Archive of .... Reports on CTC Exeter Wednesday Evening Rides
This is the archive of reports on Wednesday Evening rides ... the most recent reports are published here.
.... more to come ...
25th March 2015 - Jack-in-the-Green, Rockbeare
A bumper crop of cyclists this evening, with five riding from Pinhoe and six arriving from the regions. The Pinhoe crowd ascended pointlessly to Daisymount via the airport and Marsh. Sarah challenged Ian on the descent, but Roger was first to the pub as Sarah was laughing too much.
18th March 2015 - The Ruffwell, Thorverton
Roger was on his own for long enough to get slightly squiffy before Ted arrived, followed shortly by Ian. No-one else turned up so it was a quietly convivial evening right up to the point where the two alsatians started play fighting. Sarah would certainly have found that stimulating.
11th March 2015 - The Merry Harriers, Westcott
Ted arrived early, but everyone else got to the pub almost at the same time. We had the usual friendly welcome and commandeered as many chairs as we could. Conversation veered towards summer plans.
4th March 2015 - The White Hart, Woodbury
Another dry night And several locked in the dark, deserted gardens. Discussions included buying and selling houses, pubrun leaders, and bike frames. We risked the chips. Jamie and Ken almost made it, but not quite.
25th February 2015 - The Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
A damp evening for the pubrunners but several out nevertheless. Chips and chat made for a pleasant evening.
18th February 2015 - The Cannon Inn, Newton Poppleford
It was a dry, cold evening for the journey to Newton Pop. Eight out, but no Sarah. Charlie made a late entrance. Ian was also late having inadvertently gone the long way round.
11th February 2015 - The Bridge Inn, Topsham
Another visit to the finely eccentric pub by the river with its small rooms and pumpless bar. Brian was a new guest of the pubrunners (being local). It was quite a trek for the folk from the east, with the result that most didn't come — citing lateness or 'man-flu' as excuses. Sarah was still on cloud nine, Ian was on his 'temporary' fixed, Clare and Stu were late, while Robert and Ted just enjoyed the beer. Trumpets and teaching were the main topics of conversation. It was a clear, cold night, and clearer and colder on the way home.
4th February 2015 - The Merry Harriers, Westcott
Another freezing evening, colder if anything than last week. Nevertheless it was a large gathering of well-chilled cyclists at the sign of the bull (it's the publican's neighbour's little joke). Sarah was celebrating her transformation from temporary to permanent, the Ottery contingent was out in force, and Ian was on gears having broken his fixed. The way home for the easterners was on the verge of icy — some puddles were distinctly crunchy.
28th January 2015 - The Five Bells, Clyst Hydon
Although the roads were not actually frozen, an icy north wind and flurries of almost snow made it feel extremely cold. The Five Bells was warm and welcoming, and their chips were first-rate. There were only three of us to appreciate them, however. At least Ian had counted the Bells correctly. Robert and B were the others present. On the way home it was no colder, but certainly cold enough.
21st January 2015 - Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
We welcomed an old friend tonight with the return of Bernie and were made very welcome in the Thirsty Farmer. We chose to ride up the hill that leads to Clyst St Lawrence and had intended to continue via Talaton to get to Whimple. However, Roger was unlucky enough to get a puncture and after a tube change and thorough check of the tyre nothing was found. We continued on but took an earlier turn to Whimple to arrive at the pub about 8:15. Four of us left Exeter, Sarah, Ted, Mark, Roger. Roger's tyre went down again on the approach to the pub so he opted for catching the train home. Mark had to get back so didn't enter the pub. We found four in the pub - Stu, Clare, B and Bernie, and were later joined by Colin. A superb evening and a dry fast blast back along the main road saw us home a bit earlier than usual. Ian sent his apologies due to illness and Jamie was otherwise engaged.
14th January 2015 - Jack-in-the-Green, Rockbeare
What with apocalyptic weather warnings, and even the suggestion from some members that Wednesday should be postponed, the actual gusty winds and sporadic rain made rather an anti-climax. Ted, Ian and the enigmatic B coped manfully with a crosswind as they rode from the East, whilst Sarah attempted to evade the wind altogether with a circuitous route from Exeter. After a pleasant evening of jokes, chips, earnest discussion and beer, it was time to leave. Again the weather disappointed. Those from the East were blown gently homewards; Sarah found no great hindrance on her route back to the city.
7th January 2015 - New Inn, Broadclyst
Our first Wednesday evening of the new year was cold and showery, but not so unseasonable as to prevent eleven pubrunners pedalling to the pub. Mark C was on an early curfew so missed Stu and Clare who arrived later. The landlord had his little joke, greeting the Exeter contingent with, "We've banned all cyclists". Ian had his little joke by creeping up behind Sarah and barking. Such fun. We ate chips, had a minor argument over ketchup, discussed our cycling plans for 2015, and Steve Abraham's attempt on Tommy Godwin's record. *Update: It appears that our diarist is losing his marbles slightly as Stu and Clare claim not to have been present.
20th December 2014 - Solstice Ride
Six cyclists set out from Whipton on a mild cloudy morning. Stu's route led us out east to the Halfway Inn in record time thanks to a stiff following breeze. We did not venture inside but met another two, with a further rendezvous near Woodbury completing the company. Continuing via Countess Wear, we were soon speeding along the silky smooth tarmac and over the cycle-specific railway bridge of the newly-completed section of the Exe Estuary Trail between the Turf and Powderham. Upon reaching Dawlish Warren a consensus was reached that it was time for an early lunch, and we were made most welcome as the first customers of the day at the Welcome Inn.
Having satisfied our hunger and slaked our varied thirsts, we turned inland for a brief but busy section of A379 before turning off to tackle the mighty Mamhead climb. After reassembling at the summit, we headed along Haldon Hill in the afternoon sun to take tea and cake at the Forest Café. The weather gods continued to favour us as we rollercoastered down to Ide chasing rainbows whilst staying dry, rounding off a singularly successful solstice.
17th December 2014 - Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
Wednesday Nighters' Christmas Do. A really good turn-out of pub cyclists on an evening of only light rain and above freezing temperatures. Stu won the award for sartorial elegance. Crackers were pulled, Secret Santas exchanged, and acquaintances not forgot. Sarah was there to preside over the assembled bibulous cyclists and keep order. A fitting end to the year.
10th December 2014 - Jack in the Green, Rockbeare
A main road destination to tax the ingenuity of those wanting an 'interesting' route out. We were of course well supplied with chips of a superior quality. Another fine night, though not a huge number out.
3rd December 2014 - Red Lion, Broadclyst
This is the pub in Broadclyst that is actually in Broadclyst (see ride reports passim). A fine night for cycling but another without Sarah.
26th November 2014 - Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
"For there's deep and false water in the lake of Marsh Green", is how Jackie Oates describes the little village we decided to cycle through on our way to Whimple this week. Jackie sings of young Leonard's demise and that is how we all felt as we waded through the muddy bog that used to be a nice lane between Marsh Green and Hand In Pen. A merry evening in the Thirsty Farmer to revive us from the ride/walk out, partly carrying bikes through the mud and deep puddles and then we set out for home. Unfortunately disaster struck on the way home too, with a snapped gear cable, flat tyre and broken tyre lever. All a bit frustrating, but the Wednesday nighters stuck together and helped out so all got home ok. Thanks for your help, Richard and Roger. (Quote courtesy of Roger)
19th November 2014 - Merry Harriers, Westcott
This evening wasn't so much damp as thoroughly wet. New member, John was introduced to free pub chips and eclectic conversation. An absent Sarah had her usual guess-the-names puzzle curtailed by the lack of reliable signal in Westcott. The rain hadn't eased as we left for home, but the beer kept us warm.
12th November 2014 - White Hart, Woodbury
A dryish and not too cold evening saw a bumper crop of pubrunners at the White Hart. The pub was bustling but not too crowded, when the penetrating boom of Craig's laugh startled us. Having been banned from a nearer pub he had been ferried to this one. An evening of conversation [but not as we know it, Jim] ensued. Stu arrived late having taken a longer, hillier route. Ian took a short-cut from the pub and got thoroughly lost, arriving home nearer 12 than 11, having ridden via Woodbury Common.
5th November 2014 - Becker Arms, Ottery St Mary
This week was special venue, and we assembled one by one at the Becker Arms where food and drink was available at remarkably reasonable prices. The reason for visiting Ottery was of course to witness the Tar Barrels. After 'refreshments', a group including special guests trooped to the bonfire, by then well under way. Because the programme was deliberately uninformative, it took a while to find a barrel. A visit to an impromptu bar and then to the Volunteer kept us keen. Ian scouted and found a barrel in Yonder St. A little later The Square was alight with one of the larger barrels. We went via The Lamb. The students and teachers among us had to leave early, the rest stayed until the bitter had run out.
29th October 2014 - The Five Bells, Clyst Hydon
The vote from the Exeter cyclists this week was to take the flatter route to the pub, so we rode around Whimple and Talaton and down the hill to Clyst Hydon. The pub staff were very welcoming and supplied free nuts of many different varieties. A good group were out, with cyclists from all directions, including Lympstone, Uffculme, Exeter, and Ottery. It was quite a fast and furious ride to the pub, but a more sedate and gentler ride up the hill back home. A remarkably mild evening and very enjoyable.
22nd October 2014 - Bridge Inn, Topsham
Eight riders were out on a dark October night, though not all at once. Sarah wasn't one of them, so we set up a hi-tech text link for her to guess who was actually present. Charlie joined in from afar, sending an apparently obscene text to B. Conversation moved effortlessly from office politics - via cycling - to ancient sex and duct tape. The starlit journey home was uneventful for the eastwardly travelling lot.
15th October 2014 - New Inn, Broadclyst
A damp, misty night. Sarah, Jamie, B and all the regulars out.
8th October 2014 - Ruffwell, Thorverton
We gathered round the fire, though it wasn't actually lit. Beer, chips and random conversation as usual. A dryish night.
1st October 2014 - Digger's Rest, Woodbury Salterton
It was damp but not raining this evening. The usual regulars were out, except Sarah who was once again stymied by hubby's absence abroad.
24th September 2014 - Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
A veritable crowd of cyclists out this evening. Not the driest of nights.
17th September 2014 - Jack-in-the-Green, Rockbeare
Ian failed to make this evening, as he was planning a 600 the following day, but at least Sarah was able to attend.
10th September 2014 - Merry Harriers, Wescott
A dark evening saw a group of cyclists stopped in a lane peering towards the Stockland mast. B claimed a monster moon was about to rise over the hill. Some got fed up waiting and headed for beer. Others, including B, stayed for longer, gazing at the empty sky. B said"... time was passed in perfect peace and quiet while waiting for the moon to rise, which he did in
a scarlet autumnal dress..." Our favourite landlord supplied excellent chips as usual.
3rd September 2014 - Cannon, Newton Poppleford
To-ing and fro-ing! we first sat in the lounge, than were sent back into the public bar, from where we went back into the lounge, before we all huddled in a corner after having lost the dog's table to the over 65th knitting and natter club. A lovely evening altogether. George was there, Sarah, Richard, Ian, Stu Claire and me (f.w.i.w) Bernd.
27th August 2014 - Six Bells, Payhembury
A filthy wet evening saw B on his own until Ian arrived. Just as they decided no more would turn up, Jamie appeared (despite the weather). The guess-the-cyclists text exchange with an absent Sarah was briefer than usual. The Six Bells may be visited more often as they now boast their own beer at an economical price. It was still raining when we all left.
20th August 2014 - The Talaton Inn, Talaton
Luckily it was just about warm enough for a visit to the famously chilly Talaton Inn, and there were enough of us to huddle together round the table for warmth. A dryish night, except for the beer.
13th August 2014 - The Ruffwell, Thorverton
The nights are drawing in, so we sat beside the fire, even though it wasn't actually lit. Nine out including latecomers Clare and Stu. A fine evening and a dry ride home.
6th August 2014 - The Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
Another fine evening, alfresco with chips and beer. Jamie arrived late and, hearing that Ian was at the bar ordering, dropped his bike and ran.
30th July 2014 - The Cannon, Newton Poppleford
Ted and Sarah rode out from Exeter, a lovely warm evening and a good route, up past the remains of the Aylesbeare Inn, and the long decent to Newton Popp. There were splendid views over the Otter Valley and as we arrived at the pub we found B at a rather sloping table in the garden. Clare, Stu, Richard, Ian and Charlie joined us and we were treated to the photos of Ted's recent end to end. A nice ride home back along the main road. - A good evening.
23rd July 2014 - Merry Harriers, Westcott
Again, a warm night with beer and chips in the garden. No Sarah, but great fun as she tried via text to guess who turned up.
16th July 2014 - Drewe Arms, Broadhembury
Richard reports: It's the Thorn framed Mercian forked bike for a safe speedy return to Exeter everytime. Nice little 50k round trip tonight. Shame there wasn't more out tonight, good pub & a really great summers evening. Lets hope it lasts for a few more weeks. Both the Talaton Inn & New Inn were in total darkness as I rode past, so it must have been quite late when we departed from the pub.
9th July 2014 - The Swan, Lympstone
It was warm and dry enough to sit outside, and no morris dancers to spoil the evening. Stu brought his knees-up mini machine out for unwary folk to try.
3rd July 2014 - The Otter Inn, Colaton Raleigh
A superb evening for a ride. Dry and warm. We took the usual route, up Sanctuary lane, and then across the main road for the long decent through Hawkersland. Warm enough to sit outside for most of the evening and a really good turn out. The usual debate over the best route home ensued with Richard taking an alternative route and coming back to find us before we descended to Woodbury.
25th June 2014 - The Nog, Feniton
A fantastic evening. We rode our usual route to the Nog, four of us riding from Exeter. The weather was perfect; warm, still and dry. We were really welcome at the pub, lots of locals saying hello and the barman having a long conversation about marmite! We were soon joined by Jamie, two virgins and one who came a long time ago - otherwise known as the Farringdon Trio. It was still light when we turned from home, and despite all efforts Sarah stood no chance of taking Richard on going down the hills.
18th June 2014 - Halfway, Aylesbeare
Oh dear, what a disappointing evening. We have visited this pub many times before and have thought that it was going steadily downhill, especially after our disappointing Christmas meal here. We thought we would give it one more go in the summer as it does have a wonderful view over Exeter as the sun sets. However, there was only one beer (Richard thought it was quite strong), and only one of the two ciders was on. At half nine the barman came out and asked us if we were planning on leaving soon! We won't be back. However, the ride was lovely out and back, some nice new tarmac on Quartermile Lane, and a race back home. We met some new cyclists that we hope will soon join us and Ted brought some poetry back from his holiday for us to enjoy:-
There was a young couple from Aberystwyth
Who played with the things that they Cystwyth.
But as they grew older, they also grew bolder,
And they played with the things that they Pystwyth.
11th June 2014 - 5 Bells, Clyst Hydon
We boldly sat in the seats reserved for regulars, at the table with the pillar, formally the area where the jazz band played. Ian reminisced about the evening Isadora danced along isle.
4th June 2014 - Kings Arms- Otterton
An evening of everything! We left Exeter in the rain and rode our usual route up Sanctuary rain, crossed Woodbury in the wind, which later nearly took Clare's bike from under her, descended into Otterton to find the little cut through to Brick Cross covered in loose gravel. A good evening in the disappointingly modernised Kings Arms, 7 out altogether. We then rode home in lovely dry, clear conditions, although the descent into Woodbury is still
21st May 2014 - Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
We sat outside for the first time this year. Five of us as twilight came, then Richard rode in from a circuitous route. We moved inside as the evening became chilly. Just as we were discussed leaving, Charlie arrived for a cheeky half. B was on his classic Mercian.
14th May 2014 - Golden Lion, Tipton St John
New bike stands, of the wheel-bender variety, greeted us here. Nine out including Elly on a rare outing. Sarah and Stu talked shop. Guy left early and sober. A dry evening.
7th May 2014 - Merry Harriers, Westcott
Our favourite pub - nothing of course to do with the free chips supplied to wandering cyclists. Four out on a damp cool evening.
30th April 2014 - Ruffwell Inn, Thorverton
The pub was quiet when we arrived and for a long time after. Then the footballers arrived. Five Wednesday Nighters out on a dryish evening.
23rd April 2014 - Lamb & Flag, Ottery St Mary
The Wednesday Riders' return to Ottery was a great occasion marred only by the absence of any members from Ottery, at least until Charlie turned up (though he lives a little outside the actual town). Jamie had made a special journey from the frozen North (North of Cullompton, anyway). Sarah, meanwhile, led her decreasingly merry band by a three-dimensionally circuitous route featuring chevron hills to arrive later than intended. Which meant the chips had all been consumed. A dry night and not too cold.
16th April 2014 - Jack in the Green Rockbeare
A lovely evening for a ride. Sunny and mild as 5 of us meandered along the country lanes between Exeter and Rockbeare, clocking ten miles at the pub. A friendly and welcoming pub, with chips beer and lemonade and then a quicker ride back through the never ending roadworks that are Cranbrook. Happy Birthday Pippa, Ian and Sarah and welcome to newcomer Hilary and now regular Robert (think we missed welcoming you earlier in the year).
9th April 2014 - The Six Bells, Payhembury
A dry, mild evening saw seven riders, including one new face, arrive by turns at the Six Bells. B was looking forward to a trip to Iberia. Sarah checked up on us by text from Ulster. Ian counted correctly but still arrived late, having mis-remembered the Pinhoe departure time.
2nd April - The Hill Climb to the Hare & Hounds, Putts Corner
Apart from two cheats, Charlie and Ken, who shall remain nameless, everyone gathered in Ottery for our annual hill-climb. Even Jamie, who had threatened to make his own way, was there. Eleven cyclists were soon strung out on the road to Chineway. Having overtaken Charlie, Ted and Ian shared the honours at the top, with Sarah shepherding at the rear (a clear case of age before beauty). Ken was waiting for us and we found a reserved table deep in the farthest corner of the pub. Food, drink and the usual sparkling conversation ensued. A dry, overcast night meant that the inevitable descent from the pub wasn't too cold.
26th March 2014 - Merry Harriers, Westcott
A cold night, clear and starry, on the last Wednesday before the clocks change. Ken's efforts to get us thrown out came to nothing and we had an entertaining evening with free chips from our hosts.
19th March - Diggers' Rest, Woodbury Salterton
Rumours that the pub had burnt down proved unfounded. Ian surprised the Exeter group by arriving at the Pinhoe start. Our destination was approached by a circuitously devious route, involving much shouting of 'Pothole!'. Sarah led from the rear, and we eventually came upon the pub from a southerly direction. We blagged a table near the fire and set the world to rights.
12th March 2014 - New Inn, Broadclyst
The New Inn isn't actually in Broadclyst, which confused Jamie at least. The usual healthy diet of chips and beer was ordered and consumed. A dank evening.
5th March 2014 - Cannon Inn, Newton Poppleford
Regulars, Guy and Sarah, were otherwise occupied, and none of the 'irregulars' were out, so when Ted arrived at the pub there was no-one else there. Ian met him searching for fellow riders in Harpford. They returned to the pub. B and Charlie arrived to make a select group. Fine weather if a little damp under-wheel.
26th February 2014 - Bridge Inn, Topsham
Seven riders out on a damp but not wet evening, the rain having fallen earlier in the day. The beer menu topped off with a dangerous-looking 8.1% brew. Stu and Clare stuck with the lemonade. The rain was just beginning to fall again as the last riders returned homewards.
19th February 2014 - Five Bells, Clyst Hydon
We sat where the jazz band used to play in the olden days, now marked as reserved for regulars. Five out, but no Sarah, who was reduced to guessing via text who had turned up. Lots of water on the roads disguising potholes and broken tarmac.
12th February 2014 - White Hart, Woodbury
A jolly night out in Darkest Woodbury for six pub-runners. We were surprised by the appearance of Craig from Aylesbeare, a long way from home. Another dark damp night.
5th February - Merry Harriers, Westcott
Four out at the friendly pub on the evening ten course. Chips were served and beer consumed. It was a cold night, but at least no frost.
29th January 2014 - Red Lion, Broadclyst
A new pub for us, and a good one. A welcoming atmosphere, a log fire and a quick ride home for the Exeter crowd. Without Sarah's guidance, Ted and Guy accidently rode direct to the pub - I am sure they didn't mean to do that! The landlady kindly admired us for managing the hills between Exeter and Broadclyst and we rode home feeling proud! It was good to see Jim again and another newbie from the coffee pots.
22nd January 2014 - Jack in the Green, Rockbeare
Jim, made his second appearance in two years, reminiscing on the extra windy night when we went to that pub last year, to find it closed! A damp evening for the Exeter crowd, bringing and then losing Ted as he opted for a direct route having already ridden out from West Hill, and bringing and then losing Mark as he opted for a turning towards home after a longish ride in the rain. The group from Ottery saw no rain at all! As usual a friendly welcome with lots of chips in the pub.
16th January 2014 - Halfway Inn, Aylesbeare
A cold damp evening and 7 riders again decided to venture out. We rode to the Halfway, worrying that it might be cold after our recent visits there. However, we were pleasantly surprised when there was a roaring fire and a warm friendly welcome. We sipped beer, marvelLed at the lovely chunky chips and chuckled at Ted's one liners. The best of which may have been "Sarah, there is a glow in your fluff" when she returned her mobile to its fluffy cover! Sarah left about 20 minutes before the other Exeter bound riders, but they caught her on the climb to Middlemoor. A good evening.
8th January 2014 - Whimple
It was the first pubrun of the year, and an easy venue in anticipation of cold and icy weather which, of course, failed to materialise. Mild and damp it was instead. The evening was notable for Charlie attempting a half of Guinness. Seven out, no punctures and no slidy moments.
