The autumn colour seemed late this year, but last week on the Remembrance Day ride from Stockbridge to Winchester the autumn colours were in full display on Windmill Hill near Crawley so I thought we had left it a bit late for our ride to Burnham Beeches the following week. However, sixteen of us assembled at the Arboretum car park at Dorney Lake for the ride to Burnham Beeches - DavidB, Siobhan, JohnM, Rod, DavidC, Lin, Mick, Carol, Clive, Vanessa, JohnR, Helena, Keith, PeterH, Brian and me. Peter led the first group with Keith, JohnM, Vanessa, Clive, David B and Siobhan whilst the rest of us formed the second group, aiming for a more leisurely pace.

We were very fortunate that one of our members, Keith Vaughan, who used to do this for a living, ran two first aid courses for the group. The courses were held at the Old Basing Bowls Club on 21st October and 1st November when eighteen group members received training in first aid with a focus on cycling, each course lasting 4.5 hours. We were all impressed by Keith's professional approach and gve it rave reviews afterwards.

Make sure to have these three apps on your phone when out riding - what3words for giving your location to the emergency services, St John Ambulance First Aid - Android or St John Ambulance First Aid - Apple and Save a life - find your nearest defibrillator

The weather was glorious for our trip to the Isle of Wight as Vanessa, Mick, Graham, MarkS, MarkW, Ray, Brian and I met up at the ferry terminal in Southampton for the 10:00 sailing to East Cowes. As usual the bikes boarded first, so we were first in the queue for the best seats and the coffees. This time we were taking a different route to the south coast, heading out on the Round the Island cycle route on the east side of the River Medina as far as Wootton Creek before taking a shortcut cross-country to Ventnor. This is a much hillier route than the usual one using the Red Squirrel Trail.

I had wanted to ride over the Gospel Pass, the highest road in Wales, during the summer, but was not able to fit it in. Mick and David volunteered to accompany me, so we left Basingstoke at 7am on a damp and overcast morning and drove to Abergavenny with our bikes on the back. It was quite cool when we unloaded the bikes in the main car park, and with jackets on, we started off on the ride at 9:15. Within a few hundred yards we started the climb up the Old Hereford Road, 10% for a mile - hard going on cold muscles. The gradients eased off and we headed up the single track road up the Vale of Ewyas to the Gospel Pass. The road climbed steadily and at about 5 miles in we saw a pub, the Queen's Head, beside the road and stopped there and had a coffee and very nice cake overlooking the River Honddu and the mountains on either side of the valley.

Nine of us travelled down in four cars to Avebury on Tuesday - Graham, Mick, SueP, Paul, David, SueC, Carol, Peter and me. A good journey down but with some light rain as we got closer to Avebury.  The main NT car park was closed for repairs but as we were early, we parked OK in the coach park - the main car opened after we left. It felt a bit cooler as we headed off into Avebury Village past the standing stones and onto a bumpy track beside a field following the NCN403, The Wiltshire North Rivers Route, and then onto tarmac roads and wide gravel tracks.

There were 12 of us on this tour. Alistair was still unable to cycle so could not join us cycling despite having done all the planning and route research. So it was Brian, David and Sue, Graham, Keith, Len and Lin, Mark, Mick, Peter, Rod and Sue P who set out for the Cotswolds summer tour.

Group rides started again on 1st April, with predictably large turnouts. The rides were split into groups of no more than six and now with about 50% of us having Garmins, there was no problem in navigating around the posted courses. The rides are continuing at twice a week and on May 17 we will be able to ride as one group again.  The summer tour planned from Birmingham to Basingstoke was changed to a circular tour starting at Oxford instead over the same dates. The route heads to Stratford Upon Avon for the first overnight stop, then onto Gloucester for the second night before returning to Oxford on the third day - more details here

Lunch beside the lake at BramshillLunch beside the lake at Bramshill