South Dartmoor CTC


Friday 12 March 2010
Social: Cinema Trip, Alice in Wonderland
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Jack Parnell (14, Buckfastleigh)
To celebrate Ashley's recent birthday we enjoyed a special trip to the Odeon cinema at Exeter to watch the latest 3D movie Alice in Wonderland - a much darker and more action-packed movie than the older versions. The movie was great and everyone enjoyed their evening.

Sunday 14 March 2010
Morning ride: Skerraton DownSunny and warm
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Enjoying the sun before climbing to the ridge
The track leading to Skerraton Down
The bridge and stream near Cross Furzes
Looking towards Holne from Skerraton Down
Callum pointed out that Michael still hadn’t fixed Ash’s puncture from last week, and when he got on with fixing them it turned out there were two. We finally got away at around 11am on a lovely sunny morning and set off up Nurston Hill. Here we met a woman walking four unfriendly dogs that looked like they would have killed us if they hadn’t been tied down!

We took the track to Skerraton Down and then walked up over the moorland. Here the gorse had recently been burned leaving blackened stalks all around – we all managed to get charcoal-coloured legs by the time we reached the top.

It was breezy on the ridge but the views across South Devon were spectacular as always. From here we could also see Buckfast Abbey and the spire of the old Buckfastleigh church. Everyone then went on to enjoy the excellent downhill across the moor to Cross Furzes and then the additional downhill back to Cross Furzes.

Friday 19 March 2010
Social: Charades
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
After some deliberation Zac’s suggestion of another blu-ray movie was replaced by Callum’s idea for Charades. We had a lot of fun with the game, and by the end of the evening Ash had been crowned the winner. We had a COD4 break in the middle to add variety to an excellent evening.

Sunday 21 March 2010
Morning ride: StavertonSunny and warm
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
The group near Staverton island
The railway crossing near Staverton island
Our new Rocket Whistler being demonstrated by Hallam
Tricky manoeuvres on the way to the park
New play equipment keeps everyone amused in Saverton park
Hallam Iles and the group near the park
It was great to have a full contingent out on such a fabulous morning. We rode along Colston Road, up the cycle path and then, after deciding that not everyone could afford a café stop, down to Staverton Bridge. There were steam trains everywhere today as we rode along the riverside path and up through the woods to the park.

Here we had to stop longer than usual as Matt had picked up a nail in his tyre and Ryan had to wait for his Mum to bring an asthma inhaler. There was a new swing in the park, rather like an upturned Chinese hat, so the youngsters couldn’t resist piling into it for a few trials. We also got to try our new whistler rocket.

We took the usual route home past Hole Farm and Abham. There was a social at Crofters after the ride until 3.30.

Friday 26 March 2010
Social: Ten-pin Bowling
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Everyone was up for bowling tonight, so we got a good deal at Tenpin of £5.15 per person. Michael came first with 136 and Zac and Ryan came equal second with 101 - a great finish for Ryan who looked like he would be last until the last few balls. We finished the evening with some games of Pool and a visit to Tesco.

Sunday 28 March 2010
Morning ride: Hembury WoodsSunny spells
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones
Ash, Hallam, Ryan & Callum at Hembury Fort
The group on Hembury Fort
Enjoying the Hembury tracks near the river
Rain was forecast for the afternoon so Michael planned a short ride with optional extensions so that we wouldn’t be caught too far from home if the rain came early. We rode through Buckfast and, much to Hallam’s delight, along the lower Hembury Track – he frequently rides that way on his horse.

After climbing the hill to Humphrey’s Cross we rode back to the top of Hembury and along the track to the fort. Here the youngsters bought chocolate and played happily with the whistler rocket. After riding down the slalom track the rain still hadn’t started so we turned left along the main woodland path and then returned along the riverside path where we met one of our senior members Richard Hopper.

There was time for some mud jumping and stone skimming across the calm river before we headed home, arriving at Crofters at 1pm just as the first drops of rain began to fall. An afternoon games social was arranged until 3.45.

Friday 2 April 2010
Evening ride: Converted to SocialCold and showery
4 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
The ride was converted to a social this evening for three reasons: Ryan's bike was beyond repair and he was planning to get a new one, Michael's bike was in need of repair and the weather was not particularly encouraging. We drove to Tenpin at Plymouth and enjoyed three games of pool each, playing different opponents each time. Final results were Ash, Ryan and Michael won 2 games each and Callum, sadly, lost all his games. It was just bad luck though, as he can be an excellent player.

