2006 RIDE REPORTS
SATURDAY DECEMBER 30th 2006 "XMAS PUB CRAWL"
Riders: 10 Chris Gilbey, Quentin Hill, Theresa, Chris "Sutts" Sutton, Lynne, Dave Mullard, Karen Mullard, Young Joo Shin, Graham Seage, Graham Rendell.
Pubs: Elm Tree, London Tavern, Alice Lisle, Inn on the Furlong, The Lamb, New Queen, Avon Causeway
Weather: Mild, with one heavy downpour
SUNDAY DECEMBER 17th 2006 "Black Bush" LINWOOD, NEW FOREST, HAMPSHIRE
Riders: 9 Richard Gears, Chris Gilbey, Tony Golding, Andy "Tinkerbell" Kerley, Lewis "Santa" Kerley, Dave Simon, Michael Simon, Mike Sprague, Chris "Sutts" Sutton.
Length: 17.09 miles
Terrain: Flattish, New Forest enclosure gravel tracks,
Minimum Height: 40 metres (Burley, Outer Rails Inclosure
Maximum Height: 105 metres (Canadian War Memorial, Bratley)
Height ascended: 353 metres
Waiting in the "Red Shoot" car park, the group were witness to the vision of Andy arriving wearing Tinkerbell's cast-offs and Lewis in Santa's hat. However as Andy seemed comfortable in the outfit then no more was said.....Good effort though lads!! New recruit Tony Golding turned up, despite over indulging till the early hours the night before and "Sutts" arrived by bike, now fully recovered from the summer motorbike accident shoulder injury, which has seen him "missing in action" for the past three rides or so. Michael Simon turned up with Dave, and Richard arrived "cross country" from New Milton, having got a little lost on the way in Great Linwood Inclosure. A good pre Christmas turn out then, of nine riders...
Forestry work through Roe Inclosure had turned the forest track into a scene reminiscent of the "Somme", slowing the normally fast descent to the bridge. Emeging onto Bratley Plain the weather was glorious, however going was "soggy" on the section across Ridley Plain to the Burley road at Picket Plain. Tony's white trainers were looking decidedly un-white by now. Andy attracted the attention of some "window lickers" as he cycled past. Mind you, Andy attracted attention ALL day, maybe something to do with his "wardrobe"!! It was muddy going along Castle Lane, progress hindered at one point by a herd of ponies blocking the track. Richard picked up his third puncture of the week, giving Tony and Michael a chance of a rest. A regroup outside the "Queens Head" before heading off through South Oakley, Beech Bed and North Oakley Inclosure, to emerge at the Canadian War memorial. An easy run from here back to the "Shoot" for a pint or two of "Muddy Boot" and a warm up by the fire. Tony and Michael seemed relieved to be back......
...............more of the same in 2007 then lads
Come back Santa, I want my pressie...!
SUNDAY 19th NOVEMBER 2006 "FRAGGLE ROCK" PURBECKS, DORSET
OS Maps: OS Map Outdoor Leisure OL15: Purbeck & South Dorset
Riders: 8 Dave "lockout" Mullard, Chris Gilbey, Graham Rendell, Andy Kerley, Lewis "SPuD" Kerley, Richard Waller, Mike Sprague, Graham Seage.
Length of Ride: 19.96 miles
Minimum Height: 11 metres (Old Harry)
Maximum Height: 191 metres (Nine Barrow Down)
ascended: 915 metres
Well, this ride was supposed to be Gilbey's moment of glory. The debutl ride of his shiny new Specialized FSR XC, a gift from Gordon Brown, via the Government's new "cycle to work" scheme. So a beaming Gilbey turned up at Worth Matravers car park in the "Mullardmobile", ready to impress the assembled riders with his new mount. What he had failed to notice whilst loading up the bikes at Mr M's, was that already in the back of the "Mullardmobile" was £1700 of yellowy gold fullsussery Mongoose. So when Dave unloaded the Mongoose, all that emitted from Gilbeys lips was:
"What the, but, what, s***, but, where the f*** did you get that....................f***!!! "
"It's mine" came Dave proud reply.......
"But, but"... Gilbey wailed....."How much did you get it for?".....
"with discount.... £700" .....Dave beamed
With this Gilbey threw his not so shiny FSR onto the gravel and stomped off to the toilet block to fill up his Camelbak. On his return, with a gloating Mr M at the healm, the group set off a few minutes later, for the first test of the day. The first section of BW had, due to heavy rain for most of the week, turned into a quagmire, complete with bemused cows watching the slippery proceedings about to unfold. Even the two new machines couldn't cope with the sticky mud and soon chaos set in as wheels, derailleurs and front mechs clogged up and jammed. After dragging bikes onto the downhill rocky section towards Woodyhyde Farm, the next challenge was to spot the rocks hidden under the wet leaves before hitting them, coming to a sudden stop and being catapulted off the bikes. Andy came off worst and managed to pick up and ankle injury as evidence, after falling off twice. At the bottom, limbs and bikes were checked, but as no parts were missing, the group set off again. Crossing a misty and damp Corfe Common, only a few horses were around to listen in on the full suspension lockout switch debate raging on between Mr M and Gilbey. On entering Corfe, Gilbey picked up a Hawthorn "nail" flat, so after fixing it, all mounted up for the off, only for Mr M to realise the Mongoose had also picked up a flat. Even £1700 can't keep the hawthorns away. A gentle climb up past the radio mast onto Brenscombe Hill, then the welcome descent of Godlingston Hill had Gilbey and Mullard battling it out for the fastest FSR descent, Dave being just pipped at the post by Gilbey, due to that old favorite "the big black dog" running out in front of Dave at the crucial stage. Hmmmmmmm? New recruit Mike Sprague, who had turned up with another new rider Richard Waller, showed us how it should be ridden, as the Purbecks are his "back yard", Mike often over here on a bike, when he's not windsurfing. Lewis was slightly cautious descending down to the road as he was still getting used to his newly fitted SPuDs and wasn't ready for any unplanned "events".
