Cheddar Gorge Led by Brian Purnell
Despite the cold conditions, and it being Mothers Day, an excellent turnout of eleven bikes turned up for the ride to Cheddar Gorge.
Following the usual safety briefing the group set off on time with Geoff Brazier volunteering to be the tail rider. Traffic was light and apart from the cold, riding conditions were good as road surfaces were dry . The route took the ride along the A356 to Crewkerne and onto the A303. Then onto the B3165 to Long Sutton when John Henshaw on his GS came up alongside the ride leader and advised that the tail rider wanted to stop to change his gloves - ah, poor chap - too cold for him or his heated grips didn't work or perhaps his bike didn't have any. No it wasn’t Geoff having to stop due to a tyre puncture so that made a change. Then the A372 to Othery after which the ride proceeded along the A361 to Pedwell and the A39 west for the right turn down to Shapwick, Westhay and the B3151 to Wedmore (having first negotiated yet more Somerset roadworks). Finally arriving at Chedder for a 25minutes, 16 mile, circuit of the cheddar Gorge ensued, allowing the group to ride through the Gorge in both directions. The Gorge was quite crowded with both traffic and pedestrians but still it offered enjoyable riding and wonderful scenery.
On arrival at the Riverside Inn Frank Lea reported that his bike (Harley 48) had a clutch and or gearbox problem. Undaunted, Frank came with us for lunch and arranged for the RAC to come and collect him and his bike (which they did delivering his bike to South Coast Motorcycles by 5pm). Some participated in a full, Mother's Day, roast dinner whilst others settled for modest fare such as soup and or sandwiches and after a good hour's lunch stop, the group departed back to Dorchester minus Frank and his bike and also Jim Williams who had to return home early. The chosen route back was direct to Shepton Mallet along the B3135 (what a cracking road with many challenging bends) towards the A37, through Shepton Mallet and past the Babycham factory, the A371 to Castle Cary after which the route went long the B3145 from Lattiford to Sherborne. After a brief stop at the service / fuel stop in Sherborne to say cherrio to John Henshaw, four of us were left to head back to Dorchester where we arrived at 3pm. Geoff Brazier and two others had apparently taken a different route back whilst Dave Plowman had also left earlier along the route to head back to Cranborne.
Despite the cold weather, it was a really enjoyable ride through the lovely Dorset and Somerset countryside, towns and villages with the bonus of a ride through the Cheddar Gorge in both directions. The return leg was particularly good, conducted at a progressive but safe pace with special praise for Jude Brooks who rode really well. The only real downside was Frank's bike suffering a mechanical problem - better luck on the next ride out Frank. Many thanks to everyone for turning up and supporting a group ride out.
Many thanks to Brian for organising and leading the ride. ed.
Top of Town Car Park
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