Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports


Wantage to Farringdon Tuesday Ride

 52 km  423 m  02:22  x5  x1
Ride Category

A chilly start to the ride, but no rain! With the advantage of some local knowledge (Phil) we by-passed Letcombe due to some road closures. When we reached the hill going up to Little Coxwell we encountered another closed ride, fortunately a driver waiting at the closed road sign said it was closed due to fallen telephone pole, but thought it was passable – he was waiting to get into his house just by the telephone pole as he had not been told the road would be closed! We made it through and arrived at the Faringdon Coffee House and cleaned them out of their choux buns!! The trip back to Wantage was uneventful, decided to avoid The Denchworth Road so had to go on the busy A338 for a short stretch. An enjoyable ride with no rain for a change.

Welcome Ride - The Cantorist

 54 km  253 m  02:23  x2
Ride Category
Lovely ride in the Vale. A bit cool at first but it soon warmed up.
After an initial loop and brief exertion up Fawler Hill we stopped at The Cantorist in Childrey. Given recent nearby closures it was great to see a popular local cafe. We joined a table with two cyclists from Newbury and as we sat down a 9 person peleton arrived from Witney.
The second loop was comfortable until we stretched our legs at Lains Barn.

Bloomfields - flat

 54 km  207 m  02:11  x5  x1
Ride Category
Mild conditions and a flat route tempted several members out of hibernation. They might have regretted it a little as we battled a steady headwind when not sheltered by the hedgerows. One of the benefits of the wind was the drying out of the vale following Saturday night’s downpour.
We took our time with coffee and carbs in Shrivenham, wondering how our legs would feel on the return journey. With the wind at our backs they weren’t tested. We returned to the market place in bright warming sunshine.
Thanks for a pleasant outing!

From Faringdon to Jolly Nice Cafe

 66 km  543 m  02:56  x4  x4
Ride Category
Even before this ride could start there were challenges to be overcome.
Oxfordshire was awash after last nights rain with several roads flooded. Each of us were forced to drive different routes through this water world to the start in Faringdon, Andy being the last to arrive - hampered as he was by driving a microcar.

We cast off only slightly behind the scheduled embarkation time and were soon sailing along in the unexpectedly warm conditions. We encountered numerous submerged sections, some of which were quite deep. We got through most of these by adopting the approach of waiting until a car came along so that we could watch them and gauge the depth before proceeding with caution. This worked well except for one section near Down Ampney where no obliging motor turned up and we decided it best to take a detour.

Reaching the Cotswold Water Park, which today was indistinguishable from the surrounding fields, we decided to check out the Lake 12 cafe and then to take a shortened route back. The cafe has a nice (all year round) lakeside location with a deck to sit on and take in the views. The food offering was OK, fine for coffee & cake but otherwise a bit basic.

Continuing on through countless more floods we got to within 2km of the finish before getting caught in a sharp shower that then stopped just as we reached the cars. Slightly annoying but hey-ho.

All up an enjoyable day out with some aquatic adventures adding to the fun.

The original destination of the Jolly Nice Cafe will be saved for another day.

Tuesday Morning Ride - Aldbourne

 57 km  696 m  02:31  x5  x2
Ride Category
The usual suspects plus Pam (on half-term hols) presented themselves at the Market Square to battle the elements. Good to see Richard back on a borrowed bike. After a slightly delayed start due to a lost mobile (later found) we headed out through Letcombe, dropping down Windmill Hill as the normal road remains closed by a flood. My first visit to the Old Forge Cafe in Aldbourne - food, ambience and coffee were very pleasant - only Pete partook in the pancakes despite it being Shrove Tuesday. Battle resumed after the break and we regained Wantage about 1330. Well done guys - a tough ride!

Did someone say pancakes?

 78 km  293 m  03:25  x6  x2
Ride Category
Six of us turned up at King Alfred's statue. One (the so-called leader) with a broken wahoo and one without any tools or spares in the event of a puncture.
We stopped for a pucture within the first 10 minutes - the cyclist was equipped to repair the tyre pierced by a sharp flint washed into the road by recent rains.
We were taken aback when we saw a 'closed' sign at The Cherry Tree before we realised that it's always there by the garden gate. We sat outside, provide with blankets to keep ourselves warm, enjoying our brunch.
The return ride was relaxed in glorious warming sunshine.

Tuesday Vale - Flat

 54 km  237 m  02:13  x3
Ride Category
Just three hard core riders set off in windy conditions.
The initial climb past Challow to the windmill was much easier than the downhill into the fierce headwind to Childrey crossroads! Thereafter, we found a good deal of hedgerow cover as we crisscrossed the vale.
We refuelled at the community cafe in Stamford, which was especially appreciated by the ride leader who had set off under-caffeinated, and pressed on with renewed vigour.

All-day Ride - Marlborough

 84 km  946 m  04:10  x5  x2
Ride Category
Quite a hard ride on a windy day, particularly later on coming up Seven Barrows. The off-ride track into Marlborough was in much the same state as when I last rode it a few years ago i.e. uncomfortable but not too much risk of punctures, and its flatness and wind cover were very welcome. Mercer's in Marlborough was full of customers but a table for 5 was vacated just as we arrived at The Food Gallery and their hot food, coffees and £1 refills went down well. Louis turned a few heads there with his strip-down but we weren't thrown out! Most of the return ride was wind-assisted. Louis left us at the bottom of the Blowingstone and still no enthusiasm for post-ride refreshment - dry January moves into February!

Around Carterton to Humble Bumble

 70 km  434 m  02:51  x4  x2
Ride Category
Conditions were pretty good today, although we had to deal with a firm headwind all the way out to Carterton. The Tuesday team were well up to the task and each of us took some strong turns on the front. As a result, by the time we got to Brize Norton, everyone was hungry for coffee & calories. The Humble Bumble did not disappoint. The flapjacks were all huge but Louis won the day with an absolute monster of a slice. Mine was so big I had to bring 3/4 of it home although, in my defence, I did have a sizable Cornish pasty starter.

After the cafe we turned south and revelled in the tailwind. Passing motorists were seen to gasp and pedestrians were left slack-jawed at our physical prowess as we ruled the roads all the way home.

Well done all!

Sunday Welcome Ride

 60 km  348 m  02:29  x3
Ride Category
I was on standby as ride leader as Richard wasn't feeling great in the run-up to Sunday - in the event he felt OK but couldn't make it owing to having all his bikes stolen :@. Let's hope they return.

Paul, Louis and myself completed the shortish circuit around Didcot. Quite a tough head wind in places so we were glad for a coffee and slice of cake by the time we reached Blewbury.

I intended to finish back at the square but punctured near East Ginge - as predicted by Louis. I decided to cut short and return to base and the others carried onto Wantage.