All posts by Steffan James

Minehead Big Weekender 2018

Minehead Big Weekender 2018

Dates: Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th November

This is a re-run of the popular and hugely fun Minehead Big Weekender that we did in 2017. We will be staying at the same accommodation right in heart of Minehead, convenient for pubs, shops and whatever else floats your boat…

Outline plan for the weekend:

Friday – optional ride around the beautiful Lynton/Lynmouth and Valley of the Rocks – start time TBA
Saturday – ride ‘from the door’ up cliffside path then few uppy-downy bits including the stunning Horner Woods and the awesome Dunkary Beacon Descent (be warned – you gotta get up there first!)…
Sunday – Quantocks – brilliant ride round the stunning Quantock hills (yes – that’s more hills!) including a play on the downhill runs at Triscombe.

All rides will be a bit on the ‘lumpy’ side with a reasonable degree of technical challenges – nothing mad, and you can always get off and push… These will be big days out, though…

Accommodation is at the Base Lodge, 16 The Parks, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 8BS – nothing fancy, but clean and functional. There is a very well equipped kitchen for knocking up your nosh, although we will probably visit the local hostelries for food and beverages.

Cost for 2 nights digs £35.00 per person, based on sharing a room.

At moment, we have 1 x 5 and 1x 6 room booked – one for Fellas and one for Sheilas. We can add more rooms if we can get numbers up from the 10 currently signed up. Max number is 22.

Please contact Graham Burgess if interested in going.

The “Winter’s Coming” Ride

Tom Scott is leading this local ride. We will do half a lap of the Croft Trail then head out to the hills, before returning via Ladder Lane and completing the lap.

You will need spares, tools, food and drink as well as appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.

This is a novice-friendly ride and we will wait at every turn for people to catch up.
(Note – this ride has replaced the originally advertised Gravel Ride.)

Tom’s Annual Gravel Spin

This ride has now been cancelled.

It has been replaced  by The Winter’s Coming Ride.

Many MTBers also dabble in other forms of cycling and the latest craze is to ride a racer off road. This used to be called CX (cyclo-cross) then when that wasn’t cool they called it ‘gravel riding’ but that didn’t cover it so they started calling it ‘adventure riding’. Anyway, it’s basically longer distance on-and-off-road riding on a bike with drop handlebars ,which looks like a road bike but with chunkier tyres, beefed up frame joints and lower gears.

This is a first for MBS, and although I can’t see it taking over from proper mountain biking, it would be nice to have an annual event to look forward to (and let’s face it – it gives us an excuse to buy another bike).

We will be setting off from Croft on a route that is 100km with about 50/50 tarmac and gravel. You will need tools, spares, food, drink and appropriate clothing. I am aiming to be back at croft by 3pm which means an average speed of 20kmph (12.5mph) plus stops. There will be nothing that MTBers would consider technical but if you are a confirmed dyed-in-the-wool roadie it will scare the life out of you!

Read about one of our members’ first year of Gravel riding here.

Photo credit:

Exploring the Vale

On October 6th, Kate Davidson will lead an open ride exploring the Pewsey Vale.

This cross-country ride will start in Savernake Forest and head up (and down) the hills around the Pewsey Vale, hopefully making a Cafe stop en route.

Kate will confirm the precise mileage after doing a final recce ride, but expect to ride approximately 25-30 miles, with a few hills thrown in.

(Phot credit:

Around the Downs

Tom Scott will be leading this mostly off-road route around the Marlborough Downs.

This is a Novice-Friendly ride that will be at a relaxed pace, and would be a good introduction for new or inexperienced riders to some of the routes available in the local area.

If you fancy a longer ride meet Tom by the diving platform at Coate Water at 9am.

Bring food and drink, spares and tools.

Ladies’ Ramsbury Ramble

Kate Davidson leads this ladies’ cross-country ride to Ramsbury.

Starting in the village of Great Bedwyn and following country lanes, bridleways and by-ways around the outskirts of the village across to the Ramsbury Estate, we’ll ride over the old wartime tracks and through woodland down into Ramsbury, where we’ll stop at Café Bella for tea and cake.

Afterwards we’ll take a bridleway that runs past Littlecote House, a Tudor mansion with a beautiful Roman mosaic in the grounds (in addition to the remains of a large Roman villa) that’s well worth stopping to look at. From Littlecote, we’ll head back towards Bedwyn using a mix of bridleways and byways, and a nice little rooty descent to the Kennet & Avon Canal and back along the towpath to Bedwyn.

This should be an easy ride. The terrain is mostly bridleways, by-ways and country lanes, with two rooty descents. There will be a café stop halfway round. Dress for the weather and bring anything you might need such as spare tubes, etc.

Start location: Church Street, Great Bedwyn SN8 3PQ. Park at, or near, the church – there’s plenty of on street parking here, and further down – and a post office and bakery oppoisite if you need any snacks or supplies or a post-ride cuppa. Arrive in time for a 10.00am start.

Midweek Ride 12 September

Steffan James will lead this week’s Wednesday night ride. Meet at the Patriots Arms in Chiseldon ready for a 7.00pm start.

Midweek rides are usually about 15 miles / 2 hours long, using sections of the Ridgeway and the Marlborough Downs. The rides are novice-friendly and no one gets left behind.

You’ll need lights, a drink and a spare tube or repair kit. We may call in at the pub for a drink afterwards.

Twin Peaks

Gary Palmer will lead this hilly ride, just north of Stroud.

The ride will go through Randwick woods before making its way over to Painswick for some more single track delight.

Gary will be stitching together some of his favourite local trails, so expect to ride around twenty miles with about 2000 feet of climbing.

This ride is not advertised as ‘novice friendly’ as there are some quite steep technical bits that have plenty of roots, but if you fancy upping your game we will be patient .

Meet at Shortwood (Standishwood) car park carpark GL6 6PP ready for a 10.00am start. (Grid reference SO832086).

This is a National Trust carpark so parking charges apply but people do park on the road outside the carpark. (This is not the Shortwood at Nailsworth, which is the opposite side of Stroud.)

Midweek Ride 5th September

Tom Scott leads this week’s Wednesday night ride. Meet at the Patriot’s Arms in Chiseldon ready for a 7.00pm start.

Midweek rides are usually around 15 miles / 2 hours long, using sections of the Ridgeway and Marlborough Downs.

The ride is novice friendly and no one gets left behind. You’ll need lights, a drink and a spare tube or repair kit.

We may call into the pub for a drink afterwards.