South Dartmoor CTC


Friday 3 January 2003
Social: Cinema Trip, Star Trek Nemesis
6 present: Joe Blackman (13, Buckfastleigh), Isaac Blackmore, Andrew Bouchier (12, Buckfastleigh), Josh Ireland (13, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
There was a good turnout for the long-awaited Star Trek film, Nemesis - the tenth and most action-packed of the series. The film did not disappoint in any way.

Sunday 5 January 2003
Morning ride: DiptfordVery cold, but dry
2 present: Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
Warm gloves and woolly hats were essential items of clothing on this freezing January morning, the first of the New Year. There was plenty of frost-adorned scenery to admire along the river Avon from Avonwick to Diptford, but the most treacherous riding conditions were reserved for the second half of the ride. Approaching a notorious corner on a back lane near Blue Post we encountered a huge sheet of ice stretching from one hedge to the other. Near the bottom was a Volvo that had lost all grip and turned 90 degrees to completely block the lane. A tractor soon solved the problem for the driver, but ours continued as we negotiated a river of ice that stretched all the way down the hill from Pennywell Farm to Dean Prior. It certainly was an eventful ride!

Sunday 12 January 2003
Morning ride: HolneSunny but cold
3 present: James Browning, Michael Jones, Tommy Roberts
The rough track along the stream through Hembury Woods more than qualified for James and Tommy's Stage 1 Off-road award, and even provided free entertainment in the form of large sheets of ice and frozen mud. The light sprinkling of snow grew heavier as we climbed to Holne, and the prospect of a grand snowball fight in the park proved irresistible. All that running around got us more out of breath than the climb!

When James had finished his lesson about the low friction between icy roads and bicycle tyres we continued past Gallant Le Bower in brilliant sunshine to the top of Hembury. There was more fun for James on the track descent past the fort as he decided to ride into a tree - clearly he wanted to have as much action as he could get today! The final lap back to Buckfastleigh rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable mid-winter ride.

Friday 17 January 2003
Social: Badminton
5 present: James Browning, Daniel Houghton, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts
We could only book a single court this evening, at Ivybridge, but we had a lot of fun as usual. Somehow Michael lost his racquet on the way back - let's hope it turns up soon.

Sunday 19 January 2003
Morning ride: HolneSunny, with wintry showers
4 present: Jake Chilcott, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Matthew Thompson
The lower Hembury track provided more entertainment this week for three new youngsters, all keen to progress their off-road scores on the training programme. The overnight rain had left a fair amount of mud around, but that didn't bother Matthew as he splashed his way through puddles and streams.

We had hoped to stop briefly at Holne play park, but today it was actually being used by some local children. We proceeded along the ridge to Hembury Fort and got a little Frisbee practice in before the first shower persuaded us to move on. The final descent of the Slalom track through Hembury offered plenty of action to conclude a fun ride.

Friday 24 January 2003
Social: Home Cinema, AI
7 present: James Browning, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Phillip Oakley, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts
This exceptional film, which explores the fine line between robots and humans, provide an evening of top quality entertainment for everyone, made all the more enjoyable by Michael's new widescreen television.

Sunday 26 January 2003
Morning ride: Totnes Café (14 mi)Sunny and warm
9 present: James Browning, Jake Chilcott, Wajeeh Izharuddin (11, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Jamie Mason (14, Buckfastleigh), Angus McGuiness (12, Buckfastleigh), Ben Parker, Tommy Roberts
Three new youngsters helped make this the largest attendance of the year so far. We wanted to include a cafe in the ride today, to help everyone towards completion of their Stage 1 certificate, so we headed off along Colston road. The cycle track from Dartington to Totnes along the riverside was a new and highly enjoyable experience for many of the youngsters, taking us past the weir and a number of swans, and through the wood where trees have sprouted right in the middle of the path.

