South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 8 October 2004
1900-2215
Social: AGM and Games Evening
6 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Gavin Pearson, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Our AGM made some key decisions for the coming year. Michael and Tao continue as Section Secretary and Section Delegate respectively, Oliver takes on the role of Treasurer and Joe becomes the new Publicity Officer. Keir, Louis and Will are local publicity reps whose function is to help Joe putting up posters all over the region. We agreed to publish adult leaders’ names on the website for each ride to help ensure we have at least two adults on as many rides as possible. The flexible winter social programme was approved, allowing all socials to start from Crofters and special socials to be arranged the week before. Joe was challenged to get posters up in as many bike shops as possible, and a general plan was laid down to run at least one major tour next summer.

The remainder of the evenings was spent enjoying Michael's newly-refurbished lounge - and the usual computer games of course.

Sunday 10 October 2004
1015-1330
Morning ride: Diptford (17 mi)Cloudy & windy but dry
7 present: Louis Burgess, Will Burgess, Chris Comber (16, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Ben Parker, Joe Venables
There was a surprisingly good turnout this morning considering the rather wet and windy night that had just passed. We set off bravely with the forecast not ruling out further showers, but as the ride progressed it became clear that the showers were over. We rode up Dean Hill, then cut across to Marley Head and down to Avonwick via the cobbled lane - fortunately nobody managed to fall down any of the gullies, although Louis did have some difficulty making his pannier stay on his bike.

The ride along the Avon River would have been straightforward if Joe had kept his eyes open and not turned left with Louis after everyone else had ridden past. Twenty minutes later they finally re-joined the group, with Joe looking distinctly sheepish about his mistake. Everyone was doing well today though, including new rider Chris, so we had no difficulty returning via Rattery by the usual 1.30 deadline. As usual, an afternoon of computer games was enjoyed by nearly all those present.

Friday 15 October 2004
1900-2235
Social: Cinema Trip, Shark Tales
9 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Keir Purdie, Giles Quinney, Joe Venables
There was so much interest in our first cinema trip of the season that we needed two cars to get everyone to Plymouth. The computer-animated film, telling the story of the relationship between a colony of fish and the nearby shark mob, was well received by everyone with its witty script and comical dialogue.

Sunday 17 October 2004
1015-1400
Morning ride: Haytor (18 mi)Cloudy with sunny spells
9 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Joe Venables
Our largest ride turnout since May included no beginners so we were able to tackle an ambitious morning ride to Haytor. Some of the youngsters didn't like the hill from Belford Mill near Ashburton up to Birchanger cross, but the autumnal appearance of the many woodlands along the route made the whole journey very enjoyable. We detoured through Haytor Vale on the way up the big rock and rested there for twenty minutes while buying refreshments and making friends with the local pony. Ben and Chris had never ridden this far into the moor, and the panoramic views to the sea emphasised the magnitude of their achievement.

A couple of showers and a stiff breeze left some with cold fingers by the time they reached Cold East Cross - no doubt warm gloves will feature on a few Christmas lists this year. The high speed descent to Ashburton made a memorable end to an excellent October ride.

Several Western Power Distribution vans were parked outside Crofters when we returned. Apparently a squirrel has short-circuited a three-phase overhead line in Michael's field while we had been out, causing a loud explosion and leaving half of Buckfastleigh without electricity. Sadly the squirrel will no longer be visiting Michael's bird table.

Friday 22 October 2004
1900-2230
Social: Crofters Social
8 present: Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Tim Mason, Ashley Myhill, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Joe Venables
Activities this evening included multi-player PC games, video editing and the first half of the film Secondhand Lions.

Sunday 24 October 2004
1015-1300
Morning ride: Broadhempston (13 mi)Cloudy with occasional showers
9 present: Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Sol Kelly, Ashley Myhill, Ben Parker, Gavin Pearson, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Joe helped Gage replace his rear brake blocks while we waited for Oliver, but when he still hadn't turned up by 10.45 we decided to set off along Colston Road with an excellent turnout of younger members. Keir's performance had improved somewhat as we rolled into Staverton, but the forecast for heavy showers by noon prompted us to visit Broadhempston rather than Ipplepen as originally suggested. The improvements to the play park were now completed so we were able to make good use of the new hard surface for our Frisbee contest. Tim was a little heavy handed with the faster Aerobie, landing it high in the branches of a tree, but some excellent shooting with a discarded plastic bottle saved the day.