After the scenic ride across Ballard Down dropping down from the Obelisk to Old Harry, a decision was made to head out from Studland to Agglestone Rock on Black Down, as most had never ridden out to it, some even being unaware of the rock's existence. The ride out to the rock was "technical", the tracks being sandy, with a lot of gravel in places. Richard came a cropper crossing a small stream and got a bit wet in the process when he fell off. Mike again was at the head of the group up to the massive Agglestone, most ending up pushing the last 50 metres as it became too steep and sandy to ride. How did Agglestone Rock get here, well..........
country people say of it that his Satanic majesty (who is often a very important
personage in these capricious freaks) was one day sitting on the Needles Rocks,
Isle of Wight, whence espying Corfe Castle in the distance, he took the cap from
his head and threw it across the sea, with the intent of demolishing that
But it would appear that he had over-estimated his powers of jactation, for the missile fell short of its mark, and there it stands to this day on Studland Heath, a monument of disappointed malice, a wonder to the peasantry, and a theme of antiquarian conjecture. "
So ther you go!! After inspecting "Fraggle Rock" we headed off across Godlingston Heath to the golf course. Back up onto Nine Barrow Down then a first for many, DOWN the hill to Knitson Farm, which proved a fast run as someone had kindly left the gates open. A brief stop a Mrs Miggins for cakes proved disappointing as Mr Jewell had beaten us to it and bought up all the home made cakes on a covert raid from Poole overnight. So marmalade & jam were loaded into bags for extra weight ballast for the climb UP the "Priests Way" (another first) to Worth Matravers. A brief rain shower had some sheltering under a tree, but as the sun was also shining brightly it seemed a bit odd...
Arrival at the "Square & Compass" was well timed as the freshly home made pasties were still in stock, so the advantage was taken to warm up in the snug bar ,complete with roaring log fire, a pint and loads of dogs....Then Mr M announced to all that the Mongoose would be returned on Monday to it's rightful owner, Hotwheels as it was a demo model and Dave had been offered it's use by a neighbour.
At this point, everyone ducked as Gilbey spat out his pasty, showering the pub with bits of spud, carrots and mince......."You f*****" was what everyone thought he said....Justice!!
"Anyone seen a Mongoose?", the Meercat enquired
SUNDAY 24th OCTOBER 2006 "SPIES LIKE US", ASKERSWELL, DORSET
OS Maps: OS Map Explorer 117 Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis or Landranger 194 Dorchester & Weymouth, Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis
Cast: 7 "Q" Mullard, James "Gilbey" Bond, Gray "M" Rendell (screenplay), Agents Andy & Lewis Kerley, "Dr No (Richard) Gears", Agent Willcocks.
Length of Ride: 16.96 miles
Minimum Height: 69 metres (Spyway)
Maximum Height: 249 metres (Eggardon Hill)
ascended: 685 metres
Spy’s Like Us
She was still in her dressing gown when he
walked in……... … his helmet landed on the floor next to the hat stand
………”Good Morning , Mish Moneypenny” James Gilbey Bond announced his
arrival, “any chance of a masshage, I‘ve injured my back moving a Korean”
to the bedroom scene 24hrs earlier, clothes scattered across the floor, Bond is
engaged with a beautiful oriental girl who looks longingly into his eyes…
In the kitchen (secret headquarters of MI5) and base for the legendary 007 Bond was inquisitive“ Where’sh M? ” asked Bond referring to greyM the most senior and important member of the licensed to thrill Wobbly Wheelers.
“He said to go straight in James” Moneypenny replied “ you’ll have to let me exercise that back a little later”.
“Yes , come along Bond, don’t waste time” M appeared through the door ”our man from Boscombe Agent Willcocks should be here shortly, he’s a little wooden but if you pull some strings he could be quite usefull on this mission. Now tell me, what do you know about the Seage Corporation? ”
pondered a while…………………….. “ The Sheage Corporation, a
multi-national operation specialishing in bikes for riding in dry conditions,
the company hash gone from strength to strength as a result of climate change
associated with global warming….. Also clashified by the FBI as the legitimate
business front of a sinishter underground terrorist organisation S.E.A.G.R.E
…... Seage Empire Against Grey Rainy England.”
“Very good Bond.“ M looked suitably impressed “recently we have received specific intelligence from three members of this group who have recently defected to our side, you may be familiar with them from missions of the past, they are Dr No, BlowFelt and OddJob. All three will be working closely with you on this one but to disguise their identity we have subtly changed their names,………. you will know them as Dr NoGears , OddFelt and……………Blo…………..” M paused......”well, I’ll let you work out the other one!”………… Bond smiled……………………. “Rather a mouthful Shir, I think I’ll jusht call them Andy and Lewish”..……….“Very funny Bond, now come along, Q has some interesting equipment for you in the lab”.
