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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - June 2012

Thursday 28 June - Collumpton

Wrong turn for clyst hydon.png

Sometimes I despair ...

...today was supposed to be a simple jaunt to the Golf Club at Cullompton ... but I didn't reckon with the navigational abilities of Keith, Wolf and Tony.


All three missed the turn for Clyst Hydon and shot down the hill through Clyst St Lawrence. And we all know what that means.

Last year the overal winner of the Black Sheep Award (Sue Booth) attracted four individual black sheep awards ... just over half way through the year both Keith and Wolf already have three each.

After coffee a party of 19 headed towards Otterton for lunch in the sun.

Where are Stephanie and Glenis?

Stephanie and glenis opposite directions.jpg

Stephanie and Glenis still haven't returned after setting off on their 100 mile ride a week ago. Glenis' children are getting on fine ... but Warren is rather put out by not having his dinner on the table when he gets home.

We have obtained some more evidence of their movements on that fateful Sunday. It appears that, due to a small misunderstanding they set off in opposite directions. Bus Bus Intelligence have obtained a photo of the point where they met about half-way round. It appears that Glenis was cycling clockwise (the wrong way) and Stephanie anti-clockwise (the right way).

We have not heard of them since.

Warren has put up a reward of £5 for any information received.

Tuesday 26 June - North Curry

Huw thomas hip.jpg

Ian writes:-

Not the most successful Mini Bike-Bus! Just Ian went off to Somerset to meet up with the Wellington Wheelers. A route up and over the Blackdowns and he found his way to North Curry – cakes still superb!

Colin then lead us over to Milverton via Hestercombe, where we bumped into Huw at The Globe in Milverton. His leg is on the mend**, should be back cycling in August. The pub did good sarnies – 18 pts.

A steady ride back to Cullompton, 80 miles covered, next week an East Devon ride!

** We have finally managed to hack into the Somerset NHS's computer to find Huw's X-rays and notes. From these we have discovered that Huw's BMI has increased from a 'normal' 24.5 to ‎26.5 whilst he has been imobilised.

The sooner Huw is back on his bike the better!

Thursday 21 June - Crediton Station

Yet another wet day!

Sue eating her birthday cake

Still it turned out to be Sue's birthday. This means that we have to broach the sensitive subject of Sue's age. Now Bike Bus Intelligence has discovered that the sum of Mike and Sue's ages is 120. We also know that Mike has a Bus Pass making him 60 or more. This gave Bike Bus Intelligence a chance, for the first time in 45 years, to exercise their 'O' level maths skills. We know

  M + S = 120
  M >= 60
rearranging we get
  M = 120 - S
and substituting gives
  120 - S >= 60
subtract 60 from both sides and rearranging
  60 - S >= 0
  60 >= S
  S <= 60 

One noteworthy event was the appearance of Dougal who was doing a final training session for the 55 mile Force ride ... how will he get on?

The other noteworthy event was Sarah turning up on the train, drinking her coffee, eating a cake, and then returning by train. We are currently examining the Bike Bus small print to see whether this is allowed. The fear is that she has discovered a loop hole which will allow hundreds of train passengers to gate crash Coffee Pot meetings.

Force Cancer Charity Ride

Debbie and dougal force 2012.jpg

Whilst not strictly a Bike Bus event several Bike Bus regulars rashly entered this year's Force Charity ride from Topsham.

We know that both Debbie and Dougal completed the ride. This was brilliant as Debbie has only just recovered from a nasty bout of dizzyness and it was Dougal's first 50+ mile ride. Well done to both.

Roger glenis stephanie force 2012.jpg

For those who have never done the Force Ride - one unique feature is that the organisers photograph the entrants at the start wearing dummy medals. This is so that they look fresh and presentable and so that even if they don't finish they will have something to show their mums.

We have managed to obtain the start photos of Stephanie, Glenis and Roger ... but we have not heard from them since (as of Tuesday evening). If we don't hear anything by Thursday we will have to arrange a search party.

Tuesday 19 June - Ashburton

Kirby missed today's ride as he was trying to sell a second hand car. So Mike Booth reports:-

Sorry to report a complete shambles on the Ashburton Service during your absence today. The Driver was extremly late for the Exeter pick-up, such that the only 2 pasengers (Sus & I) were at Kenn before he got out of bed!

He eventually caught up with us by the skin of his teeth at Chudleigh, & had obviously worn himself to a frazzle in doing so, as despite a large fuel intake at the Ashburton stop, he struggled to keep up with us for the rest of the day! It could be this is typical of the shoddy service provided, as one of the other "regulars", Steve, had even resorted to getting his wife to drive him & his bike to Ashburton - he must have known about the unreliable bus service.

We had a good sunny meet with the Teign Valley mob at the Dartmoor Lodge, but from then on it was downhill (more or less literally), as instead of the scheduled route up onto Dartmoor, the Driver headed due east to the coast via an attractive rural route (Denbury & Kingskerswell), before fetching up at Combeinteignhead.

Here he took an extended lunch break with some Wild Geese, & downed copious amounts of beer - we were forced to join in, it would have been rude not to! Bit of a blur after this, several ups & downs through coastal towns, with Ian & Steve still trying to keep up with us - eventually we lost them between Powderham & Exminster, so Sus & I returned alone, just as we had started out. By the way, hope you got the car sold, although we were a bit concerned when you said it was some bloke called Clarkson who was interested in it ... hope you didn't let him have a test drive!


Redhayes bridge cover up.jpg

Unfortunately we have to begin this week's report with some disturbing news.

Last Sunday Roy organised a Map Reading Competition. Entrants had to navigate to a series of Grid References and then answer questions.

At Redhayes Bridge (which strangely is blue) the question was 'on what date was the bridge opened'.

Now some 'person' saw fit to obscure the date with black sticky tape.

We are now attempting to discover who might have performed this despicable act. If you have any information which might led to their identification please let us know as soon as possbile.

Behind the Scenes

Several people have commented on the slick, professional way in which the Bike Bus is run. The Executive thought that you might be interested in the complex processes which go into planning a ride.

In Stephanie's weekly report to management she notes:-

Stephanies little finger.jpg

These timings were not worked out in any particular scientific way. A special crease on my index finger is usually one mile – but not always, depends on whether the map has a picture on the front or just a line drawing. Then of course, my finger doesn’t quite bend around all the road junctions in the way I’d like it to. Not too many hills on this route so I reckon about 5 minutes plus tad extra per finger mile should do it for most sections with an extra tad when there is a hill or two.

Hope this accurate enough, but feel free to tweak.

I have not allowed for Woodbury folk – they are of course welcome to join at any point, but experience tells me that they pay little attention to timetables with a tendency to cycle in opposite directions to each other, bumping into each other along the way in total surprise as they carry on regardless. But always uncannily appearing somewhere along the route - would be very entertaining to watch a bird’s eye view of them all.

Friday 15 June - Haldon & The Quay - CTC CEO Visit

Gordon Seabrook at Haldon

On Friday CTC Exeter (John Rowland, Roy Russell and Kirby James) had three visitors -

  • Gordon Seabright - the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CTC,
  • Stephen Coe - who is one of the two CTC Councillors representing the South West, and
  • Brett Nicole - who has just been appointed as the Cycling Development Officer in Plymouth.

We met up at the Haldon Mountain Bike Centre and we all took the opportunity to ride round the Blue Trail.

Gordon is new to his post and is spending a proportion of his time meeting people and listening to a range of comments and views about the CTC.

After exerting ourselves we talked over lunch about the voluntary work that CTC Exeter undertakes including

  • Tuesday rides
  • Wednesday evening rides
  • Thursday (Bike Bus) rides & Coffee Pots
  • Sunday Rides
  • Events - Audaxes, Mapping Reading, Bike Week, University Open Days, etc.
  • The Web Site
  • Jelly baby consumption monitoring
  • Promotion - emails, fliers, cards, posters, flags, the Highwayman magazine, etc.
  • Campaign activity - Right to Ride, Exeter Cycle Forum

Zsolt, Colin, Stephen, Brett & Gordon

We also discussed ways in which CTC HQ might be able to more effectively support such activities.

After lunch the party went to the Quay to meet up with the council officials (Zsolt Schuller, Heather Baker and Colin Savage) who were closely involved in the Cycle Exeter project (the name given to Exeter's activities within the Cycle Demonstration Town Project).

After discussion (over coffee) Zsolt led us down the first part of the Exe Estuary Trail to show some of the 'hard facilities' that were developed during the six year project.

Gordon was very interested in all aspects of the cycling scene in Devon - and I suspect we will be seeing more of him soon.

Thursday 14 June - Powderham

This week in the face of deteriorating weather we had a gentle jaunt down to Powderham.

The sight of Haldon covered in cloud led most of the group to head back for home after coffee ... but a stalwart party of six decided to brave the climb to the Ridge Cafe. They were rewarded by a dry climb up Mamhead. After more refeshments Richard, Glenis and newcomer Mark decided to get in some last minute training for the Force Ride and set off northwards - but Jill, Pauline and Kirby decided to call it a day and headed home.

Where were Susan & Steph having coffee?

Stephanie reports:-

As the rain held off for longer than expected, Susan G and I agreed that some-one had to carry out a necessary piece of research for future coffee and lunch stops. So it might as well be us. In order to determine our findings, we would need to establish some outcome measures over several more visits before concluding – but in the meantime, not only were refreshments and environment satisfactory but I was able to purchase a last minute present for some-one who already has everything and doesn’t want for more.

Tuesday 12 June - Shaldon

Ian reports:-

This week, 5 of us left the Swing Bridges en route to a new cafe at Shaldon, The Clipper – good bacon sarnies, cake and coffees!! – great little patio area overlooking the Teign Estuary – 20 pts.

Kirby had to speed back to Exeter, but Diane joined us, so we were 5 again as we headed off to Chudleigh via Newton Abbot. Bishop Lacey was our destination, where the beer tasted better than it looked – 18 pts.

We then nipped up and over Haldon Hill via the Racecourse and back to Exeter

70+ miles covered, next week Dartmoor!!!

Thursday 7 June - South Devon Sub-Aqua Club Outing

Mike Booth writes:-

Dear John

Sub aqua group.jpg

Many thanks for allowing us to join in with the East Devon Sub Aqua Club on the recent outing to Bernaville. Sorry we could only muster 6 bedraggled attendees to join your team, and we also apologise for the poor equipment - our wetsuits weren't really up to standard, and not a snorkel between us! Still, the chasms and reefs of the lanes from Broadclyst to Cowley were a delight, and the Bernaville cafe were not unduly put out by the litres of run-off swilling round the floor under our tables.

You'll be pleased to hear that we tried wind-surfing on the Exe on our return, but conditions were not ideal. Incidentally, have you seen Wolf? He was last seen heading back into the cafe muttering something about forgetting his flippers, and we haven't seen him since. Do we need to alert the Coastguard?

Best regards, Mike

John replied:-


I too enjoyed our swim arriving home at 1pm. Since then I have not been allowed out of the garage on the grounds that I must drip dry first before entering the kitchen. The smell of hot food is enticing and frustrating. However, on the bright side, I have been able to wash the bike by wringing out my clothing over it. The rust is beginning to show on my knees so I hope I will be allowed in soon.


Stephanie reports:-

A number of us checked the forecast before setting off: “gale force winds of 70mph, heavy rain all day and met office amber alert from lunchtime”. Not sure why anyone bothered to do this as like sheep we followed each other and ignored the warnings, although newcomer David was heard to say, “I needed to know how many layers to wear”. John Rowland, equally undeterred took us in a northerly direction away from coffee which could have been avoided, up hills which could have been avoided and along flooded lanes which could have been avoided. In such adverse conditions I’m left wondering whether we were all being put through some kind of new entry military training. Carrying sand bags as punishment is well known in the Forces, but carrying panniers of water as Sue did?

Glenis computer whizz.png

Great to see Maria who arrived home just hours previous and was still looking fresh from her trip to Sardinia ... by bicycle! Fascinating accounts of camping in the wilds, having shoes made, warm showers hosts and outstanding scenery.

Ironically, one person was noted by her absence today. Clearly “computer whizz”, Glenis was indoors in the dry, playing with pretty pictures and “keeping tabs on how much water we have”. Hmmmm. If she had only looked out of her window today she could have saved herself a lot of time in not predicting drought conditions and come out cycling instead.

Thursday 31 May - Newton St Cyres Golf Club

Profile 2012 05 31.png

Two riders led parts of today's ride - can you guess from the ride profile who they were?


The red leader took us on a gentle ride out to the Golf Club at Newton St Cyres. This should have been a straightforward trip but Richard and Wolf seemed to be pre-programmed to go to Crediton instead and attempted to lead the party off route ... which of course means ...

Ians birthday 2012.jpg

At the Golf Club we celebrated Ian's 29th birthday (although embarrassingly Yvonne seemed to think Ian was 40!) with

  • a card
  • a cake
  • candles,
  • an RAF fly past, and
  • a sing-song led by Stephanie.

After coffee the blue leader led us to Tiverton where the main party had lunch alongside the canal. Ian, Yvonne (they must have patched up their differences) and Ken choose to go to the posh cafe and were not seen again.

After lunch the red leader took us on a delightfully flat route via the canal and Cullompton (where we were able to call in on Ian) and back to Exeter.

Rogers puncture repair device.jpg

Here we were given cake and afternoon tea at Roger and Marilyn's and given a privileged early view of Roger's prototype puncture repair device.

I must admit that some of the details escaped me but key features appear to be an oversized tyre lever to easily remove stubborn tyres and a red plastic ball containing a mixture of glue and rubber compound which is somehow fired at the tube where it explodes and instantly seals any leaks.

Roger has indicated that when in production it will be made available to Bike Bus members at a discounted rate.

Tuesday 29 May - West Penwith

On Tuesday Ian was headed for Exmoor to meet up with the Wellington Wheelers and Mike & Sue were going to Torbay to seek out the Teign Valley Pedal Bashers.

British sign lanuage coffee.png

As he was still feeling a little fragile Kirby decided ...

... which reminds me ... when Kirby announced that he had lost his voice the only note of sympathy came from Stephanie who kindly sent in pictures of a set of useful British Sign Language (BSL) signals - including coffee, cafe, cafe and bike ...

... anyway as he was feeling a little fragile Kirby decided to use a train to skip the first part of the journey.

When he got to St Davids station he decided to get a train to Newton Abbot to join Mike & Sue.

Kirbys bike in st ives.jpg

Unfortunately as soon as the train set off he promptly dozed off ... and when he woke up some 3 hours later he found himself in unfamiliar suroundings.

Deciding to make the best of it he set off and before long found himself in St Ives where there was a wide choice of cafes for coffee. Unfortunately he quickly discovered that none of them understood BSL signs.

Eventually by pointing at a menu card he managed to obtain a cappuccino and he could partially recover from his ordeal.

Lunch near cape cornwall.jpg

After calming his frayed nerves he set off round the coast and found a nice spot for lunch overlooking Cape Cornwall.

Fishing boats at sennen.jpg

After lunch he had to ride through a seemingly endless series of fishing villages and try out three more cafes.

Eventually he found himself in Penzance where he could get a train back to Exeter.

Maybe there are advantages in missing the 'official' rides.

Tuesday 29 May - Watchet

Ian reports:-

Today was another 4 stopper! Bacon and donuts at Exford – Liquid refreshment in Watchet – Beer & Sandwiches in Bishop’s Lydeard – Beer at Milverton

Quotes of the day

Ians trip to watchet with wellington wheelers.jpg

The GPS says that we’re going uphill
Ian to Richard, on passing 1,000ft altitude climbing out of Dulverton.

Look Rich, 1,600ft – hope you’re happy now!
Ian to Richard, on reaching the summit of Wilmersham Common.

To be honest mate, I’m surprised that there aren’t blokes giving us newspaper to shove under our jerseys for the descent, we’re so high up!
Ian to Richard, on reaching the summit of Wilmersham Common

You almost lost it there mate
Ian to Richard, as as he went through a proper ford! (Ian wimped out and walked round!)

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Ian, Happy Birthday to you!!
Yvonne, Ken, John, Barry, Richard to Ian upon arriving at Watchet

Ian & Richard at various times during the day

85 miles done (115 for Richard!)

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