South Dartmoor CTC

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Monday 26 August 2002Tour: Switzerland Day 9 Brienz to Hospental YH (51 mi)Hot & sunny; damp & cold on mountain
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Glaciers near the top of the Alps
Waterfall near Brienz
Grimsel lake
The climb goes on
Michael at Grimselpass
Tao and Gavin at Grimselpass
Gletsch
The incredible descent to Gletsch and the distant climb towards the Furkapass
Tao looking back to Gletsch from the glacier visitor centre
Gavin and the Rhone Glacier, viewed from the visitor centre
The group at Furkapass, the highest road of the tour
The Rhone Glacier
The group at Furkapass
Video from today's ride
Monday was the day we had long been dreading - a long ride with a massive 2660m of climbing, taking us right up to the heart of the Swiss Alps. Youth hostels in Switzerland are few and far between, so to keep the costs as low as possible we had to cope with occasional tough days. Route 8 was our guide for the first part of the day, so we set off towards Meiringen where lunch and yoghurt drinks were procured ready for the start of the big climb.

Progress was steady, although at one point we thought that a landslide on the scree slopes far above us would end our adventure prematurely. At Guttanen (1057m) we stopped briefly to look at one of the crystal museums, displaying smoked quartz and other minerals found in the nearby area. Some were enormous, and many were mounted still located on their base rocks.

A lunch stop on a grassy bank overlooking the fast-flowing river was followed by further climbing along hairpins, through tunnels, past many noisy Swiss cattle with their clattering bells, past the Räterichshoden reservoir at 1767m and on to Grimsel Lake at 1909m. Along the way we were joined briefly by an overladen Dutch cyclist who was half way through a solo round-Europe tour. He certainly had staying power, but he agreed that it was more fun with two, and that he had brought far too much luggage. We had to stop for water and refreshments at a roadside cafe, which seemed to be the only real sign of habitation in an otherwise desolate area.

Soon we had climbed the final hairpins to the Grimsel pass at 2165m, and the sight that awaited us was quite breathtaking: a sudden drop to 624m to the tiny village of Gletsch which we could see nestling in the valley below us. The route down involved numerous hairpin bends, all of which could be seen from our vantage point. The route out on the other side could also be seen, however, with its intimidating set of hairpins taking us back up another 674m past a prominent glacier. This was clearly going to be a tough finale.

The downhill took little more than 8 minutes and was truly exhilarating. It was around 5.30 when we reached the bottom, however, and we were already tired from our earlier climbing. The first real drizzle of the tour swept in as we reached the half-way point on the climb, and by the time we reached the Furkapass at 2431m we were cold, damp, hungry and tired. It was quite an achievement, though: this was not only the highest road of the tour, but also the highest road any of us had ever ridden. Ahead of us lay 15 miles of solid, steady downhill riding that proved to be one of the most enjoyable descents of the tour. We might have enjoyed it even more if our hands had not been so cold, but the temperature increased noticeably as we descended. Had it been worth the effort of bringing the tour to the mountains? The unanimous decision was that it had been the highlight of the tour.

It was nearly dark when we arrived at the tiny village of Hospental at 1452m. It was fairly primitive by Swiss standards, but it had a kitchen and some very powerful showers that turned backs into tea-strainers in seconds. The routine was interrupted briefly when the shower failed to accept any more coins, and with the wardens having "gone home" there seemed little chance of getting it fixed. No phone numbers had been left for us, but fortunately Michael had brought a number from the hostel web site: they were willing to come out to fix the shower, but their first question concerned how I had found their telephone number!

We were sharing the hostel with a group of Swiss schoolchildren from the Zurich area, on a three-day walking trip with their teachers. They were full of the joys of summer, but the group leader thought it best to shout at them a bit to make sure they knew we were tired. We felt really guilty, because they were very well behaved children compared to those from England. We were, however, grateful for the absolute silence that enveloped the hostel as we slept.

