South Dartmoor CTC

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Monday 2 January 1989
1415
Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Skerraton DownCloudy
12 present: Nathan Arecco, Chris Bailey, Richard Burge, Glen Dowty, Chris Giles, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, John Stuart
Nathan watches Chris Bailey (?) test the mud on Skerraton Down
Many of our members have been fortunate enough to have received new bicycles this Christmas, one such being Chris Giles from Buckfastleigh who was keen to attend his first ride this afternoon on his new machine. We should also say how pleased we were to see Nathan Arecco and Chris Bailey after such a long break.

Skerraton Down resides high up on the South moor, about 300m above the Buckfastleigh start in fact. The younger riders got a little worried as the hill past Nurston went on and on, then Ian got worried as the lane turned into a rough track. The pleasure really began when we reached the top, however, with spectacular views all around and long descents which brought us eventually to the ford near Cross Furzes. One or two fell off along the way, but the soft moorland vegetation ensured that no damage was done to bikes or riders.

When the usual ritual of water fights had been completed, members endured a chilly descent to Crofters for a welcome fire and hot drinks.

Monday 2 January 1989
1415
Afternoon ride (Paignton): DuncannonCloudy
9 present: Heather Daniels (12, Paignton), Glen Dowty, Briany Humphreys (12, Paignton), Philip Humphreys, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Mark Moxham, Philip Rhead, Gary Taylor
We set off promptly from Five Lanes towards Totnes, turning left down Blagdon Hill for a speedy descent. From here we crossed the main Paignton / Totnes road, proceeded to Stoke Gabriel and took the dead-end road to Duncannon. There was time for a fifteen-minute pause to enjoy the views across the river Dart before we returned to Stoke Gabriel, the road beside the millpond leading us eventually to the Totnes road again. This was quite a short ride, but ideal for the two new cyclists - and for those with post-Christmas mince pie bulges!

Sunday 8 January 1989Day ride: OwleyDamp
16 present: Richard Burge, Luke Hatherly, Steven Hills, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Ian Luke, Trevor Piper, Laurence Porter, Philip Rhead, Peter Rushworth, Mark Sloman, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ken Twydell, Martyn Williams
This was a funny sort of ride, full of indecision. The problems were the varying amounts of drizzle and the proposed track route over the moor between Ugborough Beacon and Owley. We eventually rode all the way to Bittaford before deciding to omit the moorland section, riding instead through some delightful lanes near Owley and continuing onwards past streams and woodland to Shipley Bridge.

There were punctures and other mechanical problems along the way, notably from Luke Hatherly in the morning session when his rear derailleur fell apart - he had to be collected by a forgiving father. Departure from the Avonwick pick-up was delayed by one hour as a result of the mishaps.

Friday 13 January 1989
1900-2200
Social: Highway Code Quiz
11 present: Rebecca Burge, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner
Richard's quiz was a useful exercise for all members. It was rewarding to see a general improvement in knowledge, but not everyone was there of course.

Sunday 15 January 1989Day ride: Exeter Ship CanalDry / Cloudy
22 present: Michael Banks, Richard Burge, David Cutts, Jamie Davey, Damian Elsdon (15, Totnes), Craig Gillman, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Jonathon Hunt, Martin Hunt, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Laurence Porter, Jenny Quick, Philip Rhead, Andrew Simmons, Matthew Simpson, Mark Sloman, Ken Twydell, Kris White (14, Totnes)
Ride the path along the Exe from Starcross
The Buckfastleigh starters weren't late at the Gappah pick-up thanks to Kris's excellent first-ride pace. When everyone had finally arrived - with representatives from all corners of the region - it was clear that the Section had achieved a new record with more than twenty cyclists on an ordinary Sunday ride.

The usual route over Haldon brought us to the long and steep descent past Mamhead College: Michael's public health warning at the top seemed to work insofar as no-one came off on the nasty double bend at the halfway point. Taking the Powderham road from Starcross we were soon riding along the rough track that leads across the railway line to Turf Lock. Getting twenty two bikes and their associated riders across the line was a potentially hazardous manoeuvre, made more so by the fact that the far gate could not be raised from its hinges. Speedy lifting work shared by the several adults present eliminated the queue in double quick time, however.

