2008 RIDE REPORTS

SUNDAY 28th DECEMBER 2008

"XMAS PUB CRAWL", AVON VALLEY, HAMPSHIRE

Riders: 10 Neil Foss, Helen George, Roy George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Quentin Hill, Graham Seage, Graham Rendell, Dave Rodgers, Christopher Sutton, Andy Willcocks (joined us at the last 2 pubs)

       

Pubs: 7 Elm Tree, London Tavern, Alice Lisle, Inn on the Furlong, The Lamb, The New Queen, Avon Causeway. 

       

       

                

SUNDAY 14th DECEMBER  2008  

 "BUNCH OF BANKERS"  STUDLAND, DORSET

                        

Riders: 7   Gary Biles, Roy George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Edward Harrison, Jack Harrison, Steve King, Chris Sutton.

Length: 25.69 miles

Actual Riding time:  3 hours, 12 minutes.

Max speed:  30 mph

Average speed:  7.8 mph

OS Landranger maps: Explorer (Orange)  OL15: Purbeck & South Dorset

                               

Minimum Height:  14 metres (Old Harry Rock).

Maximum Height:  204 metres (Swyre Head).

Height ascended:  1300 metres 

Weather: foggy, N/E breeze, 8 degrees

Pub: "Bankes Arms"

Ride report to follow..........

       

SUNDAY 16th NOVEMBER  2008  

 "LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER"  NOMANSLAND, WILTSHIRE

Riders: 13   Gary Biles, Mark Hudson, Nick England, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Edward Harrison, Steve King, Dave Mullard, Graham Seage, Eddie Summers, Chris Sutton, Duncan Thurston, Paul Wilson, Andy Willcocks.

OS Landranger maps: OS Map Outdoor Leisure OL22: New Forest  or  Landranger 184: Salisbury & the Plain, Amesbury

Length: 18.81 miles

Actual Riding time:  1 hours,  56 minutes.

Max speed:  38 mph

Average speed:  9.6 mph

Minimum Height:  44 metres (Ogdens Farm).

Maximum Height:  123 metres (Longcross Plain)

Height ascended:  459 metres 

Weather: Overcast, light breeze, 12 degrees

Pub: "The Lamb"

       

A good gathering of thirteen riders at the start outside the “Lamb” in Nomansland, under slightly chilly but dry skies. Heavy rain in the week lent the conditions to flooded forest sections and mud, so mudguards on for this one……….A few new faces, Ed managed to persuade Mark who runs “Gone Biking Mad” in New Milton to come along with Nick. Also first timer was Duncan, and Paul, by now well recovered from the Milton Abbas ride in the summer!!!

A road section first, passing a car freshly stoved into a Rhododendron hedge, being carefully examined by PC Plod (more of him later!!). Turning off the tarmac onto the muddy track through Cloven Hill plantation. A left turn was missed by most of the front runners, but this mistake was to help the generation of a new  “Wobblies” trophy……curious yet??

Chris, Ed, Paul and Duncan took the technical in parts singletrack through a rather muddy, leaf covered section of Loosehanger Copse, before meeting up with the breakaway “Wobblies” in the curiously named hamlet of Bohemia, far too exotic sounding for the New Forest! Whilst waiting to regroup, a policeman’s flat hat was discovered in a roadside hedge. As it had been raining most of the week, the cap was really soggy, but this didn’t stop most of us donning the flat cap and doing “ello ello” impersonations. After the “dressing up as PC Plod” moment, Gary looking particularly “copper” like, the idea of a new trophy was born. So the “Constable of Confusion” award for map reading inaccuracies or front sections of the group riding off the wrong way will in future result in the award of an ill fitting PC’s flat cap in the future. Quite how the coppers hat ended up in a hedge in Bohemia is unknown, perhaps he rebelled against the establishment, stripped off his uniform and ran off to be a hippy in Bohemia……  Anway, soggy cap now stashed in a backpack, it was on up the steep gravel track to the main road, before turning off at the Forestry car park opposite Golden Cross ….There was a large group of Forest Enterprise staff and some other walkers, but none said anything to us,  entering the forest trail, a non designated cycleway.

                            

Gary went over the bars, when a deep rut he was riding along suddenly had a large hole appear. We met a lone cyclist at the bottom of Deadman Hill who had a chat about bylaws on riding in the New Forest, but we pressed on regardless. Rebels!! Only Mr Mullard managed to climb Deadman Hill without stopping, whilst everyone else took a run up and failed, the loose gravel causing lots of slippages.

Onwards to Hampton Ridge, where we gathered for eats whilst waiting for Mr Seage who picked up a flat. A slightly swollen stream by Ogdens Farm caused no challenge for Mark however, who decided to ride through the deep water in spectacular fashion.  He just made it although the water was well over his cranks.  Onwards to do battle with a dog walker.....she waited till the main group had ridden past then snidily remarked “did you see that no cycling sign” to which Gilbey replied, “Yes, of course” She chipped in with a snide “yes, I thought you did”!!!

