2013.04 April

Saturday 6th April Monarch’s Way ride.
PT & CB set off early for a brek at Worthing Station, with JR, TK & RT following later for all to catch the 08.25 train to Havant.
Cycled up to Rowlands Castle for teas and coffees.

Saturday 13th April 8.00am ride.
ZA, JR, TK & RT.
4 peaks starting up Church hill, round to High Barn, down to A24 up to Chanctonbury and then round to Cissbury Car Park at which point ZA returned to Findon and the peleton continued up the west side of Cissbury and back down again in order to complete a proper 4 peaks to the Flying Dane standard.

Wednesday 17th to Monday 22nd April – The Devon C2C ride.
First day.
All met at 8TC around 9,00 am for tea(Malaysian, surprisingly) and loading of vehicles. All ready by 9.30 except Tim. Just started to call him to get him out of bed when he appeared. Tardiness apparently due to work and in his haste he left house in a mess, for which he was later to receive much abuse – FGCC salute for Tim. 
Got away on time for once, lunch at a Little Chef just after Salisbury dining in style! Arrived without incident at digs apart from doing a loop of Lupin Road and losing LSV2. Local tennis star Rita provided tea in the splendid setting of their sitting room at Weir Farm

Weir Farm
Weir Farm
after which we went for a walk as we were too early for the other B&B lady, Val.
Walk to find location of the pub for the evening and make a booking, following which we took a route which took us on a scenic tour of the side of the M5 followed by a bit of mountaineering over piles of road materials deposited in the bridle path (“I was looking forward to the climbing” said TK) ending up in having to trespass onto fields alongside to avoid the razor wire around some coaches parked in the next section, and then cut through a BT property to be challenged by locals, whom TK skilfully negotiated away by stating that we were care in the community. Response from PT was “did they ask why it took 4 people to care for you”.
Dinner in The Halfway House washed down with Otter bitter of sufficient quantities that TK found himself having to restrain JR from proposing to the barmaid. Theories continued for thereafter as to the extent for the trail of broken hearted barmaids around the country.
Day 2
After a splendid breakfast during which we decided upon the logistics for the day, we set off in the vehicles to a mid point on Exmoor at a junction with cycle route no. 3 close to the Sportsman Pub.
Headed off into the teeth of a gale and after a few minutes the rain started, soon turning into hail with there being no shelter as we were on the top of the moors. A few miles in and PT turned back to go to get CB who was due to arrive at Taunton around 2.00pm.
The peleton continued along the route towards Ilfracombe stopping for lunch at Bratton Fleming. The only pub was closed so the local store was invaded with hot pasties and the likes being made available. After the feast had been consumed apprentice TK was sent in again to charm the ladies into providing teas. Passing dinner ladies from the school were spared any proposals from JR.
Down the hill to the weak bridge for Tim to admire.
Bridgemeister Tim
Bridgemeister Tim
The peleton on the weak bridge
The peleton on the weak bridge

We met PT & CB about 5 miles from Ilfracombe to swap drivers and let CB ride the rest of the way to help overcome the jet-lag. Digs were a fine 4 storey Victorian establishment run by a Yorkshire couple, but those on the top floor struggled to climb yet further. The Prince of Wales was recommended by proprietor “Sheffield Geoff” and turned out to be Yorkshire Gourmet style, very meat and two veg, earning the ex-Londoner landlord of the Prince of Wales the description as being “cousin of Bruce” as well as “Bill Bailey’s dad ” (due to the hairstyle).
On the way back to the digs we dropped into the Wellington pub for a game of Killer Pool, to which we were introduced by TK and at which he was clearly well practised, winning even against chemical warfare tactics by RT. Note on the bar had been specially added for Mr Roche’s information

Message for JR
Message for JR

The landlord put asked us to put on some music (£ for a £) to which CB put on The Muppets version of Bohemian Rhapsody, resulting in the landlord returning to the room to state ” you’re ‘aving a larff aren’t you” in a strong West Country accent.
Total 28 miles for JR & TK, 23 for ZA & RT and 5 for PT & CB.