Tuesday 27 August 2002Tour: Switzerland Day 10 Hospental to Chur hotel (66 mi)Very hot and sunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
An afternoon water stop at Valendas
Oberalppass, beginning of a very long downhill
Video from today's ride
Tuesday morning dawned early for us, in line with our plans for a prompt departure. We shared our breakfast with the Swiss children who showed obvious pleasure when we complemented them on their overnight quietness. Fortunately one of them was half English and was able to act as translator. We had to answer a torrent of questions before they set off one way for their daily walk and we set off towards Andermatt for our 66-mile journey along the Rhine.

Shopping at Andermatt Coop was followed by an early morning climb to Oberalp pass (2044m) in brilliant sunshine. What followed was probably 15 miles of uninterrupted downhill all the way to Disentis - another fabulous experience.

The source of the Rhine was nearby, and now we were following the Anterior Rhine for the rest of the day. Our cycle route detoured from the main road to include some quiet tracks and forests on the other side of the river. Soon we were riding on level riverside tracks for miles as we made excellent progress through to Ilanz. From here the river continued through the treacherous Rinaulta canyon - often names the Grand Canyon of Switzerland - so our route took us on a long and gradual climb to the south, through many peaceful villages. The descent on the other side was long and took us over a precarious bridge (that Tao could easily rock!), along a dangerous cycle path with panoramic views of the canyon and shear drops to the left, and past yet more vineyards.

After a little more up and down riding past the confluence of the anterior and posterior Rhines, we arrived at our planned destination for the night: Felsberg. There were no youth hostels in the area, so Michael had been forced to find other accommodation for the night. There were several hotels costing roughly twice the price of a hostel, but when he found a b&b for around the cost of the cheapest hostel, he had booked it straight away by email. We had an address to go by, and after searching every street in the town we eventually found the place – a farm on the edge of the village. The first people we met didn't speak any English but directed us with hand signals to take our bikes into the barn. When they then opened another door and showed us into a small stable we began to get a little worried. There was some lovely clean straw laid out in the concrete animal bays and some greasy-looking blankets piled up on a shelf opposite. Several flies buzzed angrily on the inside of the tiny wire mesh windows, and all of us started itching ever so slightly. At this moment the husband appeared, and he managed a little English. Michael laughed with him, saying we had thought for one moment that they expected us to sleep on the straw. He laughed back, and said that was exactly what they expected us to do. Michael laughed a little more and asked if we would have to go milk the cow for breakfast next morning as well: he laughed back and said that breakfast wasn't included in the price. Michael asked how we were supposed to get any sleep on straw: he showed us how to mould the straw into a pillow and lay the blanket over the top. He said we were supposed to have sleeping bags, but we could probably manage without as it was quite warm. Michael asked if there was a kitchen we could use: he told us there was no kitchen and they didn't do meals.

This was all too much for Oliver, who was tired, hungry and used to life's luxuries. He refused point blank to sleep on straw. In fact, he almost refused to even try making a bed on the straw. Tao, although not quite so vocal, was of a similar mind, so there was nothing for it but start the search for new accommodation at 7.30pm. The farmer said he would quite understand if we chose not to stay there, so we set off to try the local hotel and restaurant.

As one might have expected, they had no vacancies, so Michael referred to the list of cycle-friendly accommodation in the cycling guide and picked a cheapish but modern-looking hotel in the nearby town of Chur and contacted them with Oliver's mobile phone. They had vacancies, so off we set once again, hoping to arrive before darkness fell.

The hotel was shaped like a pyramid and situated on a traffic island in an out of town shopping area. The bottom floor of the building was principally dedicated to a McDonald’s restaurant. In fact the rooms turned out to be very comfortable, and whilst the McDonalds meal was less than adequate in many ways we spent an enjoyable night luxuriating in soft sheets and hot showers.

