Captain Slow, Tom Scott, will be leading this steady social ride from Barbury down to Avebury and back, so hopefully the next few weeks will dry out the Ridgeway.
Given the recent weather, Tom predicts a 60% chance of getting muddy. The good news is that his ‘cake forecast’ is an unlikely 105%.
As well as being a social occasion, this would make a good ride for novice riders wanting to get to know some local trails. As always, to be as self sufficient as possible, please bring tools, spare tubes, food and drink. We will have regular ‘get your breath back’ stops as there are some hills involved… but hey, that’s mountain biking!
Trying to come up with a route that is winter proof is quite tricky, especially considering it’s predominately clay and chalk around these parts. It was billed as a winter proof route that will miss out on any seriously muddy parts. Unfortunately, with all the rain that we had in the week prior to the ride, the route was, umm, a bit, well, muddy actually.
Still, the week’s rain didn’t deter the hardy folk of Swindon, as 10 eager riders were readying themselves at Coate for a slightly cold, grey, 9am ride.
Sticking with the harder surfaces, we had a route that took us from Coate out to Chiseldon along the well rolled Sustrans route, before heading along the Old Ridgeway to Barbury Castle. By this point Kate had already lost half her gears as her front mech refused to play ball any longer.
A soggy grass climb up to the hill fort was next, followed by having to navigate the gates at Barbury Castle. Why mention this? Well it looked like a billion plus sheep had flock through the gates just before us, turning the grass into a hoof printed slurry. Tyres suitably caked in mud, it was on to Smeathes Ridge for a soggy grass descent to the village of Ogbourne St George. Although it certainly didn’t feel like a descent when you have to pedal the whole way down!
Winding down the lanes past picture postcard cottages, the sun was slowly breaking through, a nice touch of warmth allowing the extremities to start to thaw out. After a mile or so on the old Chiseldon to Marlborough railway line, we were back on the Ridgeway for the longest climb of the ride. A few crunches of gears and everyone fell into line weaving back and forth across the rut that had formed in the middle of the track.
After a rest at the top munching Kate’s amazing homemade flapjack, we set off on a little loop of hardpacked tracks that returned us right back to where we was. From here we waved bye to Gary’s badger and set off to retrace our steps down the Ridgeway. Skipping over the drainage gulleys come speed bumps, we were soon back on the Chiseldon to Marlborough railway line heading back to Coate Water.
A nice 22 mile leg spinner with great company. Many thanks to everyone for making the effort and joining MB Swindon for our Round the Ridgeway ride.
See you all on a ride soon!
This is a repeat of the route from the ladies ride in March 2016. http://www.mbswindon.co.uk/ride-report-what-goes-up-must-come-down/
This route is a good all-weather route, although there is likely to be mud and puddles in places. It takes in the Old Ridgeway, the Swindon-Marlborough railway line, radio mast climb and Four Mile Clump. There are a couple of very short sections that are slightly more technical than the rest of the ride but these can be walked if unsure.
Phil Allum will be leading this novice friendly ride from Coate water out onto the Malborough downs. The route has been drawn up to be non-technical, fairly flat and well surfaced. There will be one hill, but if climbing isn’t your thing then feel free to push up, it’s always a good excuse to have a chat. This is a novice friendly ride, so with that in mind, please don’t come expecting gap jumps, rampaging down rock gardens or overtaking Chris Hoy. There won’t be anything like that on this ride.
You will need a mountain bike (this is a mountain bike club ride after all), as some parts of this ride would be rather uncomfortable on anything less. We’ll take the old railway line past Chiseldon, out to the Ogbournes, then take Smeathes Ridge up to Barbury Castle. After a rest to take in the views, it’s back on the bikes – but don’t worry, it’s downhill all the way back to Coate water.
If you are new to the sport, new to the club or even new to Swindon and fancy 17 flat(ish) miles then this could be just the ride for you!
See you there!
I had decided to lead this year’s Christmas recovery ride in December. I had then hoped for a crisp winters day. On the morning of the ride, looking out of the window at the murk and the drizzle the thought “do I have to lead this ride?” sprang to mind. I reminded myself that there is no such thing as bad weather just poor clothing and loaded the car in the rain.
I arrived at Barbury at 9:30am. The only other soul there was Ben who was in the process of unloading his cyclo cross bike from his car. Ben explained that he had turned up early so that he could fix a puncture in one of his tyres before the ride. As Ben set to work a steady stream of riders and cars arrived. Eventually there were 15 of us setting up bike and swapping stories. As the off approached there was the unmistakable sound of a tyre going down. A forlorn looking Ben explained that he his repair efforts hadn’t worked. No one had an inner tube to fit a cyclo cross bike so we tried gaffer taping the tube, but that failed. As Ben loaded his bike back into his car I started the ride brief.
