South Dartmoor CTC


Sunday 12 November 1989Day ride: Fernworthy ReservoirDamp
17 present: Richard Burge, Julian Duquemin, Dayle Guy, Luke Hatherly, Peter Hern, Martin Hills, Simon Hopper, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Martin Luke, Peter Riggs, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Gary Taylor
Our first Grade Three ride of the month took us rapidly to Bovey Tracey and then onwards towards Sanduck. We must have been in a hurry, because we didn't even stop at the Primrose Cafe!

After a quick lunch, a vote revealed that everyone wanted to press on to Fernworthy even if this meant being late home, so off we went, arriving close to 3pm. Now this was very late of course, and by the time we had enjoyed a few minutes riding around the grassy banks of the reservoir and ridden the few hills back to Widecombe it was dark, cold and 5.35. Would there be a cafe open to save us? Well, the Wayside was shut. But what was this? The Green was open! We had to swallow our pride and accept their hospitality, despite our earlier criticisms.

Several had hot meals, which were quite expensive even with our discounts. There was plenty of food, however, and we spent a good hour thawing out before we finally set off for home. Parents collected the few who couldn't face the ride home.

Friday 17 November 1989
Social: Map Quiz
14 present: Anthony Davis, Julian Duquemin, Chris Giles, Luke Hatherly, Richard Hopper, Toby Hopper, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Mark Lakeman, Paul Lakeman, Martin Luke, Alan Skinner, Gary Taylor, Steven Taylor
We are grateful to the Taylor household at Paignton for opening their doors to our youngsters for this important social. Hopefully all those who attended learned a little about Ordnance Survey maps that they didn't know before. Rumours were circulating that Michael had eaten a sausage roll during the proceedings (he's vegetarian of course), but no-one actually saw the event.

Sunday 19 November 1989Day ride: Ten Commandments StoneDamp
14 present: Joseph Bellows, Julian Duquemin, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Martin Luke, Alan Skinner, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
The poor turnout from Paignton had with them Matthew Jago, still cycling after his muddy experiences two weeks earlier. There were no cyclists at the Totnes pick-up but we did see Martin Hunt there, and the ensuing chat made the group late for the Buckfastleigh pick-up.

From there, we took the old A38 towards Ashburton before turning off and climbing seemingly endlessly to the lunch spot. However, the view from the Stone was well worth the long walk - I mean ride.

As we were about to set off, after lunch, it was discovered that young Joseph had bent his derailleur. Michael good-naturedly effected a temporary repair and we continued across the moor where both Ken and Julie (with trailers) came off.

On the Bonehill descent to Widecombe, we met the Torbay Section on their way home and had a quick chat.

After tea at the Wayside cafe we set off for home in the gathering dusk, when it was noted that not everyone had adequate lights. We must point out that everyone must bring working lights on all rides from October to March, and on all evening rides.

As we passed Leusdon Lodge we dropped in to confirm the Christmas Lunch booking and some of us stocked up on sweets.

The darkness and the (by now) constant drizzle took their toll and most of us were glad to get back to Buckfastleigh.

Sunday 26 November 1989Day ride: RingmoreCold / bright
10 present: Robert Crabbe (15, South Brent), Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Richard Hopper, Dave Humphreys, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Simon Paull, Gary Taylor, Stuart Young
Taking the tidal road near Aveton Gifford
The glare of the sun produces an interesting effect near Ringmore
The Buckfastleigh contingent were delayed at South Brent when Martin Hills went to rouse his friend Robert from his Sunday morning slumbers. He didn't rest until he had dragged the poor lad all the way down to the Avonwick pick-up. Perhaps it was all worthwhile, as he agreed to join us on future rides.

When Dave and Gary had unloaded their car (!) there was a long wait for Steven and Martin who were riding cautiously in view of the icy conditions. Martin's puncture didn't help either. It was about midday when we finally set off, enjoying the descent to Ermington and then exploring the narrow, hilly and attractive lanes towards Kingston. Lunch was taken near Tor Rock in glorious sunshine.

Continuing past Kingston we came across Martin Rushworth and his family. They had been walking near Ringmore, but didn't really expect to see us. About half the group took the detour to Ringmore, where Steven was unexpectedly waiting for us. He had elected to follow on at his own pace after meeting us at Avonwick.

