South Dartmoor CTC


Friday 15 March 2013
Social: Badminton
7 present: Neil Ault, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The majority liked the idea of badminton tonight, so after some computer games we met Neil at Coombeshead school, Newton Abbot at 8.30 and had some good games with every game involving different combinations of players.

Sunday 17 March 2013
Morning ride: Holne (10 mi)Some sunny periods but quite cold (6-7°)
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
George and Will chose the destination for today’s ride, the café being a major draw in the decision. We took the usual route through Michelcombe to Holne because George didn’t fancy the alternative past Mill Leat.

Ex-member Ryan Havinga was baking a coffee cake in the café today and told us he is doing a catering course at Exeter. Steph Crutchley, another ex-member from Holne, was serving.

After enjoying excellent refreshments we left around 12.40 and returned home via Hembury Woods, giving the tracks a miss as they would probably be muddy today. We got back at 1.20 and after playing a game of Supreme Commander Michael dug out some video clips from the 2006 Switzerland Tour to wind up the afternoon social.

Today' ride included a total climb of 292m.

Friday 22 March 2013
Social: Switzerland Tour Preview
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Michael showed John the full 2002 Switzerland tour video this evening in anticipation of a possible European summer tour. Meanwhile the youngsters played games on the PC network.

Sunday 24 March 2013
Morning ride: Buckfast (6 mi)Bitterly cold (1°) with an east wind
6 present: Ash Freeman, Carl Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Callum was late up today as he had two flat tyres and no pump and couldn't find a proper coat. Lawrence was ill, but we still had a reasonable turnout.

The weather at the start was chilly but dry so we decided to try a ride in the Broadhempston direction. The descent of Crest Hill, however, was enough to convince Michael that the weather was dangerously cold, probably 1 degree with a bitter easterly wind. We diverted along Colston Road but everyone was really suffering with the cold. John agreed with Michael that we shouldn’t be cycling if it wasn’t enjoyable, so we returned home via Austin’s Bridge and Buckfast by 11.30.

We had hot drinks, Supreme Commander and trampoline fun during the after-ride social until 3.40.

Friday 29 March 2013
Social: Supreme Commander
6 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Everyone wanted to stay in this evening for a long game of Supreme Commander which involved us taking on two computer-generated enemies. We had great fun and finally beat them by 9pm. We finished off the evening with various other games until the 10pm closing time.

Sunday 31 March 2013
Morning ride: Easter Special, Broadhempston (12 mi)Dry with sunny spells, 6-7°
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, Will Rogers
Will, Lawrence, George, Ash and Callum in Broadhempston Play Park
We rode to Broadhempston via Green Lane for our Easter Special and today got a surprisingly warm welcome at the community café. On previous occasions we have arrived close to the 12.00 closing time, but today we were a good deal earlier which probably explains the different reception. It’s a shame that Michael was the only member of the group ordering a hot drink: he had a very nice latte while the others bought cold drinks and kinder eggs. Facilities were basic but it was warm and we enjoyed our stay.

Moving across to the park Michael hid some Easter Eggs around the back of the fort area one at a time for the youngsters to find which provided some rewarding fun. After we had played a few games of ball he with the tennis ball we left around 12.30 and returned home via Staverton. Nobody seemed to agree with Will that his school is all bad, which made him a little grumpy by the time we got back, but the youngsters persuaded him to come up for the after-ride social in the end and they spent an enjoyable few hours playing on computer games and the trampoline until 4.20.

Today's ride involved a total climn of 261m.

Friday 5 April 2013
Tour: Bath and Somerset Day 1 Home to Bath YH (19 mi)Sunny periods but cold
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
George Rogers and Lawrence Buttress (12:35)
Start of the Bristol and Bath railway path, Bristol (12:35)
Old Mangotsfield station, on the Bristol and Bath railway path (13:40)
The group at the start of the Bristol and Bath railway path (12:35)
The Royal Crescent, Bath (16:31)
Bitton station buffet, on the Bristol and Bath railway path (14:54)
Climbing a track alongside Bathwick Hill on the way to the youth hostel (18:26)
The group at the Royal Crescent, Bath (16:31)
View of Bath from Bathwick Hill, on the way up to the youth hostel (18:26)
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes made by Michaek.

