The Tandem Club

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Date PublishedCategoryGroupTitleDescription
18/11/2018 TauntonNovember 2018 Report

Karl and Lisa organised the November ride for the Taunton Group where 8 tandems and 4 solos, including a recumbent, set out from Lutzy’s coffee shop at Exeter Quay. 

Fully satisfied with the home baked Portuguese tarts (the house speciality) we headed off for a level ride to Dawlish along the Exe Estuary. The weather couldn’t have been better, a cold sharp day with awesome clear blue sunny skies. We passed many train and bird spotters lining the way, giving them a rare but fabulous sighting of an exotic group of tandemists.

At the mid way point of 12 miles we visited Daisy’s Tearoom in Dawlish to sample their cakes and once again satisfied we headed back to Exeter Quay for a leisurely lunch at the Puerto Lounge.

Although this was a level ride, not too taxing!! it provided a chance to take in beautiful scenery and a chance to catch up with the happenings of the group along the Estuary.

31/10/2018 TauntonOctober 2018 Report

James and Andy organised the October ride for the Taunton Group which trialled a different way of leading a route.  
As the group has become bigger it has brought obvious social advantages, but some problems as well.  If 24 people turn up at a cafe and ask for double shot flat whites with skinny almond milk and sprinkles, basically the rest of the day is a right off.  Add on a puncture or two and someone missing a turning and it becomes tricky for the organiser and frustrating for everyone else.   
So October’s route from Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead and back was really simple; almost everyone could self-navigate, cycle at their own speed, arrive at the cafes in their own time and the organisers rode at the back to sweep up any problems.  So because we were ready for problems…..there weren’t any.    And we had great weather, autumn leaves, super company and the best cycling cafe in the west.  
www.cafe3sixty.co.uk 
Altogether a good day out!!

30/09/2018 TauntonSeptember 2018 Report

Mark and Liz organised the September ride for the Taunton Group where 6 tandems and 2 singletons met at Yatton in slight drizzle which rapidly improved to a pleasant day. Quiet small lanes were taken to Clevedon where the tide was in and there were fine views over the Bristol Channel. After coffee on the seafront we tackled a hill out of Clevedon and then onward to Weston in Gordano before joining sustrans route 410 towards Nailsea. Suburban roads were taken around the edge of Nailsea and Backwell to take us to lunch at the Rising Sun.

Food was served promptly and portions were ample! Finally a rural route was taken to Claverham and back to Yatton.

21/08/2018 TauntonAugust 2018 Report

Chris and Chris organised the August ride for the Taunton and West Country Groups where 14 tandems and 2 solos assembled at The George Hotel in Castle Cary on a warm and overcast Saturday. Members Carol & Tim and Mandy & Mike were making their first foray into Group rides.
After pre-ride coffee and cakes we followed the South Somerset Cycle Route south out of town and through charming villages such as North Cadbury, South Cadbury (past the site of the Iron Age hill fort, Cadbury Castle) Corton Denham, Sandford Orcas and Trent.
Splendid “sheep dog” work was done by Malcolm to gather up strays that missed one of the many twists and turns.
Lunch was taken at The Lamb&Lark @ Limington and both very good service and meals were fully appreciated.
Following lunch a gentle return through Kingsdon and Babcary to Castle Cary completed the 35 miles of occasional undulations.
Afternoon tea and cakes were enjoyed by several at The George once more and an enjoyable event was concluded without any mishaps.

28/07/2018 TauntonJuly 2018 Report

Andy & Anita organised the July ride where eleven tandems and one solo started from the Crediton Leisure Centre.   Amongst the tandems were two Pinos, one was John and Judy's new mount, the other was ridden by 'Freetrike' Tom and his young son Oliver.  Tom supplies a range of bikes and tandems specifically adapted to meet a variety of special needs. We were also joined by two of James' grandchildren, one on his tandem and one on a solo, so good to see youngsters on a club ride.

