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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - September 2011

Bike Maintenance

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John Rowland will be organising some 2 hour basic bike maintenance courses over the winter. The courses will be held on Saturday mornings in Aylesbeare starting at 10:00. The dates of the first set of courses are 22 and 29 October then 5 and 12 November. The lessons will be kept simple with practise on students' own bikes.

  • Lesson 1: Changing an inner tube, mending a puncture, types of tyre, different valves, types of pump with advantages of each. Taking front and rear wheels off and on. Inspecting spokes and rims, rim tapes. etc.
  • Lesson 2: Brake pads, changing pads, setting brakes. types of brakes. Brake cables and outers (replacing would be another lesson). Disc brakes changing pads.

29 September - Exmouth, King's Garden Centre

Don reports:-

As a 'non-premium subscriber' to the Bike Bus reports last Thursday I experienced my 1.9 minute of fame. I joined, as a passenger at Topsham Station and followed the instructions/directions to arrive at Kings Garden Centre via the cycle track at Darts Farm to Lympstone, up over Woodbury Common. A few riders managed to fall behind, and much to my amazement, the 'High Priest Privileged Subscriber (Alleged)' asked me to lead the others to coffee.

Bike Bus on Sidmouth Beach

After coffee, a democratic decision was reached, without my involvement, that I would lead the faithful busers on to Sidmouth sea front for the ritual sandwich eating.

Within 1.9 minutes of leaving Kings, three experienced busers disappeared, apparently making important business calls by telephone and not observing the very clear hand signals to turn right down Marley Lane to Brixington, we eventually all came together at Littleham to ride along the railway track to Budleigh, along Granary Lane to the track alongside the river to Otterton and than up Peak Hill to Sidmouth.

After the sandwiches, Susan G. lead us a new exit route up to the Bowd Inn on the Sidmouth Road and along the cycle track to Tipton St. John, up the popular Metcombe Hill to West Hill. Susan very kindly invited us in for tea, which was spent sitting in their lovely garden discussing the technical aspects of producing your own electricity from solar panels. Ted was very enthusiastic and led the debate for the motion. Naturally the majority agreed with Ted as we sat drinking in the hospitality. Upon leaving down his grand driveway we noticed the 25 solar panels on his roof.

Tuesday Report - 4 October - Jurasic Coast

Ian relates:-

Anna arriving on ferry

This week was an extra special Bike Mini-Bus, as we accompanied Anna Hughes on her round the coast of the UK charity bike ride.

Alistair's photoshoot

Riding out from Exeter, we took the Exe Cycle Path to Exmouth, where we had time for a quick tea stop before Anna's arrival. Dock's Cafe served us well, with great value for money teas and coffees. We didn't quite have the stomach for their breakfasts, although they looked superb! - 20 pts.

Upon Anna's arrival, Alistair Cope (AVP) shepherded us for a photo call and then we were on our way. Following the coast, we nipped up and over Peak Hill and had a brief stop at Connaught Gardens for a snackette. Massive cakes as normal, homemade soup for some! - 21 pts.

After Sidmouth came the never ending hills of Observatory hill and Branscombe. We were all impressed at how well Anna rode up considering all the extra weight of full panniers (16.5 kilos) that she was carrying. This extra weight served her well though on the descent into Seaton via Beer Hill. As we sat eating sandwiches on the beach at Seaton, Anna went for a quick paddle in the sea (very brave of her - see SAS report).

Anna with her Bike Bus Leader's badge
Poly sharing Kirby's coffee

We then had a cuppa at Pebbles cafe - 15 pts - loses points for distance from Exeter and amount of climbing to get there! Anna was presented with a donation to the Sustrans charity and a Bike Bus leader's badge before she departed on her way to Weymouth. The Bike Mini-Bus headed north-west to Honiton, where some riders continued on towards Cullompton and others returned westwards to Exeter.

75 miles covered - an awful lot of hills - but sun and smiles all round!

Next week, a trip to Brampford Speke and beyond.

We've had some complaints about the lack of statistics in recent Bike Bus reports (sad I know). Fortunately Glenis has returned from her Duct Tape assisted holiday and has been in a position to supply some figures.

Anna and Poly have an average age of 18!! and the 16 Bike Bussers out on Tuesday had an average age of 61. Glenis calculates that the combined age of the group was thus 56 years.

