Friday, 28 April 2017

To Clevedon and back 38

Getting some miles in today by riding over to Clevedon, north along the coast, to see my eldest daughter. Got there to walk into a little home workshop.  Jacqueline and three friends were making paper flowers for table decorations for her forthcoming wedding.  I was invited to join in but declined and had a cup of tea and a pain de raisin instead.  Went in the afternoon when clear skies were forecast but the clouds won today.  Never saw sunshine.  A fresh westerly wind made the journey back a bit harder as well.  No photographs today, went round a slightly different way, including the Strawberry Line but nothing leapt out and shouted, "Take me".

Had a good week so far.  Exceeded the weekly target with 38 miles today and its only Friday.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

3 Cyclists on Tour 51

Good day today.  Met up with Mick and Graham, for once met on my home turf.  They came down today to check out the Somerset Levels and for Mick to hunt around for some unusual bike racks.  Both targets met.   The breeze was a bit chilly, for April, expected better than that.  Sorted out a route before they came down and, thankfully, it went to plan.

Burtle Village Hall

Only took the one photo going round today.  Not so much for the building but for the poster on it. 'Grumpy Men's Breakfast Club.  Next Sunday at 1000.'  Hmmmm.  Wonder how long the queue will be.

I think the day went OK.  Covered 51 miles, a record for Mick, best of the year for me.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Usual trip with the Old Gits 24

Out with the Old Gits on a cold, late April morning.  Really thought that long cycling bottoms and extra layers were to be confined to the wardrobe for the next 4 months but, no, they were out again today.  Needed as well with that cold north westerly wind.  Did the usual ride around Locking and Banwell taking refreshments at Caffles Garden Centre.

Waiting for the Gate Keeper

One of the Old Gits had a little driving job to do this morning and missed the start.  Didn't know what we could do as he is the one that normally holds a gate open for the rest of us as we reach the eastern end of the Strawberry Line.  Never fear, a call from him meant he wasn't far behind so we waited for him.   Luckily, this was a sheltered spot out of the wind.

Not a bad ride, covered 24 miles in all.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Burnham Variation 27

Although the weekly target was reached last Thursday, no reason to be complacent.  Such a nice day as well, and with a big ride scheduled for next week, time to get some miles in.  Went down to Burnham on Sea taking a slightly different way back than normal.

Anthriscus sylvestris

Also known as cow parsley, wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, keck or Queen Anne's lace, this plant is growing like crazy in the hedgerows not only in Somerset but across the UK.  There is a good reason for including this today, my friends Graham and Mick are heading down this way next Wednesday for a 50 miler around the Somerset Levels.  Unfortunately, Graham suffers from hay fever when this stuff is about so prior warning Graham, bring your anti histamine medicine with you.

St Andrew's Church Burnham.

Taking a diversion in Burnham through a place not visited before, Edithmead, came across this delightful little church in the village.  Apparently first used as a schoolroom, it was converted to a church in 1919.  Described on Wikipedia as, 'A beautifully cared for tin-tabernacle.'

Nice ride out again.  Covered 27 miles and it took me longer to do that then the winners of the London Marathon today.  What those blokes achieve is mind blowing!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Magical Mystery Tour 37

In Leamington for a couple of days and arranged a ride out with Graham and Mick.  Well, Graham arranged the ride and after we met in Stoneleigh took us on a 'mystery' tour.  Quite a change having no idea where we were going.  Left Stoneleigh and headed through Baginton towards Coventry.  We did need to navigate the A45 at Toll Bar Island and after a 3 year major reconstruction it was a tortuous affair that required us negotiate three or four cycle crossings.  Carrying on through the eastern part of Coventry it dawned on me.  We were going to Coombe Abbey.

Coombe Abbey

Built as a monastery in the 12th century, it is now a hotel whilst the grounds are owned and managed by Coventry City council.  It is a Grade 1 listed building.  This view is looking down the main drive towards the house.  We came here to have a look around the grounds and try and find a heronry, the biggest in Warwickshire.

Coombe Lake.

A view of the rear of the Abbey looking across the upper part of Coombe Lake.  The grounds were redesigned by 'Cababilty' Brown in 1771.  A local man advised where the heronry was so we cycled through the grounds to find it.  Luckily there has been no rain for some time and the dirt tracks were rideable.  

Bird Hide

We found a bird hide, part the way round the lake but could not actually see the heronry.  We were treated to the site of nesting cormorants and them flying around with nest building material to the tree tops.  Couldn't stop there all day though, onward and upward.


A very pleasant ride around the estate.  A lot of fallen logs scattered about and we surmised it was to help in the management of the wildlife in the park, they were ideal hideaways for bugs, mice, voles etc.  You can see below how rideable the paths were.

Brandon Marsh

We left Coombe Abbey and followed a bridal path, a bit rough in places, over to Brandon.  The destination there was a very nice tea room adjacent to the offices and shop of the Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.  Tea and toasted tea cake were the order of the day, thanks to Graham (he had the token) and we sat in a window seat watching birds feeding.  Not too many of them unfortunately as workmen were building a hide nearby and that disturbed them.  Saw a reed bunting for the first time and long tail tits were feeding very close to the window.

Left the cafe and after negotiation Toll Bar Island again, made our way home, parting at Stoneleigh.  A good ride today, been to a few places I've not been before so a real Magical Mystery Tour.  Covered 37 miles and also exceeded the weekly target.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Out with the Old Gits

Tuesday means it's Old Gits Day.  Meeting on the promenade for a 'reverse' route to the coffee shop at Cafes garden centre.  A bit chilly at first, a touch of frost even, but toughened that out by wearing shorts today.  Must admit, short wearers were in the minority today, 10 in longs, 4 in shorts.  When the sun came out properly around 10, it was a slightly different story, the cold wind was behind us on the way back and it was really pleasant.

No photos today.  I did see a house martin searched on a telephone wire on the way back.  Would have been good to have captured that.  A modest 22 miles covered today.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Churchill Circuit 32

Easter Bank Holiday Monday, expecting the roads to be quite busy so going to hide away in the country lanes around Churchill to the east of Weston.  Going out their via Banwell, Puxton and Sanford and back through Winscombe, Loxton and Bleadon.  Nice day for it, a bit of breeze and a bit of sunshine.  

Strawberry Line

Heading back to Weston by a roundabout way to include the Strawberry Line.  At the old Sanford Station, there is a little heritage museum and a tea room.  There were loads of cyclists in both and after waiting for ages for tea and a bun, gave up and carried on.  Thought it odd that the Strawberry Line was devoid of cyclists but realised, they are all in the cafe!


M5 busy again.

After Loxton went over the M5 motorway and noticed the traffic heading north was almost tail to tail.  All the holiday makers ending the long break in the south west of England.  Couldn't help but feel a bit smug watching them creep slowly along.

A good ride today, 32 miles in all.