Craig’s New Forest Audax

Sundays New Forest day out audax. There were two to choose from, a 200km route or a 100km route, I chose the 100km and did 130km in total with an extra 30km loop through Milford on sea before the start as I was up and out early as the audax didn’t start in Lymington until 10am. I was staying with a friend near New Milton and they were also going out to join a ride from Ringwood.

The nice easy day wasn’t so easy to start with as we had a headwind all the way to the cafe control at Breamore House which was the furthest point but we couldn’t have wished for better weather. A busy day in the forest as you’d expect on a sunny day, lots of cyclists about not just us on the audax. It’s a popular spot, everyone from your club elites in their tightly packed groups to families out for a ride and a picnic. I had a brilliant day and absolutely loved every minute of it.

Sunny Spinners’ Social Sunday

Eleven Spinners met at the usual lay-by, with knees exposed despite the cool breeze. Where should we go? We wanted nice views. Not to the sea – too busy. No potholes. Quiet lanes. Majorca? The chosen route followed quiet country lanes via Ashill to the Old Well garden centre and back via Mutterton and Talaton, and had lovely views (not of the sea). Soon, layers came off and some elbows were exposed. All seemed well. But not for long. Despite considerable concentration on dodging potholes, they were out to get us. Puncture number one occurred near Uffculme. Two stayed behind whilst nine set off to the coffee stop. Bang! Puncture number two happened just before the coffee stop. Seven set off for the coffee stop. Eventually, all eleven enjoyed coffee (or tea) and cake (or a pasty) in the sunshine. On the way home, puncture number three happened. And, nearing Escot, with the last few miles to ride… you guessed: puncture number four. It was certainly eventful, but at least the sun was shining! Thanks to Lin for the route, the puncture-support crew and also Sue for the photo.

Taunton Flyer and New Forest Sportives

Honiton Spinners push the pedals at the Taunton Flyer Spitfire and New Forest Classic sportives.

After a damp start, Honiton Spinners Jackie Costello, Vanesa Glynn Jones and Sara Trumper left the airfield at Smeatharpe on the 37 mile Taunton Flyer Spitfire sportive.  The route took riders through Churchinford, Taunton, Blagdon, Symonsburrow and Hemyock. They tackled a long hill after about 20 miles, before reaching Hemyock, where they enjoyed a wonderful array of goodies with lovely volunteers looking after the riders at the village hall. After another climb out of the village, they had a long straight fast run in back to Smeatharpe. The venue had plenty of parking and a really good thing re signage was that the road was marked with an arrow when direction changed. Taking the pace leisurely, they all enjoyed the social ride.

£98 was donated to, which supports cancer patients & survivors with bicycles and cycle equipment,  for the 49 people who opted not to have a medal, and  113 trees will be plated by  Treesnottees for people who opted out of a t-shirt. In addition, £197 was raised for the nominated charity: SSAFA, the Ex forces charity.

The previous week, Jennie Sleeman took part in the UKCE New Forest Classic, a gentle first sportive for 2023 with 2,142 feet of climb over 57 miles. It was (just about) shorts weather as riders set off from the Gang Warily sports centre on one of four route distances. Riders were set off in small groups and there were rarely more than a few riders in each direction (apart from at the food station midway round!). It was well-organised, clearly marked, with a medal, beer (non-alcoholic) and flapjacks at the end.

Craig’s Trans Kernow report

Day 1

I’m reporting back on an amazing Trans Kernow, a 2 day adventure bikepacking around the county. 186 people turned up for the event that all left Friday evening from Rockets and Rascals in Plymouth, each of us had one main aim to get to Polzeath and Penzance and back that weekend. Some like myself headed off into the night while others stayed in Plymouth until morning, some rode to accommodation elsewhere and stayed in everything from 5 star hotels to camping and we all had our own routes planned. 

While some headed for the ferry I headed for the Tamar bridge, once the other side I stopped at McDonald’s by Carkeel roundabout to eat as it was my only chance on the route I had around the top of Bodmin nothing was open apart from Plusha services on the A40 about halfway to Polzeath where I stopped to rest and have a coffee. My aim that night was cover as much as could to gain ground on such a long ride and I finally arrived in Polzeath at 3am.

I waited until daylight to leave grabbing some rest on the beach listen to the sound of the surf, I was hoping for a sunrise but had to settle for the fog rolling in instead. At 6am I left and headed to Wadebridge, breakfast was a crude affair of Belgian buns, cookies, coffee and blueberry oats from the co-op. Later I skirted the edge of Newquay with it’s Bank Holiday traffic and sought the quieter lanes I used a lot on this trip. I re-emerged back on the coast at Perranporth with perfect timing to stop for lunch, although filling the pork burger at the Waterfront sat heavy when I tried climbing Liskey hill heading out of town. 

