South Dartmoor CTC

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Friday 1 January 2010
1900-2200
Social: Computer Games
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Michael had downloaded a Playstation 3 version of Pinball Dreams today, but when everyone had finished trying it out we got on with a serious game of Lord of the Rings - four brutal armies kept us occupied until 9.30 but we came through with a victory in the end after some good teamwork. We finished with some epic battles on Call of Duty.

Sunday 3 January 2010
1130-1300
Morning ride: BuckfastVery cold but dry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
With near-freezing temperatures we delayed today's ride until 11.30, but even then our short ride to Buckfast proved too chilling for some: there wasn't much ice around but a few had inadequate gloves. We ended up just skirting back around to Buckfastleigh for 1pm and concluding with the usual computer games until 3.30.

Friday 8 January 2010
1900-2200
Social: Computer Games
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Today's social came at the end of another day of snow and an unexpected day off school for our younger members. Callum only managed to get down by hitching a lift on a quad bike! Our game of Lord of the Rings ended in failure on the open map of Tournament Hills because Zac and Callum just couldn't defend their own bases, but we still enjoyed the battle. WE spend the rest of the evening playing the inevitable Call of Duty on the PC network, when Michael demonstrated that other perks can be just as effective as Juggernaut.

Sunday 10 January 2010
1015-1430
Morning ride: Converted to SocialSnowing, very cold
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
With snow still lying everywhere and more snow falling it was amazing that Ryan and Zac actually managed to get down at all - Ash walked through the woods and Ryan managed to cycle from Holne, saying that the roads weren't so icy up there! Michael tried making a short car journey into town, managed to get 10 metres before realising it was a bad idea and then had to clear the snow with a shovel to get back to his parking space!

In view of the deteriorating weather conditions we didn't even attempt a ride today, contenting ourselves with computer games until the earlier than usual 2.30 finish.

Friday 15 January 2010
1900-2200
Social: Badminton
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Zac's attempts to block our proposed badminton evening came to nothing, so after a few games of Call of Duty on the PC network we set off for Coombeshead school for some excellent badminton matches, joined at the end by a teacher from our local school who happened to be there playing with a club and showed the less experienced members how to play!

Sunday 17 January 2010
1015-1335
Morning ride: DartingtonSunny but quite cold
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Today's weather was just about perfect for winter cycling, and seemed to be the first sunny Sunday we have had for months. Everyone was keen to make the most of it with a good ride, so we headed along Colston road to the new cycle path to Dartington. There was much enthusiasm about the Easter tour and car-assisted rides, so this really was turning out to be a great start to our new year of cycling.

We expected everything at the Cider Press Centre to be closed at this time of year and so were planning on continuing to Totnes, but amazingly several outlets were open and nobody could resist the prospect of refreshments at Cranks restaurant.

Once cakes and drinks had been consumed Zac and Ryan wanted to check out the "healthy" sweet shop. Michael thought he would try some chocolate-coated Turkish delight for the first time in many years but it didn't work out too well: he got only four small pieces for 98p, and Ash, who had never tried it before, said it tasted like soap! Well I suppose it does really.

It was now gone twelve so we headed back along the main road over Riverford Bridge and then took the track to Hole Farm. Ryan had some knee problems but we eventually reached home by 1.35, allowing the gamers a couple of hours to have fun on the computers.

Friday 22 January 2010
1900-2200
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
A unanimous decision was made to do ten-pin bowling tonight at Plymouth. Michael stunned himself by beating his own personal record - three strikes in a row, commonly known as a turkey, got him a final score of 152. Ash beat his personal best too getting a spare and two strikes in a row with a final score of 134. After a game of pool and a little time on the arcades we headed for home, calling in at Tesco so the youngsters could buy themselves some cheap treats. There was still time for a short game of Call of Duty before the social ended at 10pm.

Sunday 24 January 2010
1015-1300
Morning ride: HolneSunny but cold
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Holne cafe and shop
Callum, Ryan and Ashley on the lower Hembury track
On another fine winter morning we headed along the lower Hembury track, but by the time we reached Gallant le Bower everyone seemed too tired to consider Michael's proposal of Spitchwick and Dr Blackall's Drive. Instead we diverted to the cafe at Holne for hot drinks and teacakes, and then headed home via Scoriton.