Day 3.
Breakfast time with Sheffield Geoff keeping us talking for ages, whilst we also amused a couple in the breakfast room. Geoff’s tale was something about Australian beds that don’t go round corners with the owner not being able to put the bed in the Gothic mansion next door enabling Geoff to acquire it. Bid farewell to Sheffield Geoff

Farewell to Sheffield Geoff
Farewell to Sheffield Geoff

Visit to see Ilfracombe’s famous statue, Verity, and dip bikes in the sea.

Dipping bikes in the sea at the start of the Devon C2C at Ilfracombe
Dipping bikes in the sea at the start of the Devon C2C at Ilfracombe

Verity interesting striking and reminiscent of Damien Hurst style even if a bit cow in formaldehyde.
Snake pass out of Ilfracombe resulted in going around in circles and up and down, with Chris charging ahead and missing all the turns except one.
Meanwhile Zach and Richard with the vehicles went wrong due to being misguided by the satmap. Drove to Petrockstowe and then rode back towards the advancing peloton to meet at Instow.
Peleton had a tea stop at Braunton with too much carbohydrate, two broken hearts (other diners who surprisingly left half their lunch after JR got toproposals withi 5 minutes) one lost wallet (CB’s complete with receipts) and one lost helmet (JR).
All met for lunch at Instow and then off down the Tarka trail to the next tea stop. Just before that we stopped to assist the local yokel with a loose pedal – Mr Crank. Tea at the alternative bike stop with his carrot cake and yurts gallows and rendering factory, leading us to wonder whether one of the yurts might be the source of certain substances. Daddyo (AKA the Marquess of Bath) acknowledged that he had plenty of children, but the tea and cake were most welcome.
Finished the riding at Petrockstowe and took vehicles to the digs at Lydford. Pressurised into an early dinner of mediocre standard. JR managed only 4 jilts during the day and evening leading to talk of those that are irre-Roachable. His favourite jilt of the day was the young lady with the push chair at the tea stop.
JR also enlightened us as to the recommended method of dealing with saddle sores – namely the application of Savlon to the affected parts and riding with tyres at 16psi.
JR finished off the evening by advising the two gorgeous girls (Debbie & Amy) at the bar that we have rooms in the pub because they were lamenting the fact that they had two miles to walk home – for some reason the proposal was inexplicably rejected. Chris was advised to man up.
Dissatisfied JR then engaged one of the young ladies in an arm wrestling competition, failing dismally, leading to yet another indecent proposal from JR.

Day 4
After a fine brek, which was a complete contrast to the poor service of the night before, we returned to Petrockstowe, the stop point of the night before.
Riders set off on route 27′ whilst CB and TK took the vehicles to a point on the route south of Tavistock, to then ride north on the trail to meet the pellet on. Using a small map CB & TK missed a turn resulting in a circuitous route through Tavistock and subsequent hard slog to make up time, CB driving TK on in his inimitable style.
Meanwhile the peleton had an uneventful but most pleasant ride through the Devon lanes to Okehampton, with a short stop there at a cashpoint and then for ZA & JR to look at the station, suggesting a stop in the tea room. However we pushed on, over the Meldon viaduct

Meldon viaduct
Meldon viaduct

with the intention of joining the others for lunch, with Sourton selected as a suitable location, but the pub had closed at 2.00, though ZA had an opportunity to study Thomas a Beckett church there. Met CB & TK on Lake viaduct.
The peleton at Lake viaduct
The peleton at Lake viaduct

The nearby Bewslake pub would not serve us even though they still had customers eating, so no llama award for them, and we cycled on to Bridestowe. Same problem with the pub there, resulting in plundering the village shop for rolls and cold meats to make filled rolls ourselves.
Carried on along the trail, with a further stop at Lydford Gorge National Trust with free entry due to PT’s membership being put to good use. Space hoppers in the children’s play area were suggested as suitable spare tyres for JR’s bike.
Strange sight in Peter Tavy where we passed an elderly couple in their dressing gowns painting their stone wall outside their house almost in the roadway, possibly a result of too much of the local scrumpy.
Eventually found the digs for the night, grand gated premises up a long side road with no signs as to its existence to be met by the landlady. Plenty of paraphernalia both in the garden and in the house led immediately to comparisons with Ruth and Northacres.
Dinner in the local Cornwood Arms, with maps to plan the route for the next day. All somewhat subdued by the long ride, with JR having insufficient energy even to make any proposals, hugging a heater instead.
Total 40 miles for the main peleton and 35 for CB & TK.