Wednesday 28 August 2002Tour: Switzerland Day 11 Chur to Jona-Rapperswill YH (68 mi)Very hot and sunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Video from today's ride
Chur is the oldest city of the northern Alps, its history going back 5000 years. We didn't really perceive its ancient past as we sat in the attractive modern courtyard of the Migros shopping centre eating our breakfast from the disposable bowls we had just purchased. This was our way of saving money, and it turned out to be a very pleasant start to the day. The downside was that it was past 11am when we finally set off.

We followed the Rhine downstream through Zizers and Landquart and on through the vineyards of Malans, Jenins and Maienfield to Fläsch. Here our route took us on a path right beside the now large river, the water being a glacial grey colour. We took the opportunity to test the water temperature, and would have been very happy to spend a few hours just lying there in the morning sunshine.

Now was the time to leave Route 2 and the Rhine to re-join the Lakes Route (9) from the northern end of the country. The going remained easy and quiet as we rode through Flums to Walenstadt, and remained easy all the way along the length of the enormous Walen Lake. Near the end of the lake the road and cycle path went through two adjacent tunnels in the mountain, the cycle path having periodic unglazed windows to the lake on the right and the highway on the left. It really was an unusual experience.

The cycle signs let us down at the Bilten roundabout, and we inadvertently ended up following the wrong cycle route for a mile or so. We quickly backtracked, however, and were soon following the Linth canal to Schmerikon, where a quick refreshment stop prepared us for the final sprint to Rapperswill.

It took us twenty minutes to find the hostel, which as usual was not signposted at all form our direction. It really was a very good hostel, located in a meadow setting to the south of the town. There was no kitchen, so the food we had brought with us was useless, but the warden here showed us an information sheet we had not previously seen which told us which hostels had kitchens! As luck would have it, neither of the final two hostels had kitchens either. We had arrived too late for the hostel meal, so after settling into our rooms we rode the short distance to the nearby Sports restaurant, situated adjacent to some very impressive sports facilities that included a large number of professional indoor and outdoor tennis courts.

This was an Italian-speaking area, and nobody at the restaurant seemed to speak any English at all. The menu looked interesting, but we really didn't have a clue what food was available. Eventually we established that the chef spoke a little English, and with his help we were served what turned out to be the most delicious, succulent steaks we had ever tasted in our lives. Luke was happy since the rest of us had bought him his meal as an 18th birthday treat. Everyone wanted to order more steaks, but time was pressing so we had to get back to the hostel and plan an early enough start next morning to guarantee a hostel meal at Lucerne the next evening.

Thursday 29 August 2002Tour: Switzerland Day 12 Jona-Rapperswill to Lucerne YH (56 mi)Very hot and sunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Jona-Rapperswill youth hostel
Video from today's ride
Just two more cycling days to do, and at last we had organised ourselves to get away early. Leaving the hostel we quickly re-joined route 9 and found ourselves riding across the dividing road between two huge lakes: Ober and Lucerne. Even at this time of the morning the heat was intense as we set about climbing the hill on the south side of Lake Lucern, to the classic clanging of the Pfäffikon church bell. Half an hour was wasted with a wrong turn, but we were soon on the correct short-cut cycle route through Schindellegi to Biberbrugg - a main road, but it shortened our route by several miles.

The next few miles took us past the last big area of preserved high-swamp in Switzerland. Peat was removed in the past but the area is now conserved for the animals and plants that thrive there. Once we reached the village of Rothenthurm, height 923m, the rest of the day was pretty much downhill or flat, so we sat back and enjoyed the ride. The first descent brought us to Sattel, at the head of Lake Ägeri, and a seat by the side of the lake seemed an ideal spot for lunch. The cowbells echoing quietly across the lake helped make our stop particularly pleasant. It was here that we discovered the fastest Mallard ducks in the world, making mad dashes across the water to be sure of getting our bread scraps first! Cowbells echoed quietly across the lake.

