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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - February 2012

Tuesday 28 February - Bovey Tracey & Dartmoor

Ian reports:-

Ian and Richard (from Wellington Wheelers) met Ted and Steve** at the Swing Bridges at 09h00 before setting off to Bovey Tracey. However, we were stopped in our tracks when the advance party of Kirby, Mike and Sue were found cafeing without authorisation in Chudleigh. They have been reported to the Executive.

Despite their misdemeanour Ted lead us all as one to Bovey Tracey, where Kirby managed to negotiate us the fancy soft furnishings part of the cafe - ta. Brookside Tea Rooms is still pricey but the quality is good.

Kirby, Steve, Mike and Sue then ventured off to Moretonhampstead (report to follow****), whilst Ian lead Richard and Ted up and over Haytor to Widecombe, Dartmeet and then Two Bridges, before turning for Moretonhampstead via Postbridge. Absolutely superb scenery and an emergency stop at The Warren Inn meant that we arrived 4 minutes after Kirby had lead his troops for home!!

Although chasing like crazy, we couldn’t catch Kirby’s group (as they had gone off on an unofficial route back to Exeter – they have been reported to the Executive).

So in the end we arrived back at the Swing Bridges (via the official route) before Kirby’s group, and continued on our way.

90+ miles covered, 9,000ft of climbing (note to self – not even one third of the way up Everest, must try harder to find more hills!!) – next week, the Cider Farm via the coast (train assisted option available via Axminster).

** Huw had a snuffle - so wasn't able to come.

****Mike, Sue and Kirby set off some two hours before Ian's group - so that they could have a relaxed ride over Haldon Ridge. By the time they reached Chudleigh they realised that they were still well ahead of schedule - so decided to pop into the Deli for a coffee.

Unfortunately it was full of mums and toddlers - so we decamped to the 'Old Pottery Cafe' - but not before Mike had made friends with several toddlers. This was also busy and Sue and I squeezed into a corner and Mike found a space on the toddlers' table. Unfortunately we had left our bikes in the Main Square where they were spotted by an eagle-eyed Ian. We were dragged out and forced to continue the ride to Bovey.

Mike getting it from the horses mouth.jpg

After a second coffee we left Ian's group to zoom up to Haytor and we took the old railway path to Lustleigh, and then on up an unexpected hill before dropping down into Moretonhampstead.

Here Mike made friends with a pony**. The rest of us had lunch.

After lunch we fancied our chances of making it back to Exeter before Ian - so we set off by a devious route past Windy Cross and through Dunchideock.

An hour after getting home we text'ed Ian to say that we had just got to the Swing Bridge ;-)

** Sue has made an appointment for Mike at Specsavers next week.

Thursday 23 February - Exminster & Haldon Grill

This week the Bike Bus was scheduled to go to two different places at the same time.

Unfortunately at the last minute the driver of BB2 decided to take a sickie - and left his passengers stranded at Aylesbeare Cross. Ian came to the rescue and shepherded them up onto Haldon where they met up with the Exeter Bus which had taken the direct route.


After coffee I led the party down the hill - only to receive a phone call from Marilyn saying she had got a puncture at the top! I asked her why she hadn't rung Roger?

Now it seems that Roger has now been trained to take his mobile phone with him - but he hasn't yet had the 'turning on' lesson. So Roger is this week's winner of the Black Sheep Award Award.

Hole in hedge.jpg

I rode back up the hill and rounded the party up and then went down the hill again.

We climbed up over the ridge and I descended to Luton - to find no one was following me. About 5 minutes later Marilyn phoned to say that one of the group had shot through a hedge and they were still looking for them. I cycled up the hill again - and rounded them all up again. And then cycled down the hill again.

Bike bus haldon 2012 02 23.jpg

Eventually we reached Chudleigh, where the advance party had had time for a few drinks in the pub. Our sober, but tired, group joined them in the Square for our lunch and a quick coffee in the Deli.

Afterwards all we had to do was to climb back over Haldon and descend to Exminster where we rewarded ourselves with another coffee in the excellent Community Cafe.

More from Los Angeles

Booths in la.jpg

Mike reports (a little late due to the 8 hour time difference)

Just 2 takers for the strenuously hilly ride up the San Gabriel River Trail. Black Sheep Awards all round for those who failed to show at the Amigo Park start. Riders rewarded with several views of interesting American chickens.

Tuesday 21 February - Torbay

Ian writes:-

So Ian, Richard and Huw met up with Keith at the Swing Bridges, before taking the old road up and over Haldon. We dropped down into Chudleigh and then along to Newton Abbot before taking the back roads to Occombe Farm Shop. KJ was already there, courtesy of British Rail!! – service at Occombe is appalling and the prices are inflated. The only saving grace is the nice ride to get there! – 14 pts.

Richard then lead us out along the seafront in Torquay, before taking the marine drive round to Babbacombe. A short dash along the coast road and we were in Shaldon for lunch! – The Ferry Boat Inn – Sandwiches and beer, superb!! – 19 pts.

Richard stayed in Teignmouth, so we returned just the 4 of us, via Dawlish, Starcross and then the seawall. A few minor detours later (drainage/resurfacing works on the cycle path) and we were back at the Swing Bridges

80+ miles covered – next week Dartmoor.

Update on Sue's Trip to California

Sue makeover.jpg

Sue told most of us that she was travelling to Los Angeles for a well deserved holiday. Some of you must have realised that something was afoot as she didn't take her touring bike with her.

I can now reveal that she has had a makeover.

I must admit I didn't know what a makeover was, but according to Wikipedia ...

A makeover is a term applied to changing one's appearance, sometimes through cosmetics. Makeovers can range from something as simple as a new haircut, to the use of cosmetic surgery, to the extreme of the implantation of dental veneers, eye-color-changing contact lenses, and the use of appearance-altering gastric bypass surgeries, providing massive, permanent fat loss in obese persons, and the associated plastic surgeries, such as abdominoplasty, to eliminate the resulting loose-hanging skin folds (the "panniculus").

Now we don't know which of these techniques have been used ... but you must admit that Sue's appearance has changed dramatically. After a period of recuperation Sue will be back in the UK soon.

Thursday 16 February - 30th Anniversary Ride(s)

A full report on the 30th birthday celebrations (and photos) will be appearing in the Highwayman Magazine soon ...

After the celebrations two leaders offered their services - Ian and John.

John offered a ride to Escot and Ian one to Waddles Down (wherever that might be). Much to my surprise more people choose to follow Ian.

Waddles down dist altitude.png

Waddles down towers.jpg

Even Lyndsay (who was taking a short mid-week break from the pluperfect) decided to throw her hand in.

The above graph gives some small indication of the mistake thay made!

En-route Penny became suspicious - and decided to opt for an afternoon of retail therapy.

But ... some hours after setting off the party found themselves at an altitude of 240 metres above sea level alongside a strange tower. This was their second mistake.

Kirby launched into an impromptu exposition on the characteristics of microwave radiation ... and as you can see from the rapt attention of the audience ... it was just what was needed.

Microwave talk.jpg

Natur bars.jpg

After this things improved somewhat ... after a fast descent ... the party arrived at Woodleigh Coach House and were able to enjoy hot drinks and ...

... sample a new power fuel for cyclists (called Natur) ... which is manufactured by hand in a secret location in Wales. You will be learning more about this shortly ...

John reports on Bike Bus 2's outing:-

After the most enjoyable and extended 30th year celebration in Stoke Canon Village Hall Bike Bus 2 set out for Escot with five sheep and a wolf.

We headed north for Silverton after which one sheep left us for Woodbury and a 2pm appointment. The smaller flock still with its wolf then embraced the slopes of the Bradninch hills while finding a new, hitherto unused by Bike Bus, road (do I hear a whistle?) linking with Hele and leading us across the main Cullompton road for Plymtree. At a steady pace we braved the hedge cuttings and occasional traffic hazard including a near miss on a blind corner to reach Luton thence Feniton and the back approach to Escot, on this 17 mile ride.

Alas we had forgotten school half term, for there must have been more than 200 cars and 400 children with parents all filling the restaurant or waiting at the servery in a depressingly long queue. We paused for breath and then engaged in the usual 'what shall we do' discussion the upshot of which was a trek to Aylesbeare and lunch at 2pm in a quiet kitchen. Those who had to press on to Exeter will have completed more than 40 miles, Wolf included.

Something you never thought would happen in your Lifetime (again)

A few weeks ago we reported the unbelievable news that Roger has aquired a mobile phone!


This report seems to have triggered a flurry of mobile phone purchases, including ones by

  • Penny
  • Marilyn, and
  • Tim

I will be circulating their numbers shortly (so that you can send them all a cheery txt message) - but I'll give them a few week's practice so that they know how to switch them on before confusing them further.

Now that more than 50% of Bike Bus passengers have mobile phones we'll be able to cook fresh eggs on our rides.

Tuesday 14 February - Watchet

Ian reports:-

Ian and Richard left Cullompton at 08h00 and after a trip up the Uplowman Valley, arrived in Dulverton for coffee at 09h30 – Tantivy Cafe – good quality coffee and Builder’s Tea for £1.50 – 18 pts.

After much complaining, Richard eventually agreed to take Ian to see the Snowdrop Valley, but after seeing 80,000 of the little blighters en route, they went straight past the valley and took out their frustration by riding up Dunkery Beacon instead. A mad descent off the top, down to Minehead and then the coast road to Watchet. Beers were had at the Bell Inn – 15 pts – before meeting up with the Wellington Wheelers and joining them for a ride to Bishops Lydeard.

Return to Cullompton via Taunton, Wellington and Uffculme capped off a superb 85+ mile ride (115 for Richard – BZs!!) – next week Torquay with a potential train option too!!

Thursday 9 February - Exmouth

Tandem sidecar great north road.jpg

As it was icy the Bike Bus headed down the Estuary to Exmouth and then hid from the cold in King's Garden Centre. The so-called leader led the complete Bike Bus to the only Reserved table in the establishment ... and earned a well deserved telling off ... and a Black Sheep Award Award.

After coffee Roger (now equipped with a mobile phone) led the party over the Common and up the Otter Valley to Escot ... for a leisurely lunch.

Nothing much of interest happened ... so I'll take this chance to update you on some of the thoughts and musings of the Bike Bus Executive.

As you can well appreciate the Executive get quite a lot of fan mail each week ... which I'm told they appreciate ... but they also get sent rather a strange lot of photos and poems. I won't embarrass you by giving details ... however one of the more interesting and savoury arrivals is shown on the right.

Bike Bus Intelligence were tasked with investigating and I can reveal that the photo was taken on the Great West Road (now the A4) just weat of London in the early 1950s. It shows a tandem hitched up to a tandem side-car.

Intelligence also discovered that, quite amazingly one of the passengers in the side car is a current member of the Bike Bus! As always more details, including the identity of the passenger, are available to Premium Subscribers.

Tuesday 7 February - North Curry

Ian reports:-

Tuesday bb north curry.jpg

Ian and Richard were joined by Adrian from the Exe Velo Cycling Club this week. After a swift ride to Wellington and having being joined by Huw, we made our way to North Curry via Taunton. Main roads all the way ensured an ice-free ride! – North Curry is still a superb cafe, if not a little far from Exeter – fantastic homemade gingerbread cake today!! – 17 pts

We joined up with the Wellington Wheelers and then Huw lead us up and over Cothelstone Hill. A descent into Bishops Lydeard and we found The Lethridge – unbelievably massive sarnies and a Latte that even Yvonne approved of!! – quote of the day 'If you can’t be grumpy when you’re old, when can you be?'17 pts

Return via Wellington and Uffculme! – 80 miles done, next week Watchet and Exmoor!!

Next week, North Curry with the Wellington Wheelers (ice allowing!!)

Why Haven't we seen Keith for a While?

Keith british virgin islands.jpg

You may be aware that Jan is more than a little annoyed by Keith's obsession with his bikes and with his choice of underwear ...

... so she has arranged to drag him away to serve time on a small boat in a distant part of the Atlantic.

Bike Bus Intelligence has discovered that Keith is putting a brave face on it ... and has managed to smuggle a small beer into his travel bag to keep his spirits up.

Thursday 2 February - Escot

The temperature was well below freezing when the Bike Buses set off.

Railway carriage cafe exmouth.jpg

The Aylesbeare driver found no one waiting at his pick up point ... so he went back to bed for another hour.

John rowland and chips.jpg

The Exeter driver wasn't so lucky ... a few cold souls were waiting at the Quay for their weekly fix of coffee and cake. Patches of ice meant that the Bus soon fell well behind schedule ... but by dint of some careful driving it arrived safely at Escot.

After a prolonged break ... the bus continued down the Otter Valley and around the coast to Exmouth ... where an argument broke out over which cafe to patronise.

Eventually the Railway Carriage Cafe was chosen which allowed John to top up on chips.

Afterward the whole bus decamped to the bike shop in Victoria Road to allow John to discuss the finer points of brake cable guides with the staff ... and the rest of the Bus to shelter from the cold.

What has happened to Ted's Bike?

Ted and friend.jpg

Several of you have written in to ask what has happened to Ted's new bike.

Ted has been keeping a low profile as he was worried about naughty people vandalising his precious coffee machine. He has since modified the mounting which allows him to fold the coffee machine into the rear luggage box.

But the latest news is that Ted has a new friend!

Confusingly his new friend is called Suzie ... which I'm sure you realise is not the wisest of choices ... Ted's cat is also not best-pleased by the latest addition to the family.

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