A highlight of the ride was to come riding down the coast road through Porthtowan  and Portreath, stopping in Portreath for water and an ice cream before climbing another steep hill to get out. Around Gwithian head and down to Hayle I picked up the cycle route to Marizion and Penzance, I headed straight to the Jubilee pool to check in before looking for somewhere for dinner that evening down by the harbour. I left Penzance back out on the cycle path I came in on at around 8:30pm and it was raining. I had a B&B booked that night in Fraddam about 10 miles away and checked in at 9:30pm.

Day 2

I woke late, I’d overslept by an hour and left later than planned. 7am start turned out to be 9am. When I left it was into thick fog yet again which soon cleared after I’d passed Stithians Lake and later stopped at Bike Chain Bissoe for coffee and something to eat. I had a route planned and day one I stuck to it most of the way, only a diversion through St Newlyn East to miss out Newquay but on day two from Bissoe I picked a different route. I followed route 3 as a safe passage into Truro and then swiftly out again onto the Trafalgar Way route, mind you it wasn’t actually swift as I had another steep hill to climb. Picking back roads to miss out the A390 I made my way to St Austell Bay, briefly stopping in Sticker and a longer stop in Charlestown where I had a look around as it was my first time there. 

Fowey was the next port of call and it was on the original route but I was going to catch the Boddenick ferry but decided instead to cross to Polruan instead, another place I hadn’t been before. In fact there were 3 places I hadn’t previously been and the other was Polzeath. Polruan was a treat, probably the steepest hill of them all to get out of there but the sea views from the clifftop line heading away from the village made it worthwhile. 

Time was running out and while I had a sandwich in Fowey I booked a room at the travelodge in Plymouth for that night knowing I was going to be late. I was, I stopped briefly in Looe and it was 9pm. I had ideas of fish n chips in town before I left, instead it was another garage stop for a chocolate milk drink and snacks. Eventually when I finally wizzed down the hill and onto the Torpoint ferry it was 11pm. I headed straight to my hotel and crashed, I was shattered. 

I checked back in to Rockets and Rascals on Monday to have Brevet card stamped completed and grabbed coffee and breakfast. It was a tough ride, the hills were relentless and brutal but I was in good spirits the whole time and it helped keep me going, Cornwall is a beautiful place and I was having fun. The whole ride has been incredible and amazing but boy oh boy am I tired today!

Payhembury Duathlon Report

Honiton Running Club and Honiton Spinners enjoyed their annual social event at Payhembury by eating cake and chatting in the very warm sunshine, with some running and cycling too. Medals were awarded to all finishers. This year, storm-damaged oak logs from Spinner Kevin Goss’s field were crafted into stunning trophies by HRC Mike Mears. Suzi and Gary Blackett from Cyclopro in Colyton kindly sponsored the awards. Profits from the event will go to Payhembury Primary School who allowed their playground to be used as the transition area. 

Mike Mears and Tony Peek won the team trophy, with Jennie Sleeman winning the 1st Female trophy. The winning male team were Aron Howells and Dom Long; the winning female team were mother and daughter Judy and Emma Davey, and Jo Buxton and John Burgess were first mixed gender team. Special congratulations go to Dom Long for the fastest ride around the route and to Mike Mears for the fastest times in both runs. Sue Jones started off at a great pace, but a puncture forced her to pull out. Vanessa Glyn Jones turned up to support and ended up cycling Leg 2 with Sara Trumper. 

The event was an excellent opportunity for both clubs to get to know each other and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. 

Jennie Sleeman

Honiton Spinners

Honiton Running club

Two new groups 2023!

Two new groups / rides will be taking place in 2023 for Spinners

1; There will now be a dedicated E-bike group on SPOND so if you have an E-bike you will now be able to ride as a group. This is not to say that you aren’t welcome to join the others groups if you so wish. I am hoping that we will encourage new members to join us without feeling snubbed because they are on an E-bike. Times move on and we must accept and encourage this within our club. You can use an E-bike on sportives now and as Griff says ” it’s the future “

2; There is going to be a women’s only ride once a month, lead by Jennie & Lyn ( and I would like to think with the support of fellow lady Spinners ). We are looking at a Saturday morning ride. More details to follow in the new year. Personally I believe this to be a bold step forward within the Spinners club. One of which I hope will encourage a lot more ladies to join the Spinners. So if you know of ladies out there who have been put off joining in the past due to the pressure of riding in a mixed group then maybe this will be the entry into joining us. A more gentle and relaxed entrance into the spinners.

Tony Peek

Spinners Sunday social ride to Exmouth

Starting at 9am from the old A30 we headed along the Old A30 turning off at Fairmile, past King School , out through West Hill before dropping down through Aylesbeare coming out at the Airport roundabout. We then took the back road across to Clyst St Mary and the out past the Ball ball coming out at the Railway station roundabout in Topsham. From here we used the cycle path over to Exmouth.

