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Peter Genet

Gentleman Biker of Cricklade

Month

March 2014

Lunchtime break via Malmesbury and Cirencester

Lunchtime, stuck in my home office and needing to get out of the house for a bit. So I decided to take KES out on the B4040 to Malmesbury. The B4040 is a great road and I use it every day to get to work so know it well. The section to Cirencester I don’t really know at all so this was a mini-adventure for me. As it turned out, a rather pleasant one.

Malmesbury is an old town, with its Abbey dating back to the 12th Century, which formed, at one time, an important part of the lace and silk industries. Indeed, looking down into the valley in which it sits, it is so obviously a mill town as Avon Mill is staring straight back at you. The name gives you a clue as to which river flows through the town.

Malmesbury is home to the “naked gardeners” and if you are lucky enough to see them, suggest you keep your eyes above waist level!

Anyway, heading to Cirencester, passed through Kemble on the A429 which is also notably the acclaimed source of the Thames so worth a look if you have the time. My son weed there once, which made me chuckle knowing my London family would be drinking that water one day soon!

Dropped into Cirencester and headed towards Cricklade via that awful roundabout by Tesco and the new housing development. Whoever planned that needs to be sacked as it is probably the worst laid out roundabout in the country!

Some of the roads were scarred with potholes and poor maintenance which made it a little tricky to keep a straight line so be a little careful if riding this route.

Got home for a cuppa and back to work refreshed!

To Avebury and back

Saturday 8 March – promised to be a great day judging by Friday’s weather, but the early start was rather damp and overcast which made for slightly slippery roads.

We set off at 8am heading towards the still sleeping town of Wroughton to take the Devizes road out to Avebury. We preferred this route to going via Salthrop hill as that can be very damp and slippy on a day such as today.

The Wroughton to Devizes road is a great road, winding past the Science museum at the old airfield through some tight and technical bends – taken at speed is not for the faint hearted that’s for sure.
Passing the neolithic stones of Avebury circle, which is older than Stonehenge and also the largest stone circle in Europe, we headed onto Marlborough where we were to stop for a coffee.

Avebury manor is worth spending a few hours at if you get chance. It featured recently on a BBC programme telling the tale of its renovation. The house exhibition tells the tale of the manor from it’s early days through to modern times and, unusually for such a house, many of the exhibits are designed to be touched. The hobby horse in the dining room is my favourite – my two young boys enjoyed it immensely too.

Silbury Hill nearby also deserves a mention as it is the largest man made mound in Europe which is comparable to the height of the Egyptian pyramids. No-one seems to know why it was built, though it is thought that is was completed around 2400BC – which is a similar age to the pyramids.
Great coffee stop in Marlborough where we got chatting to a fellow biker on his way from Bournemouth to Gloucester on his KTM.

Back on our bikes we burbled (as KES seems to do) through Marlborough and past the Saturday market held in the high street.

Leaving Marlborough on the A4, we turned left towards Wootton Basset. What a great route this turned out to be! High on the downs overlooking some great views towards Wroughton and Swindon, we sped along drinking in the scenery. Stopping only once to confirm the route home we dropped down a snake bend hill and blitzed our way across to Broad Hinton and onto Basset. From here we took the usual route via Purton back to Cricklade.

Great ride with a great mate!

Hopefully next time will have both Richards with me to share this enjoyment!

Next ride – perhaps heading out to Cheltenham using the old roads rather than the new A419/A417.

Aldbourne again!

Saturday March 1st

Great day. Dry, sunny and quite warm. Seemed rude not to go for a spin, this time with my mate Richard and his 250CC Yamaha trials bike (road legal of course).

We did the run down the A419 to Common Head and followed the route to Aldbourne. This is a great ride with rolling chalk hills either side of you. Occasionally there are deer in the fields munching on the grass.

What I like about this route is the smell of the farm land – this time of year you can smell the newness of crops coming through; other times of the year you can smell the natural fertilizer. Great country smells!

Into Aldbourne, Richard was keen to take the road out to Lambourn along the downs. From Lambourn, we followed the road through to Shrivenham. Not entirely sure how we did this but as it was a nice day it didn’t seem to matter how we got there!

There were, notably, a couple of localized puddles straddling the road – not too deep and so were passable with some care.

From Shrivenham, we followed the route back to Highworth and then onto Blunsdon.

At Blunsdon, not content with finishing too soon, we decided to continue our route home, the long way! As time was getting on a bit and the sun was getting low, we decided to head north along the A419, where we turned right towards Castle Eaton, stopping only for a coffee at the Red Lion.

Heading out of Castle Eaton, we rode onto Fairford and on through to take a left heading back to Latton. Through Latton and back to Cricklade.

Great ride and a great way to spend a couple of hours on an early sunny spring afternoon!

Not entirely sure of the exact route, but then who cares? It was a great ride. And my turn to buy the coffee next time!

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