Up at 8, COB here for 9.15. Set off around 9.30 with COB, parked easily at Neil’s, rode to station arriving just before 10.05. Bought railcard for £28 (would have been £25.20 if ordered online, but no control over start date .. ok if renewing though). Train on time, loaded everything up easily, Lesley Buttress took photos and posted them on Facebook. Cold but sunny periods. Got to Bristol on time after 10.32 departure or so, there for around 12.00. Everyone had a packed lunch. New buildings had popped up since we were last here. Found the path, rode through the Dodgy area of Fishponds, had to tell cob NOT to shout things at locals! Had lunch same place as last time, sheltered from the wind and actually warm and sunny. Boy was trying to sell ice creams and drinks, but our lot thought they were chavs and lying about charity collection. I felt a little sorry for them as they had been friendly. Nothing we really wanted though.

Then on to Bitton station. I wasted time by going to the mill, only to find only open at weekends! So went to station buffet which was actually very nice. Then on to Bath. SatNav confused me a bit as it didn’t know the cycle routes and I didn’t notice the Turn Around sign, but we got to the bridge fine for pictures. I had already decided to go to the baths next as I knew they closed at 5, but for some reason I decided to do Circus and Crescent next, thinking they would not want to go there after the baths I guess. Came back to Sally Lunn’s café as that was near the baths, then they found the old sweet shop and loved that. We finally got to the baths entrance at 5.00 only to find the doors closed and the bloke refusing any idea of entry. I suppose I was put off earlier by COB and Lawrence saying they did not want to go in for £7.

So we went to Tesco and Sainsbury. There was demand from George and Will for a Subway, I didn’t really fancy that, but John did not want to spend out for pizza hut for his lads, so Ash and I abandoned that idea. We could not find food we both agreed on, so we bought Subways too. At least fairly cheap. Took them halfway up hill to hostel and ate on the little track with nice views in the sheltered sunny location. Then on to hostel for 6.30 or so.

Usual showers, needed to offer help with beds and some confused. Ash and I finished our meal with yoghurts and some fruit pies we had brought with us, then as darkness approached we had some Bomberman, then did Manhunt in the extensive grounds. I was good as hid way down into woods, but had to make it easier as took too long to find. George hid in a bush with me, then ran out to give himself up, but came back to find me gone! I then later returned to the same spot and was found eventually by COB. Poor George had walked past it a few times.

Back in the dorm we had some Pink Panthers while people got ready for bed, 7 of us in a large 10-bed dorm, so plenty of space. Lights out around 10.55 I guess. I didn’t sleep too well.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 190m.

Saturday 6 April 2013
Tour: Bath and Somerset Day 2 Bath to Cheddar YH (35 mi)Sunny, cold start getting warmer
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Bath youth hostel (10:02)
Bath youth hostel (10:02)
The Kennet and Avon canal path at Claverton (11:54)
Callum, George, Ash, John, Will and Lawrence outside Bath youth hostel (10:02)
Will Rogers on Dundas aquaduct, Monkton Combe (12:07)
Dundas aquaduct, Monkton Combe (12:06)
The group near Dundas aquaduct, Monkton Combe (12:11)
The group near Dundas aquaduct, Monkton Combe (12:11)
Joining the Two Tunnels cycle path near Midway (12:57)
The group near Dundas aquaduct, Monkton Combe (12:13)
Chicks Lane, near Ston Easton (16:27)
A late lunch at Radstock (15:16)
Cheddar Gorge (18:12)
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes made by Michael.

This was the best weather of the tour. Started chilly but got quite warm during the middle of the day in the sunshine. Leisurely start after 7.55 alarms and me playing Supertramp Long way Home on my phone, got away probably 10.00. John wanted to go to the baths so I had chance to make up for last night’s error by going back there again. In the end only John and Will wanted to see them, so they did that for an hour from 10.15-11.10 while the rest of us went to the sweet shop again and then to a nearby café where I had coffee and a Danish and Ash had hot chocolate and coffee cake. John was then out earlier than the hour, so we left the baths around 11.15 and went direct to the canal start using the satnav.

