Blackmore Vale Cycling Club
Saturday 13 April 2019
Ok, I know it is a Cycling Club, however anyone lucky enough to lead a ride in April will be blessed with a botanical bonanza which must not be ignored. I will describe the specimens as we relive the ride.
First, so many bikes outside Dikes I panicked – not enough lunch spaces booked. It was fine, most were only as Charlie names them “Clingons”. Caroline, Roger, Jenny, Mary and Keith were not lunching with us, off to do other exciting things….So for cycling company I had Richard, Dave M, Paul, Ron, David WM, Ben and Charlie with Peter and Nicky meeting us on the road.
Out through the Caundles my back marker Paul made a knowing comment – he told me the only rider behind him was the leader – I had made a premature left turn down a farm track, while discussing planning matters with Dave – reminder to self, if you are leading: concentrate!
Entertainment was provided as we travelled towards Glanvilles Wootton, with a succession of old MGs on a rally, roaring past us, the occupants all squashed into their tiny cockpits wearing fat leather and sheepskin hats and coats. They needed them, it was a cold east wind blowing us along, a tailwind we noted.
Just before Hermitage and the A352 junction, there outside the bus shelter two familiar bicycles, Peter and Nicky ready to join us. Once a cross the road the nature study lesson was about to begin. By now all the usual suspects for April had been spotted frequently: primroses in clumps, scattered celandines, bountiful bluebells as well as greening hedgerows and blackthorn blossom. As we approached Chetnole I was prepared, I knew from previous spring rides that the pyramidal purple orchids might be out on a bank near the village boundary, yes not disappointed, photographed and admired, I then had to catch up my group. Only to be distracted by wood anemones and even violets!
Once I found my cyclists we carried on through Hamlet, onto the outskirts of Ryme, thence to Hamish’s. Excellent all day breakfasts, soup and egg dishes consumed, Richard of course had pudding with custard…While we were there such a lovely surprise, Mike Phillips had ridden out to meet us, a delight to see him on his bike looking great. After lunch the depleted group set off east, into the headwind. I had thought of diverting through Leigh, in my unfit condition, to avoid the drag and sharp hill onto Bailey Ridge. No my friend Charlie said “It is only a hill, think of your fitness and the benefit…..” so I struggled up, hoping he will be right. Next my plan was to return via the lanes towards Folke to see swathes of bluebells in the woods, luckily not vetoed by fellow riders, however very few bluebells out yet, only banks of wild garlic leaves instead. Over through Alweston lanes, right up the hill towards Stourton Caundle, with more wood anemones and violets we arrived back at Stalbridge. When I reached home it was 45 miles, enough on a cold slightly sunny day. Thanks to those who came, and remember, look out for orchids on your next ride!
Saturday 6 April 2019
There were 11 of us at Stourhead for coffee, and to my surprise they all (apart from Ron) planned to cycle to lunch in Boyton. The usual BVCC regulars were joined by Sarah and Rodney from GDW etc.
Lorraine and Richard planned a cunning route to reduce the distance to lunch by ten miles -this involved a short stretch of the A303 and three miles of deserted but tarmacked farm track. The rest of us headed off to East Knoyle where we had arranged to meet Roger who was waiting at the shop with his friend Mike who also joined us.
At Tisbury Ron turned for home (Tour of Flanders on TV?) and Charlie, who wasn’t feeling 100% joined him.
We followed the Nadder Valley through to Teffont Evias and Magna then took on the climb over Wylye Down and a 40 mph descent into the Wylye Valley, not forgetting the “level” crossing at the bottom!
Eventually we arrived at the Ginger Piggery, 5 minutes before my ETA, Richard and Lorraine we sitting at our reserved table already half way through their lunch and it wasn’t long before we had all been served.
The route back to Stourhead was much flatter and shorter and benefited from a tail wind. Just past Kilmington we came across a cyclist sitting on the verge, she wasn’t hurt but had suffered a “funny turn” and her friend was attempting to find a phone signal to call for help. We stopped to see if we could be of assistance, Peter was able to find them a map for reassurance and (Ex GP) David was able to offer his expertise. In fact David offered to stay with the couple until help arrived as his car was at Stourhead, and ended up transporting her bike back to Frome. Well done David.
At Stourhead we went our separate ways, Ed rushing back to watch the Grand National, Nicky and Peter helping Lorraine put her bike in her car before cycling to their car in Wincanton and the final contingent aiming for Shaftesbury and places on route.
Thanks to all who joined me on a rather cold but dry ride.