                       

Anyway shortly after this encounter, Paul picked up a flat in Sloden Inclosure, then after passing Irion’s Well at Fritham, someone noticed that Gary’s bike had developed a bit of a wobble and was snaking along in a crab like attitude. The two lugs at the rear of his frame had cracked...Oops. Steve was doing quick pumping of tyre and short fast blasts of riding back to the pub as he’d also picked up a flat, and didn’t want to fix it….Regrouped at the “Lamb”, Gary was awarded the “Acorn of Achievement” for his over the bars spectacular…….the Constable of Confusion award would wait for another occasion

COED-Y-BRENIN, NORTH WALES WEEKEND

FRIDAY 17-19th OCTOBER 2008

Riders: 10 Josh Cole, Neil Foss, Chris "Gilbey", Quentin Hill, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell, Dave Simon, Michael Simon, Steve Shepherd, Christopher "sutts" Sutton, 

               

After the usual 5 hour ish drive, the forward party of six Wobblywheelers arrived at 10pm on the Thursday at the Llys Ednowain hostel in Trawsfynydd village, some 4 miles north of Coed-Y-Brenin. A rather late chicken curry, pre made by Young Joo, provided the fuel for the following days riding.

FRIDAY

At least two years had passed since riding the Coedy trails, and so an early assemble on Friday morning, after a full English breakfast in the cafe in the village, outside the new visitors centre, now rebuilt on the other side of the main road. The old Red Bull trail, having lost the sponsorship deal has now been renamed the Tarw trail, and is basically still the same sections, but starting on the opposite side of the A470, with the old favourites Snap Crackle and Pop still ready to catch out the unwary. Camlan was very tame, Rocky Horror Show provided a fast section with some jumps to get the adrenalin pumping. Sutts picked up a flat before Mantrap and then a new section, Pins and Needles, which seemed less rocky than the old section, but Flightpath was rocky and undulating. By the time we'd ridden R74 back to the underpass, we were ready for a break at the cafe.

               

After coffee, cakes and sarnies, we decided to tackle the 18km MBR trail, which is now one half of the Beast, the other half made up of the Dragons Back, some 31 km long. So to do the Beast would require some 3-6 hours and 38 km of pedalling. The first section after leaving the centre, Badger was pretty technical and we all agreed that it was too much for most to ride straight out of the car park...Dream Time, was a favourite with all, long sweeping sections, jumps and drops down to tight bermed corners. A long fire road climb onto the top for old favourites Brutus, Slated, cain and Abel. Steve was having trouble with the rocky sections here and pushed off the Slated section....Abel was quite rutted and in the dark section in the trees, lack of visibility nearly caused Dan and Gilbey to fall down the steep embankment. False Teeth was a long undulating section with plenty of rock jumps, and then Pink Heifer, another long section which proved one of the favourite sections, of the weekend. Long, fast and not too much effort required to keep rolling. Crossed back over the bridge for a long drawn out fire road climb up to drop down on Beginning of the End, then Glide and finally Lifes Good.  This was enough riding for most and so back to the car park to load up in the van and a ride back. Gilbey road back to the village along the A470 and on arrival at the hostel announced that two spokes had snapped. Q had also had a problem on Badger earlier and needed the services of the bike shop in Dolgelleu.

               

Dave & Michael Simon, plus Josh Cole, a Texan trying out Coed for the first time, turned up at the hostel in the wee small hours of Saturday, Gilbey waiting up to let them in around 2am!!!

Graham had fallen asleep on "guard" duty and was shot at dawn.....

SATURDAY

Q and Gilbey headed into Dolgelleu to get their bikes repaired, and  rejoined the group at the visitor centre for lunch. The morning had been made up of doing the 8.7km Temtiwr trail, with the rocky Badger section catching out a few. The undulating Pinderosa and the fast curvy Dream Time were favourites, and helped to hone the skills. Josh came a cropper on Glide shortly after Beginning of the End. Light rain came in as we were eating lunch so the afternoon promised to be a bit more damp than the previous days riding. It was agreed that the afternoon would be to ride most of Beast. Josh had a bad fall on Dreamtime and hit his head so Dave Simon offered to escort him back to the cafe. Michael didn't last much longer as he had a terminal breakage of his rear mech so had to bail out on Big Dug and cycle back in the now heavy rain to the visitor centre. The rest carried on and rode the well known sections of Beast, which in the rain turned slippery in places, Hermon nearly claiming a couple of the riders over the edge. A stop for tea and Bara brith cake at the Caffi'r Goedwig Forest cafe was very welcome for a warm up and a rest. 

               

Morticia, Gomez and Pugsley were great flowing sections with a few flats by Sutts at the top of Beefy and Steve on Uncle Fester slowing down the pace. Cain , Slated and Able provide murky views across the valleys but the sections required your full attention, or risked a rocky unseat. We all managed to get back to the car park, just as search parties were heading out at dusk to look for a female rider who had got seperated from her group on Uncle Fester and hadn't been seen for 2 hours!! We all headed back to the hostel for hot showers. After eating a great meal at the Ty n-y-Groes hotel, and all piling into Dave Simons VW estate,  a misunderstanding at the hostel car park saw Graham left in the back of the car for about 30 minutes whilst the rest were drinking ales in the village pub!! Someone casually mentioned at the bar "who let Graham out"? A rescuer was sent off to let graham out when it was realised that no one had let the Rendell "mutt" out of the car.  He thought we'd been laying a joke by walking off and not lookingh back at the car, but in fact we'd forgotton to let him out and the child proof locks had prevented him from breaking out....!!