18th December 2013 - Aylesbeare
It was the best of times, it was the wettest of times. Not to mention the windiest. Thirteen turned up for the Pubrun Christmas meal on the foulest night of the year so far. Not surprising, then, that only five actually rode out. Richard had a complete change of clothing; the other cyclists sat looking damp. Sarah endured a puncture on the way out, and held the torch while Richard and Mark fixed it. Elly and Ian braved floodwater and bike-stopping gusts on the way from Honiton. The ride home (for those cycling) was a contrast: clear, calm and starlit. The road to Honiton was still flooded, though, and with a small car abandoned in the water. Good food and drink at the Halfway Inn.
11th December 2013 - Rockbeare
Six out, but still no Sarah. Spookily enough she managed to correctly guess and text the identities of those present. A a milder night than recently, but no stars. B was out again under his own steam, though his hand still has room for improvement. The conversation (in Sarah's absence) had a motoring theme, though the relative merits of Curly Hetchins and Flying Gates was discussed, as was the peculiar pleasure of riding very long distances.
4th December 2013 - Westcott
A welcome return to the Merry Harriers. Sarah was absent, and only four turned up. It was an evening of philosophical discussion with beers and chips. The sky was clear and starlit, which meant it was chilly. Richard commented later: Really cold riding home last night. I had to stop & do a hand agony dance at Broadclyst. Gee that hurt & I was wearing full gloves.
27th November 2013 - Whimple
Mutiny! Sarah suggested a hill but was talked round. We went the direct way to the pub for a change! After a vote on the weekend pointless it was decided that the secret santa would take place at the Christmas meal this year, so names were picked and more are to follow. A good evening with good company and the pub was warmer than last week! Huge congratulations due to B this week - a Wednesday night on a bike agan. Good to see the hand is recovering B!
20th November 2013 - Aylesbeare
What an exciting ride out. We crossed the Redhayes bridge and turned off down the new road for the Science Park. There were not many street lights but our lights lit the way quite well. Unfortunately not quite well enough as out of nowhere a black dog bounced towards us. For some reason Sarah was the first to spot it, and calling out a warning for Richard and managed to avoid it. Unfortunately Richard was not quite so lucky. The dog collided with Richards front wheel and leg. Yelped but seemed ok and it was only the next day, in daylight Richard discovered the cracked mudguard. The dog owner stopped to check all was well and apologised, but his clothing (black) and dog (black) may not have been the best combination for a dark night where there are no lights! The rest of the ride was less eventful, dry and clear. We felt a little perturbed when sitting in a chilly pub and we saw a gritter go past, but rode home without incident.
13th November 2013 - 5 Bells
This week we were off to the other Jack in the Green pub - the Five Bells. Although it is beautifully refurbished - it does feel a little like we are in Rockbeare when we get there. However, the ride out and back is certainly different. This week Sarah was running late so Richard and Guy took a fast and speedy flat route. Sarah came the direct route, over the hill. We sat at the table that used to home the jazz band, with a few others, ate chips and peered around the wooden post, put there to ensure the band never return!
6th November 2013 - Woodbury Salterton
After all the recent rain we were surprised and pleased to see it all stop by seven o'clock. Must be something to do with all the Met Office riders in out group.... Three set off from Exeter following a route suggested by Mark: via the cycle path and up through the lanes. It was a very pleasant ride, on a really mild evening. One lane was a little tricky to negotiate as the mud was at least rim thick. We arrived in Woodbury pleased with our progress and headed off down a lane we thought would lead to Woodbury Salterton. After a mile or so, we convinced ourselves we must have taken a wrong turning, so whipped out the sat nav and decided we needed to take a right turn as soon as possible. So it was with great surprise that just round the corner we found we had actually reached Woodbury Salterton and the pub was on the left..... not the right!! We were joined in the pub by two from Lympstone, One from Ottery and one from West Hill. (They all arrived without any navigation issues of course).
30th October 2013 - Topsham
This was a beer drinkers evening at the Bridge Inn, though Stu and Clare seemed not to realise. Mark, Ted and Ian were also there on a starry but surprisingly mild night. As the pub keeps old-fashioned hours, no one was late home.
23rd October 2013 - Talaton
Richard reports: Only 2 rode out from Exeter, Guy Eatherington & I. Guy seemed to be in a hurry to get to the pub, which left me at times struggling to hold his wheel. Arriving at the Talaton Inn at 1940 hrs we were surprised to find that 3 cyclists had already arrived & were drinking within. All 3 were sat at the bar, I suddenly realised that 1 of them was an old school friend from the 60s. Had not seen him for nearly 2 years since our paths had crossed on another Wednesday night on my way to Otterton. B was next to arrive, chauffeur driven again. Jamie was next to arrive, but spent a while fettling with his bike outside. Ted was next. Ian Hennessey arrived late at 9pm having gone to the Diggers Rest in Woodbury Salterton by mistake (ohh dear). At least he was more than halfway home when he arrived at Talaton. Beer & chips were the order of the day at least until 9pm, when chips became crisps as the kitchen was closed. Before Ian arrived Ted had worked out that as a group we owned between us at least 50 bikes. Jamie was not too impressed that I wanted a coffee when it was his round. Ian twisted my arm for a cheeky half, which somehow became a half of Otter & a half of Guinea - I mean Guinness. We left the pub at chucking out time, my newly built wheel complete with hope hub kept us a wake on the way home. It was just Thursday morning as I opened my front door & I still had that evenings episode of Emmerdale to watch, plus toast & cake to eat.
16th October 2013 - Newton Poppleford
Richard reports: Only 2 rode out from Exeter, Julian & I. The weather was mild & dry, with a near full moon to light our way. B was chauffeured to the pub, Ted was last to arrive. The beer was wet & the chips were hot. Not sure which way Julian went to get back to Exeter as he left the pub in the wrong direction. Rode home alone on a very quiet A3052 as the road was closed in Newton Pop.
9th October 2013 - Payhembury
Bad-hand Bernd was out, courtesy of the family taxi service. Nine made it in total on a cold starry night.
2nd October 2013 - Otterton
"Heavy showers" said the Met Office. Ian set off just after one of those, thinking he might make it to the King's Arms in the dry. He was mistaken. Guy and Ted did a similar thing from Exeter. In the inevitable downpour, Ted decided to abandon, leaving Guy to arrive alone at the pub where Ian was pondering whether to have a swift (not cheeky) half and depart. Guy felt guilty because he'd lost Ted. He phoned Sarah who phoned Ted. Ted, having had second thoughts, arrived as Sarah called. Guy no longer felt guilty. Everyone else stayed home. The pub was nearly empty and the intrepid trio were the last to leave.
25th September 2013 - Whimple
The weather wasn't particularly inviting tonight but a few still made it out to sit in the warm friendly pub in Whimple. Guy rode solo from Exeter, choosing to take a route that is known for being challenging in the dark - Ashclyst forest. Clare and Stu rode from Lympstone and Sarah brought B by car as he couldn't cycle due to a broken wrist.
18th September 2013 - Halfway
Just Sarah and Guy at the start this week, so we chose a route that took us up Rockbeare Hill and across the ridge to the Halfway. We got there to find that the pub was particularly busy with our usual table being used by a party so we were balancing drinks on a chair! It was a good ride out and back with 5 out in total, including riders from both Lympstone and Uffculme.
11th September 2013 - Jack in the Green
4th September 2013 - Talaton
The seasons change. Suddenly it's September and the evenings are getting darker. Fortunately it wasn't too cold this evening, as the Talaton Inn is parsimonious with its heat. B was there on a new old bike; Ted was somewhere in Spain. Conversation ranged from kebabs to Bampton Breakfasts; food was the usual healthy diet of chips and crisps. We had to shout over the rowdiness of the skittles players. Seven out, including occasional Wednesday nighter Elly. It was a clear, starry evening.
28th August 2013 - Clyst Hydon
Just Richard and Sarah at the start in Exeter this evening. Richard led the way on a beautifully hilly route on a way we'd not ridden before on a Wednesday. It was a lovely warm evening with a superb sunset as we approached the pub. Lights were needed on the approach to the pub, there may not be many daylight evening rides left this year. We met Jamie just outside Clyst Hydon and arrived at the pub to find it feeling very new and shiny. The management of the Jack in the Green have taken it over and it has a much more modern feel. New paint, new floors and absolutely no way the Jazz Band will be able to return. Ian arrived shortly after us, and after a drink and some "Jack in the Green quality" chips outside we moved inside to discuss religion versus Darwin, night clubbing, and long bike rides. It was a pleasant evening and although a little chilly on the way back, it wasn't really *cold*. Lots of stars and a nice dry ride. The Five Bells will definitely be back on the runs list.
25th August 2013 - Pointless Pubcrawl
Five riders met at the shops in Pinhoe, looking apprehensively at the sky. We rode all the way to the New Inn in Broadclyst and stopped for a cheeky half. We managed to sit outside but felt one or two spots of rain as we left for Whimple. We called in at the Thirsty Farmer for a very nice Sunday lunch, and were met by another 7 riders, including newcomer Kirsten. After the meal we rode to the Drewe Arms in Broadhembury for pudding!(One rider leaving us en route). We sat in the garden willing the sun to break through the clouds. We then had a lovely, mainly downhill ride to Newton Poppleford to discover that the Cannon Inn had a beer festival on. By now the sun had come out so we enjoyed sitting in the beer garden listening to the live music. Two others left us here, so 9 of us then rode through the lanes to get to the Kings Arms at Otterton. After this we rode up the hill and across Woodbury Common, the usually stunning view to both Exeter and the sea a little hazy today. Our final destination was the Halfway where we were in time to see the sun set over the city.
A good day - good company, good weather and good beer!
21st August 2013 - Bridge Inn, Topsham
It was a pleasant evening by the river, and we all sat out, beer being served from the cellar door. Stu and Sarah talked in teacher code about imminent exam results. Jamie extolled the virtues of Norwegian weather forecasts, and someone mentioned Metcheck. The days are now getting shorter, and we moved into the pub at dusk. All of us left before ten, to wend our various ways home.
14th August 2013 - Thirsty Farmer, Whimple
Everyone sat outside this evening for the last of the summer beer. Conversation ranged through dissertations and disinclinations to dissipation. Alps and Pyrenees were discussed, as well as bad wine. Ten out, so no danger of B being left on his own.
7th August 2013 - Halfway Inn, Aylesbeare
A warm clear evening with a spectacular sunset visible from the vantage point of the pub balcony. Mike was down for the Sidmouth Festival, and dropped in on us as usual. Ian was late, after riding the last Exeter Wheelers' 10 of the year. But Charlie was even later, and Sarah failed to appear at all.
Mike wrote: shortly after I arrived about 8 others came: Bernd, Richard, Guy, Charles, Mark, Ian among them. I had met most before. They were very welcoming and entertaining as ever. A very happy band! On Bernd's advice I rode back on the main road, having to walk the last 1/3 of the hill out of Newton Poppleford, and still made it back to the camp site in only 35 mins. They are so fit, I can't believe the miles they do.
31st July 2013 - Six Bells, Payhembury
The majority of the Wednesday nighters seemed to pick this week for a week away, giving rise to our smallest gathering ever! Poor B rode alone to the pub to discover that he was it! We must plan our holidays more carefully! That has never happened before.
24th July 2013 - White Hart, Woodbury
A good size group left Exeter and opted for the good old Sanctuary lane route, so across the blue bridge, through the science park and past the airport. The group then waited patiently while Sarah plodded up Sanctuary lane to the top of Woodbury Common. We flew down the other side, straight over the crossroads and turned right opposite the quarry. Ted was sitting outside at the pub, and Ian joined us later. After a little while we had to retreat inside as it became just a little chilly.
17th July 2013 - Jack in the Green, Rockbeare
Everyone arrived in dribs and drabs tonight but there was a merry gathering in the end - even with a guest rider from Singapore! Warm enough to sit out, those that didn't make it out, definitely missed out.
10th July 2013 - Merry Harriers, Westcott
A hilly route was requested tonight so we opted for Ashclyst Forest, taking in both the hills and some superbly clear views. You do have to have your wits about you on the descent though as there are brambles lining the sides of the lanes and gravel down the middle! No dogs to chase us this week - although possibly a barking cat! Very friendly landlord at the Merry Harriers - with a big discussion about the bull outside the pub - or so we had imagined. Ian Turned up after the evening ten, and in time for chips (free, courtesy of the landlord). It was warm enough for all of us, except Ted, to sit outside.
3rd July 2013 - Kings Arms, Otterton
A lovely ride out although there were a few cars trying to squeeze past us on the lanes and leaving skid marks. It wasn't quite outside weather by the time we got to the pub so we opted for inside. However, the only seats inside were particularly high ones. An interesting ride home as the road through Woodbury could really do with a new surface. As we descended over the rough bit Roger's light worked loose, he managed to catch it, but subsequently dropped it when needing to brake. Amazingly no damage done to the light, the bike or Roger and, after Stu had ridden gallantly back up the hill to check he was ok, we carried on home.
Wednesday 26th June 2013 - Tipton St John
Nine riders made it to the Golden Lion on a bright warm evening. Though, strictly speaking, it was eight, in that Ian arrived by car after riding the club ten. Charlie was the last to arrive, appearing after most of the others had left. It was warm enough to drink and gossip al fresco.
Wednesday 19th June 2013 - Thirsty Farmer
What a beautiful evening for a ride! It was just Sarah at the start so I decided to take a little trip through Ashclyst Forest. The roads were predictably gravelly, and the brambles at the sides predictably large, leaving only a narrow section of road to cycle in, but the views at the tops of the hills were superb. A warm dry evening. However, warm dry evenings bring out the flies and I had taken on board more than my RDA of protein in flies both through my mouth and my eyes by the time I got through the forest. On one climb two very small dogs ran out of a driveway at me' yapping for all they were worth. I shouted back to no avail, but a tiny baby bird hopped across the path, obviously terrified and took the dogs interest. Thank you bird for giving your life so that I could continue on my journey safely (I hope he got away). A good turn out at the pub, Ian arriving after a fast 10 miles, Ted after 125 miles, Richard, Clare, B, Roger (and Charlie at the last minute.) Roger trying out new things - with whitebait instead of chips and pentagons instead of triangles - whatever next!
Wednesday 12th June 2013 - Bridge Inn, Topsham
A return visit to the Bridge was a dryer occasion - the weather, that is. We crowded round a table (one of three) in a small room and perused the beer menu. Naturally a couple of us had to spoil it by asking for cider, but not everyone knows the etiquette. It was dry and bright on the way out, and the evenings are getting lighter.
Wednesday 5th June 2013 - Halfway Inn, Aylesbeare
B rode up with another of his trash creations. A nice "fast" mountain bike with road tires and fewer gears. That was the idea of the built exercise. Anyway... The bike suffered a puncture on departure into the midnight sunset, just a mile or so away from the pub, in the middle of nowhere and in the faint glow of midsummer. We stopped with Ted, Guy and Charlie going into "ting" mode to consider which internationally accepted way of puncture repair could be applied under the given circumstances without braking any long distance cycling rules. B broke a tire lever on the reluctant high profile rims. After consulting the sheep (by loudly blaring out into the night and getting a reply!) Guy offered his slime quick-fix glue-less (clueless?) green emergency patches of which 2 were required to keep enough air on the wheel to get home safely. No kebab-evening.
Wednesday 29th May 2013 - Talaton Inn, Talaton
I wasn't there for this, but I bet it was chilly. :)
Wednesday 22nd May 2013 - Kings Arms, Otterton
This was a good evening. We took the usual route of Sanctuary Lane and over Woodbury Common. The gravel is a little loose on the main road there- take care! A group of about 5 at the pub, B coming late after a met office ride over Haldon.
Wednesday 15th May 2013 - Six Bells, Payhembury
Well, I wasn't there, but in the absence of a blog - I assume they rode out, had a beer and rode back!
Wednesday 8th May 2013 - Westcott
Sarah cried off at the last minute ("work"), and Clare and Stu opted for a shorter ride, so we were down to five at one of our friendliest venues, the Merry Harriers. What could be nicer than beer or cider, a plentiful supply of chips, and a lively discussion about two-stroke diesel engines. A fine, cool night with a nagging westerly wind, cooler than of late. The sky was starry for our return homewards.
Wednesday 1st May 2013 - Aylesbeare
Spring was sprung enough that hardy pub-runners were able and willing to sit outside at the Halfway Inn this week, at least for a while. Ray, Bob, and Sally made it again, but still no Mike. Eleven out on an evening that could almost be described as warm.
Wednesday 24th April 2013 - Whimple
Twelve out at the Thirsty Farmer, including newcomer, Ray. Bob and Sally made it, but not Mike, who is still suffering after dislocating his shoulder. Guy explained the pitfalls of sea-going boats with masts; Sarah and Stu talked shop. A dry evening, and noticeably warmer than of late.
Saturday 20th April 2013 - Pointless 100
Six wednesday nighters set out from Exeter at the later time of 9:30 to ride the pointless 100, now known as the Exeter Circle. We rode down the cycle path to Exmouth watching the cloud break and blue sky begin to appear and listening to Richard's tale of computer rage. We then took the cycle path out of Exmouth towards Budleigh and joined the roads again heading for Otterton. There were many more dog walkers and kids on bikes on the cycle paths - a mixture of the now sunny weather and later start. The roads were busier than usual too and with plenty of potholes. Most conversation during the day was broken up by regular calls of "car up" and "hole". We arrived in Ottery dismayed to find that the later time not only meant no cooked breakfast but also no baked beans! How would we find the energy to climb Hembury Fort without baked beans? Mark found the answer in cheesecake. The most enormous piece of cheesecake saw Mark first up the climb but instead of admiring the view from the top he rode partway back down for another go. A beautiful but rolling descent followed into Cullompton, and then a sharp climb through to Bradninch. It was now wonderfully sunny and warm - a good to be alive and out on your bike day. We felt the need to stop for a cheeky refreshment at the Ruffwell - no scary Alsation this time though. We then rode steadily through the lanes from Thorverton to Crediton - wonderfully surprised at the smooth new tarmac in Shobrooke. Nice one DCC! After Crediton it was a easy ride back along the main road to Exeter, pausing briefly at the Imperial to say goodbye. It would have been rude not to - surely?
Wednesday 17th April 2013 - Jack in the Green
A birthday week. Pippa, Sarah and Ian this week, and Elly the following Monday. All a year older and for two a significant birthday with a nought in it. The weather was relatively kind, which may have helped the bumper crop of Wednesday Nighters at the pub. Chips, beer and cider were consumed, and it was a late departure for most of us.
Wednesday 10th April 2013 - Putts Corner
Nine pubrunners turned up at Ottery St Mary for the start of the annual Exeter Pubrunners Hill Climb. There was a certain understandable reluctance to leave the shelter of Sainsbury's canopy, it being a thoroughly wet and blowy evening. By the top of Chineway the riders were spread out over half a mile of road. Guy won the virtual polka-dot jersey. We sloshed into the Hare and Hounds to find Jamie already there having ridden an alternative hill from Gittisham. Sodden clothing was dumped in a mouldering pile and it was food and beer all round. Sarah invited us to guess the age of several photos featuring Ian and Cardiff pubrunners including the late, great Mr Lewis. Some of us required a stiff whisky before venturing out to ride home. A downhill route from a chilly start was not inviting. No stars this night, just buffeting wind and rain.
Wednesday 3rd April 2013 - Payhembury
The Six Bells welcomed us, including new-comer, Roger, on a quiet night: no skittles and only a few regulars. Sarah being absent the conversation turned inevitably to cars. It was a fairly dry night. Not too cold, not too damp.
Wednesday 27th March 2013 - Topsham
Seven rode out on a bone-chilling evening to a new venue, the idiosyncratic and much-praised Bridge Inn. Sarah was absent, riding where cider was available, though a late arriving Guy discovered the Bridge does actually serve fermented apple juice (perhaps reluctantly). And, yes, they do serve green beer. B managed to restrain his taste for 'cotter', so we didn't get thrown out, though it was a close thing when Ian's phone rang. New-comers Baggy and Chuffy joined us from the Far Side (of Exeter). MarkX, Stu and Clare made up the numbers. The last of us were there till closing time. Though it felt freezing, ice hadn't yet formed.
Sarah rode with the Cardiff inspiration for Exeter Wednesday Pubruns: There were six out on the Welsh Wednesday night. We met in the cold and falling snow at St Fagans crossroads. As we rode out towards Cowbridge the snow eased and we met some surprisingly courteous drivers, pulling over to let us pass. We managed to avoid all the ice at the edges of the road. After a pint in a nice pub with a roaring fire, we split into two groups as the pub we were in didn't serve food and some of us were hungry. The groups re-joined in the food pub and then quickly returned to seats by the fire. After several cheeky halves we all departed.
Wednesday 20th March 2013 - Westcott
A select gathering of six pubrunners of longstanding membership could be seen at the Merry Harriers this Wednesday. The Exeter group had a reasonably quick ride out - four of us started, riding around the back of Whimple and past Talaton. The lanes were quite mucky but it was dry. There are many potholes about so be careful! When we arrived at the pub Carlo had to return immediately to Exeter and sped off. Ted arrived, having followed the same route but not spotted any sign of us. We must have been carefully avoiding the mud to leave no tyre tracks. Sarah could not bring her latest mystery object owing to its being made of glass and thus highly breakable, especially on a bike. This of course made it even more mysterious. Our host was his usual friendly and courteous self, and served us chips. The evening was cold but not freezing, the roads still wet from earlier rain. Sarah left early and then did a very silly thing when she got home - managed to padlock the bike shed, forgetting that both keys to the padlock were on her bike, in the shed. Half an hour, a hammer and a screwdriver later, the keys were retrieved. Thank goodness for the anti-bike thief weather until the lock is replaced!
