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TRIPS AWAY

Day 2 and all 16 of us made our way through Alcudia and Can Picafort, we made an impressive sight! Deneutralised and several groups formed on the way to Arta. Prime at the Citadel but need to remember it is closed on Mondays! Retraced for a bit and left to Petra where another split meant several groups arrived in the cafe in the square. Back via Sineu and Sa Pobla. 70 miles minimum depending what route back you took. Big decision of the day was whether to wear arm warmers (too hot when on and a hint of a chill when not). Time for some mountains tomorrow. - SM

Day 1 and the traditional ride to Formentor. It was great to be out in short sleeves and shorts again but it was very windy! Caught up with Andy Cook and Clare and Susan. Tough day for Mark Pope as he suffered multiple punctures and a torn side wall!

Sure I spotted Steve Cummings from Sky unless someone tells me he's riding Paris Nice! - SM

Mallorca Diaries 2013

Day 3 and time for some climbing. Tim led a small group from Selva to Lluc whilst the rest of us went from the Pollenca side. We then pressed on to Soller for lunch. Mark Pope arrived in spectacular fashion by falling over in front of us all at the cafe- he is nominated for one of the award categories! Straight up the Col de Soller after lunch, this mini Alpe D'Huez is never easy! I have to confess I took the train whist others pressed on to do over 80 miles....

All in good spirits.

BTW- my Garmin told me I had expended over 4000 calories today! Having great fun eating to replace them… - SM

Well I think I should add that there's an eclectic mix out ther this year but 3 catagories. 1 beer drinkers 2. Wine drinkers 3. Beer and wine drinkers...  Now it's a family affair this year there's the Longthornes and the Beech boys.  Tom's managing to take 1/2 the restaurant over the mountains in his saddle bag,  Mr Madeley's list for the Homer Simpson award grows by the day. My legs are holding out better than expected.  Luckily Tim has not lost his mile marker string but lost the map... Rain tomorrow so wine tonight. - MA

Day 4. Rain had been forecast and today had been pencilled in as a rest day. Imagine our disappointment to find blue skies and no wind! Off we went to the Monastery at San Salvador with coffee at the top. Onto Petra for lunch. It started to rain when we were in the cafe but we thought nothing of it and pressed on. The rain turned to a storm with hailstones and local flooding and we found ourselves in real difficulty. We took shelter in a number of Hotels and Cafes and most actually took a taxi back to avoid the heavy rain, high winds and flooding. It was the worst weather I've ever experienced on the bike and despite a hot shower I was still tucked up in bed and shivering half a hour later! - SM

Day 5 The rest day was a day late and the majority went out via Campanet to a new brilliant cafe at Lloseta. The hardy ones then did Orient and Bunyola. 46 miles for most of us. - SM



Andy,Steve and Jayson took the hilly route to Bunyola and went above the snow line!

Day 6 90 mile climbing fest today with Jayson, Mark A and Andy. This included the 13K climb out of Soller which took over an hour! Still snow in the hills so spectacular views but warm enough to wear shorts. Another group went to Randa. - SM

It's the awards ceremony tonight- will post categories and winners later....

In Soller, before we foolishly decided to do the long climb which took 65 mins!

San Salvador before the storm struck- free water!

More non-cycling

It's not all cycling!

And the winner is....

Beau Brummel (best dressed).   Jason Strange

Mile Eater.    Andy Harries

Layzee Boy.   Richard Roberts

Homer Simpson (most embarrassing moment).  Mark Pope


Look out for the dates for 2014 !

Been a great week, Steven has seriously underplayed how difficult conditions were on Wednesday and how bad his decision was to drag me, Jayson and Mark over Puig Major was!


Loving Mallorca. -= AH

Day 1 After a very early start, the journey and transfers were uneventful. We changed quickly to get out in the warm afternoon sun to ride to the Lighthouse at Formentor.

It's a good half day ride but tests your hill climbing, bike handling and ability to see in the dark in tunnels! Coffee and Almond cake on the seafront to finish off.  We'll all sleep well tonight....

