Following a week of fine weather the second day of official meteorological spring was looking good for a really enjoyable Saturday ride as Charlie and I set off for Wincanton. We met up with Lorraine and Ed on the far side of Buckhorn Weston with promising blue skies breaking through as we continued on to Morrisons in Wincanton.
Unfortunately not a full club turnout for this Saturday ride, Mary, Ron & Ben joined us over a cup of tea and our usual team photo before the 10:30am start. On Friday I had completed a recce of my proposed route to check for road conditions and possible closures.
On leaving Wincanton we set off in a north westerly direction towards Shepton Montague into a 20 mph prevailing breeze and with an ambient temperature of around 10° C. Only 5 of us now as Lorraine & Ed were heading off home, there seemed to be a major problem with Ed’s back wheel bearing/freewheel and Lorraine was just pleased to be getting a few miles in after some time off the bike. The route continued on through Bruton and crossed the busy A37 at Wraxall, I’m afraid to say that on more than one occasion I was sworn at for setting an adventurous pace! However, just on the far side of East Pennard I did warn my depleted peloton that they were about to hit a steep descent with a very poor road surface which was to be followed by a ford crossing and that it would be a good idea to take to the adjacent footbridge. In the event the only person to take any notice of my advice was Ben. Mary, Ron & Charlie just flew through the ford at full speed (they will get their comeuppance at some point, mark my words)! We continued on through the small village of Pilton of ‘Glastonbury Pop Festival’ fame, the impressive Norman and Medieval village church is dedicated to St John the Baptist, and may stand on the site of an earlier wattle and daub church built by the early missionaries. The road through village has a sharp bend with a steep incline around the church, I did advise my peloton that it would be a good idea to engage a low gear, this time I think they were glad to heed my advice. Shortly after Pilton we said goodbye to Ron as he turned off for home and an afternoon catching up his viewing on Eurosport. The run into Glastonbury took us down onto the Somerset levels and along ‘Long Drove’, the road is unusual because it is completely flat and straight for over 2 miles with large drainage ditches on both sides, to our left we had good views of Glastonbury Tor.
On reaching Glastonbury our lunch stop was at ׳The Who’d A Thought It ׳ Pub on Nothload Street. The pub’s name is just as unusual as the interesting collection of old enamel signs on the ceiling. We all sat at an appropriate table because attached to the ceiling directly above us was an old Raleigh enamel bike shop sign over which was hung a vintage rusty single speed bicycle. The food and service was very good, although, I could not help glancing up at that old rusty bike thinking that I was glad I never had to revolve it’s pedals!
The return route was a lot easier going with a very acceptable tail wind at times. Our route took us through Butleigh, Keinton Mandeville and Lydford-on-Fosse. Shortly afterwards Ben turned off to follow a more direct route home, the remaining 3 of us turned left at Galhampton and scaled the last real climb towards Blackford. Mary turned left in North Cheriton for her route back to Shaftesbury whilst Charlie and I continued onto Stalbridge. The stats for the route starting from Stalbridge was: – distance: 100k(62 miles); Ascent: 977m; Riding time: 4hrs 51 mins.
Thank you all for an enjoyable ride.