We set off at a leisurely pace through the back lanes towards Killerton House and our coffee and cake stop. On the way we happened upon our friends Julia and Meg who were out on a training run, getting ready for a 24 hour mountain bike race and then later in the year a run from Lands End to John o' Groats. They were soon pressed into service directing everyone through a staggered junction - thanks ladies. They rode with us until the picturesque village of Thorverton.  A few more miles saw us at Killerton and their excellent cakes and drinks.

The ride back from Killerton through Silverton was slightly more challenging than the way out, steadily climbing until just outside Shobrooke where we dropped 200 feet and then promptly had to climb 90 feet back up again before we reached the Red Lion and our lunch stop. The joys of cycling in Devon! The food was pre ordered  so we didn't have to wait too long for lunch, which was well received by all.

A short ride back to Crediton, and as if by magic, an Ice Cream van turned up just outside Mid Devon Tyres, I'm not sure who was more pleased, us or the guy in the Ice Cream van who suddenly had a massive increase in Ice Cream sales!

Thanks everyone for joining us, we look forward to riding with you again soon.

01/07/2018 TauntonJune 2018 Report

John & Judy together with Rex & Hannah organised the June ride for the Taunton Group. 10 tandems met at Hestercombe Gardens and set out in the sunshine for a gentle meander and morning coffee in the lovely walled garden of the Bike Barn in Taunton. 10 tandems continued over more challenging terrain, 2 turned round and took the low road while 8 hard core tandems carried on to climb up to Fyne Court at Broomfield. 10 tandems then met back at Hestercombe for lunch.

23/05/2018 TauntonMay 2018 Report

After cancelling the scheduled March ride due to 8' snow drifts, 9 tandems and 2 solos met at Bovey Tracey on a beautiful sunny morning for a ride over Dartmoor organised by Steve and Maggie. 

We started with the challenging climb of Haytor stopping halfway (about 700') at Ullacombe Farm Shop, where we enjoyed a leisurely break sitting in the sunshine. After our fix of coffee, we were now ready to attack the steeper part of the climb, which then plateaued out before another steeper section to the summit of about 1400',where we regrouped, taking photos of the iconic rock and the wild Dartmoor ponies. We then continued across the undulating Moor, enjoying the bluebells, gorse and stunning views, eventually winding down through the Devon lanes to the B3212. Heading east with the road twisting and turning and with a couple of fast descents, lunch at Moretonhampstead was calling. The Union Inn was welcoming and we were well looked after.

Remounting our trusty steads, we were ready for the slow, steady climb towards Doccombe, after which we were able to enjoy the long 4mile decent towards Dunsford. Regrouping once again at Steps Bridge, we then turned south to follow the pretty Teign Valley road towards Chudleigh Knighton and back to the finish at Bovey. We rode 32 miles and climbed just over 2700'. The ride seemed to be enjoyed by all and there were no complaints about the downhill sections!!!

17/04/2018 TauntonApril 2018 Report
50 hardy riders braved the heavy rain and breezy conditions to join the joint Taunton and West Country group ride for April organised by Malcolm and Grace. With 24 Tandems and 2 solos the group had to split into two so as to avoid causing traffic congestion. Group 1 assembled in an orderly manner and were dispatched 10 mins before group 2 who had to be constrained from the desire to chase group 1 and catch them A ride along Burnham on Sea promenade then through Highbridge arriving at Rich’s Cider Farm for morning coffee. This popular restaurant was keen to see we were served and on our way in time for their very popular carvery lunch customers. The two group system continued as we cycled our way in the rain to Cheddar. The Riverside Inn was well prepared to serve us even though some last minute additions were made. 50 servings all delivered in a timely and professional manner. After lunch the rain was even heavier and looked like it was determined to ensure we were going to ride the final 9 miles back in the wet but then the sun came out and began to dry our wet cycling clothes. A final steep climb back into the village of Bleadon and we were home, 35 miles mostly wet but with 50 riders having a very enjoyable and social ride.
01/03/2018 TauntonFebruary 2018 Report
Taunton Tandem Group has become so successful that even in the middle of February 13½ tandems turned up for this months ride organised by Richard and Michelle.  The newly adopted policy of splitting into two groups, following the same route but with staggered start times, worked well.  We met at the Willow & Wetlands Centre at Stoke St Gregory before heading to Langport for lunch, following quiet lanes through the pretty villages of North Curry, Barrington and Kingsbury Episcopi.  The ‘A Team’, ably led by Nick and Rachel, arrived for lunch intact and without incident.  The ‘B Team’ was less successful suffering a broken gear cable (which Steve managed to fix with a cable tie, although he and Maggie then had to complete the ride in one gear) and, more seriously, a broken bottom bracket on Mark and Liz’s tandem.  Fortunately, some friendly locals took pity on them and gave them a lift to Langport.  Mark then teamed up with John to go and fetch the van, whilst the ladies enjoyed more coffee and cake!  The Bow Wharf Café did a great job in serving 27 pre-ordered lunches.  A brief rain shower failed to dampen spirits on the short ride back to Stoke St Gregory.
21/01/2018 TauntonJanuary 2018 Report