                       

SUNDAY 21st SEPTEMBER 2008

"THE 10 DOWNS PLUS A FEW UPS", ISLE OF WIGHT 

Riders: 12   Neil Foss, Roy George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Dave Mullard, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell, Dave Rodgers, Graham Seage, Steve Shephard, Chris Sutton, Tim Porter, Andy Willcocks.

OS Maps: OS Map Explorer OL29  Isle of Wight

Length:  20.90 miles  

Actual Riding time:  2 hours,  31 minutes. 

Max speed:  32 mph

Average speed:  8.7 mph

Minimum height:   0 metres (Yarmouth ferry)

Maximum height:  207 metres (Gallibury Hump)

Height ascended:  696 metres 

Weather: Sunny, SE breeze, 17 degrees

Pub: "The Bugle"

                   

After gathering at the ferry terminal at Lymington, we all used the buy one get one vouchers Steve had previously spotted on the Wightlink website to get us a discount on the crossing. The cash saved on the voucher was promptly lost buying a pot of tea and a Mars bar at the cafe on the ferry. Pirates of the Solent, Wightlink. On reaching Yarmouth a slight delay as Gilbey had to locate a shop to buy batteries for his camera to record the day's events. Fully charged, the large group set off in reverse direction this year, to pick up the old railway track to Thorley Bridge. Then a short road section to Wellow, where we picked up the Halstead Trail BW and climbed up the track skirting Hummet Copse. Then quite a steep grassy climb up to Wellow Down, a hidden hole catching out Dan who took a tumble. Then along a section of muddy singletrack down beside Shalcombe Down to the base of Pay Down. A wrong turn by the lead element of the group had them backtracking to then climb up through the dark wooded section of Coombe Plantation. By the time we reached the top at Mottistone Down, Steve was full of nothing but praise for the climb and the cheery wags who had planned to ride the route in reverse this time, leading to some, interesting climbs...not!  

                       

After crossing Lynch Lane, Andy picked up the first puncture of the day, so a small group assisted him....well,  took advantage of the opportunity for a rest, whilst the others took on the long gradual climb up to the reservoir in Brighstone Forest. Then after regrouping at the top, we rode along the Tennyson Trail up to the highest point of the days ride, Gallibury Hump. Tim then picked up the second flat of the day near Suttswell, the sinister area of the island, which so very nearly was responsible for the unexplained near abduction / strange disappearance of Sutts a few years back. Gilbey decided to go on to capture all the photographic downhill action as the group descended Crank Break Hill, coming off Rowborough Hill. However the loose large chalky rubble, slowed down a lot of the riders, especially the riders on the expensive full sussers. Sutts picked up a flat and had the reasonable excuse why he had to walk down Crank Break hill, however some of the others didn't have flats...Hmmmmm, any more excuses anyone??. Then a long climb on tarmac back up through Cheverton Shute, before the off road climb up to Rynham Down. Plenty of shotgun action going on here as we cycled past a large contingent of clay pigeon shooters blasting away. After admiring the views from Limerstone Down, we had a fast descent on the Worsley Trail to cross Lynch Lane for the second time of the day. A long slog up Mottistone Down, before fast pursuits across Harboro and Pay Down.  So often talked about on other rides, the stuff of legend, but never seen until today, for the first time ever, Dave Mullard was harassed on the downhill by a Big Black Dog....but this time there really was a big black dog (Gilbey actually witnessed the woofer!).

                                           

The most looked forward to part of the ride was the descent across Compton Down, with stunning views across Compton Bay towards the Needles of the brilliant chalky white Highdown cliffs above Freshwater. Riding the route in reverse today rewarded all the group with these stunning views, not normally seen as they are behind everyone, who have heads down, climbing across the golf course.  Andy was too busy looking across the bay and got thrown over the bars by.....after careful analysis…a clump of grass. Gilbey picked up the fourth puncture of the day, just after the descent across the golf course. A fast run down the Freshwater Way, apart from a dog who chased most of the bikes and nearly got run over at one point. We picked up the Causeway to Yarmouth which by now was crowded with walkers. We landed in the Bugle Hotel in the Square for refreshing cool ones before boarding HMS Black Pig for the return, sunning ourselves on the poop deck.

                   

SUNDAY 17th AUGUST 2008

"PUDDLETOWN BASH", WEST STAFFORD, DORSET

Riders: 8 Gary Biles, Andrew Mansell, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Andy Kerley, Lewis Kerley, Steve King, Ian Sumby, Eddie Summers

OS Maps: OL15 (Orange cover)  Purbeck and South Dorset  or  Landranger 194 (Purple cover) Dorchester & Weymouth, Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Length: 25.54 miles  

Actual Riding time: 3 hours, 14 minutes. 