Outside, a flustered
Willcocks had belatedly arrived, he
greeted Bond with a showbiz smile “AT… ..LEAST….ITS…..NOT…RAINING”
he said………… .………”BUT…IT…MAY…LATER”, Bond
responded………. the two shook hands, and Willcocks
relaxed “I am sorry about the formalities Mr Bond but Seage has already
had Agent Sutts taken out on a French mountain pass, I’ve been working on this
for some time now , S.E.A.G.R.E are deteremined to stop the Wobbly Wheelers
doing wet winter rides, they’ve been secretly piping all water supplies to a
massive underground reservoir at Eggardon Fort, unless we can disperse this
water Dorset is going to dry out, shrivel up and dissapear. If the cracks get
big enough the Dorset Rough Riders are poised to move in and take over,
operating a strict dry rides only regime.”
“Well Willcocksh, I think we might have shomething to shay about
that” Bond was resolute, ”let’sh get out and ride……”
Bond opened the garage door, a shiny Lister engine and a JAP powered lawn mower caught his eye, “I’m not sure these are exactly cutting edge Sir?”
“Don’t be flippant Bond”, M walked to the
beer fridge and snapped the ring pull on the last Stella in the fridge, the wall
lowered and Q’s underground world of engineering over-indulgence was
“Aaah, Bond , I think you’ll like what I have for you here” Q explained “ It’s a 2007 Specialized FSR XC , modified of course, how’s that Diamond back I gave you for the Puddletown mission doing?”
“I’m glad you ashked me that Q”, Bond looked a little sheepish” I seem to have damaged the freehub a little”…..”Oh really Bond!, you must be more carefull with this equipment , that’s a nitrided titanium gold roller 52 pawl triple sealed seamless pick up unit, built to be indestructible for life!” Q was mortified………… ………..“Shorry Q,…… can I take the FShR for this one.”………..
“No Bond!” M interjected “The PM has only
been able to get it for you under the cycle to work scheme, how would it look if
you destroyed it before you’ve even made the first payment…….you’ll just
have to take Moneypenny’s bike”……
And so it was the seven honourable defenders of the Wobbly Wheeler reputation set off on a mission that would ultimately ensure mountain biking in Dorset would continue for generations to come rain or shine.
It was a long slog to Eggardon Fort, the mud was thick, and the incline was steep, few rides had begun in such a cruel manner. Bond was silent , still sulking at having to ride a girls bike. M and Q were trying to stay focused but the full length mudguards and a shopping basket were just too much and every now and then they would break into a smile.
was struggling , the mud had clogged his wheels and when he tried to walk, he
had slipped and fallen twice, Andy had been training since last time but there
was to be no mercy on this ride, the Wobblies future depended on it
a beyooootifullll day
“Blast!” Q was indignant ”I’ve got a flat I’m afraid”……“Time for a break” Bond removed his rucksack “ I’m just going to take a look around, if I’m not back in 15 minutes go without me M!” ……….. and then he was no more…….fifteen minutes later the puncture was fixed and the wobblies were ready to go when Bond hurriedly re-appeared “Q, M , Willcocks , for God’s sake let’s get out of here”.
It wasn’t exactly clear what he had done but one thing was for sure, Dorset wasn’t going to dry out. The Faster they rode, the harder it rained. The entire S.E.A.G.R.E. Eggardon reserves would be unleashed in one day.
“We’ve got 2 hours to get out of this area
or we’ll all wish Seage had been successful!” Bond was resolute “I’ve
arranged for a little storm”……………
The road sections helped put miles on the loop back to West Compton but even so the ride was hard going . Fortunately most of the climbing was on road and S.E.A.G.R.E.’s water reserves were now falling so heavily the mud was clearing tyres quickly.
The talk of
Lulworth was inevitable , this had been Seage’s last wet ride, but the wind,
rain and pain had been too much and it had broken his mind. In his distorted
world the only possible way to eliminate the nightmares of Lulworth was to seek
to end wet rides forever, but the refuge of the Spyway Inn was not that far away
and with one final muddy descent the heroes returned to Askerwell, “No time
for refreshments Bond, we need to get out of here.” M was concerned. “Always
time for a swifty Sir” Bond was calm,”I’ll have an Otter Ale ….shaken
As they sat in the convivial surroundings of the hostelry the storm raged ever harder, “Q looked worried, “ I think it’s time for the off, I’ve only got cheap tyres on the Star Wagon, Willcocks you can drive but for God’s sake don’t try to wheely it!”
As they raced back from Bridport the rain and wind got stronger, but the slidemeister had it covered. M and and Q hung on as the water poured in.
Back at base handshakes all round “ I’ll give you a lift home, M” Bond offered “Thanksh for the loan of the bike Mish Moneypenny, Q will sort it out for you”……..Q looked tired ,“I think I’ll just leave that until tomorrow if that’s ok,” Q glanced over to seek Moneypenny’s approval “ Or perhaps I’ll do it now after all”.
SUNDAY 24th SEPTEMBER 2006 "BULL RUN", WIMBORNE ST GILES, DORSET
OS Maps: OS Map Explorer 118 Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase or Landranger 195 Bournemouth & Purbeck, Wimborne Minster & Ringwood
Riders: 7 Dave Mullard, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Graham Rendell, Roy “Loggo” George, Andy Kerley, Lewis Kerley, Richard Gears.
Length of Ride: 21.9 miles
Minimum Height: 46 metres (Wimborne St Giles)
Maximum Height: 113 metres (Launceston Down)
ascended: 416 metres
didn’t look good in the run-up to this ride, but a hard core of riders
remained undaunted and turned up despite the rain, spurred on by the prospect of
two new riders, Andy and Lewis, who were waiting by the Bull at Wimborne St
Giles when we arrived.
