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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - October 2011

Tuesday 1 November - Escot and Exmouth

Ian reports:-

Ian was the only Bike Mini-Buser at the Swing Bridges, with Kirby and Sue having left early, so that KJ could put Sue through her paces in order to re-validate her Bike Bus Leadership Badge.


Debbie caught up at Exeter Airport and everyone met up at Straightway Head. Sue lead us all wonderfully down through Larkbeare and into Escot (almost via the Caravan Field entrance - LOL!!)

Debbie left after coffee so that she could go and train her puppy. The surviving 3 then made their way to Exmouth for sandwiches on the seafront and then a drink in The Beach Pub - no cake here, so just 16 pts.

A trip along the bike path, over the new Topsham bridge and back to the Swing Bridges.

60+ miles done - next week, a trip to Dartmoor!

Bike Bus Antarctica

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You will no doubt have noticed that we haven't had many reports from the Bike Bus Branch in Antarctica ...

... however I've just had a postcard from Mike ! to say that their winter is over and they've just had a delivery of bananas. Apparently for some reason they choose to have winter in June, July and August (if you're interested in knowing why you'll have to have a chat with Judy who understands these things).

On a recent camping trip (did I read that right!!) Mike spotted a 'sun'dog' and has supplied the adjacent picture.

Mike reports that attendance has been poor recently and that there is a very limited choice of cafes available.

Nevertheless Mike is to be congratulated in making a go of the Bike Bus franchise in such a challenging environment.

! Mike is Marianne's husband.

Coffee Wars Hot Up

It's not often that the Bike Bus Executive make a mistake ... but there was a small error in last week's report on Ted's New Coffee Machine.

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We reported that Geoff has six coffee machines. In fact talking to Penny we've discovered that if you include cafetieres as well as machines ... Geoff has an amazing fourteen devices for making a cup (or should that be a vat) of coffee.

Apparently this information made its way into the Cheriton Fitzpaine parish news as the electrical consupmtion of all these machines causes the mains voltage to drop in the Cadbury and Stockeigh Pomeroy areas such that 65% of the residents can't watch Downtown Abbey on their TVs when Geoff is making a brew.


Geoff, resourcefull as ever, decided to install his own private electricity supply and sourced some second hand photovoltaic cells to fit on his garage roof.

Now, when the sun is shines, Geoff is able to make a brew without upsetting his neighbours.

We believe that Ted has been seeking quotes to install a similar system on his house.

Bike Maintenance Courses

John reports:-

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So far two lessons have been completed. Dates have been chosen for the next few sessions and each session can take up to three students.

Lessons are from 10am to 12noon. No charge. Contact John on 01395 232610 or by email to book a place or find out more.

  • Saturday 5 November - Tyres and Tubes and cleaning chains - One vacancy
  • Saturday 12 November - No lesson
  • Saturday 19 November - Gear adjustment plus miscellaneous - One vacancy
  • Saturday 26 November - Lesson contents tbd Three vacancies

Marilyn's Elbow

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Unfortunately last week Marilyn Spurr suffered a tumble from her bike and fell awkwardly on her right arm.

The arm was very painfull and the following day she went to casualty where a broken elbow was diagnosed (to my inexpert eyes it looks like a fracture of the olecranon at the end of Marilyn's ulna).

Although she won't have to wear a cast - unfortunately she'll be off her bike for 4-6 weeks. We all wish Marilyn a speedy recovery.

Roger is now acquainting himself with vacuum cleaners and washing machines.

Thursday 27 October - Kenton, Leslie House

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Last week the weather was appalling, the sky was dark and sheets of rain greeted the band of cyclists who made their way down the west side of the Exe to Kenton.

Ted had drawn the short straw and was standing outside his house in the rain directing cyclists into Debbie's yard.

Inside the porch a clutch of cyclists writhed and wriggled to extract themselves from sodden jackets, overtrousers and booties ...

... before making their way into Debbie's warm and welcoming kitchen where a spread of cakes and hot drinks awaited us. When we had stuffed ourselves the next challenge was to eat bacon butties.