The showers began in earnest as we left the park. Some proposed a detour along Beaston track, but sanity ruled the day and we headed back on tarmac via Green Lane. Ben concluded the ride by falling off at 3mph and being more concerned about the health of his bike than himself. When everyone had showered and eaten lunch, many took advantage of the afternoon social at Crofters.

Friday 29 October 2004
1900-2230
Social: Crofters Social
8 present: Jack Binmore, Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Ben Parker, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Entertainments this evening included Monopoly, computer games and the first part of Lord of the Ring: Return of the King with full surround sound.

Sunday 31 October 2004
1015-1430
Morning ride: Fermoys (20 mi)Cloudy but dry
8 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Ben Parker, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Today's ride took us through Ashburton and then up the long climb past Creek Farm to Combe Cross. The recent rainy season had left some huge lakes along the ridge that provided plenty of splashing fun for our youngsters. Just near the Rising Sun inn Keir decided to cut across in front of Joe, leaving poor Joe with nowhere to go except down. It was only his fourth ever fall on a bike, and fortunately this time he was only bruised.

We had clocked up 11 miles by the time we reached Fermoys restaurant, so Keir and Ben were eagerly looking forward to their first twenty mile ride as we tucked into a range of excellent value lunchtime meals. When everyone was rested we set off for our return route via Ipplepen and Staverton, calling in at Orley Common for a quick spin around the tracks.

Thursday 4 November 2004
1830-2200
Social: Crofters Social
7 present: Jack Binmore, Dennis Jackson (16, Buckfastleigh), Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Ashley Myhill, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
This week's social, moved to Thursday to avoid a clash with bonfire night celebrations, was again well attended, with computer games dominating the proceedings.

Sunday 7 November 2004
1015-1430
Morning ride: Ugborough Beacon (18 mi)Dry
8 present: Gage Conway, Dennis Jackson, Michael Jones, James Manning, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
When everyone coped well with the climb from Dean Prior to Harbourneford, Michael decided that the group could cope with a more adventurous ride today. Back lanes brought us quickly to Wrangaton from where we set off up the hill to the golf course. Nobody was struck by a golf ball as we crossed the course, and nobody collapsed with exhaustion as we picked our way up the steep slopes of Ugborough Beacon. Admiring the extensive views from the top brought home to all these half-day riders just how far they had progressed with their riding.

Crossing the moorland behind the beacon we were soon enjoying the rough descent to Aish: there were a few tumbles along the way but the soft grass ensured that nobody was hurt. A final section of track brought us to some tarmac from where we continued along lanes that had even Gavin confused until we reached South Brent. The local Plymco provided lunch, and when everyone had eaten their fill we returned to Buckfastleigh via Harbourneford once again. Congratulations to all the youngsters who took part in today's ride.

Friday 12 November 2004
1900-2230
Social: Crofters Social
8 present: Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Dennis Jackson, Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Ashley Myhill, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Multiplayer computer games, Babylon 5 and a newly stocked refreshment shop helped make this another enjoyable evening for all who came along.

Sunday 14 November 2004
1015-1600
Day ride: Dartmeet (18 mi)Cold but sunny
10 present: Charlie Barrow (12, Buckfastleigh), Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Dennis Jackson, Michael Jones, Ashley Myhill, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Video footage from today's ride
New rider Charlie brought attendance into double figures for the first time since January on this crisp and sunny autumnal morning. Coats were being stowed in bags by the time we reached Hawson Court. We were keeping options open regarding destination and ride length all the way to Holne, but then we had to make a decision. Charlie was doing well and was still enthusiastic, so we decided to go for the big loop via Dartmeet. After climbing to Venford reservoir we took the bridle path down over the moor to Combestone and the stepping stones at Dartmeet, a new experience for many of our youngsters. When everyone had picked their way across the river we headed for the Dartmeet cafe for lunch.

Charlie had been dreading Dartmeet hill ever since he saw it from the track, but as it turned out he wasn't anywhere near the last person up the hill - some youngsters just can't stop talking! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent Dr Blackall's track along the Dart valley and the subsequent high speed descent to New Bridge. A final climb to Holne Chase allowed us to finish on the Slalom track through Hembury Woods, a favourite with many of our riders.

Friday 19 November 2004
1900-2230
Social: Crofters Social
8 present: Charlie Barrow, Gage Conway, Dennis Jackson, Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Ashley Myhill, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
The usual mix of Crofters entertainments kept everyone happy on this cold November evening.

