Monthly Archives: April 2020

Take Five Results


Having driven to Ewelme on Saturday, I rode the route from there in the prescribed clockwise direction. A spectacular aerial display just beyond Chiltern Park where a big field being ploughed had attracted a score of circling red kites! Not much else to report, apart from many cyclists being on the roads…


A glorious day for cycling Kingston Hill… (Sunday)


Did some of the route yesterday (Sunday). I only went as far as Watlington then up Watlington Hill instead of Kingston.


With rain forecast for Monday afternoon I hit the road before nine so as to be back by lunchtime. Very benign cycling conditions – hazy sun, little wind – but Kingston Hill seemed as hard as ever. By the time I got to Woodcote I was feeling ready for lunch, so didn’t follow Nev’s little jaunt around the back streets and so got back home with a total of less than 38 miles.


Good route and weather but nasty hill turned into pleasant walk and even more bluebells!


We cycled the route this morning omitting only the last part from Woodcote to Whitchurch Hill due to urgent need for a cup ot tea available in Elvendon Road. Stats from newly downloaded Strava sent separately. A really enjoyable ride with long gentle downhill or flat section from top of Kingston Hill to Goring.


Tom and I did a reduced route, cutting down the Ridgeway and Swan’s Way from Watlington to near the bottom of Syncombe Hill (where there was a police car waiting on the bridleway). A very nice ride plus I’d not done those bridleways before; oh and no nasty hills…


I cycled from my home in Blewbury to Ewelme via Wallingford, then off towards Goring, returning after the airfield to Ewelme then home. I deviated to Cholsey and back to bring the total mileage up to 40 miles, my record for the year so far. Enjoyed a rest by the pond at Ewelme on the way back.

Many thanks Nev for a stunning ride through some of the prettiest parts of the neighbouring counties. Bluebells and all!

Thank God for ViewRanger – I’d still be trying to complete the fiendish circumnavigation of Woodcote without it.

Dist:                    44.6mi
Time                   3.37hrs
Av Speed            12.3mph
Elev Gain            1,854ft

Take Five

As we go into the fifth week of lockdown, could we take another five? Let’s hope we don’t have to. In the meantime, here’s a ride from Neville, taking in the mighty Kingston Hill, but not the wee cafe called the Wee Cafe.

There’s also another Cwiz from Steve. See below for the Cafe Cwiz.

Blues and Greens

Padnell’s Wood

When the world eventually gets back to normal (if it ever does), I wonder if we will look back with some fondness to this period of the coronavirus lockdown when the sun shone every day, the roads were quiet and cyclists often outnumbered cars. Since the rain stopped and lockdown started, this has been a wonderful spring for cherry blossom, empty skies and extensive views due to the clean air. Pale greens of new beech leaves complemented by the bluebells and the blue sky.

Inside the hospitals it must be a very different story for patients struggling to breathe or staff working 12 hour shifts in trying conditions. Blues and greens have very different connotations for them. Extra reasons for us to be extremely grateful and to hope that everyone will be able to enjoy the great outdoors again soon.

Thanks to all for the lovely photos.


I went wrong a few times, including just after this photo!

Didn’t you see the arrow, Nev?

Complete; many bluebells. Slow time


Did the bluebell ride this afternoon (Sunday) on my mountain bike.


Ridden on Sunday, plenty of bluebells (and other cyclists!), but slightly modified, as I didn’t want to off-road after the recent rain… Chiltern woods now carpeted with bluebells, just wonderful.

This is my slow track being a nervous off roader. Bumped into Steve and accompanied him for a while. Became almost bluebell blasé !

Tom and I took bit of a short cut but still spectacular bluebells and lovely weather. We met Breda and Alan coming the other way just up from the King William but I think the wind favoured our anti-clockwise circuit…


Breeda and l did the ride in reverse direction on Monday. Beautiful sunny weather with spectacular woodland scenery and bluebells. Saw Andrew and Thomas, then Steve then Simon. Rode via Hailey, lpsden Heath, Checkendon, Stoke Row, Greys, Rotherfield but then back directly via Wyfold and Exlade St to avoid some of the off-road. Great ride.


Suffolk bluebells.


Thanks Steve for an absolutely stunning ride. The route through so many bluebells was really magnificent and the fragrance………!!

I must have been just behind Andrew & Tom because I passed Breda and Alan just before Homer farm.

No mechanical issues but very sore with the unsuspended mountain bike. Average speed 10.7mph.


Mick in the Woods

Mick did not literally bump into me I’m glad to say, but we did take the opportunity to take photos of each other from an appropriate distance.

Yesterday I cycled from Blewbury over the 7 hills to Goring, then joined the Gromils route. I avoided the off road section by turning off to Well Place. A donkey near the bottom of the hill, and lots of bluebells at the top!
Returned via the A417 and Cholsey. Exhausting!

Here is a picture of the Cholsey buttercups as a change from bluebells!

Bluebell Bridleways

It’s that time of year when the sun is shining (hopefully), the birds are singing, the nettles haven’t yet grown over the paths, and the bluebells are out. Time to take a little excursion into the woods around Crays Pond and Checkendon to enjoy the bluebells while they’re at their best. Don’t forget to stop and take some photos, or just admire.