We called in to Tesco on the way back, got to Crofters by 9.35 and finished the evening with some games of Call of Duty.

Sunday 4 April 2010
Morning ride: Easter Special: DiptfordMainly sunny
7 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Spring flowers at Rattery
South Brent play park
Matt Porter looks forward to the descent
Starting the big descent from Pennywell Farm
With a good turnout and good weather we headed up Dean Hill. On the way up Matt’s chain fell off but a passing cyclist kindly helped him in returning it to the chain ring. We continued down the hill to South Brent and spent some time trying out all the equipment in the play park.

Next stop was Avonwick, where Michael handed out free Easter Eggs on the Cobbly Walk by the river Avon. Everyone seemed fast today so we continued along the riverside road to Diptford, stopping at the old bridge. Surprisingly everyone recognised this road once we started along it, even though last time we rode it the other way.

Once we had climbed the hill to Diptford we headed home via Rattery. We felt sure there would be a play park there, perhaps near the village hall, but we couldn’t find one anywhere. We headed home at a leisurely pace past Pennywell Farm, stopping for some photos before the final descent to Buckfastleigh.

Friday 9 April 2010Tour: Bath & the Somerset Levels Day 1 Home to Bath YH (19 mi)Warm and sunny
8 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Approaching the Staple Hill tunnel near Fishponds
Start of the Bristol-Bath cycle path near Temple Meads station
(LtoR) Zac, Ryan, Tao, Ashley and Callum in the old station grounds
Lunch stop in the grounds of Old Mangotsfield station
The Royal Crescent, Bath
The Circus, Bath
The Sacred Spring overflow at the Roman Baths
Ashley at the Roman Baths, Bath
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

Excellent weather, and great forecast for the whole weekend. Ash and Michael parked car on estate and cycled in, arrived 9.35 .. 2.33 miles. Everyone there by 9.55 except Tao 9.57, he cycled from BFL, seen by Zac. Worry about getting bikes on trains, as only 7 spaces booked. 2-bike train came first for Tao and Ryan and Zac, but there was a third hook so we got three bikes on there, problem solved. All went smoothly. Second train for the remaining 5 of us on time, Tao waiting for us at Bristol. We played Bomberman on the train. Quickly found start of cycle path by crossing bridge, although there is now a new bridge which confused us a little – but well signposted. Started path at 12.20.

Path went through “Dodgy” area of Bristol – Fishponds – so Tao didn’t stop until we had got through it! A tunnel was next (Staple Hill), very cold inside, but had lights. Stopped for lunch at junction, Old Mangotsfield station – everyone had brought packed lunch. Callum had a pannier full of snacks, which he showed to everyone – a whole side of his panniers. Lovely spot, between two platforms, played with rocket and Frisbee, stained glass windows. RIP Brandon on walls graffiti. Photos taken 1.47. Matt was trying to ring out the England rhythm on his bell – took him several attempts before he finally got it right.

Path continued, over bridges, past old stations, Ash missed Saltford brass mill, along canal, very scenic, all flat, short section of road as we entered Bath, then along canal path right into city centre. Drunk woman having an argument with a bloke. “Sounded loopy and pissed out face” according to Ash.

In Bath we found our way to city centre and then signposts led us up the hill to the Circus (3.33) and the Royal Crescent (3.39), loads of people on the lawns, if only they had been selling ice creams there! We looked at the cost of entry into the Number 1 house but it was not a free museum at all – around £5 per child, so we didn’t bother.

Then headed down through nice area with big gates and lovely gardens to centre and the Roman Baths. Negotiated discount family entry for around £6 each, everyone came in and used audio guides, stayed there from around 4pm-5.45, very interesting, history was great, water rising in sacred spring, hot and steaming, millions of litres per day, felt very warm, wanted to swim but bath not in use of course, lead lining of main pool still watertight after nearly 1900 years! Great place to see. Ducks mating caused much amusement to youngsters. Great gifts in the shop, we bought some mugs. Overflow inside was especially interesting, channels everywhere.

Buskers in the abbey courtyard, lovely atmosphere, although one male singer in a dress looked and sounded very sad! Went to Sainsbury but Zac and Callum and Hallam lost out as they went for a pasty for £1.

Headed off for hostel, but the postcode of the hostel was incorrect on Michael’s satnav so we ended up doing a small detour before finally reaching the hostel. Long climb, but we found a path to take near the top round the back of the houses.