Mallorca Diaries 2014

Day 2 The group split into at least 3 today. We headed for Randa but due to a few map reading errors by yous truly ended up in San Salvador! The view from the urinal at the top is the best on the island! Back via Santa Margalida and then a 10 mile chain gang with the Litchfield CC. 84 miles at 17mph. Awesome!

Day 3 Postscript to day 2- 84 miles was probably the lowest anybody did, 90 was the average and Mark Rosser did 111!

We have a monster planned for tomorrow, so a rest day was agreed for today. The majority went to Arta, Petra and back. 64 miles at 16.5mph.

A few brave souls are going to attempt a 180+ mile ride around the island tomorrow. I'll keep you posted!

Arta Cafe Stop

Day 4 ...  All roads lead to Soller....

Our intrepid team left this morning at 0540 (0440 UK time). No news yet...

The rest of us went to Soller by a variety of routes. We went via Lluc and Port de Soller and back via the Col de Soller and Santa Maria.  88 miles but thousands of feet of climbing..…


Chapeau to Andy Harries, Rob Jones and Mark Rosser. 190 miles in just under 12 hours! They look fresher than the rest of us!

Day 4

Mark is forced to buy a helmet  by the police!

Day 5

A 'rest day' today. Team photo followed by a ride out together and then a split to either Randa or San Salvador. Flat apart from the 500 m climb on each!

Day 6

Note to self, do this ride earlier in the week next time!

Most of the riders headed to Sa Calobra. If you have not heard of this climb before, Google an image of it! It's a 2hr , 25 mile ride uphill to get to the top of the climb. You then descend 10K of it's snake like coils to get to the bottom so you can ride back up!

After a very technical descent, which saw Richard the Butcher enter the car park on his front wheel only, we came back up the 680m, 7% climb. Two gels and a bottle later, I made the top. One to tell the grandchildren about.  68 miles.

Richard the Butcher pays the price for racing Steven up Selva gorge!

Report by Andy Harries of the epic ride on Day 4

What started out as a bit of a 'cheeky' post by Ron Jones become reality at 5.40 am. Even then Rob did wonder if Mark and I were just pulling a great prank on him, by saying we'd join him!

An anti-clockwise loop from Pollensa meant that the majority of the 14,000ft of climbing would be done by lunchtime. We headed up to Lluc in the dark with the sun rising behind us. Starting steady, which meant climbing at my pace, we still made good time to Soller before climbing on to Deia and 1st coffee stop before  Valdemossa. Next section of the ride is one of best riding areas of Mallorca, steady climbs and swooping descents around the coastline to Andratx. This is in the most northwesterly corner of the island and signalled a turn inland to avoid tunnel and motorways on main route. Had a quick lunch stop, (coffee and very welcome oversized apple cake) in Calvia before heading for Palma and the west coast. Navigating Palma was tortuous with Rob getting separated, to be reunited about 10 miles after Palma, just as well as we had 80+ miles still to go. Managed to get what turned out be our only 'tow' of the day from 4 German cyclist for 20 miles or so down the coast to Ses Salines and our last food stop. This was the point where we could have taken the easy option of a main road return to Pollensa but we stuck to our guns and the coast road to make it a full circuit! By this time Mark and Rob we're doing vast majority of huge work as I counted the number of stitches in the back of their shorts. ☺️ A brief run in with the Guardia Civil meant a €100 fine for not wearing a helmet and worse than that a 20 minute detour to Cala Millor to buy a helmet.  By now we had got a second wind and despite the failing light, smashed the final leg from Arta in record time. Seem to recall the garmin showing 27/28 mph on the flat. Back in the hotel after 12 hour riding time and the feeling that the legs could keep going but the neck, shoulders and undercarriage had definitely had enough.

Already have 1 or 2 others interested in next years attempt. LOL

Day 7

After days of sunshine and little to no wind we awoke to grey skies and blustery conditions- it must be time to come back!  A few shorter rides today with the exceptions of those going for big mileage. It's the eagerly awaited (!) awards dinner tonight.

439 miles for me, most people will have done considerably more!

