Henry Coles rides the B 4425 . . . .but not with OMR

Apparently the road to Bibury from Burford is Henry’s favourite route . . . . . . .  but we didn’t actually see him today! What follows is however mostly true . . .

Wednesday (Dec 9th) morning. Heated vest – check. Heated insoles – check. Base and mid layers – check. EDZ thermal socks – check. Not to mention the Halvarsson’s suit. Having spent only one hour getting dressed, it was time to get going to Burford our start point for today’s OMR. The weather was being unusually kind, this 2nd week in December. Up to 8 C, low % chance of rain and perhaps a glimpse of sunshine.

At 9.30am we congregate at Burford Garden Company which was groaning with essential Christmas gifts. On arrival Ian and I headed for the café. Shortly joined by Dave T who had taken 20 mins to navigate between the entrance and the café – he hopes to gain his Explorer badge quite soon! Followed by Bob and Graham who had arrived on non-standard BMWs ……. just kidding!





Christmas shoppers were soaking up the warm ambience of café life whilst yours truly were defrosting the outdoor tables and chairs with rapidly diminishing body heat. Oh joy of Rule-of-6, meeting outdoors in December! That said, the constant flow of chatter, mockery and laughter warmed us through and was good preparation for the day ahead.







Coffee drunk, TVAA collection taken, WC visited, it was time to get on the road – once all electrical connections had been fiddled with. Leaving Burford we head towards Bibury on the sweetly flowing B 4425 – damp but in reasonable repair. Bibury looked sad but magnificent. William Morris spoke truth when he described it as the most beautiful village in England. In the absence of the usual hoard of visitors it was a picture of tranquillity.



Passing to one side of Cirencester, we head north up the Churn Valley. Golden Eyes Guides describe it as “a memorable route from Seven Springs to Cirencester following one of England’s most scenic drives. The variety of the trees and the sunken river valley are a sight to behold. Beware, this is a fast road and accidents are frequent”. Fortunately, today was not our turn. This was to be a sweet flowing romp along rapidly drying tarmac only to be interrupted by a Tesco white van man cutting out from a nearside junction. Patiently perched alongside the adjacent double white lines we wait our opportunity. The joyful white circle and black diagonal appears and he becomes history in our rear view mirrors!


Turning east at Seven Springs we traverse the beautiful Naunton Downs with its striking views across the Windrush Valley. A battle took place here in the 1640’s during the English Civil War. It all seemed very peaceful as we rode through today.

A gentle amble through handsome Stow-on-the-Wold leads us to Kingham and its train station where a leg stretch has been planned. A comfort break is denied as we discover the locked loo. But it’s ok, the sign says get the key from the booking office. Oh dear, it’s December and it’s closed this month.

Passing through Churchill (The Chequers pub is highly recommended) we arrive at Chipping Norton. It is well known that satnavs become confused in this town. A short circular tour ensues. In his loveable way, DT later shares his appreciation for the opportunity to enjoy Chipping Norton twice.

Charlbury beckons and is safely navigated …… apart from one slight hesitation. But, something unexpected lurks on the B 4437 towards Woodstock. A dense tree line sits either side of the road leaving it in shade and extra slippery. Bob is planning his course and varies if from Graham’s but a sneaky disguised patch of loose gravel aims to unseat Bob in a sideways movement. Quick reaction saves the day and we press on to the splendid Boat Inn at Thrupp.

A short de-brief with Bob follows. We are able to reassure him, that had he ended up in a ditch, we would have immediately returned to help him within the hour – once we had enjoyed a leisurely lunch. He responded with his usual characteristic charm – I think.

John is the most welcoming landlord at The Boat Inn. An hour of good food, humour and tales from the Long Room follow. All agreed it had been a good way to celebrate the end of Lockdown 2. We were happy bunnies; everyone had played nicely and there had been no tears.


The Social Secretary and team look forward to welcoming you to the next Oxford Meetup Ride.

 BMW Club Oxford – RIDE Together





Author: James O'Shea

2 thoughts on “Henry Coles rides the B 4425 . . . .but not with OMR

  1. What, these oranges ? Your memory is too good! Next time …….. if I can remember

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