Mark Sloman very thoughtfully chose this moment to break a crank. I say thoughtfully because it was definitely time for lunch, and the area around the lock proved an ideal setting for Mark to enjoy his food and contemplate how on earth he was going to get home. In the end he decided to push back to Starcross and ring for his father - accompanied by friend Damian.

Continuing along the muddy towpath Richard, Ian and Philip quickly decided that the wider track below and to the left would be a far more civilised route, with the added advantage that there would be a lower risk of falling into the canal. Initially they were gaining ground on the main group, but soon they encountered huge muddy puddles with hidden potholes and were seen to fall well behind. When the two routes eventually merged the threesome were thoroughly plastered with mud, but put on brave faces.

There were few fishermen today (and no fisherwomen). Progress along the final stretch of the path to Exeter was therefore unimpeded by the usual series of rods and grub boxes. The usual route to Alphington took us along a Tarmac track (sighs of relief from half the group, dismay from the mountain bikers) and through the industrial estate, from where we were pleased to escape to the relative peace of Shillingford St. George. By way of a change we returned to Haldon along the direct route, through Clapham and Underdown - the final climb was easier than the Dunchideock alternative, but was still the last straw for some of our younger members. They were only kept going by the sight of Paul's shopping basket (attached to the rear of his bike).

Those who reached the top first were rewarded with the sight of some deer crossing the road a short distance away. It really is amazing how much more wildlife can be seen from the vantage point of a bike (compared with a car), even when there are so many of us.

Chudleigh could not have arrived soon enough for many, its brightly coloured sweet shop proving irresistible despite the promise of a stop at Bovey's Brookside tearooms. Of course many riders indulged themselves at both establishments, the second proving very warm and not too pricey. How did the voting go? I'm afraid you'll have to wait until September for the results.

Paignton starters got home at a reasonable time despite some lighting problems along the way. Buckfastleigh contingent had to cope with two punctures, however, both of which waited for the darkest, wooded areas so as to cause maximum difficulty in the winter blackness. Members may be amused to hear that both punctures were in Michael's puncture-resistant rear tyre.

Saturday 21 January 1989Weekend ride: Instow Youth Hostel Day 1Sunny / cold
18 present: Fergus Fry (14, Totnes), Craig Gillman, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Jeremy Hunt, Jonathon Hunt, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Warren Masters, Mark Moxham, Laurence Porter, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Lee Thorn (13, Totnes), Eugene Tollemache, Kris White
More records were broken on this midwinter hostelling sortie to North Devon - the largest attendance for a midwinter weekend, and the first hostel weekend to attract new riders. In view of the large attendance from the Totnes area, Richard Hopper kindly cycled out to provide an official starting point at the Plains, with Jeremy and Eugene selecting an interesting route which seemed to pass through every nearby village.

Experienced cyclists will no doubt be aware of the problems that can be encountered when taking bikes by train. There can often be problems with six, so how would we fare today with eighteen? The 1235 service to Exeter had a cavernous guards van, as anticipated. The bikes were almost lost inside, and Craig even managed to cycle around inside (albeit briefly, and presumably when the guard was otherwise occupied). Problems were expected on the next service to Barnstaple, but with a two hour wait we had planned an excursion along the new Exeter cycleway, starting near Exeter St. Davids and continuing right across the heart of the city to the Country Park near Countess Wear.

The idea was a real hit with everyone. For those who haven't ridden it, the track is like a Tarmac path. A white line runs along the centre, with one side marked for cyclists and the other for pedestrians. They change sides every so often, apparently when the cycle section would otherwise run alongside the river Exe, so you have to keep your wits about you. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the whole experience was the high proportion of green open spaces that we passed through along the way. One might have the impression of a city-centre cycleway wending its way behind terraced housing blocks and along the side of busy main roads, but all we saw was parkland, rivers and maritime museums.