The awards were given to;

Beau Brummel (best dressed). Jason Strange

Layzee Boy.  Tim Raine

Homer Simpson.(for falling off in the Sa Calobra car park)  Richard Roberts

Mile eater.  Mark Rosser 710 miles

I'll echo Rob's words! A fantastic week of riding backed with great company. So many good memories; I'm just so glad I've not got to force down some porridge in the morning!?!

See you all soon - I'm off to polish the white shoes!!! JS

Yet another fantastic week in Majorca. Roll on next year! MP

Yes that's it for another year-lots of memories and laughter right up to the last moment-when Tim and I walked out of the baggage hall ,passing many signs warning against attempts to re-enter we were passed by Paul,travelling at high speed in the opposite direction,followed seconds later by the doors closing(and locking him in?)and various alarms going off.He may still be there-Tim and I thought there probably wasn't anything we could do to assist and made a quick exit! TB

My quick tuppence worth - a great, totally enjoyable week.

As a newbie, I was not quite sure what to expect but it exceeded my hopes. I'll also quickly add my thanks to Steven for all he did for us and to all my fellow riders for their help - particularly Saturday when two of the fast lads helped the three Amigo's get their 500 miles - and for me it would have been a long walk back without their support (and tube !!). TA

Andy - when was the last time you were referred to as "a fast lad?"

It was a pleasure riding with the 3 Amigos Terry...my fastest ride of the week as it happened, and on the only wet and windy day of the week too! RJ

I had a brilliant week!! I was somewhat apprehensive about going due to the amount of miles and speed, but, I should not have worried it was great! I find myself day dreaming at work about Sa Calobra and the Selva Gorge, or beating Steven in a sprint. Good times!

New bike on its way....gi

Cheers all involved for a great week, especially Steven for the instigation, organisation and presentation. RJ      Hear, hear! AH

Tour de France 2014 - OVW big weekend !

Well, what an amazing, amazing day!

Things did not start too well, as everyone seemed to be heading to Yorkshire, the journey up was slow and Steve nearly missed his B&B deadline.  It rained all night and was overcast this morning when Steve, Neil and I drove to near Bedale.  We then got the bikes out and did a circuitous route to Aysgarth.  Getting there just before the publicity caravan.  Cyclists from all over the UK were there and we saw Andy Wicks (!) who did not hear our calls...  The Tour came through with Jens Voight on a lone break.  Steve got some brilliant pictures, which we will email to Teresa.  When the Tour had passed there was a scramble to get across to Leyburn.  We got to the course and as the marshals had no idea who we were, blagged our way onto the course!  Imagine all those thousands of fans, many of whom are new to cycling faced with 3 riders in yellow! We were cheered and high fived by the crowd, even riding through towns with big screens and barriers down the road. It's the nearest we'll ever get to understanding what it feels like to ride the Tour roads.  We stopped again to see it a second time and then straight back on the bikes to follow the broom wagon to more adulation from the crowd!  We finally stopped at Masham , into the car and home. Superb.

Steven M

Spent the journey home wondering did today actually happen! The tour caravan riders and support vehicles were amazing. Many thanks to both Steve's for a fantastic day in Yorkshire, to be relived many times over the next 3 weeks watching the tour on TV. Memories of Mr Madeley entertaining the crowds (twice) was one of the highlights, quite surreal!!

Neil B

Great weekend on the alternative OVW weekend too.

Me and Allison stayed in the beautiful market town of Hawes for the weekend camping at the Auction Mart site. We walked up from the town to the lower part of the climb of Buttertubs Pass to watch the race. Thousands on the climb and great atmosphere and Geraint Thomas was on the right side of the peloton as they passed for us to cheer him on.

Saw Wayne and Steve Morris on the climb, Wayne and Steve both on their bikes. I arranged to meet Wayne in the spectator hub to watch the end of the race - entry was free Andy W. Me and Wayne then rode the top loop of the stage 1 route. So from Hawes up Buttertups, down Swale Dale to Reeth, up the climb of Grinton Moor and down to Leyburn and then through Aysgarth back to Hawes. Absolutely stunning scenery, the Yorkshire Dales is great cycling country!