Saturday 30 March 2019
Meeting at me at Cale Park, Wincanton were Jill Halton, Lorraine Williams, Ron Cheeseman, Dave Matten, John Crossman and Charlie Porter. Our route was Shepton Montague and Cole where we turned onto a lane with a ‘Road Closed’ notice. The road certainly was closed by a large fallen tree, even little Ron could not get underneath the tree so there was no chance for the taller people. Just after Bruton Lorraine stopped to take a picture of a sign ‘Potholes’ on a side road’. Soon we all stopped to look across the railway to the earth embankment of the Bruton flood defence scheme. We continued via North Brewham to Witham Friary where we ate our sandwiches in the sunshine and warmth of the sheltered garden of the pub. Tea cost just £1 each. After lunch it was up to Yarnfield Gate and a walk on the steeper part for some of us. Jill, Lorraine, John and Charlie came with me via Alfred’s Tower and Charlton Musgrove for tea, hot cross buns and in date Mars Bars at the Nicholl residence. This was a short ride on a very nice day after the mist cleared. Spring is here.
Saturday 23 March 2019
The first ride post Spring Equinox saw 15 members and friends for coffee at Castle Gardens. Plans made for the day Lorraine, Jackie, Martin F, Dave and Keith electing to ride North and East.
Mary, Richard, Ron, Charlie, Phil, John B and the Martins T and B to join Nicky and Peter travelling West to Merriott and the opportunity to view Merriott’s take on the Shroud of Turin.
No punctures no mechanical and no one really lost. 20 miles saw us at The Feed Station back on schedule. A mix up over table bookings was soon sorted; a welcome from Bob the Boiler Man, a chance to join a birthday party. An enjoyable lunch was taken amongst the assembled cycling relics and memorabilia. The relics in question do not refer to BVCC members. On the South wall hangs a collection of various Club cycling tops. There amongst its contemporaries hangs a BVCC top. Who’s? A chance to start a legend!
A Toast, Absent Friends!
The proprietors had kindly provided an OS wall map on which Richard was pleased to plot his journey back to the top right hand corner with the aid of magnetic pointers. The main bunch was heading east to enjoy the views from Coker Ridge, good even on a grey day.
Onto Hamish for afternoon tea, we had done10 miles after all, CTC rules. Ron was halfway to Yetminster before missing us and returning.
The group finally split at Bishops Down, the leaders returning to Sherborne, the mile eaters continued to the East.
Thank you all for your support, a grand day out. We note that the ride has been described as Social on Strava and that is exactly what we hoped.
42 miles 2,640 ft of climbing
Peter and Nicky Vaughan
Saturday 16 March 2019
Fearless Five Fight the Force Forty Five mph winds, led by Roger.
Roger was recovering from a lingering cold, anticipating an early return home when we arrived at Dikes in Stalbridge. Within a few minutes it was evident this would be a less well attended ride. Ed, Charlie, Mary, Jill and our leader.
We set off the classic way, floundering in the gusty bouts of wind, towards Stourton Caundle but the first diversion our leader took was down towards Goat Hill, a sharp bend and up again. A long grind up Holt Hill with a cross wind for company brought us eventually to cross the A3030 at Bishops Caundle. The wind still knocking us sideways, we ploughed on to Glanvilles Wootton, admiring the topiary Scottie dog with its pup on the verge. Crossing the Dorchester road through the lanes to Mappowder, the wind was now behind and wooooo we sped along the lane, doubled back with side wind again up to Park Gate and on to Droop. We felt a little droopy by now, constantly battered and blown beside gateway gaps, and I certainly began to wonder why I was there….However, not much further and another swoop into Ibberton.
A special side room with the table laid for 8 – 10 had been allocated, the beer was tasty and not pricey and an excellent menu – especially for cyclists, meant lunch was cheerful and satisfying. Sorry for those who missed it – do go it was excellent. Mary enquired about the ancient door into the bar – listed apparently, and the old part of the pub is over 500 years old!
Now the fun started, a little rise through Belchalwell Street, and a glorious tail wind propelled us furiously down to Okeford Fitzpaine. I was doing 32 mph and Mary well ahead of me….never has my speedometer been consistently over 20 mph for so long! Another roll round and down to Shillingstone, on to Child Okeford, Farrington and eventually the Orchards and Manston. Twisty roads and lanes briefly exposed us to side winds but we were rolling by now!
Mary left for Todber and home as the now fearless four battled back into the wind to Marnhull.
Forty miles, not the highest mileage, however it was hard earned, quite a lot enjoyed, especially the golden PRs for Strava in the tail winds, and best of all, our leader did it all, from the front – Hurrah, he’s better.
Jill Halton’s version of the day.
Saturday 9 March 2019
So what do I know?! Ken and I set off for Child Okeford happy in the assumption that the forecast wind of up to 40mph would have put off most sensible riders. Wrong! 19 people turned up at the Gold Hill café – and for future gatherings, they open at 10am and NOT before. Thanks to Mike A for generously having the puncture 2 miles short of the café which meant there were no more on the rest of the ride! I rang the pub with 15 for lunch which was more than anticipated but they said they would ‘sort us out’.
Roger went home to nurse his ongoing cold leaving myself, Ken, Dave, Lorraine, Mary, Jenny, Charlie, Jill, Ron, Richard, Jackie, Martin, Doc David, Ed, Paul, Ben, Mike A and Mike P.
