South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 5 January 1986Afternoon ride: DiptfordSunny but cold
8 present: Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons
The Simmons family, who had apparently contrived to dominate the first ride of the New Year, just failed to achieve a majority thanks to the determination of Luke, Steve, Kevin and the sun in coaxing Michael from his death bed.

Such were the scenic delights between Avonwick and Diptford that an icy darkness had descended on arrival at Rattery. These conditions, whilst no doubt being ideal for Luke to test his new dynamo, did Michael no good at all, although warm refreshments at Summerlands went some way towards rectifying the situation.

Tuesday 7 January 1986Social: Charades
11 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, John Iles, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Di Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
The charades evening was most enjoyable, giving everyone a chance to demonstrate both their own miming skills and their skill at interpreting other people's mimes.

Sunday 12 January 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Clyng MillSunny and dry
9 present: Steven Bowles, Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Philip Mills, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Mark Stott
The run to Avonwick was enlivened by a bumpy, muddy track where Richard once again demonstrated his tendency to part company with his mount. Having met up with the Torbay Section we took the B3210 skirting Ugborough and Ermington, then joined the A379 for a short distance before turning off towards Clyng Mill.

The steep descent to the mill was negotiated without mishap, only to find that our destination was a private residence and the lane was barred by a gate. Undeterred we ate our lunch in a field overlooking the creek, then continued to Aveton Gifford where four or five energetic types decided to return home via Kingsbridge and Torcross. The rest of us made our way towards Loddiswell, then through Woodleigh and Moreleigh where the trio from Buckfastleigh parted company from the group to head home via Diptford and Rattery as the late afternoon drizzle set in.

Sunday 19 January 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Blacksalde DownWild
6 present: Gabrielle Bourn (Adult, Ashburton), Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Mark Stott, Simon Whale
A strong south-westerly wind made the journey to the Bickington pick-up virtually effortless (for those who had not been put off by earlier spells of rain). The Torbay group, however, were not at all amused by it and needed rest before tackling the hill towards Sigford.

The real fun began at Bagtor House when Luke noticed he had a puncture. Everyone watched the repair with smug contentment until first Andrew, then Glenn and finally Super Shopper realised that they, too, had punctures. A little further down the road Super Shopper bit the dust again with punctures in front and rear wheels. By the time the group had arrived at Halshanger both Simon Whale and Super Shopper had acquired further punctures, so lunch was taken in what appeared to be a warm, sheltered glade halfway up the hill. Unfortunately it proved to be neither sheltered nor warm, so the picnic was not an extended affair.

It was not difficult to understand how Cold East Cross came by its name as the group fought their way through the bitter force nine winds and painful sleet showers that swept the surrounding area. There was opportunity to shelter, however, at Pudsham Down (actually quite close the planned destination) before saying farewell to the ponies and setting off for the lower reaches of the moor near Buckland and Spitchwick.

Here at last was sunshine and tranquillity – almost a different world. The sight of canoeists shooting the rapids of the Dart at New Bridge would not have been nearly so absorbing had one poor lad not capsized, leaving other members of his club to rescue his canoe and oar which had set off in two different directions.

Hot refreshments, a log fire and videos at Redmount concluded another interesting winter ride.

Tuesday 21 January 1986Social: Gears and their maintenance
12 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Simon Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
Several members decided to invest some of their savings in gear upgrades after attending this educational social.

Sunday 26 January 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): DunsfordDrizzle
9 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Mark Stott, Simon Whale
A record twenty-eight cyclists converged on the Chudleigh Bridge pick-up despite the rather miserable weather conditions. A sheltered area towards the upper and of Bridford Wood, near Steps Bridge, was selected for lunch, after which the somewhat hazardous descent to Moretonhampstead was undertaken. On this occasion it was Ben who demonstrated his stuntman skills on one of the hairpins, in Brett’s absence.

The division at Wray Barton was conclusive in its confirmation of the A382 as the quickest route to the Primrose tearooms at Lustleigh, the only remaining problem being the capacity of the seating arrangements (and the cake table). Andrew Billington kindly solved the problem by arranging an awkward puncture in his rear wheel which not only took a team of helpers to repair but also provided considerable entertainment for those in the café.

Having enjoyed the first puncture so much Andy decided to try another along the old railway track, failing to realise that on this occasion the response from the group would be less favourable. By the time Martin had joined in the fun and everyone had regrouped at Bovey it was nearly dark, but the day had nevertheless been thoroughly enjoyable.

