The SSRC route today was back to our traditional, much loved L ride route 1, 40k of gently undulating, quiet roads around McLaren Vale and through the surrounding vineyards. We had a good turnout today (14) and considering what the weather was doing earlier in the week I was almost on the verge of cancelling the ride at one stage.
We had a couple of new faces today, Callum who's moved over from a long career in running and Craig (I didn't quite catch the name, but I'm sure it was Craig, apologies if it's something completely different!) who has only been riding for a few weeks. Renata (Ellison Junior's other half) turned up on her nice new shiny Merida and spent most of the morning grinning all the way round.
First stop after Weatherald Terrace, a good turnout today
We've introduced a more formal rider briefing at the start of these rides, mainly aimed at the newer riders. It gives some information about the various hand signals and verbal warnings we give and what to do if you hear them or see them. We also describe where the route goes, what sort of speed we're going and who the leader and Tail End Charlie (TEC) riders are. Primarily, the L ride is all about getting involved in group riding and having fun on a bike whilst you're doing it.
Matt Jones lead us around the route with Ellison senior taking on TEC duties today, thus letting me have a chat with a few people en route which I don't often get much of a chance to do if I'm leading at the front. Whilst it wasn't raining, it wasn't exactly warm, but people were in good spirits today and seemed to be enjoying the ride.
We quickly dispatched the Esplanade down towards Moana and headed inland along Griffiths Drive. The engineering works around the Seaford Rail extension project are still (and will continue to) causing havoc with the bike path to the uninitiated, so if you ride down this way on the Coast to Vines (C2V), there's about a 2k section that you just can't ride on and you'll have to work your way around it once in Seaford. Signs and diversions are in place, but it helps to have locals like Steve and Graham to help you out in relocating where the bike track goes.
Once back on the bike track, we continued over towards the Victor Harbour Road, the sun lamely trying to poke through the clouds and not really offering any benefit at all. Coming off the bike track and onto Martins Road is pretty messy, with loads of gravel and mud being spread around by trucks going in and out of the McLaren Vale overpass project site.
Mr Jones, our leader today
RD6's dog has been noticeably absent since he deserted us in favour of his family on Saturday mornings, so California Rd is pretty quiet these days. Paul McGregor was on form today, pushing up the first of the Strava segments along California Rd at quite a pace, and subsequently leaving us to tackle Old Willunga Hill for the first time today - well done Paul, you seemed to have developed a strange taste for hills!
Whilst on the way along California Rd, Tony said something to me which reminded me why I enjoy cycling so much. He said "when I ride my bike, I'm 12 again and I forget about everything else". He's definitely right about that, I spent most of my youth riding around on a bike until I learnt to drive and then didn't really do much with a bike until about 6 months ago, I've been missing out for 20 odd years!
Daniel, one of our newer, younger riders
Wattsy makes it back from the Bupa Challenge stage after five months
David, sporting a Livestrong hi-vis jersey
After California Rd we headed towards the hills along Malpas Rd where the first of two visits from the puncture fairy arrived. Callum, one of new riders got caught, although he seems to have got the hang of fixing it pretty quickly with little help needed from the rest of us.
New fella Callum gets a visit from the puncture fairy
Someone's got a new bike
Someone's got an old bike
Once back on the bike track, we headed towards McLaren Vale at a reasonable pace and without further incident. It wasn't until we got to the end of the bike trail in Seaford, that Ellison senior appeared to say Ellison junior had a puncture and that we should continue on and they'd see us back at Becks. With a newly appointed TEC in the form of Andrew Watts, we carried on back to cake and coffee. It was good to see Andrew, I've spoken to him a few times but never met him in the flesh and he genuinely seemed to be enjoying being out on his bike again.
Back at Becks we had a few familiar faces waiting for us, Colin and Anne were there, Shav appeared as though he was about to ride off somewhere, but sat down and had a coffee instead and Michelle and my kids had arrived from their swimming lesson.
It's a good little group we've got going here, very friendly and no-one taking it too seriously, if you're reading this with a view to joining us, come along on the next ride - you won't regret it!
Total distance: 40km
Metres climbed: 270m
Average speed: 21kmh
Pun***re Fairy visits: 2
Grin factor: 7/10 (the weather needs to improve!)
SSRC rides run every week, alternating L and P ride routes. Next weeks ride will be a P ride on Sunday. Event details here
Most of the crew and some hijackers
Mr Jones replenishing protein
Shav makes it to the important part of the ride
New fella (Craig?) with an enormous cup and well earned too!
Competition time, who is holding this big cup of coffee?
As usual cracking report.
"when I ride my bike, I'm 12 again and I forget about everything else"
So true. Same as you Phil, what I'd give to get those 20 years back.
Shav has a new sponsor too!
Thanks Phil. I certainly did enjoy my first ride out in a couple of months. Also, you got Craigs name right and the coffee belongs to Mr Steve Ellison! Love the booties!
Good report again Phil.
I will agree with Tony's comments, after an almost 20 year break from cycling it's the same for me.
Great report Mr C
Andrew you are right of course it's Mr Ellison snr (told Phil to crop the photo)
oh Wattsy beat me!!
Looks like a good morning out. Glad the rain held off
Hope to get out during school holidays!
Looks like a great turn out, cant wait for RD7's soccer season to have a break over the school holidays and get peddling back again.
Phil, I liked your comment, "so many years of playing squash until you discovered you had the right body for cycling" ;-) What a missed opportunity !
Yeah, but I enjoyed the squash too and did about 8 years of rock climbing, so it's not like I sat around hating every minute of it and there still a lot of years fun to be had out of cycling.