We went to the Trailway and rode to Stourpaine, except Mike P who kept to the road. This was my first experience of riding the Trailway which offers a safe route to Blandford. We rode up through the grounds of Bryanston School – launching ourselves off their abundance of sleeping policemen. Paul had previously mentioned that it is of course private land, so as I ring bells at the school church, I thought I’d pull a few strings…..well, ropes, obviously(!) and actually got permission. In the event, not a security man to be seen!
We crossed the meadows behind the brewery – I slightly missed the track as my mind was taken up with concern for Ben whom I thought was going to lose his head on the height restriction bar – which he sensibly routed around! Onto Langton Long and then the Tarrant valley where Ron departed for home. Keeping count of a group which exceeds the number of fingers and thumbs is even harder when I forget to include the leader…..Note to self!
Groans then cheers when some realised that we weren’t taking the hill to Witchampton – all except Richard who continued up it to lunch with friends in Gussage All Saints.
At the pub Ken left in the car which we had pre-positioned as he was providing lunch for his son who had been running the Larmer Tree half marathon. The Langton Arms proved to be a good lunch stop and we were accommodated in the bar. Soup and baguettes were the main choices and all agreed the food was good quality although the beef baguettes took a while to come – obviously Tarrant cattle are hard to lasso!
Remember that hill we didn’t take? Well we did after lunch and went via Witchampton and Moor Crichel to the Gussage valley and up to Farnham on some small quiet roads, and a mere splash of a ford. Approaching Farnham the whole peloton was stopped in its tracks…by a shed driving down the single track road. Not something you see every day and disappointingly not Ken arriving with the tea and cakes!
Having been lucky with a tailwind for most of the ride, we finally encountered it en-route to Ashmore. Thanks (again) to Mike A for breaking wind ahead of me….I believe that’s the correct term?
The final drag up from Ashmore was pretty cruel, but when returning from the east there are few choices. Down Fontmell Hill to our house must be one of the roughest roads to ride, nearly warranting a dental appointment!
We all shoe-horned into the kitchen for a tea and cake injection before folk headed for home. Ken ran a Fontmell to Child Okeford taxi service for Lorraine who had left her car at the café, but did really well not to bail out at lunch and Paul who has been nursing a bad ankle. Not satisfied with the cycle ride, Jenny started the day with a Park Run and left to go swimming….Phew!
Thanks to all for coming along and for my ‘Virgin Lead’ certificate.
I’m off for a lie down in a quiet, darkened room……
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.
Saturday 23 February 2019
Fifteen riders assembled at the Gold Hill café in Child Okeford for the ride to Sturminster Marshall. Lorraine had just come for coffee so fourteen set off through Okeford Fitzpaine. Ascending the foothills of Okeford Hill Roger developed a loose crank (blame the bike builder?) so he and Jill turned back. The remainder kindly waited for me in the mist at the top as I pushed my bike up the steep bits. Keith turned back at this point. Ron and his son-in-law turned off in Turnworth towards Bulbarrow (was there cycling on TV?), and shortly afterwards Ed left us in Winterbourne Stickland. So seven and a half miles and I had already lost six riders. As the sunshine broke through the remaining eight enjoyed the downhill ride following the Winterbourne valley to Red Post. Crossing the A31 the route circled through lanes to Morden. Circumnavigating the Drax estate brought us back to the A31 where heavy traffic delayed our crossing. Then it was a short level ride to The Red Lion where the landlord had set a private table for us in the dining room. There we found Roger and Jill who had found the right sized Allen key in the railway workshops in Shillingstone and then taken a shorter route via the trailway – an elaborate way of avoiding Okeford Hill. Also waiting for us was Caroline who was playing her usual tag-team match with Ken. The service was excellent, with our drinks order being taken at the table, and the food was delicious. A good venue for future visits. Ken left in the car and the augmented ten then followed the Stour cycle route until branching off up the Tarrant valley. We made good time until Stubhampton where we started the long drag up to the ridge. Once again the leader became the back marker. Descending the hill to Iwerne Minster Mary had to use her brakes (a rare occurrence) as she was being held up by two cars who would not let her overtake. Shortly afterwards Caroline and Mary turned for home, soon followed by Charlie, Roger, Jill, Dave, Mike A and Ben, leaving myself and David W-M to complete the ride. My thanks to Mary for acting as back marker.
An enjoyable ride in perfect weather with no punctures – on England’s defeat by Wales marred the day.
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.
1 February @ 10:00 - 17:00
2 February @ 10:00 - 14:00
4 February @ 10:30 - 11:30
8 February @ 10:00 - 17:00
9 February @ 10:00 - 14:00
11 February @ 11:00 - 11:30
12 February @ 11:00 - 12:00
15 February @ 10:00 - 17:00
16 February @ 10:00 - 14:00
18 February @ 10:30 - 11:30