South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 2 January 2004
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
9 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, James Manning, Ashley Myhill, Phillip Oakley, Gavin Pearson
We previewed the first 6 days of Tao's Norway tour video edit this evening, as well as enjoying competitions on Need for Speed Underground and a good old fashioned chat.

Sunday 4 January 2004
1100-1350
Morning ride: Spitchwick (13 mi)Sunny
10 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, James Manning, Keir Manning, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson
Matthew Hamlyn-White astonished everyone this morning by making a come-back after a 12-year absence - whoever will turn up next! We rode through Buckfast to Hembury Woods and then on to Spitchwick, where the grass was not as wet as we might have expected after the recent rain but everyone was especially careful not to skid their tyres. Tao and Michael had hoped to include Dr Blackall's Drive today, but Oliver needed to get back for lunch and Keir and Matthew weren't too sure about the extra miles! The Buckland return was therefore chosen, providing another challenge for the youngsters before the long-awaited downhill brought us back to Ashburton and home.

Friday 9 January 2004Social: Cancelled
0 present:
This evening's social was cancelled.

Sunday 11 January 2004
1100-1250
Morning ride: Beaston Track (10 mi)Cloudy
6 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, James Manning, Ashley Myhill
It had been raining overnight but the youngsters still wanted a track. So we gave them the best track in the area - Beaston! It was dotted with numerous deep pools of muddy water, and the inevitable patches of deep mud. Unfortunately, Will underestimated the depth of one of these patches, tried to ride through, ground to a halt in the middle and just managed to get his feet up on the bank before he fell in. So when Michael came along, there was Will, feet on the bank, hands on the bike, unable to move and begging for help!

Everyone enjoyed the off-road so much that we decided to find some more - the steep woodland track that returns to the Green Lane area. By the time we got home, everyone was saying it had been the best ride for ages. They say some people like mud and some don't - it seems that everyone today fall into the first category.

Friday 16 January 2004Social: Cancelled
0 present:
This evening's social was cancelled.

Sunday 18 January 2004
1100-1500
Morning ride: Totnes (20 mi)Sunny
10 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Simon Hern, Michael Jones, James Manning, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson, David Robinson
Colston road brought us quickly to Dartington on this perfect winter morning. David's request for a cafe stop at the Cider Press centre could not be fulfilled as both cafes there were closed, so we pressed on along the cycle path, pausing briefly while the younger rides enjoyed the islands near the weir. Will caused some concern by dashing on to the end of the track without telling anyone, but once we were all reunited again we continued to Totnes and settled down in the lower cafe near Somerfield. David added class to the morning by read the paper in a most civilised manner.

For the return route we crossed the Dart and headed for Littlehempston. We soon reached Puncture Alley - the track shortcut that caused so many punctures on a ride last year - and as usual Michael advised taking the road. Several ignored the warning of course, so it was no surprise at all when Will got a puncture. Half the group had gone on to the next junction, and since Tao had forgotten his puncture kit there was a slight delay while Gavin chased after them. If only Tao had remembered the mobile phone a little earlier ..!

The weather was so pleasant that nobody minded waiting around. Soon we were setting off again for home and a rather late lunch.

Friday 23 January 2004
1900-2215
Social: Games Evening
3 present: Louis Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones
Just another fun evening of computer games.

Sunday 25 January 2004
1100-1330
Morning ride: Diptford (19 mi)Cloudy start, then wet
5 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson
We all wanted to do a longer ride today, to Slapton Sands, but the forecast was for outbreaks of rain by lunchtime. After some deliberation we decided to head for Slapton anyway and turn back at the first sign of rain. We made good speed to Diptford and were en-route to Moreleigh when the "first signs" came. Ashley and Will were still keen to continue, but were later very glad that Michael overruled them. The heavens opened within minutes, and while the youngsters suffered with their showerproof coats Tao kept showing off his new Gore-Tex coat, clearly thrilled at its waterproof qualities. Needless to say, everyone was very glad when we finally returned to Buckfastleigh.

Friday 30 January 2004
1900-2215
Social: Games Evening
2 present: Will Burgess, Michael Jones
Will and Michael enjoyed some RA2 challenges on the PCs.

Sunday 1 February 2004
1100-1430
Morning ride: Holne (12 mi)Perfect sunny morning
7 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Ben Chalk, Jake Chilcott, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones
The perfect weather conditions made everyone feel bright this morning. Riding through Buckfast we quickly reached Scoriton and Michelcombe from where a short climb brought us to Holne play park. When the youngsters started playing with the Aerobie a little terrier decided to join in the fun, chasing it around in the hope that someone would fail to catch it. His opportunity quickly came, but the problem was that nobody told him the rules of the game. Instead of bringing it back to us, he thought the object was to make sure we didn't get it back at all. We chased him round and round the park; youngsters and adults alike tried cornering him and diving at the last minute, but he was just too quick for everyone, watching closely like a top goalie and darting the other way when the attacker was committed. It was a full ten minutes before he was finally forced (by his owner) to give up his prize. Unfortunately he got two more opportunities to steal the Aerobie, so we ended up spending more time chasing the dog than playing the game. Everyone was quite out of breath after half an hour, but they all agreed he was the most playful dog they'd ever met!

