Tag Archives: mb swindon

Lambourn Café Ride

Michael Duller will lead this extended ride to Lambourn and back. The ride will be along quiet country lanes, bridleways, the Ridgeway and some single track. The ride is expected to take about five hours.

We will start the ride at 10:00 and make our way up to Foxhill. From there, we will climb up and over the Ridgeway and descend down to the grounds of Ashdown House. We then make the climb over Weathercock Hill for the fast chalky descent towards the village of Lambourn, where we will stop for refreshments.

Leaving Lambourn behind we make the steady climb towards Uffington white horse where will re-join the Ridgeway. We then follow the Ridgeway back to Foxhill for the final descent back to Coate water.

Though the ride is not technical, due to the distance (31 miles) and the amount of climbing (approx 3500ft), this ride is not classed as a novice ride. That said, everyone who is confident of their own abilities is welcome. We will always wait at the top of climbs and the bottom of descents, not leave anyone too far behind, and assist with mechanicals (hopefully there aren’t any). The main thing is to explore the countryside and enjoy the riding.

Xmas 2016 Recovery Ride

The Xmas Recovery Ride has become an MB Swindon tradition, and Tom Scott will be leading this year’s ride, starting at Barbury Castle.

Burn off those sweeties, shed a few pounds and forget about the invading/visiting in-laws for a few hours in good company on the downs.

The route will be calculated using the formula m = n x p / q squared where m = miles, n = number of people who turn up, p = puddings consumed over the festive period and q = quality street sweets produced for the ride leader.

Fawkes a Lot!

‘Fawkes a lot!’ is two rides in one. The 16 mile, Novice Friendly loop, will cover parts of the Ridgeway and other bridleways and byways in the area. It’s nearly all gravel, but there will be a few unsurfaced parts to ride. A few climbs but nothing too taxing.

If you fancy covering more miles then there is the option of meeting Phil Allum to start the ride from Coate Water Country Park instead which will add another 12 or so miles onto the ride total. We will be leaving Coate Water at 9am sharp,  and taking a brisk ride to Barbury to pick up the others before heading out across the downs.

Please bring drinks/snacks as there will not be any shops or cafes on this ride.

Hope to see you there!


Longer Ride:

Meeting point: Coate Water Country Park

Time: 08:45 to ride at 09:00

Total distance: 28 miles


Shorter Novice Friendly Ride:

Meeting point: Barbury Castle car park

Time: 09:45 to ride at 10:00

Distance: 16 miles



South Wales Weekender

Come and join us for a weekend of south- and mid-Wales trail centre riding.

Our accommodation for the weekend will be at the Gilfach Wen Bunkhouse, which we’ll be sharing with the MB Swindon ladies who’ll be running a separate event at the same time. You can read about our last club visit.

The plan is to gather at the bunkhouse on the Friday evening for a few drinks/social and possibly a visit to the local pub for a meal. On Saturday morning we’ll head over to Nant Yr Arian to ride whatever trail takes our fancy before returning to the bunkhouse for the traditional MB Swindon Saturday night BBQ. On Sunday we’ll head to Brechfa to ride some of the trails there before heading home. There’ll also be an opportunity to visit Cwm Rhaeadr for a lap or two of the small but perfectly formed trail there, either on the way to the bunkhouse on Friday or the way home on Sunday.

At the moment, accommodation for this event is restricted to 10 although more beds may be available if the ladies event doesn’t take its full allocation.

Cost will be approximately £45.00 for the 2 nights dependant on numbers. Please contact races@mbswindon.co.uk info@mbswindon.co.uk to register your interest in this trip.

MB Swindon ‘Ladies Do Brechfa’ Weekend

16th-18th September

We’re going back!! The previous two ladies’ riding weekends to Wales were a great success, but they were some time ago now, so it’s time to ‘hit the trails’ again!!

The plan is to ride the trails at Brechfa over Saturday and Sunday. There is the ‘red’ graded Gorlech trail (graded red because of the climb involved, the distance and some of the technical features), the extremely popular ‘green/blue’ Derwen trail which is ridden for fun by all abilities and will have you swooping and whooping back to the car park, and the ‘black’ graded Raven trail if desired for any experienced riders. There is something here to suit everyone.

Ladies at Brechfa

There is also a short, cheeky but fun ‘red’ graded trail nearby if you fancy a ‘quick one’ on the way or on the way back. And there is always the opportunity to call in at another trail centre, such as Afan, on the way back home if you haven’t had your fill.

