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Note: the August reports are here.


Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - July 2013

25 July - Higher Pitt, Ottery St Mary

This week Janet and Keith Portlock very kindly asked us round for tea, coffee and cakes.

Janet's Team

Janet is involved with the East Devon Group of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). This is a charity which provides disabled riders with the opportunity to experience horse riding in a safe and controlled environment. Their activities are based at Hitts Barton which is sited between Whimple and Clyst St Lawrence. Group activities take place twice a week and give disabled riders the opportunity to enjoy a stimulating and rewarding activity.

Stepanies' Reserved Lounger

Janet had assembled a team of very capable helpers who (as well as being able to handle horses) provided great piles of cakes and savouries as well as copious volumes of tea, coffee and squash. During the morning a collection was made in support of the RDA and including matched funding from Barclays Bank a total of £300 was raised.

We are very grateful for Janet and her team for hosting such an enjoyable event.

We were also very pleased that Geoff and Penny arrived fresh from their trip to Africa searching for the source of the Nile. I thought that the source had been found - but kept quiet in case I was wrong.

Display of black socks

For some reason Stephanie had been allocated a smart lounger - which she made full use of. It is not clear what she had done to deserve this reward.

Reluctantly we dragged ourselves away and sought a route that would allow us to burn up at least a small proportion of the calories consumed. We headed up to White Cross on East Hill and then dropped down to Sidmouth.

Mike looking for seagulls

At the front we learnt that Mike had got a new pair of binoculars - and after gobling down his sandwiches he tried to locate some sea birds - unfortunately without success. Maybe he'll have better luck next time.

One the way back we discovered that a large lorry had blocked Peak Hill to motorised traffic in order to unload a fork lift truck. This gave us a pleasant climb.

Current Black Sheep Status

A brief reminder of the status of the Black Sheep Awards.

With a few months to go the joint leaders are Keith and Sue with a deporable seven Black Sheep each. Last year's 'winners' only got four sheep - make of that what you will.

Black sheep top five 2013 07.png

18 July - Cullompton

Mike with flesh coloured socks
Martin with mobile phone.jpg

Given the incredible heat the Bike Bus took its time cycling up to the Golf Club in Cullompton.

On the way Stephanie came across a sheepish Mike, Sue, Ian and Janet cycling in the wrong direction! Instead of supporting the Bike Bus they were off on their own private excursion.

At Cullompton we met a guy who looked very much like Martin from the Wellington Wheelers. It was obvious that it couldn't be Martin as the gentleman was holding a rather snazzy red mobile smart phone.

Anyone who knows Martin will be well aware that he avoids any form of technology devised after 1960. If you have any information about Martin's 'double' we would be grateful to know.

Update on Last Week

Ottery motor services.jpg

Last week the Bike Bus was held up for a considerable time whilst three of its number examined cars at a garage. It turns out that they were all in the process of buying cars!

During subsequent discussions it emerged that Mike and Sue have recorded and watched twenty series of the BBC 'motoring' programme - Top Gear.


For this inexcusable behaviour Stephanie, Warren, Keith, Mike and Sue have all been given Black Sheep Awards.

15 July - Monday Ladies Only Outing


For some while rumours have been circulating about a ladies only ride on Mondays.

Bike Bus Intelligence has now laid its hands on proof of the shady group's existence.

In the adjacent image the group can be seen 'cavorting in the sunshine' in the gardens of Bernaville Nurseries.

A special prize is available if you can correctly identify

  1. Sue Booth,
  2. Yvonne Tomlinson,
  3. Susan Gameson,
  4. Diane Abraham and
  5. Stephanie Houghton

11 July - Escot

Tony Hogg.jpg

This week was special as it was the day on which the CTC, as part of its 'Road Justice Campaign', released a report which includes recommendations for improving the police response to road crime so that cases of bad driving are taken seriously.

Peter Stone, a CTC member from Torbay, together with a party of Bike Bus riders, met the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg to hand over the report and discuss its recommendations. Peter is one of the case studies included in the report.

Further details can be found through the following links:

If you haven't done so already and wish to support the campaign, please sign the petition at www.roadjustice.org.uk/police-petition

After the presentation the group cycled down to Budleigh to met up with the other half of the Bike Bus for lunch in the sun.

4 July - Stallcombe House

Mike reports:-

A few at the Quay, including Chris(1), reprising his inaugural run last week - we didn't manage to put him off then! Some more at Swing Bridge, and we thought Wolf and Son were going to join us as they pitched up - but no, they were heading down the estuary sightseeing. We did gain Chris(2) there for his first outing with us, and another 4 at Topsham roundabout. So 15 for the outrun through Ebford and Woodbury Salterton to Stallcombe House.

Stallcombe house 2013.jpg

Tom and team had done us proud again, with plenty of tea/coffee and cakes galore (although unfortunately no yogurt for Glenis)! And what a great turnout of Coffee-Potters and Bike Bussers. A big thank you to all involved in helping to make us so welcome, and they would love to see any of us again on their upcoming open day on Saturday 20th July, a truly worthwhile cause to support.

Well of course afterwards most of us were too cake-filled to contemplate a 'heavy' ride, so readily agreed to a gentle flattish run to the nearby retirement centre of Budleigh Salterton for picnic lunch. However, Richard and Jill were out for something more adventurous in the shape of Sidmouth, so left us at Hawkerland (only to be spotted later limbering up on the approach to Peak Hill).

The hoped for lunchtime sunshine failed to appear, so lingering on the seafront was a mite chill. Rail path to Exmouth, estuary path to Topsham then onto Exeter was the order of the day, the sun eventually arriving as we made for home.

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.

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