All posts by Steffan James

Savernake Sisters’ Spin

Kate Davidson leads this picturesque rural ladies’ ride, taking in the tracks and trails of Savernake Forest and a few local historical landmarks, with a cake stop en-route.

This will be a novice-friendly ride, at the pace of the slowest rider, but you should be comfortable riding 15-20 miles over mildly undulating terrain with a few short hills along the way.

We’ll meet at Postern Hill campsite, on the outskirts of Marlborough, where there is plenty of parking. Get there ready for a 10.30am start.

From the campsite we’ll ride into the forest, picking up some nice singletrack and fire roads, emerging at the far end of the Grand Avenue and riding onwards to the hamlet of Durley. From here, we drop down onto the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, stopping for tea and cake at Crofton Beam Engines and, once refreshed, we’ll head back to the forest, enjoying more of the lovely trails it has to offer, and make our way back to the campsite.

Athough being April it should be springlike, it may be wet and/or muddy in the forest. Bring anything you feel you may need such as water, weatherproof coat and spare tubes, etc.



Chung’s Urban-Plus Ride

Wailun Chung will lead an extended Urban Round on Sunday 4th March.

Meet at Croft Trail ready for a 9.30am start. The ride will head up towards Chiseldon then loop back and set off on a typical urban round loop of Swindon.

This will add up to a ride of about 30 miles, meaning 3-4 hours of riding. There is no planned cafe stop, but there may be the chance to call in at a shop en-route if needed.

This won’t be a technically challenging ride, and might be a good opportunity to extend the distance of your rides. As always, bring along a drink and a snack, along with a spare tube or repair kit.

Have your cake and earn it!

Graham Burgess will be leading a lumpy bumpy ride with a cafe/cake stop somewhere along the route… but do expect to earn it!

The route – depending on conditions – is likely to be around 35 miles, with plenty of ups and downs along the way. All are welcome, although due to the distance and the conditions at this time of year, a reasonable level of fitness required.

Meet by the diving platform at Coate Water, ready for a 9.00am start. Bring spares, clothing suitable for conditions, drinks/snacks and some pocket money.

Ladies’ Tracks and Trails Urban Ride

Debbie Davies will be leading her last winter urban ride for the ladies in February. This ride takes in connecting trails and quiet roads or safe roadside cycle paths  to take you through the outskirts of Swindon.

We will pass though four of the local parks at a casual pace to suit the slowest rider. If you have considered riding with the MB Swindon club, this would be a gentle introduction. If you have never covered this distance before , come and ride with us, we would love to help you move up in your riding.

There will be a café / cake stop a little under half way around, but feel free to bring your own water and snacks to use on the way round.

Dress suitably with warm clothes as the pace will be steady with possible stops for people. Don’t forget that feet get cold on pedals and that you will be out for several hours .

We look forward to seeing you.

Steve’s first year with MB Swindon

If you’ve been on a club ride at any point over the last 12 months, the chances are that you’ve met Steve. Here’s his account of his first year with the Club.

As Christmas 2016 was approaching I decided that a new hobby was needed for the following year, with the aim of improving my fitness – due to the fact that I was 50plus – and to give myself another social outlet. As I’ve ridden bikes all my life and enjoyed being out in the fresh air, I  thought cycling would be a good choice.

I looked on the internet for mountain bike clubs in Swindon and immediately found details for MB Swindon. Over the next couple of evenings I read everything on the club web page, from FAQ’s to ride reports and decided that this was exactly what I was looking for. Given my age, I was worried that I may not be able to keep up, so I emailed to ask if it was OK if I came along for a trial ride and was told I would be very welcome.

There was a urban ride scheduled at the end of January on the Wednesday evening, riders to meet by the bike racks in John Lewis’s car park… so off I pedalled. When I arrived there were two members already there who made me feel very welcome and around ten riders in total left the car park at 7pm sharp.

About 35 minutes into the ride, I had a mechanical breakdown. OK – my pedal fell off, which was rather embarrassing, so I said farewell and limped home. I decided to join the club the day after and with my pedal repaired I went along to the next Wednesday urban ride, which was leaving this time from Covingham shops, so I drove over to meet everyone again.

