Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports


Away Ride - Test Valley & Watership Down

 100 km  1360 m  04:23  x4
Ride Category
Splendid day for mid-February with a moderate Southerly wind and unusually quiet roads. After the two tough hills of Walbury and Conholt the terrain was less demanding and we kept up a good pace to arrive quite early (1125) for lunch at Longstock House Café. We found that Waitrose lunches only start at 1200 so we had breakfasts instead, electing to sit outside - probably a mistake that! Still we quickly warmed up again in the afternoon when the sun reappeared. After the flatter area of the Test Valley Whitchurch signalled the arrival of the downland again. Despite much evidence of hedge trimming none of us succumbed to the puncture fairy and were back in Hungerford for 1430.

Thanks for your company on a very pleasant ride. There should have been a photo against a backdrop of Combe Gibbett but it somehow went missing in my phone.

Winter Evening Ride

 48 km  235 m  01:56  x4
Ride Category
The curse of the first time ride leader strikes again. We avoided the slippery corner on Newlands drive but the corner on Brereton drive was also very greasy with almost no grip and unfortunately Lee took a hard fall. Hopefully no serious damage, but bad enough for Lee to abandon the ride not far from home.

Thankfully the rest of the ride went without incident and roads we in much better condition. After what was a mild day, the temperature quickly tumbled to 2C and we followed a gritter from Charney Bassett towards Hatford.

5 riders started out tonight as we were joined by non-member Joe O'Dell. John rode to Wantage for the start and finished at home when we passed through Uffington.


Morning Ride

 51 km  625 m  02:27  x5
Ride Category
A gloomy sky met the riders at WMP but we set off heading down Lock Lane and across the bridge to Ham road then on to the Letcombes and the climb up Holborn Hill. The rise up to Sparsholt Firs was next and I'm afraid to say I was last up, but the riders patiently waited for me. On then down to Lambourn and Gt Shefford, the Lamborn river bed was dry most of the way. As we started the climb up to Brightwalton I stopped to get out the rain jacket as the showers had merged into continual rain, so the riders had to wait for me again at the top. Then down to Lilley and Catmore and on to West Ilsey.

Farnborough and Saddleback Cafe were next on the agenda and typically just as we got to the cafe the rain stopped! Fortified by full English or sausage rolls we tackled the drop down the rollers and Chain Hill (I was last down). My thanks to the riders patience waiting for me to catch up, we had a good ride with no punctures or mechanicals.


Welcome Ride

 61 km  456 m  02:29  x8
Ride Category
Well considering the forecast the weather was not so bad, a tough gusty northerly to Bampton garden centre, but the sun did shine. While we had our coffee and sausage sandwiches the heavens opened, so the roads were wet on the way back but the rain had stopped. Most of the way back to Wantage we had a tail wind. As we approached the market square the rain started again - must have been first ride leader luck. We were joined by a potentially new member Ken Castle. Thanks to everyone for being a well disciplined group.

Social and pub quiz

A night of controversy! Firstly no food. So Louis had to nip of and grab a snack. The quiz started later than expected, so we pitched in, but no sooner had we started then Phil was accused of cheating by Herr Quizmaster, confiscating his phone and looking through his browser history, clearly finding nothing.

We carried on, by this time on the third quiz host as the previous two were unable to pronounce "confectionery". And the question around the phonetic alphabet was either what is "s" or what is "f" - it was hard to tell. The final scandal was the old "how many edges does a 50p piece have" and any fool knows it's 21 apart from the triumphant google-brandishing quizmaster - clearly online trumps basic understanding of what an edge is, and how to count beyond 20 without taking your shoes and socks off.

Anyhow, we came second again, so it was drinks on the house for everyone except Mike, who came too late to pay his entry fee.

Controversy aside, a very convivial evening!

Away Ride - Winslow

 96 km  453 m  03:47  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 Cafe & 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.

Winter Evening Ride

 48 km  130 m  02:11  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.

Morning Ride

 65 km  396 m  02:39  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!!


Winter Evening Ride

 45 km  126 m  01:59  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.

All-day Ride - Hurstbourne Tarrant

 102 km  1156 m  04:43  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.