Blackmore Vale Cycling Club
A Cycling Holiday Ride Report from the Lost Soul’s Perspective
Following on from Dave’s ride report of our holiday in Warwickshire, I thought it might be appropriate to present my side of the “Lost Soul Saga”.
First of all, I should say that I have had quite a lot of experience of dealing with the Army during my 30 odd years in the Royal Air Force and I was, therefore, not altogether surprised that things turned out as they did.
The ride began pleasantly enough and we were all looking forward to our first tea stop, it being a very warm day, and we were thus a little fractious when we couldn’t find it. Dave had evidently arranged to have it heavily camouflaged and moved to the other side of the road. Strike One to the Army!
The next part of our assault course came when the innocently entitled “unmade road” turned out to be a quagmire that only a Chieftain tank could have successfully negotiated.
Strike Two to the Army!
A further blow to team morale came when it was discovered that the much anticipated luncheon venue was in fact extinct. Dave’s dastardly plan was, however, thwarted by enterprising team members who led us to a most excellent pub for a slap-up lunch. Ball One to the Army!
As you will all know, Dave is a firm believer in paper maps for en route navigation that require the rider to stop every 5 minutes to turn over the page and are, in any case, covered in Napoleonic measurements that nobody but Dave can understand. As a result of having fallen off the map, we found ourselves being led down a lane, at the beginning of which was a large T sign intimating that it didn’t go anywhere. Much milling ensued and I volunteered to our leader to investigate. I should have realised that, as usual, Army comms were not up to much and my message had not been received. Ball One to me!
Anyway, I cycled about 200 yards (182.88 meters in eurogabble) down the lane and realised quite quickly that it led nowhere. Arriving back at the T-junction a few moments later to find no one in sight initially caused me to think it was an Army jape and that they would all be hiding round the corner, Not so! I then realised that it was actually an Army initiative test, a variation on the many Escape and Evasion Exercises I had undergone in the RAF. Put the victim in an enclosed truck, drive him for hours without food or water and then throw him out in some benighted spot with no money, no phone, no map, no water, and worst of all no specs, and leave him to find his own way home. Having very little idea of where I was and knowing that I wanted to go to a village whose name I was unsure how to pronounce, I began to think that maybe the Army had won. But no, I made it back and 10 minutes before the main team to boot! Ball Two to the Army!
Well, what I really wanted to do was to say that I have thoroughly hoisted aboard all the lessons to be learned here and that I know I am getting a barbag for my birthday in which to store all the things I should have had with me on this ride. I also wanted to apologise to my leader and to all the other members of the peleton for the delays and inconvenience my getting lost caused. It will not happen again. And finally, I wanted to record my thanks to the lovely young lass behind the bar in the pub who went to great lengths to find me a way home without using A roads. Pity she had to spoil it by calling me a LOM. Little maybe, but old – NO WAY!!
Saturday 23 June 2018
10 riders assembled in the sunshine at the Gold Hill café in Child Okeford. After CTC (coffee, tea and cakes) we set off to Hazelbury Bryan where Jill, Roger and Robin turned off for home. The remaining magnificent seven continued down the Piddle valley to Dorchester and then faced the long climb up to the ridge, before swooping down the cycle way to Weymouth. After a democratic vote it was decided to eat at Morrisons rather than battle with the day trippers on the sea front. At this point Caroline tried to make contact with Ken, who was to take over for the ride back. As ground controller she tried to talk him in, but his phone ran out of credit, and he had to land in Asda to seek directions to Morrisons (which went down well with the Asda staff). Reunited we set off down to the front where Ed, deprived of his swim, changed out of his trunks in front of an admiring audience for something more comfortable for cycling. Heading through Preston we successfully tackled the steep climb back up to the ridge and then headed for the Blue Vinney in Puddletown for liquid refreshment. Ron decided his battery didn’t need topping up and left us here. We then headed back up the valley to Ansty at which point Charlie, Mike P, Alan S and Ed pealed off towards Hazelbury Bryan, leaving Ken and myself to return home via Bulbarrow, dodging low flying para-gliders on the way. Perfect weather, no-one dropped and no punctures. A good ride.
60 miles and 1243 metres of ascent. Max temp 31 o according to my Garmin.