In view of the excellent weather conditions we decided that we could afford to return along the tidal road to Aveton Gifford. When members had been duly photographed (they had to ride back and forth four times in all) we explored another new road, this time to New Bridge. Michael was particularly frustrated to collect three separate punctures in his Nutrak tyres along the muddy lanes. To make matters worse, he only discovered two during repairs, and had to pump a slow puncture for the rest of the return journey. The Avon Mill cafe provided an oasis of warmth before the speedy route home through Avonwick and Rattery.

The youngest rider today was Simon Paull, who coped very well with the longish ride right up to the very end, when the cold night air began to take its toll.

Friday 1 December 1989
Social: Highway Code Quiz
12 present: Richard Burge, Anthony Davis, Chris Giles, Paul Hamlyn-White, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner
Computer Games and the issue of various newsletters and tour information packs occupied the first half of the social. By the time the last of the road sign questions had been given it was time for some to go home. Marks were generally quite good, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

Sunday 3 December 1989Afternoon ride: West OgwellCold
19 present: Michael Giles, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Michael Jones, James Losh, Martin Luke, Ben Mitchell (13, Widecombe-in-the-Moor), Mark Moxham, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Erin Staniland (12, Buckland-in-the-moor), Helena Unknown (Junior, Devon), William Whiteside (13, Widecombe-in-the-Moor), Stuart Young
West Ogwell is easier to reach from Marldon than it is from Buckfastleigh - the steep hill to Chuley Cross is just a sample of the rugged terrain that must be tackled along the way. It was not surprising, therefore, that the Buckfastleigh starters were late, but this was no excuse for a number of impetuous members to ride straight past the pick-up point on arrival! It was almost impossible to miss Dave Humphreys' yellow waterproofs in the nearby glade. Perhaps they were still trying to lose the little dog that had been following us from Waye Farm near Woodland.

The ride continued through Denbury to Broadhempston (much to the annoyance of the Paignton contingent who had just come that way), from where the various groups went their separate ways home. The new riders, all from the Widecombe area, were collected by car after performing admirably on the ride. And Luke Hatherly also called for help when he realised he didn't have any lights.

Sunday 10 December 1989Day ride: Mamhead ObeliskCold
12 present: Hazel Brown, Richard Burge, Dayle Guy, Philip Harler (11, Buckfastleigh), Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Martin Luke, David Robinson, Alan Skinner
Luke Kudliskis, Martin Luke, Alan Skinner and Marcus Kudliskis
The youngsters "testing" the equipment at Trusham playpark
Mamhead is a small parish on the massive east flank of the Haldon Hills, which rise to over 250m. Mamhead Park is exceedingly beautiful, with many noble trees, and views over a luxuriant landscape to the sea. It was Thomas Ball, then owner of the estate, who erected the obelisk on the hill above the house in 1743. Its purpose was to provide a landmark for vessels using the port of Exeter, or any others who might be driven onto the coast. The area provided an interesting but chilly lunch spot for us: Martin and Dayle had no intention of freezing, however, when they could be riding around the many tracks that crossed the surrounding woodland.

Dayle was on his new mountain bike today, and rumours were circulating that he was shaping up to be another Budgie - keeping both himself and his bike ultra clean, even after the muddiest of rides. Budgie listened to the conversations, but said nothing as he munched on Martin's Ice Gems.

There was disappointment all round when the proposed afternoon tracks were found to be closed. There was now no doubting everyone's desire to get to a cafe, so a route was selected that brought us eventually to Bovey Tracey. (I say eventually because Phillip's chain broke on the top of Haldon.) Along the way we paused briefly in the peaceful village of Trusham - not so peaceful when our youngsters carried out some tests on the wooden playground apparatus. They made so much noise in that quiet place that a local youngster came along to join in the fun. The verdict was that Trusham playpark was better than Buckfastleigh's equivalent.

When Hazel had finished musing over how things might have been if she had bought the house in Trusham a number of years ago, and Dave Robinson had completed his assessment of the village (he was very taken with it) we proceeded to the Brookside Tearooms for some well earned warmth and refreshments. The old lady in the cafe took an obvious shine to the younger members, and gave them special treatment. She even helped them as they got onto their hands and knees looking for Luke K's 50p which he assured us he had dropped - he later found it in his pocket and put on the appearance of surprise!

The air seemed warmer as we rode homewards, but it probably wasn't. For once we had plenty of time to enjoy the return, even exploring some interesting lanes along the way. New rider Phillip Harler had coped well with the ride, and probably hadn't really needed the morning lift to Gappah after all.