The Terrace Cafe decided to put us on tables outside, where the general verdict on the food and drink quality was highly favourable. The journey home was to be via Littlehempston, but problems began at the top of the steep stony track: the local farmer had been busy, leaving all the hedge trimmings across the path. Of course the youngsters didn't notice, so when we reached the bridge at the bottom we had no fewer than 6 punctures to repair! The main victims were Ben and James. A seventh, caused by Angus riding over a drawing pin, seemed to stay up as long as we didn't remove the pin! And of course there was also Jamie's derailleur to reassemble.

An hour later we finally set off for a very late return home. Everyone did remarkably well, especially in view of the fact that it was nearly 3pm when we got home. Michael's supply of chocolate rations kept everyone going, so in the end there were a lot of points added to the Training Programme score sheet, which probably made it all worthwhile.

Friday 31 January 2003
Social: Badminton
4 present: Daniel Houghton, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson
This was Ben's first ever attempt at playing Badminton. By the end of the session he was pleased to be able to hit a selection of serves and returns.

Sunday 2 February 2003
Morning ride: Totnes Café (16 mi)Sunny and fairly warm
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
By pure chance, the different group of riders on this week's ride chose a similar route to last week's ride, but there were a few differences. There was a different cafe - more rustic, upmarket and expensive than last week's, with an excellent range of home-baked cakes. We took the road route around the track that caused all the punctures last week, thereby avoiding any delays at all. We detoured home through Broadhempston rather than Staverton. And, because there were no punctures, we got home by just after 1pm.

All in all this was an exhilarating ride, made all the more enjoyable by the welcome return of Tao to our ranks after an absences of several months. There was more talk of possible destinations for the summer tour - check out our web site for the latest information!

Friday 7 February 2003
Social: Music Quiz
5 present: James Browning, Ryan Edmondson, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Tommy Roberts
James and Tommy battled against Ryan and Ben for first place in this fast and furious music quiz. With chocolate bar prizes for the winners of each round there was frantic guessing for the names of every disguised film theme, game tune or TV theme that was played by the PC. At the end of the evening, scores were level pegging at two rounds each, and Michael was amazed just how many songs the youngsters seemed to know!

Sunday 9 February 2003
Morning ride: Cross FurzesSunny and fairly warm
4 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Ben Parker
After last week's longer ride Michael decided on a shorter excursion this week, either to Ashburton or South Brent. Oliver, of course, had different ideas, and managed to persuade us to climb all the way up Wallaford Road for the prospect of a moorland ride to Chalk Ford. Ben worked hard for more than half an hour to get there, spurred on by the thought of off-road down hilling to a moorland stream. On reaching the top, however, Oliver decided that (as Michael had said from the outset) the moor would be too wet for cycling!

We made the best of the situation by enjoying the downhill to Coombe and then returning home for 12.30.

Friday 14 February 2003
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
6 present: Ryan Edmondson, Daniel Houghton, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts
Tommy and Ben found out just how hard it is to knock down 10 skittles without the lane barriers - but they both achieved some impressive strikes and spares, and will no doubt been even more formidable opponents on our next visit!

Sunday 16 February 2003
Morning ride: AvonwickCold and grey
5 present: James Browning, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Angus McGuiness, Tommy Roberts
Two new pairs of gloves had to be purchased before we could make a start, and then Wajeeh had a puncture and decided to fix it at home. A brisk climb was essential this morning to get us warmed up, so we climbed Dean Hill and skirted around Harbourneford before enjoying the descent to South Brent. The cafe looked inviting, but we needed to keep moving in order to make it home by 1pm.

Descending to Avonwick we enjoyed the cobbled track that runs alongside the river Avon. Several of the youngsters were suffering a bit from the cold, so the main road served as a useful shortcut to Rattery. Here, a poultry show offered some comical entertainment before we tackled the final climb to Pennywell and home.

Friday 21 February 2003
Social: Badminton
3 present: James Browning, Michael Jones, Tommy Roberts
James and Tommy demonstrated their enthusiasm for badminton this evening by bringing their own racquets and playing at a much higher level than when we last saw them. Apparently they have been practicing at school!

