First weekend of November: the start of the cycling calendar. Winter training starts here and it felt like it, as the rain fell on the ride over to Merley for the start of the Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers 50 mile Reliability trial. The decision to wear shorts bitterly regretted. Despite this a good turnout of a 102 riders – club and unaffiliated riders, local fastmen and weekend warriors - for a long standing event in the calendar. The staggered start helps us out of Wimborne but the lanes soon close us up again. A bit of light rain but the spray off the roads is worse, resulting in a few good natured grumbles about those without mudguards. The storm of the day before left the roads greasy with wet leaves until we had passed through East Morden, but by then the sun was out as we rode through the Winterbournes and the decision to wear short- not such a bad one after all. The punctures however are regular but no sympathy from those more fortunate. The lucky few have mates who will wait, but this is a reliability ride: get some better tyres or just get luckier. The 50 miler has no really big hills , the drags up from Winterbourne Stickland and out of Blandford to the Golf course the longest, but both are ‘big ring’ gradients. Out of the Tarrant Valley and onto the A road, the front riders sail past the turn to the Gussages (it happens every year). They do it again at the Woodlands turn but despite the shouts they keep going, including those who have done this ride a dozen times! Someone could make a lot of money inventing a mini bike computer that gave you a turn by turn route map…. Invariably the pace picks up as we get within 10 miles of the finish. The lure of a cup of tea. Horton, Chalbury, Gaunts Common, Pig Oak and Furzehill see us strung out in line. Then down Burts Hill into Wimborne and back to the ‘HQ’ for the usual coffee, cake, excuses and bragging rights, the best of which belong to 11 year old Greg Eastham for completing the ride.
Thanks to Kevin Ridge, Lindsay Sims, Martin Reader & Bob Richardson