Day 5.
After a “Tesco” breakfast with uncooked sausages, PT set off to meet family, whilst the peloton set off from the digs over the adjacent moor and down to Cornwood. At this point ZA& JR elected to go for a road route, and the others an off-road route via Lutton, stopping to view a painted tree and making comparisons with TK’s garish outfit.

Marmite man and the painted tree
Marmite man and the painted tree

Up the aptly named “Mountain Hill” and onto an off-road section parallel to the road. Some confusion had clearly occurred over the meeting point, necessitating phone communications and agreement to the next. Bridle path over the moor faded out altogether, but CB activated his instinctive sat-nav took us in the right direction, and the others were able to spot us from a distance thanks to the peleton’s beacon, TK, in his jacket.
Road route to join the Granite trail at Bickley, stopping to study a road bridge, which was of great concern to our expert
Bridge inspection
Bridge inspection
The peleton
The peleton

In eventful ride into Plymouth, other than RT having an altercation with one of the biking locals, who demonstrated his high level of culture and education.
We got a bit lost entering the city, TK asking another local who turned out to be yet another Eastern European but who was able to give accurate advice.
Bike dipping at the Mayflower steps,
Bike dipping at the Mayflower steps in Plymouth
Bike dipping at the Mayflower steps in Plymouth

with questioning by an old lady who turned out to be more eccentric than us, and who has been biking all her life and still was.
Lunch at the Barbican, with a phone communication with PT to find his whereabouts, only to find he was standing on the opposite quay.
Return along the coastal cycle route route 2 to enjoy the likes of the sewage treatment works and social housing as well as the glamour of the A38 interchange.
A sudden halt when we came across PT in a side road to the A38. Discussion on where we might have cream tea, but PT had already researched the area with none providing cream teas (this is Devon!), so he had purchased the ingredients instead. Agreed to go to the nearest pub that was serving cream teas, where PT negotiated for us to take in our goods, and we were therefore able to have a magnificent tea thanks to the kind agreement of the landlord to our request.
Ride back in the rain, but RT had the perfect excuse to avoid the last slog up the drive to the digs when he had a slow blasteet and the LSV happened to be passing.
PT had organised dinner the The Ship in Ugborough and taxi to take us there, where we had an excellent last supper, prior to the return to work!
Total distance 32 miles for the day.
Day 6.
ZA stepped into the breach and took over the cooking of the breakfast, resulting in a significant improvement on the one of the day before – there must be a medal in that – after which there was the entertaining scene of JR and our host huddled over a computer trying to work out the account.

Outside the digs at Cornford prior to returning home
Outside the digs at Cornford prior to returning home

Departing the estate down the lane quickly became an event with TK demonstrating his running strengths chasing sheep unsuccessfully,
TK chasing the sheep
TK chasing the sheep

RT being encouraged to put in his resignation to the Cantonese after showing how to herd the sheep, and CB having to reverse a long distance to let a tractor and trailer pass – a perfect last image of Devon and humorous end to an excellent few days adventure with the FGCC. Many thanks to JR for organising everything.

Saturday 27th April 08.00am ride
Short ride planned as CB had to get his bike over to ZA’s bike repair contact.
Up to Cissbury car park, over to SDW and on to Bloody Norse Corner. No time for maintenance, so straight on to Langmead and down the gravel track and on to the farm buildings, back round the east side of Cissbury and down to Nepcroft. No incidents but a good fast ride and around 10miles.

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