And so we reached the end of a thoroughly enjoyable midwinter ride; not too long, but with some interesting locations. One final point: the Observation Award for today's ride goes to Alan Skinner. As we arrived at the Waddon Brakes section of the A380 near Beggars' Bush, he asked why cars were overtaking around a right-hand bend when they obviously couldn't see if the road was clear. The answer, of course, was that the road is in fact one-way, being the Exeter-bound section of a dual-carriageway. It is one of the few places where the two carriageways are completely separated.

Friday 15 December 1989
Social: Bicycle Workshop 2
9 present: Richard Burge, Anthony Davis, Chris Giles, Simon Hopper, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, David Robinson, Andrew Simmons
We were honoured that young Christopher Giles chose to join us on his birthday, but disappointed at the otherwise low turnout. This was partly a result of the flu epidemic that was sweeping the country, and partly (I'm sorry to say) because the social was at Paignton.

Those who took the trouble to attend witnessed a full demonstration of bearing removal and maintenance. Many thanks to the Jago household for putting up with us all.

Sunday 17 December 1989Day ride: Christmas Lunch RideShowers
45 present: Erica Brown, Hazel Brown, Richard Burge, Anthony Davis, Julian Duquemin, Michael Giles, Dayle Guy, Paul Hamlyn-White, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Peter Hern, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Catherine Hopper, Margaret Hopper, Richard Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Dave Humphreys, Philip Humphreys, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Ian Luke, Martin Luke, Simon Paull, David Platt, Philip Roberts, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, Alan Skinner, John Stuart, Debbie Twydell, Ken Twydell, Paul Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday, Jeremy Weston, Martyn Williams
Luke Hatherly was not pleased. He had braved cold showers and a stiff headwind to reach the Newton Abbot pick-up with Mike Giles and Martyn Williams, and now he had a puncture. If he had been hoping for some moral support from the Paignton contingent, he was disappointed. Oh yes, they arrived all right, but in a car! Dave Humphreys' car! And they hadn't even brought their bikes. They waited just long enough to see him remove his wheel and then carried on to Bickington without them.

A lot of members chose to travel to Leusdon Lodge by car, some because they had flu and others because they had heard the bad weather forecast. Even so, there were plenty of people at Bickington waiting for the Totnes group. Included among them were Hazel and Erica Brown, who were convinced they had booked a meal and paid for it when in fact they had not. This wouldn't have been a problem last year, but today the large dining room would be filled to capacity.

When Luke and co hadn't arrived by 11.30 we had to abandon them to their fate or we would not have reached Leusdon by lunch time. The Paignton Car Riders Club agreed to direct them along our chosen route when they eventually arrived and then go on to Leusdon to attempt a booking for Hazel and Erica. Mike Giles would be able to navigate, and we hoped they would catch us up before very long.

The journey was not uneventful. Michael had a blowout in his Nutrak Marathon Beltguard tyre on the way to Cold East Cross. He managed to patch it up quite quickly and soon caught up with the others, but he vowed never to buy Nutrak again. The sunny periods often gave way to some brutal, icy showers which almost proved too much for young Anthony Davis. Nevertheless, we arrived at Leusdon spot on time at 1.15pm and were soon settled into the dining room enjoying some delicious meals. Mike, Luke, Martyn and Martin arrived just as we were tucking into our first course, so they didn't miss much.

It was indeed a grand occasion. All previous South Dartmoor attendance records for Christmas Lunch rides were smashed with a 60% increase. Conditions were somewhat cramped however: there was a certain amount of seat changing during the meal, with some taking turns at sitting on the window ledges. But the meal offered excellent value at just £137.20, and we are as usual extremely grateful to the proprietors. Let us hope that the Section doesn't grow any more before next year, so that we can use Leusdon once again.

When the trophies and certificates had been awarded and all announcements had been made, it was time to set off for home. Richard Hopper led an enthusiastic bunch of trackers along Dr Blackall's Drive, whilst Michael took the younger members directly homewards. Typically, Michael's group ended up taking longer than Richard's, because they got four punctures between them. We always seem to get punctures when conditions are dark, cold and wet and everyone wants to get home! The youngsters coped well, however, and deserve every praise for riding to this very special event.

Sunday 24 December 1989Day ride: AshpringtonVery wet
18 present: Jeremy Ford, Philip Harler, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Ben Hobday, Karina Hobday, Roxanne Hobday, Matthew Jago, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Ken Twydell, Julie Twydell-Hobday
The Met Office had promised heavy rain before 9am for our Christmas Eve ride - disappointing, because many members were taking up Michael's challenge to provide the best-decorated bike. When no rain had arrived by 10am we (foolishly) decided to push on to the Totnes pick-up to meet the Paignton contingent.