Max speed: 32 mph

Average speed: 7.9 mph

Minimum height:  43 metres (Tenantrees river crossing, West Stafford)

Maximum height: 134 metres (Cheselbourne West Down)

Height ascended: 594 metres 

Weather: Sunny,then overcast, SW breeze, 16 degrees

Pub: "Wise Man Inn"

       

Andy Mansell, an old school chum of Gilbey's decided to see what all the "wobblies" fuss was about, and was at the "Wise Man Inn" to meet the other 7 riders brave enough to turn up for the Puddletown Forest bash. Some of us have not been to Puddletown forest for over two years & were looking forward to trying to remember where the old favourites trails such as "Spitfire", "Jungle" & "Crisp Packet" started and if they were still complete and rideable. The West Dorset posse of the "Wobblies" were there to help with the trail input and after waiting for Andy & Lewis who were experiencing navigational difficulties, we set off across Tenantrees river crossing, over a rather slippery bridge, then up to the Puddletown Forest. A quick stop on the edge of the forest gave all the chance to read the notices put up by Forest Enterprise, dissuading mountain bike riders from riding off road in the forest. OK, we all read them and then went off to find the trails......!!

An over the bars by Gilbey on the first trail ridden didn't bode well and then it was the turn of Kerley Senior who came a cropper after "catching air" but then caught gravel straight afterwards. A cut knee was a good souvenir, and luckily Andy performed this mishap with a full audience!!  We went on to ride a slippery "Jungle" trail and the lack of practice riding these trails showed up in the pace set. No one was brave enough to ride the sections of "Northshore" constructed deep within the trees by local loonies. I think a free ride in the air ambulance would have been the most probable outcome. After riding the forest for about an hour we set off onto the road to Puddletown, passed through the village and then went off road onto farm tracks, passing Bardolf Manor. A short flint ridden track before back onto tarmac onto the A354 which was really busy with fast moving traffic, which appeared just as we wanted to cross over onto the BW passing Milborne Wood. Lewis started yelping as he didn't like all the stinging nettles on this section. I must admit they were a bit numerous and thick in places...ouch!. Emerged onto tarmac again for a fast descent into Dewlish village, where we startled a family on ponies....sorry!

A climb up the side of the valley towards Bramblecombe, then down again to cross the road, then steep climb up onto Whitelands Downs. Gary picked up a flat here, but soon had it repaired with his sooper dooper inflate a tube quick cannister sort of thinga ma jiggy, whilst everyone else tried to get all the vegetation out of rear cassettes and mechs, while waiting. Onwards across Chesselbourne West Down, then onto a very muddy section through Dole's Hill Plantation. Back to West Stafford then via Lower Waterston, climbed back up to cross the Ridge Way, through Yellowham Wood, then a sprint to the leat at Lower Bockhampton where all the bikes got a dunking in the River Frome to get the worst of the days mud off. Gilbey picked up a flat, but managed to limp into the pub without fixing it.....

And here's the best bit.......................... £3.20 for a small portion of chips at the "Wise Man" .........enough said eh Ed, Ian.........still the beer was cheaper....just!!!

SUNDAY 20th JULY  2008

"WHITE HORSE, WEST LULWORTH, DORSET

Riders: 11  Gary Biles, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Edward Harrison, Andy Kerley, Lewis Kerley, Graham Rendell, Paul Riste, Graham Seage, Dave Simon, Michael Simon, Eddie Summers

OS Maps: OS Explorer 117 (Orange cover)  Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis, Blandford Forum & Beaminster   or  Landranger 194 (Purple cover) Dorchester & Weymouth, Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Length: 21.21 miles  

Actual Riding time: 2 hours, 19 minutes. 

Max speed: 44 mph

Average speed: 9.1 mph

Minimum height:  37 metres (West Lulworth)

Maximum height: 166 metres (The Warren)

Height ascended: 680 metres 

Weather: Sunny, SW breeze, 19 degrees

Pub: "Castle Inn"

SATURDAY 5th JULY 2008

"WOBBLIES SUMMER SOLSTICE RIDE, AVON VALLEY, HAMPSHIRE

Riders: 19  Gilbey, Dave, Karen, Timbo, Dan, Dael, Carl, Lisa, Roy, Helen, Graham, Dave, Neil, Graham, Q, Theresa, Andy, Eva, Heather.

Pubs: 8 Elm Tree, London Tavern, Alice Lisle, Royal Oak, Inn on the Furlong, The Lamb, The New Queen, The Avon Causeway.

           

           

       

       

SUNDAY 15th JUNE  2008

british heart foundation LONDON TO BRIGHTON ride

Length: 56 miles

Minimum height:  4 metres (Brighton seafront, Finish!!)

Maximum height: 228 metres (Ditchling Beacon, 44 miles in)

Height ascended: 999 metres 

       

All,

Many thanks for sponsoring us to for the London to Brighton cycle ride, I have now finished tallying the total sponsorship we raised and it is ............ £1784 !..........a very creditable total, well done for all your support and congratulations to the riders involved.

An Acorn of Achievement was awarded to young Michael Simon who was top fund raiser with a whopping £361 ! Well done Michael.

Also worthy of a special mention are Theresa , Colin, Dael and Gilbey, all managing to individually raise over £150 each.

Please see the team page www.justgiving.com/pgdtwobblywheelers for more detail .

