All posts by Richard Ford


Following the Wansdyke, the Ridgeway and the Wessex Ridgeway we will do large loop from Small Grain to Avebury returning via Cherhill. We will be taking in some new sections of trail for a route in the area so those that have ridden with me before should still be treated to something new.
This route is actually the reverse of a solo ride I did recently as I thought it would be better the other way round and it means we get a 2km fast grassy descent included!
Please bring enough food and drink for a 3-4 hour ride as there are no planned cafe stops. However, if we are treated with a pleasant day, we could stop for a cuppa in Avebury.
Due to the distance it may not be suitable for novice riders but it wont be a technically demanding ride so anyone with an average fitness level who can ride a bike should be ok.

Ladies Forest Christmas Meet


Debbie , from MB Swindon , would like to invite you to an informal social ride at the Pedalabikeaway trail centre , taking in the family friendly and non technical Green graded trail .

We will meet outside the centres café at 9.45 for a 10am depart . We have invited many other Ladies mountain bike groups to join us to create an easy going pre Christmas ride suitable for all fitness levels and riding abilities .It will be at a casual pace with the emphasis most definitely on social and chat .

On returning to the café it is hoped that we will have mince pies and mulled wine to end our event .

The afternoon will be up to individuals , feel free to ride the blue and red trails , repeat the family green trail or maybe just chat over a coffee .None of the trails will be officially guided and therefore it is suggested that you ride to a level you are comfortable with and that suit your abilities . We hope you will meet some like minded riders and enjoy all the Forest of Dean trails have to offer .

Please note that there are car park charges , £7 for the day but this is a Forestry Commission run car park , so refer to their website for full parking information. Pay machine at the car park

Dress code : Tinsel ,fairy light , and a club jersey if you have one.


Barbury Beast

Tom Scott will be leasing this MBS Club ride, probably not for the novice
Prepare yourselves for a long day in the saddle for an all day adventure. Tom Scott will be leading this ‘longer than usual’ ride around the local area taking in all our favourite bits.
Please bring food, tools, food, spares, food and drink, oh, and more food… and make sure you have appropriate clothing for a day out on high ground in poor weather conditions.
This ride will be ridden at a relaxed pace, and the route may be cut short if the weather or ground conditions are very bad.
The aim is to be back at Barbury by 4pm, so bring lights if you are planning to ride up from home.


Getting out of Monmouth was the most likely part of our journey where we were going to make a mistake and I didn’t want to miss any turnings early on in the ride. So 18 patient riders had a bit of a stop-start start to the ride until we got off the road and began following the River Wye south towards Redbrook.
A twisty trail that had a distinct footpath feel to it eventually brought us to Redbrook. A small village on the edge of Gloucestershire, and a village we would ride through 3 times today as we would fan out in various directions including across the border into Wales.
From Redbrook we made a steady 200m climb up above Whitebrook towards New Mills. The cool November air that had us wrapping up in Monmouth now seemed like a distant memory as we shed layers after warming ourselves nicely on the climb up.
As you may know this route hadn’t been ridden before by any of us so surprises were in store and our first one was probably the highlight of the ride.  While looking for my planned exit from the top of the woods I found what looked like a fun trail down so decided, after a review of the map, that we should take it.
Pwllplythin Wood delivered a gnarly leaf strewn treat that dropped us almost all of our 200m in a very short distance. We picked up the scent of my original plan and free wheeled the rest of the way back down towards the river and our trail back to Redbrook.
After we had a stop for lunch we lost Gary P. as his rear shock was misbehaving and he’ll be disappointed to hear that he missed plenty more climbing.
After our second visit to Redbrook we climbed towards Offas Dyke and then followed Valley Brook in a large U shape to what can only politely be described as a very muddy second descent back to the village! Yes we got a bit mucky on our second loop and the descent, while it definitely delivered some smiles and laughter it was almost certainly the muddiest track I’ve ridden in a long time.
We were in Redbrook again for our third and final visit and then a fairly stiff climb up Duffields Lane.  Mostly track and solid surface it wasn’t too bad and eventually brought us to a farm at the top, where we sniffed out the bridleway to bring us down to Wysham Lane.  It was fast and fun but the off road section was over a little too quickly and we were soon on tarmac and pedaling back into Monmouth.
After navigating some traffic lights and a subway we found our way back to the start.
The weather had been kind to us and though we were mostly covered in mud, we were pleasantly warm for a ride in mid November.
Thanks for the huge turn out and once again for the riders who put their trust in me to take them to new territory. We definitely found a route that we should revisit in the Summer.

Ladies Barbury Ride – 11th November 2017 – Ride Report

Driving along the A419 through heavy rain, I wasn’t hopeful of anyone being at Barbury;  However Debbie and Sue were already there ready to go.  At this point it was just drizzle but by 10am, the heavy rain I had driven through had reached us.

We cycled across Barbury Castle and soon realised it was going to be pretty muddy out (completely different to 6 days before when I had recced the ride).  By the time we had reached the old railway line, the rain had eased and by about 10.30 it had stopped completely.

