Fresh from the Gower Bike packing we were well up for another trip out on the bikes, we still had the benefit of plenty of light, probably till about 9pm, and with the lights on the bike we would add a few hours to that..
This time we went for a slightly lighter setup than the Gower and opted for the CX bikes as a nice change for the ride, which would be a mix of road and trail.
We set off on very familiar roads, one’s we regularly ride as part of our preparation for the Deloitte Ride Across Britain in 8 weeks’ time. We met the Thames at Pangbourne and followed the Thames Path north towards Goring. After an hour of cycling it was time to pop into the pub for a couple before beginning the off road section of the ride.
Just a few minutes from the pub we were in the rolling Berkshire countryside on the Ridgeway. An ancient path which covers over 80 miles from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. There is a navigation right, which allows bikes and other vechicles. The CX bikes (which really are just road bikes with knobbly tyres) handled the chalk path well, thankfully it had been dry weather, so riding was straight forward. Twilight changed to Night as we were still riding along. One by one our lights dimmed and went out, and when we both started falling off (a lot) we made the call to stop for the night. Although the ridgeway is generally a quiet place you do occasionally get some traffic at night, so it’s best to pull off the main path and get behind a hedge.. We had ridden a good 12 miles off road since the pub, so we were pretty happy with the progress!
The field we ended up spending the night in had the noisiest crop all around and under us. It was super dry and snapped and cracked every time you made any movement, It wasn’t the most comfortable place to stop for the night, but we were quite tired, so fell asleep pretty quickly. I woke super early, around 5, and set about getting up and packed ready to carry on.. Mark however was clearly comfortable and opted for a lie in. We packed up and set off without coffee, we wanted to get some more miles in before a brew stop. We found a good spot a few miles on and setup for a quick coffee.
Back on the trail the sky started to change, with cloud moving in and the wind speed increasing we figured we were going to get wet at some point. We had a plan for this… We would leave the ridgeway 4 miles early and ride to Lamourn and then on to Newbury. Once again we knew that the roads were reasonably fast, so we plotted to head in for Breakfast at Weatherspoon’s..
The ridgeway was great to ride, were already hatching a plan to ride the whole distance, rather than the 20 miles we did. It also showed that the CX bikes were good to ride on the terrain. A walk along the ridgeway would also be a great way to explore and take in the brilliant views!
The Video – https://vimeo.com/225734981