Friday 29 January 2010
1900-2200
Social: Computer Games
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Our plans for squash or tennis were thwarted by the non-availability of courts for the former and the high price (£6 per person) of indoor courts for the latter. We had to content ourselves with an evening of computer games, including Dawn of War on the PC network.

Sunday 31 January 2010
1015-1330
Morning ride: Avon DamVery cold, with sunny spells
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
Ice on the road from Shipley Bridge to Avon Dam
Ashley treating the ice with caution on the road to Avon Dam
View of the Avon Dam
Callum, Ashley and Ryan by the river Avon
With ice on the roads and near freezing temperatures in the morning sunshine Michael was surprised when everyone was up for a ride to the Avon Dam. They were still keen after we had climbed the lane from Dean to Skerraton, so we headed straight for Shipley Bridge.

The private road from Shipley up to the dam had serious patches of ice over it, and Ash came off three times in a row on one patch - much to everyone's amusement. He's not one to be defeated by a bit of ice however and having learned the hard way not to brake or turn on it he finished by riding confidently to the end.

Some light snow fell as we rode the final stretch to the dam, making everything look very scenic, but in view of our proposed route home we were not disappointed when the snow shower came to an end. It really was bitterly cold - hands taken out of gloves for our chocolate break by the river took a considerable time to warm up again.

After admiring the view of the reservoir we headed across the open moor for the Abbots Way. A large group of very attractive Dartmoor ponies greeted us as we started up the climb, and we then met a family of cyclists heading the same way as us. They rode with us down the fabulous moorland descent, and were no doubt amused when Ash's front wheel sank into what he thought was a frozen bog, jammed solid and forced him into a somersault over the handlebars! He was sore and bruised for the remainder of the ride, but as usual put a brave face on it.

Friday 5 February 2010
1900-2200
Social: Squash
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
After some games of Call of Duty we set off at 7.35 for Paignton where we had booked two squash courts from 8.15 until 9.00. Sadly Ryan was unable to play owing to a back injury, but he was able to sit down in the viewing area of the show court to watch whichever of us was playing there at the time. Zac and Callum had not played squash much before but made good progress with some training from Michael and Ash.

We called in to Paignton's Morrisons on the way home only to discover that it had closed at 9pm - not at all like our 24-hour Tesco at Lee Mill! WE went instead to the Morrisons garage: the cleaning woman had just mopped the floor and didn’t seem at all pleased that we were in there! We got back at 9.48 and of course the youngsters just had to make use of the last twelve minutes for another game on the PCs!

Sunday 7 February 2010
1015-1250
Morning ride: Belford MillCloudy and cold
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Matt Porter
Callum, Matt, Ryan and Ashley near Woodencliff Wood
Callum, Matt, Ryan and Ashley near Woodencliff Wood
Matt Porter made his long-awaited return to the club today, and Ryan turned out as his back had made a faster-than-expected recovery. The temperature was just three degrees this morning and with mist covering the moorland we decided to head for Ashburton. After a quick play in the park we took the lane that goes past the strange, wedge-shaped building that is Belford Mill and then headed back along the woodland track through Woodencliff Woods. A bunch of dogs took a particular interest in Matt, so Ash stayed with him to keep them under control.

Ryan's back was now causing him some discomfort so we headed straight back through the middle of Ashburton, unusually taking the "cycle path" along the side of the A38 to make a particularly easy downhill return to Buckfastleigh. Ryan described it as "sketchy but fun"!

Friday 12 February 2010
1900-2200
Social: Tennis
3 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones
After playing some computer games until 7.35 Callum finally got his wish when we headed to Ivybridge to play tennis in the huge indoor courts there - £6 per person, but the other members who usually blocked his request just weren't here to stop him tonight. Callum learned how to serve properly tonight and we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Sunday 14 February 2010
1015-1315
Morning ride: HolneCold (3º)
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Michelcombe
The group at Michelcombe
We haven't had six on a ride for quite some time, so there was a real buzz in the air as we set off up Silver Street and through to Scoriton. It was a cold morning but everyone had good gloves today. When Ryan had called home to collect something we continued through Michelcombe and up the gentle climb to Holne where we amused ourselves for a quarter of an hour in the play park: refreshments, rope swing and Frisbee were the principal pursuits.