Just 4½ miles of level riding brought us to the other end of the lake and the small town of Unterägeri. Swiss road-builders showed us how to do a professional job on sealing the join between two sections of tarmac whilst some of us bought more food from the local delicatessen, then there was more downhill for miles to the lakeside town of Zug. This was a new lake - Zuger - at a lower level than the last but just as enormous. We quickly found our way to the lakeside where there was a small market selling and demonstrating local crafts - the blacksmith making an axe kept us all enthralled for half an hour!

Riding along the lake front with its avenues of trees we noticed an ice cream hut in the shade: we were all thirsty with the sun beating down on us, so we decided we could definitely afford a ten-minute stop in this beautiful setting. The church bells of Zug rang out in the distance, making us feel as though we were in some kind of heaven - we really could have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, just lying on the grass in the shade of those trees with the sun reflecting off the lake in front of us.

The path took us around the northern end of Lake Zuger, past the village of Cham and several fields of sunflowers and thence to the final riverside path to Lucerne which seemed to go on for miles. We arrived at the Lucerne lake front by just after 5.30 and, after viewing the information map of the town, realised we shouldn't have come so far down. On the other hand we had hoped to do a little souvenir shopping in the town, and since there would be no time next morning we made use of the opportunity now while we were there. A torrential thunderstorm blasted the streets for the few minutes we were in the shop, but minutes later it had departed, leaving us pleasant evening sunshine for our final ride through the intriguing cobbled streets.

Lucerne hostel was another modern building with a huge reception lobby, a spacious first floor restaurant, card-operated dormitory locks and motion-activated lighting. There must have been a fault in our washroom, however, as the lights went off while we were in the shower and wouldn't switch back on again no matter how much we moved! Tao was even caught in the lavatory - opening the door and waving his hand about didn't make a scrap of difference. The restaurant meal offered excellent value and then, for once on the tour, we actually had a little time to just sit around and chat before we went to bed. What a luxury!

Friday 30 August 2002Tour: Switzerland Day 13 Lucerne to Basel YH (71 mi)Hot and sunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Morning cycling on the cycle routes
Video from today's ride
Friday, our final day of cycling, saw us leaving by 9am to retrace our steps along route 9 to Emmen and then join Route 3 for the long but level journey back to Aarau. This was agricultural countryside, and our route consisted of numerous lake-side and river-side cycle paths. We wanted to be sure of arrival at Basel by 6.30 so we just kept on cycling for mile after mile, all the way along the north-eastern side of Lake Sempacher. As we rode through the delightful village of Sursee with its cobbled streets, patisseries and street cafes we were very tempted to stop for refreshments. For some reason we just kept on riding - I think we all felt we had missed out on something a little special.

For many more miles we followed the riverside path with no sign of shops in any direction. When the small village of Schöftland rose up before us we all took the plunge in the hope of finding a supermarket for yoghurt drinks. There was a supermarket, but the local bakery seemed a much better idea when we saw the range of cakes and fancies on offer. Our favourite was a solid banana-shaped cake that turned out to be made from a banana soaked in some delicious juices, coated with special jams and finished with an all-over chocolate layer - expensive, but delicious.

Pressing on again we managed to reach Aarau by lunchtime. The route took us right into the shopping area of the town, attractively pedestrianised and laid out with hundreds of bicycle stands, a childrens' play area and a small park. Having purchased our food there was no argument whatsoever about settling down in the shade of a tree and watching the locals cycle and walk about their business.

Now came the final climb of the tour as we rode the quiet tracks and roads to Rohr, where the presence of a local water trough once again provided welcome relief from the sweltering heat. The 963m pass was a welcome site when it honed into view, and the lengthy descent on the other side offered a cooling breeze that revived us all. One more refill from the mountain spring at Rotherfluh gave us all the refreshment we needed for the final haul through the rail-side towns of Sissach and Liestal, bringing us finally to Basel youth hostel by 6.30. This had been our longest day of cycling, and we could all feel it.