See below for Neville’s quiz, which has nothing whatever to do with bluebells, but does have a prize! Answers to Nev.

Flat White Results

So here’s what everyone’s been up to on “Monday’s Ride”, anytime from Saturday to Tuesday.


Here are my stats for this week’s route that I did on Saturday when the weather was perfect. I think my track missed a bit when I accidentally had it on pause although I did do the whole route.


I did the route, but did it anticlockwise (never done it that way before). I passed Simon in Cuddesdon, 5 minutes later he called me – he had broken his chain. Neither of us had tools with us. At this moment he is on a long walk home…


Ride done, windy all the way and chilly until 11ish. No Gromils spotted, but roads nicely quiet.
47 miles at 12mph average.


With a 30+ mph NNE, it was lovely zooming along the flat from North Stoke to Little Stoke on Monday. The rest of the ride was a different story. In terms of sunshine, wind and temperature, those who did the ride earlier in the weekend had the better of it.

I did a recce of the ride last week and was more than 20 min faster for the route. This time I thought I’d ride it anticlockwise in the hope of passing some Gromils coming the other way. It looks as though Chris had the same idea, as the stats show I was generally 15 min behind him all the way around the part of the circuit we had in common. His speed was remarkably constant, both into the wind and with it, whereas I speeded up considerably after stopping for two mini Easter eggs in Cuddesdon (and having a following wind for the next bit).


Breeda and l went for a walk today (Monday) instead of cycling. Elvendon Rd – Airfield – Furniture Hill – Norman’s Timber – Wellplace – Tour of Ipsden – Elvendon. 26500 steps, 3 hrs 30 mins, approx 13 miles. Bright sunny weather but cold wind. Too cold to cycle? Hope to cycle to Cuddeston Tues or Weds.

Cycled to Cuddesdon this morning (Tuesday). Alone!!!! Fantastic weather for cycling. I left at 11.15 so cold wind had largely gone. Stuck to the route on the outward western leg and almost did the same on the return eastern leg but once l got to Ewelme it occurred to me that l could take a flatter faster route by riding across to Benson then past Howbery then on main road to Goring arriving at 2.45pm. Really enjoyable ride.

Tom and I did the route as far as Benson then came back via the other leg. Very few cars but cold and windy to start; much nicer with sun and following wind on way back. Met Breda and Alan near the airfield…

Could not cycle this morning (Monday) as my boiler failed. British Gas Home Care were amazingly good at fixing it! Hoping to be on my bike tomorrow


My stats for Tuesday- beautiful weather but cold!

I did a bit of exploring the local byways 14 miles roads lanes tracks and paths. Really nice, a bit cool but sunny scenery wonderful.

Sorry to be so late… I’m just coming to terms with the trauma. Just to say an absolutely stunningly beautiful ride surrounded by Goldfinches until just past Cuddesdon when Neville passed at great speed going the wrong way round and a minute later my chain mysteriously departed this life. I set off on foot wheeling my untrusty steed until a very tooled and lycraed up man stopped with a chain splitter. 5 mins later I was on my way and 5 hours after I’d set off, I was thankfully home. Neville then rang offering condolences and positive psychology.

Not my fastest rise but certainly my most informative. I’ve had the chain splitter surgically attached, have bought a pump and will be getting a fold up bike that attaches to the frame of the current beast for emergencies. “Be prepared”!

Andrew’s Gromils Spring Quiz

And if you thought Neville’s quizzes were difficult, read on. Answers to Andrew please.

1 How many bikes are allowed on this 8 carriage GWR train?

2 From which “ecclesiastical” lane a number of Gromils routes have used can this folly be seen?

3 Which notorious crime is connected with Bridle Path, Whitchurch used by Gromils in November last year?

4 Which item of Indian aid to the UK is twice as deep as Nelson’s Common and situated near a cafe Gromils often use?

5 Which village on the “Visiting Mother Dunch” route features a famous car museum?

6 Which house is this, very close to a café Gromils have visited of the same name? It was lived in by Miss Beatrix, a rather eccentric gardener

7 Bit of a Google question but beware fake news; two people named Bowden made pivotal contributions to cycling around 100 years ago, what did they do?

8 At the bottom of somewhere; which place did Gromils come across this flood on 2nd March this year?

9 Which café Gromils have only visited around Christmas is near a house owned by Rowan Atkinson?

10 In which village is this manor on the “Flat White” route? Possibly a previous building was once owned by King Canute; no tide to test his powers here but near a significant river

The Flat White

OK, so maybe this isn’t really a flat white, but then this route isn’t totally flat either, just flat in parts. It does however have an opportunity to buy a coffee at the shop in Little Milton, even if your takeaway may not look quite like this. It would be a bit tricky to take away one of these on a bike anyway.

Photos, stats and stories welcome as ever.

The Third Monday

Our third virtual ride. Here’s what people got up to. The answers to Neville’s Spring Quiz are now available. Find out who scored what at the virtual coffee stop.


Did the latest route this morning (Sunday), excellent with more cyclists than cars.

