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Combining Motorbike Touring with Training

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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.

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To Avebury and back

Saturday 8 March – promised to be a great day judging by Friday’s weather, but the early start was rather damp and overcast which made for slightly slippery roads.

We set off at 8am heading towards the still sleeping town of Wroughton to take the Devizes road out to Avebury. We preferred this route to going via Salthrop hill as that can be very damp and slippy on a day such as today.

The Wroughton to Devizes road is a great road, winding past the Science museum at the old airfield through some tight and technical bends – taken at speed is not for the faint hearted that’s for sure.
Passing the neolithic stones of Avebury circle, which is older than Stonehenge and also the largest stone circle in Europe, we headed onto Marlborough where we were to stop for a coffee.

Avebury manor is worth spending a few hours at if you get chance. It featured recently on a BBC programme telling the tale of its renovation. The house exhibition tells the tale of the manor from it’s early days through to modern times and, unusually for such a house, many of the exhibits are designed to be touched. The hobby horse in the dining room is my favourite – my two young boys enjoyed it immensely too.

Silbury Hill nearby also deserves a mention as it is the largest man made mound in Europe which is comparable to the height of the Egyptian pyramids. No-one seems to know why it was built, though it is thought that is was completed around 2400BC – which is a similar age to the pyramids.
Great coffee stop in Marlborough where we got chatting to a fellow biker on his way from Bournemouth to Gloucester on his KTM.

Back on our bikes we burbled (as KES seems to do) through Marlborough and past the Saturday market held in the high street.

Leaving Marlborough on the A4, we turned left towards Wootton Basset. What a great route this turned out to be! High on the downs overlooking some great views towards Wroughton and Swindon, we sped along drinking in the scenery. Stopping only once to confirm the route home we dropped down a snake bend hill and blitzed our way across to Broad Hinton and onto Basset. From here we took the usual route via Purton back to Cricklade.

Great ride with a great mate!

Hopefully next time will have both Richards with me to share this enjoyment!

Next ride – perhaps heading out to Cheltenham using the old roads rather than the new A419/A417.

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