It was at the Country Park that we finally stopped for lunch, surrounded by a rural scene of woodland, river, ducks and apes (sorry, it was Craig hanging from the tree). Then, when one of the threatened showers appeared to be looming in the distance we set off for the return route, sadly just five minutes too late to miss the hailstorm.

Timing was perfect for the train. But here was the problem. The youngsters ran up enthusiastically to the guard, who told them that the DMU van could not take more than seven bikes. Horror-struck they called for Michael, who parleyed with the guard for a while. Eventually he agreed to let us see how many we could squeeze in, provided we kept a free passage through the centre and allowed him access to doors on both sides. The team set to work with the usual efficiency, and managed to get the whole lot inside. The guard stared in disbelief, asking us to repeat exactly how many bikes had been installed and wondering how Gestapo HQ could possibly have provided him with false information. Next time he is asked he will remember the impossible, which takes South Dartmoor CTC just a little longer than the possible.

The journey was an ideal opportunity to collect fares and just relax, enjoying the delightful rural scenery of mid and north Devon. One of the highlights of the journey came when Michael passed around a translation of a letter he had received from the Soviet Union. It read as follows:


Dear friend!

It is an honour for me to convey through you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all British cyclists!

I hope that this year will be a year of many cycling tours, trips and journeys around the USSR and Great Britain. I wish you happiness in your personal affairs, joy in everyday life, success in your work, patience and persistence in the cause of developing international cycle tourism!

Leonid Rzhepishevsky



Arriving at Barnstaple just a few minutes before 4pm we found ourselves almost immediately on another cyclepath, this time taking us straight to Instow. The weather was still sunny, but a strong headwind off the sea mad the ride a lot harder than it should have been. Arrival at the hostel followed within the hour, the leading group rushing to squeeze their bikes into the tiny bike shed. How pleased they looked as the others arrived: "Sorry, you'll have to leave yours outside!" Then the warden pointed to the huge, dry garage at the end of the track.

Our new Guide to Youth Hostel Weekends, given to all members before the event, seemed to be having the desired effect already. Signing in was very orderly despite the large number of membership applications and sleeping bag hires that had to be processed. And nearly everyone made their beds and washed before rushing to the members kitchen to burn their respective meals.

The atmosphere throughout the evening was very pleasant, the television attracting as much attention as the other hostellers and the Trivial Pursuit. OK, so there was one problem when Philip H took Michael's reserved vegetarian dish (by mistake?), but we all have our crosses to bear!

Highlight of the evening was the Crazy Post game, usually played at Maypool in March. After all that running around it was difficult to settle the newer members to sleep - just remember that we had special permission to run around the hostel like that; normally members should follow the YH guide to the letter.

Sunday 22 January 1989Weekend ride: Instow Youth Hostel Day 2Sunny / cold
18 present: Fergus Fry (14, Totnes), Craig Gillman, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Jeremy Hunt, Jonathon Hunt, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Warren Masters, Mark Moxham, Laurence Porter, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Lee Thorn (13, Totnes), Eugene Tollemache, Kris White
Laurence, Kris and Lee?
The group outside Instow YH
Lunch at Umberleigh station
Most people sleep at night, particularly after a day of cycling. There is usually an exception to the rule, however, and on this occasion it was Lee, who entertained everyone all night by throwing his blankets on the floor from his top bunk and then shivering loudly until Laurence threw them back up again. To top it all, he got dressed at 5.30am and wandered downstairs to watch tv! Clearly nobody had told him that wardens don't approve of such behaviour.

After an orderly breakfast and some doorstep photographs (some taken by our new friend Michael Stringer from Launceston) we set off into the morning. And what a morning it was. The sunshine and temperatures were enough to convince anyone that spring was here, and the abundance of primroses and snowdrops seemed to prove the point beyond doubt. The Torridge estuary formed a delightful backdrop during our descent to the village, with boats glinting in the sunshine and Appledore rising up behind.

North Devon Section had kindly agreed to meet us this morning to guide us around their territory. A few were waiting for us as we arrived; when the others turned up there were twenty five cyclists in the group. North Devon Section are all adults at present, so we had plenty of variety in the final group.