The route was really nice, extending what we did last time by a factor of nearly 3. Lots of barges, lovely cycling, interesting route. Ash stopped at Claverton where we joined last time. Pictures at the aqueduct, then followed route nicely to Midway entry point where lots of cyclists were taking part in the opening of the Two Tunnels path to Bath, making a circular route. We had the more scenic route I am sure.

We were running late of course, so had to pass a farm café in order to reach Radstock by probably 1.45 or 2.00. Got our lunch there and ate overlooking park as before, Ash and I had some nice coop profiteroles after some hot veggie and sausage slice things and Coop yoghurts. Toilets were “grim” as John put it. Will hurt his leg a bit on the upturned V see-saw when COB jumped off his end without warning, but seemed to be OK.

Pressed on to Midsomer Norton, then took planned easier route than last time through Ston Eaton. It really was much easier, George did really well today, being up front with Ash a lot of the time. He regards Ash as an awesome role model. COB got slower and was complaining a bit about the hills. He had a heavy backpack as he had brought too much stuff, he got Lawrence to carry it a little way, then we strapped it to my pannier. There was more downhill than I had expected which helped us as we rolled in to Cheddar around 6.35 or so. Roughly as planned again. Cheese Co was closed, and much farther down near the bottom than I had expected. Went to hostel, showered and bathed fine. Had an extra bed on the floor of the dorm for George, worked well. Ash and I had ready meals – Ash a large Ken Hom s&s chicken, and I had a Tesco Italian tomato pasta meal, both bought at the Tesco Express.

There was some time to play Bomberman, but then there was demand from some to play Manhunt so we went out to the back garden around 9.55 and played a few games, small space but quite dark in places so good fun. Back in around 10.30, managed to get lights out not far off 11.

Today's ride included a total climb of 407m.

Sunday 7 April 2013
Tour: Bath and Somerset Day 3 Cheddar to Street YH (24 mi)Cold
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The Cheddar Gorge cheese company (11:04)
Cheddar youth hostel (10:12)
Bishops Palace, Wells (16:03)
Preparing to leave Wells (16:00)
Lawrence and George on the Somerset Levels near Glastonbury (16:49)
Approaching Glastonbury Tor (16:43)
Lawrence on the Somerset Levels (16:49)
George Rogers (16:49)
Lawrence tries to escape from St Michael's Tower on Glastonbury Tor (18:12)
Ash and George in St Michael's Tower on Glastonbury Tor (18:10)
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes made by Michael.

Alarms went off usual times 7.55 Ash and 7.58 me, then I played them some Genesis today, Down and Out. Breakfasts, then I asked about YHA stamps and got 7 booklets with stamps as we left at 10.10. I think they liked the idea, we haven’t done it for years!

I had not really discussed the prices at Wookey Hole with everyone, or whether we should go there or try booking in advance. But there had been interest in the cheese factory and that seemed close and quite cheap, so we went straight there, £1.95 per adult and kids went in free. Main process takes a day, can watch through glass windows, but videos show whole process compressed into 25 minutes, far more involved than I had expected. Went on to shop and had lots of tasting of cheeses and chutneys etc, cave matured seemed to taste nicer than standard matured. John bought some. I did not. Can order and buy online.

We were there from 10.15 until 11.08, then set off along my planned lane route that avoided the main road for most of the way to Wookey Hole. The route was fine until the bit to Old Ditch, but here I had failed to notice the climb on the lane route. George needed to eat sandwiches before the climb, and the route was interesting but delayed us by more than 20 minutes. I didn’t tell anyone, but we should have taken the road.