Andy was starting
to wish he had warmed up a bit more by this stage, as he was finding the early
enthusiastic pace a bit hard going. Lewis, however was taking the ride in his
stride and easily keeping pace with the pack.
Ooooh...shiny new toy!!
House, we followed the bridleway roughly southwards through Tarrant Hinton,
Launceston and Crichel Downs, crossing the A354, parallel with the Roman road
heading towards Tarrant Monkton. From here the trail turned eastwards heading
From Manswood, we
followed the bridleway to White Farm where we had a quick chat with a charming
local and admired the unusual thatched terraced cottages, before heading NNE
along the route of the Roman Road, Ackling Dyke.
SUNDAY 20th AUGUST 2006 "ROMSEY ROMP", PITTON, WILTSHIRE
OS Maps: OS Map Explorer 131 Romsey Andover & Test Valley or OS Landranger 184 Salisbury & the Plain, Amesbury
Riders: 6 Dave Mullard, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Graham Rendell, Chris "Sutts" Sutton, Martin Sissons, Graham Seage.
Length of Ride: 18.45 miles
Minimum Height: 49 metres (Broughton)
Maximum Height: 141 metres (Broughton Down)
Height ascended: 529 metres
A worried tone was detectable in "Sutts" voice........"It was the "Silver Plough" at Pitton, wasn't it....?" " Yes mate". "Good, I thought I had it wrong and it might still be Middlle Winterslow as the start venue".
We'd decided to change the start venue before the ride on the recommendation that the pub at Pitton served better real ale than the "Lions Head" at Middle Winterslow. On arrival at the pub car park complete with bad taste silver painted plough, in fact two silver ploughs, the elusive Mr Sutts was nowhere to be seen....maybe there were two "Silver Plough" pubs in Pitton and not just two silver ploughs. ....(enough enough!). After a while Sutts appeared more mysteriously than the shopkeeper in "Mr Benn". And then to confuse us even more the some what elusive Mr Sissons turned up in his shiny VW Beetle. The pre ride shot, was hard to get as every time the self timer was set, a car would appear round the bend and Gilbey had to keep running back to stop the camera & tripod getting run over. We'd last ridden this route 3 years ago, so time for the off to see if any of us could actually remember it...
Started off with the obligatory "Wobblies"steep hill out of Pitton past White Hill Farm. At the top of the hill, after getting oxygen intake levels back to normal, we TR onto byway, and most stopped a pee. Everyone enjoyed the downhill singletrack through the woods until we met a road near Cloverlands. As usual the "big black dog" had appeared and run out of in front of Mr Mullard, but of course no one else had seen it....Strange!!!
At the picturesque village of Farley, map was consulted. Just past the church, we TL climbing a gravel track up to Hound Wood. We all got a bit tangled up in ferns and brambles after deciding the track beside the forest gravel track looked more "technical". So then we all lugged the trusty steeds back onto the gravel and picked the remenents of the bushes out of rear mechs and wheels. In Bentley Wood, Sutts decided to do "Evil Kenivel" wheelies for the camera, and only nearly once coming a cropper. Just before we joined road at Home Farm Dave wanted to check out the local wildlife and climbed up a deer tower. I reckon he's been watching too much "Big Cat Diary" lately. This gave the rest of us the perfect opportunity to scurry back into the wood and hide. His face when he reached the top was a picture, a mixture of confusion and suprise........"where the **** had everyone gone? You could almost see the big question mark forming above his head. A combined "GET OFF MY LAND" eminating from the woods bought the smile back to Saba Douglas-Mullard, so then we all pedelled off whilst he was climbing down the tower and hacking his way through the bushes at the base......
At West Tytherley, we missed the right turn (same as 3 years ago!!) then followed road past Village Farm, set in an old chalk pit, up the hill, passing a rather attractive local lass out for a morning stroll. We'd all picked up strange fuzzy green balls from some unknown plant type along the way which stuck nicely to the Ron Hills, so she looked a bit alarmed at the lower regions as we rode past. The stony bridleway up to Smiths Plantation was hard going so we stopped at the OS trig point at the top for a bit of food. Martin tried to run over a ramblers small pooch here but just missed. Young Joos dinner out of the window for another day then... The very steep, fast downhill to Church farm was ridden well by all, Daves "black dog" appearing to have gone home for din dins. At Broughton Down Farm we TL then struggled up the steep chalky BW through the nature reserve to Whiteshoot Hill. Some riders WERE seen pushing....shame on you. "Sutts" had an afternoon engagement at Twickenham with the "Rolling Stones" so he was the one to set the pace on the undulating BW back to Middle Winterslow. If Paul Jewell had been in attendance, he'd have demonstrated the "Mr Jewell RonHill" strut for "Sutts" to use that evening to impress Ronnie & Mick. "I can't get no satisfaction....!!!"
We missed the left fork heading into Pitton and had to backtrack along the tarmac to the pub. However the choice of pub proved correct and some steak & kidney pies were woofed down too....
SATURDAY 22nd JULY 2006 "SUMMER SOLSTICE" PUB CRAWL, RINGWOOD AND AVON VALLEY, HAMPSHIRE
Pubs visited: The Elm Tree, London Tavern, Alice Lisle, Royal Oak, The Furlong, The Woolpack, The Avon Causeway.
Riders: Graham Seage, Graham "moist" Rendell, Dave Mullard, Karen Mullard, Hayley, Lyn, Gilbey, Chris "just call me Lance" Sutton, Roy George
Pints: Oooh, way, way too many for responsible bike riders such as ourselves..........eh Mr Seage??