Saturday 16 June 2018
An overcast day with showers forecast and a strong South Westerly blowing did not put off the ten who gathered for coffee at Castle Gardens. Although the majority had been born before the advent of the NHS it was considered, after comparison of medical histories that it was largely thanks to the care of this institution that all were able to set off on the ride!!
Our route took us through Barwick, Nash and onto Ham Hill. The motorcyclist descending the hill, having the benefit of a twin disc brake, may have been surprised to have been overtaken by a cyclist. Guess who?
All having safely avoided the escape route through the Post Office door, it was on into Martock, Muchelney, Langport and lunch at The Potting Shed. Despite the notice at the door, requesting the services of a cook, this proved an excellent venue. With reserved table and extensive menu to suit the needs of hungry cyclists. We expect they may have had “chocolate in the fridge!!” Who said, “The ride leader would not know his Focaccia from his Ciabatta?” Mike N travelled from Somerton to join us for lunch.
Discussions were held on the preferred route home. Who had the map (Four OS maps are required for this 45 mile ride) decision made, we would all stay together until Goose Slade Farm. Garmin got a bit confused going through Ash on the second lap, but by careful route planning we doubt anyone rode the same stretch of road more than three times.
Safely at Goose Slade Farm tea was taken. No punctures or mechanical failures to report. No one lost despite Ron’s best efforts.
All will have covered at least 50 miles before reaching home, some 60 or 70, others perhaps 80 and guess who 104?
Thank you to Mary, Jill, Roger, Charlie, Mike A, Ed, Paul and Ron for your support.
Peter and Nicky Vaughan
Jinney Ring Craft Centre
Having driven through heavy showers on the drive up, we were pleasantly surprised when the rain stopped as we neared our hotel. A large group of 23 assembled for the first ride of the holiday. We set of up a narrow potholed lane which reminded us of Dorset roads and then joined a very busy B road. After leaving this the leader’s Garmin tried to take us up a muddy farm track. Ignoring this shortcut and with advice from our local guides, we were soon back on course. But not for long. The leader missed a turning and we had to retrace our steps. Charlie announced that if he got lost again he would be sacked from the leaders list. Encouraged by this the Garmin tried to take us up someone’s driveway. Lost again, and it was a small miracle that we reached our tea stop at the Jinney Ring craft centre. Having set the target for the holiday of losing his way three times, the leader wisely decided to take the direct route back, and was once again helped by our local guide. No rain, no riders lost, no punctures and only Jim fell off.
PS Note to self for future Garmin route planning – set the route to follow roads!
We went via Bidford-on-Avon and Pebworth. Our only major hill of the day was from Mickleton to Hidcote for our coffee. We went our different ways to look around the colourful gardens designed as outdoor rooms. After lunch Hidcote sheep were making a lot of noise so we investigated. The lambs had been separated from their mothers whilst the sheep were being sheared.
Then into Stratford-upon-Avon on the track of the old tramway but both were spoilt by the mass of humanity. After the railway station we needed to turn right twice on cycle route 5, but signs were not to be seen. Local people told us how to get onto the canal bank and cycle route 5. At Wilmcote we went to Mary Arden’s house for tea and back to the hotel via the ford.
The people with me were Jill & Roger, Jackie Fortis, Lorraine, Robin, Ken & Caroline, Jenny and Mike Phillips.
Upton on Severn
I’d been asked to lead a ride so I picked somewhere where I’d been before and knew there were plenty of places to eat. Upton on Severn. It would be about a 60 mile round trip and I hoped some of the club would join me.
And they did -11 of them (Nicky, Peter, Ed, Paul, Charlie, Dave, Ron, Mike P, Mike A, Martin, and Jim)
My original route was to go straight up Alcester Heath, but having experienced the traffic on that road on Wednesday I changed my mind. So I gave the group a guided tour around Alcester taking in my childhood residences. We eventually found our way out of town on the right road (they’ve built a by-pass since I lived there) on a route past Ragley Hall, through Bishampton and Throckmorton to Pershore for coffee. On to Upton via Cycleroutes 442 and 45 and round Croome Park (NT -a Capability Brown landscape garden).
In Upton we quickly chose the Boathouse for lunch where we had excellent personal service from all the staff and weather forecasts were consulted to see when the thunderstorms were coming -rain by 3 o’clock was the prediction!
After lunch the mystery tour began as I led the group down a no-through road which stopped at a marina on the river Avon. The “Shakespeare’s Avon Way” long distance footpath crosses the river at this point via a series of bridges across a couple of islands, so I was hoping we could get our bikes through. Shoulder high nettles kept the lions and crocodiles at bay and all was fine until the final swing bridge -it wasn’t across the river! The only option was to cross over the lock gate, with a team effort to carry the bikes we all got over without dropping anything in the lock, and I heard a sigh of relief when the gate in the next field opened out onto a road!
The rest of the afternoon ride took us through some very pretty “black and white” villages and to the cafe at Craycombe. The friendly staff didn’t seem to mind that we arrived 5 minutes before their closing time and rearranged furniture so that we could all sit outside in the sunshine. Tea came in one enormous tea pot poured into mugs and everyone had cake or ice cream.
The final leg of the journey was uneventful -no punctures and no rain, and we arrived back at the hotel in plenty of time for a shower before the evening meal.
SUN, MUD AND A LOST SOUL
Alcester to Kineton
I was surprised to see fourteen keen riders volunteering to join me on the hotel car park on a somewhat bright but overcast morning although unknown to me there had been very heavy rain overnight, which would prove to cause an issue later in the day. After briefing them that there was an off road section of 1050m (I was very precise after being harangued for grossly understating a distance on an earlier ride) and the overall max height difference was 50m.
We left the hotel and turned onto the very busy road into Alcester riding on the pavement, which appeared for some reason to upset a local car driver. Perhaps they prefer to remain stuck behind cyclists in this part of England?On to Alcester not repeating the day before tour of Mary’s childhood homes and heading east on quieter roads before taking our life’s in our hands crossing the A46. We then climbed a short but quite steep hill at which point the grumbling in the ranks started led by Jim. It now became apparent that although the UK had adopted the metric system in 1975 that certain members of the BVCC were still only able to equate measurements in stone age units and any mention of metres and kilometres was tantamount to specking a foreign language. Anyway when I pointed out that 50m was in fact about 165 feet and this hill was a lot less than that, the grumbling subsided.
On through the very upmarket village of Welford-on-Avon to find our first coffee stop located on a cycleway. We arrived at the spot indicated on Google maps as to the location of the café, only to find a sign saying café open with an arrow pointing up the road. After some discussion we preceded up the road some way but no café. So we about turn and return to the sign and have a closer look around but still no café. We then stop the first cyclist we see to ask directions and he points to a spot on the other side of the road. A quick recce confirmed that there was a railway carriage hosting the café very well camouflaged in the trees less than 20m from where we stood. Anyway after a coffee and cake we set off for our next challenge, the cross country section.
When planning the route I had selected a fairly short section of track which was designated as an un-adopted country road to cut out a detour on a busy A road, but I was now about to regret that choice. As leader I of course led the charge up the track only to find that overnight rain had produced a thin layer of sticky soil on top of a firm surface. Anyway off I went head down along the track and up a slight hill. It was as I was nearing the top that I sensed that as we were going uphill the normal dumping of gums from the following peloton was missing. On stopping and looking back I find I am Billy No Mates, the peloton was nowhere to be seen. After a couple of minutes I spotted electric Ron riding towards me followed by three figures all carrying their bikes. Eventually Martin, Ed and Ken approached saying at the moment I was not the most popular person in Christendom. Then my phone rang, it was Charlie, apparently there had been an outright mutiny and the others refused to come on up the track. He explaining that all the super duper road bikes with their tight wheel and brake calliper clearances had ground to a halt after a very short distance and were all now inverted and being de-gunged with sticks. Reluctantly I agreed to a change of route and continued to the top of the hill only to find the others also in the process of cleaning soil out of mudguards. Once in running order again, us five set off to meet the others on the A3400, taking in some stunning views of the Cotswold and Malvern hills on the way.
After meeting up again with the peloton we rode on along some quiet and very well surfaced “A” Roads. The only distraction being Jim asking a couple of times how far it was to lunch, I answered of course in metric units and he being a stone age luddite was none the wiser.
We arrived in Kineton a little later than planned due to the earlier mutiny, only to find that my selected cafe had closed down (it still had an active website and the phone was connected). Still all was not lost as we adjourned to the local pub for lunch. While waiting for lunch the members of the mutinous peloton continued to make a point by hunting for sticks to dig soil out from around their cleats. In the mean time Charlie being bored rebound the tape on Ken’s handlebars. After a lunch of sandwiches and triple fried chips we set off on the run back to Alcester.
On leaving Kineton I became engrossed in a conversation with Ed only to find that I had missed my turning and continued to the next village before realising my mistake and turning back. This small error would have ramifications later.
By this time the sun was out and the day was turning out to be quite hot as we peddled on at a steady pace to Oxhill, where we stopped so I could change my map page. It was at this point that Caroline said “has anyone seen Ken”. A deadly silence followed and then both backmarkers (Charlie and Nicky) stated “There was no one behind us, Gov”. It transpired that no one had seen Ken since my error of navigation some 6 km back.
We then enquired of Caroline, his wife, what his mobile number was, only to be told that he never carries his mobile phone and even if he did, it would not be switched on. Further questions to Caroline revealed that Ken, in whose hands once rested the defence of the western world, had no money, water or a map and even if he had a map he would not be able to read it as he didn’t have his glasses either. I thought how do I resolve this, as according to Caroline, Ken’s ground navigation skills are, can we say, a little hit or miss
First step, Charlie retraces our route for a couple of kilometres but returns without Ken. I am now getting a bit worried that Ken could shortly be anywhere in the West Midlands. So I sent Charlie and Ron back to Little Kineton. In the mean time the peloton have ditched their bikes and now look like they are sunbathing in Benidorm. Time is marching on when I notice the twitching of curtains in the village and it is now obvious that the local population are becoming concerned that a bunch of sunbathing geriatric cyclists on muddy bikes are about to set up camp in their village. Time to move on. The peloton are roused from their slumber and head off to the coffee stop at Ilmington with Martin in charge while Mike A and I await the return of the search party. After a couple of minutes Mike has the idea to ring the pub where we had lunch to see if by change our lost soul had returned. The landlady confirmed that a little old man in a blue cyclist top (her words) had called in a while ago looking for us and had been given directions back to Alcester. It was with some relief that we had some idea where Ken was going and any search would not now have to cover the whole of the West Midlands. Assuming of course that Ken could read road signs without his glasses. Charlie and Ron returned and we decided that we could do little more and set off to catch the peloton.
We arrive at the coffee stop just as it was closing but the kind proprietor remained open to serve us parched cyclists with cake and drinks. I then had the task of motivating the peloton to drink –up and get on their bikes or they would not be back for dinner. The call of dinner had the desired effect as we speed off on some very quiet and flat lanes, passed the old Long Marston Depot and on to Bidford-on-Avon where we crossed the very picturesque bridge and turned towards Alcester.
We eventually turned on to the A472 which must be the busiest road in Warwickshire and is all double white-lined, a recipe for some very frustrated drivers. Sure enough when we pulled in at the entrance to Ragley Hall we had a convoy of cars behind us as far as the eye could see. As we sat and waited for the convoy to pass, much to the frustration of the following drivers, a very considerate learner driver let us all out. A short run via the centre of Alcester and again along the pavement to the hotel in time for a quick shower before dinner.
But what of our lost soul? With visions of us having to miss dinner to send search parties out across Warwickshire, only to find Ken waiting for us, having arrived 10 minutes earlier. He had quite an adventure after leaving Kineton, visiting two further pubs for directions and having to negotiate the very busy A46 on a Friday afternoon (a very brave man). The most interesting thing being that Caroline did not seem at all concerned at her husband’s predicament, so this may not have been the first time he has gone missing!!!
Kings Court to Defford (south west of Pershore)
Most of the Club members didn’t choose to cycle with Roger, so of the 11 on the ride there were three visitors – Mary’s school pal and Lorraine’s friends from the Shirley Road Club. We set off through Coughton and all was fine. Until Richard decided to remove a jacket on a junction corner, called out to the riders in front that he was stopping but they forgot to pass on the message. The leader forgot to look for the backmarker at the following junction so three riders were isolated. Mobile phones sprang into action and it was agreed we would make our own way to 11’s. However only a few minute later eagle eyed me spotted a mob of riders turning up ahead into a tiny lane. So racing like a Time trial pro I shot off leaving Richard and Robin for dust and eventually, bellowing in my best teacher voice, stopped the group. So actually we were only abandoned for a few minutes….