There were then more climbs to Wookey Hole, but they were all spurred on by the promise of a café/restaurant and Wookey Hole itself. We probably got there around 1.15 or so, new hotel up top, the bloke at reception would not budge on normal prices of £18 adults and £12 children. He would not even give us 10% for online booking let alone a further discount for only being in there an hour. He rang his manager at my request but he got her to confirm no discounts. It was too expensive. We went to the restaurant to eat and chat, but the place was like a school canteen and was expensive as well as offering cheap fast food. COB and John tried the leek and potato soup, but it was £4.50 and very average. Ash and I had a drink and a £1.50 flapjack, but we were all disguised by the poor quality.

It seemed that Will and George and COB really wanted to go in there, COB thought there was plenty to do there and the other two thought they would probably never go there again. It was difficult, I was now against it for two reasons, one the price and two the delay and resultant loss of other free visits. John thought only do it if they give us the 10% online discount, but we found there was no mobile signal and the new person on the gate was more willing but still had to ask the same manager. So we gave up and left late probably around 2.05. I was happier but felt the kids had missed out on something they had been promised. Maybe we should organise a trip there one day!

Well we got to Wells really quickly, I had to show Will the toilets in the cathedral, went myself, came back and then found that George wanted to go and John was going to take him too. Rest of us got pasties, really nice, and ate on the lawns, chilly in the light wind, John was only just back from toilets when we got back to the bikes. So it was quite late when they had finished eating lunch and playing rocket and tennis ball. I felt really cold there, just wanted to be somewhere warm, I was cursing the cold weather quietly, didn’t take off my coat and fleece and gloves all day! Left there somewhere around 4.05 I guess, around Bishops Palace, then on cycle route to Glastonbury. Had to go back a bit when John stopped to fix George’s bike near the palace.

Followed route around back lanes. Will got despondent at one point and was dragging off the back, John could not resolve but Ash offered to sort him out and I said I felt sure Ash could do it. Within minutes Will was racing to the front with Ash, so he did a great job.

Found a steep climb to the tor . .and Lawrence had a puncture! I sent rest on, changed his tube quickly, then helped him put chain back on. COB was slowed down and we passed him 2/3 of the way up, sitting down tired. I got to car park as rest were almost ready to start walk, I got them off, then went back a bit to collect Lawrence and he managed to join the others. COB took a good deal longer, and when he got there he had no interest in climbing at all, sat at the bottom even though it was cold, so I went up and joined the others.

I now had to further shorten the route by cutting out the Glastonbury Abbey detour, heading straight for the levels. We went direct to the Spar (McColls actually) and stocked up with food there, then went on easily up to the hostel via the drive, getting there probably around 8pm. It was a shame to get there so late when it is such a great hostel. [Next time leave out Wookey Hole unless we can book a good rate in advance AND leave hostel 9.30 AND don’t go to caves or cheese in Cheddar AND take the main road the last bit of the way AND already have lunch with us. Need to get to Wookey for 11.30 with lunch already in our bags in order to go there. If they won’t give a good price, Gough’s Cave in Cheddar may be a faster and cheaper alternative, then go straight to Wells.]

Some showered, others ate first, then it was around 9.55 when we were finally ready to play Manhunt. Funny when Will thought John had gone missing .. we rang his phone, no answer .. door was locked .. turns out he was in the kitchen! Silly Will for not even looking. John and Will were in the 3-bed room, rest in the 6-bed. Ash hid nicely on the balcony. After first round when I volunteered to be on I felt a little ill after the large meal of beans on toast with cheese I had eaten, plus yoghurt and cheesecake. So I sat down for the last two games and offered help. Second time Ash was on the roof of the bike shed and then under the car.

Finally went in late at 10.35, then John wanted to go ahead with the hot chocolates we had planned. Probably around 11.15 when we got everyone ready for bed. Quiet night, I slept oK.

Today's ride included a total climb of 444m.

Monday 8 April 2013
Tour: Bath and Somerset Day 4 Street to Home (25 mi)Very cold and grey
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The cycle shed at Street YH (9:45)
Preparing to leave Street YH (9:44)
George, Callum, John, Ash, Lawrence and Will at Street YH (9:48)
The group at Street YH (9:48)
The Somerset Levels near Othery (12:22)
Drinks at Clarks Village, Street (11:36)
Burrow Mump, Burrowbridge (13:18)
King's Sedgemoor Drain near Othery (12:33)
Will and Ash climb the ruined church on Burrow Mump (13:32)
HD video footage from today's ride
Report to be written from the following notes made by Michael.

