The estimated journey this time was approx 58 miles. Well, it would have been if any of us knew the way back from Cheltenham that is! Still, no rush, this is half the fun.
Getting to Cheltenham was fine. We all knew the route as we had done it years ago before the A419/417 is what is now. This was the route that takes in some great sweeping bends and some good straights to really open up on (obviously no more than 60mph of course). So we were all looking forward to this Saturday morning ride.
Starting from Cricklade Town Hall with two mates, Richard George and Richard Williams, we left at around 8am ish. Richard W stating as we were leaving he had to be back no later than 10am as his wife and daughter were going shopping.
So, ignoring this comment, we used the A419 to get to Cirencester, but this was only for the first 6 miles or so. It gave us a good chance to get the bikes warmed up.
Heading past the reclaim centre and Dobbies garden centre out onto a short section of dual carriageway; over at that bloody awful roundabout beside Tesco and straight across the next roundabout eventually turning right onto the A435 to Cheltenham.
Arriving in Cheltenham, we headed into the centre where we stopped opposite the Town Hall. There were two reasons for this; one to get a photo of us in Cheltenham so we would remember the ride; and secondly, to work out our return route. The latter being up for discussion as none of us really knew the best way back. So, hence, we ended up following our noses around the ring road eventually taking the route via Oxford.
Cheltenham is a really nice Georgian spa town with loads of fine shops, museum, and many a tasty eating place. What it also has is a revered one way system. If you dont know where you want to go it is bloody difficult to find your way out again. However, we did have our cunning plan following our noses! Which we did, and lo and behold, we left Cheltenham pretty much the same way we came in.
Stuck behind one of those slow drivers in a queue of traffic, again, we pootled along at a steady 35-40mph only having one chance to get past when a dual carriageway finally appeared.
Crossing the Fosse Way at Northleach and the prison pub, we headed in the direction of Burford, only turning right somewhere around Aldsworth towards Bibury (Richard W wanted another look). I cant really be sure of this section as it was all a blur and I was paying more attention to the road and scenery than the direction we were travelling! But who cares, the riding was fun so going the wrong way didnt seem to matter. In fact, there is no wrong way, so why worry?
We got to Bibury via the Swan Hotel road, and promptly rode through to take the route back home which was the reverse of the Bibury Burble. Coln Saint Aldwyn, Quenington, Fairford and finally back to Cricklade.
There are two bad parts to this journey one, the road between Fairford is atrocious; and the roundabout at Tesco in Cirencester. Apart from that, great couple of hours riding in some great countryside with a couple of good mates!
When I write these blogs, I tend not to give accurate road numbers as I believe in having a general plan and then adapting to suit whatever you want to do. Hence the reason why I’m not entirely sure of how we got back home, just that we did.