When we came down for our meal we were told that the dining room was being used for a function, so we had to wait in the common room for a member of staff to serve us there. The common room consisted of two tables, each of which could take perhaps 5 people, but one was piled high with books and luggage and the other was in use by other hostellers who were eating a meal. We stood around for a while until a coloured gentleman came in who spoke virtually no English whatsoever. We tried to explain that one of us was vegetarian, but we might have made more progress by conversing with the table. He went away to fetch the food, still leaving us standing: we were tired and hungry, and this didn't feel like it was worth £5! After a while we cleared the other table ourselves and sat down, and then, sure enough, the meals emerged. They looked rather unappetising, but they tasted good and were not undersized.

For some of us the day's cycling was not yet over. Our bike bags were still at Mariastein-Rotberg hostel, and they had to be collected. Tao and Oliver volunteered to fetch them, passing up the option of using the free tram service, whilst Gavin, Michael and Luke worked out and practiced the journey to the station that would have to be made next morning in record time. It was gone 11pm when we finally got to bed.

Saturday 31 August 2002Tour: Switzerland Day 14 Basel to Home (2 mi)Sunny
5 present: Tao Burgess, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Video from today's ride
Rising at 6.30am was not the best way to start our final day, but it had to be done. Our train left at 8.04 but we had to be at the station by 7.40 to load our bikes. The journey would take 10 minutes, so we just had time to grab a little of the hostel breakfast before we had to leave. Unfortunately, one of our five sets of dormitory keys had been mislaid the previous night, and no matter how much we told Tao that he was responsible, he couldn't find them. There was nothing else to do except pay the £25 fine and hope we would find the keys when we got back to England.

And so it was that we said farewell to the country that had been our host for nearly two weeks. We were sad to leave in many ways, feeling that we would miss the mountains and cycle paths, the lakes and the sunshine. Our SNCF train to Paris was luxurious by comparison with our outward train: spacious, air-conditioned, comfortable and quiet - so quiet in fact that we all spent much of the journey asleep in our seats. The train was on time of course, so we had plenty of time to ride through Paris to Gare du Nord, dismantle our bikes, pack them in the bike bags and buy baguettes and pastries for the Eurostar train.

In stark contrast to our journey from England, everybody and everything was checked for the return journey. Our bike bags and luggage were scanned - the monitors clearly showed the frame and wheels inside. We had to show passports, and we had to answer questions from immigration. When all that was done there was only just time to heave our luggage onto the train before it was time to leave. I can't think why, but we managed to get some more sleep on the Eurostar! And this time, since we had absolutely no intention of going through the pain of carrying the bike bags across London again, we reassembled the bikes as soon as we got off the train.

The final part of our journey wasn't totally smooth, as Waterloo underground station wouldn't allow us to board trains there with bikes because "the station is so deep". We had experienced no such problems when coming out of the underground two weeks earlier, but now we were told to ride across the Thames to Westminster underground station and board the circle line there! We began to wish we hadn't reassembled the bikes after all! The traffic was horrendous, but at least we got to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament as a bonus for our trip.

So that was almost the end of our adventure. The consensus on the final train journey to Newton Abbot was that the tour had been the best we had ever organised. Where would we be going next year? Lots of ideas were circulating, but you'll just have to wait and see what we decide. Rest assured, it will be good!

Sunday 1 September 2002
1415-1645
Afternoon ride: LandscoveWarm and sunny
5 present: Ryan Edmondson, Luke Fursdon, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
We were all surprised to find John Hayes waiting at the start after an absence of several years. He's been getting a 2.1 in his computer science degree, but now that he's back in Devon again for a while he hopes to come on many more rides.

Our planned route to the Landscove cafe had to be shortened a little after Ryan came off on the newly-laid gravel surface of Colston Road, but we still managed to enjoy good conversation and high quality refreshments in the shade of the mature trees in the cafe's garden.