Hostel large, in own grounds but looked a bit grubby. Dorms in back annexe, Ryan needing non-adult dorm meant three other kids had to be in there with him. Lots of running around naked apparently. All showered, one dorm had en suite but no light in the shower, and very noisy flush. Kitchen not well stocked – cupboard marked Mugs and glasses had only two wine glasses in it. Cutlery was not in cupboard marked cutlery! No measuring jug, few saucepans, so Michael and Ash gave up and bought fish chips and peas from the restaurant, although the woman took 20 minutes to sort out cancelling the pizza order on the till as there were no cheese pizzas left. Meal was excellent however, some kids tried leaving their dishes for others to wash up – eg Zac and matt!

Played ManHunt in the gardens after dark, excellent fun, Ash climbed up the wall of the main building and hung there Bushes and trees near the drive provided plenty of fun – Ryan and Zac curled up like stones and were hard to find with out limited torches. Got told off by hostellers in the annexe so kept away from there – supposed to be a “youth” hostel, but these people apparently don’t like kids playing!

One key for each dorm was annoying, as needed key to get into the annexe as well – couldn’t tell the person in the room that we were waiting outside, so very difficult sometimes. Need a better system.

Finished in the big dorm with a big game of Bummerman, although Tao didn’t play as he felt tours should not have computer games on them! He went off for a cup of tea,. Great fun though, then back to respective dorms. Lights out around 11pm.

Saturday 10 April 2010Tour: Bath & the Somerset Levels Day 2 Bath to Cheddar YH (33 mi)
8 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
The group outside Bath YH
Bath YH
The tranquil Kennet & Avon canal
Start of the canal cycle path at Claverton
The group on the Kennet & Avon canal cycle path
Tao Burgess
Cycle path at Tucking Mill, Monkton Combe
Dundas aqueduct on the Kennet & Avon canal
Ryan, Ash and Tao at Tucking Mill
Ryan Havinga
View to Chew Valley lake from Hinton Blewitt
Lunch at Radstock overlooking the park
Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

Sorted Ash’s panniers which delayed us, then Ash wheelied 20 metres and fell off the back and had to get panniers fixed again. Needs new clips for panniers. Set off around 10.20, later than planned. Satnav took us quickly to Claverton where we picked up a newish cycle route that took us along the canal. Delightful cycling all the way to Radstock, barges moored along side, aquaduct was amazing, ducks in the water, some barges ready to scrap but others very new, one barge going with family on board. Callum raced through a barrier gate and ripped his pannier pocket off!

Route then went onto quiet lanes and old railway lines, lovely spot with the lambs, tranquil. Excellent route. At Radstock we bought food at the cooperative – huge store well stocked. Little kids smoking in the park. Had lunch on grass, Ash reported Callum to his Mum for being a “little shit”. Then followed route along old railway line through to Midsomer Norton, interesting route, quiet. Then on main road.

So we had to improvise to get to the top of Cheddar Gorge, went up hill to Paulton, then a wrong turn from Michael but back on track to Hallatrow and Temple Cloud. Wrong turn down dead-end track, some took path back, then on to Hinton Blewitt. Now on old cycle route, stopped at viewpoint at 4.06, could see the lake, nice rest. Then down hill to East Harptree. Now the climb started, from 89m to 260m. Matt had a sore leg and started walking, Michael got worried, but he soon perked up and tackled the double arrow hill with enthusiasm. Everyone did well climbing the hill, eventually got to the top, then easier and easier, then downhill. Descended the gorge together, great fun, magnificent views. Stopped for pictures near bottom at 5.48, then ice creams from a storekeeper from London, really nice ice creams, Ryan said best he had ever had. Nice chat with him, bought some cheese too. Then on to hostel.

Dr Who already started when we got there, and little room in the TV lounge so decided not to bother. Two rooms allocated larger than planned, 6 + 4, so Matt P in with us this time, but Hallam preferred to be with Ryan and Zac. Ash annoyed for a little while about not getting the double bed. Went to shop first on bikes with no panniers, Tesco Express, then cooked meals, mainly microwave, Tao had nice pizzas, two microwaves. Ryan and friends cooked disgusting bacon and stank out the kitchen. Some bickering between kids again. No chance of “Manhunt” so we had an excellent game of Bomberman, again with 7 people playing, in the big dorm. Michael started a ghost story but kids all fell asleep before half way through. Tao beginning to get fed up with the bickering.

