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Nice morning for a quick spin!

Seemed like a nice morning. Sun is out, sky is blue and birds are tweeting – annoyingly so! Sat at home in my loft office birds, sparrows, pigeons, starlings, jackdaws, blackbirds and so on, are literally inches above me. So I decided to get out there and make some noise of my own.

A familiar route, but a nice one all the same. Fast flowing bends with some nice long straight bits, broken up by the occasional village. The source of the Thames at Kemble was flowing which is a nice change to see – often it dries up so you have to imagine there is a river here!

Couple of deer grazing in adjacent fields and lots of country smells to take in!

Fresh ride that woke me up that’s for sure. This is the great thing about working from home, you can pop out when you like!

 

I do use the bike to get to the office on, but I do also enjoy getting out on it as often as I can – like a drug in many ways, once you are hooked, that’s it!  The route home tends to be far longer than really is necessary 🙂

Fly swatting!

Went for an evening spin with Richard George yesterday around 7.30pm. Thought it might have cooled down a bit to make the ride more “comfortable”. Well, I was wrong – it was very very hot. Trouble with having fairings on a bike is that there is no wind so you can’t cool down. It’s ok in Winter of course as it keeps the cold wind off you, but not so in summer. This is, judging by the K100 forums, one of the biggest complaints against the BMW K100 RT. Must check out the latest models to see if they have made tried to remedy this. Ok, I know KES is now 27 years old so I can’t really complain! New bike perhaps? 🙂

Being the evening, the sun was staring to set and was low in the sky and the fly’s were out in their millions. I know, I seemed to have brought many of them home with me. Occasionally, you almost feel the fly hitting the helmet – some flies are rather large! I probably got a dragon-fly or two along the way. Plan to buy some of that “Bug off” cleaning stuff today.

Our route was a simple one; along the B4040 to Malmesbury, turn left towards the M4, and then first roundabout towards Wootton Bassett. This road takes you through the village of Brinkworth which is the longest in England at over 6 miles. At the Prince of Wales roundabout, turn left towards Purton and home again via the allotment (oh yes, even when I am out I have “jobs to do”!).

Nice easy ride that has been done many times before going to and from work.

Next ride, 11 July? Let me know if you fancy joining us. Meet at the Cricklade Town Hall for 8am (ish) start.

Sunday afternoon ride up the Fosse Way

Always wanted to do this ride so last Sunday, Jason and I thought we would have a quick blast up to Moreton in the Marsh for a coffee stop.

It was a nice, bright and sunny afternoon. Stopping for petrol at the Little Chef just outside Cirencester, we were met by at least 20 bikers travelling back to Guernsey. This would actually set the scene for the rest of the afternoon as we noticed loads of bikes out and about enjoying the last delights of summer.

The Fosse way, as mentioned before, is a long road with many long straights and some bends. But, I know now why people die along it – it is rather a boring road and I assume people want to go fast to get a buzz back.

Anyway, we burbled through to Moreton in the Marsh, a quaint Cotwsold market town, where the high street is the main thoroughfare. We stopped at a coffee shop for our usual chat, where Jason said he knew the area well and would find a more interesting route back.

We met even more bikers and a chap with his new Audi R8 who was carrying a paper which is all he could probably carry in terms of luggage!

This turned out to be interesting indeed – I have no real idea of where we were other than we generally headed south along some small lanes and narrow gravelly roads.

The whole ride took us a couple of hours which meant yet again I was late back for my Sunday lunch!

Northleach – for an evening ride

Northleach – for a pleasant evening ride out (apart from that rain shower!) – 48 miles or so.

Decided to have a burble on KES this evening. Thought we’d do a run up the Fosse Way to Northleach and back via Burford and Lechlade.

Northleach was once an important wool town of the area standing just off the crossroads of the old Roman road, the Fosse Way. Its Church of St Peter & St Paul’s will prove this with its collection of memorial brasses. The town itself is very traditional in it’s appearance with honey coloured Cotswold stone in abundance.

This route also provided me with some great long sweeping bends and a mix of small single lane riding. Challenging in many ways as I’m trying to ride correctly whilst admiring the scenery which two activities are not necessarily compatible.

Leaving Cricklade, we used the A419 to the Cirencester junction with the A429 (Fosse Way).

Turning right at the roundabout, then straight over at the next, and taking the left at the lights, we started a nice ride on the Fosse Way. Being a Roman road, this was nice and straight for the most part with some hidden dips – so be careful when overtaking. 9 miles later, we turned right at lights into Northleach.

This was my first time in Northleach and I can’t understand why I have never been here before. I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty Northleach was. The high street turned into a typical Cotswold main square. So much so I think I will have to bring the other Gentlemen Bikers here, Richard W and Richard G, very soon for a cuppa tea when we are en-route on one of our longer rides together.

Burbling through Northleach and following signs to Aldsworth, this turned into a “follow your nose” trip as the signs were not always obvious to me anyway. Luckily, following signs for Burford got us to Aldsworth, and then meandering through some little country lanes we ended up on the right road.

At the top of Burford, unfortunately we didn’t go through this pretty Cotsowld town, turned right to take the road to Lechlade. En-route we passed one of my favourite places, Cotswold Wildlife Park – I’ve been coming here since we moved to the area back in 1974! I now bring my children here at least once a year – whether they like it or not.

Then from Lechlade we headed towards Fairford along a nice road, then turned right at the petrol station along one of my least favourite local roads, due to its condition which is a shame as it passes through some very pleasant villages, to the A419 for a short stretch back to Cricklade.

All in all a rather nice evening jaunt with KES.

The route I used – Cricklade, Northleach, Aldsworth, Burford, Lechlade, Kempsford, Cricklade. There is plenty of opportunity to “go wrong” on this route so unless you are short of time, allow yourself to “go wrong” and take some side roads or lanes – just to see what is down there.

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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