Friday 6 September 2002
1900-2130
Evening ride: TotnesShowers
6 present: Tao Burgess, Stan Ford, Luke Fursdon, John Hayes, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley
We didn't know where we were heading at the start of the ride, but a number of semi-random decisions and junctions brought us via Dean and Rattery to Totnes as dusk was falling. The cycle path to Dartington was interesting in the near darkness. John Hayes was struck in the face by something he described as "warm, furry, around 250g and unattached to the nearby plant life". After dismissing owl droppings and boom microphones we settled on a bat with defective radar as the most probable explanation.

Returning along Colston Road, Stan had the misfortune to break his chain. In view of the time he decided to take up Luke's offer of a tow, and later Tao and Philip's offer of a push, the latter offering high-speed cruising of the most enjoyable kind!

Sunday 8 September 2002
1000-1245
Morning ride: DiptfordWarm and sunny
2 present: Stan Ford, Michael Jones
Only Michael & Stan turned up for the planned ride to Mothecombe Beach, so we agreed on a shorter ride to Diptford which gave us plenty of time to chat. Along the way we met Torbay easy riders and joined them for the ride back towards South Brent.

Friday 13 September 2002
1900-2130
Evening ride: HolneSunny and warm
5 present: Stan Ford, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
By taking the old Ashburton road to River Dart Country Park, riding through the park and following the woodland track up towards Holne we reversed one of our usual routes and turned it into a new experience for all of us. Dusk was falling as we rode through Holne with the scent of freshly-dried hay all around, but there was still time for the long dark climb through Coombe to Cross Furzes before we made the final descent to Buckfastleigh.

Sunday 15 September 2002
1000-1700
Day ride: Hennock Reservoirs (36 mi)Cloudy start, sunny later
3 present: Stan Ford, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
The Brookside Tearooms at Bovey Tracey had changed considerably since our last visit to the town. The owners, wishing to "downsize" the establishment and raise some new funds, had built a new cafe in the once-attractive gardens and sold the rest of the grounds for housing. New stone walls had been constructed all around but had been topped with an ugly layer of cement. We weren't impressed, but at least the refreshments were acceptable.

Gavin was having considerable knee pains today so we took our time on the ascent of Hospital Hill and settled on a grassy spot beside Trenchford reservoir for lunch and a chat in the afternoon sun. It was a lazy afternoon and the time quickly slipped away.

The North Bovey ford proved too much of a temptation for Stan, but sadly the soft sand in the deepest section foiled his attempt, leaving him with very wet feet. There was time to dry out in the sunshine again at Hound Tor as we enjoyed ice creams and drinks.

Friday 20 September 2002
1900-2050
Evening ride: StavertonCloudy but dry
3 present: Stan Ford, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley
This turned out to be another highly enjoyable excursion through the quiet lanes around Landscove, punctuated with intriguing conversation, numerous bats and owls and a stunning full moon overlooking the distant lights of Totnes. During the ride we decided to run our first car-assisted ride of the year on Sunday, to the new lanes and scenery of north-west Dartmoor.

Sunday 22 September 2002
0945-1600
Day ride (Car-assisted): Lydford Gorge (20 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Stan Ford, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley
Michael's last minute bottom bracket bearing repairs delayed our start somewhat, but at 10.15 we finally set off across the open moor with bikes stowed carefully in the back of the Volvo estate. Our plan was vague: park near Peter Tavy and explore the countryside towards Lydford Gorge. The parking was easy, and almost immediately we noticed a cycle route sign of the kind we had been following in Switzerland - most unusual for England. This was National Cycle Network route 27. We didn't know where it was going, or where it had come from, but we decided to follow it and see what adventures it would bring.