Sunday 11 April 2010Tour: Bath & the Somerset Levels Day 3 Cheddar to Street YH (29 mi)
8 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Ryan makes a new friend at Nyland Hill
Cheddar YH
Hogwarts-like corridors in Wells Cathedral
Matthew's relatives entertain us on their farm near Panborough
Bishop's Palace at Wells
The group at Wells Cathedral
Hallam and the Bishop's Palace moat
Bishop's Palace at Wells
The group by St Michael's Tower on Glastonbury Tor
Views from Glastonbury Tor
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

Another sunny day, although a little cloudy and cold around lunchtime. Zac and others played Bomberman in Michael’s dorm until 9.20, then later Zac last out and rather rude to Michael. Left around 9.55am and went to Tesco Express to get a few odds and ends, then Tao found the short cycle path out to the main road, which was fun. Took busy main road for a short time, past the karting place Ash had been to, then some right turn instruction after a few newer riders still didn’t look.

Lanes around the levels, around a little mump Nyland Hill, alpacas and a St Bernard that Ryan fell in love with. Then to main road at Cocklake and into Wedmore, then along B-3139 to Matthew’s dad’s farm, Garden End Farm at Panborough, given a good welcome even though Dad was not in, drinks and crisps all round and some fun with the rocket and Frisbee and tennis ball – apparently Ash has a “good arm”. James was an ex cricketer and did pretty well himself. Riding bikes backwards, Ash managed 10 pedals, Zac fell off but vowed to learn. Hallam liked riding the little boy’s bike.

Left around 12.15, then took quiet lane route to Wells even though Matt pointed out it was quicker on the main road! Through Fenny Castle, got into Wells the easy way at around 1.15, satnav guiding us straight to cathedral close. Bought lunch in the busy shops, ate it in front of the cathedral, passageway looked like Hogwarts! Cloudy and cold now after being warm and sunny all morning. Callum hit Ryan for telling him to pick up his rubbish (apparently). Looked around cathedral and saw the famous clock doing its thing at 2.30, then through Bishops Palace – delightful with swans and ducks on the moat.

Followed cycle route 3 along quiet levels roads to Glastonbury, straight to the tor and everyone decided to go to the top even though some had expressed doubts earlier. Great views, sunnier now, but still a chilly breeze. Ash and Matt rolled halfway down, at top by around 4.25. Ash felt quite ill after this. Nothing lost this time. Direct route to Street, Clarks Village closed now as Sunday but went up via local shop and bought supper and breakfast there before continuing on to hostel, arriving at around 6pm. Matt showed us he was a pokemon fan by purchasing a pokemon magazine from the store and showing off his knowledge during the evening!

Top dorm as usual, hostel fairly quiet, got on with showers and evening meal in stages so kitchen was not too crowded. Matt’s gran came to visit him and us in the grounds. Then Manhunt in the gardens as darkness began to fall. Had several games, got cold by 9.30 though and after some indecision we went in to continue with Bomberman. Ash initially a little miffed because the others didn’t want to play one more game, but he came down with Michae; to have hot chocolate and some of his chocolate buttons, then we played some good games to finish – gave buttons to Tao. Some antagonism between Zac and Ryan and Callum, Tao spent most of the time on his phone to Jude. Left door open at night, Michael finished ghost story but again they all fell asleep except Tao and Ash! Tao was expecting a darker ending! Nice evening.

Monday 12 April 2010Tour: Bath & the Somerset Levels Day 4 Street to Home (26 mi)
8 present: Tao Burgess, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Somerset Levels
Street YH
Hallam Iles
Wildflie on the Levels
Lunch on Burrow Mump
Shop stop at Othery
Callum & Zac at the Willow and Wetlands Centre
Callum on the ruined church on Burrow Mump
Matt Porter enjoying refreshments in the W&W cafe
Ash and Callum at the Willow and Wetlands Centre
The group on a bunker at the Old Engine House, Taunton canal
Refreshments in the W&W café
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes.

Final day, Hallam slept very well, great atmosphere in our dorm, pillow fights, really nice. Breakfast was OK, except Callum lashed out at Matt while Michael’s back was turned over some crumbs – he wiped crumbs onto Matt, Matt emptied crumbs over Callum, Calum hit Matt! Zac and Ryan ready early today, photos outside, Ash and Tao played bike Frisbee while everyone else played stationery frisbee, then set off around 10am as usual.