James and Liz organised the January ride where ten tandems and 5 solos met at Combwich just outside Bridgwater.

It’s rather fitting that the attached photo is taken in the pub - it was only a short ride and the weather wasn’t really on our side, but the majority of the ride was spent in the pub as the food took for ever to arrive!  Lovely people, as always, and an interesting part of Somerset to explore but maybe the constant inhalation of fumes from Hinkley Point Power Station slows the cooking somehow.  And they ran out of peas!

07/01/2018 TauntonDecember 2017 Report

The Taunton Group had a short ride planned for the day of their Christmas meal which was organised by Ian and Lisa but the weather was so bad that it was shortened to just three and a half miles! Only 3 couples agreed to tackle the challenge – a ride up the hill to Peter Merson’s house where he kindly supplied coffee and a slide show of his early tandeming years. We also saw Peter and Jenny’s pictures of Salviac.

The Christmas meal for 39 Tandemists at the Walnut Tree was up to the usual standard and the Christmas quiz was followed by the prize for the best fancy dress – awarded this year to Nick and Rachel. The trophy for the couple who had attended the most rides was awarded to John and Judy. Nick then led us in song to the ‘French’ version of the Tandemists anthem ‘Daisy Daisy’ which the Taunton Group had sung previously in Salviac. 

Lisa and Ian were thanked for their work as ROs and presented with a bottle of wine and flowers.

 

19/11/2017 TauntonNovember 2017 Report

Nick and Rachel organised a glorious November ride with coffee to start and then a mixture of gentle and more aggressive undulations over 22 miles. There were 27 of us and, had we laid our tandems end to end, it looked like nearly a furlong's worth! We went west from Taunton and strung out across the lanes of Taunton Vale to descend into Milverton. A Somerset local who on another day might have had a smock and a wisp of straw in his mouth asked us what we were doing clogging up his village, and encouraged all those on the back of tandems to rise up against their oppressors on the front. Then we went east back to Taunton and shared some good beer and delicious food at the Vivary Arms. It was then back to Nick and Rachel’s for a very generous afternoon tea and cakes spread

26/10/2017 TauntonOctober 2017 Report

John and Judy organised the October ride with the Taunton Group starting from the Bocabar Café in Glastonbury. A beautiful autumnal Sunday drew a record-breaking 16 tandems and 3 solos out to cycle the Somerset levels on a 30 mile circular route from Glastonbury to Castle Cary, riding twice past (but not up) iconic local landmark Glastonbury Tor.

A delicious lunch in Castle Cary was followed by an impressive group photo outside the historic Market House.

24/08/2017 TauntonAugust 2017 Report

Nigel and Mercedes organised the August ride where 10 tandems and 2 solos met at Barnstaple railway station.

Some members of the Tandem Club might be familiar with the Tarka Trail in North Devon where much of the route is on old disused railway lines. It is flat, with a good surface and is popular with cyclists and walkers. The problem is that it usually follows deep wooded valleys and consequently it's difficult to do a 'round trip ride' that avoids tandem 'unfriendly' hills. The August ride for the Taunton Group tried to achieve this.