To our surprise the route immediately took us down a very narrow path, alongside a river and over a narrow bridge surrounded by woodland. It was the kind of place you could settle down for an afternoon nap and lose hours of the day in peaceful communion with nature! Continuing, we were led across the Tavistock main road and down across some delightful new countryside. After a mile or two the sign took us off road again, along a moorland path that was not clearly defined. There were no further signs to guide us, and we quickly found ourselves at the entrance to a private house, a hundred metres further south than we should have been. A course correction brought us back on track again, but we rode right past the place where we were supposed to leave the moor - no signs jumped up and grabbed our attention, so maybe we were supposed to use a special cycle route map? To cut a long story short we continued along what seemed to be the right track until we had passed through a ford and ended up in the middle of a very grassy meadow that had no path and no exit. Only then did we realise that we had taken a wrong turn, so considerable backtracking was required.

It was all good fun though, and soon we were enjoying our packed lunches on the grass near the National Trust entrance to Lydford Gorge. Disappointingly we were unable to view the gorge without paying a hefty entrance fee, so the ice cream shop had to suffice for our entertainment.

We had been riding downhill for much of the morning, and now we continued the trend with a very long descent that followed the other side of the gorge. It was here that Michael's missing map became a problem: we had to guess the route that linked the edge of one map to the edge of another. None of us knew the area at all, and we were working to a deadline as Stan had to be back at Buckfastleigh by 4pm. Fortunately our first guess was the correct one, leading us down into the gorge and up the very long climb on the other side towards Brentor.

There was not quite enough time to climb the little hill on which Brentor church resides, so we sped off for yet more downhill nearly all the way back to Peter Tavy. We loaded our bikes back into the car we pondered how it could have been possible to have spent most of the day riding downhill and still end up at the same height! This has been a tremendous outing, taking us to brand new territory and new adventures - I'm sure we'll be arranging more during the coming year. And as for those cycle paths, we'll make a point of exploring as many as we can from now on.

Friday 27 September 2002
1900-2100
Evening ride: StavertonDry
4 present: Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
By the time we reached Staverton, Gavin's knees were starting to get painful again. Darkness had already fallen, so a smart left turn seemed the sensible solution, taking us home the shortest route via Green Lane. We concluded our final evening ride of the season with drinks and a chat at Crofters.

Sunday 29 September 2002Day ride: Cancelled
1 present: Michael Jones
Ride cancelled.

Friday 4 October 2002Social: Annual General Meeting
1 present: Michael Jones
Insufficient members could attend the AGM this evening, so it was postponed to a later date.

Sunday 6 October 2002
1015-1330
Morning ride: IpplepenFine
4 present: Julian Duquemin, Daniel Houghton (Junior, Holne), Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
Daniel H, from Holne, has been thinking about joining one of our rides for many years, and today his dreams became reality - albeit on Michael's spare bike. Our route took us through Staverton, where the annual raft race was in full swing. Water levels were extremely low, making the going difficult on many stretches of the river, but this merely added to the entertainment value for the waiting crowds.
Daniel was doing fine so we pressed on through Broadhempston to Fermoys restaurant at Ipplepen, where there was plenty of time for interesting conversation over our drinks and scones. The homeward route took its toll somewhat, but Daniel was keen to come again next week for another exciting adventure with South Dartmoor CTC!

Friday 11 October 2002
1900-2200
Social: Badminton
4 present: Ryan Edmondson, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
We were able to book a badminton court at South Dartmoor leisure centre, Ivybridge, and enjoyed one and a half hours of energetic combat on the court. Multiplayer XBox games provided further entertainment when we returned to Crofters.

Sunday 13 October 2002
1015-1330
Morning ride: CancelledTorrential rain
3 present: Daniel Houghton, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
Badminton seemed a much better activity to be pursuing on such a wet morning - we were able to book a court at Ashburton at short notice and enjoyed 5 excellent games.

Friday 18 October 2002
1900-2200
Social: Badminton
4 present: Daniel Houghton, Michael Jones, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
By unanimous vote from those present we did a re-run of last week's social with a badminton session at South Dartmoor leisure centre, Ivybridge, followed by some XBox games on our return.

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