South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 12 September 2003
1900-2115
Evening ride: Sigford (10 mi)Warm
4 present: Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
A short ride took us through Ashburton towards Sigford and then home on the lanes on the south side of the A38. Michael's expensive front light was absolutely superb - until the battery went flat. As Oliver said, it really does help if you charge it!

Saturday 13 September 2003
1500-1815
Afternoon ride: New Bridge (8 mi)Warm and sunny
4 present: Jake Chilcott, Ben Collins (II), Michael Jones, Jamie Mason
To accommodate some of our younger riders who could not make the scheduled rides, Michael arranged a special swimming ride for them to the river Dart near New Bridge, making the most of the hot weather.

Sunday 14 September 2003
1015-1615
Day ride: Mothecombe Beach (36 mi)Hot and sunny
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley
Everyone voted to extend today's morning ride to a full day ride, and in view of the excellent weather, Mothecombe Beach or Salcombe seemed good choices. We put off the final decision until we had climbed Dean Hill, purchased a good lunch from the Plymco store at South Brent and continued to Kitterford Cross. The rich blue skies - and the long descent - finally swung the decision in favour of Mothecombe.

We were all a little sleepy this morning for various reasons, and the heat certainly made the ride a little harder. By 12.30, however, we were descending the final hill to the beach overlooking the Erme, and a few minutes later we had found a private, shady spot where we could watch the many other beach visitors as they juggled and played football in the distance.

One of the highlights of this ride is the ritual crossing of the Erme - impossible at high tide and only really enjoyable at low tide. Fortunately the tide was completely out today, so with bikes raised high and shoes removed we waded across the shallow waters to the far bank. Tao and Oliver, who hadn't fancied the prospect of getting wet to the waste, found the whole adventure much more fun than they had anticipated. With no map we just about remembered our way home, although the planned detour through Aveton Gifford, Avon Mill cafe and Totnes had to be replaced by California Cross garage and South Brent after some particularly unhelpful signs led us astray!

Friday 19 September 2003
1900-2045
Evening ride: Venford ReservoirFairly warm
2 present: Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley
A long climb brought us to Venford Reservoir by dusk. Plans to try the track descent to Michelcombe had to be abandoned, however, owing to severe absence of light, so we just enjoyed a long chat in the midst of this moorland tranquillity and then returned home via Hembury Woods.

Sunday 21 September 2003
1015-1300
Morning ride: Buckland-in-the-Moor (16 mi)Sunny and warm
3 present: Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
Our planned cafe stop at the Round House, Buckland, had to be hastily rearranged to the ice cream van at New Bridge when we discovered that the former was now, finally, closed. While we were enjoying our refreshments on the verge, two families of cyclists arrived with various children accommodated in child seats and Rann trailers.

Friday 26 September 2003
1900-2045
Evening ride: StavertonWarm
3 present: Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson
We didn't attempt anything too strenuous for our final evening ride of the season - just a spin along Colston Road to Staverton and home through the lanes.

Sunday 28 September 2003
1015-1600
Day ride: Hamel Down (26 mi)Warm & sunny
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley
Everyone felt like making the last ride of our summer season into a full day moorland ride, so we rode to Ashburton and up the long climb of Auswell hill to Cold East Cross. Tao had recently discovered a new moorland track, from Bonehill rocks to Natsoworthy, and this morning he introduced the route to the club. The track was rideable all the way and took us through some superb scenery - it really was quite exciting to discover such a new excursion after so many years of Dartmoor cycling.

Widecombe was the planned lunch spot, and because we were making such good time we decided to ride Hamel Down before lunch. We enjoyed a short rest by the stream inside the gate before setting off up the gradual climb past the RAF memorial and then riding along the long ridge of Hamel Down for several miles. We hadn't ridden this route for a good few years so the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable. After the breakneck descent at the end we settled into the Green cafe at Widecombe for a satisfactory meal.

We still had plenty of time so Tao suggested Dr Blackall's drive, ensuring that this was one of the most off-road and enjoyable rides we had organised for many months.

Friday 3 October 2003
1900-2200
Social: AGM
2 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones
A number of plans were agreed for the coming season that should boost the Section's membership, including a revision of the Junior Training Programme, publication of new information packs, heavy advertising of the Section in as many locations as possible, later starts for Sunday rides (for the benefit of those youngsters who don't like getting up early on Sundays) and new parental consent forms. Changes commence 5 October, and all changes should have been rolled out within 2 weeks.

Sunday 5 October 2003
1100-1500
Morning ride: Dartington (16 mi)Sunny with a slight chill in the air
4 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, David Robinson
Our new season of 11am morning rides was given a special send off this morning by David Robinson, attending his first ride in several years. Will also deserves mention for getting up before 6am so that he could cycle back from his friend's house to be on the ride.

We chose a leisurely ride (for David's benefit) along Colston Road to the Cider Press Centre at Dartington. The queue for Cranks restaurant was rather large so we visited Muffins outdoor cafe for some delicious drinks and refreshments in the morning sunshine. The cycle path to Totnes was delightful this morning, affording David new insights into the activities of the Buckfastleigh to Totnes steam railway. Our return route was through Littlehempston and Staverton.

Friday 10 October 2003
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
A combination of games, videos, hot chocolate drinks and relaxed conversation yielded and enjoyable, informal social evening.

