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Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports

18SundayJUNE

Cotswolds Ride to Winchcombe

101 km  x4  x5
Ride Category
A wonderful hot sunny day (could this be England?), but not overpowering (until you stopped when sweat gushed forth and the flies descended).
Someone remarked that this ride was like a trip back in time. The Cotswold villages seemed from pre-WW2 and we were passed from time to time by old Bentleys on their way to Winchcombe (https://www.bdcl.org/events/concours).

After the customary navigational error (this time in Cirencester, home of the giant hare) we headed up the gentle incline of the White Way, eventually giving way to the Compton Abdale Alps. All were happy to tackle an off-road section of the Winchcombe Way after which a high speed descent of Salters Hill (where the cattle grid at the bottom proved too much for my Garmin mount!) led us on to our lunch stop. Hayles Farm Cafe was quiet and the early lunch at 1130 was particularly appreciated by John (50 km + 56 km self-inflicted punishment!).

Post-lunch, the main climbs, Corndean Lane and the Withington Lung Buster, stung the legs but earned us another refreshment stop. At Denfurlong Farm Cafe we were greeted by a barbecue (fortunately for us, though sadly for the organisers, undersubscribed) and a singer/guitarist couple. Fortified by some excellent farm-made ice cream we headed back at a decent lick.
Good company and glorious views. Highlight perhaps was the sweeping descent down the valley from Hawling towards Guiting Power.
14WednesdayJUNE

Wednesday Evening Ride

42 km  x6  x1
Ride Category
Barry organised a wonderful route that although only 42km long had plenty of climbs. We headed out towards the Letcombes and up Court Hill for the first climb of the evening. We then dropped down to Fawley before searching out all the hills between Brightwalton, Leckhamstead, West Ilsley and Farnborough.

Chris and Adrian dropped off at Farnborough to return home as they had already done a pre-ride and the remaining group returned to Wantage via Chain Hill.

Great weather and company .
11SundayJUNE

Morning Ride

68 km  x8  x4
Ride Category
The usual quiet of Wantage square was disturbed this morning by preparations for the town fair. A slight route change to avoid barriers saw us on the way to Lambourn via Letcombe Bassett into a brisk southerly wind. Skirting around Hungerford we began the build up for classic Combe Gibbet climb, which proved steep but relatively short (and on this route can be conveniently bypassed for anyone not feeling the urge). The coffee and cake break at the Crown & Garter was a little longer than anticipated owing to the speed of the local baristas. With the wind moving onto our backs we maintained a good pace northwards back toward Wantage. With the town fair in full flow we dispersed without the usual finish at King Alfred.
7WednesdayJUNE

Wednesday Evening Ride

50 km  x4
Ride Category
Four of us left Alfreds Statue with daunting thoughts about riding the length of the lumpy spring line road, but we were in for a welcome treat.

Luckily, the road was pretty wind-free and sheltered and we made it to Ashbury in a good time. We only had to deal with moderate wind for the mile and a half to Bishopstone where we left the ancient road.

Jon was kind enough to give us a brief tour and introduction to a newly refurbished pub which looks like a good future stop and also showed us a very quiet route out of Bishopstone to Bourton.

Once in Shrivenham, it was obvious the wind was directly on our backs pushing us all the way to Fernham and then onto Baulking.
We rode the well-known wind assisted roads through Goosey to Denchworth and back to Wantage dropping off Jon and Barry earlier in the ride.

Only Louis and I felt the start of the rain just as we were coming into Wantage. We timed that right!

Another excellent Corallian Wednesday ride!

4SundayJUNE

No lakes, but hills and rivers

18 km  x2  x1
Ride Category
It was fair to say today didn't go to plan. One lake, no hills, no rivers. Overnight it had rained quite a bit, and it was raining heavily at leaving time, so we postponed. Although there was no organised rain pattern, clearly the Cambrian mountains were creating their own rain (orographic, so I was told!).

We decided to do a circuit of Bala Lake in the interludes between showers, and it proved a very mellow effort indeed. The wind had whipped up quite a swell on the lake so it was actually hard to pick out the swimmers competing in the triathlon that day - rather them than me!

Not quite what we had planned, but a chilled spin to help remove Saturday from our legs.