Great views in the Forest.................
The local "loonies" were spotted sunning themselves between showers....
And Graham turned up to the "Elm Tree" just as the thunderstorm was easing.......bad timing Mr Rendell!!!
SUNDAY JUNE 25th 2006 FRITHAM, NEW FOREST, HAMPSHIRE
(a first introduction to the highs and lows of mountain biking)
1.Loggo was excited … today he was to ride his bike with the big boys
2....they were off and Loggo rode as fast as he could to keep up….
3.Loggo’s shirt was a bit small but he didn’t care… he was having SO much fun!
4.Loggo showed the big boys all his best tricks.
5.Loggo didn’t like hills. He liked to walk up them
6.But he cheered as the leader of the gang climbed up the Big Hill!
7.Loggo pretended to check his wheel so he could have a little rest.
8.But he was getting tired and no matter how fast he went the big boys stayed in front. And then ?!?!?……….
10.“Ow! Ow!.... it hurts” said Loggo…
11.Loggo wanted to be brave. He couldn’t cry in front of the big boys.
12.Loggo smiled when they named a whole trench after him!
13.It was a long ride back and Loggo was really tired now……….
14....But it had all been worth it!
SUNDAY JUNE 18th 2006 LONDON TO BRIGHTON BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION RIDE
Riders: 22 Mark Ankers, Dev Bannerjee, Tom Bebeniec, Carl Bradley, Colin Bugden, Andy Craig, Denis Cronin, Richard Gears, Chris Gilbert Norton, Tony Golding, Quentin Hill, Freddie McPherson, Dave Mullard, Karen Mullard, Graham Rendell, Mel Reynolds, Pete Robinson, Graham Seage, Dave Simon, Martin Sissons, Beth Sissons, Chris “Sutts” Sutton
Length: 54 miles
Minimum Height: 4 metres
Maximum Height: 228 metres (Ditchling Beacon, South Downs
Height ascended: 999 metres (approx)
"I'll always remember the generous sponsorship & encouragement from staff at PGDT.
No backing down once my form had gone round, the Rendell organisation that was profound.
Waiting on the common among all those young fit kids thinking "what the hell am I doing here?"
Then the start & there was no way back but what a feeling being part of the pack.
Amazing how good water tasted as the ride went on & to be dowsed by spectators we just couldn't go wrong.
The Wheelers they watched me & did take great care as I conquered the hills young Gilbey was there, he checked me in & then disappeared, so I rode on to the Beacon which was just as I feared,
1000 ft rise in around a mile, my legs just gave up so I walked up with a smile, 3 rests up the hill & all the Wheelers had gone but my old bike was still going strong.
Total exhilaration that's all I can say to be one of 27,000 that went all the way. My Bypass had worked & by doing my bit I've given some back to the people that helped make me fit.
But the end was just great with food & drink on the grass at last I could rest & rid the pain from my arse.
I just loved it thanks to all" Colin Bugden
"Great Day, Great Ride, Great Company. I was extremely relieved to see the top of "The Beacon". And all for charity - I can feel smug for the rest of the year!" Dave Mullard
"Only slightly less hectic than Beijing at rush hour." Dave Simon
"54 miles spent dodging two wheeled crazies, some with no road sense whatsoever, the visual spectacle of 26,000+ cyclists streaming from the smog to the sea, picturesque Sussex villages, bike jams in shady narrow lanes, flourescent jackets, frustrated car drivers, the smell of burgers on BBQ's, ambulances, hedges, kids with water squirters, blood, smiling coppers, ringing bells, water bottles, sweat................cool, oh so cool Stella Artois and Theresa, June & Young Joo waiting patiently at the end with food, lots and lots of food." Chris Gilbert-Norton
" A fantastic experience, looking forward to doing it all again. " Graham Seage
"For me, a whole series of "firsts" ... first time with the wobblies, first organised ride, first time I'd done over 20 miles ; sheer adrenalin rush, streaking out of London flat out, in hot pursuit of Richard Gears, Sutts on my tail. Riding in the centre of the road or taking on the buses and black cabs head-on in the right hand lane; ignoring the pedestrian crossings, wannabe a cycle courier? -maybe not! Losing sight of Richard as I get stopped by a red light and a very determined WPC just before the first hill .. on my own for a good stretch, amazed by the sheer number of cyclists trying to squeeze down the narrow leafy lanes... the casualties, all that blood, the horror! - the holdups, the standing around still. Cramp sets in a few miles short of Ditchling Beacon... so busy, everyone walked up, no room to ride.. Another big rush flying downhill all the way into Brighton, overtaking all the roadies, ignoring the marshalls screaming at me to slow down - no way, cramp so bad can hardly pedal... queueing up to get to the finish, feeling good at being the only 09:30 amongst all the 07:30 and 08:00 starters... sprint finish, cross the line, huge sense of achievement... head down to Hove Gardens to find the base camp, amazed to find I'm the first one back to base; 2 Stellas drained in as many seconds, kick my shoes off, collapse in a heap, relax, and b-r-e-a-t-h-e...." Mark Ankers
would just like to say it was a most fantastic experience to be involved, with
including the build up, and beating the beacon
"A few lines about the ride, well obviously seeing all those fit guys in their Lycra cycling shorts! (sorry Dave!), knowing there was a glass of champagne waiting for me at the end (cheers Q) but best of all getting to kiss Colin at the finish!!! It was a great experience and the sheer volume of riders was quite amazing, you had to be there to soak it all up." Karen Mullard (Mrs M!)