Sunday 12 October 2003
1100-1335
Morning ride: Landscove (12 mi)Cloudy but dry
5 present: Jake Chilcott, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Jamie Mason, Gavin Pearson
Jamie wanted to test his new bike, so we chose a route that included as much off-road as we could find. From Green Lane we took the track towards Abham electricity station, then climbed behind the station to include the downhill track to Hole Farm. Staverton offered the usual riverside path, but our plans then went somewhat astray as the youngsters couldn't resist the temptation to skim stones on the fast-flowing river.

When the fun was finally over we decided to miss out Beaston track and head for the cafe at Landscove. Our faint hope that it might have been open was dashed on arrival, so we made the most of Michael's mobile chocolate shop and headed back via Green Lane. Perhaps Fermoys cafe at Ipplepen - open all year round - would be a good destination for next week's ride!

Friday 17 October 2003
1830-2230
Social: Cinema Trip
9 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Jake Chilcott, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Jamie Mason, Sean Nicholson, Gavin Pearson
This evening's cinema trip proved so popular that two cars were required to provide transport to Plymouth. The film - Finding Nemo - was excellent and kept everyone thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.

Sunday 19 October 2003
1100-1405
Morning ride: Dartington (12 mi)Cold but dry
10 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Jason Dart (11, Buckfastleigh), Kane Edwards (11, Buckfastleigh), Josh Ham, Michael Jones, James Manning, Keir Manning, Ben Parker
New riders Jason and Kane helped to swell numbers to the largest since June - and it was really good to see Keir, James and Ben return to club riding after a long break. Once Jason learned that high gears are good for going fast, he made good progress along Colston Road, but after climbing the hill to Dartington Kane needed a rest to recover from a stomach pain. This seemed like a cue for a cafe stop, so we dropped down to the Cider Press Centre and, in a repeat of the 5 October ride, transferred from the long queue in Cranks restaurant to the much shorter queue for the outdoor Muffins cafe around the corner.

Suitably refreshed from numerous cakes, hot chocolates and toasted cheese sandwiches we set off once more for Staverton Bridge, where the steam train arrived moments afterwards packed with late-season tourists. There was just time for a short detour along the riverside path, but then we really needed to head straight for home via Abham. Jason discovered the sharpness of the corner bear Caddaford farm but the hedge lightened his landing so he came out smiling.

Everyone had enjoyed the ride very much, but there was more fun during the afternoon games social as four youngsters passed their puncture repair test and received JTP certificates.

Friday 24 October 2003
1900-2215
Social: Games Evening
8 present: Jake Chilcott, Ben Collins (II), Kane Edwards, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Connor Macleod (9, Buckfastleigh), Sean Nicholson, Ben Parker
A relatively quiet evening of computer games kept everyone happy.

Sunday 26 October 2003
1100-1340
Morning ride: Holne (12 mi)Sunny, cold at times
11 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Kane Edwards, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, James Manning, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, David Robinson
The end of British Summer Time left no excuses for anyone to be either late or tired on this perfect autumnal morning. We had only reached Buckfast when Josh's bike needed its wheel bearings tightened, but there were no further problems and we were soon enjoying refreshments and Aerobie contests in the play park at Holne. Louis thought it would be a good idea to soak his head in the stream, but soon began to pay the price as the cold air took its toll.

The ride continued along the woodland track to River Dart Country Park, offering plenty of fun for our newer riders and helping them towards their first certificates. The final road section from Ashburton to Buckfastleigh left plenty of time for an afternoon games social at Crofters.

Friday 31 October 2003
1900-2215
Social: Badminton
6 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Kane Edwards, Michael Jones, Connor Macleod
Our first badminton session of the new season had to include some very basic training for Kane and Connor, who found it difficult to hit the shuttle let alone serve with it! The other four players enjoyed some entertaining games.

Sunday 2 November 2003
1100-1500
Morning ride: Fermoys (19 mi)Sunny, cold at times
9 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Jake Chilcott, Kane Edwards, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, James Manning, Jamie Mason, Ashley Myhill (15, Buckfastleigh)
New rider Ashley performed incredibly well on what turned out to be a very long first ride. We took the flattest, most direct route to Fermoys to maximise our chances of reaching a destination that many members had been asking to visit for several weeks. Ultimately, reaching it did not prove a problem, and the availability of half-priced roast meals for the children meant that everyone was thoroughly rested and recharged before we started on the journey home.

Louis and James had the most difficulty with the last few miles, mainly because they had pushed themselves to come on the ride even though they were suffering from colds. Nevertheless we got everyone home by a reasonable time.

Friday 7 November 2003
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
4 present: Kane Edwards, Josh Ham, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
With several people suffering from flu, the few hardy members who were able to come to this evening's social enjoyed the usual mix of computer games - with surprisingly little competition for the available equipment.

Sunday 9 November 2003
1100-1345
Morning ride: Spitchwick (10 mi)Cloudy, occasional showers
4 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Josh Ham, Ashley Myhill
Michael and several other members were recovering from flu today, so Tao led the group on a tough but enjoyable ride to Spitchwick, returning via Buckland and Ashburton.

Friday 14 November 2003
1900-2200
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
2 present: Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
Bowling this evening was at AMF Bowl, Torquay. There was time for three games in the darkened alleys, highest score of 115 going to Gavin (as usual).

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