Took path through common and woods, then Zac realised we were not going to Clarks village and was disappointed as he had saved money for it. Lovely weather. Followed lanes across drains etc, Ash and I swapped bikes for a while and Ash loved Michael’s, went really fast on it. Swan. At Othery Matt saw the bakery where his sister lives over, but Michael didn’t allow a visit this time. Went to local shop which was not well stocked but had enough for us to buy lunch. Matt borrowed £5, Ryan borrowed £2.50. Then went on the last mile or two to Burrow Mump, Ryan’s playing cards fell out all over the road but Tao was there to help. Went up from the car park this time which was certainly safer than our usual route. Breezy on top, could just see Glastonbury Tor in the hazy distance, sheltered on the far side and enjoyed an early lunch there. I spy, and some climbed the ruin – Callum, Ash, Ryan and Matt. 12.10 we were there, early pre-lunch.

Had wanted to follow Route 3 all the way to Taunton from here, but wanted to see the Willow and Wetland centre so went there first and didn’t want to retrace our steps. Looked around, swung in hanging seats (like photo with Tao and Ash) saw the blackberry pickers, took some photos of Callum and Zac wearing busby and shawl, and had coffee in the café. Ryan borrowed another £2. Left there at 1.39. Pressed on through North Curry and Ham, cycled over bridge, then found the Creech St Michael entrance to the canal path. First followed it away from Taunton, up to the old Engine House, sat on the concrete bunker outside for photos, and MIchael talked about options for summer tour.

Timing was now perfect to head back to Taunton. MIchael let Ash lead, stopping them every 5 mins or so. Delightful path, so much better than the main roads we used to use. Two weed cutting and collecting machines clearing the canal. It dropped us right by Morrisons, so we got things for the train. Ash rang Gail. Tao watched the bikes and that was lucky as a geezer almost took Ash’s new trek 4500 bike! Got to station for 3.30, prepared bikes, got 7 bikes on the first train 3.50 or so. Busy train, but we got our reserved seats. Matt was saying he wanted the tour to go on a bit longer as he was just getting up to speed now! He had done very well today, staying up with the leaders.

Matt’s friend was waiting to collect him, that was fine. Joyce McGrath arrived around 5pm, had trouble putting on the bike rack. Jude arrived. We met Tao, Zac and Ryan off their 5.05 train – 5 mins late. Then Ryan’s Dad arrived to take Ryan and Hallam. Ash and Michael rode back to their car through the town centre, Zac passed them on the way. We got to the car at around 5.35 or so, car was fine. We went straight home.

This had been a very good tour, excellent weather. Hopefully Callum will have learned from his mistakes.

Friday 16 April 2010
Evening ride: Chalk FordDry
4 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
This was a good first evening ride of the season, taking us up the long hill to Cross Furzes, along the track to Lud Gate and then down over the moorland track to Chalk Ford. We returned via the stony track to Scoriton, getting home by 9pm by which time it was pretty much dark.

Sunday 18 April 2010
Morning ride: Chalk FordSunny & warm
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Ryan and Zac told the others of the excellent ride they missed on Friday, and after a little discussion there was much enthusiasm for the same ride again. We climbed Wallaford Road, finding it so hot that we needed to apply sunscreen lotion on the way up. We took the track to Lud Gate and were soon on the open moor.

In years gone by we used to take a path that went down to Chalk Ford on the right of the stream. Some of us tried that route again today, but it turned out to be much overgrown and boggy in places. To add to our problems we had to cross the stream at the bottom, and several were left with wet feet.

We spent a happy half hour at the Ford playing with the Frisbee and Rocket and watching Zac cooling his feet in the river. When we eventually set off again up the path we only got just past the gate before stopping again, this time for a delightful family of piglets that were basking in the sun. They allowed the youngsters to play with them, so it was another twenty minutes before we set off again for Scoriton and home.

Friday 23 April 2010
Evening ride: LandscoveSunny and dry
5 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
A warm welcome awaited us at the end of Beaston Track
This evening we rode up Green Lane and took the short route to the start of the Beaston track. Plane trails criss-crossed the sky this evening as airlines tried to catch up after the recent closure of airspace following the Icelandic volcano ash cloud.

Beaston turned out to be mainly dry today apart from some lakes around two thirds of the way along. Michael got a puncture near the end which annoyed him intensely as he had planned a longer ride. While everyone was waiting for him to change the tube at the end of the track a small herd of calves came to the gateway which kept the youngsters entertained.