" A fantastic experience, looking forward to doing it all again. " Graham Seage
45 years old, I have not ridden a bike for about 15 years so the thought of
riding 54 miles from London to Brighton sounded a bit daunting however the
British Heart Foundation is one of the charity organisations that I support, so
I signed up, borrowed a bike from a friend and practiced for about 5 weeks up to
the day of the ride.
Slicks, hydraulic brakes and the need for speed.
My most significant memory of the day, I think my mind has blotted out the rest to protect me! London to Brighton 18th June 2006...........54 miles thinking "I wonder if my arse looks big in these shorts?" Carl Bradley
SUNDAY MAY 21st 2006 "THE GIANTS WILLY", CERNE ABBAS, DORSET
OS Landranger map: OS Map Explorer 117 Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis
Riders: 5 Roy "Loggo" George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Dave Mullard, Dave Simon, Andy Willcocks
Length: 23 miles
Minimum Height: 57 metres (Stinsford)
Maximum Height: 237 metres (Trig point, Black Hill, Cerne Abbas)
Height ascended: 740 metres
Driving to the start and having seen the forecast on the TV, only a miracle would stop the five (foolhardy?) souls getting a drenching, as driving heavy rain was on the cards for the whole day. Anyway, the rain and low lying mist were there to greet us in Cerne Abbas. We set of in the rain resigned to our fate, up the steep road section to the top of Black Hill (240m). By the time the summit was reached the misty windy conditions were making their presence felt. Then just after turning off the road through the wooded section of Buck Hill, we encountered a rapeseed field which made for interesting progress alongside the crop. The tall rapeseed caught the handlebars and nearly dragged you off the bikes. After entering the next wood and after comments of "ooh, aren't the bluebells pretty, we then entered "Stinger Alley" a normally tame section down through the woods, but at this time of year , full of 3 ft stinging netttles. Great!!! As Roy and Gilbey had shorts on, this 3 minute section proved somewhat painful, only Mullard's scoffing at the ouches and mild expletives eminating from Roy & Gilbey breaking the sound of rain through the trees. On reaching the next field the bridleway across the field shown on the map proved un-rideable as again another high field of rapeseed greeted the group. So onwards around the edge of this field too, but this field had stinging nettles AND snagging rapeseed. Made for interesting riding across Well Bottom Down, or perhaps that should read Soaking Wet Bottom Down....?
The rain was picking up now, and so after crossing a particularly grassy field from Heave Coppice, it was into a hay barn to get the grass out of derailleurs and front mechs. It was suggested that we all pick a bale, and have a kip until the rain eased, but the low grey clouds didn't look like breaking, so we pressed on in true "Bataan Death March" spirit. Took a slight wrong turning before Wolfeton Clump, (Dave what happened to the failsafe GPS!!!!) which then involved a short cut field crossing, all the riders hoping the farmer wasn't around to see his precious crops flattened by 10 sets of tyres. Sorry Falmer Palmer. Saw quite a few deer out and about in this part of the ride. Eventually the BW was rejoined and we set off towards Puddletown, which was a rather apt description judging by the amount of puddles present on the Ridge Way, sometimes up to the axles. Upon entering Puddletown Forest it became evident that the "pikies" were present, wit a fleet of old coaches, buses, lorrys and sorry looking caravans. Even "Stig of the Dump" would have been ashamed of the filth and crap littered everywhere. The battery "mountain" was a particular visual treat!! And of course it will be the locals of Puddletown who foot the council clean up bill when these messy bastards finally decide to move on. Firebombing the odd caravan was considered, but it was raining so heavily by now that no ones cigarette lighters worked, so we pressed on. Someone say "Grumpy Old Men"........
Bit of a problem crossing the A35 at Higher Bockhampton as it was really busy, only Dave "hedgehog" Mullard nearly getting squashed. Entering a field just above Higher Kingston farm, what originally appeared to be a herd of dairy cows standing next to a silage bowser turned out ot be a heard of dairy cows stood next to a rusty coloured, bloody great big bull!!! As we drew closed all the dairy cows started trotting down the slope towards us. But luckily, the bull wandered off on his own, in the opposite direction! As "Loggo" was suffering cramp by now, and was at the back of the group, the threat of being gored by the bull was reduced somewhat, well not for "Loggo", but was for the rest of us at the front nearest to the gate!! Upon reaching the safety of the top gate, number of riders were checked just to be sure no one had been flattened, then we set off on the "home run" veering off across the field behind a farm to Hill Barn, then onwards in the rain to Charlton Higher Down. At this point Roy took the escape route back to Cerne Abbas as the cramps in his leg were getting worse. The remaining 4 riders dropped down into Forston then climbed again on the Cerne Valley trail up onto Cowdon Hill. This was a particularly steep ascent, as most of the group were now pretty tired. Rejoined the tarmac at East Hill then a sprint back to Cerne Abbas, taking advantage of the numerous puddles on the road to rinse the bikes/shoes/clothes off from all the mud that had been collected. The 121m drop by road back into the village was mostwelcome, so after a change of clothes, all into the "Royal Oak" to recover and dry out. Sod's Law of course meant that on emerging from the pub, we were greeted by glorious sunshine and blue skies!!!
