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Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports

3SundayDECEMBER

Oxford Fringe

86 km  x4  x4  x1
Ride Category
Twice as many riders as last year and much milder, in fact over-dressed mild!

It was very dull in Wantage at 9am with a little mizzle in the air so it was lights required as we headed towards Oxford. This is one of my favourite routes taking in several of the villages of Oxford e.g. Wytham, Wolvercote and Marston.

The road down through Stanton St. John and Forest Hill is an absolute joy with views on both sides although rather shrouded in mist today.

Ladder Hill in Wheatley is a toughie but thankfully it comes just before the refreshment stop and not just after!! We were just in time for full English breakfasts at Mill View Garden Centre before they changed to lunch service so we all tucked in!

The run back to Wantage went past the home of the Mighty Yellows to Sandford Lock and onwards through Abingdon. The Sun deciding to put in an appearance for some early winter brightness.

It was a straightforward ride back to the Market Square along the Hanney Road and the A338 and finished at bang on 2pm.

Well done to all and thank you for your company :)

29WednesdayNOVEMBER

Winter Evening Ride

32 km  x3
Ride Category
Just 3 out tonight, Dave was rather unlucky in having a car puncture stop him riding. It wasn't quite as cold as we had feared, and we kept up a reasonable pace so we neither got chilled, nor too sweaty and damp - Goldilocks would have been proud.

Mike had to head straight back at the end (congrats on the acquisition of a new grandchild!), but Dave joined us in the Fox, where we did an impromptu ride leader training session.
26SundayNOVEMBER

Welcome Ride

50 km  x10  x2  x3
Ride Category
Ten hardy souls braved the cold for a bracing ride around the vale. Undulating start to warm everyone up, then flat across the vale to a welcome warm up at the coffee stop in the Bampton Garden Centre. Blast up Buckland hill and an enjoyable ride through the lanes back to Wantage.
25SaturdayNOVEMBER

Corallian Cycle Surgery

 x7  x1
It was a rather quiet event, but we managed to sort out a few bike with persistent problems - valve cores and calliper brakes and gear indexing. It does make you realise just how good the engineering in modern bike components is when you have to try and sort out old school bikes!

Terry and Jenny rode across - Jenny's bike having just had a service, so running like a dream, and Terry's looking like it needed one! At least Terry's ride home had better functioning gears than his ride over!

Thanks to the Talbots and Adrian for coming over to lend moral support and scoff Mrs Higgs' Exceedingly Good Cakes.
19SundayNOVEMBER

North Hampshire Downs

95 km  x7  x4
Ride Category
It was a chilly but fine start at Woolton Hill even for Louis who had cycled over form Wantage, and the warming climb up to Ashmansworth was very welcome. We then hit the splendidly quiet, and splendidly dirty and potholed lanes of North Hampshire. Alas it was not long before the first of a series of enforced breaks for which this ride will unfortunately be remembered.

Barry's broken chain (in two places!) was repaired, along with a puncture, and Richard's tyre punctured in sympathy. Barry rode on gingerly to Whitchurch where he decided to retreat, but not before Jez punctured as we entered the town.

Louis kindly forewent his caffeine stop and we headed up the hill towards Micheldever Station. Shortly after Richard punctured again - a cut tyre was the culprit here. It was now touch and go as to whether we get to Alresford before they stopped serving breakfast (noon)! Finally we crossed the footbridge by the ford, alongside the cress beds of Alresford, and made our way to the Courtyard Café, where we had the upstairs room to ourselves and enjoyed the breakfasts despite arriving 5 minutes late.

Dave yet again took on insufficient ballast at lunch - only Jez seemed to be able to hold his wheel, and the roads of the return leg were fast and straight with sweeping views in the afternoon sun. With 10 km to go, a puncture-free afternoon seemed on the cards, so Dave contrived one (5th of the day)! Still we were back at the cars by 1530 as it started to feel chilly again.

Thanks everyone for a very enjoyable ride despite a little adversity.

Now for the quiz! What should you carry to repair:
1. A 9 speed chain? — No, sorry it's not an 11 speed quick link.
2. A punctured 700C x 25 tyre with rim drilled for a Presta valve? — Nope I'm afraid neither a 26" tube nor a 700C tube with a Schrader valve will cut it.
15WednesdayNOVEMBER

Winter Evening Ride

46 km  x4
Ride Category
A lovely warm evening and a warm welcome to Simon Haly on his first Corallian ride.

Only five of us again tonight. Really odd as it was really warm and calm. Many Corallian's missed a great ride. Where were you all???

The roads were quite greasy to start with and both Guy and Simon had earlier spills before meeting us in Wantage. Guy came off on his way to the ride. Luckily there were no injuries or damage.

We set off at a good pace and followed the planned route without a hitch, that is until I was too busy nattering and missed a turn. After a little re-routing we blasted down the A338 to Garford where Guy left us to get back to West Hanney. We actually saw him again when we got to Hanney so he might as well have stayed with us through Garford. Hey Ho.

The rest of the ride went without issue, we dropped Simon off at Denchworth and made our way back to a yobbo and boy racer filled market place in Wantage - Lovely.