Cheers,

Graham (Rendell)

       

                                                                       

       

       

SUNDAY 18th MAY  2008

"Burnt Bottom",  EVERSHOT, DORSET 

Riders: Roy George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Graham Rendell, Graham Seage, Dave Simon, Michael Simon, 

OS Maps: OS Explorer 117 (Orange cover)  Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis, Blandford Forum & Beaminster  or  Landranger 194 (Purple cover) Dorchester & Weymouth, Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Length: 20.84 miles  

Actual Riding time: 3 hours, 4 minutes. 

Max speed: 34.5 mph

Minimum height:  73 metres (Wood Farm)

Maximum height: 243 metres (A356, Corscombe)

Height ascended: 778 metres 

Weather: Sunny, SE breeze, 15 degrees

Pub: "Acorn Inn"

       

A glorious sunny June day dawned as six riders assembled in the picturesque village of Evershot, just off the Dorchester-Yeovil road. Michael Simon was keen to get some off road miles in, good training for the London to Brighton ride next month. We set off downhill out of the village and turned off on the BW through Melbury Park, after a short climb there was a fast downhill to the boathouse and lake on the estate of Melbury House. We went slightly askew after entering a field of sheep and so after a combination of studying the map (whilst Gilbey fixed a flat) and checking Dave's GPS, we managed to get back on track. We then re-emerged into civilisation again at the next picturesque village of Melbury Osmond. Due to recent rains the next section up to Clarkham Cross was hard going with plenty of sticky mud and a steep climb, which resulted in everyone pushing their steeds towards the end. We again fell foul of lack of BW signs and managed to enter a field full of rather too inquisitive and brave (?) cows who proceeded to swarm towards us. Not sure if swarm is the correct term here but either way, most riders decided to ride down to Wood Farm on the other side of the hedge to the cows. The whole herd, some very laden in the udder department, decided to race us down to the farm, creating a mini stampede. Sorry, about that Farmer Palmer.....

       

Just before the farm, Michael had a bit of bad luck on the bike he'd borrowed from Graham. The rear mech dropout had snapped, but no fear Bike Dr Rendell soon had it converted to a single speed, enabling Dave to ride it onwards to the road at Dogwell Farm where he would ride back to Evershot by road. There was a quite steep, rocky, muddy section which Michael and all but two of the group (no names!) managed to ride in a flowing run. A field of dried/drying sileage and a strategically placed electric fence with no gaps, created some mirth for the few who got over the fence unscathed and there were quite a few howls as the fence kicked in on sweaty riders hopping over and under the wire. The next section towards Norwood turned into a navigational exercise and at one point we realised we'd gone the wrong direction when we ended up pushing our bikes out of a well kept plantation of trees, complete with mown grass "lanes" , into some big posh, landowners back garden. This resulted in a faster retreat than an Italian army division back into the plantation and eventually after more wrong turnings we finally picked up the correct (unsigned) BW into Norwood. A slight twist on the attacked by farm dogs scenario at this point, as passing a farm, as we looked down at the attacking, barking dogs, there was a lamb running with the dogs chasing Gilbey.....honestly.!!

                       

A steep climb up a valley to the A356, with yet another herd of cows, including a bull at the top to meet us, and unnerve Mr Rendell. At the top, as time was marching on, and with serious drinking time being eroded, due to map reading errors, we all decided to "trim" the route slightly, and cut out the Corscombe loop. A fast road run to the BW which runs along the hill overlooking Beaminster. This BW was puddle ridden and to add to the hazards there was a cross country run, so we began to meet a lot of runners appearing from the opposite direction we were riding. Down to Dirty Gate, then by road to the hamlet of Toller Whelme (great name!), and then by road to Hooke. From here a steep climb up an overgrown stinging nettle ridden BW, to the radio mast station on Rampisham Down, meeting yet more runners and another field of curious (brave) cows who decided to chase Gilbey as he was at the rear of the group. From the masts, it was a hilly road run back to Evershot, which was a welcome for the group, as a combination of mud, route errors, heat & brave livestock had turned this 20 miler into quite an epic. But, it must be said the "Acorn" is a good pub with a fine selection of ales......so there was a reward for the finishers.

SUNDAY 20th APRIL  2008

"It's for charity (wood) mate",  Milton abbas, DORSET 

       

Riders: 12   Edward Harrison, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Andy Kerley, Lewis Kerley, Jamie Robinson, Simon Robinson, Dan Rees, Dave Rodgers, Graham Seage, Grant Stephenson, Andy Willcocks, Paul Wilson.

OS Maps: OS Explorer 117 (Orange cover)  Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis, Blandford Forum & Beaminster  or  Landranger 194 (Purple cover) Dorchester & Weymouth, Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Length: 15.35 miles

Minimum height:  59 metres (Milborne St Andrew, SY824 976)

Maximum height: 178 metres (Charity Wood)

Height ascended: 435 metres 

Weather: Sunny, SW breeze, warmed up nicely in the sunshine..