SUNDAY APRIL 23rd 2006 "CRANBORNE CHASE KILLER LOOP", DORSET
OS Landranger maps: Explorer 118 (Orange cover) Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase
Riders:6 Andy Benjafield, Matt Cullimore, Roy "Loggo" George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Graham Rendell, "Sutts"
Length: 15 miles
Minimum Height: 107 metres (duck pond, Tollard, Royal)
Maximum Height: 273 metres (track, Win Green)
Height ascended: 613 metres
St Georges Day, 2006 dawned drizzly and misty, but by the time the 6 riders, including new "boy" Matt Cullimore, had unloaded bikes and set up trusty steeds for the ride, the light rain had stopped, leaving the likes of Graham Seage (where were you!!!) to ponder on what could have been, had he made the effort and turned out for this ride. This route had been published in MBR magazine some 2 months previously as a "Cranborne Chase killer loop" so we decided to try it out. As usual the never ending climb from the lowest point on the route, up to the highest point, Win Green, passing "Madges" Dorset residence, had the troops wining a bit, however the "Material Girl" if in residence, wasn't waving to the chaps today. We all paused at the top to admire Roy's "Fame" style leg warmers, although he protested that they were infact Gentleman Jim style socks. Whatever, he looked a twat in them. Judge for yourselves. The drop down from Win Green on grass to meet the Ludwell road was a bit bumpy & slippery, but the next section passing Elliot's Shed, a good bit of slippery muddy singletrack, was hampered as some fly tipper had blocked most of the width of the track with electrical wiring and metal. Charming! Everyone enjoyed the next section, except Andy who expressed concern at lack of confidence in his tyres skidding all over the place. I think though, that we were "all in the same boat" on this section. On into the village of Charlton, then TL to ride up a stream, requiring a certain amount of skill and luck to keep the bikes moving. The sign at the top said "unsuitable for motor vehicles". Not wrong there then. Luckily the big black dog at he farm at the start of the stream was absent, having chased Rendell and Gilbey on the recce ride a few weeks previous.
Graham picked up a flat on the section to Cann Common, and had to change the tube contained in a very muddy tyre, having just ridden down a farm track. Jaffa cakes were offered by Matt to all, before Graham set to work. Good plan that. Tarmac through Melbury Abbas, then Gilbey picked up a flat, so the rest pushed up to the top of Melbury Hill to wait for him. Gilbey was greeted at the top by a bunch of girls running down the hill to meet him. Some have it... some don't!! Very steep 60m track descent from Melbury Hill down to East Compton village, Matt nearly coming a cropper in the tractor ruts across the field. Then a slippery, chalky flinty, 115m track climb up to the main road, then on to the airfield at Compton Abbas. Quick session at the airfield car park posing with a giant B&W hoarding of Terry Thomas, advertising the "Flying Aces" aircraft museum. The Compton Abbas museum contains aeroplanes built for the 1960's film "Those Magnificent Men in their flying Machines" hence the presence of Terry Thomas, one of the stars, on the wall. Then onwards to Shephards Bottom (I Say! as Terry Thomas would have so nicely put it!). "Sutts" brakes seemed to be fading on the descent, however he then decided to go down a really steep side of the hill, but came away unscathed. A steep climb up to Ashmore village past all the new born lambs was a noisy affair especially with Roy & graham worrying all the lady sheep. "Takin' pics of the little un's was their excuse" ..........Hmmmmmm? . Had a quick detour into Ashmore to check out the duckpond and the attractive thatched cottages. The village has no pub, but it is rumoured that a multi-millionaire moved into Ashmore , asked why there was no pub and then decided to apply for planning permission to build one for the village. Slight deviation to the MBR mag "killer-loop"route here as on the reccee, Graham & Gilbey got lost in Ashmore wood, so chose the bridleway, to meet the trail some mile and a half later. From ther it was singletrack all the way to Tollard green, where we picked up the tarmac for the steep descent back to Tollard Royal duckpond. We stopped briefly at a field in Tollard Park as there were two Llamas posing for the cameras, one black & one white. They seem to be popular on farms around this area. After a car park changing session, we adjourned to the "King John" pub for a St Georges day toast (and a plate of chips).
SUNDAY MARCH 19th 2006 "THE SNAKECATCHER, BROCKENHURST, HAMPSHIRE
OS Landranger maps: Explorer 22 (Orange cover) New Forest or Landranger 195 (Pink cover) Bournemouth & Purbeck, Wimborne Minster & Ringwood
Riders:12 Andy Benjafield, Richard Gears, Roy "Loggo" George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Richard Hutson, Dave Mullard, Karen Mullard, Melissa O'Kane, Graham Rendell, Steve Shephard, Barry Wingrove, Andy Willcocks,
Length: 21 miles
Minimum Height: 102 metres (Canadian Memorial, Bolderwood)
Maximum Height: 9 metres (road bridge, Balmer Lawn, Brockenhurst)
Height ascended: 314 metres
Great weather, sunny but a strong north easterly headwind, made for an enjoyable New Forest ride, through enclosures and open forest heathland, and even a bit of the old London-Bournemouth railway. 12 riders assembled in the "Forresters Arms" car park in Brockenhurst. After the usual faffing around & photo shoots we all set off along the main Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst road turning off at the Balmer Lawn hotel before hitting the gravel tracks through Pignor, Ramnor and Parkhill enclosures. We then exited back out on the main road on the outskirts of Lyndhurst at Clayhill. Richard Hutson had made a crucial mistake and had overdone it slightly on the thermals so that by the time he'd reached Swan Green and the turn off for Emery Down, he seemed to be overheating and at one point, he resembled a flourescent version of the "Flying Scotsman" with steam exiting the top of his head!! The hill up to Emery Down was the turning point for him, and that was the last we'd see of him as he turned back for the road stretch to Brockenhurst, or so we thought........ The rest of the group, waved off the "Flourescent Rambler" and carried on to Millyford Bridge where we joined the gravel tracks again for the climb up through Holmhill and Highland Water Inclosures to the Canadian war memorial at Bolderwood.