Sunday 2 February 1986Afternoon ride: WidecombeCold and grey
10 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Michael Jones, John McAdle (Adult, Devon), Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, John Stuart, Paul Willard
Skirting Ashburton we climbed by way of Hele Cross and Ausewell Cross to a mist-shrouded Buckland Common. The mist thickened as we passed Rippon Tor but we shook it off as we crossed Bonehill Down and dropped into Widecombe, where tea, toast and cakes in the Wayside café restored morale and fortified us for the homeward leg of our journey.

Regular readers will know that there is a certain member whose inability to complete a ride without falling off is semi-legendary: he duly obliged, Ponsworthy Splash being the scene of today’s tumble.

At Leusdon Common we forked left to pass the church and Lower Town. While descending the delightful lane to Spitchwick, John Stuart’s front tyre was found to be in a zero-inflation situation. A new tube was quickly inserted and just as quickly deflated, so having arranged that we would telephone John’s father we left him in the gathering gloom and returned to Buckfastleigh via Hembury Woods – hope you got home alright John!

Tuesday 4 February 1986Social: Video Evening
10 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
A lapse of memory on the part of the Video Librarian resulted in a last-minute substitution of Ghostbusters for Wargames, the latter having been carefully selected during the preceding weeks through the medium of numerous questionnaires, painstakingly completed by all members. The film was reasonably entertaining but lacked the impact of a cinema presentation.

Sunday 9 February 1986Day ride: DittishamSunny but deep snow and ice
1 present: Michael Jones
Only main roads were passable on this beautiful winter morning, so Dittisham was really a non-starter. And anyway, there are better things to do with snow than push an unwilling bike through it!

Sunday 16 February 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Ugborough MoorVery cold
12 present: Richard Burge, John Iles, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Philip Mills, Kevin Presland, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Mark Stott, John 3 Unknown (Adult, Devon), Paul Willard
The five brave souls who turned up at Buckfastleigh station soon became four as Willard Minor decided that sitting in a warm house was preferable to sitting on a cold bike. We arrived at Avonwick to find the Torbay contingent awaiting us and were soon heading towards Bittaford.

In view of the biting wind and the threat of snow over the moors it was decided to abandon the scheduled trip up the course of the old Red Lake mineral railway, and we returned to Buckfastleigh where Michael had kindly invited us to eat our lunch at his house.

[Andrew, Jane an Suzie did not take part in the main ride.]

Tuesday 18 February 1986Social: Maintenance Quiz
10 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Jane Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard
The most memorable part of this evening had nothing to do with bicycles: a table leg, accidentally separated from its table by some overactive young boys who shall remain nameless. Results of the ‘test’, however, did show a marked improvement since the beginning of the social season – and a complete repair was subsequently effected to the table.

Sunday 23 February 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Hunters' PathCold with lying snow
2 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Michael Jones
Once again overnight snow had left side-roads treacherous and the journey to Bovey Tracey against a bitter easterly wind was far from enjoyable. Gabrielle and Michael, being the only South Dartmoor representatives, enjoyed a fireside coffee at Brookside Tearooms before turning for home, but three of the Torbay members continued into the depths of the moor.

Sunday 2 March 1986Afternoon ride: LittlehempstonSunny
13 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Phiip Drew (10, Dawlish), Richard Hopper (Adult, Totnes), Mark Hunt, Michael Jones, Simon Lewis (10, Dawlish), Warren Masters (11, Dawlish), Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Mary Willard, Paul Willard
Three young Dawlish lads were ferried to Buckfastleigh by car for the first ride in March as part of their Easter Tour training programme. They coped reasonably well with the scenic lane route through Totnes and Staverton but were exhausted by the end of the day, due mainly to the frequent snowball fights that arose at every drift.

Tuesday 4 March 1986Social: Games Evening
10 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Di Simmons, Roger Simmons, Mary Willard, Paul Willard
Roger, Di and Paul learned the rules of backgammon during this entertaining and enjoyable evening.

Sunday 9 March 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Topsham BridgeSunny
9 present: Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Vicky Sanders (Adult, Totnes), Andrew Simmons, Simon Whale
Lunch on the railway path near Topsham Bridge, including Vicky Sanders, Luke Rake and (from Torbay) Rob Spence
Ian Lee (from Torbay) and Vicky Sanders enjoying lunch on the railway path near Topsham Bridge
Andrew Simmons and Luke Rake at Topsham Bridge
Michael clearly didn’t realise that Luke had borrowed his camera
Steve Hughes, who started the day with a cold, almost turned for home a few miles out of Totnes. The pace eased a little towards California Cross, however, and by lunchtime he was feeling a good deal better.