In view of the time Michael abandoned his plan for the woodland track from Penn, instead leading the group to Landscove Play Park for a few minutes before continuing home again via Green Lane.

Sunday 25 April 2010
Morning ride: DartingtonMainly dry with Sunny periods
6 present: Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath, Matt Porter
Our friendly dog really didn't want to be in the photo
Staverton Bridge
The group on the platform of Staverton station
Callum, Matt, Zac, Ash and Ryan on Staverton Station
The forecast this morning was for occasional showers, and one hit just as the youngsters arrived at 10.15. They had to be dragged off the computers when the rain stopped at 10.35, but then we had no more rain for the rest of the morning.

We rode out along Colston Road with Ryan and Ash playing with sticks again along the way. After climbing the cycle path up to Huxham’s Cross the majority wanted a café, so we rode down the path to the Cider Press Centre and stopped in the new Venus café. Michael took a look at the huge slices of coffee cake in the display cabinet marked at £2.20, decided they were way too expensive and chose what he thought would be much cheaper alternatives for him and Ash – a shortcake slice and a tiny cupcake. When he checked the bill at the end he discovered he had been charged £2.20 for the shortcake and £2 for the cupcake! He was not happy and vowed to check the prices of even the smallest items next time.

Everyone’s favourite sweet shop had moved again, but we soon found it so we could pick up some affordable treats. The sun shone brightly as we rode back through Staverton, so we visited the railway station and found an adorable four-legged friend who seemed rather camera shy. At Caddaford we heard a steam train heading back to Buckfastleigh and tried racing it back to the bridge, but it was long gone by the time we got there – slow, but clearly a race-winning speed.

Friday 30 April 2010
Evening ride: Converted to SocialRain
3 present: Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones
There was little enthusiasm for riding in the rain, so we arranged a video evening by watching the latest Blu-ray DVD release, Avatar.

Sunday 2 May 2010
Morning ride: HemburyCold & cloudy
4 present: Ash Freeman, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Ash, Zac and Hallam by the river Dart in Hembury Woods
Callum was unable to join us today as he had recently cut his leg on some barbed wire. The rain had pretty much stopped by 10.25 but it was very cold, so we did a short ride up the road through Hembury Woods. From the top we rode to the glade and took one of the middle tracks down through the woods, bringing us eventually to the riverside track. Along the way we stopped a few times for some interesting discussions which helped everyone appreciate the differences between the main political parties.

We returned home as soon as we reached the road and ran a social at Crofters until 3.30.

Friday 7 May 2010
Evening ride: Belford MillChilly
5 present: Sam Acland, Ash Freeman, Callum Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Michael Jones
We almost had two Aclands this evening, but sadly Olly was ill so only Sam was able to join us. We took the old road to Ashburton on a slightly chilly evening and then rode to Belford Mill to ride the woodland track back to Ashburton, mainly because Ryan loves it so much! We returned home via Druid.

Michael had found a new and short way home recently, through Hoskings Court, which avoided the need to push the bikes up Fore Street which is one-way only. We always pushed through the short section in the middle, but today one of the residents saw us and decided to open her window to tell us off. After a while she realised Michael was being very reasonable in making sure none of the youngsters made any noise or rode their bikes, but really she should have checked the facts before assuming that every young cyclist passing through is out to annoy the locals!

Sunday 9 May 2010
Morning ride: LuttonCold (12°) & cloudy
5 present: Ash Freeman, Ryan Havinga, Hallam Iles, Michael Jones, Zac McGrath
Enjoying the River Avon near Brent Island
Ryan, Zac, Hallam and Ash at Lydia Bridge, Aish
Our ride today was the back road from Duckspond to Dean Hill, then up to Bloody Pool and down the late through Lutton. Hallam was a little over-enthusiastic and had to be slowed down when some horses appeared round a bend. To be honest this was not a particularly interesting lane to ride until we reached the bottom part near South Brent, but there we stopped on the delightful Lydia Bridge for some photos before heading along the riverside path to the Island. We stopped again in a glade by the river for chocolate refreshments, and Ash and Zac entertained us by picking their way across the stones in the river, eventually reaching the other side.

From Brent we headed straight home the shortest way via Harbourneford, getting back amazingly by 12.45. The group is fast enough now to try some more adventurous rides when the weather is good, so let’s hope for a good summer.

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