We took the cycle path back to Barnstaple - much easier now without the headwind - and then followed our friends to the fabulous St. John's garden centre near Newport. No, we hadn't all turned into gardening fanatics overnight. The centre boasted a superb cafe facility, situated to the rear of the retail area and surrounded by plants of all descriptions. This had to count as one of the nicest environments for a cafe. To make things better, the food was good and the prices were excellent.

Craig used the garden centre to good effect by buying a pair of gardening gloves. He had left his cycling gloves at home and had been suffering all morning from cold hands.

The lanes through Herner offered delightful scenery as they followed the river Taw towards Umberleigh. When Laurence broke a brake cable near Hawkridge the proposed extension route was abandoned, the group descending instead past Hoe farm to Umberleigh station. Mark couldn't help noticing the lambs "gambolling in the meadows".

Lunch was enjoyed in continuing sunshine at the station. We were early enough to see our homeward train on its outward journey to Barnstaple - and fortunately it consisted of two DMUs linked together, with two guard's vans. We were able to warn the guard, so he was ready for us when he returned.

Saying goodbye to our Barnstaple friends we settled down to enjoy the ride to Exeter. The train was so comfortable that some were sent to sleep - except those in the forward carriage who were entertained by a young gentleman wandering around bottomless (not one of our group I hasten to add).

I'm not sure whose idea it was to use the lifts at Exeter station, but it took a lot longer than carrying the bikes over the footbridge. To make matters worse, the lift could only accommodate about four bikes at a time. It was definitely more fun though. As the doors closed on the innocent cyclists, those queuing outside could here the gas filling the chamber. When the doors opened a few minutes later, the cyclists were gone ..

The next train back to Newton was not due for three hours, so the group elected to make the most of the good weather and cycle home. The route took us along Cowick street to Ide before depositing us at the bottom of Dunchideock Hill. This climb felt like mount Everest to some members. It was during the final ascent that Craig broke his rear derailleur. He said he was "just cycling along normally and it broke", getting itself caught firmly in the spokes of his wheel. There was nothing else to do except remove the offending item, shortening the chain so that he could ride the bike home in mid-range gears.

Everyone got home safely. Michael took Lee and Eugene home by car from Buckfastleigh to Totnes as it was getting rather late. And so it was that a great weekend came to an end. It had been a little tiring, but I'm sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Friday 27 January 1989
1900-2200
Social: Music Quiz
12 present: Rebecca Burge, Richard Burge, Chris Giles, Catherine Hopper, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner
Andrew's quiz had nothing whatsoever to do with cycling, but provided plenty of harmless entertainment.

Sunday 29 January 1989Day ride: Dartmouth CastleSunny
18 present: Michael Banks, Richard Burge, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Ian Luke, Laurence Porter, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor, Kris White, Martyn Williams
The outside thermometer read -2 degrees, so caution was needed early on, looking out for icy patches. Richard's start from Buckfastleigh was delayed for a few minutes to provide toolkit assistance to some passing riders, then we met up in Totnes with Michael, who had led the start from Marldon. With eighteen of us ready to go, there came a slight delay to replace Paul's frayed brake cable. At least he had a spare cable, even if it did still have a nipple at both ends.

On to Dittisham via Bow, and people were getting ready for lunch. They were disappointed as Michael directed us up the steep (double arrow) road to Bozomzeal Cross. The rather interesting track past Hole Farm prompted a mixture of comments: it was either delightful or Michael's name was mud. After lunch here we washed our bikes in Old Mill Creek, where Martyn insisted on amusing the rest of us by falling over in the water. The stiff climb up to Dartmouth itself warmed everyone up again, however, and we decided to visit the castle before the cafe (such momentous decisions are the stuff of cycling.) Tea was at the Spinning Wheel, where some had to wait outside until seats were available. It's worth noting that this cafe is open 10 - 6 every day of the year.

After the Higher Ferry and the long steady climb to Hillhead, the front riders missed the turn for Galmpton, so we split up just before Tweenaways instead. As darkness fell it began to get quite cold, but having had glorious sunshine all day we certainly weren't complaining.