Wednesday 13th March 2013 - Newton Poppleford
What a stunning night. Two rode out from Exeter, Sarah riding slowly uphill due to lack of fitness and excess stomach, Ted riding patiently alongside. Sarah riding slowly downhill due to fear of ice (there was none, not even a tiny bit), Ted riding patiently alongside. We rode past the Aylesbeare Inn, to see Craig leaving early (before 8pm), although it did look like other customers were still there. We crossed the common and descended to Newton Poppleford, pausing briefly to admire a rather beautiful moon and then noticing the stunning starscape. The clouds had all gone, the temperature was rapidly dropping but the sky was beautiful. B joined us on the final road into Newton Popp. A pleasant evening in the pub followed. We discussed management, retirement, newspapers, wives, worms and the Pope, amongst other things. We ate chips that were too hot, and drank beer and cider that was just right. We avoided being eaten by the many dogs, including an Alsation that offered to serve us from behind the bar. Sarah left first into the bitterly cold night and rode up the hill out of Newton Popp. By the time she had reached the first corner she decided it was actually a balmy evening. By the time she reached the top it was scorching! That hill is perfect for such a night. A fast ride followed, without a sniff of ice. Home by half past ten! B and Ted left later. We did have a mystery object - but no photo available. It was correctly identified as being used in static electricity, but one question remained unanswered.....how?
Wednesday 6th March 2013 - Upper Aylesbeare
Ted: Just two riders at Pinhoe, regaled by stories of pussies past from a sad(ish) Sarah, set course for the Halfway, by way of lanes a-muddy and a-potholey (is that a word ?). So over a pint or two, B and I sat down to set the world straight, touching on careers, corporate ethos, German schools for sale, and chips. Shortly we were joined by Stuart in city garb (Must’ve been tricky riding the horse in that !) and a little while later by a more appropriately clad Claire. Quorum was reached when Jamie hove into view. And the leaving was in reverse order of arrival – highly symmetrical......
B: It was a fine and dry evening, cool but not frosty, grey, perhaps on the slightly boring side, anyway, rather long, an evening after a typical audacious day in early March. March like all people in the world sometime try to remember, but quite don't, because these days can be slightly on the misty, perhaps even dull side. Three were out initially, but this early March Wednesday was so dull, that a cat died and required the full attention of one rider. Two out , one fast one slow, sweating in the slip-stream, beating up hills and valleys to eventually top-out at the Half-way Inn. More riders congregated, some in suit and tie, others similarly sweaty, to have a merry exchange of opinions on employers, employees, classic Peugeot bicycles, chips and the latest 200km rides. Ted, Bernd, Stuart, Clare and Jamie are looking forward to meet again next Wednesday.
Wednesday 27th February 2013 - Rockbeare
Two new faces this evening, Rachel and Carlo, and one would-be new face still not seen. The Exeter group rode out via Aylesbeare and Quartermile lane, which looked as if it had been swept as all the gravel was in the middle for a change! Sarah brought another mystery object, this one looking like a miniature fishing net crossed with a windsock. Paul, at the Jack-in-the-Green, was his usual courteous self, and provided free chips again (note: he's taken over the Five Bells at Clyst Hydon, which bodes well for that pub). Conversation touched on cycling (as transport), education, cycling (falling off), village life, cycling (long-distance), pubs and birthdays. The weather was relatively mild, which meant no ice, and the moon illuminated lurking potholes. However, mild was definitely a relative term and we were glad of our gloves for the ride home.
Wednesday 20th February 2013 - Whimple
Riders from all points of the compass made it to the Thirsty Farmer, but not Sarah (again). So there was no mystery object to puzzle over. In its place was a reverse pub quiz whereby a distant Sarah had to guess who was present. Aided by subtle clues she achieved 100% at the third try. Seven of us out on a cold dry night.
Wednesday 13th February 2013 - Tipton St John
An English pub owned by a Frenchman, the Golden Lion serves good English beer and always seems crowded. A wet night after a foul day, but at least not icy. The group from Exeter took a route out through Broadclyst, admiring the fact that there was tarmac to ride on (last time we took this route it was under water), then across Parsons lane and up Rockbeare Hill. The top of the hill was foggy and Sarah descended at the speed of a snail - looking for potholes! She also brought along a new mystery object. Inventive minds produced various likely and less likely uses for it. Julian gave his farewells, being about to decamp to the new world in a land that's far from maritime.
Good luck Julian!
Wednesday 6th February 2013 - Woodbury
Trust Sarah to choose a new pub in a new location, then cry off because of work (parents' evening, apparently - Stu wasn't impressed). We were at the White Hart, a large pub, difficult to navigate inside. Most of us walked round the outside to find the appropriate bar. Eleven pub-runners out, including newcomer Mark (another one). Topics of conversation included the difficulties of keeping the extremities warm in freezing weather - e.g. the strategic use of an odd sock by male cyclists, customer-unfriendly post offices, and the design of wooden ships. Chips were ordered (not free here), beer consumed, and reputations besmirched. The ride home was dry and very cold, with a superb starscape overhead.
Wednesday 30th January 2013 - Westcott
The weather was mild and wet, though not actually raining. The roads and lanes were running with water and full of gravel, stones and mud washed from the fields. The Merry Harriers* at Westcott is our most northerly venue and lies on the Wednesday evening ten course, though it's far too early in the year for the testers to be out. Sarah's hand is improving all the time and she arrived en velo, accompanied by Richard, Guy, Ted and new pubrunner, Andrew. B and Ian arrived from the east. Jamie represented the north. The landlord was his usual friendly and welcoming self, bringing free, unheralded baskets of chips. Sarah brought yet another mystery science object. This one was more of a riddle. The roads being as wet as they were, it was a good thing the temperature remained above freezing as we wended our various ways home.
*The pub has a statue of a bull outside for identification
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 - Whimple
After the floods, the snow. From being virtually cut off, Devon had returned to some kind of normality. There was still a lot of snow and slush about but, fortunately, Wednesday evening temperatures remained stubbornly above freezing. It's possible that Stuart, arriving cold, and sodden from the knees down, might have preferred ice to water. He decided to stay warm by leaving for a rapid pedal home almost before he'd arrived (Clare had seen sense and abandoned her journey earlier). Sarah brought another mystery object (this is a quiz where no one is certain of the answer). Guy showed Rolf Harris tendencies by making it sound (a bit like an asthmatic didgeridoo). We discussed the philosophy of relationships, the legality of pedal reflectors, and the science of lubrication. Chips were served more than once, and, of course, beer. A foggy, chilly, slushy, dank evening.
Wednesday 16th January 2013 - Aylesbeare
We were back to the Halfway Inn for the second ride of 2013. It was a very cold evening with ice threatening to form. We were a cosy seven in total, once Charlie had made his late appearance. Roll on Summer. Sarah started a new pub quiz - guess the unidentified science object, for which there were many suggestions - more items next week.
Wednesday 9th January 2013 - Rockbeare
The first ride of the New Year saw a goodly number of cyclists out from all over East Devon. Sarah rode gently along the main road route, nursing her healing but still painful (and barely functioning) broken hand. Everyone had tales of Christmas: curmudgeonly or cheerful according to temperament. Weather: cold and dark, but not too icy. Cranbrook actually an advantage to the wednesday nighters travelling back towards Exeter - possibly the only road in Devon that is pothole free?
Wednesday 19th December 2012 - Whimple
We congregated at the Thirsty Farmer for the Pubrunners' Christmas dinner on a mucky wet night. Chairs became festooned with damp cycle clothing, beer ordered. Special guest was a certain Mr Hummers, a man of parts. Sarah was looking only slightly peeved at still being broken and unable to cycle. We marvelled at the wit of the cracker jokes, played charades, ate, drank, and made merry. All told it was a fine and entertaining evening. And then we ventured out into the night to splash home. Merry Christmas to everyone.
Wednesday 12th December 2012 - Rockbeare
The Jack in the Green is a good main road venue for icy nights. Actually, it's a good venue anyway: good beer, good food, and comfortable easy chairs. Eight out on another cold evening, and the pub half empty. This time it was Ian's turn to be in civvies (and in a car) on his way home from an Exeter appointment. Julian was hoping that snow didn't engulf the UK before his planned escape to Germany for Christmas.
Wednesday 5th December 2012 - Aylesbeare
The instructions were to go to the Aylesbeare Inn and stop there if it was open, otherwise repair with all due haste to the Halfway. Which doesn't explain why Ian went to the Jack in the Green. Nevertheless he did eventually find his way on freezing lanes past the Aylesbeare (all in darkness) to the Halfway, just in time to see MarkX disappearing eastwards on the main road. Sarah sported motoring gear and a bandaged hand, the rest were in cycling clothing of some sort (with the possible exception of Charlie). Most of those present had encountered a few slippery bits of tarmac in the darkness. There were more to be found on the way home. A very cold, dank night.
Wednesday 28th November 2012 - Whimple
A deposit has been made (of the monetary variety) and we are booked for Christmas on the 19th December (just to be different). Sarah was there in spirit, eight others were present in the flesh, on a freezing cold night. The temperature called for even more chips than usual. Richard found cold Guinness inadequately warming, Stu and Clare opted for hot coffee. There was a sad lack of heated argument or discussion. Those heading home eastward had a hill to warm them up. Those going west froze all the way.
Wednesday 21st November 2012 - Aylesbeare
We were surprised to see Craig at Aylesbeare, because we were at the Halfway Inn, not the Aylesbeare Inn, his normal haunt. But the Aylesbeare is closed, so he'd made the journey uphill  in his mobility scooter. This Wednesday evening was a slight lull in the grim weather, so those from the east and north arrived dry (ish). The Exeter crowd managed to find a puddle deep enough that most opted to carry their bikes through it. Mark left early, even though the the chips were good, and Jamie was not far behind. The rest of us left in dribs and drabs to Exeter, or eastwards. Yet another pothole claimed Sarah as a victim on the way home. She managed to spend three hours in A&E before returning home.
Wednesday 14th November 2012 - Clyst Hydon and elsewhere
A group gathered in Exeter feeling rather chilly, and decided to head straight to the Five Bells to see if the rumours were true that it had closed. Winter clothing was needed but maybe not as much as some of us were wearing, as we quickly realised warming up on route. Bets were taken along the way as to whether the pub would be a) closed, b) vandalised, or c) offering free beer. At the top of the hill before the pub, Sarah faffed for ages changing gloves, not really expecting to be stopping soon. After a short descent we were surprised to see that options a and b were wrong, so we hurriedly entered hoping for option c! But it was not to be, so after a half, which for some was more cheeky than for others, we headed onwards to the Merry Harriers at Westcott, to find a good atmosphere. The contrast between the two places couldn't have been greater, with a warm welcome and chips on the house at the latter (free chips is almost as good as free beer!). Ian arrived too late for the chips, but managed a pint or two before it was time to depart. It was a dark cold star-bright night; winter's setting in.
Wednesday 7th November 2012 - Rockbeare
Tonight was a main road venue for a change - a quiet main road, being the old A30. The Jack-in-the Green was quiet inside as well, apart from a rowdy group of cyclists. There were nine of us out, if you include a flying visit by Mark. B's recent winter barbecue was discussed and reckoned a success, having enough fire to ward off frostbite. Charlie, arriving late, was a little miffed that at least two fellow cyclists had ignored him stopped at the roadside with a puncture. Claims not to have seen him were met with scepticism. We were nostalgically remembering our first wednesday nights this week - have we really been meeting for over four years! A success story - one of our group has lost four and a half stone since joining us. (The rest of us have that safely tucked under our belts). Winter is beginning. It was a dark cold night - cold enough for proper gloves.
Wednesday 31st October 2012 - Talaton
With Sarah away, and many pub-runners on Halloween duty, the numbers were significantly depleted at the Talaton Inn. In fact there were two: B and Ian. It was a dank dark evening and the lanes were full of tractor droppings, both clags of mud and hedge trimmings. The fire, never the inn's strong point, went from a feeble glow to stone-cold, leaving only the beer to warm us. The conversation was reflective rather than sparkling. The weather was no kinder on the way home.
Wednesday 24th October 2012 - Whimple
A wimpy evening ride to Whimple for the Exeter lot. Some full of cold, some tired, some sore, some having already suffered punctures that day, so we opted (very unusually) for a direct ride to the pub. We were welcomed by the bar staff who are looking forward to seeing us for the christmas meal. (We currently have four people coming - anyone else?) Numbers rapidly grew at the pub. 5 from Exeter, 2 from Ottery, 1 from Honiton, 4 from Payhembury, 1 from Uffculme, including newcomers Ken and Linda. We had to commandeer extra chairs and a table to provide a sociable space. Chips, beer and punctures, and a chilly ride home.
Wednesday 17th October 2012 - Otterton
It was one of those epic evenings. Rain, lightning, gusting winds and flooded roads made our journeys more entertaining than usual. The Exeter group chose the high route over Woodbury Common and thus saw the best of the lightning. Charlie, worried about his proximity to a metal bike frame, decided to pause and dismount during the storm. B and Ian had arrived soaked but unenlightened. There were eight out, but still no sign of Richard. B's latest remarkable skip find was discussed, as was, of course, the weather. It seems that Wednesday night venues are under threat, with one in receivership and another up for auction. A suggestion that we club together to buy the latter failed by majority vote. Eventually, but not all at once, we dragged ourselves from the warm dry pub, donning cold wet clothing for the journey homeward. The substantial roadside stream by the pub was a roaring brown torrent, and there were floods and debris to negotiate.
Wednesday 10th October 2012 - Clyst Hydon
A dankly damp dark evening. We rode in water-filled, mucky lanes to the Five Bells , currently in receivership but still trading. Nine out, including a post-PhD Julian, but no sign of Richard - still at home nursing his bruises. The Exeter group took a fairly usual route around the back of Whimple and past the Talaton inn. Four started from Exeter, soon became five when Ted crept up from behind, and then back to four when Amrk turned off to Exmouth. There was a single question for the pub quiz by text: Where did bingo originate? . Jamie thought Mecca - what a wag! Conversation ranged around houses, cysts, jerseys (the new Wednesday Group ones), and Sarah's next pointless ride. Ian mended a front wheel puncture and everyone decided to go the shortest way home. It was still raining.
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 - Talaton
Bring your hats, the pub's always cold, read Sarah's email, and so it proved. The nights are drawing in and it's lights on both to and from the pub. Mark suggested they shouldn't take too short a route, so we went via Boradclyst Rockbeare, Rockbeare Quarry and Whimple before turning up at Talaton to find Jamie waiting. The bar was quiet once the darts teams had left, filled only with conversation about nuns, tandems, Velocettes, school exchange visits, sidecars, absent friends, Richard's injuries, hand-cranked cycles, how cold was the pub, another round anyone?, and final cheeky halves. Eight out and shivering, from Uffculme, Ottery, Exeter and Honiton. It was a cold and surprisingly dry night.
Wednesday 26th September 2012 - Tipton St John
Guy writes: At 18.00 Mark texted to say he was just fitting "flotation devices" to his bike and yes he was out tonight. Sarah phoned to ask if I was able to lead out the team as Dave was on telly. So still stuck in traffic on the M5 at Gordano I thought it would be unlikely I'd get out on time. But with help and fair wind Mark and I met up at 7.15 by the Pinhoe shops. Any thoughts of a stop for cheeky half on the way were dashed with the first mechanical as Mark's rear spindle locked solid just half a mile from the shops. Fiddled with it. Removing and replacing it seem to fix it. Then up the hill to Tipton. We met up with B and Luke at the pub - but no chips, "the fryers were off". Conversation started on B's Ebay sales of cycles, then onto the personal experience of the Olympic park! Luke shared his vision of a new television programme in which "z list" celebs are taken to a remote island with no food and at the end of the the week they vote on which one they will eat! and then a celebrity chef cooks them - it the islanders don't like the food they eat the chef - the working title: "Come Die With Me!" Then off home - with bit of nip in the air the hill was welcome to warm us up. On the way back Mark's chain shifted off and then wrapped double and wedged between frame and inner ring, requiring more mucky fingers to force it free.
B writes: Four out in total, Guy and Mark from Exeter and Luke and me from Ottery/Alfington. A cool night with showers threatening. We got to Tipton in no time whatsoever as it is only a very short distance. Discussion gyrated mainly around schools, modern literature, the lack of punk and middle-age.
Wednesday 19th September 2012 - Woodbury Salterton
The evenings are getting gloomier, lights needed even for the outward journey. Also, the temperature had dropped suddenly, making it feel autumnal. Riders coming via Aylesbeare had to negotiate a road closure on the main road at White Cross. Blue flashing lights were everywhere and cars were diverting down side lanes. At the Digger's Rest conversation ranged from retro-mountain bikes to religion, with a pub quiz provided by text from darkest Wales (so who did coin the advertising slogan: Naughty, but nice?). Guy arrived dragging a spare saddle behind him (test riding a borrowed tandem for the Hospiscare ride  on the 30th). Sarah told, between fits of dozing, an amusing story about falling asleep at work. Ted was late, and compounded the offence by declaring a hatred for halves, even cheeky ones. It was cold but dry for the return journeys, with a few stars showing through thin cloud.
Wednesday 12th September 2012 - Newton Poppleford
Ted was early at the Cannon Inn, hid his bike in the garden and himself in the other bar, so as to surprise the rest of us. Eastward and westward travellers arrived more or less together, four from Ottery being joined by one from Honiton, and the Exeter group led in by Richard on a lone breakaway (They took a route out via Aylesbeare, felt a bit thirsty passing the pub and so called in to say hello). With the arrival of the Lympstone two we became a crowd. The weather was kind, with just a little rain falling while we were in the pub. Chips, beer, cider, coffee and (horror!) Diet Coke were purchased for consumption - the usual healthy cyclists' diet. Clare is becoming a student layabout, Sarah has a new job but hopes it won't become a habit. Luke complained that teachers nowadays are boringly normal. We left at intervals according to distance to travel, the hardcore sinking a final 'cheeky half'© before leaving.
Wednesday 5th September 2012 - The Swan, Lympstone
Sarah and Ian both being absent, Guest reporter B writes: Rolling in from Ottery along the top of West Hill, I saw the sun set at least 7 times. Beautiful! And I arrived before the others which is very unusual. Fully understand why Jamie complained about his companions to have slowed him down. Easy chatting about ancient drinking games and the ensuing aftermath. Look forward to next Wednesday.
Guest reporter G writes: The Exeter three (Mark Guy & Richard) took the longer route to Lympstone via the top of Hulham road and the long descent into Exmouth. We picked up the cycle path and rode into the setting sun, very picturesque. On the way we picked up Jamie at the airport but he complained that we have dragged his average speed down! At the pub B has continued the cider drinking which we need after all with the loss of Sarah to the evil dark side (diet coke). Mark felt he was finally accepted as regular when B taught him the fabled crisp packet folding ceremony! After two round of crisps and hot chili pork scratchings over a babble conversation, including the virtues of school reunions and silly bikes to perform PBP on, we left, although Jamie left a little before us at 9.01.
What we don't know is whether Stu and Clare really took the long way round.
Wednesday 29th August 2012 - Aylesbeare
"Showers dying out by the evening", except they weren't quite dead as the Wednesday nighters set off for the Aylesbeare Inn. Nine riders turned up including Luke and Elly, both on their second pubruns. Sarah had been allowed out despite the Olympian duties of her other half. Topics of conversation included libraries, old-school teachers (of the mad or homicidal variety), family illness and chips. Notably, B has developed a taste for cider, and Sarah for Diet Coke. The sky had cleared by the time we wobbled home.
Wednesday 22nd August 2012 - Westcott
The wednesday night group headed once again for the Merry Harriers at Westcott. Sarah was determined to make them earn their drinks tonight so took them on a hilly route around Pinhoe, Silverton and Bradninch. It was a lovely evening for a ride, dry and mild. The pub was very welcoming and had a good choice of drinks. 7 out, Ian sending his excuses from Scotland. The ride home was bumpy as usual.
Wednesday 15th August 2012 - Otterton
Pubrunners managed to skirt the frequent showers blowing up the Otter valley and arrive fairly dry at the Kings Arms. Jamie once more failed to pick up his EWCC trophy. The return journey was wetter for everyone, the rain starting just as we left the pub.
Wednesday 8th August 2012 - Whimple
A bumper evening with various Coffee Pot riders joining us at the Thirsty Farmer. Even Sarah was out, though for one week only. Richard and Ian arrived late having been variously riding and marshalling the last Exeter Wheelers ten of the season. Chips, beer, and a multitude of conversation topics. A dry night, just.
Wednesday 1st August 2012 - Talaton
Julian was instructed in the fine art of crisp packet folding ; Richard explained how long it was taking him to recover from the 24; Ian was forced to buy a round; B proudly showed off his 80s mtb which has a frame design that never really caught on . It was still just about dry as we left for home, though the the roads were wet.
Wednesday 25th July 2012 - Hele
The Crossways Tavern was the venue, possibly for the last time as they claimed to have run out of real ale and had nothing even in bottles. So, after Ted arrived, we took the decision to move to the Merry Harriers, a mile or two up the road, where we received a warm welcome and a choice of beers. Not many out. Sarah and Richard both absent for different reasons. A mild night, and the rain held off.
Wednesday 18th July 2012 - Westcott
This week we were at the Merry Harriers  on the old A38, now better known as the Budlake 10 course . Wednesday is the day of the evening ten, though the forecast was such that only thirteen turned out to race. Meanwhile Sarah led a merry band to the pub, taking a lovely hilly route, up Stoke hill, dropping down towards Poltimore, then out to Rewe, through the lanes, out the back of Silverton, into Bradninch and then direct to the pub. Apart from one shower it turned out to be a dry ride on a mild night. Richard, Mike, Sally and Ian – who had been variously riding, timekeeping, organising and marshalling – arrived about the same time. Ted was already there; B and Jon arrived rather later.
