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Combining Motorbike Touring with Training

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bath

The Long Good Easter Monday – Top Gear perhaps!

What a cracking day! Sunny! Warm! Dry! Great roads and some great mates too.

With new Gentlemen Biker Chris, we headed to Bath via Tetbury and Junction 18 of the M4. Rather than heading down the A46 to Bath, I took the team up past Lansdown Road which is much more scenic, dropping into Bath and parking in Milsom Street. The chosen route was picked for its variety of bends and long straight stretches which are always a joy to do. There are some limits in place of 40mph and 30mph through villages but these don’t detract from the ride in any way whatsoever!

Bath is of course one of the most famous cities in the UK. With its Roman Baths, Royal Crescent, Circus and a bloody awful one-way system, it is a popular tourist destination. You do need to pick the time of your visit carefully as it is normally very busy with tourists and day-trippers. Coming in off the A46 and onto London Road, you can expect to queue all the way. Parking is notoriously expensive – my suggestion is to pick one of the Park & Ride areas as the buses leave every 15 minutes and drop you off very centrally. Bath also has a lot of good eating places so take your pick from Chinese, Thai, Italian and Jamie’s. There are plenty of alleyways to wander aimlessly down too.

We headed to a coffee shop, Cafe Nero, of course, and then walked down to the Abbey. Normally, Bath is absolutely heaving with tourists. But not so today. Must have heard us coming – well, certainly Chris on his Harley!

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Three Gentlemen Bikers Chris Webb, Richard, and yours truly! – perhaps we could start a campaign and get that Top Gear gig that’s been freed up?

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Richard Williams and Jason discussing bikes!

Once we negotiated the notorious one-way system that Bath has to offer, we followed the A4 towards Chippenham, onto Calne, Avebury, Wootoon Bassett, and then back to Cricklade. This road is also a good road to take home; if we wanted to, we could have stopped off for more coffee on the way, but given our average ages, best we didn’t!

Great ride with some great friends. Looking forward to the next one which will be tough to beat!

Total trip around 90 miles. Including a couple of stops, it took 3 hours all told. View the route on RAC route planner here: http://www.rac.co.uk/route-planner/l/jvqT

Next ride to be organised; dates pending family commitments!

Bath and back

Every day!! Nice ride along the B4040 to Malmesbury especially at this time of year. Early morning rides to work which makes getting to work enjoyable – so much so, I actually look forward to the alarm at 5:50am!!

Then onto the M4 at junction 17, down to junction 18, then along the A36 into Bath itself. This is a nice section of the journey in general as it is up and over the downs. Into Bath, right to the centre close to the bus and train station, onto Lower Bristol Road.

The route home is via Lansdown road and Wick. This avoids the queue on the London road and quite often the long queue on the A36 too.

That’s a top tip for anyone visiting Bath – use the park and ride at Lansdown road. Parking in Bath is crazily expensive; the roads can be challenging to get round, and the buses can be very aggressive too!

Lansdown was a site of a Civil war battle – just in case you were interested!

Then the route home is the reverse of the way in. Could vary it a little, so rather than using the M4, I could go straight over at J18, following signs to Tetbury and back that way. Loads of choices!

Trip can be 35 miles in; and around 40 miles home. Time can vary greatly too – in a car it can take up to 2 hours to get home if there has been an incident on the roads.

Faux Bath

Saturday 10 May – bit of a miserable wet’n’windy day. So much so, we didn’t think we would get out on the bikes today. Richard G has a new FJR1300 and he was itching to take it for a long spin. 8.30 came, our usual start time – too windy. So, eventually, at 3pm we hit the road!

Our plan was to head along the familiar B4040 to Malmesbury, and over to the M4 to fill up at the Murco garage. From there, I suggested we go into Bath via Chippenham and Box along the A4. In Bath, we would grab a coffee and chat about the best way home. That was the plan anyway!

At the M4, junction 17, we headed over to Chippenham on the A350. This section is a dual carriageway and relatively straight with only a set of traffic lights or two to contend with. As we arrived at Chippenham we took the right turn at the roundabout, into Cepen Way, and which I presume is also the Chippenham by-pass. We followed this – and promptly missed the A4 turning to Bath via Corsham! We ended up heading towards Melksham which I didn’t think was right, so we pulled into a car park in Lacock for a quick chat.