Sunday 5 February 1989Afternoon ride: Bradley WoodsSome sun
43 present: Nick Buchanan, Richard Burge, David Cutts, Edward Denney (10, Buckfastleigh), Sam Ellis (12, Dartington), Chris Giles, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Peter Hern (12, Buckfastleigh), Steven Hills, Nathan Holmes (10, Paignton), Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Jackie Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, Jessica Hunt, Joanna Hunt, Jonathon Hunt, Martin Hunt, Nicholas Hydon (15, Newton Abbot), Arren Hymas (12, Totnes), Michael Jones, Rohan Kilty, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Daniel Lawrence (13, Paignton), Ian Luke, Nonie McKenzie, Jenny Quick, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Anna Ryman (12, Paignton), Andrew Simmons, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell (7, Paignton)
Another shot of the group
The group between Denbury and Broadhempston
More attendance records were broken today for our bimonthly excursion to the Broadhempston area. Bradley proved to be an unattainable destination for the Buckfastleigh starters, so Richard and Andrew were despatched to bring the Marldon masses back to Denbury, where everyone eventually congregated on the Green. Nick Buchanan, who teaches at Denbury Primary School and had been looking forward to his first afternoon ride that did NOT go to Denbury, was a little disappointed.

The enormous group meandered across to Broadhempston before the various factions returned to their respective regions.

Friday 10 February 1989
1900-2200
Social: Cycle Workshop
16 present: Richard Burge, Luke Hatherly, Nathan Holmes, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Martyn Williams
Gears was the topic this evening, including ratios, mechs and upgrades, with contributions from all quarters.

Sunday 12 February 1989Day ride: North BoveySunny
27 present: Richard Burge, Mark Elliott, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Peter Hern, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Jonathon Hunt, Nicholas Hydon, Michael Jones, Rohan Kilty, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Laurence Porter, Philip Rhead, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Lee Thorn, Kris White, Martyn Williams
The group at North Bovey
Paul wrestles with a puncture near the ford
Peter Hern and Mark Morris?
Three of our Totnes lads failed to arrive at the Buckfastleigh start, so Martin went off to investigate in his car. They were eventually discovered near Dartington, apparently delayed by a dog that ran off as they were about to leave home. They certainly wouldn't have met up with us without Martin's help.

Paignton and Newton Abbot starters were somewhat late at the Bovey pick-up, but eventually we set off along the railway path towards Lustleigh's Primrose Cafe. Rohan wasn't too amused with the stony track when various pieces of his bike detached themselves and fell off.

A long and comfortable stop at the Primrose, with 10% discount all round, ensured an impressive selection of high marks on the voting form. When everyone had finished we followed the B road along the delightful Wrey valley, having opportunities to enjoy the scenery because of a few chain problems along the way. Eventually we reached the destination, settling beside the ford for a well-earned lunch just as the only shower of the day obscured the sunshine. Paul HW seemed determined to get thoroughly wet, however, falling into the icy water as soon as he arrived.

When the time came to leave, the huge muddy lake that covered the exit track caused a few headaches. Some pushed their bikes along the high grassy bank to the left, brushing with brambles along the way, and some cycled through in a line, only to be stopped in the middle when the front rider stopped at the other end. A good few managed to ride through without mishap, however, although there were a couple of punctures to fix by the time we reached the road.

The banks of the river Bovey were adorned with Snowdrops. It really was a fabulous day to be out on a bike. John spotted the impressive Manor House Hotel as we climbed the steep hill towards Canna Park, and everyone commented on the sad state of Old Yard Farm, the former home of cyclist and rocking-horse manufacturer Tim Reep which burnt to the ground many years ago.

More punctures delayed us as we returned to Hemsworthy Gate via Jay's Grave. The Newton contingent caught some drama at Haytor: a lady had severely damaged her back on top of Haytor and a helicopter was winching her to safety with an ambulance standing by.

