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Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports

20SundayJANUARY

Away Ride - Winslow

60 km  x3  x1
Ride Category
The mercury was hovering around zero as we set off from Woodstock but the roads were dry and free of ice. Spinning along we soon warmed up and enjoyed the frosty and misty views from the quiet lanes crossing Otmoor. Arriving at Winslow we discovered that Jennie Wren's Tea Room had closed down. We had spotted the Winslow Café & Bistro just a few hundred yards sooner on the route so we went in there. For the benefit of the club we all selflessly tested the full English breakfast and can now recommend this as a suitable alternative stop.

With full bellies we swooped down into Bicester under blue skies in full sunshine on traffic free lanes - happy days. We carefully threaded our way through a busy Bicester town, walking short sections through the pedestrian precinct and down a one-way street, passing the outlet village before emerging safely the other side. The last leg back to Woodstock was back on quiet country lanes for a pleasing finish.

Kudos to Louis for riding out to Woodstock and back from Wantage.

Thanks to John Talbot for setting up the route and sorry you couldn't make it on the day, get well soon.
16WednesdayJANUARY

Winter Evening Ride

48 km  x2  x1
Ride Category
Surprisingly clear skies after all the rain in the afternoon met the riders as we assembled at WMP for my first ride as Leader. We were joined by newcomers Sarah Stanbrook and Joe O'Dell who had ridden over from Didcot.

Uneventful ride out to Hanney where Joe unfortunately suffered a puncture, this was quickly fixed and we continued across to Steventon and into Abingdon where Sarah took a tumble, no damage done except to pride maybe. Rode past Shippon and Frilford but the temperature was dropping, it was down to 0C as we made the traverse across to Fyfield. I therefore shortened the route to miss out the Charney loop and we came straight back via West Hanney and Denchworth arriving back at WMP at 21:30, as it was freezing we decided to forego the Pub visit. Thanks to Mike for sweeping and keeping us together.
13SundayJANUARY

Morning Ride

65 km  x7
Ride Category
Chris was feeling a bit under the weather so I was substitute ride leader today!

We could tell it was going to be a ride of two halves with the blustery wind that greeted us at the Market Square and so it proved!

We got blown to Wallingford and grovelled back to Wantage. No incidents or dramas to report. I was very impressed with the group riding and team spirit with everyone keeping an eye out for each other especially during the tougher sections on the way back.

Pete was especially impressed with his bacon bap at Style Acre who were excellent as usual with prompt service and delicious food.

A brilliant ride for mid-January. Well done all!!

9WednesdayJANUARY

Winter Evening Ride

45 km  x2
Ride Category
It was a bit chilly and gave a different definition to our normal one for a BLUE ride.

Only Lee and myself were keen enough but dressed in enough layers it was not too cold even though the temperature was around zero.

We only did a loop to Longcott as I have had the winter lurgy and 45 kms was enough for me.

Hopefully my next ride will be warmer.
6SundayJANUARY

All-day Ride - Hurstbourne Tarrant

102 km  x3
Ride Category
This was a fantastic day for a ride, bearing in mind the month: dry, no black ice and precious little wind.

Two illiterates joined me on the ride - had they noted the name of the ride? There were concerns about health: one had been potentially exposed to students with hand, foot and mouth, while the other, having had a cold, sounded like an unbalanced steam engine on the first few climbs.

We made steady progress taking hills at our own rate and regrouping at the top and made the Post Office at Great Bedwyn just in time for a welcome coffee before they closed.

Keen to ensure at least 1,000m of climbing we forsook the gentle route through Vernham Dean for the demanding Conholt Hill and then, for reasons that cannot be explained, turned onto an inviting track that was a dead end. We eventually arrived at the Tea Cosy in Hurstbourne Tarrant, having enjoyed some panoramic vistas.

The route after lunch was as bucolic as before, climbing Coombe at our own pace and then whizzing down through to Kintbury. We then navigated the undulations to Welford at our own pace, after which we rode as a tight group through Shefford and then along the A338 to the county line. We were back in Wantage at 14:50, 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

The lanes were delightful, the drivers considerate and the company bright and cheerful.
2WednesdayJANUARY

Winter Evening Ride

49 km  x2
Ride Category
Dare I say it - a very warm (!) welcome to new member Lee on this rather nippy night. Just the two of us riding and the roads were absolutely empty all evening.