We made it to Exmouth at 10.50am. , perfect timing for us to watch some of the Remembrance parade and observe the 2 minutes silence.

We then picked our way through Exmouth picking up the start of the route2 cycle network. This starts by going through the park were the golf is. From there we followed the route to Budleigh and much to Stephen Driscoll delight we stopped at a cafe in Budleigh on the route 2 way. As it turns out this was the 1st day for the new owners so they opened up just incase. They definitely didn’t expect 8 spinners to turn up ordering coffee, tea, double helpings of cake, bacon sandwiches and more.

Once we had had our fill it was on to Otterton and the gentle inclines of the rolling East Devon County side back to Tipton St John , Ottery St Mary and the Old A30 layby. Many thanks to John Burgess , Stephen Driscoll, Julian Gigg, Sue Jones, Mark Griffin, Michael Bowring , Liz Polley, for joining me today (Tony Peek).

Awards Evening

Honiton Spinners held their annual celebration evening at The Heathfield Inn on Tuesday
evening. After the AGM and buffet, teams were challenged with a very engaging quiz written
by club members Claire Barrow and John Burgess. After that, club awards were presented.
This is the first time that trophies have been awarded, so there was much excitement. As
expected, the results were very close, but the winners were Mark Griffin (Monthly Award),
Malcolm Street (Huff ‘n’ Puff), Lin Grady (Queen of Members), Tony Peek (King of Members)
and John Burgess (Members’ Member). The awards recognise contributions from members
who went above and beyond for the club, offering support and encouragement to others.
Jennie Sleeman, who is stepping down as Chair having led the club since it began in 2016,
wished good luck to Tony in his new role as Chair of Honiton Spinners. She also thanked the
club for presenting her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a generous gift voucher –
which she will enjoy spending!

Donation to local school

Jennie Sleeman and Roger Saunders presented a cheque for £80 to Payhembury School on
behalf of Honiton Running club and Honiton Spinners. The money was raised as a result of
the joint club Duathlon in July. The school plans to use the money to start cycle training for
the younger children who don’t get funding from the county unlike the older ones. This will
be an excellent opportunity to encourage younger riders.

Honiton Spinners coast to coast ride

John Burgess, Roger Saunders, Tony Peek and Steve Carpenter were the 4 cyclists from Honiton Spinners who attempted the Devon coast to coast route from Plymouth to Ilfracombe on Sunday 25th September. A massive thank you for Mark Griffin without whom the ride would not have happened. He was our minibus driver for the whole day. Collected by him at 7am with the bikes loaded with gear it was off to Plymouth. They were dropped off as near to the route start as possible, all they had to do was follow the route 27 signs with a backup GPS on the Garmin and a map. What could possibly go wrong! As they were about to set off a cry was heard from John Burgess. Oh no ‘ I’ve forgotten my helmet and gloves!! ‘ Hhhmmm drive back for the helmet or ride without. Without it was. 

They started following the route 27 signs and within 3 miles had gone wrong. They ended up on a trail only fit for MTBs which they had to walk down steps carrying our bikes. Once back on the trail it was over to Yelverton for the 1st pit stop. From Yelverton they followed the route to Tavistock. What should have been easy turned into another drama until they found the signs out of Tavistock going in the right direction towards Peter Tavy. Now this is where they really went wrong. To be fair the signs were rubbish at this point, or should we say hidden? They were meant to have taken an off-road section but missed it and went up a long climb of 2 miles before deciding to return back down to Peter Tavy again delaying them. This time they turned into the pub car park -no not there. Try what looked like a private drive? Yes, another 30 yards and there was the route again. So we following this gravel path which got very rough with big stones before they were forced to get off and carry our bikes again for a short distance. Finally, they got to Griff at Mary Tavy for a pit stop with food, water and refreshments.  From here it was more straightforward to Okehampton. However, this did take them up over Brentor and down into Lydford and more climbing before getting onto the Granite Way cycle route to Okehampton. Here they had an unplanned coffee and cake stop which was gratefully received by most. However, within a mile they hit a 16% climb on legs that really did not thank us for the coffee stop. From Okehampton they made their way to Hatherleigh where they met Mark once more. It was here that Steve decided to stop and get on the bus ending his day’s ride. Here they also made the decision that they would call it a day either at the Puffing Billy near Gt Torrington or a 5pm cut off. It was just a case of 9 miles until they joined the famous Tarka Trail, but this 9 mile ride seemed so hilly, they climbed and then climbed some more and even Tony had to walk. Finally joining the Tarka Trail only to find out to Roger’s horror that it was still a gradual climb of about 3% for probably 3 miles. But this did mean they finished on a slight descent to the Puffing Billy. The ride was 71 miles with 5000 ft of climbing and most of it was very scenic on dedicated cycle trails and would be worth revisiting again next year.