I made it from start to finish but, to be honest, by the time we arrived back to the shops I was suffering from very very tired legs. But, with the encouragement from the other members, I had made it. From then on I made it to as many of the Wednesday rides as I possibly could. Although I felt I was relatively healthy, I was obviously lacking stamina but this improved slightly every time I went out. The secret was, and is, to just keep going.

Steve (yellow jacket) braves one of the coldest rides of the year.

The clocks went forward In March and we then took to the Ridgeway on the Wednesday evening rides. The ride leaders would take us to places that I never knew existed and, as someone born in Swindon, I realised what I had been missing all these years. The scenery is stunning and so are the sunsets that we saw during the summer. There couldn’t be anything nicer than doing something you enjoy, getting fitter and riding in such a lovely part of the countryside, and all with friendly, like-minded riders.

A new bike was needed, I thought, so after a considerable time trying to decide what to buy a new hard tail was bought. I also bought some new clothes and padded shorts which are a must!

Over the rest of the year, I’d look forward to the Wednesday evening rides and slowly my stamina improved until I decided I would be able to manage a few weekend rides too.

I realised  that there was such a mixture of abilities and age ranges in the club that I would never be stuck at the back by myself and the club always says nobody will be left behind. I went on the Source of the Thames Ride and Micky’s Ramsbury Cafe Ride, which was a good one as we had a stop for a cup of tea and a piece of cake half way round. I did Tom’s Wantage Cafe Ride – another favourite – and many more. Notice a trend going on here!

With my fitness levels improving I decided to venture further, and in October I did a ride with club in Brecon and November in Monmouth, taking in the Wye valley. All proper mountain biking and great scenery with a bit of mud  and a few falls thrown in, but all good fun.

mountain bikers in the Brecon Beacons
One of Steve’s photos from the Brecon Beacons ride.

The clocks went back in October, so it was back to the urban rides for November and December with some weekend rides as well, weather permitting. Now I find myself riding over to all of the urban ride meeting points instead of driving, so an obvious improvement there. I am never going to be the fastest rider, but my goal was to keep up and now I am acheiving that.

One year on I have just renewed my membership and am looking forward to the summer ahead – getting back to those glorious evenings up on the Ridgeway and doing a few weekend rides. I have even signed up for my first charity ride with some other club members in May – The Wild Boar in the Forest of Dean which is 46 miles in length – so I hope my legs will last out. Did I say I have also bought another bike? Yes, full suspension this time for that extra bit of comfort!  Not planning to buy any more for a while now!

So come on and give it a try. There are rides for everyone – even ladies-only rides – and you will be very welcome on whatever ride you choose linked to your own ability.

Urban Round 7th February

Sonny Dent leads this week’s Urban Round.

Sonny would like to try a different start time for his rides, so this week meet by the shops (& Messenger pub) in Covingham ready for a 6.00pm start.

The route will still be a 20 mile urban ride, mainly on cycle paths and minor roads and should take about 2 hours. All are welcome and no one gets left behind.

You’ll need lights, a drink and a spare tube or repair kit.

Urban Round 24th Jan

Sonny Dent will lead this week’s Urban Round.

Meet by Covingham shops (next to the Messenger pub) ready for a 7.00pm start. You’ll need the usual lights, drink and spare tube or repair kit.

The urban round is intended to help maintain a bit of fitness over the cold winter months. The ride is usually about 20 miles, taking about 2 hours to complete.

Riders of all abilities are welcome, and no-one gets left behind.

Ladies’ Cake Burner Ride

Ladies, our first ride of 2018 is a classic XC route. It will be novice friendly due to its lack of technical features. The distance is slightly longer than our usual Novice rides, but no-one will be left behind. We may experience any weather in January so please dress suitably for wind / ice / snow / rain /mud …am I selling this to you ?!

We will be heading up to the Ridgeway on hardpack trails and making our way to Totterdown Woods, and then onto the access road through the Manton Estate where the views are wonderful. From here we head into Marlborough and a lovely quiet road descent.

We plan to stop at a café at around the halfway point. From here we will make our way to the old railway line and back to Chiseldon (where there is the opportunity to stop again around 3 miles from the finish to get hot drinks if necessary!) and then Coate Water.

Join us and blow away those Christmas cobwebs .


Please bring water and extra food because of the distance and time of year: keep fuelled = keep warm

Meet by the diving board at Coate Water at 9.45, ready for a 10.00am start.

Please note there is a £2 car park charge at Coate Water for all day parking .