Because of our forthcoming Section Tour in Brittany, this report is a little premature. Since the last one we have completed only three rides. Mike Willacy led a ride on 8 May to Ivybridge via Noss Mayo - a rather hilly one, I gather from a note of appreciation from a new rider with the Section, Ali Crane. She wasn't entirely put off cycling by the climbs and intends to ride more regularly with us once she has built up a little more stamina. Since Dave Newman was in France (with Graham Black) Larry took Dave Newman's ride on 15th May, which started from Plusha. Numbers were low that day, but John Durham was very impressed with the route and Larry intends to do it again soon with a little more support from the rest of our members, he hopes. The ride involved the four-mile climb out of Boscastle but, other than that, was 'do-able'. Support by the Plymouth Section for the 85th anniversary of DA Devon was very good with eleven riders turning out to receive their cream tea and complimentary copy of the DA's history. Iris Buckler, former secretary for many years, who is now using a mobility scooter, sent us an email in true CTC spirit, wishing us an enjoyable day. She had enjoyed many such events in the past, she said, and regretted not being able to attend again this year. I wrote an article for the above publication when it first appeared in the late nineties (when I was 52) and contributed an update very recently (aged 71). I also included a photograph - a 'selfie' – which, Tom Dunn ventured, was not the most flattering I could have sent. 'It would not have inspired him to buy a used car from me,' he said! I also met Mike Bowden and his wife again after many years and reminisced about Grace and Richard Dovell, who had been close, mutual friends and active cyclists for many years but now sadly departed or in ill health. Mike said I'd grown since he last saw me (but not in the right direction, apparently!). So altogether it was an afternoon of flattering revelations for me. After a morning of very heavy and prolonged showers, the afternoon brightened up and we were able to enjoy excellent sunny views of the Exe estuary on our return to Exminster. John Durham, unfortunately, took a nasty fall on the trail past Powderham, probably due to one of the many traffic calming bumps along that stretch. What a paradox when health and safety measures actually cause accidents. John said he was undeterred nonetheless and will be at the ferry terminal on Friday all the same, set for the Section Tour to Brittany in the last week of May.
Since my last report at the end of March there have been four Section runs. The first was led by myself in the lanes between Callington and Launceston on the same day that Graham Black and Dave Newman were in France with Geoff Sharpe. We had rain all day and I was surprised that anyone turned out. John and Jennifer emailed me to say they had turned back because of the raid. There were four of us out – Tina Siani, Trevor Bradshaw, Andy Prideaux and myself. The route more than compensated for the bad weather and I shall be making further explorations of those lanes shortly. Larry was ill, unfortunately, for his Bolventor ride, but Dave Newman jumped bravely into the breach. The forecast for that day carried warnings for high winds and heavy rain. Even so the ride was supported by six other riders and Anna Bryant emailed me later in the day to say that the 'B' riders had also ventured out. Graham Black can always be relied on to lead a good ride and took us up some pretty steep lanes to our destination in Liskeard and lunch at Morrison's. I had 46 miles on the clock when I got home, but the pace was leisurely and the day had been pleasant with long spells of sunshine. Trevor Bradshaw's ride on 24 April took us to Teignmouth with some members of the Torbay Section, the so called “Outpatients” group. By comparison with me they were a pretty fit lot, though, and left me standing on the steeper hills. The route followed the old Templar Trail and the old Stover canal. After elevenses we set off up Hackney Lane and then joined Humber Lane, an even steeper hill. The views from the top and the descent into Teignmouth were spectacular – another “must” for me but at my own slow pace. Although the route was only 26 miles, I felt considerably more tired after the previous week's 46 mile ride. I don't think it was due to the hills, rather the slightly faster pace in the company of the Torbay Section.
Having written so often about my electric bike, I made myself a secret promise not to mention the subject again. However, for those who are following the saga, the latest update is that I shall be taking the bike and electric bits personally to Cyclotricity's HQ in Southampton on Thursday 5 May. Over the last eight weeks Bike Space and Cyclotricty have been been forwarding bits back and fore, only to discover on re-fitting that the 001 fault is still present. Well, we shall see on Thursday ... In any case my mind is now made up to take my van Nicholas to France on our forthcoming Section tour.