Tag Archives: ladies ride

Ladies ‘Cake Burner ‘ride – 21st January 2018

Words and photos by Debbie Davies

The Ladies rides have the reputation of always being on the best weather days. This ride bucked the trend well and truly.

I sat in Coate Water car park, far too early for the agreed meeting time, watching the rain hammer down on my windscreen, driven by the increasing winds. It was going to be foul. I was fully prepared for the wet, having packed suitable jacket and waterproof shorts, waterproof gloves and a helmet liner to keep out the draughts. I did put out a warning on the ride details to makes sure to wear enough as the Ridgeway can be a bit blowy in the winter so looking at the spare clothes in my car I appeared to have heeded the advice.

Sue was as early as me, parked at the other side of the car park. Soon after Trudy arrived and finally Sharon who had run and ridden the day before and for some daft reason thought she needed more exercise.

We rode out from Coate via the motorway bridge and had our first indication of how cold it actually was. The rain was going to be variable throughout the day and at this point it gave us a little respite, enough to reach the byway and the mud. The ride was designed to avoid the worst of the heavy going but this was seriously sloppy, it was going to be a messy one.

We carried on up towards Hackpen Hill battling now icy rain, stinging our faces as it was pushed by a crosswind. We briefly stopped to adjust our Buffs over our noses, highwayman style. It looked so comical in the awful conditions that I had to take a photo of us all. There were comments about whether this was normal behaviour.

The route after Hackpen has a lovely descent into a dip before a climb out towards Fyfield Down. By now the visibility had gone and the usual views were just a memory …it was seriously wet and very cold. It was then we realised we were the only people up there, mountain bikers seem to be a different breed.

We resorted to walking part of the byway as it had turned so slippery, ably demonstrated by Sue who had her front wheel wash out and unceremoniously depositing her in even more water and mud as a result. Fyfield Down is a glorious area, but not this day, we were now all cold with numb fingers …my waterproof gloves leak, and frozen toes. There were the smallest signs of a mutiny in the ranks at this point, with talks of short cuts but the draw of cake was stronger and we pressed on to Marlborough.

The Café had become a sanctuary from the bitter cold, it took us all a few minutes to be able to operate fingers to remove helmets and open purses, to the amusement of a few diners. Finally cake and tea was ordered and we sat warming our hands around hot mugs and slowly defrosted. The café staff were wonderful , they wouldn’t let us mop up as we left and even provided us with latex work gloves so we could put back on our now dripping cycle gloves  more easily . We promised we would go back in the summer, clean and dry and buy more cake.

We made our way home, feeling much happier at the prospect now we had thawed out. The old railway path we were going back along was sheltered from the wind and the rain and I think we actually enjoyed the final leg, chatting most the way. The last 10 miles passed quite quickly now there was no headwind and very soon we were back at Coate car park. Sometimes we chat before we move away, this day we had already said our goodbyes before we even stopped the bike wheels moving and hastily packed up saturated kit and muddy bikes. The lure of a hot bath was very strong.

The ladies of MB Swindon always support their rides and make them special …this one was in a different category, many thanks to Trudy , Sue and Sharon for turning up at all  to ride in that weather and then sticking with it to the end.

 

 

Ladies Christmas FoD gathering

16th December 2017

Words by Debbie Davies

Debbie

Photos by Debbie Davies and friends

A little idea came into my head one day last February. Just before Christmas Kat and I had held a club gathering at the Croft Trail for our club and it occurred to me then it might be fun to do just a Ladies one. The idea kept popping up all through the summer until in August I decided to action that idea. I contacted other Ladies from local Ladies only groups and asked them what they thought, it seemed to be a winning plan. So on it went. From the original 8 ladies I contacted the numbers spread via FB to 17, spreading the word amongst their riders. In September the date went in the calendar. We were now official.

Helen from Dame Forest of Dean group had arranged to have mince pies and mulled wine ready at the end of the ride, Tinsel and club shirts were part of the dress code so we would all know what clubs we were riding with . The ride organisation was gaining momentum and before we knew it we were now being offered lunch too. Ladies just kept adding their name to the event list and my idea of a little social with maybe 20 ladies attending was, all those months ago, was now a staggering 77 ladies.

