Category Archives: Gromils

Andrew’s Gromils Spring Quiz

And if you thought Neville’s quizzes were difficult, read on. Answers to Andrew please.

1 How many bikes are allowed on this 8 carriage GWR train?

2 From which “ecclesiastical” lane a number of Gromils routes have used can this folly be seen?

3 Which notorious crime is connected with Bridle Path, Whitchurch used by Gromils in November last year?

4 Which item of Indian aid to the UK is twice as deep as Nelson’s Common and situated near a cafe Gromils often use?

5 Which village on the “Visiting Mother Dunch” route features a famous car museum?

6 Which house is this, very close to a café Gromils have visited of the same name? It was lived in by Miss Beatrix, a rather eccentric gardener

7 Bit of a Google question but beware fake news; two people named Bowden made pivotal contributions to cycling around 100 years ago, what did they do?

8 At the bottom of somewhere; which place did Gromils come across this flood on 2nd March this year?

9 Which café Gromils have only visited around Christmas is near a house owned by Rowan Atkinson?

10 In which village is this manor on the “Flat White” route? Possibly a previous building was once owned by King Canute; no tide to test his powers here but near a significant river

The Flat White

OK, so maybe this isn’t really a flat white, but then this route isn’t totally flat either, just flat in parts. It does however have an opportunity to buy a coffee at the shop in Little Milton, even if your takeaway may not look quite like this. It would be a bit tricky to take away one of these on a bike anyway.

Photos, stats and stories welcome as ever.

Neville’s Spring Quiz

Just to keep you amused and exercise your grey cells as you exercise your legs in the next couple of days, Neville has sprung a picture quiz on us.

Ten pictures, all from places we have cycled in the last few months and all near (but not necessarily on) this week’s route. The challenge is to identify the locations by sticking pins in a map.

How to enter

  • Download the answer sheet
  • Identify the location of each photo, before during or after the ride. If you want to have the pictures with you for reference during the ride, download and print the PDF below
  • Use Google Maps to find the coordinates of each location, as decimal latitude and longitude.
  • Right-click on the chosen location, then select What’s here.
  • Copy and paste the coordinates to the answer sheet
  • Save your completed answer sheet and email it to Neville

Third Time Lucky

It was good to hear how many people enjoyed the flat route last week, but now April is here it’s time to get those legs in shape for the summer. This one is an opportunity to exercise the calves on Streatley Hill, with either Whitchurch or Path Hill on the way home.

We tried to do the top part of this route twice last year, but were thwarted by road works. I certainly remember one occasion where we were blocked from turning left at Four Points and so cycled that part of the B4009 to the Ashhampstead turn for the first time.

This time you could take advantage of the quiet roads to turn left in Bradfield, then ride about 400m on the A340 before turning off through North Street to get to Theale. Unless we have an unforecasted downpour, Nunhide Lane should be in a fit state to ride.

Clumps Cwizz Answers

Here are the official answers to the fiendish Clumps Cwizz:

Question Answer
1The first view of The Clumps, just sneaking out to the right of the coppice on which Hill?White Hill
2What is the name of the farm in front of The Clumps?Sheepcote Farm
3What is the number of this road?A4130
4What is the official name of this place?Oakley Wood (Waste Recycling Centre)
5Less than 50 m off-route on a bridleway that leads to… Where?RAF Benson
6Why could you not have taken this photo 20 years ago?Official Secrets Act
7What is the OS Grid Reference for the location from which this photo was taken? (Hint: It will help to download the image to Windows Explorer)SU 620 933
8What is the geographical feature at the bottom of this field?River Thame
9Travelling the route anti-clockwise, The Clumps appear on the right of the road only once – in which compass direction (N E S or W) from here?North
10What is the number of this road?A4074
11What is the name of the bridge?Clifton Hampden Bridge
12Why has one Clump disappeared?It’s behind the other one
13Taken from the same location as the previous photo. All roads lead to Rome, but where does this road lead (in Latin)?Calleva
14What is the name of the dodgy business visible to the left of this view?Force Vans
15The last time The Clumps are visible is from the top of which hill?Cholsey Hill

And the winner…
will be revealed during the Zoom Tea Stop this afternoon.

Chris, with 14 correct out of 15. Andrew was second with 13.

Clumps Cwizz

To exercise the grey matter as well as your legs, here’s a little quiz. 15 questions, 16 images, all taken in the order the route was ridden. Click on the thumbnail to see the full picture and the question. Answers to Steve by Wednesday please.

No guarantee of a prize, but can anyone beat Neville the Cwizz Whizz? You don’t have to have ridden the route to answer the questions, so distant members can also enter. You’ll find it very useful to refer to ViewRanger and/or an OS map.

There’s a downloadable PDF if you feel the need to print and carry a reference copy with you.

Visiting Mother Dunch

Week 2 of Lockdown, and we’re still allowed out once a day for exercise on foot or by bike. I suggest doing this one by bike. It’s the Tour des Clumps, a local Gromils classic, with an almost continuous but ever-changing view of our local landmark in this post-industrial (ie Didcot PS) world:

It’s what counts as a flat ride in these parts, having officially only 34 ft/mi of ascent, compared to 67 for last week’s ride (your Garmin data may vary).

Currently the forecast for Monday does not look too promising, and is likely to feature a NNE wind. I recommend riding the route anti-clockwise, so you get the best advantage of the wind across the Thame plain and along the Roman road between the Moretons. To reverse a route in ViewRanger, click on the menu and select Reverse Route before starting to follow it.

We’ve often in the past taken a shortcut across the Pooh Sticks bridge at Day’s Lock, but the A415 through Buscot should be nice and quiet (on the route as mapped). You could even take a short-cut crossing the A4074 at Berinsfield, missing out Dorchester completely – there’s certainly not much point in going to Lily’s Tea Room and back.