The ride over to the hill fort was very muddy. I was relieved when everyone rode down the slippery descent from the hill fort without any mishaps.
We headed along the Ridgeway to Hackpen. As always with these novice rides the range of fitness and speeds in the group varied. We had plenty of stops to let the riders at the back of the group catch up and get their breath back. Normally from here I would take the track off the Ridgeway through Totterdown Woods. Given the rain the we have had I knew that this would be a complete mud bath, so we carried on along the Ridgeway to a heavily rutted section. I had warned the other riders that this bit would be hard going. Knowing my track record for coming a cropper at this section I let everyone ride at their own pace (telling them to regroup at the obvious cross roads on the Ridgeway). I could hear various yelps and giggles ahead as riders slipped and fell off into the soft mud ahead. I confirmed that 5-10 shoes are useless as walking shoes in the mud by nearly slipping over without being on the bike. Eventually I caught the rest of the group up (not sure that the ride leader is supposed to be last, but that just shows how well everyone else rode that section). I was greeted by lots of smiling faces so I think most enjoyed that section of the ride.
We turned off the Ridgeway to head across Fyfield Down. After we briefly paused for me to take some pics of the group we took the double track descent toward Rockley. I had explained that there is a sneaky bit of single track at Rockley, but that it would be muddy. A few took that option while the remainder of us too the main track down.
Now all that remained was the long steady climb back up to Barbury via Four Mile Clump. With no real possibility of getting lost I gave the faster riders in the group their head and let them go back at their pace. The rest of us followed on behind at our own pace with Phil Allum doing the back marker duties.
I arrived back at Barbury covered in mud, but happy. It had been cracking ride with great company. Judging by the comments at the end of the ride a lot of the riders thought so too. So did I have to lead that ride? Probably not, but I am very glad I did 🙂
Phil Allum’s ride report:-
The Thriller in the Hills is a local route we’ve done a few times now. It was originally conceived as a way to link lots of fun bits together; namely Rickety Bridge, Rockley, Ladder lane and the infamous Croft Trail.
Something must of sounded appealing as we had a great turnout of 18 for this ride, the biggest group I’ve had for a while. It might of just been the weather that was appealing, beautiful blue sky and not even a chance of rain; a perfect early September Sunday.
There were some fun descents which all had to be earned. Setting off around the first half of Croft to Pete’s steps was a good leg warmer for the onset of the hills. The first half of the ride contained climbing Hodson, Barbury road climb and the radio mast all early on. But the downy bits were the Gun club and Rickety bridge which balances it out quite a bit. The second half contained much more descending , but first there was the brutal climb up the side of the church at Rockley. This was a good trade off to allow us to come down the singletrack on the other side. From here we had the last real climb left, which was up 4 mile clump back to Barbury Castle. It was about this point that I found out that most people hate this one, too much of a slog apparently. Oh well, we’re here now….
From Barbury it was down the hill fort, a short ride through Overtown to Ladder lane then back to Pete’s steps to finish off the second half of the Croft Trail.
It was great to see so many people out on their bikes, everyone said they had a blast which is always good, even if they were lying. Regular faces, not so regular faces and a few which had chosen this ride as their first with the club; it was a right old friendly bunch who decdided to take on this classic local xc ride. The only negative feedback I did receive was that I’m not allowed to use the term ‘slightly overgrown’ anymore…
Big thanks for all who joined me, please have a watch of Michael Duller’s video, which as always is a great little edit.
Hope to see you on the trails soon!
An MB Swindon club ride!
Tom Scott will be leading this ride to look at some meteors in the night sky. The ride will be timed to take in a coffee break at Marlborough and a meteor viewing opportunity at Barbury Castle!
The ride is planned to be 25 to 30 miles (40-50km), depending on weather. As such, we will be out for about 4 hours and you will need lights. The ride back is not technical so a decent set of commuting lights will suffice.
Due to the distance involved and light conditions this ride is not novice friendly.
Darkness adds an extra dimension to off-road cycling, so please ensure that your bike is working properly and you have spare tubes etc.
Subject to good weather, the approximate route will be: Croft, Coate, Chiseldon, Barbury, Ogbourne, Radio Mast, Ogbourne, Earthline, Rickety Bridge, Marlborough, Rockley, Four Mile Clump, Barbury, Burderop, Ladder Lane, Croft. As you can see, this means lots of climbing and descending.
This is a longer than usual club ride but it is suitable for most riders as it is not technical, and we will take our time and wait at every junction, turn and road crossing for the slower riders to catch up and recover. There will be a Cafe stop in Marlborough at roughly the half way point.
As always, bring food, drink and spares and anything else you might need.
It is worth considering whether this is ride right for you:
– 40 miles cross country
– Over 2,000 feet of climbing
– Mixed terrain: gravel, dirt, tarmac
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.