Cycling Report for 14th October 2021
Thursday morning dawned bright and clear but chilly, so it was tricky deciding what to wear. Meeting up with the other six (two couldn't make it, but we gained another) at Chewton Mendip ford lane it became obvious that it was going to be a lovely day so warm clothes at first but gradually shed some as the sun rose. Before we left we met up with a wiry gentleman cyclist whose name was George Martin who knew Norman H. (u3a cycle group member) from his past club association and is now 90 and still cycling. In fact he was ahead of us and we didn't pass him as he turned off half a mile before us; we met again at Mells cafe!
Our route took us past the Old Down Inn, an old coaching inn, down Coalpit Lane, a relic of the mining industry in Somerset, to Stratton-on the- Fosse passing Downside School. We were heading for Mells, our coffee stop about 9/10 miles east, so by following various narrow lanes to avoid Holcombe, we eventually arrived at the village of Coleford. Beyond was the little village of Vobster where we crossed over the remains of the Coal Canal, a futile attempt to provide water transport for the mined coal which would link up with the Kennet and Avon canal to take coal to London, and on to our coffee stop at Mells where we were able to sit at an outside table in the small paddock by the stream.
The return leg took us up the hill to the Colliers Way, an old railway trackbed, for about a couple of miles to the bridge that took us back to Vobster and beyond to Soho, not the infamous area of London but a sleepy little village consisting of a pub and the odd cottage. Cycling further west to the lunch venue at Binegar took us through some quite hilly country where I was glad I had some electric assist unlike the other six. We arrived at the Horse and Jockey in Binegar about half an hour late but fortunately we were still in time to eat together in the restaurant, where later there was a discussion on future cycle group plans (coming to members in an email). At this point two of our number cycled back to Wells, the rest of us returned to Chewton Mendip via narrow lanes where we all went our different ways; two cycled back, the others in cars. Total mileage 26.7, a great day out.
Report on the extra ride on 21st October, 2021
The day dawned cold and dark but eventually developed into, I won't say warm, a pleasant sunny day. I took off at 8am to be nice and early at the first meeting point: Priddy Village Green. After slogging up the Mendips for 3 miles I was stopped by a farmer moving cows. We chatted for 15 Mins. while his 170 cows slowly made there way through (talk about everything in Somerset being slow and easy). Paul came up the same bit of road and we waited another 5 mins. Graham, Pete M., Steve C., (a last minute recruit), Paul and I left at 9am....No other hold ups.
Both on the way there and the return journey, the sun was very low and without a visor, at times, difficult to see the road. However, the lighting was stunning!
We met John W., and Roger at Ston Easton as prearranged, leaving a tad after 9am. After the 'big lumps' in between Shoscombe and Wellow, we stopped off for a well earned coffee at Wellow riding stables (Rider's Rest - I think it was called).
Before the two tunnels, we turned right after Midford, cycled through the grounds of Monkton Combe School and onto the canal tow path. Plenty to see there with the rich and not so rich, playing with or living on their narrow boats.
We arrived in Bradford on Avon still on cycle route 24. We sat outside in the sunshine and had a pleasant pub meal near the canal.The way back was equally pleasant, although when we came to one of the last big hills out of Shoscome Pete's chain came off and got stuck on the joining link and between the plastic guard. John and Pete managed to fix it and we were again on our way. We stopped once again at the Riding Stables for more sustenance and sitting in the sunshine.
There were seven of us with a variety of starting and peeling off points. We rode between 40 to 70+ miles.
Thank you all for a lovely day.
Cycling Report for 28th October 2021
On a dull but dry morning, 8 met at Axbridge Reservoir, 4 arriving by pedal power and the 4 ebike riders in cars! We set off through Axbridge to Compton Bishop and on to Barton and Winscombe for C&C at the Strawberryline Tea Room, formerly Charlottes but still maintaining standards for cake!
We headed back towards Barton but soon turned right to cross the valley then left to circle around the hill to come into Banwell from a westerly direction. After a hectic road crossing in Banwell it was north to Puxton and with a very strong tailwind pedalling was hardly required. E-bike motors would certainly not work at speeds of over 15mph. We quickly arrived at Hewish Garden Centre for more refreshments.
After lunch, our morning jaunty speed was quickly reversed as we headed into the same very strong wind towards Sandford. Luckily the chance we took ignoring road closure signs paid off and we didn't have to turn back and retrace our wheel tracks. At Sandford we joined the Strawberry Line cycle route, which was much more sheltered, back to Axbridge; a good trip enjoyed by all I hope!