A really good ride! More Corallians on the rides to come please.
12SundayNOVEMBER

Morning Ride

82 km  x6  x2
Ride Category
Main talking point today was the cold northerly wind which proved a boon on the homeward leg but posed a leg-sapping challenge for the first two hours of riding. We managed to dodge the various Remembrance Day services being held in villages en route. The proposed single-track through the woods was dropped as the path was deep in very slippery leaf-mulch. Aston Pottery seems increasingly to be the cycling Mecca of Oxfordshire: there must have been at least 50 riders there today. They served me a Rocky Road the size of a house-brick, so perhaps it’s not surprising. Back in Wantage just after 1 p.m. – not bad, given the adverse conditions.
8WednesdayNOVEMBER

Winter Evening Ride

40 km  x5
Ride Category
Well this ride was one for the books!

Surprisingly, only four riders met at the start of the ride in Wantage and we were at a loss to why there were so few? We were expecting at least double our number, but we soon discovered why there were so few.

Dave, Mike, Chris and myself decided to head straight to Hanney from Wantage as we were unsure if the Denchworth road into Hanney was still closed. Traffic was unusually heavy for the time of evening and I said to the other riders "perhaps traffic has been diverted due to an accident on the A34 or something". When we got a short way down the Hanney road to Steventon I had been correct unfortunately.

Cars were flashing us and we were told to turn round by a passing driver. Dave decided to ride on to see if we could pass and the rest of us followed. Eventually we came across a line of traffic halted by a double decker bus straddling the entire road at 90 degrees! We speculated to what chain of events caused it to be there as Dave squeezed past it on his return from even more carnage from a serious accident further on.

We all agreed to turn around out of respect for the victims and emergency services and headed back to Hanney. This was one of the reasons we had few riders, they couldn't get to us. One did but didn't catch us - read on.

We all agreed to salvage the ride and create an ad-hoc route as we rode on to Frilford missing Abingdon and a large chunk of the planned route entirely. We deviated slightly by adding a little extra to the rest of the planned route and we eventually got back to Wantage on the last part of the route as planned. Luckily we only lost about 10 km but it was bitterly cold so we were glad to get back early.

While all this was going on John had arrived a few minutes late due to the traffic caused by the accident and tried his best to catch us up. Alas we changed the route and he missed us! He did 50 km trying to chase us down so he deserves being added to tonight's ride report as he rode harder and further than the rest of us!
5SundayNOVEMBER

Alvescot

110 km  x12
Ride Category
It was a nippy morning, so I was part-delighted and part-horrified (we were going to be 4 short on the lunch booking - please, please if ride leaders asks you to confirm attendance to make bookings work, get in touch and confirm ASAP) to see 12 riders turn out.

Within a mile, though, we had lost one of the riders due to an unlikely conspiracy of perlican crossing, puncture, and nobody noticing. Abject apologies to Chris, and as ride secretary, I've already put a note out to the ride leaders so we can all learn from the incident, and hopefully never have a repeat.

Anyhow, it was a bit of a slog heading into the wind through the Vale and onto some new lanes for some through Sevenhampton and the outskirts of Swindon to get to Hannington. Top effort from Dave, sitting on the front and providing a diesel engine and wind-break to the peloton. After Hannington, it was a much more undulating ride in the southern Cotswolds (with one or two spots of rain thrown in, for atmosphere), and as we turned eastwards, the tailwind became most welcome.

Lunch at the Plough was superb, and they managed to squeeze us all in (elbow etiquette was critical!). Louis made us wait in the cold afterwards, as he fixed a puncture that appeared over lunch, and I made the group wait a little longer as I fixed my hung GPS computer...

The afternoon was a gentler affair, the tailwind still helping and Sunday roasts sitting heavy in the stomach. A few new lanes near Aston, where Andy also had and mended a puncture in lightning quick time, and we trod familiar paths back to Wantage, arriving as predicted at 3:30.

A lovely day of riding in chilled company and with mostly sunny (if cold and windy) weather.
1WednesdayNOVEMBER

Winter Evening Ride

48 km  x8
Ride Category
A fantastic turnout for the first Winter Wednesday ride of the 2017/2018 cold season.

8 riders left Wantage for a very enjoyable ride. Temperatures dropped quite a bit and some of us experienced numb fingers and toes. I expect next week will be bolstered with warmer winter clothes. Temperatures lifted and dropped quite a bit in various places by an estimated 3 or 4 degrees, causing bizarre fogging up of glasses at random and a nice perceived waft of warm air occasionally.

The route was perfect for the first ride out in the dark. Holes and dodgy items/ road surfaces were called properly and the group maintained a nicely ordered peloton.

As expected on the first winter ride, some of us had battery issues with lights but there were plenty of spares to hand out if needed. Tom being the only rider needing assistance with emergency lighting.
The pace wasn't dramatic and we all made it around the 50 km route in a nice chilled manner, just spinning the legs. Apart from Chris of course having to push a bit harder on his single speed on the undulations.

A good start! See you again in the weeks to come.