We will stay at a bunkhouse that caters specifically for large groups and provides great, clean and modern facilities. It is also close to a pub and the trails. To keep costs down the club is hiring this facility and we will share it with another group from MBSwindon who are planning to do their own riding. So it should be a great social weekend and a chance to meet other club members who you might otherwise not meet.

Numbers are limited to 10 for our Ladies’ group and costs are approximately £45 each depending on how many come. Food costs are additional and meal arrangements will be made nearer the time.

A reasonable level of fitness is required as there is a good amount of climbing involved on a mixture of fire roads and trail. However, we can walk bits and we will take our time and enjoy the experience of this beautiful trail centre set in a stunning location. There will be plenty of opportunity to regroup, catch our breath, picnic, eat cake… and, above all, enjoy ourselves.

Ladies at Brechfa

If this is your first experience of a trail centre then we recommend you visit Ashton Court and/or Forest of Dean beforehand to improve your confidence and we will be arranging ladies’ rides to those venues over the coming months. We also highly recommend attending a ‘Trail Skills’ course provided by the club to gain basic skills if you don’t already have them.

So what’s stopping you?! Come and have a great weekend doing a little of what you fancy and having fun with your riding buddies. If you are interested in coming or would like more information please can you email races@mbswindon.co.uk info@mbswindon.co.uk. Places will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and you will be asked to pay a deposit to secure your place.


Trails at Brechfa: http://www.mbwales.com/agents/brechfa/

Bunkbarn: http://www.brechfa-bunkhouse.com/

Ladies XC weekend at Brechfa 2012: http://www.mbswindon.co.uk/ladies-trip-mudtrek-sept-2012/

MB Swindon Trail Skills Course (no dates set for 2016 yet): http://www.mbswindon.co.uk/training/trail-skills/

Exmoor: Up the Dunkery and Round the Horner

Exmoor is recognised as one of the best and most challenging off-road cycling destinations in the UK. The combination of a beautiful and varied landscape and an excellent network of bridleways, lanes and other permitted tracks provide ample opportunity for cyclists to enjoy some fantastic rides.

This ride promises to include some of the finest descents available in Exmoor national park.  It starts with a long tarmac climb, followed by a short ascent across the moor to Dunkery beacon, the highest point in Exmoor.  If the weather is on our side it is possible to see across the Bristol Channel to Wales as well as spectacular views across Exmoor national park.  We then descend on a mixture of moorland and rocky tracks to the village of Exford where we will stop for lunch in one of the pubs or tea rooms.  Post lunch is a climb along tracks back up to Dunkery beacon.  From there follows an awesome 4.5km rocky descent with loose rocks to keep you on your toes and a grin on your face.  A sharp left turn is followed by a singletrack climb, then a bit of tarmac (And a deceptively deep Ford) and grassy climb which leads to another awesome steep and twisty descent on loose rock.  The final part is downhill through Horner Woods, following the river back to the car park.


Who is it suitable for: – This ride does cover a long distance and has a lot of climbing so is not a “novice friendly” ride.  That said, the intention is to take it easy up the climbs and have plenty of stops to catch your breath.  The ride leader is a bit of a plodder and as always no one will be left behind.  The descending is of a similar technicality to a Red graded trail center.


What to bring:  Change for the carpark. Cash for the tea room / Pub or a packed lunch. Plenty of fluid and snacks as we will be out most of the day. As always bring a spare tube and repair kit.  Waterproof Jacket is a good idea as it has been known to rain in Exmoor.

The Mendips – Blackdown Hill & Cheddar Gorge

mendips_0003_Layer 8

You ask, we deliver! The Cheddar ride must have been a hit last year as people have been asking when will we be going back. Well, we are pleased to announce that we are indeed going back! The fantastic people at the Swan Inn, Rowberrow are letting us use their car park again. The food is amazing and is just the ticket after a good ride. The vast selection of isotonic beer and cider is always a hit too! You can check out their menu and have a little virtual look around here: http://www.swan.butcombe.com/ The pub really is in a great location as the riding is great right from the door.

The ride will cover some fun rocky descents, long climbs, open grass hills and will be mainly on bridleways, with just the odd bit of road to link it all up. The road up the Gorge from the Village of Cheddar being one of them. But the combination of the distance, terrain and amount of climbing involved this ride cannot be classed as novice friendly unfortunately. But for the fitter amongst you, this is a great ride which takes in lots of view points, including riding along the top of the Cheddar Gorge. The views from Beacon Batch are not to be sniffed at either. Just check out the photos on last year’s ride: http://www.mbswindon.co.uk/ride-report-the-making-of-the-mendips/

Sounds like your sort of ride? Good! Then I hope to see you there!