Continuing on to Hembury Woods there was time to enjoy the Slalom descent - another highlight of the ride for many. It was on the final approach to Buckfastleigh that we came across a huge lake across the road. The first few riders rode through at breakneck speed in order to cause the maximum spread of water, so Michael carefully manoeuvred himself to be last through. He was halfway across when he noticed Tao and Matthew heading back, one each side. There was no escape!

Friday 6 February 2004
1900-2230
Social: Games Evening
3 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones
Tao used the evening to upgrade his PC while Will played happily on his favourite computer game.

Sunday 8 February 2004
1100-1530
Morning ride: Widecombe-in-the-Moor (19 mi)Sunny but cold
7 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Jake Chilcott, Matthew Hamlyn-White, Michael Jones, Jamie Mason
Everyone was up for a longer ride again today, but with some having to be back by early afternoon we decided on Widecombe as a destination. The ride started with the climb from Ashburton to Cold East Cross, but as we rose over the top to the open moor the cold headwind became particularly tiresome. Tree climbing near the cattle grid gave a short respite, but after battling along the road to Hemsworthy Gate and on to Bonehill, nobody was in the mood for the planned track detour. We headed straight for the Green Cafe at Widecombe where we luxuriated in the warmth and enjoyed hot food for well over 40 minutes.

The return journey was much easier, firstly because it was along the sheltered valley to Ponsworthy and secondly because the wind was now behind us. We could now really appreciate the glorious sunshine. The descent through Leusdon provided plenty of excitement, then there was time to ride along Spitchwick Common before we had to undertake the final climb to Hembury. The descent of Hembury Woods last week had provided so much entertainment that everyone just had to do it again this week. Today, however, Jake's rear derailleur fell apart on the descent with the loss of a jockey wheel. One look at the leafy woodland floor was enough to give up any hope of finding it, so he reluctantly pushed home, keeping up with the cyclists rather well on this occasion!

Friday 13 February 2004Social: Cancelled
0 present:
Social cancelled owing to zero attendance.

Sunday 15 February 2004Morning ride: Cancelled
0 present:
Ride cancelled owing to zero attendance

Friday 20 February 2004Social: Cancelled
0 present:
Social cancelled owing to zero attendance

Sunday 22 February 2004
1100-1500
Morning ride: Hope CoveSunny but cold
2 present: Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
With only Michael and Gavin on today's ride we made the decision to run a car-assisted ride to Hope Cove.

Friday 27 February 2004Social: Cancelled
0 present:
Social cancelled owing to zero attendance.

Sunday 29 February 2004
1100-1400
Morning ride: Avon Dam (11 mi)Sunny but cold
2 present: Michael Jones, Ashley Myhill
The weather was perfect this morning, but only Michael and Ashley were out to enjoy one of the best rides of the year so far to the Avon Dam. We made good progress to Shipley Bridge and had time to sit by the reservoir to admire the tranquil scenery. The peace was only interrupted by a pair of female cyclists who asked us to take numerous photographs of them with the water and cattle as backdrop. Apparently one was from London, and her friends would never believe where she had been without photographic evidence!

We continued on across the moor to the Abbots Way and up the ridge, where clear air offered unparalleled clarity in the panoramic views to the coast. We managed to capture some of the exciting descent on videotape, just for the benefit of those who chose to stay at home!

[Video to follow]

Friday 5 March 2004
1900-2230
Social: Games Evening
3 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones
Tao brought his PC out for some urgent upgrades today.

Sunday 7 March 2004
1100-1500
Morning ride: Broadhempston (16 mi)Mainly dry
5 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, James Manning, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson
We toyed with the idea of visiting Fermoys at Ipplepen, quickly becoming one of our favourite restaurants, but in the end decided that James might not make the distance and chose instead to take a devious route to Broadhempston. The ride started with the climb of Green Lane, then doubled back towards Baddaford and the cross-field track from Halsworthy to Parkfield. The lane to Forder Green then took us to Broadhempston, where there was time for some Frisbee-throwing in the park. It wasn't long before James managed to throw the ring over the high fence into the adjoining field, but Ashley saved the day by scaling the fence.

Rather than take the straight route home we detoured via Staverton, making the most of the good weather. It should be noted that Will would have been on the ride today if he hadn't broken his collarbone whilst performing a gymnastic stunt (with his family). He was allowed to play games at Crofters during the ride as compensation.

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