The Old Bideford Road was the route out of town which led us via unclassified roads over the hill with a couple of long steady climbs and back down to sea level at Bideford. The sky was blue and it was perfect cycling weather. We then had to climb again out of Bideford with another steady hill to Gammaton Cross. If there was any muttering of discontent about the hills, I didn't hear it and I didn't quite think it was necessary to hide in the bushes whenever the group stopped. We joined the Tarka Trail at Weare Giffard in the Torridge Valley and this was a very steep descent. Lunch at The Cyder Presse at Wear Giffard and then it was the Tarka Trail all the way back to Barnstaple but stopping for tea and cakes at the Fremington Quay cafe. En route there are a few gates etc which require a little more care to negotiate than on a solo bike but the tandems can be wheeled and no heavy lifting is required . So in total it was 29 miles and 1130 ft of climbing which was all in the first half of the ride.

21/07/2017 TauntonJuly 2017 Report

Malcolm and Grace organised a joint July ride for both the West Country and Taunton Groups where 10 tandems, 2 solos and 1 recumbent solo met for this friendly outing.

Starting at Puxton Park near Weston super Mare heading out through the villages of Banwell and Sandford then stopping at Heathers coffee shop in Congresbury for elevenses. Suitably refreshed heading then through Claverham and across the levels eventually arriving at Clevedon Sea Front for our Lunch stop overlooking the sea.

After lunch we toured Clevedon harbour, then through to Yatton where we picked up the Strawberry Line through to Sandford. The pace quickened and a small group managed to break away from the peloton surviving to the finish line at Sandford railway bridge (been watching too much TDF me thinks).

A short stop to admire the leaning tower of Holy Saviours church in Puxton and then it was just 2 miles back to the car park and home.

36 miles covered in dry and warm weather but some members - Ron & Linda and Stuart & Jackie had ridden down from Bristol clocking up over 80 miles. Well done!! Also nice to see Bill and Katherine who popped in to say hello at lunch

13/07/2017 TauntonJune 2017 Report

Andy and Anita organised the June ride where 4½ tandems enjoyed an extremely hot ride over some of Devon's rolling hills. They were joined by Mark and Liz, Steve and Maggie, Chris and Chris and their daughter Yasmin, on a solo bike.

The temperature reached 29 degrees in places, so sun block and plenty to drink was the order of the day, this was in marked contrast to last month's ride where the rain was the abiding memory of the day.

As our ride progressed through the narrow lanes we encountered, amongst other things, a horse and trap and on the whole some very considerate motorists - we even had a tractor and trailer reverse for us!

It was quite bizarre to watch Chris and Chris on their electric tandem, with their independent pedals, totally out of sync as they powered up the hills.

 

We had a tea and cake break at Kirsty's Kitchen in North Tawton, lovely home-made cakes, yum yum!!. Kirsty even stayed open late for us - much appreciated and highly recommended.

We made our way back over Staddon Moor, with spectacular views of Dartmoor and the recently completed Den Brook wind farm and then on to Bow, where we stopped outside the church for a drink and a natter. The climbs were now behind us and we had an easy ride back to the Waterbridge Golf Club, the only impediment to our progress were the cows crossing the road near Copplestone, they held us up for a couple of minutes as they ambled across the road on the way to be milked. As we'd pre-ordered our food before we set off we only had a short wait before a well deserved lunch.

 

Thanks everyone for their company, we look forward to our next ride together.

 

25/05/2017 TauntonMay 2017 Report

Steve and Maggie organised the May ride where 8 tandems and 2 solos met for coffee in the old railway station at Okehampton to ride the Granite Way and explore a loop of southern Dartmoor. The weather forecast of sunshine and showers was half correct, the sun appearing in the last couple of miles of our homeward leg.

Despite the weather, the visibility was good and we had stunning views of a moody Dartmoor. The heavy showers arrived soon after the ride started and by the time we got to Lydford the thought of a warm, dry pub lured several couples.

