Devon pub launches cycling club & sets sights on Spain

Regulars at the Combe Martin Dolphin Inn planning club run to Gibraltar

by Elliot Johnston   January 31, 2014  

Dolphin Inn, Combe Martin (source GoogleStreetView)

Regulars at a north Devon pub have started their own cycle club, and are already working towards a 1,000-mile trip through Spain.

The Dolphin Cycling Club hail from the small village of Combe Martin on the north Devonshire coast. They substitute a pint from The Dolphin Inn Pub for a cup of tea or coffee before their 9.30am Sunday ride.

The group, which has been brought together by club organiser Brian Lethaby, is plotting a course for Spain in September, and building up to it via the traditional weekly club runs.

Their plan is to cross Devon, north to south, from Combe Martin to Plymouth and catch a ferry down to Santander on the Spain's north coast. With Gibraltar in their sights, the group will ride the length of the country, then board a plane back to Exeter before cycling back to Combe Martin.

The club’s preparations for the 1,000-mile round trip have not damaged the inclusive nature of the club according to Lethaby, who has been surprised by the turnout on Sunday mornings.

He told the North Devon Journal: "All levels are welcome; people can just turn up on a Sunday morning. Cycling in the area potentially isn't the safest but we stick to the back roads and everyone can go at their own pace."

The Dolphin is not the only pub with a cycling club. Among others, the Raven in Bath its own mountain bike club and the York Tavern in Norwich also has a club of its own.

The focus of these clubs is largely on fun, beer and getting people on bikes. If you’re a beginner, looking up any local pub-clubs may be an excellent place to start club cycling.

10 user comments

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The Augustus John in Fordingbridge, Hants. The AJ Wheelers hit the local roads every Wednesday night throughout the year.

https://www.facebook.com/AugustusJohnFordingbridge

posted by shearer27 [11 posts]
31st January 2014 - 11:32

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Pub based cycle clubs - that is the model on which Belgium operates. It seems to work well here. the village i live in is 2500 people and get around 80 on a sunday morning ride of which around 50 end up in the bar straight after.

What a perfect start to a sunday.

posted by cress [5 posts]
31st January 2014 - 11:44

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cress wrote:
Pub based cycle clubs - that is the model on which Belgium operates. It seems to work well here. the village i live in is 2500 people and get around 80 on a sunday morning ride of which around 50 end up in the bar straight after.

What a perfect start to a sunday.

An 80-strong clubrun from a village of 2,500?! That sounds ace, is that all people in lycra wanting to ride quickly, or are many just out for a casual pedal?

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2875 posts]
31st January 2014 - 12:29

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Chequers Inn, Laddingford in Kent, has a cycling club "The Chequers Racers" ( I know, a bit grandiose!) we've done Paris, Mallorca, Northern Spain and this year Nice to Pisa...
..there's also a running group, Chequers Chasers, and the excellently named fresh water swimmers, the Chequers Otters!

...sometimes people don't want the formality of a "proper" club but still want the companionship of a group, I guess.

http://www.chequersracers.com/index.html

posted by Deswahriff [11 posts]
31st January 2014 - 12:31

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Wish my local 'local' had a club. Coffee, ride, couple of foaming beverages to recover. Perfect.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [709 posts]
31st January 2014 - 14:58

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Gizmo_ wrote:
Wish my local 'local' had a club. Coffee, ride, couple of foaming beverages to recover. Perfect.

You'll find many pubs are quite accommodating to groups of cyclists once they realise they will shift a few coffees early morning then a few pints, cakes and dinners a few hours later.

posted by farrell [1243 posts]
31st January 2014 - 15:41

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I was part of a team of about 25 riders who rode Winchester to Gibraltar in Sept 2010 - see http://www.inspired living.org.uk . Through west France, via Madrid and head south. If the pub team would like tips/advice, I'm sure there are contact points on our website. Have fun!

Derek

posted by nobled [68 posts]
31st January 2014 - 17:09

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Nice work by the Combe Martians.

The hill out of Combe goes on and on...

posted by localsurfer [160 posts]
31st January 2014 - 17:56

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My nearest pub just closed. That makes 6 around here over the past few years.

Maybe this "Club" stuff might have given them a reason to continue but I doubt it.

posted by bobdelamare [17 posts]
31st January 2014 - 23:16

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To all intents my club has a pub as it's HQ. Most (all) rides end there for a couple of real ales, then wobble home...

I wish I was on the Gibraltar trip, I did a similar thing from London - Amsterdam - Brussels last summer & it was awesome. Some of us are doing St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay in May this year. I can't wait.

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [168 posts]
1st February 2014 - 19:47

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