Sunday 21 November 2004
1015-1730
Day ride: Mamhead Obelisk (39 mi)Some sunny spells
8 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Chris Comber, Gage Conway, Michael Jones, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson, Keir Purdie
Gage Conway
Keir Purdie at Mamhead Obelisk
Chris Comber
Louis Burgess
Gavin Pearson
Tao Burgess
Ashley Myhill
Video footage from today's ride
The weather looked promising and everyone seemed capable so today we set out for the longest ride of the year so far. After riding through Ashburton and Bickington we met Tao and Louis at Chudleigh Bridge somewhat later than arranged. Chudleigh provided our last opportunity to buy lunch, but just as we were leaving, Chris' derailleur tangled itself with the rear spokes and required considerable effort to return it to usability. Chris had come out on his old bike as, apparently, he couldn't be bothered to get his new bike out of the shed!

The sun came out as we took the quiet lanes up to Beggars' Bush, making everyone feel bright and enthusiastic. Two more delays caused by Chris' derailleur just made us all the more determined to reach our intended destination. Crossing the very busy A380 took longer than expected, but soon we had ridden along the tracks to Mamhead Obelisk and were enjoying lunch overlooking the Exe estuary, with spectacular views to Exmouth and beyond.

It was nearly 3pm when we set off for the return journey, which took us along the Haldon ridge to Telegraph Hill and the racecourse and then down towards Chudleigh from Buller's Hill. When Keir got a puncture we really wondered what we had done to deserve so many problems. Tao did the honours this time, leaving us with precious little time before dusk. Louis and Tao left us as Chudleigh Knighton, Keir returned home at Heathfield, and the rest of us made it as far as Bickington before Chris' derailleur finally gave up the ghost. So in the end, Michael's hopes that he could avoid removing it and shortening the chain were dashed. There was tiredness all around as we took the back lanes through Ashburton, arriving home by around 5.30. Lights will now be a requirement for everyone on Sunday rides!

Friday 26 November 2004
1900-2200
Social: Crofters Social
7 present: Jordan Barker, Charlie Barrow, Dennis Jackson, Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
The usual computer games social.

Sunday 28 November 2004
1015-1300
Morning ride: Staverton (11 mi)Dry and sunny
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Jamie Smith (8, Buckfastleigh)
Jamie Smith at Staverton Park
With Jamie being new to cycling and relatively slow we contented ourselves with a ride along Colston Road to Staverton for some frisbee playing in the park, then returned to Buckfastleigh via Abham.

Friday 3 December 2004
1900-2100
Social: Crofters Social
5 present: Jordan Barker, Chris Comber, Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Jamie Smith
The usual computer games social.

Sunday 5 December 2004
1015-1500
Day ride: Bickham Bridge (18 mi)Dry and sunny
7 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, Sol Kelly, Gavin Pearson, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
Louis Burgess
Louis Burgess at Bickham Bridge
Sol Kelly
Sol, Keir, Louis and Joe at Bickham Bridge
Video footage from today's ride
Another well-attended ride - the first when school friends Louis and Sol actually made it to the same event - started with a brisk ride through Dean to South Brent, where Plymco provided lunch for those who had neglected to pack any food. Riding on to Avonwick we took the back lanes up to the tiny village of North Huish, then took the long and fast descent to Bickham Bridge, a tranquil wooded spot on the river Avon that provided everything needed for an action-packed lunch stop. The youngsters finished their food quickly so they had plenty of time to play pooh sticks off the bridge with sticks that were so large that two of them were required to carry them! Louis and Sol also recorded a dramatic chase scene with Michael's video camera.

We continued along the picturesque lanes to the village of Diptford, and then on to Rattery for the final descent to Buckfastleigh via Pennywell farm. Louis and Sol spent the afternoon editing their earlier video and recording a new one, just to show how good they are at drama!

Friday 10 December 2004
1900-2200
Social: Crofters Social
7 present: Jordan Barker, Jack Binmore, Chris Comber, Michael Jones, Harry Laity, Keir Purdie, Joe Venables
The usual computer games social.

Sunday 12 December 2004
1015-1200
Morning ride: Holne (8 mi)Dry, cold and overcast
2 present: Michael Jones, Sol Kelly
The track through Burchetts Wood turned out to be a little muddier than we had expected, but with dead leaves littering the path the going was not too difficult. After introducing Sol to Scoriton, Michelcombe, Holne we finished a shorter than usual ride with the descent of the Slalom track through Hembury Woods, an experience that Sol was eager to repeat on a future ride.

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