By this time we had already lost 2 tandems (how, we don't know) so 3 tandems and a solo continued a lumpy ride around Brent Tor (the church on the hill) to the pub at Peter Tavy for lunch. The lost tandems appeared separately at the pub and 14 of us had a very enjoyable lunch.

Having regrouped, 5 tandems set off on our homeward journey. The route between Peter and Mary Tavy was more off road. Here we unfortunately met a farmer in a Land Rover who very kindly reversed 200 yds back up a narrow, twisty lane. After that the path became very rough and we walked a short distance.

Leaving Mary Tavy we skirted around the edge of the moor and joined the road back to Lydford. This road had a sting in its tail with a steep, short climb into Lydford, but then through the old village to rejoin the Granite Way and back to Okehampton.

Steve and Maggie were trying to claim the title for the wettest ride, but Nick and Rachel can still hold on to it!!

03/04/2017 TauntonMarch 2017 Report
Mark and Liz organised the March ride where ten tandems left Woodbury village car park, heading for Budleigh Salterton sea front. We started with a slow climb to Four Firs crossroads on Woodbury Common and passed through East Budleigh village. After a couple of miles, we sped down the hill to Budleigh sea front, pausing for a photo opportunity facilitated by a tame walker (who also owns a tandem). A coffee stop followed at the Cosy Teapot, who coped with 20 of use with great ease.  Leaving Budleigh, we joined the cycle track to Exmouth along a disused railway line as far as Littleham, where we turned off to Maer road, passed several farms down to Exmouth seafront and a blowy ride to the estuary mouth. Passing the railway station, we joined the Exe estuary cycle track.

An ebbing tide exposed more mud and birds including Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Godwits and Curlews. We passed through Lympstone village and then Lympstone marine camp, including the famous commando course. After Exton, we crossed the relatively new bridge over the river Clyst for walkers and cyclists taking us to Topsham. We arrived at “Route 2,” a cycle café, who have plenty of space for parking the tandems and a very good menu. After lunch, we crossed back over the Clyst, through Ebford village and back to Woodbury.Highlights:

No rain, even a little sunshine, great food at the two stops and good company and we didn’t lose anyone-and not too many Devon hills

19/02/2017 TauntonFebruary 2017 Report
Nigel and Mercedes organised the February ride where eleven tandems convened at Curry Rivel  in Somerset. It felt like the first day of Spring since the clouds  lifted and we were treated to blue sky for the duration of the ride.
We headed south through Ilminster to Perry's Cider Farm Cafe at Dowlish Wake for a coffee stop. This first ten mile section of the ride involved the Somerset levels with a couple of climbs at the end to make us feel like we had earned our coffee (and cake). Feeling replenished we followed unclassified roads through Dinnington, Hinton St George and Merriott. This quiet, almost traffic free route involved a little climbing but the altitude was maintained with spectacular views to our left of the Somerset levels . There was a short section of A road,which took us to Martock and the return leg north  via Muchelney and past Thorney Lakes (site of 2015 tandem rally) back to Curry Rivel. An excellent lunch at Sandpits cafe then followed this most enjoyable thirty mile ride.
22/01/2017 TauntonJanuary 2017 Report

James and Liz organised the January Ride and they managed to get a report done in double-quick time – this is what they sent:

Such is the pressure of modern society that there was only ten minutes after the end of our tandem ride before the report had to be in.  So to save time the report was written first and only needs minor adjustments.  

 Please use the Key Below:

A - Nice

B - A bit bumpy

C - Cold

D - Pretty hot

E - Coffee and cake

We met in Knightshayes near Tiverton for (E). The ride was attended by four singles and lots of tandems.  At lunch there were 21 people, which was rather confusing as we should have had an even number of riders.  

The ride to Bampton was (A) and (B) and (C).  Lunch in The Swan was (A), (B), (C) where it should have been and (D) in the hot parts.  After lunch we were a bit (C), so we danced the Hokey Cokey until we were (D) – that’s what it’s all about!

A short blast down the main road back to Knightshayes, (A) and not (B), for more (E) and the chance for a quick chat with our stokers, most of whom are - (D).

Apologies to the three, or was it four, who we temporarily mislaid.