From there after a breather and some food, we hit the tracks through to Burley, via North & South Oakley Inclosures. Followed the track past the Burley Youth Hostel, which had Indian tepees pitched in the grounds (who said there were savages living in Burley?) before emerging back out on tarmac outside the "White Buck" hotel. From there we picked up the disused Burley-Brockenhurst road past Clayhill car park, site of the 1950's Burley cycle speedway circuit. We were going to hold a few laps but the gorse bushes had rather taken over the track, being as it's some 50 years since cycle speedway meets had been held at the track. We crossed the busy A35 at Wilverley Post, passing the stump which was formerly "The Naked Man" (ooh err missus). Mrs M was quite uncontrollable until it was explained that this is rumoured to be the tree where highwaymen were hanged in the good old days. However these days the odd abusive rambler blocking the bridleways, might be better suited for "a swingin" from the branches. A buzzard was eyeing the group in a rather too friendly (snack?) type way from trees in Wilverley Inclosure, so the ones who spotted him pedalled a bit faster than the one's who didn't. We all made full use of the fast grassy descent across Setthorns down to the disused railway track. Dave reckoned the infamous "big black dog" had got in his way during the descent, hampering his speed. Steve and Melissa dropped back at this stage, so we left some wooden arrows on the ground, in true cub scout tradition, indicating which way to go at the end of the old railway at Blackhamsley House, but when they rolled up at the pub, they said they completely missed the arrows. Doh!
This turned out to be the first ride of the year where we could sit outside the pub and enjoy the sunshine. Richard "the overheating rambler" Hutson rolled up at the pub, however there was something different to when he'd left the group at Emery Down. His mountain bike had magically materialised into a BMW motorbike. How Dr Who is that!!
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 19th 2006 "THE SHITTERTON SHAMBLES" BERE REGIS, DORSET
OS Landranger maps: OS Map Explorer 117 Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis or Landranger 194 Dorchester & Weymouth
Riders: 6 Roy "Loggo" George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Dave Mullard, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell, Barry Wingrove.
Length: 19 miles originally, 17.73 miles actual
Minimum Height: 33 metres (Turners Puddle)
Maximum Height: 151 metres (Gallows Corner)
Height ascended: 480 metres
Cold and wet were words that were uttered upon arrival outside the "Drax Arms" in Bere Regis. Long time absentee Barry Wingrove graced the group once again with his presence, and Dan Rees managed to turn up at the right venue, this time excelling himself and actually getting the correct day as well!! Well done mukka... However Roy wasn't so lucky, bragging about driving from Ringwood to Bere Regis in record time, this being possible by then realising that he'd forgotton his gloves (Brrrr!) and water bottle. So a bit of ferriting around produced some lovely "gardening" style gloves for him to sport, with latex inner gloves (courtesy of the local Shell garage) for total water proofness. Off we set passing through the rather better than expected Shitterton (I kid you not). Bit of a slippery climb on tracks up to Black Hill, then a slight detour via Yearlings Bottom, after Gilbeys map case misted up (excuses) then headed towards Turners Puddle. A quick photo stop outside the churchyard, and a look at all the snowdrops in the churchyard (aahhhh), before pressing on to Double Barrow above the A35. Dan was experiencing rather bad chain suck (ooh err missus) at this point, but persevered. More was to come eh Mr Rees. Under the busy A35 then just after passing Ashleys Barn, Dan then got two flats, one front one rear, so a while fixing those. Rain was beginning to get worse by now, but fingers were still crossed. Then headed upwards to Weatherby Castle, a rather similar hill fort to Badbury rings. Bit more navigational error here, but eventually after total disagreement on which way to go, order was finally restored! However soon the soggy North Dorset soil would slow us down more that dodgy map reading skills. The slog from Weatherby castle to the main A354 outside Milborne St Andrew caused the tyres to assume motorbike tyre sizes, only the frames shedding skimming some of the mud. Barry got a flat here so a tube was hastily handed over. Barry and Dan decided to split at the main road due to time constraints, but the rest decided to carry on. The BW displayed "Active Badger Set" notices, but we soon found one small fella who had an arguement with a fast mover on the road and lost.
Not quite so "active" now. The section from Milborne Wood up to the village of Dewlish was even worse than the last section, and we were all reduced to pushing at one stage. At Dewlish the rain was sheeting down by now and so we headed for the high ground towards Gallows Corner. Grahams chain was so clogged in mud that a particularly bad "suck" caused it to snap. Of course sods law dictated that this was in the most exposed, windy and wet section of the ride, so it was during the repair that the decision was taken by the remaining 4 riders to pick up the tarmac at Long Close Farm and cut back through Milborne St Andrew to Bere Regis. Luckily the "Drax Arms" had cold beer and warm radiators to welcome us after some "changing room" antics in the vehicles in the High Street. Hints of a return to ride this one on a nice summers day were muted, so one for the diary.
SUNDAY JANUARY 15th 2006 "THE HOGSTOCK HIKE", SHAPWICK, DORSET
OS Landranger maps: OS Map Explorer
Riders: 5 Roy "Loggo" George, Steve Heap, Dave Mullard, Graham Rendell, Martin Sissons.
Ride report to follow.......correct Mr Rendell??