There were a few spots of rain at various time, and plenty of gritters out making the roads safe.

Highlight of the evening was the Christmas lights in Besselsleigh village - well worth a quick trip out before they get taken down.

30SundayDECEMBER

Fifth Sunday Ride - Vale of Aylesbury

105 km  x9  x2
Ride Category
Nine riders for the last club ride of 2018 on a dull day. Several had cycled from Wantage and all were waiting at Culham when I turned up!

A quick pace initially along the A415 to Berinsfield and onwards to Stadhampton. We used one of my favourite roads to Cuddesdon and Wheatley. Then a flat section through the delightfully named Worminghall and Shabbington to Long Crendon. Nick suffered a front wheel puncture just after Chearsley and a few km from the refreshment stop.

That was soon dealt with and we were soon tucking into sausage sandwiches, full Englishes and various dishes with eggs at the wonderful Orchard View farmshop. Jez was in his element petting the pigs and a farm dog!

After refreshment we had the long climb up to Bledlow Ridge and the down and up through Radnage. The draggy climb up through Stokenchurch was made harder with an annoying headwind and I for one was starting to flag. The road through Christmas Common on top of the Chiltern ridge was particularly misty.

We were soon descending again and we decided to push on through Wallingford. At Crowmarsh we encountered one of the worst incidences of impatient driving I have ever witnessed on a club ride and all for absolutely nothing as of course we caught them up twice at the lights. Through Wallingford there were some crazy close passes too. Drivers just need to slow down and have a little patience.

Nick unfortunately suffered a second puncture at Sires Hill but this was quickly dealt with and the riders split at Sutton Courtenay with some heading back to the car park and some heading back to Wantage. An unfortunate touching of back wheels as Louis and Dave were saying goodbye to me at Sutton Courtenay triangle meant Dave took a tumble but no damage to body or bike thankfully.

Thanks for coming out to ride today and dragging me round. New Year's resolution for me is to not leave it three weeks between rides!!

23SundayDECEMBER

Welcome Ride - Blue Boxford

56 km  x4
Ride Category
The forecast light rain had already passed over and it was good to see three other riders waiting by King Alfred. After a warm up loop through Childrey we made our way up Hackpen Hill to survey the greyness of the vale, probably the theme of this Christmas. Nevertheless the riding was good, the roads quiet, the air very mild with a slight SW wind. Jon left us at Lambourn for other duties as we continued Eastwards along the valley to Boxford. We added a couple of wiggles through Peasemore and Brightwalton on the return leg before the descent of Chain Hill where we found the cross wind slightly stronger than expected. Uneventful but a thoroughly pleasant and relaxed outing - topped off by a coffee and hot chocolate in Marmalade (cheers Louis!).
19WednesdayDECEMBER

Social Evening - King Alfred's Head

 x8  x1
A good evening was had by all. As ever, Louis had a couple of warm-up rounds before everyone else arrived (he normally does that on the bike, but tonight was special), and managed to do so without falling off.

Team Corallian, or at least the 5 early starters, entered the quiz and came a very creditable second, so we enjoyed a round on the house as our prize.

Very chilled night out, good food, good entertainment (even the Morris dancers with their accordions were slightly entertaining), and fantastic company.

Happy Christmas!
16SundayDECEMBER

Burford - Chipping Norton

100 km  x4
Ride Category
This ride will be known as the slippery one.

The day before the ride it rained (a lot) and then the night before the ride it froze.
Combined with the up and down Cotswold topography the first hour of the ride was full of foggy bottoms, frozen frosty hollows and hazy sunshine.

The car park was sheet black ice, which was ok for those who drove, but not for the ride leader who rode from Wantage (doh). Small bruise John, no need for an accident report.

We took it really carefully at first, crawling at times with one foot out of cleats. There were no further accidents though a few slips along the way, fortunately back wheel rather than front.

We gradually gained in confidence and rode well together, though Dave as is his wont, zoomed up the hills and patiently waited for us at the top. Lower Slaughter, pretty as ever, disappointed with a closed cafe - coffee would have been helpful for the solid climb into Stow.

The Old Mill Cafe in Chipping Norton after 57k did us proud, as ever. We even donated a drink bottle to them. The shorter segment post lunch was filled with 'not suitable for motor vehicles' roads, and was picturesque.

We were back in the ice-free carpark before 3:00pm feeling pleased with ourselves.