About 20 bikes met at the Sun Inn, Coate Water on 8 April 2018 for a mystery ride led commendably by Phil Carter with Dafydd Jones as Tail-end / Sweeper. There was a risk of showers, but the roads were generally dry as we set off on the first leg. We had a guest or two with us including one on a Guzzi who managed to shed a pannier. Possibility for a new form of Skittles perhaps?
We had a scenic ride through the Vale of White Horse then over the Downs via Lambourne to Newbury, before tuning north back over the Downs to Wantage for a coffee break. Suitably refreshed, we headed back towards Swindon via Dragon Hill, Woolstone, Longcot, Shrivenham and Highworth. The drizzle had arrived by this stage and may have contributed to a split in the group at the traffic lights. The back half of the group had a scenic tour of Highworth ably swept up by Dafydd. Once reunited with the rest of the group we arrived at the Tawny Owl for lunch.
If you haven’t visited the Tawny Owl, this is where the Swindon Pub Social is now based. We were dining in the Parliament Room which is where we meet on the third Tuesday each month. The food was impressive and portion control very generous. Our hosts had even laid on a magician who entertained us with his card tricks as we finished our lunch.
After lunch and Phil’s warning of narrow roads, steep hills and twisty bends, a smaller group set off towards Malmsbury, Tetbury, and Nailsworth. We were using the buddy system which came apart within the first few miles. Another intervention from our excellent Sweeper, Dafydd, gathered up the lost sheep and we then managed to keep together for the rest of the ride. The A46 was very scenic (and bendy) dropping into Nailsworth. The steep climb out of Nailsworth towards Minchinhampton involved a series of hairpins which were very testing given the weather had now closed in. We headed back over the Cotswolds towards Cirencester before heading to our final refreshment stop at Chedworth Farm, GL54 4NQ.
Chedworth Farm Shop cafe (NB Not us in the photo!)
This is a highly recommended watering hole that warmly welcomes all sorts of outdoor visitors – walkers, cyclists and motorcyclists in all weathers! If you look at their facebook page you can see lots of phots of everything from cyclists to Vintage Motorcycles to Scooters!
This was the end of the trip so we all made our way home after tea or coffee and cakes to dry out and relax in a hot bath!!!
A big vote of thanks to Phil and Daffyd who had planned an excellent route. There are no photos of the ride itself due to the overcast and increasingly damp weather. A very interesting route and much enjoyed by all. Would love to try it again in the dry…