Ride Report: Cheddar Gorge Ride

The forecast was for rain, and a fair bit of it. A fat band of rain was to sweep across at some point in the afternoon. It was a case of being prepared to get wet, but just how wet we’d get, we didn’t know at this point.

The day’s gaggle of bikers consisted of eleven fine looking gentlemen (no women today, I’m afraid) on a variety of steeds.

The Swan Inn at Rowberrow had kindly let us use their car park for the day’s ride. It’s a fine old pub that serves great food, real ales and proper cider. The icing on the cake is the fact that you are only a few pedal strokes from the start of some trails. Can’t complain about that.

Setting off on time (or thereabouts) we were straight into the first off-road descent, a piece of singletrack that took us down to Rowberrow Warren. The wet slippery rocks provided an early test of concentration.


Safely at the bottom, we then had to ride alongside a bubbling stream, skirting the edge of the warren. We climbed up the side of the hill, slowly at first, but then testing the legs the higher we went. Blood suitably pumping, a short recovery spin along some tarmac took us to the quarry north of Cheddar. A straight run down a rocky track alongside the quarry was a good way for the crazy gang to press on and do a bit of stone skipping on the way down. Mike Duller unfortunately picking up the first puncture of the day.


Now on the edge of Cheddar, and with Mike suitably re-inflated, it was a short ride down a few streets to the bottom of the Gorge road. It would be a shame to come all this way and not ride up the road through the Gorge itself. So up we went. It’s a gradual incline with some steep bits around some of the switchbacks, but if you take in enough of the scenery you seem to get up there in no time.

Dippy had snapped his rear mech cable coming down the side of the quarry and was trying to singlespeed it up the hill. Finding it hard going, he and chief mechanic Rich Rowe managed to bodge it so he now had 3 gears instead of 1, making it far easier on the legs. Fair play to them.


By now, big blobs of rain were falling from the sky as we started the hike-a-bike up to the Gorge top walk – It’s a bridleway, don’t panic, people! Getting to the top just as the rain was easing off, we were greeted with some pretty good views. From here we had a mile or so of going down, skirting the edge of the Gorge to start with then heading inland a little, all the way to Cheddar village.

We started off slowly, pootling along, taking in the scenery before deciding the best way would be to give each other some space and meet up near the bottom at the look out tower.

The ride along the top is a good’un: glorious views of the far side of the Gorge, a gradient that means you don’t have to pedal much and the added bonus of riding amongst goats, if that’s your thing. With rocky outcrops, wet grass and exposed edges not far away, you had to keep you speed in check. Everyone came down smiling (I think they were smiling) having enjoyed it for different reasons.


We soon picked up the West Mendip Way heading out and around the Gorge, eventually bringing us to the edge of Blackdown Hill. Here we passed runners doing the Butcombe Trail Ultra Marathon, looking suitably tired. With the heavens opening up again – this time using their full arsenal of rain – we skirted around, down and then finally back up to the trig point. Soaked through, we headed back into Rowberrow Warren for a quick blip down a man made trail before our final descent down a rock gully.

Poor Mike picked up the second puncture of the day and decided to jog the last mile or so back to the pub.

Bikes quickly stuffed on racks and kit thrown in cars, it was straight into the pub for isotonic beverages and food. Job done.

Probably the wettest ride in a very long time, but still a great day out on the bike filled with giggles. Thanks all for ignoring the forecast and joining me for our Mendip jolly. See you all on a ride soon!

Link to Mike Duller’s Youtube video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iE2m3ZPYzOg&feature=youtu.be

Ride Report: Riding the reverse flats of the Cotswolds

No amount of my sun dancing was going to fix the weather for this ride. The picture below was taken on a recce the week before; what a difference a week makes.

Cotswold sun

Still, ain’t seen a rusty man yet!

There was a bit of confusion on the car parking, but – faffing done – six of us set off. There was a bit of a road climb to start with, out of Nailsworth and up to Horsley, then down through Horsley woods. This year must have been perfect growing conditions for everything, because the trails were disappearing into a jungle of nettles, brambles and anything else that can wake you up.

Then it was out into a grassy valley which was full of sheep. These sheep had done a great job of fertilizing these fields, and we duly picked lots of it up on our bikes to spread out further along the trail. Nic! There was a bit of a climb out of this valley, so I stayed at the back to make sure everyone got out safely.

Another short road section over to Uley woods, and my chainring bolts decided to come out, so a bit of trail side maintenance was needed. Thanks, Sean, for the allen key.

