Tag Archives: march 2014

Ride Report: Rather Random Right Rollocking Ridgeway Ride

Word and photo by Andrew Weaver

This was to be Tom Scott’s ride, but something cropped up and he asked me to lead it. I was happy to help, but had little time beforehand to prepare a route. Still, no matter; I know the area pretty well and thought others would lend a hand.

The ride started with ‘Where shall we go?’ and we decided on the medium Prospect route – albeit starting from Coate Water instead. We headed out of Coate Water over the curly wurly bridge and up to Chiseldon and then down the railway line to the Earthline climb.

The weather was most odd this day – it was getting warm and several riders stripped outer layers off. This all changed at the top of the Earthline climb, where I looked back towards Barbury to see thick black clouds rolling in. In no time it was hailing and the temperature dropped sharply.

We almost had one of our lady riders drop out, but with a bit of persuasion she carried on with us. We then carried on through the woods – that bit is always good fun – around the field and through some more woods. I’m told there was quite an amusing off in the woods, but as I was in front I missed it. Oh well, better luck next time!

At the top of the Rickety Bridge descent we stopped for a snack. Well, when I say snack, Paul Allum retrieved an enormous picnic box from his rucksack and started tucking in. The descent down Rickety Bridge was interesting. In the summer when it’s dry, this descent is a hoot; in the wet it can be very interesting. The rider in front of me (sorry, didn’t catch his name), almost lost it, but managed to hang on.

Rollicking Ridgeway Ride

Then we had the small matter of climbing back up Smeathe’s Ridge. This climb always feels like a bit of a slog, and in the hail (which had started again) it was even more of a test. Then we headed down the motocross hill and joined up with the railway line.

Tom hadn’t planned in a coffee and cake stop, which we all thought was very remiss of him. So to make amends we called into the Three Trees Farm Shop & Café. It was well worth a visit, though getting underway again afterwards is always hard.

On the way back to Coate Water, Jerome had our second puncture. We were so close to the end we did think about invoking the Top Gear ‘Always leave a man behind’ rule, but decided to stay and provide moral support. Once fixed, we all joined back up and headed back to the car park.

In the end, everyone looked suitably happy – big smiles, muddy bikes and some tired looking faces. Plus, everybody earned Velominati Rule #9. I couldn’t hang around for long as I had the small matter of needing to ride back home. So I said my goodbyes and hurried on my way.

Cwmcarnage

cwmcarnpromo

A new red graded trail opens at Cwmcarn in February… which seems like a good excuse for a club trip to Cwmcarn!  This is not a led ride as such, but a day to go to a trail centre and ride with other members of the club.  

As well as the new XC trail, there is the existing Twrch trail (red graded) and the red and black graded Airstream sections (at the top of the Twrch trail). For the more adventurous amongst us there is also a downhill run with an uplift service (www.cwmdown.co.uk).

Further details about the trail centre can be found at www.mbwales.com/en/content/cms/centres/cwmcarn/cwmcarn.aspx.

Ride Report: Novice Night Ride

Words by Phil Allum

So it rained, and rained, and rained. For the 3 weeks leading up to the ride, thats pretty much all it did. 

But then it stopped. Far too close to the day for any of it soak away, but it did stop falling from the sky. 

black
Artist’s impression of Phil and the gang in the dark.

Being a novice friendly night ride, the intended route changed many times in the run up to the actual day, as more and more of the byways & bridleways became impassable due to the weather.

What we did have, in the end, was a great loop of 16 miles. We did the first half of the Croft trail, which was holding up well against the weather, before heading around Coate Water, which strangely enough was a mud bath.

We then followed Sustrans route 482 towards Malborough before cutting down a byway opposite the radio mast climb.

This byway started off promisingly, but the puddles were deep, vast and numerous. It’s safe to say no one had dry feet after this section.
We followed a short stretch of tarmac, then from Chiseldon we retraced our tyre tracks back to Coate Water, before finishing up with the second half of the Croft Trail.

Back in the car park, it became clear just how wet and muddy were were. The conditions were fairly awful, but we had a good laugh slipping and sliding around in the mud for a couple of hours.

Night riding, in the worst muddy conditions imaginable? Yes, that is a great way to spend a Saturday night.

Thanks to all for joining me.