Wednesday 11th July 2012 - Clyst Hydon
There was a very warm welcome from our hosts on a quiet night at the Five Bells. Despite it being an evening of heavy showers there were eight out, though Ian might not count having arrived by car. The Exeter group decided not to brave Ashclyst forest after the recent rain, as in places the road surface is dodgy with the best of weather. Clare joined the ride at Pinhoe for a change and three of us rode out the fairly usual route via Talaton marvelling at cloud formations and crepuscular rays (the God effect!). Stu arrived last, in a lather after a late dash from work. It was the usual evening of beer, cider, chips, and depressing long-range weather forecasts. Guy entertained everyone with his description of how to clean a glass roof safely, while sporting a black eye from said endeavour.
Saturday 7th July 2012 - Pubcrawl
Five fearless riders met in the rain at 4pm on Saturday. We crossed Redhayes bridge and descended into Clyst Honiton where the last remaining raincoats were donned. We rode past the new reservoir in Clyst Honiton and out towards the airport, where we took the cycle path discovered on Get-Lost Wednesday. We climbed Sanctuary lane, avoiding large rocks that had been washed out of the banks and arrived at Woodbury Common in the thick fog. We descended through Yettington and arrived at the turning to Otterton (where our first stop was supposed to be) to find the road was closed. We decided to take a look to see if we could still get to the Kings Arms, but a quarter of a mile down the road the road was completely cut off by a surging river. The river Otter had completely taken over. A four by four tried crossing but soon had to back out. We decided to turn around and ride to the Otter at Colaton Raleigh instead, where we met a couple on a tandem who had come to Devon on a cycle touring holiday! We then took the road to Newton Poppleford and climbed through Venn Ottery to Daisymount. We crossed the A30 on the little cycle bridge and rode to the Nog, all in drizzle or rain so far. The Nog,disappointingly, was closed so we pressed on to the Six Bells for a meal. The food was excellent and we met the rest of our group there making seven brave Wednesday nighters in total. After the Six Bells we rode through a rather deep puddle to get to the Talaton Inn, a quick stop and we were off to the Thirsty Farmer. The pub was pleasantly warm and after accidently ordering too many drinks for the number of people. Some of us parted company, and the rest headed for the Jack-in-the-Green. A few turned off at the pub and the remaining three enjoyed a last cheeky half. The rain had stopped when we left Payhembury, so although we had a soggy ride home, we weren't getting any wetter. Guy lit the way with his new large balloon style front light. An excellent day with fantastic company. Let's do it again, in the summer next time!
Wednesday 4th July 2012 - Rockbeare
On Get-Lost Wednesday everyone tried to find lanes and routes they'd never before explored. Which is a challenge when the destination is on a main road not far from Exeter. Sarah, as leader, found that she had to stretch her definition of 'road', and occasionally retrace. Ted took the initiative on several sections and after passing very close to the pub at 7:30 we turned away and did an extra loop of previously unridden 'roads' to arrive shortly after 8. We were once turned around by a road that had become a lake. The Jack-in-the-Green was the venue and there were nine out on a dry night, though with plenty of standing water from recent rain. It was warm enough to sit outside until darkness fell. The moon was up and shining through the clouds as we drifted homewards after a pleasant evening.
Wednesday 27th June 2012 - Payhembury
The weather was much kinder this week. No rain and even a hint of sunshine. Mike, with his son, Sally, and Ian came late from the evening ten to find a throng of rowdy cyclists in full voice over beer and chips. The Exeter crowd had had a leisurely ride out through the lanes and even braved an outside table for the first round before coats were starting to be put on and we moved inside. Four from Exeter arrived to find B there, and then they were joined by Jamie from Uffculme and Ted from West Hill.
Wednesday 20th June 2012 - Nr Aylesbeare
Ted arrived, dripping wet, to find Ian, not much dryer despite having been at the pub for 20 minutes, as the only other Wednesday Nighter to have braved the storm. The Halfway Inn normally has fine views across Exeter to the Dartmoor hills, but not this evening. Our occasional remote pub-quizmaster had texted a question, but it was too vague for us to guess. We never received the answer (because said quizmaster was battling home on a bike in welsh rain). Eventually the pub emptied and the manager told we couldn't possibly ride home in such weather. He offered to supply duvets for the night. We decided on a final cheeky half©each, and they were on the house. Despite protestations we set off for home, the rain coming down as if flung from buckets.
Wednesday 13th June 2012 - Colaton Raleigh
There was a rare break in the current Devonshire rainy season. Everyone arrived dry and got home afterwards without getting wet. Football was on the TV at one end of the pub, and B disappeared to watch his national team win. The rest of us congregated out of earshot and eyeshot - except that Ted sneaked off to check the scores. Seven out, including engineers, teachers, scientists and n'er-do-wells. The Exeter group took a route out over Woodbury and managed to find the lane that eluded us last time - what a surprise it being on the left instead of the right! (thanks Mark). There was discussion over future venues, any preferred pubs or ones we should avoid please email the pubrun address asap.
Wednesday 6th June 2012 - Talaton
After a blustery, rainy day, the evening brightened up and dried up in time for the trip to the Talaton Inn. There were eleven out including apprentice timekeepers, Pippa and Sally, and TT organiser-in-chief, Mike. Veteran time-trialist, Chris, and John from Exeter made their first appearance at a pub-run venue. Sarah managed to sneak out as well. B was on his latest restored skip bike. There were discussions about time-trialling, with particular reference to longer distance events (the ones classified by time rather than miles), the jubilee, politics, silly exam answers, and pointless events. Groups and individuals left by turns, until just three remained discussing politics in an earnest manner. Served 'em right that it started raining again before they left.
Wednesday 30th May 2012 - Tipton St John
It was warm enough and light enough to sit outside, at least for a while. The Golden Lion is an English pub run by a Frenchman, and the dining areas were full. Only four intrepid (© Express & Echo) cyclists made the gruelling (© Express & Echo) journey to Tipton: B, C, S and I (who arrived suitably attired on an MTB to jeers). Topics of discussion veered from skip bikes via library closures to extreme sports risking injury, death or loss of dignity. [Note: reference to the Exeter Express & Echo concerns its habit of referring to any cycle ride of more than ten miles as 'gruelling', etc.]
Wednesday 23rd May 2012 - Nr Thorverton
Only six out at the Ruffwell Inn, including two refugees from the eurozone. The weather had changed remarkably from the previous week, with wall-to-wall sunshine all day. Ian rode the nearby evening ten before taking a cross-country route and surprising Ted (oo-er, missus!) at a junction. Conversation took place over a healthy diet of chips, crisps and beer. We were late leaving, but even so the night was still warm.
Wednesday 16th May 2012 - Clyst Hydon
Es war ein shon nacht. Zwei personnen aus Exeter haben mit der Fahrad gefahrt, durch Ashclyst Wald zu der Funf Bells. Und drei manner aus Ottery kommt zu der Funf Bells. Wir haben viel fritten gegessen. Es war nicht kalt, und das bier war gut! (Translate this here ). Wenn die Deutsche fahraders correct it kann, Daß is gut!
Wednesday 9th May 2012 - Aylesbeare
The rain finally got us. It was a blowy, damp-to-wet ride for everyone, with debris across the roads and puddles hiding vicious potholes. Seven turned up. Last to arrive was Stu after a hard day at the chalk-face. Our host, Pete was offering Branoc at half-price because he wasn't happy with the quality - it tasted fine to us. There were chips (sorry, Stu). Conversation ranged from Torquay traffic jams  to black holes and the Chandrasekhar Limit  via James Lovelock  and the Gaia Theory. Also discussed were the Met Office's peculiar habit of predicting multiple suns (though at present it only shows multiple clouds),Ian's Old Roads 300km  on Saturday, and Sarah's rival 100km pointless event (starts from the Halifax in Exeter - contact pubrun @ hotmail.com). The Aylesbeare Giant Hound was kept safely behind the bar, though its bark still made Sarah nervous. A wet ride home for all, though the temperature was pleasantly temperate.
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 - Whimple
Chips, more chips, crisps, beer, and cider - not forgetting a couple of coffees: a cyclist's diet is not a healthy one - at least, not on Wednesdays. Ian forgot to bring Jamie's hard-earned trophy (perhaps he's claimed it as his own) but did remember a ancient (and, as it turned out, useless) stem for B. Eight out, including three of the furthest-flung members, on a night that was less wet than anticipated. Conversation ranged across teaching children from different socio-economic backgrounds, the history of lead contamination in cider, Devon and its inhabitants, and the sale and purchase of second-hand bikes. All-in-all, a good evening.
Wednesday 25th April 2012 - Woodbury Salterton
Considering the horrible weather throughout the day, we had surprisingly little rain on the journey to the Digger's Rest. In fact most of the dampening was from road spray. Six hardy individuals made their journeys from Exeter, Ottery and Honiton. Beer was drunk, chips consumed, and deals done. We made our separate ways home under thinning cloud as the temperature dropped and the moon gleamed in the puddles.
Wednesday 18th April 2012 - Feniton
Tonight we diagonally shifted, riding from Exeter towards Payhembury, blindly following Sarah, who was obviously (with hindsight) distracted. Given that our destination, the Nog Inn, is not in Payhembury, it was natural that a certain amount of suppressed consternation occurred when the error was realised. However, resourceful cyclists are never at a loss for long, and a quick dog-leg adjust of the route set the group on course again. Happy birthday to Sarah and Ian!
Wednesday 11th April 2012 - Newton Poppleford
Ian was ill...He arrived looking white and departed after a single pint looking green. The others were unmoved by this spectacle and continued with their convivial evening. A chilly but dry night, and the usual friendly service at the Cannon Inn.
Wednesday 4th April 2012 - Payhembury
Six cyclists at the Six Bells on a dry mild night. Ian was there first, having counted correctly on the fingers of both hands. B turned up on his rare Colnago steed. The pub was nearly empty when we arrived, but quickly filled up with skittles teams. Mark complained that he might be mistaken for Mark who fled after last week's hillclimb, when in fact he wasn't there. As if anyone could be confused. Richard complained of the cold and resorted to coffee, the Guinness not being warm enough. Guy and Charlie made up the numbers and ate and drank their fair share. Sarah is away in foreign parts. We left for home around ten.
Wednesday 28th March 2012 - Putts Corner
The annual hillclimb ran as usual from Ottery, in the car-park by the new Sainsbury's, straight up Chineway to Putts Corner and food and drink at the pub. It's a tough hill, steepening to chevron steepness just before the East Hill Strips turn, followed by a fast dip and a final leg-sapping kick up to the cross-roads and finish. Sensible folk took it gently and arrived no more than slightly purple-faced. Ted dragged two panniers to his customary first place (not that it's a competition). Julian wound his fixed-wheel effortlessly to finish with Ted. Late-starting Ian sweated up to the two leaders only to run out of steam near the end. B arrived looking cool - as one has to on a Colnago mtb. Jamie cheated by taking a different hill. Mark arrived, took one look at us, and fled. That meant that nine sat down to eat. A beautiful March evening, and only slightly chilly on the downhill return.
Wednesday 21st March 2012 - Aylesbeare Inn
The sunny weather has brought the cyclists out! Eight people were at the start in Exeter. We took a meandering route out through the lanes to finish with the climb up Quarter Mile Lane into Aylesbeare (it is definitely easier to go up than down). It had cooled down quite a bit by the time we left the shops in Pinhoe, but we were soon speeding along and quite warm. The stars, with Jupiter and Venus, were very clear. Stu and Clare were waiting for us in the pub, as was Storm, the enormous puppy. We were soon joined by Ian, B and the other Julian, making it thirteen for the last week before the hill climb. So who will be the first to the top this year - Ted, Ian, or someone else? (Please note it is not a race and nor is it timed.) The ride home to Exeter was fun as it is nearly all downhill from Aylesbeare, and after a bit of a race Guy instigated a game of cycling tag. There were some underhand tactics and by the time we all went our separate ways in Exeter, no-one was quite sure who was "it" anymore. By contrast, those heading east had the usual climb, including the mucky section of lane past the farmyard, up to the ridge. Then it was downhill all the way to either Ottery or Honiton on a starlit night.
Wednesday 14th March 2012 - Clyst Hydon
Ian arrived from the opposite direction to the Exeter group by a route which has hills, but wouldn't be called 'hilly'. The Exeter group, after spending time discussing long and varied routes to the pub rode out the usual way round Whimple and Talaton. B surprised them by sneaking up behind on the descent into the village. Beer and chips were laid on. The landlord was still marvelling at our previous visit, which was during a storm. This evening was dry and overcast, though the roads were damp in places. There was discussion over the hilly special, which is the week after next (book now!).
Wednesday 7th March 2012 - Thorverton
Refurbished and re-opened, the Ruffwell Inn on the main road is now a pleasant place for a weary cyclist to pause for food and drink. Not that those who came the direct way from Exeter were terribly weary, in contrast to the poor souls who pedalled their solitary ways from Honiton and Uffculme. Lexi made her last visit before returning to Spain. Julian turned up late, straight from work. A starry night interrupted by showers, not too cold, with Venus and Jupiter bright in the sky earlier on.
Wednesday 29th February 2012 - Talaton
Six out at the Talaton Inn on a damp chilly evening. Sarah, Ted and Richard commenting on the worryingly quiet pub when we arrived were soon proved wrong when the skittles team arrived, fully kitted out in hoodies bearing their nicknames... what would we all have for our nicknames then?
Wednesday 22nd February 2012 - Colaton Raleigh
The pubs are still on main roads, but with a longer ride for everyone except the Lympstone crowd this evening. The Exeter crowd enjoyed a climb up Sanctuary Lane, and then a fast decent through Hawkerland, some of us managing the tight left hand bend better than others! The lanes are still filthy, but it was a very mild night with low cloud amounting almost to rain. The Otter Inn was welcoming as usual, even when we commandeered most of the low chairs. Last to arrive, and easing us into double figures, was B, dripping with sweat after a hard ride over Woodbury Common. Topics of conversation included Richard's advice on how to enjoy cycling, Sarah's attempts to deal with swearing (other people's, not her own) and the weather. Chips were served and we stayed till late.
Wednesday 15th February 2012 - Whimple
The Exeter group took a route through the airport and down the cycle path that goes along the old A30. It was surprisingly free of debris, but we sank into mud when we reached the road (those of us that successfully navigated the corner anyway!) We rode up past Rockbeare Quarry to the roundabout and then Ted took us on a little detour across a cycle bridge after which we decended to the pub. We received the usual warm welcome at the Thirsty Farmer, though it had to be said that the fire had gone out by the time we left. The sky was ominously dark and starry on the way out, but clouds had moved in by the time we left and there was no ice. Nine out including most of the usual suspects. Conversation ranged around petards, an unlucky M. Guillotin, as well as more mundane matters such as organising Sarah's Pointless Ride the following day. There was beer and chips. It was a faster ride home as Stu piled on the pressure past the Rockbeare roundabouts!
Wednesday 8th February 2012 - Aylesbeare
Another main road venue, the Halfway Inn, on another freezing night. At least it was dry, though there were patches of ice here and there, unthawed since the last rain. Several of us got gritted by passing council lorries. They make the road crunchy under the wheel, and subsequent cars raise a slightly unpleasant dust. Eight out, but no Richard. He'd had an accident and fallen off his feet (get well soon, Richard). We sat on the sofas by the gas-fired realistic coal-effect fire, ate chips and bemoaned the fact that there was only one beer on tap. Was Julian put off by the short ride last week? We still managed a decent distance from Exeter this week, even if we avoided the lanes. Amongst other things, the point of different sports was discussed, cycling, of course, coming out top and bungee jumping coming out the bottom of our list - there's just no time to stop for a pint at the bottom is there? Home, of course, was downhill - not ideal when the temperature is uncomfortably below zero.
Wednesday 1st February 2012 - Rockbeare
It's official: the Wednesday Nighters are going soft. What else could explain the change of venue to avoid lanes, just on account of a bit of ice? Tom was the last to arrive, in mufti and a baseball cap. Everyone else cycled and was appropriately dressed (are cyclists ever appropriately dressed?). The Germans among us argued that German food can attain the status of 'cuisine'. Not everyone was convinced, the British having great experience of non-cuisine stodge. We were out in the coldest snap so far of this winter, with frozen rills in the gutters and a vast clear sky overhead. Nine out, all swaddled in as much clothing as they owned.
Wednesday 25th January 2012 - Clyst Hydon
Sideways rain, and we arrived drenched to a welcoming "well done" from the landlady. Got so wet it was hard to warm up in the pub. The landlord at the Five Bells said that it had been rattling on the windows, which only happens in very high wind. Normally the thatch overhang protects them. The storm abated while we were in the pub. Five of us out and only Julian debating the possibility of a longer way back. Conversation was an entertaining mix of employment (or lack of it), politics, walking clubs, and trophies that have been mistaken for the holy grail. Sarah is embarking on another round of marking countdown with intermissions of silly answers. We left at an earlier time than usual of late, and the storm spluttered its annoyance at us as we rode at least three different journeys home. As we prepared to ride off into the rain, cold and dark, the landlord told us he envied us. After a few raised eyebrows, he elaborated to say he envied the fact that we had the energy to ride off into that weather. He wasn't envying the actual ride!
Wednesday 18th January 2012 - Aylesbeare
The Exeter group decided to reverse their route of last week and to ride to Aylesbeare via Whimple. Just three started but were met on the outskirts of Whimple by Ted who had managed to guess their route. As they left the ridge road to ride into the village they were met by a chasing Stuart and Clare and shortly after by B and Charlie. A good crowd and a fun evening in front of a roaring fire. Craig was in good spirits and was with a friend at the bar, known as Jay. The dogs were kept out of reach but in earshot which kept Sarah on her toes. A slightly earlier return home this week as we left the pub about 10pm. All but Julian rode directly home. He decided to go the long way round to get a few extra miles in.
Wednesday 11th January 2012 - Whimple
We returned to the familiar comfort of the Thirsty Farmer, situated on the eponymously named New Inn Cross (at least it was until they renamed the pub). The Exeter group, ignoring Julian's GPS which told us to go straight there, instead took a roundabout route via (most of) Rockbeare Hill, the Quarry and back down the hill to the pub, arriving a couple of minutes before 8 - perfect timing. Eventually there were twelve of us, and we had confiscated spare chairs to crowd shoulder to shoulder round the largest table. It was a welcome surprise when they served us free sandwiches and pies, the leftovers from a wake. Plans were laid for this year's events, and we reminisced about last year's. There was discussion about classic bikes, including Stu's improbably carbon-wheeled mtb. A damp night, still and moonlit.
Wednesday 5th January 2012 - Rockbeare (almost)
Alas! Although the Jack-in-the-Green is an excellent pub when open, it is no use to man nor cyclist when closed, and it was closed when the Wednesday Nighters arrived. They adjourned to the Black Horse, further on down the road. Late-comer, Ian, received a phonecall just as he arrived to find no room/doors locked at the inn. No sign so far of ice and freezing weather, but it was blustery to gale force - and wet. Inside the Black Horse, although it was otherwise empty, we were given a warm welcome and so indulged ourselves with both beer and chips. Nine intrepid cyclists out, despite the weather, including first-timer, Jim, from Ottery. Happy New Year to all the Wednesday Nighters!
B summed up the ride...The devil was riding shotgun and lashing water down our backs! Whipping the bones up Daisy Mount, racing flying trash cans into the valley.
Not Wednesday but Saturday 17th December 2011 - The Solstice Ride
The Wednesday nighters regrouped last Saturday for their traditional solstice ride, organised as usual by Lexi. We started as we meant to finish - at a pub, the Six Bells in Payhembury. Those who rode to the start had already noticed a lack of friction in the lanes. Jamie resorted to walking and was late. After some delay we set off for the main road at an unusually steady pace. After pausing at the junction to discuss a sensible route, we started again only for Tom to hit the deck, shortly followed by Sarah and Pippa with a clattering crunch of carbon and metal. Three retired hurt. After yet more delay, checking that everyone was okay and waiting for the rescue service (Robin), the remainder got underway as the sun rose in the sky. When we got to Bampton, Richard had been sitting in the cafe for three hours. It was nearly four by the time the rest of us had demolished our food. Onwards to Watchet via Wheddon Cross, the ice appeared to have disappeared, and we had lunch, each ordering more or less in inverse proportion to what we'd had at Bampton. The scheduled route through Taunton was abandoned and we took the directest route homewards, via Wiveliscombe and Uffculme. Reece peeled off to head home; Jamie showed us the shortcut then returned home. The rest of us pedalled in gathering gloom to the finish where the pub stood, invitingly lit, but locked. The bell-ringers were attempting carols with their six chimes. A phonecall from Lexi and they opened their doors an hour early just for us. The three wounded heros arrived soon after, and we sat down to an excellent meal - with crackers! The ride home, for those that rode, was cold and starlit, but the frost was yet to form. Merry Christmas.
Wednesday 14th December 2011 - Clyst Hydon - Xmas Meal
The evening was about as damp as it could be without actually raining (much) as we made our various ways through deep, muddy, potholed Devon lanes to the Five Bells, an isolated yet popular pub located not quite in Clyst Hydon. A surprising number of regulars and not-so-regulars arrived by motor vehicle (and it has to be mentioned that even more departed that way at the end of the evening). Prize for the most apt secret santa present probably goes to Charlie's bag of porn-star moustaches. Comedy moments included Sarah taking a phonecall from a neighbour, Liz, asking about the messages Sarah had left (which were intended for Liz the cyclist, seated at Sarah's left). Thirteen of us in total, including a guest appearance by the Spanish section.
