All posts by Steffan James

Ridgeway Cafe Ride

Tom Scott will be leading this ride along country lanes and byways out to a cafe near Wantage and back via the Ridgeway.

At 25 miles, it’s a longer than usual Club ride, though with a cafe stop at the halfway point it’s a good ride for those wishing to extend their rides.

Meet at Foxhill (just up the road from the Burj Restaurant) ready for a 10.00am start.

(Photo credit: English Heritage)


Avebury and Earn It

Graham Burgess leads this spin down the Ridgeway to Avebury for coffee and cake… But, you may have to earn the right to have scoffed all that cake on the way back!

Depending on the weather, who turns up, and how sadistic Graham is feeling, there could be the odd “lump” on the return route to Barbury Castle. 😬

All welcome and – despite Graham’s threats – no one will be left behind (he’s a pussycat really).

Bring a working bike, suitable clothing, drink/snacks and some pocket money. Sense of humour optional but strongly advised! 🙄

Meet at Barbury Castle ready for a 10.00am start.

Kate’s January Social

Kate Davidson leads the Club’s first weekend ride of 2019. This easy-going 16 mile ride starts at Barbury Castle and wends its way down Smeathe’s Ridge to the Chiseldon Railway Path and into Marlborough for a cup of tea. The return is via Marlborough Common and along Manton Down, through Rockley Woods and back up Four Mile Clump to Barbury Castle.
This is a novice friendly ride with no technical bits, being relatively flat… bar the long climb back up to Barbury at the end of the ride, which can feel like a bit of a slog, but no-one will be left behind.
Anyone who’s not been out with the club for a bit and feels a little rusty, or any new members, are particularly welcome.

Ride Report: Christmas Recovery Ride

Words by Steffan James  |  Photos by Steffan James & Graham Burgess

The Recovery Ride has become an MB Swindon tradition – a ride between Christmas and New Year to blow away the cobwebs and start to deal with the over-indulgence of the festive season. It was a cold but dry morning as eighteen of us met at the Patriots Arms in Chiseldon. 

Graham’s opening move was to lead us up to the top of Liddington Hill, where one rider turned back, feeling unwell. I was pleased to be up on the Ridgeway already, because it meant that we wouldn’t have to go up the Radio Mast climb, my pet hate. Little did I know of Graham’s plan for the day!

At the first opportunity, we dropped back down to the railway line via the Aerodrome descent. From there we followed the path until I saw the line of riders ahead turn left… towards the Radio Mast!

For those unfamiliar with it, the Radio Mast climb is all tarmac, about a kilometre long, averages 10% and reaches 20% in the middle. I’m not sure why I hate it so much – I always make it up – but the second half always gets to me. After the really steep section, you expect to be able to start picking up the pace, but the gradient stays just steep enough to make it hard work right to the top.

Once we’d all caught our breath at the top we set off again, and a couple of riders found that the puddles there were a lot deeper than expected! We rode along to the next junction and took the road descent down into Ogbourne St George, only to start climbing back up onto the Ridgeway again on the Earthline climb!

We stopped at the top for a few minutes for a bit of refuelling before – surprise, surprise! – heading back down to the railway line, this time on the Speed Bumps track.

Graham’s plan was clear by now, so it was no surprise when we took the next turn off the railway line and started climbing again, this time on the climb that, as far as I know, has no name (Cold de Poulton Downs on Strava). There was some comedy awaiting us at the top, where the thick mud left some slipping and sliding their way along gingerly, whilst others resorted to pushing or carrying their bikes.

As we turned right we found ourselves faced with some deep puddles again, and whilst most were content to push their bikes around the obstacles, a foolhardy few decided that the only way to deal with it was by riding straight through!

The final challenge of the day was the descent of Rickety Bridge, before we got back onto the railway line and headed back up towards Chiseldon, where most of us stopped for a drink before heading off home.

It’s quite a while since I’ve been on a weekend Club ride, so it was nice to meet a few new people, and good to finish the year with a pretty challenging ride. My legs were certainly burning by the end! Thanks Graham.

Urban Round 2nd January

Time to put those New Year resolutions to the test and get on your bike for the first Urban Round of 2019.

Tom Scott leads the ride from John Lewis, Mannington. Be there ready to start riding at 7.00pm.

Expect to be out for about 2 hours, probably covering about 20 miles – mostly along cycle paths and minor roads. Riders of all abilities are welcome and no-one gets left behind.

You’ll need lights, a drink and any spares you may need. Hope to see you there!

Recovery Ride

Christmas: Peace on Earth and goodwill… Fine food and gifts… Time with your loved ones…


Hours slumped in front of the TV… Eating turkey leftovers for a week… Relatives who stay too long…

Feel the need for a restorative bike ride? Graham Burgess is here to help! The Recovery Ride is an MB Swindon tradition – a bit of fresh air and exercise for those who feel a bit jaded by the holidays. Twenty miles of wet and muddy riding? Just what the doctor ordered!

The Recovery Ride is open to all, and a great way to finish your riding for 2018. Meet at the Patriots Arms in Chiseldon, ready for a 10.00am start. We have permission to use the car park.

Urban Round 19th December

Steve Jeans leads the final Urban Round of 2018. Meet at John Lewis ready for an earlier start time of 6.30pm.

We’ll do a shorter than usual ride, finishing with a dink at the Bayberry Arms in Wichelstowe. If you’ve ridden with us at any point during the year, it would be great to have you along!

The Urban Round runs almost entirely along cycle paths and minor roads. It is suitable for riders of all abilities and no-one gets left behind.

You’ll need lights, a drink and a spare tube/repair kit.