Richard Bowmer

An Oggie Abroad

25 mile 'shakedown' ride from Calais to Dunkerque.

Both Jen and I are new to this touring lark, so an easy

pancake flat ride to check out bikes and gear. Great to ride

on good roads, not a pothole in sight.

Aiming catch stage 4 at the intermediate sprint near Cassels.

Look out for an Oggie waving a welsh flag like some sort of loon!

Off for moule frites and a cold biere.


Andy H



More photographs in the 2014 Gallery


Short hop on back roads to catch le Tour at the

intermediate sprint in Cassel. Interesting last couple of kilometre

climb up to town, on pave! Arrived several hours before Tour

due through and sat in cafe watching the crowds build.

Found a good spot on the barriers about 5 metres

from the sprint line. Looked like Voeckler 1st in a two man

break, Geraint Thomas and Sky near front of peleton.

Pothole update: thought we saw one on the D37 near Cassel

bug turned out to be just uneven Tarmac.  :)


Andy H

Headed to Ypres for start of stage 5. 40 km away. Day started with fine weather, tail wind, flat, tree-lined roads, wild flowers on the verge and cattle happily grazing, well maintained war cemeteries then...

 Got to Ypres (beautiful old town)and it pi££ed down! Spent a couple of hours, dodging the showers and the massive crowds at the sign on and caught a few glimpses of the riders, the ceremonial depart before heading off on our way back to St Omer. 60km of head wind, rain and slow progress.

Stopped for coffee at the 'cafe de border belgie' just in time to see Froome crash out of the tour. Looked like carnage today.

I'm sure some are only reading this for an update on potholes, sorry to disappoint but despite some cracks and uneven surface on the way to Bailleil still yet to see a proper pothole!  😊

Last night in France, hopefully home in time for club 10 tomorrow. Will help out if I make it in time.


Andy H


Final day in France and a wet and windy (obviously headwind) 50kms from St Omer to Calais. Just as well it was very flat terrain again today.
The riding in Northern France is generally easy going with regard to terrain but the difficulty comes from the wind, wide open, flat countryside with little in the way of hedges can make it tough going.
Had a good couples of days watching the tour, although probably wouldn't bother trying to get to a stage start again as the crowds were crazy!

Trip statistics:-

Potholes    0
Punctures  1
Tour stages 2
'Tidy' french B&Bs 3
Bottles vin rouge 4
Kilometers cycled 230km


Andy H

Mallorca Diaries 2015 - reports by Steven Madeley

The photos may not necessarily match up with the report

Tour de France 2014

Day 1

Thankfully, everyone made the airport in time and the journey was uneventful. This afternoon, we did the traditional half day ride to Formentor.  The great news is that the road has been resurfaced and some timber fronted crash barriers have been installed! We rode through some showers on the way back. I would imagine it will be an early night for most after the long day today..

Day 3

The sun showed its face today so short sleeves, shorts and sun tan lotion were in order. The group split into grimpeurs and rouleurs. The grimpeurs took in Selva gorge and attempted to tame the beast that is Sa Calobra, returning via Lluc. 68 miles and thousands of feet of climbing. The rouleurs were planning a route which included Arta and Petra.

Day 2

The group set off together to Alcudia and then Petra. Off through the lanes to take in the climb of San Salvador. Coffee at the top once we got our breath back! Then onto Petra for another coffee and purchases in the Rapha/Assos shop. It then started  to rain and a few of us remembered Armageddon as that's where it started last time! Only an hour of it this time and we were dressed for it. Back via Muro and Sa Pobla. 86 miles at 16+mph...

Day 4

Shorts again today and sun cream following an extensive comparison of tan lines/ sunburn in the bar last night. Many people wisely chose to have an easy day or rest day. Our group did Petra, Arta and Alcudia with lots of coffee and bike shops in between. 62 miles.

The other large group were more ambitious, choosing a hilly day, taking in Soller and Valdermossa. Not back yet!

