2010 Gloucestershire

Click on the thumbnail to view the route in detail
in a new window or download it for satnav

Click on the thumbnail to view the route in detail
in a new window or download it for satnav

Click on the thumbnail to view the route in detail
in a new window or download it for satnav

Total distance: 221 miles (353.6 kilometres)

Two hundred and twenty (and a little bit) miles in three days, and I will never think of the term "rolling countryside" in quite the same way again!

Day one was bright and sunny, but with a cold North Easterly wind which helped us along nicely. We started from a pub in Bledington where we'd arranged to leave the van for three days (on condition that we bought a pint when we came back at the end of the ride).

The route itself was mostly on quiet country roads, with some sections of off-road tracks and trails thrown in, some of which we needed to walk rather than ride. (The walked sections were mostly the steep, muddy uphill ones, but there was one we walked down because it was so steep.)

Highlights of the day include a lovely rest stop at Down Ampney village store, cycling along part of the Fosse Way, the old Roman road, crossing the course of the Badminton horse trials, and the SusTrans route from Bath to Bristol to finish up at the Premier Inn at Emersons Green.

81 miles, 10 hours total, including rests and lunch.


On day two we wanted to be up and on the road too early to wait for breakfast, so we crept out of the hotel at 0700 into a frosty courtyard. Jon decided to use his new cycling mitts (yesterday's socks) to ward off the worst of the chill and we headed off around the top of Bristol aiming for breakfast and the Severn bridge.

We found the river Severn fairly easily, turned upstream, and rode into the same chill North Easterly wind we'd had yesterday. Graham was having a some problems with his brakes rubbing, and this coupled with the headwind was slowing us down considerably. We stopped in the middle of the bridge for a photo opportunity, and Barney eventually fulfilled his childhood dream of crossing the Severn by bike. His excitement was only mildly offset by my having a puncture, and once I'd swapped inner tubes we headed off across the border into Wales and past Chepstow castle. (Yes, the county circum-cyclists are now international!)

Crossing the river Wye back into England marked the start of a long, slow climb up (press) through some stunning (pant) scenery (sweat), past St Briavels (gasp) and on to the Forest of Dean (aaaah).

We spent some time in the forest, not all of it intentional, (the trails bearing little or no resemblance to what Barney our routemaster was expecting), but on the plus side it was a lovely place in which to get lost. Then after a quick lunch in a pub in Drybrook we headed off towards our second night stop, the little-known and underpopulated Hollybush, where we were feted, fed, watered, beered, and otherwise well looked after by some very accommodating friends.

85 miles, 12 hours total, including rests, punctures, lunch and lostness!


Day three dawned damp and mizzly, probably as payback for the last two days of fine sunshine. We staggered out (after a superb cooked breakfast) and set off on the last and shortest day of the ride, which would take us East through Tewkesbury and Broadway, up to the most northern part of the ride at Mickleton, and then South East back to Bledington.

The day was fairly uneventful. We were all very tired by now, and concentrating on finishing the ride rather than looking at the grey and miserable scenery.

The route was still mainly back roads and villages, and in fact there were several quite steep hills, but mostly I remember avoiding the worst puddles and trying to keep my glasses clear. I spent most of the day on small and middle cogs, and had to hit "granny gear" far more frequently than normal. We had a damp, but pleasant sandwich lunch at Paxford after 40 miles, and then we were back in the saddle again for the final push.

With only ten miles to go it began to dawn on us that (a) we might actually make it, and (b) the end was in sight. The pace started to pick up, we stopped staring at the road wrapped in our own misery and started enjoying the day.

It stopped raining, the last two miles all seemed to be downhill, and we cycled back to the pub car park in Bledington tired, but with a huge sense of achievement.

The promised pint went down a treat, and we drove home happy.

55 miles, 8 hours total for the day, which gives a grand total of 221 miles and 30 hours of riding time, including around 4 hours of lunch breaks.