Pub: "Hambro Arms"

After a bit of a navigational exercise as the sign pointing to Milton Abbas village had been snapped off,  some of the riders assembled at 9am at the "Hambro Arms" car park.  However, as Dave Rogers had decided to turn over a new leaf for 2008 and take up a bit more off road cycling, we had to wait for the other work colleagues of his to arrive who he had persuaded to come down to deepest Dorset for a fun day out..... One lad was coming from Ealing, West London, so we thought it unfair to ride off before he arrived. However as mobile signals are not too strong in this neck of the woods we had no idea of his progress down the M3. Full of apologies, he arrived just before 10, so we set off a bit behind schedule. Edward had bought along his mate Paul, but forgot to mention that he would be better off riding on knobbly tyres, which I thought was a bit of an oversight on Ed's behalf. Still, Sutts did do a Stonehenge ride on the "Rog" once complete with slick road tyres once, so there was some hope for Paul. 

       

The first off road section across to Long Close Farm had the bikes with slicks sliding well, as it had been raining in the week, making for a slightly soft ride. At the barn by Gallows Corner, the effects of some serious consumption of ale the night before took their toll on Grant, who proceeded to become a bit unwell, threw up, and turned around to head back to the pub!!!   So, eleven riders pressed on into Milborne St Andrew, where Graham Seage picked up a flat, as usual the culprit being a stray hawthorn. Just at the top of the hill out of the village, Gilbey also picked up a flat. Across the Foxpound, the fields were bright yellow with Rapeseed growing in all the fields.  At East Farm in Winterborne Whitechurch, the farm dogs were waiting for the stragglers, the riders at the front of the pack managing to get past unhindered. At East Down, just past the chicken farm, a misunderstanding led to about half the group heading off down a track the wrong way, however it must be said, it was a good section of singletrack, so the extra mile was all worthwhile!!!  After crosssing the A354 it was a rather overgrown section in places with plenty of hanging brambles to catch out the distracted. Came face to face along the BW with a big group of elderly ramblers, who in this instance were extremely friendly, which made a change from some of the previous encounters with the "red sock" brigade. The section through the "Plantation" was tricky in places with lots of fallen trees laid across the BW. 

       

Gilbey nearly came a cropper trying to film the group whilst descending down to Skelder House, before the climb up from the road, picking up the "Jubilee Trail" into Charity Wood. Edward seemed particularly happy (!) to see the last serious hill of the ride stretching up into the trees after crossing the stream over the footbridge. Graham Seage picked up a flat in Charity Wood, but told the rest of the group, he'd see us back at the pub. However as most took a wrong turning we all ended up climbing up out of Milton Park Wood, past a house with a huge Great Dane standing guard, and deciding which one of us to eat first. Graham went the corrrect way (a short cut) and saved himself about a mile!

                                                       

From the top of Hoggen Down, above the village, a great fast tarmac descent past the pub back into the village. Then of course back into the "Hambro Arms" for a pint or two, most of the group having had a good, but tougher than expected ride, the 15 miles being enough for most. Don't be put off though lads....!!!!

SUNDAY 16th MARCH 2008

STONEHENGE LOOP",  GREAT DURNFORD, WILTSHIRE 

                       

Riders: 8   Neil Foss, Edward Harrison, Roy George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Dave Mullard, Graham Rendell, Graham Seage, Christopher "Sutts" Sutton.

OS Maps: OS Explorer OL130 (Orange cover)  Salisbury & Stonehenge  or  Landranger 184 (Purple cover) Salisbury & the Plain

Length: 18.60 miles 

Actual Riding time: 1 hour, 51 minutes. 

Max speed: 31.5 mph

Average speed: 10 mph

Minimum height:  53 metres (Lower Woodford)

Maximum height: 146 metres (Chain Hill, Stapleford Down)

Height ascended: 348 metres

Weather: Windy (NE), rainy to start, but stopped about half way round. 9 degrees C.

Pub:  "Black Horse", Great Durnford, Wiltshire

       

A rather rainy damp, cold start greeted the eight riders who assembled outside the "Black Horse" car park in Great Durnford, Wiltshire, just off the A345 Salisbury - Amesbury road. A new recruit, Edward Harrison, had found the website on the net and decided to come out to see what the "Wobblies" were all about. 

Now, this part of Wiltshire is known for Druid activity, ancient stone circles, burial chambers, complex patterned crop circles appearing overnight in a p*****d off farmers field and all strange manner of unexplained goings on at the top secret RAF Boscombe Down airfield which is on the route of the ride, who knew what to expect!!  Anyway, can I draw your attention to the first photo at the beginning of the ride report. After the mysterious "Suttswell" incident on the Isle of Wight when Sutts mysteriously disappeared for a few tense minutes back in September 2003, just what exactly is that strange white "sphere" of light flashing past under Sutts right arm???Certainly when I took the photo there was no white light........Hmmmmm.....very strange..

