to Hammoon and then made a big mistake by taking the track which cuts out Child Okeford.   Sandy, rocky and horror of horrors for my immaculately clean bike – muddy puddles! I got nettle rash trying to dodge around the sides and my gears sounded terrible afterwards.  When I arrived home Ken asked why my front wheel was hanging on by a thread.  I  think I was lucky not to lose it!

Anyway, the weather was pleasantly cool, the company was good and thanks to all who came along.  12 to 4 was quite a high attrition rate – I’m trying not to take it personally!

Caroline Rhodes


Ride Report – Stalbridge (Spire Hill) to Dorchester

Saturday 27 July 2019

Where To?  Dorchester   Start?  Thyme after Time Cafe
Full Time Players?  Ben, David, Martin, Paul,  Richard, me
Also Rans?  Roger and Ron
Unfortunately, no members of the fairer sex cycling today, but Jackie F came along with a black Labrador and offered support.
Notable absentees?  Mary was cruising on the Danube with Jackie ER.
Mike Pain was completing a 400 mile round trip to Aberystwyth
Mike Anyan is on a 2000 mile cycle trip to the South of France and back – on his own!

  • Today’s initial route via the Piddle Valley was modified to Cheselbourne. But Richard had disappeared before we set off.
  • Roger threw in the towel at Hazelbury Bryan – duties at Marnhull fete.
  • Ron turned around after Puddletown Forest. Tour de France beckons!
  • 12.15 – Arrived at the Royal Oak pub in Dorchester (it has a Witherspoon franchise) – recommended by Richard of course who actually arrived half an hour later. He had taken the initial Piddle Valley route and couldn’t believe we had ridden via Cheselbourne!
  • Moral of this is – Always depart with the ride leader who usually knows where he\she is going. Richard loses brownie points!
  • Lunchtime banter during the meal – which was delivered within 5 minutes – gravitated to a “Boris” discussion. What else?
  • Setting off north down the hill, Paul took us on a half mile off road section, a far cry from the 9 mile cycleway forced upon us by Ed Hignham a couple of weeks ago!
  • We now joined the Piddle Valley road homewards
  • At Piddletrenthide, Paul and Richard (surprisingly as he lives in Wincanton and professes not to enjoy steep hills) turned right for Plush via the 1 in 4 mountain lump at the start!  Hope they got home safely.
  • That left 4 of us who sensibly called in at Buckland Newton shop for  well earned ice creams. A lovely rest in the sun.
  • Ben turned left shortly afterwards, heading for Sherborne.
  • We three returned via Spire Hill again, Martin heading up Cox Hill to Hartgrove Farm. (Jackie and Martin’s second home)

A short 45 mile trip for myself – significantly more for the others in ideal cycling conditions. Again, no punctures or problems. It’s great when bikes perform as they should!

Thanks to everyone

Charlie Porter


Ride Report – Hartgrove to Spietesbury

Saturday 20 July 2019

16 people turned up at Hartgrove Farm where Jackie and I are house sitting. The forecast all week had been for wet weather but although it was dry we didn’t think it was quite warm enough to sit outside. So we all piled into the conservatory and tucked into Jackie’s home made cakes tea and coffee. 11 riders set off at 10.45 down the hill towards Bedchester where we turned right and made our way onto the A350 for a short distance before turning into Iwerne Minster and the long drag up the hill to the top road. Lorraine turned back half way up the hill and arranged to meet us at the lunch stop. So we were down to 10 at the top. Straight across and a fast descent to Tarrant Gunville. By now the weather was beautiful and made for a lovely ride through the Tarrant Valley as far as Tarrant Keyneston where we turned onto the busy B3082 towards Badbury Rings and then right onto the nice straight Roman road to Shapwick. Then right and left to the main A350 Blandford road. Straight across and onto the trailway, that runs parallel to the main road, as far as Spetisbury school and drop off back to the main road and straight across to Clapcotts Farm and Marcia’s Café which was our lunch stop. Caroline, who was taking over from Ken, and Lorraine were already there so we all ordered and sat outside on the picnic benches as the weather was so good. The food took a while to come but was all made to order with generous portions and very reasonable prices. Suitably refreshed we went back to the trailway and turned towards Blandford. The trailway ends about 100 yards from the roundabout on the A350 where we went straight across towards Blandford and then left opposite the brewery and up through Bryanston School grounds and out to the A357. Instead of going on the trailway we went down the main A357 as it was virtually traffic free due to the Durweston bridge closure. At Shillingstone we turned right to Child Okeford where Paul left us for home and the rest of us, minus Caroline who had an appointment with some plants and Mary who had to go and pack as she was leaving on holiday in a couple of hours, headed back to Hartgrove farm for more tea and cakes.  A shortish ride at 38 miles with no incidents apart from being shouted at by an irate woman that there were too many of us even though she was going in the opposite direction!!! Unexpected good weather and beautiful scenery. Thanks to everyone who came