The scenic railway route from South Brent to Kingsbridge, which passes close to Topsham Bridge, provided an interesting feature for exploration after lunch, particularly in view of the recently-announced proposal to reopen the line.

The track to Moreleigh Mount, whilst undoubtedly adding variety to the ride, proved unpopular with those who had spent the evening cleaning their bikes. The leaders therefore arranged tea at Forces Cross by way of an apology, although the unsettled atmosphere continued with numerous water fights involving Mark Moxham and Luke.

Sunday 16 March 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Mamhead ObeliskSunny
11 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Phiip Drew, Brett Jamieson, Michael Jones, Simon Lewis, Warren Masters, Luke Rake, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, Simon Whale
Early morning showers and Vicky’s puncture delayed the group’s arrival at the Gappah pick-up by nearly thirty minutes. Fortunately (from our point of view) young Simon Lewis from Dawlish had arrived at Gappah with a broken derailleur, so the Torbay group had not exactly been idle.

As is so often the case the day started exactly as it intended to continue in all respects other than the weather. Following a delightful lunch at the Obelisk one of the Dawlish lads suggested an interesting track route through the forest. This in itself yielded only one puncture, but four of the boys decided to go round again while repairs were effected. When Richard punctured half way around the others decided that perhaps they had better wait quietly with the rest of the group this time.

Returning home via Dawlish and Teignmouth yielded two more punctures from Luke and Andrew and a rather late arrival home for tea.

Tuesday 18 March 1986Social: Open Evening
8 present: Richard Burge, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Mary Willard, Paul Willard
Another preview of 'Jason - The Movie' and some of Luke's new electric games concluded the winter social programme. It was agreed that the monthly summer socials would remain unplanned as last year.

Sunday 23 March 1986Day ride (With Torbay CTC): Headland WarrenSunny with gales
14 present: Gabrielle Bourn, Richard Burge, Daniel Coles, Grace Dovell, Richard Dovell, Steve Hughes, John Iles, Michael Jones, Kevin Presland, Luke Rake, Vicky Sanders, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Simon Whale
Twenty six cyclists set off from Buckfastleigh for a leisurely wander through Hembury Woods and Spitchwick Common. Any lingering doubts about 12.25 being too early for lunch were quickly dispelled during the final climb to Leusdon church, and so the group settled down in a fairly sheltered part of Leusdon Common for an hour’s fun and relaxation. Perhaps the most amusing sight for the onlookers was that of Adam being hotly pursued by Gabrielle and Vicky who had presumably not taken kindly to having dead grass thrown at them!

Steve Hughes may be small but it still takes a violent headwind to blow him off his bike. Such were the delights of the Bellever road, a change of route being hastily arranged near Cator Court to bring the group back to Widecombe. Some took liquid refreshment at the Wayside café whilst other less-normal members found a different kind of refreshment by dancing around on top of Haytor Rock!

When all tastes had been catered for the plummeting temperatures forced another hasty retreat, this time to the lower and more sheltered reaches of the moor, from where return was made via Birchanger and Halshanger.

Thursday 27 March 1986Social: Cinema Trip - Clockwise
4 present: Michael Jones, Unknown Rider 1, Unknown Rider 2, Unknown Rider 3
Apologies to those members who weren#t told about this visit to the Colony cinema at Torquay, but it was a last minute decision and only one car was available for transport. John Cleese is a natural comedian and provided excellent entertainment throughout.

Sunday 30 March 1986Afternoon ride: Shipley BridgeSunny with showers
15 present: Phiip Drew, Richard Hopper, Steve Hughes, Michael Jones, Andrew Lawson (14, Torquay), Simon Lewis, Warren Masters, Philip Mills, Paul Palmer, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Roger Simmons, Suzie Simmons, Paul Willard, Mark Williams
Easter day, being the final preparation ride for the junior tour, was well supported, with six lads joining us from Torbay and Dawlish. The climb to Gidley Bridge via Nurston farm was rather slow due to a distinct lack of effort from Philip and Simon from Dawlish. Things changed dramatically at Shipley however when Michael offered crème eggs to those arriving at the dam within the specified time!

Seeing no other way forward, Steve and Andrew Lawson started back for Shipley as soon as they’d eaten their eggs. No-one noticed until too late, so a message was sent back with some local walkers and the rest of the group continued across the somewhat boggy moorland to Water Oak Corner and Cross Furzes, further crème eggs changing hands in order to ensure speedy arrival at the latter.

The other lads were waiting at Redmount on our return, so there was just time for some light refreshments before returning home. No mention will be made of the name of the Dawlish Tiddler who broke a real egg on Michael’s spare bed!

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