We must have had a bit of wind during the week because there was a dirty great big tree blown down across the gate. This made things a bit tricky but we got through.

There are some great bits of single track through Uley woods down to Dursley. To be fair, the tracks were reasonably dry considering the amount of rain we had had, although I did lead a few of the others through a rather deep, claggy puddle (you don’t have to follow me all the time!)

The next set of tracks was the famous switchbacks at Breakheart quarry. I rode this the week before and it was just a dust bowl, and was pretty sketchy getting down (ask Rich). The rain we had made it just right, and there were plenty of smiles, as the pictures prove.


The only trouble with coming down that great downhill is that you’ve got to go up the other side, which is a nice switchback climb which brings you back out into Breakheart quarry. There is a small log cabin-type thing here which has vending machines in, which is quite handy if you’re ever riding around here and fancy a coffee, cold drink or ice cream.

Cotswold shack

After our break we set off again, back into the woods to single track it over to stinchcombe golf club. If you’re that way inclined, there are some great jumps in these woods, most of them with a lot of fresh air inbetween them.

We skirted round the edge of the golf club and then I struggled to find the entry into the woods. It was a bit like going into a secret garden, a bit more ducking and weaving through the trees and then the steep gulley down into Dursley: there were KOMs had by all… well, not quite all, just one of us.

A quick ride through Dursley prepared us for the climb of the century up Cam Long Down; blooming Henry, that sure makes you blow!

During a quick stop at the top for a sandwich, there was a ‘Shall I put my coat on or not?’ debate. The rain started to do it’s best and the wind was blowing a hooley. I mentioned to the lads that there was a decent sized drop-off halfway down the descent. It’s in a grassy field, so you can struggle to see it if you’re going full tilt. Luckily, I fell off just before it, so a good marker was put down; much fun was had by all.

I had told everyone that the next two climbs were almost unachievable, which well and truly threw the gauntlet down. Fair play to those boys: Graham made it to the top of the first climb (I think the needle was in the red though) and Stephen wasn’t far behind him. By the time I had pushed my bike to the top, they had all found a great spot for a breather. Shame about the weather on this ride as one of the best things about it are the great views over the Severn river, looking across to Wales.

Cotswold group

After a bit more downhill/flat sort of riding we came to the last big climb of the day: straight up, this one, no mercy! This bought us out on to the top of Frocester hill, which is quite famous with the road riders around here. A bit of walking down some steep steps and we made our way over to Coaly viewpoint, where Rich told us he goes paragliding from (bloody nutter!)

The next bit of single track, I think, is some of the best in the area. It did suffer, this time, from being a bit slick on the roots and there were a few comedy moments, but good times were had by all. This chucked us out on Selsy common, and it was all down hill now: a bit of a blast across the common, down the road to Woodchester, onto the old railway line and finally the road back to Nailsworth, where we had a well deserved pint and a bit to eat.

Cheers  Rich, Graham, Andrew, Stephen & Sean – it was a good old ride!

Ride Report: Ladies’ Malvern Ride

Words & Photos by Sarah Bailey

The MB Swindon ladies left the confines of North Wiltshire and travelled to the Malvern Hills for this ride. The ride was led by Jo Page who, being local, knows the riding around there like the back of her hand.

The weather was dry and sunny, unlike our previous ride there.


Jo had arranged for some of the ladies she rides with to join us and it was nice to meet some new faces (both from Malvern and Swindon) with another Jo kindly backmarking.

Unfortunately, about 15 minutes in, an ‘off’ on a tight switchback meant it was the end of the ride (and a hospital visit!) for our Ladies’ Officer, Debbie, and Social Events Officer, Sharon.


The remainder of us carried on up onto the Malvern Hills. Eventually we made it to the top of Worcestershire Beacon and to stunning views all around us which made the climb worth it. We were also caught up by another of Jo’s Malvern Ladies, Vicky.

Then we headed down to a lovely little café for tea and cake and then it was back up into the hills for more amazing views. We were also treated to Jo and Jo showing their awesome skills by riding down a steep rockface.


There was something for everyone – climbing (2,500ft in 11.5 miles), descending (some of it technical for those who wanted it) and views to die for. There were lots of walkers out and about, and (almost) all of them were friendly & chatty.

Thank you to Jo for taking time out of her hectic schedule to work out the route and for leading this ride. Looking at the smiles on everyone’s faces at the end, they all thoroughly enjoyed it.

If there’s another ride there, I would highly recommend it. You certainly won’t be disappointed.