Past Ride

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Tue Jun 5th 2007
Tuesday Evening Ride Special
Steve Swanton
Start Time:
6:30 pm
Start Location:
This week will be slightly different and hopefully some fun. The intention is to work on group riding skills and awareness on the road by following a twisty-turney route from here to there. Riders of all levels of experience are encouraged to come along.
Brian Hipwell
Chris Lea
Des Higgs
Edith Hipwell
Geoff Neill
Henk Altmann (deceased)
Jane Bruffell
Jo Bindloss-Gibb
Lorna Howard
Neil Warner
Philip Thornton-Evison
Sorrel Williams
Steve Swanton
Riders = 13
A sunny evening saw 12 riders join me for our special. It was very nice to see Jane out again on a Tuesday.

The idea was to have a sort of role-play to practice co-operative riding and group awareness. I played the role of the "inconsiderate ride leader", who only kept tabs on those immediately behind. It was the job of those following to ensure that those behind them kept in touch and knew which way to go, and to rein me in and stop the group if necessary by passing messages up the group if the group became too stretched out or there was a mechanical, etc. I gave no details of the route and made some of it up as we went along...

I started off by making an intricate tour of the older (East) side of Grove. Going around Hawthorn Crescent twice and putting on a spurt, I didn't quite manage to catch up with the tail - everyone was trying too hard to keep up. Henk was doing the hard work here, dropping back to keep those following in sight rather than keeping on my tail (which meant that I couldn't increase the pace further). Geoff took over this role on the round-Charlton leg and by the time we reached Ardington second-timers Sorrell and Chris were marshalling the gap between Geoff and Edith, who was leading a peloton at the back.

We stopped for a breather in Ardington and folk seemed to be enjoying the "chase", so we continued in the same vein back around Lockinge and then to the top of the Lains Barn road.

Having regrouped at the top of the hill, I found myself with a group of faster riders after the descent. It was very interesting to note that on this stretch, where everyone knew that we had no turnings for a mile or so, that those at the back of the front group, relaxed, switched off and allowed some of the slower riders to drop some way behind. This, is one of the causes of the recurring difficulties we are having in keeping the group together on our rides. So has the lesson been learned???? As it was, I was only reined in twice, once when 2 riders were held up at the Toucan crossing on the A338 and once on the descent past Lains Barn, when someone shouted out STOP for the fun of it (we did).

At the junction with the A338 the group split, Neil leading an extra loop back via the Hanneys while I came back directly to Grove.

Folk seemed to enjoy it and it was great fun to lead. Thanks to everyone that came along and entered into the spirit. If you came along, I would welcome some feedback. Is this worth repeating again next year?

Steve S.
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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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