Day 5

Today the two main groups headed for Randa, via differing routes. Most riders managed the ascent and then took lunch together. I came back via the Assos factory outlet shop and with a much lighter wallet!   77 miles...

Day 6

Lots of different rides today as many riders wanted to go for their mileage targets or PBs on various climbs. Most rode  up Lluc, via the Selva or Pollentia route.  All to play for in the mile eater award ( check out Strava) and lots of nominations for the Homer Simpson and Layzee Boy too!

Day 7

Forecast wrong today. No thunderstorms but warm sunshine! Lots of small groups heading off in all directions. This has mostly been done in secret as the mile eater award is very keenly contested! We went out towards Arta, Petra then a very long lunch in the old square in Pollenca. 52 miles and 407 for the week. The majority will have over 500 miles in their legs.

Awards night later with free champagne laid on by the hotel...

Wrap Up

All back now and reflecting on a great week !  Weather not quite as good as previous years but it did not stop us going out !  The winners were;

Layzee boy - Tim Raine

Best dressed - Jason Strange ( special mention to Steve Landeg and Mike Longthorn)

Mile Eater - Tony Mansell ( well done !)

Homer Simpson - 5th , Steven Madeley.  4th Mark Rosser. 3rd  Chris Goodwin.  2nd Tom Beech and 1st Haydn Lewis  !     What happens on tour stays on tour so you will have to ask them what they did !

Can anyone who has images forward them onto Teresa for the Gallery...

And so to 2016 !  We will probably go a week earlier to avoid Easter and I will give you plenty of notice for the deadline for the deposit for the hotel… Steven M

1.amazing experience

2.incredible scenery

3.fab food

4.great company

and

5.does anyone have the number for a physio?

My legs hurt.

Mr SM-a great job all round

See you all Sunday Andy S


Thanks Steven for all your behind the scenes work and route finding.

Echo the above. Chris G


Another great week of 'training'!

Great location, fantastic team spirit, superb company.

So many great & fond memories to cherish!?!

Thanks to Steven for all the hard work/organising behind the scenes. Jason S

+1 on the great week and the thanks to Steven for all his work in pulling it together.

The 51 week countdown has started ... although it's now only 50 weeks if we go a week earlier than this year !! Terry A


Have to agree with the previous comments, another great week.

As for me feeling a lot better now just a bit sore, I have been to the dentist this afternoon, and told to stay on soft foods for a week,  X-rays next Monday once the swelling has gone down.

Thanks to everyone for their support yesterday Chris M


Yes another great trip thanks for the admin work again Steven Tom B





It all started with Keith putting a post on the OVW forum, asking for help with raising money for the Guide Dog Association.  


I have been contacted by the guide dog association who are hoping to use this event to raise funds and they are wondering if we would be interested in riding the tandem on the Paris to Swansea ride on 29th July to 2nd of August.  The idea is to get sponsor money part of which covers travel and accommodation and the rest goes to the charity.  Not sure of the amounts needed or the main details but if anyone wants to pilot and get some publicity for Ogmore Valley, let me know.


Fund raising ideas were batted about and in the end we went for a quiz with fish and chip supper at the club house in Coity.  It was very well attended and everyone seemed to have a thoroughly good time.

The evening raised over £700.


Next came the epic bike ride.


Reports from Andy H below

29th July 2015

Arrived safely in Paris, hope the bike has too!

Settling down to a cold biere pression, lining up a steak frites for later.

Head off to start the ride from the Eiffel Tower in the morning, updates to

 follow.


Day 1 - 30th July 2015

Took an absolute age cycling to Eiffel Tower for a photo opportunity this morning, then fun and games cycling across Paris but a peleton of 50 riders ruled on the Arc de Triomphe roundabout. Very stop start for an hour or so but steady pace once we got going.

Mostly a flat ride with a couple of cheeky climbs, following the River Seine.

Having a couple of Cold beers while we wait for the slower groups!


Day 2 - 31st July 2015

Day 2, today saw better progress, cycled in sunshine all day, mostly on the flat again heading NW to Caen. 85 miles at just under 16 mph but with several coffee and food stops. Enjoyed a couple of cold beers at the cafe on Pegasus Bridge now awaiting the ferry to Portsmouth.