The decorations were assessed at Totnes. It was immediately clear that Ken, Julie and family would have to be the clear winners: Mum and Dad wore Father and Mother Christmas outfits whilst Ben, Roxanne and Karina were dressed as gnomes, complete with red pointed hats! Special awards went to Martin Hills for his enormous tinsel Christmas tree (which was blown off at Huxham's Cross), David and Chris Platt for their well-decorated bikes (they even had tinsel halos!) and Alan Skinner for his mini Father Christmas in a mini bed on his pannier rack. Luke and Marcus Kudliskis and Matthew Jago also deserve a mention for their more conventional efforts.

Sadly (but predictably), now that we were at our farthest point from home, the first drops of rain began to fall. Once Julie's puncture had been repaired we sped back to Buckfastleigh along the main road at top speed, receiving many strange looks from passing motorists! Secretly we all knew the effort was futile, and sure enough the torrents began as we rode through Dartington. By the time we reached Buckfastleigh everyone was drenched, including Father Christmas who somehow managed to get lost in the town. A search party was despatched and he was soon retrieved, although he wasn't in a particularly jolly mood when he arrived!

Those living in Buckfastleigh went home to change and joined the others at Crofters for the rest of the day. When everyone had enjoyed lunch and dried off somewhat (Michael did a load of washing and drying for the crowds) we settled down to watch the film "Labyrinth". It was still raining heavily when it finished, so transport was kindly provided by Mr Harler and Michael for those living farther away - except Matthew and Martin, who chose to ride home early in the rain!

Friday 29 December 1989
Social: Christmas Social Spectacular
25 present: Nathan Arecco, Richard Burge, Anthony Davis, Julian Duquemin, Jeremy Ford, Chris Giles, Luke Hatherly, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Catherine Hopper, Simon Hopper, Toby Hopper, Michael Jones, Luke Kudliskis, Marcus Kudliskis, Martin Luke, Chris Platt, David Platt, Luke Rake, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Andrew Simmons, John Stuart, Jeremy Weston, Martyn Williams
Video interviews from this evening's social
There was plenty of entertainment at the last social event of 1989. More than half of those present were interviewed on camera about their views on mountain bikes, club rides and many other topics - the resulting video made good viewing later in the evening. There were then hot vegetarian mince pies with ice cream, numerous computer games, outdoor and indoor bowls, and then a "Give us a Clue" type game where team members had to convey the name of a town to their team-mates by drawing pictures on a board!

Sunday 31 December 1989Day ride: Higher AshtonDry
19 present: Joseph Bellows, Jamie Davey, Philip Harler, Mark Hedges, Martin Hills, Steven Hills, Roger Johnson, Michael Jones, Martin Luke, Jenny Quick, Peter Riggs, David Robinson, Philip Robinson, Martin Rushworth, Peter Rushworth, Alan Skinner, Gary Taylor, Eliot Thomas-Wright (9, Buckfastleigh), Martyn Williams
The group at Canonteign Falls
The group at Canonteign Falls
Michael was late for the last ride of the decade. When Joseph had asthma problems near Ashburton and had to ring his parents we became even later, eventually arriving thirty minutes late at the Chudleigh Bridge pick-up.

Before we continued we had to comment on the many cycle-type Christmas presents, including Philip Robinson's very smart Mountain Equipment fleece and Martin Luke's new gears. We were also pleased to welcome Jamie Davey, Mark Hedges, Peter Rushworth and Peter Riggs back to the Section after a period of absence.

We solved Phillip Harler's gear problem by setting the chain on the middle chainring and then set off for Canonteign Falls cafe. It was closed, sadly, so we enjoyed lunch onñ the grass outside. Quite why the conversation turned to "What Michael had for Christmas dinner" remained a mystery!

We spent the next hour or so walking up to the Buzzard's Nest viewpoint at the top of the falls. The surrounding woodland, which had suffered a certain amount of storm damage, was very peaceful today.

When group photographs had been snapped by Jenny and Michael we set about climbing the steep lanes towards the reservoirs. Unfortunately Michael made the mistake of guessing at a junction near the top, so we missed the reservoirs as planned. Some found an interesting track detour, however, where Martyn got a mysterious puncture.

The ride was concluded with a descent through Hennock - a village we rarely visit. Part way down the hill Martyn punctured again. It appeared to be caused by a covered spoke, however unlikely that may seem. We covered it with an extra layer of tape and had no further problems.

Members went their separate ways home after an early cafe stop at the Brooksñide Tearooms, Bovey Tracey.

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