Wednesday 7th December 2011 - Whimple
No free chips at the Thirsty Farmer, but at least it was a dryer night for riding. Chat turned to what life was like before fridges and tumble driers. That shows the age of some of us. Six out again, another all-male gathering, including political scientist, Julian. So, as you can tell, the conversation sparkled (it did - really!). We all had a dry, moonlit ride home.
No spanish report this week as Graham twinged his back. Get well soon.
Wednesday 30th November 2011 - Rockbeare
It had to happen, and it did. An afternoon of looming cloud and fierce winds led to a blustery wet evening. Three damp cyclists arrived at the Jack in the Green from Exeter, then one from Honiton, and finally two from Ottery. Only Richard felt motivated to go the long way round. We sat surrounded by a littering of damp garments and surrounding a table laden with beer. B was much taken with his compatriot, comedian Henning Wehn (present only in spirit, a recording of his disembodied voice echoing from Charlie's phone). Conversation otherwise included second-hand cars (a recurring theme) and whether anyone could be lucky enough to find a curly Hetchins or a Colnago in a skip. The Jack became our favourite pub when the landlord presented us with two bowls of superbly cooked chips, and necessary condiments, gratis, free, and without charge. The ride home was late but dryer.
Wednesday 23rd November 2011 - Aylesbeare
Another trip to the salubrious surroundings of the Halfway Inn. It was a cold night with damp roads, stars, and wisps of starlit cloud. Nine were out. Two from Exeter became three after a couple of miles as Ted and Sarah met Richard en route, then very briefly five as we crossed paths with Stuart and Clare, but splitting up so some could go direct and some could enjoy the climb of Sanctuary Lane. Charlie's arrival caused a mixture of alarm and anticipation as he opened his rucksack, but there was no Superman-style transformation. Jamie arrived last, looking as if he wasn't sure whether he was supposed to be there. Conversation ranged from the perils of a religious education (with reference to recent newspaper reports), education from a teacher's standpoint, daytime library fauna and B's forthcoming barbecue. Oh, and the abcess. We departed piecemeal, the Maudlings slipping away first. The night still clear, with the lights of Exeter and more distant towns shimmering below.
The Spanish Section peaked too soon this week and rode on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. So great was their excitement at seeing sunshine they rode straight through Rubian, and before they knew it had climbed 300m and crossed the mountains to the West. Black clouds threatened so they headed north and on reaching 800m, the highest point of the ride, happened upon the tiny but well endowed village of Mosteirovello complete with tabac, hairdressers, bar and at least 3 houses. Cafe Ajar was big and empty but large beers and tapas of chorizo and local cheese were soon produced and the Spanish version of Countdown put on the television. Suitably refreshed physically and mentally they headed home down countless hairpin bends, only questioning whether new super highway construction had cut their path back to known territory when they reached the bottom. Their worries were unfounded, no wild boar were encountered although signs warned they might be some in the area, and home was reached as the first drops of rain fell. 41km, 912m climb.
Wednesday 16th November 2011 - Clyst Hydon
A dark damp night and a remote pub. The journey from any direction involved potholes and puddles in narrow lanes. None of that stopped Pippa making the journey from Payhembury (though she was late). Six out in total, and the pub very quiet (no jazz for some reason). Tales of attempted break-ins and incompetent police, bad backs, that second-hand Volvo again, and plans for Christmas. It was late when we left (after cheeky halves) for the murky journey homewards.
Spanish Section report:The Spanish Section descended and ascended their way through glorious remoteness to Laiosa, a little village the far side of the valley, where there was rumoured to be a bar. On closer inspection 'the bar' turned out to be a corner shop. Rather than buying a six pack for consumption in the picnic area opposite, plan B came into effect and a rapid descent to Rubian was made. Bar Trebol, the 2nd of 5 known bars to be visited in Rubian, housed a bizarre collection of wood carvings and a strange musty smell but no customers, draught beer or tapas so is unlikely to be re-visited.
Wednesday 9th November 2011 - Tipton St John
With a worried Sarah stuck miles away in a work-related meeting, it was Richard who rode gallantly to the rescue and led the Exeter peloton to Tipton. It was another night of autumn dampness, though the rain had more or less ceased for the evening leaving wet tarmac plastered with leaves. The impending economic melt-down featured in conversation, as did Ted's old Volvo, matters philosophical and vintage motorbikes. Six members present, and an all-male cast. At least the rain and consequent cloud-cover meant it wasn't too cold.
Spanish section report: The Spanish Section took advantage of a window of opportunity in generally miserable weather and visited Bar Plaza, one of 5 hostelries in Rubian the nearest village to the west (6km away and 200m down). Their efforts were rewarded with freshly prepared tapas of chips with garlic mayo, a veal sandwich and a couple of beers all for the price of a half.
Wednesday 2nd November 2011 - Aylesbeare
A damp and blustery evening saw seven ride to the Aylesbeare Inn, The Exeter group overuled Sarah's idea of a round-a-bout route in the wet and suggested they ride directly there. The roads were plastered with autumn debris. Ted was in second-hand car salesman mode (anyone want to buy an old Volvo?), and B was eager to tell everyone about his latest skip-rescue bike (a mixte Le Jeune). Richard and Ian told stories about bad backs and suffering on the Dartmoor Devil (last weekend), and Sarah waxed lyrical about her family ride in Sussex the previous week. The ride home was wetter, with a headwind for the Exeter group and a tailwind for those returning eastwards.
Wednesday 26th October 2011 - Talaton
Only three out tonight, with Sarah away and Ian injured. It was a cold evening and the pub proved to be a little chilly.
Wednesday 19th October 2011 - Thorverton
Richard met Ted & B outside Pinhoe shops at the usual time. Richard was feeling rather second-hand having had a hard 40 mile training ride the previous day. We decided to go via Poltimore, Killerton & Silverton. Richard was struggling to keep up as his legs were hurting. Ted & B decided to cut short the ride because Richard was struggling & go via Rewe. Richard's legs were just starting to free up by the time we got to the Ruffwell. We had already finished a pint by the time Jamie arrived, followed a few minutes later by Pippa. Stu arrived some time later but it is some distance from Exmouth. Welding titanium frames, beer, the weather & the joys of retirement were discussed.
Ted has a new bike, but this one has a 750cc engine. B bumped his head on the fireplace beam. ( Gee that must have hurt) Jamie, Pippa, B & Stu all left at 2130 leaving Ted & Richard deciding to have a cheeky half. Leaving the pub Ted remarked which way you going? Richard said this way, Ted cheerily replied. You mean Stoke Hill Woods? Yes Richard replied, "Not for me I'm going in the opposite direction" as he speed off into the night. The return trip was cold but Stoke Hill soon warmed Richard up.
The inaugural Spanish Section Wednesday ride saw two riders set of from 23, El Castelo. They has a lovely time on car free roads avoiding falling acorns and chestnuts and peasants gathering the later. Conversation at Meson Do Tunel, Vila De Mouras, the local bar to El Castel concluded that no long distances should be attempted in the immediate area owing to altitude restraints. 430m climbed in 17km round trip.
Wednesday 12th October 2011 - Otterton
The Exeter group came by a more than intended circuitous route. We took a lane in Woodbury Salterton that was flatter than expected, and only when it came out on the Woodbury road was it realsied that it was flatter because it was the wrong road! We rode up over Woodbury common and then down the long hill to Otterton. A bit of drizzle on and off but nothing major. A much larger crowd from Exeter this week. Another good turn out all round on a slightly damp evening, and another surprise, this time for Sarah. She was greeted by an old friend from Wales who'd sneaked in ahead of the cyclists. Guy tucked into a large serving of sausage and mash, treating the others to a small bowl of chips. Eleven out and the weather still resolutely warm. Pippa, Graham and Lexi having just finished a 200k ride to get to the pub. Richard back but not really better.
Wednesday 5th October 2011 - Payhembury
Lexi and Graham, expecting a quiet farewell meal with Pippa and Robin, were surprised to see a large number of Wednesday nighters and other cyclist friends already there. It was a rather wet and muggy evening, which didn't stop a good turn out. The table was even more crowded when the usual suspects turned up at 8pm. Sarah was the only rider from Exeter this week, the drizzle stopping about 15 minutes after she set off. She arrived at the same time as Tom from Aylesbeare, Stu from Lympstone and Bernd from Ottery. Richard called in sick with Flu. The ride home was dry for the first half and then it poured all the rest of the way.
Wednesday 28th September 2011 - Colaton Raleigh
Yet another new venue, and a large number of Wednesday nighters curious to try it out. The Otter Inn turned out to be a friendly place with good beer and just sufficient seating for fifteen (or was it sixteen?) cyclists, in addition to the regulars. They kindly agreed to our subterfuge: hiding a card intended for one of our members behind the counter. Topics of conversation included Spanish practices, music as an aid to sanity, charity rides and why Reece wasn't present (or was he?).
We're now in that period of crepuscular arrival and black night at departure. A warm evening, and a odd feeling riding home, a starry night, nearly october and feeling really warm in just jersey and shorts! The Exeter group had a lovely ride back over Woodbury with the people from Lympstone and Ebford.
Wednesday 21st September 2011 - Feniton
The Nog Inn. What more is there to say? (It's an old-school pub). I believe there may have been as many as ten pub-runners out, including a rare guest appearance by Robin and Pippa. Richard complained about being unfit although he had spent the whole ride out waiting for Sarah, Sarah ignored the crisps, and Mike pretended he'd arrived on a bike - as the rest of us had done. Yet another dry, mild evening - it can't last forever.
Wednesday 14th September 2011 - Aylesbeare
A familiar, friendly venue this week, the Aylesbeare Inn, home of Sarah's favourite dogs. Not that Sarah was able to join us this evening. There were enough of us that two tables had to be pulled together, and a jolly band we were. The nights are drawing in so that lights are needed by all but the earliest arrivals. At least it was dry and not too cold. Welcome to newcomer, Dan.
Wednesday 7th September 2011 - Lympstone
Yet another new venue, the Swan, kindly suggested by Mr & Mrs Maudling. Worryingly, there were morris dancers outside, jangling, clashing and sawing at fiddles, but at least they deterred any cycle thieves. B sent late apologies. Sarah, leading an all female peloton, was merely late. Eleven present in total, including newcomer, Yvonna. It was a dry night, not too cold, and a long ride home for the Honiton crowd (consisting of Ian).
Wednesday 31st August 2011 - Woodbury Salterton
The nights are drawing in and it was time for lights by the time we arrived at the Digger's Rest. The Exeter group raced the beautiful sunset down the hill to discover a large amount of police action by the pub - but we are not sure what for. The bikes were hidden in the garden, fooling at least one late-comer into thinking he was at the wrong venue. Thirteen cyclists present, not including Reece, who wasn't there, nor Jamie, who'd said he would be. That left only Ian to represent the groups' three Paris-Brest-Paris finishers (not a bad percentage considering the UK's total of just over three hundred). Topics ranged from the inevitable French ride, to employment or lack of it, to future rides including Lexi's last birthday ride in the UK. We were late away. The night was clear and cold, full of stars, on the way home. The Exeter group had a fast ride back.
Wednesday 24th August 2011 - Thorverton
Five riders gathered outside the shops in Pinhoe this week, and rode out to try out a new destination in Thorverton. We have tried both the Bell Inn and the Thorverton Arms but wanted to try the Ruffwell as it is under new management. We rode past the Bell Inn to discover it was selling the furniture rather than any beer so that may be wiped from all future runs lists. Reece (he really was here this week) tried out the food and was disappointed. The beer was ok and the staff friendly. We may well return. We were joined by Stu and Clare and it was a good evening, however a scary number of Wednesday Nighters seem to be affected by job cuts one way or another. We are keeping our fingers crossed for all of you. The ride home was an extremely wet one, and although Sarah's speed on the way out was compared to continental drift - on the way back it felt like sea floor spreading. Finished off with a puncture in Stoke Canon, chivalrously fixed by Guy while Sarah tried to inform the faster crew.
Wednesday 17th August 2011 - Talaton
Fast out. Fast back! [usual reporters absent]
Wednesday 10th August 2011 - Aylesbeare
The Halfway Inn, that is, not the village pub. It was a warm dry night with evening views west over Exeter to Dartmoor. Stu and Clare (cycle helmet and posh frock) were in the restaurant celebrating his birthday. Ian arrived having caught B and Charlie just before the inn. Four others were already in the pub, including intrepid end-to-ender Guy (aka, CharityGuy) and Reece, taking a well-earned break from running his new cycle-hire business. Pippa and Robin arrived later, and finally, though not en velo, Graham and Lexi. Stu and Clare joined the rest of us (Clare revealing that she hadn't cycled in the frock, but changed at the pub). Total number out: fourteen. Update: Reece actually claims not to have been present, so perhaps he has an evil twin.
Wednesday 3rd August 2011 - Payhembury
With Guy still wending his way south from John o' Groats and Sarah stuck at home, we were a depleted bunch at the Six Bells. Mike from Hampshire joined us again, just a year after his previous visit. The weather was warm enough that we sat outside for most of the evening. Richard had hoped to meet Guy near Taunton and guide him on a diversion via Payhembury, but circumstances didn't allow this and he arrived alone. The nights are starting to draw in. It was quite dark when we left.
Wednesday 27th July 2011 - Newton Poppleford
Jamie took the prize for the furthest distance, travelling from Uffculme. The pub was relatively quiet, so we weren't shoved into the bar this time. A dry evening, and quite warm.
Wednesday 20th July 2011 - Aylesbeare
A return visit to our favourite pub. Sarah was impressed with their large, nearly full-grown puppy - the same one that was small enough to fit in a hand last Christmas. Several out on a fine evening.
Wednesday 13th July 2011 - Clyst Hydon
A beautiful evening, dry and warm with no wind at all. The Exeter crowd made the most of the good weather to take the hilly route to Clyst Hydon. We followed a speedy Clare up all the hills through Ashclyst Forest. We dodged the gravel and mud on the decents, tried to spot the tarmac as we passed the farm at the crossroads, and admired the views from the hill tops. Mark turned off to Clyst St Lawrence as he had to get back to Exmouth but the rest of us arrived to find Jamie sunning himself in the pub garden. Ian arrived later (also via Ashclyst Forest) after marshalling at the evening ten, and wondered where the cyclists had got to. A shout from the gardens revealed bikes and their owners on the lawn above the pub. B, Charlie and Julian made up the Ottery contingent, Ted and Stu sent apologies from far-flung foreign parts. As the temperature dropped we moved inside to enjoy/brave [delete as appropriate] the jazz. It was a cool evening with thin cloud revealed by the moon as we went our various ways home. Oh yes, and B scored an 'A' in crisp packet origami.
Wednesday 6th July 2011 - Rockbeare
A damp and blustery afternoon put a lot of folk off the evening ride, but there were still six who braved the weather. In fact the rain eased so that we arrived mostly dry. Two newcomers, Mark and Liz, had fallen for Sarah's phishing emails. Richard, who was complaining about feeling unfit, sat between Ian and Guy. The sixth rider was Sarah herself, finally, if temporarily, freed from marking and supply teaching. We talked of recent events, Guy's ride via Downing Street and Ian's 12hr; reminisced about Richard's Paris-Brest-Paris in 1999; discussed the niceties of towing children and shopping behind bikes, and cycle commuting. We also had the company of Mike and Sally although they seemed to have misplaced their bikes! The return rides were still mostly dry, the rain only coming in later that night. Good luck to Ted on his Norwegian tour.
Wednesday 29th June 2011 - Tipton St John
Eight of us out on a warm Wednesday evening. Jamie probably travelled the furthest. We sat outside - well - under the smokers' awning, wondering what purpose the fireplace surround against the wall served. There was the usual friendly service, though they did forget Tom's coffee. He got an extra mint by way of apology. There were at most eight around the table, but one by one they left, for an early night, or because they had far to go. Conversation? The usual combination of politics, banter, cycling, and mild innuendo. There was another small dog sniffing around, so we assume Sarah must be with us in spirit if not in person (dogs can smell fear).
Wednesday 22nd June 2011 - Whimple
It was a gusty evening, but the rain held off. The early Honiton group also met at the Thirsty Farmer, three of them including Sally and Bob. Many of the regulars were there, including Clare and Stu, as well as late-comers B and Charlie - just shy of a baker's dozen in fact. B made a good attempt at crisp packet origami (a pubrun ritual). A small dog came looking for Sarah, still absent due to pressures of life. Cycling matters of all kinds were discussed, from the forthcoming 24hr Championship to B's rescued frame. The wind had dropped a little by the time we left, so those heading West didn't have to struggle too much. A light evening, being near to the longest day.
Wednesday 15th June 2011 - Ottery St Mary
The evening brought gusty weather with just a threat of dampness. We tried an experimental venue: Normandy House, newly re-opened, with a small cellar bar. The owners were welcoming. We could take our bikes through to the safety of the garden, and there was beer of the proper, hand-pumped variety. Sarah was absent, being busy marking Facebook updates, so Richard led Ted from Exeter. B turned up, and so did Lexi and occasional pubrunner, Tom. Conversational gambits included the forthcoming weekend ride, and exile to rural Spain. The rain held off for the return journey. It's not very summery at the moment.
Wednesday 8th June 2011 - Payhembury
Sarah turned up (slowly) on a fully functional Pinarello. So the saga has a happy ending (though doubtless there'll be a sequel). Charlie and B were there, as was Richard. Stu arrived shortly after. No Guy this week, so no tablecloth! Ian arrived last to questions regarding how many bells he'd seen (answer: just the six, though he'd passed Kentisbeare as the bell ringers were practising and marvelled at the nuance of sound they conjured out of just two bells). A text message warned of the imminent arrival of two special guests, and shortly thereafter Hummers and companion rolled up to the door. Charlie had already fled. Sarah and Stu soon made their excuses, as did B. Which left Richard and Ian to share the bonhommie dispensed by H and friend (but mainly by H). A veil shall be drawn over the remainder of the evening.
Wednesday 1st June 2011 - Aylesbeare
Sarah being absent, there was no update to the Pinarello story. B and occasional pub-runner, Julian, were sat on the balcony, eating. Guy and Richard were inside complaining of the cold. Ian arrived late after time-trialling, and conveyed apologies from Charlie, who has a new job (I wonder whether he included that photo in his CV). A fine day for cycling, not too hot, not too cold. The Halfway House is at the top of a hill, but not unnecessarily so. The trio heading eastwards on the home journey decided to take the Exeter Road into Ottery for the thrill of a long straight descent.
Wednesday 25th May 2011 - Newton Poppleford
Ian, who was late, found bikes outside but no cyclists inside the Cannon Inn, until a kind regular told him they'd been bounced from the lounge to the bar by crowds of diners. Guy's map was the tablecloth (hope the beer rings don't confuse him). Beer and crisps for five, including occasional pubrunner, Mark. The finer points of teaching practice featured large as did Guy's end-to-end and long rides generally. Sarah updated the Saga of the Pinarello, reaching the Chapter of the Missing Crank and touching on the Mystery of the Mudguard. The rain started shortly after we left, the Exeter contingent climbing slowly to the Halfway House before heading home along the lovely fast road to Sandygate. Soft, cooling rain.
Wednesday 18th May 2011 - Talaton
A dry, light evening saw only three riders converge at the Talaton Inn. Sarah led the unprotesting (for once) crowd from Exeter (actually just Guy) on a longish route via Ashclyst and other clysts. Apart from a bit of gravel and the usual mud by the notorious farm on the crossroads the lanes were quite clear and there were stunning views over the valley from the top of the climbs. Ian arrived by the shortest way, coughing and spluttering after a weekend wet 600km ride. Ted turned up a little later to make four. Over a training diet of beer, cider and chips we checked out Guy's map of the UK, covered in felt-tip lines and post-it notes. This exhibit formed his plan for an end-to-end in 200km bites. The others pointed out their own favourite, must-visit places. The fact that most of the useful, useable roads were not shown on his map didn't dampen Guy's enthusiasm even slightly. Conversation ranged over topics of life, death, philosophy and broken limbs. It was gone ten and dark when we left, but still dry and not too cold.
Wednesday 11th May 2011 - Tipton St John
Just two riders, Mark and Guy, left Pinhoe at the slightly later time of 7.15. Guy's satnav worked perfectly for the first time to guide them to the Golden Lion at Tipton. We met up with a lone female cyclist on her way home to Westhill and she put up with our company for 3 miles or so before taking the shortest route (up Ted's favourite Rockbeare straight). At the pub we met up with Lexi, Graeme, Stuart, Clare and B. Conversations ranged from recent long rides to old episodes of the Apprentice, that every one denied watching but had a favourite scene/event to describe. Without Sarah there was little sport in B talking about his Austin 1100 so this topic was short lived! The crisp fans among us munched through 6 different flavoured Berts crisps washed down by couple of libations! We left at for home around 10, for a beautiful clear starry ride home. [Guest reporter: GE]
To which B responded: 'Up da hill, over and across in the evening sunshine and blissful quiet, down the valley, beverage down the hatch, chit chat, "aaah!!", what a lovely evening. Small whisky on the sofa by the "cat", to bed and back to work next morning.'
Also, congratulations to Guy and Ted who both completed their first 300, the Old Roads, the previous weekend.
Wednesday 4th May 2011 - Rockbeare
Ian was last man in, having got well and truly lost - swallowed by Devonshire lanes south of Clyst St Lawrence. B was tickled by the old joke about the Fuqawi tribe. There were no time trialists rattling past as it was the first of the open events on a different course. Lexi enthralled everyone with her tale of nearly bleeding to death on a Moroccan roadside. It made the others squeamish about putting ketchup on their chips (very good chips too, this being The Jack-in-the-Green). Seven out on a pleasant evening, and not too cold on the homeward journey.
