Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports


Corallian Chat

Small but perfectly formed group tonight - subjects on a continuum from carpal tunnel syndrome to wheelbuilding... yep they are related!

Wednesday Ride - Boars' Hill

 62 km  356 m  02:37  x7  x2
Ride Category
Fantastic day for the last pre-lockdown ride - chilly at first but windless and very comfortable in the sun. Group of seven (good to see Phil again) and thanks to Andy for leading a bubble. This was quite a laid-back ride as be-fitted the occasion and Andy's three racehorses needed some encouragement early on to move out of second gear, but Boars' Hill was quickly despatched followed by the descent of Bayworth Hill and we spent a very pleasant half hour in Abingdon Market Square consuming R&R's offerings. Peep O Day lane was empty except for a couple of joggers and the return journey passed without incident - in fact I don't recall any miscreant drivers during the whole ride. Phil dropped off at Denchworth as his car was at Grove, and the rest made it back to Wantage where most of us enjoyed a cake and a drink form Marmalade, as KAH was unfortunately closed!

Thank you everyone - these Wednesday day rides have been most enjoyable.

All-day Ride to Oxford

 108 km  594 m  04:46  x8  x6
Ride Category
The weather forecast had looked dodgy for a number of days, but despite a few spits here and there, we managed to stay pretty dry.

8 is an awkward number, especially when one is joining on the route and another is leaving later on, but we managed rather well, with the groups leapfrogging whilst clothing adjustments and punctures were dealt with. The splendid tailwind made speedy progress a breeze!

Biggest annoyance of the day was the coffee stop being closed, so we pushed on around some back streets of Cowley, passing some childhood haunts of John.

Lunch at Gloucester Green was welcome and we enjoyed various delights from the street food stalls. Ever present pigeons also contributed, from a height.

After lunch a meander up and down the canal, finding the railway swing bridge, before heading back into the city centre and passing many of the colleges and sights - lots of Corallian stone adorning building walls.

A quick diversion up to Wytham Woods to bag an errant square, and we then had to fight our way against the headwind into Wantage.

Sadly due to Lockdown 2.0, it looks like this was the last club weekend ride for a while. We'll let you know when we're allowed to restart.


Wednesday Ride - Highworth

 71 km  629 m  03:03  x7
Ride Category
A pretty tough ride in pretty tough conditions. Two bubbles today, thanks Louis for leading a bubble.

I'd designed the route with the strong forecast wind in mind and it was pretty tough cycling downhill to Lambourn. The road up to Ashbury was glorious in the autumn sunshine though.

The back road through Bourton was appreciated but we could see black clouds gathering and just after Shrivenham the heavens opened, hail and a very strong gusty wind made cycling nigh on impossible so both groups took shelter under some trees until the worst past.

We caught up with Louis' bubble at T T Linnet café in Highworth and cakes and coffee were consumed.

A cold descent out of Highworth followed but we soon warmed up climbing to Badbury Camp and the Sun came back out. A very pleasant mostly wind assisted ride back towards Wantage ensued. Louis was in our bubble at this point as he'd gone back to find a lost light and joined us for the remainder of the ride.

Just as we got to Grove more ominous black clouds appeared, and as we approached Wantage the heavens opened again. Riders scattered back to their homes/cars before they got too wet.

I enjoyed the ride despite the conditions. Apologies if this was a bit too ambitious for a Wednesday ride!


Welcome Ride - Villages around Didcot

 59 km  343 m  02:25  x8  x1
Ride Category
An enjoyable ride for all ... but frustrating for some.

Particularly frustrating for Chris who punctured twice, the second time almost within sight of the end. Somewhat frustrating for Chris's bubble, who stayed with him on both occasions - they certainly deserved their pint in the pleasant garden of King Alfred's Head.

As for the ride itself:
- mostly sunny
- decent temperature for this time of year
- a bit breezy in places
- quiet roads
- a few puddles
- magnificent colours on the autumnal trees

Plus, nice bonus bumping into some familiar faces at the tea/coffee stop in Blewbury.

Thanks to all for making it so easy :)

Annual General Meeting

A pretty quiet AGM... highlights include Louis joining the Committee - welcome! - a slide show of memories from last year, and lots of thanks for ride leaders and riders for supporting post-lockdown club activities so well!

Away Ride - North Cotswold Explorer

 95 km  1360 m  04:15  x6  x2
Ride Category
One bubble of six riders, dry roads and a windless day - some sun would have been nice but hey you can't have everything. This was a ride best suited to the whippet body shape but Oscar proved that youth and fitness can more than compensate by leading us up nearly all the climbs.