Like last week, send in your match day reports, stats and photos via WhatsApp, email or just via a comment below (Comments don’t appear immediately, as I have to verify they are not spam).

Going the Social Distance

So a total of seven Gromils managed some bike-related exercise yesterday, without coming into contact with each other. For the benefit of future social historians (as if), this was the first day all schools were closed, and the day before the evening when prime minister Boris Johnson gave his “Stay at home, this is a national emergency” address to the nation on TV.

As luck would have it, our virtual Monday ride was already following the allowed rules for exercise – one trip outside the house, either alone or with a family member, staying at least 2m away from anyone else. On my ride I didn’t even get within less than 3m, the closest being oncoming cyclists on singletrack roads.

However only three intrepid souls managed the full route…

Alun went off in the opposite direction with Breeda, but gets extra kudos for the picture of the day

Hi all. Didn’t ride to the Barn but did a round trip ride of 55 km to Newbury with Breeda via Upper Bas, Yattendon, HN, Path to Hermitage, Oare and back gate Vodafone where selfie above taken. No cafe but picnic chocolate raisins and water. Some similarity with last week’s ride but nevertheless enjoyable. Alun

Andrew had the bright idea of doing half the distance, but with two people, and posted their stats.

Managed a later ride with Tom, the Turville route as far as Grundon turning and then Benson and Crowmarsh – ~20 miles by which time Tom was getting unhappy. Alun; you and Breda were riding down Elvendon Road as we came down Icknield…

Chris did two routes, though not both on the same day and neither going through Goring

Saturday: I’ve just done a ‘Gromilly’ ride to Ewelme (takeout coffee) via Culhan & Dorchester, then back via Wallingford, Blewbury & Harwell village, 37 miles at 11.5 mph average (on fast Moulton) Plenty of cyclists out (roadies too close, as always…) and the usual m/c crowd at H café! Big pizza tonight to avoid weight loss, rest day tomorrow…

Monday: I’m just back from my double marathon ride, 52 miles to Baydon over the Downs and return along the Vale. Roads not as quiet as expected re. cars & vans, but few cyclists or walkers. More headwind than anticipated in the vale!

Mick was one who followed the whole route and posted his stats

Bix hill is evil – I walked a bit. I did get talking to a bloke called Andy at the Barn cafe on an electric bike. Used to work in the film industry. The bench is conveniently over 2m wide. Thanks for the route. Brilliant day

Simon followed the whole route, as far as we or he knows:
I must have gone wrong – didn’t notice any road closures! Many thanks for an absolutely stunning route apart from Bix Hill.
Sad about the barn – no-one there in the sunshine and no cake left by Nev

Neville was the first to do the route, evidenced by a photo from Turville Heath at 10:30

As expected…
Here are my stats, they do include riding to the station at the start/end (as that is what Viewranger expected)

One road was supposedly closed, bit of a flood on another but otherwise it was very quiet, reckon I saw about 10 cyclists, 20 cars, 20 walkers and a dozen dogs. Swyncombe and Bix were just as steep as they usually are.

Steve would have followed the whole route, but for an unfortunate mechanical. But he did take a few pictures. Read on…

Lovely day for a virtual Gromils ride. Strange not to see any of the old Didcot Power Station now, but at least we’ll always have The Clumps.
I thought it would be a good opportunity to practise using my selfie stick. The first attempt shows that I need the practice.
Better luck second time.
Didn’t see Mr Toad (or Ratty and Badger)
Snack time at the Turvile Heath bus shelter. Here’s to absent friends.
Comunity spirit at Turville Heath. I guess the lecture at the R&R Museum won’t be happening.
Here’s the one Simon missed – the alleged road closure at Southend. The Thames Water crew fixing a broken main gave me a thumbs-up as I edged past them.
Not all went according to plan. Just after leaving the Nettlebed estate I made a U turn to take a closer look at a notice about bluebells in the woodland. I turned too tightly, the frontier wheel slid our and I ended up on the ground. Minor damage to pride, but no injuries. When I lifted the bike up, therefore was a tinkling noise as some shiny bits fell onto the tarmac. These turned out to be the tension shackle, and the tension pin in two bits.
Tool roll to the rescued. One zip tie was enough to hold the leather part of the saddle in place, though my weight was being taken by the metal rails beneath. Rideable, but not comfortable, so I needed to take the shortest way home from here.
Stopped outside Stoke Row shop to eavesdrop on their WiFi and send home my revised ETA. The shop was open, with sensible precautions. From a safe distance they told me they are thinking of closing earlier in the afternoons (eg 2pm).
…and finally the stats. Looks like coming home via Stoke Row saved me a mile or two. The average speed might have been a little higher were it not for so many photographs.

Our First Virtual Ride

So exercise is good, both for physical health and mental health. Both British Cycling and Cycling UK (CTC) recommend it (they would, wouldn’t they?) and give some guidelines for safe riding in the Coronavirus world.

Although we’re advised not to ride together, it doesn’t mean we can’t do the same rides, so Nev and I agreed it might be an idea to publish a classic route that we can each do, then share our stats/stories photos. with luck I may even have enough routes stored to last until the end of lockdown.

Here’s a good one to start with. I don’t know if The Barn is actually open to visitors. You could still sit outside at one of their picnic tables – a safe distance from anyone else who’s there, obviously – or just ride straight past and save a quarter of mile off your journey.

If you don’t already have the ViewRanger app, you can download it for free from Google/Apple.

You can add your comments on the ride below. They may not appear immediately, as I think they have to be moderated (=approved) first by me, to avoid spam. If you have images, send them to me direct and I’ll post them, as we don’t have a slick way of doing that year. As it’s Pothole Week, we could even have a Best Pothole Picture competition.