ExeterBikeBusReports201105

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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - May 2011

26 May - Newton St Cyres Golf Club

Tim black sheep.jpg

Sudden change in the weather brought out only the hardy cyclists (or those who weren’t creative enough to find an excuse). Ian and I sheltered under a tree near Killerton Bridge to await arrival of the expected large east Devon BB. Eventually only Judy and Tim appeared, whereupon Tim was immediately presented with the Black Sheep Award which he hastily and cheerfully accepted entering into the true spirit and humour of the award!

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Pedalled in bracing head wind and rain to Silverton, Thorveton and finally Newton St Cyres Golf Club – to find only Robin and Sarah Skinner outside! Everyone else was huddled inside like sardines in a tin! 'Birthday Cake' presented to Ian in advance of his Birthday on Sunday. Geoff and Penny joined us after coffee. On the way to Cadbury, we spotted a large amount of strange 'cobwebs' in the hedge with a mass of caterpillars (see photo). I later consulted a retired Wildlife Consultant whose immediate reaction was “you didn’t touch them did you”? This was likely to be a colony of the Black Tail Moth which is large in number this year: the caterpillar, if touched will leave you with a huge itchy and stingy rash for weeks! In fact precautions for approaching them are always wear thick clothing, rubber gloves and wellington boots'!!

Following a lunch break and guided tour of Geoff and Penny’s building work and creative designs, four of us pedalled home via Thorveton and Whimple. Some discussion about next BS Award recipient – no misdemeanours this week, unless denying it is your birthday and not wishing to celebrate meets the criteria? Only BB Executive is qualified to verify.

Steph
ooh, I’m itching

A Note from Scotland

7stanes-location.png

Dear Bike Bus,

I'd just like to thank you for letting my Dad have a week off to come off-roading in Scotland with me.

I'd learnt from the Bike Bus News that my Dad had completed two Advanced Mountain Bike Courses so with some confidence I signed him up to ride the red routes at the 7Stanes. The 7Stanes are a series of mountain bike centres in the Scottish Borders.

Red routes feature: a wide range of climbs of a challenging nature, boardwalks, berms, large rocks, medium steps, drop-offs, cambers and water crossings.


Marianne on a large rock
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My Dad entered into the spirit of things from the start ... building on the confidence gained on the course at Haldon Hill he shot off ahead of us.

However we soon realised that mountain biking in England has adopted different conventions from those employed in Scotland. After several of the large drop offs we found my Dad sprawled on the track groaning. After some discussion we decided that it was probably his way of warning us of the more severe drop offs - but it would have been much more helpful if he had groaned a bit louder and had moved to the side of the track to give us clear passage.

I have extensive video coverage of the week which I understand is being made available only to Premium Subscribers, however a taster is available here.

Love Marianne


Tuesday Report from the Somerset Levels

Ian writes:-

What a ride this week. So eventful, it's difficult to know where to start!

Ian and Steve left Cullompton just after 08h00, picked up Richard at Clyst Hydon and then Ted and Keith at Talaton. Up Hembury Fort and across Dunkeswell/Smeatharpe was relatively uneventful. On arriving at Holman Clavel to meet the Wellington Wheelers, Keith had a puncture. Hastily fixed, we zipped down to North Curry where we met Colin & Sue from the Welly Wheelers (just back from their expedition to the Lake District) and the man himself, KJ (surprisingly, he had arrived via a short trip with British Rail), fresh from his off-road riding trip to Scotland.

Leaving cafe in North Curry

The North Curry Cafe was again superb value for money - shame it is 35 miles from Exeter!! - 18 pts

On leaving, John from the Welly Wheelers had a puncture and decided to return to Taunton, whilst the rest of us pressed on to Langport, where the planned cafe was closed, so we searched out another - The Parrett - great food, drinks and good value for money - 17 pts

Whilst choosing which road to depart Langport from, a wrong turn occurred - we doubled back and turned into the correct road, which was quite hilly. Keith was in the wrong gear, his chain then slipped off before he fell over to his left, knocking Steve over, before landing on Steve's back wheel. Luckily no-one was injured, but as Steve went to ride away, it was apparent that his rear wheel was severly buckled. Martin came back to try and fix it but couldn't, so Steve had to ride the 45 miles home like a picture out of Charlie Chaplin!!!