A huge proportion of the youngsters seemed to end up at Crofters today, consuming Michael's supply of fruit juice and biscuits for the entire week. Then, just after the Totnes brigade had set off for home, they got a puncture. You will see from our write-ups that we don't normally get this many punctures, but wet roads often increase the risk.

Sunday 19 February 1989Day ride: Bantham SandsWet
18 present: Richard Burge, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Matthew Houlson (15, Totnes), Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Trevor Piper, Laurence Porter, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Kris White, Martyn Williams
Jenny Quick was unable to do the Marldon and Totnes starts today, so Michael covered them by car. There were no convenient street parking places at Totnes so he paid the huge sum of £1 to leave it in a car park for the day.

The weather prospects were very poor for the afternoon, so Bantham Sands didn't seem a particularly brilliant idea. The group decided unanimously to shorten the ride, so we took the lanes to Marley Head, Bloody Pool and Gidleigh Bridge, the latter proving an ideal spot for lunch. Today it was Dayle's turn to get wet feet instead of Paul, whose efforts in packing spare socks and shoes were wasted.

We reached Crofters with perfect timing, just as the rain arrived. General entertainment was provided for the whole afternoon.

Michael felt quite pleased with his day until he arrived back at Totnes to collect his car. A notice by the meter said "Charging periods Monday to Saturday, 8am-6pm; no charge Sunday".

Friday 24 February 1989
1900-2200
Social: Games
14 present: Graham Burge, Richard Burge, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner, Gary Taylor
The warm and friendly environment provided by the Lakeman household made this a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Trivial Pursuit was the major attraction.

Sunday 26 February 1989Day ride: ShallowfordWindy / cold
12 present: Dayle Guy, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Jonathon Hunt, Martin Hunt, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Mark Moxham, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Dave Smith (Adult, Plymouth), Martyn Williams
Dartmoor ponies avoiding the snow
Visitors enjoying the snow at Haytor
Six of us, including Dave Smith from Plympton, set out from Buckfastleigh on a sunny morning that threatened to deteriorate. The ride to Bickington quickly warmed us up, and we arrived early for once. Mark and Ian soon appeared, along with Dave and Philip Robinson who had come by car. Martin and Jonathon Hunt joined us shortly after we had started up to the moor. Jonathon's machine had still been lacking a headset and bottom bracket at 10.30, so they used the car to catch us up.

The weather started to close down as we went up through Haytor Vale, and we had a mighty struggle against the wind on the final stretch up to Haytor car park. Here we were above the snow line, and the area was flocking with as many people as on a summer's day - building snowmen, throwing snowballs, tobogganing and jamming the roads. Before we descended Bone Hill the Hunts decided to return to their car, an icy shower having deterred them from going to the cafe in Widecombe just to struggle back up the hill again.

We had a quick lunch on the green and then tried the Green Restaurant. It's a delight for the connoisseur of the bizarre, pink inside, with wicker chairs and tables painted blue. From the outside it is difficult to tell what it was built for. You don't get much idea from the inside either. Dave Robinson likened it to a Methodist chapel without the service, and service is what we didn't get. There was one portable propane heater for the whole room, and we hogged it, in an attempt to dry out feet and warm up fingers. Around the room the furniture and tourist trappings for the summer trade stood stacked where they had been left at the end of the season. One waitress served the bemused customers. The price list was surprising, tea at 65p left even the Primrose Cafe in the shade.

However, value for money was provided by the unintended entertainments. Four of us on different tables had ordered tea, so the waitress brought four cups but only one teapot, leaving us to pour it out and pass it around. The wildlife was unusual. First there was a bird that flitted around inside before leaving via the fire exit door to the kitchen. Then in trotted two dogs, followed by their owner, who proceeded to feed one of them at the table while she ate. The other heckled any customer unwise enough to pass anywhere within ten feet. Twenty minutes after our order the waitress returned to tell Mark that his sardine sandwich was off - they had no sardines!

