Saturday 14th June 2014 – 47 mile social ride to Chipping Sodbury with Bath CC

Met up outside Cadence bike shop at 9:15 with about 20 or so others. A meeting of two halves, the Chain Gangers and the Social Riders. Making sure I was in the right group it was out on the cycle bath that brilliantly links Bath and Bristol together, all off road. 12 cyclists in the social ride group, led by Tom and tall Pete(?).

The cycle path is really really popular on a sunny but cool Saturday morning, but there is enough cycle-sense for it to work for all – must be a bit annoying (dog) walking it though.

After 10 miles it was decision time, as there was a split / choice – the 25 mile or the 40 mile route… oh, what the hell, the promise of an imminent cafe stop persuaded me to go long.  50/50 split made our group a neat 6, and the route became a mixture of off-road and lanes, all signed as a variety of Sustrans routes. The aim of the Saturday social rides is to give riders the chance of a shorter ride than the Sunday Club runs (typically of around 70 miles), perhaps to gain fitness before longer challenges. There is also an appreciated careful avoidance of any hills whatsoever!

So after around 32 miles we rocked up at the delightful Chipping Sodbury High Street, complete with open market, and a coffee/cake stop at Cafe One. Awesome home made carrot cake, worth every penny of £2.35, almost as good as a pork pie…. Discussion about the perils of jogging when 18 stone (Rick Mayall RIP) and would walking the Bath Half Marathon give you a credible time whilst not finishing last?

As a map-person it was quite liberating having Tom and other regulars do all the navigation, with only one completely-forgiven error. I really struggled trying to re-trace the route on OS Explorer Map 155. Next week I’ll take the map and crack it….

One final return route choice – hilly road or longer flat cycle track – unanimous choice! New leader sat a cracking pace to finish the ride, which was appreciated as a fitness burst. Back in Bath for 1:15 pm. Big thanks to Tom for leading.

Link to route here

Stats – 47 miles in 3 hrs 50 mins at average of 12.2 mph. No punctures. Cake 10/10. Navigation errors – 1. One of the best UK  morning’s cycling for a long time.

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