Martin Fortis


Ride Report – Shillingstone to Upton House

Saturday 13 July 2019

When Charlie put me down for this ride little did I know that a gentle ride to Upton House would cause enough hot air to power a hot air balloon!!

We met at Shillingstone Station for a 10.30 depart on the still-blocked Durweston Road. “We” being Charlie, Chairman Paul, Mary, Ron, Ken, Ben, Mike P with Caroline, Jill, Roger and Lorraine leaving for bell ringing and other reasons.

Whilst the leader(??) thought it best to join the trailway to Blandford it was decided to go via that cheap Bryanston School then following Caroline’s route to the Langford Long road which took us to Wimborne. Ron knew the Sustrans route through the town so far but as the direction pointers are no longer there I made the first of many wrong turns which gave us all a quite new view of the town.

We joined the Castleman Trail by the Willett Arms. It has a decent surface and completely level but as I had only ridden it from the other direction a left hand turn was missed and we came across a stream which I had never encountered afore so stopped and asked a couple of walkers the way. It happened that one of them was of Asian decent and (insult no.1) Ron spouts “not only got us lost but had to ask a foreigner directions!” So we crossed the busy roads and entered Upton House where a tasty, reasonably priced lunch awaited. During lunch there were more aspersions cast on my character when guess who, Ron threatened to tell all at church about me but even worse our (once) esteemed Chairman suggested I needed to join Ron for holy guidance That’s insult 2&3.

I had intended treating all to a ride back across the gravel tracks of  ,Tarrant Valley and Church Lane (cart track) up to Hartgrove but Mike sensibly suggested a less rural route so we set off through Upton only to become involved in their carnival. We of course won the cup for the best comedy group and had to weave our way with the procession through town then on to the two Lychetts’ before crossing the road at Stur Marshall and back to Blandford where Ken had disappeared like a Phantom and Ron kept going whilst five of us went to the M & S café for a reviver. Ben left here and the four of us took the Trail to Durweston before joining the main road to Hammoon where Charlie suffered a chain problem (note, must give him maintenance coaching sometime). I both was unaware of this and running out of puff so kept going for home.

Thanks all for a most enjoyable day. 60 miles for me, more for some.

Ed Highnam

Ride Report – Stourhead to Dilton Marsh

Saturday 6 July 2019

Joining me (Richard the cake) were Chairman Paul, 90 inch fixed Mike, electric Ron, sawed off bars Charlie and Roger in the shade. Jackie and Martin came to Stourhead only. We went via Maiden Bradley and Warminster to Fairfield Farm College where we had reserved tables at the café. Sawed off bars Charlie had to wait for his meal but everyone else was served quickly, the food was good and reasonably priced.

The afternoon route was via Rudge, the traffic free cycle path by the river in Frome and Gare Hill, our great climb of the day. The group, including 90 inch fixed Mike, went up Gare Hill leaving me miles behind as I struggled in my 22 inch bottom gear. At the top they waited for me and then we returned to Stourhead for tea and cake.

Richard Nicholl

Upcoming Events

  1. Coffee Stop – Stourhead

    17 September @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
  2. Jill’s Jaunt

    18 September @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
  3. Weekend Ride – Sturminster Newton to Wareham

    21 September @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  4. Sunday Saunter

    22 September @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
  5. Coffee Stop – Spire Hill

    24 September @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
  6. Ron’s Reprise

    25 September @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  7. Weekend Ride – Stalbridge to Tolpuddle

    28 September @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  8. Sunday Saunter

    29 September @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm