Blackmore Vale Cycling Club
Saturday 16 February 2019
What a dirty trick! Friday was beautiful, sunny and warm, as I drove around my projected tour. Today was quite nice too: got a bit dark in the middle, but it brightened up.
On Saturday morning however, it was a different story — dark, dreary and soggy. I drove through some drizzle too as I made my way to Charlie’s in my mud-coloured Transit. Was in a gloomy mood by the time I set foot on his drive, but unable to run away (as it was my ride after all). We set off, just the two of us (Mickey Bigknickers having got up at something like 3am to go off to Cardiff — Probably for a proper drenching) and made it to the rendezvous early (by minutes just), only to find several enthusiastic members of S C Cycling Club (Stalbridge Crumblies) already present – Ed (who’d come especially to begin his training for a pb attempt at this year’s Coast To Coast), Lorraine Ron (Torchy – The Battery Boy) and Keith. Roger and Jill, Ben and Mary arrived a little later: ten of us. An exceptional turn-out for one of my rides!
Sensible people around us were cosily stuck into great big, beautiful, huge, delicious looking breakfasts and enjoying the site and heat of a glorious log fire in the stove —-I expect they would sensibly go home afterwards and emulate the actions of a python whilst the blood-flow deserted their extremities and attempted nobly to digest that perfect-looking meal. We meanwhile gazed on enviously and sucked our drops of tea and coffee and bits of cake: thought how much we DIDN’T want to go bicycling — That fire could have become a friend for life for me!
Lorraine and Keith left us at the start, whilst we went back along past Dykes, left up the hill and out towards Stourton Caundle, then right up Goathill. There were carpets of mud and blackthorn clippings all over the road, but, miraculously, nobody got a single “puncha” during the entire ride. Down to Milbourne Port crossroads and off to Charleton Horethorne, where a general stripping of layers occurred and Ed obviously lost his temper enough to hurl his phone on the road. Didn’t work though, he couldn’t break it! —Should have given it to us, we’d have sorted it! Left fork at the café, over plenty of mud (nobody off) and down that long descent to Blackford and then South Cadbury and on towards Rosie’s, where Jill and Roger left us. On to Sparkford. Met Steve Way (getting his money’s-worth out of his new club shirt) and his group, travelling in the opposite direction.
After that I took everyone one round the back of Sparkford Services (fell off, much to a passing motorist’s amusement. Hope he drove into a wall soon afterwards!) Through Queen Camel and past West Camel, Bridgehampton and left past Yeovilton Naval Station and then left again through Yeovilton village. I thought this bit was really pretty and probably none of the folk from Dorset would know it. I was wrong, of course —– “oh, we know this road!” Pooof!
At this point it became evident that I had over-egged the ride, for this time of year, and Montacute was be shelved, in favour of Hamish’s, directly. Ben took over navigation and led us right through the middle of Yeovil town to get back en route at North Coker; and after that, past the end of Sutton Bingham Reservoir and Goose Thingy farm to Hamish’s for a mid afternoon lunch. Big lunch for Ben, as he had finished his ride and was going back into Yeovil and home. Everyone else ate more sparingly except Charlie, who was seduced by “A Cherry Danish” which did look delicious. Ron ate Charlie’s soup, so he had to have “a substitute”, which turned out to be toooo hot to eat quickly and involved drowning gurt lumps of breaded chicken in it (Yeurk!). trouble was it was so hot that he began to feel guilty about holding us up —Consequently his voluptuous pastry was handed out to the drooling masses: poor chap.
Journey back! —- Mary wanted to get back in a hurry and everyone was bothered by the thought of having to night ride, so “quickest route”! —- which happened to coincide with mine — through Yetminster, past Leigh and on towards Bishops Caundle, which I was dreading because the legs had gone, Ed’s as well — we were doing sneaky walks up the worst hills: Bishops Caundle might have necessitated an “ambulance made for two” or even a man with a top hot and black-coated retinue. So Mary, Charlie and Ron took us, kindly, round the south of Stalbridge and in the easy way.
I couldn’t have been happier to see Charlie’s driveway and my battered old Transit.
Just an observation — From the smell that greeted me when I opened the van this morning, to get the bike out, that hill shouldn’t have been named after a goat; no, another creature!
Thankyou one and all! — Micky Drippin
Saturday 9 February 2019
When I awoke on Saturday morning the rain was lashing against the window and I thought I may be in for a Billy-No-Mates ride, but by the time I had finished breakfast the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped. Just as I was about to leave home Richard N was on the phone to say he had just got his bike out and he had a puncture and would join us for lunch.
On mounting my bike for the short ride to Orchard Park I discovered that the previous day’s gym session which was the first for a number of weeks had left me with painful bum, but I was under the illusion that the ride would ease the discomfort. I would pay for this later.
On arrival at the Orchard Park I met Chairman Paul having ridden though a downpour and stating he was only there for the coffee. Apparently the Six Nations Rugby was taking a much higher priority than my ride. We were shortly joined by Lorraine having come by car, Ron, Charlie, Mike and surprisingly Robin and finally Mary who was on her first weekend ride since her bike accident on New Year’s Day.
After the mandatory photo five of us set off on the ride with Robin returning home. The rain held off as we made our way by a very roundabout and lumpy route to Stourhead managing to ensure Mary’s very clean bike would take on, shall we say, its more unkept appearance by lunch. After avoiding the muddy shortcut past Stourhead House we passed Kilmington, down Druley Hill where Ron left us, the call of a cycle race on tele being greater than lunch. We then turning right for Upton Noble whereupon it started to hail and then rain but luckily it had stopped by the time we reached the village. There then followed the long descent to our lunch venue at the “At the Chapel” in Bruton..
We entered to find Richard seated at our reserved table having been there since midday. One look at the menu and the prices indicted why we don’t frequent the establishment that often. I should have known with it being situated in a very small town surrounded by three public schools.
Richard had ordered before us and being the Yorkshire man he is, selected one of the cheapest items on the menu which turned out to be a microscopic goat’s cheese starter. This gave us the incentive to study the menu more closely and we elected for soup or pizza. Richard left us at this point saying he was off home for lunch but we surmised he was really going to raid his stock of out of date Mars Bars in his saddle bag.
During lunch we decided we would not follow my planned route via Blackford but head directly towards Wincanton. Having sat on a hard bench for an hour in the café my bum was now really telling me that it didn’t want to get back on the bike but as leader I really had to grin and bear it. So off we went via Pitcombe and into the wilds of a very lumpy Somerset countryside towards Stoney Stoke. I then took the route via Barrow to Gillingham while the remainder headed off to Wincanton. Having left me I understand that Mary then had a puncture, but at least she had the clubs two top puncture repairers with her so she only had to supervise the repair.
I arrived home to see the first sign of rain on the windows so we had made the right decision in shortening the route.
I covered 63.17km (39.17mile) and 781m in elevation gain.
Saturday 26 January 2019
Following some dire weather forecasts during the week I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday morning when the temperature was 8 Deg and it wasn’t raining. On arrival at Orchard Park in Gillingham there were a few keen riders already there. During coffee Rodney and Sarah from the Gillingham Wheelers also joined us. Those in attendance were Sally and Lorraine by car Robin on his bike (good to see you back on it Robin), Charlie, Ron, Ed, Keith, Richard N, Ben, Jackie, myself, Rodney and Sarah.
At 10.30 nine riders (Robin was going home through Gillingham and Richard N was making his own way to Sherborne) set off down Cole street Lane and across the main road towards Eccliffe, under the Viaduct and up to the Ridge where Keith left us. The rest carried on across the A30 to Fifehead Magdalen and made our way to Stalbridge where Ed turned off towards home in Marnhull. After the climb out of Stalbridge followed by a nice downhill stretch we turned off towards Stourton Caundle and made our way through some muddy lanes to come out in Alweston and on to the busy A3030 then right onto the A352 and the fast downhill run into Sherborne. Lunch was at Oliver’s café which was very good and arrived quite quickly. After a political discussion about the dreaded B word we set off again towards the A30. Ben headed for Yeovil and Richard N made his own way back to Wincanton. The remaining 6 of us turned off the A30 up the steep and muddy lane to Milborne Wick. Then on to Bowden where Ron and Charlie turned off for home while the rest of us carried on to Templecombe, Buckhorn Weston and back to Gillingham. Around 38 miles covered, no incidents and we made it back just before the rain got too heavy. Thanks to everyone for coming especially our friends from Gillingham Wheelers.
Saturday 19 January 2019
Mary has had a lousy start to 2019. With a bad crash on New Years Day and a very disappointing weeks skiing holiday (or not skiing as was the case), she was unable to lead her ride today as sitting on the saddle was a no-no. I volunteered to step in.
Having been confined to barracks since last Saturday, she must be ‘climbing the wall’ with frustration – she tells me that her new cycling year will hopefully start in February! I’m sure we all wish her the best for a good recovery.
- 4 of us drips – literally – turned up at Stourhead at 10.00, Mike A, David, Ron and me
- It was raining heavily and cold to boot!
- A consensus indicated that the Ginger Piggery – the original lunch venue – was not on the agenda.
- As we were thinking of a lunch stop with a roaring fire, David suggested the Boot Inn at Tisbury – unanimous agreement.
- Reluctantly setting off at 10.45, we splashed off through Mere heading for East Stour.
- Ron headed for home soon afterwards so I asked David if he could suggest a lunch stop somewhere closer, as the 3 of us were still freezing!
- Coppleridge Inn was the reply – he received a sitting ovation.
- 15 minutes later our hero led us into the courtyard.
- Roaring Hot radiators surrounded us in the bar area, proving ideal objects for draping our sodden coats and gloves on.
- We were made very welcome by the staff/owners – we were the only patrons in the place.
- Coffee and hot soup was ordered, delivered by 2 chefs after 10 minutes.
- During the meal, we discussed the dreaded BREXIT followed by the Falklands – David and Mike have been there in a past life – I however, melted into the background!
- Reluctantly, we departed at 1.30 – still pouring down – and headed for Gillingham, dropping off David at his front door.
So Mike and yours truly completed the last 12 miles in the dry – at last!
All in all, a ride worth forgetting due to the inclement conditions. The clubs other 40 members elected not to ride – how sensible!!
Looking forward to summer………………Charlie Porter
Saturday 12 January 2019
Nineteen members and partners came for a rather chaotic start to the meet but order was restored and hopefully all were fed and watered. So good to see Lorraine and Robin who have both had medical problems. Dave M, Mike A, Charlie Woz iz Name, Ben, Ron, Keith, Mike P and me left at 10.35 going via Fifehead, Sandley where Keith left us, Charlton Musgrove, South Brewham then across to Bruton where we went to a new (to us) café The Mill on the Stream. The few customers there left as we sat down so was it envy, a café with no food, our sweaty smell or just coincidence?? The food was a bit slow, fairly pricey but tasty, especially Ron’s eggy, mushroomy, sweet onion toast-y followed by a free sample of the French owner’s quince juice.
Leaving there we peddled through town and do you know, aghh, I have yet to lead a ride without apologising and as we turned left for Pitcombe Charlie, Dave M and Mike A failed to see us turn and went on to Castle Cary cursing me, mobile phone reception and all those bloody muddy roads I insisted they enjoy. Sorry Boys. The three of us went to Shepton Montague then up a really rough lane and steep hill to Knowle Rock before coming home along the Sandley road again. No computer but I guess it was around 40 miles .
Thanks to all, get back on that bike soon Mary.
Saturday 29 December 2018
Oh! —- BIG blank screen! No time & no inspiration. —- Last ride of the year too. Should be full of interests and adventures. Perhaps I need some Christmas Chivas Regal assistance ——- Ergo —– Bravely gathered at Dikes Auberge, Bistro & Cafe (haunt of bons viveurs, gastronomes, gourmets, gourmands and enthusiasts of “the big breakfast”) at very close to 10 o’clock (as if they didn’t have any homes) were:-
Mickey Biggnikkers Payne
Jenny —- Fresh from her Park Run (50km I believe)
Electric Ron — Fully charged
Mary — On the Pink Clone
Me, Mickeydrippin (quality plumber)
——————–All bound for lunch at The River Arms at Cheselbourne. I was inefficient, so Charlie had checked online that they were open — but it was a bit bothersome that I couldn’t get an answer when I phoned to give them numbers: twice. Richard apparently wasn’t coming to the lunchstop, only as far as Mappowder (whence that name??? Something to do with The Gunpowder Plot, or maybe Yardley, Chanel?) I believe. Then he was going to return to Dikes for his lunch. Unfortunately he got his wish earlier than he intended since owing to “zipper problems” in the Gentlemen’s’ WC, he was left behind. We, meanwhile, oblivious of his fate (and possibly pain) pedalled orff towards Kings Stag, past that beautiful dairy (I think) building: not much mad traffic and nobody killed or maimed (not even a bit). Everyone seemed somewhat subdued in general, there wasn’t the usual banter and there was definitely some walrus puffing and panting up the first few hills. Result of turkey/Christmas pudding/mince pies/whisky or whiskey/ wine??? On to Hazelbury Bryan, Mappowder (Richard didnt leave us here cos he was already back at Dikes —— Sorry Richard! Rotten Ride-Leader) Plush, Piddletrenthide and over the moors to Cheselbourne and lunch.
It was rather an uneventful ride, under grey skies, but, fortunately no rain.
The only adventure as far as I was concerned was getting left behind for a phone call not far from the lunch stop. I thought it was the River Alms ringing me to confirm our lunch stop, but no, just someone wanting their “pipes fixed” (I told them I was entirely the wrong person to ask to fix a leak. I was the one who usually created them). Anyway, then I had to catch up; going flat-out on a wet, greasy and muddy road: downhill fast to a Y junction and starting to take the wrong fork. Instead of going on, stopping sensibly and retracing my steps to the correct turn, Joe Soap tightened the turn whilst braking hard and attempted the road. Wheels skidding all over the place, backwards and forwards across the road, while road barriers and large (enough to be painful, even terminal) flashed past my eyes. Made it, just! Made me think, though, that perhaps I should “put my affairs in order”
Mary had waited for me, or Jenny, at the bottom of a turning and very unexpected hill, so I/we were in entirely the wrong gear.
And then, apart from taking the left turn instead of the right (called back by The Executive Officer/Officer Of The Watch) we arrived for lunch. Up the steep drive to the car park. Doors locked, serious concerns regarding sustenance and bodily comforts, frowns and hurtful comments from the distaff fraternity, till some bright spark suggested that we go down to the main entrance.
Yeah !!! They were open and willing to feed us, even to the point of providing beetroot and tomato soup of a pleasing bluish-red hue. And to please the rest of us too! Naturally the sun came out while we were in the pub, just to make us feel suitably wistful as we hit the road again under grey skies.
Back home through Ansty and Hazelbury Bryan to Sturminster Newton, where Mary and Jenny peeled off, out towards Marnhull. Ed peeled off at some point there and Ron too, leaving only Charlie, Mickey Biggnikkers and Mickeydrippin to “return to base”: Richard had not hung on!
That’s it! There’s no time to check the punctuation! Gotta get this in to The Press Office
Happy New Year to everyone: good rides, lotsa sun, no crashes or sore bottoms
Saturday 8 December 2018
I always look forward to those Saturday rides that start from Dikes Supermarket, meaning that I can enjoy my dog walk, read the papers and still have time for a leisurely breakfast. I met Roger on arriving at Dikes and we both agreed that the day’s ride could be quite challenging as a gusting south westerly wind and afternoon showers were forecast.
On Thursday I had completed a recce of the ride in similar conditions to check the route for road closures and to book our lunch stop in Dorchester. The only concern was that I needed to make our lunch stop for 12:30pm, that gave us a 2 hour window to complete the ride which was a bit tight if head winds and punctures were an issue.
On the day there were 10 possible intrepid riders up for the challenge : Roger, Jill, Mary, Richard, Paul, Ron, Ben, Keith, Charlie and myself. Disappointingly, by the time we had passed Stock Gaylard Deer Park and passed through Kings Stag there were only 3 riders willing to follow me Mary, Ben & Charlie! Our pace slowed somewhat at this point as we were heading directly into the prevailing wind. I was beginning to think that allowing only 2 hours to Dorchester was a bit optimistic in these conditions when one of Charlie’s famed 700×32 size tyres decided to go flat on him meaning we had even less time to our stop. Next concern was the ROAD CLOSED sign in the centre of Buckland Newton, we continued with fingers crossed only to be greeted by roadmen working on clearing a large fallen tree just before Piddlehinton. We managed to clear this obstacle after practically bribing one of the workmen. Still all was not lost, the wind seemed to be more in our favour at last, so I stepped on the gas a bit! We made good time on to Puddletown where we made a right through the Puddletown Forest, we crossed a former Roman Road and passed quite close to Thomas Hardy’s cottage.
After turning right at the next junction the route became distinctly more undulating heading towards Stinsford, we now had the head wind back again to contend with. We crossed the roundabout just outside Stinsford and battled onto the Sun Inn at Lower Burton on the Old Sherborne road. We arrived at 12:50pm only 20 minutes late, not bad considering everything.
The Sun Inn is an old 17th century pub which has an excellent carvery and always seems to have an open log fire burning away to greet you. The Inn looked very festive with all its Xmas decorations. We all enjoyed a good meal and were counting our selves lucky as we could hear the rain hammering away on the windows. During our meal (as he usually does) Charlie kept ribbing me that I was going to be in serious trouble because I had set too high a pace and had dropped Paul early on in the ride and that as he is the Club Chairman it did not look good for me! Anyway, Charlie insisted that I ring him (we all knew that he had turned off in Kings Stag) to ask what his ETA was likely to be at the Pub, as we were all waiting for him before we order. I still don’t know why I agreed. In the event I’m glad Paul saw the funny side.
