All posts by Steffan James

The Second Savernake Sisters Spin

Kate Davidson repeats this picturesque rural ladies’ ride which was very popular last year, taking in the tracks and trails of Savernake Forest and a few local historical landmarks, with a cake stop en-route.

This will be a novice-friendly ride, at the pace of the slowest rider, but you should be comfortable riding 17 miles over mildly undulating terrain with a few short hills, and probably some mud, along the way.  

We’ll meet at Postern Hill campsite, on the outskirts of Marlborough, where there is plenty of parking. From the campsite we’ll ride into the forest, picking up some nice singletrack and fire roads, emerging at the far end of the Grand Avenue and riding onwards to the hamlet of Durley. From here, we drop down onto the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, stopping for tea and cake at Crofton Beam Engines and once refreshed we’ll head back to the forest and make our way back to the campsite.  

Athough being April it should be springlike, it may be wet and/or muddy in the forest. Bring anything you feel you may need such as water, weatherproof coat and spare tubes etc. Meet ready for a 10.00am start.


Back to The Gap

Graham Burgess will be leading us again in Welsh Wales on Sunday 31st March starting from Talybont-on-Usk and taking in the iconic Brecon Gap Loop.

This ride is approximately 23 miles with around 2600ft of climbing and basically consists of two VERY LONG climbs and two equally long and brilliant descents…

The ride goes straight into the first climb, which is several miles long at a reasonably steady gradient, up ‘The Tramway’ with spectacular views back across Talybont Reservoir. We will probably be climbing for upwards of an hour!

The route then goes across open land before the first descent which is fast, rocky and lots of fun. We will then call into The Old Barn Tea Rooms.

Fully refreshed, we will take on the long-but-steady slog up to the top of The Gap (there is a bit of a “gem” en-route 🙂 ). After a breather and time to take in the views, we will smash out on the final descent – awesomeness at it’s very best!

Due to the technical nature and elevation, this ride is not suitable for novice riders, but anyone with reasonable skills and fitness is very welcome to join.

Bear in mind that this is ‘in the mountains’ – so bring suitable clothing, food/drink, spares and a fully working bike!

We will set off at 10:00am from Talybont-on-Usk. There is plenty of parking in The Village Hall carpark which also has hot showers and a superb bike wash facility.


Postcode for carpark LD3 7YQ

NOTE: several of us are doing the Evans Cycles Event the day before and will be staying over at the Star Bunkhouse in Bwlch (where we stayed for last Summer’s Brecon Weekend) on the Saturday night – price per person is £19.00 – you can book yourself a place by contacting them directly. There is a great pub directly opposite for evening meal and we will be self sufficient for breakfast.

Railway to Marlborough

Steve Jeans will lead this novice friendly ride on the 24th March. Meet by the diving board at Coate Water, ready for a 10.00 am start.

This will be an easy, social ride along the railway line to Marlborough, where there will be a cafe stop. The ride back will also be along the railway line.

At around 25 miles, the ride will be longer than the average Novice-friendly ride, but the route is almost entirely flat. Expect to be out for around three hours.

Two Tunnels – The Return of the Return

For those who missed this on previous occasions (or want to have another go…), Graham Burgess will be leading the popular Two Tunnels ride again.

The full 48 mile route will start from Wharf Road Carpark in Devizes, meeting at 9:15 for a 9:30 (sharp!) departure. The route follows the canal towpath down past Caen Locks and continues through Semington and Staverton to Bradford on Avon where we will meet anyone opting for the shorter 23 mile route at the Lock Inn Cafe at around 10:45 for an 11:00 (ish) departure, so time for a quick coffee and cake!

The route then continues along the canal path past Avoncliff and the amazing aquaduct through to Brassknocker Basin. From Brassknocker, it picks up the Sustrans 13 mile Two Tunnels loop which continues along the canal past Claverton, Bathampton and Bathwick before passing through the suburbs and into Bath centre.

The route then follows the River Avon for a short while before picking up the gentle uphill gradient path through to the Two Tunnels which are an impressive 800 metres and 1672 metres long. From the Tunnels, the route goes over the Tucking Mill Viaduct to Midford where we will stop for a pub lunch at the Hope and Anchor (or depending on group consensus we can stop at Brassknocker cafe a couple of miles on – or both…).

The route then takes to single country lanes for a mile or two with a couple of short, sharp climbs through to Monkton Combe where it drops back down to Brassknocker Basin to rejoin the canal path for the return route back to Bradford on Avon and onto Devizes with the gradual but long climb up past Caen locks to finish back at the Wharf Road carpark.

This is an entirely non-technical route that will be at a moderate pace and suitable for anyone looking to add a few miles to their repertoire without the fear of big hills or scary bits. There are lots of opportunities along the way for cafe/pub stops and emphasis is on having fun and social day out doing something a bit different. No-one will be left behind.

Parking fees (last time we did the ride there) were £5.20 at Devizes and £4.00 at Bradford on Avon – these may have gone up so have plenty of change.

It is anticipated that the canal path will be reasonably busy with other cyclists and walkers so a bell would be useful if you have one.

The tunnels are lit and well surfaced but is advisable (although not essential) to have a small commuter light for this section.
Bring food/drinks, spares, a fully working bike and pocket money!

Start points:
Full route – Wharf Road Carpark, Devizes SN10 1EA
Shorter route – Lock Inn Cafe, Bradford on Avon BA15 1LE (nearest carpark Baileys Barn BA15 1BX)

Image credit:

Gorging on Cheddar

Graham Burgess will lead us around Cheddar Gorge and the Mendip Hills following a route used several times before on Club outings, most recently last September and always great fun – ask Sonny!

The route is only around 21 miles, but don’t be fooled into thinking it will be a breeze…! The climbs are sharp and some of the descents are loose, rocky and a bit testing, especially if it’s wet on the day (sense of humour strongly advised).

The route starts from the Swan Inn, Rowberrow and quickly heads off-road into a bit of a woodland climb followed by a long, fast rocky descent all the way down into Cheddar where we can stop for a quick cuppa (last chance saloon until end of ride).

Then it’s off up the Gorge road climb – which is steady but long – and onto the top of the gorge then all the way back down again on another fast, rocky, rooty little number. This might not come as a surprise, but… it’s then another big climb back up onto the moors (expect to see wild ponies) for some more fun before the last descent back down again towards Rowberrow.

The pub at the start/finish serves excellent food for post ride refreshments – highly recommend is the Ploughman’s Lunch 🙂

Whilst not really a novice ride due to climbs and technical descents, the ride is open to anyone who feels like a challenge; no-one will be left behind and we can have plenty of stops as needed.

Be there and ready to ride for a 10.00am departure. Bring food and drink, appropriate clothing for a day’s ride (it can be exposed up on top of the hills) and spares.

Urban Round 27 Feb

Gary Yeates leads this week’s Urban Round. Meet at Croft Sports Centre ready for a 7.00pm start.

The Urban Round is usually about 20 miles / 2 hours long, mainly along cycle paths and minor roads around Swindon. It is suitable for riders of all abilities and no-one gets left behind.

You’ll need lights, a drink and a spare tube or repair kit. There may be the option of going for a pint at the end of the ride.

Graham’s Ridgeway Cafe Ride

Graham Burgess will be leading this ride along country lanes and byways out to a cafe near Wantage and back via the Ridgeway (similar the ride we had to cancel last month).

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. If you want to super-size the ride, meet Graham by the diving platform at Coate Water ready for a 9.15am start.

(Photo credit: English Heritage)