Debbie was assisted by her friend Teresa ... and her boys organised a raffle ... as a result of all their efforts they raised £130 for Cyclists Fighting Cancer. Brilliant!!!

Ted's New Coffee Machine

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Ted's discovery that Geoff has six coffee machines caused a fit of jelousy. He's since gone out and imported a seriously high end Italian expresso machine.

Ted informs me that it's got great retro looks, no-drip technology, an ample cup warmer space, 2 litre capacity, a convenient removable water tank, two interchangeable stainless steel baskets, a pressure of 15 bar, a frothing boiler ... I'm afraid I lost the will to live at this point.

In an attempt to go one better than Geoff Ted has decided to make his coffee machine mobile. To this end he's purchased a bike in matching red ... on which he's mounted the machine.

According to Susan he hasn't yet mastered the art of making an expresso on the move ... but in the space of 10 minutes, when stopped, he can rustle up a passable macchiato.

Measurements show that the coffee machine does 0 - 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

CTC Exeter Xmas Lunch - Sunday 11th December

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Don is organising this year's CTC Exeter Xmas Lunch.

It will be held at the Rufwell Inn outside Thorverton on Sunday 11th December.

A full menu and order form are available on-line. Alternatively Don can be contacted directly by email or phone (01395 274 069).

Tuesday 25 October - Honiton

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Ian writes:-

Not the Tuesday Bike Mini-Bus busiest ride. Ian and Richard sped off from Exeter at 09h15 on their flat ride to Honiton. Tried out the new bridge at Topsham before taking the southerly road to Woodbury.

Chineway sign.jpg

A wrong turn in Woodbury saw us climb up onto the top of the common before going along the ridge and descending into Ottery. Another wrong turn out of Ottery ended up in us seeing the stupid sign in the photo. Apparently it means the hill is well steep. Stupid Chineway Hill!! (won't be going up there again in a hurry). Bimbled along the top and Farway Common before dropping down into Honiton and BTP, where Steph made a guest appearance (sans velo)!

After coffee, we rode with the Wellington Wheelers, where most stopped off at Escot for lunch, whilst a few of us continued on to The Red Lion at Broadclyst (superb as always) - 22 pts.

60 odd miles covered - next week (TBC)

The above 'photo' of the 'Chineway Sign' immeadiately raised suspicions. It was passed to Bike Bus Intelligence.

In their detailed report Bike Bus Intelligence point out that this 'image' has been lifted from Google Street View ... thus it can not be construed as evidence that Ian and Richard actually rode or even went up Chineway Hill.

Thursday 20 October - Willand

Bike Bus Management decided to stay in bed as they had a slight snifle ...

Meanwhile Sue Booth (note a holder of a Bike Bus Leader's Badge) turned up at the Quay to find herself alone with two keen new riders. Unfortunaley she had forgotten ... the timetable, her watch, her husband, a map ... and even where she was supposed to go!!!

A few phone calls later she decided to head for the Swing Bridges where fortunately she met up with Roger and Marilyn who at least knew where the Bus was going. Amazingly over a dozen riders joined in and actually made it to Willand.

After coffee Stephanie reports:-

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It was Yvonne’s idea to route along the Culm valley ie Uffculme, Culmstock and Hemyock with that fantastic whizz down into Honiton. But Yvonne told me she isn’t keen on leading (something to do with not owning a map) – so, Ian rode ahead at times, (and did an excellent job of looping back to round up the rear) alongside Ken who both knew where to go, John may have been leading at times. I think I got ahead for a bit. And possibly Judy. Mike’s technical attachments may be been used – or ignored?

Fairly sure Glenis, Jill, Hugh, Trevor, Geoff, Penny, Sue Booth, Steve, the new couple and Don absolved themselves of all responsibility. But we did all arrive safely together, with no incidents to report other than the united opinion that it was cold.

PS The Bike Bus Executive is undertaking an urgent review of the qualifications required by a leader.


