Monday, 23 October 2017

Head for the hills at Churchill 31

A very reasonable day today, surprisingly warm and very little wind.  No rain in the forecast either.  Decided to head for the hills rather than stay on the Levels so the destination today is Churchill, a small village on the north side of the Mendip Hills.  Not going particularly high, about 360' from sea level but it will be a good workout for an Old Git!  Went out through Hutton and Banwell and took the back road through Churchill and turned right onto the A38.  More climbing before turning right again to Sanford and Winscombe.  

And the crowd mooed!

Leaving Winscombe, went out through Barton to find the road, albeit a minor one, was very muddy in places from farm machinery.  Half way along, these cows were staring over the fence so just had to take a photo.  Well, there wasn't much else out there today.

It was a fairly easy run back to Weston from Barton but as the mileage was a bit short of the planned 30, went down to the Pier before going home so ended up with 31 mile .

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Blown back from Bridgwater 22

Storm Brian has arrived!   40/50 mph winds forecast, especially on the coast so might as well take advantage of a bit of help.  Caught the 1122 ( 8 minutes late tut tut) and joined 3 other bikes on the train south. Travelled back partly on the A38 but moved inland a bit and travelled back to Weston via Wollavington, Mark and Bleadon.

Bridgwater Station

A nice old station this one, it was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and dates from the mid 1840s.  It is a grade 2 listed building.  It isn't far from here to the main road through Bridgwater, the A38.  Just north of Bridgwater, turned off the main road and was blown along nicely through Puriton to Woolavington.  Riding north from there to Mark the wind seemed to have veered slightly to the SW and was over the left shoulder but still helping along.  Was using the big chain ring throughout and working fairly hard, in fact the average mph through the 2 miles of Mark Causeway was 17. Move over Wiggo.

Clocked up 22 plus miles and 108 for the week plus 2 miles not recorded by Strava getting to Weston Rail Station.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Five take a windy route to Burnham 32

With some Old Git 'events' planned for next summer, ranging from a coast to coast (Weymouth to Weston), a trip to France and some organised charity sportives, some of us feel the need for a bit of extra training so we have agreed to meet up weekly to put a few extra miles in our legs.  Started well today, a real blowy one from the west, at about 26 mph.  We each thought that no-one would turn up but pleasantly surprised that 5 did.  Off to the Levels we go then.

Road Closed - Good!

The plan originally was to go out to Mark, across to Wedmore then over the Levels to Burnham for refs.  Taking the strongish wind into account, we thought the longish drag from Wedmore to the coast was not the preferred way to go so went to Burnham from Mark.  To be honest that was quite tiring so overall, a good decision.  After tea and toast at the Bay View, headed to Weston via Brean and encountered this road closure on the Wick Road.  This was no problem as we turned left at the end of Red Road anyway.  The road that is closed, and has been for a couple of weeks, is quite rough in places and is long overdue for a refurbishment.  Let's hope they do a proper job.

Good Samaritans

Using the new cycle path that crosses the River Axe, came across this cygnet which, possibly, had flown into some nearby overhead cables.  It did look as if it had a damaged wing and some ramblers were on the phone to the RSPCA to give it some assistance.  The five of us carefully walked by it, using our cycles as shields, and apart from a bout of hissing, (from the swan, not us) made it through OK.  Ironically we had earlier cycled past 'Secret World' a haven for injured wild life near West Huntspill.  Lets hope the bird gets some treatment.

Didn't get as buffeted as much as we thought, and overall, it was a decent 32 miles we covered.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Old Gits Reverse Route 22

Added retrospectively, should have gone on last Tuesday the 17th October.  Normal Tuesday ride out with the Old Gits.  Good turnout, 17 and a guest in the shape of a wife on the back of her husband's tandem.  Weather was kind to us, a bit chilly at first but it soon warmed up.  Did the 'reverse route', over to Sand Bay, through Wick St Lawrence to Hewish and the tea stop at Caffles.  On the way back, one of the chaps had a broken chain but luckily, not too far from a bicycle shop.  Phew!
Good ride out with the boys, covered 22 miles in all.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Taunton Tornado 30

A weird day today.  Started out with a red sun lurking behind fairly heavy yellowish cloud.  Mid-day the wind picked up, as forecast and was up to 40 mph from the south.  All this caused by the remains of hurricane Ophelia in the Atlantic heading north and dragging sand from the Sahara and ash and smoke from wildfires in Portugal.  Luckily Somerset didn't get the rain or very high winds felt in Ireland and the north of the UK.

Taunton Station

Didn't take much to figure out that a decent ride today would be with the wind behind me.  Caught the train from Weston to Taunton and rode back most of the way blown along by the wind.  Did not have it all easy though, decided to go for some personal records and used the highest gearing available and went for a bit of speed.  Ended up travelling back in record time and managed an average speed for the journey of 14.6 mph.  Unheard of, usually it is around 11/12 mph so feel entitled to spend the rest of the day in smug mode.

Lots of personal records tumbled today during the 30 mile journey back from Taunton.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Double up to Burnham 30

Out this morning with Geoff, another Old Git, retracing yesterday's route down to Burnham.  Several Old Gits are 'training' for some events next summer and the plan is to do some extra-curricular activities occasionally to build up the leg muscles.  This was one of them but only two of us made it.  We did the same trip as yesterday, that way the roads are quiet and there is more chance of having a decent chat.

The Bikes are Back

Nothing much to photograph on the ride, but diverted slightly at the end to capture the fact that the annual Beach Bike Race is in town.  An annual event, it is over the next couple of days and involves moto cross motorcycles and quad bikes racing the length of the beach over prepared hills and jumps. Tried to ride back along the promenade but it was full of official vans, vendors and bikes waiting to register for the event.

Get over it!

One of the manufactured 'hills'.  Carefully sculpted by a team of bulldozers and excavators, these are waiting for the big off in the morning.  Built of loose sand, they soon get wrecked and the machinery moves in at night to reconstruct them.  There are three this size, or bigger, and numerous smaller ones dotted around the course.  Good fun to watch.

A good day out, decent weather, refs at the Bay View Cafe and another 30 miles makes the 100 for the week.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Off to Burnham for a cuppa 30

A pretty decent day today, ideal to push the mileage up slightly.  Off to Burnham across the levels, the aim being a cup of tea at the Bay View Cafe.  A fellow STRAVA user had hinted that it was quite muddy on some of the lanes so will watch out for that.

Direction Signs

Or finger posts as some folk call them.  This photo was taken on the 23rd January 2016 after an article on BBC news described that Somerset Council had ceased maintaining these signs because of 'austerity measures'.  There was a bit of a back lash and comments about how useful they actually are despite the invention of the SatNav.

Direction Signs Part 2

Here we are, nearly 2 years later and in the same vicinity this sparkly sign, resplendent in the sunshine.  It appears to be on private property, the village school, and is sporting a new paint job.  It is actually on the opposite side of the road to its former position.  I suspect the Parish Council may have had a hand in this.  If they did, fair play to all.

Mud on the road

As for any mud on the road, it was not as bad as was first thought.  Some farmers had been quite thoughtful and left these hand painted drums about.  Overnight, traffic had removed a lot of it and the wind/sun had dried the roads a treat.  A bit further on was a bit iffy with mud and cow doo dahs scattered about.  Got through it unscathed though. A bit further on, passed a couple of cyclists in the opposite direction and one of them knew me and called out.  No idea who that could be, need to check amongst the Old Gits.

Thoroughly enjoyed that this morning.  Headwind first half, blown back the second.  Have invited a few Old Gits to join me in the morning to repeat the 30 mile ride.