Flyford Flavell was the coffee stop. We arrived through a pretty village, gardens in full bloom to Aunt Rita’s Tearoom. Notice in the front “Sorry not more than 10 cyclists can be accommodated”. I bravely admitted we were 11, and the owner said she would turn a blind eye especially if we sat outside. Well we did and it was one of the best cafes you could wish for. Everything homemade, a pirate lookalike chef, and the friendliest lady owner you could meet – with a special eye on Richard – the biggest cake of course! The sun was shining warmly and we set off through perfect traffic free lanes, lovely views of the Malverns and lots of chatter. Mary and Linda had about 40 years to catch up on!
The farm shop for lunch proudly displayed an Asparagus menu – perfect for the Vale of Evesham and enjoyed by several of us. Service was slow though so after lunch was real sprint for the next stop and tea.
By now it was really hotting up and the long drags up to the Combertons and Fladbury for tea began to be noticed. We made it though, just before closing time and refreshed ourselves for the last leg back, due north then east to Arrow and finally Alcester. Tired legs, but 55 miles in new territory was excellent. Roger gave us a splendid day out, a real taste of Worcestershire.
Saturday 9 June 2018
I was given a route over the Plain which I tried on Wednesday and entailed some rather ‘dodgy ‘ paths. Two punctures later after half a mile caused a major route rethink!
What a day for a ride! Sun shining, decent breeze, so a great turnout at Stourhead.
The group on my ride were Mary, Ben, John from Pilton (welcome to him), Charlie, Mike, Dave, Alan Smith, Ken, Caroline & yours truly.
Richard took a different route along with Jill, Roger, Peter & Nicky.
Robin, Jim, Ron (low battery!) , Mike Pain & Arthur did their own thing
So the main group went via Maiden Bradley, Horningsham, Longleat, Warminster up the hill through the Garrison where we met red flags and signs when summed up stated ‘Cast away all hope ye who enter here’. After a long discussion about going on despite having been assured that the Plain was open online we were about to turn back when a soldier came by and confirmed that access was available so off we went on what must be one of the best kept secret routes around. Hardly another sole around as we made our way to Juliet Crossing where Dave found our exact position allowing us to cycle about two miles to the Rose & Crown in Tilshead where a good menu and beers awaited. Ken and Caroline had shared the ride so Caroline was waiting for us with three gorgeous dogs. We then retraced our route but came of at Heytesbury then Sutton Veny, then Longbridge Deverill where the main group went home via Mere Down and Ben and I escorted John to Stourhead where a cuppa was a lifesaver. 50 mile ride plus to and from. Ben reckoned 96 whilst Hon Chair must have done 85.
Thanks all for a great ride-my record distance.
At Stourhead Jill, Roger, Nicky, Peter and myself considered the ride to Tilshead was too much for us. We went to Chitterne via Warminster and Heytesbury. Robin came to Maiden Bradley but returned home to care for Sally after her fall. Our return route was Codford, Corton (where Nicky showed us the grand house of her ancestors), the Deverills and Hillbrush at Mere for tea and cake.
Saturday 26 May 2018
The unpromising weather forecast must have put a few people off cycling today as only a select few met at Orchard Park, Jim Broom joined us for coffee having found himself all alone on his morning ride. Paul wasn’t able to even start the ride, having to return home to the Dog and Daughter (Isn’t that the name of his local pub?!)
So, Jackie, Martin, Ron, Robin, Tony, Mike A, Ed and Jim B followed me out of the car park and as far as Lawn Crossroads where we lost Ed and Jim. We also nearly lost Robin as Ron somehow managed to push him over as we set off again. Luckily no damage was done to body or bike and the two managed to remain friends.
The next losses occurred at Pythouse, Ron was first up the hill on his Ebike, then dashed off home to watch the Giro, Robin was last up the hill and also opted to turn back, Jackie was tempted but decided to soldier on. On through Tisbury and Chicksgrove with a few hills and a slight headwind and up to join the B3089 then turn downhill all the way to Wilton.
As I peered through the window of Coffee Darling, the manager opened the door and handed me the key to the bike-parking alley, so that settled where we would have lunch! A table was cleared for the 5 of us and we all found suitable food from the menu.
After lunch the wind picked up a bit, but we didn’t mind as it was now a tailwind. Just the climb up to the old Ox-Drove to conquer before being blown along the beautiful Chalke Valley with the occasional appearance of the sun. A brief stop in Charlton to see Harry and Teddy -the crias (baby alpacas) and we arrived in Shaftesbury at about 4 o’clock where I left the others to find there own ways home. A round trip of 48 miles.