So we conclude that the Bike Bus' age was temporarily reduced by 5 years and Anna's Team's average age increased by 38 years.

22 September - Stoke Cannon, Pete and Jean's

As four of the party who had visited 63 cafes in the Dordogne returned ... today was always going to be a relaxed ride.

Amazingly ... despite the Executive's policy of reducing Bike Bus numbers ... two new cyclists turned up ... Richard and Sandy.

We all made it to Pete and Jean's to find a real spread ... together with a custom cake celebrating some of our highest achieving members.

After coffee Stephanie bravely took on the leader's banner ... and earned her whistle after finding a new road somehere north of Ashclift Forest. Unfortunately in her enthusiam ... and forgeting the Executive's instruction to loose people ... she managed to round up 20 cyclists.

All found their way to Escot ... and after another very leisurely break ... set off to Budleigh for a prolonged lunch stop.

Bike Bus Noise

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Yesterday I received a very official looking email from the Enviromental Services Department at East Devon Council in Sidmouth advising me that they have had numerous complaints about the noise emitted by the Bike Bus. Unknown to me they have been taking covert measurements as the Bike Bus passes and we have been exceeding the limit for trucks of 80dB(A) by a considerable margin (as laid down in Directive 70/157/EEC and subsequent amendments).

They are considering further action ... so can I please ask you to be a bit quieter in future.

Police Investigation

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Even more disturbing is a letter I have received from the police. Apparently a 'mad woman' has been regularly frightening men in public conveniences around Devon. There is circumstantial evidence that the woman is in fact a cyclist.

The police have recovered footage from a CCTV camera located at the Lympstone public conveniences. The footage is in black and white and is rather indistinct and grainy ... but the police have asked me to circulate the images to local cyclists to see whether the woman can be identified. If you have any information which might be of help to the police please ring their hotline on 07783 672 516.

Tuesday Report - 27 September - Somerset Levels

Ian reports:-

After a flat ride from Cullompton to Talaton to Honiton to Stockland to Chard to Dowlish Wake, we (Ian, Richard, Steve) arrived at the Cider Farm to taste their wares.

Why has Richard got flowers growing out of his shoulder?

Kirby was already there, established with tea, cake and a newspaper (he must have started out very early or taken some train assistance - can't believe it would be the latter though!) so, BZs to Kirby for starting out early from Exeter.

After a pint of cider (Sweet Vintage), we went off for a speedy ride round the levels, whilst Kirby went on a slower ride with the Wellington Wheelers.

We all met up at Ian's mum and dad's house, where the spread, (as Richard put it), 'made the Merry Monk look like basic rations'. There were 4 varieties of sandwiches, 2 varieties of savoury pastries, 2 fruit baskets, a cheeseboard, 3 varieties of home baked by mum cakes, tea/coffee, orange/apple juice and mineral water!! - The top of the leaderboard score of 25 pts still stands!!

After lunch, Kirby went with the Wellington Wheelers off to Taunton, not sure why, but eagerly await his reasons in writing, whilst the rest of us climbed up to Castle Neroche, before a dash across the Smeatharpe/Dunkeswell strip. After dropping down into Broadhembury, Steve peeled off south towards home whilst Ian and Richard pressed on to the end of the ride in Cullompton

80+ miles and far too many slices of cake (thanks mum!!) ... next week The Orange Elephant.

Windmill Hill?

Fake Windmill

The excellent lunch was provided atop 'Windmill Hill'.

From a distance we could see the windmill ... so on cresting said hill we stopped for a closer look. As luck would have it we were accompanied by a member of Bike Bus Intelligence ... whose suspicions were immeadiately aroused.

The 'sails' proved to be fixed (immovably) ... and from the top of the tower radiation emmisions at a frequency of approximately 450 MHz were detected. This immeadiately suggested that the 'windmill' was in fact a 2G mobile phone mast. How dissapointing!

However the lunch was definitely not a fake!!! Very many thanks to Mr and Mrs Lindsay and to young James for providing such a rewarding stop.

The Bus Bus Executive Return Safe and Sound

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Last week the Bike Bus Executive plus seven guests and myself were exploring the Dordogne, Lot and Cele rivers in South West France.