Same sort of distance tomorrow with some good climbing around the New Forest

Day 3 - 1st August 2015

Day 3 was 72 miles from Nee Forest to Bristol. Very busy roads starting out and pretty much the same until we passed through Salisbury. Then followed cycle route 4 to Warminster, with the sun shining again. Some in the group struggling before lunch but post prandial progress was good as we followed very busy A36 to Bath. Quick blast along cycle track, avoiding the showers, before arrival at hotel. Luckily pub on site as cold beers needed urgently


Day 4 - 2nd August 2015

Sitting at breakfast on day 4, there are a few tired legs and sore bodies amongst the 40+ charity riders. Many of them are what you would call 'pleasure' cyclists and 320 miles in 4 days is a real challenge. They'll be getting a well deserved warm welcome in Swansea.

Keith and I helping set the pace for our group, power of the tandem coming to the fore!


Weather kind to us again on day 4. Leisurely ride out as one group through North Bristol to Avonmouth and the welcome sight of the two Severn bridges, entered Wales over the old bridge and the lead group set the pace to Newport. Ramped up the speed along the 'Flats' into Cardiff and along the A48 to Bridgend. Tandem flying with KOM on Cowbridge bypass and only few seconds off Crack hill without even pedalling. Escorted into Swansea by police outriders and Team Sky car.

Great welcome and good to see Norman, Lynne, Alan and Mary. (And my family of course)

Been a cracking few days and s big thank you from Keith, me and Guide Dogs Cymru for all those who have donated and help organise fund raising events

Mallorca Diaries 2016 - reports by Steven Madeley

More photos here (thanks to Dave W) and on the gallery page

Day 1

Many tired souls assembled at Bristol airport for the flight early this morning. After an uneventful journey only some rooms were ready and so it was a bit frantic getting ready for a 2 pm start. Mike Longthorn turned up to surprise his Dad ( and us) , so we have another rider with Dave Bees coming out on Tuesday too.

It was the traditional first day ride to Formentor and everyone stretched their legs on the climbs and enjoyed sitting in the sunshine at the lighthouse. Tom has put himself into contention for one of the awards within minutes of arriving at the hotel!

Day 2

Full turnout for the ride to C'an Picafort when Tom's group turned off and I was able to remove several layers having believed a pessimistic weather forecast. We went towards Arta and turned towards Petra where we saw the others again at the cafe. They then headed for Randa and we did Sineu, Inca and the Selva gorge. This was not enough climbing for Greg and Dave and they went off to Sa Calobra!  70 miles for us, 80 for team Tom and 100 for Dave and Greg!

Day 3

Two groups set off in different directions today. One to San Salvador coming back through the lanes via the Assos factory shop and the other went to Arta. Most did between 60 and 80 miles.

Day 4

And so it came to pass that all the groups chose to take on the mountains on the same day. Harpo sorted out a minibus for us to Andratx and we then slugged it out to Soller for lunch. Hard but amazing scenery. I chose to bale out but the rest went over Puig Major to Soller. Another group. Came to Soller from Pollentia and back via Valdermossa. A third group tackled the Selva gorge. All tired but lots of climbing on Strava. I suspect an easier day is on the cards tomorrow...

Day 5

An easier day all round today. Did 55 miles to Arta and back to Pollenca to admire Brad's bikes and yellow jerseys at his favourite restaurant !

Day 6

We took over the island today with rides to Soller,  Sa Calobra and Randa. Big mileage with several in the reckoning for the mile eater award..

Day 7

Monster mileage today, read all about it on Strava!

Mallora Prize Winners

..were announced this morning on the bus to the airport..

- Best dressed; Mike Longthorn.

- Layzee Boy; Steven Madeley ( too much time on the train!)

- Homer Simpson; Haydn Lewis ( you will have to ask him!)

- Mile Eater; Dave Walters.

Some real monster mileage covered over the week.  Should stand us in good stead going forward!

JULY 2015 PARIS TO SWANSEA