Saturday 19 May 2018
A glorious day to go cycling or get married in Windsor…..Roger planned a meander through the lanes that bewitched us all: a real reminder of why we go cycling especially in late spring. 14 riders mostly in short sleeves, spilled out of the café garden for the photo then sped down towards Mappowder and on to Glanvilles Wootton, where Mary alerted us to a Red Kite swooping across the fields – the furthest west I have seen them. Dave reckoned they were released from near Andover and are setting up home in Dorset now. Crossing the Sherborne road near Longburton we came on the tiny lane to Hermitage which as with most of the day, gave us billowing cow-parsley, copious may blossom, the last of the bluebells and waving wild flowers all along the hedgerows. After this Ron and Robin made for home while the ride continued up and down near Batcombe (but fortunately not up the monster hill), on to Holywell, Eversholt and East Chelborough. By now I was on little known lanes and screamed a lot when not changing down quickly enough on my best Van Nicholas. Speedier anticipation was the suggestion from my colleagues. A last sharp hill and into the Farm Shop for lunch. Mary made her departure owing to a music gig in Poole for the evening, and Ed after quick lunch, made for home. The rest enjoyed delicious healthy salad and sandwiches before saying goodbye to Pete and Nicky who had left at 7.30 to join us for the ride – real mile eaters!
The afternoon was flatter and shorter as the leader predicted but no less pretty with gardens full of lilac trees and spring plants in the villages we passed through – Ryme Intrinsica, Yetminster, and Leigh. By now it was warming up, we had no mechanical incidents, just cheerful gossiping and all was well with the world. By the time we reached the Caundles, Richard had gone on his way to Wincanton – another very long day out, and the rest peeled off at the Stalbridge turning near Spire Hill. We rode 55 miles and it was splendid day out. Also enjoying Roger’s route were: Charlie, Alan, Mike A, Richard N, Pete and Nicky, Ron, Robin, Mary, Tony, Dave, Ed, and me.
Saturday 12 May 18
On a dry but chilly morning Robin and I met Lorraine, Richard N, Charlie and Mike on our route to Shillingstone Station Café to find Roger and Ron already there at the door awaiting the cafe to open. We were shortly joined by Ed, Richard P, Tony and finally Ben before setting –off towards Iwerne Minister via Child Okeford. Shortly after leaving Child Okeford Richard P turned off right and headed for home and was followed by Lorraine when we turned on to the A350. So now we were ten and turned right for the long steep climb up Tower Hill to the C13.
During the climb I was surprised to actually overtake Charlie on a hill but I suspect this had more to do with Charlie’s 3 week break from riding rather than any dramatic improvement in fitness on my part. Anyway Charlie and I arrived at the top of the hill together followed by Ed who had also decided to leave us at this point.
Now nine we continued down the Tarrant Valley which was not flooded unlike two weeks ago and on to the sharp turn up the hill to Tarrant Rushton Airfield. At this point Ron left us to race home to watch cycle racing on the telly accompanied by Robin who was probably revolting at having to climb another step hill.
Then on to Witchampton bypassing most of the cross country route before finally joining the unpaved byway which proved to be a little bit longer than the 200m I had stated earlier. Anyway not too much dissention in the ranks before arriving at Pamphill for lunch.
Pamphill Café was very busy but we managed to get tables inside and order lunch, unfortunately the food took a lot longer to arrive than stated but the Pork and Stuffing Baguette was worth waiting for. We were further delayed as three people decided to have a sweet (no names mentioned) and finally left at 14:30 on our ride home.
We followed the Stour valley via Shapwick to Blandford and then via Bryanston School to the Trailway. It was then a race to Shillingstone to arrive before the café closed, fortunately we just made it in time for a welcome cup of tea.
Then a fast ride to Manston before we split up and made our way home. No punctures or mechanical problems with most of us doing upward of 60 miles and of course with Ben doing a lot more.
Saturday 5 May 2018
You’d think that as it’s a Bank Holiday weekend you’d be let off from having to get your homework ‘composition’ in by Sunday! But no, it’s gotta be done — Cant get wrong with the Rupert Murdoch of the BVCC!
