Past Ride

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Sun Dec 8th 2019
Off Road Mince Pie Ride 2*
Robin Tucker
Start Time:
9:30 am
Start Location:
Our annual festive ride, which again is in aid of Whizz-Kidz, the children's mobility charity.

This is the off-road ride, about 9 miles up to and along The Ridgeway to White Horse Hill - splendid views! We'll leave at 9:30am to give plenty of time to arrive for the pies and wine.
Afterwards, some will ride on to the pub lunch others will return to Wantage - possibly by road.

Guests and other cycling clubs are very welcome to cycle with us from Wantage Market Place from 9:30 onwards or join us at White Horse Hill NT car park (grid ref SU 293866) from 11:15 to 12:00 for mince pies and mulled wine. All proceeds on the day will go to Whizz-Kidz.

Car parking: If driving in to join rides from Wantage, there is free car parking in the Portway car park (by the Beacon hall) on Sundays, OX12 9BU. See
Richard Pethybridge
Robin Tucker
Riders = 2

light rain showers
A windy day, even before the Brussels Sprouts! The forecast had a WSW wind of 20mph gusting to 35 and that felt about right. So we picked a route up to the Ridgeway via Gramps Hill that kept us protected as long as possible.

There were only two of us tackling the off-road route, although a few more had showed up on mountain bikes. (They have advantages over pot-holed roads in any case if you are not travelling too far!)

So, the two of us set off in sunshine, out through the Letcombes and up the steep tarmac of Gramps Hill. At the top, we turned right into the full blast of the wind, and had to pedal to maintain any reasonable speed downhill. The effort continued over a few miles to Hackpen Hill.

At this point we still had enough energy to agree a diversion south to Seven Barrows. The road south was a slog, the woods were a relief, the slick chalky top of the descent had me off and the ruts were particularly bad. Worse, at the bottom, Richard was losing air from his front tyre despite being tubeless with sealant. He pumped and we spun the tyre and it seemed to hold, so we turned north and had the benefit of the wind blowing us back to the Ridgeway. There we turned back into the wind - another pump was needed, but that got us the remaining 3 miles to the White Horse where we enjoyed the descent on the trail before turning in to the car park to enjoy our mulled wine and mince pies.

After milling with the throng, we set off off-road again, retracing our tyre-prints to Sparsholt Field where we enjoyed a somewhat sketchy descent to the road, and worked our way through the villages to Denchworth. We were rewarded with a rare sight - a Kingfisher flying along just ahead of us by the A417 at West Challow.

Total mileage 25 (12 to the White Horse, 9 to Denchworth and 4 back to Wantage)
40.23 km (25.00 mi)
Comment on this ride

Ride Filter
Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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