Sunday 23 February 2003
Morning ride: AshburtonSunny spells
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Ben Parker
Ben was pleasantly surprised by the significant lack of hills on this morning's excursion to the lanes behind Ashburton. He won 10 bonus points (!) for spotting the narrow mill house by the side of the lane, so he now only has to earn another 2190 points to get a free chocolate muffin!

We made good speed along the occasionally-muddy woodland track that runs alongside the river, then headed for Ashburton for a cafe stop. Unfortunately all the cafes in town were closed, so after bumping into Julian on Western Road we rode back to the Grange cafe at Buckfast to carry out an experiment on the relative sizes of their large and small mugs. The result: the contents of a large mug will just fit into a small mug!

Friday 28 February 2003
Social: Home Cinema, Man Without a Face
5 present: James Browning, Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts
Our special 2-hour cinema presentation this evening was the superb Mel Gibson Drama "The Man Without a Face". Since a tragic accident left him hideously scarred seven years ago, Justin McLeod has hidden away in his cliff-side retreat. Meanwhile the locals have delighted in painting him as a perverted mad man with a horrific past. Twelve-year-old Chuck Norstadt is also an outsider. Alienated from his family, he awaits the day he can go to a boarding school far from home - but he has to pass his entrance exam first. Then by accident, Chuck meets Justin McLeod. Instead of a horrible freak, Justin turns out to be the friend and tutor Chuck always needed. That Summer, in the inspiring tradition of "Dead Poets' Society", Chuck and Justin discover a friendship which enables them both to face the world that has for so long rejected them.

Sunday 2 March 2003
Morning ride: Fermoys, Ipplepen (20 mi)Sunny and warm
5 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Daniel Smith II
This was Daniel's first ride with us since last summer, but he was bubbling over with energy so we decided to aim for Fermoys restaurant just in case it proved an achievable target. Ben, who was now working towards his Stage 2 certificate, also had an eye on ticking off his 20-mile ride stage point.

Both boys rode well up the intimidating Caddaford Hill, through Staverton and on to Broadhempston. It was decision time, but the prospect of excellent cakes and drinks simply proved irresistible. After another hill that got both Daniel and Ben calling Michael names, we arrived at Fermoys by 11.45 and settled down in the sun-flooded garden to enjoy scones and freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Suitably refreshed we set off for the daunting return journey via Woodland and Ashburton, with both lads beginning to feel the pain. A few chocolate bars were required to coax them the last few miles, but they finally made it home by 2.30 having just achieved the target of 20 miles. This was not a ride that Daniel will forget.

Friday 7 March 2003
Social: Swimming
7 present: James Browning, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts, Daniel Smith II

Sunday 9 March 2003
Morning ride: River Dart Country Park (11 mi)Windy, cloudy and cold
7 present: Tao Burgess, Jake Chilcott, Michael Jones, Jamie Mason, Gavin Pearson, Daniel Smith II, Ben Wyeth (11, Buckfastleigh)
Another new youngster, Ben Wyeth, joined us for the climb through Buckfast to Scoriton and Michelcombe. His gearless BMX bike was a little hard for climbing the hills, but he managed very well and was soon joining the others rolling tyres in Holne park.

The off-road was the bit Daniel had been waiting for, and he wasn't at all disappointed with the long winding woodland track leading down to River Dart Country Park. There was a little mud at the end, but that just made it even more fun from Daniel's point of view. The ride finished with the riverside track from the park back to Hembury Woods, along which Jamie had to take out his car foot-pump three times to re-inflate his tyre. After the ride we discovered that the puncture was caused by another enormous thorn from the 26 January ride - which increases the puncture count for that ride to seven!

Friday 14 March 2003
Social: Computer Games
2 present: Michael Jones, Daniel Smith II
Daniel learned some of the strategies required to be successful at the amazing PC game: Total Annihilation.

If you have enjoyed reading these reports please send us a comment using the form on our Contact page