Yes, I made a mistake – but as I’ve said before, is it really a mistake? Never mind. Lets find a coffee shop and have a laugh!

Turning right out of the car park we headed for Devizes. This actually took us along some very interesting roads, climbing up and down hill. Not a fast road for the most part but it gave us time to admire the scenery.

Once in Devizes, we meandered through until we saw a coffee shop and parked up.

Bath is famous for it’s Roman baths and ancient history. Devizes is well known for the Wadworth’s Brewery which makes 6X beer and the nearby Caen Hill set of locks. In my defence, I am pretty certain though that the Romans must have visited here at one time or another.

After the coffee, as we set off to return home, the rain started to come down again. This time it was rather torrential and very windy. We were very exposed up on the downs so had to keep the speed down.

Passing through Avebury, the sun came out so we could admire the standing stones from the road.

After Avebury, it was a short ride back into Wroughton to Cricklade via Wootton Bassett and Purton.

Route: Cricklade, Malmesbury, Chippenham, Lacocok, Devizes, Avebury, Wroughton, Wootton Bassett, Purton and home. Around about 68 miles all told.

To Bath via Tetbury, and home via Chippenham – just KES and me

Great morning for a ride – just KES and me this time; slightly misty, dry, and cool. Early start at around 6.15am to get petrol and head on out to Bath before rush hour really gets going.

Anyway, up the A419 to Cirencester; KES was a bit lively around the 70mph mark so had to fight hard to keep the speed legal. Off towards Tesco for petrol. Then headed out on the A429 to Tetbury making sure not to turn left at the A429 to Malmesbury junction (it is sign posted left and straight on to M4 and Bristol); keep straight ahead to Tetbury on the A435. There are some great swooping bends along this stretch road, but watch out for the numerous farm and side turnings as they can come up on you quite unexpectedly.

Once in Tetbury, KES burbled through at a nice steady pace following signs for the M4 which is easily and obviously marked. This road heads out to Westonbirt Arboretum which is a great for looking at trees, and the occasional concert – we saw Scouting For Girls there a couple of years ago where I found out that “Posh girls go like the clappers”!

Tetbury is a quaint Cotswold market town; full of the typical types of shops to be found at such a country town. Many of the buildings are made from traditional Cotswold stone and I think it will be a place to visit for a cuppa tea one Sunday afternoon, especially in Summer when it is warmer.

Leaving Tetbury, on the A433 (which is also the Bath Road by strange coincidence) you will eventually come to a ‘T’ junction. Taking a left turn, and watching the dip for hidden vehicles, follow the signs to the M4.

At the M4 roundabout I sat in the left lane as I was going straight over to Bath. On the other side is a dual carriageway so be wary of other vehicles turning off with you.

Onto the A46, this is the last 10 miles into Bath. No sense in rushing, sit behind the car in front and zip along at a steady 50mph or so. Down the hill, stick to the left lane (be aware of the speed camera as you drop down this hill – sometimes there is also a Police speed check here too), and at the roundabout I turned left along London Road to the centre of Bath.

Now, this road at weekends and rush hours can be congested. So, do it early. Or come in via Lansdown road, which back on the A46, make a right turn at the only roundabout between the M4 and Bath; then turn left and follow your nose.

Meanwhile, back in Bath, I headed for the city centre, bus station and railway station. There are plenty of spaces in the city centre to park your bike (or car if you are in one, but it is expensive).

Bath is a great place to visit and look around; there is a lot of history here what with the Roman Baths and the Abbey to spend some time at. There is also a fine selection of eateries for all budgets. Bath can be busy with tourists at most times of the year so be patient and make sure you speak slowly and loudly to them!

Heading home, I followed the signs to Chippenham which took me along the A4 through Box.

At Chippenham it is a matter of following signs now for the M4 and Cirencester; then for me, once on the outskirts of Malmesbury, I take the B4040 back to Cricklade.

The first part of the ride I enjoyed most; getting round Chippenham I don’t find that inspiring but it is a still a reasonable journey home which also has the added advantage of avoiding the M4. Bath was easy to get round, but as with Cheltenham, the one way system can catch you out – but never mind, if you go wrong you do get to see more of this rather ancient and pleasant city!

For the route planner – I entered, Cirencester, Tetbury, Bath, Chippenham, Malmesbury, Cricklade. Total journey of approx 82 miles. Time to do – as long as you like!

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