As we were in Holne some members just had to call into the local shop to spend some more of their money, then we continued through the lanes and took the excellent track that descends through Holne woods to River Dart Country Park. Everyone was up to top speed today so we had a great ride and got home quickly via the old Ashburton road.

Friday 19 February 2010
1900-2200
Social: Cinema Trip, Percy Jackson
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Tonight we managed to arrange a long-overdue trip to the cinema at Plymouth, this time to see "Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief". The film is often compared with Harry Potter, but it's really nothing like it. Everyone thought it was an excellent evening out.

Sunday 21 February 2010
1015-1330
Morning ride: BroadhempstonSunny but chilly
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Ash, Zac and Callum
Ash, Zac and Callum at Broadhempston Play Park
Callum, Ash and Zac at Broadhempston
Some members were still away for half term, but four of us enjoyed a good ride to Broadhempston via Green Lane. The roads were icy in places after some overnight rain and sleet, so we had to take care.

The play park at Broadhempston has been extended since we were last there, someone having taken out the tall hedge between the park and the adjacent field. Our Frisbees have gone over that hedge several times in the past, previously necessitating a walk halfway around the village to get to the far gate. Today we were able to use the whole field for our Frisbee, boomerang and tennis ball games.

We returned home via Staverton and the riverside track, arriving just in time to see a holiday diesel special running on the train line. Zac just couldn't resist going into the station to buy some Milky Bars from the antique penny vending machine, and of course everyone else followed suit.

Friday 26 February 2010
1900-2200
Social: Pool
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Well they wanted a trip out but couldn't afford bowling, so Pool became the plan. We had four games each at Plymouth, alternating pairings, and whilst everyone had some great games the main news of the night was how much Callum had improved since last time! Ashley and Ryan played an arcade game that went on for ages, then we dropped into Tesco as usual on the way home.

Sunday 28 February 2010
1120-1300
Morning ride: RatteryCold with showers
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Deer near Pennywell
Delays to the start of our ride were inevitable when Zac turned up with a puncture. In the end he also found he had ceased brakes, so he borrowed a neighbour's bike and we finally set off at around 11.20. Showers didn't make the climb to Pennywell particularly enjoyable, but a group of deer over the hedge, presumably owed by Pennywell Farm, provided a great photo opportunity.

Ryan was finding the cycling tough after a recent injury, so after passing through Rattery we turned right to cross the A38 and then descended Dean hill, getting back at around 1pm.

Friday 5 March 2010
1900-2200
Social: Movie Night, Up
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Our first movie night of the season took place this evening, with everyone very much enjoying the award-winning animation Up.

Sunday 7 March 2010
1015-1715
Day ride (Car-assisted): Exeter Ship CanalSunny but cold
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Canada Geese near the estuary path
The path along the Exe estuary, near Powderham
The canal cycle path
Zac, Ash, Callum and Ryan at Turf Lock
Fun around the trampoline in the park at Exeter
A well-fed team outside Exeter's Pizza Hut
Ashley does a back flip
Callum does a back flip for the camera
Exeter Quayside
Our first car-assisted ride of the year was a great success thanks to some superb weather. The ride started from Black Forest Lodge near Starcross and it wasn't long before we had ridden past the deer of Powderham Castle and were starting off along the path that follows the Exe estuary. The recent absence of rain had left the path relatively mid-free today.

Just after joining the canal cycle path at Turf Lock we were fortunate to come across a huge flock of Canada geese resting on the nearby marshland. Fishermen lined the canal, and Exeter Rowing Club were doing their best to avoid the many swans that got in their way.

Everyone was ready for lunch when we arrived at Pizza Hut at 1.15, and shortly after 2pm we set off again for a gentle ride around the park. Ash was keen to show Callum the trampoline as they are both quite skilled at bouncing.

As usual the Quay was swarming with people drawn out by the glorious weather, and progress along the cycle path was slow at times. We soon hit the freedom of the main path however, returning past the swing bridges and back along the canal to Starcross. Callum got a puncture just before we reached the car, so we didn't need to fix it today.

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