Wednesday 27th April 2011 - Wimple
The Exeter crowd were nearly lead on a hilly and long route via Ashclyst Forest to the pub but too many objections led to a route around Rockbeare instead. It was a gentle ride with a quick pace set by Ted. The first Exeter Wheelers' evening time trial took place on a sunny but cool evening. Mike rode it and looked utterly shattered at the finish (he doesn't do things by halves), so no objection was made to him turning up at the pub by car. Eleven of us out, including most of the usual suspects. Reece couldn't make it, but sent instead a photo of Stu and Clare on one of his tandems. The enigmatic B was a late arrival. Conversation ranged around beer, libraries, fish and inebriation, with interjections from Richard complaining about feeling tired. The stars were out and it was chillier on the way home, but summer is a-coming in. A faster ride home as Stuart raced Sarah. There were a few fast bursts but each time, Stuart glided easily past Sarah, able to brake and chat as Sarah was pedalling for all she was worth!
Wednesday 21st April 2011 - Ottery St Mary
It was a blissful evening, warm, no wind. The London Inn was visited briefly as Jamie had gone there by mistake and the way to the correct pub, the Kings Arms, passes right by it. In the Kings Arms it was a busy night with Arsenal vs Spurs on the two enormous TVs. Ten people turned up including B who, as usual in Ottery, appeared in "normal" clothes. The problems of ferries in Plymouth, the recent Dustman Dave Audax and many other topics of import were worried. (Guest reporter: JA)
Wednesday 13th April 2011 - Clyst Hydon
A rainy evening put several folk off, but five made it to the Five Bells for the monthly jazz night. The Exeter crew opted to take a route that didn't include riding upstream through Ashclyst Forest. Some of the lanes were particularly muddy, farmers having woken from their winter slumber.The rain eased before dark, and everyone arrived in overcast daylight. Reece was showered with unsolicited business tips of a mostly unhelpful variety; Sarah was pleased to have almost received a bag of used bike parts through the post; Richard was tired; Guy looked wise; Ian tried to remember. Later in the evening Isadora rose to dance and, by the time we left, the party was in full swing. The roads were drying and the air colder than of late.
Wednesday 6th April 2011 - Aylesbeare
Daylight is a wonderful thing, and here we are - it's only April - arriving in daylight: spring is in the air. Pete made us welcome as usual. There were only two initially, Sarah and Jackie. Then Ian arrived; then Richard; then B. Jackie left (no offence, B). That was it: five in total, an average of less than 4.5 for the evening. Hot news from the Aylesbeare Inn is that Craig is attempting to get his driver's licence (we wish him luck). We left after the ritual crisp packet origami, Sarah and Richard towards Exeter, B and Ian eastwards, on a mild although starry night.
Wednesday 30th March 2011 - Putts Corner
This being the evening of the hill climb, we assembled in Ottery to test our knees against Chineway. Three from Exeter, two from Lympstone, a local man and one nearly local, one from Honiton and, albeit fifteen minutes late, one from Uffculme. It was debatable whether we needed lights, but we all set the rear ones. Chineway is one of those hills that saps your legs with a long initial gradient then kicks in with a 20% up through the trees. Because it twists you can't see where the top is until you're nearly there and the sign to White Cross looms. Because it's not a race we can't record that Ted reached the sign first. However, that's not the end. After a dip the road rears up again, to remind your legs, just before Putts Corner. We'd reserved a table at the Hare and Hounds, the hill being merely an excuse to indulge in more food and drink than a fit cyclist should contemplate. It was dark and muggy when we left, with just the first spittings of rain. Sarah raced Stu back down the hill, which proved just short of disastrous. Stu flew down at top speed with Sarah hot on his wheels. A large pothole was in the way, Stu yelled out a warning and Sarah promptly rode into it, flatting the tyre. It was quickly fixed amidst a sea of bike lights from all the helpers! We then rode carefully and sedately into Ottery, where with an inspection of the tyre in the street lights a hole in the side wall of the tyre was found. A little less pressure got the bike safely home and it was fixed (as usual) by Mike at Cyclerama the next day.
Wednesday 23th March 2011 - Otterton
We each of us tried the afro wig for size, even last man in, Stu. It suited some more than others (B and Ted especially), but in the end we handed it back to Charlie, who had emerged from the gents wearing it, as well as a floral shirt and leather trousers. So that was what was in the backpack. Charlie's explanation: "I was going to dress up in 70s gear for a school reunion a couple of days ago, but it didn't seem quite appropriate." The Kings Arms is a vast pub and you'd hardly have noticed nine slightly rowdy cyclists discussing marginally unethical ways of dealing with obstreperous youths in and out of class. There was also a conversation about cars, highly unusual in that Sarah was not just a willing participant, but the initiator. Attempts to make the barman laugh, or even smile, ended in failure, but we weren't actually thrown out. By the time we left the temperature had dropped significantly and it was a chilly starry ride home. Next week: The Hill Climb!
Wednesday 16th March 2011 - Thorverton
Thorverton is a place where the pubs seem to open or close randomly on a whim, so we're never sure at exactly which of the four in the village we'll congregate. The Thorverton Arms is the first one to be encountered on a moderately direct route. It was open and so we explored no further. Conversation ranged over bizarre pedalling machines, lost computer files, the shortest route from Honiton and girl guides. The beer and cider were supplemented with chips, for a properly balanced diet. Afterwards we all, except Jamie who'd left early, pedalled together as far as the main road, then divided to travel either south or East. Weather was dry, not too cold, with an overcast sky reflecting the glow of Exeter and smaller towns.
Wednesday 9th March 2011 - Woodbury Salterton
A new venue, suggested by Richard, The Digger's Rest. Steve turned up after a long absence, with his nephew, celebrating a new job. There were ten cyclists including late-comers, Ian - who failed initially to notice the qualifying 'Salterton', and thus spent time exploring Woodbury; and Stu, who arrived perspiring, either from pedalling exertions or from dealing with a parents' evening. Another cold evening with stars and a new moon.
Wednesday 2nd March 2011 - Payhembury
Six cyclists from Uffculme, Ottery, Exeter and Honiton met at the Six Bells in the centre of the village. Ian was late because he'd gone to the Five Bells in Clyst Hydon by mistake (and thus clocked a grand total of eleven bells - a record waiting to be beaten). It was an all-male gathering, prompting the end of evening comment, "At least there were no women, thank God!". Charlie, who made the remark, had better remain anonymous for his own safety. Reece delivered his business plan for cycle rickshaws in Exmouth, Richard swapped from Guinness to bitter, and Jamie left early for a dark journey home. For those remaining the traditional cheeky half was followed by another. This seemed to put the wind in Ted's sails as he sped off home. The rest of us wobbled on our way.
Wednesday 23rd February 2011 - Tipton
No show from our newbies again this week - were they a one week wonder? Ted, Mark, Richard, Guy and Sarah rode out from Exeter (nice to see you again Mark). The drizzle was refreshing as we plummeted through Venn Ottery on surprisingly well surfaced roads. Luckily it is still too dark to sit out as the garden at the Golden Lion was being dug up. We were joined by B and later - just as the rest of us were leaving, Charlie joined us too. Conversation included bike rides (predominately the Mad March - an audax from Exeter on 6th March - for more info check out ukcyclist.co.uk - and the difficulty and ethics of riding / walking the Valley of the Rocks ride). B was full of concern about his house subsiding and frustration of the lack of sale of the car - anyone want to buy a midget - please email for more info! It was mild and dry for the ride back. Richard punctured which only slowed him down marginally.
Wednesday 16th February 2011 - Feniton
Actually, not Feniton village, but the area formerly known as Sidmouth Junction, and we met at the Nog Inn, once known as the Railway Hotel. We had a stranger in our midst, a certain Reece, newly returned to pubrun cycling after the travails of setting up his own business (The Little Cycle Hire in Exmouth - this is a plug). The mysterious B was also present, and we numbered ten in total, from Honiton, Ottery, Exeter and Uffculme. It was good to see Mike back on the bike. The conversation and the beer were of the best. The roads were damp to very wet. but the rain held off.
Wednesday 9th February 2011 - Aylesbeare
Not the eponymous inn in the village, but the plush sofas of the Halfway Inn up on the crossroads. The Exeter crowd had dragged along two new members, Dan and Gary, who proved to be more than proficient at the core activity of our group (no, silly, not cycling). Clare was present, fit and mobile again, with hubby and wheel-builder, Stu. The shortage of seating became apparent when three more, from Honiton and Ottery, turned up, and became acute when Sally and Mike arrived. Mike's recent sinus op is still keeping him off the bike, but he hopes to be pedalling again soon. Words flowed like the beer, with different conversations intersecting across the table. We left quite late, but not too late for the Exeter crowd to indulge in a mini pub-crawl on the way home. So that's a good turnout of thirteen on a mild, dry but undistinguished evening.
Wednesday 2nd February 2011 - Talaton
Early evening rain had ceased by the time riders arrived at the aptly named Talaton Inn. Sarah, Guy and Richard met Ian on the road. B and Charlie arrived a little later. Stu was last man in, just in time for the chips. The room was reasonably warm though we sought permission to put more wood on the fire. Conversation ranged from Dutch cyclepaths (no, not psychopaths) via Japanese manga cartoons to ancient British Leyland cars found on Ebay. Eventually we emerged from the pub into a cold dark sparklingly starlit night for a dry run on our various routes home.
Wednesday 26th January 2011 - Rockbeare
This week's venue was the Jack-in-the-Green: plush with comfortable armchairs and attentive staff. Four survivors of Saturday's 200km ride (one of Lexi's seaside specials) compared notes. Richard complained about his lack of form. Bernd made light of his ascent of Peek Hill. Kirby turned up to check on us, glancing disapprovingly at the table laden with beer and cider. A cold night and a little damp, but not much sign of ice. No sign of Clare either - still nursing her wounds.
Kirby James, Secretary CTC Exeter reports
On a whim I dropped in on the 'Wednesday Evening Cafe Meet' which was being held in Rockbeare. From the outside the establishment appeared to be a high class restaurant ... but I was appalled to discover that inside it was in fact a drinking den. The place was full of cyclists who had shed layers of clothing and were lying on old leather sofas in a state of undress with rows of drinks in front of them. I was shaken to find that the party included at least two ladies who appeared to be fully involved in the proceedings. After only a minute or two they ignored my presence and continued their talk about so called ‘bike rides’. There was talk of 200 km rides and I think someone mentioned 300 km rides. This is was obviously the alcohol talking as reaching such distances is clearly impossible. It is rather sad that a group of cyclists who were probably once quite fit have fallen so far. We plan to invite them on the Thursday morning rides for some remedial visits to cafes.
Wednesday 19th January 2011 - Aylesbeare
Who said it was cold? Clare and Ian each came a cropper. Clare retired home, hurt. Ian continued with a pained expression. Richard found the ice before it found him and prudently stayed home. There was a roaring fire at the inn, and six cyclists. Though in fact two were not dressed for cycling. It was still cold for the homeward journeys.
Wednesday 12th January 2011 - Clyst Hydon
A mild and rainy evening. The Five Bells was not exactly crowded and the jazz evenings haven't restarted after the new year. Ian arrived at about 8 and sat nursing a pint for 20 minutes. A text from Sarah said that two punctures had delayed the Exeter contingent. Bernd arrived shortly after. It was close to 9 when the peloton from the city turned up, and then there were six, so beer and chips all round. The rain had ceased when we departed for home on wet roads.
Wednesday 5th January 2011 - Whimple
An easy-to-get-to venue for the first pubrun of 2011 (Happy New Year to everyone, and especially those who have kept going through the winter months). Lexi's back on her bike after her fall, Clare remembered to charge her lights before leaving (though a puncture near home on her return revealed another omission). The ice had disappeared, leaving a foggy damp evening that turned to rain later. A total of eight cyclists reached the warmth and friendly welcome of Thirsty Farmer. Bernd played Cassandra with pronouncements about future cold spells. We'll see.
Wednesday 15th December 2010 - Aylesbeare
Not icy, but cold and just a hint of snow in the air. Ten Wednesday nighters turned up, including new man Graham, who accompanied lame Lexi (incapacitated by a recent fall on ice). The pub was warm and crowded; we had a table booked right at the far end. Yes, it was the pubrun Christmas meal. Someone had instituted a secret santa, so presents were handed round before the ritual pulling of the crackers. During the occasional lulls in conversation the echoing warcries of the skittles teams floated in from the other end of the pub. Roll call: Bernd, Jamie, Stu, Clare, Guy, Graham, Lexi, Richard, Ian and, last but not least, Sarah, whose baby the Wednesday Pubrun is. She it was (and still is) who emails, cajoles and recruits members for our weekly mix of beer and bikes. Don't forget we'll be out as usual in the New Year. Check the list for details. Merry Christmas!
Wednesday 8th December 2010 - Rockbeare
Stu and Bernd were already warm and deep in conversation by the time Ian arrived. Having settled round a three seat table it was inevitable that a fourth should turn up, in the person of Richard. That was as crowded as it got. The icy cold and darkness obviously put the others off (excluding Sarah whose absence was forced by family duties). At least the pub had proper heating, unlike the last few we'd visited. A beautifully starlit sky made up for the freezing cold.
Wednesday 1st December 2010 - Talaton
Raw cold, sheets of frozen mud and ice, an icy wind driving through supposedly impermeable clothing: welcome to the Wednesday evening pubrun. The barman at the Talaton Inn was apologetic about the failure of the open fire entirely to dispel the chill. It did warm up a little when the heaving mass of the skittles teams arrived. There were only three hardy cyclists out this first night of December. Ted and Ian arranged themselves to protect Sarah against yet another ferocious dog (actually about as savage as a stuffed toy). And, yes, it was even colder on the way home: stars, no moon, and an imminent feeling of snow.
Wednesday 24th November 2010 - Aylesbeare
Six of us braved the chilly night air this week to ride on a roundabout route to Aylesbeare. There was a lovely roaring fire to greet us and it was considerably warmer than the London the week before. Stu was out on a shiny new single speed and Sarah's wheel kept falling off the Mercian! Craig was missing from the inn as he had gone home early as he had physio the next day. The skittles team were there in force. Pete the landlord was reminiscing about moving from Dunchideock to the big city (Ide) when he was 6, and we sorted out a secret santa ready for the christmas meal. Shadow kept patrolling around the pub but luckily there was no sign of her puppies. A very enjoyable evening in a warm and friendly pub! The ride home was freezing and of course all down hill!
Wednesday 17th November 2010 - Ottery St Mary
The barmaid in woolly jumper and hat, the cyclists huddled in an alcove trying to stay warm, the wood burner dark and lifeless, frost forming on the radiator (okay, perhaps the latter is a slight exaggeration) - The London Inn. We were the only customers for most of the evening. Bernd and Charlie, being local, walked down. The rest of us, three from or via Exeter, two from Lympstone and a solitary one from Honiton, came by bicycle. After torrential rain during the day the roads were covered in debris and huge puddles. Fog rose like smoke from the ground. As the clouds receded so the temperature dropped so that, going home, those who had an uphill route were grateful for a chance to warm up.
Wednesday 10th November 2010 - Clyst Hydon
What a superb evening! Cold and crisp - plenty of stars, dry rolling lanes and Sarah's new Mercian to admire! There was live jazz at the pub, but it was more of a pleasant background noise as we were in the other room. 7 of us out tonight, discussing topics such as audax, student riots, the state of the economy and metal fatigue! A quick and chilly ride home. Not a week goes by at the moment without someone asking after Reece, hope you join us for another ride soon.
Wednesday 3rd November 2010 - Hele
Time once more to hear the skittlers' echoing warcries at the Crossways Inn. At least they were open for business when we arrived. Five of us out, if you count Ian arriving by car. Sarah had brought the proper photos this week, those of the side-to-side epic. There were particularly stunning photos of Lowestoft (that's meant to be a joke). Not too cold, not too wet, this benign weather can't last.
Wednesday 27th October 2010 - Tipton
Are we pariahs that folk bar their doors and hide when we approach? For the second week in a row our chosen venue is in darkness, locked and empty. Richard met a puzzled looking Ian at the Golden Lion. Sarah and Guy arrived shortly after and, just as we decided to decamp to Aylesbeare, along came Stu and Clare. There was almost no room at the inn, but we squeezed round a table in a corner, the rest of us sacrificing our personal safety to protect Sarah from a two week old puppy. Unbeknown to us three others turned up at the official venue: Jamie, Bernd and Charlie. Being unable to contact us they went to the Bowd. They didn't miss Sarah's Side-to-Side photos because she brought the wrong ones. Perhaps we'll see them next week. Oh, and well done Sarah - her blog's still up to read: http://sarahtoside.wordpress.com.
Wednesday 20th October 2010 - Thorverton
This Wednesday the Exeter lot had the easy route, but there were still only two of them out. Lexi and Richard. Ian chugged all the way from Honiton, and then there were three. What's more, the Bells was locked and in darkness. Fortunately Thorverton is well endowed with pubs, so we had a choice of two others. Dark and cold, and the lanes extremely muddy from the tractors taking the harvest back.
Wednesday 13th October 2010 - Newton Poppleford
An easy journey for the Lympstone and Ottery contingents this week. A bit further for those from Exeter and Honiton, and sure enough, only one turned up from each. That made six out on a cold clear night. Bernd persisted with his new-found craze for novelty drinks (coke and bitter anyone?), Clare and Stu stuck to caffeine, and the rest of us to proper alcohol. A text to Sarah elicited the swift response that she was four miles from the end of her first day's cycling side-to-side. After that, sad to say, the conversation descended into mildly amusing innuendo with just a touch of smut: a commentary on the length (in inches) of people's fixed-wheel gears. On the way home Charlie disappeared. Will we see him again? Watch this blog.
Wednesday 6th October 2010 - Payhembury
Our venue this week was the Six Bells (apparently for sale, if you're interested). Sarah led the Exeter group, two from Ottery turned up, and Ian was the sole Honiton representative. Robin and Pippa made the epic journey from two miles up the road (more difficult than it sounds as a significant part is untarmacked). There was beer, as well as cider, as well as chips. Everyone wished Sarah well on her sideways journey (see her blog at http://sarahtoside.wordpress.com ). No moon this night and a superb starscape as a result. A dry night.
Wednesday 29th September 2010 - Whimple
The Thirsty Farmer was the venue this week. A good number of cyclists out, including contingents from Ottery and Lympstone, as well as Honiton and Exeter. Various cycling exploits were discussed, Ian had just finished a late season 600k audax, Sarah is off on her 800 mile 'side-to-side' jaunt in a couple of weeks, and Lexi was planning her traditional birthday and Christmas 200s. A dark, clear night.
Wednesday 22nd September 2010 - Aylesbeare
A goodly number out this week, so that late-comers had to beg chairs from neighbouring tables. There was the usual friendly atmosphere at the Inn, the resident dogs being particularly keen to welcome cynophobic Sarah. The nights are drawing in so that we need lights even on the journey out.
Wednesday 15th September 2010 - Feniton
The Nog is an old-fashioned unpretentious local, and the beer's good. The pub vibrates when a high-speed train passes over the level crossing outside. Eight of us out, without Sarah. She did text the results of the vote for the venue of this year's Christmas meal (to be revealed in due course). There were riders from Ottery and Exeter, a solitary one from Honiton, and an ever so slightly heated political discussion.
Wednesday 8th September 2010 - Clyst Hydon
The band had a keyboard player in place of the usual sax or clarinet. We sat in the back room because the bar was crowded, so the music was strictly background. Ted and Jamie were first to arrive, followed by a motley coincidence of folk from Honiton and Exeter. New faces there as well, including Tom, who'd successfully followed Ian's vague telephone instructions to the Pinhoe start.
Wednesday 1st September 2010 - Otterton
A new venue, the spacious rooms of the King's Head at Otterton, our most southerly destination. The nights are drawing in but we sat outside for as long as possible. Seven out including one each from Honiton, Ottery, Westhill, Lympstone and Exeter.
Wednesday 25th August 2010 - Ottery St Mary
Destination Ottery and no one from Ottery turns up. It had been raining during the day and the roads were wet. Only four turned up initially: Sarah, Richard, Guy and Ian. others made excuses about the weather. The Volunteer had no keg beer, so we decided to decamp to the London, just as Stu arrived. The London had beer, and we made our selves useful by fixing the lights behind the bar. The rain came down while we sat in the pub, but ceased before we left for home.
Wednesday 18th August 2010 - Whimple
Sally and crew arrived from Honiton just as Ian appeared from a different direction. The Newly Weds (Stu and Clare) were already there, as was Mike - though only because the evening ten had been cancelled due to roadworks. Then the Exeter crew rolled in, but no Sarah. "Derailleur gone into back wheel", we were informed, between pints. Jamie turned up to collect cards from Ian, and the Ottery pair arrived - Bernd unshaven ("I'm on holiday!") and Charlie with puke green bmx pedals on his otherwise immaculate Harry Hall. A commiserating text to Sarah produced the response, "On my way", and, as dusk fell, she duly appeared on the spare bike. Mercian had better hurry with the new one.
Wednesday 11th August 2010 - Tipton St Tipton
Richard led Reece & Guy out through Broadclyst, Whimple, Talaton, past King's School in Ottery to the Golden Lion at Tipton St John. Stu & Clare were already there with a Honiton rider. Charlie appeared some time later. We sat outside drinking until about 9 when it became chilly enough to adjourn inside. Many topics discussed: Time trialling, next years John O' Groats to Lands End attempt, the Exmouth Exodus, bikes & the usual banter. We left the pub just after 10. Richard said he raced to the top of the hill but no one else wanted to play and arrived home to make a 28 mile round trip.
Wednesday 4th August 2010 - Payhembury
Sarah being still away, Reece led a gaggle of newcomers to the pub this week, including his long-suffering wife. Both Honiton and Ottery St Mary were represented, and Sally said that a couple of more 'serious' Honiton cyclists had arrived and departed immediately, whether for fear of beer or lack of lights. We also had a guest, Mike, from Hants CTC. A convivial evening with chips as well as beer in a friendly pub, The Six Bells. A fine evening, though the nights are drawing in.