Slept fairly well, I was up at 7.55, played them OMD this morning, Nobody was out when I went down for breakfast, even Ash had been too tired to follow my request for him to set a good example. I had nearly finished my sultana bran when he appeared in the kitchen with Lawrence. Cob followed a little later, John was down shortly after me, Lawrence never came. He just made do with shortbread in his bed, how very lazy! When I went back up I took a matter of fact attitude with him, saying we were leaving at 9.30 with or without him, he cheekily said he might just put that to the test, clearly thinking it was unlikely I would leave him behind, I said we were returning later after Clark’s Village so he could just wait here, he thought that was fine, I said the hostel closes at 10 so he would be waiting outside, he said he thought that was very unlikely. I explained it was true, after a few more moments he decided he had better get up. George was sitting on the bottom bunk in the middle chatting with Ash and would not take his panniers to the bike.

Everyone was out by 9.40, but by the time we had YHA books stamped and photos and videos taken we didn’t get away until 10.50. Very cold and grey. Went straight to Clarks Village and wandered around there from 10.15 until 11.50, longer than I had planned. I felt cold and miserable most of the time, but we bought some things in Cadburys and MenKind, looked in Adidas and Mountain Warehouse, also a few other clothes shops, I quite liked Bench actually. Then went back with plan for café at 11.15 but queues in both Starbucks and the nearby one, and John wanted to get takeaway even though Lawrence and I really wanted to sit somewhere warm. Well some got doughnuts, Lawrence Ash and I got 99p hot chocolates from the Cadbury shop and saved money, and we shared a bag of Cadburys Misfits.

As we were leaving late I let the SatNav take us direct to the junction leading to the levels, so we did not return to the hostel or do the nice track. But we needed to save time and distance. Levels was easy, they all liked that, Will got “shitted on” by a bird along the way after stopping and saying “Oh shit”. Amusing.

We got to Othery to find the corner shop closed up and the middle stores closed for lunch between 1pm and 3pm. Continued to Burrow Mump and I decided we had time to climb it, although by the time John had eaten some sandwiches and set off after the rest of us had been at the top for a while, we left there a little later than I had planned. Still grey and very cold on top with stiff breeze. This tour has really been miserable weather. We even had a few light drops of rain on the levels.

Set off for the Willows and Wetland centre, then just after the level crossing I had a blowout. This was around 2.05. I told Ash to lead them on to the centre, then replaced the tube. Looked like it was caused by a weakness in my nearly bald rear tyre, with the tube bursting out of a small hole. Need to change the tyre. I got to the centre around 2.15, they had been looking at the swinging thing in the shed. I said either quick café or look around the centre, but in the café the silly woman was not serving, just told them all to go and sit down and she would come along. That is where they all were when I returned. It was 2.25 or so and she was serving new people who came in, so we had no choice but to leave. Just as well we did as we took much longer to get to the station than I had expected.

We set off probably around 2.30, and it quickly became clear to me that we could not now do the planned extension from North Curry up to the canal. Instead I reprogrammed the satnav to Creech St Michael, and we got there at around 3.10 with the sign saying 4 miles. George was a bit tired but I had not really needed to push anyone. We stopped every 5 mins or so and I gave away some of my chocolate misfits to keep spirits up. It was easy though, and we were soon in Morrisons. By the time we got to the station however it was 3.44 with the train due to leave at 3.49 .. way too close for comfort. Fortunately I came up the nearside platform where COB’s parents were waiting to take him on a family trip up north, I had no chance to say much to them, except we were late, so I set off to check platform. We were lucky, it was that platform and the train was 4 minutes late. So we had comfortable time of a few minutes, and I wished I had said more to COB’s family before they rushed off.

The problem here is that should have booked a later train, the 4.50 instead of the 3.50, which would have given us enough time to do nearly everything we wanted. Except the 1705 only had 4 bike spaces when I came to book it .. so should have booked earlier. If taking the 3.50 there is mot time to go to Clarks Village as well as everything else.

