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

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.

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.

10 comments

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shearer27 [25 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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cress [5 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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notfastenough [3719 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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Deswahriff [16 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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jollygoodvelo [1614 posts] 3 years ago
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Wish my local 'local' had a club. Coffee, ride, couple of foaming beverages to recover. Perfect.

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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nobled [83 posts] 3 years ago
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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!

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localsurfer [202 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice work by the Combe Martians.

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

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bobdelamare [19 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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stealth [254 posts] 3 years ago
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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.