The ride as the name suggest was to go to Marlborough where the annual Mop was being held and there would be some ups. The idea behind the ride was to introduce the group to some new local places to ride. Being 40 miles I was hoping the weather would be kind as it could of turned into a bit of a slog, luckily the weather was fine and dry, so whilst waiting at the start on my own I did wonder if anyone would turn up. I didn’t have to wait long before Stewart,Graham,and the two Gary’s turned up.
After a bit of friendly banter from Graham about start and meeting times we head off along route 45 towards Chisledon, which always makes a nice little warm up before we get to the Ridgeway. From Chisledon we ride out out to the small hamlet of Badbury and up towards Liddington hill which always offers great views over Swindon and beyond. As we regroup at the top of the road climb we continue along the road down towards Fox Hill.
We join the off road section of the Ridgeway for the climb up to the top of the Ridgeway and the nice long descent which is always good after the climb to to the top, except for the walkers and dogs half way down which promptly stopped us in our tracks. We continue to The ridgeway farm and took a right and ride over to Russley Park. The climb over the downs to Russley turns from a Tarmac lane to gravel, with a very chalky climb (lethal in the wet)then a grassy bridleway descent used mainly by horses down to Russley park. By this time some members of the group didn’t have a clue where we were and were still only a few miles from Swindon. We then joined the road out of Russley and up towards The Baydon road stopping on the motorway bridge for a quick snack and drink.
The next decent takes us down to Aldbourne, though not technical it’s a great long descent and has to be one of the longest in the area.
After a brief stop in Aldbourne for Gary to check out the dalek outside the pub we head outwards and upwards along a bridleway towards Ramsbury, this was a pretty good climb and once at the top we have a good mile or so of sweeping loose descents down to the road. The next couple of miles was on road with a nice punchy climb just to make sure those old legs didn’t get too relaxed. We were now heading towards Marlborough (albeit the long way round)down a bridleway towards a section only a few weeks previous was a bog fest, luckily it had dried out considerably and Graham managed to keep his feet dry. We had a couple more miles of country lanes with another great climb which lead us down a winding stretch of country lane with one particularly sharp bend. At the bottom we crossed the main road and joined a little known road called chopping knife lane which led us into Marlborough.
After a coffee and very large pieces of cake we headed down the high street which was awash with fair ground rides(The mop),and climbed out of Marlborough to free’s avenue. Instead of making the descent to Rockley via road we took a left along a bridleway to make our way to Rockley down a short steep single track descent which was good fun but over too quick. Leaving Rockley we climbed back up the downs to Totterdown woods, this had also dried out considerably over the last week and makes for a fun section. From the woods we descended down towards The temple,this was a fast loose track with water gullies you had to jump and a bend you had to take with caution because of the loose stuff. Once at the bottom we made our way to the final serious climb, only Stewart had ridden it before and I think though it was the last climb it’s probably one he could of done without.
We all regrouped at the top with Graham making it look so easy. We headed back towards Barbury castle where Gary and Stewart headed off home and the rest of the group headed back to the finish at coate water.
As previously mentioned the aim was to introduce the group to some new places to ride,and on more than one occasion some of the group didn’t have a clue where they were,yet we were never more than 10 or so miles from Swindon. Job done.
And here’s the movie.