Anyway, we got the train, and there was a travelling chef on board who made me a cheese and tomato toasty on brown bread, and made a bacon baguette with 2 fried eggs for Lawrence. All for reasonable prices, around £4.50. Ash just wanted an orange juice.

Train got in to Newton pretty much on time, just before 5pm, we were thanked by the train manager for getting the bikes off so efficiently – first time that has ever happened! She said she really appreciated us helping them to keep the train on time, as so few people do. Lawrence’s parents were there, nice chat with them. Kelly was waiting outside for them all. Ash and I rode to Neil’s and stayed there until just after 6, glad of somewhere warm. Ash had toyed with the idea of cycling home, but it was cold and he decided to come in the car.

Toay's ride included a total climb of 107m.

Friday 12 April 2013
Evening ride: Converted to Social
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, Callum O'Brien, George Rogers, Will Rogers
Most of the group seemed to want a “final social” of the season rather than an evening ride, so Michael granted their wish and we played games of Black ops and Modern Warfare 3 for the whole evening.

Sunday 14 April 2013
Morning ride: Cross Furzes (6 mi)Windy, forecast of rain later
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, Will Rogers
The forecast was for rain later this morning, and a shower just before the start convinced our enthusiastic young cyclists that it was going to be a wet and windy morning. At least temperatures were finally into double figures today. Michael managed to persuade the group to do a short ride up Wallaford Road to Cross Furzes, by which time things had brightened up a bit, but Will warned Michael not to push his luck with the weather (thinking of the recent snowy ride) so we had to return via Buckfast to avoid any risk of getting wet!

We got home at 11.55 and played Black Ops 3 on the PS3 until 2.50. In the end it didn’t rain again until 3pm.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 241m.

Friday 19 April 2013
Evening ride: Belford Mill (11 mi)Chilly but dry
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Our first evening ride of the season took us to Belford Mill behind Ashburton and down the woodland track towards the school. The youngsters wanted to play in the park on the way back and managed to squeeze in a game of Manhunt while they were there, so it was 9.30 when we finally got home after a chilly return.

Games of Modern Warfare 3 kept everyone entertained after the ride until 10.30.

Today's ride involved a total climb of 181m.

Sunday 21 April 2013
Morning ride: Holne (9 mi)Cloudy with sunny spells, 11°
6 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
George and John on the Lower Hembury Track (11:39)
Will Rogers negotiates the muddy upper reaches of the Lower Hembury Track (11:32)
At the bottom of the "Slalom" in Hembury Woods (13:44)
Ash pulls a wheelie outside the café at Holne (12:50)
Michael suggested a ride to Skerraton Down today but Will was feeling a little ill so we headed instead to the Lower Hembury Woods track. Everyone was chatty and friendly today, and about halfway up the track we climbed down to the Holy Brook to play on a fallen tree. Ash ended up demonstrating his cricketing abilities by batting stones with a stick.

When we had negotiated some muddy sections and reached the road, Will and Lawrence wanted a café, so we turned left up the hill past Shuttaford and called in to the Holne café. Most people had scones, coffee and lemonade, but Lawrence, being Lawrence, took the scrambled egg on toast again.

ON the way back we called in to Hembury Fort where Ash tried to get everyone to take him down, then we all rode down the Slalom track through the woods – including, amazingly, John! We got back for 2.00 and played games of Infected on Modern Warfare 3 and some trampoline until 3.40.

Friday 26 April 2013
Evening ride: Skerraton (5 mi)Cold
5 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers
We planned to go to Skerraton Down this evening, but George was a good deal slower than usual so it was 8.20 when we finally reached the top of Nurston Hill. It was getting really cold by now so we abandoned the idea of Skerraton and returned home via Dean Hill by 8.50. It was so cold that we were all glad to get back – maybe we’ll actually get some warm weather soon!

We played games of Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops after the ride until 10.20.

Today's ride included a total climb of 167m.

