Dunkeswell – Wellington – North Curry
Ride Report: Sunday 10th August 2008, Kirby James
After loosing my leader’s licence in June I’ve undergone a period of re-training and now have to lead some trial rides before being re-licenced. To minimise the risk to CTC members my first step towards rehabilitation is to lead a ride without any participants. I wasn’t sure how this would work. (How would they know I rode the right course? What if I didn’t turn up and stayed in bed?)
I got to the café at Dunkeswell well before the nominated start time and sat drinking a mug of tea whilst pondering these issues. At ten o’clock sharp I checked my tyres, my map, my drinks and sandwiches and my clean handkerchief before setting off.
Behind the hedge I’m sure I saw the shadowy figure of Arthur (maybe that’s how they check up on you?) I descended past Dunkeswell Abbey and climbed up the Culm Valley then on over the Blackdown Ridge before descending to Wellington where I arrived at the Europa Cafe on the dot of eleven. Soon after Arthur arrived followed by eleven riders in the alternative group. They tried to tempt me off-route by the promise of a cream tea, but remembering that I was on trial, I politely declined (thanks for the offer Jacky).
Biding my farewells I set off to join the Sustrans’ NCN Route 2 into Taunton. All went well until I arrived at the town centre where they had decided to extend the Somerset Cricket Ground over the cycle route. After searching around I eventually found the canal and set off eastward towards the Levels. Without further incident I arrived at the lunch stop at North Curry. Again I thought I spotted Arthur behind a wall.
After allowing a generous hour for lunch I set off through Curland to climb Staple Hill. At the top I spotted a cyclist studying a map (this was clearly yet another test). I stopped to offer help and discovered it was Sarah who by coincidence (or was it?) was riding a very similar route to me. Sarah declined my offers to plan her route (probably wisely), pump up her tyres or polish her rims with my hankie. After failing to think of anything else leaders might be expected to do I said goodbye and pressed on back to Dunkeswell.
I wonder whether I’ve passed this test?