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Ride around the Cotswolds, Cheltenham, Broadway, Burford and Bibury

November the 30th 2018, typical riding session along some great lanes, through picturesque towns and villages along the way.

New Horizons Motorcycling in the Cotswolds

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Bibury burble – again, but with son as pillion

Sometimes its nice to repeat rides. Not that we have exhausted the routes we can take from Cricklade, but to be able to share them with someone else. And that someone was my eldest son Richard.

Yes, he rode pillion on the back of KES; his smile could be seen through the helmet he wore – which happens to be mum’s, but it fits him at the moment.

To cap it all, his best mate, Oliver joined us on the back of his Dad’s bike, who just so happens to be also called Richard.

Its not a long journey this, but a nice little bimble into some very pleasant countryside. With the boys on the back of our bikes we took it easy – even more so than usual. No need to rush anywhere – just father and son’s out enjoying each other’s company doing “boys stuff” together.

Stopped in Bibury for a quick photo shoot and chin wag, then we headed back to Cricklade just before dusk set in.

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The route we took followed the original Bibury Burble so I’m not going to repeat it here again.

Must admit, this is an evening I’ll remember for a long time.

Cheltenham Gallop – via the back roads avoiding the A419/417 and back again – which turned into following your nose as the notorious Cheltenham one way system can be rather confusing!

The estimated journey this time was approx 58 miles. Well, it would have been if any of us knew the way back from Cheltenham that is! Still, no rush, this is half the fun.

Getting to Cheltenham was fine. We all knew the route as we had done it years ago before the A419/417 is what is now. This was the route that takes in some great sweeping bends and some good straights to really open up on (obviously no more than 60mph of course). So we were all looking forward to this Saturday morning ride.

Starting from Cricklade Town Hall with two mates, Richard George and Richard Williams, we left at around 8am ish. Richard W stating as we were leaving he had to be back no later than 10am as his wife and daughter were going shopping.

At the start of the ride edited

So, ignoring this comment, we used the A419 to get to Cirencester, but this was only for the first 6 miles or so. It gave us a good chance to get the bikes warmed up.

Heading past the reclaim centre and Dobbie’s garden centre out onto a short section of dual carriageway; over at that bloody awful roundabout beside Tesco and straight across the next roundabout eventually turning right onto the A435 to Cheltenham.

Arriving in Cheltenham, we headed into the centre where we stopped opposite the Town Hall. There were two reasons for this; one to get a photo of us in Cheltenham so we would remember the ride; and secondly, to work out our return route. The latter being up for discussion as none of us really knew the best way back. So, hence, we ended up following our noses around the ring road eventually taking the route via Oxford.

RG and PG editedRichard Wiliams and Richard George edited

Cheltenham is a really nice Georgian spa town with loads of fine shops, museum, and many a tasty eating place. What it also has is a revered one way system. If you don’t know where you want to go it is bloody difficult to find your way out again. However, we did have our cunning plan – following our noses! Which we did, and ‘lo and behold, we left Cheltenham pretty much the same way we came in.

Stuck behind one of those slow drivers in a queue of traffic, again, we pootled along at a steady 35-40mph only having one chance to get past when a dual carriageway finally appeared.

Crossing the Fosse Way at Northleach and the prison pub, we headed in the direction of Burford, only turning right somewhere around Aldsworth towards Bibury (Richard W wanted another look). I can’t really be sure of this section as it was all a blur and I was paying more attention to the road and scenery than the direction we were travelling! But who cares, the riding was fun so going the “wrong” way didn’t seem to matter. In fact, there is no wrong way, so why worry?

We got to Bibury via the Swan Hotel road, and promptly rode through to take the route back home which was the reverse of the Bibury Burble. Coln Saint Aldwyn, Quenington, Fairford and finally back to Cricklade.

There are two bad parts to this journey – one, the road between Fairford is atrocious; and the roundabout at Tesco in Cirencester. Apart from that, great couple of hours riding in some great countryside with a couple of good mates!

When I write these blogs, I tend not to give accurate road numbers as I believe in having a general plan and then adapting to suit whatever you want to do. Hence the reason why I’m not entirely sure of how we got back home, just that we did.

Bibury "burble"

Not a long ride this time, approx. 31 miles from home and back, but it took in some wonderful countryside especially around Coln Saint Aldwyn just north of Quenington. This is a very nice route to take of an early spring evening just after the clocks went forward. This is a nice and easy journey, with only a couple of tricky corners – tricky in so much that I was paying more attention to the scenery than the road which is easily done as this route takes in some of the most beautiful sections of the Cotswolds.

The view between Quenington and Coln Saint Aldwyn is so quintessentially Cotswolds it’s almost cheesy. The Americans love it; in fact, as locals will know, Henry T Ford did try to buy the cottages at Arlington Row in Bibury – that’s how wonderful the scenery around here can be.

Along the route are ample pubs; especially at the time of day I was riding these seem to be the only places offering a refreshing drink of coffee or tea.

I love coming to Bibury, and often bring my family here too. This evening, even with the light fading, Bibury retained most of it’s charm. With the sun dropping, the atmosphere of the village alters. The river Colne continues to gurgle its way through the high street; the Swan Inn is still serving; the trout are still swimming; the best thing about this time of day is the quietness which is almost tranquil in itself. If I had more time, I would have stopped and had a mooch around.

Dating back to before Domesday records in 1086, Bibury sits on the River Colne which flows along the main street. It is a picturesque village with famously honey coloured 17th century mill cottages of Arlington Row which are, probably, the most photographed scene in the Cotswolds.

At the other end of the street is Arlington Mill, now a private residence, and next door is Bibury Tout Farm, where you can both feed and catch the trout to take home. There are tea rooms and pubs to eat and drink at. Parking is available opposite the Trout farm, along the main street and beyond, but it can be difficult to park on a nice day so get there early!

Heading out of Bibury towards Barnsley on a road that is not particularly the best road in terms of conditions, Barnsely is another Cotswold treat waiting. The instantly recognisable stone cottages appear and you instinctively know you are soon to arrive in yet another lovely village.

Moving on, now starting to think about getting home before it gets dark, I took the road back towards Fairford, turning off towards Meysey Hampton and Down Ampney. If time allows, stop in these two villages and you will get even more of the sense of the Cotwsolds. Top tip – visit the churches in all the villages and towns, and look around the graveyards. Sounds macabre, but it does fill you with a sense and wonder as to what once went on and what people did in these ancient villages.

Leaving Down Ampney, I headed back to Cricklade via Latton and a short section of the convenient A419.

A pleasant evening ride out – short but so very pleasant!

The route:- Cricklade; Kempsford; Fairford; Quenington; Bibury; Barnsley; Meysey Hampton; Down Ampney; Latton; Cricklade

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