We headed up the radio mast climb, stopping at 11 to observe the 2 minutes silence.  It was quite poignant as the guns from the local shoots stopped as well and the sound of bird song filled the air.

We carried on along the old Ridgeway, where it soon became apparent that Sue would be puddle depth scout, and then back down towards the old railway line where we stopped for snacks.

Then it was the final climbs back up to Barbury through mud, long grass and puddles (although there were some puddles even Sue wouldn’t cycle through) and to homemade cakes from Debbie.

Despite the horrible weather at the start of the ride, and the fact we were all plastered in mud at the end, it was a really enjoyable ride out.


Tim Norris will lead this ride.  He describes it as follows:

You lucky lucky people people. For the second month in a row Tim From Wales brings you something new.

We are going be starting in the historic town of Monmouth and will be going on a ride that begins in Wales, middles in England and ends in Wales again.  Two countries in one ride -a club first??

On the far side of the Forest of Dean lies the Wye Valley; not much of it is legally accessible by bike and much research, begging and borrowing has been done to put together a route in the area that is both challenging and fun.  Many mountain bike guides died to bring us this information!

With a fair amount of climbing either side of the river Wye but with some fun fast descents to make up for it this ride will deliver some fresh trails, views and locations to the club.

Its an Adventure for all involved as the ride leader will be following instructions given to him by another mountain bike guide and as such expect some navigational surprises!

It will be mid November, so please check the weather and dress accordingly.

We may have the opportunity for a pub stop mid ride but there are no planned cafe stops so please bring food and drink sufficient to sustain you on a hilly 4 hour ride.

May the Force be with us…

Tuesday 7 November update

The ride now has a start location. We will be meeting at the corner of the playing fields behind Waitrose. By the roundabout see map below.

There’s plenty of parking in town that I haven’t had chance to check out but we are all adults so find somewhere to park and meet by the red dot at 9.45am.

Weather doesn’t look too bad for the weekend either.

I don’t expect any gnarly or steep bits, just a few mucky tracks no doubt.

However please remember if you are coming that this ride falls under our new “adventure” category. This means I haven’t done an actual physical recce of the route and don’t fully know what to expect, but we will be following (hopefully) way marked tracks and bridleways.

Ladies Y Wal Ride

This trail traverses the north side of the Afan Valley on singletrack, promising great views of the valley and coastline. It offers a wide range of climbs and descents. You can also expect boardwalks, berms, large rocks, medium steps, cambers and water crossings. Some of the steep-sided slopes can feel exposed. It will be worth layering up.

There is an option of doing Blue Scar trail after a spot of lunch in the afternoon – daylight hours & weather permitting.

Ride Report – Wantage Cafe Ride 22nd October

The morning started well, with a brief look at the weather forecast showing very little chance of rain with a stiff South-Westerly breeze, which suited us fine as we were heading North-East.

As I rode to the start on my brand new tyres I was feeling good, then spotted Mr Yeates on the other side of Dorcan Way. A quick bunny hop off the kerb and we were a pair.  We became a trio at Covvy shops where Howard “No relation to Elizabeth II” Windsor was just completing his pre-ride faff.
As Graham hadn’t bothered riding to Covvy and we had some spare time, we rode down to his place and then Gary Lee turned up and that made five. On arrival at Fox Hill there was a positive cornucopia of talent, all ready to make the most of the tail wind. So the twelve set off up the Ridgeway.
The going was reasonable apart from a stretch where a tractor / trailer and a digger had made a bit of a mess of the trail, a nice ride through the woods by Waylands Smithy, some sketchy Ridgeway rut riding (reminded us we were alive) some climbs and a bit of Tarmac and we arrived at the caff.
I think that we were all dreading the ride back into the wind, but to be fair it wasn’t too bad apart from a couple of open stretches, and it’s amazing how quickly the miles rolled by and there we were back at Fox Hill, the Dirty Dozen!
Graham being overtaken by a dog walker.


A Ding Dong in the Valleys

Tim takes us back to South Wales again and one valley over from the last trip for a bit of a Ding Dong.
We will follow a traffic free National Cycle Route alongside the Ebbw Fach River from Abertillery to Brynmaur – via the quaintly named mining village of Six Bells, hopefully enjoying beautiful autumn scenery and not being drowned in rain.  Then we will head onto Mynydd James and the Coety Mountain where we will briefly enjoy views of Blaenavon and Big Pit before making our way across the mountain and back to our start point.
This route wont be particularly long at 30km but will have around 900m of climbing on a mix of terrain.
This ride falls under the new Adventure Ride category as part of the mountain, although marked with bridleways and access roads, may require some hike a bike or pushing at times. Though Tim is very confident in the terrain as he has lead a ride along one side of the mountain previously, please still be prepared for some surprises.
If the weather is such that the mountain part of the ride becomes questionable there is a back up plan.
Its October so PLEASE bring clothing appropriate for the weather conditions.
Image credit  Rough Guides (
Image Title Guardian of the Valleys