We tore ourselves away, having completed the cream tea form. Dave and Philip headed over Pudsham Down and back to Bickington, while the rest of us turned up past Southcombe towards Shallowford. The wind at the top of the hill was so strong that several of us were blown over. Turning for home with the wind generally behind us made things easier. After Leusdon and Holne the track past Shuttaford was chosen to please Dayle. (Mark and Ian weren't too impressed, however.)

Sunday 5 March 1989Afternoon ride (Buckfastleigh): Ponsworthy SplashDry
20 present: Edward Denney, Dayle Guy, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Paul Hamlyn-White, Luke Hatherly, Steven Hills, Nathan Holmes, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Elsa Kelly (15, Loddiswell), Shane Powell (12, Buckfastleigh), Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner, Mark Sloman, Richard Voisey, Mark Ward (12, Devon), Martyn Williams
Someone was being optimistic when they chose Ponsworthy as the destination for this afternoon ride. No-one really expected to get there, but in the event we got quite close.

The outward route was through Hembury Woods (just to make everyone happy), with half the group taking the track alternative to Hembury's enormous hill. Edward seemed to regret it afterwards, as it was a bit muddier than usual, but the rest seemed happy enough.

When we arrived at Spitchwick it was decision time: should we try for the destination or take a shorter route home? Since all present were performing well in the mild weather we decided to go on, tackling the second enormous hill of the day through Leusdon. There were some complaints from the rear of the group, it proving necessary to stop at Lesudon Lodge for refreshments to spur them on to the top.

Time was definitely pressing on arrival at Leusdon Common. We were just a stone's throw away from Ponsworthy, but the descent of another hill would have brought us home after dark. Richard took half the group back to New Bridge along the (now famous) Dr Blackall's Drive whilst Michael took the others straight down Poundsgate Hill.

The return via Peartree was punctuated by a broken rear axle (Martin's) and the delayed return of the energetic bunch, but at least we got home before darkness fell. Hopefully everyone found something of interest in this varied ride.

Sunday 5 March 1989Afternoon ride (Paignton): BabbacombeDry
13 present: Peter Hern, Briany Humphreys, Dave Humphreys, Nicholas Knapman (13, Devon), Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Jenny Quick, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell
We hadn't gone far down the road towards Cockington and the sea front before Jenny had to return home. She had recently injured her back, and we all hope she is soon feeling well enough to rejoin us.

Babbacombe Downs was very windy and cold today. To make matters it started to rain just after we arrived. There was opportunity for a little off-road riding before we cut back through Watcombe, Barton and then Coffinswell, Ken amazing everyone with his stamina as he raced up the hills with his son Paul on the trailer.

Friday 10 March 1989
1900-2200
Social: Video Evening
11 present: Richard Burge, Chris Giles, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Ian Luke, Jason Morris, Shane Powell, Luke Rake, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner
Innerspace was this evening's video, slightly unbelievable but entertaining nevertheless. Alan was unfortunately ill, so his evening was not as much fun as it should have been.

Saturday 11 March 1989Weekend ride: Bellever Youth Hostel Day 1Variable
20 present: Richard Burge, Jamie Davey, Craig Gillman, Luke Hatherly, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Matthew Simpson, Eugene Tollemache
Weather was perfect for the outward journey on the Saturday. There was a delay at the start when Mark Lakeman's crank fell off and Michael discovered that Andrew S hadn't returned his crank extraction tool, but the local garage solved the problem.

The ride across the moor was superb, but the track through Laughter Hole didn't provide Toby with much amusement - his derailleur fell apart and we spent half an hour searching for the jockey wheel! A warm welcome at the hostel, both from the warden and from his huge open fire, helped the frozen searchers to a speedy recovery

Sunday 12 March 1989Weekend ride: Bellever Youth Hostel Day 2Very wet
20 present: Richard Burge, Jamie Davey, Craig Gillman, Luke Hatherly, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Philip Humphreys, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Ian Luke, Mark Morris, Mark Moxham, Shane Powell, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Matthew Simpson, Eugene Tollemache
There really isn't much to say about Sunday. It rained all day and everyone got thoroughly soaked and miserable. The brave ones managed to cycle home but a good few rang for help from various telephone boxes along the route.

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