We bypassed the main Cotswold honey pots of Bibury and Bourton on the Water, but enjoyed the scenic Coln valley before heading up through Northleach and the switchback at Turkdean. After crossing the A40, the minor road to Harford provided a lovely, car-less descent down to the ford where Oscar chanced the wet route and survived the experience. The villages, most notably Naunton, were particularly photogenic with the Autumnal colours, but nobody felt inclined to stop. The undulations continued until the fast descent down Sudeley Hill towards Winchcombe. At 1115, too early for lunch, the Sudeley Castle cafe provided plenty of space and warmth but rather limited food options (cake, pasties, toasties).

After a post-lunch warm up through Winchcombe we ground our way up Corndean Hill and followed the undulating road South through Andoversford. Rather than take the long, hard climb through Withington Woods we took the alternative past Chedworth Roman Villa, visited by Corallian in 2018. The option of a tea stop at Denfurlong Farm was declined and we soon found ourselves on the flat roads back through Barnsley and Ampney Crucis.

A very pleasant day out. Thank you all!

Wednesday Ride - Hilly Ride over the Downs

 58 km  834 m  02:31  x6  x1
Ride Category
UPDATE - John had a wasp (see photo) removed from his ear at Abingdon Hospital yesterday afternoon. I understand he has it in a jam jar next to his bed!

One bubble of six this week and a dry day of about average temperature for time of year. The hills came thick and fast and good progress was made, without incident except for a "punishment pass" from a black Golf driver just before Letcombe Regis. I hadn't ridden Peasemore Hill for several years, steep and greasy at this time of year - it's probably best avoided!

When five us stopped at Stanmore to wait for John, Paul told us that he had stopped due to a bee flying into his ear. Quarter of a mile further back we found John in some pain by the side of the road. The bee couldn't be seen and couldn't be flushed out with water. After exploring local GP surgery options, John decided to head back to Wantage to seek medical attention. Paul and Pete kindly offered to accompany him back, while the three remaining riders continued onto Hampstead Norreys. The cafe was quiet and leisurely coffees were enjoyed in the sunshine at the rear. The return was via Hermitage and Chieveley, where Pete rejoined us having climbed up Chain Hill after leaving John and Paul. The ride back was quite fast despite the fresh wind and I was flagging by the end (Note to self - this was a little too hilly for a half-day Blue Ride!).

I hope that John got his ear sorted out quickly, and thanks in particular to Paul and Pete for helping him back to Wantage. Apart from John's freek misfortune this was a very pleasant and sociable ride.

Morning Ride - Thames Valley Lanes

 72 km  343 m  02:49  x16  x1
Ride Category
A new club record of 16 riders on a lovely day for a ride after last week's washout. Light winds, sunny intervals, cool but not too cold.

We split into three bubbles (thanks to Chris and Louis for leading bubbles one and two) and set off for a relatively flat ride towards Lechlade, taking in the Corallian escarpment at Coleshill. We stopped briefly at the Old Father Thames statue in Lechlade which bizarrely Andy had never seen before!

There were no dramas in bubble three with plenty of chat about the Giro etc.and we arrived at Bampton Garden Plants just behind bubble two.

The café is well set up for being COVID secure and refreshments arrived quickly and another staggered start meant the bubbles kept apart for the entire ride.

A short run back to Wantage where a few went to the KAH for post ride refreshments the rest of us off to enjoy the afternoon sunshine. Great ride thanks for coming :)


Wednesday Ride - flat to Blewbury

 60 km  296 m  02:22  x7  x1
Ride Category
A lovely sunny, if somewhat windy, autumn day.

As usual we gathered in the busy market place. Several considered joining the queue for the fish stall, but this was set aside given practical questions of where to keep the fish during the ride. A last minute arrival pushed us from six to seven, so we split into two bubbles.

The first half of the ride was flat in mostly open countryside with a strong tailwind - cycling is easy under such conditions. Then we hit Sires Hill and turned into the wind. This slowed us somewhat.

The two bubbles arrived at Savages within a minute of each other. We sat in the warm sunshine at separate tables enjoying our rolls and chat at the Sunny Acre cafe.

The route took us along the A417 for two kilometres to Upton where we turned onto Chilton Road, newly converted from road to cycle only - very nice! The last few kilometres were undulating but generally sheltered from the stiff headwind.

A great ride - thanks for the company.