Skittles at Three Legged Cross by Dave Matthews
I only read about the ride a couple of days before it took place (don’t you read your e-mails ? ed.) and having not been out on the bike for a couple of weeks it gave me a bit of a push to get out. With the meet being an hour or so later than usual, I had time to walk the dog and ride down to Dorchester without a rush.
There were more bikes than I had expected as I turned into the car park and more kept arriving, a total of twenty-two ! Linda, who had planned and recced the route and would lead the ride, gave a briefing outlining the destination the route. We would be using ‘drop off’ to keep everyone in touch. For newer members who haven’t come across it, with ‘drop off’ system, the lead rider indicates the next bike to stop at junctions and indicate directions to everyone before re-joining the ride in front of “Tail end Charlie”, who rides at the back and checks that no one gets lost. Linda made the decision that overtaking would be allowed within the group. I think that this is the right decision for group rides. As members and associates are actively seeking to improve their riding, using their judgment with overtaking should surely be an important part of their road craft.
Our destination was The Three Legged Cross Inn, the route took us down through Dorchester High Street a left turn onto the B3143 leading up the Piddle Valley to Buckland Newton. This is a narrow, twisty road but as there was very little traffic it was nice to ride quite a brisk pace, moderated by patches of loose gravel and bands of water running across the road. We headed up to King’s Stag and joined the A357 at Lydlinch Common to head south all the way to Wimborne via Sturminster Newton, Shillingstone, Durweston and Blandford, taking the B3082 Badbury Rings road. We became quite spread out on this part of the ride, overtaking stretches are very short on this road and with more traffic I suppose this was inevitable. From Blandford onwards, the fog was noticeably thicker to the point that overtaking opportunities were severely diminished.
From Wimborne we went east on the B3078 towards Cranborne, this is a really nice twisty, undulating road and at the Horton Inn we turned right towards Horton village and Three Legged Cross.
We had lunch at the pub, followed by a game of skittles which everyone enjoyed. Mike Groves won easily; right from the start of the game the outcome looked pretty certain even though Mike says that he isn’t a skittles player.
After lunch I headed off home via Larmer Tree and Shaftesbury, Linda planned to lead the majority of the group on a different route back to Dorchester and Weymouth. Thanks to Linda for leading the ride and to Jim Hill’s for volunteering to be ‘Tail End Charlie’.