Back from holiday has gotten me thinking about some of my favourite rides. Bike riders tend to think of roads the same way that skiers think about pistes.

These are meant to be short hops out for lunchtime or evening spins. Often they tend to take longer as we stop for coffee en-route. Depending on how I feel at the time, I will shorten or lengthen the ride. Today, for example, I did the Bibury longer route just for the fun of it (once the Tiger is run in, I will look at doing longer runs over whole days eg Chip run to Swanage).

I have not included any route maps below, but I tend to use RAC route Planner, avoiding Motorways and Toll roads as much as possible – so, to follow a route, just enter the main headings and see where it takes you!

Happy exploring!

  1. Bibury burble – nice ride this one which can be made shorter or longer as you fancy. Both routes go via Fairford, Quenington, Coln St Aldwyn and onto Bibury.
    1. The shorter route follows the road through Bibury, over the river Coln, through Charlton and back to the A419 at the Cirencester junction. A great ride of around an hour or so.
    2. The longer route can go for as long as you like really! Rather than following the road back over the bridge, turn right at the Swan Hotel and follow this road. There are plenty of turnings off here, both left and right that can be taken for an interesting evening’s ride. By following the road straight, you come to the Fosse Way, where turning left brings you back to the A419 Cirencester junction and the short hop back to Cricklade.
  2. Avebury – a favourite ride of mine this one (as they all are to be honest!). To add a bit of interest, take the Malmesbury road, B4040, out of Cricklade, to the Leigh crossroads – this is the first junction on the road with traffic lights. Turn left and keep going to the end of the road. Turn left, again, towards Royal Wootton Bassett. There is a choice to be made at the roundabout; either turn right into Bassett, or go straight over to Wroughton.
    1. Turning right into Bassett is good as the journey can go via Calne if you wanted. So, assuming we do go via Calne, we then have to follow signs for the A4 towards Marlborough. Passing the Divine Café on the right (good cuppa tea and cake here), we turn left at the next major roundabout towards Avebury. A choice can be made at this roundabout, either turn left to Avebury, of keep going straight to Marlborough – depends on your mood and how you are off for time!
      1. Turning left takes you through Avebury (mind out for hippies celebrating the Summer and Winter Solstace’s). Watch for Police as you enter the 30mph stretch – they are often there so be warned, its your licence! Through Avebury, and out the other side towards Wroughton. Couple of options again; turn left to Broad Hinton will bring you back into Bassett; or go into Wroughton. If you go into Wroughton, turn left at the first set of lights which is Wharf Road – careful along here as it is an accident blackspot! This brings you out at the M4 junction 16 where you can follow signs back to Cricklade, or come home via Purton.
      2. Going to Marlborough is good too as there are plenty of opportunities for coffee stops there. And once full of coffee, there are more ways home than I can even begin to write about – one of my favourites is to head to Hungerford and come back via the back roads – turning left just before you get to Hungerford.
  3. Tetbury and beyond – this is a nice fine ride as it takes in all sorts of roads. The A419 to Cirencester being the first major road. Turn left at the Tesco roundabout and then right-ish at the next one. Then left at the next roundabout and up the hill. At the next roundabout, the road for Tetury is straight on, or you can go right to Stroud.
    1. Tetbury – straight over brings you onto some great roads with long flowing bends and fast straights. In Tetbury, there are places to stop for coffee/tea so take the opportunity and do so, somewhere near the market square is good. Typically, two routes from here;
    2. Malmesbury – this is a pleasant ride back to Malmesbury. If you can, stop in the main square and have a coffee in the museum. Then, follow the B4040 back to Cricklade. The B4040 is one of my favourite roads with its collection of straights, ‘S’ bends and little villages. The ride is only 11 miles from Malmesbury, short but enjoyable.
    3. Bath/Bristol – follow signs for the M4 takes you to the Westonbirt Arboretum. This again is a favourite ride of mine with its variety of roads and riding challenges. At the M4 junction there are numerous choices, one of which is to come back home on the M4, or continue south and find routes home via Chippenham or even further!
    4. Stroud – this is a nice road winding over the tops of Minchampton common. From here, there are plenty of ways one can get lost which is the aim of this really. Pleasant riding, though can be tricky in the wet with some of the steep hills that can be found in this area. Need to explore more of this as my knowledge is quite limited.
  4. Aldbourne – head to the M4 along the A419 and take the second left at the Common Head roundabout. Up through Liddington and over the hill, you will be greeted with views of the downs and the M4! Great fast ride through to Aldbourne. Passing through, takes you to a junction where you choose what to do. Left to Hungerford or right up to anywhere!
    1. Turning right takes you back to Marlborough along a great wide road. Then, choices, choices, choices!
    2. Turning left into Hungerford again brings a multitude of choices.
  5. Fosse way – great road this. The best thing is to follow your nose at one of the signs eg Lower Slaughter and see where you end up! You will be pleasantly surprised. There are many towns and villages off the Fosse Way – Bourton on the Water, Eastleach, Stow on the Wold to name but a few. Each has its own special delights to explore. At the end of the Fosse Way is Warwick which is renowned the world over for its castle; probably the most photogenic castle in the world. Watch out for speeding cars and hidden dips on this road.

There are many other rides, to Cheltenham along the old road via Cirencester; Bath; Pangbourne; Ross-on-Wye to name a few. More time is needed exploring to the West and into the Forest of Dean and Wales.

Hmmmm… the only issue is time!

Right, back to the housework before Sally gets home!