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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - August 2013

22 August - Otterton Mill

Clyst bridge on canal.jpg

Unlike last week ... when nothing of interest happend ... this week was action packed from the start.

Soon after setting off from the Quay we spotted a new cycle bridge ... floating on a barge on the canal. Investigation showed that the bridge is destined for the mouth of the River Clyst. The bridge has to be installed on a Spring Tide before mid-September so as not to piss-off the birds that live alongside the Clyst.

Mike bowdens puncture.jpg

Indeed we can report that the central span was successfully installed at the end of last week.

Once the excitement at seeing the bridge had died down Mike B (who rides on impossibly narrow tyres) decided to have a p*nct*re. Fortunately another Mike B (who rides on 35 mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres) offered to help.

This introduced a 5 minute delay into the ride. However the leader nursed the riders back onto schedule by the time we reached Woodbury Salterton.


At the top of Sanctuary Lane Mike B. (the one with narrow tyres) decided to depart from the official route and led a party of newcomers astray. This worked in favour of the wise old hands who ... by following the official route ... arrived first at the cafe and thus avoided the queue.

Thus Mike Bowden gains two Black Sheep Awards.


After a very relaxed coffee at Otterton Mill .. where we were very pleased to be joined by Don ... a group set off for Sidmouth.

Here the heat seemed to have affected two of our number as they stripped off and ran into the sea!

Provided you don't have Parental Controls set on your web browser ... you should be able to see an amazingly clear picture of the two frolicking in the water.

15 August - Exmouth

This was one of those quiet weeks when nothing unusual happened.

We went to King's Garden Centre for a leisurely coffee and then over the Common and down to Budleigh for an even more leisurely lunch before dawdling home along the estuary.

8 August - Leslie House, Kenton

Force coffee debbies 2013.jpg

This week Debbie very kindly asked us round to her house for coffee and cakes. Over fifty cyclists turned up and we were greeted with an amazing spread on her kitchen table.

Force logo.gif

Fortunately it was lovely and sunny so we were able to enjoy oursleves in the garden. As a result of donations and the raffle Debbie raised £260 for Force - the local Cancer Charity.

After relaxing over coffee only five cyclists took up the chance to visit Teignmouth (Marilyn, Roger, Kirby, Dave and Richard).

On the way back we carefully inspected the section of NCN 2 between Dawlish and Starcross (for which Dave is the responsible Sustrans' Ranger). We gave Dave a list of improvements and remedial actions that we would like undertaken.


Richard seemed to be a little out of sorts and grumbled constantly about the hills. Towards the end he dissappeared without trace ... and so receives a Black Sheep Award.

Tuesday 6 August - Various Places

You may have observed that we haven't had any Tuesday reports for nearly 12 months. Thus it was surprising to receive two written reports (but no photos) this week.

Yvonne wrote:-

You missed an extraordinary ride today in which we ended up in someone's garden, complete with table set up for breakfast and line of washing. The owner was kindness itself and unlocked a gate at the end of the garden enabling our bikes to be lifted over two kissing gates into a field of bullocks. Beyond this was a churchyard through which we traipsed to get to the main road which took us to Broadclyst and thence towards Exmouth. I say towards, as we didn't actually get there due numerous and lengthy feeding and drinking stops. So lengthy in fact that I got home at 7.00 pm.

The moral of the story must be don't follow unknown, nervous-looking people on bikes, clutching a tourist map, assuming they know where they are going. I'm not mentioning Pauline's role in all this.

I am copying Kirby in as I know he will be impressed that not only do we find new, never been found before tracks through cornfields but actually private gardens. Could we please have a blow of the whistle for this?

Richard replied:-

It sounds like you had as adventurous a day as me - but not in the same way. The question I would ask is, was the table laid for a late Tuesday breakfast or an early Wednesday one?

I met Dave and Richard at the Countess Wear Lifting Bridge as planned at 8:30am. We had a very enjoyable ride out to Dainton Park Golf Club - where we found no TVPBs! We had our coffee etc (and a most excellent bacon sarny), eventually 4 TVPBs drifted in, Ian Ashford amongst them. Richard had to return to Topsham and Ian to Exeter - so we 4 rode to Denbury and then parted, with Dave and I trundling to Ashburton and up onto t'Moor. Just as we were dropping down to the Rugglestone Inn near Widecombe I heard a dreadful noise from my rear wheel followed by a Schwalbe Marathon Plus rubbing on alloy frame-type noise. I had broken a spoke! After deliberation in the pub - and three pints of cider, Dave kindly offered the good (driving) services of Jill to recover us. This was generous of him and most generous of course, of Jill and I was very grateful.

So that is our story

1 August - Haldon Grill Cafe

Mike reports:-

Glenis' holiday retreat

Just to update you on progress with the Pyrenean Training Programme. Only 2 members of that Team present today. One of these had previously completed the recent Tuesday ride, but with a lot of moaning and groaning, so I didn't expect too much of him. The other went sailing last Sunday instead of riding, so I thought he might have softened up as well. But no, you'll be pleased to hear they both summitted all hills attempted ahead of the rest of us. So it looks like they're ready for the challenges ahead. However, that's more than can be said for some others!

The ex-Complaints Officer, who's just returned from a restful holiday, seems somewhat lacking in energy. Even I beat her to the top of all hills (but that is the first time that has happened in the several years she's been riding with us). Oh, and at the top of Haldon 2nd time around, the husband of a certain Kiwi was heard to remark that "she's a bit slow today" as we waited for catch-ups. Despite the warm weather, could be a little frosty in Woodbury this evening.

Meanwhile Stephanie provides an update of the training undertaken by the leader of the Autumn Pyrenean adventure:-

Stephanie's map

During coffee at the official coffee pot (ouch), Pauline and I huddled together to plan a route but were noticed by Ken who was intrigued by our alternative method to Sat Nav – you know, one of those paper maps with real holes, creases, jam stains and faded bits? His curiosity lead him to join us although I did warn him that I would be making it up as we pedalled along and it would definitely not be a straight line to Woodbury.

He was so impressed with the accuracy of my statements that I heard him say, “definitely a loop, that’s the second time we’ve seen the airport” and later, “I know Exeter has a long runway but I didn’t know it was that long”! Charmed by his enthusiasm, we allowed him to guide us to Tim Andrews pottery – although sadly shut. After lunch in the shade by the Lych gate at Woodbury Church I could tell Ken had clearly been impressed with the ride as his parting remark was to suggest that I ran courses on Creative Map Reading – level 2. I will shortly be taking applications – once I’ve determined a realistic fee.

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.

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