Tom and I did the reverse route as far as Pangbourne and then back along the bridle path by the river. About half the official route but no accidents and a really lovely day. Also Tom managed to cycle all the way up Icknield Road which is a first.

Another fabulous ride in the glorious sunshine yesterday. Sadly, I was nearly at the top of ‘The Hill’ via the golf course and then fell off as the bike mysteriously changed gear. That’s 5 – nil to The Hill. I arrived home just as Phil set out but much slower than him as follows (if you believe a very old Garmin Forerunner 405):

Time: 2.25.55, Distance 28.11, Av Speed: 11.6mph, Elev Gain: 1,372ft.

Sorry no hope with Nev’s quiz. I’ve certainly never seen most of the places in the photos – too busy trying to keep up.


Did the route as far as Pangbourne and then walked back from there. The walk took about the same time as the ride. Streatley hill was quiet and I managed my 9th fastest time up it


As the virtual ride’s a bit too far from me, I’ve already done my own thing.

Slightly longer than the prescribed ride, but a bit less ascent. Again, my average speed surprised me (13.3mph) but the main roads were as quiet as expected, and stainless Moulton’s benefiting from its recent tweaks. A cyclist in harlequin lycra passed at my southernmost point
(while I was snacking) I later caught him up in Wantage centre.

I’ve just finished lacing my Brompton Mk2 rear wheel, though it took 3 attempts to achieve diverging spokes at the valve hole (due to constraints imposed by the additional split flange) Hoping it won’t all go pear-shaped once I put tension into the spokes… thankfully, there’s no rush!

I still need to make a new disc rotor mount, and figure out how to actuate the rotary gear selector (the supplied S-A item won’t fit…)


Breeda and l completed ride today in glorious sunshine, 38km in 2hr 45min. Great downhill stretch from 4 points to Bradfield.


I did a slightly longer distance than most, as I thought it would be an idea to do a bit of a warm-up before tackling Streatley Hill. It didn’t make it much easier.
On the way home I discovered that Woodcote was now subject to lockdown, with a formidable barrier across the top of Long Toll. Later reports from Andrew indicated that it happened just before he and Tom got there.


Image preview

Went out on Tuesday – what a beautiful day! Went up Streatley around the golf course. Walked the last bit. Met Nev again doing the route in the opposite direction. Chopped the last bit off as feeling a bit peckish – swooped down Elvendon Road from Wodecote.

Neville’s Spring Quiz

Just to keep you amused and exercise your grey cells as you exercise your legs in the next couple of days, Neville has sprung a picture quiz on us.

Ten pictures, all from places we have cycled in the last few months and all near (but not necessarily on) this week’s route. The challenge is to identify the locations by sticking pins in a map.

How to enter

  • Download the answer sheet
  • Identify the location of each photo, before during or after the ride. If you want to have the pictures with you for reference during the ride, download and print the PDF below
  • Use Google Maps to find the coordinates of each location, as decimal latitude and longitude.
  • Right-click on the chosen location, then select What’s here.
  • Copy and paste the coordinates to the answer sheet
  • Save your completed answer sheet and email it to Neville

Third Time Lucky

It was good to hear how many people enjoyed the flat route last week, but now April is here it’s time to get those legs in shape for the summer. This one is an opportunity to exercise the calves on Streatley Hill, with either Whitchurch or Path Hill on the way home.

We tried to do the top part of this route twice last year, but were thwarted by road works. I certainly remember one occasion where we were blocked from turning left at Four Points and so cycled that part of the B4009 to the Ashhampstead turn for the first time.

This time you could take advantage of the quiet roads to turn left in Bradfield, then ride about 400m on the A340 before turning off through North Street to get to Theale. Unless we have an unforecasted downpour, Nunhide Lane should be in a fit state to ride.

Clumps Cwizz Answers

Here are the official answers to the fiendish Clumps Cwizz:

Question Answer
1The first view of The Clumps, just sneaking out to the right of the coppice on which Hill?White Hill
2What is the name of the farm in front of The Clumps?Sheepcote Farm
3What is the number of this road?A4130
4What is the official name of this place?Oakley Wood (Waste Recycling Centre)
5Less than 50 m off-route on a bridleway that leads to… Where?RAF Benson
6Why could you not have taken this photo 20 years ago?Official Secrets Act
7What is the OS Grid Reference for the location from which this photo was taken? (Hint: It will help to download the image to Windows Explorer)SU 620 933
8What is the geographical feature at the bottom of this field?River Thame
9Travelling the route anti-clockwise, The Clumps appear on the right of the road only once – in which compass direction (N E S or W) from here?North
10What is the number of this road?A4074
11What is the name of the bridge?Clifton Hampden Bridge
12Why has one Clump disappeared?It’s behind the other one
13Taken from the same location as the previous photo. All roads lead to Rome, but where does this road lead (in Latin)?Calleva
14What is the name of the dodgy business visible to the left of this view?Force Vans
15The last time The Clumps are visible is from the top of which hill?Cholsey Hill

And the winner…
will be revealed during the Zoom Tea Stop this afternoon.

Chris, with 14 correct out of 15. Andrew was second with 13.