You will be pleased to know that the Executive have returned safe and sound.

A complete report on the groups' activities can be found here.

You can find out

  • who had a raptor land on her head
  • who visited the pilgrim shrine at Rocamador ... and then ricked her ankle
  • who won the canoe race down the Dordogne
  • who ate the most figs
  • who had to visit a French doctor

15 September - Tour of Britain, Exeter & Exmouth

In the continued absence of the Bike Bus Executive Mike Booth writes:-

A beautiful sunny autumn day. Bikebus 1st Request Stop on the Cathedral Green, to mingle with the extremely fit preparing to ride this ToB Stage. Sus was particularly taken with No 12 (don't think they got on name terms) who lingered near her at the start.

Eventually away they all went, & so did we 7 plus driver. Picked up 2 at the Swing Bridge, then Jill joined at the Blue Ball. Leisurely ride to Otterton Mill for lunch, arriving at 1217, 3 minutes ahead of published timetable. Saw Tim & Judy there, but they unable to continue with us due to other things. Group enlarged by the addition of Diana, Debbie & Sarah, so off to Exmouth. Saw Don selling his buns (!) & were introduced to some of his ladies, who seemed to like the look of Hugh. Then the finish, the usual lycra & carbon blur as they hurtled to the line (the ToB, not Don, Hugh & ladies!).

Chris winning tob 2011.jpg

Good day, but haven't a clue who won, think some bloke called Mark was 1st, then another Mark was 2nd, but probably not anybody famous. Of more concern, we never saw Ian at the finish. Tom reported he had joined him to ride to Haytor, but could only stay with him until Bovey Tracey, and after that ...?

However, much more disturbing was the action of one Bike Buser, who decided (in an action reminicent of the events in the 1904 Tour de France) to try to win the race using underhand methods.


The individual involved put on his best yellow jersey, and rode down Carton Hill to the sea front several minutes ahead of the main field.

For this indiscretion Chris Brightman has been given a Black Sheep Award.

Tuesday Report - 20 September - Shaldon

Ian reports:-

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6 Bike Mini-Busers left the Swing Bridges at 09h00, with Debbie leading the way on her brand new carbon Trek bike. After various hills, we arrived at Shaldon, to try the BeachComber Cafe.

Breakfast was good (according to Mike), cake was tasty (according to Steve), and drinks all round were good quality - A great setting, although a couple of main roads to negotiate to get there - 19 pts.

Steve ignoring canoodling

Debbie had to go and train her puppy, so zoomed off early, whilst Mike wanted to show Sue some rocks that we had seen on the way to coffee. So that left just Ian, Richard and Steve, to negotiate the Combeinteignhead/Newton Abbott road, cross Newton Abbott and the A38, climb up to Trenchford/Tottiford/Kennick reservoirs, and then scramble (literally, as the road was a little short on the tarmac front) down to The Artichoke Inn at Christow.

We were made very welcome - Steve got free chips with his sandwiches!! - Ian only wanted to stay for one beer and then make a move, but both Steve and Richard insisted that they stayed for a second - ah well! democracy rules! - 19 pts.

After a trip up a secret road to ascend Longdown, the usual dash back down to Exeter followed.

75 miles done, next week a trip to Somerset!

Tuesday Report - 13 September - Teign Valley

Ian reports:-

Ian, Steve, Tom and Debbie left the Swing Bridges at 09h00, en route to a rendezvous with the Booths at Balls Farm Road. Once all were aboard the Bike Mini-Bus, we left via Ide to try and find the flat route to Dunsford. We failed, apparently, as Mike searched for first gear! I'm sure if Kirby had planned the route, there would have been no complaints!

We arrived at Dunsford via a dodgy bridge crossing. Exeter CTC outnumbered the TVPB 6 to 4, but they ordered more breakfasts than we did. A dash down the Teign Valley, saw us arrive at Tastebuds in Kingsteignton for lunch. Great value for money, only £1.20 for hot chocolate. Steve commented how good the coffee was. Everyone was impressed, so a score of 21pts

We came back to Exeter, via Teignmouth Golf Club hill and then Black Forest Lodge. Mike had a couple of fights with some wasps, but came out on top 2-0.

Next week, a trip to the seaside and a new cafe in Shaldon!!

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