PPS Geoff and Penny have each been awarded a Black Sheep Award for unacceptable behaviour (I am unable to detail here what they did, but as always a detailed account is available to Premium Subscribers).

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Ian reports:-

Trevor, Ian, Richard and Nickie left the Quay at 09h15 and started the chase of the Booths who started off half an hour earlier. We all arrived at Ullacombe Farm Shop on time for coffee with the Teign Valley Pedal Bashers. They were on good form and using their local knowldege talked us into going to The Royal Oak in Ideford for lunch.

Mike led Sue, Trevor and Nickie on a 13 mile route via Haytor and Ilsington, whilst Ian and Richard did a 20 mile route via Haytor and Ashburton.

All arriving at more or less the same time, we tucked into sarnies and beer at The Royal Oak - all items purchased were first class and the landlord was very pleased to see a bunch of cyclists - they had a good range of puddings, teas, coffees etc - a little hilly to get there - 20 pts

We rode back via Ashcombe, Black Forest and Exminster

80+ miles covered, next week Boston Tea Party with the Wellington Wheelers

Thursday 13 October 2011 - Orange Elephant

Mike Booth has provided this rather cryptic report:-

sh(L)+sb = exm-bs

oe-(mb{L}+11) = 12(ri+de+rs)

mb-4 = 4(bsa){nn,npd}


(hu+gh)+(1p) = LL@D

mb+10 = vsh

5(bbp) = (s+m)(t+c)

Mike is offering a modest prize (to be awarded at the lunchtime event on 24th November) for the person who makes the best attempt at decoding the above report.

Entries should be sent to Mike's email address.

The usual small print applies

  • Family and relatives of Mike Booth are excluded
  • No correspondence will be entered into
  • The decision of Mike Booth will be final

Mountain Bike Day Out

On Thursday 27th October Debbie is very kindly hosting the Coffee Pot at Leslie House opposite Powderham Castle. On the same day we have arranged a mountain bike day out at Haldon Forrest.

Tom Pales (who some of you met on the bird spotting trip, or on his three wheeled ICE recumbent) is arranging a session including bike hire at lunchtime. The timetable is

10:30 arrive at Debbie's for refreshments 
11:30 leave Debbie's to climb Haldon Hill
12:30 meet Tom at Haldon Ridge cafe for MTB session

We will have a brief warm up in the skills area followed by rides round the Blue Trail and the Red Trail (or a repeat of the Blue Trail if red is not your colour). The Blue Trail contains no techical sections - and can be ridden (carefully) by any competent road cyclist.

If you are interested in signing up please let me know as soon as possible. The only cost will be bike hire (estimated at £5).

Investment Failure

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I'm sorry to have to report that one of the Bike Bus's major backers has run into a few difficulties over the last week.

At the moment, because of confidentiality agreements, we are unable to provide specific details but it is clear that for the moment we will be unable to offer any more expenses paid trips to 5 star hotels the south of France.

We are trying to identify a new sponsor who is in tune with the aims and aspirations of the bike bus - we will update you when more information is available.

Tuesday 11 October - Brampford Speke

Ian reports:-

4 Bike Mini-Busers left the swing bridges at 09h00 (Tom, Trevor, Richard and Ian). The Booths had a slight mechanical issue so made their own way to Brampford Speke.

We covered a route through East Devon, rode over the Culm Valley into the Exe Valley, where we headed southwards to meet up with the Wellington Wheelers and Bike Mini-Bus (Team B).

Unfortunately, the cafe was shut, so we had to go to the pub – The Lazy Toad – superb food (homemade pork pie!) and beer (local bitter from Silverton!) – a little pricey but good quality – not far from Exeter, 20 pts

After refreshments, a group headed back to Exeter, whilst the rest of us climbed up to Fursdon House, dropped down into Bickleigh, up the valley to Tiverton and the Eastwards to our second pub of the day – The Globe at Sampford Peverell.

Again, good beer and sticky puddings! – great value for money – 20 pts

70+ miles covered – next week Dartmoor!!