Sunday 28 April 2013
Morning ride: Landscove Tearooms (11 mi)Chilly
7 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers, Alastair Shapland
Will, George, Ash, Lawrence, John and Alastair in the gardens of the Hill House Nursery, Landscove (12:43)
We rode up Caddaford Hill and on to Staverton with the intention of going to Fermoys, but Ash was not feeling too well and George was getting slower so we had to change our plans a little. After riding past St Christopher’s School we turned left and headed straight for Landscove where we arrived at the café at 11.50. During the journey we all settled on definitely doing a major tour to Switzerland this summer, so there’s lots to look forward to.

Inside the café most of us enjoyed our large portions of cake and drinks at a large round table, but Will decided to sit on a table by himself in the corner so he could eat his scones, cream and jam undisturbed. We ran around the gardens for a while, then played in the playing field opposite the school before heading straight back to Buckfastleigh for 1.30.

Everyone came back after the ride for a games social until 2.55, including Alastair for the first time.

Today's ride included a total climb oif 259m.

Friday 3 May 2013
Evening ride: Chalk FordSunny spells, turning cold
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, John Rogers, Will Rogers
The piglets seem to like attention (20:40)
Piglets on the track from Chalk Ford towards Scoriton (20:40)
Will wanted to go to Chalk Ford this evening, surprising in view of the extensive off-road riding involved, so that is what we did, starting with the long climb to Cross Furzes. John surprised us all by joining us on the moorland track, and he was well rewarded by the sight of a group of deer on the far side of the valley, watching our every move, and then three pigs that came over to greet us as we took the track from Chalk Ford to Scoriton.

We continued down the stony track to Scoriton and arrived home at around 9.28 for a games social involving 3v3 games on Modern Warfare 3. For some reason Will didn’t like Michael’s new way of determining effectiveness in the team, where success was dependent on whether a person got more kills than deaths rather than purely on number of kills.

Sunday 5 May 2013
Morning ride: Totnes (16 mi)Sunny
6 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, George Rogers, John Rogers, Will Rogers, Alastair Shapland
The group at Totnes Weir (11:45)
We proceeded with our planned ride to Dartington today and made excellent progress along Colston Road, partly because George was on top form. We followed the cycle path to Dartington, then everyone was keen to go on to Totnes so we took the cycle path on to the weir where we took some photos.

We continued along the path to the centre of Totnes, then the majority wanted a café stop at Morrisons so we called in there at 12.00 for fifty minutes of tasty food, which in Will’s case included Macaroni Cheese.

Michael needed to get back by 2.30 so we returned along the cycle path from Totnes station and then via Staverton Bridge and Hole Farm. Unfortunately George slowed down to a crawl for some reason, so John stayed with him while the rest of us continued home at a normal pace so that Will could have some game time. We got back at 2pm which gave Will half an hour to play Zombies with Ash.

Today's ride included a total climb of 248m.

Friday 10 May 2013
Evening ride: Converted to SocialRaining
4 present: Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Wet weather forced us to change tonight’s ride to a social. We enjoyed an hour of badminton at Ashmoor and finished with some computer games at Crofters.

Sunday 12 May 2013
Morning ride: Hembury WoodsDry start, light rain later
5 present: Lawrence Buttress, Ash Freeman, Michael Jones, John Rogers, Will Rogers
Lawrence, Ash, John and Will at the bottom of the "Slalom" track in Hembury Woods (12:03)
Will Rogers on the lower part of the "Slalom" track through Hembury Woods (12:01)
The forecast today was for light rain between 11 and 3, so we decided on a reasonably short ride that started by riding up Holne Road to Buckfast and then took us up the Lower Hembury track. By the time we got to the other end the predicted light rain had arrived so Lawrence and Will decided we should go home. We rode up the hill to Humphrey’s Cross and back through Hembury, following the moat around the fort and then riding down the Slalom track.

Ash and John helped a policewoman who was looking for a particular car that they happened to have noticed at the top of the hill, then we got home for 12.40. We spent the next two hours playing various games including Lord of the Rings (where Lawrence and Michael beat a brutal and a medium enemy), Zombies and Modern Warfare 3.

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