We then spent 3 hours querying whether we were in Devon or not - It was actually gone 17h00 before this event occurred! KJ nipped off to use the second half of his train ticket, looking to save his legs for his Welsh Red Dragon Sportive this weekend - Good luck Kirby!!

Ted and Keith (after prolonged negotiations with the boss) left us at Craddock for the 1h30-2h00 ride South to Cadhay/West Hill. Ian and Steve arrived back at Ian's house at 18h00 (90 miles covered) whilst Richard trekked back to Exeter - over 100 miles and he provided free fudge and choclate flapjacks!! - BZs all round!!

Next week, a 20 chevron ride round Dartmoor (so as to not completely scare everyone off, it's 10 down and 10 up!!!)

19 May ~ Escot, near Ottery St Mary

Ice trike.jpg

Bike Bus 1's journey to Escot was enlivened by both Tom and Robbie arriving on ICE folding recumbent trikes. They had set off from Barnstaple at some ungodly hour, managed to persuade Southwest Trains to let them onboard, and then had to leg it down to the Quay to catch the Bike Bus. Sadly a mechanical problem meant that they had to leave us at Ebford - but they will be back!

Judy reports (in small bite-sized chunks) on Bike Bus 2:-

Report from Woodbury last week: We set off from Alsbeare Cross, 8 goodly peddlers. The Military precion of John's leadership was greatly missed.!

Several leaders stepped into the brink, with various maps!

I guess the aim was to get to all the points listed by the bike bus executive.

Pretty shambolic, but surpringly we found Penny and Geoff at Talaton, bang on Shedule.

It was then realised that we had missed out Auk. No, if you have specs its Aunk!

I understand Aunk* is where the Liobian’s originate, and Aunk, Aunk is their mating call. None of these creatures were spotted as we raced through, this small metropolis. Lower and Upper Tail were then tackled. A cheerful notice on a gate advised, Seasonal Lamb boxes for sale.

Steph started bleating we were getting late for elevens! Was it the fear of penalty points or the thought Exeter contingent may be scoffing all the best cakes.

Sue black sheep escot.jpg

It was pleasing to see Sue sporting, most elegantly the Black Sheep T-shirt, crime unknown!

One complaint registered by Glenn, someone tried to steal her peanut butter sandwiches!

PS * Liobians from the Flood by Kate Atkinson

Strangely Stephanie also reports on Bike Bus 2:-

Just as I was beginning to think the Woodbury crowd had decided against an early start in preference of BB1’s later time for Woodbury, a mass of cyclists all appeared bang on time at Aylesbeare Cross. Onto Escot, ably lead by Tim who had been given an alternative route to the usual – this meant a few map checks and his gentle persuasion to keep the group together at junctions where two options could potentially lead us to the same place.

Surprisingly, we arrived at Talaton exactly on time and were even more surprised to find Geoff and Penny hoping for a passing Bike Bus. Never assume there won’t be passengers at any of the outlying advertised stops! Arrival through Aunk provided some discussion on correct pronunciation and Judy went in search of a fictional animal which she was sure inhabited the area – (Aunk appears to be a Celtic name. Lord Burgred of Aunk owned five other areas of land prior to Norman invasion in 1066 – but none afterwards). I was intrigued to discover that it had taken me 24 miles to reach a coffee stop only 2 miles from home. I think I’m getting the hang of this cycling now.

Bike bus budleigh.jpg

With me now as leader, lunch destination at Budleigh reached via Gosford, where I might have received a whistle for a new road or I might not. Peacefully continued along Otter Valley to Tipton, Harpford and Otterton with no passengers waylaid and the leader maintaining a front position – quite unusual really, maybe I haven’t got the hang of this cycling after all.

Now onto more serious matters. Over afternoon tea, BB Exec consulted four esteemed passengers to determine the next recipient of the Black Sheep Award. It is with regret that Judy was once again considered due to her sudden deviation at Budleigh Traffic lights. However, in compliance with new government policy by which spouses can now take on their loved ones speeding points it was unanimous that Tim should receive this much treasured award serving, we hope, to create a balance in the Green/Knowles household. Although, it has to be said that Tim did in fact qualify independently of Judy’s misdemeanours by crashing into a Devon bank and coming to an abrupt standstill, whilst holding the position as Leader.

Stephanie fails to mention that after leaving Escot she led several dozen cyclists to Keith's house near Cadhay for a late morning tea. Unfortunately no answer was obtained.

Bike Bus Intelligence has since determined that Keith was, at tybe time, sunning himself at a cafe in Lagos in the Algarve.


Tuesday Ride - Powderham

Mike and sue departure.jpg
Cridland Lochgilphead (bear) & Wester Tartraven (mole)

Ian reports succinctly:-

This week, a record breaking 12 mini Bike Busers turned out to see the Booth's off on their expedition to Europe.

Morning Coffee at Powderham, a climb up Haldon Hill, lunch in Dunsford, another climb up Haldon Hill and 2 punctures - all without a tart in sight!!!

Next week, a ride out onto the Somerset Levels


Meanwhile the Bike Bus Executive have taken the unusual step of issuing a statement

... wishing Mike and Sue a great and safe trip around Europe ...

... and the latest Lindsay Scores are

  • Powderham Castle - 19 pts
  • Dunsford Walled Garden - 19 pts

Bike Bus Intelligence Breakthrough

Bike Bus Intelligence have succeeded in breaking into the private diary of Mike & Sue Booth. If you would like to read their private thoughts during their foreign foray follow this secret link.

12 May ~ Cullompton ~ Padbrook Park

First award black sheep t shirt.jpg

Masterfull planning allowed the two Bike Buses to converge at the New Inn, Broadclyst.

Then 24 cyclists witnessed the presentation of the Bike Bus hair shirt to its first recipient ... Mrs Judy Knowles.

Judy relates:-

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, I mean Pad broke Park. At the New Inn, the Bike Bus Executive started to behave in a very strange way!

The Representative came over shook my hand and presented me with a package! Inside was a mini dress, the front puffed up with lots of white sheep but low, in their midlist was a black anarchist, or is it Masonic? By some strange force I was told to wear this mini dress and cycle it around the Devon Lanes ... The said sheep certainly kept me warmer.

Some days later the Executive requested back this mini dress muttering this garment has powers all of its own, and must be held in a secure place.!

So can anyone shed light on this strangeness! What wonderful powers of peddlepower will this bunch of sheep bestow!
From BLACK SHEEP.

Stephanie reports:-

Following coffee – 14 followed Ian and I to Ottery for lunch. Joint leadership here was very streamlined – Ian consulted BB passengers on where to go and confirmed destination, I planned the route and kept forward whilst Ian modulated my potential for over speeding – thereby maintaining the group at a sensible pace.

(I hope you don’t mind, but in the absence of BB Executive I did blow my own whistleconsidered legitimate by the rest of the group, but could easily be retracted if necessarygrid ref: 088 018 to 082 014).

I am now practising backwards whistles.

You might be pleased to hear that on arrival in Ottery, a 3 pronged strategy was employed to effectively cull the Bike Bus from 16 to 3 in one complete move:

  1. The park chosen for lunch was closed (how can a park be closed? – but it was)!
  2. The cafe chosen for a cuppa hadn’t enough room for all bikes outside
  3. I casually suggested East Hill

Even Judy baulked out of East Hill!!!

Ian, Glenis and I carried on up East Hill via Slade Road, the southbound “under ridge”, sharp left up to White Cross where we admired Haytor in the distance, and then along top ridge to Gittisham Hill down to Fenny Bridges.

Tuesday Ride - Illminster

Ian reports:-

This week the Bike Mini-Bus enjoyed morning coffee at Ian's Mum and Dad's house near Ilminster. All eight of us just managed to squeeze in the homemade biscuits, malt loaf, cinnammon toast, toasted teacakes, coffee cake, fairy cakes and tea/coffee. A clear leader has emerged in the cafe table.

Coffee ctc.jpg

However, as is our want, we continued on to Dunkeswell via various hills in order to find more food. The kitchens were shut by the time we got there, so we had to settle for sandwiches and tart. When asked how they compared to last week's tarts, one Bike Mini-Buser said "you can't compare the two, it's like comparing apples and oranges" - another good cafe, but unfortunately a little lost on the day a true winner came to the fore.

... and the latest Lindsay Scores are

  • Ian's Mum & Dad's house - 25 pts
  • Dunkeswell - 21 pts


5 May ~ Crediton Station Cafe

Mike reports rather forlornly

Despite the disheartening lack of wholly justifiable new-road whistles, I have mustered enough enthusiasm to provide a comprehensive & in-depth ride report for Thursday's post-coffee events.

It rained a bit, 14 set out, nearly lost 6 at the burnt thatch, actually lost 2 by lunch (Roger & Gerald), used purpose-built lunch shelter in Morchard Bishop, sampled local hostelry non-alcoholic beverages & choc bars, saw no geological phenomina, rode home.

The reason for the lack of whistles is a result of the low cunning employed by some of the so called Bike Bus Leaders. Instead of carefully planning a route they wander aimlessly around the countryside until a whistle is blown. In recent weeks one of these so called leaders used this technique to amass four whistle blows.

As soon as the Executive became aware of this underhand technique they modified the rules and instructed their humble servant Kirby to not blow a whistle when the first new road was encountered - but to wait until it was clear that the leader actually knew what they were doing.

Judy black sheep.jpg

This explains Mike's understandable frustration at not being awarded a whistle as soon as he found a new road.

Mike also rather underplays the attraction of the London Inn in Morchard Bishop ... after bolting down our sandwiches in the bus shelter (commodious granted) ... we descended on the pub in search of hot drinks.

The sprightly barmaid obliged with several large pots of tea (at a cost of £1.00 each) ... allowing us to warm up and catch up with the news in the free newspapers.

As always one of our number let us down ...

More Bike Bus Executive News

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The whole Bus Bus Executive accompanied by their humble servant Kirby spent an away day on Tuesday cycling to Land's End and back.

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This allowed extensive discussion of the future of the Bike Bus. A number of important decisions were made which I have been asked to brief you on over the comming weeks.

One of the most important relates to the Black Sheep Awards. At its introduction it was belived that the shame of being awarded a Black Sheep Award would control the errant behaviour sadly exhibited by some of our passengers.

Unfortunately this has not been the case ... some people apparently glorying in their Awards. The Executive have now decided that the most recent recipient of a Black Sheep Award will have to wear an especially prickly Black Sheep Sackcloth vest. To this end the Executive have spashed out on two sackcloth vests ... a 3XL one for men and a size zero for ladies.

Tuesday Ride

Ian relates:-

Another eventful week in the life of the Bike Mini-Bus.

Only Steve and Ian were brave enough to venture out of the county on the elusive search for the perfect cafe. After SWW kindly left some of their truck on Ian's forks just outside Colestocks, a non-Bike Bus employee was seen wearing a Bike Bus Jersey on a non-Bike Bus ride. Senior management have been informed - I believe the defence will be that they were on the way to work so couldn't participate in the planned ride - lame excuse if you ask me!!

Senior management had to check British Rail (Penzance Branch) Bike carrying procedures were up to date, so there was no need for us to pop into the centre of Taunton to make a pick-up, allowing us to skirt to the East of the city before arriving at Monkton Elm Garden Centre for morning coffee - superb cakes but no bacon sarnies!!

Joining up with Ken and Yvonne from the Wellington Wheelers, we then went West to lunch at Bishops Lydeard Farm Shop (avoiding the fearsome Cothelstone Hill) where the standard of tarts was better than ever seen before on any bike bus ride - Tuesday or Thursday!!!

After climbing out of West Buckland, we passed by Wellington Monument (Roger, I can give you a copy of the route if needed) before dropping back into the Culm Valley for the return leg Southwards towards Exeter. A record 90 miles for Steve - hope I haven't scared him off!

Next week is Ilminster and potentially a secret refreshment facility.

... and the latest Lindsay Scores are

  • Monkton Elm Garden Centre - 17pts
  • Bishops Lydeard Farm Shop - 18pts
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