       

We climbed out of the Great Durnford in the rain, and by the time the group reached the main Amesbury road, we were all pretty wet through. Graham Seage had invested in new mudguards for his full susser, but the rest of the full susser boys didn't seem to mind all the wet and mud being flung up on their derriers.  A massive, crowded new housing development of the worst possible taste has sprung up on the waste land at Stockport above Amesbury, since the last time the "Wobblies" passed by, and it was slow progress through a muddy section, due to building work here, and also thick new gravel roads made for a slog to the main road into Amesbury. Just after crossing the busy A303, Graham Rendell suffered a flat, so we all watched in soggy anticipation whilst he fixed it, opposite the rather grandly named Countess Motel, however I don't think she was in... then a wet slog along the gravel track up to Larkhill Camp, plenty of puddle skirting going on, however a bit pointless, seeing how drenched everyone was. Quite windy on the exposed section down from Larkhill, crossing the "Cursus" and it was here that a rather big dog came running out from behind some hippy travellers skanky van and started chasing the group. Next thing the "owner" came out to call his lovely beast back, something along the lines of "F***ing come here", which seemed a strange name for a dog....Plenty of damp tourists drudging around the site at Stonehenge, so a quick photo stop, then onwards across Normanton Down. Roy at this point decided that he wasn't wet enough already and charged through two massive, deep puddles, getting thoroughly drenched in the process. A real slippery, sticky slog along the track onto the road again at Druid's Lodge, in fact I even saw some pushing of bikes going on. No names, no pact drill. Another waterlogged, puddle filled section across Chain Hill to the road, then a fast descent on wet roads into Middle Woodford. We crossed a rather swollen River Avon by wooden bridge at Lower Woodford, then a fast dash back to the cars, for a change of clothes before consuming some fine ales in front of the woodburning stove in the "Black Horse", except for Neil who didn't bring a spare set of clothes...Doh!

                                                    

SUNDAY 17th FEBRUARY 2008

"PURBECK PUFFER"   ISLE OF PURBECK, DORSET   

Riders: 13   Gary Biles, Sam Gears, Richard Gears, Roy George, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Steve King, Dave Mullard, Mike Organ, Dan Rees, Graham Seage, Ian Sumby, Christopher "Sutts" Sutton, Andy Willcocks.

OS Maps: Explorer (Orange)  OL15: Purbeck & South Dorset

Length: 24.00 miles 

Actual Riding time: 2 hours, 57 minutes. 

Max speed: 30.5 mph

Average speed: 8.1 mph

Minimum height:  3 metre (Greenlands Farm, Studland)

Maximum height: 191 metres (Nine Barrow Down)

Height ascended: 943 metres

Weather: Windy (E), but dry and very sunny (6 degrees C).

Pub:  "Square & Compass", Worth Matravers, Isle of Purbeck

              

A chilly, but bright and sunny start at the car park in Worth Matravers attracted an impressive 13 riders for a February ride including probably the youngest ever so far. However Roadie Rendell was conspicuous by his absence. Had he crossed over to the dark (asphalt) side since picking up his shiny new Specialized “Langster” single speed roadie machine from Primera a week before.?  Calls to his mobile went unanswered, and only when we rung Rendell Mansions to check with Julie if he was doing lengths of the Upton by pass with a silly shaped hat and shaved legs, did we discover he was still at home in Christchurch! A new face or two in the assembled ranks, Mike Organ, one of the West Dorset Wobblies posse, and Toby Sam,  Richard Gears 8 year old son. So a healthy numbered group of riders set off up towards the Priests Way. Ice on the puddles along the Priests Way was broken and the mud was still frozen in places, could this perhaps be a no-clean the bikes February ride………read on!!!!  At New Barn, Andy Willcocks was disappointed as Mrs Miggins home made jams and cakes stall was not set up, perhaps shes finally been thrown in chokey and the key thrown away for VAT evasion on all that illegally made jam……?  So disheartened, we climbed up the chalky track beside Knitson Farm, meeting Richard and Toby Sam who had gone on before the main group from Worth Matravers. Sam seemed to be enjoying himself although the situation did lend itself to a few Fast Show competitive Dad and Toby quips fom the rest of the group. A massed group shot on Nine Barrow Down before Richard and Toby Sam cycled off towards Corfe Castle, along the ridge, the rest carrying on towards the Obelisk. At the bottom of Godlingston Hill,  Dave Mullard realised that the lockout on the top of one of his  fork legs had been blown off by a leaky valve seal, and so the forks were not too boyant, perhaps explaining the extraordinary amount of time it took him to come down the hill, but as usual there were references to a big black dog jumping out in front of himHmmmm! Lack of proper maintenance was the suspected cause, shame on you Mr M!!

       

A good clear run down to Old Harry, then out through Studland, turning onto Godlingston Heath, which proved too sandy in places to ride. Good descent across Studland Heath onto the track towards Goathorn Farm, then across Rempstone Heath. We had a breather at the top of Rollington hill, then a quick descent to Corfe Castle passing a rather miffed female biker coming up the track, who uttered something that sounded like bloody hell as we wizzed pastShe should realize that going downhill demands that extra special burst of speed, well, unless the Mullard Mutt jumps out in front of you..A good climb up to Kingston from Blashenwell Farm, but by now legs were beginning to ache, so some went back by road to Worth (see Graham, you could have come and ridden the "Langster"). The others were persuaded by Gilbey, that the Purbeck Way route down through Combe Bottom and Hill Bottom would be a better off-road option. It went well until we again caught up with Toby Sam and his competitive dad, Richard who appeared to be dragging their bikes through thick mud. 