The day started really badly – there was a strange foreign body in the sky as I left home; and it stayed there all day too. Very odd and disturbing, plus it seemed to make everywhere so hot!
Umpteen bicycle persons foregathered at the golf club and settled into the comfortable armchairs provided for “mature” persons:-
Mickey Big-knickers Payne
Tony The Post
The Ol’ Colonial (Robin)
Pink Mary (Murdoch)
Ed and Mem Sahib
Roger and Jill — Them of the lauded and much publicised new bikes (it was obviously dry enough to warrant letting the beasts see the light of day, without the risk of getting them remotely dirty)
Martin and Jackie – Fresh from The London Marathon – Said they’d had to run all the way (to get back in time!)
and me Mickeydrippin
– – – – but no Charlie! He’s having one of his extremities repaired, Sheila and doctors forbad him attend and several Club members, who like him (a bit) told him he’d be nuts to come along. Apparently he’s supposed to spend his time horizontally, having grapes peeled for him. Are there any ‘dusky maidens’ in Stalbridge?
Jackie, Martin and Jill all peeled off at the start, but the rest of us set off, in high spirits (courtesy of the sun), right, out of the golf club entrance and easterly through a very picturesque industrial estate and to the crossing with the A30. Then through the lanes to Yenston – met a gurt tractor complete with muckspreader attached, right across the road. Nobody argued with it (Phew!). Out onto the Wincanton road as far as Templecombe and then left towards Bowden and Stowell: some minor rebellion there cos of those who wanted to avoid the hill into Stowell! Made it into Charleton Horethorne though, where Lorraine left us to go back home; said she had “a chicken bad”. The rest of us pressed on through to the Cadburys, past The Chapel cafe and out through the top of North Cadbury, onto the Sparkford/Bruton road. North(ish) for a little while and then left to Foddington and Babcary, taking in a nice ‘Mary Hill’ on the way. Crossed the FosseWay (no Romans extant) to Charleton Adam, Charleton Mackrell (where’s that from? It’s nowhere near the sea — Not unless there’s been a REALLY high tide) and loop round to Somerton and lunch at Williams (in the precinct) — Where they took hours to feed us, despite being told that we were coming. Never mind, everyone was in good humour and there was plenty of chatter and banter at the table. Mary did a Greta Garbo and went off to eat sandwiches (I presume) up by the Gasworks.
I had planned 3 routes back, one going south of Yeovil and back via Yetminster (that one got hammered immediately), the other two going back over Babylon hill and lastly, shortest way home, down to Podimore roundabout, Sparkford and back through South Cadbury n Cheriton — That one got the popular vote, except with Mary ——- So, Podimore roundabout Yeovilton RNAS, Queen Camel, Sparkford and South Cadbury. Mary Mike and Ron went straight on: we’d already lost Richard due a route disagreement (at speed) in Queen Camel. The rest of us though stopped for tea and cucumber sandwiches at Rosie’s (very civilised) and then home via Cheritons: Ed and I carried on through Templecombe and back to the golf club —Where the owners et al were sitting in the late sun drinking beer (What a good idea!)
Luvverly ride, for me anyway. Seems lifetimes ago that we had sunny days like that! And the good weather made sure I had sufficient protein in my diet; in the form of flies. Who was it told me “there’s no such thing as a vegetarian cyclist”? Popped in to see Sheila n Charlie, as I’d promised< just to say hello and tell him/them about the ride/day —– So you all know, he’s fine, doctors pleased with him —Just champing at the bit to be back on a bike
Thanks all for your company —– Mickeydrippin (Mike Anyan)
Saturday 28 April 2018
It was a dull cold but dry day. We all went to the fish and chip shop and had a variety of meals, not just the Senior Citizens fish and chips. Jill & Roger Halton, Jackie and Martin Fortis, Ben Garside, Robin Wrede and Ed Highnam joined me for the ride. Ed showed how tough he is by riding in shorts!!!
When we go to Shepton Mallet there are always complaints about the hills. The almost straight 2 mile climb from Stoney Stratton to the Steam Railway near Doulting attracted the most moans. After lunch we went via Pilton, used the footbridge at Cockmill as the ford looked green and slippery, and then up another big hill (more moans) before the decent to Wraxall.
Except for Ben, all came back to the Nicholl residence for hot cross buns, in date Mars Bars and tea.
There are no upcoming events at this time.