Wednesday 28th July 2010 - Rockbeare
A record 20 out tonight - Sarah wants everyone to know that. A large group from Honiton included several first-timers. Pete struggled in last, having stopped more than once to pump up a leaky tyre. The Exeter Wheelers 24hr team were all there, with Mike still suffering after his impressive 430-something-miles (still awaiting confirmation of the exact figure). Stu and Clare were looking a little nervous - something important at the weekend we gather. A fine night and still a glimmer of daylight as we left for home.
Wednesday 21st July 2010 - Talaton
Unusually, Stu and Clare both made it to the pub, which was good as it was their pre-nuptual dinner. A jolly evening despite Reece having fled to Cornwall. Guy kept the amusing stories coming in his absence. The Honiton crowd arrived in time for drinks, and Sally relayed Mike's time trial trials: storms and downpours on the Okehampton course. New Wednesday nighter, Bill, arrived from Exeter after a late start. It was a very convivial evening, and everyone was late home.
Wednesday 14th July 2010 - Ottery
Richard patiently waited for Sarah all the way to Ottery this week. The wind was strong but at least it was dry. We arrived at the pub about 8pm and were joined shortly afterwards by hordes of riders from Honiton, having taken a roundabout route of about 15 miles to get there. Ian and Mike arrived a bit later after the evening 10, Ian riding, Mike marshalling. A fun evening but poor Bernd arrived just as coats and hats were being replaced for the journey home. Richard again, patiently waited for Sarah all the way back! Lots of questions being asked about the disappearance of the Exeter riders - where are you all?
Wednesday 7th July 2010 - Whimple
The Honiton crowd were out in force again, with Sally leading the group to beer. Mike, Richard and Ian arrived after the evening ten - Mike complaining about a hard night, and Ian saying he'd punctured (the excuses you hear after time trials!). Stu was the only other from Exeter. Later on Charlie, then Bernd (in a car*) turned up, and it was dark by the time all had left.
(*His excuse was that it's his beautifully restored Midget.)
Wednesday 30th June 2010 - Tipton
A lone rider headed out from Exeter this week via Aylesbeare and Venn Ottery, there she met Ian from Honiton who greeted her with "there's loads out!" Sure enough at the pub they were soon joined by 5 Honiton riders who had taken a roundabout route of about 12 miles to get there, Mike, Jamie, Clare and Richard arrived separately followed by Bernd and Charlie from Ottery. A huge crowd tonight. Conversation centered around road rage towards cars this evening (and artists!) and plans got underway for the upcoming 24 hour time trial. It was yet another warm dry evening and we were joined in the pub garden by many many midges!
Wednesday 23rd June 2010 - Payhembury
If you are thinking about joining us for a ride but worrying that you might be slow - do not fear! This week we rode to Payhembury with newcomer Amanda. She left the regulars standing before we got to Broadclyst and then after riding with us for a bit decided to do a fast solo ride instead. Our sociable "chatting" pace just wasn't up to it! However, we enjoyed our ride out through the lanes to Payhembury, another perfect evening for a bike ride. The two from Exeter were soon joined at the pub by 2 from Honiton, two from Lympstone, one from Uffculme, a late starter from Exeter - and Ian!
Wednesday 16th June 2010 - Jack in the Green
Thank you all for a really nice evening! Four of us left Exeter at the slightly later time of 7:15pm to take a gentle route out via Killerton House on the lanes. It was a lovely dry warm evening. We were able to sit outside at the pub and were pleasantly surprised to see some old faces as the "Honiton lot" were back out now that they have completed their three peaks challenge. Congratulations to Mike on his pb in the evening 10 too. (Correct me if I am wrong but I think it was 24:12). We were joined later by Richard and Ian (who'd come all the way from Birmingham to make it).
Wednesday 9th June 2010 - Talaton
Numbers were up a bit this week. Four of tackled the heights of Ashclyst Forest, through some rather "muddy" patches past the farm and then a beautiful decent towards Clyst Hydon marred only by the hedge that needed a bit of cutting at the side of the road. A warm evening - we sat out for a while, having met three others there. Sarah and Jackie left early - fixed a quick puncture outside the pub. The others stayed on a bit longer.. who knows how long!
Wednesday 2nd June 2010 - Ottery St Mary
Sarah was away so Reece led an elite band of not very many to the London Inn. Two of the locals, Bernd and Charlie, turned up, and Jamie made the trek from the far north. Ian arrived late after time-trialling and then being delayed by social obligations (an offer of coffee and a chat). So then there were five. It was warm enough to sit out in the concrete garden of the pub, though some of us stayed long enough that we had to move indoors.
Wednesday 26th May 2010 - Whimple
Who could ask for more? Yet another warm dry evening, a route through lanes with a pretty good surface and one hill. Quite a fast pace was set this week out and back. The total mileage was 20 miles for the Exeter group. 8 out altogether at the pub, an evening of laughter and discussion mainly about audax and time trials. Ian has three audaxes coming up soon and Jamie has one. Between them you could ride a 150km, 200km, 400km or 600km ride over the next few weeks. For more details see ukcyclist.co.uk.
Wednesday 19th May 2010 - Tipton St John
A mild dry evening saw four riders leave Exeter, at a fairly speedy pace this week. We rode out through Broadclyst and up Rockbeare hill to be joined briefly by another. We then decended through West Hill and Broad Oak to arrive at the pub shortly after 8pm. - A good fast ride on nice dry roads. Three others met us at the pub and it was a fun evening. We left Bernd at the bottom of the hill to return to Ottery and then rode up to the top together. Stu and Clare then left for Lympstone and Sarah, Richard, Reece and Guy decided to race back to the airport. Richard won but it was a hard fought battle! Eat your heart out Wiggins!
Wednesday 12th May 2010 - Payhembury
A smaller group than usual left Exeter this week to take a fairly direct route to the Six Bells at Payhembury. The drizzle had virtually stopped by the time we left Pinhoe and it was a chilly but otherwise dry ride. All the recent road resurfacing near Talaton has now become safe to ride over so the route was a lot easier than in previous weeks. We were joined for the ride by Sarah's Dad and mountain biker Darren. The landlord was welcoming and didn't bat an eyelid at our rather strange order at the bar (which included serviettes). We were joined by Bernd, Jamie and Clare and then left around 9:15 to ride back. Ian competed in Richards evening ten but had no front light so was unable to meet us at the pub. He got a 24:43 this week. Well done Ian!
Wednesday 5th May 2010 - Jack in the Green
Another pleasantly warm spring evening. A group of us from Exeter rode out along Within lane past Aylesbeare, through Rockbeare and down to stop at the the Jack in the Green. The landlord was welcoming as usual and we arrived to see Lexi already there and were joined after by Bernd, Clare and Stu. We chatted at the pub with people leaving at intervals through the evening and the last few of us left around 10pm for a fairly gentle ride back home. Welcome to newcommer Tom, hope to see you again on another ride. Total distance for the Exeter riders was about 17 miles.
Wednesday 28th April 2010 - Talaton
A warm dry spring evening, perfect for a bike ride. The Exeter group rode out on a meandering gentle route around Rockbeare, briefly stopping to cheer on a few of the evening tens, then crossing back over the old A30 to ride past Whimple onto the lane towards Talaton. The surface here is still being "repaired". The smooth patches covering the potholes are now a mass of loose gravel. Still we arrived without incident to see Ted (who had started with us but took his own route to the pub) and Bernd. Ian arrived shortly after, having got just under 25 mins for his first 10 of the season. Clare did set out from home but never quite found the Talaton Inn! A pleasant evening in the pub with discussion ranging from dog bites, to bike frames, to definitions of uncles and cousins, to Gordon Brown and to evening tens. We decided to take a longer route home to avoid navigating over the gravel in the dark, and so we went via Fairmile. Once we crossed the top of the hill we then flew down towards Clyst Honiton - getting ever more competitive as the ride went on. Richard won the final sprint up the hill at Blackhorse - an exhilarating ride back, with the total distance being 27 miles due to the detour and after lots of chatting at the end we finally got home about 11:20!! Oops!
Wednesday 21st April 2010 - Aylesbeare
Sombre undertones this week as we remembered a phenomenal cyclist who sadly passed away recently. Nev Chanin was well known in Audax circles and will be greatly missed.
It was a lovely warm evening for a ride. A good group set out from Exeter taking a slightly different route to Aylesbeare. Unfortunately plans for the loop around West Hill were destroyed by a rather large thorn in Bernd's tyre. Puncture mended we headed stright for the pub, it was nearly warm enough to sit out. Conversation ranged from ctc membership to snow boarding to murder to cycle helmets.
Wednesday 14th April 2010 - Clyst Hydon
The nice weather has brought the cyclists out! 7 from Exeter, Ian from Honiton and then we were joined by Ted, Bernd and Jamie. The group from Exeter had a beautiful ride through Ashclyst forest with stunning views as we crested the hills. Marcus was having a bit of bike trouble and Richard was having a bit of navigational trouble! But we all got there in one piece. We arrived at the pub to decide that it wasn't quite warm enough to sit out - but it won't be long. Instead we enjoyed the jazz from a table rather close by and rode home guided again by the stars.
Wednesday 7th April 2010 - Newton Poppleford
Another boys' night out. Reece, Marcus, Guy and Richard rode from Exeter by a route circuitous enough to cause voluble complaints from one of them, to meet Ian who'd ridden a straight-forward dogleg from Honiton. Beer and chips. Discussion ranged from the history of Colyton and the feoffees, to window-cleaning, to the treasures that are to be found down the back of your average boardroom sofa. The first this year that we were able to journey out without lights. A clear night meant that the temperature had fallen by a considerable amount for the return home, but there was a beautiful starscape.
Wednesday 31st March 2010 - Putts Corner - EASTER SPECIAL
A slightly different week this week and extra people came to experience the fun of it all! A group of six riders left Exeter in the hail to take a gentle route out past Escot to Ottery. We were joined by five others, and then we all attempted the 1 in 5 climb to Putts Corner. Nearly everyone made it up. Ian's brave attempt was on a fixed wheel. Everyone throughly deserved the superb meal served up by the Hare and Hounds at the top of the hill. We left early to ride back, almost 30 miles in all this week - a bit longer and hillier than usual - but lots of fun!! Welcome to newcomers Jackie, Sue and Marcus. Looking forward to seeing you again.
Wednesday 24th March 2010 - Crossways Tavern
A return to Hele this week. We rode out through muddy potholed lanes in the dark to sit by a nice warm fire at Hele. Reece proudly demonstrated a wonderful new light - very good at showing the potholes! The rain stopped about halfway out and we arrived at the pub to find Ian already curled up by the fire - Ted arrived as we did. The juke box was blaring but Guy managed to turn off the speaker closest to us, a few of us entered the Easter Draw and won. Clare, Ted and Reece left early as Clare had a train to catch. A fast ride home in the pouring rain to the train station - to discover it was a replacement bus, saw a soggy Clare riding all the way back to Lympstone! Guy, Ian and Sarah left about half an hour later, by which time the rain had more or less stopped.
Wednesday 17th March 2010 - Aylesbeare
Plenty of room at the Inn this time. Only Craig and Roy Webb there. The latter had brought in some pages from a 1968 edition of The People, broadsheet-sized and smuttily amusing. Then we had the place to ourselves for a while, a blokes' night out: Guy, Ted, Reece, Richard and Ian. Everyone claimed to have taken an unecessarily longwinded route to the pub, but only Reece complained about it. The resident dogs came in to investigate but lost interest when they realised Sarah wasn't with us. A dark night, no stars, the sky a heavy texture of low cloud, the trees dripping condensation.
Wednesday 10th March 2010 - Clyst Hydon
Count the number of bells and work out which venue it is - Five this week. Stu, Clare, Reece and Sarah arrived at 8:20, claiming delays for punctures (Stu), mechanical problems (Stu) and sundry other excuses (all Stu!). Stu then bought the first round! Ian was early having taken the direct route, Jamie was only a pint behind him. The jazz-men played well, but there was no extravagant bopping. Clare and Stu made a break to see if they could catch a train. Richard didn't come and the plot thickens - why does Richard never make the Five Bells?
Wednesday 3rd March 2010 - Feniton
The Nog Inn is a friendly pub with good beer, by the station. It's within easy reach of Ottery, so Bernd turned up despite the cold and the dark. Also in attendance were Mike and Sally, Sarah, Richard and Ian, plus a man whose face we'd almost forgotten: Reece. The roads were puddled and potholed, always a challenging combination. Sarah buffeted Reece to keep him upright - on the way to the pub, Richard's gears jammed, giving the others hope that they were keeping up - only to realise that he was walking at that point!
Wednesday 24th February 2010 - Newton Poppleford
A damp evening, but not too cold. The roads are in terrible condition after our winter of discontent. The Cannon Inn was welcoming as usual. Sarah requested a lanes route out that would also avoid a puncture as she had had to bring the summer bike this week. Richard and Ted manged this perfectly with the moonlight aiding the pothole spotting! Sarah had plenty of exercise dodging round the tables to avoid the pub puppy - which probably stood a foot taller on its hind legs than Sarah (on hers). Richard only managed a half-hearted partial striptease this week. There was an entertaining discussion about the side effects of hair loss remedies. Ted appeared to have an uneventful ride out. Also present were Bernd and Ian.
Wednesday 17th February 2010 - Hele
We had a second trip to the Crossways on the grounds that, with the pub being refurbished and only the skittle alley open for our last visit, we didn't give them a fair trial. Sarah was away, so we had no one to test the cider, but there were no pumps for keg beer. They substituted a reasonable selection of bottles, for those that don't like the fizzy stuff. So, without Sarah, several of the Exeter group had skived off, in fact of them only Richard turned up. Jamie decided to use the same venue as the rest of us, and Ted rode the long way from Ottery. Richard needed his Guinness after mending a puncture outside in the cold. At least we had a table near the woodburner.
Wednesday 10th February 2010 - Aylesbeare
Another visit to our favourite hostelry, the Aylesbeare Inn, and of course our favourite landlord, Pete. The big news in the village was that Craig had lost his mobility scooter in a shed fire. He seemed philosophical about it. Only five of us this week, but Ted was of the party, having returned from foreign parts (Manchester). Crisp packet origami is starting to rival cycling as the main object of Wednesday evening gatherings. Sarah, Clare and Stu came from Exeter. Ted and Ian pootled from Honiton (well, Ted was late, so didn't quite get as far as the usual meeting place). A fine, cold and starry night.
Wednesday 2nd February 2010 - Feniton
A long ride for the Exeter contingent this week, with the Honiton lot, in the person of Ian, taking a figure of eight route to make it worth getting the bike out. Sarah, Clare, Richard and Stu made up the numbers. Mike, Sally and Zoe arrived later, but by car which doesn't really count. Lanes still wet and filthy, alternating between mud-coloured tarmac and road-coloured mud, with the occasional deep puddle thrown in for good measure. Our venue was the Nog Inn, an unpretentious pub by the level crossing in what is now called Feniton, but used to be Sidmouth Junction, when it was a junction. Stu, Sally and Zoe all mastered the art of crisp packet origami and Clare and Stu announced that they are moving out of Exeter, although they had carefully considered ease of joining up with the Wednesday nights when chosing their location. Is Ted lost up North? Did Guy go too? and what on earth has happened to Reece?
Wednesday 27th January 2010 - Thorverton
The Bells! No, not those bells but the pub of that name. Ian was the last to arrive after chasing a fit road cyclist down the old A30. Jamie managed to select the same venue as the rest of us this week. Sarah, Richard, Clare and Stu formed the Exeter contingent. Ted had fled to Manchester. We discussed weighty matters of education, mortality and Jamie's aspidistra. Richard performed an impromptu striptease. By the time we left the rain had ceased and the only water was on the roads hiding the potholes.
Wednesday 20th January 2010 - Aylesbeare
We were a real raggle-taggle this week. Sarah arrived first with Richard and Ted. They were chased unsuccessfully by Guy who arrived from Exeter at the same time as did Ian from Honiton. Guy got everyone chips and himself a cheeseburger before Stu and Clare turned up (better late than never). We failed to persuade the resident dogs to take an interest in canine-phobic Sarah, and Ted had no stirring tales of mishaps on the way, so we were reduced to drinking beer and telling jokes. A cold night, but clear and dry. And Jamie was in the Five Bells!
Wednesday 13th January 2010 - Clyst Hydon
The previous week's ride was cancelled because of the snow - the first time that has happened. This week there were still treacherous banks and mounds of snow and ice, dirtied to grey and quite invisible on a gloomy misty night. Only three of us out at the Five Bells. Disappointingly, no jazz, in fact the pub was almost deserted. Sarah came over the hill and managed to stay upright despite some icy patches. Ted's ride was, as usual, an adventure, and he had to stop to readjust panniers and mudguard. Ian found some small lanes with verges and centres banked with dirty snow and ice. Still, the beer was good.
Wednesday 16th December 2009 - Aylesbeare
Pete and his colleagues at the Aylesbeare Inn provided us with a superb Christmas meal to round off this season of Wednesday Rides. 12 of us rode out in cold, damp conditions without hesitation or deviation, so as to arrive early enough to lubricate the digestive organs before food was served. After the ritual pulling of crackers we got down to reminiscences and witty insults. It was late indeed by the time we left. (congratulations also to Lexi, Ian, Pippa, Richard and Sarah for completing a hilly and freezing cold solstice 200k the following Saturday).
Wednesday 9th December 2009 - Thorverton
The Bell Inn. In the interests of variety on the rides, Sarah led the Exeter crowd on a fast main road route out to Hele, then via some lanes and a good climb to Silverton, with a mixture then of quiet roads and lanes to Thorverton. A different ride to the usual routes we take which tend to be mainly lanes out and main roads back, but at least it keeps it varied. Ian led an imaginary peleton from Honiton through crud-filled lanes on a direct route. The pub was quiet apart from a rowdy group of cyclists. Six present and incorrect - the same six as the previous week in fact. This could be the winter pattern settling in. Ted, in keeping with this, had more chain problems on the way home. Sarah also had a malfunctioning bike - gears in her case. Ian's recommendation of the simple reliable pleasures of a fixed-wheel fell on deaf ears. However, Sarah's bike problem turned out to be a broken link in her chain, fixed very quickly by the Cyclerama bike shop in Whipton the following day.
Wednesday 2nd December 2009 - Newton Poppleford
Proper wintry weather: cold, dark and wet. The Cannon Inn appears to be the only functioning pub in the town now - the Exeter being dark and up for sale. Ted's bike was just visible behind the garden fence when the others arrived, and he generously got the first round in. There were six of us out tonight, a very good turnout considering the weather. The rain had cleared by the time we left, but the roads were full of water and debris. Congratulations are due to Reece for his third place in the Devon DA competition.
Ted's View: Last week I had one of the most memorable trips back from the Cannon Inn through misty fields in full moonlight. The alcoholic haze just added piquancy to the fabulous scenes and I stopped for some minutes to take in the view. 'Him upstairs' has a real evil sense of humour though, because He obviously decided that I was going to pay for this delightful evening in some trivial way, in this case by knotting my chain in such a way that I had drive for a part of the pedal revolution but not all. Interesting fault which I have never previously encountered, but did necessitate bending the chain straight again the following morning !!
Wednesday 25th November 2009 - Aylesbeare
A mild night, with no wind or rain but plenty of stars to speak of saw 5 riders set out from Pinhoe. Richard led the way out through Broadclyst and along "Rockbeare Straights". The lanes were all quite good and clean until we turned up quarter mile lane. Which was mucky, narrow, uphill and had a car very kindly waiting for us at the top as we all rode up. We were greeted at the pub like old friends and the locals made room for us on one of the tables. We were then joined by three others, from West Hill, Ottery and another from Exeter. The conversation covered the physics of explosions, student pubs, the best shape to fold crisp packets into and mental health. It was interrupted a few times by the landlords dog, wanting to say hello and Sarah leaping to her feet each time. We stayed at the pub longer than usual as a quick ride home got us back to Exeter around 11pm. Be warned, putting your coat on when you are intending to leave can be easily misinterpreted when at Aylesbeare!!!
Wednesday 18th November 2009 - Thorverton
'Twas a mild but windy night and four brave riders met at the shops in Pinhoe. We rode together sheltering behind Ted and then Guy to meet two others near the University. We rode quickly down towards Cowley Bridge, stopping briefly to investigate a strange squeek in Stu's bike. We then turned onto the lane that goes through Upton Pyne and on towards Thorverton. It was more sheltered on this lane, and the wind was also behind us now so it was a pleasant ride with much conversation and very little traffic. Shortly after arriving at the pub a 7th rider joined us - a good turnout for a November eve. The pub was friendly and welcoming and when there was a delay in one of the staff serving, a local stepped in to help out! We left to discover Clare had a puncture, it was quickly fixed and we departed for home. Ted left first as he had furthest to go and then the rest sheltered behind Jamie as we tackled the headwind back towards Exeter. When Jamie turned off at Killerton, Stu took up the front position and we all rode back together as far as Stoke Cannon. There the group split, Richard, Guy and Sarah opting for the hilly route home, Clare and Stu opting for the faster flatter route.
Wednesday 11th November 2009 - Clyst Hydon
Jazz night again. Heavy rain this evening. Ian went the direct way from Honiton, arriving at the Five Bells well before 8. Meanwhile Sarah was leading the Exeter group on a meandering route criss-crossing the old A30. Back at the pub, the band were waiting for their fourth member, and Ian was considering a second pint and wondering whether anyone else would turn up. Eventually a man with a trumpet arrived, followed shortly by three damp cyclists - Guy and Sarah smiling, Reece grimacing. We even got a request played - Mack the Knife - and they played it twice. Our clothes had somewhat dried by the time we came to leave, and even better, the rain had ceased.