       

Soon, EVERYONE was doing the same, as the bottom of the trail was seriously churned up by horses and the recent rain. No one could clear the wheels to ride for a bit and at one point Mike was on his arse having slipped over in the mud. Hmmmmmm, perhaps a summer ride for this route next timeGilbey nearly had a Gilbey strop in the mud, but the offer of some Toblerone from Andy calmed him down, and restored his energy, long enough to get back to the Square and Compass, where most of the customers were sat outside..some of the Wobblies retreated into the bar as it wasnt THAT warm, especially after 24 miles.still there were some of the "Square and Compasses" home made pasties left for us, so something to wash down with the ale ..

SUNDAY 20th JANUARY 2008

"FRAGGLE ROCK"  WEYMOUTH & ISLE OF PORTLAND, DORSET

Riders: 8   Gary Biles, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Andy Kerley, Lewis Kerley, Steve King, Graham Seage, Ian Sumby, Eddie Summers.

OS Maps: Explorer (Orange)  OL15: Purbeck & South Dorset, Landranger (Pink) 194: Dorchester & Weymouth  

Length: 25.13 miles 

Actual Riding time: 2 hours, 58 minutes. 

Max speed: 28.5 mph

                       

Average speed: 8.4 mph

Minimum height:  1 metre (Causeway)

Maximum height: 133 metres (HM Prison, The Verne)

Height ascended: 944 metres

Weather: Really windy (SW), but dry and mild (14 degrees C).

Pub:  "Cove House Inn", Fortuneswell, Isle of Portland

               

Meeting at the Weymouth Squash centre, with the picturesque gasometer in the background, there were four of the West Dorset "wobblies" chapter waiting to meet the four East Dorset "wobblies" chapter representatives. We set off along the old railway line, now paved, passing through an old tunnel and through Rodwell station still complete with platforms, then onwards towards the open causeway across to the Isle of Portland. Emerging onto Ferry Bridge the wind was blowing a hoolie from the south west, so all of us had to lean the bikes over into the wind to stay upright!!  We passed through the site of the old Naval Air Station, HMAS Osprey, which is now being redeveloped, with some of the officers quarters being redeveloped into mind bogglingly priced "luxury" apartments. Still, the new occupants will have a grandstand view of the sailing events in the 2012 Olympics, which are being staged from here. We then climbed up a very steep flagstone paved path, which was at one time used to bring the Portland stone down from the quarries to the harbour, but now just succeeds in making mountain bikers loose traction on the slippery stones and then push bikes up!! Then more gradual climbing passing the foreboding, grey Verne prison, up onto the top of the Isle. Slightly misty views across Weymouth bay, so we pressed on across rocky, common land, just time here for Eddie to misjudge a short incline and snap off his rear mudguard in the process. So he left it under a convenient bush for collection on the way back. We then passed HM Young Offenders Institution (all the "good apples" kept on the Isle of Portland, don't you know!!).

               

A short road section through Easton, then, back onto technical, disused quarry sections, passing Cave Hole, for the ride out to the exposed Bill of Portland, complete with it's very own lighthouse. Well, in fact there are three lighthouses here, each subsequent one being built a little bit nearer to the rocky coast....There was a group of "twitchers" huddled behind the monument here, all binos trained out to sea, Ian asked what they were looking for, only to be told rather curtly...."Birds!!!"  It turned out that a "Bulemic blue Billy Butlin coated wader" or something similar from Kazakstan or somewhere equally as unmemorable had been blown off course. We could relate to that having been blown off course from the Weymouth gasometer....

From the Bill we climbed upwards, passing an old Naval establishment, which in the 1960's and 1970's was a bit of a "shhhhhh......hush, hush" sort of place, observed a bit too closely by our "Ruskie" cousins,  but is now a business park!!  The cliff path here climbs up high and skirts the rocky cliffs, and is not a ride for the faint hearted (don't look out or down!!). However the south-westerly helped to keep all the machines pressed against the cliffs. We stopped for a bite and a rest in the Sculpture Park, where budding stonemasons practice their skills on the local quarried Portland stone. From here we rode the route in reverse, which was a struggle back to the Bill of Portland as we were riding into the wind. There was a pipe on the cliff path, near the "hush hush" establishment which, from the smell, appeared to be pumping out sewage and due to the strong winds was hitting us as "rain". I hope that it was rain and not a "leftover" from the residents of Southwell !

               

Lewis took a tumble coming down a rocky path from a hill in a disused quarry near Cave Hole, and as he was borrowing an £1800 Specialized bike for the weekend from "Primera", didn't seem too good a move. However no damage to the bike, he was OK, AND luckily it was caught on film!...Gilbey suffered the only flat of the day, coming down another steep stone incline, which used to bring the quarried stone down and which the locals now use to dump rubbish, off the bridge.

We dropped down into Fortuneswell and had a shock at a pelican crossing, when an old lady gave Lewis, Gilbey and Graham a "flash", pulling up her skirt and giving them a tantalizing glimpse of thermal stockinged leg. Not content with upsetting the boys once, the old minx did it again!!!! Eurggh....quick to the Cove for a few "Broadsides" to stem off the shock......

               

An strong wind behind us, meant that the ride back to Weymouth along the old railway was a lot quicker than it had been on the way out...... Thanks to Eddie, Steve, Gary & Ian for showing us this hidden gem of a ride....and as Eddie pointed out, not one gate to open in 28 miles.  A good ride to revisit in the Summer me thinks?