The week before like great chunks of the country, we had snow. Not masses near Swindon, but that was not the case in the Forest of Dean. They were covered in the stuff, enough that the trail centre had to close for a couple of days. When they were able to open again the trail pixies and Forestry Commission had been hard at work to make the trails usable after all the fallen trees, we were lucky it still looked good to go, the trails were ready. Then came the message that the family trail, that we were using for the morning social, was still impassable due to fallen trees and frozen icy snow blocked tracks. A hasty change of plan took place and along with it some cancellations. The weather was starting to have an impact on another week it seemed.

I set off with a friend to The Forest of Dean, the early hour still very much swathed in darkness, to make sure I had enough time to organise everything. One of the Ladies had got there even earlier than us, unsure of what the local roads would bring. An hour later, and expecting a considerably reduced gathering, we were set for MB Swindon’s first mass Ladies club event. However, despite the weathers best efforts, we seemed to have amassed 72 Ladies, ready to hit the now amended route of the Verderers trail. With Helen at the helm to keep the pace steady due to some icy trails, we set off. It was an amazing sight to see so many riders winding their way up the trail with tinsel bedecked bikes. Malvern Maidens made a big impact with their Unicorn themed shirts and Unicorn fairy lights. We had Father Christmas, Mother Christmas, several Elves and a great many Father Christmas hats all pedaling their way around the now sun washed trails. The usual photo stops, regrouping pauses and just general chat stops made for a wonderful atmosphere and there was the usual encouragement for those who were new to the trail centre.

2 hours later and with everyone safely back without incident, we made our way to the café and the room set up for our mince pies and mulled wine, hard to miss as the winter spice smell permeated the area as soon as you entered . Pedalabikeaway and the café staff had done us proud. The mulled wine was well received as it was still very cold on the ride despite the winter sun, and the pasta lunch was just the perfect meal to top up energy supplies.

In the afternoon we all set off to do our own thing , some riding other trails with Katy Curd as their guide , others headed for the skills loops and the red trails and some Ladies headed home having made the very big effort to travel from as far as Taunton and Kent.

10 months ago I had this little idea, on the 16th December 72 Ladies made it a reality. Many thanks to all those Ladies who made the day very special, who gave up their time to support other riders , who made the day such a fun and memorable one for me especially , it only ever started as a small thought …Thanks too the Staff of Pedalabikeaway for all their work in making sure we were fed and watered so well .

 

 

 

 

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.

UPDATE Friday 15 December 18:50

After last weekend’s snow the family cycle trail still has obstacles across it, so the plan for the day will need to be changed.

The below is an update from Debbie:

“Ladies this will make a difference to plans tomorrow , it looks as though the green trail is a no go . So the plan of a social chat ride first has probably gone out the window. We may have to hit the blue trail and Launchpad first instead …Sorry for the change of plan …lunch will still be on but the rest of the morning will probably be an open play session”

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.

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.

Ladies Swinley Ride

The ride will follow a mixture of blue and red marked trails in Swinley Forest, with some off-piste routes around Crowthorne Woods. There might be a climb or two but Swinley is relatively flat and there are no big hills (OK, maybe one).

It will be a mixture of man-made trail centre-type riding along with more natural rooty, narrow, twisty singletrack on the off-piste parts. Crowthorne can get quite muddy if it rained a lot in the time leading to the ride.

Riders of all abilities are welcome to join.  There will be a cake and coffee stop at the Cafe afterwards, but please feel free to bring own drinks and snacks.

Meet in front of the Look Out Centre. We’ll start slightly earlier at 9.30 parking and trails can get really busy at the weekends. Parking is £2 for 4 hrs or £4 for a day. Bike wash is available for £1 at Bike Hub.

Toilets and cafe will be open from 10.00.