The Bike Bus' Third Anniversary

Orange elephant logo.png

Stephanie is organising a lunchtime meal on Thursday 24 November to celebrate three years of the Bike Bus. The meal will be at the Orange Elephant and will cost £12. A buffet will be followed by mince pies or ice-cream, cheese and bicsuits and tea and coffee.

In line with the Executive's policy of reducing Bike Bus numbers places will be severely limited. They will be assigned in the following order:-

  • members of the Bike Bus Executive,
  • the Executive's humble servant,
  • past winners of the coveted White Sheep award, and
  • riders who have not been given a Black Sheep award

If you think you qualify and want to attend let Stephanie know as soon as possible.

PS We will also discover whether the Bike Bus has passed its MOT.

Anna's Round Britain Ride - Update

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Last week we met Anna Hughes and Poly at the start of the last week of their two month ride around Britain.

After the Bike Bus ride with Anna I received three proposals of marriage to pass onto her plus an offer to ride round Britain with her if she does it again. As you will see in the attached Facebook post (avert your eyes Roger) I have declined these offers on Anna's behalf. To spare blushes I will not mention names (except to Premium Subscribers)

Anna subsequently wrote:-

Thanks Kirby - and thanks again for getting in touch, organising the bike bus to fit with my ride, presenting me with the lovely badge which I will stitch to my cycling shorts, providing such enjoyable company for the day, and sending the photos. I had a lovely time! And your facebook comment made me laugh and laugh!


Poly Celebrates!
Anna arrives at Tower Bridge

Anna has described her visit to East Devon on her blog.

Today (Tuesday 11 October) is Anna's last day on the road - she is cycling from Whitstable in Kent to Tower Bridge. She is due to arrive at 6pm - we wish her a safe journey ...

... the great news is that Anna and Poly both arrived safely at Tower Bridge ... what a fantastic achievement ... well done both!!!

Thursday 6 October - Uffculme, Cold Harbour Mill

Stephanie reports on events post-coffee:-

Judy suggested I commented on the ride as she was pre-occupied with reaching Plymouth in time for her ferry.

Did Kirby take the train?

We pedalled like fury despite hills around Hemyock, stopping only a couple of times to don waterproofs. Good team effort with Judy setting the pace, me supposedly 'reading' the map with Ken and Ian’s local knowledge on stand by when the route drifted between two maps and between folds. Spying the slower bimbly riders ahead at Hartridge we assumed they had taken a short cut somewhere. Anxious debate over lunch in Honiton revealed that the bimblers might have indeed gone a negligible distance further as they took the flatter route north of River Culm at Culmstock – so sadly I have to concede that they might just have done better than us and should therefore be congratulated.

Three groups left Boston Tea Party – we stopped for biscuits but caught up with Marilyn and Pauline at Weston. 4 of us onto Chez Houghton via a NEW ROAD through Curscombe (whistle, whistle?), for builders tea, triple choc biccies and review of recent building work.

PS. we need to know whether the road from Gipsy Cross through Madford is a new one?

Also do new roads count after lunch or only between coffee and lunch?

Judy and Stephanie's Route
Bimblers' Route

I'll leave you to decide on the effectiveness of Judy and Stephanie's map reading!

Tims broken chainring.jpg

You will have no doubt noticed that the Executive returned from their holidays in a good mood - and no Black Sheep awards have been made.


This clearly couldn't last ...

... Tim was due to go on a trip to France last weekend ... and, can you believe it, foolishly he hadn't been on one of John's maintenance courses ... and ignored a ticking noise from his chainset ...

... the inevitable happened and Tim has been given a well deserved Black Sheep Award.

At the moment four riders - Sue Booth, Tim Green, Jill Hockmouth and John Rowland - top the Black Sheep table. Sue Booth's position on top is all the more remarkable in that she spent four months outside the country.

Wellington Wheelers Charity Ride - Sunday 23 October 2011

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Wellington Wheelers are organising a charity ride in support of St Margaret's Hospice on Sunday 23 October. Rides of 10, 20, 20 and 50 miles are available.

Full details are available here.

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.

Tuesday 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.

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