Big Apple Bike Ride 2010 Print
Written by Marcus Morris   
Monday, 11 October 2010 22:30

"It's never rained on the Big Apple Bike Ride", organiser Bella Johnson assured me. And so it proved again, in the ninth consecutive year, as over 40 cyclists (yea, some from as far as Stourbridge) gathered around Ledbury Market House for the start of the Big Apple Ride 2010.

Bella (far left) assigned marshals to accompany four groups: the fast group, two medium groups and the coyly-named "relaxed" group.

Steve Glennie-Smith (centre left) and I (centre right) were assigned as marshals to the "relaxed" group. Anticipating "issues", between us we had packed enough kit to rebuild a bicycle from scratch, should the need arise.

As it turned out, there was nothing "relaxed" about the relaxed group and I had to work quite hard to keep up at times. Oi, you lot! Wait for the marshal! Even better, everyone's bike was in good order and there were no mechanical problems for Steve and me to deal with.

This is partly what it's all about. Cycling past orchards in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside, the trees laden with little bitter apples and pears. They don't make good eating but, aha! We all know why!

First stop: Dragon Orchard. So, remind me, what are the apples for if you can't eat them?

Oh, I see! Dragon Orchard launched Once upon A Tree in May 2008, producing fine Cider, Perry and Apple Juice, all estate grown and bottled at Dragon Orchard in Putley, Herefordshire. Marshal Steve Glennie-Smith investigates an alternative way of keeping the doctor away.

Next stop, Awnells Farm, Much Marcle...

13 days old! This calf is the latest member of a closed herd of traditional Hereford cattle with an ancestry dating back over 170 years. Awnells Farm is a 220 acre grassland farm owned by The Countryside Restoration Trust, a farming and conservation charity.

Gregg's Pit, our last stop and the Mecca for cider and perry lovers. Here, James Marsden puts pressure upon the apples to perform.

And the result - naturally fermented cider. You chop the apples, you press the apples, you leave them to ferment naturally. Beautiful, and it helps you towards your five-a-day.

As for the pork-with-apple-and-cider pie, you can keep your Melton Mowbrays. This is the pie for me. Protected Geographical Indication? Worthless Eurobabble. Look to your quality you Leicestershire guys, because this Herefordshire pie man is going to walk all over you!

If you missed it this year, look out for the next Big Apple Bike Ride!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:09