Ridgeway Marathon Ride Report

Distance: 60km with nearly 1,000m of climbing

Words by Hilda-May Latham Photos courtesy of Debbie Davies

I was joined by 9 ladies, all prepared for an adventure on their bikes. At 10am we’d all had our first round of flapjacks and were raring to go.

We started off with a grassy descent down Smeathe’s Ridge that offered beautiful views of the Ridgeway. This was shortly followed by a steep climb out of Ogbourne St George that tested our legs and lungs. Spirits were high as we re-grouped at the top of the climb admiring the views across Swindon.

With grins from ear to ear, it was clear to see that we all enjoyed the cheeky descent into Hinton Parva. The perfect way to prepare for a relaxing lunch in the sun.

With most of the hard work done and 50% of the distance completed it was time to set off back to Barbury, but first we had the opportunity to admire the picturesque grounds of Ashdown House.

The little history lesson was shortly followed by our second biggest climb of the day. All the ladies did a sterling job of persevering and keeping their balance on the narrow line.

With the end in sight and a soaring sense of achievement it was time to head back for an ice-cream or more flapjack before heading homewards.

Riders feedback:

 ‘Absolutely fantastic route, lovely people and a gorgeous day to boot!! Red wine 🍷 here I come, I deserve it tonight…’

Fantastic ride!’

‘Epic route, beautiful scenery’

Ladies ‘Womble to the Warren ‘ Ride report

Words and photos by Debbie Davies

I drove up to Badbury Clump really looking forward to this ride. Despite the fact that I had ridden it 4 previous times to recce a workable route it was still fun to show the ladies a new ride that they may not have been familiar with.

Andrea had already beaten me to the venue, having driven all the way from Bristol, and was quickly followed by a stream of cars. We numbered 8 at this point which was wonderful and so was the weather.

After the usual group photo and a short briefing about the first section of the ride we set off. I say we numbered 8, we actually became 9 but not until we reached the Great Coxwell Tithe Barn, where we met Sharon who lived locally. The descent to the village was fun but the up part to meet us didn’t have the same appeal early in the morning so Sharon took the opportunity to video us all arriving.

We crossed the A420 and set off on the quieter lanes until we reached the first sandy bridleways. This took us for some distance running parallel to the main road but no hint of the noise, the varied surfaces took us through farm barns, open fields and trails and farm drives all rolling gently downhill. We finally reached another road to cross, not too busy, and entered through the stone pillared gateway of a country manor house. The drive was still a bridleway and edged by several very attractive cottages complete with roses around the doors. The drive ran into a section of single track, narrow and nettle bordered. The inevitable stings and apologies on my part and we continued into a long stretch of grass trail along side newly harvested fields, vast open skies surrounded us and the sun continued to shine.

We reached Buckland Warren which is a mixed broadleaf and pine forest and dissected by numerous footpaths. It was here we saw a Muntjac standing his ground and holding our gaze in the middle of the trail before slipping away into the shrubbery. We made a figure of 8 around this area crossing the A420 another 2 times and passing along a wider tree lined bridleway through Buckland village. There is a rather nice pub here but we were too early for its Sunday opening.

We entered ‘The Warren’ once more but on the opposite side and made our way through the softer low lying ground after the previous weeks rain. In winter this area is ankle deep in mud so the inch of slippery mud was not too bad. At the end and with a small section of repeated trail we exited the woods and stopped for our picnic lunch at the edge of a nearly deserted golf course. The sun continued to shine as we settled down on the grass to eat and chat.

The pit stop finished, we retraced our route back to the Tithe Barn where several of us went to have a look inside. Some of the other ladies started to tackle the road climb back up towards the Badbury Clump car park. After we had admired the very beautifully preserved and enormous Tithe Barn, we set off to join them and regrouped at the top. A small section of road and the perimeter of a Maize field brought us back to the cars and the welcome sight of the ice cream van for some.  Homemade cakes were despatched with more chat before we all headed home. Many thanks to the wonderful ladies, Andrea, Hazel, Kerry, Sarah, Sharon B, Sharon Y, Jen, and Amanda for joining me and a special thanks to Sarah for bringing up the rear and seeing us all home .

See you all soon.