4SundayJUNE

Long Half Day

82 km  x3
Ride Category
A cracking ride. Weather was a bit dull with a significant headwind in the second half and even a few drops of rain. The new section of paved single-track was voted as nifty and will be a firm fixture on re-runs of this route. Coffee stop at Aston Pottery. Back in Wantage well before 1.00 p.m.
3SaturdayJUNE

Five Lakes, and up a mountain

95 km  x2  x13
Ride Category
The day dawned with nice weather - always worth throwing a waterproof in though....

We climbed out of Bala up the Tryweryn valley, stopping for coffee at the Welsh National White Water Centre, with paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson sitting at the next table to us sporting the blingiest wheelchair ever - motorised detachable front end, carbon-spoked wheels, Hope disc brakes and a Garmin for good measure!

On with the climb up to Lyn Celyn, where we took a quick detour to ride the dam wall. Shortly afterwards we turned off onto an altogether quieter road to take us over the desolate moors of Ffridd Nant-Crethyll, from which we could see the ultimate aim of the ride - the dam high on Moelwyn Mawr which holds back the pump storage Lyn Stwlan.

After the built-up area of Ffestiniog, we hoisted our bikes over the gate and got on with the climb up to Lyn Stwlan. It really is a tough one, nearly always over 8% and quite often up to 15%. Still, the views from the top more than made up for the effort. The descent was taken reasonably gingerly, although there was a dodgy moment when a lamb decided to cross at an inopportune moment. There was blue smoke from my rear tyre, and deep gouges in it from the skid on a rough surface!

After lunch, there was a lovely descent down to just short of Maentwrog, followed by a long drag of a climb all the way to Trawsfynydd, punctuated by a break under some trees while a heavy rain storm passed. Bronaber saw us turn off the main A470 road for a gated pass across the moors - desolate, beautiful, exposed. We saw kestrels, red kites, buzzards and a stooping peregrine falcon on the journey over, together with lots of gurning on the uphill stretches, of which there were quite a few.

Descending follows climbing though, and we made the best of it! A quick route amendment saw us go around the quieter south side of Bala lake. Comedy moment of the day was when John took a hedge stop high above Llanwchllyn with a view down to the railway station... the same railway station that contained John's family, who looking up high onto the ridge, saw the Corallian top and took a photograph...

Ice-creams back at the campsite felt very well-earned - a tough day riding!


31WednesdayMAY

Wednesday Evening Ride

49 km  x6
Ride Category
Delightful evening to be riding, with 6 evenly-matched riders enjoying the sunshine and the company, oh, and a pint and giggles at the Fox afterwards. It was good to see Alan out with us again, on his new Mekk. There was something about the conditions this evening that made it seem effortless, even though we kept up a decent pace throughout. Magic.

28SundayMAY

Welcome Ride

52 km  x6  x1  x2
Ride Category

The welcome ride lived up to its name today, as we welcomed me as ride leader, Dave Godfrey as a new member and Joy Arthur.
After climbing Hackpen Hill we were rewarded with great views of the Lambourn valley while descending via Sheepdrove. another climb out of Eastbury saw us on to the B4000 just so we could descend back into Lambourn via Baydon road.
Excellent timing for the café stop ( if I do say so myself ) saw us watered and fed before the onrush of other cyclists
Back to Wantage via Sevenbarrows at a perfect and social pace. Thanks to all for a very enjoyable ride.
24WednesdayMAY

Wednesday Evening Ride

46 km  x9  x2
Ride Category
A beautiful warm evening for a ride. A very pleasant and sociable ride up to White Horse Hill where the low golden Sun made for fantastic vistas.

A chilled ride back through the Vale came to an abrupt end when John hit a large stone near Charney Bassett which initially seemed to have just caused a puncture but after repairing that it became clear it had also caused terminal damage to his derailleur. Barry came to the rescue with a sag wagon whilst the others continued to the pub.

Eventually we were all re-united for a drink in the pleasant King Alfred's Head frontage.
21SundayMAY

Ironstone Country

108 km  x4  x5
Ride Category
At last some decent late spring weather. A bit chilly to start with but we had fine warm weather for the majority of this ride.

Lumpy adequately describes this route but the views and chocolate box villages make up for it. There are too many highlights to list but Epwell, Edgehill, Burton Dassett and Warmington are a few.

A bit of a niggly headwind back from the excellent lunchstop at the Herb Centre but John had left the Iron (Maiden) on so was keen on a prompt finish!!