The return route was a lot easier going with a very acceptable tail wind at times, yet we still had a few heavy showers to contend with. Ben turned left to pick up the Cerne Abbas road for his route back to Yeovil, whilst the 3 of us turned left at the top of the Charlton Down towards Piddle Hinton and picked up our original outward bound route towards home.
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Mike A. following his sad news.
Saturday 22 December 2018
A dry Saturday at last!! Unfortunately, Mike Anyan the advertised ride leader had to bow out due to bereavement.
Highlights of the day:-
- Caroline was decked out in a Santa’s hat over her ski helmet – super.
- Mary’s bike was adorned with fairy lights – will look super on darker days!
- Richard Page made a guest appearance after a 6 month absence.
- Mike Pain planned on taking it steady after his mammoth 188 miles last Monday to the Welsh interior and back – set off at 4am, back at 9pm.
- I was almost the victim of a lynching party when I suggested that we might climb up Bullbarrow hill via Stoke Wake (a 1 in 4 gradient). Instead, we elected to go through Ansty, Milton Abbey and Winterborne Stickland. Some riders must have forgotten the severity of these alternative hills. A couple of riders who had not ridden for a few weeks were finding it a trifle difficult. Even Mike Pain was reduced to walking up the 1 in 6 section out of the ‘Chocolate Box Village’ at Milton Abbey – to be fair, he was riding a 90 inch fixed gear!!
- Café 65 – the lunch venue – came out trumps again with excellent service, prices and varied menu.
- Ken now joined Caroline at shift changeover. His timing was spot on – 12.30
The route home was via the Trailway to Shillingstone. Mary and Ken turned off at Child Okeford heading for Fontmell Magna. Martin, David and I returned through Manston and Todber.
A trouble free ride for all, mild with only a slight wind. Ideal cycling conditions.
Sorry about the hilly terrain folks – I might have indicated that the ride was flattish. Which just goes to show that my memory is fading fast!
Thanks to all the riders – Mary, Caroline, Ken, Mike P, Martin, David and Richard.
Merry Christmas to all BVCC members and a happy but most of all a HEALTHY new year to all our readers.
Saturday 8 December 2018
Texts and calls had started to arrive at 8am; strong winds, heavy rain and poor visibility forecast, apologies for absence received. A very good day for the Turbo Trainer.
The Wednesday route check had been in total contrast, blue skies as we climbed The Combe to rendezvous with Ron and his team at Chapel Cross. Coffee and cake taken, Christmas list sorted; slippers size 9 and please no more green socks.
Onto Stoney Stoke where the joint leader decided to take a tumble having failed to unclip before stopping on the adverse camber junction with the B 3081. The only damage was his pride and handle bar tapes. Dusted down and wheels back in motion it was a good day.
The roads around Stowell remarkably were clear and dry. The Milborne Wick ducks, all on the correct side of the road waddling in the right direction, were in good voice and pleased to see us (better to be a Milborne duck than a Coker goose at Christmas). Things were looking good for Saturday.
Truth to tell the Wincanton Sage had sown the seeds of doubt when he announced, at the Tuesday social evening, that he intended to travel by car on Saturday as the temperature forecast was 4 degrees. No mention of wind, rain or visibility.
You cannot win them all perhaps we will try again next year.
Seasons Greetings to you all
Peter and Nicky Vaughan
Saturday I December 2018
The early rain had eased to a steady drizzle by the time five of us met at the Poets Corner Café. There was some sort of Christmas market going on with several Father Christmases in attendance. Ed, Mary, Charlie and newcomer David W-M and I set off through Hazelbury Bryan to Holwell where we turned off towards Boys Hill. Unfortunately our route was blocked by what seemed to be an extensive flood. After a brief discussion as to whether to send the new member to test the depth, discretion prevailed and we retraced our steps. The shortened route meant that we reached The White Hart at noon, much earlier than planned, but we were made very welcome. Richard arrived shortly afterwards having made his way independently. The food was good and promptly served so that we were on the road again before one o’clock. Patches of blue sky and glimpses of sunshine welcomed us on our return route via Stourton Caundle and Spire Hill, where Charlie and Richard pealed off towards Stalbridge. Ed sprinted for home to watch a horse race while Mary and I escorted David back to Sturminster through Hinton St Mary.
The planned short 30 miles turned out to be an even shorter 25 miles – perhaps the shortest ride of the year? However it was good to get home in the dry.
17 September @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
18 September @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
21 September @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
22 September @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
24 September @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
25 September @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
28 September @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
29 September @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm