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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - June 2013

27 June - Crediton Station


Like "The Who", I'm the Substitute again.

Bike Bus One driver absent, no doubt because today's schedule included a difficult temporary new Stop at the pelican crossing on Bridge Road. So I, and my able Clippie, Sus, roll up at the new Stop, not really expecting anyone much to turn up.

Whoa! Where did they all appear from? Within a few minutes we had a dozen passengers, including newcomers Angie, Chris and Steve. The Quay Stop added a few more, so about 16 for the standard route to Crediton.

The Station Tea Rooms produced a steady but tasty service, so as Bike Bus Two arrived, we decided to leave, thus ensuring those latecomers who wanted to ride on with us had rampant indigestion. Poor Glenis barely had time for the loo, let alone her usual mid-morning sandwiches. So another substantial group of us set out from the cafe (don't know how many as I've stopped counting these days - if I don't know how many set out its harder for anyone to say I lost somebody).

As we had nowhere to go, we decided to all follow Alan home, via Black Down, Waddles Down (why do they call them down when they're up?) and Nadderwater. Sensibly Alan gave us the slip as we neared Exeter, but not before we'd all enjoyed the extensive views from the top. The ride climax was an extended tour through Alphington and Clapperbrook to avoid the heavy Marsh Barton traffic.

Ho hum, just a normal days' work for the Sub.

More News from the Pyrenees

Pyrenees broken bridge.png

Judy was alarmed to read the reports of the eight cyclists missing in the exceptional weather in the Pyrenees so she persuaded Tim that they had to mount a rescue expedition.

We have received some isolated txt reports charting their progress

managed col d'aspin this am but forced 
to abandon tourmalet 7k from top in 
heavy rain. 
Now in cafe warming up with hot choc. 
storms & flooding have devastated w.pyrenees. 
tourmalet & luc st.sav.closed & lourdes 
flooded!  have changed our route. 
Regards to bb. 
© Commissariat de police de Lourdes

We have also seen reports in the French press of an English speaking lady diving into a snowdrift and single handedly rescuing seven sheep.

Could this be Judy?

However since Saturday nothing more has been heard from them.

Thus, following the precedent set by the previous eight incompetent cyclists, Tim and Judy have also been given Black Sheep Awards.



Rogers canal du midi bike.jpg

Meanwhile information about the loss of their eight colleagues is slowly seeping out.

Roger's bike was found alongside the Canal du Midi. Although this is an official cycle route ... much of the towpath is not tarmaced. With the heavy winter rains the surface is very pitted and ridged.

As far as we can tell from marks on the ground Roger's front wheel appears to have fallen into a crater in the path and he was thrown over the handlebars onto his (unhelmeted) head.

Forensic investigations continue to determine the fate of the others.

20 June 2013 - Powderam

On an exceedingly dank day a small party made their way to Powderham for coffee. Afterwards most made their excuses and left - but five brave (or is it foolhardy?) souls - including one newcomer - decided to sample the delights of Dawlish.


One of these was Tom - fresh from his successful 100 mile tri-vets ride with Mike Bowden. Unfortunately he had forgotten where Dawlish is - and decided to explore the hills around Ashcombe. Hugh valiantly searched for him but after an hour of exploration wisely decided to join the others in a warm cafe in Dawlish.

Tom thus collects this week's Black Sheep Award

13 June 2013 - Otterton Mill

This week the gentle ride out to Otterton was dominated by talk of the eight Bike Bike Members who had bravely set out in May to traverse the Pyrenees - but who have not been seen since.

Bear prints

We have learnt that Kirby's camera has been found alongside the road just above Luz St Sauveur on the road towards the Col du Tourmalet.

From the sequence of pictures it has been possible to partially reconstruct the final days of some of the party.

The last picture taken shows the tracks of a brown bear. Because of the bad weather the bears have been spotted seeking food at much lower altitudes than in previous years. We can only surmise that Kirby provided a welcome snack for the family of three bears (daddy bear, mummy bear and baby bear) that live above in the Garvanie Valley.

The flooded Voie Verte outside Argeles Gazost

An earlier picture shows a sequence taken on the cycle track alongside the Gave de Pau - a fast flowing Pyrenean mountain stream. The stream was in spate and south of Argeles Gazost the water overflowed across the cycle track. The pictures show at least two of the party floundering in the deep water - they do not appear in any subsequent pictures.

Avalanche on the Col du Soulor

Perhaps saddest of all is a short video sequence taken looking up at the Col du Soulor showing four cyclists (indicated by the arrow) traversing its snowy slopes. Shortly after the sequence begins a massive avalanche sweeps down the slopes and onto the road.




You might be interested in seeing the party at the beginning of their fateful trip ...

... unaware of the dangers that lay ahead ...

Group in foix.jpg


In connection with these events the Bike Bus Executive have issued a statement (see below) ... and have issued eight more Black Sheep Awards.

A Statement from the Bike Bus Exectutive

The Bike Bus Executive have issued the following statement ...

"Whilst some of you have been saddened by the loss of eight Bike Bus members, the Executive likes to take a rather more positive view. As Darwin pointed out the loss of the weaker members of a group means that the remainder are stronger, fitter and better able to cope with the vicissitudes of their environment."

"You will be aware that the Executive had already decided to dispense with the services of the current Bike Bus Manager. The recent loss of the Manager means that there will be a substantial saving in severance pay."



Bike Bus Staff Absence

Please note that most of the Bus Bus staff are away on their annual holiday and no more reports are likely to be posted until mid-June.

However if you are interested in their little outing Sue will be posting the occasional report on her blog.

9 May - Haldon Ridge Cafe

This week was the second training day for the eight cyclists who will be heading off to the Pyrenees on 24 May.

Unfortuately Roger & Marilyn's daughter decided to have a baby - so they had to rush off to Cardiff; Make & Sue recieved an alert from their Bird Alert Pro app informing them that a rare hobby (a bird apparently) had been spotted on the Somerset levels; Tom had to go to work to rescue a bat and Jenny had to hold her finger in a dyke to stop a flood.

Keith portlock smart.jpg

This left just Keith and Kirby ...

... but then Keith managed to wangle an invitaition to his third cousin's daughter's friend's wedding.


Thus the Executive were obliged to issue seven Black Sheep Awards even before the Bus set off.

The remaining party galantly made their way up Haldon to the Ridge Cafe. About half an hour later Wolf appeared - having mistakenly gone the the Grill Cafe. The Executive pondered over whether he merited a Black Sheep Award - or whether finding a cafe somehow absolved him.


The issue remained unresolved until we got to Dawlish were Wolf managed to loose himself again .... so that definitely means a Black Sheep Award.


We subsequently learnt that Stephanie had also gone to completely the wrong cafe ... so that makes nine Black Sheep Awards in one day.

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