Wednesday 4th November 2009 - Feniton
Five of us rode out in light drizzle from Exeter, via Whimple and Talaton to try out the Nog Inn in Feniton. Pleasantly surprised with the pub. (It will feature on our runs list again). A nice atmosphere and some rather good Addlestones cider! Ian joined us after a launch of his art work in Exeter. Bernd and Dave joined us from Ottery. A good turnout with much laughter and discussions about difficulties with bosses, and the many wonderful properties of velcro and selotape! Rode home in the dry, with a puncture just under the A30 and then a fast ride home to get back to Exeter by about 11pm.
Wednesday 28th October 2009 - Newton Poppleford
A fine, dark evening, now the clocks have gone back. The Cannon was this week's venue, a friendly pub with beer straight from the barrel. Only Ian turned up from the Honiton end, and he had almost resigned himself to an evening alone by the time six riders from Exeter arrived led by Richard. A good session of chips, conversation, beer and jokes ensued. Reece and Ian compared their experiences on the previous weekend's Dartmoor Devil.
Wednesday 21st October 2009 - Aylesbeare
As usual Aylesbeare always provides a good night out. We rode out from Exeter crisscrossing fairly dark lanes, admiring Richards front lights everytime we avoided a pothole! We met an enormous tractor on the climb up "quarter mile lane" which resulted in us all needing to get off our bikes and lean against the hedge so we didn't get run over. The pub was buzzing when we got there, but after the skittles match started there were plenty of seats. Most of the usual locals were present and very freindly as always. A welcome to Ted who joined us for the first time, from Aylesbeare but riding out via Honiton to meet Ian. Sarah's front light started to fail on the way back to she just had to sit on Richard wheel for most of it! Congratulations are in order for Mike and Ian for their excellent hill climb times at the weekend.
Wednesday 14th October 2009 - Clyst Hydon
After a some wet weather during the day the evening was once again kind to us and we had a dry ride out to the Five Bells. We took a roundabout route via Whimple and Talaton, flatter than the direct route and with a lovely decent into the village. We found Jamie at the pub, and were entertained with the usual and very pleasant live jazz. Congratulations are in order to Clare and Stu for their engagement, hope the honeymoon doesn't make them miss too many Wednesdays! The mud expected on the lane on the way home had mysteriously disappeared so an easy ride back to Exeter, Uffculme and Awliscombe.
Wednesday 7th October 2009 - Thorverton
A new month and another new pub, and a twenty mile ride in twilight drizzle for Ian, the only rider from the Honiton end this week. But when he got to the Thorverton Arms it was in darkness and locked. Fortunately the Bell is just round the corner, so he went to investigate. Sarah, Reece and Richard had been there for sometime when he arrived, but at least Reece bought him a drink. The Bell turned out to be a friendly place with good beer, so worth a bit of a trek for the Honiton crowd. Unfortunately we later found out that two had turned up by car without Sarah or Ians mobile numbers and ended up spending the evening in a completely different Thorveton pub!
Wednesday 30th September 2009 - Newton Poppleford
A return to the Cannon Inn and proper beer straight from the barrel. We were joined by Dave on a rare visit. Mike and Ian came from Honiton, Sarah, Reece, Richard and Stu from Exeter, Bernd from Ottery, and Jamie all the way from a graveyard near the Somerset border. Stu was anxious to get a round in (see report 9th Sept). Good conversation in a friendly pub. The nights are drawing in now with lights needed on the journey out as well as homeward.
Wednesday 23rd September 2009 - Hele
Another new venue, the Crossways Inn. Unfortunately they were in the process of refurbishment and only the skittle alley was open - and it was skittles night. So our conversation was shouted over the sound of crashing skittles and the shouts of the teams. Five out tonight. Sarah, Claire and Richard departed for a 'B' road bash home. Jamie did similarly in the opposite direction, and Ian disappeared into the lanes in a Honiton direction.
Wednesday 16th September 2009 - Bowd
Just six of us at a new venue, the Bowd Inn. Jamie and Bernd were first there. Mike and Ian rode a long route from Honiton, failing, despite averaging 27mph towards the airport, to catch a distant cyclist on the old A30. Sarah, Richard and Reece rode nearly as far from Exeter, via Tipton. The planned meet-up there failed by only a few minutes. Good beer at the pub. They made us welcome, but there were few other customers. An open grate stacked with logs suggests this might be a good winter destination.
Wednesday 9th September 2009 - Clyst Hydon
Jazz Night at the Five Bells. Arthur from Exmouth and Jamie were sitting outside waiting for the rest to turn up. Coming from Honiton Mike and Ian had an impromptu sprint - 'Like nine year olds', said Bernd who followed in with Sally. Stu won the race from Exeter from Reece and Sarah, but then declined to buy his round and headed straight home ('work' was his excuse). We sat outside in the gloaming, the sound of a jazz trumpet in the background, until it got too cold and dark enough to misplace a beer glass. Properly dark nights now, but a mild, starry evening made for a pleasant journey home.
Wednesday 2nd September 2009 - Aylesbeare
Bernd and Ian met by chance at an ATM in Ottery (as you do) and rode together to the Aylesbeare Inn. Sarah arrived not long after but without company. We were greeted like long-lost friends, and indeed it seems to have been a while since we congregated there. Mike and Sally then arrived, but not in cycling gear, after a hard session of badminton. The weather was kind to us, though the nights are drawing in.
Wednesday 25th August 2009 - Whimple
Richard was in charge again this week and took the group from Exeter a superb route via Rockbeare quarry - avoiding roads known for dogs! Sarah had arrived home early from her holiday and made the Wednesday night. We arrived at the pub to find four from Honiton and then Bernd arrived a few moments after. We sat outside in the cold and drizzle and then rode back through the lanes back to Exeter. Stu nearly adopted a cat at the pub that had followed their owners, and Zoe joined her mum for a ride out this week.
Wednesday 19th August 2009 - Tipton St John
Richard lead the ride this week, taking the Exeter crowd on a different route out through West Hill to the pub. A good group out again and a few joined after the last time trial of the season.
Wednesday 12th August 2009 - Jack in the Green
A large group rode out from Exeter, through the lanes to Rockbeare. Sarah's sister Jane had travelled all the way from Sussex to experience a Wednesday night. It was a dry evening and we arrived just in time to see a few of the evening tens. We saw Ian ride past, and we also saw a tractor pull out in front of him, but Ian didn't lose pace he simply flew past the tractor! We met Robin, Richard and Alan at the pub. Nice to see you again Alan, hope to see you again before too long. We were then joined by the riders from the evening ten. Pippa and Ian were very happy with their times (28:32 and 24:43), Mike was disappointed with his 26:21. His wheels are too small and he really needs to upgrade his frame to accommodate larger wheels. He left early.
Wednesday 5th August 2009 - Ottery
The pubruns are definitely set to continue next year after such a good evening this evening. What better way to spend a fine dry evening than with a bunch of like minded people with a cycle ride and a pint! We had three ride out from Exeter - a new route via Talaton and Fairmile which turned out to be shorter and easier than any previous route to Ottery on a Wednesday (and included a brief sprint won by Reece). At the pub we met Bern who had arrived late and raced to try to catch us, but had taken a different route via Rockbeare. Shortly after arriving 4 turned up from Honiton, having suffered a mechanical on the way. Then, Robin arrived from Payhembury, Richard from Exeter (sporting a new cycle helmet after a recent crash) and two after the evening ten. Pippa with a new pb! Congratulations! Ian and his daughter Rachel popped in briefly after organising the evening ten but disappeared in search of food. Lots of good conversation and laughter. Everyone gradually went their own ways with 7 riding back to Exeter. Richard's back light failed so we took it in turns to ride on his wheel - no one could keep up that pace for long, although I think Guy did the longest stint. A few fast rides down hills on the way back (with Stu in the lead) saw everyone back safe and sound. See you all next week.
Wednesday 29th July 2009 - Talaton
After a full day of heavy rain the skies cleared in time for the ride and again it was another beautiful Wednesday night. The Exeter ride took the pretty route through Ashclyst Forest, Caddihoe and Clyst Hydon this evening, with some superb views out along the valley. We arrived at the pub a little later than usual to discover that Ian had been and gone and we'd missed him by about 5 minutes. He had ridden in the Mersey Roads 24 time trial at the weekend and came 17th with a fantastic distance of 412 miles. Well done Ian! We were joined by Wendy, Linda, Pippa and Robin and sat inside the pub with the local dogs. It was a faster and more direct ride home for the Exeter trio.
Wednesday 22nd July 2009 - Tipton St John
The British summer seems to be being kind to us Wednesday nighters at the moment! Lets hope it lasts. It was a lovely evening to be out on your bike and again a large number of us were. Cyclists turned up at intervals from different directions and taking different routes out this week. For a change Sarah rode out via Rockbeare Hill but Reece left a little later and rode out via the airport. Richard then rode out a bit later again. There were riders from Honiton, Ottery, Budleigh and Payhembury at the pub and we sat outside under the canopy beside the stream. Weather was fine and warm and we rode home in the gloaming. On the way back Sarah and Reece were dropped a bit by Richard on the climb and then Sarah punctured before we'd managed to remeet. It was a good team effort fixing it - largely due to the most flexible tyre levers ever seen!
Wednesday 15th July 2009 - Whimple
It was the open evening ten this week so many of our pubrun regulars decided to ride that and then meet us at the pub. This left just one rider to set out from the shops in Pinhoe. It had been suggested that there ought to be a few more interesting routes out so Sarah set off on a mission. The route bypassed the normal turning through Dog Village and instead took a later turning on the right, This lane lead her to the dreaded Ashclyst forest. Sarah and many of the other pubrun regulars have had confusing rides through here in the past and as she ascended into the trees the darkness descended from the tree and cloud cover and the rain started to fall. At the top of the climb there was a signpost to Hele and Caddihoe, not really knowing which would eventually lead her to Whimple Sarah opted for Caddihoe. This led her down a long lane, and to a T-junction with no signposts at all. Sarah randomly picked left and then a couple of miles on recognised a farm that she had passed on a previous excursion through Ashclyst. This route then lead her almost to the 5 Bells, but she turned off just before to pick up a lane to Talaton. After passing (only just) two horses whose riders thought that they should be allowed both sides of the road, and being stopped by a dog that had to be called off, Sarah arrived in Whimple to find the Honiton crowd, and two Exeter riders that had made their own way out. Another Exeter rider arrived shortly after and then the remains of the Evening ten arrived.
Charlie, Mike, Reece, Stu and Ian rode the Come-and-Try-it ten. Pippa and Robin marshalled and shouted encouragement at the turn. Claire watched from the bottom of the hill. There was no rain and the wind had dropped, and we even found a cake stall at the finish. Afterwards we joined the more sensible regulars at the Thirsty Farmer. It was another well-attended evening.
And the results (Well done everyone):- Ian- 24.26; Mike- 26.44; Stuart- 29.34; Charles- 30.34; Reece- 33.54.
Wednesday 8th July 2009 - Ottery St Mary
The three locals, Dave, Bernd and Charlie, were of course present. Claire managed to drag Stu along. Most of the regulars were present if not correct. There were a few impromptu downhill sprints by the Exeter bunch on both journeys - won by Stu. We sat outside in the courtyard of the Volunteer Inn and discussed time trialling and cemeteries amongst other things. Exeter Wheelers 'Come and Try it' evening ten next week. Several of the Pubrun regulars have promised to enter.
Wednesday 1st July 2009 - Payhembury
It was a very warm evening and the courtyard at the Six Bells filled with cyclists. Honiton, Ottery and Exeter were all represented. Pippa and Robin came after the evening 10. The only downside of evening sunshine is the clouds of flies in some of the lanes. One member managed to go to the wrong pub, so put in a few extra miles. It was mercifully cooler at dusk as the last riders left for home.
Wednesday 24th June 2009 - Tipton St John
A sunny evening and a good number of cyclists out. (16 in total) Pippa, Charlie and Ian rode the club ten and arrived late. The Honiton crowd arrived and left early as usual, numbers are increasing from Honiton though with two newcomers this week - the "little sister" Linda and Graham. Another newcomer, Julian arrived from Ottery - with the shortest ride, Jamie rode over from Uffculme - with the longest ride. The Exeter group had the poorest turnout - despite the lovely weather. Just 3 left the start in Pinhoe and having passed the evening 10 near the turn decided to ride up a bit and cheer a few of them on. We saw Pippa, who managed to fly past us twice on the way to her pb*. We then took a sustrans lane to Daisymount and a rather alternative (and hilly) route through Broad Oak to get to the pub. Richard also arrived from Exeter after his marshalling duties on the Ten. It was warm enough for everyone to sit outside although most of us were eaten alive by flies. Reece complained about the brevity of these ride reports, and Richard won the sprint towards Exeter.
- Personal Best
Wednesday 17th June 2009 - Talaton
Afternoon downpours reduced the numbers tonight, though there were still, eventually, six of us. Another new venue searched out by Sarah. A friendly pub with a friendly, absurdly puppyish dog. It was still light enough to see distant hills on our way home.
Wednesday 10th June 2009 - Ottery St Mary
Four Honiton riders were first to the London Inn, followed by Ian who had dashed home to change bikes after a sudden downpour resulted in the evening ten being cancelled. Sarah arrived on her own, and we were joined by two OSM residents and two others from Exeter who had also ridden out separately - all taking different routes. Locals warned us to guard our bikes against opportunistic theft. A quiet evening.
Wednesday 3rd June 2009 - Whimple
A bumper crop of cyclists enjoyed the rather warm evening as we skidded over loose gravel on the newly resurfaced lane between Broadclyst and Whimple. A grand total of EIGHTEEEN were out, including newcomers Wendy and Lucy. Conversation ranged from long distance bike rides to inbreeding and then we all gradually made our own ways back to our respective destinations.
Wednesday 27th May 2009 - Tipton St John
A much quieter week this week. Only three enjoyed the mild evening and rode out to Tipton from Exeter. We saw a few of the evening tens on crossing the old A30 and arrived at the pub to see two bikes we didn't recognise there. Their owners left shortly after we arrived - nothing to do with us though! Bernd arrived from Ottery a bit later and we sampled some "bloody mary" flavoured crisps! A quiet ride home coming back through the lanes.
Wednesday 20th May 2009 - Jack in the Green
A new record was set this week with thirteen at the pub! We are going to have to start warning the pubs that we are coming! Five set out from Exeter, including newcomer Andrew - who unfortunately had ridden over some glass and had a slow puncture. We meandered to the pub taking a roundabout route; enjoying the evening sunshine and wishing we'd all worn shorts. At the pub we were surprised to see Ian with three more newcomers in tow. Four others met us during the evening having taken their own routes to the pub. A fun evening and a successful race against the clock home, when Reece suddenly remembered he had to get home before his wife left for work!
Wednesday 13th May 2009 - Ottery
The cyclists came in two by two hurrah! Two from Exeter, two from Payhembury, two from Honiton (ish) and two from Ottery! All enjoyed an evening in another new destination. Newcomer Bernd was welcomed, but unfortunately Dave and Richard arrived a little late from their duties at the open 10 to see most of us leaving as they arrived. The pubs "homecooked" (frozen) chips were sampled, but they quickly cooled as we sat outside and chatted to some rather tipsy locals about their cycling. Celebrations were required as both Pippa and Ian got personal bests in their time trials earlier in the evening.
Wednesday 6th May 2009 - Payhembury
Another new venue to add to the expanding list - the Six Bells, a pleasant village pub with friendly service. We sat outside in the sun until the light faded. Seven of us out. Apologies to Clare and Stu who arrived a bit late at the departure point to find everyone gone.
Wednesday 29 April 2009 - Tipton
Four rode out from Exeter in the drizzle, arriving at the pub dripping and ready for refreshment! Another three joined us at the pub. Ian's visit was only brief as he had just finished a time trial and was on his way to an Audax! Conversation ranged from cake powered Audaxes to car trouble. It was a good ride home with the now traditional sprint up Blackhorse Hill won by Reece.
Wednesday 22 April 2009 - Aylesbeare
Four set out from Exeter, including newcomer John. We took a very different route to the pub - taking in the sights of Killerton and Rockbeare. We arrived a little later than planned to see Lexi and newcomer Arthur waiting at the pub. It was warm enough to sit out for a little while but after Lexi and Arthur departed we headed in to see Craig and landlord Pete. There was another sprint up the hill by the Blackhorse on the return - won by Berny.
Wednesday 15 April 2009 - Whimple
Sarah being away Ian deputised, leading the ride from Pinhoe via Broadclyst. Four rode from there, with Stuart demonstrating his impressive track-stand technique at temporary traffic lights. Pippa and Robin joined them at the pub. Another fine evening. Wednesday time trials were discussed. Sarah texted from Scotland to check everything was running smoothly in her absence.
Wednesday 8 April 2009 - Clyst Hydon
The lane to the Five Bells has been repaired. That and daylight make the journey to the pub quicker and easier. Eight out tonight, including new faces, Claire and Stuart. We clustered round a small corner table. The jazz band was playing to a crowded house. 'Isadora' turned up. but there was no exotic dancing. Home by starlight.
Wednesday 1 April 2009 - Aylesbeare
There was a bumper crop of cyclists on the evening of April Fools' Day, the first ride out in daylight. Richard made his debut but had to leave early as he'd brought the wrong light for navigating dark, potholed lanes. Sarah was on her best bike as the other was still in for repair. Pippa arrived late but cheerful. A fine evening, clear and cold, on the way home. There was an impromptu uphill sprint competition on the way back to Exeter (won by Reece).
Wednesday 25 March 2009 - Tipton St John
Ian decided to take a long way round from Honiton, via the B3180 and Oak Rd towards Metcombe. At the bottom of the hill he was confronted by an array of red and white lights. Reece and Guy were with Sarah who had come off heavily after hitting a pothole. We made our way slowly to the pub to check out the bike under the lights. Damage included a front puncture and a bent gear hanger. The tube was changed and the hanger straightened as far a possible. Then we adjourned to to bar for much needed refreshments. Later, Pippa and Robin joined us. We set off for home earlyish. A dry cold night, Sarah's bike a little noisy but rideable.
Wednesday 18 March 2009 - Newton Poppleford
A little chilly but otherwise a good evening for a bike ride. The Cannon Inn was quite busy but three of us enjoyed the rides there and back with some lovely local cider in between. New bikes and muddy bikes were the main subjects of conversation!
Wednesday 11 March 2009 - Clyst Hydon
Jazz night at The Five Bells meant the pub was crowded, and there were more of us than usual. We managed to squeeze six chairs round a small table. The weather was mild and dry. The road-menders have dug up parts of the lanes, so perhaps our paths will be smoother in weeks to come.
Wednesday 4 March 2009 - Rockbeare
The Jack in the Green is on the main road, so easy to get to in poor weather. Three of us were out. We rode home through wet sleet. Roll on summer.
Wednesday 25 February 2009 - Whimple
We met at The Thirsty Farmer, only two of us, though several prospective riders apologised. Still too dark and cold to sit outside, except for a few shivering smokers.
Wednesday 18 February 2009 - Aylesbeare
Local drinker Craig was on good form, until he was told off for over-filling the woodburner. Three of us turned up at the village inn, including newcomer Reece. The roads have suffered badly from the recent snow, ice and floods, and lanes particularly are covered in mud, gravel and full of potholes. Weather cool and dry.
Wednesday 11 February 2009 - Tipton St John
Only two riders braved the cold to cycle to the Golden Lion. It was a dark, starry night, on the verge of freezing by the time we headed home. Join us next week at the Aylesbeare Inn.
Wednesday 4 February 2009 - Newton Poppleford
The Cannon Inn is a new venue, and set to become a favourite with its log fire, real ales from the cask, and friendly staff. Only three riders braved the early evening sleeting rain. Our routes met at Tipton and we took the Three Elms Lane route to Newton Pop. Conversation ranged from bank fraud to imaginary friends, from the surreal to the merely smutty. The rain had stopped by the time we left - a lanes route back towards Honiton; the main road for the Exeter riders.
Wednesday 28 January 2009 - Clyst Hydon
More wind and rain; well, actually less rain than forecast. The Five Bells is the most remote of the Wednesday destinations, with potholed roads and muddy descents. Only two of us, and two apologies, this week. At least no one got lost on the way there this time.
Wednesday 21 January 2009 - Aylesbeare Inn
A change of venue because the Jack in the Green is closed for refurbishment. The wind was gusting and the rain squalling as we converged on Aylebeare. New member, Guy, arrived from Exeter with Sarah. Ian had an easier journey with the wind from Honiton. The beer and cider flowed, and the conversation sparkled as conversation does in the presence of alcohol. We noted the return of the tight red trousers (an in-joke). There was a brief alarm when someone smelled burning, and the regulars went to stand in the road and stare at the chimney. However it transpired that the pub wasn't on fire, and we continued our conviviality.
Contrary to the weather reports the wind had died down by the time we left, and the rain was lighter. The recent frosts have played havoc with the tarmac in the lanes - time for some pothole reports.
Wednesday 14 January 2009 - Thirsty Farmer
Steve joined the group for the first time, though there were only three of us in total. Although it was cold the roads were fairly dry, so no slipping and sliding.
Wednesday 7 January 2009 - Aylesbeare Inn
Dave and Ian, heading in via Ottery, found themselves skating over thin ice on the lane into the village. Sarah and Alan, who'd come from Exeter via the airport, had a less exciting ride. The pub was quiet until the skittles teams arrived: one of the teams has a warm-up routine derived from the New Zealand All Blacks. Still, it's better than a juke-box.